Hermetic Sweatshops sales pitch

The pitch: Lets face it, there are all kinds of simple magic items that magi want, but don't want to go to the trouble of making. Magic lights, air fresheners (a scented chamber of the spring breeze), or a heater. Everyone wants them but the resources and time is better used elsewhere, unless you make a lab for the sole purpose of recruiting apprentices and making them make charged items. The start up capital is a little rough, you need a few primers and to spend the first year having them read and learn Latin, but the payoff is worth it. After the first year of apprenticeship you have your own money/vis making worker to make magic torches to sell to other magi.

The product: So you have yourself a bonified sla....er apprentice. Now what? Well a magic touch is a level 15 item.

A month by torchlight
CrIg 15
Range: Personal Dur: Moon Tar: ind
(Bace 3 +2 moon)

Now you want these devices to have a shelf life, say 7 years. (x5) to total. Now if you got a couple of good primers, you apprentice should have this total on his own which is a 75 total, or 13 charges. A year and a little bit of light. How much do you figure a magi would pay for one? A pound of silver to not have to go to the trouble of making one himself? The vis and the time expenditure is worth far more than that to make a permanent light source. But wait, you could make a 7 year light source and charge vis, oh yes you can. Level 14 constant effect, 10 pawns of vis, same lab total and boom 5 magic lights that are good for 7 years. Bet you could sell them for 3 pawns each, and grantee repeat business. Get a few more of your fell magi to buy in with their apprentices or hire a few fail ones and watch your vis and silver supply rise.

Really, why has no one done this yet?

Better yet, spend that season in which you'd be training an apprentice each year to do it yourself... Your Lab Total will most likely be a LOT higher, what with the non-negative intelligence, significantly better Magic Theory, and much better Art scores, so you can probably make more in a season than they can make in three, all things considered. You aren't really saving time with the apprentice comparatively to this, anyway, since you do need to teach them one season a year. Errata has noted Limited Expiry not working with Charged Items or Lesser Enchanted Items, however, so in the end this project is sadly probably not feasible, as all but the most senior apprentices can't handle that much Lab Total by themselves and most magi have much better things to do with their time, not to mention the incredible Vim vis cost of preparing that many items to try enchanting in one fell swoop with Limited Expiry. A good but sadly not functional idea, overall.

Though if you're a CrIg specialist, by any chance, you might be able to turn that magnitude from Moon duration (+3, not +2, and a final level of 10, btw) into a Constant Effect item and make these as Lesser Enchanted Items en masse (sorta). Offering the level of quality a Verditius might have (or just being a Verditius to remove the confusion) in some regard is a useful price-setting tool, as with a Lab Total of at least 36 (Magic Theory 4, Creo and Ignem 12, Aura 3, Intelligence 3, and either a Puissant Art or just taking advantage of a good Material bonus, so possible at character generation, but you might want to make a more balanced magus and work towards that instead) then you could turn a profit of four pawns of vis per season (making two such lamps) to supply other covenants with permanent light. 4 pawns in a season ain't shabby for a younger magus.

EDIT: If you can push the Lab Total a little higher, adding extra effect technically nets you bigger profits, but it's bad for business if people think you're ripping them off.

Just tossing ideas around, feel free to change or ignore them as suits you.

Well, I hadn't noticed that in the errata, which gums up the idea. I don't understand the reasoning for this however, at least with Lesser Enchanted Items, I can see not doing it on charged items. But the process of making a Greater and Lesser enchanted item, other than opening the device, is pretty much an identical amount of effort. I also don't see why you cannot limit the amount of time a lesser item lasts than just making them last forever.

But it does call into question why there aren't magi who manufacture things others don't want to in a large scale to make vis on the side. I can see why a Verditius doesn't as their hubris tends to interfere with them doing repeat projects. But there seems to be a lot of vis/silver to be made by making products others don't want to spend their time doing.

IM S these items have always been for sale. Favors, votes at tribunal and other stuff like that will grant you this kind of items. Sometimes they are granted as basic items for covenant construction if there is a tradition of giving gifs to a startup covenant.... All this kind of stuff. A lot of these items can be made by specialists as a side project in a season, so no biggie for them to do them on demand.


Canon assumes that most magi teach to their apprentices the mandatory 1 season/year, and exploit them as labour sources for the remaining 3 seasons. In most troupes I've seen this is not quite true, and indeed, the socio-economics of the setting (based on the mechanics of the game) would suggest otherwise. But let's leave this to another thread, and let's assume, as both you and canon suggest, that you really want to maximize the productivity of your apprentice.

Then, having him work in the lab independently to make magic items seems an excellent idea, at least for those seasons when you are studying/writing/adventuring - or when you are working in the lab, but those pitifully few extra points from the apprentice's Int+MT don't really make any difference. This is particularly true if you can make him work out of Lab texts. It seems to me that an "average" apprentice could easily have a Lab total of 20 in his area of specialty even early in his career: Int+1 (including age modifiers), Magic Theory 2, Tech 5, Form 5, Aura +3, Lab specialized in item making +2, Shape and Material Bonus +2. Later on and/or if he has appropriate Virtues, he could easily get to 25 or 30 (exceptional apprentices could manage 40+ at the end of their careers, but let's look at what's typical).

Personally, I think a lesser device of level 20-30 (and the occasional level 10-15 if the apprentice has to develop the item without a Lab total) is the perfect range of "utility" items - those useful to improve a lab total, to give to Redcaps, to sell to the occasional mundane lord, etc. And level 20-30 charged items - the apprentice can develop one in one season, and then make 4-6 more working from the lab text - are also extremely useful.

If people were playing magi as actual people interested in personal comforts rather than a pile of numbers that grows every bigger, magi would do these things. That said, magi are often obsessive and/or compulsive, so they choose to live in worse conditions than they need to. Covenants at least has a nice system of letting magic items improve you laboratory, which lets you make nice things and actually get a tangible game benefit from them.

Often magi are better off learning/inventing spells if they mean these things for strict personal use; there's no vis cost and your spell can't be lost, broken or stolen.

As for apprentices, absolutely you'd want to have your apprentice making stuff if you weren't using the lab. That said, they'll need to use a laboratory text to make even the simplest of things. I imagine some magus has collected a bunch of elementary enchantments (1 pawn) into a book and called it "Exercises for the Apprentice" so that you can have your apprentice make an eternal candlelight or self-filling bucket of water.

Mostly a balance concern rather than an actual power concern, I recon. Limited Expiry on Invested Effects simply lets you instill effects you'd already be able to instill, just faster. Limited Expiry on Lesser Enchanted Items, on the other hand, lets you spend (possibly less than) half as much vis on any of your immediate strong effect needs, as you don't need to prepare the item. The big issue is you probably won't bother with Limited Expiry on Invested Devices unless you can kick the Lab Total to the point where you finish in a season anyway with only very rare exceptions as far as I've seen, so speaking in practical terms Lesser Enchanted Devices become as powerful as Invested Items while remaining quicker and less expensive to make.

In-universe? I dunno, maybe it's because it's already a weakly-connected effect since it doesn't have the Vim vis spun into the item to tether the effect to the item, so the connection to the item is shaky enough that trying to make it run out in the future would cause it to pour out of the item using any of the currently known methods. Looks like a job for Original Research...

It would be especially useful for Verditius masters to initiate every apprentice into Items of Quality. The apprentice can then make these every bit as easily as the master...

Except they'd still need a rather solid introduction to philosophiae

I feel like the Order would benefit immensely from giving Verditius magi a very limited version of Bonisagus magi's right to steal other apprentices, being allowed to take any apprentices who can be proven in court (whether through paperwork or other proof that's preferably harder to fabricate, or by written and spoken affirmation on the part of the former master) to have spent time learning Philosophiae in a school. Any magus found to be lying in court to keep their apprentice must pay the Versitius magus vis or magic items to compensate for time lost in court that could've been used for productive things. Magi Bonisagi are of course immune to this apprentice-stealing, but they also cannot take a Verditius apprentice who was acquired through these means unless the child shows unusual qualities in their Gift.

With Philosophiae so important to Verditius magi and its far less significant usage in other Houses, this will increase the number (and probably quality) of magical items produced for the Order as a whole, while only being minorly detrimental to other House members in having fewer available apprentices coming with prior helpful training in Latin and/or Artes Liberales.

Just a random idea I had.

Actually, a fairly young apprentice easily has a lab total of 20 in his specialty; a more senior one easily has a lab total of 25 or even 30. This means that apprentices do not need laboratory texts to make "even the simplest of things". They can make pretty interesting stuff (Level 10-15) researching it on their own; and with a lab text they can pull off some pretty impressive items.

Examples of stuff apprentices could make themselves without a lab text (including all modifiers for use etc.):
A flying carpet, ReAn15 (this is straight from tC&tC)
The stone-cutting knife from Covenants, ReTe15 (and with 24 uses/day would be ReTe10)
A compass that allows the user to know where he is in relation to a map, InCo10 (Inexorable Search, R:Touch, 24uses/day)
A large barrel that fills itself with pure olive oil once/day (the oil lasts for D:Moon), CrAq(He)10 (Base2,+1Touch+3Moon)
A mirror that allows a user to assume the visage, voice and smell of any one person reflected in it, and maintain it indefinitely, MuIm10 (Base3,+1Touch,+1Conc,+5item maintains Conc)

With a lab text, an apprentice can achieve way more impressive stuff; cloaks of invisibility, items allowing shapeshifting into/talking to animals, bridge or wall-building, scrying, mind reading and mind control etc. etc.

My favourite apprentice-level item I saw in a saga was made by an ex-miscellanea beastmaster at the end of her apprenticeship. It's ReAn20, but with her focus (and working in a strong aura) the apprentice managed to create it as a lesser device without a lab text, and without experimentation.

The tablecloth of plenty, ReAn20

This very, very large tablecloth imbues any beast of the air (birds, and many insects) touching it with a hoarding instinct similar to that of the magpie: the beast feels it should bring more to the tablecloth of whatever it's already there. If the beast sees grain, it will try to bring more grain or similar seeds. If it sees some silver pennies, it will try to bring more small, rounded metallic objects. If it sees multiple things, it will try to bring whatever it's easier for it to bring. The beast essentially sees the tablecloth and whomever is around it as its young, and whatever is on the tablecloth as their favourite food. This instinct prevents the beast from poaching from the tablecloth, but it does not make it aggressive towards other creatures present, even those who poach from the tablecloth. It's also not an overwhelmingly strong instinct: the beast will not unduly endanger itself, starve (or starve its true young) etc. to indulge it.

This item is typically used by placing it on a large table in the covenant's courtyard or on the roof of the covenant's main keep, and placing a few seeds, berries, some honey, etc. (and possibly a few silver coins) on it. Beasts of the air will land on the table attracted by the food, but will be compelled to add to the tablecloth's hoard instead of depleting it. If using the Covenants rules, this tablecloth can substitute for sufficient laborers to cut the Provisions costs of the Covenant by 50%, and adds a Trivial Source of Income (10 pounds/year) to the Covenant. It also adds a Hook, representing stories that take place when the rightful owners of some precious item come looking for it.

Base 2, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +10 Unlimited uses.
The creator was a senior apprentice ex Miscellanea, with a minor magical Focus on Mastering Beasts of the Air (ReAn and InAn). Note that Beasts of the air is no more than 1/3 of Animal, and Re/In is 2/5ths of that, so overall it's less than a Tech+Form combination. The apprentice had Intelligence +2, Magic Theory 3 with a specialty in Animal, Animal 9, Rego 8, and was working in a lab without modifiers in an level 5 Magic Aura. The tablecloth, which was embroidered with gold thread, provided a S&M bonus of +4.

Which may or may not be useful in producing utility items. If your apprentice has a focus in bears, or seaweed, or emeralds, you can either have them make mostly useless items (though a bear detector might be useful, is it worth the effort?), or you can have him make useful stuff he's not good at.

All the examples you list could probably be done by an apprentice outside his specialty with a Lab Text. More importantly, working from a lab text should keep the apprentice from experimenting and exploding your laboratory (if you can't properly supervise him).

That said, I do worry whether or not apprentices will have the discipline to properly enchant stuff on their own. People in their early teens can be pretty unreliable at times, and a 3-month project is pretty serious business. Having to watch over his shoulder kind of defeats the purpose of exploiting the apprentice's labor.

Note I was not assuming a focus in the Level 20 example I gave. I explicitly said I was assuming Tech+Form 10, Int+1, MT2 (including a possible specialization), 2 more points from Shape and Material (generally easy) and 5 points in Aura + lab. A more senior apprentice might have Int+2, MT3, and 2-7 more points in his relevant Arts, yielding a lab total of 25-30.

So, no apprentices restricted to making bear detectors :slight_smile: Push come to shove, he's restricted to InAn, and that assuming you don't plan to teach him other Forms useful in combination with Intellego, or Techniques useful in combination with Animal (otherwise, if you're a smart parens, you'd start by teaching those first). But even with InAn without a lab text, a level 10 item allowing one to learn the origin, age and history of stuff made of animal products 24times/day might be useful to that wool or pelt merchant (Redcap or mundane); and so would 5 one-use items each allowing you to speak with an animal in an emergency (R:Eye D:Conc - you make the first in one season, and another 4 with your Lab text in the following season).

Well, if you have lab texts, just have your Intellego Animal apprentice make a full fledged lessed device (Level 20, plus eventually frequency of use modifiers) to speak with animals! That's very useful.

If you have lab texts, Apprentices can make really useful stuff, not just "eternal candlelight or self-filling buckets of water" as you suggested.

Creo Ignem? Let him make a flaming sword - a sword that, when a command word is spoken, surrounds itself (or any other blade that touches it) with flames, doubling damage or adding +5, whichever is greater (as Blade of the Virulent Flame, 24 uses/day, CrIg20). Or let him make a less glamorous, but possibly more useful, item that can inscribe 1/day a magic circle such that keeps whatever is in it at a chosen temperature as long as the circle is unbroken (a temperature between ambient and high enough to make stuff glow red hot). At CrIg25 (Base 5, +1Touch, +0Circle, +2Ring, +1flexible temperature) it essentially allows one to provide a covenant with magical heating, and to sell peasants (and nobles) ever-hot pots. Creo Aquam can create similarly impressive effects.

In Mythic Europe, people who are 14 or older are adults, and expected to act as such. Children younger than that do have penalties to their stats (that's why I was assuming an Int of +1 for the relatively young apprentice - say 12, and 4 years into his apprenticeship).