How to Aid Crafting Magic?

I've tried searching, and haven't found much here or elsewhere that addresses what I'm looking for.

My maga wants to create alchemical steel (A&A p. 76) using this spell (following the rules on A&A p. 70):
Craft Alechemical Steel
ReTe(An)(He) 4
R: Touch, D: Mom, T:Ind
Combine appropriate raw materials into enough reagent to make a dagger. This spell requires a Finesse roll with an Ease Factor of 23.
(Level 3, +1 Touch)

Since an Ease Factor of 23 is prohibitively high, even for my craft-focused maga's Per+Finesse+specialty of 10. So, I'm looking for ways that she could improve her chances of crafting the reagent beyond one in one hundred. She already intends to master the spell for an additional +3 precision, but that still requires me to roll at least a 10 for success.

The options that come to mind are:
*...spend a two or three years mastering the spell for precision and/or improving her Finesse.
*...maybe a spell to improve her Perception for a brief period of time? Unfortunately, the CrMe guidelines as written would only allow her to add a single +1, which is at least something.
*...maybe temporarily improving Per some other way? Could she perhaps make a ReMe spell to force herself into hyper-vigilance for this one task (D: Conc or Diam)? Unfortunately, the only spell I've found that's similar to that (Covenants, p. 122) doesn't do anything but harm the magus who uses it.
*...maybe the spell could be given additional magnitudes to help? That isn't anywhere in RAW, though, and it feels contrary to RAI.
*...something else I haven't thought of?

The easiest answer would be to create the alchemical steel ex nihilo, but that would cost vis, and she intends to make both a sword and a full suit of mail with it.

This is distinctly not RAW, but I would take a cue from Hermetic Rune Magic and allow her to do it as a seasonal activity, with laboratory specializations in Items and Terram applying to the Finesse roll.

RAW I'm not sure what options are out there that would apply to a Finesse roll...Faerie Sympathies are generally good for boosting ability checks, and...maybe a horoscope or divination for a favorable time and place?

I think you have miscalculated the Ease Factor.
It should be 29, not 23. (EF = level of reagent +9. A&A p70)

The reagent in question is very difficult to create without magic. Using craft magic to replicate the non-magical process will therefore also be difficult.

There is also the option of "this is a level 4 spell, I can probably spont it without fatigue, and thus since I can't botch, if it takes a hundred tries it takes a hundred tries, big deal."

@ErikT You are right, alas. Thank you for the correction.

@Cyborg Unfortunately, she can't make the roll without using a stress die as is.

I did manage to find Singlemindedness of the Concentrating Wizard (A&A p. 34), which adds +3 to Concentration rolls, at the cost of failing any Intelligence roll which does not involve Concentration.

Perhaps a spell that adds to Finesse rolls, at the cost of failing any Perception roll which does not involve Finesse?

Is that +3 a hard limit, or could it be improved (to some maximum, perhaps? +5?) with additional magnitudes?

Knowing the method of making it mundanely should add a a +3, I think. Definitely with other craft magic having the relevant ability adds to the die roll.

@dc444 I did not know that. Do you remember where that rule is from?

Best I can tell the roll to cast the spell and the Finesse roll are entirely separate- she could absolutely spont the spell to avoid botching the spell and risking Warping Points, but that would have no effect on the required Finesse roll (which, I suppose, could botch, but that's much less dangerous as long as you have some sort of InTe to check that a result that appeared to be proper alchemical steel actually is).

The actual reason it's a bad idea is the cost of hundreds of batches of reagents.

Finesse Bonuses and Penalties for Familiarity inset on p62 of HoH:S.

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Hitting the high level Finesse targets is quite difficult, and made to be so.

  1. There's Ligatures, from Art and Academe, p. 68, that can add up to a +3. This will give you a bonus on a single roll a day.
  2. You can get an Item of Quality from a Verditius, which will add to the roll.
  3. House of Hermes: Societas has bonuses to Finesse from Familiarity, p. 62.

Harder tasks: Use CrMe rituals to improve Perception, or get a Learned Magician to grant Puissant Finesse to you, or get an applicable Faerie Sympathy.

If you actually have researched Alchemical steel, you probably can do better by using a CrTe 20 ritual. It will cost vis, but you'll create 100 cubic feet of it, which is roughly 25 tons.


By RAW, unless it’s been altered by errata the finesse rolls for creating artificial things using Creo (form), I assume alchemical steel would fit that, are the same as to make them using Re craft magic. (See HoH:S p60 Creo Magic)

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I am of the opinion that you cannot get an Item of Quality to aid in Finesse rolls: Finesse rolls do not use or benefit from any physical tool or device, so cannot gain additional benefit from having a supernaturally-good version of said tool or device.

This is a matter of significant contention, so YSMV.

Edit: I would, on the other hand, allow you to outfit your apothecary with Items of Quality so they could make Superior or Excellent reagents, and apply that bonus to the Finesse check.

Edit edit: Actually, no; Items of Quality only give their bonus to rolls, and the Workshop Total does not include a roll, so IoQs are of no help whatsoever it producing superior or excellent items.

There are examples in Magi of Hermes of Items of Quality that add to Finesse checks related to their function; one example is a loom that improves Finesse rolls when making cloth. As you mentioned, though, YSMV.

There are examples

Oh, cool!

in Magi of Hermes

...of course it's MoH. :thinking:

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@thompsja Thank you for the pointers. I hadn't thought about Items of Quality.

@dc444 So, things like Conjuring the Mystic Tower and especially The Laboratory of Bonisagus (with its Flawless Equipment and Flawless Tools) require fairly stiff Finesse rolls to pull off. That's an extra barrier to entry that I hadn't realized existed.

In any case, it looks like she'll just have to throw money at the problem and hire a philosophical alchemist to create the stuff for her--assuming she can find one that's both willing and skilled enough. Years of improving spell mastery, practicing Finesse, making spells, etc. for a relatively minor benefit just aren't worth it.

Conjuring the Mystic Tower is a rather problematic precedent, particularly since it explicitly has the extra magnitudes for complexity that aren't anywhere supported as a general guideline. But yeah, finding an alchemist is probably simpler- they're rather useful contacts to have anyway, really, particularly if you manage to track down one with Mythic Alchemy who can enhance Material bonuses.

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Psyborg didn’t say it but Conjuring the Mystic Tower does not require the finesse roll because it is one block of stone. Whether that was a good choice on the part of the designers or not is up for debate but I’m not debating that here one way or another. You can make a finesse roll to see how decent it looks but it will be functional. The alchemical steel OTOH is created with a very specialized process. I think it may be in something of a gray area with whether it needs the finesse roll or not but I would say it does since it doesn’t exist in nature and, from a game balance perspective, it should be difficult to make.

There is a big difference between Rego and Creo craft magic though, since the Creo will always create something. If the Finesse roll fails for Rego then you get unusable trash. A failed Finesse roll for Creo ends up with a Shoddy quality item.

This contributed to my groups house rules for Craft Magic. Adding Complexity reduces the time penalty by 3 for every Mag. We also allow Creo Rituals to take a 9 on the roll (that is a total of 9, not 9 + modifiers) instead of always producing at least Shoddy. We wanted to allow spells like Conjuring the Mystic Tower to be used as written, without having to completely rebuild them from scratch.

Of course Conjuring the Mystic Tower is a horrible spell from an efficiency standpoint anyway. I broke down all the math in several old post, but it is something like only 1/3 the potential size if a solid block of stone and 11% of the potential size if you only count the actual stone. The added complexity brings the level in line with prior editions of AM. There are similar spells in TME, p. 61.


But shoddy may not be good enough for your purposes with alchemical steel. It’s still steel but it may not be alchemical steel.