The Intent of Parma

I am asking this of the people or person who wrote the rules of Parma. I think it woud help greatly for people to understand what the intent behind the rules of parma is. Would it be possible for the people who wrote the rules to write what they expected/wanted/planed for parma to do or how it is supposed to work?

Its clear there was an idea that lays behind parma but in the multiple editions, the rules lawyering, the munchkinisms, the "power" gaming and so on that creeps into things like this, for me, the whole essense of what was intended has been lost.

Thank you.

What is the "Pink Dot Loophole?" Is there a way to close it?
Try reading this section and the next few sections that relate to Magic Resistance.
There are some quoted comments by David Chart.
This may or may not be helpful to you , but it will be quicker than waiting for a reply from him.
(unless he proves me wrong) :slight_smile:

Not the one to answer you, but still curious - care to elaborate what and how something has become lost and in what regard?

I personally find that the Parma mechanics are much better merged with the setting than before and that 'kinks' in the system has been ironed out.

I didn't write any of the rules but I can give you a history.

In first edition parma was a rego vim spell, the background information told us that nearly every magus knew the spell at some level and it protected them.

Problems were found with this version. Specifically, parma was not sufficently powerful to protect anyone unless they were a rego vim specialist and it forced every magus to study vim at least a bit.

In second or third edition (I don't recall which) parma was changed to an ability dso that it was seperated from spell casting. It also was made more central to the history of the order (the order didn't really have much of a history in first edition). However parma still didn't have enough power to protect anyone and now it had it's own special set of rules that were involved but they didn't matter.

Then in the early days of the Berkley mailing list (starting even before I joined it in 1996) there were the parma wars. Extraordinarily long frequently excruciating flame wars that all revolved around the incredible dificulty of defineing what was resisted and what was not. These arguments continued for years finally quieting down to only sporadic bursts by around 2001.

Parma spawned about a million house rules as people found different ways to resolve what they thought it should do, largely because parma never had done much for magi (it protected from spontaineous spells weak magical creatures).

When fifth edition was developed it was done by people (David and many of the playtesters) who had read years of analysis and several sets of house rules and alternate takes.

The detail that you see in the fifth edtion book is (I susspect, I wasn't the writer) there not primarily to ward off munchkinism (although I'm sure that was also an intention) but to ward off confusion.

The intent of fifth edition parma is stated clearly in one of the introductory paragraphs; "Magic resistance keeeps magic away from the protected creature" (or something very similar). The rest of the section is just elaboration to show the ramifications of this simple statement.

Thank you for the history - good points (especially the one I've quoted) and an insight into the process that spans quite a period of years.

I prefer the 5th edition clarity, even if it admittedly has some kinks as David Chart also admitted to be less worse than the alternatives, but what I like the most is how the Parma has been written into the history and reality of the Order!

It's important to remember that 5th Ed Parma is defined as a "shield", and a passive one at that - it unthinkingly blocks magic: it blocks effects you would like blocked, effects you would like to receive, and effects you don't care about.
To receive magic you want, you must either cast it yourself with R:Personal, so it's "inside" the Parma, and not resisted at all, or drop your Parma briefly, or ensure the caster can get a high enough Pen total. Even casting a R:Touch spell on yourself is resisted unwittingly (major value to Flexible Formulaic Magic!)

Because of all this, Parma and MR is (relatively) clearly defined, but the same straightforward application of consistent rules causes some odd-appearing twists (like Pink Polka Dots)

Almost all of the "solutions" people have put forward to adjust MR to the way they "want" have required some form of discrimination - either by the protected character, or by the Parma itself.
These in turn have logical flaws: the incoming magic must be detected and analysed for nature and intent before it can be blocked selectively. A character must presumably be conscious to do so (and so it fails if unconscious!), and in all cases the analysis and detection exceeds the capabilities of eg many InVi spells!

Hence, despite the Pink Polka Dot problem, the 5e system is the best and most coherent so far...

I agree - I just cut the corners and did the short polka and only refered to it.

Excuse me, I don't want to be rude here but the intent of this was a request that something on the order of a one page downloadable pdf file be produced by the people who wrote the parma rules laying out the intent behind it. This is useful in my view since the point of rules in a game is to translate reality into the case of a fantasy game reality itself often needs to be defined. Call these designer notes or whatever.

I don't want to start a debate on parma, or alternative views on parma or peoples opinions of parma rules. To be blunt if you wish to do that please do it elsewhere.

If Atlas Games is not interested in doing this, or sees no point in it, or whatever a simple statment to that effect will be sufficient.

I would like to thank Erik Tyrel for his reply since I think that sort of information is also useful (and could easily make its way into the above requiested document).

Again thank you.

First of all, I think that if you have Tyrrel and Caribet's excellent posts here with some very important points, and if you've also taken a look at the FAQ, then I don't think there's much more to gain as they are already quite fullfilling.

Secondly, David Chart did back i 2004 do some nice Design Notes on some of the other features of the game and one on the Parma would be very welcome, even if it's already some years inot the past.

Thirdly, if you want a response from Atlas and the developers it might be a better idea to e-mail them directly rather than complaining that they haven't answered here. Though we are lucky to have an open community and often being able to discuss directly with the various authors, they can't be expected to keep taps on the forum.

What you're looking for has already been written into the Ars Magica FAQ on Magic Resistance and Parma. If you read through the whole section, you will see direct quotes from the ArM5 author explaining his design rationale.

Thank you. Its not exactly what I was looking for but it is functional. Also thank you to the other person who suggested it earlier. I didn't see where the link went and thought it led to a discussion thread.

That kind of sums up the whole FAQ, in my opinion. :wink:

-Your friendly FAQ maintainer