Magical Lighting in Labs

I've spent the past few days re-reading a thread in my PbP saga (Base Camp, at viewforum.php?f=50) that featured a magic-addicted magus who was overly fond of Ring Duration spells. Before he left the saga, there was some discussion of his using Ring spells to providing Magical Lighting to all of the covenant's labs. This raises a question:

Is there a plausible in-game reason why any lab would not have Magical Lighting? Even a small CrIg spont (Base 2 for candlelight, +1 for Touch, +2 for Ring) cast repeatedly would work, and, while creating permanent rings isn't trivial, the work in question can be done by grogs, as it doesn't require magic. The same goes for Magical Heating, which should be equally easy.

I'm inclined to assume that magical lighting is standard for all labs, and to remove or modify all of the lighting and heating Virtues and Flaws, including Subterranean. The Excessive Lighting version of Magical Lighting would still make sense, in a modified form as a Free Virtue (maybe +1 Im, -1 Aesthetics, which is basically the difference between Excessive Lighting and Superior Lighting). Non-magical Lighting could actually be a free Flaw, for those fond of candles (say, +1 Upkeep, -1 Im, +1 Ig, or +2 Upkeep, +2 Ig for an Excessive version).

An alternate approach would be to say that Magical Lighting and Heating take space, like the mundane kind, or possibly to rule that they take space unless the light/heat comes from invested devices, since invested devices don't need rings around them, and can even be attached directly to a wall or ceiling. I don't think that really works, though, because it's pretty easy to draw a ring on a ceiling.

Any thoughts on this? Am I missing something about how easy this is?


This is very easy. I offer Magical Heating and Lighting as a free option for anyone's lab in my saga. We just have a lot of extra lamps and such hanging around :smiley:
It is exceptionally easy for anyone with a Lab Text and a decent lab, even if it is outside their arts.

Yes, if you use a formulaic spell rather than an enchanted device to add a quality to a laboratory you also add to the warping score of the laboratory.
the magus' spontaneous magic can not add to the warping score of the laboratory the use of spontaneous magic is already assumed to be wrapped in to the lab total generated by a magus.

(This leaves open the case of spontaneous magic used by a different magus :frowning: )

OK, this one I can't find in the rules. On pg. 121 of Covenants, in the last sentence of the "Magic Items for Laboratories" section, it mentions that powerful effects can increase Warping, at the storyguide's discretion. Is this the rule you're referring to? If so, by definition, a "powerful effect" is level 30 or higher (ArM5, pg. 168), and we're not talking about effects anywhere near that powerful; even for a more powerful effect, it's hard to see where this would apply, since only one object within the lab is the target, and the passage in question comes in the context of effects designed to raise Characteristics and/or Specializations, presumably by affecting the entire lab.

Or are you referring to something else?

EDIT: Ah, I think you're referring to the "Spells for Laboratories" section on pg. 122 of Covenants. However, this doesn't apply, either, since a Ring Duration spell need only be cast one, not "daily or monthly".

Later in the section, there's the stipulation that anything that doesn't require vis should not be allowed to grant a bonus in the Arts involved in the spell itself--for Magical Lighting and Magical Heating, that would be Creo and Ignem. However, while this limitation makes perfect sense for purposes of game balance, it's pretty blatant handwaving (there's not much in-game justification of it), and arguably the restriction doesn't even apply to Ring spells, since the last sentence of the section makes reference to "the magus's own magics in the same season", which clearly is not the case here.


Both in the Saga I'm running and a previous one I was in, it was just assumed magi would use ring-duration lighting and heating sources in their santa because -- well, why wouldn't you? Except for the odd blind or Perdo Ignem focused magus, I'd think most want their living space to be both comfortable and visible. If nothing else, it adds to the mystique of magi having wonderous spaces for mundanes who visit their covenant. 'Wow, look at this, I don't need 16 layers of clothing even though it's freezing outside! I can read a letter without squinting and nearly burning it because I have 5 candles around me!'

At present, I'm giving the magi the standard lab bonuses, but I could see a house rule where being well-lit and warmed is standard for magi and thus not a bonus. However, one reason to leave them is to account for the apprentice, mundane lab assistant, or other mundane who lives with the magus as it would be measureably different compared to the kinds of living space they would otherwise get.

Just throwing this out there...
If you create light in a circle, how does light leave the circle without breaking the ring? And heat? I say this, because I generally detest the attempts to make a circle more or less permanent and accomplish end runs around magical items and rituals.

Because it's magic. :slight_smile:

I can go either way on this. For my Troupe, the 'rings for light and heating' is an element that doesn't bother them because they like this aspect of Hermetic magic. Can they spend time making enchantments to do it instead? Sure, but that's boring. I don't want to have to fast-forward 2 years while they all sit in their labs making magical light bulbs and heaters. We would rather get to more interesting projects and stories. For Stealing the Future, if this isn't the case, I'm not that fussed. So we're back to torches and candles. House Tremere's paying for it, anyway. :wink:

It's the implications of more or less permanent ring spells that I dislike. Trading a season of magic item manufacture for something that reduces upkeep is something that some magi will do. Other magi could care less. Or maybe there's a Verditius who made one of these as a lesser device. Given that, he can now churn out two of these in a season because he has a lab text. Presumably it has enough uses per day to light up the labs equivalent to Superior Lighting. If he's a PC Verditius, other PCs owe him, or he's met his obligations for covenant service. If he's an NPC Verditius, the PCs have to do something to earn his favors. It's very easy to handwave things away in pursuit of the more interesting, but sometimes those are the interesting things. To compare it to a CPRG, those activities for building out the labs are like the side quests in Skyrim, not necessarily the main or faction quests. Both add a lot of flavor to the magus.

Almost every saga I've run or played in has involved PCs bringing stuff with them. That stuff is an allocation of build points, I almost always see players bring books, and other things when they could have just as easily brought items which when installed in the lab provide magical lighting and heating. :wink:

Heh heh. I like that one, and ruleswise you might be right, since the heat and light species would be magical. I'm not sure that really deals with the whole problem, though, since you can just make a really big circle, or a bunch of smaller ones, that encompass all or most of the lab. The smaller circles, though, run into the problem that you can't see stuff from across the room.

For those who acknowledge the creating magical heat and light are easy, but think they should be part of labs: sure, absolutely, but why give a bonus for the typical? Yes, it's in every lab, and yes, it provides magical color, but that doesn't mean it needs to add to Lab Totals.


IIRC it is in HoH:S where it discusses the fact that species generated by magical things (like a magical flame) are not magical.

Hdeating and lighting in circles are always a staple of my sagas as well, as well as access to running water, fridges and some kind of healing bonus.

Ah, yes, you're right...but the light itself, which helps to create the species that emanate from the objects struck by the light, is magical, and so Jonathan's argument should still apply, no?


I think the light carries the species, rather than creating them - but if it can't leave the circle, it can't carry the species anywhere.

Wait, if mere species is enough to break then what good are Rings? At that point, rings are worthless since it'll be a case of, 'I'm standing in this Ring ward, but the demon can see me so the species broke the Ring.'

In the case of the rings-of-light, a ring doesn't necessarily imply a ward from leaving the light leaving. It's just defining the area in which the magical effect to create light is taking place.

But a Ring effect does end when the target of the spell moves outside the ring - and in this case, the light created is the target.

My premise for circles is mine own, and may not be RAW. But breaking the ring of a circle is at best undefined. Is crossing it sufficient? Is something crossing it without conscious thought sufficient? At best, how circles work in a saga needs to be clarified with House Rules, because the RAW is not explicit as to what physically breaking the ring is.

In any event, if the spell creates light species, do they exist once they cross the ring? And

One could reasonably argue that the first light that crosses the boundary of the circle causes the spell to end because the target of the spell (light) has moved outside the ring drawn...

Except that the light is a byproduct of the 'target'. Here's how I'm seeing it. I create a Ring duration fire spell. Light is merely a byproduct of the fire, but the target is the fire. The fire never leaves the ring, so the spell keeps going. The light is unimpeded. Now remove the fire, and in its place my spell has an invisible magical effect that's creating the light. The light is still a byproduct of that effect, the 'target', which remains in the ring. The light is free to leave the Ring.

My understanding is that there is no such thing as "light species" - rather, light is the medium which carries visual species.

I agree there's a difference between creating fire and creating light with your ring - the former should give off light that can travel outside the Ring, whereas the latter probably wouldn't.

You do still then have loads of little fires lying around your lab, but it's probably still cheaper than candles, if not significantly safer.

Edit as I missed the second half of your paragraph the first time I read the post:

I'm struggling to come up with an invisible magical effect that's creating light without directly creating light, that isn't a fire with a lot of complicated Perdo property destroyers. You could do it that way, but you're starting to look at a base of level 10.

No, light is the Target (thing created) in this instance. There is a location of the circle which is the target (small 't'), but all light created in the Circle is the Target, the item created. Pilum of Fire creates a Target of Individual Fire that does +15 damage at the location of a specific person or thing (small 't' target, or recipient of the spell). Ars is very specific here, that the item created is the Target. This sometimes combines when the Target and target are the same, such as for Creo Corpus spells.

That may be true, although one can't deny that light is crossing the ring of the circle, wither it is carried by species or it is species.

If you are creating light and not fire, you probably have a shinning circle IMS. No, the light does not break the circle.