Errata Suggestions

Mentem doesn't concern plants; same as with animals, I'm guessing.

Yeah, but you're giving it a human-like intelligence for Muto, or at least the ability to obey commands for Rego.

But Mentem isn't involved with even animals like dragons and familiars, right? Mentem is the human mind, not human-like (or better!)

IIRC, Mentem affects anything with Intellgence, Animal affects anything with Cunning. So dragons and familiars (or a shapechanged character) would be affected by Mentem. Bjornaer are an exception, being affected by Animal in their heartshape.

The familiar rules don't come right out and say that the familiar gets targeted by mentem but they do have example effects that use mentem on the familiar and familiars do gain an intellegence score instead of their previous cunning score. Personally I leave them open to both sorts of spells but that is a house rule made to fill in what might be considered an abiguity.

There is a very minor bit of errata on page 07 of Covenants.
Part of the write-up for [color=darkblue]Aura:

I assume this is meant to be exotic rather than erotic
in regard to an "irremovable monolith".

But it may be some Pagan Fertility Cult or other. :wink:

This is one of the few examples of errata. Most of the things in this thread are rules changes that might be considered for 6th edition, but errata, they are not.

One thing to remember when proposing lengthy rules explanations, the book is only so many words long. If you're going to add 100 words about some obscure thing, where should we delete words to make space?

A little bit of ambiguity is fine with me. That's why the storyguide makes the big bucks--to make those tough calls.

Part of errata IS changing the wording to be clearer, and changes needed due to oversight. Just as an example consider the errata for Puissant Ability, and Flawless Magic.

Storyguides get paid in your group?

We pay in beer and dvd'd tivo material, occasionally with pizza. :wink: Seems to keep him coming back.


A few extra spell base guidelines wouldn't seem to take up too much space.

Page 88, first column, under Warping, refers us to Long-Term Events on page 67.

It needs to be page 167.


The environmental trigger rules on page 99 appear to be inconsistent with published uses of the environmental trigger in 5th edition supplements. (Neither the existence of a fire - the "Fire Guardian" in Semita Errabunda - or the opening of a door - "The Crystal of a Hundred Candles" in Guardians of the Forest seem to constitute "major magical features of the environment.")

It would be helpful if the proper limits of the environmental trigger could be clarified or the supplements could be errata'd for consistency.

(Parenthetically, if The Powers That Be are reading this thread, I would like to thank them for their time.)

In the meantime, however - and also because there never will be an RPG or handbook written to the consistency requirements voiced here sometimes - I recommend the following simple, widely accepted and used meta-rules for reading rules, operating instructions and any other technical, descriptive literature.

These meta-rules are also important for economy of technical writing, allowing to separate general and specific rules/descriptions, and to abbreviate lists of cases, things or situations.

(1) An explicit description/rule always supercedes an example.
(2) A specific description/rule, where it applies, always supercedes more general descriptions/rules.
(3) If there are several options how to read a description/rule, the valid option is the one which causes the least contradictions or supercessions with other descriptions/rules in the same book.
(4) If there are several options how to read a description/rule which do not contradict other descriptions/rules, then the one which adds the least to the descriptions/rules complex is the valid one. (So a PC data sheet listing a serial link but not a Firewire port implicitly states that that PC has no Firewire port.)

Kind regards,


Wards and Penetration: Do wards need to penetrate? A short clarification in general rules on wards should make things clearer there. [Perhaps an exception to Aegis is advisable too.]

There was a massive debate about this on the berklist in late March, it might be worth reading.

The final response from Dave Chart was, "Yes, wards must penetrate." If you're good with that, then stop reading this now. But....

This was hotly contested by many people.

My response on wards is this:

Ben Mcfarland wrote:

I have to admit, I've been following the discussion over the last week
on Aegis and its (newfound?) requisite to Penetrate...

And I'm confused. I can't see how Penetration Totals of Wards or Aegis
apply to these spells.

Wards are "just" spells, so the quote by Richard Love is exactly right:

The relevant bit of the rules, I think, that backs this up is ArM5,
page 85. In the discussion on the functioning of magic resistance it
states: " If the target of the spell is a magical thing, which then
attempts to damage the maga, the spell works, but the created thing is
unable to affect the maga unless it penetrates her magic resistance.
Things that are created and sustained by magic (anything not created
as a mundane thing by a Ritual spell) are magical for these
purposes..." Reading this, it is clear that a Ward must penetrate
magic resistance in order to be effective.

But the target is not necessarily a magical thing, unless we're trying to trap a creature inside a Ward-- be it a circle, an effect, whatever. This adds a wrinkle that seems to be ignored. Defensive wards must not Penetrate, though could (foolishly) be resisted. Offensive, trapping wards do need to Penetrate either MR or Might. There are two cases here that have to be considered.

If Tarlan the Wood Fae Wolf is coming after Leonis the Magus, and he knows a Formulaic T/S/I WAtFoW ReHe 20 effect, he has two options:

  1. Target himself, though he will need to lower his Parma to do so. If he had the Major Virtue Flexible Formulaic Magic, he could do so without lowering his Parma, otherwise he'll need to make a Concentration roll as if maintaining a spell or attempt to Penetrate his own Parma. If successful, Tarlan can buzz off. Without the Penetration skill, Leonis' Ward has effectively ensured that Tarlan cannot affect him for the Sun Duration. Leonis' Penetration Total in this example doesn't matter unless Leonis doesn't want to lower his Parma.

  2. Target Tarlan, but as Leonis knows the spell, this will require sucessfully touching Tarlan. (Possibly very dangerous!) If he had the Major Virtue Flexible Formulaic Magic, he could do so without touching the Fae. If Leonis manages to touch Tarlan, he'll then need to roll his casting total and determine his Penetration Total. If it exceeds Tarlan's Might, then Tarlan can't do a thing to Leonis or anything else outside the Ward for the duration of the Ward. If it doesn't not, then Leonis has a very angry Fae wolf in arm's (and likely fang's) reach. Bummer.

The first line of the spell, Page 161 ArM 5E, says, "This ritual
protects a covenant in the way a Parma Magica protects a magus."

Aegis is out-of-line with the rest of the system, an exception which
breaks the rules. Don't drawn inferences from Aegis onto other spells.

I won't, but that doesn't explain why Penetration is important for Aegis.

Reading the text of the Ward Against Faeries of the Waters implies
that the ward targets those within the ward-- not those outside the
ward, giving the occupants a MR of the Ward's level against Water
Fae....where is Penetration involved?

  1. it must penetrate those Warded (though they'd be stupid to resist, it
    is possible that circumstances dictate that dropping Parma now would be
    a BAD idea...)

  2. as a created magical effect, it is unable to affect other things with
    MR unless the effect (ward) also penetrates their MR. (just exactly the
    same as a ring of Magical Fire)

It's not affecting them. It creates an effect they must Penetrate. The Circle of Fire is not an appropriate example, in my opinion, as it has a damaging effect and the MR check for that spell is determining if the individual crossing the circle is affected by the magical fire. What we are discussing is far more like a Parma. There is no active effect until an individual attempts to act against it. A field of Magical Sandpaper on the floor of the target, keeping others from sliding their boxes of Magical Effect up close. Fail to push hard enough, and a the box doesn't Penetrate.

Reading the Ward guidelines on ArM5E pg 114, last third of the first
column, say specifically that the target of a ward "is the thing
protected, rather than the things warded against." Why would a
creature's Might have anything to do with this? It shouldn't. A magus
isn't affecting the creature, he's affecting the protected target,
giving them a resistance against the thing warded.

correct - but then the effect endures and must be used to affect others

No! The Ward cast on oneself, affects no one else. It creates an area of Resistance. Now if the the Magus then attempted to approach the Fae while Warded, then yes, he would need to Penetrate the Might-- but that would just force the fae back, outside the area of effect. Failure to Penetrate could possibly allow the creature inside the Ward. In which case, he gets what he deserves, silly magus.

Saxum Caribetum states on Thu, 16 Mar 2006 08:52:25, Message :1 of Ars
Magica Digest, Vol 10 Issue 42 that such an interpretation is "wrong."
However, I cannot see any supporting text for this statement. I don't
understand how the text from page 114 can be so easily dismissed.

ArM p.85

Where? Which portion of the text specifically? Perhaps the section that states:

"Things that are created and sustained by magic (anything not created as a mundane thing by a Ritual spell) are magical for these purposes. Things moved by magic can cross the resistance, but their motion cannot unless the spell Penetrates the resistance."

Referring back to the example above, if Leonis is successful in casting his ReHe 20 Ward on himself, he is never affecting Tarlan. The only time Tarlan is affected is when he tries, directly or indirectly, to cross the Ward-- by the rule listed above, it is the Fae trying to cross the Resistance, not vice versa, and so it is the Fae's Penetration that matters. Leonis has created a static effect of aligned Resistance that has no other secondary effects. He's not trying to cross the Fae's Resistance, so the Penetration Total of his Ward is unimportant.

It's not clear, but one could assume that the 'physical' Penetration
of a creature was its Might.

correct (plus Penetration score, if they have it (unlikely but possible))

At least we agree here. :slight_smile:

The only time I can see a Ward needing to Penetrate a creature's Might
is when that Ward is being used to trap the creature within the circle--

or it tries to bash its way in

No, no, no! The creature is trying to overcome the Resistance created as the spell's effect! It is trying to pierce the magical shield that the Ward provides. We both seem agree on this. Why should the Ward Penetrate the Creature's Might, when the Creature is trying to cross the Ward? The Ward is doing nothing but creating an area of Resistance.

then we are affecting the creature and the normal resolution would
apply since you're targeting the creature. Again, if you've somehow
managed to get said creature inside the circle

you keep focussing on "circle" without considering all the myriad forms of Ward allowed
in ArM

Only because it's the base provided example. Certainly the end result remains the same, be it a circle or some other target. The Ward is passive, creating a resistance which must be overcome by the creature or spell wishing to cross it. Likewise, I would say that a magus within such a Ward must overcome it if he wishes to cast a spell of the same Technique. Failure to have a Penetration Total greater than the Ward's level from inside causes the spell to either manifest within the Ward or fail if no valid target is available. In the case of a Circle Target/Ring Duration, one might even say that attempting to affect the Warded Individual, whether they are inside or out of the Ward, breaks the Circle.

failed to come up in playtesting so was not considered and did not get a special section;
so currently Wards are "just" spells and subject to all rules applying to all spells (that is
"spells without exceptions").

That's fine, but let's clarify what Wards are: I'm saying that a Ward is a targeted spell that creates a passive effect of Technique or Domain aligned Magic Resistance-- hedging out creatures or effects that fail to Penetrate it's level of Resistance. I think is consistent with the presentation of Wards on page 114.

If used to defend the caster or a target and cast with a range greater than Personal, they need to Penetrate the caster's or target's MR. A creature attempting to cross such a Ward must Penetrate it in order to affect those within it.

If a Ward is used to trap or abjure a specific sort of creature with Might, the caster must Penetrate that creature's Might in order to affect it. If successful, a Warded creature is prevented from effecting things outside the Ward unless it Penetrates the Ward. Such a creature may attempt to escape a Ward's effects by Penetrating the targeted Ward.

By your argument, it appears that you proscribe an active effect to Wards. If so, what is it?Am I misunderstanding?

(Again, Aegis is a blasted confusing Exception).

I disagree. It's just Parma Covenant-a. That's an understood mechanic. It's an area of effect with a Universal Magical Resistance and the pleasant side effects of lowering casting totals within the area and cancelling effects upon contact. It is similar to Parma, in that it can be shared, but better in that such sharing doesn't lower the effectiveness. Why is this confusing?

A Ward is a Magical Effect. It creates an area of effect. It is not acting against Creature it wards against. In the case of the defensive Ward, it never acts against the Creature it wards against unless the Ward is forced into the space of the abjured Creature-- if that happens, then in that situation the Ward's Penetration matters. It only provides Resistance to the target that the Creature must Penetrate. Consider a PeAu25 V/D/R spell that builds on Room of Stale Air, only it destroys the still air in a room, leaving nothing to breathe for two minutes. Such an effect bypasses Parma altogether, requiring no Penetration Total at all to affect a magus within the area. The same occurs if a magus fast casts a PeTe25 V/D/P variant to Pit of Gaping Earth, increasing the depth by 10 paces, making the effect continuous for 2 minutes, and catching his foe in the area of effect. It only destroys the earth in the area. Even with Magic Resistance, his foe is in for a nasty fall and all that implies. No Resistance is going to keep him from falling. Effects are different than Things.

Let's say Leonis was in a windy location. If he cast a ReAu20 spell Command the Mountain Zephyr-- a spell I just created that is analogous to Circling Winds of Protection, but requires the wind to already exist. Does Breezy the Aurum Fae nearby need to have it's Might Penetrated? No. Not until it tries to cross the circle of wind Leonis has created to attack Leonis. Then, Leonis' Penetration Total for CotMZ matters. If Breezy's Might is greater than Leonis' Penetration Total then Windy goes through the Effect as if it wasn't there, and if Breezy's Might isn't greater then he has to deal with the effects of the spell, right?

Why would a Ward be different? A Ward is creating an area of Resistance. Penetration doesn't come into play until something attempts to cross the area of Effect.

Effect != Thing. Wards are Effects, not Things.

Certainly, one could get creative and craft a small metal ring, cast a circular Ward on it and then throw the ring at the sort of Creature it was warded against. Yes, now you have a Magical Thing because it's under a Magical Effect, just like a sword with Edge of the Razor. Now the Penetration matters, but I've said this all along. In that case the Penetration Total of the Ward matters, though failure to Penetrate would just have the ring stop and fall to the ground. Success would likely knock the target back slightly and send the ring flying of in some direction. Congratulations, the magus has just annoyed the creature.

If I'm wrong, please site the reference. The only Magical Thing I can consider being created in the case of a Ward is when a mundane person becomes protected by a Ward. Now he's a Magical Thing for the duration. Spells that create magical things seem to be cast on mundane things, making them Magical Things, or the create Magical Things whole cloth. Examples are legion. Penetration in all those examples comes into consideration when those Things attempt to interact with an individual with Resistance. The order of interaction is important.

A Ward only targets a Magical Thing sometimes, in order to create a magical Effect around that Thing. The Ward is not, in and of itself, a Magical Thing.


Grog Bjorn is enchanted with a ReHe 20 T/S/I WAtFoW cast by Leonis at dawn with a Penetration Total of 17. He meets Tarlan the Wood Fae Wolf out in the forests of Cumbria while escorting four of the Covenant's woodcutters.

Tarlan tries to bite Bjorn, he's repulsed. His 20 Might is insufficient to Penetrate the Resistance provided by the Ward.

Bjorn tries to draw his sword and attack Tarlan, he finds he can't strike Tarlan. Leonis' Penetration total is too low to breach Tarlan's Might. He probably doesn't understand why unless he has Magic Theory. Good luck with that. He continues his attempts to attack Tarlan.

Tarlan decides to make the woodcutters flee, using his Marked Quarry ability. He figures he can catch them once he's dealt with this oddity of Bjorn. Bjorn has continued attempting to slash Tarlan while this has happened, but found he can't. His initiative has always been higher than Tarlan's.

After making the woodcutters bolt, Tarlan has a Might of 16, and when Bjorn attempts to attack the Fae, he finds he can strike the wolf. Huzzah! Take that, Fae!

When Tarlan tries to bite Bjorn, he finds he can't! Bummer! Maybe chasing those woodcutters is a better plan now.

Now, Bjorn decides to grapple Tarlan to keep him from hunting down the covenfolk, and he can-- the Ward doesn't keep him from Penetrating Tarlan's Might, its Penetration is greater than the Resistance provided by Tarlan's Might. At this point, the rules seem fuzzy. I would say that by grabbing the Fae, Bjorn has invited the Fae inside the Ward, and Tarlan can bite Bjorn all he wants as long as the warrior has ahold of him. Once he releases Tarlan, it's back to bouncing off the Ward. Bjorn should stick to slashing with his sword.

As you can see, the Ward isn't Penetrating Tarlan's Might until Bjorn tries to cross its boundary. Only then does the Penetration Total matter. Like I've said, I welcome any clarification or misinterpretation I've made to this argument, but I think that (for the most part) it's pretty much well defined as is by the rules. Citations are always preferred.


Summary of Ben's long post: of course a Ward would have to penetrate if cast directly on a magical creature, but the normal usage casts it on a Circle, and it makes more sense that it's the faerie or demon or ghost who has to penetrate the Ward if they try to cross it.

Me: I'd agree, and this is what the language of the Ward spells would suggest: wards against a creature with Might less than or equal to the ward. I'd say that this works for trapping wards as well, if the ward is on the circle and the creature was inside the circle (unconscious?)

I'd disagree with a detail of the example: after spenting 4 points of Might, I think Tarlan's Resistance is still 20, not 16 -- it's based on Might Score, not the Might Pool. Even with a Pool of 0, his Resistance would be 20, just as an unconscious mage has full Parma and Form resistance (until the Parma falls.)

The final response of David Chart you can find here:

It is basically an open invitation to houserule wards, just like the one from the Redcap FAQ - - to houserule Magic Resistance in general.

Kind regards,


I didn't mean to cast Conjure the Dreadful Discussion. Regardless of your position on the issue, it is a subtle and surprising point of the rules and I think the addition of a single sentence (or at most a few) will add a lot towards making the rules clearer and obvious in this matter.

For what it's worth, I agree with The Official Ruling. That's what we go with in my current saga, too. I'm not sure if that's for the best.

A related issue for me is InVi spells to detect Magic Might. I think it's clear that the rules as written imply Magic Resistance applies and the spell must penetrate. I also suspect, however, that the intention was the opposite - that the spells simply detect the presece of Might the guideline notes, ignoring Penetration and Magic Resistance. Of course, I could be mistaken.

Errg... ignore this post. The issue was raised already. :blush: