Experimentation & extra botch dice due to magical aura

After years I re-read the experimentation section and was surprised to read thatin the case of experientation, magical auras add to the botch dices.

This means that experimental magi prefer no aura labs?

Seems counter to the rest of the cannon where magical aura's are good for hermetic magi...

Should it make it to an errata?


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Don't see the need of it. Experimentation is not without its risks and you are trying to use magic in new, untested, unpredictable ways. Magical aura in this instance is like fuel to keep you going that extra mile on research; but of course, if things go wrong, you're gonna have a bigger BOOM. Even success will usually result in warping sufficient enough to blast you into Twilight.

Probably one of the main reasons why there hasn't been a major Breakthrough in recent Hermetic History, and no Hermetic Breakthrough since Parma.


Consider how a large aura lets you get even more impressive results - results you probably wouldn't control if not for the aura. It's not that hard to get safety in a lab, compared to general quality. I'll never sacrifice a higher level aura for the sake of safety when experimenting. I'd rather spend a season or two refining the lab and installing virtues.


Or enchanting an item that will improve Safety, with a PeVi effect.

Turns out investing into goggles (and other safety equipment) during experimentation does help with safety! Who would have thought?


So all of you are ok that all the Bonisagus are experimenting from a Zero aura Lab as otherwise the risk of a disaster is multiplied?


Have you even read what I wrote above?

In basic experimentation you are taking a risk to get the highest lab total possible, a powerful aura is another means to get a higher lab total. Extra botch dice don't increase the odds of botch that much and lab safety (see Covenants lab rules), which subtracts from botch dice in the lab, is fairly easy to gain. They are saying there are easier methods of ameliorating the risk of an exploding lab. Also, in some ways, a botch that sends you into twilight is safer than one which does not since you're immune to the explosion aspect of the disaster if you go into twilight.

In original research experimentation you do not always need the highest lab total so maybe you would choose your method of avoiding those botch dice but it's a lot easier to make one lab safer via lab safety than to have a second lab in a 0 aura.

I also believe you're assuming magi are as risk averse as many players seem to be which I don't assume is the case. Largely because while we can look at the rules and figure probabilities and all that the magi do not see the rules and just have some inkling that things may be more dangerous in certain situations.


You're saying that you'd rather spend a dozen season to compensate the aura safety risk instead of being in a no aura setting and spending that dozen of seasons to actually do the experimenting, improve arts, magic theory, etc.

It is a choice. Not one all Magi who are experimental driven would take in my opinion. Maybe if your Magi is in a low aura but as soon as you hit 6+, you better have another temp lab for experimenting a few miles away in an empty field.


True points but Magi also aren't blind. They have history of many wise Magi that had horrible disasters.

Having a 1/100 chance of a disaster when you only have the one both dice vs having 9 botch dices (Aura of 8) which makes it a 6/100 chance of a disaster or 6x more likely.

Now to mitigate these extra both dices, the Magi needs to refine & invest in safety instead of increasing Arts, Magic Theory or just spending the time to improve the lab bonus.

Both avenues are fine and I guess if we were to remove the extra botch dices for the Magical aura then the whole safety mechanic would be broken and you'd get a bit more min/maxing of the lab

I just like my experimental magi to seek better magical aura's ... not the out of the mill swamp garden. Ideally, a solution that would satisfy that would do that would be perfect. Something where you just make experimentation more risky by default without nerfing the magical aura.

Evidently by the replies, I'm in the minority to find it odd. I guess I just have to update my paradigm to align to finding some secondary labs in mundane settings.


The average lab in a Mystic Tower benefits from Superior Construction (+1 Safety). It could also have a size +2 if occupying most of a floor, which gives you two virtue spot. If you don't spend time installing virtue, you can choose to start with Spacious x2, which nets you +4 Safety. Then there are Free Outfitting virtues which also don't require a season to "install" in your lab. Servant at +1 if you have a +2 int covenfolk that can be dedicated to you, superior equipment is another +1, superior tools is another +1.

You're at +8, without a single season invested. Even if part of those conditions can't be met (budget constraints, size constraints), it isn't too hard to spend 2 seasons upgrading your lab. I don't recall the last magi I made that was an experimenter that was also unwilling to spend that.


I think you're in the minority in this case but the vast majority of players I hear from are very botch averse and I think botching, especially Wizard's Twilight, is one of the best features of the system and I seek it out. Which many of the folks responding to you will argue against, some of which I have argued with on that point.

I think I agree with the original poster in saying that the Disaster option is worst than twilight. Twilight can be fun, especially at low warping level. Your lab exploding, killing you in the process, is less fun.

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Probably a problem if it is that easy, what is the point of adding the extra botch dices in the 1st place?

I mean if the goal is to make experimentation risky, you're pointing out is it a fail.

Unless the real point was to ensure sales of the Convenant book... then it is a success story :wink:

My current thinking is that experimentation should be risky. Magical aura's are a good thing for magic and magic research. Safe laboratories should be equally required irrespective of the presence of Aura's or not... might even be more dangerous to attempt magic in mundane settings. Safety should not come free.

Disaster table should be made to be more interesting. I see it as a cascading table where you accrue warping points until you perceive the issue. Then by round you get a choice of triggering a Twillight experience, Explosion or continue to attempt to control the event. Every round attempting to control, you add to the warping point pool until you control the event (max attempts = warping pool < Quick + Finesse), Trigger the Twillight event or allow the disaster to unravel.... or something like that. Only times I see a Magi opting for the disaster option would be to takeout another foe or if they are already nearing final Twillight.

I agree that the Twillight mechanic is good. Disaster mechanic not so much.


First off, RAW, one can not get +8 Safety quite so easily. Spacious is a lab virtue that can only be taken once so to get these low-hanging fruits one can at most get +6 Safety.

I completely agree that disaster should be made more interesting and a little less onerous or more easily avoided.

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Just bear in mind that my example is not free either. You've paid for a Mystic Tower. It's common, but it costs vis. You've occupied 800 / 900 square feet of the floor for your lab. That means limited sanctum space, and possibly a second floor used by the magi, if you want sanctum space. It means you've given up installing 2 virtues that would raise your lab total. Yes, your lab is safe for experiment, but it has less bonuses for developping things. You're paying 1 covenant member as a full-time lab assistant. That's a MP a year, most likely. And on top of that, you have an Upkeep of +3 which is another 6 MP a year instead of 1 for a typical, upkeep 0 lab. There are some trade-off. My average magi, for example, wouldn't wan a sanctum space of merely 100 sq. ft. What I'm showing you is that it can be done, and that working outside the aura probably shouldn't be your first decision.

Fair enough, I forgot that.

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Got me thinking about this again. We get extra botch dice when in a foreign aura but none otherwise. i.e p.183 of the core book says "Aura also affect the number of botch rolls for an attempted supernatural act in a foreign realm."

So magic spells in a magical aura does not get add the aura levels to botch pool should there be a zero rolled.

This means that experimentation, as it explicitly states that it adds botch dices in a magic aura, is an exception to the general rule where aligned aura's are not detremental to botchs.

Also means it is as safe to experiment in an infernal aura then it is in a magical one... atleast concerning botches. Also means that Merinita's that experiement in a Fey Aura, strictly rule speaking or a divine mage in a divine aura or an infernalist in an infernal aura, each experimentating with magic aligned with their respective realm, are practicing "safe" experimentation.

Explains why the Order of Hermes ha not see Hermetic Breakthoughs since the Parma. They are all kept secret in their respective cults :wink:

Still feels that line on p.108 "You also get one additional botch die for every point in your magic aura." was added in extremis by error and removing it in an errata fixes some of the problem. Adding the Inherent botch dices directly to experimentation activity, not Aura, fixes the other part.


I suspect no sensible gamemaster will rule that experimenting with faerie magic, chtonic magic or holy magic in a non-magic aura is safer than experimenting in a magic aura with standard hermetic magic although I suppose there is an argument in favor of it with the pure letter of that section.


Anything in cannon that supports another reading of the rules where Bonisagus can be the masters of experimentation?


I feel like this needs to be changed to '...for every point in your aura regardless of alignment." You already get additional botch dice for Faerie/Divine/Infernal, this just makes Magic aura added.