Botch Dice for Studying Vis

When studying raw vis to improve his Arts, a magus must use one pawn for every 5 levels (or parts thereof) in that Art. There is a number of botch dice equal to the number of pawns used.

What can be used to reduce the number of botch dice?

The Cautious Sorcerer virtue says that the magus rolls three fewer botch dice when casting spells and when working in the laboratory. Would that apply to studying raw vis in the lab? I can see it going either way.

The Gold Cord of a familiar let the magus reduce the number of botch dice when using magic. Is studying from raw vis "using magic"? I would tend to say yes, which strengthens the argument for Cautious Sorcerer applying also.

Would the Safety score of a lab (from covenants) apply if the study is performed in the lab? Again, I can see it going either way but it would certainly make sense if it did.

Anything else that could apply?

I understand this may be a case of how safe and easy you want the study of vis to be. If you want magi to use more vis for study, than you may allow the number of botch dice to be reduced. If you'd rather the magi use books while keeping vis for other uses, then you will say no to all of those.

Personally I'd allow any/all of those to apply but give a minimum of 1 botch die - the magus is mucking around with raw magic and that has to come with some risk.


I think the most solid case is for the Gold Cord, which is phrased most generally.

Cautious Sorcerer and lab Safety should apply or not based on whether this a lab activity, which strictly speaking it isn't so I'd say by RAW they shouldn't apply. But I'd be inclined to let them apply anyway, provided the raw vis is studied in the lab. I consider this a house rule, however, and as you say it will encourage studying from raw vis. But it feels right that this kind of thing should be possible.

I can't think of any other option to lower the botch dice.


Sorry to resurrect this thread, but the OP set forth my question quite succinctly.

Does anyone else have a feeling on this matter? What are the options (if any) for reducing the number of botch dice for studying raw vis?

I only allow the gold cord, because it applies for whenever you use magic.

Your best option for reducing the number of botch dice is to go a weaker aura, as I recall a thread where someone did the maths on using vis versus gaining warping, and using a weak magic aura turned out to be massively safer. Trying to get a high Arts score through via usage is supposed to be risky, while occasionally allowing the "breakthrough" of someone getting an obscene result on their stress die.

What about our class favorite Ways of the (Land)? This would rely on it NOT being a lab activity, but if you were studying some raw vis in a specific land (magical sand with ways of the desert, or vis in sea foam for Ways of the Sea), I could see removal of the botch dice. Even I think the last one.

I'm a bit confused. What does the size of the aura have to do with botching? I thought the number of botch dice was based entirely on how much vis you used. ("The number of botch dice equals the number of pawns of vis used in study.")

I'd allow Gold Cord scores to reduce botch dice when studying vis. Like Trogdor, I don't see how the Aura of the area influence botch dice while study vis, I agree that it's probably much safer to perform Lab experiments in a magically null area.

I tend to agree. Gold Cord seems reasonable, but Cautious Sorcerer seems a bit of a stretch.

What about the Safety score of a lab? (That portion not caused by your Gold bond, that is - no double dipping!)

Sorry - the aura modifier is added to the difficulty of the twilight avoidance roll (ArM p88) so it's easier to avoid twilight in lower auras.

Checking the "Realm Auras" section on page 183, "auras also affect the number of botch rolls for an attempted supernatural act in a foreign realm" - so trying to study vis in a faerie aura could be downright hazardous, but the size of a magical aura doesn't change the risk for Magical study.

depends on the definition of foreign, but assuming your lab is not, I would allow lab safety and cautious sorcerer to apply if you study it in your lab. Of course if you do botch then your lab is at risk...

I thought that the context (the different realms interaction section) made pretty clear that "foreign" auras mean auras of other realms. Magi are aligned to the Magic Realm, so as I understand it no magic aura will be foreign to them.