Ablative Parma

This saga adopts an alternate parma magica (magic resistance) system, in which attacking spells can erode magic resistance even if they fail to penetrate. As such, a Magus' parma can slowly be burned away by spells that would otherwise be ignored (ablative parma displaces the all-or-nothing mentality of current 4th edition Ars Magica). Those unfamiliar with the ablative parma concept will discover that it allows most Magi to survive at least one catastrophic parma-penetrating spell that would otherwise have obliterated them, perhaps even giving them time to do something to save themselves (legend suggests this is why the suspicious founder Flambeau didn't destroy the mages sent to recruit him into the Order by Trianoma - their parmae partially deflecting the incoming fire might have have garnered Flambeau's attention). In addition, ablative parma can make a group of weak Magi rather formidable opponents against a lone, more-powerful Magus (as their individual spells might not affect the target, but might quickly strip his parma down).

Parma remains a Hermetic skill as detailed in 4th Edition rules. The only difference occurs when an attacking spell (or non-Hermetic magic) affects the parma. At this point, the strength of the attacking spell (its penetration total) must be compared to the target's Magic Resistance. Four possible results are detailed below. Magic Resistance is calculated according to standard 4th Edition Rules:

Magic Resistance = (Parma Skill x 5) + appropriate Form + Stress die

Situation 1: The Attacking Spell is Relatively Weak

If the attacking spell's penetration is less than half of the target's Magic Resistance total, then it fizzles (it does not affect the target, just as current rules dictate). The spell wasn't strong enough to effect the superior parma, and consequently nothing happens to the attacked Magus, and the spell is countered.

Situation 2: The Attacking Spell is Relatively Moderate in its Power

If the attacking spell's penetration total is greater than half of the target's Magic Resistance total, but less than the Magic Resistance itself, then the spell is countered, the Magus is unaffected, but his parma resistance is reduced by the magnitude of the spell's penetration (penetration total divided by 5) plus the Penetration score of the attacking Magus. For example, if you resist a 13 spell attack total with your Magic Resistance total of 20, then your parma blocks the attacking spell, but your parma decreases by 3 points (13/5 rounded up) plus the attacker's Penetration score at the end of the Round.

Situation 3: The Attacking Spell is Relatively Powerful

If the spell's penetration exceeds the target's Magic Resistance, then the spell is powerful enough to get through and affect the Magus. But this does not necessarily mean the target suffers the full effects of the magical spell. Rather, it affects the target at (Penetration - Magic Resistance) level, probably a reduction in its effectiveness (this means that the spell affects the target at a level equal to how much its Penetration total beat the target's Magic Resistance total).

For example, an attacking Pilum of Fire penetration total of 30 surpasses your Magic Resistance total of 20. You have been affected with a Level 10 spell (30 minus 20), so the Pilum might inflict +15 damage on you instead of the normal +25). In addition to suffering the graded affect of the incoming spell, the attacked Magus' parma resistance is also degraded as per normal, by the magnitude of the spell's Penetration total (or conversely by the amount by which the spell beat his Magic Resistance, whichever is greater). In the previous situation for example, the Magus not only had to soak fire damage, but his parma decreased by 10 points.

When dealing with Faeries or other supernatural creatures, it has been observed that it is possible to suffer the complete effects of their magic even if they barely defeated the Magus' Magic Resistance. The defeated Magus may however receive a bonus in their Natural Resistance that reflects their remaining parma (perhaps +1 per 5 points of remaining parma after the 'attack').

Situation 4: The Attacking Spell is Overwhelmingly Powerful

If the spell's penetration is twice that of the target's Magic Resistance, then the parma is completely blown down, and the spell affects the attacked Magus at full value.

Bookkeeping for Ablative Parma

Remember to keep track of your diminishing parma score throughout any sort of magical confrontation. Calculate new Magic Resistance total at the end of each Round. This calculation takes into account the parma damage done during the preceeding round. It is possible to have your parma reduced to zero either by having it gradually eroded away, or blown down by a single, overpowering spell. Once your parma has been completely eroded, your Magic Resistance does not include your Form total unless you re-raise your parma to some degree. Thus a Magus with no parma has little more resistance than a grog (but they still receive a natural Form bonus of +1 per 5 points of form as per the rules).

To counteract parma erosion, a Magus can spend a whole round strengthening his parma by concentrating, and maintaining no other action. The parma regains Parma skill in points per round spent strengthening it (this means that a Magus can completely raise his parma in 5 rounds). With a successful Meditation roll of 16+ you may raise the parma in twice the normal time (gaining 2 points per skill level per Round). As soon as the parma is up at all, the form benefit returns as per the rules.

This page last modified on 18-Dec-98.

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