Mental Construct Lab, Best Practice

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.

If you are going down that path, it seems in this case that, having multiple lesser enchanted devices would both give you flexibility and remove the need to provide open space in an invested device saving both vis and time. A downside of this is the drawback of having to deal with a more cluttered mental space.

You could also have a single invested item containing several times the same instilled effect with Effect Modification: Concentration: this also allows several concentrations running at once. Such a big invested item would require more vis, though.
Rereading your post, I reckon that you saw that already, though. :smiley:

On the subject of the viability of range personal for the Secluded Courtyard of Guffini.

The idea is a mental construct that stands alone, it doesn't exist in the mind of a magus. This makes it less safe but it allows some freedom for others to project their minds into it without threatening the host. Guffini would put the job of getting into the courtyard on the person who wants to access it, he wouldn't do anything fancy with the enchantment to facilitate this.

That model - a thought existing without a mind to exist in- may be a sticking point. A thing that can't be. I think that the crown of hermes has such a thing.

I can see the prescription from an effect with range personal not being able to effect anything with a target greater than individual was something that I missed in my morning excitement (you know, you wake up with an idea and you want to get it down before you forget it).

I'll edit the above description.

I don't know about Guffini putting it in his talisman, the original motivation for the device is to have a mental space that they can share with others. Enchanting it into the talisman makes this less practical in that you have others messing about in your talisman, and in that it will be protected by your parma preventing access. On the other hand, I can imagine his talisman being inside of the courtyard rather than the reverse.

Or ...(not completely seriously) :smiley: Guffini At some point alters his talisman to be a mental construct (perhaps a permanent effect, perhaps a momentary ritual, perhaps some sort of botch result) He later invests the secluded courtyard into the talisman. He then places the talisman in the secluded courtyard, which is, in turn, inside of the talisman. Guffini then uses this to get criamon magi to pay for his/her drinks.

New idea!

Guffini is a Merinita. He/she anticipates their end approaching. They dump all of their valuable mental possessions into the Secluded Courtyard. They they next take the enchanted device into which secluded courtyard is instilled and they change it into a mental construct with a ritual of duration Until . They then use a rego mentem spell to move the courtyard inside of itself not to be accessible until [plot].

Edit -Until ends at the point of death or twilight :frowning_face:

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It seems to me that the biggest issue with a gate out of a mental construct is that anything that wasn't brought in as real material will have to be created as it exits...

on the other hand I am enjoying the thought of someone trying to construct an independent mental construct laboratory and winding up making it in the magic realm in a mentem insulae.

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A Merinita who is planning to undergo the becoming mystery or one who already has, could perform the trick of putting Guffini's Secluded courtyard inside of itself with duration Until, then they could galivant into the faerie realm and out of the story.

Yup, definitely a big issue, but using something like the gateway to reality item above has some benefits to it too. Once you've dealt with that issue it's not all downside.

I love this topic. My troupe played around with this idea a few years ago and we came up with a story around it. This idea was not fully fleshed out.

What happened?
Everyone in the covenant feels disorientation, sleeping people wake up, serving maids drop things. The magi try to do some magic to find out what happened and who is attacking them, but their magic doesn't work. They remember their arts, but their gift is gone. Various supernatural abilities still work, but none of their spells.

They try to go outside the covenant, but past the doors and windows is just blackness. The invested devices of the covenant work fine, but the magi can't do any magic.
After a while the covenfolk realize that they aren't getting hungry or tired.

While testing a wand against magical creatures, one of the apprentices hurts a grog. Why does a PeVi effect harm a grog?

After a lot of research the magi discover that they have all become low powered magical beings. They don't know what happened or where their covenant is, but they are trapped here.

What really happened
One of the senior magi in the covenant was trying to create a mental lab using a Creo Mentem ritual, except he botched it. The whole covenant was "copied" into his mind and created a mental lab. He now has a very dark secret - this goes beyond scrying on his sodales, he has somehow copied their entire minds into his lab and he can bargain/coerce them as he sees fit.
After he wakes up from twilight...

This could be put into an enchanted device or just be in someone's head. It has a lot of story potential and is "mythic" - a destined young boy finds a ring filled with wise people who can teach him magic.