Understanding Ward Interactions With Hermetic Magic

I've been encountering some issues finding rules on how magical effects and wards interact specifically.

First, the inconsistencies within the guidelines confuse me - Ill describe them here for easy reference for the discussion.

Ward Guidelines:

All forms except Imaginem have a general guideline for circle wards against creatures associated with the form for a given realm.

ReAn 2 - Protect the target from mundane animal attacks

ReAq 5 - Ward against mundane water

ReAu 3 - Ward against minor weather
ReAu 5 - Ward against severe weather
ReAu 10 - Ward against very severe weather

ReCo 15 - Ward against human being. To ward off a magus, must penetrate his MR.

ReHe 15 - Ward against mundane plant products

ReIg - Technically does not have a specific guideline for wards, but the spell "Ward Against Heat and Flames" ReIg 25 provides +15 soak against all fire related damage

ReMe - Nothing

ReTe 5 - Ward a target against dirt
ReTe 10 - Ward a target against stone or glass
ReTe 15 - Ward a target against metal or gemstones

ReVi - No relevant ward for this discussion


  1. Animal, Aquam, Herbam all specify they are warding off mundane versions, while Aurum, Corpus, Ignem, and Terram do not. Is this intentional to allow some to ward mundane version and some not?

  2. Ignem is the only form that has wards that grant specific damage resistance and explicitly protects against magical effects. This type of thresholding would have been useful on other wards for clarity, but as it is remains an outlier.

  3. What counts as a mundane item to ward against? For example, I have the ReHe Ward Against Wood. What happens in the following cases?

  • A mundane arrow is shot at me.
    Assumption: It is deflected harmlessly by the ward

  • A shaft of wood is created by Creo Magic and thrown manually at me.
    Assumption: It is not 'mundane' wood and is ignored by my ward (this feels bad), but must penetrate my Parma.

  • A mundane log is thrown at me using Rego Magic (not Vilano style, but taken all the way to the target)
    Assumption: It is mundane wood being controlled by magic and is thus blocked by the ward, regardless of the penetration of the casted Rego spell.

  • A magus swings his enchanted wooden staff at me to bonk me on the head.
    Assumption: It is not mundane wood due to its enchantment and thus ignores the ward but must penetrate the Parma to hit.

  1. In the case of Terram, which does not specify protection only from mundane products, even more questions arise on how to resolve interactions. For example, I have an active ReTe 25, a personal sun duration Ward Against Metal.
  • A mundane sword is swung at me.
    Assumption: It is harmlessly deflected

  • A mighty enchanted sword with +80 penetration is swung at me.
    Assumption: It is harmlessly deflected. This feels wrong, but seems RAW.

  • A magical spear is created via Cr(Re)Te and thrown at me via Hermetic Magic
    Assumption: It cannot miss, but cannot reach me regardless of its penetration. This feels wrong, but seems RAW.

  • A magical sword is swung at me that happens to be the talisman of a particular magus and thus protected by their Parma.
    Assumption: Man I dunno, maybe something like:
    If (Ward Pen > Sword Parma),
    --Then Sword stopped by Ward
    If (Ward Pen < Sword Parma)
    -- Compare (Sword Pen to Target Parma)
    -- If (Sword Pen > Target Parma), sword-wielder rolls to attack
    -- If (Sword Pen < Target Parma), sword stopped by parma

These inconsistencies leave me craving resolution. For my own troupe, I will likely propose the following house rules.

  1. All wards can protect from both mundane and magical versions of items.
  2. When a purely magical effect meets a ward, they compare penetrations and the victor prevails. Note that they still need to penetrate Parma if they penetrate the ward.
  3. Enchanted items are stopped directly as they have a mundane component
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In so much as I've thought about it, I've tended to interpret "mundane" as "not a supernatural thing, i.e. has no Might" rather than "not magically created". So a Circle of Beast Warding would protect against a conjured wolf, but not the same maga's wolf familiar. For the creatures with Might you use the guideline to protect against creatures from the specific realm.

I think the difference between Ignem wards and most other wards is that fire doesn't have to actually touch you to damage you, and how much damage it does by its proximity varies. If someone throws a rock at you, stopping it touching you will stop it hurting you. This isn't a completely waterproof arguement (the heat does have to touch you), but there's still the "varying intensity" point.

I agree that penetration doesn't help overcoming Wards, but I don't have a problem with that - Wards give you a way to protect yourself against a situation in which your Parma isn't good enough. If high penetration beat them, then they'd fail at (roughly, depending on quite how their "magic resistance" is set) the same time as your Parma did, and so not add anything.

I also agree that the ward needs to penetrate to block out a sword with magic resistance. This is an advantage to having a weapon as your talisman (also Relics and Magic Things). Note that the Sword might not necessarily be stopped by the Parma, depending on whether it has an active effect on it (assuming that you don't consider that merely being a talisman makes it magically resisted - I think this is the better view, though). I'd also do the attack roll at the start of the sequence, as if the attacker misses it all becomes a bit moot (and the character/ player shouldn't get the info that there's a ward there until it actually has an effect).