I need some help to clarity the works of CounterSpelling.

I know that using spontaneous magic, you can dispel an effect that has an effective level of effect of up to the double of the other effect (Formulaic or spontaneous).

What that I dont know is can you design formulaic counterspells?

Spells like CrCo 25 to keep body safe from malign corpus spells, would they counter spell a Crush of the heart PeCo40 spell if they were active at the time?

Since we could invest this effect in an object, say an armor, with a cste effect, would the wearer be immune to malign corpus save ritual spells?


Counterspelling requires Fast Casting - so it is not available from Enchanted Devices.
This leaves the question open, whether a Formulaic spell Mastered for Fast Casting could be used to counterspell. For me such counterspelling sounds plausible, but AFAICS it boils down to an SG decision for lack of clear rules.

Kind regards,


CounterSpelling requires fast casting for which reason?
I would tend to think that it is so that the effect of the counter spell can take effect in time to actually counter the other spell.

This would imply that if the counterspelling effect is already in effect, it would work (if the level of the effect is sufficiant).

Case 1:
Aquimus knows that Florus wants to burn him off the earth. uppon their encounter, Aquimus quickly casts a CrAq(Re) spontaneus spell to sourround himself in a globe of water as a counter spell. he has a casting total of 36 which gives him an effective level of 18 that will counter up to level 36 of the spells sent by Florus. Unfortunately, Florus has a mighthy level 40 fire spell that blows away the globe of water. Aquimus's parma does resits the spell & Aquimus casts a Mighthy torrent of water on Florus who falls to the ground, humiliated in water.

Case 2:
Aquimus has as ennemy the dangerous Florus that has already attempted to burn Aquimus a number of times. Aquimus developped a Formulaic spell to protect him from fire using a CrAq(Re) 25 spell. as soon as he see's Florus or know he may encounter him, Aquimus cast this spell which will protect him from any formulaic or spontaneus spells of CrIg level 50 or less.

Case 3:
Aquimus has as ennemy the dangerous Florus that has already attempted to burn Aquimus a number of times. Aquimus created a minor object to protect him from fire using a CrAq(Re) 25 spell. As soon as he see's Florus or know he may encounter him, Aquimus activates the object which will protect him from any formulaic or spontaneus spells of CrIg level 50 or less.


The book says that "in general" a spell of half the level of the attacking spell can defend a person. I think that this "in general" bit should be given a great deal of weight. A momentary creo aquam spell cast range touch at a particualr ignem spell it was designed to counter would probabaly protect one from an ignem spell of twice its level.

However a globe of water with duration diameter would, if I were the storyguide , not protect against creo ignem spells of twice it's own level.

I'd always handle these sorts of things on a case by case basis with an eye to what choice will be the most fun for the group of players.

No. As I understand it, Fast Casting is needed to allow the caster to adapt the counterspell on the fly sufficiently to the forming spell it attempts to counter. Only with such a specific adaptation the low level of the counterspell is warranted.

A generic defense blocking - without adaptation - all spells of a certain type would need to be of higher level, as shown by PeVi Gen Unravelling the Fabric of (Form) (ArM5 p.161).

Kind regards,


That's how I've looked at it. I really like the image of magi using magic defend against magical attacks... the Rego Ignem spell to deflect the Pilum of Fire, for instance, and so long as the effect makes sense and is about half the level of the target spell (more or less).

My players, I think, appreciate it. (Especially the one who burried himself in dirt to miss a lightning bolt. That was fun.)

I'm not sure I follow this. I think it doesn't help that Fast-Casting sometimes refers to two different things.

Formulaic spells are hard to cast quickly in response to something that's happening this round. In order to do so, one must have mastered it with the "Fast Caster" specialty.

Spontaneous spells can be cast earlier in a combat round by making a succssful roll. (I forget what.) This seems to be referred to fast-casting at times, but does not involve the mastery specialty.

In my opionion a counterspell must be spontanious simply because it must be adaptable. A pre-designed spell would be too rigid to handle a random spell... Might be able to pre-design a counterspell that would work against a single spell (maybe even a single magus' versjon of that spell), but that spell wouldn't be automatically appliable against several other spells...

I don't see fast casting as referring to two seperate things. There is one single set of fast casting rules. Fast casting is not a type of spell it is a method of casting a spell. This method can be used for spontaneous spells or formulaic spells that have been mastered for fast casting.

I think it a mistake to think of fast cast defensive spells from only the perspective of the "in general ... twice it's level" passage from the book. a fast cast spell has a specific in-game effect, the storyguide should look at this and compare it to the spell thatis being counterred and make a judgement.

If a magus has mastered a level 10 version of ward against heat and flames (adjusting range to personal and duration to momentary) it should still give +15 soak and completely protect the magus from creo ignem spells that do only +15 damge even if these attacking spells are level 40.

If someone were to create a kind of Ward (like Wrad Against Heat and Flames) to protect themselves with I think it would give something like an increase in Soak against that element, but not divert it necessarily. The Parma would act as a shield, the Ward as armor. However this IMO is not counterspelling.

Counterspelling IMO needs to be fast cast making it difficult to do with a formulaic spell, even if its mastered. If you were to design a specific spell to counter another specific spell, and then Mastered it with the fast cast ability, then I could see it using the Counter spell rules. But as was pointed out, a spontaneous counterspell is in response to a spell or effect that it s detected right now. A counterspell needs to be taylored a bit for the threat.

Let us take a BoF 35 that is casted toward Aquimus .

1- Aquimus fast casts a ReIg spontaneus spell to Sheild himself from the flames. He has a CT of 40 for an effective level of effect of 20. BoF is hence counterspelled?
2- Aquimus fast casts a mastered ReIg formulaic spell to Sheild himself from the flames. Level of the spell is 20. BoF is hence counterspelled?
3- Aquimus has an active ReIg formulaic spell to Sheild himself from the flames. Level of the spell is 20. BoF is hence counterspelled?

I guess the anwser resides in the definition of tailoring. If counterspelling involves the deconstruction of the spell as it is beeing casted, then all exemples above would fail aldo they would act as armor. following this definition, only effects like CrAq,PeIg,PeVi would count as valid effects.

If counterspelling is simply to oppose a magical force to another so that they cancel eachother then option 1 to 3 would all work.

Just as a side note, in the case of a Bof, i find that a CrTe wall mastered & fast casted is most effective :slight_smile:



here's two hints to make posting on this forum easier for you:

(1) If without your ArM books and at work, you can invoke 'serf's parma' so errors in recalling rules are not held against you. If you have not done so yet, you might check your post above by rereading pages 85 and 87 of ArM5.
(2) There is a Preview button underneath the window you use to type your contributions to the forum, so you can check how they look before submitting them. This is especially useful when you fiddle with html-constructs, and could have assured in the post above that you quoted correctly.

Kind regards,


The point is rather the following:

If Aquimus sees a BoF coming towards him and threatening to engulf his right side from 45 degrees above in flames, he can spontaneously fast-cast a ReIg or CrAq or other specific spell which counters just that part of the spell threatening him. This is the reason he needs only such a low casting total.

A protective spell already in effect would not benefit from Aquimus' last split-second knowledge in the same way, hence would have to be of higher level:

  • either to counter the incoming BoF by higher ReIg, CrAq etc. force (and there is also the risk that the CrAq effect would drown Aquimus before the BoF could burn him),
  • or to accomodate InVi requisites to itself analyze incoming spells,
  • or to diminish the incoming spell's fabric proper (like PeVi Gen Unravelling the fabric of (Form)).

It is a SG judgement call whether Aquimus has sufficient control over a mastered and fast cast formulaic spell to adapt it as well to an incoming threat as he could adapt a spontaneous spell.

Kind regards,


I just don't want to start a new tread so i better ask my question here...

If i read that right (serf parma) the fast casting to counterspell thing is as any fatiguing spontaneous magic: Casting Score + Stress Die/2 exept that the formula is rather Casting score -10 +Stree Die/2. Since my player ask me the question and i hadn't got the time to experience it, is it realistic to think you can get a fast cast defensive spell of half the level of an opponent of your strenght properly defend yourself?

Or did i got it wrong and it work some other way?

serf's parma on this but you need half the level of the target spell not half casting total of the target spell.

It seems to me that, if you're dealing with someone who has the same casting total as you, chances are fairly good that if you don't have the horsepower to counter the target spell, then the target spell won't have the penetration to bust through your parma.

In other words; yes, it does seem realistic.

ARM5 p.83 under fast casting
"In general a fast-cast defense with half the level of the attacking spell is enough to protect the maga herself or one other individual. The spell still take effect, and the side effect of deflecting the spell may have to be dealt with."

So yes, my error, it's not half the casting total but half the spell level.

I guess it's just a question of house rule to establish what to do when one of your player generate 1/4 or really near 1/2 of the spell level cast at him.