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What substances have you used for Detect/Find?


Scorus

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I'm curious what substances GMs and players have used for the Detect and Find (Substance) spells. Iron, gold, and water are the most obvious to me. But copper, silver, aluminum, and lead might be popular. Hazia, perhaps. Something like truffles, ginger, or other hard to find commodity. Specific rare and valuable gemstones. Truestone, perhaps? Crystals?

I assume that this could not find specific creatures, such as a wolf or a broo. Find blood or fur might work, but would get many creatures great and small in the area (just as I assume wood would detect an elf but not differentiate them from all the trees almost always around them). Nor could poison work since that assumes a function and particular target(s).

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Player characters in my not particularly serious MGF-style scenario Getting of Wisdom (RQG version coming some day!) are all junior scribes in the Great Temple of Knowledge in Nochet. As part of character creation they get to choose from one of:

  • Detect Vellum
  • Detect Parchment
  • Detect Paper
  • Detect Scroll
  • Detect Book
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In our RQ2 campaign, one of the GMs gave out a Detect Mountain matrix on an ENC 50 Boulder, but it only had a range of 5m. They took it around with them on a cart. They had the last laugh, though, when the same GM ran a scenario around a cursed mountain that was perpetually covered in fog and was poison to touch, but they had to find a hermit's cave. They simply carried the boulder on a sylph and kept it at 4m away by poking a long spear at the mountain, until the spell did not detect mountain, due to the cave being there. The GM was not best pleased, but saw the funny side of it.

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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In the same campaign, the Lord General of Death wanted to question Derak the Dark Troll, as he showed suspicious behaviour for a Death Lord of Zorak Zoran, for example going adventuring with humans. so, he invited Derak to his castle in the Throne and brandished a Detect Law matrix and a Detect Chaos matrix. When questioned about the legality of having Detect Law, a Krarsht ability, he simply said "We use any tool in the fight against chaos". He cast Detect Law and rolled 100, a fumble, so the spell just didn't go off. Then he cast Detect Chaos and rolled 100, another fumble, so that didn't go off. Derak successfully argued that Zorak Zoran was displeased that the Lord General of Death was accusing Derak, with a critical Fast Talk, so the Lord General of Death made Derak, who was illuminated, the Inquisitor General, charged with hunting down any Illuminates who had infiltrated the Zorak Zoran cult. He found loads, mostly among his rivals and enemies.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I selected a matrix for Detect Tin at character creation, on the grounds that since it was in the shape of a Dragonewt it was apropos for it to be of dubious usefulness.

And then I went and found a use for it (take a tin spoon/utensil, use it like a flare to temporarily blind or shock an attacking troll) and then never actually got to use it so far...

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I'm running an Atlantean game for my nieces where 'orichalcum' [the mystical variety] is in use. It's the tensile equivalent of steel, doesn't rust, and accepts enchantments easier than either Terrestrial bronze or iron. However, it's an alloy of bronze, requiring copper, tin, and the orichalcum mineral itself, and orichalcum has only been found in quantity on 'Atalan' itself... only trace amounts elsewhere. And NO smith who knows the formula to make 'weapons grade orichalcum' is EVER let off the island.

But yes, once the players figure out Detect spells, I'll allow Detect Orichalcum. It'll allow them to find 'the good stuff' faster. They'll never find an ore lode of it, but it'll help with looking for treasure in constructed items.

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

In the same campaign, the Lord General of Death wanted to question Derak the Dark Troll, as he showed suspicious behaviour for a Death Lord of Zorak Zoran, for example going adventuring with humans. so, he invited Derak to his castle in the Throne and brandished a Detect Law matrix and a Detect Chaos matrix. When questioned about the legality of having Detect Law, a Krarsht ability, he simply said "We use any tool in the fight against chaos". He cast Detect Law and rolled 100, a fumble, so the spell just didn't go off. Then he cast Detect Chaos and rolled 100, another fumble, so that didn't go off. Derak successfully argued that Zorak Zoran was displeased that the Lord General of Death was accusing Derak, with a critical Fast Talk, so the Lord General of Death made Derak, who was illuminated, the Inquisitor General, charged with hunting down any Illuminates who had infiltrated the Zorak Zoran cult. He found loads, mostly among his rivals and enemies.

Smooth. Gotta love a well-timed crit... 😁🤣😆

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5 hours ago, MOB said:

Player characters in my not particularly serious MGF-style scenario Getting of Wisdom (RQG version coming some day!) are all junior scribes in the Great Temple of Knowledge in Nochet. As part of character creation they get to choose from one of:

  • Detect Vellum
  • Detect Parchment
  • Detect Paper
  • Detect Scroll
  • Detect Book

The smart substance would have been ink...

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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21 hours ago, Godlearner said:

Had Trolls run around with Detect Iron. Other ones I found useful are Detect Poison, Detect Detection, Detect Spirit and of course Detect Undead.   

In one game where I was feeling particularly strict * I didn't allow Detect Poison,  I figured poison was a concept rather than a substance, after all different animals can eat things that would be poisonous to other animals....so I insisted on people learning Detect Hemlock, Detect Aconite, Detect depleted uranium and so on.

* My players may have used the word pedantic, i really can't remember.

Edited by Agentorange
typo
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33 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

In one game where I was feeling particularly strict * I didn't allow Detect Poison,  I figured poison was a concept rather than a substance, after all different animals can eat things that would be poisonous to other animals....so I insisted on people learning Detect Hemlock, Detect Aconite, Detect depleted uranium and so on.

* My players may have used the word pedantic, i really can't remember.

Your game, but you can also apply the same logic to Treat Disease and Treat Poison skills since these are different and would in real life require different treatment. 

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42 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Your game, but you can also apply the same logic to Treat Disease and Treat Poison skills since these are different and would in real life require different treatment. 

Treat Poison is really treating a poisoning, a body's reaction to exposure to a substance which doesn't kill immediately but may accumulate damage over time. Yes, substances will differ in their vectors, their target organs, and their temporal behavior. But in the end, it is about the body that has been exposed.

The presence of broad-band antidotes made by the alchemists far surpasses any toxicology our struggling doctors and scientists have to deal with. It has that in common with the super-acids and other such substances that GMs inflict on the player characters. But then much traditional medicine works on the basis of myth rather than knowledge, and thus has to be quite powerful in Glorantha.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Yeah, Detect/Find Poison doesn't work for me. For me a "substance" has to be objective. Things that are poisonous to you might not be poisonous to another person (e.g. poison ivy) or to another type of creature (dog, elf, etc.). Almost nothing is poisonous to a troll. Any oil would be poisonous to either swallow or get into your bloodstream, so every lamp is gonna show. Heck, every metal is poisonous if you eat/drink enough it or get it into your bloodstream. In fact, water is poisonous if you drink enough of it, every few years you hear of someone dying from it (usually as a result of hazing).

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8 minutes ago, Scorus said:

Yeah, Detect/Find Poison doesn't work for me. For me a "substance" has to be objective. Things that are poisonous to you might not be poisonous to another person (e.g. poison ivy) or to another type of creature (dog, elf, etc.). Almost nothing is poisonous to a troll. Any oil would be poisonous to either swallow or get into your bloodstream, so every lamp is gonna show. Heck, every metal is poisonous if you eat/drink enough it or get it into your bloodstream. In fact, water is poisonous if you drink enough of it, every few years you hear of someone dying from it (usually as a result of hazing).

So I presume you don't allow Detect Enemies, Detect Life, Detect Trap... Nor the Humakti skill of Sense Assassin.

 

Personally, I've always thought that Truestone couldn't be.magically detected.

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Good old Paracelsus's "the amount makes the poison". Oxygen poisoning is one of my favorites, right next to carbon dioxide.

Then there is the case of self-administered intoxicants, often for magical or ritual purposes.

Would Detect Poison react to venoms that are mainly digestive fluids? Would it react to acids? Would it react to malicious application of ultimately harmless substances? Bad cooking? Raw green beans?

There are a couple of detection targets which aren't substances. Life, Detection, Magic.

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 6/19/2021 at 10:13 PM, Joerg said:

The smart substance would have been ink...

that is a smart idea I hadn't, thanks !

 

but the question here, from a gameplay perspective is do we need separate spells to detect writing (vellum, paper, scroll, ... but clay tablet/ stone tablet too) or only one "detect writing"

I understand (and I use) detect iron / bronze / ... etc because there properties are different (aka an iron armor doesn't give the same effect than a bronze or quicksilver one)

But when the property is "let you read something"...

same for weapons

do you detect weapons or do you detect swords and no axes, or maybe do you detect broadsword but not great sword /  kopis / shortsword /rapier ?

I m not confortable with detect spells for this reason: what is the good level ?

 

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5 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

but the question here, from a gameplay perspective is do we need separate spells to detect writing (vellum, paper, scroll, ... but clay tablet/ stone tablet too) or only one "detect writing"

If you can detect 'life' or 'unlife' which are concepts, you can detect 'writing'.

6 hours ago, Scorus said:

Things that are poisonous to you might not be poisonous to another person (e.g. poison ivy) or to another type of creature (dog, elf, etc.).

It would detect substances that are poisonous to the caster, or, if you are devious and the caster is using a matrix, poisonous to the creator of the matrix.

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6 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

So I presume you don't allow Detect Enemies, Detect Life, Detect Trap... Nor the Humakti skill of Sense Assassin.

 

Personally, I've always thought that Truestone couldn't be.magically detected.

I must admit i don't generally allow Detect Traps. if I lean an object against a door so that it deliberately  falls on someone...thats a trap. if i work at something and lean the object against the door whilst I'm working and forget about it..that's an accident. the difference is intent, and if I'm no longer around my intent can no longer be discerned or detected

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26 minutes ago, Kloster said:

If you can detect 'life' or 'unlife' which are concepts, you can detect 'writing'.

It would detect substances that are poisonous to the caster, or, if you are devious and the caster is using a matrix, poisonous to the creator of the matrix.

Is life a concept ? clearly there is something, an elecrical current, a set of criteria ( from a biological POV ) that makes life. It may not be life as we know it but I do think life is a state of being rather than just an idea. Please note I'm not talking about sentience here, that's a whole other argument 😁

Edited by Agentorange
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