Lab Style Teaching Bonus for other Classrooms

Laboratories can be designed to provide a teaching bonus of up to three.

This bonus can be provided by

Making it comfy, the Palatial and Opulent Virtues.
Standing on a box, the Gallery Virtue.
Installing specialized teaching equipment, Lesser and Greater Expansion.
Making teaching a focus of the lab with prominently displayed thematic elements, appropriate Greater or Lesser Foci.
A magic item with a Teaching enchantment of some sort.

My question if a magi can set up a platform in his lab to improve someones teaching ability why can't a professor put one in his classroom or a craftsman in his workshop.
If specialized teaching tools exist can they be set up in the turb's practice yard by the master at arms.
If a wand that guides an apprentices hand can help in training him in Profession scribe in the lab would it work in the library.

Perhaps creating a problem that doesn't exist? I don't think there's any rule you can't do just what you are suggesting. The only limits would seem to be knowledge and expense, and perhaps, getting used to the "lab".......

The RAW answer seems to be: With a magic theory of 0, you can create a lab of refinement: -3.

If this lab is of size 3 (500 square feet), you may give it the Elementary flaw (allowing only teaching), and a greater feature (for teaching).

Of course, this results in a total safety of -6. Meaning that, by RAW, you're liable to get lab botches (even while teaching mundane skills...)

To me, it doesn't make sense for any of this stuff to enhance a non-laboratory room's effect on Teaching within (other than a suitable magic item). Classrooms would undoubtedly have most of that stuff already; only in a lab would they be a true addition to the standard outfittings.

Really, I find the Teaching specialty/bonus to be an odd duck. Possibly for one magus teaching spells to another magus ... but Teaching in general? Seems weird.

Aside from teaching spells, does teaching involve lab totals at all? I'd be inclined to say that the lab safety penalties would only come into play if there's a lab total involved.

I completely agree. In our saga we adopt a simple house rule: the lab teaching bonus applies only to arcane abilities and supernatural abilities/Arts (including spell mastery). It seems to make much more sense this way.

I'd say that spell teaching is covered only by the "spells" specialization -- after all "teaching" is just "helping to reinvent".
That's how we play it in our saga, anyway.

No, lab totals are not involved, except in cases of teaching spells. But the safety penalty applies to any activity done while in the lab[1]. If you're using your lab for teaching, to gain a bonus on Source Quality, you're still going to be rolling botch dice if the simple die is less than or equal to the absolute value of the negative safety score, IMO.

[1] Note the quotation from Covenants states study from vis. One doesn't need to study vis in their lab. This can be done outside of the lab, and is explicitly allowed in the 5th Edition core book, so I'm not sure if I'd impose penalties for safety on someone studying from vis, if they have an unsafe lab. Maybe only if they explicitly stated that they were studying the vis in their lab.

Yes, but why bother? If I understand the rules correctly, a Refinement Zero lab can be used by anyone. Have one or more of the Mages spend a season making a lab for Teaching and Texts (the two allowed activity specializations), both very useful for a Covenant, but not anyone's first choice for their personal lab, and make it a common lab. Everyone will want to use it when teaching their Apprentices and Familiars, and a +2 to +4 to Profession Scribe and Language Ability is not to be mocked.

Anyone can use a lab with positive refinement, so long as the lab was designed for transient use, which is basically just stating as such when setting it up. And the Scribe bonus comes from the Text specialty not the Teaching specialty.

Oh, sure, but as can be seen in previous posts in this thread, there's a whole lot of "you can't do that!" out there. Since "set up for transient use" is not actually spelled out in the rules, some will not allow it. And Refinement takes camping out in the Lab for years (one per level of Refinement, right?). Instead, just plan out the Lab, which (not being anyone's personal lab) is going to be static, and size the lab as needed. As a rule, Convenants have lots of space, and a positive safety score does nothing for either specialization, unless I am missing something.

Now, about that +3 maximum for teaching. Could you make a lab Magic Item to "grant" a virtue like "Good Teacher" or "Good Student"? Would that count against that +3?

Well those saying "you can't do that!" aren't really supported in RAW. IF someone wants to spend seasons setting up a lab, and then refining it and then installing virtues that enhance teaching, I don't see a problem with that. Those seasons preparing the perfect teaching space are seasons that aren't used on their lab, or if they are done in their lab then those specializations come at the cost of something else. I would go so far to say that specializations in a Hermetic Lab can only be used by those who have been grounded in Magic Theory, therefore aren't available to everyone, which would limit their utility, but that's not really supported in RAW, but it's not all that unreasonable, either.

The professor and craftsman are out of luck, because it is not just a platform.

It is a platform configured with the precise dimensions and astrological alignment required to give the teaching bonus in this particular laboratory. A professor can't put one in his classroom because he doesn't have sufficient Magic Theory to calculate what the platform should look like and where it should be placed. And even if he could do the calculations, his classroom isn't a laboratory. So it doesn't work, because the classroom itself has not been set up correctly to benefit from these supernatural "resonances".

It's like trying to use a tablet PC to connect to a WiFi network. You need to have a tablet PC compatible with the network protocol, and you need to know a username and password, and finally the location that you are at needs to actually have an active WiFi network present.

On the other hand, I don't see a problem with a professor getting a teaching bonus if he happens to be teaching in a laboratory that has already been set up to provide a bonus for teaching.

I have to agree with this - why else would it take 3 months to install a mirror*?

Or if he happened to have the skill at magic theory necessary to do this himself.

  • Mirror seleceted as an example of a minor feature - could have been eg a throne or whatever.

I guess what I was getting at was can other professions, using an ability other then Magic Theory, set up a workspace conducive to teaching. Or is the ability of a lab to help with teaching a quasi magical property that comes from MT specifically, akin to book resonances. Though not Just from Hermetic Theory apparently. Hedge witches appear to have all the same options open to them when they build the kitchens (labs) as might other Traditions with a Magic Theory ability.

It's weird that by RAW a Lab with a teaching bonus is good for teaching and training any skill. But the abilities used in a lab are pretty varied so it would have been hard to come up with hard and fast guidelines. Even if you limit the bonus to abilities a magus uses in the lab you have a pretty good list, Profession Scribe, MT, Artes Liberales, Philosephea, Craft Skills, Latin. If it's not some mystical feature it seems to me that if a Verditius can integrate better quality teaching tools into his workspace to help him train a Forge Companion in carpentry a Carpenter could do the same.

On one hand you have the fact that there really are no rules allowing anything but labs to help with teaching. Though you can fudge the system so a mundanes with next to no knowledge of MT can still set up a room that is good for teaching and not much else. (Though depending on how you read the rules random magical accidents will still happen.) And any one with a significant knowledge of MT can easily and safely do it.

On the other hand most of the virtues that provide a teaching bonus seem fairly mundane. Sure perhaps it takes three months to align a galleries mystic coordinates to bring teacher and student into mystical correspondence or maybe it just takes three months to completely reorganize the Lab so the guy on the box can see and hear everything and the noisy lab equipment doesn't drown out conversation. It also appears to be up to each troupe to decide how much if any time it takes to set up a given virtue. The times given in Covenants seem to be described as a rule of thumb.

I would say that is covered by the skill level of the Profession. A skill ten teacher will have much better teaching aids, (and know how to use them) then a skill one teacher. Especially in Canon, which is set in the Middle Ages, where one is expected to supply the tools for the job. But Ars Magica is very abstract about the non magic stuff. If you want to create a more "realistic" classroom, I would say use the labor point rules out of Cities and Guilds, treating the classroom as a workshop.

No, not just labs. You have overlooked "Items Of Quality", and if you want to push the point, items of quality (mundane items can gain a quality bonus if make by a very skilled craftsman.).

The labor point idea is more or less what I'm getting at. Any profession that teaches or trains should be able to get a teaching bonus if they have the access to resources. Just saying that a teacher with a higher ability has the tools and is using them as part of their higher skill level doesn't track with me. If you have a 10 in teaching you will get the same bonus as a character with a 1 in teaching if you happen to be sitting in a comfy chair in an opulent lab.

I wasn't sure if those bonuses could be applied to a teaching total by RAW. That of course raises more questions. Like are Items of Quality represented already by some of those LAB virtues. (I say yes) Or can they be used to improve a teaching bonus further. (I'd say no)

I would say that "Items of Quality" are not part of the lab bonus, and could be added to a lab teaching bonus. "Items of Quality" add to the user, not the location. Or are you saying that "Good Teacher" and "Good Student" aren't used in a lab setting?

Well my C&G (Isn't that where IoQ's are written up) is on loan right now (Philanthropist's Parma?) so I'm not sure on those rules. But I was thinking that many of the Lab Virtues from Covonants actually represent the use of better then average items made by very skilled craftsmen. So for instance a Greater or Lessor expansion that provides a teaching bonus already represents what you can get out of buying and using well crafted teaching tools.

Also one of the reasons I like using the Lab system as a model for what's possible is that no matter how many bonus sources you install in the Lab the teaching bonus caps at three. Even including spells and magic items. Character Virtues like Good Teacher and such not withstanding there seems to be only so much help a teacher can get from stuff.

I may be a proud power gamer but even I know what allowing unlimited stackable teaching bonuses would do to this game. Unlimited stackable bonuses on melee combat yes that's fine. A friend played the guy with the whole Alchemical steel sword, shield and armor of both Quality and Virtue combo once. Then he added combat enchantments.

BTW on a semi related note. Did you know the central blackboard at the front of the classroom wouldn't be invented till the late 1700's. I think even the individual writing slate was first noted being used in schools in 11th century India. Does any one know if actual slate er slates where being used in Europe around the official setting time.

"Ah the big black obelisk in the center of your lab provides you with a Vim bonus no?"
"No" Hands out chunks of soft white stone. "Teaching and Experimentation"

Items of Quality are a Verditius Mystery. Wondrous Items at in City & Guild.

There's plenty of evidence for wax tablets being used in Europe during the medieval period for the drafting and practice of text and for record keeping. See this paper, for example, Warning 10MB pdf document.