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The role of Conjunctive Arcana (primarily referencing Shadow Flesh)

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  • The role of Conjunctive Arcana (primarily referencing Shadow Flesh)

    So there's been a lot of commentary about the place of Conjunctive Arcana, and the efforts which have been made in 2e to reduce the number of situations in which Mages will need to tack low-level or high-level Matter, Life, Spirit and other such Arcana onto other spells in order to affect different materials.

    Much of the dispute can be laid at the feet of the use of the Death Arcanum's purview of Shadows, permitting them to grant them physical form (Shadow Crafting), or even transform living matter wholesale into an altered state of existence (Shadow Flesh). Many people have been looking at this spell, and thus deciding that the precedent that it sets means that various other Arcana mean that Mages need not need the Life Arcanum to radically redefine the nature of biological matter, merely the Arcanum of what they wish to change that matter into.

    Such as merely needing Death 4 to place the individual in an "undead" state of existence, functioning much like a Vampire, being able to Weave Energy into a physical state with Forces 3, or being able to turn into inanimate Matter (Matter 4, Patterning) without needing conjunctive Life 4.

    Has there been any direction by devs as to the nature of this rule and dynamic?
    Will this question be answered in Signs of Sorcery?

    Many changes I agree with strongly, such as being able to use Fate alone to affect the probability of all phenomenon occuring (such as Lucky Number).
    But some changes confuse me. For what reason would the practice of Patterning Shadows alone permit someone to make radical changes to a living organism without Life 4 to start that transformation?
    Surely you couldn't use Forces alone to transform a physical inert object into sunlight?

  • #2
    Although the devs haven't said anything definitive and I'm loathe to admit it (this one time only, usually I'm happy to admit it) I think Satchel makes a good argument that Death is inherent in a person and that the spell the spell is hijacking that part of yourself to end you and render you into a shadow which is why it's able to be an exception to the rule that you'd need a Life conjunction to transform yourself into something else like a Life/Forces hybrid.


    • #3
      The thing is that the rules are contradictory. In Creative Thaumaturgy it explicitly says that if you intend to transform something into something else under the purview of another Arcanum you need to use both the origin and end-state Arcana. But then there's Shadow Flesh.

      My personal way of resolving this contradiction is to follow the Creative Thaumaturgy suggestion and accept Shadow Flesh and other possible contradicting official spells as weird exceptions to be explained away however the group wants. I personally belive there was a misunderstanding between the people writing the different spells and spell guidelines and it wasn't spotted until it was too late, but what is done is done.