Inventive Genius, experimenting and reinventing spells

Hey folks, I'd love some help.

When reinventing spells from a lab text can you experiment?

Even if you don't (or can't) does the bonus from inventive genius apply?

Thanks in advance,



By a strict reading of the rules, it does, unless you try to find some exception in the word "new" ("when inventing new spells etc."): a lab text helps, but you are still inventing. Also note the last sentence on p.94 "you may invent new spells in several ways ..." -- of which learning from a teacher or from a lab text is one. However, this was not the case in previous editions, and I've seen many troupes not allowing the bonus when working from lab texts -- except maybe when experimenting.

Thanks Ezzelinno!

A follow up for you (or anyone else who is around).

If you experiment while reinventing a spell from a lab text, do you
lose the advantage of learning from a lab text (i.e. that you learn
the spell in a single season rather than by accumulating points
towards learning the spell)?



You do not lose the advantage of learning from a lab text. The lab text is just a help -- you really are (re)inventing the spell.

If you experiment, you add your experimentation bonus to your lab total, and roll on the extraordinary results table. Note that this may include results that make your experimentation bonus zero (and even worse stuff)! If you have a lab text and your lab total, including the experimentation bonus, exceeds the level of the spell, you learn the spell in one season (applying the effects of the extraordinary results roll). Otherwise, you have wasted your season.

I am not so sure about using a Lab Text with experimentation: when using a Lab Text "No features of a spell or enchanted item effect may be changed", and a magus using it "knows exactly what he should be doing"; while experimenting is about "experiment[ing] with new and possibly dangerous techniques" and can certainly result in new side effects in the spell.

Also, from a mechanics point of view, using a Lab Text specifically requires that your Lab Total be higher than the spell level, or you cannot use the Lab Text... but the whole point of experimentation is to add a die to that Lab Total, and what happens if that is not enough ? Is your season entirely wasted then ?

So it seems to me that the two simply don't get at all together.

Inventing Genius, however, could work with Lab Texts, and I think should.

p 102 - Using Lab Texts.

"...may reproduce it in a single season if his Lab Total exceeds the level of the effect. If his Lab Total is less than the level of the effect, he may not use the Lab Text until his Lab Total increases to be at least equal to the level..."

That doesn't sound like an experimenter can "try", and then hope for the best. It doesn't say "fails if", it says "may not use until".

So, depending on how you define experimentation ("adding a die to Lab Total"), it may or may not be allowed. I'm not convinced, but I tend to be conservative on these things.

Backwards: when does NOT inventive genius come into play?


  • when you are reinventing something you already know because you have its labtext (independently from the point to know if you can or not use it with labtexts from other magi). EG: doing multiple time an item you already invented before.
  • familiar
  • items investigation

Other ideas?

To me, it's very clear cut. Your lab total when experimenting is your normal lab total + your experimentation bonus. If it exceeds the level of the effect, you make progress. If not, the season is wasted. This is explicit in the RAW.

The lab text simply allows you to finish in a single season as long as you could have made any progress at all.

My distinct impression from reading both Adept Laboratory Student and Inventive Genius is that the intention of Adept Laboratory Student is to generally apply when you are working with a lab text and the intention of Inventive Genius is to generally apply when you are working without a lab text. There are a few cases where you're not really creating anything when I don't think either would apply (e.g. vis extraction, investigation). My quickest rule of thumb would then be

  1. If you generate a lab text and are not working from one, Inventive Genius applies.
  2. If you generate a lab text and are working from one, Adept Laboratory Student applies.


Brewing vis from Aura
Opening the arts for an apprentice (esp if you are trying to have them keep a supernatural ability)

Possibly Longevity ritual (not new spell, enchanted item or potion) depending on how strictly you enforce the wording. This is going to be saga by saga.

Some necro-posting from a newbie here. I have a few doubts related with this issues:

I have a guy whose character has Adept Laboratory Student, Inventive Genius and wants to re-invent a General spell, which she already knows, at a new level (from 15 to 20). Even though she already knows the spell, he has the Lab Text for the same spell from another magus. What bonus should apply?

+6 from Adept Lab Student?
+3 from Inventive Genius?
+3 from knowing a "similar spell", i.e., the same spell at third magnitude?
All of them, for a whopping +12?

I think maybe Inventive Genius should not be applied here, but I may be wrong...

Adept Lab Student needs Lab Text on p 101.
Inventive Genius is for new spells, that word being all over p95 except in "It is also possible to invent a spell based on [lab text]."
Knowing a similar spell is on p 95 alone, when discussing the "doubling".

So use the lab text for +6, or invent a new version at "double" the cost for +6.

I don't think Inventive Genius applies when using a Lab Text. Adept Lab Student would, for +6. I don't see why the "similar spell" shouldn't be added as well, for a total of +9.

I agree that it doesn't feel right (and in earlier editions it certainly didn't fit by the RAW), but in 5th both original spells and lab-text spells are described as "inventing" - and that's the criteria for IG as defined.

I thought it was one of the criteria, not the criterion. I thought there was also the criterion "new," which is pretty vague, but leaves us all on good footing for the opinion we seem to share.


Yup, I think the main question here is what is considered "new". When I (re)started the topic, I was pretty sure that inventing from Lab Texts was within the scope of Inventive Genius. Now I'm not so sure (specially because when combined with Adept Lab Student, the bonus is staggering...).

However, the general feel in RAW is indeed that creating from Lab Texts is also inventing, and thus IG should be applied. So, this is one really useful minor virtue...

It is, but it is not "new".

Precisely. It's not on my account, because I think that's (a) cooler and (b) what was intended.