Magi/a garments and armor?

Hey everyone I'm currently in the progress of creating the design for my female Maga of House Ex Miscellanea and wander to give her a semi armored look. However from past experiences magic users are at a disadvantage when doning any sort of armor and thus generally have little if none at all. Is this still the case in Ars Magica or can a Magus don themselves in armour and still remain at full power or am I stuck with my character having the generic robed look most wizards are precieved as having? To give you a more detailed idea on my concept she wears brown loose fitting pants, a red shirt, a Long Green cloak and has a suit of scale mail covering her torso and upper legs.

If your maga is of weak or average strength (Str), wearing armor will add to her encumbrance, which subtracts from her spell casting (ArM5 p. 178).
Wearing metal armor further makes using magic on her equipment more difficult (ArM5 p.152), so for example moving herself with Seven-League Stride or The Leap of Homecoming (both ArM5 p. 135), or transforming herself, might need more powerful magic.

For most magi their best armor is their shield grog.
But there are those who cannot be bothered to have one around. Some of them are strong enough to wear armor, and some maga's magic is designed from the beginning to incorporate her armor.

Especially Ramius Flambeaus (HoH:S p. 28f.) are known for wearing armor and being able to work their magic in it.


Best armours, hands down, are produced by your friendly local Verditius supplier.

  • Exceptionally crafted armours, giving quite a bonus on it's own (City and Guild, p. 69)
  • Items of Quality (HoH:MC, p. 124)

Afterwards it is up to you to make it usable with your own magic.

Let's say you would like to really protect yourself and you have Terram magic to support your needs.
Starting with a full body mail haubrek giving you a a base +5 (Lord of Man, p: 140) to your soak from your friendly Verditius, whom you will pay handsomely of course, this can easily increase with additional +10.
Now you only need to make it work for you. I have to state I was fortunate to search these forums and borrow some great ideas in terms of nice combination of enchantments.

Further enhancements:

  • Haubrek of Sublime Lightness (HoH:S, p:38) invested to a small plate as a sole enchantment with touch range, lasting for a day and triggered by sunrise/sunset solves your load issues.
  • A sound, sight effecting MuIm invested to another small plate as a sole enchantment with touch range, lasting for a day and triggered by sunrise/sunset to solve your etiquette problems, as you are no longer armoured from neck to your knees, but those are only clothes :hand-waving: and with Finesse rolls you can define how exquisite your daily new clothes are. You always have to remember the old saying: Everything for the eye, nothing for the hand as you cannot effect touch with MuIm.
  • Third plate with the MuTe 25 Hardness of Adamantine (HoH:S, p:37), as above, giving you another +2 to soak.
  • Fourth plate with ReTe (with optional herbam requisite) to deflect one attack each round (MoH, P:50)

Be prepared, your really expensive armour will gather warping points from the constant powerful magic.
As you see personal defence can be a Mage's obsession quite quickly and cost your multiple years to reach in full... and than some more.

I'll say that one surprisely easy enchantment or spell for armour should be MuTe(An,Co) (Base guidelin 1 - change one property of dirt adjusted to metal) to make the armour vulnerable to Corpus Form spells, or make it like should be part of the wearer body (better touch sense with that without to undress).

I see the guys have already jumped in with some advice, but for clarity, your maga can wear pretty much anything she wants to. There are considerations such as the weight of the armour and what requisites it imposes on certain spells (both already mentioned), but you have the freedom.

As a seasoned and very keen Verditius player, I do second the suggestion to seek out a reliable Verditius at your earliest convenience. They really can work wonders.

Here's an unplayed concept character I had on my PC, which also shows what is possible for a starting magus wrt armor.

He happens to be a Verditius, but has not yet any enchanted items. I hope he is inspiring.

Covenant: Triamore
Characteristics: Int +2 (Creative), Per +1 (Attentive), Pre 0, Com -1 (Bossy), Str +1 (Strong Grip), Sta +1 (Tireless), Dex +1 (Deft), Qik +1 (Fast Reactions)
Size: 0
Age: 25 (25), Height: 178 cm, Weight: 72 kg, Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0 (0)
Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues and Flaws: Hermetic Magus, Affinity with Magic Theory, Warrior (50/50), Puissant Single Weapon, Skilled Parens, Verditius Magic* [Preparation Abilities: Philosophiae/Craft: Blacksmith], Oak Gild Trained (30/30), Additional Gild Training (60/60) [Spell Levels: 0], Minor Magical Focus (Swords), Items of Quality, Reforging Enchanted Items, Verditius Elder Runes [Vis Limit Multiplier: 3], Baccalaureus (90/90), The Gift, Chaotic Magic, Restriction (Cannot affect glass), Loose Magic, Spontaneous Casting Tools, Hybris, Confraternity Member: Confraternity of Roland
Personality Traits: Ambitious +1, Brave +1, Hubris +1, Tidy +1
Dodge: Init: +1, Attack -, Defense +2, Damage -
Fist: Init: +1, Attack +2, Defense +2, Damage +1
Kick: Init: +0, Attack +2, Defense +1, Damage +4
Dagger: Init: +1, Attack +5, Defense +3, Damage +4
Sword, Long (HoA +1, EoR +2) & Shield, Heater: Init: +2, Attack +13, Defense +13, Damage +10
Soak: +13
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, 1, 3, 5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: 1 (1 5), 3 (6 10), 5 (11 15), Incapacitated (16 20), Dead (21+)
Abilities: Art of Memory 1 (Magic), Philosophiae 3 (Natural Philosophy), Latin 5 (Hermetic Usage), Artes Liberales 1 (Grammar), Code of Hermes 1 (Trading), Finesse 3 (Precision), Magic Theory 7 (Enchant Items), Parma Magica 3 (Ignem), Penetration 1 (Muto), Verditius Cult Lore 3 (Initiate Others), Dominion Lore 1 (Auras), Infernal Lore 1 (Regios), Magic Lore 1 (Regios), Bargain 1 (Vis and Magic Items), Concentration 1 (Casting Spells), Etiquette 1 (Magi), Leadership 3 (Lab Work), Folk Ken 3 (Magi), Awareness 1 (Alertness), Athletics 1 (Jumping), Brawl 1 (Dagger), Weaponsmith 3 (Swords) [Category: Consumables], Low German 5 (Frisian), Order of Hermes Lore 3 (Verditius), Scribe 1 (Copying), Single Weapon 5+2 (Sword, Long)
Arts: Cr 0, In 5, Mu 5, Pe 5, Re 0, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 0, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 0, Te 13, Vi 8
Equipment: Shield, Heater (Init: 0; Atk: 0; Dfn: +3; Str: 0; Cost: Standard); Full Plate and Mail Armor (HoA +2, HoSL) (Soak: 13) (Soak: 13; Protection: 12)
Encumbrance: 1 (2)
Spells Known:
The Miner's Keen Eye (InTe 20) +19
Tracks of the Faerie Glow (InTe 25) +19
Scales of the Magical Weight (InVi 5) +14
See the Patent Vis (InVi 5) +14
Sense the Nature of Vis (InVi 5) +14
Edge of the Razor (MuTe 20) +19
Hardness of Adamantine (MuTe 25) +19
Hauberk of Sublime Lightness (PeTe 30) +19
Gather the Essence of the Beast (ReVi 15) +9


There's no great technical problem with a magus (or a maga) wearing armour. As others have noted, if the maga is physically weak she might suffer a small encumbrance penalty to spell casting due to wearing heavy armour. However, this is easily overcome by casting spells that either make heavy armour light, or make light armour more effective, or make the maga stronger. And the penalty is small, so unless she is casting spells at the very limit of her capability, it is not a big problem anyway.

There may, however, be social consequences, particularly for a maga, to wandering around heavily armoured. Even for a magus wearing heavy armour projects something (either desirable or not) about his social class and immediate intentions. But even that is very context dependent, and it's probably not any worse than the social consequences of being a maga in the first place.

Concerning the above list the spells Hardness of Adamantine (MuTe 25) and Hauberk of Sublime Lightness (PeTe 30) are both from the book HoH: Societates.

Hear hear!
60-odd years in, and my Verditius is now on the mark 10 version of his armour. He averages an entire redesign every 5 years or so.
Entertainingly, no-one has ever felt the need to buy a set from him.
He's currently working on the Mk 11.

Here's the Mk 10...
starting with a full suit of armour,
exceptional quality, item of quality (+10 bonus to protection combined) 1 vis used

General Enchantments :
Continuous : Weightless (remove all Load from armour)
Continuous : Unbreakable (+3 protection)
Cast on Wearer : Gift of Bear's Fortitude
Cast on Wearer : Ward vs Heat and Flames
Cast on Armour : Illusion of clothing (all available senses, design specified at creation)

Boots :
Continuous : Trackless Step
Continuous : Hermetic Architecture Aura Generator

Helm :
Continuous : Head Up Display
Continuous : Shriek of Impending Shafts
Continuous : Shriek of Impending Steel
Continuous : Shriek of Impending Claws
Continuous : Shriek of Impending Fists
Continuous : Assassin's Eye (Heartseeker variant)
Continuous : Hermetic Architecture Aura Generator

Bracers :
Continuous : Detect incoming attacks } linked
Activate on Need : Deflect incoming attacks } linked
Module : Integrated Weapon System (blades/swords etc)
Module : Integrated Close Range Wand Based Systems (depends upon design)
Continuous : Hermetic Architecture Aura Generator

Chest and Back-Plates :
Cast on Armour : Wings of Soaring (actual wings)
Cast on Armour : Gentle Glide of the Magus
Module : Autonomous Combat Unit Module (Housing for ACU)
Autonomous Combat Unit (seperate item, not enchanted as part of armour)

Total Cost in Vis is well into the hundreds, and without the illusion is a set of plate with gemstone chips as the thorns on the gilded brambles growing around the armour.
Hermetic Architecture Aura Generator needs all 5 pieces to be present on one person, and makes a one person magic aura.


If I recall correctly, according to the rules you cannot remove all Load from armor, since Load also takes into account the lack of comfort when wearing it.

Nice set of spells for your armor, BTW. I find them a little overkill, but still :slight_smile:


A few extra thoughts/spells/effects to consider (not all would necessarily be needed on the same set of clothes/armour)
I've never played a magus who doesn't at least wear a chain shirt...other players have relied on casting 'Doublet of Impenetrable Silk' or equivalents on their clothes.
Enchanting the armour means you can avoid (some/most) warping from protective spells. And allows the effect to work in high Dominion/Infernal Auras.
Having armour/rings/etc which cast 'lungs of the fish' or 'leap of homecoming' or other 'avoid suffocation' methods on non-verbal command is very useful.
Armour which allows flight is good.
And invisibility/inaudibility and Illusions to disguise yourself.
An item which casts 'Endurance of the Beserkers' is very useful.

Next would come what I think of as resistances:
Ward vs Heat & Flames
Ward vs Cold/Acid/Poison
Ward vs Metal/Wood/Corpus - obviously, you couldn't use any item made of these at the same time...

Finally, I'd add to soak. Coupled with that route, you might want an enlarge spell. And extra damage/sharpness/etc on your weapons. Binding a Spirit (or other magical being, eg a faerie) of Swordplay into your sword can allow it to fight on its own, or at least grant you sword skill without you having to spend xp on that ability.

There is no real limit on what you can achieve - time/SG limits permitting - but the saga you play in will determine which sort of defenses you need. If you keep meeting a lot of pesky Demons or Faeries or Ghosts, then you might want a 'destroy/control/repel' sort of effect available. In one game (as I've mentioned a few times before) where we had access to lots of breakthroughs (and in 4th ed) I had a personal Aegis which I could variably extend around myself from my skin up to a max of 15 feet. And a total soak of several hundred...

All of those things that are continuous on Janus' armor I would not make continuous. Requiring a few rounds to turn on all of the doodads on the armor may be a problem sometimes but it gives you the option of not having them on when you don't want them on, it keeps the armor from warping over time, and it saves you levels.

Either that, or make a lot of the effects trigger off of eachother.
Constant effects aren't always a good thing.

Thanks for the advice and everything guys. I just finished designing my Character. What do you think?

She surely looks strong enough to wear her armor, and wield her staff like a Pole Arm. She has Faerie Blood, has she?

And she appears to have made up her mind about her familiar already: Crows of Virtue by the 2001 ArM4 Bestiary were an excellent choice.


Yep She inherited dormant Sidhe blood of which has hid for many generations. And yes I decided upon either a crow or raven as her familiar as I've always had a love for these dark intellectual birds. She's a lone Maga whom remains unattached to an covenant and travels throughout mythic europe, exploring its depths and collecting vis to improve upon her elemental arts. She's mainly an elementalist with a specialty for the Auram art.

Cool: the game needs more Auram spells. Keep us informed, eh?