Bookplate of the Watchful Librarian – A matched set of a silver bookplate and a reed sized silver token, which are enchanted as a fixed arcane connections to each other. This allows the bookplate to be attached to a tome and lent out, and the token can be used to find the book should it become lost. A simple device which costs a pawn of vis to fix as a permanent AC in one season. Perfect as an apprentice level lab activity.
A quick idea for an item which would be useful in the lab to assist with cost savings on upkeep and also an Imaginem specialisation.
Libram of Imaginary Pages
(Lesser enchanted device: Cr/Mu/Re/Im 30)
The libram appears to be a piece of treated oak carved to look like a very small closed notebook. Upon command the libram will create an illusory sheet of writing paper, which can be used to scribe notes. Created as a level 25 spell effect, modified for +5 levels to allow 24 uses per day.
The virtual paper includes a tactile illusion so that slight resistance is felt by the writer when being changed. When written upon the illusion reacts to the motions of the writing implement, so that ink is not needed to write on the surface.
The illusory pages can be moved about or placed in mid air, and altered as pleases the writers just like a normal piece of paper. The illusory pages can be created in three sizes: note/palm sized, large book sized, and table sized.
(CrIm base 2 for visual and tactile illusion, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 can be moved around, +1 intricate text and drawings, +1 changeable image)
A mask which appears as the face of a human skull, which when worn alters the wearers outward appearance to suit their desire. The mask’s standard alteration is to make the wearer appear skeletal, atrophied, and garbed in a ephemeral black cloak (akin to the grim reaper). The masks creator had a dangerous predilection for macabre overstatement, and it is rumored that the mask was taken from his dessicated corpse.
In Ars Magica there is a tendency (for me at least) to try to create spell effects and items that are powerful and flexible. When doing this it tends to make the final artifacts expensive in terms of time and resources.
I was thinking about a second approach, which would exploit the rules for quasi-permanent effects which the Duration: Ring provides. Essentially Ring is a duration that lasts for as long as the ring is maintained. With that in mind here is a few sneaky effects.
The Persistent Torch
To start with get a craftsman to create a sturdy circular compartment, something solid which the grog can drop and not break, anything really as long as it has a lid that will cover the insides well. In the design you need to note a few aspects: a place for the ring to be either carved or attached on the inside, and a separate space for the item which is to be enchanted. In layman’s terms this could be a very small wooden box with a clasp which shutters the insides.
The craftsman insets the separate piece of some material that is inexpensive and easy to enchant in the middle of the box – I’d choose wood as it will be darn cheap. Avoid metals and stones as affecting them with magic is harder than wood, and there is no need to blow out the spell size.
Then the effect is simple – a Creo Ignem effect at level 10 to 15, with base effect level of either 3 or 4, +1 mag for Touch, +2 for Ring. It really depends on how powerful the light is meant to be. A base 3 light is a torch equivalent, and this seems useful for a grog wishing to travel without attracting too much attention – at as a level 10 effect could be spont’d easily.
A base 4 the light created is as bright as a cloudy day, which is more than enough, although spont’ing that level of effect will take some effort for some younger magi. Either way it is castable, and creates a portable light which can be given to grogs; or perhaps even given to mundanes as a gift. Light has a huge quality of life benefit, especially to the poor.
As alternates duration Ring can be used for these other purposes too:
Granting heat and warmth to devices which increases the comfort of an inhabitant. Perhaps a carpet or small bed could be cast upon after being inscribed with a ring. Creo Ignem again for the effect, approx level 2 base effect will see a final effect level 5.
Create a fireplace which never expires. CrIg around level 5 as a base, with 20 as the final effect – would make a great comfy fire to heat a room.
Create a simple magical compass, using a Rego effect combined with an Intellego effect so that the target always points north. Rego Terram 10 as the total effect. Base effect 2 for slightly unnatural movement, with +1 Intellego requisite, and +1 for Touch, +2 for Ring. Makes for a great gift.
A Magus could have many of the lights crafted by a mundane craftsman, and spont cast the rings on the surface of each. This could give an almost endless amount of light for a lab with no outlay of Vis, and very little maintenance.
Simple wards to protect against vermin, humans, or beasts. Rego with an appropriate form of a level around 10. There are special rules for wards which mean they are far easier to cast too, so don’t ignore them.