While preparing a setting for a new saga, I have been trying to define an analogy that makes sense to explain how magic resistance works, and why.
So I thought I'd run it by the Ars community here to see if it makes sense, and what its effects would be in a saga. Note that this is an effort to avoid problems the pink dot problem, as well as other potential abuses. It is probably not perfect, but I figure discussion my help me improve it a little.
Here it goes...
What Magic Is
To understand why and how magic resistance protects against magic, one must first understand what magic is. This is best done through an analogy. As all analogies, though, this one is imperfect and should not be taken at face value.
Magic is like the temperature within an oven. It is the energy that is applied to the solid placed within the oven. The solidity of the object does not change the temperature of the air around it, in the same was as magic resistance does not nullify magic. The solid will have the same temprature as the air around it, but it remains solid until its melting point is exceeded, at which point it changes state.
How Magic Resistance Works in the Saga
Magic resistance (like the one given by the Parma Magica) is not a force field. It is not a nullifying field or a dead magic zone. It does not suppress magic effects, but rather makes the magus or maga more resistant to its effects. That is, provided the strength of the magic resistance is greater than the strength of the magic assaulting the magus. Envision it as the sharp melting point of a solid in a oven -- at one temperature the object is solid, but raise the temperature and suddenly it turns into a liquid. Magic resistance represent how high a temperature must be applied to the solid before it melts.
This is manifested in different ways depending on the type of magical effect applied against magic resistance.
Objects created wholly by magic are blocked by magic resistance. This is because the essential substance of the object is magic, and without magic to hold it together it has no existence and no physicality. This does not nullify the existence that Creo'd objects manifest, but weakens the energy that goes with it and how it can affect a target protected by magic resistance. For example:
- A Pilum of Fire (CrIg 20) parts around and is stopped by a target protected by magic resistance because the movement of the flames have only magical force.
- A created boulder dropped onto a magus protected by his Pamra Magica bounces off and drops to the ground (because it is its magical substance that transmits energy from falling). However, the magus still needs to exert strength to lift that boulder and cannot move through the boulder (because the Parma does not nullify the physicality of the boulder).
- A maga falls into a pool filled with magically created water and sinks. Her Parma protects her from drowning, but without air she will soon suffocate.
Intellego magic can directly try to gather information by targeting the entity protected protected by magic resistance. These effects must penetrate magic resistance.
- Using an arcane connection, a magus casts The Inexorable Search (InCo 20) to locate find a lost member of his covenant. His spell must penetrate.
It can also grant senses to detect something that emanates from the target, or detect such residue. These attempts are not resisted.
- Caught in the dark, a maga casts Vision of Heat's Light (InIg 20) to see heat sources in the dark. She can see her fellow magi just fine without having to penetrate each of their magic resistance.
Muto magic interact with magic resistance in a number of ways.
First, Muto can interact with magic resistance directly by trying to transform the entity protected by the magic resistance. Such attempts have to penetrate magic resistance to succeed.
A second way is indirect, by using an object affected by Muto magic against the entity protected by magic resistance. In these situations, the nature of the change determines whether it is resisted of not. The essential substance of the object determines how much the effects of the change are resisted. Tactile changes will usually bypass magic resistance (based on the physicality and mass of the original object), while more subtle properties will be resisted against. Changes within the entity protected by magic resistance is suspended until the Muto'd object leaves the entity's body, which is accelerated. Some examples:
- A maga casts Transformation of the Thorny Staff on his staff and attacks a magical wolf. The thorny staff hits and the increased damage bypasses the wolf's magic resistance.
- During a banquet, a magus drinks wine affected by Incantation of Putrid Wine. The poisonous property of the wine is magical, so his Parma Magica protects against it.
- Later during the banquet, the same magus drinks poison changed into wine using Muto magic. Since no magical effect or property is projected towards the magus, he is unaffected and drinks water. The effect expires soon after this, but is manifested by the magus having an urge to urinate. When he does, the liquid is foul-smelling and poisonous but he is unharmed.
Perdo magic can affect directly by targeting an entity protected by magic resistance, in which case the effect must penetrate.
A second way for Perdo to affect an entity is by affecting its environment. In those situations, magic resistance will sometimes insulate the entity from the immediate effects of the magic, but mundane changes in his environment will eventually catch up with it. Since Momentary Perdo effect can permanently modify the environment, it can often bypass magic resistance. Some examples:
- A magus is in a room where Conjuration of the Indubitable Cold (PeIg 25) has just been cast. Although everything in the room is instantly chilled by the spell, the magus is protected from the immediate effect. However, everything in the room is now quite cold, so if the magus remains there he may eventually have to check for fatigue loss due to this cold.
- Later, in the same room, the spell Room of Stale Air (PeAu 15) is cast, fouling up the air. The air within the magus' lungs was not affected by the spell (it failed to penetrate), but the room's now-stale air is completely non-magical. As he keeps breathing the air in the room, he will have to check for fatigue. At most, the magus' Parma Magica protected him for the initial Fatigue check.
Most ambiguities between Rego magic and magic resistance concerns objects moved with Rego to attack a target protected by magic resistance. So this section will focus on Rego movement. Rego magic can generate different kinds of movement, each of which interact differently with magic resistance.
The first kind is magical movement, that picks up an object and directs it to its destination without the need for a targeting roll. Magical movement does not grant any momentum to an object -- when the spell expires, the movement stops. An object under this kind of movement is stopped by magic resistance, since the magic resistance prevent the force behind the object (which is magical) from being transferred to the target. For example:
- A magus uses magic to generate a geyser of water from a nearby river towards a faerie creature. No targeting roll is required, but since the movement is generated by magic, it must penetrate the faerie's magic resistance. If it fails to penetrate, the faerie will get a little wet, but the water has no force when it hits its target, so no damage is done.
The second kind is magical acceleration, that simulates the acceleration that would be provided by a mundane mean, such as a bow, a sling or a catapult. Once in movement, the object keeps moving in the direction it was accelerated towards even when released from the spell. Hitting anything requires a targeting roll, but magic resistance does not stop the object. An example of this:
- Seeing that his first spell was ineffective, on the next round the magus to launch a rock against the same faerie, like a sling would do. It requires a targeting roll to hit the faerie, but bypasses the faerie's magic resistance.
The last kind of movement is teleportation, where an object is moved from one location to another without traversing the intervening space. Teleportation is stopped by magic resistance of the object or beeing that is to be moved, as well as by magic resistance of the destination area (such as an Aegis). When stopped by magic resistance, teleportation fails altogether and the target is unmoved.
- Using an arcane connection, a magus tries to teleport into his old covenant. Unfortunetely for him, the Aegis of the Hearth has been renewed without his participation since he left the covenant. His teleportation spell fails to penetrate the Aegis. He remains where is, unmoved by his spell.