There are some changes to the Longevity Ritual in Ars Magica 5th edition from 4th, that are really interesting; and greatly shifted from my understanding. If you’re not new to 5th edition (being as it’s many years old) then you can probably move along safely.
In summary the season of activity is spent in designing the ritual, and once performed the same ritual (meaning the same bonus) can be repeated as often as needed without an additional season being spent.
This means that if the initial season creates a good level ritual (i.e. it has a significant affect on resisting age) then all is needed to repeat after it finally fails is the expense of Vis, with no significant time investment.
This is a change from how I understood the previous editions, where the season of activity was needed each time. Of course if the Magus wishes to take advantage of higher Art scores or better Magic Theory, then they have to create a new ritual, which takes the standard season.
The rules were clarified on the official forums, and I’m re-posting the basics here so that I’ll always have a copy.
1. Once a LR is created, it can be used by the original magus again and again (with LabT), correct?
(Not 100% sure whether you mean “with Lab Total” or “with Lab Text” – I’ll assume the latter.)
Yes. The value/bonus of the LR is identical the first time or later via Lab Text, but the cost of vis is based on current age (p 101, col ii, last par, 4th sentence), plus the same amount of any “additional vis” that was used before (p 101, col iii, par 2, 4th sentence). The base amount of “age-vis” changes, the “additional vis” doesn’t (not until/unless that changes with a reinvented LR).
So, if a mage is 40, they use a base 8 vis, and if 100, they use a base 20 vis – regardless of Lab Total or Lab Text or LR bonus, regardless how old that Ritual is. Any “additional vis” is added to that, and that is a constant for that LR.
(Note that if a mage were to lose a more recent Text, they could use an older one (with a presumably lower bonus) – but the base vis cost would be their current age, either way (and with the same amount of any “additional vis” spent for the LR as written in the text they’re using).)
2. What if the original LR utilized the services of assistants and sodales to get a higher score? Can the single maga still replicate it after an Aging crisis without them?
Assistants etc. are only needed for “invention” of the LR, not to perform the Ritual itself. Once the season is completed and the LR has been invented, a LR is a LR is a LR, and it’s all written down in the Lab Text – the final value is the final value, regardless of how one got there. Apparently, a mage could have had his memory wiped and his personal Art Scores returned to 0’s, and be without any access to a lab, and if they have the Lab Text then the LR is there for them to use when they need it*. (Re-inventing is a different matter.)
(* unless there were specific rare ingredients thrown in the mix “for color” – which I personally recommend, especially for older magi/stronger LR’s, but ysmv.)
At this point, a mage sets aside the “not significant” amount of time*, blends the vis up in a food processor and drinks it down (or whatever), and it’s done.
(* A few hours? Hal above suggests that it is sim to a Ritual Spell – no direct canon support for that, but imo it’s a good call if the exact time necessary is important to the story; maybe 15 minutes/5 of final Lab Total (including +5/additional vis) – or something similar. But if it’s not important to the storyline, then it’s just not that important to worry about.)
3. What about the amount of vis used? If it is more than the receiving magi can handle, can they still reuse it?
P 92, col iii – Vis Use – “…The magus cannot successfully integrate any more vis (than 2xMT) into a single project (in a single season)…”
However, it’s also true that, once created, a LR is not a “project” in this sense – it takes “no significant investment of time” (col ii bottom), so… it seems there is no limit.
(If a SG wanted to apply the same limit as that for using vis in boosting spell casting, no more of a type of vis than their Score in that Art, that might be reasonable – but I can’t find any canon limit for this purpose.)
4. What if it was created by Magus A for Maga B, with Maga B assisting. Can Maga B reuse the LR later without the assistance of Magus A?
Yes – see #2, above.
5. Reusing the old LR still requires a new investment of vis “(of an amount based on your current age)”… so is there a point where you simply can not reuse an LR based on Magic Theory score and age?
Not apparently in canon – see #3, above. “Inventing” the LR takes no vis – only performing the Ritual requires vis, and there doesn’t seem to be any (expressly stated) limit on that.The other creepy thing, if played out in-game, is that a maga will know this… Unlike a 70 year old man who knows that each year is a gift but does not know the hour/time, the maga knows that they have less than four years left. Period. Nothing more to be done unless they find someone with much higher MT and convince them to assist.
Yep! Even without any vis/season limit, a mage will reach a year when they just can’t get all the bonus they wish they had, and they know, year by year, their name is now on Father Time’s list.
Not all that diff from a younger mage who is approaching 35 is facing becoming sterile in a season of their choosing – tough call for some, regardless of the inarguable math.
A few other notes from the discussion which make sense are:
- Time to cast the ritual is akin to any other Ritual spell, and mats are needed each time.