Getting around parma

I've been looking on the forums for answers and while i see reference that similar has been brought up, I can't find those articles. So posting this in hopes of getting an answer a little more exlained out than "Because parma blocks it." I've got 2 different spells that don't target the mage directly but should have some effect still. Now for the purpose of this, we'll make it forceless casting of the spells.

The first spell is a Muto Terram with an aquam requisite, esentially turning a section of the ground or floor in a room into water x feet deep. anything on top of the affected area is going for a swim. what should happen if a mage with parma up either wanders into the area, or is already there, what happens to her? understandably, the water isnt going to touch him, and he isn't going to drown, but will he at least fall to the bottom, or does he suddenly gain "water walking" allowing him to walk out of the area if she so chooses?

The second spell is a version of a classic trap. This time a Rego Terram effect causing the floor to shoot upwards slamming into the ceiling, dealing X damage. what happens when a mage with parma up is present? Does the floor still move, just not around him? or does that section still move? while the floor itself can't cause any damage, what about when he cracks his head on the non magical ceiling?

The first spell: Yes he will sink. The mud will not enter his mouth and thus lungs, in fact it will not even dirty his clothes. However, he will not be able to breath it either so he will eventually die of air deprivation but if he escapes he wont need treatment to clear his lungs and airways.

The second spell: Cannot move the mage. It will depend on the exact spell description (and the nature of the ground) whether or not a ring of ground breaks away from that trapped directly beneath his feet and shoots upwards leaving him untouched or if the whole circle is held down. If some ground does manage to hit and damage the ceiling then the bits of falling ceiling can hurt the mage.

Due to being a blatantly active spell i would probably lean towards the mage walking over it just fine.
Noliars answer may or may not be more correct "by the book" but if possible, i prefer to go by the spirit rather than by the book, parma is magic protection, so i would allow it to protect in this case even if its quite imperfect.

2nd spell, i think i´m pretty much with Noliar there.

Just to clarify things for the first spell is as follows; Tec/Form: Muto Terram, Prereq.: Aguam,Target: Part(2nd version: room), Range: Voice, Duration: Concentration. desc.: turns a 10 x10 area into a body of water 20 ft deep.

 For the second spell, Tec/Form: Muto Terram, Range: Voice, Target: Room, Duration: Concentration, Prereq.: Rego. Description, causes the floor in the room to increase is size shooting upwards, forcing everything upwards, slamming into the ceiling doing (+x) damage. ( Misposted initially thinking I wanted a rego effect, it is a Muto effect as I am increasing the volume and using rego to make sure it's directed upwards).

 my point of view for both spells are as follows; for the first I looked at is as doing similar as "footsteps of slippery oil" (Per Societates book, pg 30, for reference). "A mage can step into the oil just as she can walk across a magically-created bridge." If a mage can walk aross a magically created bridge, I don't see why you can't turn an area of ground into a pool of water and watch them go for a dip.  by the same concept, this spell isn't a direct offensive spell, it's not trying to drown or damage a mage so I don't see why he would have to drop his parma to go for a swim. if we want to hold the rule in place that it is magically created and can't get past his parma, then unfortunatly he falls to the bottom and unless he is willing to drop his parma, he can't even swim out. For the record, I do at agree that the water wont drown him, however a magus with parma up can't just walk across it as if it wasn't there, he will fall in. 

 For the second spell, I looked at it similar to "Waves of Drowning and Smashing" (Same page in Societates) "While the wave can't harm the mage directly, it can capsize the boat..." while the floor may be shooting up, it can't harm the magus, however the ceiling he ends up slamming into could hurt alot... Even if the floor under the magus doesn't move, he still has to deal with the rest of the room and the fact he has now been entomed. Enjoy getting out with no air to breath and no room to move...

 Being I play a house Mercere, Milvini magus, I've designed the spells to take advantage of mutantes abilities. Basically this allows me to create a pool of water, dump whatever into it,  end the spell and bury it, him or her, or them alive.  This also allows me to tether the second spell to something in a room and have it set off after the next person enters the room. However what I plan to do after the fact shouldn't come into play, just the spells themselves. My group though has made me feel as if because of these additional abilities, the effects don't work at all if they don't penetrate whatever happens to be in the affected area. If i can get a reasonable answer, I'll not have a problem with it, just please explain your reasoning out, don't just say "parma blocks it."

As we know from historical sources, witches do not sink to the bottom of the pond. It's a way used by the church to see if someone is a witch.

Seriously: If you want to bypass parma, ideally use a spell of momentary duration (e.g. a PeTe pit). There is a school of vilano in HoH:S that specializes in spells that bypass Parma. They all require aiming (a finesse roll).
This seems to be fair from a game balance perspective: You either get the parma or the chance to miss (and a higher chance to botch since you need to roll more often).

I agree with Noliar:
parma prevents from magic, but not consequence of it. The fact that earth is mud is a consequence and you will sink in that as in other natural mud. However, being not drown, a magus could teleport, destroy the mud... where a mundane would just die. That's parma.

"witches" were not magi: magi would have been marched even before caught :smiley:

First spell: the water is magical, so it would have to penetrate the Parma to hurt the mage. Personally I would rule that the mage can swim in it, except he does not get wet, by drawing on the examples (AM5 p.85-86): 'a jet of magical water parts around the mage, and she does not even get wet' and 'if a mage steps onto a magical bridge, it remains and will bear her weight'. So the mage does not get wet, and can swim in magical water as well as in normal water because swimming is in large part about pushing against the water.

Second spell: the ground is moved by magic, so the mage will stop it. Looking at the same examples: 'A normal rock thrown by magic stops at her skin or clothes.' So the floor is stopped by the mage, whether it is stopped entirely or break around depends on the type of floor and the ST's fiat: is the floor solid enough to remain intact while pushed by magic and blocked in one section only ?

This thread is always interesting I think when it comes to magic, resistance and matter.
(The interesting part is not the quote but what Iudicium wrote under it, which i copy here for the sake of convenance:

The water would not drown the magus, but the magus will be able to swim (not walk) on it, because water space is liquid and adapt itself. A bridge, as Halancar writes, is solid, and the magus would walk upon a magical created bridge even if it doesn't penetrate his parma magica.

Well, here is my opinion, for what it's worth. There are many arguments one can make, but I would say both spells fail prima facia because as Room targets they are "affecting everything in the room" (from Room target description in core on page 113), and therein must penetrate the magus' parma in order to take effect at all. Alternatively, you would need to aim such spells using finesse, in which case...

For both spells, both the floor and the ground are magical (as these are Conc. spells). Page 85 of the core book is pretty clear...

So if the floor moves as one, it doesn't move at all past the magus' feet. If it is expanding like a balloon, it expands around him. It can not, in my opinion be designed to encase him, because he is not the target of the spell. If he were the target of the spell, it would simply fail if it did not penetrate his parma. Also, you'll need enough magnitude in your rego requirement to get the room to fill quickly, or the magus can simply walk through the room as the floor is rising.

as for the water, that too is pretty clear. From page 86...

I probably would not let the magus drown either as that would be a magical substance "doing harm". But that's certainly debatable, and as always, depends on the consensus of your troupe 8). Which, of course is the other bit...

Your troupe is the ultimate authority, which is also by the rules. As we hold on earth so he holds in heaven :wink:. And, coincidentally, they are right (see top of the post), although I disagree with their rationale as you've stated it :wink:.

The Magus would sink, but not get wet or dirty as the mud is a magical medium. The nature of water however is not solid so the magus would sink. A bridge can hold weight magic or otherwise and water can't.

I would say the rego terram effect, would move the ground but would do it without any force. This means the second the spell met resistance such as the head of the magus touching the roof, the spell would end.


First, I'd like to Thank you all for your input, it is helping me understand these spells a bit better, and I think there might be a little misunderstanding about what the spells are actually doing. the first spell is exactly what I stated, just turning the ground into water. It's not rushing at you, or trying to drown you, it's simply a body of water. I can easily bump duration to day, so by all means go swimming, if you can't swim, ohh well, spell doesn't really care that you drown. Now a Mage with parma up wont drown, but he sure can swim, or in this case, get dunked in. Ever get pushed into a swimming pool as a prank? same idea, i just created the pool under you instead. What makes this spell deadly in my hands is my ability to end the spell when I want. I'm not trying to drown you in it, but how well can you swim when the floor turns back into stone or dirt? Kind of sucks when your stuck in what is now mundane ground, and since there is no magic, parma no longer protects you from it. but again, the fact that I might choose to end the spell doesn't change the effect of the spell in the first place.

the second spell isns't so much as moving the ground up, its "Growing" with muto (Muto Terram pg 157 in ArM5, base 4 effect) and directed upwards with the rego requisite. I'll agree that if the spell was actually pushing the floor up, it wouldn't move as a whole because the mage is nailing it in place, kind of like how a latch will hold the hood of your car down. Depending on the force, it might rip apart if the floor is of poor quality. But this spell isn't pushing the floor up, it's growing the floor rapidly, and rego is just directng that motion upwards. By what's been explained, I'd agree that what's under the mage might not grow, but I dont see the rest of the floor stopping. I see it similar to nailing a sign to a tree. over time the tree still grows, and will grow around the sign.

I hope these explanaitions help out a bit more in understanding the spells.

I may be misunderstading your point about Prima Facia, but I don't believe it's breaking that rule. for a spell to affect "everything" withing a room, you would need to have prereq's for everything that might be in the room, animal, auram, aquam, terram, ignem etc. I don't believe that was the intent of "everything" however if your targeting wood, it would target all the wood within the room, chairs, tables, etc. so targetting the floor within the room shouldn't be a problem, I'm just effecting every inch of the floor, not just say the center blocks.

Hope the above explanation helps with what the spell is doing. How fast the room fills is another issue, but not what I am concerned with, just how it works with the mage present. By the looks of it, we're talking more of the balloon effect, it will surround the mage but never contact him, effectively entomeing him there. If he wasn't there, it would just fill that space and push everything else up to the ceiling.

Again I hope the explanation helps a bit. I don't care if he drowns or not, that's not what the spell is doing, it's just a body of water. the section of the book you quotes is what we call into question.Parma may keep the magical substance away, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't sink. So the question is; does he walk over the affected area or fall in? I would concede this, since he doesn't touch the water at all, if the water is perfectly stagnant, clear as glass, he would walk over it as nothing is pushing the water away from under him. But a simple ripple in the water, it's now in motion and now like it or not his own parma is keeping the water from refilling that space, forcing more ripples, causing him to fall in. Simple effect, as the ground is turned into water, it ripples. The deadly part isn't the spell itself, It's that I end the spell, trapping everything withing the floor.

As for my group being the ultimate authority, They're the one's who sent me here. Get some opinions on the whole thing :wink:
thank you for the responce, as well as everyone else. And thanks ExarKun for the link. It actually helps alot.

I think I understand what your spells are intended to accomplish. In my reading of the rules, however, it is quite clear. Either you have to make a finesse targeting roll, or you have to defeat the target's parma. If the target is in a room and you target the room, you are going directly against his parma. If you don't want to go against his parma, you need to change the target category of the spell and make a finesse test to target him.

As for whether he sinks into the water, I think the answer to that is also quite clear from the quotation. Yes, he does (although he can swim in said water if he knows how). I'm not personally super happy about that, but the rules seem quite clear as Written.

As for whether he would be "entombed" by the volumetrically expanded floor, I think this also clear. Apriori, without any added magnitude for clever or controlled method of expansion, the entire volumetric expansion would simple stop immediately, because it could not move the magus on top of it and the base Muto Terram volume expansion effect only allows for uniform expansion. To expand in another pattern, or "like a gas" which is what you seem to want, would require either a much higher rego requirement and/or an additional auram requirement and in any event require SG/Troupe judgement to determine the precise magnitude shift required. Offhand, I'd guess +3 magnitude, going from the Rego Terram "highly unnatural fashion".

As for your end plan to cancel the effects and thereby do horrible things to the magus in question, I do not have the supplement from which those abilities derive, so I can't comment on that aspect 8).

Spell 1. There is a difference between suffocation and drowning. Parma prevents magical substance (eg earth muto'd to water) from entering the volume it protects so the water cannot enter the lungs - the mage cannot drown. Nor can he be crushed. However parma does not prevent the water from closing over his head if his head is below the surface level and it does not make the water air permeable nor does it obviate the mage's need for air - he can still suffocate even while the spell is ongoing. The effect of ending the spell is to turn the water back to solid earth which will make the mage unable to move barring inhuman strength severely cutting down his escape options. If he is deep enough and the earth is not rigid ie not rock there may also be crushing damage.

Spell 2. Does MuHe growth imply more plasticity than ReHe upthrust? Yes, especially if the spell description says so - again the mage will be closely but not crushingly entombed. I'd say a Rego requisite directing the growth specifically upwards would reduce the inconvenience - instead of the magus being enfolded (implying lateral growth) he'd be at the bottom of a mage shaped hole.

The presence of a resisting being within a room Target does not negate the whole effect, rather the being alone is unaffected.

Nothing I can add to the OP questions that havn't already been covered by others, but i noticed this

Just to point out, no you can't. The spell last until it's duration finishes. If you want it to end earlier, there are virtues and masteries in HoH:TL, or you can use another spell to dispel it. Possibly you already knew this, but i thought it best to mention it.

Duration: Concentration. You can stop concentrating whenever you like - in this case when the enemy's head is beneath the surface.

Quite true, also as a reminder, I am a Mercere, milvini magus, also known as a mutantes (HoH:TL, pg. 96-98). A muto specialist(why I avoided the post about perdo effects) with all the virtues that go with it. Duration effectively means nothing to me. Now if I could just get rid of my Avaricious(Vis) Flaw, the fun I could have with spells! :wink:

I believe that this approach is asking for trouble. Not the interpretation itself, but the approach that led to it. I just don't accept the premise to begin with that it can hurt him to begin with - not possible.

Here's how I see it... "we", as Players and SG's, don't understand Hermetic Theory. We rationalize it, we fake it, we simplify it into numbers. So, as a SG, I ignore any specific theoretical examples entirely, and only deal with the rare in-game example, and thus (hopefully) avoid getting trapped by any logic based on any ruling I've made but may later regret. How does it work, really? Just fine, it works just fine... and so does Parma.

What made Bonisagus' gift of Parma Magica so ground breaking was that it prevented magi from easily attacking each other. That premise, that 2 magi could meet and have a reasonable expectation of survival, was what allowed The Order to exist in the first place and flourish ever since. So, if it was that easy to circumvent, Parma would never have been that big of a deal - but it is (by definition and by culture).

So, any such attack may be partially successful, but for one reason or another (and those reasons may vary with the situation) a low-level attack can rarely (if ever?) directly* bring great harm to a mage without penetrating Parma.

(* Teleport a boulder high over a mage, and it drops as a mundane rock - that's valid. The stone-to-mud... not so much.)

Exactly - "something" may well happen, and the mage may find themselves in well over their head (figuratively as well as literally), but there will be ample time (and air) for the mage to react, or be rescued by anything more powerful than natural erosion. If they can get out before they starve to death, they're fine, even if it doesn't make perfect "modern" sense to do so.

But a Terram spell is not trying to affect the mage, who is Corpus/Mentem. Otherwise, any "Target:Room" spell would require an Aurum requisite (for the air) and an Ignem requisite (for the light), and so on. So while this is not a bad work-around to avoid harming the mage, it sets some very bad precedents for spell effects in general.

(One of the hardest things in Ars, and the reason that "canon" explanations are cherished by so many, is that the major contradictions and pardoxes have been resolved. Not all, not by a long shot, and not perfectly, but most, and usually well enough.)

This is totally not true. Invisible sling of vilano is the basic mage killer spell, level 10; since all it requires is a finesse (attack roll) vs dodge, and does mundane damage, this is generally easy to cause a wound to most magi who are not great with abilities.

Create vermin which auto generate (mundanely!) into water, let a magus drink, and let him catch a disease. No need to penetrate, easy spell. Rot the food. No need to penetrate, great chance of killing spree in the enemy covenant.

As for examples: they are valid. If you turn the earth in water, anybody, magic resistance or not, will fall and have to swim. When the water become earth again, it is no more magical, thus parma is just not helping.
The "re" transformation from earth to water is the "magic gone" process.

You may decide otherwise, but that's not what rules say.

As HoH:S points out (quite perceptively),

  • you need to have an appropriate object (the higher the damage, the bigger the object)
  • you can miss
  • you can botch either of the two rolls (unless you take an additional Virtue: careful with ...)
  • armor soak is fully effective

This balances those spells

Yes, but this is why the OP made his spells target:Room, to avoid having to make a finesse roll. If that were true, it would seem that mages would avoid buildings and structures of all types, as they would apriori defeat their magic resistance and leave them utterly vulnerable. This is why I believe Room targeted spells need to break the MR of any people in the room. Otherwise there are a million and one ways to target a room and kill any people inside it. My reading of the rules was that either you have to defeat their MR or you have to target with finesse (which I believe was designed that way on purpose for balance/lore reasons). Any scenario one concocts will necessarily end up falling into one of those two categories.