Parma magica as a spell?


one of my players has a Bonisagus-Magus and dreams of a project, that leads to a kind of "parma magica as a spell". (As yet I didn´t dare to lead a discussion with the player about this topic, so I have no further information about his conception. That may be unfortunate, but on the other hand I´m still free to handle the case as it is most advantageous for my saga.)

Currently I have problems to see through the whole extent of this project. I´d like to address the following questions to the forum:

  • What dangers are inherent to a project like this? What changes in Mythic Europe would occur, if the character would have been succesful?
  • Which rules would change?
  • Do you have (adventure) ideas about researching this project?

Thanks for your help,


To my mind, one huge and obvious "danger" of Prama-as-spell is actually Parma-as-item. If you can create a Magic Resistance spell, logically you can create a Magic Resistance item. The existance of magic resistance items would mean that mundanes and hedge wizards could potentially aquire them, making magic resistance far more common and negating the Order's monopoly on it. (Mind you, this is a "5th edition" problem, as earlier editions had rules for magic resistance items and hedge wizards all had their own ways to gain magic resistance... but still.

Another "danger" is that you could create Magic Resistance spells with differing parameters... for instance with a target of Room, Structure or even Boundary. That leads to the question: what, if any, difference is there between a Magic Resistance spell with duration Year and target Boundary and the Aegis of the Hearth? Essentially, this would make magic resistance more flexible.

The only "rules changes" that I foresee as a new Rego Vim guideline and doing away with a statement that no spell or item can grant magic resistance.

I have no adventure ideas on this.

(As an aside, in my saga, Parma is a spell and magic resistance items are fairly common. This means that magic isn't quite so supreme, as almost every merchant, knight or noble worth his salt potentially has at least magic resistance 5... not that penetration isn't easy to come by, but suddenly it matters when dealing with mudanes.)

Hello Chiarina,

I would look at making original research around Aegis of the Hearth. You could effectively create a spell that is Aegis but with a smaller target, but as the creation of the first Aegis spell was a major breakthrough I would assume the each subsequent change to range, target, or duration would also be major. Also, changing it from a ritual to a regular spell would be a breakthrough on its own. The long term effect would be that magic resistance would be much more accessible, thus making it harder to identify a magus from a regular person. This would create a Code of Hermes nightmare as anyone could accuse anyone else of breaking the code because they used penetration on a mundane with magic resistance. If you used a spell to identify a mundane as a non-magus and he was a magus, you'd be fined for scrying. All of your sanctum defenses would then need to be built with penetration, meaning you could no longer pick and choose targets. The list goes on, but this would be a questitors nightmare.

As for adventure ideas, the original Aegis was based on Murcurian ritual magics, so you could have adventures related to uncovering ruins. Looking for books from cults and so forth. you could also have adventures where the questitors or Bonisagus try to stop your research for the good of the order, by coercion, misinformation, or outright sabotage.

Another impact of the change would be exceedingly high levels of magic resistance. A Rego Vim archmage could create high-level casting tablets, or items, and just about any magus could thus have access to very, very high Magic Resistance by spending a season to obtain said item/scroll, instead of years mastering Parma Magica (and probably ending up with a lower MR, too).

It also further strengthens Rego specialists, which frankly I find upsetting as Rego is quite potent as it is.

Frankly, I don't like the change and would not accept it into any saga I would run. I would, at most, allow it as an Hermetic Breakthrough to be completed towards the end of the saga if it reaches that far.

That's just my opinion, of course. Do what works best for your saga.



I didn't mind MR items in the previous editions, although all the perspectives mentioned are very true. I guess in 5th I'd reject the idea initially as I think MR is a ritual, which cannot be placed in an item. I'd have no issue with a Ritual spell being created that grants MR though, as I think if you spend the vis for each casting then it is in spirit with the current guidelines. If that also requires a break-though in a saga then that is fair enough; ysmv.

as an aside:

If you enter my magi's lab you had better expect that I have included plenty of penetration in the protection items. (I think) the code currently protects the owner of the sanctum far above the invader.

Typical Vim is 1:2 against all Forms or 1:1 against a single Form when targeting a single spell. Aegis affects all spells and is 1:1 against all Forms coming from outside. A ReVi mage can invent a level 30 in a single season, which should yield 15-30 MR.

If it is additive with PM+Art, that extra 15-30 is ridiculous. If it replaces Arts, it is still too easy to boost your defenses. If it replaces PM, you won't need to learn it anymore. Moreover this does not behave like Aegis which makes it hard to explain.

Think what would happen if everybody had 10 MR. A villain sending MR-protected henchmen makes a nice recurring story, but allowing this on grogs and companions would completely change their role in stories. Faeries have a hard time charming them, for instance.

There's also the fun of discovering that this Relic is not Divinely inspired.

Ah, a return to the first edition days. How nice.
However it rather appears as if this 5th edition have been trying to limit access to MR, so I'd probably make this difficult.
Aren't there some notes on this in HoH: TL though?

Yes, Parmulae on p32. Nice catch.

Most examples of sanctum defenses start with a 0 pen ward at the door followed by 0 pen non-lethal defenses to keep out riffraff and thieves. By giving mundanes MR you couldn't use those wards and spells any longer at your door, you would have to put them in your sanctum. I don't know about you, but I'd rather stop a thief or mundane agent at the door and put my more lethal high penetration traps inside for trespassing magi and magical creatures. If mundanes had MR your door could no longer be a ward because your door is not inside your sanctum and therefore could cause a code violation if a penetrating effect at the door effected another magus.

You are very correct in your interpretation of the code though, once they are "in" your sanctum you can kill the ever-loving Zeus out of them and there are no legal repercussions.

1st ed had Parma Magica as aRego Vim spell and IIRC this was only the passive MR, there was also an active MR. I believe you could concentrate (in stead of casting a spell) to add Form score to resistance or something. IDHMBWM right now. But back then it was the only way! So it could potentialy lead to a RegoVim inflation. Any magus worth his salt needed to be good at these arts to withstand magic.

But if some breakthrough was made to allow ReVi for MR while still retaining Parma??? First off I'd never let it stack. Also I'd consider having the new thing only block magic not protect against the negative effects of the gift.

And as mentioned it could easily lead to the spread of universal MR to all sorts of grogs and hedgies. Devices and casting tablets. I don't like that.

And it would again potentially lead to an inflation of Vim. But of course Unravelling the Fabric of Vim would become very popular.

Either way I'd seriousluy consider what guidelines this would use. it should not be: "Gen: Grant the tagret MR equal to level+2 magnitudes" +2 magnitudes because this makes a D:Sun spell give MR equal to level, and normal PM lasts D:Sun. Way too effective if you ask me. Especially if you look at what Vim guidelines require otherwise. Specific PeVi for specific Forms may be almost 1:1 (Unravelling the Fabric of...), but general effects (Winds of Mundane Silence) need to double the spell level. I know perdo isn't Rego, but also look at what is needed to sustain/suppress other spells.

The only way I'd accept Art/spell bases MR would be if they needed to be actively, fast-cast effects like Fast Cast Defenses. Never a passive thing like Parma.

A spell could be as per the magical spont defense, to Rego other magical effects away from the recipient of the spell? Rego + all forms, with a constant effect. I didn't think the specific effect needed to be understood, just the in-bound form of the spell.

Yes, but having a general such spell should not be a trifle. it should as basis double the level of the incoming spell t work this way IMHO. Otherwise you could stack Re [Form] for all 10 Forms, is that what you want? Don't think this works universally. A ReIg may very well deflect an incoming Ig spell. But ReMe won't deflect an incoming Me spell.

Well, if it was something like Base Magnitudes*1 or maybe 2 MR, with Sun(or even Diameter?) as the longest Duration possible, i think it might be "workable" at least. With RAW, that would limit the MR that could be added via a spell to a fairly low number. Perhaps requiring Vis to cast it on someone beyond yourself?

While caution is advised, i do think there are some avenues of approach that should be possible without wrecking the gamesetting completely.

Could somebody remind me where the rules for casting tablets are. I am under the impression that they can only be used by the magus who created them.

Covenants page 89-90
If they were only usable by the creator, what good would they do? They're supposed to be used by a magus wanting to cast a spell he can't learn/invent because of high level or just won't bother with. Somethign you use once or very rarely.
I don't like it, it is potentially unbalancing. Imagine making casting tablets for all those CrMe and CrCo rituals to boost characteristics R:Per and lease them to a magus for a single use.

Yeah, I'll second that. It's a cool idea, very thematic - but in retrospect, not really good for the setting.

The problem here isn't casting tablets (especially since casting from text has been in the game since at least 2nd edition).

true, it's the combination of attribute-boosting basic guidelines, combined with casting tablet.

Not to derail the thread here, but it seems to me that the attribute-boosting guidelines are a problem in general. I'll disallow those long before I disallow casting tablets.

Edit: Total aside but it occurs to me... Don't those boosting rituals violate the Limit of Essential Nature? If having the flaw Missing Eye means having only one eye is part of your essential nature, then why isn't have a Communication +0 also part of your essential nature?

Agree 100% with that. I dislike the idea that character can permanently raise stats with spells. Temp sure, but not permanent.