Anti-magic zones? MR for everyone?

Hello everyone!

I had noticed this when reading Tranforming Mythic Europe, but never had the time to write about it.

On p109, there's a PeVi effect that stops people from using instant transportation effects to, and from, a circle. As far as I can tell, it uses the PeVi general guideline to "Dispel effects of a specific type with a level less than the (level +4 magnitudes) of the Vim spell + stress die (no botch)", which is also used in Unraveling the Fabric of (form).

Unlike that later spell, it only works on instant transportation effects, but it works on non-hermetic effects.

What's interesting is that it prevents the zone inside from being the destination of such effects. That is, if you want to teleport to, or from this zone, you fail. More debatable due to the wording, but arguable (and certainly within the spirit of the spell), this may stop you from teleporting someone who's inside that zone.

So, of course, one may wonder:

  • What if one created a similar effect, but for another form, restricting it to, say, Hermetic mentem effects?
  • What if one created a similar effect, but by using the harder guideline used by WomS, to "Dispel any magical effect with a casting total less than half
    the (level +4 magnitudes) of the Vim spell + a stress die (no botch)"
  • What if one created and effect just like the above, with T: Ind instead?

This may be the closest RAW hermetic magic has come to a spell of Magic Resistance or creating an anti-magic zone.


This popped up again in Andorra, since I'll probably go and try to develop at least one effect among these lines, I'm just absolutely stumped that no one had anything to say about any of this. I supposed this hasn't changed in one year?

The definition of Target circle says that it effects everything within the circle at the time of casting. This means that the spell would only work if it were cast at the same time as the teleport spell. It also means that ring circle wards don't work so I think that we can ignore it.

My intuition is to say that it doesn't make sense that one can have a dispelling field. Perdo vim should need to target the spells when it is cast, not blind target everything that comes into an area for a given duration. Yet a perdo terram spell that crates a hole keeps the hole free of dirt for its duration and a perdo corpus keeps a wound from healing for its duration. I don't see a rules justification to support my intuition.

Why not have a Rego Corpus ward that blocks people from teleporting in?
That should work shouldn't it?

I have to say, I really hate Perdo wards.

Seems to me like trying to have a specialized Aegis against teleportation... when the Aegis itself isn't fully integrated into standard hermetic magic.

So I probably wouldn't allow it using standard hermetic magic. Perhaps as a result of original research. Even then, I would probably impose limits on it (such as making it a ritual spell) to avoid such effects being used casually to block this or that type of spells (not to mention stacking different spells on the same circle or in concentric circles).

Wards really are something different from standard Hermetic magic and the standard targeting limitations. I'm starting to think we should treat them as a non-Hermetic addition akin to Aegis, with specific rules to limit their flexibility and prevent things like synthetic anti-magic that are outside of the setting paradigm.

These examples aren't really analogous, imo. The PeTe targets a specific piece of Terram and then maintains the effect, albeit in a somewhat mysterious fashion. The PeCo is even more direct, damaging the particular Corpus's ability to heal. The PeVi spell targets...what? Nothing, as far as I can see. Then again, neither do other protective Wards - hence the non-hermetic issue.

I don't see it as an issue, because the hermetic anti-magic fields are either somewhat specialised or quite high level, and they are notoriously indiscriminate.

The other thing about anti-magic zones is they aren't anti-magic inasmuch as 'go big or go home' zones. Big, high-level effects blitz past them. It creates interesting wizardly 'terrain.'

Like KidGloves, I do like the idea of PeVi antimagic being the inverse of more traditional Aegis/Parma Magic Resistance; ie, Parma requires that you use lower-magnitudes in order to get higher penetration. Whereas Antimagic requires that you go higher magnitude, in order to avoid being countered.

I also like the implied idea that PeVi countermagic sets up a sort of "counter to the counter" style of magical combat with CrVi - using it to create magical "sabot" rounds that you wrap around normal spells, jacking their functional magnitude, in order to get through PeVi wards, but still having the penetration of the original spell. Or rather, I find that to be an implementation of the CrVi guidelines that never seem to get used.

However, the issue I have is the fact that it's being treated as a ward, without a guideline that explicitly says "warding". However, In flipping though the Core rulebook, there are a few examples of this (Ward against heat and flames (pg. 143)) - there's no explicit ReIg fire ward effect, but the rulebooks seems to indicate that you can make one out of a standard "control substance in a slightly weird way" guideline. But in looking at the other forms, some seem to explicitly have "ward against mundane X" explicitly laid out. While others don't. But they are all Rego versions, so perhaps that's not the best example.

However, I would argue that Hermetic magic doesn't have a restriction that says "to affect something, the target must be available to be cast upon" - rather, anything that doesn't fall under that category is simply categorized as a "ward" effect. As such, I would argue that the general case is not correct: non-targeted effects are all over the place. They're just explicitly labelled as such, and therefore we don't think of them as being odd or out of place or non-integrated.

The main issue to support the view of a Perdo "ward" is the explicit example on page AM5th on the core rulebook, on page 112, in the durations header. Which seems to directly support the idea of a general "destroy anything that crosses this boundary, permanently" idea. However, from what I understand of that example, it was considered a bad idea by the authors/editors soon after, and was never used again....until TME.

So I guess that's it - yes, they are technically RAW, as it's right there in the core rulebook that says you can do stuff like that. However, there seems to have been a gentlemen's/Writer/Editor's agreement that it was a bad idea to have them, so they were never used, until the TME example somehow slipped through.

(Also note that the Columbae from HoH:S can cast wards with an exclusion list - so the idea of them being non-discriminatory isn't quite true - just true for most.)

Well, they're really all over the place: most forms seem to have some variation of "prevent target from being touched by mundane X", as well as some variation of "prevent target from being touched by supernatural X". And there's an explicit discussion of ward in the core rulebook, on pg. 114, right after Magical Senses.

Note that that the Warding section is the Range, Duration, and Targeting section of the book - therefore, to say that they don't follow the "standard Hermetic targeting limitations" is a bit of a semantical claim - those standard rules include the two explicit exceptions (sensory magic and wards). I mean yes: their description isn't literally under the heading "Target" - rather, it has it's own header, on the next page. However, it's under the same "Range, Duration, and Target" header.

So, yes: it doesn't follow the standard hermetic targeting rules. It does, however, follow the standard Hermetic rules for Range, Duration, and Target. As such, I don't see too much of a meaningful distinction there.

It's not just a matter of diverging from standard targeting rules. Non-standard targets are a dime a dozen if you use enough supplements.

The issue is that old bugbear the Limit of Arcane Connections:

Hermetic magic cannot affect an unsensed target without an Arcane Connection. (AM5 p.80)

Standard use of PeVi requires that the caster actually sense the target spell to affect it. Wards, creating a continuous protective effect, don't. This appears to violate a Hermetic Limit, albeit a lesser one. That makes the effect non-Hermetic in my eyes.

The target is the room. It is sensed.

No, in that case the spell would effect everything within the room (or circle, etc.) at the time of casting. The PeVi ward being discussed affects spells that don't even exist when the ward is casts.

Actually no, it does not. It says: "The spell affects everything within a ring drawn by the magus at the time of casting".
It is at the very least controversial whether "at the time of casting" refers to "being within the ring" or "the ring being drawn". In fact, between the two it's the latter ("The spell affects everything that is within a ring, which must be drawn by the magus at the time of casting") that seems more likely, because "at the time of casting" is closer to "drawn by the magus" than to "everything".

Still, most published effects tend to assume that "you are in if and only if you are in when stuff starts", and that's really how it does explicitly work for Group too.

Personally, I really really dislike PeVi being used to grant the equivalent of MR. Because it contradicts canon "fluff".

So, I really try to do my best to interpret the rules in a way that really limits what you can do with PeVi. One way is this. PeVi does not prevent an effect from coming into being. It dispels an already present effect. So it is useless against "D:Momentary" effects, because by the time it's done dispelling them, they would already be gone on their own.

Thanks everyone for your input. Reading some of you makes me doubt, and I may not have been clear: at its core, this is RAW. I was refering to a specific spell, on p109 of Transforming Mythic Europe: Impede the Intermitent Interloper (IIRC, that's the name), and going up from here by using more general guidelines.

I’ve thought about this some more… For simplicity’s sake, I’ll assume a “general” version, using the same guideline as Wind of Mundane Silence, although "specialized" versions, like the one in TME, are always possible.

First, this doesn’t look that strange in light of the corebook. On p112, durations, it is explained that a pit created with PeTe just cannot be filled with earth for the spell’s duration. Any earth thrown into it will be instantly disintegrated. I can see the same logic applying to PeVi, which is exactly what this spell does.

It also opens up the possibility of “prison cells” for mages: Put them under a potent aegis, inside a generic circle vs magic, and you’ve got a situation in which, say, they can’t cast a spell under lvl 25, and have -15 to their casting totals.
Sure, it is powerful, but, in my opinion, much less than Perdo Mentem, which can, with a base 4 effect, deprive you of an entire form for the spell’s duration (See “Slap of Absent Magic”, in HP p85).

The problems arise when you cast such effects on individuals.

Cast on an enemy magus… Why not? Sure, he can’t cast spells under level 10, but you can’t cast such spells at him either. This cancels it out.
It might be interesting as a form of self-protection, especially for mages of the School of Sebastian. Being immune to spells under lvl 20 is great when you’re fighting physically and don’t care about casting spells yourself.

The only hurdle is when you use such an effect on a mundane, to effectively immunize her to spells under lvl xx, effectively granting some kind of MR.

I see 2 ways to deal with this:

  1. Sure, ok, it’s fine, go for it. I can see this as the kind of thing coming out of the boni’s research, using existing hermetic magic to do something new, pushing its boundaries. This can also be a boon to sagas who feel mundanes are too vulnerable to magic

  2. As I see it, a Sun duration CrIg fire, or PeTe Pit of the Gaping Earth, isn’t moving: The target is the point at which you cast the spell, but if there happens to be a living being there, there’s no reason for the spell to be anchored to it (Note that Ignem explicitely gets a harder guideline for a fire that sticks to its target, used in "Coat of Flame"). This is also coherent with what we've learned about Aegis in TtA: and Aegis doesn't follow a mobile covenant.
    So, if casting this on a grog, the grog just happens to be at the point where you've put your anti-magic zone. If he moves, the magic will still be canceled there, but he’ll be elsewhere. This allows you to create anti-magic zones, not to grant MR to your grogs. IMO, this could probably be bypassed by making the spell’s duration Concentration (which I like to be a little more flexible than “fixed” durations, thus the reason why so many spells that need input are D: Conc), which have its own limit, or by adding a Rego requisite.
    Could, then, your grogs be outfitted with D: Conc belts of magic resistance? Maybe, but this carries a cost in vis and time, and can be dispelled from the outside. Or maybe not, as, to cancel magic, the spell has to be from “outside” the cancelled zone (although I don't buy that). Your pick.

I might offer you a different way to handle the PeVi vs Parma.

  1. Let's assume that based on "Impede the Intermitent Interloper", it is possible to design spell that prevent spells of a given form to take effect in a zone.
  2. Considering that Unravelling the Fabric of... is Form specific.

One could consider that developping a PeVi spell preventing several forms to take effect in the same area is akin to stacking several requisits.
So for example, a ward against Elemental magic (ie: Aquam, Auram, Ignem, Terram effect), would count as having three requisits, so will have a +3 magnitudes modifier on the spell level.

If a magus was to design a PeVi spell preventing all 10 forms to take effect in a zone, he would have a +9 magnitudes modifiers.
Possibly enough to make it an unsuitable substitute to an Aegis, depending on if you consider Aegis needs to Penetrate or not (an entirely different debate, not to start - again - on this thread, please :slight_smile: ).

Also, keep in mind a possible cute interference (up to you saga to decide how you want to play it): if a magus tries to stack multiple wards: the moment he cast Ward against Vim, it should dispel the other wards and prevent the casting of any other wards in the same area :slight_smile: ... thus the need to invent a spell with all 10 forms if a magus want to truly create a ward against all forms.

There is potential for a few popular wards:

  • Ward of Scrying in meeting room (Imaginem)
  • Ward against Necromancy in graveyard or around specific mausoleum (Corpus & Mentem)
  • Ward against Teleportation as already mentionned
  • Ward against Arcane Tunnel (Vim) - those Wizard's Wars are suddenly becoming much more difficult...

Overall, I feel it has the potential to neuter a large chunk of magic, and unless it comes with some forms of limitation (prohibitive costs in vis, requirement of Initiation/Major Virtue, can not be cast, but only be set in invested magical item, etc.) would probably remove a lot story plots. It is reasonable to assume that if these wards exist and do not come with a prohibitive cost, every magus lab/Summer covenant would have the whole set available to them to pre-emptively counter all kind of shenanigans. Especially if it works indescriminately on non-hermetic magic as suggest "Impede...".