Wards, Aegis of the Hearth and penetration

According to HoH:S, page 113, wards need to penetrate to ward against beings with Might. This is, again according to HoH:S, due to a flaw in the Columbine Tradition. This means that you need to have a penetration total higher than the level of the ward for it to be fully effective.

Should this also apply to Aegis of the Hearth (AotH)? Acoording to ArM, AotH is a major breakthrough which combines the Hermetic and Mercurial traditions, and the description of AotH doesn't mention wards explicitly, but it has a similar, warding, effect. How do other groups interpret this, does AotH need to penetrate to ward against beings with Might?

And how do you record the penetration total (for both AotH and wards)? Is this hidden from the players, or does the storyguide let the players know, so that they can try casting the spell again if the penetration total is insufficient?

Being an hermetic breakthrough - same level as the parma magica - the aegis is totally out of any rule of penetration.

The ward thing has certainly only been integrated as a major breakthrough, not an hermetic, hence his flaws about penetration.

I know a lot of people play without it needing to penetrate, including many who require wards to penetrate. But I'm pretty sure there is no exception to penetration listed, and thus by canon it needs to penetrate since it is still a spell following the regular spell rules except where an exception is stated.

In a local game we had we specifically cast it forcelessly for one covenant. We had run into a problem because the place we took was a faerie thoroughfare. They got rather upset when we blocked their movement through it with our Aegis. Sure, the more powerful faeries weren't directly bothered, but they weren't the ones doing most of the traveling. Many of their subjects were blocked. We ended up debating two possibilities: 1) Let the faerie prince join the casting so he could hand out tokens, or 2) Cast Aegis forcelessly so they would be able to pass through.


And yet the description of the spell specifically says:

"Creatures with a Might Score cannot enter the area protected by the Aegis unless they have a higher Might than the Aegis' level."

Why muddle a perfectly good and clear description by invoking rules that may or may not apply ? Also, there is that opening line

"This ritual protects a covenant in the way a Parma Magica protects a magus."

So if anything it should be the Magical Creature doing the penetration against a Magical Resistance of the Aegis' level protecting the area, not the other way around, which means the creature needs to beat the Aegis' level with its own Might.

In my mind Aegis of the Hearth is a odd ball effect that doesn't fit well within the normal rules. The description of the spell says as much when it says it's more powerful than it should be. For this reason I don't think it should have to penetrate to have it's effects.

I'm not sure AotH is even a ward strictly speaking in the background. Wards are adapted from Coloumbae magic while AotH was adapted from Parma Magica. Nobles Parma but Notatus's breakthrough actually occurred well before wards where incorporated into Hermetic magic. So there are a couple of good in-setting reasons for treating them AotH and wards differently. Also for what it's worth one of the sidebars about wards in HoS:Soc does intimate that AotH is far superior to wards.

As far as your other question goes. I generally think players and characters should be aware of there own rolls for most aspects of the game. They don't always know what numbers they need to hit but the know what they themselves have gotten. In my mind this is both easier to track out-of-game and is reasonable knowledge for characters to have in-game. Unless you hide most rolls from the players I'd let them know what there penetration totals are.

Circular Ward Against Demons says something very similar. For that matter, most spells don't say anything about penetration. So why invoke rules that may or may not apply, right? Most spells don't need to penetrate?

How literally do you want to take that first line? If you are going to use it for a literal argument like you are doing, then the spell itself is utterly contradictory because most of what it does is extremely different in behavior from Parma Magica. Or that line could be there to give a rough analogy so readers can get the gist of a spell with a very long description before going through the whole description. If the latter is the case, then the spell is not utterly contradictory.

As I said, I'm pretty sure there is no statement of exception for Aegis of the Hearth. The only other thing for which I've seen roughly the same debate was for wards. There were many similar arguments (no statement of penetration, a very different style spell (their own variant base listings), etc.), yet we know how that debate ended. While I find it totally reasonable to play without Aegis penetration, I have not yet read a quote from anyone excepting Aegis of the Hearth from the normal penetration rules.


I have to agree with callen on this one: in the absence of any explicit statement to the contrary, the "standard" rules of Hermetic magic apply - and Aegis of the Hearth has to penetrate just like every other spell affecting the target directly.

I would point out that I've seen this discussed alot* both on this forum and on the Berklist, and opinions vary - I'd hazard that some 10-30% of all troupes, in fact, adopt the house rule that Aegis requires no penetration. From my experience, Aegis remains extremely useful even if it does require penetration, and that's how we play it.

Except there is explicit statement to the contrary. The description for Aegis of the Hearth states that creatures with a Might score cannot enter the area protected by the Aegis unless they have a higher Might than the Aegis's level. Spells cast from outside the Aegis at or to anyone or anything within the Aegis, Intellego spells (including ones that are normally not blocked by Parma), continuing spells cast from outside the Aegis and carried into the Aegis (e.g. Invisibility) subtract the full level of the Aegis from their casting total, and that spells cast within the Aegis subtract half the Aegis's level. It also says that magic items are resisted by the Aegis, but I'm not sure if it calls for subtracting half or the full Aegis level.

Sounds pretty cut-and-dried to me.

"Creatures with a Might score cannot enter the area ... unless ... higher that the Aegis's level."
"All creatures with Infernal Might ... less than the level of the spell are unable to enter ..."

We play with the full Aegis, but those 2 sentences are too close to have opposite meanings.

That, no. The spell fizzles when entering the Aegis if its penetration was less than the Aegis level. If the penetration was higher, nothing is said to happen. Once inside the Aegis, your magical senses should still have full penetration.

No, there isn't. First, even if your argument is correct, that would be implicit, not explicit.

More importantly, virtually the same is true of circular wards. In fact, they are even more powerful against a limited group of things. Their descriptions state that "that creatures with a Might score cannot enter the area protected by the [circle] unless they have a higher Might than the [circle]'s level." Those same beings cannot act across the circle (even with super-powered penetration), which is covers a huge amount of the rest you quoted. So if your reason is correct, the circular wards do not need to penetrate. But we know circular wards do need to penetrate. Thus your reasoning must be incorrect.


But Wards have been clarified - officially if I'm not mistaken - to need to Penetrate. While Aegis has not been mentioned to need this.

So IMS we play with Wards needing to Penetrate, and Aegis doesn't. Not that it matters, I don't think our aegis has ever been tested.

However! I see a huge benefit in requiring the Aegis to need to penetrate as well. For one thing it puts a stop to the power inflation. Aegis is a very common spell, there is little difficulties in obtaining a Lab text for a high level one. There should easily be found a magus with a sufficiently good ReVi lab total do invent it, those are popular arts. And with a little luck, fatigue loss and a couple of levels in Artes Lib and Phil a high level Aegis can juuust about be cast. And bam! The high level rituals bloks out a lot of potential stuff for the Sg to use. I know the ritual is meant to be good. But I like stores where a moderate challenge enters or harasses the covenant rather than a major one, because it is the only thing with sufficient Might to enter the high level Aegis.

But requiring penetration means you can have a lot more fun IMHO. People would want to Master the ritual. eople would actually use Wizard's Communion, something I have yet to see. I hadn't though about it before, but now I like it. The Aegis becomes more than just a "Sure I cast it. Again. Same as last year!" It becomes a chalenge, even if just a minor one.

I have come to decide that I would prefer Aegis to prevent active tries to enter or act across it, but not acting on creatures being carried into it. So the mischievous faerie fox can pretend to be dead to cross the aegis in the hunter's pouch even if he is a Might 5 creature, while the dragon is unlikely to cross the tresshold unless he is powerful enough to smash though it when it attacks the covenant. .

But that is so far from RAW that it is just ranting :stuck_out_tongue:


It's really not that far from RAW. Your taking away the need for a physical token to change hands which is a rule change. After that though all your really assuming is that the act of carrying something through Aegis is an invitation.

Yup, totally playable and quite a nice variation.

OK, the Aegis needs to penetrate. What effects will this have?

It's explicitly stated (HoH: TL IIRC), that we can vary the level of the Aegis spell, but not it's parameters without a breakthrough.
Thus they are all similar spells. Now ever trouble maker in the Order is going to pick up an Aegis spell (level is irrelevant, 5 is fine) and master it with resistance mastery. Double your MR, unlikely to be cast with an penetration multiplier specifically to you => irrelevant spell.
I'm aware that with penetration multipliers MR is useless, but without them Parma can be very effective.

But let's take it a step further: What's it penetrating against?

If we're talking about some silly demon trying to sneak into the covenant it's not very complicated.
Unless ofcourse said demon is possesing someone that should be resisted, but that's another story.

Let's instead look at a spell. Spells have no MR, so obviously the spell itself is not what people say the Aegis needs to penetrate.
If magus Tellus tries to teleport himself into the grounds of another covenant, presumably it needs to penetrate his resistance?

Now, Tellus is a wiley old fox, so instead he uses a touch range teleportation spell to send his sodalis Dophus.
They are both present at Tellus' covenant, with it's own Aegis.
Now Tellus sends off Dophus, to a covenant where neither of them have a casting token. Who's to be penetrated by the Aegis?
Dophus, who's moving into the area protected by the Aegis?
Tellus, who's casting the spell?

Presumably it's Tellus, since otherwise the Aegis would be useless against scrying spells.
Maybe Dophus as well, I don't know?

But Tellus is protected by his own Aegis as he's still at home.
So the foreign Aegis would have to penetrate that Aegis to affect Tellus, correct?
So Tellus Aegis would need to penetrate... someone, to protect Tellus from the Aegis into which he's trying to send Dophus...
Who would need to be penetrated by Tellus' Aegis? The original caster? Who's presumably a group, casting with Wizard's Communion?

WEasy answer. The caster of the spell that ends up affecting the foreign aegis (Tellus, in this case) needs to penetrate the other aegis. The other aegis does not need to penetrate since Dophus is just a dupe with no MR.


True, but unfortunately this implies nothing. For example, dogs have four legs. I didn't mention anything about cats. Does that mean cat's don't have four legs? That the big debate on the Berklist (I think it was there.) way back when was about wards is why the official statement was about wards. Essentially that's like asking me how many legs dogs have being followed by my reply above that dogs have four legs.


No, no, not irrelevant at all! Parma Magica can now (with penetration used) allow magi to approach covenants with their familiars. What happens to some of my characters in non-penetrating games is that they won't walk up to (figuratively) another covenant because they won't just leave their familiars behind. Also, you need to have two tokens per visiting magus, not one.

How is this any different from a circular ward? Try to teleport across a circular ward. What is it penetrating against? Whatever ruling you use for the circle should be what you use for the Aegis.


Let's see: spells cast from outside the Aegis must beat the Aegis level with their Penetration. The wording is even "if the spell cannot penetrate a resistance equal to the level of the Aegis". That's a very Magic Resistance-like behavior. In fact, it is exactly Magic Resistance's mechanism.

Creatures with a Might cannot enter unless they have a higher Might than the Aegis level. Since the Creature's Might is its Penetration, once again this is very Magic Resistance-like.

Uninvited magi casting inside the Aegis subtract half its level from their Casting Total. Okay, that is a different mechanism, but then you cannot cast from within someone else's Magic Resistance.

No, to me the Aegis is best described as a form of Magic Resistance that affects an area.

Besides, it is supposed to be a very powerful spell. "more powerful than it ought to be" reads the description. It netted its inventor the title of Primus of House Bonisagus. To me, that means that magi with a good Vim Form resistance are not supposed to just waltz in and ignore it. Neither should it be easy for magic creatures to do so. Getting invited is a big deal even for an hermetic magus, if only so he familiar can come too.

Of course they sound very similar when you leave out most the differences while comparing and contrasting them. How about these? Aegis can block Intellego spells Parma Magica cannot block. You can cast inward through it if you were involved, but you have to beat your own Parma Magica to cast inward through it. Your Parma Magica resists all your own devices except your talisman, while all items from within the Aegis are fine. The whole tokens thing.

Even if all it did was hold creatures at bay, that would make it drastically more powerful than all the same level circular wards, qualifying for that statement. So that statement doesn't help at all here.

You seem to have misread things. Getting invited in does not allow your familiar to enter. Your familiar needs to be invited separately and needs its own token.