Bypassing resistance as "implied suppression"?

So, after looking at this thread -> I got me wondering about something that I've considered sometimes, not only in Ars Magica but also other settings.

So, this has some ArM background, at least conceptually. The way Quaesitores use the Code of Hermes revolves around the idea that any magus who breaks the Code is also implicitly renouncing its protection. When a magus kills another magus, he's also implying that he's not willing to abide by the Code, and therefore, he's free for the kill without lawful consequences. Of course, this is just a convenient way to justify the validity of a punishment, since I doubt most magi would willingly drop the protection of the law, even if they break them.

So, what if this could be applied to magical resistances? The idea would be that certain actions taken by the target could allow for spells to bypass their MR without having to penetrate, even if they're not "technically" dropping them at all. In the thread I mentioned this was briefly addressed. Wouldn't drinking a potion be an action that by itself would imply that the target is willing to allow the effect to take place? That case in particular seems not proper to me, since anybody could be unaware of the fact that they're drinking a potion, and drinking something is an action too... common? to be used for this idea.

In the other hand, we could consider more interesting possibilities. A ward that bypasses the MR of anybody who willingly crosses a barrier, for example, by implying, by doing so, that he's allowing for the consequences of said action? That would be kinda broken. I can think of a good example right now, but I think this is an interesting subject to explore.

The only thing that I didn't like about MRs were the fact that they simplify defending against magic too much. While you can be "creative" by indirect means, like dropping a mundane tree on top of your target, opening a hole under their feet, hiding traps with illusions so they fall into them or just destroying all air around them, it seems to me a bit too easy. No matter how strong a person is, we aren't anime characters whose muscles get so ripped that bullets and swords end not being able to hurt us, or being able to endure flames, extreme cold or falling from great heights. A well-aimed toothpick can kill a strongman just as easily than if he was a baby. Of course, experience and training allow to actively avoid these things, but not passively. A wizard dumb enough to not to check if his flask had been tampered with, can be easily killed with a drop of a multitude of poisons, but he could literally bathe and bask in spells aimed to damage him without harm even though those spells would probably be several times more powerful than what it would be needed to create those poisons.

I understand that this is used to simplify the rules so our characters don't spend half their lives creating wards against every possible way of harm. But it's not like you'd invest all of your time learning how to deal with most dangers by mundane means either, even though you probably could and nothing prevents you from doing so.

To be affected by something, like drinking a potion, or using a magic item on oneself when there is no penetration a magus suppresses one's parma.

Darki: Why?


Since none of this stuff really exists, this kind of change is interesting to the extent that it creates a game that is better (for you.)

So, how do you expect these changes to affect - no, improve - your game?

Will you have better stories?

Will you spend less time figuring out what the rules are?

Will magi do more interesting things?

Will the game world make more sense?

Or, will you spend less time playing and more time figuring out whether some specific case is good enough to break MR? Will MR become even less useful than it already is, causing every magus to be more vulnerable, making a mockery of the idea that Parma was sufficient reason for wary wizards to band together, and increasing the likelihood of players spending most of their time writing up new characters? Etc.

Or will you instead redesign the magic system to incorporate your ideas, and work better than before?



The Parma Magica has two distinct effects that ease the burden of social interaction among gifted people. I'd say that the main reason for the Order of Hermes to be so collaborative is the PM's warding effect against the Gift's "creepy vibe". Surely, defense is also a good reason, but there are plenty of ways to kill a magus, many of them aren't even magical, and another good deal of them bypass magic resistances... And it's not like being unable to passively defend yourself from most attacks would render social interaction impossible. Mundanes do it all the time. They simply don't freak out each other by default.

I do enjoy the game as it is now. It's just that I've also found interesting other concepts from different games and literature, and I thought, "how could that work?" A game with no easy MR would imply that magi should use spells to protect themselves against magic, and that these methods would allow for more creativity when attemping to bypass it. Instead of just trying to overcome a number, by brute-forcing your target's defenses with your penetration, you could just think of some way that your target might not have considered.

Another option, based on the previous idea, would be that no defense can cover everything. While the PM has vulnerabilities, they're too indirect, from my point of view. For a mundane, for example, wearing a very thick and protective armor would imply that he wouldn't probably move as easily as without it. The only loophole against the PM (other than simply penetrating it) is that you can ignore it if you figure an indirect way to attack, but other than that (which can be also alleviated by personal wards) there's no flaw to the PM.


Sure. But doing this requires a system to make it playable, unless you go rules-light, which is not a bad thing at all, but which will lead you to abandoning AM's heavyweight mechanics entirely.

AM's current system does not support your idea well at all. AM5 has nerfed fastcast defenses, for example, making them an exercise in quickness that is far from certain. The weak or non-existent "saves" that AM magic provides further make the existing system less than conducive to your idea. (A D&D character without magic resistance gets to save vs a fireball, for example, taking half or no (with evasion) damage; classic D&D didn't have evasion but also had saves that improved dramatically with levels, and escalating hit points.)

Note that when you are being blasted by a Flambeau or dragon, you really don't have time to think of some clever way to defend yourself. Either you have a defense, or you're toast.

Saying "a magus should therefore prepare" is tantamount to saying that if you are not actively expecting your enemy and also do not totally know his capabilities, you're toast.

What this means is that defense sucks and offense rules, and magi need to hide until they are ready to strike. This is exactly what Parma was originally offered to prevent, within the game world.

For example, in Galactic Civilizations 2, ship combat did not work very well at all, certainly not as advertised, because there were 3 different kinds of attack, each with its own dedicated defense. The idea was to have clever investigation of an opponent's ship designs, but in practice, it was simply better to concentrate on small, fragile attack ships, because defense was ultimately a waste of time (not completely, and especially not vs the AI, but mostly). This isn't a fatal flaw in a game where a player can have many tiny ships, but definitely is in a game in which a player tries to run a magus over the course of decades, even centuries.

So, great idea! Now you need a heavily revised game system to support it.