Doubts about creating/repairing lab equipment with magic

Recently, I had a debate with another player in my group about creating/repairing lab equipment with non-ritual spells and the consequences in doing so. We didn't get to a conclusion so I would like to raise it here, and ask for your opinion on this.

It all started when we cast "The laboratory of Bonisagus"(Covenants, pg. 122) to create a lab in our covenant. Said laboratory starts with the virtues "Flawless equipment" and "Flawless tools" which can be lost if their upkeep is not paid. Looking for alternatives to paying the upkeep, it was proposed to enchant a magical item to create more lab equipment on demand. The first draft of this magic item is as follows:

The Retable of Remarkable Replication CrTe 40
R: Touch D: Moon T: Group
This shelf enclosed with glass is intended to permanently house a reduced set of tools and equipment (duplicates are discarded, since only one of each item is needed) produced by The Laboratory of Bonisagus, covered in wax to protect it from rusting. When an item is pointed at and a command word spoken, a copy of that item is created in an uncovered receptacle, without the wax. This allows the tools and equipment of a Laboratory to be used without risk of damage, and without having to be stored when not in use - excess are discarded or destroyed.
Base 5 + 1 Touch + 3 Moon +2 Group = Level 35 +5 Fifty uses/day

Supposedly, this magic item can create and infinite quantity of lab equipment but two questions arose, for example:

  • Is it possible to have a single spell do different things(in this case, create different equipment) and make it on demand via a selector of some kind? It was proposed to add an InTe effect to analyze the item to be replicated and trigger the main CrTe effect but there is still the question if it's possible for a spell to be so configurable.
  • How magically sustained lab equipment behave in the lab? IMO, it should increase warping or reduce safety but, given it's a magical item which doesn't affect the entire laboratory, it should be fine

Another option was to use a constantly Creo Terram on the lab to repair the equipment but this brought another set of questions:

  • The description of "Flawless tools" and "Flawless equipment" states that is possible to reduce their upkeep if the equipment is continuously protected, created, or donated by supernatural means. Is it absolutely necessary for the effect to be constant to get this reduction or it's enough with an environmental trigger to cast it every sunrise? Is it stated anywhere?
  • Through this Creo Terram effect could be cast as a spell, for example each moon, this would increase the lab warping, but, on the other hand, if this same effect were enchanted into an item with a constant effect(range touch,duration sun, environmental trigger), as stated in Covenants, there would not be such increase even if the end result is the same. IMO, this is a bit incongruous but I would like to ask if my interpretation of the rules is correct or I am missing something.

Thank you very much in advance

First to create a range of items, generally you would add at least +1 Complexity. You can see this in the Craft spells in the Covenants book. Since you have a range of items that it can produce and examples of all those items, you should be fine with only +1 Complexity.

Secondly, your reading of spell vs ritual/enchanted is correct. The expenditure of Vis is what is important to determine if it causes an increase in the Warping stat and other drawbacks.

Thirdly, you can achieve many of the Virtues and Flaws through enchanted items or rituals, not just use them to gain a bonus to a Lap stat. While Superior Light and Heat are the two most common, any that the effect could provide and the SG determines is high enough magnitude would work.

While I haven't crunched your numbers, off the top of my head I would suggest going with Concentration and Item Maintains Concentration. It would save you a Mag to take the +1 Complexity and also have a better feel. You need a tool, the item creates it. Once you are done using it the item disappears.

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You should be able to do it with formulaic spells without resulting in a Warping score or Safety penalty; you just have to do it in an appropriate way. Let's say you have a huge Finesse score (and I require Craft to make sure the cap on your understanding of Excellent quality is high enough). Outside of the lab you could use Rego craft magic to create super-high quality stuff as needed. You carry the non-magical stuff into the lab. This satisfies "created, or donated by supernatural means."

But if you're going with active magic within the lab, then yes, you're going to be stuck with using vis (item, ritual) if you want to do this without a resulting Warpiing score or worsening Safety. But you may be able to do it with a penalty to Safety that you can counter-balance with improvements to Safety in other ways.


I think the Moon duration route for this is the better choice. Lab work is seasonal, this means that tools and equipment might be left in place overnight (ongoing experiments), and with no-one around to maintain concentration at dawn/dusk the equipment will vanish, potentially ruining your experiments, causing accidents, errors and delays.

Moon duration you can work around a lot easier, but even then it could cause issues if you don't keep careful track of which item you created at what phase of the moon.



If the item leaves the Ring, the magic ends. You could build the lab inside a very large Ring, but don't forget you have to trace the ring every time you activate the effect.

Not that large. The Durenmar "visitor" labs are 350 square feet each.
That's a circle very slightly larger than 20' in diameter, that a magus can trace in about 2 rounds.

Good point. We didn't think about adding mags for complexity to represent the versatility of the spell. In any case, if we are providing an example of the equipment to copy, wouldn't it be necessary to add a InTe to identify the item or it can be considered that the example item is merely the trigger and the available items are already "encoded" in the spell?

Understood. In this case we are simply trying to reduce upkeep though there is a lot of ideas for the future

It's an alternative but, the problem we see with concentration is that the magi gets tied to his lab, as the created equipment must be "renovated" each sunset/sunrise

I agree with you that this would be the perfect solution but, unfortunately, we don't have a finesse specialist in our saga(maybe it's time to train some grogs)

We think of moon duration because of this, though you are right that there is a potential risk every month, when all items automatically disappear

We didn't think of ring duration. It could be the best option even with its limitations: the lab must be circular, if the ring is broken everything is lost, etc

I didn't know that. So, if we were to create an item like this:

Ring of magical creation CrTe 40
R: Touch D: Ring T: Group

The item is a ring of wire embedded in the ground of the lab. If a item is placed touching the ring and a command word spoken, a copy of the item is created inside the ring.

Base 5 + 1 Touch + 2 Ring +2 Group + 1 complexity= Level 35 +5 Fifty uses/day

Would it be necessary to trace the ring every time in addition to any other activation procedure? Even if the effect is enchanted in an item?

I'd say that if the enchanted device is the Ring, it can be considered "tracing itself at R:Touch" whenever activated.

No need for InTe. You are using the preserved items to avoid having to roll some ('narly high) Finesse rolls. Some groups would still require a Finesse roll, though at a lower difficulty most likely since you are making a temporary copy of a preserved example. While Creo will always produce something usable, it would normally be a pretty ugly and just usable item without a Finesse roll/failed Finesse roll rather than a "Flawless" item.

The version of the effect would require an example item to copy, rather than just being able to produce anything. It is a design limitation taken to (usually) get around the Finesse difficulty. If you made an effect that could just produce equipment without an example then you would be facing pretty stiff Finesse difficulty every time you created something to get "Flawless" quality. While there is no where in the books that list the difficulty for "Flawless" since it is not one of the normaly quality levels, there is Superior quality equipment listed in Laps and for producing goods, so "Flawless" would most likely have to equal the next level up which is Excellent (+1).

I did an effect that produces the "Lesser Horde" Virtue through a super charged version of The Unseen Porter (Room Target, Complex +1) as a Linked Trigger of another effect which can understand commands at about the same level as The Tireless Servant. It also controls a Seasonal Breezes, light, heating/cooling, and flame extinguish effects.

"The ring must be actually drawn while the spell is being cast." 2nd paragraph of Ring.

The physical action of drawing or tracing a ring must be involved. This is probably impossible if the enchanted device is itself the ring being drawn/traced, unless other magic is involved (like the item growing an arm to draw with).

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But the spell "Laboratory of Bonisagus" creates flawless items without finesse roll, though it adds +5 magnitudes for complexity which, I suppose, replaces it.

Ok then, we will add circling the ring to the activation procedure


There are several Momentary Creo creation rituals in published material that do not clearly call for a Finesse roll. However, per HoH:S, p.60 "When creating artificial objects, the same level of Finesse is required as when using Rego to make them from raw materials." So by RAW a Finesse roll is required for all Creo momentary creation effects producing an artificial object or if you want more than just 'ugly but functional' for a natural object.

That Finesse roll would often have a pretty high target number. It is generally accepted on the forums that the added levels of Complex are used to overcome this. Whether that removes the need for a roll or just reduces the difficulty is a YSMV thing. Some remove the roll and some reduce the required target number by Complexity x 'modifier'. That 'modifier' can be whatever your table decides. Mine uses 3 per, which are only able to offset the 'Time' difficulty and also have a "Take 9" option for Creo rather than a roll (That is just 9, not 9 + anything).


I mean, that's theoretically canon, sure, except that it's implicitly contradicted all over the place by actual spells (for example, just leaf through the canon CrTe spells collected in the Grand Grimoire).

I am going to be very happy when 5th Edition Definitive gives us a nice official resolution of this mess, which I believe we saw previewed here.