More spells and items for lab improvement, p4

For November 2017 Ars Magica writing challenge – I’m doing one spell a day.

Warmth of the Cozy Solar

Creo Ignem 15, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Room

This room is provided a pleasant heat, granting the Superior Heating attribute to a lab (Cov p.114).

(Base 2 for warm to touch, +1 Touch, +2 Concentration, +2 Room)

Device effect total 14 (+1 for 2 Uses/day, +3 trigger: sunrise/sunset)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

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More spells and items for lab improvement, p3

For November 2017 Ars Magica writing challenge – I’m doing one spell a day.

Touch of Daylight 

Creo Ignem 10, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The object touched shines like the sun on a cloudy day. If used often within a lab it grants the Superior Lighting attribute (Cov p.114) without the upkeep cost

(Base 4 for light of a cloudy day, +1 Touch, +1 Conc)

Device effect total 20 (+5 Device maintains concentration, +5 for 24 uses per day)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

More spells and items for lab improvement, p2

For November 2017 Ars Magica writing challenge – I’m doing one spell a day.

Insulation for the Dedicated Halls

Perdo Imagonem 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Structure

This effect stops any sounds from entering or leaving the structure, granting the “Well Insulated” lab virtue (+1 Safety, +1 Aesthetics).

(Base 3 to remove sound, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 Structure)

Device effect total 29 (2 uses per day +1, environmental trigger +3 = constant)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

More spells and items for lab improvement, p1

For November 2017 Ars Magica writing challenge – I’m doing one spell a day. This set of posts are spells and items for comforts in a magi’s lab which expand on lab protections a few years ago and illusions in last year’s post.

Insulation for the Dedicated Solar

Perdo Imagonem 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Room

This effect stops any sounds from entering or leaving the room, granting the “Well Insulated” lab virtue (+1 Safety, +1 Aesthetics).

(Base 3 to remove sound, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

Device effect total 24 (2 uses per day +1, environmental trigger +3 = constant)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

An Imaginary Lab in the Familiar Bond

The Crown of Hermes magical device (Covenants p.121) allows the wearer to have an imaginary lab within their mind to perform their magical investigations, limited to particular activities like studying arts and inventing spells. I’ve never seen this device used in a game but it is a very interesting option for a Magus who travels a lot or with strong Mentem Arts, as they can have a lab anywhere. When combined with the lab specialisation rules the lab might be on par with a standard lab for some activities.

A primary advantage is how portable it makes a lab. A Bonisagus Seeker might get a lot of use from it when they are frequently traveling, likewise a Mercere Magus, or a Magus who wishes to remain untethered. One of the primary downsides of the device is the warping it inflicts (even though it might be designed for the wearer).

So what if the enchantment was performed on a familiar bond instead a normal device, as the familiar bonds do not cause warping (as per Ars Magica p.168)?

Modifications would need to allow for casting upon the wizard, and perhaps also the familiar could share the experience, and preferably an effect which can be used more frequently if desired. It becomes an invested power of the bond as:

Imagined Laboratory of Hermes, Invested

CrMe/InMuRe 58, Base 35, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 extra target. Then mods for +5 device maintains concentration, and +3 for 6 uses per day.

In this version the spell affects both the Magus and the familiar, allowing them to work together. It could also be made as (CrMe/InReMu 53) by only affecting the magus but being controlled by the familiar – which might make sense if the familiar was to guard the body of the Magus while the spell is in effect; although typically a magus wants that familiar in the lab to gain their skills. Those additional uses allow for interruption now that the effect duration is concentration.  Continue reading

Quick example of how to improve a Magi’s lab in Ars Magica

I was initially baffled by how to spec and then alter a Magi’s lab in Ars Magica. These are my cheat notes for how it works… 

A basic rule is for every improvement you want it to make in a lab it probably requires an investment of a season to make the change, and first an additional space. The remaining space is represented by the size less the consumed space, and the process of Refinement adds more space to a lab by reorganising the current content. Essentially the Magus can reorganise the content many times but there is little benefit unless the new space created will be used for something significant. 

This means that a season is needed to refine a lab first, and then whatever enhancement. So most improvements need two or more seasons. In more detail…using an example helps. 

Firstly, a brief description of the initial lab should be written. This fluff allows a common view point for the starting conditions and a basis for expansion.

“The laboratory of Zharkune the Necromancer is located below the ground in one of the Covenant’s cellars. This is accessed by a secured stairway from an antechamber on the tower’s ground level aside the main corridor. Both the antechamber and the downward stairwell are secured by heavy wooden door, the inner door bearing Zharkune’s sancta marker. Inside  the cellar is cold and dark, with no natural light which insulates the lab against outside noises. The lab is standard size, with a two small storage chambers to the north, a side reverie for reading, and an unused but furnished sleeping chamber to the south, as Zharkune also keeps a larger residence in the upper levels of the tower. The ancillary chambers are not considered part of the lab proper, but could be converted for use in the future.”

The second task is to set the initial conditions of the lab, and those are based upon the construction, physical environment, and resources of the covenant. Some labs will start very plain with no special features, but many should start with altered characteristics. Further if the covenant has pervasive aspects like a regio or in an extreme temperature then this should be accounted for.

Laboratory of Zharkune the Necromancer – Starting characteristics. 

Working scores: +2 Safety, +2 Aesthetics, +1 Upkeep, -1 Health, +1 Terram, 

Attributes:

  • Well Insulated (behind two doors and underground): +1 Safety, +1 Aesthetics.
  • Subterranean (cellar): +1 Upkeep, -1 Health, -1 Aesthetics, +1 Terram. 
  • Guard (who protects the outer door): +1 Aesthetics.
  • Superior Construction (a conjured tower): +1 Safety, +1 Aesthetics

Laboratory of Zharkune the Necromancer – Modified characteristics. 

After a brief year (a season of refinement and a season to invest each of the two properties) Zharkune’s lab has become specialised to his tastes. 

Working scores: +2 Refinement, +2 Safety, +4 Aesthetics, +1 Upkeep, +1 Health, +1 Terram, +1 Corpus, +1 Creo, +1 Warping, 

Additional attributes:

  • Specimens (human body parts): kept for study and for reanimation. +1 Upkeep, +1 Aesthetics, +1 Corpus.
  • Preserved (a magical storeroom): which keeps content immune from natural decay. -1 Upkeep, +1 Warping, +2 Health, +1 Aesthetics; +1 Cr.

Advice for lab creation

A common example – a covenant tower created with a magical ritual or sources from some other supernatural source should start with the Superior Construction quality.

Also if the wizards have the option it is far better to create labs which are larger than the standard; meaning a positive size attribute due to initial construction. This is because each new aspect or quality which is added takes up a virtual point of space which is directly linked to size.

Then the players should discuss is any characters wish to gain highly customised aspects (such as a bottomless pit or sentient lab) as this will guide the flavour of the lab going forward.

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Sean, a sample Ars Magica lab assistant

portrait-seanSean is the personal assistant to Magus Corbin, Follower of Merinita. He is a failed monk who is one of the rag-tag bunch brought to the covenant by Corbin.

Background

Born a lame bastard of a trivial midlands clan, Sean has no great destiny. His early life saw him shipped off to a college school as he seemed to be passingly smart and could do very little of the field work or hard laboring with his gimp leg. The church needed more hands, and saw fit to begin his training. Alas he was a poor fit for the monastic life and he left the Church shortly after taking his final vows, and fled to his old home. Sean was found by Corbin during a brief but utterly problematic visit to his old clan. Corbin was one of the only people who gave Sean a second look, and for that reason alone the clan were happy for Sean to hobble after Corbin when he departed.

While Corbin completed his apprenticeship he saw that Sean was trained in more skills than just writing, and found him to be an useful extra set of hands. When the time came there was little doubt that Sean would accompany Corbin to his new home. Continue reading