Spell discussion: Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth, 30 Days of Magic

Now that I look at it “Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth” (InTe30, from Ars core rulebook p.154 – aka StFtTtE) is an interesting spell because it does not require an arcane connection and can grant information that would be otherwise very difficult to determine.

Within the spell design are three factors worth noting; (a) the InTe Base 4 which “sees” an object and immediately around it, (b) that the object touched can perceive without using requisites, and (c) the StFtTtE spell views a 1 mile radius around the object. It might also be argued that this spell is also not directly scrying, but is certainly indirect scrying – so should have some breadth for compassion in the in-game lore which strongly inhibits Magi scrying on one another.

The first factor has an interesting range to figure out – the base for InTe4 for earth is 10 cubic paces (Ars p.152), however this spell then adds +3 mags to expand the area of effect 100x times to a 1 mile radius. Logically then a base radius is a 100th of that, equivalent to 5.3 feet – so call it roughly 5 feet radius around the targeted point.

The second note on removing material requisites is due to the InTe note ” Intellego Terram spell levels are not affected by the material of the thing affected.” That is a very powerful hook to use in creating variations of this style of scrying.

To further clarify the spell a little, I suggest that StFtTtE cannot detect items which are not walking primarily upon the earth, not moving, and the information sought by the spell must be narrow in nature. i.e. The spell must answer a specific question. Just as “who is walking in the area?” is asked by StFtTtE. This would mean that StFtTtE has no ability to see what people are doing indoors, and also not perceive things that are not moving. Separate spells are needed for different types of information.

Lastly this highlights that other Forms could have similar effects, like this version for ice and snow written in late 2017, which uses the lower base MuAq3. Here are x5 more variations to be included in the 30 Days of Magic.

Sense the Vessels that Skim the Seas

Intellego Aquam 30, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Part

The caster gains abstract knowledge of all objects upon the surface of a body of water for 10 miles around them, allowing them to see objects such as boats, swimmers, or even wreckage in a manner identical to Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +4 Size)

Sense the Immediate Malign Steps

Intellego Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Part

The caster gains abstract knowledge of what is moving upon the surface of the earth around them up to approximately 50 feet radius, in a manner identical to Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +1 Size)

Sense the Pathway that Twists through the Forest

Intellego Herbam 35, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Part

The caster gains abstract knowledge of the layout and formations of trees and plants for 10 miles around them, allowing them to see pathways and groves in a manner identical to Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +4 Size)

It is also plausible to sense inside the earth or water as readily as what is upon the earth. For that kind of spell the area of effect returns to a more traditional scaling up of volumes, and quickly demonstrates how restricted those spells are at low level.

Sense the Denizens that Swim the Deep

Intellego Aquam 25, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Part

The caster gains abstract knowledge of all objects within an area of up to 235,000 cubic feet in size within a body of water (a cube 62 feet to a side), allowing them to see any moving creatures or objects in a manner identical to Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +3 Size)

Sense the Hollows that Confound the Earth

Intellego Terram 35, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Part

The caster gains abstract knowledge of the layout and formations within the earth equal to 100,000 cubic paces (or a cube 46 paces to a side), allowing them to see hollows, tunnels and routes in a manner identical to Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +4 Size)

Adding +3 extra magnitudes to these spells makes them more useful for scanning through mountains and oceans, however it makes their spell level very high:

  • InAq25 becomes InAq40 – allowing 235 million feet, or a cube 620 feet per side
  • InTe35 becomes InTe 50 – 10 million cubic yards, or a cube 460 paces per side.

These spells are part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

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3 thoughts on “Spell discussion: Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth, 30 Days of Magic

  1. Pingback: Ars Magica – 30 Days of Magic Challenge | The Iron-Bound Tome

  2. Isn’t it possible that the base 4 of StFtTtE is for “Learn one mundane property of an object” (i.e. reading the vibrations in the ground)?

    Side-note: there’s 3 magnitudes for size, so that x1000 rather than x100 (but you have the right result)

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