Mothballed Labs

From what I understand in Covenants, every two seasons of use without paying full upkeep causes a lab to gain flaws. But if you don't use your lab for a year or two, there are no flaws gained from not throwing any silver at it during that time?

Not in my understanding. If you want a little more flavor, maybe roll a d10 ever season the lab is unused, and gain a flaw on a one (representing mice, etc, possible warping, what have you.).

All labs, including those not in use require Upkeep. IMO, a mothballed lab falls into the used one season or less category (key phrase is or less), and would have half the upkeep point total.

So, while you aren't using a lab, it is still being maintained with fresh ingredients, and whatnot...

So if the magus leaves the lab, wards the door, and puts a big "do not enter" sign over the thing; silver starts disappearing from the covenant's coffers every year? Or are you trying to say that it counts as 'used' at one season per year for purposes of gaining flaws when not meeting upkeep?

No, but the lab will start accumulating flaws because Upkeep is not being paid. Flaws such as Dirty (from not being cleaned), Infested (because the mice weren't driven away), Lousy Ingredients or Missing Ingredients (from spoilage), etc. The magi will be able to eliminate those flaws, but that will take both time and silver.

Then it is a lab not being kept up.
So, supplies could be set aside for the lab, in the event that the magus returns and begins using his lab again. Or the lab accumulates appropriate flaws reflecting the lack of upkeep. Or some combo of the two.
The system in covenants is perfectly adequate to explaining what is going on when a lab isn't being maintained, or it isn't being used, and even in a condition where its basic maintenance isn't continued due to the actions of the magus.

If my statement is wrong, could you please explain how it differs from your explanation? I'm evidently being stupid here, since people are telling me that the system is perfectly adequate at explaining how mistaken I am.

I'm pretty sure that published work has included labs found in lost or abandoned covenants and these labs aren't described as accidents waiting to happen.

If one is detail oriented, the troupe could require a magus to spend silver to replace spoiled ingredients and the like but I don't think unused labs just fall apart.

virgileso ,

This premise is incorrect. Labs have an upkeep cost, and even a lab not used continues to have costs to keep it functional for a magus upon his return. See the Points of Laboratories insert on page 64 of Covenants, such a lab would be considered a light use lab.

As I said, there are two approaches, or combinations of approaches one can take. Apply flaws based on the lack of upkeep, which is in turn based on the costs for not paying upkeep for a light use lab. Or, the covenfolk who order the lab supplies can keep ordering the lab supplies they think that the lab they are prevented from entering needs.

I'm saying it counts as lab, period, and the light use upkeep costs of a lab are for labs that exist and are used one season a year or less (less than one season is 0, so a lab never used has half upkeep costs). If those upkeep costs can't be paid, whether because the lab is warded from entry or the magus isn't around to update the staff on the supplies he needs or there just isn't any silver doesn't make any difference. It's a lab that isn't being kept up. I might modify the approach, and have the covenfolk who order lab equipment order ingredients and what-not as usual, but the longer this goes on the more likely that the lab will accumulate certain flaws the reflect the total lack of attention having been paid to it.

I read your line quickly and was answering your first sentence. To the second part, the answer was yes. My apologies for that!

I would tend to add a flaw every year where the Upkeep isn't paid for. Some of these flaws will reduce Upkeep. When the Upkeep falls below -5, I would stop adding flaws.

Remember that in real life, mothballed facilities DO have a maintenance cost. I think that's the point Arthur is making.

Either pay the upkeep to keep the place clean, tidy, have someone check it's not been looted by the unscrupulous redcap who visits, etc.
Or accept that it will gain flaws, and that the SG will decide those flaws.

I am willing to consider that if a magus is willing to spend a season to tidy up his lab in view of not using it for a long time AND that he will have to spend another season to prepare it for use again once he return, then no upkeep cost will be incured for as long as the lab is left untouched.

By tidying up, I mean making sure that everything is cleaned, no strange liquid are left macerating at the bottom of a vat, fragile equipment that could be damaged by rodens are properly secured, any ingredient which could decompose and rot is thrown away and such and finally, equipments is covered by large linien sheet.

If a magus is willing to spend two months because he foresees a long absence and does not want to ask anybody to do basic maintenance during his leave, I am okay with this approach.

If the cost of two seasons seems to harsh, you might consider applying a -15 to his labtot for the last and first season of work to simulate the fact that the magus is cleaning or resupplying his lab as well as working in it.

Just pay the money for Upkeep...

A lab is locked inside a sanctum usually. Nobody is going to be doing upkeep on it when the magus is gone. Prolonged journeys or Twilights would mean the effective end of the lab using this rule.

Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends upon what the magus allowed as part of his routine when present. Does he care about covenfolk coming in and restocking? These people are also, by extension off limits to scrying, so legal circumstance certainly encourages keeping the routine going.