Book Centric Spells

Greetings,

I'm looking for critique for the following spells. The character (posted in AM characters forum) is book centric. Hence the focus of the listed spells.

The Mind Knows What the Eye Sees
InIm 20
R: Per D: Moon T: Vision
This spell creates within the mind of the caster a perfected image of the entire contents of any one book after the caster merely flips through the pages.

If the caster does not take care to specifically turn each page there is a chance some critical information could be omitted. The caster must make a successful Dex + Finesse roll vs. ease factor of appropriate to the amount of care they take in flipping through or turning past each page.

If the caster fails the roll the spell fails to capture the entire contents of the book. This is represented by blank pages in the perfected image of the book. The caster may not be aware of this until they attempt to view or otherwise use the perfected memory.

Spell Construction:
(Base 1, +3 moon, +4 vision)

Mundane Inventory Made Easy
InIm 15
R: Touch, D: Moon , T: Room
This spell was originally intended to aid in cataloging a library. By touching a wall the caster creates a perfected memory of the interior of a room. The caster can change their viewpoint within the room to allow the caster to be able to view the mental image of items within at a level of detail as if standing in the room under the same conditions in which the image was created (i.e. well lit vs. poorly lit, etc.).

(Base 1, +1 touch, +3 moon, +2 room)

Relieving the Scribe of Tedium
MuAn 15 Req: Her, Ter
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind, Req: He, Te
The caster turns a blank sheet of parchment or paper they are touching into a perfect copy of a page the caster can either see or visualize (i.e. either by viewing a perfected memory or from looking at an existing book). The copy is indistinguishable from the original by mundane senses.

Although this allows the caster to produce copies rapidly, to curb abuse of this spell the caster is limited by the normal rules for copying.

(Base 2, +1 touch, +2 sun, +2 manufactured item)

Floats Like a Duck
ReAq 20
R: Touch D: Moon T: Room

By touching a wall this spell allows the caster to make the items within a room water repellant for a duration. The spell is broken if the target(s) becomes submerged.

(Base 1, +1 touch, +3 moon, +2 room, +1 slightly unnatural control)

Scribers Skill Revealed
MuAn 20 Req: Ter
R: Vision D: Mom. T: Ind

This spell instantly corrects any copying errors on a parchment page viewed by the caster. The caster must make a successful die roll of Perception + language of the text vs. ease factor of appropriate to the amount of care they take in flipping through or turning past each page. If the caster fails the roll they might easily conclude that there were no errors to begin with.

A successful correction would make the Source Quality of a Quickly Copied book 1 higher.

(base 2, +3 vision, +2 manufactured item, +1 terram req.)

These are some nice ideas for spells. A couple of comments follow. Of course this is just my opinion.

Shouldn't this be Creo Mentem if it creates a memory? Imaginem creates an illusion. There are guidelines in HOH:True Lineages for this sort of thing, which suggests a Base of at least 4.

It's a little unclear if the spell is cast before reading the book, and the perfect memory lasts for a moon, or whether the spell is cast at some point in the future after having flipped through a book sometime previously. Either seems to be possible given the RAW.

I'm not sure why this needs to be vision range? The memory is in the caster's head. Wouldn't Individual work? I think you might also need some kind of magnitude increase based on the length of time of the memory. Remembering a Lab Text (short?) should be require a higher magnitude spell than remembering a Summae (long).

You probably need to have some idea of how long it takes to skim through a book in this way, and how long it takes the character to copy the book out from memory.

It seems like the intent of this is similar to By His Works, from HoH:True Lineages, which refreshes the caster's memory of a sigil. That is Creo Mentem (as it effects memory) 5 (Base 4, +1 Conc).

I'd suggest that you use CrMe 15 (Base 4, +1 Conc, +2 Room). The concentration duration means that the memory is refreshed for as long as the caster concentrates; afterwards it decays as normal, and he can always cast the spell again to refresh it.

I don't think that this spell does what you think. It transforms the blank page into a written page for Sun duration. At the expiry of the spell it reverts to the original blank state.

I think that you need to be using ReAn to make permanent changes to the page with Momentary Duration (to write on a single page) or Concentration Duration to continuously copy pages until the character ceases to concentrate. Covenants has a section on Rego Craft magics --- using Rego to duplicate what a craftsman (or scribe) can do --- that you might like to read. Basically, the idea in Covenants is that with these types of spells to be successful the caster has to make a Finesse roll where the Ease Factor depends on how difficult the task is, and how long it would take a mundane craftsman to do the job.

You need to decide whether you need to pay for the requisites or not. Why is there both a Terram and Herbam requisite? If that is to do with ink choice, can't the spell designer just choose to use either mineral or plant based ink? If you use the Rego Craft guidelines you also need to have the mundane components available (ink); you don't need a quill though as that is not present in the finished product.

IIRC there is a bit of hand-waving in the RAW as to whether these sorts of spells are possible at all --- based on the idea that text is information, and spells can only see scribbles. However, as long as this spell is being used to copy something, rather than create information, I don't see a problem.

Seems fine.

I'm not sure if this spell can work. Sure, you can create a ReAn spell like the one above to change a text, but spells don't know whether text is correct or not; they are blind to the meaning of text.

I think that the best that you could do is create a spell which compared two copies of the text and flagged inconsistencies between the two, to the caster, who can then make a judgement as to whether something needs to be done with another spell. This would work in much the same way that your word processor compares your text to the text in a dictionary and blindly flags inconsistencies without understanding the meaning!

Yeah, the rules are quite clear that you can't discern the meaning of written words through magic. There's no translation spells, for instance. So, similarly, you can't correct the content of written text through magic either.

The copying spells definitely need to be rituals if you intend the copies to last.

I'll have to look around for the examples of memory spells. I think they are mainly in Mysteries, but it might be Art and Academe instead. Either way, there are good guidelines for these sorts of spells already in existance. I'll check them when I get a chance.

I'm stuck at work without books so this will be short.

By the way, thanks for the input. It all helps me realize errors in my own assumptions of how spells can be constructed. Something I seem to have trouble with.

I believe in the core rules under InIm guidelines Base 1 says something about creating a perfected memory...again, currently without books.

There is also a spell in the Grimoire thread posted by Ed C: Opening the Mind of the Tome that is similar.

The range is not Vision, the Target is Vision. The range is personal because it is the caster that is being effected. The Target is Vision because the spell is intended to perfect a memory of something which the caster can see.

Actually I took the basis from the core rules, InIm. Something about touching a wall and seeing within the room as if inside.

I see the problem there. Although, if one used a MuAn spell on a large piece of leather can they not turn said leather into a crafted item like a saddle or sling? Duration would be momentary to change the object.

I assumed the same for crafting a written tome. Which is why I had a Te requisite, for base components of ink.

But you are correct in either case, Duration should be Momentary.

I hadn't expected the spell itself to know the difference, it's a MuAn spell. That is why I had the Perception + Language roll included. The spell would be intended to change/rewrite errors the caster can themselves notice with a successful roll. If they fail the roll they spot no errors to be changed, though they may actually exist. Also, I left the ease factor variable to compensate for the amount of care or time that the caster would use in looking for errors.

In this case I guess I need to be more clear in my description of what the spell accomplishes.

But could a caster not magically write/scribe any translation they themselves could accomplish in mundane fashion? Preferably the scribing would be magically enhanced to speed up the process, but the translating itself would be non-magical.

I remember there being a thread offering a number of spells to create/copy books (I have a printout of the relevant posts, so I know I'm not delusional), but I can't seem to find it even though I do have all the keywords I could need. :frowning:

I think I found it here:
[url]https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/copying-books/2711/1]

There's also this one on book repair: [url]https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/book-repair-is-this-possible/612/8]

No, the one I have had the following spells - mostly an application of Rego craft magic
The Prolific Scribe
Hide to Parchment
The Illuminator's Bread
A Spell for Binding Boards
Uterine Vellum
The Hunt's Reward
Conjured Binding Boards
Timber Without Forest
The Colored Ink
Creation Of The Alexandria's Golden Treasures

BINGO!
http://lonedm.googlepages.com/bookcraft

The Mysteries has:

Memory Palace of the Sage (CrMe 25 R: Per D: Mom T: Ind Ritual) as the means to memorize entire texts.

Less voluminous memories are only lvl 20. The example of a not ritual spell is Enhance the Memory Palace (CrMe20 R: Per D: Moon T: Ind) and the caster can keep the perfected memory until the spell's duration ends.

You definitely don't need Vision target, because the spell is not affecting the caster's vision. He's not getting more information with his sight than normal.

I think you are out of luck on memorizing entire texts without a Ritual since even if you allow a Lvl 25 non ritual to memorize the entire text, there isn't much you could do with it as the memory would fail after Moon duration. Not enough time to copy it down or study from it in your mind.

Well, that could be possible. But the pretty clear design intent is that its not, as one of the major balances on magical power and advancement is the time consuming nature of transcribing books. If books could be copied in moments, that would have a substantial effect on how libraries in the Order function.

If you do allow it, it would certainly require a very high Finesse roll to do properly, as the magus would have to perfectly control the magic. Transforming iron into a sword only needs to be "pretty good". Copying a text needs to be pretty near perfect to avoid the 'corrupt text' problem.

You could create a constant duration enchanted device with maintain the demanding spell on it, then you could cast a duration concentration memorization spell. You'd probably get some warping but it would keep the memory fresh for long enough to make a copy.

Or use a moon duration sustaining spell, and renew it a few times to get a season to write in.

If you don't mind the warping, that might be a solution if you are copying multiple texts. Otherwise the vis cost in making the item exceeds the vis cost of the ritual.

The ritual also has the advantage that you keep that text in memory forever, whereas your item would only hold one spell at a time. The item could also be lost or subject to some magical effect that broke its concentration. It would, of course, also be useful with other spells however.

Sure, you cast it to start, then you cast it again after each full moon or new moon. If you can target the specific memory, you'd be set.

Well, that solution would be trickier. The memory is a product of a CrMe spell. To use a traditional maintenance spell, you'd need to have the original CrMe be concentration duration and you'd need a Maintain spell with Moon duration. If the CrMe is lvl 25, you'd need at least a lvl 35 ReVi Maintain if at moon duration.

And you'd still have the warping problem and the Wind of Mundane Silence risk.

As for recasting a Moon duration CrMe spell, that seems a bit incestuous but maybe okay anyway. My gut reaction would be that you'd need the source of the memory to recast the memorization spell rather than being able to memorize the magical memory. But I'd have to think about that a lot more.

FYI, the Mysteries consider memorizing an entire text to be a +4 complexity modifier to the base. So actually, the spell to memorize an entire text for Moon would be rather high level. Base: 5 +3 Moon +4 Complexity, so CrMe40.

The Concentration version would be Base: 5 +1 Concentration +4 Complexity. So CrMe30 (and the Maintain would need to be ReVi40).

Hmm...you're right. Somehow that seems a bit inconsistent with the rest of the rules, but oh well.

I see that makes sense if you are using the InIm guideline. If you are using the Cr/ReMe guidelines to create/control a memory it should be Individual.

I guess that there are several ways to skin this particular cat.

Again, it seems like two ways to do the same effect.

Yes, a MuAn spell can change leather into saddle, but only for the duration of the spell. At the expiry of the spell it reverts to being leather. To make a permanent change to the leather you use a ReAn spell with momentary duration to duplicate what a mundane craftsman can do, but you need to actually have the leather and any bits and pieces present in the final product (like rivets, say) to hand when you cast the spell. Alternatively, you can use a CrAn momentary ritual to create a permanent, mundane saddle out of thin air.

The arguments against this are mostly game balance ones. If you can magically copy books rapidly then the Order, and Mythic Europe should be quite different --- basically you are inventing the printing press, which had a massive impact on the real world.

Personally, I don't really buy such arguments. Magi use magic to accomplish things. Writing books is something that magi would want to do accomplish. Therefore at least some magi should use magic to accomplish this, and players should be rewarded for inventing interesting spells that allow this.

I think that I would house rule something like:

  • to make copying spells requires relatively high finesse rolls to be successful.
  • that the spells must be concentration duration spells.
  • that the person doing the concentration must understand at least the language that they are copying: so items can't (normally) do the concentrating and the person needs at least Artes Liberales 1, Latin 4 (or whatever language the text is in).
  • that due to the need for the person to maintain concentration on what is being written there is an absolute limit to the rate at which the copying can proceed (this assumes that they repeatedly recast the spell as they lose concentration). This should be something like a day per magnitude of Lab Text, a day per Source Quality of Tractatus, and a day per Source Quality * Level of a Summae. So copying a Lab Text that describes a magnitude 4 spell takes 4 days, copying a Quality 10 Tractatus takes 10 days, and copying a Level 3, Quality 10 Summae takes 30 days.

I think that something like this works, as it means that to copy large amounts of stuff ties the caster up for seasons, which could be spent on doing better things, but still makes him substantially faster than a mundane scribe. However, he's not significantly better than a room full of scribes, and he can't create an item, or get grogs to do the job, so it shouldn't have too much effect on the setting either.

Well, such a spell would be pretty much mandatory once you allow it in the game. And Profession: Scribe (the skill that dictates copying speed for summae) is wiped out of existance. Mundane scribes and rooms full of scribes are already not useful or practical for the Order, since you get corrupt texts when the copyist doesn't have the magical knowledge needed to grasp what is important or not.

A typical tractatus would take 6 days to copy. So instead of copying 1 tractatus per season, the magus could now copy 15. The concentration rolls are irrelevant, since you'd just make a quill of maintaining the demanding spell.

There are some issues with the concept besides game balance, though. First, the tying the time to quality is a bit problematic since large amounts of quality will have nothing to do with length of the book (bonuses from 'underwriting' of summae, Good Teacher virtue, good Communication attribute, resonant bonuses, etc).

Second, what exactly is the spell targeting? Is it making the magus write much faster? If so, it should be some sort of Corpus spell and potentially cause warping if used enough. If its targeting the book and literally copying it, why is there any time involved at all? Its just Rego craft magic then. The Finesse roll would be insane, though.... And every time the spell is cast, someone would have to carefully edit the book to make sure the finesse roll succeeded and nothing was corrupted.

Ok, so copying seems to be rather difficult if not altogether unattainable.

What about the idea of using a strong arcane connection, say cuttings from numerous corners, to transport the book from a library in Rome to ones lab in Belfast?

I have not looked the the guidelines, this is more of a spur of the moment idea.

Difficult enough so that it doesn't become the only way to go.

Very few arcane connections are permanent. Only those things absolutely integral to the target (look at he table on page 84). On the other hand you can fix an arcane connection in a laboratory and make it permanent (this takes a full season and a pawn of vis and is generally considered something to be done only in extraordinary circumstances).

But in theory yes it can be done .