Aegis of the Hearth clarification


My group and I are rather new in the 5th edition, so I have a clarification to ask regarding the Aegis of the Hearth.

We were invited to go to another Covenant when we tried to put on the parma magica, the SG told us that the Aegis was blocking us from doing so. As we were curious about it, he said it is because he was a magical effect like second sight or entrancement. After having checked second sight & entrancement. Aegis doesn't block second sight but blocks entrancement as it is stated in the ability that you have to beat the magical resistance.

Since nothing is stated in the Parma Magica ability, I'm coming here for clarification. Can you put your Parma Magica on (and is your parma Magica put down immediately) in an Aegis that is stronger than it.

For me, it's an ability and if Magus were not able to go to another Covenant without having their Parma on, they would never go, and Tribunal would never happen in a Covenant, even one like Durenmar.

Thanks a lot for your input on it.

The Parma Magica is not affected by the Aegis of the Hearth. This is for gameplay reasons as the Parma and Aegis are two elements needed for the setting to function. If you want to rationalise it in universe a good explanation is that the Aegis was building on the work of Bonisagus with the Parma Magica (by his apprentice Notatus) and so they interact in a positive way. you can put your Parma up in an Aegis of any strength, no problem.

How the Aegis interacts with supernatural abilities is a bit more of a gray area. A common interpretation is that all supernatural abilities are impeded by the Aegis just like spellcasting and might based powers are. This could either be a penalty of (3+Aegis Magnitude) or the full penalty of (Aegis Level/2) depending on your interpretation. Second Sight may be a rare exception to this as it ignores the targets magic resistance entirely, but it might not be as the Aegis prevents Intelligo effects that would otherwise ignore magic resistance.

It's also worth saying that the Aegis only makes it harder to use spells/powers, it only 'blocks' them completely if the roll is penalised so much it fails or can't produce the effect. That might be what you mean by blocked, but I thought it was worth saying just in case you had misread how the Aegis works generally.

This thread has a very good breakdown of the Aegis, though some things are still up for interpretation:

Thanks a lot for the clarification and for the link. :slight_smile:

Here is a short and definite answer on ths forum by David Chart.

I'm not sure that Chart's answer is so definite. Etheniel's storyguide might be expecting his players' characters to go outside the Aegis of their temporary host covenant every morning. They need to go outside to raise the parma magica, and then they could re-enter the covenant with it intact.

I say that not in an effort to join into the debate on how the two magical effects REALLY interact, but rather to illustrate again how easy it is to tumble down into a rabbit hole which has no possible exit (as if all the threads around this issue weren't enough proof of that). Magic isn't real, it cannot be made consistent with reality or logic, and no amount of reasoning or rules interpretation can make it so. Role-playing games are a form of cooperative fiction, and by definition fiction is inconsistent with reality. No amount of careful analysis or even rulings from the original designers can change that fact.

The right answer here is whatever the storyguide says is the right answer for your troupe. You certainly can ask about any inconsistency you discover with some other rule, but only under the understanding that OF COURSE magic is a fiction, and inconsistencies are inevitable, and whatever the storyguide rules at that moment is fine with you. (Your only motivation there should be to keep the storyguide from unintentionally getting into an inconsistent mess that would quickly ruin your story efforts.)

If that advice makes you uncomfortable because you feel the storyguide might abuse the level of trust you are offering up, then I suggest you chose games like Monopoly or Catan to play with that person. Any adversarial relationship isn't conducive to enjoyable roleplaying. You will end up taxing friendships rather than enhancing them. The point of roleplaying is never to outsmart or out "lawyer" your storyguide, or have them outsmart you, but to work together to tell an interesting work of fiction.

You should read the full context of David Chart's answer, especially Peregrine_Bjornaer's initial question:

The right answer here is whatever the storyguide says is the right answer for your troupe

I'm afraid I disagree with this quite strongly. In my opinion when it comes to matters of interpretation the right answer ought to be whatever answer the group collectively decides, which no member is upset by. These things should always be a discussion, and a collaborative effort to make things as fun and interesting as they can be, for everyone. The only time I would see an executive decision being needed is if the group cannot agree on any answer at all. RPGs are a collaborative activity and it should be OK to say "I'm not sure I agree with how we've applied this, can we have a discussion about it?". If you can't have those kind of discussions it's not really collaborative at all is it?

Essentially what I'm saying is that a storyguide ought to be a Praeco, facilitating the group and breaking deadlocks, not a dictator handing down pronouncements with no chance of appeal...

I agree entirely.

My approach is that in these kinds of human interactions, there needs to be an "overlap" in game etiquette, for lack of a better term. Both sides need to be encouraged to do a bit extra for the sake of maintaining the relationship, instead of looking for the exact line of appropriate behavior. So I'm happy to stand by my advice to the PLAYER, but at the very same time strongly endorse your advice if the stroryguide were the one posting the same question here.

I hope that makes sense.

Of course the other side of that is the difference between what the official answer and what is right for your games- having an official answer from The Authority (tm) David Chart at least gives you a basis to begin making the individual game decision. Otherwise you might as well throw out the whole system and just play whatever you decide upon yourselves and everyone becomes responsible for designing their own game. Having an official answer makes things clear so future authors don't (at least in theory) each write from their own preferences and wind up publishing conflicting material.
So from that perspective yes, David Chart's answer was as definite as it can possibly be.

There is only one authority: the troupe. When David Chart starts paying me to use his books, then I'd happily bow to his authority.

" Otherwise you might as well throw out the whole system and just play whatever you decide upon yourselves and everyone becomes responsible for designing their own game."

YES! Aspire to that!

The best use of any story telling game is to stimulate your own creativity, not become dependent on the creativity of others. The ultimate success would be for your troupe to create their own system inspired by the creativity of others.

I think you need to reassess the definition of authority.
A person doesn't "become dependent on the creativity of others" by using a game system. On the other hand having no authority makes future creation of material problematic, since different authors can have a different understanding of how the core rules work. Having an authority allows you to make decisions on how to vary how you will play from that central definition, but it establishes what the official position is.
David Chart is the Authority (tm) because he has been granted that by Atlas Games which owns the copyright for ars magica. If you want to be a recognized authority on a system then obtain a copyright, I'm sue Atlas will sell it to you for some number of dollars, probably in the millions, or you can write your own system from scratch. Or you can simply do like the rest of us and says "okay, he's the authority, that's the official answer, but here's how I want to play" But also recognize that when people ask questions on these forums they are generally asking about the official answer, not about whether or not they can come up with their own answer.

I wait for the results of your creativity! When can we see the books? :nerd_face:

And what do these books say about the OP question of Etheniel?

Okay let's begin again. There is no "official answer". Magic is not real. Not being real, it is full of logical and historic inconsistencies and contradictions. No one-- NO ONE-- can give you an answer to any non-trivial question about the Mythic Europe setting that doesn't eventually (and rather quickly) lead to a setting-breaking contradiction. Not Atlas Games, not David Chart. However "official" those answers might be labelled, they are all counterfeit and ring equally hollow when it comes to any objective test for internal consistency. It's a fool's errand to seek out the "right" answer. David Chart's answer is ultimately no more valid than your troupe's answer-- when applied to your troupe.

(Even true scholars of actual Medieval history struggle with their issues, and publish journal after journal with often contradictory conclusions about the reality of that period in time. There is no one OFFICIAL medieval European history, so how can there be an official mythic European history?)

That being said. David Chart and Atlas Games are a troupe's servant, not their master, because the troupe pays David Chart and Atlas games for their books, and not the other way around. Group creativity demands a certain agreed common framework. That framework can be inspired by the Ars Magica canon. But that framework is NEVER perfect: it will always have contradictions. When you become dependent on that canon, instead of using it as a jumping off point, all creativity is stifled, and you end up being a bunch of rules lawyers posting dozens of on-line analyses of something that is inherently unanalyzable: a fool's errand.

Let the canon inspire your creativity, not rule it.

"I wait for the results of your creativity! When can we see the books? "

Why would you do that? There have been I would guess a dozen or more new systems whose authors credit Ars Magica as inspiration! I can only commend and applaud their efforts. Why would you wait for my/our humble addition?

You have this backwards- things which are not real do have official answers, because they are made up as much as what they are about. If you ask JK Rowling about something in Potterverse she can give you an official answer, because she made up the whole universe. If I have a question about physics, there is no official answer, because we have to rely on observation instead of authority. something if the official rule because it is given by the holder of the "office" the authority derives from authorship, whether of laws, books, or game systems. David Chart is not your servant, Ars Magic may be a tool you use, and you may use it or abuse it as you wish, but if you pour water on your PC it is not following the official authorized guidelines of the microsoft operating system- which is also made up and created by people. Nobody is trying to tell you what you have to do, they are simply telling you how this system works. If you chose not to use the system according to those guidelines that is on you, but what they recommend is still official and the authority answer, because that is literally what the words "authority" and "official" mean.

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I have to say while I assume you have the best of intentions here, when someone comes to a forum for a game and asks a specific question about how the rules are intended to function saying "Magic is not real. Not being real, it is full of logical and historic inconsistencies and contradictions. No one-- NO ONE-- can give you an answer" doesn't really contribute to the conversation or help the OP.

While the setting is fictional, we can still try and help by answering based on:

a) Common interpretations, from which the OP can pick what makes the most sense to them.

b) The intent of the designers as to how these rules were supposed to work, such as David Chart's answer in the linked thread.

This has very much derailed a thread that's supposed to be about helping out a new player...


In other words: every troupe playing Ars Magica for a few month or more comes up with house rules that fit their game and their ideas of the game world. You find many examples of them in the Play by Post Campaigns threads on this forum.
This 'insight' is trivial, and does not help answer Etheniel's OP a bit.

Someone should also mention to the newbie on the board that oneShot and I have been known to have some rathe epic arguments in the past, and when we both agree and say we agree on a topic it is generally considered a sign just short of apocalyptic that there is no room for any person utilizing a brain to hold a contrary position...

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Maybe I didn't do a good job on this earlier, but I was trying to define "official" for the reader as a response that gives a superior, more robust, and/or more consistent (best) answer to a question posed for the entity posing the question.

The troupe provides themselves with the "official" answer. I am loathe to continue with this, except to say that: if while reading the Harry Potter books, a little kid had pictured Harry as Black, or Asian; but JKR decided to "officially" announce that Harry Potter was "white", I would tell that little kid that he or she is right and proper to continue picturing Harry however he or she wants, and JKR can go "sit and spin" (choosing to forego a more colorful phrasing).

"David Chart is not your servant," this statement concerns me on a whole other level. I can assure you that David Chart is our employee, our collective servant in the context of this discussion (role play and Ars Magica). Any other understanding of players' relationship to any game developer might well indicate an unhealthy psychological dependence. He isn't the God of the Ars Magica fantasy.

You are.

"This 'insight' is trivial, and does not help answer Etheniel's OP a bit."

I don't agree. For some people it may be trivial. Obviously for us it is. But when (what?) dozens of posts are created on several different threads on the issue of whether one fantasy magical event with no basis in reality is stronger or weaker than another fantasy magical event with no basis in reality, it might be time to remind folks that "house rules" should be considered one's friend, and why.

And the "why" isn't at all trivial. When dozens of posts discuss rules minutia for something that is absolutely, inherently unresolvable, that too might well end up being an effort that does not ultimately help answer Etheniel's basic question.

I apologize to you if you find the advice "to make a troupe rule" trivial, but I don't come to the conclusion that everyone here sees that advice as trivial considering the amount of untrivial effort made to pick apart exactly what the canon has to say on the subject.

I make no apologies for reminding folks to embrace and celebrate their own story-telling creativity. To feel that they have as much "authority" and power to tell their own creative stories as anyone else who might be posting here-- if not even more authority and power.

I would also remind you that my original response contained far more than that. It advised the player that trusting the storyguide's efforts is an important part of what a player brings to the game setting. That appealing to the larger community will very likely provide his troupe with an answer that is no better than the one their storyguide gave on the spot.

I make no apologies for that either.