Countering the Effect of the Gift

I have a player who is trying to figure out a way to work around the negative effect of the Gift. He would like to create a spell that basically suppresses the effect the Gift has on other people.

One of his rationalizations is that if a mage extends his Parma to another person that person is not affected by the Gift. So, he argues, he should be able to invent a spell that gives the same effect.

After pondering his request I was going to answer that I thought his idea would make a wonderful research project and be a hermetic breakthrough that would bring reknown to his character.

Then, in Guardians of the Forests, I read the "My New Best Friend" spell. The spell seems to indicate that the negative effects of the gift are removed by this spell. This pretty much gives him what he wants. The technique is different (it does not suppress) but I don't think that matters to him.

Am I reading the spell correctly?

Any comments in general about suppressing the negative effect of the gift?

There are several spells that gives a positive modifier in certain circumstances (like being friendly or being impressive) that would serve to counter the effect of the gift. However, used on someone without the gift, these would give one a positive effect instead.
And for someone with a blatant gift, this wouldn't be nearly sufficient...

Also note that you could probably invent spells that would make everyone your best friend, or loyal servants - It doesn't really counter the effect as much as bypass it...

Mind control of the subject is entirely different than negating the effect of the Gift on others. If he just wants a mind control spell, those are quite easy to come by.

If he wants a spell to duplicate The Gentle Gift, I do believe you are quite right with the research project approach.

Well in my upcoming saga I plan to use a houserule with a hermetic breakthrough for this: the parma inverta.

The magus turns a small part of his parma magica against himself, stopping the negative effects of his Gift from radiating outwards. The problem is that the parma inverta has some serious drawbacks:

  • the protection the magus gets from his own parma magica is lowered by two levels
  • the magus has to penetrate the inverted part of his own parma magica everytime he casts a spell with a range greater than Personal. The inverted parma is made as weak as possible, just strong enough to block the negative effects of the Gift. Still it counts as 5pt of MR, equal to a lvl 1 parma magica.

This could be a very old invention, but probably it was never widely adopted, because for most magi the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. But if any magus has some important business with mundanes the parma inverta might be useful.

P.S. as this is my first post, let me introduce myself. I started playing ArM with first ed., but haven't played in over ten years. (But I expect this to change soon.) So count me in the camp of bonisagus labrats, that only explore the theory of the ars magica.

I like Hendrik's suggestion, but make it protection lowered by 1 to offset normal gift and 2 to offset blatant. There has to be a balance to punish players for the flaw over those without it.

I think that a Perdo Vim spell could actually destroy the aura of magic, a variation of the spell which makes something appear none magical. A variation of this spell may actually destroy the magical species of the target.

However this is a Perdo Vim spell, would YOU let someone cast it on you. Possibly require masking equally to the highest combination of arts.

This could be futher penalised for game balance by not removing the -3 penalty (You're still not liked, you're just not immeadiately mistrusted).

The Blatent gift however would be moved down to the normal gift (still with a -6)

Remember the Gentle Gift is a Major virtue and I don't think that a simple spell could give all of the benefits of a Major Virtue or negate one.


Thanks. That brings it into perspective.

Perfect. That is, if my player asks, how I will suggest he pursue his research.

Thanks all.

We have always played that covering someone with your Parma negates the effect of the Gift. It seems that this is hinted at in the core book and other places. If a magus has the Blatant gift, wouldn't his apprentice never listen to him unless he covered the apprentice with his parma?

But to re-cast your parma just to negate the effects of the Gift is hard to do effectively, since the ritual takes two minutes to complete, so in most situations, it would be difficult to use "spontaneously".

I see no problem with using original reasearch to counter the negative effects of the gift, with a few caveats:

  1. It needs to be a major breakthrough. You are effectively dumping a major/minor virtue and this needs to come at a cost appropriate to the power level of the game you are running.

  2. If this researched spell is cast on the magus or another, remember that having this operate constantly for a long period of time will usually cause warping, and possibly warping from the original casting of the spell.

Before that, you need to decide whether that breakthrough should be at all possible. i.e. if you want it in your game. If not, better warn your player off, that he doesn't waste his character on a pointless pursuit (see the discussion about how Original Research rules only "works" for PCs)

As I remember it, it only suppresses the effects of the gift if the person being covered also has the gift, such as an apprentice or hedge wizard. Normal people just get the magic resistance.
If it could be done, i'd expect a breakthrough of some kind. But, then there's a possibility of casting the spell with a huge boundary modifier, and casting it on everyone in europe (i did say huge). Duremar could cast it every year, and tax 1-2 pawns of vis from each tribunal to cover the cost.
The social effects of the gift can help to create stories, and make grogs and companions essential in some situations. Removing the effects might make your story better, it might make it worse. But i'd say no.

Yes, of course. I think the idea is intriguing so I will let him pursue it. But, with the other spell, he might just go with that and skip the breakthrough.

I like the idea of a new version of parma so I will offer him that as a research project if he so desires it. I was not keen on the spell approach to begin with; it just felt wrong.

Agreed. But I think there is some good story potential for the character to have to travel around the world looking for books and such to help further his research. Plus, he is just past his gauntlet, so he has a ways to go before he could achieve this anways.

Hm. That's not my understanding of it. The only issue really is that the person you are extending your Parma to must agree for you to do so. Which involves trust. Which is hindered by the Gift in the first place.

Possible avenues of investigation:

  • How do demons hide the fact that they are demons, when it should be even more obvious than a blatant-gifted magus walking up to you? (:twisted:)
  • A mundane, a gentle-gifted magus and a blatant-gifted magus walk into a sanctum... err, wait... well, he could investigate (InMe, InVi) how these different categories of people feel with and without Parma, both his and their own.
  • Blast yourself (or, if you're a coward, your apprentice) with Gift-affecting PeVi effects (don't botch!) and see what comes out of it. :smiling_imp:

Well, one possibility that you could allow is research into a PeVi spell which suppresses the gift. That'd negate some or all of the penalties, at the cost of suppressing some or all of of the caster's magic.

You mean like a DEO spell temporarily damages a demons might, so too you could temporarily damage a persons gift? It would be incredibly hard to do without causing a massive penalty to casting totals for the same time.

You could also look into paying off the gift, ie. a one shot research project which turns the blatant gift into normal gift, or normal gift into gentle gift. The only drawback is that doing so damages permanantly your magical abilities. In game terms you give the player an appropriate major hermetic flaw to balance each stage of reduction in gift. Such an option would allow a player who doesn't like having picked the gift type flaws at character generation a valid way to repick his choices.

The simplest solution is Aura of Ennobled Presence (MuIm 15). It doesn't exactly counteract the effect of the Gift but it does seem to balance it out.

This should not negate The Gift -- its principle effect (granting the worst Reputation in the given situation) still applies. The spell just makes you more forceful and authoratative.

As indicated in HoH:S (in the Tytalus chapter, under Magic for the Debating Arena; sorry, no page number at the moment) this spell works as advertised, but might warp the manifestation of The Gift in that the character could appear to express this enhanced leadership as being a harsh taskmaster or cruel lord. People still do what you say, but because they feel they must, not because they like you any more.

Similar spells are presented in the Tytalus chapter in the same vein: Aura of Beguiling Appearance might cause the character to appear suspiciously over-friendly (but there is still a +3 bonus to make friends and win trust); and Aura of Childlike Innocence might cause the character to appear sanctimonious and self-righteous (but still gives a +3 to convince others of his innocence).

Each one gives a bonus to a particular type of social interaction which negates the penalty of The Gift -- but people won't like you any better. You certainly wouldn't want to have more than one of these spells active at a time!


Depends on your saga I suppose. The only game mechanics effect of the Gift in the core rules is a -3 penalty to social interaction rolls. The rest is just flavor text. In my saga, spells like Aura of Ennobled Presence work to negate that penalty and so balances the effect. Of course, my take on it is that the magus still appears "uncanny" but also has a commanding air about him, which essentially the same as your take on it. The benefit of the spell balances the effect of the Gift.

You can, of course, do what you want in your saga, but the metagame reason for making The Gift so onerous to personal interactions is that without it, what's the point of having companions around? If a magus can do all the talking, with no problems, why ever bother with any social companion? The Gift inhibits magi so they have a reason to bring along companions who are more than uber-grogs and gives them a natural role in the game.

If that's not a concern of you or your troupe, go ahead and make Gentle Gift a Minor Virtue or make a +3 Communication spell cancel all the effects of The Gift. Just know that social companions will soon become irrelevant in your game.

Also, know that the in-game reason for the dominance of the Order of Hermes is that Parma Magica is the only known method for counteracting the negative social effects of The Gift. Because no other tradition can do this, they are all fragmented and less cohesive. If any hedgie can cast a +3 Comms spell to make negative social effects of The Gift go away, why didn't large wizardly organizations exist before the Order and why don't they exist throughout Europe now? The in-game reason is that Parma made it possible for wizards to cooperate without The Gift screwing everything up, before Parma it was impossible to have a large wizardly organization.

Again, if that's not a concern of you or your troupe, knock yourself out.

As you say, this is saga-dependent. However, the effect of The Gift should not be interpreted as just 'flavour text', since it has wider ramifications than people simply dealing poorly with magi. Indeed, what you dismiss as flavour, I consider to be the major effect, and indeed, it comes first, before the 'game effect':

The 'game effect' is what happens to you when you try to overcome The Gift's effect on other people. This is more than just a simple -3 to social rolls. As John Post pointed out, this 'flavour text' has had a major impact on societies of wizards, and provides the main reason why the Order of Hermes exists and other organisations do not. Furthermore, Aura of Ennobled Presence only helps in certain circumstances - when trying to get people to do what you say. It won't help if you want to convince a magistrate you are telling the truth, or help you befriend the priest.

Then it is difficult to see why other groups of wizards who were capable of producing a similar effect did not rise and take the place of the Order, or pose a serious threat to its existence. A spell of this type doesn't even cause substantial amounts of Warping if kept up permanently, and isn't stopped by Magic Resistance. What HoH:S does is to clarify that spells like Aura of Ennobled Presence cannot wholly negate the effects of The Gift, although they do negate the penalty (or some of it, for The Blatant Gift) in certain circumstances.

As in all things, your saga may vary. But again, to quote John, there is a reason why the effects of The Gift are so onerous.