A spell for Interrogating Ghosts

Ghosts are tricky and maddening, especially those who insist on not being helpful no matter how close or far they are from the afterlife. In a recent rpg session the characters where trying to commune with a ghost who proved to be rather uncooperative.

The players used “Whispers Through The Black Gate”, an iconic spell in Ars Magica used for talking to ghosts. The spell is powerful but relies on the skill of the questioner, and wizards are typically poor orators and not overly sensitive to the needs of the dead.

Instead of whispers, the magi could have used force – mentally reading the ghost’s remaining mind, or even forcing it to answer using spells designed to strip truth from the unliving.

Here is a rough outline of how that spell would be presented in Ars Magica

Using Intellego Mentum as the core Arts, the effect is to read the mind of a spirit, akin to another spell called Peering into the Mortal Mind (InMe30). PitMM is a very powerful effect, with a base of 25, and an increase of +1 mag due to needing to touch the target. This effect allows the caster to understand a living person’s answer, position, motivation, and memory on a particular very specific subject or premise.

It is not however an effect which allows reading the mind of the target like an open book (the medieval mind is not that well organised), but is wonderfully effective in getting a true sense for what the person thinks in the scenario, even if they are unwilling.

To change that effect for ghosts it stays as a Intellego Mentum spell as Mentum is used for the mind and also for spirits, and Intellego due to the perception desired. Base effect is likely to also stay as 25 as well “to learn all you wish about a person”.

So the reinvention of the spell changed from a living target to a dead one, then only needs to target the ghost – which requires an arcane connection if the ghost is not actually present. Fortunetly the corpse of a dead person often is a perfect connection to their ghost, so the range changes from +1 Touch to +4 Arc.

Peering into the Unresting Mind

Intellego Mentum 45, R: Arc, D: Momentary, Target: Individual

By means of this spell the caster contacts a ghost which has not yet passed to final judgement, and draws a set of knowledge from the remains of it’s mind about a specific topic or question.

The caster must have an arcane conenction to the ghost he wishes to question, and typically the unhallowed corpse of the target is used.

(Base 25, +4 Arc)

This Base Effect level could be lowered if the caster is happier with some of the other effects described in the Intellego Mentum guidelines. An alternative for this spell might be “Pick a single answer from the mind of the target” as Base Effect level 15, but this would require a separate casting for each question needed.

Drawing the Truth from the Dead

Intellego Mentum 35, R: Arc, D: Momentary, Target: Individual

By means of this spell the caster contacts a ghost which has not yet passed to final judgement, and learns a single sentence answer to a very specific question.

The caster must have an arcane conenction to the ghost he wishes to question, and typically the unhallowed corpse of the target is used.

(Base 15, +4 Arc)

Nobody said wizards were nice people, or that all secrets are taken to the grave.

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