More Parma Questions

Inspired by Lebo77, I would like to pose a couple of situations involving magic resistance.

A: Suppose you encase another magus with a huge block of clay, and you do this by transforming all of the air around him into clay. There may be an aiming roll here, so the actual transformation of the air is not resisted. But what happens to the encased magus if he has sufficient magic resistance? Possibilities include:
(i) He can't breathe, and suffocates.
(ii) He breathes the clay as though it were air, because his parma somehow ignores the magical effect.
(iii) His parma lets him squeeze out of the clay as it forms, so that he ends up outside of the block in the first place.
(iv) Other ideas?

B: Suppose you have a small iron box with a lock on it, and the box is too small for a person to fit inside (say, 2'x2'x2'). You then use Muto Terram to make the box grow to 8 times its size. Then you somehow manage to lock a maga inside the box. When the spell expires, what happens?
(i) She is crushed, and dies with a whimper. (Morbid, sorry...)
(ii) She somehow pops out of the box and is not hurt.
(iii) The box is destroyed, and the maga is unscathed.
(iv) The box shrinks only until it touches the maga, at which point it stops shrinking and... um... wraps around the maga harmlessly? (The box is only reverting to its natural size, so I doubt this is what happens.)
(v) The maga cannot even be put into the box because she couldn't fit inside it, were it its natural size.
(vi) ?

A. The spell would simply fail, or all the air-clay would disperse and fail to surround the magus.

B. The magus cannt be put into the box in the first place because it is magical while it is size altered.

While I think I agree with you on B, I must debate with you on A. I know that the creation of a wooden box around the magus is not resisted (This is in the Aiming section of ArM5). So why is the transformation of air into a clay prison around the magus any different? Does the parma magica distinguish between Creo and Muto, or know whether or not a spell will be life-threatening when it chooses whether or not to destroy the effect of the spell?

It won't destroy the effect of the spell, just render the spell ineffective against the magus. A certain amout of the air would alo beb covered by parma; the air of his lungs especially, but just as the clothes against his skin are protected, so is the air in contact with his skin. And this magically altered air still cannot touch the magus. He will push right through. The Creo conundrum is tricky. I can walk on a creo bridge, but if you conjure one and throw it at me, then it is subject to resistance.

So, if the magus wanted to, he could step off the bridge, walk around to the side of it, and push himself through the bridge from one side to the other? I don't know if that's necessarily true...

Alternatively, what if the bridge were formed by a Muto transformation of air into stone? Does that have all the same rules as the bridge created by Creo?

On example B, I think the result would be i or iii.

A magically altered item has the magic on it. You magically lock a door or make a castle float, the mage's parma will not force it to stop floating or unlock. The fact is that metal of the box is there. You can not throw it into a mage for effect but like the clay example, if you pick up the mage and put them inside, they are in there and parma is not going to let them just move through the metal.

The question is the magic then ends so box is shrinking. Magic resistance would not stop the result of no more magic. The question is whether mage gets crushed by shrinking metal or the shrinking metal breaks open because the contents are too big to fit inside.

It might be both: Crushes the mage down to point they are killed but then breaks open when it gets too small hold what is inside.

I would go with point 5, if you cannot fit the mage into the unaltered box, you cannot fit him into the altered box unless you penetrated his magic resistance.

We had a discussion similar to your first point, but it was ReTe this time. Before drifting off into metaphysics :wink: I think the last points were:

I. He would not suffocate since even if he were encased there would be a small space left due to his Parma and since it is unlikely that people during the middle ages really knew that you can suffocate from lack of oxygen even if you can breath he would most likely not suffocate.

II. Rego might be able to encased him since the material is not magical in itself, I would have my doubts about Muto being able to trap him.


I would think that the the box would instantly change from large to small, and would be a small box sitting outside of the magus' parma. That allows the magical effect to end without having to break parma. There's no need for it to go through the intermediate size stages.

a) The magus is trapped and held immobile but does not suffocate - I'm reasonably sure that such suffocation is outside the medieval paradigm, which instead requires it to be a result of bad air. I'm sure I'll be swiftly corrected by one of the masters if I'm wrong there.

b) She gets crushed to death. The "She can't fit in it" argument immediately makes magical clothing impossible, and results in some silly effects. You could build a hollow pillar of rock two hundred feet high and then use Muto to change it to a ring an inch high and two hundred feet in radius - voila - a magus exclusion zone, since it has no penetration and therefore the magus can't enter. That's just silly. The parma stops magical things affecting you. The spaces within a magical thing are not a part of it, and when the spell ends, the shrinking is non-magical and therefore ignores the parma. If you want t argue that the shrinking is the result of the gradual failing of the magic then the box will deform around the maga and possibly break as the magic tries to make it do something which it cannot.

On B i will have to say III, due to the size change being magical, it should be blocked by parma, but the maga can still be stuffed inside while its large enough to put her there.
Otherwise this result would be noncompliant to several other situation outcomes that have been stated previously. (IIRC)

On A, i think fhtagn has the RAW correct. Although as usual with parma i wouldnt bet ANYTHING on it. :wink:

So in the medieval paradigm, drowning, being buried alive, and getting a pillow over your face in the night are 3 unrelated causes of death, because no one knows you need to breathe air to survive. I really don't know that much history, but I would be surprised if that were the case.

This way lies madness.

So does the box's "essential nature" remain it's normal size, and thus when you try to step into the now-magical box you are stopped?

To be honest I feel this is an extension of the "Dropping a non-magic rock" attack. The parma does not protect. The now shrunken box crushes the magi.

Parma is a POWERFUL defense, but there are ways around it. Using natural objects falling under their own natural tendencies is one way. The caster needs to make a "to hit" finesse roll. The caster in the metal box example needs to somehow get the magi to step into the box and then lock the door. The protection is the smarts not to climb into a magically expanded safe!

From what I understood it was well known that you need to breath air, but there was no idea about using up the oxygen in the air you breath in.

Basically as long as you are able to breath in unpoisoned air (not bad air) you will not suffocate.

And just breathing will not turn the air into bad air since it was not known that it contained "less of the stuff you are really breathing for".


Good point CharonJr.

as far as my understanding goes, CharonJr is quite correct:

drowning kills you by "drowning" - filling your lungs with water. I'm not 100% sure how they attributed death in this case - either because you can't breather if full of water, or if the very presence of the water kills...

suffocating with a pillow stops you breathing, which kills you because you need to breath.

buried alive in soil kills like the pillow - you can't breathe; as does hanging (noose round neck) or strangulation. (**don't say "strangulation can kill by cutting off flow of blood to the brain" - blood does not circulate, it ... errm ebbs and flows? (Loss of blood kills, because it's a Vital Fluid, but that's then loss of Vitality.)
The brain was thought to ?cool the blood? and the heart beat to power emotions and energy.)

Being left in a small, sealed room does not kill (other than by boredom, starvation or thirst).

Hence being buried in a coffin does not kill you either - it's just a small box.

Magic (PeAu) can corrupt air from "good air" to "bad air"; CrAu can create poisonous vapours, an MuAu can change air into some other substance, but ReAu can't kill directly - you can't "move air away from someone" as it's not a concept that maps to ME "air".

It's weird, counter-intuitive to modern views, but I love it!

Avicenna reported that the heart makes vital faculty from the natural faculty and inhaled air. The waste product of this concoction (the third of four) is exhaled air. The vital faculty provides the body with life, so without air, the body cannot make any more vital faculty and you die.

I've not read anything to indicate a qualitative difference between inhaled air and exhaled air; or that the exhaled air lacked some property that permitted it to engender more vital faculty (this was in a time before widescale experimentation). However, exhaled air was certainly not considered 'bad air', and I believe that it was just excess to requirements and thus expelled. A person sealed in a glass jar would therefore not suffocate as long as the jar contained air.


Thus why, even through well into the 19th century, it was not unheard of for graves to have devices for the buried to ring lest they were buried alive. The notion that their bodies would die of suffocation before they were in very long apparently didn't occur to the builders. :wink: