What to do
Adventures are easy – follow the plot hooks, throw some dice around, everyone has a good time. But what do you do in your lab, which is such a significant part of the game?
- Read or write books
- Invent new spells
- Study raw vis
- Transfer raw vis into a different physical form
- Create magic items, talismans, or longevity rituals
- Extract Vim vis from the surrounding aura
- Theoretical research and experimentation to make changes to Hermetic magic
And a related question – what are the different ways to get xp?
- Exposure – 2xp (this is what you get if the season is focused on something that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories below – usually lab or craft work)
- Adventure – 5-10xp, but no more than 5 into a single Art or Ability
- Practice – 4-8xp, depending on what Ability you are practicing
- Training – depends on the trainer’s score in the Ability (the trainer gets Exposure xp)
- Teaching – depends on the teacher’s score in the Art or Ability, the teacher’s Com score, and the number of students (the teacher gets Exposure xp)
- Books – equal to the Quality score of the book
- Vis – stress die + aura bonus; consumes 1 pawn of vis per 5 levels that you already have (round up) in the Art being studied
Clarification for other questions, as they come up…
What can you do with vis?
- Use it to get a +2 bonus per pawn while casting a spell (before dividing, for spontaneous spells). You cannot use more pawns than your score in the relevant Art, and each pawn that you use this way adds one botch die (if applicable).
- Use it to power ritual spells – requires 1 pawn per magnitude of the spell, which does not give a bonus to casting (but you can still burn extra vis to get a bonus if you want)
- Experiment and study it to gain xp, as described above
- Use it to enchant a magic item – costs Vim vis depending on the size and material of the item, plus vis for the Technique or Form of the effect (one pawn per 10 levels of effect)
- Power a Longevity Ritual – costs 1 pawn of Creo, Corpus, or Vim for every 5 years of the target’s age (round up)
- Use it to make an arcane connection permanent – costs one pawn of Vim vis
- Power the ritual to bind a familiar – cost depends on your binding lab total (a detailed explanation will wait for when one of you is actually considering taking a familiar)
Note also that the maximum amount of vis you can use in the lab in one season is 2x(Magic Theory), in addition to any other limits depending on the specific use
What is spell mastery?
Spell mastery is expertise with a single formula spell, which grants several different benefits. Your mastery with a spell increases like an Ability – 5xp for level 1, 15xp for level 2, etc – and you can gain xp for spell mastery the same way as for any other Ability. If you have mastery for a spell, add your level to all casting rolls for that spell, and subtract it from the number of botch dice you roll. In addition, you gain one of the following bonuses for each level of spell mastery (and you can choose different bonuses for different mastered spells):
- You may fast-cast the spell (which is normally only allowed for spontaneous spells)
- Double your magic resistance if someone else casts this spell, or a mechanically similar one, against you
- You may simultaneously cast a number of extra copies of of the spell equal to your mastery level, against the same or different targets – you must roll separately for each copy, and if a targeting roll is required it is penalized depending on the number of targets
- Add your mastery level to Penetration with this spell
- Reduce the penalty for quiet casting by five; you may take this benefit twice, to completely eliminate the penalty for casting silently. Voice range still depends on your actual loudness when you cast.
- Eliminate the penalty for casting without any gestures
- Add your mastery level to Concentration rolls related to this spell
- Other magi cannot automatically identify the Form of the spell while you are casting it, and your mastery level is added to the difficulty if they roll to identify it (this can make it harder to defend against your spell
- Get a +1 bonus to all Finesse rolls with this spell, and subtract one botch die on Finesse rolls – you may take this option multiple times
- Get a +1 bonus to initiative rolls with this spell; if you have previously taken the option for fast casting, this bonus also applies to casting speed – you may take this option multiple times
How does experimentation work?
Any time you are doing lab work, you may choose to experiment rather than being careful and following strict formulas like usual. If your work will take more than one season, you may choose to experiment in some seasons and not others. When you experiment, roll a simple die with a modifier between +0 and +3 (your choice), and add the result to the points you accumulate for that season’s lab work. However, you must also roll a stress die, with the same modifier, on the Experimental Results table in the rulebook. If you chose a modifier greater than 0, you also get this many extra botch dice on the stress roll. The odds are slightly in favor of nothing special happening; if something special does happen, the odds are about equal of it being good, bad, or neutral. If you have a bonus on the stress roll, this makes it more likely that something interesting will happen.