Keeping one's Parma Magica up.

durations, whether of Parma or spells, if based on astronomical events, should not be able to be affected by anything beneath the lunar sphere. The power itself seems to break multiple major limitations inherent in Ars Magica

What I could see happening though is this:
It's about 10 minutes till dawn. So the creature used it's glamour to make it look like dawn. All the magi go about and redo their parma magica. Then it's in it's own regio so it keeps the sun going normally. 8 minutes later all of their Parma's go away. Now it targets them with a big bad ability.

Now, the Magi I would imagine feel their parma ending again, and freak out.. but that's still a 2 hour window. Unless a Magi had some kind of ability to tell perfect time, he would have no way of stopping this kind of attack.

The only existing and applicable rule that LotN p.48 "the ritual that maintains the shield" can refer to is ArM5 p.85 Parma Magica, which takes 2 minutes.

If you start that ritual utterly precisely 2 minutes before your existing Parma expires, the Parma ritual maintains it instead. If you can't do that, it either recasts an already failed Parma, or fails itself to maintain the existing one. But magi frantically trying to prevent the failure of their Parma, caused by the Faerie dawn, might see their struggle still as maintaining their Parma.


I think his point was. A Faerie Dawn should not be capable of causing Parma to fail. Because, Parma fails on actual Dawn, and that's the Sun Sphere. Faerie Magic is sub-lunar and should not be able to change the 'real' dawn.

Why is Faerie Magic sub-lunar? The only statement about Faerie and sub-lunar is:

That does not make Faerie, realm or magic, sub-lunar. I can also see it suggesting that, being just out of reach, it is not sub-lunar, but sometimes has sub-lunar openings. Faerie Realms are also called worlds. And they function according to the particular stories they are meant to tell. It's a common myth to experience slowly advancing time relative to the real world. Does one's Parma fall constantly because each minute in Faerie is a day in the real world?

That is in Arcadia, not in regio, that time moves at a different rate.

And where is this location mentioned in Lands of the Nile?

I quoted LotN p.28 about that already (, but do here again: "The Father of Dread uses this Power to draw mortals into Faerie. Its lands look much like Gaza at dawn." (underscore mine)

Of course you better read the entire LotN chapter on The Father of Dread at least once.


Oh, I was with you. I was just trying to get other to the same place...

Thanks everyone. Quite a strong consensus here, I'm actually quite surprised.

If I try to summarize the replies:
This paragraph is entirely wrong and massively botched, because:

  • An "artificial" dawn coming from a Power, even one created in faerie from a creature that is a God of Dawn, doesn't work like a "real" dawn*, so it shouldn't be able to end D: Sun effects and/or the Parma.
  • If it could, there's no way a mage could just concentrate 1 round to (to quote) "maintain" his parma: It is stripped from him, and he need to cast it again, spending 2 minutes.[/i] If working, this'd make the power even more potent

The first bit makes the power near to useless, only cosmetic. The second one is made irrelevant, but would make the power even more potent if it did work.

Does this mean we need to submit an errata? If so, what to say instead? Scrap the power entirely, since these 2 points make it either irrelevant or even stronger? Replace it by a PeVi effect to dispel magic? And how do we do that, with David Chart having stepped from the line?

  • This bring the question, as JL formulated: If a magus in in a Faerie Regio where time (which, just like in that case, is Faerie time!) passes at 1/10 normal rate. Does this mean that his effects last apparently 10 times as long? Conversely, if times flows at 10 time normal rate, does it mean he must renew his Parma 10 times a day?

:question: Ahm.

You mean by "this paragraph" LotN p.28 Great Guardian of the Tombs, I suppose?

The Father of Dread there first spirits away his victims to Faerie, that is to the Faerie Realm. And only once they are there he plays God with time in his part of the Faerie Realm, not just in some Faerie regio.
This is hard to understand for his victims, who do not notice that they are in Faerie now. It is however quite possible, if the Father of Dread penetrates his victims' MR for it.


EDIT: Perhaps I should spell out at least once explicitly, that the Father of Dread uses his Extended Glamour (RoP:F p.61f) both to have the sun bob up and down in his part of the Faerie Realm, and to attempt to bring down the Parmae of his magus victims. Against the latter the magi can use the existing MR of their Parmae (LotN p.28).

The Father of Dread just "knows many magical effects end at dawn" (LotN p.28), and that the hapless magi will most likely make the connection between the movement of the sun and their Parmae expiring. But it is their decision, to forego any other actions and try and keep up their Parmae instead. Such is the nature of Faerie Glamour.

The Limit of the Lunar Sphere should apply to Hermetic Magic as well, so spell durations can't be directly "tied" to the real Sun. If I understood properly that part of Planetary Magic from The Misteries, what you're using is the "influence" of the heavenly bodies, that reach over the Earth. So, that's like saying that you're not really "feeling" the sun itself as it rises, simply the light that it emits as it reaches you.

I think you could explain this by considering that powerful faeries can have such control over their regiones, that they can both shield anything within them from outer astrological influence, and even produce similar influence. They don't need to reach the Sun to do this, in the same manner that a PeIg spell doesn't need to reach it to destroy sunlight.

So these guys are indeed calling a dawn upon their targets, which is real enough for spells to be affected by it. Technically what they do is to wash them with "solar astrological influence", and since it's a mystical effect and not the real deal, it has to penetrate.

I disagree with this.
To me, the power is quite clear: By itself, the power does one thing, and one thing only: it makes the dawn come in the faerie realm. It is, in no way, a PeVi-like effect.
But since he knows that dawn cancels parma among other things, he uses this side effect for that exact purpose.

That's roughly my interpretation as well. In Faerie, you're not in Kansas anywhere, but in an entirely different dimension.

The example I used above was that of magical fire vs natural fire: His Faerie Dawn is a "magical" dawn, and thus can be resisted, unlike the real thing, but if it ain't, it works just as well, like a magical fire that can either be resisted or burn you.
Likewise, IMO, there's a potential clear distinction between creating your parma (2-minutes ritual, corebook) and maintaining it (the 1-round concentration the power speaks of)*.

I was in the clear minority on both counts, though, thus my question about an errata.

  • Now that I think about it: Even if we keep that distinction, there's a big difference there: The Dawns in LotN are pulled of in rapid succession, one per turn. To maintain your parma, you only need to concentrate during that dawn, which lasts one round. A "natural" dawn lasts longer, so there's quite an argument to be made that you'd need to spend more time to maintain it, which would fall well in line with the analogy I made about D: Concentration items, that require you to concentrate "for a few moments" (meaning clearly more than a round IMO) to keep them going at dawn/dusk.

Didn't read the book, though, so I have no idea of how it goes. I'd say that maintaining the Parma Magica by concentrating for one round is something unheard of, although it certainly isn't an extremely alien concept.

The idea behind that concept seems simply a pretty effective way of keeping magi "stun-locked". Unless your character is suicidal, the effect is "to keep magi mumbling their Parma Magica rituals like there's no tomorrow". Or like there's too many, pun not intended, rofl.

Honestly, the effect is cool, but it's very inconsistent with the rest of the books. If you can keep your Parma up concentrating for a few seconds with no "flicker", house Diedne wouldn't have been pwn'ed by strategically hitting them right when they were supposed to be vulnerable. I know that's been discussed already, but still I doubt they'd be so reckless during a Wizard War.

I'd reduce the frequency of those accelerated dawns to a diameter, and even then, it's not clear if the Parma Magica drops right at dawn/dusk or if there's some overlap. if not, they'd be effectively two minutes without Parma Magica at least for the first interval, and in two minutes I bet a faerie capable or calling a freaking dawn spam can do metric tons of painfully flashy death.

The Father of Dread does indeed not use a separate PeVi-effect to attack the Parmae.
And your phrase "it makes the dawn come in the faerie realm" sums it up nicely.

The Faerie Realm is not bound by any laws of medieval astronomy, and causalities deriving from these do not apply. But the story logic, that comes with the magi victims, lets the Father of Dread attack their Parmae when controlling the Faerie dusks and dawns.


Conceivably, by your logic, Parma doesn't work at all in Faerie...

Why wouldn't it?

The Duration of the Parma, and that of many spells, depends on cosmological cues in ArM5. DI p.37 Summary of Durations lists, which standard Durations do so: Diameter, Sun, Moon, Year.

But by RoP:F p.30 Warping and the Passage of Time the cosmological time spent by characters in Faerie depends on the overall result of the story they completed, and is known only at its conclusion.
So they cannot track it during that story in Faerie: also not by counting, how often they had to renew their Parmae or some D:Sun spells.
So the Durations Diameter, Sun, Moon, Year of their magic in Faerie need in some way[sup]*[/sup] to conform to the time the characters perceive there, instead of conforming to the cosmological cues above. If they could not use such magic at all in Faerie, this would be so important, that it would have been written in capital letters early into RoP:F p.20ff The Faerie Realm.

I imagine the different places in Faerie to be that manifold, that there are many different ways to track time within stories in Faerie, and not a single one applies to all of them.


[sup]*[/sup]: For some stories in Faerie all spells with Durations Diameter, Sun, Moon, Year might just remain up until the story is concluded. Or other such weirdness.

I'd say that in the Faerie Realm, cosmological events are "mundane" in nature unless directly influenced, in the same way that if somebody grabs a stone there and throws it at your head, the Parma Magica shouldn't stop it. Stories there are part of the nature of the realm, which includes variable time flow. So if you're living a story that develops through three years, you'd have to recast the Parma Magica every day, even if when you exit the Realm only a day passed. But anything that would forcefully alter this development would be a mystical effect that should penetrate magical defenses.

Also there's a difference between altering the flow of time and accelerating the solar cycle. In the first case,time would seem as usual, even if that day lasts only two minutes in the eyes of whoever produced such an effect, so in fact you'd recast the Parma Magica at the same accelerated speed. I believe that a being powerful enough to accelerate time in a whole freaking realm would need to reach the entirety of it, up to its cosmology. That's impossible. Anything less, wouldn't reach celestial bodies, so you'd perceive that astrological cycles are all wrong. Such power would have to work in reverse: slow down the flow of time in a given area or for a given target, which would need to penetrate their defenses.

Still, the choice would be between a faerie being able to produce "artificial" astrological influence or to slow down time in a given area, which are both flabbergastingly powerful concepts.

I'll just dip into the discussion noting that I do not, as yet, have Lands of the Nile :slight_smile:

Time in Faerie is flexible, as per RoP:F and a lot of folklore. And Hermetic magic seems to conform to "local" time (this is a playability issue, but can be justified in game as Magic depending on "local" astrological conditions). Technically, it seems that even a grog using Fable points could achieve something similar. So, personally, I have no problem with the Faerie Power as stated, as long as it's something that only works in Faerie.

The issue I have is with Parma requiring a single round of concentration to maintain. That's not how it's ever been throughout the editions. Parma expires at sunset/sunrise and takes two minutes to raise again. In previous editions it was explicit that a Parma lasts until the very end of dusk/dawn, so that there is an overlap of about two minutes (one Diameter) between day and night that allows some (minor) flexibility in the exact timing of the casting while still never leaving a magus completely undefended.

The comment in HoH:TL about the timing in the casting of Curse of Thoth makes little or no sense to me (under any interpretation of Parma timing), but I've found HoH:TL to have been written with rather limited understanding of magic mechanics, so I do not consider it of any importance.