Mental Construct Lab, Best Practice

If you are going to use a mental lab rather than a physical one, one of the downsides is warping. Ergo, one would want to enchant the effect used to create the mental lab in a familiar bond in order to avoid any warping.

Just that. Thought that I'd share.


The big decision to make in a saga for a lab with a (Covenants p.120) Mental Construct part is, whether it can be had via a (ArM5 p. 112) D: Mom Creo Mentem ritual, using

Ritual Creo spells with Momentary duration create things that last as any other thing of that type.

The (TMRE p.27) rituals Constructing the Memory Palace and Memory Palace of the Sage have D: Mom, so there is some wiggle room here also for the Mental Construct.

If you decide in favor of D: Mom Creo Mentem ritual for it in your saga, that effect does not warp the magus beyond the time it is installed.

If you decide that the Mental Construct if too unnatural to come from a D: Mom Creo Mentem ritual, you have the problem, that its magic is also unlikely to fit into an Hermetic enchantment because of (ArM5 p.96):

Effects matching those of Ritual spells may not be placed in any enchantment. The elaborate rituals needed to control that much magical power simply cannot be contained in an unthinking physical item. The exception is spells that are Rituals only because the spell level is over 50, not because of Duration, Target, or major effect, may be placed in items.

So this would exclude it also as a (ArM5 p.105) bond power.

A momentary Creo spell is insufficient because it cannot handle changes to the created space. It reverts to the instant of creation, endlessly and perfectly displaying the original scene. The Crown, using an ongoing effect, can maintain those changes.

Really? If I would with a D: Mom ritual create food, that food couldn't be eaten then for the same reason?

I have written a character with a mental lab as a virtue.
Which I think is a decent way of doing it - and potentially allows others to copy it via initiations.

Covenants page 120 specifically calls out a magical ritual as a way to create a lab with the mental construct flaw.

"If you decide that the Mental Construct is too unnatural to come from a D: Mom Creo Mentem ritual,you have the problem... unlikely to fit into an Hermetic enchantment"
A constant duration enchanted device is capable of making indefinite unnatural effects that a ritual spell can't. Constant invisibility or unending transformation of a target can be done with items but not rituals.

As I see it the problem with a mental construct lab is getting things you want to enchant inside of it... plus the aura tends to vary depending on where you are.

7 posts were split to a new topic: Museum, an Arcane Ability for mental constructs

I agree. The Greater Dream Grimore is a possible solution for this, but it is a great deal of work to initiate a major virtue just to get full use of a lab.

On the other hand, I don't see the variable aura as a problem. The aura of any lab varies depending upon where you put it. Having the ability to move a lab doesn't qualify as a drawback just because you have the option of moving it to a less advantageous location.

When I made the original post last night, I hadn't realized that creating a mental construct lab could be pulled off with a momentary ritual.

Yet I do see an advantage to creating one as a familiar bond enchantment. If you create it with target group (or some other parameter that can capture both you and the familiar) you can have your familiar enter the lab to assist you. You'd need to leap some serious hurdles to have this happen with a lab from a Creo mentem ritual.

Of course nothing prevents you from setting up a mental construct lab as a secondary lab, since the mental lab would not need a sanctum market to reserve it.
On the other hand be wary of casting tablets...

It's also (usually) cheap to maintain, and useful if you travel a lot!

There are things to be said in favor of a casting tablet as well.

It likely takes several seasons to invent a creo mentem ritual, in that way a ritual doesn't really have so much of an advantage versus the familiar bond, (although it would be a lower level - personal, individual, and momentary versus touch, concentration, and group with the item maintaining concentration for another 5 levels).

The vis cost of a ritual is one pawn per 5 levels, instilling an enchantment is one pawn for every 10 levels (but as above the level is higher).

Learning from a lab text cuts down the lab time to one season, but you have to find a lab text and then bargain for it, steal it, blackmail the owner, or something of the sort.

Getting a casting tablet also requires you to obtain a tablet but it allows you to get your mental construct lab with no time in your any laboratory. It seems to me that a fair proportion of the folks who would want a new lab are the ones who don't already have one.

Sure you're creating something in your mind that was designed by someone else, but there isn't an obvious way for the tablet's creator to have an arcane connection to the new lab. How much distrust do you want in your order of hermes? Selling someone a flawed casting tablet might come perilously close to depriving another of their magical power and it would, as always depending upon circumstances, very likely destroy your reputation as a person with whom others would wish to do business.

Actually if anyone wants to outline a few ways for a mental construct lab to go horribly wrong I'd enjoy the heck out of those. :slightly_smiling_face:

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When I wrote the first post I was really only thinking of leveraging the warping-free nature of the familiar bond to recreate the Crown of Hermes from covenants page 121. But now I've got six or more other spells effects that I want to hammer out. The first is how one creates a mental construct lab.

Mysteries revised has Memory palace of he sage as a level 25 CrMe ritual that adds an exceedingly detailed locus to your memory palace.

Meanwhile, the Crown of Hermes creates a mental lab with Cr(In, Mu, Re)Me 50 (Base
35, +1 Touch, +2 Sun).

I can perhaps imagine that the difficulty of creating an entire laboratory would exceed that of creating a book in a locus by two magnitudes. In the enchanted item effect there are intellego, Muto and Rego requisites. I think that the idea is that the crown is reading the target's mind and then making adjustments to the mental laboratory in response. That sort of thing doesn't really work with the model of a ritually created mental laboratory.

This is a fine place to get off the ritually created mental construct train and say, despite the wording of the mental construct lab flaw, creating one with a ritual doesn't make sense. It can't be done with a momentary creo ritual.

If you'd rather say mental construct labs are really cool, let's not crush the fun with outlandish amounts of difficulty. If you take this view, you might rationalize the extra requisites on the crown of Hermes as necessary for a laboratory that is independent of a mind, one that exists all on its own, available to anyone who puts on the crown. I'd suggest this ritual.

Installation of the Exceedingly Private Laboratory
CrMe 35 (ritual)
R: Personal, D: Mom. T: Ind.
By casting this ritual the caster creates, in their mind, a laboratory with the mental construct flaw (Covenants p 120) as follows:
"The Size of the lab (or its imaginary part) cannot be higher than the Intelligence
score of the magus. The imaginary parts of the lab may be improved as usual (that
is, Virtues and Flaws may be gained, the Refinement may be increased, and so on)
with the usual time cost, but disregard any changes to Upkeep, Health, or Aesthetics.> Without sophisticated magic, the magus cannot use the lab to bond with a familiar,> enchant items or Longevity Rituals, or teach. He probably also cannot extract> vis in it. However he can invent spells, work with Laboratory Texts, and study> Arts “normally.” –5 Upkeep, +2 Warping, –2 Aesthetics; +3 Me." This Laboratory can connect to a character's memory palace if they have one allowing their mind to roam freely between one and the other. It is not a part of a memory palace and does not take up a room of the character's available space within it.
Base 35

How does that look? Feedback and criticism are encouraged.

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Regardless of whether you create your mental lab with momentary ritual or with an enchanted device effect, it behooves you to get your familiar in there to act as a lab assistant or just to hang out.

A simple way to accomplish this is by enchanting your familiar bond with a Rego Mentem effect to move his or her consciousness into the lab. This seems well within the capabilities of Hermetic magic even if there isn't a clear guideline. I think that base level 4: control a target's mental state is, if not a perfect fit, a reasonably equivalent difficulty. (Or would you prefer base level 5, equivalent to controlling a disembodied spirit)

Entrance of the Honored Guest
ReMe 25 unlimited uses per day
R: Touch D: Conc. (Item Maintains) T: Ind.
This effect allows one of the bonded beings (chosen at the time of enchantment) to project him or herself into the mental laboratory of the other. (insert casting sigil flavor here).
Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 concentration, +5 levels item maintains concentration, +10 levels unlimited uses per day

But I think it would be cooler to just build a hallway or path connecting the mental laboratory of the magus to the mental laboratory of the familiar.

No, the question is why wouldn't the familiar have their own mental laboratory?.

I suppose that you could just connect to the magus/maga's lab to the familiar's memory palace instead, Please don't try and tell me that the sort of familiar who would choose to bind with a maga that messes about with mental laboratories is somehow not the sort of personality that is going to pick up a level or four in the art of memory ASAP.

A mental link between minds is not sufficiently natural that it could be made with a momentary creo ritual. Because I'd like it to be a significant step up from effect detailed above, I'll make it as a constant duration enchantment. I'll adapt the CrMe 5 guideline used to alter memory palaces.

Passageway of the Silver Chord
Cr(Re)Me 39
R: Touch. D: Sun (Constant), T: Group.
A connection is made between mental a construction, such as a memory palace or a mental laboratory, in the mind of the familiar and a mental construction in the mind of the magus/maga. This appears to the bonded creatures as a bridge, pathway, hallway or some similar location that leads from the constructions in their mind to the constructions in the mind of the other. One of the two (or some other entity that has entered one of their minds) may pass through the length of the passage in a single turn regardless of its subjective length.
(Base 5 , +1 touch, +2 sun, +2 group, +1 rego requisite, +3 levels environmental trigger, +1 level 2 uses per day.)

Group because it needs to target both minds. The rego requisite is because it needs to connect the minds.

You might think that allowing your familiar access to your lab is good, but you've made your mental lab connecting to your memory palace for convenience and now you've just let your familiar have access just by opening a door and walking through. True, but remember that they've got the true friend virtue and a silver cord to protect you both.


To get use out of a mental lab for more than inventing spells, creating charged devices that exist only in the Magus' mind or possibly gaining a study bonus if the laboratory is set up for it, the owner of a mental lab is going to need a way to import vis, and from a practical perspective probably import other stuff. That means changing terram, herbam, and animal things things into mentem things. Probably at duration moon.

I was hoping to use a Muto Vim (Mentem) spell to bring in vis with a casting requisite for the specific physical form. But I don't see much support for treating vis in that way.

Instead it seems like our mental construct magus/maga must learn a whole host of spells.
Two questions then

Do these spells need a vim requisite to target vis effectively? I'd say no but only because at the moment it feels overly rulesy and no fun.

I can just develop one spell that changes piece of wood into a thought (duration Moon) then use the vis transfer rules from page 94 of the core book to move any pawn of vis I wish to use mentally into a wooden object. But this brings up a question for importing other items into the lab. If I change an item of another form (say terram) into a piece of wood for duration diameter, then use a duration moon muto Herbam(Me) to change that item into a thought, when the duration diameter spell ends, does the, now terram, object stay in my mind or is it returned to the physical world?

If I use a MuHe(Me) spell to make an object into a thought, would I need a rego requisite to get that thought into my lab or would you say it just happens?

downsides to casting tablets:

  1. not created by or for you, so there will be warping.
  2. set up to another mages specifications in your mind, the potential implications run from subtle to profound, and there are a number of aspects (for example, structural virtues and flaws) which might require further ritual mentem spells to adjust. Ill intent is not required for complications to exist.
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How to change my pawns of vis into equivalent pawns in the mental construct laboratory.

The infamous spell from Socitates Scatter like Light uses a base level of 5 to change Terram material into iconic species, the same level that it takes to turn terram material into an animal. I think that was too low but it's a bit late to submit a new playtest form now. On the other hand, making a mind or spirit solid (as shown in the Inmost Companion) is base 25 that strikes me as really high.

I'm going to put changing dirt into a mental construct at base 15, (that will make transforming base stone 20, and metal or gems 25). I'm also going to put plant material at base level 15, that means turn wooden objects into thoughts is three magnitudes more difficult than turning them into stone, but still two magnitudes easier than turning a mind into a bird.

Is that reasonable?
Here's then the key spell for getting vis into your mental construct.

Transformation of Wood to the Realm of Thought
MuHe(Me) 35
R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Ind.
The caster touches a single wooden object which is transformed into an exact copy of that same object within one of the caster's mental constructs (typically a memory palace or a mental construct laboratory). To observes the object just disappears. At the end of the spell's duration the object reappears at the location of the caster. Any alterations done to the mental object are reflected in the returned physical object.
(Base 15, +1 touch, +3 moon)
What do you think about the base level?

Naturally this spell would need to be re-cast a few times to keep an item in one's mental construct for an entire season.

If I want to alter a pawn of vis that has been transferred into a wooden object do I need a vim requisite?

Is a rego requisite required to move the item from touching the magus to into the mental construct?

No one wants to champion the vim or rego requisites? That's good, I don't like them either (although I could perhaps be talked into a higher base level).

Our mental construct using magus or maga could go about learning a whole slew of spells like Transformation of Wood to the Realm of Thought in the previous post in order to get all of their materials into their laboratory. They’d keep the stuff in their laboratory by repeated castings of the duration Moon spell until, at some point (presumably after whatever he/she is creating has been created), all of the spells will expire at once and the materials and completed creations will pop out into the real world. Perhaps a whole slew of spells is an exaggeration, they’d at least want to learn a terram version in addition to the herbam version. They would, quite possibly, want to learn an animal version as well. Other stuff (corpus, aquam, or auram) would be less needed.

But instead of learning more spells to change real stuff into mental stuff, the magus/maga might well choose to just make mental stuff and avoid the hassle of moving the non-vis parts of their creation into their mind. There are some advantages to this. The creations are much safer than average from the possibility of theft. The stuff is somewhat better protected from being disenchanted or destroyed. The creations are exceedingly easy to transport. The creations very are well hidden. The magus can easily control who has access to them.

These is the also the significant disadvantage of the items not being real, not real in the sense that one could use them in the real world. That’s an issue that our magus or maga is going to need to address.

The inmost companion, (a spell from the core book) uses base 25 to make an entire mind into a bird, it does so with an animal requisite but no level bump for the requisite. Using that guideline, here’s an item to allow the use of all of your mental construct enchanted devices in the real world.

Gateway to Reality
MuMe(Te,He) 55
R: Touch, D: Conc. (item maintains), T: Ind.
The Gateway to Reality is an enchanted device designed to be constructed within mental construct laboratory. The gateway to reality is an enchanted doorway with glass spheres full of mercury embedded in each corner and just above the floor that stands alone not attached to any wall. With the door opened, a viewer looking through the side of the doorway from which the door is opened sees a swirling mass of silvery mist within it, an observer from the other side sees through the opening clearly with no obvious evidence of magic. When the door is opened and an object is moved through the doorway, that object is transformed into an equivalent object in the real world. At any time after this, a creature within the mental construct where the gateway to reality is housed may reach through the doorway and bring the item back to the mental construct ending the effect. Any of the gateway’s transformation effects are also ended if the door of the gateway is closed (which happens automatically at sunrise and sunset). While the items created in the real world are magical effects with a penetration of 0, if a transformed object is an enchanted device, any effects it produces have a penetration as normal. Only objects created entirely out of herbam and terram components can be transformed.
Base 25, +1 touch, +1 concentration, +1 item maintains concentration, +1 terram requisite, +5 levels item maintains concentration, +5 levels 24 uses per day

In the past I might have attempted some good natured teasing aimed at those who don’t allow multiple effects that maintain concentration from the same item to be active at the same time, but we’ve had that discussion before and we don’t need to do it again. Your interpretation is… fine.

Especially as David Chart has spoken on it, right?

I was verrry busy lately and could not follow the forum.