Wards cover an area and are used for protection. They may accomplish a variety of purposes. We have seen wards that can:
- Alert the caster that someone or something has entered the ward. This basic type of ward is learned even before a mage is certified. Zorian knows how to use it even before entering the time loop (ch. 1).
- Disrupt spellcasting (ch. 1). This does not make spellcasting impossible, but it does make it more difficult.
- Prevent divinations from detecting those within it.
- Soundproof an area.
- Prevent or subvert teleportation (ch. 51). Large cities can employ wards to route teleportation through a central location.
- Prevent magical explosions (ch. 47)
- Prevent fire magic (ch. 62)
- (INCOMPLETE LIST)
Wards can be dispelled, but if they are anchored to a spell formula they are much more difficult to dispel.
Wards are ubiquitous. They are used by most wizards, both weak and strong. It is common for mages to keep permanent wards on their homes.
Wards require a power source. They are often made to subsist off of ambient mana, in which case the strength of the wards depends on the amount of ambient mana in the area. They can also be powered by personal mana or the mana of captured souls.
There is a branch of magic that focuses on defeating enemy wards. There are three ways to defeat a ward (ch. 30).
- Siphoning. The power source of the ward is drained until it runs out of power and fades away. This can take a long time and requires having control of the area around the ward.
- Breaking. This is the fastest strategy. A weakness in the ward is exploited to cause the ward to suddenly collapse. This is quick, but may cause the ward to explode. Powerful wards cannot be easily broken.
- Bypassing. The mage avoids triggering the ward. This requires a good understanding of the ward.