The Parma Magica and Relative Movement

Or indeed can you even draw your magically enhanced sword from your belt without lowering your Parma ritual?

It seems to me that the new Parma, though much better protection, also rather wraps magi in too much cotton wool for their own good. My Troupe is still having this discussion (in between greedily eyeing up other covenant spell libraries) and one variation on the Parma rules might yet be adopted. I'd be interested to hear what others think, particularly if think there are 'exploits' that we haven't thought of.

The suggestion is that the Parma operates differently depending upon whether the magus initiates the action, or the magic object moves towards him.

If the magus initiates the action then the 'power of his will' or his 'specific intent' automatically overrides the Parma, allowing him to pick up magical items, draw magical swords, drink potions, ride magically created horses, etc

If the object moves towards him, then the Parma automatically resists it (if it's strong enough). Preventing it from reaching the magus. So he can't be hit by magical swords, be affected by magical liquids poured on him, be trampled by magically created horses, etc. This is also consistent with why a Maga can cross a magical bridge without slipping off (she intends to do so), but why a magical bridge will not harm her if it falls on her.

Side effect: Magi can inadvertantly bypass their Parma by intentionally touching things. So, if he deliberately touches the cursed stone - he gets the curse. Bonisagus created the Parma Magica to protect magi (i.e. the wise!) - so if a person is tricked or is too impetuous to think things through, that's just their misfortune.

The Parma does not have any understanding of when or why a magus might will an object through it. So, magical poisons may affect him if he lacks the caution to check for them - he intends to drink, but does not realise it is poison.

The Parma cannot be tricked, however, and so cannot be 'fooled' into allowing anything through that the magus did not intend to do. So, the fact that he is drinking that liquid does not allow any other liquid (cast while he is drinking) to automatically affect him.

Another example is if the magus is pushed into a pit of magical spikes - he may be moving towards them, but that was not his intention; so the Parma will attempt to resist the magic.

This idea only applies to magical objects - so a touch range spell still requires the Parma to be lowered before it affects.

As a matter of taste, I under the reason why a troupe would want to run with the premise of 'intent'.

In my own campaign, if I even suggested a Magus could be cursed because he was tricked into touching a cursed gem I would be stoned.

In canon, the Parma has no intent. It lacks awareness or intelligence and must work the same in all cases. Because of this, it does not matter if want to protect yourself or if you don't. Short of lowering your Parma Magica, it is on and works to protect you from all magics.

I have to ask, what if a Mage willfully touches an item whose effect is Rego Mentem, "Lower Your Parma Magica."?

Is this something your troupe is comfortable with? It follows the same premise as the curse, but now your character has no Parma at all. Better than that (at least for me) a mage like my Tytalus could produce a Manchurian Candidate and make an item whose effect is to have 'Cursed' Magus A kill Magus B. Now, not only has a particular character been 'cursed' they've commited a high crime. Yes, I can see all sorts of ways this ruleing could be accepted by players and regreted later.

Thanks Tuura, already food for thought :slight_smile:

I agree that the Parma has no intelligence - the suggestion is that the will of the magus is sufficient to 'push' magical objects automatically through the parma.

An excellent exploit, just the thing I hoped someone here could come up with! However, the magus still has to deliberately touch it (i.e. if they accidentally touched it, there would be no intention of the magus to push the object through the Parma). This would make magi cautious before picking up any old thing they find lying around anyway ...

The 'drop your Parma' and 'kill X' items may well be powerful, but it could be later investigated to discover the unwitting magus' innocence (might be quite a nice plot line for a PC Guernican!). I don't think your Tytalan could pull such a trick (more than once or twice anyway!) without the conspiracy being uncovered.

Tuura's Cursed Stone

Sense the Subtle Touch InCo 5
Detects whether you are being touched by a person, as opposed to anything else.
[B: 4, R: Personal, D: Concentration +1, T: Individual]
Maintains Concentration +5.
Enchantment InCo 10

Curse of the Waiting Traitor ReMe 35
Gives the victim a command to kill the next magus they meet. They will use every possible method they are capable of to fulfil this command within the duration of the spell.
[B: 20, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2, T: Individual]
Linked Trigger +3, 1 use per day +0, Effect Use (restricted to intended victims) +3
Enchantment ReMe 42

Aha! That's it - a way around your devious exploit perhaps! The 'Kill X' item requires an Intellego effect to act as a trigger (otherwise I don't see how the item would work), so it could be ruled that whilst the trigger effect will by-pass Parma, the second triggered effect is considered separately, and Parma resists as normal.

This would mean that weird, non-Hermetic 'cursed stones' may still affect magi (the intended effect of the rule) - but Hermetic 'Manchurian Candidate' items would not.


Of course, how thick do you think the parma is? Even if there is an active spell on the enchanted sword (say one that makes it sharper) would you really give the parma a thickness in this instance?

Once again you only have this problem if you assume parma has a thickness.

furthermore it sounds as if you are assuming that an enchanted device would be resisted whether it has active magic on it or not. If this is your opinion I urge you to abandon it not oly because it's sily and unworkable but aso because it it's not what the book says and you are inadvertently badmouthing the fifth ed. parma rules. (Which IMHO get an undeserved bad rap.)

What is resisted by parma is spelled out pretty clearly in the right hand column of page 85:

  1. Spells and effects that target the magus individually (including if the magus is part of a group/room etc target)

  2. Things that are the targets of spells or effects that then try to affect the magus.

  3. Things that are created or sustained by magic

I've never really thought of Parma as having a 'thickness' ... I suppose I conceptualise it as a boundary (infinitesimally thin) rather than a layer (which might have a thickness). You have to push (or penetrate) through a boundary to reach the magus.

I think you've misunderstood me - I'm assuming that my mundane sword, with edge of the razor cast on it, would be 'resisted' by my parma - and 'slide' out of my hands (like the maga falling into a pit of magical spikes slides around them, p86).

An enchanted item (without an effect currently active) would not be resisted by Parma - so a sword enchanted as an item would not slip out of your hand (unless there was an active magical effect).

I'm certainly not badmouthing anything, btw! :slight_smile: I think AM5 is so good that when I bought it, I went straight back out and bought True Lineages; simply because the core book was so well written and thought out! (I ought to point out that this is the first suppliment that I've ever bought - I generally prefer to simply make things up for myself).

This is exactly the one I'm having difficulty with - and it may well be because I don't really understand it yet. If you would 'slide' around magical spikes, would you slide off the back of a magically created horse, or would a magically created (or magically enhanced sword - which then counts as magical) then slide out of your hand?