wards and penetration, how to make it work?

I'm a magicien :stuck_out_tongue:

Ward againt the Vile Demon level 50

5 mages Want to make a stand againt a demon that wants to desecrate a sacred magical place. The 5 wizards decide to use the wizard communion (they have an average level of 20 for the wizard communion spell) to drop the effective level of the ward to 10 so that they may have a better penetration to affect the Demon so that they will be protected while the counter attack with their offencive spells.

They know the demon & have obtained a dangerous arcane connection to it that they intend to use to boost their penetration even further.

Wizard communion would add 5 extra botch dices if no one had mastered the spell but fortunately, everyone, out of respect of the other & themselves, have atleast a mastery of 1.

Sam the Warder (Very young magus) will be casting the actual.

Casting total = Stm(2) + Mastery(2) + Re(10) + Vi (10) + Aura(5Magical) + die(5) = 34

Penetration total Against Named Demon =
Casting total(34) + (Penetration(3)+Mastery(3))*(Arcane Connection(2)+Sympathic Connection (2,Figurine) + Aura(5,since target is infernal) + Penetration Skill(3) - level of spell(10) = 56

Penetration total Against Mignions =
Casting total(34) + Mastery(3) + Aura(5,Since target is infernal) + Penetration Skill(3) - level of spell(10) = 35

The Group of young magi are prepared to protect the sacred place from the infernal forces. No danger to explode in the communion or twillight. Just a good start to push back the evil forces.


Wow! Thanks guys. I'll TRY to answer your questions and provide a few more...

Casting total = Stm(2) + Mastery(2) + Re(10) + Vi (10) + Aura(5Magical) + die(5) = 34
If this guy is 'Brand New', I expect he can't do much other than what you are showing here....sick a rabid mouse on him and he is dead. :slight_smile:


Well, the Verditius does....but it really doesn't matter much. When the Coven folk are under attack you really don't have anywhere to run...
especially in the middle of the night.
The Diedne was doing everything. The other problem for the two older (slightly) magi was a question of rock/ paper/ scissors. The Verditius' "Curse of the Desert" doesn't do much good against an undead hound...and in the dark its hard to figure that out... :blush: ...
and, his other spells are Corpus...not really effective against a dog/wolf. The others had similar problems.


Well the Verditius is doing a 25 now, and we just purchased a 35....those are WELL within his ability. The only problem is the Vim...

Only if you have the choice.... :open_mouth:

One thing in common that I see here is Everyone is assuming the Magi are initiating the combat, and/or know the opponant prior to said activities. Your using Arcane connections as your "Standard operating procedure"... That is unrealistic. I suggest you recalculate your formulas without the LUXURY of AC. In most cases you won't have it.IMO


Again, you assume that your enemies are "stupid" enough to let you know who they are and when they are coming. Would you tell the afore mentioned dragon you were going to come and kill him??? :slight_smile:

Again, most of what has been put here is Min/maxed. Try average then work your way out.
Starting Magi MIGHT be able to do ALL of these things, but it is unlikely that you would ever get the cooperation and situation stated here...Unless I'm wrong....Anyone ever have this kind of unified 'direction' happen with a new covenant/saga? I would think that most new groups would spread out their abilities...corpus mage, animal mage, fire mage...etc. Unless of course the saga (SG) called for it....

Again, thanks a bunch. I am thankful for your input and responses.

I tend to think that mages are the brightest bunch of their time. If they go after an ennemy without preparation, as a SG, I would feel no mercy in killing them.

Dragons just dont fly in & kill mages. they can be sent out by a powerfull ennemy or bothered by the troublesome players. Now, that powerfull ennemy will be known by the players or atleast they will know part of the story about what is droping oppon them. This can allow further investigation to obtain critial arcane connections. I still say that we should almost always run from a dragon :stuck_out_tongue:

Let us suppose you don't have the AC. GET IT on the spot. Pick up the bloddy sword of your grog, steal it's air for a few seconds of AC anything to pump that Penetration a bit. Make the game much more interesting.... sending a grog to his death some times...

Ahm - to make that of any value it requires your truely original rule from above.
And to cast a level 50 spell after character creation requires that your magus knows that level 50 spell at that time.

Kind regards,


I would suggest as the first standard operating procedure for your magi: scout first, strike later.

Form groups for investigation and scouting with good means of perception and detection, some stealth and protection, and which above all can withdraw quickly and safely if challenged.
In my experience especially spells or items transforming people into small animals or birds come in handy when such a group is formed. That way even groups of grogs and companions can be gotten quickly out of harm's way by a single mobile magus, if the need arises.
Did those undead hounds show any ranged attack capabilities? Could they attack hovering or flying beings? If not, a scouting party could have easily evaded them.

Once your scouts are back you have a choice, and all the means of your labs and libs at your disposal.

Kind regards,


Scouts? Run?

When you are in bed, and a bunch of stuff attacks your village, you don't have much choice...
There isn't time to find an AC, there isn't time to make a magic item, and there isn't time to study up a ward....
you fight, or you abandon your Covenant.

...And "No", the Magi don't always KNOW their enemy. The Order has plenty of enemies, both obvious and not. If one of them starts attacking you in the middle of the night, which one is it? It doesn't matter anyway. You need to kill the thing that is eating your Grogs...Now.

If every game out there has been running along the idea that the Magi are always attacked by the known, I would think that takes away a lot of the fun and mystery of the game...IMO
....And all of your examples above are maximizing your chance to cast the spell. If the SG ALWAYS gives you the time to prepare for things, it doesn't sound like much of a challenge...


You have that ward already up in this case - just that it is called an Aegis of the Hearth (lvl 25 or 35 in your case). And I learned from you already that the hounds on their own (might ca. 15) could not have penetrated it. So, if the hounds had proved too much for your characters, they could likely still have switched to fighting a delaying action and bringing the covenfolk under the Aegis - using tactics like disengaging scouts.
This is not a deep insight, after all. The population of any medieval village protected by a castle had a - more or less effective - procedure to withdraw to the safety of the castle if attacked (thereby likely losing their livestock if attacked by surprise at night). And no mundane lord would have risked his garrison by throwing it at night into an all out battle against unknown foes: even a screening action under such conditions would have been deemed either heroic or foolhardy.

No, they don't always know it, of course. But in my experience they usually can, if acting intelligently, have all the advantages over their opponents in information warfare: the network of the Order, magic and mundane libraries, quick information relay from scouting parties and observation posts to the covenant, Intellego magic, illusions and more. This holds especially true in the immediate surroundings of their covenant: a combination of mundane guards and lookouts with some simple detection and signaling devices, magical alarms and befriended animals should detect and relay the approach of most threats long before they reach village or covenant.

Given this, magi usually need not commit all out battles before having good ideas about their opponents' means and capabilities. So when assessing capabilities of magi this advantage should be figured in, as was done on this thread.

In those situations where information warfare is not that one-sided, this can be figured in, of course. But in the case of your undead hounds this would assume at least a canny being (demon? summoner? necromancer?) using and controlling them, and sneaking them in under the radar of the covenant: so then these hounds would not be main opponents but just resources. And you will recall that we discussed the power level of main opponents.

Kind regards,


Yeah, but the Villagers in question (a group of Irish refugees), had set up the season before, and this are was outside the Aegis...

Sure we could have let them die, but that would not have been good for the other Grogs morale...
We could and did fight a rear guard action against them while evacuating the group...but its hard to evac someone getting chewed on. It's also hard to convince a group of foreigners that you know best (language) and that you are Magi, (If they hadn't figured it out) who can provide a safe place of retreat....with the weird guys on the hill...it was enough to convince them we could defend them from the Saxons...

I do believe that the fact that a mastery level reduces the number of botch dices by one is part of the core rule book.

As for casting a level 50 spell, you are right, as per the rules, you need to lean it first.

There also seems to be an issue about AC & having them ready in combat. In 5th Ed, those AC can make the difference between having the upper hand on an encounter or not. It does not need to be a strong AC (Aldo it helps). There are a number of spells/mundane means that can help you get one on the spot.

1- ReCo Removing a hair from the unwary head.
2- ReAn Removing the laces that bind.
3- PeCo(Au,Re) Stealing the breath
4- PeCo(Re) Bring forth the blood of the unwordy.
5- ReIm gathering the speakers voice

Now I don't have the book with me to give out the levels of these effects but I would pick one where you have the highest penetration total & master it a bit.

Mundane Means
1- Tracking (Recent footprints are AC)
2- Sending the grog get the AC(Blood, Kiss, piece of equipment,etc)

There are many other ways to get AC's on the spot. The low value one might benefit from a CrVi spell to boost their duration a bit. Othewise, I can't imagine a group of wizard with grogs not able to figure out how to get or atleast try to get AC's. If you find you can't, then Run since you won't have much of a chance to defeat your ennemy...

Mastery would reduce the number of botch dice that the caster recieves when casting wizards communion but I see no justification for making it reduce the number of botch dice the caster of the ward has. The caster of the ward is a different person casting a different spellthey'd still get the extra botch dice for multiple casters in a wizard's communion.

To learna spell either from lab notes or from instruction the learner needs to have a lab total equal to the spell level. the example young mage has a Technique+ form of 20 and a +5 aura, meaning that between intellegence, virtues, and magic theory the caster would need to scrape together 25 points. My belief is that having an Intellegence +Magic theory total of 25 is impossible in less than 15 years out of apprenticeship and takes a substantial amount of effort in even a hundred years out of apprenticship. The only way to do it is to lead a group of researchers.

So, penetration or not, casting a level 50 ward is a major saga event. The difference is whether you want to make it the effort of two magi years of time or four.

I see... could be, I don't have the book in front of me but I was under the impression that the extra botch dice due to multiple casters could be offset by mastering the multiple casting situation hence the wizard communion.

I find it much more interesting if the players can master wizard communion & then be able to do grand things as a group then having them do lesser grand-things individually.

Technique+ form of 20 and a +5 aura + teacher + similar spell, meaning that between intellegence, virtues magic theory, teacher & similar spell bonus, the caster would need to scrape together 25 points

Te(10) + Fo(10) + 5(aura) + Teacher(10) + Similar (5) + Int(3) +MT(5) + puissant MT(2) or Adept student (6) = 50 or 54

I ain't sure about aura & similar spell bonus but this is just to show that it can be done with a starting caracter or close to. Having a familiar helps a bit more. Help in lab also but unlikely since who whould submit to a new young mage ?

I agree it is a major event.

Okay thats a little more concrete...

  1. If you can't penetrate in the first place, this one won't help.
  2. Can you do this if you can't penetrate????????
  3. Can you do this if you can't penetrate????????
  4. I don't know this one. (?) I guess this one would be as above. ???
  5. Can you do this if you can't penetrate????????

Now these seem a bunch more useful!

...Though in our battle, gathering blood would have been impossible (didn't have any), hair and what not might have been possible. :slight_smile:

I'm afraid that you have a ten point teacher bonus in that lab total that doesn't exisit in the rules as written (see page 95). I'll stand by my earlier statement that level 50 spells can't be learned by young magi without research assistants.

Although perhaps I shouldn't. I hadn't considered adept student or a similar spell bonus when I ran through the numbers previously. I guess int +5 , +2 pussiant MT, Magic theory 7 (with an affinity), +6 similar spell bonus and + 6 adept student would put the character at +26.

I'll revise my opinion. a level 50 spell is not learnable by a young magus who isn't specifically designed to grab every possible apllicable virtue to aid in learning the spell, doesn't have a applicable magical focus, or isbn't leading a team of researchers.

So for nine out of ten young covenents learning a level 50 ward is impossible without someone spending years raising their arts.


your representation of the village confuses me.

Some of your statements - all boldface mine - hint that the village is integral part of your covenant, that its inhabitants are grogs - so take orders from the magi - and that there is sympathy between them and your other grogs.

Some other statements hint that the villagers are newly arrived, take the magi just as untrustworthy weirdos from over the hill, and would follow advice from neither magi nor grogs:

So whatever this village really is, its relation to the covenant appears to be very untypical.

If the magi felt reponsible for it:
Wouldn't they have come to an agreement with the village representatives on how to protect it from assaults?
Wouldn't they have at least organized the way for the villagers to withdraw to the covenant in case of incursions of bandits or soldiery?
Wouldn't they have included the village at least into their surveillance of the covenant's surroundings?

In any case, this unclear situation is hardly an argument for assuming that magi regularly need to accept all out battles with unknown foes.
It rather gives me the impression of a storyguide knowing his players and employing the age-old 'heroes to the rescue' device to get a better articulated relation between covenant and village. :wink:

But to everybody his game, or course.

Kind regards,


I agree with that.

If you were prepared to play a rules-example cripple, you could even have your level 50 Wards at character creation time.

Meet Miserabilis Exemplaris Filius Perversi Discipulus Bonisagi:

Personality Traits: Hatred (Parens) +3, Bored +3

Minor Magical Focus (ReVi Wards)
Affinity with Rego
Puissant Art: Rego
Affinity with Vim
Puissant Art: Vim
Puissant Magic Theory (from Bonisagus)
Skilled Parens
2x Improved Intelligence

From his apprenticeship he had 300 experience points, and 150 points of spells.

He - or rather his Parens - put 80 experience points each into Rego and Vim, which raised both to 15.
Then he put 75 experience points into Magic Theory, which raised this to 5. He put the 5 mandatory points into Parma 1, 5 into Artes Liberales 1, 50 points into Latin 4. Then he still had a whopping 5 points (count them) to spend on some little hobby, namely Craft: Inscribing Circles 1.

His total determining what level of ReVi spells he can get at character creation is:
Rego (15) + Puissant Rego (3) + Vim (15) + Puissant Vim (3) + Intelligence (5) + Magic Theory (5) + Puissant Magic Theory (2) +3 = 51.
(This works only with the errata about 'Puissant Art' and 'Puissant Skill', plus some plausible but generous reading of the word 'use' in both.)

Since Perversus is consequent, Miserabilis now got to learn the spells:
ReVi 50 'Circular Ward against Demons'
ReVi 50 'Circular Ward against Faeries'
ReVi 50 'Circular Ward against Magical Beings'

His casting total for all these Wards is a respectable:
2x (Rego (15) + Puissant Rego (3)) + Vim (15) + Puissant Vim (3) + Stamina (?) + Aura (?) = 54 + ?.

Anybody tempted to play this young man? :laughing:

Kind regards,



You have to eat. If your grogs are dead, nobody will tend to feeding you. If you start letting your grogs die, without expending yourself, they will have no loyalty.
The Irish had just shown up. They were a little skittish about staying with the Scots, so they set themselves up on the other side of the hill (out of the Aegis). Since the Covenant has just been established, we are very short handed. The Irish represent about 50% of our work force.
As for my comments about the weird guys on the hill....I don't know what they think of us, but we are Magus (weird), and if at the first opportunity, we don't help them, they would leave (the ones that survived anyway). Since thats why they stayed (protection), you can understand why it was critical to help them.
Yes, I understand the situation was atypical. The relavance to the discussion was that you don't always get to choose your battleground, and you don't always know who you are fighting. Every mention of the wards subject included some sort of AC, so I mentioned this to provide a point of reference. It was this assumption of AC, and the general ability to cast a 50th level ward that I was discussing. You yourself pointed out that it possible, but so highly improbable that a new magus could cast it...
I would also like to point out that the general group assumed that there was an Aegis cast....who said that anyone Could cast it? :wink:
Its not a requirement ....it even says something along that line in the book...

That would be Int of 05 and Magic Theory at 20 then , in 15 years.
I guess we do the detailed character generation , not the quickstart ,
to avoid the level cap of 07 during Apprenticeship.

If your magi depend on the Irish, they will likely have included them in their monitoring of their covenant's surroundings, have set up at least a guard tower there and established some alarm relay, won't they?
And they will have come to terms with them about responsibilities and procedures not only with respect to food, but also with respect to attacks.

OK, then that's settled.

Of course magi don't always can do and know that, just usually. Which is enough for the argument of this thread.

Kind regards,


I said it was impossible before fifteen years because I once calcualted how long it would take for a character reasonably minmaxed for magic theory to get to level 10 magic theory (around nine years if they have a handful of different applicable virtues and spend a three seasons every two years working on it.) I didn't say it was impossible to do it in fifteen years because I had figured out a way to do it in fifteen years and atwo seasons. I think that it it might be nigh impossible to get a level 20 magic theory (or 15 + inventive genous + pussiant magic theory) within twenty years after apprenticeship even if the character has book learner, an affinity in magic theory and is studying in the library of Durenmar, but I never ran the numbers so I didn't want to sidetrack the conversation even further by posting something that could reasobnably be disputed.

I would think that all convenants have a ward specialist to cast the aegis & other wards. After a few years, this magus will probably have an array of ReVi Wards of various levels. A Summer/Autumn/Winter convenant will probably have dozens of wards with very good penetration totals.

Winter convenants probably have rooms that are so well warded that nobody remembers how to get in :stuck_out_tongue: