Looking for holes: Alternative Parma & MR rules

Hello there!!

I was thinking about puting this into the "Diary of Erinn thread directly, but since it is a BIG issue I decided to open a new thread, so you can flame me better :wink:

Those are NOT rules used in my real world saga, but ideas I have had. As such they have not been playtested. I plan to use the Diary of Erinn project to test them. before that I would like the members to flame them and try to find holes in the design. I am perfectly aware that they must be here. After all I am only a mortal being (my elixir is not ready yet) and not all seeing (I have always despised intellego)

So, flame on! New Parma and MR rules and new penetration rules


Para protects the magus against magic cast on him/her directly with any duration, and also against magical ENVIROMENTAL PHENOMENA that flood an area for a limited time (like being immersed in magical mud or having to cross a fire wall).

HOWEVER, Parma Magica does NOT protect against SUMMONED items (CrXx) or modified (MuXx) items that are used against the magus (or that the magus uses his body against himself, like falling over them).

So, Parma would protect you from:

  • A Pilum of Fire
  • Being immersed and drowning in magical water (and would break the rush of water around you, though you would become wet none the less)
  • Crossing a fire wall

BUT the magus can be cut in half with a CrTe20 sword. There are personal wards to prevent the later effect occurring.

Falling on a magical bridge is a non issue anymore (you slam yourself vs the bridge, period, since the bridge fodoes not "flood" an area) and Parma does what it was intended to do: protect you against the paradigmatic PoF, but not a blade bouncing against the magus head like a force field (I find the later highly un-mythic).

What applies to Parma also applies to Might generated by any realm. A dragon is not immune to a summoned sword (well, unless you do not look into the soak 20 of the dragon, that is) but there is no need for errata saying that the natural attacks of a creature cannot be resisted.

In fact, parma grants the same level of protection that an equivalent level of Might would provide. No more, no less. Quite a broad level of coverage if you ask me!

There is no Penetration Mastery.

That breaks a lot of the need for more powerful creatures and makes the smaller spells useful throughout a magus life, and not only “until I master BOAF”

Indirect spells tend to do less damage than an equivalent level of direct magic (that need to penetrate) spells, so that is not a big issue pro-indirect spells

I was thinking that maybe it could work if Parma would protecty you from any magic that had a duration of less than Diameter duration: it is a kind of filter that does not get "soaked" with magic until after 2 minutes of cosntant exposure. This has the problem that it still would prevent being affected by Sun duration CrTe swords (unless they do not count as magical anymore due to their long stay in ME) not vs falling to a Diameter bridge. It gives the magis protection from the short term use of "bury the magus in mud" effects, though. The magical bridge effect is more problematic than the sword

Any thoughts and criticisms?



Well, sorry, but a pilum is basically Summoning Fire (CrXX) on someone, the ray of fire being just a cosmetic effect. So there's a contradiction here, imho. You can't have some summons be resisted, and not others.
And, say, you can summon stone over a magus, and crush? No parma?

You'd made it work case by case, sure, but that'd require mostly an intelligent parma, working by SG whim and adjudication.

In the same way, I'm unconfortable saying that mutoing the air to fire around a magus' arm is resisted, but if I muto a simple cord into a fire sword, I'll cut right through his parma.
How does the parma on his arm discern between fire coming from a mutoed item (air) and another (a cord)?

Interesting ideas. Nothing I would want to use, but I am interested in seeing how they work out for you. One fatal flaw that prohibits me from supporting your concept...


I tend to make heavy use of Spell Mastery, especially Penetration!

OK, hole #1 detected :wink:

Summoned items/effects would need to be AT LEAST diameter duration then. Make them MINIMUM Sun duaration in order not to be resisted

Then parma would stop:

  • Any effect that affect the magus (target the magus or the area where he is staying) during less than a Diameter duration.

That would make parma resist PoF and a diameter duration mud cascade
Parma would resist a magical sword of D: diameter
Parma would also protect the magus traversing a wall of flame if he stayed there for less than 2 minutes

Parma would not protect you from a D:sun mountain of mud. After a Diameter you would start to be crushed, suffocate, so you'd better act fast there. You have 12 rounds :wink:
Parma would not resist a magical sword of D:sun

Parma would also protect you from the damage from falling on a magical bridge, though :frowning:

It still seems to lack some consistency in the wording :confused:

Needs work. Suggestions/ideas?


And you and I use creatures of Might 60 on a regular basis. :wink: The idea behind this is to lower the needs for power creep in the might of the opposition. Removing spell mastery also turns parma into a truly powerful magical armor instead of the laughable flimsy protection vs other hermetics it is under the current rules. :slight_smile:



Hum, I agree with The Fixer here.

If I understand well your idea, it would suffice to add 2 magnitude to a PoF spell (to D: Sun) for it to not be resisted ?
This would encourage strange spells, don't you think!?

My Wall of fire would be resisted if only of diameter duration ? And what if it's of concentration duration, but boosted to sun with MuVi or ReVi ?
This seems a lot of complications for me.

You didn't tell why you were thinking about those ideas: I invite you to tell about your intentions. What is it you want to fix or dislike ?

As for ideas, our troupe never allower Multi-Casting as a mastery ability, and we don't regret that house rule. If you want a spell that thow many pilums, then there are already rules for that in the spell-building chapter.

As for the Parma, I wouldn't - at first - dislike this other idea : spells that naturally feel like they ought to be aimed to demands such a aim roll. Like PoF. And such spells could be also resisted. Thus, MR rules would be unchanged. This would unbalance the current power-level of many guidelines, though. Not sure I would like it in the end, but if you are searching for ideas..

Can you cast a Sun duration POF? :confused:

My basic thing is that I do not like parma stoping everything magic from entering contact with the magus. I find it quite anticlimatic when a magus is striken in the head with a magical flaming sword and it simply bounces out. The magus then raises his head and says "did you want something?". That does not sit well with me. Parma resisting a firebolt, allowing you to cross a wall of fire or protecting you from a spell to turn you mad works for me, but not one that renders Excalibur* as a useless shinny trinket vs a magus.

I guess that in fact what I am trying to achieve is that only spells that target the magus directly can be resisted.


  • receiving a pilum of fire
  • traversing a wall of flame
  • drowning/suffocating to death under a diameter mountain of sand/diameter lake
  • A spell to turn you mad or stupid
  • a spell to change your bodily parts (or bodily fluids**)


  • being hit by a summoned sword
  • allowing you to walk unimpaired for a week under a summoned magical ocean.
  • being hit by indirect damage spells

Hope you get the point now. Basically I think that temporarily summoned phisical stuff should be able to affect a magus. I might make contradictory statements above, though. Maybe the sand should not cause direct damage (due to it falling on the magus) but should suffocate him, since that is an indirect effect?



*yeah, you can do stuff with items of quality et al, so Excalibur would probably beat the crao out of any Hermetic, but you get the point
**special prize for the first to say the reference

GASP! No Multicasting? That is, like, the original Mastered Spell ability!

I mean, you know my general stance. I prefer House Rules that modify or add options, not ones that add restrictions or limit options.

What is the reasoning behind dissallowing Multicasting? Is is simply to make the game harder? No disrespect, some people like things to be harder. But other than as an arbitray limitation, I don't understand why you would want to do this. It is balanced and built into the core rules since earlier editions. In fact, since the number of copies is limited to your Mastery Score, its already pretty well regulated and restricted.

The rules also already allow to cast more then one spell, if you can make a finesse-initiative roll with a -6. Then another with a -12, etc.
The reasoning is simply that from the start of our playing ArsMag, we saw no reasoning why there would be multi-casting. I think it was our first House Rule.
For us, it's not about making the game harder, it's simply how we play. Instead of learning Ball of Abyssall Flame and multi-casting it, you actually have to learn and cast a level 45 CrIg T: Group spell. More choices doesn't mean more liberty or more pleasure :wink:
On this subject, check this out (even if I don't agree 100% with him: youtube.com/watch?v=VO6XEQIsCoM

How I understand the question is: Is it possible to create a fire that does +15 damage at voice range, which is magically sustained for a duration of Sun ?
I think yes.

What is happening is that most people will tell PoF is an indirect damage spell. It create fire: fire just happen to do damage afterward. It's the same as creating water all around a mage. Water does not attack us directly.

A solution would be for you to simply put PoF into the "Parma does not protect category".
Then, you changes non-parma related rules:

  1. All indirect spells needs to be aimed (gives some hope to poor knghts trying to dodge a PoF ! more/different action related fun, IMHO.
  2. you expend the counter-spells rules to make counter spelling more easily done:
    As an exemple:
    -no finess roll needed to match the initiative score of the attack.
    -The spells always lessen (to an extent) the incoming spell.
  • No fatigue loss when counter-spelling a magical effect (from anything) directed at the mage counter-spelling, AND
  • No loss of an "action" in the same circumstance : is "automatic". Though you could give an additionnal -5 to casting score for counter-spelling a second spell, -10 for the third, and so on.

Or, you could just go along your own idea. And fine tune latter. It's not that bad, really. :smiley:

Only if you Fast-Cast, which is another Mastery Ability. You cannot fast cast Formulaic Spells otherwise.

Okay, fair enough. I on the other hand see no reasoning why there wouldn't be multi-casting, so I suppose it is personal preference. My main concern is that extra limitations such as this would make your game somewhat incompatible with others. Not a big worry, that is until you find yourself in a position where you want to recruit new players into your game. Do you ever find yourselves in such a position, and if so how do you compromise? Curiosity, not Criticism.

I guess if person wants to spend 15 xp on mastering and multicasting pilum, it is hard to stop them until they come up with someone with fire protection.

I agree. This was part of the point I wanted to make. After saying that, it's always possible to learn a group version of the same spell.

Yes, Fast-Cast already do the multi-casting thing. But more game balanced, IMHO. Also, there exist "Target: group", which cost 2 magnitudes. Also more game balanced, IMHO. No need for a 3rd way of doing about the same thing, IMHO.

Did it happened to encounter new players ?
Yes, it happened eight times, in our last 8 years of playing.

How do we compromise ?
No compromise is needed, since most people do not cares about the particulars of the rules.

We never encountered someone who already knew the rules very well. Most knew nothing at all.
Truth is, IMHO, rules issues concerns mainly people on this forum(and berklist)
We need to realise that.

Emphasis made from the fine people of this forum (of which I am) are not those of the majority of the Ars Magica gamers.
We also needs to realise that.

I envy you if you have a large pool of people with whom you can play Ars Magica, each having particular house rules preferences. And if dealing with such rules' concerns is something you actually do, then you are amongst the most lucky of us all, my friend. :slight_smile:
Hope this satisfy your curiosity. =)

Seems I am achieving the opposite result that I wanted, that is consistency and simplification. I thought it would be easier here :stuck_out_tongue:

I will try to give a twist or 2, but might drop this idea and simply say that items (both creo-ed and non creo-ed) that are not propelled by magic (I.e: an enchanted sword or summoned sword) are not resisted IMS :slight_smile: Will take a look into the MR rules again tonight



In our troupe, we have a simple rule:

  1. if the effect have for goalto do some harm or to contrary a character (pc or npc) then, it's resisted by parma.
  2. if the player try to find a way to indirectly hurt/harm/what you want a npc, its resisted.

The only way to bypass parma:

  • +-5 magi on our 3000 magi total in the world can use indirect regospell
  • use mundane things (cut a tree to do it fall on a magus) or permanent creoted things
  • penetrate


Why don't you make parma act as soak against magical damage, including magical swords, then?

That way, a magic sword could still hurt a magus.
Problem is, penetration becomes useless.

As I said before, the pilum's shape is just a special effect in order to have the spell look cool. Reduced at its core, you're just creating a fire there

Thus, you have an intelligent parma, able to discern between 2 CrIg spells:

  • This is heat, but mild enough to simply heat up the magus when freezing. I won't stop it.
  • This is heat, but hot enough to hurt the magus. I will stop it.

IIRC, this is the exact reason why this option wasn't implemented in the RAW parma

Sir, you are a genius :smiley:

In fact that also combines with Parma protecting (partially) from extremely powerful spells, that is something I like.

However a high parma would leave even POF as a useless piece of crap. and you would be needing bigger and bigger spells to beat high MR guys. I do not really like that...

Time to get to the drawing table but it seems this can be heading somewhere....

Not necessarily: penetration could be added to damage, for example.

Hmm.... interesting idea

Thanks :slight_smile:


Only for negating parma, then.
Maybe something like penetration/2 bonus to damage, with max damage = spell damage?

And happy if I can be useful.

It does. I realized last night I was being a jerk again and asking argumentative questions. But it has been a problem I run into. I myself try to keep HR's to a minimum. I would prefer none, but some have crept in anyway. As far as numbers go, I am in two different games on the forums here and I am hoping to join a live game soon. Keeping everything as close to RAW as possible allows me to float between groups like that. For example, though I permit multiple Story Flaws in my games, the characters I make for other games have only one. Now, in the past I had two excellent players that wer old gamer buddies of mine, and any extra restrictions beyond the RAW would make them scream and cry. When we converted from 4th to 5th, we naturally assumed Wards don't have to penetrate, and if that troupe was still together I imagine it would be very difficult to convince them otherwise.

Its, in my head, much simpler.

If i cast the spell, i choose my parma to be down or not for it. So if I cast a heat spell for the night, no problem: parma have not to choice, because i have it down.
If my opponent cast it, my parma blocks it, else if its a healing spell.
Because, by principle, i dont want my opponent cast spell at me without agreement.

What i was saying in my first post was only for the "tricks" used by the player against npc/pc to bypass parma (you know, the kind of enemy with 6+2 parma and good Arts, 45 might... we play only magi 25year old :p), like do a wall of stone, then push it with a MuAu, etc.

For some time I am also pondering this issue for a high fantasy setting in which all characters have some dergee of MR.
Additionnaly I was looking for a rule easy to remember and working on all occasions.
So I came up with the following rules:
If you want to affect someone, be it by magic or mundane means you have to beat a target number, which depending on the situation might be an opposing roll. This is true for sword fencing (attack vs. defense), for lying (gulie vs. folk ken) and for magic als well.
Rule of thump is: To effect someone by magic, beat him in a roll. This might either be a roll of casting total vs MR or a finesse roll vs. dodge, or a touch effect vs defense.
Thus, magical effects casted with touch duration do not need to penetrate. So it's postulated that touching your target circumvents its MR.
This way you can hurt someone with a conjured sword without considering MR but have to beat MR using Pilum of Fire. And yes, a PoF with touch range will not have to penetrate. Usually, it is difficult enough to touch someone in combat. Using it on unconcios persons: Well coup de grace are easy enough to deliver anyway