Magical Photocopier

Time and time again, every troup of players will ask their SG why they cannot use magic to copy books. There are lots of different spells which could do it, recreate each page one at a time, duplicate each book as it is written etc.

My SG and I were discussing the idea the other day, and we realised the simple truth. The Law of Similarities!

Yes, you can use magic to copy tomes, and they will be EXACT copies. This means that they will all be Arcane Connections to each other. Any magus with a copy could summon or destroy every other copy. Or (worse) change the wording on all of the copies at once.

If you copy a tome by hand, there will be slight differences in the copy, making it an individual work. Therefore no AC to anything else.

My SG is coming up with a back story where a covenant used a copy spell to duplicate their books for trade. One day an experiment in the lab went wrong and a copy was caught up in the explosion. The effect applied to every copy of book through the Arcane Connection. Quite a few covenants found pieces of exploded book in their library, and took it to Tribunal to get compensation. It was ruled at Tribunal that although no-one had anticipated it, that by accepting a magical copy, they accepted the risk. It was ruled that copying books with magic was not in the best interests of the order.

Of course the Preco was laughing as he delivered this judgement - his covenant hadn't been effected :wink:

Most Arcane Connections in ArM5 have a limited duration, though. Presumably the connection would expire after a while; there are also Perdo Vim spells that can accelerate the expiry of an AC.

Our Troupe's take on magical copying has been a little different. Lots of spells allow the caster to duplicate a specific object: for instance, Disguise of the New Visage can imitate the appearance of a specific person. Doing so generally requires a Finesse roll to make the magical product resemble the intended object.

What do you think would be the Finesse Ease Factor to legibly reproduce every word on the page of a book? One could argue that it is prohibitively high. To copy every page of the book at once would be even harder. Even if a magus could manage the Finesse roll to copy one page at a time, odds are good that on a 200-page book he would botch the roll at least once or twice.

Thats true if you had a magus casting spells.

However if you have a Verditius craft an item which uses Intellego magics to copy the image of the page, then a rego to move the inks on a blank sheet... You would need a grog to stand there and put every page on one-by-one, but you could swiftly duplicate them.

It is something that may take a little research, but could be done. And it would be reliable. (as long as it didn't run out of ink)

You seem to be suggesting that using an enchanted device can sometimes bypass the need for Finesse rolls. I'm not sure I like the implications of that idea.

For instance, could I design an item with a Rego effect (and Intellego requisite) that casts Aimed spells, and always hits?

Serf's Parma but when an enchanted item's effect calls for a Finesse roll, isn't it the item's current user who makes the roll?

My understanding was that if it needed a finesse, such as controlling something to the wielders wishes, then yes. So to control an aimed spell would be a finesse roll, as the target is always different. However, if the item is doing things itself, my understanding is that it doesn't need a seperate one, it is designed into the effect.

The effect has extra magnitudes in it to take into account the creators finesse. i.e. The finesse should be rolled when the device is invested.

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or a VERY high level spell!

The Rego Craft spells give the guidelines.
(page 49 , Covenants)

None of the Scribal Magic spells on page 96 have considered the possibility of making a "Kwik-Copy" spell.
Profession (Scribe) has a physical component with a corresponding ease factor.
If one can weave cloth with Rego Craft , then one can Scribe Parchment.
If all the materials that you need are to hand , then you can copy a book.

A Perception + Finesse roll is all that is needed.
(+03 to the standard ease factor)

The Law is a nice idea. Very nice.

What is the Ease Factor then? I'd say a competent scribe should have Profession (Scribe) 5 (and Dex 0), so can invariably produce EF 6 over a Season. The Finesse EF is 6, +3 for being magic, +x for extra speed (serf's parma, I'll put it at +3) for a final EF 12.

Since the costs of materials is pretty large, only someone with Preception+Finesse of 10 or so should find the spell superior to a mundane scribe's work. This is not a light requirement at all, so I think mundane scribes should still be in high demand in the Order. For someone with great Finesse and Perception these will be redundant, but such are very rare. For someone with a great amount of resources multiple copies can be made in the hope of getting one right - but that's wasteful, I doubt it will be a good idea.

I think Aq should suffice to affect already present inks - they're liquids. An is needed to affect the parchemnt. We have something like

The Faithful Copier ReAn(Aq) 25
Copies a book onto sheets, given parchment, inks, and the original. This requires an EF 12 Finesse roll; failure results in obviously distorted copies (possibly of lower Quality), a botch results in a copy that seems alright but contains small but disastrous mistakes.
(Base 3 (?), +2 voice, +1 concetration, +2 group, +1 requisite)

This can be increased arbitrarily for complexity, I'd say a +2 is needed for ReAn(Aq) 35. Further increases and complications are also very possible (and In requisite, a Te requisite, +1 to affect processed animal products...).

I think Rego Craft works, but requires too high Finesse to make scribes obsolete. Creo magic can provide perfect copies, but at the cost of raw vis. Overall, employing a mundane scribe may be a little slower but is far cheaper and better all around.

I don't have my copy to hand, but there's an additional Ease Factor cost for "doing things that take a mundane a long time". There's a cost for doing a Season's work in an instant...

You don't need the extra +03 if you stick to a "day's work in an instant".
This reduces the Finesse Roll to 09 , quite doable.
Puissant (Finesse) is probably a common ability for those doing Rego Craft spells.
And an appropriate specialization.

I can see Spell Mastery (Multiple Casting) being used for a spell such as this.
(from page 87 , ArM 05)

Rego Craft used : +03
A day's work in an instant : +0
01 Month : +03
01 Season : +06
01 Year : +09

page 49 , Covenants

If I were designing a magus to take advantage of Craft Magic, I'd probably go for the combination of Puissant Finesse and Affinity With Finesse.

Ta! ... memory isn't what it used to be...

Well yes, but you're cheating :smiley: You really want to mimic a season's work in an instant, not cast ~85 spells each producing a day's work. Granted, multiple casting can help you cast the spells faster, but this is still munchkinish and requiring many castings. I'll stick with a Season's work in an instant, making for EF 15 (base 6, +3 for magic, +6 for doing a season's work).

I agree a "day's work" spell with EF 9 can certainly be exploited in the manner you describe, though.

This isn't really allowing you to copy anyhthing, just to write without hands. You'd copy a book with this spell at the usual speed.

Which is what the spell description says.
However , if you use Spell Mastery (Multiple Casting) ,
then you can make many copies in the time it takes to make 01 copy.

With the day's work in an instant , i was considering more time for Lab Work or other activities.
Not taking a chance on ruining a seasons worth of materials in one go.

[color=red](The above from "Adlee" (a "guest"!) looks like spam- don't touch it!)

A single spell may be prohibitively large, but several smaller spells, used in conjunction, can achieve the same effect, and perhaps better.

There are (base Lvl 1) InIm spells that "perfect the memory of an image you have encountered" (p. 145). To do that encountering, a similarly trivial InAn/He/Te (Te for the inks) spell to instantly "know" any text at Touch range, perhaps with a small CrIg to light the (closed and thus dark) pages wouldseem to suffice quite adequately. (InIm may also be appropriate here.)

It is then only a matter of transferring that image into a permanent media- with a supply of mundane parchment and inks, a ReAq (perhaps with CrIm req?) would seem to do the trick, done deal (with or without the Scribe Profession or Finesse rolls), Xeroxus passes his gauntlet (and a monster born).

However, it should be obvious to all that the creation of such a spell is tantamount to its abuse. So the salvation of StoryGuide and Saga lies not in arguing that the spell cannot be created (it certainly can), but in more practical obstacles.

First, I myself would rule that there is something "mystical" about Arcane Texts, that the secrets they contain must be hand crafted, blah blah, yadda yadda, no effin way, "shut up sit down" he explained. (Perhaps expand on the arbitrary rule that only Magi can hand-copy such a text.)

Likewise, the "Arcane Connection" gambit that began this thread is elegant, (tho' I doubt that every magically created book comes with it's own version of "Intangible Tunnel" built in to pass along lab explosions.) No sane mage would be comfortable with such an open-ended arcane connection within his lab, nor libraries, nor even near his person. (Any SG worth his salt could deliver this information with the appropriate "evil GM" menace to disuade this course.)

But for Mundane Texts the limitations do not seem to jump immediately to mind. The Order could rule that flooding the market with tomes would be "interfering with the Mundanes"- but that does not stop private copies for in-Order use, which would be far less dangerous as Arcane Connections. (A perfect copy, or a "new" copy of a text could even be exchanged for the mundane original, problem solved.)

It's inelegant to simply house-rule that it doesn't work, or ex cathedra to ask the players to "don't go there", tho' arbitrary SG fiats are a fine and time-honored tradition.