Covenants: Laboratory Upkeep

Can any one figure out (or tell me) how upkeep for Laboratories is supposed to work out?

On page 65 it says 1 pound per 10 points of laboratories. On page 114 it has "Build Point Cost for Starting Laboratories," but it doesn't tell you what to do with the Upkeep score.

Am I missing something?

Mail me your book and I'll gladly explain it to you :wink:
Ah to be poor, sigh. Someday! Someday soon? I will have it!

Build Points are used to buy things like specialists and books for your library, when creating a covenant from scratch. The insert tells you the Build Point cost if you want to start with extra labs, large labs, or labs which start with Virtues. The Upkeep score plays no role at all here.

Once the covenant is up and running, you have to pay yearly expenses in various categories according to the Wealth and Poverty chapter - or at least, if you decide to use those rules. The Upkeep score simply specifies how many pounds per year the lab costs to maintain, according to the table which should be in the W&P chapter.

Hope this helps...

Ah, the chart on page 64. Okay, so each lab's Upkeep gives a point level (10 points for upkeep 0), and then you pay 1 pound for every 10 points. So, if we have 8 labs, one of which has an upkeep of 1, that (710+115)= 85 pounts, for nine pounds.

Thanks. I think I got it.

Hmm, this is a first in Ars Magica -- accountancy!

Well, not really a first. It did appear to a certain extent in Ordo Nobilis, but none of the game groups I was in used the money system; we far preferred the simpler Wealth Levels, eye-balling "purchases" as needed.

Is this a conscious choice to move away from Wealth Levels towards actually keeping track of pounds and pence? This might add a new complication to the game.

Yes... sort of, although it was a question of trying to get the level of abstraction right. For example, you keep track of the pounds, but ignore shillings and pence (too much unnecessary detail). For a lab, everything it needs simply comes under one cost, rather than worrying about the prices of parchment and glassware. Similarly there is a flat "Provisions" cost, rather than bothering with the prices of individual foodstuffs, and so on.

I have only gone 'over' the book, but my thoughts..

The lab section seems to be more of a hinderance than anything else. These rules make lots of additional paperwork, and provide many avenues for the SG to 'give it' to the players.
As for the costs associated with it...The entire price of the Covenant upkeep and all the Grogs required for it, go into paying for this. Why are the magi being billed again ? Double billing...sheesh.

For a contrary view, I'm delighted with the new lab rules. Let me give an example.

A Tytalus maga of mine (see, who is a very mean person and who specializes in perdo and corpus, had the notion of doing dissections, or even vivisections, as part of her lab work. But, on looking at the rules for labs in the main rules book, I realized that there was no point. Her lab work wouldn't be at all improved.

But now, thanks to the labs virtues and flaws, she would get plusses to her lab bonuses for having certain sorts of objects, like dead bodies and slaves, in her lab. So what before was flavoring that we would add for atmosphere, but which had no quantitative game effect, has been included in the rules in a robust way. This counts for me as a major enhancement of the lab rules.

I don't think that there's double billing. For a modern chemistry lab, we wouldn't say that Professor Chemist was being double-billed because she had to pay for the laboratory building and research assistants on the one hand, and also for laborary equipment and samples on the other. Likewise, the lab cost is for glassware, mortars and pestles, heating elements, storage devices, test substances, and so forth.