wards and penetration, how to make it work?

I don't think so because the act of becoming a ward specialist is at the expense of a personal career. Perhaps one in 50 want to become a ward specialist, but I can't imagine one member in every covenant would want to become a ward specialist.

Even if one said this was the case in Mythic Europe, show me a gaming group where one player gleefully volunteers to play a magus where he can only cast one or two powerful Ward spells.

And for every ward specialist out there I bet there are two Tytalus or Flambeau "Ward Busters". While this discussion is interesting on paper, I don't see players or even 'normal' NPC's taking the time to become so powerful in this narrow field that it comes at the expense of being able to do anything else (magically speaking).

Even if one takes into account payment for services rendered, I'm still uncertain if any magus would be willing to focus his abilities to this degree.

So what is the consensus??? Penetration or not????


Berenger: True. Thank you, though I didn't consider it an 'arguement'.

Well I gave my opinion on this issue way back in the first post. I think that ring /circle wards are neat. So that's one vote "no penetration necessary". make wards practical for everyone not just the rego masters!

Where I had hopped to go with the conversation was into different guidelines for individual wards to make them more difficult because I think that layering up a magus in a shell of "immumity to faerie" so that they can stick their tounges out at the NPC's and say "neaner neaner" with little fear of retaliation is no fun at all.

I was playing with the idea that a stationary ward didn't need to penetrate while a ward that moved did.

My opinion is pretty clear. Penetration for wards is nessary for game balance & flavor.

5th Ed is based on penetration for game balance. This way, a dragon is a dragon & no ward (almost) can save you the sweat of the encounter.

I mean, the perdo specialist is rewarded for his penetration. So is the Intellego, Creo, Intellego & Muto specialist, why would it be different for the Rego specialist?

I think that I've demonstrated that even with penetration, wards are very powerfull effect that can endure for a very long time if properly taken care of. Ward specialist will be more versatile in the use of the wards (I.E can cast them alone during combat & have decent penetration scores as Berengar showed with his ward specialist example) but any magus can make use of them if they have a bit of Re (form) which show that it is game balanced.

You can always use a house rule where wards do not need penetration but I do not know why one would do so.

The way I read the rules is that wards designed to only affect things with Might do not need to penetrate Magic Resistance, since the creature's Might is built into the spell. This includes all the Ward Against the (Being) of the (Form) spells, as well as Vim spells that affect everything of a particular Realm, like Circular Ward Against Demons.

However, wards that affect mundane things of a particular Form have to Penetrate those things' Magic Resistance, if they have it (as noted in the Level 15 ReCo guideline). So, Circle of Beast Warding must penetrate a magical animal's Magic Resistance. A hypothetical spell called Circle of Human Warding (ReCo Base 15 +1 Touch, +2 Ring, Circle) would have to penetrate the Parma Magica to affect a magus.

Would someone care to poke holes in this justification?

The reason why wards don't need to penetrate is because the creatures are stopped by their own might.

They can not get through by surpressing their own resistance because ... um.. they are essentialy of the realm and can't cleanse themselves completely.

Creatures with sufficient might to passs through a ward also have suffiient might to cast spells through it (that's a conveinient coincidence caused by magical powers being run off of a creature's might).

Looks plausible to me!

I guess that I'm tired of seeing the same arguments beeing repeated over and over again.

I think we'll need the line editor intervention into this one otherwise we will just keep running in circles till the end of the world.

It is a fun discussion. On one side, we have the power hungry people that want easy wards for everyone without any commitment to the forms/ techniques involved (This can really help young magi survive encounters they should not have otherwise) & on the other side we have the opposite, people that are willing to add difficulty/challenges to the game (I'm in that camp for some reason). Everybody is well entranched on their point of view.

It has been the eternal struggle of RPG for as far as I can remember (Munchkin versus the rest). I lost most of the battles which led people to play more & more D&D3.5 I Guess this is why I am so protective of my Arsmagica not becoming a munchkin guide. Fighting a losing battle I guess... Getting too old :stuck_out_tongue:


Yes, I agree.

William, I guess I sit on the fence. I can see both sides and agree with both sides, but I HAVE to quote:


..."becasue a ward with these parameters wards against creatures with a Might equal to or less than its level."

There isn't ANY mention of Penetration. It seems a straight up comparison...

Ergo, I don't see what the arguement is about...it's in black and white... Now if you disagree with the official ruling...thats COOL. Again, I see both sides and agree with both.



..."becasue a ward with these parameters wards against creatures with a Might equal to or less than its level."

There isn't ANY mention of Penetration. It seems a straight up comparison...//

"Animal spells affect all natural living things that are not plants or humans..."

There isn't ANY mention of Penetration. I think we can gather my point...

Of course, anyone who doesn't share your view must be a munchkin.

You've demonstrated that groups of wizards using wizard's comunion can cast high level wards. With casting from texts comming back to the game in three weeks or so (ok five weeksfor you folks living on the other side of the globe.) I'm not interested in discussing the fact that high level wards were shown to be unlearnable in a practical sense (I might pick up the subject if it turns out that "casting texts" can't do ritual spells).

Only ring /circle wards can last for long periods of time. But in order for these wards to last for long periods of time they need to be cast on prepaired circles something that wont be available if the magus is away from the covenant (much like wizard's comunion). Also ring circle wards are restricted in size unless the magus wants to risk a concentration botch.

So what would the effects be of us "munchkins" running games that allow wards to work sans penetration.

It would allow a begining magus if they spennd two to four seasons prepareing for this specific creature to be able to turn a combat encounter with a creature of might 20 or lower into a roleplaying encounter.

If you require penetration for wards scenes with the characters and the antagonists trading quips accross a fragile ward become a thing of the past. In the scenario wher the characters enscribe a circle around themselves to hide behind who is the captor and who is the captive? Exactly how munchkin is this?

Assuming a slightly more adept than average begining character how much effort does it take them to put up a ward? Int+3 + MT 5 + rego 6 + form 0 + aura +4 + a lab total of 18 so the character first spends a season raising thier form. Then they need to get a hold of a copy of a lab text, they next spend a season or two scribing a book or making a magic items and cuttign a deal with another covenant, they then spend a season learning their new spell. They've spent three or four seasons worth of effort and they have a few points in a form and a single level 20 spell to show for it. A spell that will not remove or defeat the threat.

How does this change in a game where penetration is required for wards? Well the ward isn't a practical choice for the young magus so he'll have to instead find a different way to deal with the problem. Knowing PC's four tiome out of five they'll kill the anagonist and remove the chance to have a reoccuring villain.

The possibility of heavily minmaxed ward specialists such as William describes does not strike me as either a particularily dire scenario or a particularily likely scenario.

If you require wards to penetrate wards become useless for anything but defending your home base or use against very week creatures (might 15 or less). What magus in their right mind would choose to cast a level rego (form)30 ward with 30 + penetration when they could cast a different level 30 rego (form) spell on their antagonist and make the anagonist into their personal plaything?

So requiring penetration on wards is heavily detrimental to the flavor of the game.

:open_mouth: ???? :laughing: !!!! Just joking, right! Right?


you do have noticed, that Miserabilis with your rules (penetration needed for Wards against beings with might) could not ward out reliably a might 10 being, do you?
But even without your rule, my Miserabilis is just a rules exercise wretch: nobody would want him as a player character, and as an NPC he is highly unlikely because of its dependence on 9 points of Virtues and extreme assignment of Experience Points.

If compared to an equally narrow ReCo, PeCo or PeVi specialist, Miserabilis also illustrates, how there is a huge difference between wards and other types of spells. Wards are an all or nothing affair: they stop something or they don't. While with damaging spells you can always pick a spell whittling away at the opponent: if 'Lifting the Dangling Puppet' does not penetrate, perhaps 'Spasms of the Uncontrolled Hand' does. Figuring the might of beings twice into what can be warded against turns anyway poor Miserabilis into complete laughing stock.

Magic Resistance issues are known to be not sufficiently resolved by ArM5, and house rules are strongly encouraged. Yours too, of course (by me, not by Miserabilis who loathes them as much as he loathes his master).

AFAICS the best indicator on what really is intended in ArM5, however, is still this well-known part of the Rego Corpus Guidelines (ArM5 p. 134):
"General: Ward against creatures associated with Corpus from one realm ... with a Might less than the level of the spell. Note that Hermetic magi have no Might, and thus are not affected by such spells. (Range Touch, Duration Ring, Target Circle).
Level 15: ...
Ward a target against other human beings. Note that, to Ward off a Hermetic magus, the ward must penetrate his Magic Resistance."

Add that to the magic bridge examples of ArM5 p.86, which show that if a being moves or is moved against a magically created material structure its magic resistance does not allow it to pass through or displace this structure:
"If the maga steps onto a magical bridge, it remains and will bear her weight.
If the maga falls onto a magical bridge, she is stopped by the bridge and takes falling damage.
If the magical bridge falls onto the maga, it is stopped but does her no damage."

From both together we can conclude, that:
(1) It is not the case that all magical barriers need to penetrate a being's magic resistance to stop them.
(2) While penetrating magic resistance is required for the ReCo15 ward to stop a magus, this is not the case for the ReCo General ward against beings with might: otherwise it would have been explicitly mentioned for the same reason that it was mentioned for the other ReCo ward.

Kind regards,


I say that not requiring penetration on wards is heavily detrimental to the flavor of the game.

Your example gives out a very usefull mage I think. Given a few years, he would ward a circle tower againt dragons.

He would probably be invulnerable to pretty much everything thru pesonnal wards. I would want this guy in my alliance so that we may feel safe.

If Miserabilis is allowed to exist in a setting where wards do not require penetration, you are telling us that a starting caracter can ward himself against a dragon of might 50! Similar Perdo / Rego / Creo / Intellego / Muto specialist would never be able to use any magic that would restrain/affect the said creature.

This is one of the reasons why I enforce the penetration rules for all effects.

To get that straight: Berengar didn't. And already told you so.

Kind regards,


By your rules he would need to raise Rego and Vim by 26 to 27 levels each - try to compute how long that will take.

No, he wouldn't even survive the attempt to set up the circle. Dragons are cunning, can fly, and swoop, ...

How about a similarly extreme ReAn wretch just out of apprenticeship using ReAn5 'Spasms of the Uncontrolled Claw/Wing/Mouth' on the monster? Penetration 50 would be quite assured.

Kind regards,


Ah. Sorry. I taught you were the autor of Miserabilis Exemplaris Filius Perversi Discipulus Bonisagi

My mistake. Still, the example can be found in one of your previous posts.


Try to read it again. Slowly and carefully. And if needed, with books and pocket calculator at hand.

Kind regards,


if the ward required penetration it would take the character the same amoun tof time to learn the ward but it would take years and years to get the additional 30 points of casting/penetration total (spell level -10 compared to spell level +20)

The creature can walk away to find someone to break the ward for it.
Poking at the creature requires penetrating their mr or using mundane means.

What particular not so inocent use is going to upset the story? How is a story going to be better without the ward than it is with the ward?

It won't ever help them until they can get their casting total up. It would have been wasted effort. Their casting total is stamina +6 rego + form (lets say they got a level 12 source for their season and have a score of 4). In order to get the 20 penetration that they'll need for the might 20 creature they'll need a casting + penetration total of 40. At the moment their score is 12 + penetration (2 ?) + die roll, they'll need to get about twenty more points into this some how (another level of penetration, a *3 penetration multiplyer arcane connection , five levels to each of the two applicable arts and a point of confidence. ) That sounds like the work of 3 or more years to me.