Circular Wards: Mobile?

So, the guy with Magical Focus: Circular Wards is trying to expand their efficacy, and...

I'm not sure I agree with his line of thinking.

Keep in mind the guy is a great, passionate gamer, but a big-time comic book fan.

So, he asked if a Circular Ward could be drawn and cast on a ship. Yes, I say.

Well, what about a ring of metal? Could that be your circle? Sure, I say. There's a Flambeau archmage in Guardians of the Forest who have a chain that does just that.

Well, says he, what if I use Rego to move the metal ring? Errrrr... ah... Hm. What? - I say.

It feels to me like a Circular Ward should... not be mobile. That's just my gut feeling. Attached to a mobile structure or a ship, ok. I mean... I place a circular ward against puppies on a table with a circle on it. There's a puppy in the circle. If I lift the table and flip it upside down? What happens?

That's a side thought, but floating metal hoops with ward upon them feel... expedient, not magical and not the way I've come to think of the conjurer's magic circle.

I'm curious what people think.

I'm worried... am I a curmudgeon considering shooting down his idea, or do I have a legitimate concern?

Often, I feel like my perception of keeping Mythic Europe "mythic" may be solely my concern, but the extreme leads to magical cell-phones and other things that force me to ask "If that's the way you want things to be, why are you playing Ars Magica".



By RAW/example, they're mobile. At least, I think so. There is the Rhine mage, there are the Tremere spirit binding... Rings appear to be mobile.

By SG fiat, in any not-high-magic game I'll ever run - they're immobile. And that means that they work on a boat, or a magical solid cloud, but not on a chain or mirror - or ring. Why? Because it feels more appropriate. Not Mythic. So yeah, I'm old-fashioned that way too.

Hmm, I think what constitutes "disturbing" the ward is left to the Storyguide. I definitely dislike floating metal rings myself. On the other hand, a carpet with mystic symbols woven into it does not feel "wrong" as a portable ward to me.

I think it would be interesting to see if there is some sort of "aesthetic consensus" about what's acceptable and what's not.

Mmm. First off, I'll skip over mobile enchanted items with ring target or duration effects on them. That's just too hard to think about at this time of night. :mrgreen:

The Dur: Ring description in the main book says the magus must actually trace out the ring, which to me means the ring has to rest on a solid surface - floating metal ring doesn't count. Floating carpet or floating disc probably would, in which case I could see it moving with the carpet/ Tenser's disc. I'd roughly say "the ring and the area inside the ring must rest on a solid, fairly flat surface at least as big as the ring. The surface may move, but if the ring moves relative to the surface the spell goes kaput". Now, if you rule the surface must be at least room or structure sized, you can disallow ring carpets but keep sailing ships or flying castles, respectively. This also means that if, say, the floor rots away in the middle of your ring, your ward would break.

Also important for floating rings, how far above or below the ring can spell effects go? It would feel very weird to me if you create a ward against faeries in your lab, and the merinita's faerie familiar on the next floor down suddenly can't enter a circular space in its lab. :open_mouth: Ditto for faerie eagles flying a couple thousand feet up flying into your ward and bouncing off in midair! Probably a top limit of the smaller of 'nearest floor/ceiling' (for inside rooms) or some multiple of base individual size (for outdoor rings), and a bottom limit of 'whatever the ring is drawn on', so you'd have to levitate above the surface of the floating ring

So, ward on deck of ship, fine. Ward on flying carpet, moving table, or levitating gold platter mostly okay (honestly, a mobile "cage of (whatever)" seems like a really great idea for an enchanted item). A 'floating hoop of warding', no.

As far as "Circular Ward Against Puppies", what realm are they aligned with? Infernally cute?
Okay, simpler rule. Anything that would potentially make the ring move relative to any occupants, breaks the ring. Puppies on table, fine. Flip table over, ring breaks. Move the table sideways so fast that you pull it out from under the puppy, ring breaks. I thought that related to flooting hoops somehow, but I am too tired to figure out how.

Not really related, but one item I thought up for my ward magus was an "Instant circle". Enchant a metal ring to change size from "just right for your finger" to "standard size for warding circle". Portable, makes it easy to trace out a circle anywhere you go, and great for any hermetic geometers since its always a perfect circle.

Early on in our saga we had a instance of a floating stone ring surrounding the characters being used to ward against a dragon. It felt abit silly, and we're unlikely to do it again - not because of any rule to the contrary, but simply because the magi will not choose to do so.

I quite like the idea of wards with wards build into them, such as cauldren/Cart/blankets/carpets/rugs etc. But equally I also think that wards are easy to break. A leaf blown over the ward by the wind could easily break a ward against aquam or ignem say....

However I would also say that an item would need to be enchanted to have a ward build into it. So warding a ship against water (not quite as crazy as it may sound) would need to enchant the get one of THOSE into your lab.

marking a part of the ship with a ward technically makes a mobile ward.... so the ward is moving while the ship is in motion.

Personally I feel that as long as there is clear definition of the ward in relation so something else the item could be mobile, but the ward remains in relation to that item.

however i'd also say moving the item also increases the chance of having something break the ward, be it as simple as a straw.


You could explain it as a need for the rings to be "anchored" to its surroundings.
The canon examples could have a way to get around it or doing it in an odd way that cant be easily replicated, if one wishes to keep them in.

SpoonR, yeah thats roughly the direction i was thinking.

After reading the rules again (the question never came up in our sagas) my take on Ring and Circle is:

Duration Ring is mobile, as long as the Target stays within the ring during the movement.

Taget Circle is immobile, because the Target of the spell at the time of the casting is leaving the ring as soon as the ring is moved.

(For me, the Target of a spell is the volume filled with magic when casting a spell.
The magic will then have the effect described within/on the volume/surface of the Target.
Some spells may change the size, shape or location of the volume.)

I dont think target circle is immobile. If you draw a circle on ground, the ground is moving (that's the Earth and it moves). So circle target are mobile IMO.

Technically the Earth does not move in Ars - Unless you count earthquakes and similar occurances... Remember that the earth is the center of the universe, and everything else revolves around it...

Unless ofcourse you've read Ptolemy

I am not sure Ptolemy got it right in the Ars Cosmology...


It is equivalent to this: you use CrIg on a polished stone set on a wooden support.

  • You bolt the support to the floor and draw a ring on the floor.
  • You bolt the support to a wagon and draw a ring on the wagon.
  • You bolt the support to a table and draw a ring on the table.
  • You bolt the support to a plate and draw a ring on the plate.
  • You bolt a hoop around the stone and draw a ring on the hoop.
  • You draw the ring on the equator of the stone.

All of those might turn the stone into a permanent lamp. Where does RAW stop? Should there be a difference between a charged item ring lamp and a sponted ring lamp? Where do you suspend your disbelief?

I don't believe in perma-ring. Concentration duration is limited by your Concentration ability. Ring should have a durability based on the quality of the surface and the drawing tool, something similar to Twilight duration. So you sponted some ReTe to etch your ring, with some Finesse you made it clear and legible. But it will get dinged over time and fail within a year.

Moreover, if I step into a circular fire ward with a torch, the torch will go off but is not protected and can be lit again. The only way that would fail is trying to ReIg a flame through the ward. But a magus outside the ward could ReIg using a flame inside the ward or just CrIg.

One thing, I remember that a Enchanted Item of any type can't have the Ring Duration, and i have doubt about The Circle Target (Should the owner draw the circle with the object for example?). A Ring must be drawn in the soil, or it is that i understood.

It is common knowledge in Mythic Europe, that the earth doesn't rotate (the spheres do) and Jerusalem is the center of the universe.
A circle is immobile, if it doesn't move relatively to Jerusalem.

There is a spell in Covenants on page 96 doing exatly this light effect. It is a cheap way to create certain long lasting effects without vis. Until the ring is broken.

Like I said: Until the ring is broken.

I'm not sure what you are referring to: The CrIg on a polished stone set on a wooden support or a normal torch.

"others float", yes. Which seems to imply "on the equator" is a valid ring. I don't think saying the ring is on the laboratory floor holds up for this spell.

I was referring to a mundane torch with a mundane flame. A CrIg continuously creating flames would go off as it penetrate the ward and come back on once across the threshold. A CrIg giving off light without flame would not be affected.

I don't care about the medieval paradigm since it's not coherent already (see the "perdo auram can't cause deprivation" and yet, there is a deprivation rule and there is a PeAu deprivating spell).

Rather than use dark and unclear "medieval paradigm", I prefer consider the earth rotate. And that makes sense for boat travel also. And that allows mobile ward as there are some mobile circle spells (the one which create a window in a tower - this spell isn't cancelled by earthquakes.)

A related question this brings to mind is: what constitutes breaking a circle? Drawn or etched, if the circle ends up, say, covered in dust, is it broken?

Another related question: can boundaries move without disrupting the spell (such as Aegis of the Hearth)?