Doubt: can multiple magi invest magical effects in one item?

Hi Sodales,

I have a question: can multiple magi invest magic effects in a singular item?

For example, an item (lance) is opened by magus A, who invest effect A1. Then magus B would like to invest effect B1. Can he?

I know that for talisman that is not possible, but i can't find back if it is or not possible for "normal" invested devices.

Thanks for help.


Yes, it is allowed. After the device is opened for enchantment any Magus can add effects up to the normal limits for the form as invested.

... with one caveat. Magus B needs to know exactly what was done on the item: he must have readable lab notes regarding the item opening as well as every enchantment put on it.
Of course, if he was involved (as assistant for example) in the last enchantement, he already knows the latest information regarding the item magical status.

Alternatively, he can investigate the item until he uncovers every effect instilled in it.

However, there is no rules describing what happen if you try to instill a effect in a unsuitable object: the object is not open when the magus believe it was and try on instill an effect, or the magus try on instill an effect, but there is not enough space (plausible if he got a magical item without its whole background).

I guess, in the first instance, a basic InVi will allow to notice that the item is not ready, so the mage will realise in the very early stage of the enchantement process and will probably only loose a few days at most. The season is not wasted.

But in the second case, the magus will probably realise his mistake only once he is quite advanced in the process. The season is probably wasted, but how much vis does he loose ? Should he also roll on the experimentation table for side effect (on top of not being able to invest the effect of course) as he might destroy/damaged existing effects ?

What page is that rule? I don't disagree logically but you sound very certain.

I too, would like a reference for this rule please.

Damn it! I checked and I could not find it.
Mea culpa, it was part of an older version. You are right, in RAW nothing is specifically mentionned regarding several mages instilling various enchantments in a single item.
I am sorry I misled you.
That's not the first time I am bringing things from older editions...

pfft - only 5 editions to track! I mentioned a power in the 4e Grimoire the other day and didn't realize at all that Rustici (?) have a similar power. All good sir.

Yes, on top of spreading false information, I am too lazy to go through 4 other rulebooks. I am such a bad person :mrgreen:

... and I don't know why, but I have the feeling that it might not have been part of a core rulebook, but something like "The Grimoire" or other extension. :smiley:

Nevertheless, it still bear the question, what happen when a magus try an impossible enchantment ? Waste of virtus ? waste of season ? or something more... entertaining shall we say ?

When you say impossible, I'm presuming that you are talking about instilling an effect which has a vis cost higher than the available space in the device. IMO, I would simply say that this is easily detected before any work begins. Keep in mind that investigating an item is only to determine active effects, detecting whether there is space available should be relatively easy to accomplish

Heck, doesn't Hermetic Architecture talk about multiple magi OPENING an item? As to the number of spaces "left" in an item, InVi should show that just fine, unless the previous enchanter when out of his way to obscure that.

The only thing which prevent me to completely agree with you or Jonathan is this little section (p100, 5th ed) "As long as you succeed in finding powers, you keep rollingg to find more in that season. If you roll and find nothing, it either means that there are no more powers in the enchantment or that you did not roll high enough to find the next one. Only the storyguide knows for certain."

If a simple InVi would allow to know the number of pawns left open, or the number of pawns used for the opening, it would remove this uncertainty: you find a power, you know how much pawns were used to enchant it. Simple math will let a magus find out if there is more to look for, or how much space there is left for another enchantment.

If magical item investigation is supposed to keep some level of uncertainty, finding out if there is room left in an invested item should not be trivial. On the other hand, considering how structured hermetic magic is, I don't see why it should be difficult to do so, except for game reason (cursed item and mysteries/uncertainty as story element).
I guess, we are reaching another one of those House rule or saga's dependant rule left to the troop to decide.

Very well, that seems like a basis for limiting what can be learned about a device. I think it's wrong, even if RAW. With regards to seasons I like to give players certainty. Lay out their options for advancement and progression. Ars does this most if the time. Investigating enchantments is one of those things that can steal vast amounts of time from a magus character. It had better be a really great item for it to be worth investigating.

But to answer your OP, if it is cooperative, I see no reason for the magus who prepared the device and instilled the first effect to tell the next magus to work on it what capacity is available. Barring cooperation, the items lab text should detail this as well. As a player I'd spend time searching out the lab text rather than investigating.

If you want to put uncertainty into the seasonal advancement process be careful, because players can email decide that it isn't worth investigating an item, and socially if their Arts are sufficient to make something that they really want b

Intellego Vim guidelines from the core rule book states:

Powerful magic is easier to detect than weak magic: Base 1 InVi detects magic of 10th magnitude or higher, Base 5 detects anything.
But the magic detects "is there magic? yes/no", the description is somewhat vague and merely mentions "gives a fairly good idea of the strength". Of course further magnitudes added may or may not yield additional information. The examples given are +1 magnitude for Realm, +2 mags for Tech and Form. However this is not said specific for magical items, and while it does not exclude them either, the bulk of the InVi box seems IMHO concerned with investigating active magical spells and effects and residue.
Theoretically you could know an InVi spell to detect devices at several Bases, and start from the weakest and work your way up to the point where you detect the pawns used for the device.

Which brings me back to the quotes text:
..."pawns used to open the enchantment" - what does that mean? Does it mean "pawns used to open the device for enchantment"? In which case you know maximum 'space' of the item. Or, if it means "amount of vis used to enchant the effect" you are left wondering which of the effects detected if there are several...and by comparison to 'Investigating Magical Devices' you should only detect the weakest effect first. IMHO the first option is the right one: You detect the amount of vis used.
And since Invested Devices are usually powerful - because otherwise you could have made it as a Lesser Device - the amount of vis is likely to be large, so the device is easy to detect. Sure, there are some unique benefits for Invested- over Lesser Devices (like being able to enchant over several seasons, Effect Expiry) which may cause a magus to choose this, however it is more time- and vis consuming (two very valuable resources for a magus)

Anyway, InVi can relatively easy detect the maximum 'space' of a device. Once using 'Investigating Magical Devices' seasonal lab activity you detect the lowest effect within your rolled Lab Total, and keep rolling to detect the next-highest until you fail to detect anything else. By now you have a list of enchantments, and can add up the effect levels and hence the pawns used. The section on this activity is now wholly clear and detailed, but you seem to learn Tech and Form plus how to activate the effects. I assume you also learn the level plus things like uses per day and other modifications (like Pen). In no way can I imagine a scenario where the player doesn't get the details and hence the magus as well.

So it does seem the whole exercise of investigating devices isn't as tricky as indicated in the text, if you use a little InVi to begin with. And IMHO the descriptive text of this section seems to indicate that you do. If your InVi lab total is in any way useful to determine the effects of a device I'll bet good money you could also Spont a spell to determine the amount of vis, if a Troupe somehow decides this is not included in the activity. But it's a full season of work for crying out loud.

So it seems unlikely that a magus starts to invest an effect in a device and half-way through finds himself out of empty space in the item. Maybe, if he invests effects in an unidentified device. Because I don't see any mechanics to see how many pawns worth of effects are already invested. But as you can detect the amount of opened space (the potential, maximum space) it seems odd to me that you can't detect the power of the effects. After all - this is what you do if using the above guideline on a Lesser Device, you detect "an enchantment of 4 pawns" which a magus knows is level 31-40.

It may be that it requires two casting using this guideline: First one tells you either a) pawns used to open, so you know it's an Invested Device or b) pawns used to enchant the effect (singular) so you know it's Lesser. If the latter you don't need to cast anything else, if the former: Second casting tells you c) sum of pawns used for all enchantments. So you still don't know if those 10 pawns of effects detected is one huge power or 10 small ones. I'd be ok with that. Or if +1 mag for details gave you this. Details may even give Tech and Form, however for Invested Devices with multiple powers using different TeFo this becomes tricky - so I'm thinking no. That clause about details is IMHO for investigating spells.

But in any way you still need to spend (at least) one season to investigate in order to know the activation plus the particular modifications of the power. An 8th mag PeAn power could be a killer but only useful for mundane animals, or it could be a mere tickler but with huge Penetration.

Thank you a lot for your answers.