Books, Ego, and Power Levels?

And, of course, the book itself isn't copied - that still seems to need to be done by hand. All the spells in the book indicate that a scribe still needs to go through and write out each page, by hand. At best, Magic seems to improve the quality (or reduce penalties), rather than make the scribing process go faster.

I wanted to come back around and answer this. Yes, in an optimal environment what you describe is possible. I think it is important for the troupe to limit opportunities to optimize like this. I have a character in the Canaries saga here on the forum, she is a Tytalus and wants to be a Hermetic Shipwright. I've given her appropriate virtues and flaws, but purposely made her a Tytalus. She has a penchant for adventure. She has had to step up and resolve some problems the covenant has, and she hasn't had a chance to improve her Magic Theory or preferred or necessary Arts. That's interesting, and more to the point, fun.

Because there is furthering your own Arts, fulfilling covenant service, getting a familiar, training an apprentice, making a talisman and any of a hundred reasons. Then there is the idea that some magi and magae won't share their knowledge. Going back to my Maga mentioned above, she's just so darn busy, that she doesn't have the opportunity to optimize. As soon as she gets to a,point that she can invent a spell in a couple of seasons, she will probably do it. She has so much to do, she can't even comprehend optimizing in this manner, and no character, IMO, would.

As far as "Covenants are ridiculously rich": Yes. Yes, they are. 80 pounds of gold is about a thousand troy ounces, or about a million and a half dollars (this week.) And that's a magnitude 20 ritual. Some king or emperor was ransomed for their weight in gold- don't remember who. So a rook [of vis] is worth more than a king. In general, the actual grinding poverty of 1200 AD is a lot less fun than people want to have; there's a reason the SCA's motto includes "except die from the plague."

As far as "Solve It With Vis": May not be necessary. One thought I had a few years back (second edition? Maybe? There was a discussion of "uterine vellum"... ) was a PeAn spell that takes the awkwardly thick parts of an animal's hide, which are normally terrible for parchment, and precisely slices them into five or ten sheets of parchment (which would still need treatment by percamentarium or spell). Far more writing surface per animal, far cheaper, no vis required.

As far as "too darn busy to get there": Well, the game I'm going to start will certainly give the characters an awful lot to do from day 1. But that's starting a Spring covenant under a significant burden. A magus of, say, Coeris or Durenmar might have "build a level 23 Summa" actually BE their covenant service project.

My working solution (I think I'm the only serious rules lawyer in the soon-to-start game) is that the "level" of a Tractatus is equal to three times its Quality. Theoretical near-maximum of level 36 from books, then. I suspect the magi who wrote the level 20 Summae were taught by other archmages for at least some of the high levels; getting from (say) 32 to 40 through pure vis, even with an Affinity, takes a jaw-dropping amount.

It's not canon but it's good enough for me.

It's been clarified at least a few times that I know of on this forum. By RAW Target:Group does mean that you can make a Ton (As in literally around 2000lbs) of animal products without a size modifier. It is actually intended in the design of the game from what I remember.

Of course Rule One is also RAW. If it seems to powerful you can say no or up the difficulty. It's not that unfair to say you can only make 10 books whatever the weight. Though I might set the number at 20 or 30. Of course if the creator ups the Magnitude by 5 he gets ten times whatever the number you set.

There are many other limitations on this spell. Complexity is defiantly an issue. Certainly I agree that it warrants a +2 or so as an elaborate item.
Edit: That would probably even be on top the +2 required to produce processed animal products.

Since a book is manmade the spell should still require a finesse roll as per the Creo rules ArM5 pg 77. A pretty high roll could be expected for these books to qualify for the expertly bound bonus.

Also I don't see these books containing resonant materials so they defiantly miss out on those bonuses.

Because making a ton costs just as much as 10. You can sell them off in packs of 200lbs for a vis to other covenants. Or a bunch of silver. Plus there is magic to preserve books, which should be on the whole library anyway.

Per RAW its mass equal to ten individuals. Or ten ponies of mass in the case of animal spells. Soo... a ton of books is feasible.

Look there is a reason its assumed covenants don't have to put up with typical expenses. This is why.

A covenant is only rich if they can spend the gold. Out in the sticks, having pounds of gold is going to require trips to major cities, and even then it will be tough to spend it. Valuing Vis against a gold or silver standard is a mistake. Mavis should have an independent exchange rate, and it should be tied to Vim as the baseline.

Perdo destroys or makes worse, within the paradigm. I'm always leery if Perdo spells that improve. And what you're describing is done with Rego in Rego craft magic. Requires Perception + Finesse rolls and the difficulty levels are very high.

Sure, it might be, once they get than Art score of 46, but they had to do other things for the covenant prior to that point. And if they are Tremere, they have other responsibilities to the House, above and beyond the covenants duties.

Studying from Vis is a fool's errand, and this is why I like the idea the Archmage can learn from the student. It's like the PhD candidate teaching the professor about his particular slice of the field they are both experts in, it makes tractatus very useful, and the arch magus pursuing that high Art score is going to do a lot to get even low quality or vain tractatus. If you can convince an Aechmage to teach you, well, I'm sure they have an extensive to do list that must be completed... As a player, it's easy to say, I'll get my Art score up to 40 by studying with the Archmage who has a score of 40. Why would he bother to teach your magus? Why not his own filius?

When players start focusing on stories, then things go all wibbly-wobbly with their plans. I have a corpus magus in one saga, had no intention on learning The Inexorable Search, but the covenant needed it. And they didn't have the lab text, and there wasn't time or resources to make a trades, so he had to invent it from scratch and it took two seasons, which means if the text had been available, it would have been learned in just on. Stuff happens.

The Mysteries Revised has an example of a magic photocopier spell (Or 3d scanner/printer if you like). A spell that recreates a complex device exactly by adding an Intellego Req. In that case it was an Armillary Sphere not a book. But the concept could translate. IMOHO it even overcomes the need for a finesse roll. Maybe it can even copy 1 level of resonance.

Of course you'll need to include other Requisites for the ink and gilding. A book copying spell could be pretty difficult. Cr(In)An(He,Te) potentially Target:Group for just one tome.

That's a pretty horrible reason. It's a player reason. If you can defend it in character, for the good of the story, great. But, quite simply, if the book is so easy to create for you and yours, so to is it for other covenants. And you are suggesting storing a ton of empty books in the library. Your council of magi will love a library that looks like it belong in an episode of Hoarders. Pardon my hyperbole.

i pretty much stipulated that it is RAW. But that's a player thing. A magus would probably design a spell so it provided enough of whatever they needed. Having too much of something creates all kinds of problems (opportunity for stories), albeit different problems than not having enough. And there is a reason covenants don't put up with typical expenses. It is a contrivance to allow the troupe to focus on stories they find interesting. The expenses still actually exist, they are just being ignored by the troupe, you can be as detailed about expenses as you want. Create a ton of books, and sell them, you drive the price of books down across Mythic Europe, forcing the bookmakers in Paris to lose their livelihood. Someone traces these blank books to the covenant, and voila, your covenant is brought up on Charges for violating the code...
Edit:typos

Thing is the paper we have now is amazing compared to what they are working towards in 1220. And parchment is so much more awesome then the paper we print books on today. At least as far as durability and aesthetic appeal. We spend a ton of money trying to copy what master crafted parchment and vellum are like. I don't think many magi would see a benefit to making books out of paper. Even if they could easily preserve it magically.

There have been. But life is too short to read bad books, and most magi have better things to do than single-mindedly studying a single art to perfection.

There will be such magi. They will help drive a trade in substandard books. In some Tribunals, writing a low-quality tractatus in a desired art will be an easy way of getting 3 or 4 pawns of vis for your other projects. Note that that means that said magi will be spending a substantial fraction of their time collecting vis to pay for their hobby, which rather limits it. And then when they die or pass into final twilight, their heir or Covenant librarian will go "why did they bother collecting this crap? Some of it is incomprehensible!" and let most of it moulder.

Careful, your inner Jerbiton is showing.

If you have too many just burn the extra.

i pretty much stipulated that it is RAW. But that's a player thing. A magus would probably design a spell so it provided enough of whatever they needed. Having too much of something creates all kinds of problems (opportunity for stories), albeit different problems than not having enough. And there is a reason covenants don't put up with typical expenses. It is a contrivance to allow the troupe to focus on stories they find interesting. The expenses still actually exist, they are just being ignored by the troupe, you can be as detailed about expenses as you want. Create a ton of books, and sell them, you drive the price of books down across Mythic Europe, forcing the bookmakers in Paris to lose their livelihood. Someone traces these blank books to the covenant, and voila, your covenant is brought up on Charges for violating the code...
Edit:typos
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Soo... don't sell too many? If you have too many books you can just burn them.
Regardless, basically you are arguing magi have magic to create more books than they could possibly manage? That seems like an argument that blank books are NOT a problem to acquire.

Store however many you think are reasonable, give/sell any to magi who want some, sell however many you (legally) can to mundanes, trash the rest. Extra isn't a problem. You can just trash it.

In defense of the Ton of Books. As I believe you said, books of that time are quite hefty. If the books run about 25 pounds each your only talking about 80 books. Sure huge by real medieval standards. But a drop in the bucket compared to Duremar. Several bookcases but not an obscene amount.

Of course all these identical books makes me think of another minor problem. How hard is the poor librarians job telling all these books apart once they get written in.

The irony. Magi burning books. never mind they are blank.
No, I'm not arguing what you say I am at all. But I will say that problems created by magic, in my experience are rarely solved easily, or easily by magic.
No, I'm saying that it really wouldn't occur to a magus that they can create a ton, ten or a hundred tons of books, instead of the 10 or 20 they will be needing. If you look at problems as your character,rather than as the person you might be surprised to find out what they would do.

Well, it would probably end up being a ton of vellum - otherwise, as you say, you'd get a bunch of identical books - same page size and length, identical on the outside, etc. Unless you had a single book that you wanted a bunch of copies of (like, say, the Roots or Branches), you'd not actually want or need what is being decribed here.

And at that point, you'd still need to go through the process of inking and scribing and binding - all of which can be improved with magic, (and the books could be bound at a later date with magic, as described above) - but the actual writing time is still an issue.

As others have said - a magi's restriction is usually his schedule, not his wallet. You've only got a limited number of seasons. What are you going to do with them?

EDIT - speaking of the Roots and Branches - this is probably, in-game, how they get the costs of those books "down to a negligible amount". Which is to say, they're paying for the scribing, and do the rest with magic. But beyond that? What else is worth setting up the infrastructure to copy that many of?

When you go to the store and something you wanted is on sale Buy One Get One Free, do you just get one because that's all you need or do you get the extra?

My wife is a bit of an extreme couponer. Enough so that we have an upstairs and downstairs pantrys. I think it's a fairly universal human maximize when you can and it's cheap. Enough for me to say that I think it's a little unrealistic to believe a Magus would make a spell to produce 10 blank books when he could just as easily make 20 or 80. Yes it is a stretch to say they'd start upping the Magnitudes and churn out hundreds or thousands of books at a pop.

Then you would have magi going well I "8000 is my upper limit and for only a little more vis, but nope they'll just get in my way."

Not really. There are lots of ways to study and pursue magic in Ars Magica, and hyper-specialisation is only one (probably rather rare) path. Most magi will want to train apprentices, make items, and not have their arses handed to the at certamen. They will have real-world distractions to provide them with immediate needs for a diversity of arts, even when they have sodales who are better at those arts. They will thus have far less interest in bad books, unless they are the only books available.

I'd also add that strategies which look great with the RAW often depend on having large blocks of time with no distractions. If you are playing a slow saga, where something happens every year, and you have multiple pressing needs to juggle, then things work rather differently in practice.

Unless it takes you an extra season to do so. But we're talking a minimum level 20 spell here anyway, so creating it is already either a 2-season job, or the domain of specialists for most magi.

But I can totally see someone creating this ritual (or one to create vellum, which means you have flexibility about size), and either storing or selling the excess. The Great Library of Durenmar probably uses it, since they do a lot of scribing, and other Covenants with significant libraries will probably do the same if they have the vis (which, if you have a significant library, is not hard to come by).

But the real problem with producing new Hermetic books isn't the physical materials; its the time. A season is a valuable thing to a magus, and there is an opportunity cost to spending it writing rather than doing something else.

If you call a lab rat a specialist, then yeah. Any lab rat 20y post-Gauntlet will beat that minimum.

Arts 5+5, MT 10, int+aura 10, bits from familiar, cyclic, nocturnal, overtime...