Do you need a lab?

Does a magi need a lab? Can you study and do other things without one? Perhaps you only rent a lab when the work requires it?

I’m thinking of making a criomon hermit that lives in a cave or a true merinita that lives in a Forrest

You can study from books and from raw vis without a lab. But you need a lab if you want to invent spells, to create enchantments and to bind a familiar.

That said, a lab can be created in a cave or even outdoors in a forest. It may not be as good as one in a well-constructed building, but it will be sufficient to perform lab activities. Covenants has a variety of lab virtues and flaws that can describe such lab's advantages and limitations.


Some things can be done without a lab. Other things require a lab.

It is possible to borrow someone else's lab if it has been set up as a "generic" lab with no special customizations.

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Labs can also be mobile (built in a cart, a ship or even airborne) or be a mental construct created using Creo Mentem magic. An even more fantistical lab could be create inside a living creature, such as a giant turtle, a snail or hollow tree.

Again, see Covenants. Or just negociate it with your storyguide if you're not using that sourcebook.


Your forest hermit Merinita can get by easier without a laboratory by taking the Faerie Raised Magic virtue from HoH:MC. Limited to duplicating faerie powers or other effects that you've witnessed, but no laboratory required just experience.


I read through the lab rules and I really was not sure if you needed a lab to read.

A visitors lab(generic/No bonus ) should be good for a lot I imagine

I was trying to avoid fearie influences as an heir to true merinita but that is really tempting lol

Not as far as I can tell.

Studying an Art or Ability generally does not require any lab. This is explicit for studying from vis (which one might otherwise think would require a lab), and implicit for most other ways of studying - most of which can be done by non-magi who don't even have labs.

Studying from books is not mentioned in the lab rules for the simple reason that it is not a lab activity.

Working from a lab text does however require a lab, since you use them to re-invent a spell or device and those activities require a lab.

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Don't let the Virtue name dissuade you! Per the text Faerie-Raised Merinita allows you to invent spells that mimic "faerie powers or other supernatural effects your character has witnessed that season." Which is... everything supernatural, basically. I'd be hard-pressed to argue that a Hermetic spell isn't a "supernatural effect," as well as uses of Supernatural Powers, etc. It's got a lot of applications even if you ignore everything Faerie-related about it.

And is probably a ridiculous experience-sink. Take Independent Study, too.


Don't let the Virtue name dissuade you! Per the text Faerie-Raised Merinita allows you to invent spells that mimic "faerie powers or other supernatural effects your character has witnessed that season." Which is... everything supernatural, basically.

I strongly suspect that the meaning of the emboldened section should be read as "faerie powers or other faerie supernatural effects"; rather than "faerie powers or other faerie, magical, divine, or infernal supernatural effects". Otherwise the Virtue is far too powerful, and also strays far beyond what you would expect from a magus raised by faeries.



Anything that uses a Lab Total requires a lab unless the description explicitly says otherwise, but your "lab" can be any kind of location so long as you can store gear there.


I would think otherwise. First, because this then becomes a Major Hermetic Virtue that is worthless much of the time unless you just start excluding non-Faerie stuff. Second, because even with all supernatural effects, this is still nowhere near the most powerful Major Hermetic Virtue. The cost of >5 experience to get past a 1st magnitude spell quickly makes it expensive. Your typical level-20 spell will cost all your average adventure experience, and if you have a decent lab you could probably make that same spell in a season while also gaining 2 points of experience through exposure. Yes, you could throw more Virtues (Independent Study) and time (similar spells) at it, but then you're spending even more.

Most of the people have said you need a lab.
Being realistic we know every story guide will give the characters a lab, so having a character not needing a lab to do lab activities isn't a munchkin move.
If you want a character who's story makes the magi not have a lab, but you don't want the character's advancement crippled, invent a relevant minor virtue. Losing 1 virtue point for a story reason is fine.

Minimalist - The magi has the ability to use mundane items to assist in lab work, such that the magi can complete lab activities without a lab. The magi needs nothing more than free movement and some minimal resources. The magi must remain in the same location during the lab activity season or the lab activity is ruined, however, the magi does not need to stay in the same location between seasons.

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As others noted, you don't need a lab for books or studying from vis, but you need one for binding you Familiar, enchanting the bond, making items, and researching spells.
But, as noted, you could make your lab in a cave, or in a treehouse, or a shack somewhere. Or make a mobile lab, or even a mental lab (It would take a great effort to bring items crafted in a mental lab out to the real world).

That said, if your Magi has a flaw regarding Formulaic spells, you might feel less of a need for a lab, and in those rare cases you need one, like binding a Familiar, or enchanting items, you could always ask an existing covenant if they have an itinerant lab that you can rent for a fee, or a service.

Just bear in mind that it doesn't grant access to special RDTs anyway. So it's basically a virtue letting you learn spells while adventuring instead of doing it in your lab. If it let you learn power clones not fitting standard hermetic parameters... then yes, I would agree with you.

Thank you all! So much to look at!