Do you need a Lab in order to...

... study from a book on an Art? Learn spells from a Lab Text?

... be taught spells by another mage?

I'm trying to figure out what my mage's study/advancement options are in their ruined tower since they have no labs for a bit, most likely.


Yes, for all of them.

Studying Vis would not.

I would say they need to set up a season at least (penalty)

I don't see anything in the study or lab rules that says studying Arts requires a lab. What am I missing?

if, and only if, the formula uses a Lab Total, then you need a Lab - no lab Total, no Lab.

So -

  • study from a book - no Lab Total - no Lab
  • study Art from Vis - no Lab Total - no Lab
  • learn spells from lab text or teacher (other mage) - must use lab (uses lab total)

Pg 165:


page 94:

Arcane Studies:
points you to pg 163...

Studying from books does not require a lab score, but it is lumped in with the others..
It mentions practice while studying from a book...Since its an ART, IMO this isn't referring to spell casting..How do you practice Terram? My guess would be that you need to perform lab work.

I guess you can make a decision off that and have fun no matter what you decide...
IMO though, its more...interesting to drag the Magus away from his learning (lab) and make him take the adventure experience once in a while. If you let them study anywhere, a magus can go slay that dragon (for the Vis) and still advance his scores...
Have the player make the agonizing choice...learn or gain....

Exactly - one season of installing your lab makes it useable, but with a -3 penalty to lab totals, and a second season makes it fully operational (5th ed. p. 94). But then there's all the needs for space and ressources to even make it (which is the major challenge to my players).

My division, which isn't completely dogma, is like this:

To need lab
arcane studies, fixing arcane connections, vis extraction, vis transfer, learning from vis, inventing spells, creating enchantments, making longevity rituals, familiars

To not need a lab (though it often might take place in a lab..)
Reading books, learning spells from a teacher, learning spells from "translated" texts

This is clearly tilted, and it's influenced by the fact that we begun our saga before the publishing of 5th ed. and that my players have for a major part of the saga been lab-less (being apprentices and now newly gauntleted). The rules for learning spell in 4th ed. were not entirely conclusive and since reading books have been a very important avenue for the PC, it's been paramount to their downtime.

This text is rather unconclusive, bc it's been in the Ars core rule book for several ed. as a thematic introduction to the laboratory even though the rules have changed a lot.

Spont some spells? Apprentices can learn the arts from books, and they don't have labs. I see your point, though.

That sounds like generic rhetoric to me, not really a rule per se.

It seems to me that you're really making a house rule and that nothing in the passages you've quoted strongly suggests that reading books is a lab activity. That said, it sounds like a perfectly reasonable house rule.

As beta-SG, I recently had my troupe find a pile of Mercurian books. Since the approaches of those books aren't Hermetic, and in some places contradict Hermetic theory, my rule is that reading those books is lab work, and the character makes a modified roll on the experimentation table. Sadly, the only character to use the books yet is mine (so I'm sort of playing the game with myself), but she picked up 3 extra XP in magic theory one season, and a temporary version of the flaw: Slow Caster another.

Well, you can do ANYWAY you prefer, but it does say specifically that studying from Vis does NOT need a lab..


No book in sight here but...

I beleive there is either a virtue or flaw that requires you to study in the presence of the art and gives some examples on what you would need around you depending on what level you were slight breeze, gusty wind, gale force winds

that would say that you do not need a lab for some activities that you would commonly expect to be done in the lab.(dont recal if this is vis studying or any studying)

Yes - and that is exactly why I explictly wrote in my mail that it isn't dogma! I wouldn't want people to believe it any other way, oh no..! :smiling_imp:

It really isn't that important a detail, and even if it was, .... it really isn't important! :smiley:

Our studying vis in the lab is somewhat inspired by 4th ed., but most of all it's derived from my own perception that it seems much more appropriate that you need a lab to study, probe and "consuming" the vis. IMO. Even so none of our magi have yet studies arts from vis, so for now it havent' really been actual. But it's been a goal/carrot for the newly gauntleted magi to achieve making a laboratory - among other things to enable some of them to study some vis.

That sounds quite interesting; I'm curious as to how you modified the experimentation table. Could you say a bit more?