OK, so, struck by random character concept ideas and my mind flies to the mental construct flaw for labs in the covenants book. I'm picturing a Criamon, meditating on a boulder somewhere, while in his head he performs labwork. I'm really liking the idea of a guy who improves his magic through what looks to everyone else as meditation but is actually him taking his mind to another place where he is feverishly working away in a mind-lab.
The description for mental construct is quite slight for such an interesting idea so lets maybe thing about fleshing it out.
It mentions that it might be created by a powerful creo mentem ritual, what would the base be? There doesn't seem to be a relevant guideline in the core rules.
Duration would obviously have to be year, since the next one down, moon is too short. Unless of course you can summon you lab while you work and dismiss it a the end of a day and pick it up again later. Once the lab spell is in effect you'd obviously have to have the ability to enter and leave the lab at will or eating real food would be tricky.
The flaw rules out enchanting items, binding familiars and so on which all sounds perfectly sensible, so what could you do? Well, creating spells is an obvious use. It also mentions studying arts but it seems unlikely you could take a book or vis into your mind-lab to study, so maybe that just means practicing them.
Anyone used this in game yet?
How would one create a permanent mind lab rather than expensive creo rituals?
Could there be some kind of mystery virtue that one could learn perhaps?
I would look at the Art of Memory, at the beginning of Chapter [strike]Number[/strike] Four in The Mysteries Revised Edition. For example, the spell Memory Palace of the Sage is a level 25 ritual that allows for memorization of an entire book - making studying Arts mentally a real possibility. One would have to work out how many size/complexity increments would be appropriate for the creation of an entire lab (i.e., the troupe should set the spell level - maybe 40?), and I would stipulate a minimum Magic Theory score of 3 (i.e., same Virtues/Flaws as a real lab). It would be interesting to create CrMe rituals for lab refinement, etc....
Another completely different possibility is that a mental lab could be granted by the power of the Divine. Or, or course, the Infernal!
PS: just saw Chris's post (speaking of the Art of Memory - nice going!). It's The Crown of Hermes, page 121 of Covenants.
Also the virtue that allows for memorizing lab texts.
I think the main sticking point is the warping, both the warping of lab activities and warping of the Mage with the spell.
I think the warping of the Mage is a little harsh (assuming the Lab User had a more senior age cast the spell for him.)
Perhaps if the spell was specifically created for him this would bypass the 1 point of warping per year for life. this should not be difficult as you know a related spell and ave the lab text.
As for lab activities, The Mysteries book has a book specifically for importing a book into a memory palace so you can still study. Obviously the memory rules from the Mysteries would be important.
Other lab activities. I have no trouble with the concept of extracting vis inside your mental lab. Perhaps even extracting Me vis. The problem is that the vis is in a mental form so it will have to stay in the lab and be used there.
I also has no problem with creating a mental construct of an animal to roam your entail lab and memory palace. Like wise with enchanting said animal as a familiar. Why not, it's not as useful as a real familiar.
I also have no problem with enchanting an imaginary item using the imaginary vis in your imaginary lab. Sure the item would have o stay in the lab but if that is where you were planing on keeping it anyway, then great.
Unfortunately, the dream virtues specifically prohibit much of this stuff. TMRE, p.106 states:
"However, the passage of time is illusory and they do not gain real experience (that is, they do not gain game points for Arts and Abilities). Laboratory work is also impossible in the shifting conditions of dreams, so magi may not invent spells (from texts or from a teacher), nor perform enchantments. Spells are a matter of illusion in this dreaming world, and are governed by Imaginem."
Now, this is in the section where spiritual dream travel is being discussed, so it's not clear if a physical dream traveller -- one who has entered bodily in someone else's dream -- would incur similar limitations (I really think that this should be addressed in the errata, by the way). We allow physical dream travellers to build their own labs and stuff. However, keep in mind that, in practice, physically entering someone else's dream is just like physically entering a regio (or Durenmar, at that!). It does not take place "in the traveller's head".
I understand this. It would be a bad thing to let someone go to sleep, spend a few seasons of dreamtime, wake up the next morning and gain many seasons of experience. I suggest something different, that a character with the dream mystery virtues be allowed to take this kind of laboratory, if he chooses, and go to his dream laboratory every night or day it is a daydreamer, so that he accomplishes one season of laboratory work in one real season using his dream laboratory.
I don't think this is overpowering in any way. The dream virtues are still pretty poor, and the mental lab as well, what with that +2 warping.
The specifically created for "target" accounts for the 1 point gained from a 6th magnitude or higher spell, not the warping from continuous effect. However, remembering to not wear the damn crown all day long would quickly mitigate the effect though, as by the standard rules you only get warping for a full year of exposure.
Anyways, I've had some thoughts on the matter as well, and the Crown of Hermes or similar effect is where you need to go for a laboratory in your head (at least by the rules as written. You might get the Storyteller to agree with a dream laboratory). Though keep in mind if you can get access to dream travel, you could feasibly (depending upon whether or not the Storyteller would allow for conscious thought to be accessible through the Dreamscape, which is not a big stretch IMO) make whatever you construct within your imaginary lab real with the guidelines of the Greater Dream Grimoire. I can totally see people in verse going "yup... that's the Criamon for you, with a mile lead in the race for the absolutely weird" as you pull out your latest flight of fancy kicking and screaming into the world of the living, out of your head.
Right, but he could be daydreaming, or he could be putting around during the day taking the drugs and doing the exercises he needs to keep himself in the right state of mind for dreaming and so on, so there still isn't a problem until someone declares that he has extra seasons.