From Project: Redcap
A Ward is any kind of Rego spell that protects a subject by keeping things away from it. Some, but not all wards, have the word "ward" in the spell title.
Wards Against Magic
There exists a Rego Vim spell guideline to "Ward the target against creatures with a Might less than the level of the spell..." (page 161). This ward only protects against creatures with a Might Score, so it is not effective against mortal wizards or their spells.
Range and Target
The Spell Guidelines for wards are usually written for Touch Range, Ring Duration, and Circle Target. As with all spells, the caster may alter these parameters to anything he or she desires. A ward with Touch Range, Sun Duration, Individual Target would have the same Spell Level as Touch/Target/Circle.
Wards and Penetration
Wards against mundane things, like body lice or metal weapons, magically keep the warded things away. This is automatic and infallible.
Wards are also effective against magical things of the appropriate types. For example, a ward against water will keep away magical water. However, wards against magical things are subject to Magic Resistance and Penetration. All spells in Ars Magica need to penetrate Magic Resistance, and there is no special exception for wards.
Examples of Wards and Penetration
- A magus casts a level 15 Rego Vim ward against supernatural creatures. A demon with a Might Score of 14 tries to attack him. The ward is effective, but needs to penetrate the demon's Magic Resistance. If it fails to penetrate, the demon is unaffected by the ward and can ignore it.
- A magus has a ward against humans and a second magus tries to touch him. The ward must penetrate the second magus's Magic Resistance in order to keep him away. Since a magus has no Might Score, the Spell Level of the ward matters only insofar as it affects Penetration.
- A magus has a ward against fire and another, very naughty magus casts a Pilum of Fire at him. The rules as written are completely unclear about how to handle this. Clearly, the ward is keeping out the fire, not the enemy caster. Does the ward need to penetrate the enemy caster's Magic Resistance? If not, then from a game balance point of view a ward is potentially a lot better than Parma Magica! A sensible House Rule in this case would be to compare the Penetration Total of the ward and the Pilum of Fire.
Wards and the Limit of Arcane Connection
Astute players will notice that the rules for Penetration and wards present a logical paradox. If the target of the warding spell is really the thing warded against, this appears to violate the Limit of Arcane Connection. The caster can put a ward on his book and then be a hundred miles away when the ward has to make a Penetration roll. This constitutes an in-character argument why wards should not have to penetrate;
House Rules for Wards and Penetration
Many players have adopted a House Rule that wards don't need to penetrate. The only real problem with this is that it doesn't answer what happens when another magus's spell impinges on a ward -- but since the RAW don't cover that either, this can hardly be considered a disadvantage of the house rule.
- Wards and Penetration, Houses of Hermes: Societates 113
- Rego Vim Guidelines, ArM5 page 161
- Ranges, Durations, and Target, ArM5 pages 111-112.
- Warding Virtue, Houses of Hermes: Societates 112-113