Magi of Hermes: canonical?

GHi there!

I just finished reading Magi of Hermes. I have to say that I am impressed with a lot of the characters there, even if some concepts were repeated in more than one mage. In fact, I quite liked the diverse approaches using the same concept (weaver, bard...) and the ideasd that can spring out of it. My only smallish criticism is that story seeds do not seem to be displauyed prominently with the characters, but that is a very small point. Kudos to the writers of the characters and for the Atlas line to support such a supplement of what can be done using normal ars rules (few characters have a lot of initiations and such). There are a few typos, but that is to be expected with such a number-heavy book.

My issue is with it is with some abilities and spells there. I would like to know if this is considered canon material. I guess it is but then we have the following side effects:

  1. The Order of Odin is confirmed to exist.
    One of the characters has Order of Odin Lore, so guess.... See Maris of Tytaluys for details (an extremely cool character that is likely to be used IMS, BTW)

  2. We have all been rather stupid investing in Te & He wards fior our characters in order to deflect swords and arrows, when a simple ReCo ward (see Persephone for details) would prevent any human to even attack us with a weapon or his naked fists, or shot at us. Actually this is a straight application of the warding rules, but when it dawned on me it felt so wrong that I grimaced. Unless the human has MR he will not be able to even try to strike a blow at the mage

  3. Some new guidelines are introduced for a diversity of spells that sould be the same guideline, but are not. Identidcal spells go from base 2 to basde 15, for example, for the same final effect.

The second and third points were more a sidenote than an issue. My main concern was with the first point. A Lore score implies a thorough knowledge of an organization, not a casual conversation with a mad dupe claiming to be the King of Mars. So an order of Odin lore would impluy the real existance of such an organization. the second point is just something that simply shows (again)= that warding rules do not work very well in Ars and the third is something that I think could be unified across the characters in the book, but hey.


An organisation may exist with a similar name, but not be the same organisation.

As for the ReCorp, yes, but do you really feel like warping due to prolonged exposure to the spell? I'd rather ward my clothing against terram and herbam and thus be arrow and sword immune while my CLOTHES get the warping. Admittedly, this means eventually, they'll look really weird, but I'm a mage, what do I care? And strange and fancy colours are expensive otherwise.

I'm curious what this ReCo ward would be...

I'm guessing... a baseline of ReCo2 with +2 voice, +2 Sun, +2 for group, maybe +1 for size of the group and +2 for In and Me prerequisites because this spell needs to not only prevent an attack upon the magus, but determine motive. So, ReCo35 and a possible target size of 100 people? Multicasting and Fast Casting Mastery would be optimal for such a spell.

It wouldn't prevent anyone who enters range later from attacking. Now if it's a personal ward, that's fine, but then you would shift the baseline to 15, the target to individual and the range to personal-- I'd still keep the +2 Sun and the +2 for InMe requisites to determine motive and still hit ReCo35.

I'm a little leery of it, at first blush, because it does two things--determine intent, and then prevent movement, and Hermetic spells generally just do one thing. Not only that, but it seems to create an area of effect that ostensibly reaches far beyond usual areas. One could say that it's a "ward to prevent people from attacking me," and I guess it does one thing (with requisites)... so that clears that hurdle (for the sake of argument).

If it's a personal ward, then it would only affect those trying to touch the magus-- and that could probably apply to melee attacks, but I'm not sure I'd be that generous. It definitely wouldn't prevent archers from firing upon the magus.

I just can't figure out (short of a ring duration effect) how you would create a continuous zone that extended any distance from the magus and prevented others from taking actions that might harm the magus. That functionality doesn't really exist within Hermetic magic-- with the exception of ring wards, and even in this case, it wouldn't prevent an archer outside the ring from peppering the magus inside the circle. The wording in wards on 114 specifically says-- the target "is the thing protected."

I'll likely try to swing by the FLGS and look at the spell now to see (I've been holding off purchasing MoH because people wanted gift ideas for's been an exercise in self-control) but any clarification would be appreciated. In my mind, it still seems like the safety conscious (read:paranoid) magus is going to need those ReHe/ReTe/ReCo protective personal wards to prevent being punctured, slashed and bludgeoned to death.


EDIT: Clarified archer's position in 5 paragraph.

Actually, Ben, according to the RAW, ANY hermetic ward acts like a circle ring "All or nothing" ward. A personal sun ward has exactly the same effect as a circle ring wa<rd qwhen it come sto external people wanting to affect something within it. So a magus protected by a Protection vs Pesky Humans (ReCo personal Sun individual) ward would affect anyone trying to hit the magus with stuff. As long as they do not have some form of MR, the ward prevent them, to even attempting to attack the magus. No intellego requisites at all. Ever, for any kind of wards.

IMO that sucks, but it is how it is written in the rules.

ReCo30 for your info.


That's fine-- but that still doesn't prevent an archer from shooting the magus.

A personal ward is a ward with very small, irregular circle-- one that surrounds the magus. He'll be fine if someone wants to punch him in the face, tackle him, trip him...but that ward is going to do a whole lot of nothing against the hail of arrows those archers are firing, or the spears those charging pikemen have pointed at him.

Yeah, I'll stick to the ReTe/He/Co ward process, thanks. (Augmented with ReIm, InHe and a skosh of ReAu.) :slight_smile: It sounds like he's just got a very safe protection against mundanes touching him. He can still be totally ruined by men with weapons at range.


I am not coming down on one side of this debate or another, but I think you are overlooking the application of wards to supernatural creatures. If you use a ReVi (Circle/Ring) spell to ward a demon, can the demon use a stick (Herbam) to erase the circle? Could the demon cause the building (Terram) to collapse on you? Could the demon dismember your apprentice and pelt you with his body parts (Corpus) from outside of the circle?

I think that the way most people play wards for supernatural creatures is that you are immune to all attacks from them, assuming their Might is low enough and your ward is high enough magnitude. If you play this way with ReVi, why not do the same thing with ReCo?

The benefit of using ReTe or ReHe is it protects against swords from all sources, no matter who or what is trying to kill you.

I, obviously, don't care where you come down on the issue, but just want to make sure everyone thinks through the ramifications of their rule.

Looking at 114, the pertinent portion of the section is:

"Warded things cannot act across the circle, no matter which side they are on, nor can they damage the circle, directly or indirectly."

So looking at your options, the demon can't touch the circle with a stick to break it. The demon could damage a building, such that it collapsed on you, but only if doing so wouldn't damage the circle-- something completely legitimate in the personal ward situation, since that ward has no circle to break. It would appear that it probably could dismember the apprentice and lob the parts at you...this is the debatable portion. You're warded against demons, not body parts. Could the demon fling spines at you? No. Could it blast you with a gout of sulfurous flame from its hand? I would say "no." Both of those attacks are (mechanically) powered by and originate from the demon's Might, and thus the ward prevents them from crossing the boundary.

It's a fine distinction, but one worth noting. If you say "yes, you are protected" then you've sudden expanded the area of effect influenced by the ward. It no longer is a simple effect protecting the occupant(s) from the warded, but it is a feasibly infinitely ranged effect capable of preventing any warded creature from acting upon the occupants in any way. So the demon who is 5 paces away from the ring can't throw body parts? What about the demon who is 50 paces? 500? What if that demon was flying overhead and dropped the pieces? What if he flung them at someone floating above the dome of the ward who was protected by a ward against corpus? Would the parts bounce off the first ward, and then, because those parts were flung by a demon, bounce off the second ward? How does the magic "know" the metadata that the parts were thrown by a demon? Ars Magica magic doesn't seem to "know" any sort of metadata, with the exception of a Watching Ward, and even then, it only knows when a particular condition is met. I'm ok with that.

Having the magic "know" the source of secondary objects creates all sorts of silly loopholes and questions. The easiest solution is that a ward protects the target against the warded, period.

So if the demon uses a CrMe effect to instill a mob with vicious, murderous hatred for the person in the center of the ward, would that ReVi ward versus Demons prevent the mob from entering? Would it eliminate the CrMe effect on the mob?

I would say "no." Wards have a specific focus and purpose. Clever circumvention of wards is scattered throughout stories. I'm ok with the fact that wards have a weakness (other than the savagely beaten deceased equine matter of their penetration.). A ward protects the warded from a specific thing. Permitting them to somehow protect against objects that are not the warded objects extends their power significantly and inappropriately-- in my opinion.

Amen to that! :slight_smile: I think it also obviates the other questions of metadata and area of effect, keeping the system elegant.

:slight_smile: Trust me, I've thought a lot about this topic. :wink:


EDIT: Clarified nature of ward in CrMe example.
EDIT2: Completed incomplete sentence in second paragraph of CrMe example.

It is, it absolutely is. Especially Petalichus and Yestin.

Then the order of odin exists officially :stuck_out_tongue: Glad to know


It could be that the Lore to which that character's Abilities refers concerns the vitkir and other hedge wizards of the north. Magi call them "The Order of Odin," but that doesn't mean they consider themselves an order, right? Besides, you'd have to know quite a lot about them to be sure they don't belong to some sort of magical organization...

I was thinking that myself-- the "Order of Odin" could just be a half dozen viktir on the Isle of Man. You can know an awful lot about those six viktir, but that doesn't mean it's more than that.


Those explanations sound like the Delusion flaw to me, heheh. By that meter, you can deal with a single covenant and develop a Lore of Hermes Lore. To me a lote is A LOT more wide ranging than that when dealing with a whole organization. Church lore is not developed by local knowledge of your parish church: you need to know wider implications than that.

I just found it funny that Ars Magica 5 finally defined the Order of Odin as existing. What it really is is left open, but it is there 100% sure. Canonical :slight_smile: After a few supplements saying "they are not out there" I found that to be a funny turn of events. Take in mind that I do NOT find that to be wrong at all, just funny :slight_smile:

Besides, the dudes of Odin are cool :wink:


That's not actually true; you can develop Church Lore without going much beyond your parish church, at least at a level of 1 (which is all Maris has). Also, in ArM5 you can canonically have Organisation Lore for an Organisation that doesn't exist. The main example is developing Organisation Lore to initiate yourself into your own new Mystery Cult. It is most definitely possible to have mistaken beliefs about something at a score of 1 in the Ability.

Does the Order of Odin exist? Well, there's canonically a group of people that magi think of as the Order of Odin. Whether they think of themselves as that, or indeed think that they are a single group, is not specified.

On the broader question, all rule features of MoH are canonical. The magi themselves are semi-canonical; they might not exist in your saga, and probably won't be referred to in later books. In most cases, their age is undefined; obviously, they can't be all those ages in 1220...

[size=150]-Warning: This post contains heretical and potentially controversial material.[/size]

On the subject of wards, specifically ReCo wards, I submit my troupe's house rule on the matter:

Wards: Magi cannot cast Rego Corpus wards, as they are primarily Corpus themselves. Nor may they instill such an effect in a device. As a rule, wardings must have a range of either Ring, or Body/Touch. There can be no walls of warding. Warding spells do not displace anything within the ward, they only keep things out. There are no all-purpose force fields. Any formulaic ward is designed for a specific use, so a demon ward will not be effective against fey, regardless of art compatibility. A Ring of Warding placed in an item is tied to the activator of the effect, in addition to the item. If the activator or the device leaves the ring, the spell fails. There are wards against the faerie of a particular element (nature spirits). These are derived from the art of the faerie's environment. More powerful faeries may require an additional requisite such as Vim or a cross-over element. There are wards against 'domestic' and 'court' fey. Their environment can generally be covered by Vim, with exceptions that demand additional requisites. Such as a Forest Princess (He, Vi). Rules on Faeries should remain vague.

This rule goes way back in my troupe (it may even be derived from an earlier rule version, but I don't really know... the sands of time slip ever on, y'know?) because it seemed illogical for a wizard to be able to create a ward against herself. Not only is it extremely powerful (too powerful, by my estimation) to be able to ward oneself against humanity, it seems illogical... even in the context of a game about magic. We could accept ReTe and ReHe and ReIg and all the others; but on top of that a ReCo was too much. It strikes me as too "Superman", without even kryptonite.

[Sidenote: I hate Superman precisely because he's invulnerable, and that's BORING]

I know that ArM5 ascribes Corpus as the Form of choice to a number of supernatural creatures, but in each and every case there is an alternate Form that can be used allowing effective wards against them. Vim is the Form for demons, man-shaped or not, and man-shaped fey may also use Vim or another Form associated with them (Herbam for a forest faerie queen, e.g.). Zombies, vampires, etc. may all be warded against using either Vim or Mentem, or both if you want. Giants, ogres, etc.: Vim, or Terram if they're "diggers".

This resolves the absurd notion of magi who cannot be touched or harmed in any way except by Divine intervention, IMO.

But even going by the RAW (or close to it) I would argue that a demon or whatever could cause a house or tree outside a ward to fall inside the ward and harm the magi. The ward can't prevent a chain of events, it can only prevent direct interaction. Wards were never meant to be all-powerful force fields.