Do experimental results change the level and arts?

I was testing the character generation system by building an elderly magus season-by-season. The magus was experimenting on a healing spell just at the limit of his ability to invent. By luck, I received several Experimentation: Extraordinary Results: “duration, target, or potency is increased”. Now, this was a test, so neither the character nor his spell will every be used in a campaign, but it does bring up some questions.

If, through experimentation, a spell's duration, target, or potency (or overall power) changes, does the spell's level also change to match? Does this happen immediately (changing how long it will take to invent the spell), or is it applied after the spell has been invented? If immediately, what happens if a magus gets the result on their last roll, the one that should have invented the spell, but the result makes the spell harder to invent by enough to delay it (or prevent it entirely)? Several of the Side Effect results can produce a spell with different requisites. The example major flaw (see ArM5 pg 109) might add a Perdo requisite, the example major side effect would get an Animal requisite, and the example major side benefit would add an Intellego requisite. Does the final spell get the additional requisites? What if it needs them only to express a major flaw? Do the new requisites change the Lab Total for inventing the spell?

I believe that the answer is: Yes.

I can't find any actual references in the rules to make my case, but the purposes of Experimentation is to allow characters to create spells/items that they otherwise couldn't otherwise manage so your interpretation seems correct to me. This does mean that sometimes the resulting spells will not be usable to the character, but this is addressed in the "Inventing a Spell by Experimentation" section where it states that you may reinvent the spell using the normal rules, but doubling your MT score to represent the knowledge gained from the earlier experiment...

Edit: Actually, it seems to me that a similar spell bonus ought to be applicable to the reinvention Lab Total too, but I defer to Mr. Chart on this matter.

IF you get a higher level spell as a result of experimentation, this does NOT affect the creation of the spell itself, but is an addition to the end result.
You research the spell by its original level, regardless how it actually ends up.

Wether you want to change the spells actual level based on effects from experimentation is probably up to the SG of each game. On the one hand, being able to invent spells with a better or additional effects than the level would normally allow often makes for neat stories, BUT... if the spell is a LOT better than it level says and it spreads to other magi, it can mean a severe power creep which isnt a good idea longterm as a crafty player could try to use the spell as a basis for pushing levels overall downwards. You can let it be a one-off "unique" spell of course, "too good to be true", but if players start pushing experimentation this can also lead to powercreep of a bad kind, simply by making these "unique" spells too easily available.

So, adjusting level is usually a better idea.

Ok. That sounds like both consensus and good ideas. Thanks!

I've only had this happen once, back in 4th ed. My ice-combat-missile-spell ended up 1 Range category higher (Sight rather than "near", as was normal in 4th ed). The spell was already at the maximum level it could be to avoid being a ritual. If the final level had been increased by the 5 which the new range suggests, it woould have broken the rule of ritual level.
So it was ruled to keep the level and just note that it was 1 mag more effetive than it should have been.

Mulling things over here in 5th ed I can certainly see two ways it could go. If the project is altered in R/D/T or potency, the final level should be raised. But the magus most likely won't be able to invent the thing in the same time. After all if he could make it 1 magnitude highter, he'd do it (or have done it before his arts and totals got raised). So I'd see it as unfair if the magus' project gets shafted due to this. After all, this is a beneficial side effect, not a hindrance (and there are plenty of those). IMHO the magus will invent the spell at the level intended but the increase as a bonus and a unique feature of his project. His Lab Text lets another magus duplicate the project as it ended, at the magnitude according to the altered effects. So the unique effect can't be duplicated intentionally, and even further experimentation will most likely just yield other results.
If the project suddenly is altered in the Arts, or just gets a requiste I see other potential problems. The magus might not be able to invent the thing after all, due to weak arts or even deficiences. And that sucks. si IMHO the magus finishes the project as he planned, but the final spell has the arts/req. as per the change. Any lab text is for the altered version, and must be invented using the arts/req of the new result.

The alternative would be to immediately conform to the new R/D/T, Arts/req., magnitude etc. If the magus can invent this, he'll have to recalculate his time for the project. If he can't invent this, he will have to abandon it, and try again. But he won't get any Similar Spell bonus according to RAW because he hasn't finished the altered project. So no help there, although I think there should be some benefit. OTOH if he did finish the altered project, but still wants to do his original thing, he would - as an exeption to the rules - get Similar Spell bonus, even if the altered project ended up a different effect or other arts.

But didn't fourth ed have those horrible 'optimized spells' so that it'd have made sense?
I'd have prefered to simply have it as an annoying lab side effect - the spell is now too high level and thus is a ritual. Happy Dreams.

In some ways, breaking the "Rituals" rule is likely to cause fewer complications than breaking the spell guidelines,

So, saying it is a Lvl 50 non-Ritual spell is likely to be less problematic than having a "powerful" level 45 spell,

That said, it obviously worked for you, so I shouldn't really complain :wink:

Another cuestion:
Do you take complete failure additionally to any Dissaster results after a botch?

I agree, especially since this rule is already broken elsewhere (instilled effects).

A quick note: hitting level 50 would not normally require it to be a ritual. 10th magnitude is the limit. 11th, level 51, would require a ritual. So the comparison should be "saying it is a level 55 non-ritual spell is likely to be less problematic than having a 'powerful' level 50 spell."


Yeah, it was a lvl 50 I was gunning for Near/Mom/Ind (as was the fashion at the time - in 4th ed...). But it became increased to Sight. We retained it at lvl 50, although with 4th ed rules for Penetration it really didn't matter much. And casting it was no problem for my maga.

Really i prefer mantain the basic level and increase the power like a bonus, and then, put a note in the spell that says "This spell is result of experimentation". This mean that anyone can learn this spell in their actual status (with increased power), but it´s impossible use that spell as basis for another spell without add the +1 magnitude.

I think this way is better, really, increased power is a benefit that the player can obtain trought experimentation, and they have a lot of possibilities of loose their seasons with a lot of others "Bad" results, it´s only the good thing of the experimentation chart. In the other hand, if you obtain the "Decreased power" in the experimentation chart wath do you do ¿? Logically you lower the level of the spell accordingly, that´s not a Benefit/Flaw, it´s only a spell with More or less level than you likes, and probably this can be considered a bad result ever, and most important for me, doesn´t provides nothing new, interesting or special to the spell or the magus. I think the experimentation chart is something special where anyone can try to "Push" the normal hermetic magi, those results are strange, rare modifications of the magic the magi use that are more powerful than expected, no more, no less.

And, it have an aditional benefit, this make those spells specially valuables and maybe i can create a good story about seracghing/Convince/Bribe to obtain those desiderable spells. In the other hand, if a player obtain´s one of those spells, he can obtain a lot for the spell, status, change for vis/book/Favors, but depending on the spell, maybe he need to take measures to protect this known against the bribe/Steal of other Magi.

Imagine the story anyone can make about a very powerful spell modified this way a lot of times. A lot of intrigue and hermetic politics, not sound very bad.

And i´m not worried about the "balance of power" because it´s very difficult obtain this result, in general, it´s unexpected and hard, too difficult to become a problem in the long term because you can´t rework with that speel has a guideline.

It sounds like you are suggesting re-evaluating the level, etc but using the original level for spell-casting purposes?

That does sound like a plausible way of keeping it as a bonus and bypassing the complications,

Sorry, mi english isn´t very good . . .

Mi point is:

  1. The level of the improved effect doesn´t rise, it´s effectively a spell with more power than usual for their level.
  2. You can write and teach your this spell to any other magus, and that spell is very valuable for any other magi.
  3. The modified spell can´t be used as a guideline to make another spell, in this sense, this spell is Unchangeable. for example, you got a pillum of fire in the experimentation chart with range sight, you can write the spell and teach it to any other, but, if you want for example, make a pillum of fire that does +25 damage, you can´t use your previous improved to sight range pillum of fire as basis for your new spell (Because that way you are effectively decreasing the level of a lot of CrIg spells one magnitude).