Lycanthrope and Aegis of the Hearth

Flaw lycanthrope states that it is the result of a magical curse. Out of curiousity, as it suggests an active magical effect, does this mean it is suppressed by an Aegis of the Hearth?

Good question, but not one specifically addressed by the rules.

By a simple interpretation of the rules, I think it would be, altho' "curses" also seem to be outside the usual definition of "active affects" that would be suppressed by an Aegis.

However, I think it'd be a huge disservice to the Flaw to allow an Aegis to counter-act it. I also think it'd be weak to allow any NPC lyc' to be "immune" to the full moon while there. You could say it's "the lunar sphere", or whatever, but I'd not recommend allowing a cheap dodge like this (not unless it really helped the story line).

I've run a mage with Lycanthropy (a Jerbiton, no less!), and run another - both were a lot of fun, esp for the other PC's who tried tracking down whatever was terrorizing the locals, and for me trying to act "IC" and keep it all unexposed before they discovered "the beast within their midst" fair and square. (Note - InAn spells don't work well on humans.) :wink:

The moment of realization in both sagas was priceless. "It's... it's... you!..."

Trying to find a cure was fun, too - took many subplots and diversions to get it done, and done right. (And of course a new Flaw replaced that one, and we were never sure the cure was 100%...)

Well, the lycanthropy curse is not a spell, per se, so I wouldn't see it being affected
Interestingly, the aegis explicitely affect spells, not "active effects" or "spell-like effects" or "magical/supernatural effects", so it could mean creature powers are immune to this???)

I can see an argument being made from it, though, but even then, I would treat it as if the effect was cast again each round. Since it has no casting total, it succeeds.
It's like invisibility: You enter the covenant invisible, the spell fizzles as you cross the aegis, you cast it again next round (maybe losing fatigue), you're invisible again. I see no reason for lycanthropy "casting" to be limited in "uses per day".

( Last line in the first column - "...Penetration totals for magical creatures are reduced by the same amount". )

Good point. That's certainly how it seemed to work for Lon Chaney and Benicio Del Toro (and even Michael Landon!)

I guess a related question is: Does a person with lycanthropy have a "Magical Might" the way a werewolf does (and so get stopped by an Aegis)? (I'd say "no"...)

Yes, but this is for penetration, nothing else. I was referring to the 1st paragraph.

Athough it seems we may reading all this wrong. That paragraph states:
"If any spell is cast toward the Aegis (originating from outside it) by any magus who was not involved in the Aegis ritual, the Aegis resists the spell. Furthermore, spells that bring objects into the Aegis, including teleportation spells such as The Seven-League Stride, are also resisted unless the caster was involved in the ritual. If the foreign spell cannot penetrate a resistance equal to the level of the Aegis, it fizzles out. The Aegis is also able to block foreign Intellego spells, even if they cannot normally be blocked by a Parma Magica, and spells that were cast before they entered the Aegis, such as an invisibility spell cast on a magus outside the Aegis."

=> The "fizzle" part appears to refer to spells cast toward the aegis or its inside: If these don't penetrate, the spell doesn't work. Likewise, it blocks (not suppress!) spells cast before they entered the aegis
=> If an invisible magus tries to enter, the spell isn't suppressed, it is blocked => the magus is kept out.
=> A transformed human wouldn't see the spell suppressed, he'd be kept out.

As you state it, the question would anyway be "does a lycanthrope has Magic Might?" or "Is lycanthropy and active magical effect", so that the character will be blocked by the aegis (and its claws by parma)? It appears not. The change may be magical, but once that's done, the character is considered as a mundane beast (HoH: MC p22)
=> A changed lycanthrope is under to mystical effect
=> Whatever your interpretation, the aegis has no effect on it: It could only affect the "casting total" of a change occurring within its boundaries, and there is none.

Hmm... that's a good one. For my saga I'll say no, because a lycanthrope is essentially mortal whereas, if we base our definitions on RoP: Magic, a creature with Magic Might is an immortal being aligned with the Realm of Magic. A lycanthrope is a being effected by magic rather then a being of magic.

While it's very circumstancial evidence, I would point out that Covenants considers the possibility of an Aura (where the covenant is located) that suppresses a Flaw that all PCs may share; and it explicitly considers Lycanthropy as an example. This becomes a Hook leading to stories; I do not think it would make much sense if every Covenant with an Aegis managed to do the same.

Looking through the spell again, it doesn't "block" all effects. It "resists" many. It reduces penetration or casting total in several cases. It's not as clear with items, but I would suspect the use of the word "resist" instead of "block" would imply the same, that penetration is reduced. I think this is actually the more important part of the question because it applies much more generally. I think this is the point that needs to be debated the most.

If we assume "resisted" is not "blocked" but a lessening of casting total or penetration, now we can look at lycanthropy. Here we have a supernatural effect. So it should be resisted. But the effect is pretty clearly R:Personal. So who cares if it's resisted because that's beneath magic resistance. Lower penetration is irrelevant if penetration is not needed, as would be the case here. As long as it isn't "blocked," I would say your lycanthrope will still change.


The Aegis would block Lycanthropy if its enivisioned as an extension of Hermetic Magic or standard Realm of Magic type Magic.

However, as a sort of bastardized version of Heartbeast, it makes sense that the Aegis would not block it.

Bjornaer believe precisely this: that Lycanthropes are people whose ancesteral spirit heartbeast overwhelms their human self at auspicious (or inauspicious, from the human perspective) times.

The Heartbeast ability bends the Limit of Essential Nature: basically, the Bjornaer has two essential natures, which it can switch to and from at any time. The switching is a supernatural effect; being in that state is not.

The problem with Chris's notion that Aegis doesn't prevent R: Personal spells is that it explicitly does. You cannot switch to or from Heartbeast within an Aegis without overcoming it, for example, nor can you use Hermetic shifting powers. Or teleportation. Or spells that let you turn into a dragon and crush one's foes.

In the case of Lycanthropy, however, you can argue that the nature of the curse is that the essential nature of the person shifts during those times. Unlike a Bjornaer, the two natures are not present at the same time, in unequal proportions: the human nature disappears and the animal one is alone entirely for the duration of the full moon.

Its a curse, entirely internal, which utterly breaks the Limit of Essential Nature. In Bjornaer terms; the human nature suddenly vanishes, and reappears again at morning. As such, it is beyond the scope of Hermetic Magic to comprehend, let alone block. The Aegis, like all Hermetic Magic, cannot break the Limit of Essential Nature. It therefore makes sense that it could be stymied by an effect which does break it entirely.

Having said all that, Lycanthropes are easily contained. Circular ward against animals is a Level 5 spell. Any magus who can't figure out to plop himself into said circle come the full moon, spend a night gnashing his teeth angrily, and wake up the next morning none the wiser.... well, he ain't much of a magus.

Of course, if someone were to, say, break the circle, or if the magus needed to be far from home.... well, that's where the story hooks reemerge. Not to mention that this easy fix comes in part from one's Parma expiring at the change (nightfall), meaning you've got a full night as an easy target. But casual containment is shockingly easy.

I have to ask: what copy of it you have? Mine says nothing at all about R:Personal spells, let alone explicitly preventing them. Actually, it implicitly allows many of them. If you're inside the Aegis casting a spell you "must subtract half the level of the Aegis" from your casting total. "Spells successfully cast have otherwise normal effects." So a R:Personal spell need not penetrate your own magic resistance. So with a R:Personal effect cast within the Aegis you just need to succeed in a more difficult casting, but as long as you reach whatever point you'd normally need with that penalty, it works fine. So not only can I not find how it explicitly prevents negative penetration R:Personal spells from working, I can find ample evidence that it implicitly does allow negative penetration R:Personal spells to work, as the quotes above show.

As for your examples. You can use teleportation going out or within, just not to bring things from outside to inside with negative penetration. You just need to succeed in the spell, and if it's R:Personal (or on someone/something without magic resistance) you can have a negative penetration. Hermetic shifting spells are fine, as long as you succeed in your casting roll. I don't see anything preventing Hearbeast, and I expect it would follow the same rules as Lycanthrope.

Now look at this with powers, as I was doing. There is no roll needed for success since it's a power, so penetration is directly affected. R:Personal works regardless of penetration. So R:Personal powers tend to work fine inside an Aegis. So R:Personal shapeshifting powers of magical, faerie, etc. creatures work without a problem. If that's the case, why not Heartbeast and Lycanthrope?


Just to clarify:

Actually, when teleporting from without the aegis, you're bringing in an item (you) into the aegis, and thus needs to beat its level with your CT.
It's only when casting a teleport spell inside the aegis that you can succeed with negative penetration (your CT is lessened by Aegis/2, but you don't need to beat its level).

HoH: Mystery Cults.

Heartbeast must overcome Aegis to operate.

Also, ArM5 explicitly lists seven league strides and other teleportation spells as prevented by the Aegis. (2nd paragraph).

Same paragraph: explicitly blocks spells normally not resisted by Parma Magica.

Paragraph 3: It is Casting Totals, not just penetration totals, which are reduced by Aegis.

Paragraph 4: Items are explicitly resisted.

At least, that's what the ArM5 says.

Think of the Aegis as a universal supernatural dampener. All effects are reduced by it, whatever they're nature.

Lycanthropy can only theoretically be permissible if it breaks all laws of magic, putting it far beyond the purview of Hermetic Magic.

I'll have to take a look. Do you know the page number? Edit: Found it on page 22. I would expect you would also add the magnitude of the Aegis to the difficulty for Shapeshifter to parallel that. Lycanthropy has no roll at all ever involved from what I've seen, so it should still work, just as such powers (R:Personal, no roll) from supernatural beings still work without a problem.

No it does not. Two of use have already explained this to you. It blocks teleportation from outside to inside, but not teleportation originating from inside. You need to reread this.

Yes, but applying this to all spells not normally resisted is a logical error. The above statement is true because it blocks Intellego spells from outside even if they are the type that Parma Magica does not normally resist. This does not imply it blocks all spells normally not resisted by Parma Magica. Similarly, it blocks a bunch of spells not normally blocked by Parma Magica if they were cast before they entered the Aegis. This also makes the above statement true, but again this does not imply it blocks all spells normally not resisted by Parma Magica. You need to either reread this or fix your reasoning.

Yes, I already said this. So if there is a way to change Lycanthrope to a casting total, it could be handled that way. But if it's like a power there is no casting total.

This is just like your statement above. It is true because under certain situations (an effect is cast outside of the Aegis by an item made by someone not part of the ritual). However, this does not logically apply that to all other situations, like when using any item inside the Aegis. You can use any item at no penalty within the Aegis - that is explicit.

This is where your logical error shows up. Not only are you misapplying logic to the earlier statements, but the statement about items explicitly contradicts you.


"Magi who were not involved in the ritual and who cast spells within the Aegis must subtract half the level of the Aegis from all their Casting Totals."

  • page 161

I don't see how you can possibly claim that magical effects are not dampened by the Aegis, whatever their range. The spell is as explicit as it could possibly get.

I don't see the logical error. It supresses magic within it and blocks magic from the outside. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Where's the logical error?

"All Casting Totals" would include all Techniques and Forms, all Targets, Durations and Ranges and all forms of magic effects using a casting total.

But that's another discussion.

Agreed that, as it doesn't have a Casting Total, Lycanthropy might get through on a purely mechanical level.

That is a very unsatisfying way of explaining it in game.

It could well be that the curse of Lycanthropy is just so powerful it cuts through the Aegis like butter.

Or it could be a type of magic that the Aegis just cannot block due to the nature of the magic involved. In which case it would provide excellent insight to those magi who wish to find a way to overcome magic resistance.

That is not what I said at all. You are not reading very clearly. I said that the casting total would be penalized, but as long as you can successfully cast it, the penetration is irrelevant because it's R:Personal. Similarly, the penetration penalty on a R:Personal power is irrelevant because it's R:Personal. You said I'm incorrect and have utterly failed to show why that is.

Let's look at what you actually said:

  1. I said the reduction in penetration is irrelevant to a power because it need not penetrate. You said I'm wrong because such spells are prevented. How is that? You are saying that my statement of the reduction is not prevention. Prevention to you is something more. What more is it? And if I'm wrong, explain how reducing meaningless penetration on a R:Personal shapechanging power matters.
  2. You said it explicitly prevents R:Personal spells. Have you yet found where it says that? Find the quote with R:Personal in it in Aegis of the Hearth.
  1. Spells (etc.) cast/made by those who took part in it are not.
  2. Tokens can prevent the reduction.
  3. All items used within the Aegis are not reduced.

Clearly your statement does not fit what Aegis of the Hearth says.

Skinchanger works without a problem from within an Aegis of the Hearth, too. Same for the weak magic (as noted in the book) items of craftsmen using Touched by (Realm).


Ok, what's the Casting Total for the Lycanthrope flaw?


Imagine that creature was powerful enough to enter the aegis.
When using any of its powers into the aegis, it will always work (creatures powers don't have casting roll, right? They just work, unless they fail to penetrate) but its penetration will be reduced by half the level of the aegis, okay?
Imagine now it has a range: personnal shapeshift power. Does it has a chance to fail? Of course not, it's a creature power. May it fail to penetrate? No, it's a R: Personnal power. It's exactly the same for lycanthropy. Whatever the aegis level.

The Fixer,

Sorry, you should take another look at both the spell and some of the R: Personal powers listed in the books.

For example, the Heartbeast ability is explicitly blocked by the Aegis.

To work, a spell or effect must penetrate the Aegis. The wording they've chosen is what leads to the confusion. From the examples they give, its pretty clear they mean it must overcome the Aegis to work , NOT that the Aegis gives extra magic resistance to targets.

This is why "all Casting Totals", which includes, of course, R: Personal Totals, are resisted.
Its why the Heartbeast rolls are resisted.
Its why zero penetration effects like Skinchanger magic are blocked outright.

So, if a supernatural being's powers do not have penetration sufficient to overcome the aegis, the power fails.


A Might 20 faerie wolf is invited inside a level 40 Aegis, and then its invitation is revoked.

It attempts to activate a 1 point power equivalent to Beast of Outlandish size within it, in preparation to attack a group of grogs, out of anger.

The power has penetration 20 - 5 = 15.

To penetrate the Aegis and overcome its repressive power, the Supernatural Power needs penetration 21. So, the wolf's power fails. The wolf is left at normal size, much to the relief of the grogs.

In the case of Lycanthropy, there are two easy explanations, as I said before:

1.) Assume that it is the result of a curse of epic power (Like a Volkhovy ritual curse) that has found a way to spread beyond a set target. Give mechanical penetration of 150.

2.) Assume that the power behind the curse is so beyond the limits of Hermetic Magic that the Hermetic Aegis cannot defend against it.

Both offer different, interesting in-game Hooks for how to deal with Lycanthropy, and the possible up-side to finding those afflicted with it.


Read again:
Magi who were not involved in the ritual and who cast spells within the Aegis must subtract half the level of the Aegis from all their Casting Totals. Spells successfully cast have otherwise normal effects (e.g. Ignem spells still do full damage). Penetration totals for magical creatures are reduced by the same amount.

From a creature inside, you substract half the level of the Aegis to the penetration total of the creature power. Which means that, if penetration is irrelevant, it works, just as a magical item.

Now, you seem to fail to understand that all powers don't need to penetrate.
Imagine a light spell. Does it need to penetrate? Penetrate what?

If a magus cast a light spell, fails by 9 due to the aegis and has pen 1, he has effective penetration -8.
Would you say his light spell fails? Or would you say it works and he loses a fatigue level?
Now, if it was a creature using a light power, would it fail?

Same exemple with a magus using a R: Personnal spell (which bypasses MR). Would you say it fails?
And then, with a creature using a R: Personnal Power.



Please read.

HoH: MC page 22

Exact quote:

"As the actual process of changing between shapes is a magical act, a magus affecting by spells which would normally supress his magic, (such as Aegis of the Hearth) must make a Stamina + Heartbeast roll against an Ease Factor of (3 + magnitude of the spell) to effect the transformation.)"

Why does everyone always seem to forget the explicit examples of the Aegis blocking R: Personal effects?

Also reread the exact words the spell uses. Carefully.

"All casting totals." Period. No exceptions.

Seems pretty clear cut to me.

Now, if you can find a counter example, I'd be happy to see it.

Only problem: None exist. Only way the Aegis is transformed from universal supression to strange selective added resistance is by a very selective reading of the spell, and ignoring inconvenient parts of it.

And whole other books.