Wards and attacking across them

In the main rule book (p126) it suggests that warded creatures can't attack across the ward boundary. It also extends this to ranged attacks.

I'm not sure I understand the mechanics of that.

Imagine, I have a band of Infernal skeletons (all walking in grainy stop-motion). Some of them have bows. The magus retreats with his shield grog and quickly draws a circular ward around the pair while they wait for backup.

One skeleton lurches forward and swings his blade. It is forced to pull away from the ward as the magic resists his approach.

Another, with a bow, takes aim at the magus. It pulls back the arrow, the bow creaking as it bends and...

Well, he'd like to loose the arrow into the magus. But there's that pesky line about ranged attacks. Why? What is it about a ward that prevents the arrow from crossing the boundary? It, in itself, isn't warded against, only the skeleton.

I understand there may be some kind of meta-gaming reason for it but I can't see any mechanical basis.

If the ward was against the skeletons, then nothing would stop the arrow.

If a dragon attempts to use its breath on you...that would be stoped since the dragons fire is part of the essential nature of the dragon. And a demons magic is part of its essential nature...I mean essential nature is not just a limit.

But nothing stops a dragon from picking up a rock and flying over your circular ward against beasts of magical might and dropping it...or a tree or diverting a river or whatever.

Wards stop what is essentially that thing...nothing more nothing less.

At least that is my view.

That's what I thought too. It's just a very literal reading (as happened in a session recently) doesn't make that clear.

I took "ranged attacks" to mean "any ranged attacks not made through an indirect medium", which could mean anything lobbed, loosed, thrown at or dropped on the warded targets.


I must admit that I haven't updated by logic from 4th Ed on this matter (I did not think it would change) but as far as I know, the bow cannot cross the ward because the skeleton cannot fire toward to ward (If the ward penetrates the MR of the skeleton.

In game terms, the skeleton would circle relentlessly around the circle, knowing it cannot do anything to influence the ward in any way.

I then the fairy cat happen to stop in & break the circle to see what would happen...


Ps. I'll re-red the 5th ed version tonight to be on the safe side.

But that's the thing. It can't use its sword to attack the warded targets but why would an arrow be prevented from crossing the ward?

Is that a function of the skeleton touching the arrow? What if he gave the arrow to someone else?

I guess the only way I can see the ward logically preventing ranged attacks is if the ward was a Rego "Mentem" type effect that persuaded the entity in some way not to approach or act against the ward, setting up some kind of "truce field".


But that's the thing. It can't use its sword to attack the warded targets but why would an arrow be prevented from crossing the ward?

Is that a function of the skeleton touching the arrow? What if he gave the arrow to someone else?

I guess the only way I can see the ward logically preventing ranged attacks is if the ward was a Rego "Mentem" type effect that persuaded the entity in some way not to approach or act against the ward, setting up some kind of "truce field".

The skeleton cannot do anything to affect the warded people, let it be by mundane or infernal means (If the ward penetrates the MR of the skeleton)

It is like a mental block but I would describe it more as an essential nature block.


Ummm...I'll look in the books tonight but I see no reason a ward that prevents skeletons from crossing it would stop them sticking you with swords or shooting arrows at you. It is a ward against a specific object not against a variety of things.

A ward against people would not help you against a pike formation if your ward was a circle a meter in diameter, or at least I see no reason why it should.

A ward can't function differently against an intellegent creature then against a material. In both cases it is the same thing. A ward against steel stops steel, it doesn't stop wood, it doesn't make the swordsman decide to go away it just prevents the steel from crossing the ward. Why should it be different with a skeleton. It has to be effective against intrinsic ranged attacks or other things (such as magic) since otherwise it is pointless. No sense in a ward aginst the fae iif it can use its magic against you or the ward. But on the other hand why should it stop a normal arrow fired by the fae?

I could see the ward preventing the creature from taking actions against the person who cast it mind you...which would include such but hmmm that would seem to require a mentam requisit for wards against beings with will (animals, fae, demons, ghosts, humans etc).

On the other hand skeletons are willless creatures so the ward should only stop them physically crossing the ward not stop them filling you full of arrows. They should all end up pressed against the ward as well. Since they should make every effort to get to you. Stopping to shoot arrows would not fit unless there was some one directing them.

Also consider that even though in most folk lore demons summoned were prevented by the summoning warding from direct harm nothing really prevented indirect harm...I'd say a demon or a fae likely could not use a weapon against someone who had them confined in a ward...but the reverse is not true against someone in a ward while they are free.

Now this may not apply to Ars ... but having had the chance to do quite a bit of research on 'real' European Occultism: the protection of a ward
is inviolate. A warded creature may not take direct or indirect action against you. Nor may that creature cooerce other's to do it - or use a stick to break the ward or beat you - or any other easy work around. Wards tend to be like shields - impenentrable barriers / domes / spheres. Often these will appear charged with mystical energies that appear subtle to the normal eye but radiant (and often described as shining outwardly with radiating auras of power) to those with 'the sight'.

Simply put a ward (in the context of European magical traditions) is a fundamentally sound protection so long as the circle is not broken.

Taking a page from Ars Magica - just think what can the Rego Technique do against this creature / force / element to protect me? Then you get the idea how comprehensive such protection could be.

EDIT: I should mention that the idea of having lots of requisites on a basic ward is somewhat supported too. There are a quite a few sotries I ran across about inept sorcerers who used faulty warding techniques (the devil tended to be quite good at finding weaknesses). This could be an easy justification for limiting the power of wards through requisites.

(Eliphas Levi's 'Transcendental Magic', and various works drived from the Nag-Hammadi Library come to mind as a sources we used. Not that we were concerned with studying the occult mind you, but it made for a series of great short stories that were 'historicaly accurate' - very Faustian.)

Part of the problem is that wards in ars are backwards.

Normally the creature is in the ward not the caster. A creature inside a ward reasonable could be expected to not be able to affect the ward or the caster of the ward directly. This makes sense and agrees with the normal view of warding a summoned critter.

The wards in ars are usually created to stop someone crossing a boundry while the caster is in the ward...this is very much the reverse and in this case the ward should be required to be specific...ward the skeletons yes, but not swords (unless you include a ward against steel), or arrows (unless you include a ward against wood or steel). This is more consistant with the view of wards used to prohibit things as these invariably had loopholes. A bit like the old "No man may kill me." "Hah, who said I was a man."

But this is just my view.

I was asked in last night's session where it is laid down that the ward must penetrate the warded-against entity's might score. I couldn't find a definite example but simply applied the principle that any magic acting against an entity must PENTRATE it's might/resistance in order to have the desired effect.

Is it explained? In specific reference? Or can we just be safe in our application of the general rule? That is, there's nothing special about a ward that means the PENETRATION doesn't need to be greater than the entity's might.

this is a matter that has caused some disagreement regarding how the game should best be played.



Yes, I see your point.

So... Wards need to penetrate then...


The wards act like a bubble. The Might of the creature acts like a bubble. If the creature isn't strong enough to force his way through, the bubbles prevent movement/action.

The real problem here is people trying to justify a certain power level. If you dont need to penetrate, its simple enough to have a 'lower level' Magus prevent a creature from acting against him.
If you 'need' to penetrate, only an older Magus can stop the more powerful creatures.

I've seen Min/Maxed characters brought up that could do high level wards, right out of Gauntlet (said discussion), but said characters are unusable IMO.
I also see that most discussions don't really center on how long the spell lasts...That is really important.
I also note that a certain house (and others) were brought to task for Demonic summoning/interaction. Would these activities have only been attempted by Arch Magi? I would guess that a broad range of power levels would be attempting the summoning of a broad range of demons (varying Might). It would be nigh impossible for lower ranking Magi to summon and control a demon with the 'Penetration' rules...Therefore the "Purge" would not have been as widespread....
One suggestion that perked my interest was the requisites. (Each ward having the requisites of all the casters Forms) thus allowing the creature to find a hole...
My $.02

If wards require penetration, all wards need wizards communication - which offcourse makes lesser magi useful for them...

You see, I just don't see the problem.

Let's assume that the magus is looking to protect the sacfificial child from the demonic minions sent out to hunt down the child and those who took him from them. These hell-hounds have an Infernal Might of 10. A relatively young magus could perhaps cast a ReVi 10 ward and have enough penetration to make the ward effective:

Re: 5
Vi: 5
Stm: 1
Scream and Shout: 2
Confidence Point: 3
Roll: 4

Total: 20
Spell: 10
Penetration: 2
Pen Total: 12

So, the magus is able to cast the ward and the Infernal hunters are reduced to prowling impotently around the circle.

Now, if the magi have discovered that a corrupting demon is exerting his influence over a nearby village the magi might need to research the demon. They can use all manner of arcane connections and sympathetic magic to increase their penetration. They might, by this time have mastered the spell. They might have learned Wizard's Communion. All these things the SG will of course take into consideration in order to tailor he story to the characters.

A young magus should NOT be able to ward off the same beasts as another older magus. If there is a specific need to ward against a specific threat, then the magi concerned need to do something specific.

In short, I'm happy for wards to operate under the same rules as for all other spells. Of course, my players may end up with a different view...

I personally don't like the buble interpretation.

Wards act as all other spell described in the rules of 5th ed. To have any effect, they must penetrate MR.

The bubble like interpretation will allow many exploits since it allows for players to learn high level wards to ward out any creatures (like 4th ed allowed to do for all effects)

Thi is interesting. Is the Corruption of the Tytalus house a plausible sénario in 5th ed?

In 4th Ed, a magus were much more potent againt creatures with might since they did not subtract the level of the spell for penetration. This allowed for a race to high level spells to control/destroy or summon demons.

In 5th ed, all of the above are much harder to acheive & dealing in the demonic domains seems much more dangerous.

Still, I believe it to be even more likely that the Tytalus fell to the temptation.

Inner mysteries render the storyline even more plausible. I think that corruption does not come only from direct contact with the infernal but through knowledge. All corrupted Tytalus were said to carry the book of the Defiled (Infernal Book). This book allowed to know some true names that promissed more control over dark entities (read penetration bonus to summoning/wards) & other dark secrets that promised great power.

The fact that a ward needs to penetrate MR in 5th ed actually explains why th other houses did not fell to corruption.

I would say it more allowed for a group of organised magus to be corrupted. Permanant wards boosted with vis & casted using wizard communion under an aegis allows some level of confidence.

I can very well see a young Tytalus that enherits the lab of his master that has a permanant warding magical object of level 50 with summoning spell. Now what will the young magus do when the warded demons appears & offers to realise his dreams?

I personally love 5th ed penetration rules.


I understand what you are saying William, but if you follow your view, you could dispel another Magus' Parma, with yours, by touching him.
I will also reiterate what I said...differently...
Our group, roughly 15 years out of gauntlet, can't even come close to a level 50 ward. We have a couple of Magi capable of level 35-40 (barely), with the bonus for Ritual Magics...so my point is that any 50+ ward cast is being done by a group (which is the point), or a specialist monkey that can't tie his own shoes...(let alone do anything else), or an OLDER Magi...
The 'Demon' should have to Penetrate YOUR ward, not the other way around.

As the rules stand, YOU need to penetrate the might of the creatures with the ward. But I think I prefer Urien's version here, so it is time for a HR around here :slight_smile: It will remain a HR, though. Not that wards have ever been very popular around here. I suppose that my players always prefered the more shinny spells than the passive ones.



Our group lumped wards into the same category as the Aegis, and figured that penetration was a moot point for them. Urien's statement about Demons having to penetrate the ward, not the other way around fits very nicely with my way of thinking.

Xavi, (pg 114)...the rule reads as follows: