Mental Construct Lab, Best Practice

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.


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?

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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) 50
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 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.

The discussion you linked refers to a different matter. (Concerning constant duration).

A different matter that I also am tempted to derail the thread about, but I'll resist.

Do I?

So David Chart argues: as a device can for each effect only maintain concentration once, it also can only affect one target with such a constant effect at once. But as long as you accept, that an item can maintain by concentration each of its effects only once at a time, you are fine. An item may indeed maintain by concentration several of its effects at once.

Regardless of David's agreement with your "It's critical to stomp as much fun out of the game as possible" take on item maintains concentration items, I'd much prefer if we didn't continue the topic in this thread.

Our mental construct lab magus or maga is eventually going to have a great deal of time and resources invested in their mental constructs. They'll very likely want to have a way to protect them.

I think that in most circumstances the magus' parma will be applicable to attempts by other things to mess with the lab.

Further enhancements to the defenses could be instilled in the familiar bond, without warping the magus. A target structure, constant duration version of circular ward against demons or its faerie equivalent would be reasonable as would an analog of Fortification of the Memory Palace from TMRE p 27 with constant duration rather than moon.


I do not see any fun in items maintaining concentration on oodles of their effects at once. But dropping the topic - which you brought up anyway - is fine with me.

Say you are going to enchant a device in your mental construct laboratory. In this case the device is either for use within the mental lab, or it is something that you intend to use with your Gateway to Reality from a few posts up.

You don't need to bring in material from the physical world, in fact it would be disastrous to do so, you'd need to keep some sort of magic on your device all of the time to prevent it from shifting into the real world. That means both effort and warping.

The vis to enchant it would need to be real, but once expended I don't see any reason why an enchantment created by the physical vis would have any difficulty staying mental.

(side note:I think that a pesonal vis source of mentem vis that is harvested from within one's own mental constructs would be really cool.)

So where does one get a mental hunk of wood, pile of gold, or cunningly crafted ruby ring? You could rule that it's your imagination, you can imagine anything that you want for free at no cost. That's an option

We do have a precedent in the rules for a different option. You can create a mental object in your memory palace by studying a real item and making an art of memory roll. This roll can even be made without the art of memory skill (TMRE p25). I like the idea of the magus carefully using their concentration to study a physical object, and in so doing, craft a mental one. I like it better than just saying that you can imagine whatever you like.

But what if you character wants to put an item into their mental space that does not have a real world equivalent, or at least not one that the character can study? I'd have the character make the same art of memory roll with a DC 3 higher, because I think it would be harder if they don't have a physical object to work with.

I can think of a few ways for spells to help with this process. Rego Mentem base 4 can control a target's mental state, this might aid in focus while committing something to memory, with an appropriate duration I'd allow the character a +3 bonus to their art of memory roll.

Creo mentem base 4 can place a thought within a mind. While this thought would naturally have a duration, creating such a thought would mean that the character would never work with the higher DC's that come from not having an object to work from (you know, the penalties that I made up 2 paragraphs ago). Imaginem magic could function in a similar manner.

If you were really bad at memorizing things but had lots of vis (say, for instance, you had a personal vis source within your own mental constructs that was difficult to bring to bear on the physical world) you could create mental objects with a momentary creo ritual.

Rituals need to be level 20, at base 4, range personal, duration momentary, your most efficient level 20 ritual would create 1,000 mental objects I'd let them vary however the caster wanted. I'd also be pretty generous regarding what makes up a mental object.

Going deeper down this rabbit hole, If you had supplies of mental base materials altering them into other things using a mental version of rego craft magic would be reasonable.

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In a memory palace a character can have a number of “storage” rooms equal to their score in art of memory, in each room they may have up to five loci, each containing a complex piece of information. While this size can be expanded by magic, long term expansion requires a momentary ritual or some long term magical effect (probably creo mentem, but I suspect that, with some thought, we could find some other way to do it).
It seems somewhat cheap then to allow a large number of lab texts and the like be stored in the mental construct lab.

On one hand, the character has already put in an appropriate amount of work to create the texts there should be no further difficulty involved with them. On the other hand it doesn’t make sense to have space in the memory palace so constrained if the character can just haul a bunch of memorized loci to their lab and shove them under their lab bench for a bit while they use their memory palace space for other stuff. Or does it? Perhaps that’s a pretty cool idea and would add color to a story without being too abusive. Any thoughts on the matter?

If you decide that free unlimited “backup storage” is not what you want in your game, a character could create more storage with a magical ritual. Constructing the memory palace (TMRE p 27) creates a single locus with base 5 +1 for touch. As a level 20 ritual, one could use target group and create 10 such new, empty, loci. As a level 30 ritual, one could create 1000. That’s probably enough storage.

(Another side note, I’ve wanted, for a decade or so now, to have a character or an NPC who used a target group version of memory palace of the sage TMRE p27 to import dozens of casting tablets into their memory palace and thereby vastly enlarge their magical toolkit by use of a single ritual.)

That might be all I have for now on magic for augmenting and using mental construct laboratories. If you read this far thanks.

I'd love feedback, I'd love to see other people's ideas for them too. I never intended on this being a list of only my ideas.

Your viewpoint goes two ways, and so does mine. On one hand it seems to "devalue" the Art of Memory if you allows a character with a mental construct lab to store all of their lab text in the mental construct lab when that would be impossible for memory artist.
On the other hand it seems unfair to penalize a player for having gone through all the effort to make a mental construct lab and then deny them lab texts.

Personally I favor the second viewpoint over the first. A mental construct lab is not a memory palace, it is magical and so far significantly more difficult to create than a memory palace. Notably it also requires that the user has the Gift and invests significant magical resources in it.

I am less sure about bringing memories from the memory palace into the lab, but as you say it is a really cool and wizard-sounding idea. If a player wanted to do this in my game I would probably allow it. In a way you can say this is about equal to granting the "magical memory" virtue but in way that makes the characters lab and memory really messy and quite dangerous. (sure stuffing all the stuff you have memorized underneath a table and in your mental lab seems like a good idea at the time, but soon you forget about it and spill potion on the table and onto the floor and then the loci are soaked full of mental potion, who knows what that does to them?).

Since you put the general stuff at the end of your post then so will I.

In posting like this you have enriched the game by contributing to the wealth of ideas that exist within the game-space. Your ideas are good and the research likewise. You obviously have a great deal of experience and familiarity with the game and its rules and it is really nice that you feel like contributing in this way.

I think that regardless of whether or not someone agrees with your ideas and conclusions, it is great that you have made a dissertation (tractatus if you will) and posted it here on the forum. You have provided a well researched and documented idea for a mental construct lab. I will probably not use it in my game simply because noone in my game has currently expressed any interest in such a lab, but if they had then you would have made my life a whole lot easier.

That being said I do also really like the ideas that you propose and if it was relevant I would certainly use much of what you have here as a starting point, since it is very unlikely that I would be able to lay a better foundation on my own.

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I'd hate to bring up again the multiple concentration debate, but re-reading the topic I stumbled upon that and thought: what about making the Gateway T: Group? Then you could affect up to 10 items at once.

Anyway, thanks for all of the above, Erik. I'd always loved Mental Labs (one of the story hooks I have in mind is to make the characters be interested in breaking into the lab of a certain magus, which happens to be a mental one). Now more than before your thread.

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The way that always works is: use several instilled effects (ArM5 p.98) of Gateway to Reality, each with its own (ArM5 p.98) Effect Modification: Concentration. For enchanting, these instilled effects have existing lab texts (ArM5 p.102) and are (ArM5 p.101) similar, too.

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Thanks for the kind words and feedback you two.

An idea for an item and a story hook:

Secluded Courtyard of [insert name of powerful mentem magus/maga here]
CrMe 39
R: Touch, D: Sun (constant), T: Group
This lesser enchanted device takes the form of -there are so many options I can't choose, a simple golden ring so it doesn't corrode, a majestic crown because of the shape bonus, small alabaster box for a different shape bonus- creates within itself a memory palace room with 100 loci. It was created as a place where the creator could meet another magi with similar interests without either of them having to enter the mind of the other. It was a location where he/she could place a mental object, to show or transfer to another. He or she could place a text here to lend it to another. That second person could project their own mind into the closet and thereby avoid both (powerful effect) warping and issues with penetration.
(base 5, +1 touch, +2 Sun, +2 group, +1 size, +1 level two activations per day, +3 levels environmental trigger)

When the creator of this object began to fear death they set up safeguards to transfer all of his/her mental treasures to this device so that they could survive beyond their owner's passing. This could have been a waiting spell or talisman effect set to trigger off of a mortal injury (at range personal in order to avoid parma issues), or it could have been a conscious decision - I'm dying and I'm going to leave my creations for another to use. In either case the creator has passed while this object remains.

Within it the storyguide can stash any number of riches, most everything in the above thread in the form of lab texts, if not enchanted devices, casting tablets, a gateway to reality along with a tasty selection of enchanted devices which the owner could manifest into the real world, A bunch of information to draw the characters into to more stories. All sorts of stuff.

I was imagining that this could be used as a McGuffin to motivate a magus to crazily insert themselves into several exciting stories in hopes of attaining it as a prize. Once they find it it could still be a riddle for the players to solve. (Give them a clue in the form of a hastily written note - if you dispel the magic in this item for even a moment, you will destroy a lifetime of magical wealth.) Once they solve it they still need to create a way for their minds to enter the mental construct of the device.

Edit: I changed the range in the description above. This might make the next few posts confusing. That's my fault for messing up, not theirs.

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Nice idea, and excellent McGuffin. I doubt R: Personal, though, unless the Secluded Courtyard of Filius Guffini is also the Talisman of Filius Guffini.

Seconded - though to be honest, I find it hard to imagine it not placed in Guffini's Talisman.

I saw:

So Filius Guffini might have put his hope into somebody else with similar interests finding his Secluded Courtyard and entering it. The latter requires R: Touch for it - unless the saga has some mechanics already for reassigning Talismans.