I’ve been doing occasional posts in a series about “conceptual magic”, which treats spell duration, range, area of effect, and other details not as stats, but as concepts: the spell lasts as long as a candle remains lit, or is cast at the point where a thrown talisman lands, or affects everyone who hears the magic words. These are the previous posts on conceptual magic:
- conceptual vs. mechanistic magic,
- further explanation (skippable,)
- nearly-permanent spells
- areas of effect.
How would range be determined in a conceptual spell?
The base range is the caster’s self, a held object, or a single target within reach. Hostile magic requires a touch, but other magic only requires a gesture and glance towards the target. Concepts can effectively alter either the distance, the method of selection, or both.
Some of the area of effect concepts affect the range as well: incense or smoke can reach anyone in the same room, liquid sprays or splashes or smoke bombs affect targets within throwing range, candlelight/torchlight reaches to the edge of the illuminated area.
- Cast a spell while throwing a pebble (or other object.) Similar to throwing a smoke bomb or flask of liquid, but instead of the spell affecting multiple people touched by the smoke or splash, it affects one person touched by the thrown object, or in rare cases more, for example throwing a blanket that can cover two or more people.
- Cast a spell while reflecting a beam of light with a mirror. Similar to using a bare candle or torch, but using a mirror (or a shuttered lantern) a beam of light can be directed to a precise target over a longer distance.
- Cast a spell while ringing a loud gong or bell. All targets who can hear the bell are affected, which could mean a fairly long range.
- Cast a spell into the wind, on a river current, or under sunlight or moonlight. A very long range spell, but it requires other components to direct it. For example, allowing the wind to blow sand from your palm allows the spell to target someone standing on sand up to a league away.
- Cast a spell using a simulacrum of the target (doll, portrait.) May have a very long range indeed, but the figure uses to target the spell must include something that belongs to the target (piece of clothing, blood, hair) to make it effective. The more components involved, the greater the possible distance, but also the more times the spell must be cast; a spell cast on a target many league away might take hours or days to cast.
- Cast a spell on a specific distant location. Requires something that belongs to that location, for example topsoil from a farm, or a piece of something deliberately placed at that location, for example half of a talisman the caster has created.
- Cast a spell using the target’s true name. This can be used with short range conceptual components like candles or smoke to narrow the spell to specific targets, or it can be used with a simulacrum to extend a long range spell.
I’ve hinted at casting time being connected to distance for some spells, but I haven’t specified how yet. It’s something that needs to be worked out, but I’m thinking that for long-range spells, one league means one hour of casting time.
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