Using a Ward like a trap

I have a little question about magical wards (oh no, again!). Reading page 112 (Ring) I cannot find any useful sentence. So my question is: can I use a Magical Ward to trap inside a creature (like a Vim Ward to trap a demon)? And again, it is possible to draw a ring a lot of turns before the casting of the spell hoping that the creature walks inside it and than trapping the monster inside casting the right warding spell?

IIRC, what you're proposing would be difficult due to the requirement that the Ring be drawn while the spell is being cast, but yes the ward would indeed work as a two-way barrier to the warded creature (See "Magical Wards" ArM5 114).

One solution is to Summon the target creature into a magical circle that has already been warded...

Or a ward + a waiting spell (ReVi, ritual). Or, an item containing the ward and activating itself when the creature enters the room.

I think you want to look under Wards for the answer to your question instead of under the Target and Duration they use. Short answer: yes, they can be.

Sorry, you don't remember correctly. That is one option. There is another option that is relevant here. The circle may already exist, in which case you need to trace along it. You still need the time to trace around it, but if the circle/ring isn't that large or if it's hidden (perhaps outside of the walls of the room) that may not be much of a problem.


Yes. You can use a ward as a trap/cage.

This is the traditional way for an infernalist to get into trouble.

  1. I summon a demon.
  2. I trap the demon in a ward (intending to force the demon to do my bidding).
  3. I underestimate the Might of the demon, it smirks, and walks over the ward boundary.

Or, also very common:

b- The demon is trapped for some time, but is released after someone who doesn't know better steps on the circle.

Oh yes, that is a true classic, in one version or another. :mrgreen:

Very true.

I don't think of this as a trap, but as a prison. In Ars Magica, under the RAW, you cannot use a ward to "trap" anything. A Circle Target spell only affects things that were in the circle at the time of casting. In some mythologies, wards are always on and can be used as traps. Look at Supernatural, the television show, they are always putting wards on the ceiling, under rugs, under vehicles, etc. and luring demons into them. These are traps. This is not something that you can do in Ars Magica as written. Once the ward is cast, the demon either bounces off of it or walks through it unaffected.

In fact, I don't think that you can even use a circle/ring ward as a prison as described above. The Circle Target only affects that which is inside at the time of casting. If you are in the ward when cast, you are protected by it. Unless the demon was inside the ward when it was cast, rather than being summoned into the center of the ward, it doesn't affect him.

This is another example, in addition to the Penetration rules, of how wards are seriously broken.

Ward are special: those circles can affect what wasn't inside at the time of casting... it's in the circle ward section IIRC.

This is quite easily done in Ars Magica, use a Watching Ward or Suppressing the Wizard's Handiwork spell to turn the ward "off" until the demon is in place.

Alternatively, use some kind of Concentration / Diameter / Sun Duration based Rego magic to pin the demon into place while somebody else mucks about casting the "permanent" Ward. For example, if the demon is a tree then something based on the level 5 ReHe guideline should be fine to pin it into place, until the Ward gets cast.

I would then ask if you could make a permenant ring in (say) brass on the ground and then have some sort of trigger which has a waiting ward ritual inside it. Demon walks in, triggers spell and pre-existing circle activates.

It'll hold the demon in place as long as the circle holds, but inevitably a leaf, some dust or insect is going to cross the ring and end the spell.

Alternatively have month and room duration and target. Demon walks into room and the ward remains for a month.


Yeah, whatever. I stand by my statement that Wards cannot be used as traps. Other spells in Ars Magica may be used as traps, wards cannot.

In any event, none of these suggestions are "quite easy." A Watching Ward is a Ritual spell, which by definition is not easy. Suppressing the Wizard's Handiwork would not work. Circle Target only affects what is inside the Circle at the time of casting. A Rego Vim spell to "control" a demon? This would work, but I'm sure the Quaesitors would find that very interesting. A Rego Vim (Herbam) spell to change a demon's non-corporeal body into a tree would likely be higher than level 5 and would not likely stop the Demon from using its Might based powers while in tree form if sucessful.

While the second statement is true, the first is a conclusion drawn from a misinterpretation of the second. The second has no bearing on the demon to be trapped being inside the circle at the time of casting. Wards explicitly are not targeting the thing warded against (the demon). Thus there is no need for the demon to have been there at the time of casting. As long as what the circle was placed on (what is being affected, technically) at the time of casting is there at the time of casting, you're OK. While the ward is active things warded against cannot cross the circle, but if the ward isn't active, then it's doing nothing. So Suppressing the Wizard's Handiwork with a Circular Ward Against Demons work fine together as a trap, though it's a trap that needs to be triggered by the suppressing magus.


You are confusing "trap" the noun, with "trap" the verb. A "trap" noun is a cage. The arranging for something to be inside the cage is "trap" the verb. A ward makes a fine trap. You just need something else for the verb bit.

Wards don't work like that.

Of course. However, they would ask exactly the same questions about using a ward as a trap, anyway. A Ward is a ReVi spell to control a demon. Any response to a demon, other than DEO would be "interesting" to a Quaesitor. Why exactly do you want to trap rather destroy a demon?

That's not what I meant, I meant if the demon is already a tree. Not every demon has Vim as its body Form.

It's quite clear that a magus with the appropriate spells can trap something in a ward. It's not difficult.

The ward spell provides the "cage". But that isn't a complete trap sequence, you also require bait and a trigger. These are just other spells in ArM5. There's no big mystery. ArM5 is as much about sequences of spells as it is about single "cure-all" spells.

I was confused too, until I realized the target of the Ward is the circle/ring itself, which didn't move since the time of casting. The Ward does not affect a particular demon, but all of them no matter where they are, were, will be.

Now, do you consider that only the drawn line itself is protected, or is there a wall extending up and down from it? Since the Ring Duration affects a certain volume, the Circle Target should be its boundary.

Because I'm a Rego expert, but have a deficiency with Perdo and so cannot penetrate with DEO?
Because it's not given that all demons visibly react to DEO and I want to be sure that's it's fully gone (a person possesed can cross the ward again, because the demon is gone)?
Because I (for some reason) need to prove the presence of a demon (perhaps to clear my own name)?

These sound like good intentions.

I'm sure the Tytalus eliminated in the Scourging had some good intentions too.