Enchanting the Covenant


We had an interesting discussion after our last session. The magi want to provide the covenant with several enchantments -- keeping the place warm and dry, having an intruder alarm, and that sort of thing. We do not have access to Hermetic Architecture.

The enchantment rules state that, for a compound object, you can either prepare the sum of all the components, or the single largest component. Given that the covenant is a collection of rooms made of wood or stone, and assuming that the single most costly component is a huge object of soft stone (that is, a room), then it has a cost of 15 pawns. This can be prepared for enchantment by one of our PCs, who has a Magic Theory of 8.

This would prepare the whole covenant for enchantment, allowing R: Personal, T: Structure effects to affect the whole covenant (e.g. warm to the touch), and intruder alarms at R: Touch, T: Individual (e.g. anyone touching the covenant's threshold is interrogated by an InCo spell). It would also include Shape & Material bonuses for halls, doors, floors, rooms, dead wood, etc.

Can anyone see anything wrong with this according to the rules? I only want opinions on the enchantment - I'd rather that consequences resulting from this sort of enchantment are not discussed (some of my players read this list, and I already have some schemes and plots which result from this. I don't want my players being prompted into safeguarding against these before I employ them!). I just want to know whether it is correct, since it seems like I'm missing something (although I'm more than willing to allow it, legal or not).

Thanks for any input,


Wow! A scenerio where I am harsher than you!

I would say that, even though you are only preparing a part of the item by instilling vis, you still need the whole item in your lab for investing enchantments if you wish to recieve the benefits of the composite item (or even to treat the composite as a single item).

I'm with Marko here - the ability to enchant things larger than your lab is pretty much what Hermetic Architecture is all about. That said, a large room which was also a lab might work but you'd need to invest the seasons to prepare it as such first. It'd also be quite a fun thing to find in an old covenant - "Why is this perfectly functional lab underneath the great all and also completely sealed off? I'll just bash some windows through and ..."

Things that do not fint into your lab cannot be enchanted. On the other hand we use a circle duration spell to keep the rain from falling into the inner yard. our weather specialist needed serveral tries to archieve this as she kept loosing her concentration. However, in the end she made it! (After half a dozen tries.) And now we have a dry spot without spending vis on it.

As with the other responses, I agree that the item to be enchanted needs to be within a laboratory.

However, I don't recall anything stating the maximum size of a laboratory or whether it needs to be regular in shape or construction. I'm reminded of seeing churches covered in scaffolding and green netting when undergoing renovation and/or cleaning.

But unless your covenant is particularly wary of strangers, the easiest option is to advertise for a contractor to come in and do the work for you. After all, you don't have to know Hermetic Architecture to take advantage of it; just find someone who is already skilled in it. After all, a skill like that is bound to be available on the market.

Well, the whole "structure as a compound object" bothers me. As others have noted, that's the whole point of Hermetic Architecture. Otherwise, there's nothing stopping you from grabbing a single brick and declaring that it is part of the structure... :unamused: It especially bothers me when done after the structure is built.

Once you head down that way... a peasant is part of a kingdom, isn't he? So if I can enchant a peasant, I can enchant a whole kingdom, right?

That, of course, assumes I have a high enough magic theory to enchant a compound device with the required number of components.

(edit - crosspost - exactly!)

(killer GM) :stuck_out_tongue:

Technically true, but what exactly constitutes "a laboratory" is not very demanding if you are using the Laboratory section of the Covenants book.

A Lab can be outdoors, and can have some ~very~ basic equipment - a big penalty, but that only takes 1 season (or less?), and can be more than offset with some obvious virtues and flaws like Greater Feature and Greater Focus.

I'm not 100% convinced this is a perfectly kosher interpretation (and this may be part of your own uncertainty?) A block is part of a room, a room is part of the structure... but that could be a stretch to then claim that by enchanting the block you can claim the entire structure as "Range:Personal". (see page 97 for lack of specific rules).

By that same logic, one could argue that enchanting a leaf allows an entire forest to be "Range:Personal" (leaf to tree, tree to grove, grove to forest), or by enchanting a single grain of sand one can claim the entire island of England as "Range:Personal" (sand to beach, beach to shore, shore to coast, coast to island). (Or, if it needs to be a more artificial construct, a single brick to an entire walled town.) These may be exaggerations and extreme examples, but they are 100% in keeping with this interpretation, and lesser examples could be equally troubling - the RAW do not preclude it, but nor do they specifically allow it.

Especially when such an enchantment opens the door to claiming Shape and Material bonuses that are some other part of "the larger whole", there is, to me, some difference between a staff made up of several elements and a castle made up of infinite elements. An doorway? A hearth? A window? A kitchen, a tower, a cellar, a gate, a sewer, a window, a flag, stones, doors, locks, sconces... (Perhaps requiring that these elements be listed, specifically and individually? And that no part is left out if it is more significant than another equal one.) :stuck_out_tongue:

(Edit - A Fruny points out, actually, that is the limiter - # parts = Magic Theory. Are there more than 20 stone blocks in your covenant?...)

Mark surely sees this...(ouch, sorry), but I'll spell it out for newer players - it's not necessary illegal, it's not necessarily "bad", but it's the type of Ruling that a StoryGuide has to be careful of, and think through to its logical, extreme conclusion. Much depends on the players and where the SG thinks the players will take that ruling. If you have "reasonable" players and a reasonable relationship with them, then such a ruling will not be made unreasonable. If not... you have only yourself to blame.

Otherwise, looks fine to me.

Seems to work by the way I read the rules. I think what you need to do is lay your an enchantment on the keystone of the structure and use that to imbune the entire structure with magic.

I've seen several objections in this thread based on rules found in supplements not the core rules. Hermetic Architecture is not in the core rules. Strictly speaking, I can't even a mention that all the components of a compound object must be assembled in the lab before it can be enchanted.

Still, I might suggest rather than treating the keystone as a compound object, treat is as a magic item in and of itself, with effects reaching the entire structure via a range of Touch and a target of Group, with the Group being the other parts of the structure.

The whole object must be in the lab in order to enchant it, and that is core rules :slight_smile:

I'm sure it must be, but I can't find it anywhere.

Your lab can be the size of France IIRC. SO as CH points out, you can build it and make the castle stay inside the lab.



I will look for it later as a matter of curiosity.

Two key points though...

  1. If no one has Hermetic Architecture in that saga, and no plans to encounter such a magus, then it really won't matter either way.

  2. If they later do meet some other magus with Hermetic Architecture, you can always hr that they hve some different additional power in this regard.

So, though I debate against it, in essence I would encourage that MS does whatever works best for his saga. Handwaving t appropriate times is an essential key component of a successful saga.

Yeah, but where do you hang your Sanctum Marker? :laughing:

With the appropriate breakthrough, you can reach the Lunar sphere...

If you buy the argument that the covenant is a compound item made up of rooms, then this seems OK to me. I'm not sure if I do buy this argument though. It seems a bit like saying that the bottom foot of your wooden staff is a different component to the second foot?

Not sure if this is relevant, but if the covenant was constructed using the standard Conjuring the Mystic Tower spell, then it is not a collection of rooms, but a single stone (Individual Target).

The mystic tower contains rooms.... Or are you saying I can't cast a Room spell inside the mystic tower? That is even weirder than the "covenant as room-compound item" argument...

Sanctum markers only needed in your France-sized lab if you want your lab inside your sanctum. :wink: The problem with that lab is that a lab needs to be protected from the elements as perthe RAW (first paragraph in lab section IIRC) and well, if it is that huuge it can have weather inside it! :laughing: Srtill, casting a Year duration spell that creates a crytal dome around your covenant so you can enchant it sounds really cool to me :slight_smile: *


  • That remided me of the weirdness of the lack of a Season duration in the game IMO but that is a different issue

Not to mention the penalty to Safety that having all those random people in your lab will bring you.

IIRC, Season is available through an initiation or another, as a Moon-magnitude Ritual.

(I believe you mean "a collection of stone blocks...", as it still has the rooms, neh?)

Regardless, two problems remain:

  1. The limit of the endless connections of a part to another part

  2. With the number of elements in a "compound object" being limited by Magic Theory. This is not open for interpretation - RAW, it's 1/score in MT.

At some point, a mage only "names" all the parts of a compound object that they choose to use, they do not actually count every last possible part, every wire and rivet and so forth. However, in an entire (mundanely constructed) covenant, it seems that there are far too many "parts" to avoid making this feel like some sort of cheat, depending on the interpretation, and regardless of whether one or another is ever used for a S/M bonus.

Yes, of course, you can cast Room Target spells inside the rooms of a Mystic Tower.

The issue is that a Mystic Tower is not a composite item created of several smaller components. Whereas it is arguable (perhaps) that a mundanely constructed structure is a composite item made from up of individual rooms, or blocks, or whatever.

For comparison, a normal organic tree is not a composite item, with the branches and leaves being different components. Whereas, a manufactured "tree" with the branches and leaves forged from different pieces of metal could be.

There are a number of Laboratory Features in Covenants that cover open air laboratories, very large laboratories, and laboratories that contain geography and weather.

Definitely so.

The paragraph you're remembering (the fourth) addresses "The basic physical requirements for a Hermetic lab...", and contunues as follows..."...a single chamber, with 500 square feet of floor space, a ten foot high ceiling, and sturdy walls and roof to protect against the elements."However, since every one of those "basic requirements" has a Flaw which specifically negates it, I believe the emphasis is on "basic", and not "requirements". That is, those are the typically expected minimum requirements - but those are not "dealbreakers", by any means.

Less area, low ceilings, weak walls, a broken or absent roof, and exposure to the elements are all included in possible flaws, among many others which would perfectly address such an ad-hoc lab as is suggested here.

More specifically, in the opening sentence of the very next paragraph, it states such quite clearly -"Note that every one of the requirements listed above... can be violated, and the magus still obtains a functioning lab..." (but with penalties.)
In one season (or instantly with the right spell(s) ), a "lab" can be constructed anywhere, for pretty much any purpose. Might have a lot of problems, might have some noticeable penalties to the effort, might be unSafe or magically Warped or very expensive, but it can be done without much of a challenge beyond mundane cost, effort by someone with The Gift and Magic Theory, and time.

So... let's move past that, k? :wink: