One of my main issues about the rules is that they sometimes are a little bit… detailed. Now, please misinterpret me correctly here; sometimes the details are a good thing, as for example the spell guidelines. Sometimes, though, in the willingness to be helpful and inspiring for the players, I think they (IMHO) are more complex than they (the rules) need to be.
Therefore have I developed a set of house rules for some of the most "occurring" rules in the games. A common thread/theme in these house rules is what I like to call reversed detailing; instead of letting the rules dictate how to flesh out (in this case) your laboratory by creating long lists of specializations to determine what kind of bonuses to apply, I'll making it the other way around. In this case: a pretty simple rule mechanic that not only resembles character creation (thus making the rules more streamlined), but also is letting the player make alterations (bonuses) on his laboratory and then deside for him/herself exactly what they may be.
All kind of input is welcome.
[And since I'm new here. I'm sorry if someone already has presented this house rule. It's not my intention to steal anyone's idea. I just present what I (imho) believe is a more easy and fun way to play the game]
Here we go
The laboratory is to be viewed as a character of its own. Thus, the laboratory consists of three different variables: Quality (i.e characteristics), specialization (skills) and personality (traits). To change these variables, in game terms, takes time. You don't have to keep track of of money, vis, size or other forms of "upkeep". Instead the time spent by the character is considered being time that the magician uses to make the necessary artifacts, travels, haggling, establishing trade contacts, or acquire goods which are necessary for the laboratory to be improved. It also includes time spent to install the improvements in the laboratory. Once done, the character doesn't need to keep track of yearly expenses. We simply presume that the magus has funds to cover it. We just never "see" the chest full of silver that he stole from a travelling merchant (or whatever).
Once done the player describes the improvement of his laboratory. The SG may also encourage the player to describe how he collected the right materials (or make an adventure of it)
General Quality is a generic term for improvements (Qualities) that enhances certain parts of the magus' everyday work in the lab. The maximum General quality a laboratory may have depends on how high the magus' skill in Magic Theory is (thus making bonisagus magi good lab improvers).
Every season a magus uses to raise the quality of his laboratory, the number of Quality Points (s)he may spend increases by one. A laboratory can have a maximum equal number of Quality Points (General Quality) as the magus Magic Theory score. As with characteristics, the player can opt to take negative points in any of the other qualities in order to allocate more Quality Points.
Qualities are purchased with the usual pyramid points. The following Qualities can be improved:
- Wealth. A measure of how comfortable and nice the laboratory and its immediate surroundings are. A good laboratory is fresh and have an even, warm temperature. A poor laboratory is wet, cold and filled with disgusting smells. Each step gives +1 / -1 bonus on ageing rolls. This also affects the Grogs who often find themselves in the laboratory's proximity.
- Safety. Removes a botch die for each step.
- Experiments. Gives +1 when experimenting.
- Spells. +1 On learning from the labtexts or inventing your own spells
- Vis. +1 When studying from or extracting vis.
- Artefacts. +1 when guess what…
Specializations are purchased with pyramid poins just like Qualities above. The difference is that the sum of specializations always has to be zero (0). Improving a technique, you need one (or more) different technique to decrease with the same number of points. Improve a form, and it is one (or more) other forms that must be reduced.
Each season the magus use to specialize the laboratory, he or she accumulates as many points as their Magic Theory score.
For every two steps of a quality or specialization, give the laboratory a trait that describes how this is reflected. The personality of the lab affects it's inhabitants.
Example: A laboratory with some ± 1-improvements have no special traits. An Ignem +2 may have the Personality of Hot +1, which in turn means that it is common that people are more lighly dressed. A safety of -2 can provide a laboratory Personality of +1 jumpy.
//erik. Next up: Writing books