How much lab time is required to customize an existing spell or effect, for which you have a lab text, to a new recipient so that they don't suffer warping from its use?
From ArM5, p. 168:
Anyone subjected to a powerful mystical effect gains a Warping Point, unless they themselves were responsible for the effect or it was specifically and carefully designed to work on them. “Powerful effect” is subjective, but any Hermetic spell of sixth magnitude or higher counts. Designing an effect for a particular target requires, in Hermetic terms, that a special version of a Formulaic spell be invented. The spell has its effect on anyone, but only the designated target, and the caster, do not suffer Warping unless the effect is also continuous.
This question is specifically aimed at enchanting items, but the answer would probably apply to learning formulaic spells and rituals as well. Theoretically, a high magnitude spell could use a MuVi effect at the time of casting to avoid the problem - see the related thread here - but that doesn't help with item construction.
The amount of customization in the original spell to work specifically with a single target cannot, I submit, be so intricate that the effect would need to be reinvented entirely. Else the lab text could be reverse engineered to provide a sufficient profile of the author and/or the intended recipient (if any) that you would have a high bonus sympathetic connection, if not an outright fixed arcane connection, similar to a true name. (If a mage can learn a new range, target, or duration from a lab text, without having to devote a single moment of time beyond that already required to invent the spell from the text, they could certainly pull out the unique characteristics of the author and recipient.) And no-one would ever trade a lab text, ever again. So, short of recreating the whole thing, how much lab time is required for the task? House Mercere has to have addressed the matter in the past, if for no other reason than to more efficiently create items using a Leap of Homecoming effect for non-Gifted Redcaps.
Any ideas? I'm tempted to simply handwave away the issue as part of the +3 "restrict the use of a device’s effect to a specific list of people" modifier, assuming the presence of the recipient or an arcane connection lasting for the entire construction effort. Otherwise, my current thinking is to consider it either a 10 day distraction or a require an amount of time equivalent to creating a MuVi 5 effect, whatever is more advantageous for the maga working on the device, and move on. I don't want to ignore the topic entirely --- warping due to high-level effects is a pretty core problem in Ars --- but I don't want to make recreating items from a lab text stupid, either.
As I was considering the matter, it occurred to me that this sounded like the sort of thing that could be addressed by mastery. Would "Flexible Recipients" be gamebreaking as a spell mastery special ability?
You'd still need either an arcane connection or physical contact with the intended target, but it would allow casters who didn't spend a lot of time learning Muto and Vim to avoid warping for their spell recipients on a per spell basis. Maybe restrict the number of targets to your mastery rating? It would certainly be a desirable ability for members of the Cult of Heroes throwing around high-level rituals to increase the attributes of their members. Getting by with a casting tablet would be less attractive if actually learning the spell allowed the possibility to avoid warping the favored sodales. And creating the casting tablet in the first place required a mage who had first mastered the spell - the author would have a real choice between "flexible recipients" and "stalwart casting" as their first special ability learned.
If you made it this far, here is your free pawn of Vim: Thank you for your attention.