Does magic resistance physically halt enchanted objects?

On a number of threads we have had discussions about exactly what happens when an enchanted object, be it a mundane rock, or a living magus comes into contact with parma or the magic resistance of a magical creature. There seems to be disagreements on exactly what happens. Some think all progress will stop dead as the magic resistance repels the enchanted object. Others that the object will continue through, but that the spell on it will not affect the creature protected.

The only guidance from the rulebook is that creatures with magic resistance, whether from parma or from arts are only affected by spells if there is sufficient penetration to the spell.

The last discussion that occured had the situation where some maintained that a dragon would not be able to eat anything enchanted, that it would not even be able to put the object in its mouth. This posits that parma or the magical resistance of a magical creature stands a distance out from them. While I find the parma easier to accept at a distance as it is due to a spell, that does raise serious questions.

The further out from the body that magic enchanted things cannot touch magical creatures due to might, then the more the magical might creatures logically cannot touch mages enchanted with spells. If it was at the skin itself, then I would say that a magical wolf could still bite and claw at a mage enchanted with 'protection from rain'. If however there was a buffer of at least an inch, then what happens. Does the bigger creature knock the smaller creature back. Or does the attacked object not get touched? If there is a buffer of air between them, how can magical creatures damage enchanted objects with mundane attacks.

That turns any spell on self into a blanket defence against mundane attacks by creatures with might, and most magical creatures with might only have mundane attacks. It removes all attacks but breath weapon and spells from a dragons arsenal.

Magic resistance does not act symmetrically. If a magically create bridge falls on you, you do not take damage, but if you fall onto such a bridge you do take damage from the fall. Being protected against magic swords doesn't prevent you from hitting the sword yourself, possibly breaking it and possibly hurting yourself. It's a consequence of the "no inertia" bit in Mythic Europe's physics.

Parma isn't given a radius of effect. Rather, if the magic would affect the person protected, it is stopped. How that is interpreted does depend on the circumstances. If you hit the magic sword with your hand, you will take damage from the sword, but not from from any enchantment, like fire, on it.

I also am of the opinion that even though magical creatures are magical in origin, they aren't particularly "enchanted" physically. Just because you have Might doesn't mean my magic resistance is going to stop your punches, unless they are explicitely supernaturally enhanced. The bite of some magical wolves is magical, the bite of some other magical wolves is not.

Finally, adressing the "any kind of enchantment makes you bounce" pink-dot issue, my (often repeated) opinion is that only magic that would have an actual effect should be considered. When you punch me, your "protection against rain" isn't trying to affect me, isn't involved with the punch at all, therefore there is nothing for Parma to block.

Are we talking about the RAW, or about how it is best to play?

By the RAW, I think it's very clear that MR stops any enchanted weapon from hitting you, including pink-dotted sword, and that it will therefore likewise prevent you from eating any enchanted rocks (or poison, whatever). Perhaps the dragon will find it impossible to swallow the rocks, I don't know. MR would extend as far out as needed to achieve this, IMO.

Yes, that means MR may work against beings with MR sometimes. MuAu the air to smell of roses, and watch how they suffocate (now someone will tell me why I'm wrong, and this won't work...), and a magus won't be able to actually touch a magic item (except his talisman).

By the RAW, I do believe it specifically says creatures of Might do not need to bypass MR to physically attack the magus. If it doesn't, then I at least remember someone official giving such an authoritive answer (perhaps indeed claiming that their bodies aren't magical effects). If you don't like that explanation, you could argue that their bodies are magical effects the creature wastes no temporary Might to power, so their penetration is equal to the creature's Might score (making magi immune to weak creatures, but not powerful ones); in this case I would choose the Form in line with the creature's capabilties and nature.

Regarding actual play, I prefer to stick to the RAW for simplicity and to humour the rule lawyers. My second-best strategy is to enforce a policy of "MR does what's cool", and have MR not block magical weapons, turn "poison turned to water" into true water, and so on. In this I aim for a Mythic feel, not a consistent ruleset, and warn in advice I may rule incosistently and lay down some general guidelines nonetheless ("Weapons get through but magic such as fire damage needs to pass Penetration, treacherous tricks do not work, spells are of course resisted...").

I don't like taking the middle ground, such as "only magic that would have an actual effect should be considered", since I've yet to come across a simple MR ruleset that works better than the core rules. The whole goal of such rules is to get the right Mythic feel, but they end up creating other very non-Mythic loopholes, so I say abandon all laws and rule according to what feels right.


Okay, THIS, cannot be!!

"MuMe the air to smell of roses, and watch how they suffocate"

If it is, sudenly against things with Parma or Magic might. Chamber of Spring breezes just became an assassin's weapon. It may be temporary. but it sure as hell is distracting to suddenly lose all your air for a moment.. ONe of these spells extended any length of time just killed off a Mage?? [I of course realize it's possible they could leave the area... but things can be set up. Like doing it while they sleep...]

No, somethings gotta give there if the rule really IS that way.

You are, of course, correct. It should be MuAu. Thanks, I corrected it.


If someone tried that in my saga, I'd give him a stern look and tell him to stop metagaming. And I'd rule that changes to air/water don't prevent characters/fish from breathing them, just 'cause I say so. But unless I'm mistaken, this IS a consequence of the RAW.

I see two explanations for the "Breeze of Death" not working. One is that the mythic paradigm allows for the repelling of vapors, both for good and ill, the other is that air would rush in to fill any void created by these spells from outside the spell effect.

Now what would happen if you used a CrAu underwater to create a bubble of air that allowed you and another mage to breathe? Would you suffocate when the spell wore off? Would you need to penetrate magic resistance to allow yourself and you ally to breathe?

I'd say no to both, similar to how Parma stops a magically thrown rock, it hits you but with no force. As for not having breathed something that disappears, I think the mythic logic would be you already breathed it out so it's not helping you any more. Not so sure on this one, as you do get hungry again when you eat magically created food. Maybe you'd just need to gasp when the spell wore off as the current air in your lungs poofed.

To be pedantic, not any enchanted weapon. Only a weapon that has active magic upon it. It is not very clear that a sword that is enchanted to cast blade of virolent flame 1x per day is stopped unless the enchantment is activated and the sword is flameing while turned off the sword may pass through unmolested.

The house rule that I used is that an item is blocked by parma if magic alters the item's shape, size, substance, or motion. This makes pink dot style defences a bit more difficult as thaey can not be done with imagonem but they are still possible.

I don't see how that aids you. It means you won't breath a poisonous air, yes, but it also means you won't breath a roses-scented air.

Eh, why would it do that? You're not creating a vaccum, you are changing the air into a different kind of air. The different kind of air is still there, another air won't come in just like it wouldn't speed into a rock if you would have changed the air into a piece of rock.

By the RAW? I argue that you'd need to penetrate magic resistance to allow yourself and your ally to breath (although you could choose to lower your magic resistance).

The problem is that the air is indeed stopped just like the rock, impinging against the parma with no force and not getting in for you to breath.

Yes, that's a problematic point. I tend to think the corpus example you note indeed indicates that you grow short on breath when the spell expires, but not suffer further ill effects.

By the RAW. Personally, I'd just let anyone breath the scented air just fine, without any short breath afterwards too.

I agree that MR is sometimes inconvenient, and that touching a magic item will often be problematic. But I don't think the MuAu thing will work. The effect you have in mind is to cause the air to put out rosy species. The species aren't magical, as per CrIm rules. (Why? I guess that it's like this: with a species, its appearance is its reality. A magical species would appear just like a mundane one, and with identity of appearance comes, in the case of species, identity of reality. There's just no space for magic in species.)

Is the air magical? If so, it shouldn't cross MR. But note that this is exactly the pink dot problem: in both cases, changing an object's appearance, the species it puts out, it alleged to prevent the object from crossing MR. But we can solve both problems by saying that, if the magic's only effect is to the (definitionally non-magical) appearance of the object, then the magic can cross MR just as magically created species can cross MR. So neither the rosy air nor the pink-dotted sword is actually magical; the magic, we may say, is in the relationship between the object and its species, and the relationship is nowhere at all and so never crosses MR.

Erg, the effect is MuAu not MuIm. Yes, you could make the air APPEAR TO SMELL rosy by a MuIm spell, but the spell I'm thinking off actually changes air into a ROSY SMELLLING air (which I reckon is just another kind of "air" in the Medieval Paradigm, just like rainy air is). MuIm-ing a piece of silver to look like gold has nothing to do with MuTe-ing it to change into gold.

I do not believe your interpretation is in accordance with the RAW. It fits rather well, but not quite. The sword is under the effect of magic that changes its emitted species. The emitted species are natural and can pass through MR, the sword is no longer natural - it is not what it appears. Now, there is no problem with you adopting your interpretation in your saga, if that's how you wish to handle the pink dot problem, but that's not the RAW.

I agree your reasoning can be used to ignore the pink-dot problem, as can Tyrell's change of rules, I don't find either necessary. I'm perfectly content to play in a world where the Dotted Sword is blocked by parma, or where the Blunted Sword is - makes little difference to me.

Leaving aside that magic items without active effects on them should not be blocked by parma. (Which is a huge deal where I am convinced that any different interpretation will lead to large difficulties in play ) I think that a magus would not have any difficulty handling an item that happens to be magically enchanted to have feathers or be as cold as an ice cube.

The regoed rock can touch the magus but without any force.

There is no necessity for the parma to have thickness nor is there any text indicating that it does.

How I've dealt with the problem of magical air in my saga is by ruling that air always replenishes itself, kind of like species. When you create magical air, it overlays the natural air, so that a magus suddenly surrounded by magical smoke can still breathe the air beneath it. When you change natural air into something else, more air spreads out to fill the space underneath it, so that changing all of the air in a room into a purple cloud simply surrounds the magus in a purple cloud while breathable air quickly comes in from outside and passes through his Parma. If something destroys the air, more air rushes in to fill the vacuum, so that the magus might choke for a few seconds, but would soon catch his breath again. A magus can ward away weather phenomena, but could still breathe within the circle because the air that was already inside the ring would continue to replenish itself.

In a closed system, like a collapsed cave or an underwater chamber, air can't come in from outside, so what little air there is very spread out, making "bad air" which probably translates to very poor living conditions and a hefty penalty to Aging rolls. If someone were to destroy the air in such a room with magic, it could worsen this penalty, but I imagine that some air would always return, just not as much of it. To suffocate someone with magic, you would have to do a PeAu spell with a longer duration, to keep the air within the target area from restoring itself. So, a D: Conc and T: Room PeAu spell might be able to suffocate everyone in a room, even through Parma, just like a PeTe spell could collapse a building. However, if any of them could get out of the area of effect, they could immediately breathe normally again.

Yes, that was rather essential to my suggestion.

You'll end up with quite a lot of kinds of air that way. I wouldn't think that you could have two different kinds of air whose only difference was their appearance. They wouldn't really be different, they would only appear to be different.

Why? It just includes body cavities within the area protected by the parma. I can't get a magical knife past your skin, nor magical water into your open mouth.

Thus my question on how far out it extends. The gap between the jaws of your mouth is as much an extension of your body as the gap between outstretched fingers. As is the gap between arm and body when the arm is relaxed, and between arm and body when the arm is extended.

The loose reply given so far to distance out that parma stops magic, is as far out as necessary to protect you.

Yes, I generally agree with all points. In some cases, such as pebbles between the dragon's teeth that are actually Muto-ed boulders, it might be easier to imagine the Parma as having some thickness.

"Auram spells usually affect air as phenomena (winds, odors) rather than as gases (a modern concept)." (ArM5 p. 125) I'm changing the odor, changing a weather phenomenon. This is a simple (level 2) MuAu guideline, straight from the book, IMO.

It could be argued that the "breathing intakes magically-altered air" idea uses the conception air as a gas rather than as a phenomenon, and so breaks the medieval paradigm. But I think that's taking the paradigm too far. People were very much aware breathing involved an intake of air.

Muto spells change the properties of something's essence, replacing them with qualities it should not have. This includes changing the qualities that result in the emission of species. When two things change in these qualities, however, the difference is more than in their appearance. They differ in more fundumental qualities, that lead to a changed appearance.

Yep. Seems like a perfectly good solution to me.

I agree with your interpretation of the rules, or, at least, I think that it makes sense as an interpretation. Unfortunately, on that interpretation, you can kill people with air fresheners. So I suggested to re-interpret the rules so that this problem wouldn't emerge. Sorry I wasn't clear that was what I was up to. Can you come up with a solution to the air freshener problem consistent with your interpretation?

And here we come again to my standard pet peeve, which is that "essence" as used in the game is completely unlike the traditional concept of an essence, as that concept has appeared in all philosophical discourse from Plato to the present (with a few very weird exceptions like Leibniz) and in ordinary discourse. "Essence" as used in the game just refers to a thing's non-relational properties. What species something puts out, and what it is about the thing that accounts for its putting out those species, is not obviously essential to the thing in any legitimate sense of "essence." I would suggest that, if using "essence" like it's used in English and philosophy will solve problems like the air freshener, we have good reason to use "essence" like that.

Luckily, this problem will soon be solved, since my magus, Gris de Saule, Parisian philosopher and recently gauntleted Bonisagus, has dedicated his life to the correction of this error in Bonisagus's theory. :smiley:


You raise some good points, so it will take me some time to answer. I'd have to, you know, think. :slight_smile:

What I've done for these problematic issues is use the 'Patch'. At one point, yes, the MuAq spell where you change poison into water and kill a magus who is drinking it (his Parma turns it back into poison). Once that was discovered, some Bonisagus went to work and fixed that. After that was fixed, then someone found that Chamber of Spring Breezes could possibly bypass the Parma, and so that too was fixed.

In other words, by 1220, most of the workarounds of the Parma have been discovered and patched. When a wizard thinks that they may have found something and try using it they are astonished to find that it simply doesn't work. Then I'll likely say in a stern wizard master voice "You think it is so easy to circumvent the greatest magical invention the world has ever known?!". If the character truly came up with an innovative method, I might allow it, but otherwise, cheap workarounds no longer work.

Other questions; an actively enchanted weapon/item is blocked, but something that is magical isn't (a magic arrow would not hit, but a magus could eat a pawn of vis). A magus can pick up an actively enchanted item but might have a slight problem gripping it, it would feel 'slippery'. A magic item with a range of Touch always has to penetrate (even rings and potions). Meaning that a wizard is more likely to either add Penetration to these items while desiging it even if he is the target, or he will suppress his MR while activating.

woops, double post.