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Thistledown
My old GM and I were discussing this, and realized we might have come across a problem with magic fingers.

In order for a sustaining focus to work, it has to be in contact with the physical target of the spell. Now intuitively, the caster would be the target of the spell, and this would be no problem. However, it would be more accurate to say that magic fingers targets a patch of air where the 'hands' would be.

Since the air is the target, not the caster, how do you have a sustaining focus?

The best solution we came up with is thin clear gloves, like the ones in food services, to use as the focus. Not quite invisible though. Remember, you have to see the target, (the air) so they would have to be clear. A ring might work too, but that would look even stranger to see a ring floating in the air.

Also, would you need a focus for each hand or just one for the pair?
RedmondLarry
The target of the spell is the one who the caster places the spell on. The magician might cast Magic Fingers on the Covert Ops Specialist who then climbs up the glass walls of the tower with Gecko Crawl. Yes, you can make a sustaining focus for Magic Fingers, and place it upon the Covert Ops Specialist. You can even remove it later and place it on the Sniper without rebonding the focus, but you do have to cast the spell into the focus again. You only need one sustaining focus, even if the target has 4 hands and 28 fingers.
hobgoblin
the focus have to be in contact with the user/controler of the spell.
Mardegun
QUOTE (Thistledown @ Mar 20 2004, 09:55 PM)
However, it would be more accurate to say that magic fingers targets a patch of air where the 'hands' would be.

Here are my thoughts:

Magic fingers can not be sustained. Only spells casted on a physical object or person can be sustained and thus magic fingers can't be sustained. While magic fingers can be used to effect objects or people, it isn't cast on them. How is that for an opinion?

[edit] btw hobgoblin, the holder of the focus does not control the spell, unless they are the owner/caster of the focus and spell.
TheScamp
Yeah, I'd say it can't be sustained in a focus, considering the requirement that the spell must be targetted to an object or being.
A Clockwork Lime
What are you guys smoking?

Of course Magic Fingers can be sustained -- it's a frelling Sustained spell! If you can sustain it yourself, you can put it into a focus to sustain it for you -- that's what sustaining foci are for!

Magic Fingers is a telekinetic manipulation spell that gives the subject "invisible hands" that they can use to manipulate objects. It's effectively cast on the subject and can affect anything within range. Sustained in a focus, it basically gives him a set of remote hands that he can use to manipulate objects with, just like the spell's description says.

What's next? Improved Invisibility can't be sustained, let alone put into a sustaining focus, despite the fact that it's a Sustained spell that affects targets other than the subject? :rolleyes:
TheScamp
Woah. Settle down, Beavis.

The question isn't whether or not MF can be sustained in general, that's obvious, as it's a sustained spell. The question is whether MF fits the sustaining focus requirement of "only spells cast on physical objects or beings..."

Physical Barrier, for example, is a sustained spell, but isn't really cast on anything. Therefore, you'd have a tough time putting it into a sustaining focus.

QUOTE
It's effectively cast on the subject and can affect anything within range.

Which is an interpretation that is being considered. Is the caster the subject of a MF spell, or does it just create something (the hands) that the caster can control? There is a difference. You might disagree, which is fine, but please keep the derision to yourself.
Zazen
QUOTE (A Clockwork Lime)
If you can sustain it yourself, you can put it into a focus to sustain it for you -- that's what sustaining foci are for!

Minor nitpick: If you subscribe to the "choose desired plane" philosophy, then this rule is only true half the time. Spells cast "on the astral side" can't target a physical object or being.
A Clockwork Lime
So you are saying that, then. You are saying that spells like Invisibility cannot be put into a Sustaining Focus since the Sustaining Focus cannot be placed on the target (which is everything the subject of the spell comes into contact with). Invisibility is cast on a subject, not the target.

That's just ridiculous. But to each their own.

And Zazen, you're not making a bit of sense. You can sustain any spell you like for as long as you like, and a Sustaining Focus will continue to do it for you if you like. Just because that Armor spell you put on yourself doesn't protect your astral form, that doesn't mean the focus isn't still sustaining it and protecting your meat body when you project.
Mardegun
Lime:

Of course invisibility can be sustained, it is casted on a person or object. The illusion is around the person, but the target of the spell is valid. In order to use a sustain focus on a person the focus must be in contact with the target, then the spell is casted and "caught" by the focus.

Zazen:

the "chose desired plane" doesn't conflict at all. The situation does become more complex, but so far I haven't seen any contractions. When in astral space a mage can still cast spells on themselves or other astrally present objects and beings. Foci that only effect the physical plane would still effect the meat body, but wouldn't help in astral space ... unless it effects some attribute. For example boosted attribute or improve reflexes would still work, because the meat body determines the astral body stats.
TheScamp
QUOTE
So you are saying that, then. You are saying that spells like Invisibility cannot be put into a Sustaining Focus since the Sustaining Focus cannot be placed on the target (which is everything the subject of the spell comes into contact with).

Not at all. Invisibility is clearly cast 'on' an object or person and thus clearly fufills the focus requirement, which makes no destinction between 'target' or 'subject.' As I said before, it's somewhat vague how the MF spell fits into this category; is it like Invisibility, which is cast on something (the caster), or more like Barrier, which simply creates force with no real target?
A Clockwork Lime
The text for a Sustaining Focus clearly states that it must be placed on the target of a spell.

You can't have your cake and eat it, too. If you want to claim that Magic Fingers can't be sustained in such a focus because it never says it's cast on a target who then gets the ability to manipulate objects with their virtual hands, even though it's pretty clear that's what the text is saying, then you're stuck with the fact that a sustaining focus can't be used to sustain Invisibility, Improved Invisibility, Mask, Physical Mask, Vehicle Mask, and other similiar spells since they're not cast on a target -- they're cast on a subject who affects targets. Just like Magic Fingers for the most part.
Lantzer
I have another version:

I think that Sustaining foci can't be used for spells that require active control. If you are sustaining a MF spell, you can do whatever you want with them. If you have a focus sustain it, it keeps doing whatever it's last orders were. Why? The focus is controlling the spell, not you. You are not controlling the spell, so you get to avoid that little +2 modifier for having divided concentration. Not totally useless, as you can still do some nifty things with MF, for example. (Need something hovering within arm's reach? Don't have a free hand for your umbrella?)

Side effects (good and bad):
1) You see the same number of detection and defensive spells in foci.
2) No problem with invisibility.
3) You don't see MF in foci very often.
4) You definately don't see levitate in foci very often.

Zazen
QUOTE (A Clockwork Lime)
And Zazen, you're not making a bit of sense. You can sustain any spell you like for as long as you like, and a Sustaining Focus will continue to do it for you if you like.

I think you missed what I was saying. "Only spells cast on physical objects or beings can be sustained" by a sustaining focus. If you cast a spell "on the astral", then it can't be cast on a physical object or being. Thus if a mage is sustaining any spell with a focus it must be "on the physical side" and he'll lose it when he decides to project.

I wasn't arguing with your perfectly valid examples of Magic Fingers and Armor, but rather with the general rule of "if you can sustain it, so can the focus". With "choose desired plane" there is no way to sustain astral-only spells like Astral Armor, so this rule is not true for all spells.

It's just a minor nitpick.
A Clockwork Lime
Only partially true. The focus's description does say that it can only sustain spells cast on physical objects or beings. And instead of people using common sense and treating the focus the way it's intended to be treated (as a tool to sustain spells for you so that you don't have to) instead of how it's literally described, you wind up with all kinds of stupid things. Like not being able to sustain an Astral Armor spell on yourself after you project, but being able to do so just fine if perceiving.

However, your contention that the focus will stop sustaining a spell simply because you project is wrong. The focus is still in contact with the target of the original spell, even if part of the focus comes along with you when you project.
Zazen
QUOTE (A Clockwork Lime)
The focus's description does say that it can only sustain spells cast on physical objects or beings. And instead of people using common sense and treating the focus the way it's intended to be treated (as a tool to sustain spells for you so that you don't have to) instead of how it's literally described, you wind up with all kinds of stupid things.

Without "choose desired plane", though, there's no need to ignore or overrule the sustaining focus text. It makes perfect sense and works fine for Astral Armor, etc.

Just thought I'd mention it. wink.gif

QUOTE
However, your contention that the focus will stop sustaining a spell simply because you project is wrong. The focus is still in contact with the target of the original spell, even if part of the focus comes along with you when you project.


By "he'll lose it", I meant that it will be left behind, not that it would end. I guess I could've been clearer.
Mardegun
QUOTE
The text for a Sustaining Focus clearly states that it must be placed on the target of a spell.


Yeah Ö that is what we said.

QUOTE
If you want to claim that Magic Fingers can't be sustained in such a focus because it never says it's cast on a target Ö

OK, I am with you so far Ö

QUOTE
Ö it's cast on a target  who then gets the ability to manipulate objects with their virtual hands

I never said this or even hinted at this. Nowhere in the description of sustain focus does it say that the person with the focus has control of the focus.

The only control the target/holder of the focus has, is the ability to remove the focus from them. Once the focus is no longer in contact with the target, the spell is dropped.

Only the caster of the spell has control of the spell. For example a mage gives a mundane a sustained focus that has the levitate spell imprint on it. The mage activates the focus and then casts the spell on the mundane, which is then sustain by the lock.

Even though the mundane is the target of the spell, that does NOT mean they control the spell. The spell is complete and utterly under the control of the caster.

At any time, from any place in the world (physical or astral) the caster/owner of the focus can deactivate the focus, because it is bound to the caster.

QUOTE
Ö since they're not cast on a target -- they're cast on a subject who affects targets Ö


This statement doesn't make a lot of sense. Indirect illusion spell are casted on something and since they are sustained, they can be used with a sustaining focus.

Another thing Ö the subject of the spell does not effect others, the spell does. Overall magic fingers canít be sustained because it isnít directly casted on anything. Levitate on the hand effects a specific person or object, hence that spell can be locked.

QUOTE
And instead of people using common sense and treating the focus the way it's intended to be treated


In general I COMPLETELY agree with you. The rules should never be accepted absolutely. Sometimes you have to look at the intent and not the literal words. HOWEVER in this case interpretation of intent of the rules isnít needed.
A Clockwork Lime
QUOTE
This statement doesn't make a lot of sense. Indirect illusion spell are casted on something and since they are sustained, they can be used with a sustaining focus.

Regarding Indirect Illusions and Sustaining Foci, the two relevant quotes are:

Sustaining Foci (SR3 p. 191): "The sustaining focus must be placed in physical contact with the target of a spell..."

Indirect Illusions (MitS p. 55): "Indirect Illusions are cast on a subject person or area. Anyone who views that person or area is a target of the spell."

So no, by a literal reading of the rules, Indirect Illusions cannot be placed in a sustaining focus. At least not unless your goal is to only affect a single person or object with the illusion.

QUOTE
Nowhere in the description of sustain focus does it say that the person with the focus has control of the focus.

Because it doesn't need to. It's a sustaining focus, not a spellcasting focus. It's purpose is to take some of the pressure off the caster so that they don't have to suffer the TN penalty for sustaining a spell. That's it. The caster doesn't have to continually exude the mana through his body (or however else you want to explain sustaining a spell); the focus picks it up. All other aspects of the spell, including control thereof, remains intact.

QUOTE
The only control the target/holder of the focus has, is the ability to remove the focus from them. Once the focus is no longer in contact with the target, the spell is dropped.

I agree with you here.

However, after reading the description of Magic Fingers and Telekinetic Manipulations in general (same page as Magic Fingers, and the one and only line for it says exactly this), it's apparent that Magic Fingers is effectively a "caster only" spell.

As the subject of the spell -- the only one that can be the subject of this particular spell, hence no need to say it (much like 0 successes = failure in another thread) -- he has full control over how he uses his virtual hands.

No where in any of the rules that I'm aware of does it state that there's different kinds of sustained spells. A sustained spell is a sustained spell is a sustained spell. The purpose of a sustaining focus is, effectively, to remove the +2 concentration penalty for sustaining a spell. I see no valid reason to say that you can go around with a continual sustained Clairvoyance spell (which requires as much 'control' as Magic Fingers does, but has a clearly defined subject) but not Magic Fingers.

And yes, I'm aware that spells like Clairvoyance use a subject instead of a target, just like Indirect Illusions such as Invisibility. I was just pointing out the lunacy of reading the Sustaining Focus entry verbatim. If you wish to defend a clear violation of the wording of a Sustaining Focus but are unwilling to accept an ambigious use of it because of a lack of text... well... that's just baffling.
Mardegun
QUOTE
Indirect Illusions (MitS p. 55): "Indirect Illusions are cast on a subject person or area. Anyone who views that person or area is a target of the spell."


I see how that could be a problem with the literal interpretation. However we both seem to agree that the use of the word target for these spells, is not the same for sustain foci.
toturi
I disagree a literal interpretation is the only thing that can be agreed upon. Intent is subjective, and there can be as many non-literal interpretations as people reading it!
Mardegun
However a literal interpretation doesn't seem right. It looks clear that when Fasa wrote the rules for indirect illusion spells that they forgot about how sustain foci were defined; it is an easy mistake. In any case, the definition for sustain foci should have clearly listed what spells can not be sustain, but we don't have that ... I think we all can agree on that. wink.gif
Sphynx
Dr Funk has a point here. The real question of Magic Fingers is "what is the target". Personally, I think the "Target" of MagicFingers is the caster. Reason I feel this way is because you can disarm a bomb with them, meaning that you're not targetting that wire, but rather targetting that wire, that rod, that screw, etc. OR maybe that tool, and that tool, etc. So, it's only logical, to me anyhows, that the Caster is the target of the spell.

Defining the target is the MOST important part of that spell. It should be Erratacized even. If the target is the object(s) you'll be using those hands for, then you can't use Sustaining Foci at all for it. But, if you're targetting the caster, then, not only can you use a focus to sustain it, but more importantly, you can still use the fingers to do more than "hold" whatever they were holding when it was Sustained to the Focus.

The reason for that is that the Focus sustains (per spell description) "to manipulate items". You basically gain 2 additional hands while the spell is sustained. The same if you cast this spell on someone else (and no, this is not a self-only spell, it'd be mega cheap to cast if it were). You sustain the spell, the person you cast it on uses it. If it didn't work like that, it would have been made "Self-only" and been mega cheap to cast, drain-wise.

Sphynx
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