Wards (oh no not again...)

Having just ended this days session, our merry troupe still re-exploring "Calebais", I'm trying to research on a question that came up during play concerning wards.

I've just spent much time on reading all the old posts on the subject, but as I really couldn't find any possible answers to my question I've decided to open the pandora's box of wards....

I'm not interested in the normal wards Touch/Circle/Ring and the discusion on magic resistance and Might and so on - I know they've been extensively discused earlier.

My question is concerning the option stated in the rules to vary the range, duration or target - in this case to touch/sun/individual. This according to the rules doesn't change the basic magnitude which then still makes the spell ward against the basic of creatures of Might less than the level of the spell. In this case it was to use ReAn ward against the hrools of Calebais.

My question is thus: what would the effect of such wards be (comparable to the normal circle/ring wards)?


You have a level 20 Wards..
You change the Duration one level..
Your spell is now level 25....the Ward effect is still level 20...

sun is equal to ring, and individual is equal to circle.
Thus, the spell would be unchanged.
Mind you, reducing the duration to diameter should not affect the spell, as sun/ring is the base duration for this type of spell. (Same as trying to affect very small targets - just because something is 1/10 of the base individual, doesn't mean you can affect it with a weaker spell).

You've probably seen this from our previous discussion, but I'd certainly advise that if you house rule penetration for wards (as in not requiring them to penetrate to be effective) then do it for only stationary wards. Individual wards of duration sun that don't require penetration have (according to the experience of others) sucked much joy out of a game by making the characters invunerable to the powers of the supernatural antagonists.

I am aware of this - and the rules leaves little doubt about this. My question is really concerning the effect. The descriptions of wards are very tied to being cast on a Circle, but to what degree is the target warded when the spell's target is Individual instead? I really can't fathom that it would be exactly identical to the Circle-wards.... That would leave the always mentioned Ring/Circle wards a very unlikely alternative to simply making the same spell as Sun/Ind (with some obvious exceptions), since the Circle ward keeps you immobile. I know there's been a long discussion on the thing warded, is more or less warded on intent aswell as physically, not even being able to swing sword or shoot an arrow past the ward. But if the same goes for Individual wards, where people can move about, that not even thrown objects may be used (I fully understand that powers and natural weaponry etc. cannot affect the warded) it's incredible powerful! Especially if you have magus with Diedne magic that might very well easily make ok spontanious wards against pretty much anything. In our story walking straight into Calebais completely immune to the local hrools.

It is as if creatures, intelligent or not, seems more forcefull affected by wards then simple objects of said Form, not even being able to use other mediums to influence the warded. I very well know that this is a silly argument since inanimate objects wouldn't be able to do so anyway - but to make a silly example. A magus is about to enter a miningshaft that might collapse any moment. He isn't an expert at Terram - but very good at Herbam, so he decides to use Ward Against Wood and then use CrHe to cover the shaft in wood - the wood now not able to touch the magus even if the shaft caves in... And the wood thus isolating him from the mountain... Oh this really is silly and bad logic too. Disregard it.

Even if your warded against wood people could still use a wooden trebuchet to lop a big stone on top of you... I know said trebuchets doesn't have a say in the matter, but in a world of things created being drawn as perfect specimen from the world of Ideas....

I'm just trying to say that these kind of Individual wards are immensly overpowered - and I think there might be several solutions.

I) to apply penetration to personal wards, as suggested above, which would effectively half the power of these kinds of wards, or
II) to simply rule that the Circle/Ring wards specifically creates the magic in the very line of the circle, which is why it can't be crossed in any way - and things on the other side being influenced. And that this is hermetically specific for wards of the Ring/Circle type and that this doesn't apply in the same way to other sorts of wards - effectively removing the "ward of intent" from other forms of wards. Thus the thing itself, or it's powers, warded against still can't touch the ward but weapons and thrown/shot objects still can. Thus downpowering these kinds a wards, and these only, a needed notch.
III) don't give a damn - let powerful personal wards rule abundant!

  • that's true, but if you target the ward on yourself you might very easily reduce the Range from Touch to Per and then you have a magnitude to spare on boosting the Duration from Ring to Month!!!!! and change the Target from Circle to Individual.... And still be warded against any animal with Might less then the spell level!... see where I'm going?

No, you don't. That what it means for Touch to be the Base Range. Contrast with the wide variety of general spells which have an effect bonus built in the guidelines (e.g. Dispels spells weaker than Level + 10) so that casting them at greater ranges gives you an effect that precisely matches the level of the spell.

Thanks - that's some consolation, at least, if it wasn't for the text in the rulebook....

Ars p. 114: The parameters of the spell can be changed in the normal way, so that a ward which only protected the magus for a duration of Moon would have the same final level (R: Per; T: Ind) (emphasis is only to stress that this is from the Errata)

I don't understand this.

Anyway, ArM5 p.114 says about wards: "The spell guidelines for wards against magical things are listed with the base range of Touch, base duration of Ring and base target of Circle, ... The parameters of the spell can be changed in the normal way, so that a ward which only protected the magus for a duration of Moon would have the same final level."

This is all moot, of course, since Ward playtesting was found to be deficient quite a few months ago, and Wards are, like magic resistance in general, 'official' house rule territory now.

I personally houserule wards on the basis of the ReCo lvl 15 Guideline from ArM5 p. 134:

  • requiring penetration,
  • not requiring the base spell level to at least match a creature's might,
  • with ReVi wards just warding off supernatural effects,
  • and wards with other appropriate forms warding off the beings' bodies, weapons and so on.
    So you would need three wards (R: Pers, D:Moon, T:Ind) to ward off a water faerie:
  • ReVi to keep her powers away,
  • ReAq to keep her body away,
  • and ReTe to keep the tip of her flint dagger away as well.

(And yes, I know that I have to make judgement calls to determine whether a body is kept together, or in the mundane world, by a supernatural power of the creature.)

Kind regards,


OK, I'm wrong then. :slight_smile:

Wards are a mess. :confused:

Yeah, it really is!

And thanks to Berengar on his points too! The playtesting you write about, is that semi-"official" and/or can I find some text on the experience from it?

Come on people - I'd really like to hear more peoples takes and houserules on the non-Touch/Ring/Circle wards - so please give me your thoughts. We're continuing our Ars on sunday and by then I have to have made of my mind and I need to have sound arguments, because as is the rules on these kind of wards a seriously unbalancing the game IMO.

You could also give me your thoughts on these proposals:

The playtesting referred is the one which took place for ArM5 - so there will likely never be a detailed account on it available without NDA.
David Chart's valuation of it can be found in the backlog of this forum, in some months-old, long and convoluted Ward-discussions.

Is there somebody with enough time on his hands to sift through the forum and dig the post up again?

There's not yet any reference to the Ward-problems in the Redcap FAQ.

Kind regards,


Here's the link to the post I referred to above:

Kind regards,


In our game, we only allow stationary wards (which must penetrate as normal). It's just not fun to have PCs immune to iron/wood/stone/animals all the time, and it's not a hard thing to pull off. So rather than bend over backwards to accomodate, we only have wards involving circles. I suppose this could make running into a burning building harder, but that's an okay trade off.


Cheers mate! I saw that post as I was sifting through the forum on wards before posting this thread, but I obviously didn't read it thourougly...

I'm still crunching ideas to find how I'll present this to my troupe on sunday. Thanks for the inputs!

You should strictly apply the Warping rules from ArM5 p.167f, and especially dole out the Warping points for being under constant mystical effects, if Wards are used as cautionary measures most of the time.
Unless you create houserules allowing one single Ward against everything, precautionary (R:Per, D:Moon, T:Ind) application of Wards will lead to very quickly accumulating Warping Points.
With my houserules you would need some 30+ lvl 15 (R:Per, D:Moon, T:Ind) Wards to be warded from every effect that way - leading to a whopping 30+ Warping points per year: hence to Eternal Twilight in just 9 years.

Kind regards,


Since I am the player in Furions troupe who caused him all this trouble I´ll have my two cents as well:

  1. It seems very fair to me that the stationary circle wards generally should be more powerfull than ´mobile´ wards cast on a person or a group. After all, we all know from tons of litterature and movies that the proper way to ward off (or imprison) a demon is to draw a circle ward :wink:

  2. But still it should not be impossible to cast some kind of mobile ward against demons (or in this case Hrools).

The compromise:

  • Non-circle wards have a few magnitudes added to their level (say 2). Thus a (touch, sun, individual) ward against level 15 creatures would be level 25. The reason for this could be that since the circle has inherently defensive properties it is easier to cast a circle ward through the law of sympathy.

  • Creatures warded against in non-circle wards should not be able to come into one feet of a protected individual and should not be able to use powers tied to their might against a protected individual.

  • Creatures warded against should be able to use powers not tied to their might (for instance mundane weapons) against the protected individual.

Exempli gratia:

A magi warded against demons encounters such a foul beast. The demon is unable to use his infernal powers to posses the magi or throw hellfire at him. The demon is also unable to brawl the magi. But the demon could attack the magi with a spear, with a sword (probably with some penalty to attack roll for being so close to the one feet ward), he could also lift up and throw a boulder at the magi (but he could not throw it by the use of an infernal power requiring might) or he could induce the local farmers to hunt the magi down.

Silly you! :smiley: Of course you didn't cause it - you just revealed what in the first place was a broken set of rules on wards! Really nice to have you onboard on this discussion!

I'm still trying to weigh pro and cons on different ways to mend the Ward-rules...

It should be a balanced and uniform solution - and I'd like to perhaps weed out the "intent" vs "physical" ward concerning the regular Circle wards as well as for the rest.

An obvious solution would be David Charts inclusion of penetration, but then you'd have to fix the base level (seems to be at lvl 15 acording to ReCo), but the jury is still out...

A penny for you thoughts :exclamation:

In a few hours I'll have to have found a good solution on how to fix the broken Wards - especially the personal non-Circle ones - because it is rather important in our present story. I'm really glad for all the inputs so far - but I would really really appreciate a last couple of thoughts and ideas :bulb: before the "deadline"... :smiley:

For now - once more having spend the night on silly stuff (compared to sleeping and being well-rested before todays session) - I'll go to bed, but I'll make sure to check in when I wake for hopefully some more thoughts on this issue... to inspire possible solutions...

Yours Truly,


For effect, you can make the Hrools simply unable to touch the warded character - hits just bounce off, they can't get a hold of him, etc. Magic and melee are obvious, but remember that from the medieval viewpoint, there is no such thing as inertia: the reason why projectiles move and hit you is because they are still subject to the force that put them in motion initially. Thus an arrow shot at the ward still carries the strength of the Hrool with it and thus would be warded off by something that wards Hrools off. They could still drop (not throw) things on him, stand in his way, trip him...

Your player wants an effect that prevents them to come close: that's a different effect, something that compels them to move away, affecting them directly (penetration) and individually (you may want a Group or even Room spell, or an unlimited-uses constant effect item). They could then still throw things at him.

I am of the opinion that wards against supernatural beings should not need to penetrate, as that is built into the spell (with a level 0 guideline, so be it), and although it is a Rego effect, it is up to the creature to penetrate the Ward, not the other way round.

Wards against mundane animals and people have a higher-level base guideline because there is no Might for the wards to exert leverage against, so they need to work differently. Magi are in the unusual case of merely being affiliated with Magic (thus, no Might) and yet have Magic Resistance to help them ignore the effects of the ward.

Such a reading could be interpreted as meaning that you can create a ward against supernatural creatures with the same guidelines as a ward against mundane creatures, and have it ward off anything (within the right Form) it can penetrate the resistance of, but I don't like that interpretation (see above, the creature penetrates the ward), so I'll just claim that their essential nature is sufficiently different that magic just doesn't work that way. Yes, it does mean that "weak" supernatural beings are easier to ward off than mundane creatures. I actually like that.

I also don't quite like the idea that having an arcane connection to a creature would make it easier to ward that creature off. A ward is the antithesis of an arcane connection. How can something that lets you connect more easily to something enable you to erect a ward that essentially cuts you off that thing? It should be the other way round! If you have an arcane connection to a creature, or heck, if that creature has an arcane connection to you, it should be easier for it to cross your ward, for it is, in essence, already partly there.

At least, that's my reasoning to justify keeping things as they were in the previous editions, at least for those spells. I don't play often enough to actually make judgements as to whether they are well-balanced that way or not. :cry: :cry:

If you do want to nerf personal wards, require penetration (which halves their effectiveness) or decree that Circle/Touch/Diameter is the base guideline for wards, uniformity of the rules be damned or just forbid them completely. But then again, I have created a character who's dead afraid of ice faeries and warded her talisman against them to be sure they don't steal it. She wouldn't be happy...

We've been doing it like this...
(bear with me)

Wards against things: ie Fire, Cold, Terram...Effects if you will..Do not require a Circle. You can use a circle (to protect a group), but that requires a different spell (or Virtue) than one that protect you alone.

Wards against Creatures MUST have a circle. So a ward against a Demon, Faerie, mundane...etc, require you to scribe a circle.
This takes a lot of time....


A ward of level 20 will keep out a creature of Might 20 or less...but...
You must penetrate.
To Penetrate a Might 20 you need a 20 additional casting score, + Penetration. A 15 would not Penetrate a Might 20 creature, so you need the additional points. A Penetration above 20 is really useless, because the spell only Wards against a level 20.... :confused:
So how it basically works is that you need a casting total twice the level of the spell...(for a Full effect)

Now as to what and how gets warded in case two...
thats up to you...

As far as the Wards lasting...well, they can't stay in that circle forever...
Demons have minions for the purpose of destroying ward circles....
Even if its only smearing the line of the circle...or breaking it with their body...