Multiple Lab Activities and Charged Items

A minor rules question I couldn't find an answer to searching the forum.

If you have two lab texts for charged items with the same technique and form and work on them as a multiple lab activity. For example, I have a level 10 ReCo effect and another level 15 ReCo one, with a ReCo lab total of 30. I can work on both in a single season and still exceed the combined level of 25.

Do I produce the full (lab total/5 = 6) charges for each lab text, or are the charges split between the two? RAW it seems like the former is the case, but something about that seems counterintuitive to me, so I wanted to check I was interpreting things right.

You'd divide the charges between them.

Actually, going by strict RAW you'd only be able to make one of the items in one season.
Using a lab text to create a charged item, you make it with (Lab total/5) charges - without any option given to make it with fewer charges. That uses up your whole Lab total for the season, with nothing left for other lab activities.
Letting you create items with less than maximum charges, and thus allowing you to divide the charges between multiple items is a very reasonable house rule though.

Edit: Actually, I see that the official rules already lets you create a charged item with less than max charges.

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Is this the case, though? From RAW we have:

" may choose to perform multiple activities within the same season, splitting your time among them all. All the activities you perform in a season must be of the same type [...] and must use the same Technique and Form. To perform multiple activities, simply add up the levels of all activities performed and apply your Lab Total to the total of the levels."

So if you have two separate lab texts for charged items of the same Technique and Form, there's nothing stopping you from working on both in a season as long as you have a lab total above their combined level (by my reading).

Then for the number of charges you have:

"If the Laboratory Text is for a charged item, the magus produces an item with a number of charges equal to one fifth of his Lab Total, rounded up"

If you apply that to each lab text you end up having made (lab total/5) charges of each effect. Two full batches.

I'd say you need to divide the charges. Allowing full number of charges for each lab text would be akin to saying that you're performing two seasons of work in one (you are applying your lab total twice). Makes no sense to me.


That presumes that the level used for calculations when doing multiple activities, is independent of the number of charges in the item.
Which might be correct, but leads to the interesting situation where increasing your LT not only lets you make more charged items in one season, but also lets you instill more charges in each of them.

So presuming you have lab texts for some different charged items, all with the same TeFo and with a base level of 10.
Then with a Lab Total of 10 you'd be able to create 1 item with (10/5) = 2 charges in one season.
With a LT of 20 you could create 2 items with 4 charges each. Total of 8 charges
And with a LT of 30 you could create 3 items with 6 charges each. Total of 18 charges.
With a LT of 40, you'd get 4 items with with 8 charges each. Total of 32 charges

That would let the total number of charges you can make in one season grow with the square of your LT, rather than linearly as typical for lab activities. That feels too powerful for me.

Dividing the charges among the items seems much more reasonable.

I do not believe there is a RAW answer for how to divide the lab total when performing multiple charged items in a season. However applying the full lab total to each seems a little overpowered.

Using multiple lab activities has become extremely common in my Saga, since we have reached the point where we are very powerful and tend to have large lab totals. For multiple activity we calculate out Lab Total (without S&M or SS bonuses) and divide it up between all the activities. After that we add in S&M and SS bonuses as appropriate. Limits are MT for all S&M combined and one SS for each activity.

With charged items we calculate the total produced based on its individual effective Lab Total. There was a discovery with increases the total produced with excess Lab Total (every 2.5=1 rather than every 5=1). Even without this, the split Lab Totals shows how much time in a season is devoted to each activity. This limits the total charges created by multiple activity to roughly the same as a single activity.

This realisation is the exact "counterintuitive" part that prompted me to make this thread.

I was thinking about a magus specialising in potions (charged items) because I'm writing some stuff for the Order of the Green Cockerel and it fits with their alchemy schtick, which made me realise going by RAW you can make a lot more charges than would seem intuitive at first glance.

In universe it's not like it's an unreasonable amount of charges though - under almost all circumstances it's far fewer than someone with Craft Magic could make in a season, even if you have a really high lab total.

And is it OP compared to lesser items? Like consider someone making an effect that creates light (CrIg 10) and has a lab total of 40. They could make 4 lesser items for a few pawns of vis that each let you use the effect once a day forever, or they could make 32 charges spread across 4 items without the vis cost. Which of those is the more powerful option? I'd argue the lesser items even with the vis cost as a drawback, because they provide the equivalent of unlimited charges.

Thinking of it in that context, and keeping in mind large numbers of charges like that would only ever be possible for low level effects, it really doesn't seem OP at all (unless you're playing in a saga where vis is exceptionally scarce).

The fact that charged items do not require Vis is actually a significant advantage in mid to low Vis Sagas. While a limited range, IMPE creating charged items is only common early on or in low Vis Sagas. Once the supply of Vis increases, they are supplemented by lesser enchanted items.

I am not saying I am against increasing the amount of charged items created in a season. As I stated in my last post, my group uses a HR that increases the total production. But using your full lap total per each will eventually get out of hand in long running or high powered sagas.

What happens when players start getting lab totals of 100+? My Magus currently has 108+ for enchanting items. With Lab Text for a level 10 effect, he could produce ten in a season with 21 charges each, for a total of 210 charges. While your players might never reach this point, there are going to be Magi in the world who are at it. Do you actually want the production of hundreds of charged items a season to be part of your saga? Just something to think about.

EDIT: My Magus is a mid/late life generalist, who has a very advanced lab focused on enchanting items (there is a whole tread on it, though in game it has improved some). Most of his arts are in the 20's. Generating a high lab total is not that hard if it is a goal.

My point in the last post is more just that, even in a case like your character, it doesn't really "get out of control", power wise.

So your magus can make 210 charges of a level 10 effect? Well anybody with a lab total of 40 can outdo that by making an unlimited use per day lesser item with 2 pawns of vis. Or just invent a formulaic spell and then you also have unlimited uses. It's kind of the weakest option even with the large number of charges - my experience is also that charged items tend to be an early game (when vis is scarcest) thing mostly.

The main advantage would be that you get more charged items so you can sort of spread out the effect - you could distribute them to a lot of grogs, for example, vs having just the one lesser item to give to one grog.

Sure, if it is for you or your Covenant than lesser enchanted items are they way to go for long term. But if you want to sell it, especially to make some silver for your Covenant then being able to generate a boat load of charged items if far more efficient especially since they do not cost Vis.

To me, the two are not comparable. If you want to equip one grog, you do a lesser item. If you want to equip 50, you may want charged items. You might be able to make more vis by selling charged items to redcaps than lesser devices. Low cost, high volume. There is a time for everything.

If you have a lab total of 100 and 20 level 5 spells you want to invest, of the same TeFo combo, you can actually make 20 charges for each of 20 spells, for a total of 400. It sounds like a lot, but do you really have 20 low-level spells of the same TeFo?

Now, what puzzles me is, does it make sense that you can make 400 charges if the spells are all different, and not if some effects are duplicated? Is it easier if you vary the effect? Why?

If we were to decide that multiple lab activities may duplicate the same effect, the true formula for the number of doses of a single effect would be (lab total)^2/(5*level). (FWIW)

That needn't be so odd though, in spite of what someone said about linear scaling. Linear scaling applies to magnitude. Good. This putatively quadratic scaling applies to the number of repetitions. Duplication sounds easier than doubling the level. In most cases, a season for a one-off, or even few-off, effect is expensive, which sort of limits the power.

But if they wanted quadratic, why doesn't RAW say so?
Just thinking aloud.

How is using seperate lab texts (for multiple effects) different from using a single lab text multiple times during the same season?

There is nothing inherently magical in the fact of using two or more different sets of instructions. It doesn't improve your ability to do more magic in the lab, compared to using a single set of instructions.

Hence you cannot generate more charges using several lab texts than using a single lab text. And using a single lab text to enchant a charged item is already covered by RAW.


IMO if using different lab texts of the same TeFo is allowed the using the same lab text multiple times (or multiple copies of the same lab text) in a season should be allowed too.

Either both should be allowed or neither should be. It doesn't really make sense otherwise to me. But I don't think this is explicitly addressed by RAW (much like this whole topic lol) so that's just my opinion.

To play devil's advocate: wouldn't this logic also prevent basically any "multiple lab activity" situation involving lab texts?

I don't think most people would object to using two lab texts to make two lesser enchanted items which is also "doing more magic in the lab". So why would it be different for charged items from lab texts? Both allow you to "do more magic in the lab".

The lab total is, in a sense, a measure of exactly how much magic your character can do in a season in a lab setting. Which is why the multiple lab activities thing is possible - a magus with a high lab total has the capacity to do more in the same amount of time as one with a lower lab total.

RAW doesn't exclude lab text use in the "Multiple Laboratory Activities" section, just that the activities must be of the same type. RAW for number of charges from a lab text is just "...the magus produces an item with a number of charges equal to one fifth of his Lab Total, rounded up." with no qualification.

It's particularly the "...produces an item with..." part. If the intent was that this was the maximum amount of charges possible no matter how many items were being made then it would read something like "...the magus produces [] a number of charges equal to one fifth of his Lab Total, rounded up, which can be divided between the items being made as they see fit."

Hence you can get more charges using several lab texts so long as your lab total (the amount of magic you can do) still exceeds the combined level total, because each lab text will ."...[produce] an item with a number of charges equal to one fifth of [the magus'] Lab Total, rounded up."

Note that this is just an attempt at interpreting RAW, rather than saying this is how the rules should work. That's a whole different discussion.

I think this interpretation of RAW is missing the crucial point that, when you "choose to perform multiple activities within the same season", you are "splitting your time among them all." (2nd sentence of the paragraph) Adding up the level of activities together to compare vs your lab total (Project 1 = TeFo 20 + TeFo 25 = TeFo 45 vs Lab Total 90) has the same meaning as splitting your lab total on separate project (Lab total 40 / 90 on TeFo 20, Lab Total 50 / 90 on TeFo 25), mathematically speaking. In my mind, interpreting RAW to understand that the entire lab total is applied on both projects is being intentionally blind to the fact you're splitting your time on different projects, and therefore your lab total.


As I posted earlier, my group specifically does it the way temprobe describes. How much of the season you spend working on something is what percent of your lab total it takes up.

I think the core problem here is that what you've said makes logical sense and is maybe the intended design of the rules - but the RAW on the mechanics of the activity don't match the description of what your character is doing.

Adding up the levels and applying your lab total to it is mathematically identical to splitting your lab total between the different activities... until it isn't. And this is the case where it isn't (going by a completely literal reading of RAW).

In terms of how it should work I think that ignoring the RAW for multiple activities and changing the fourth sentence of that section to something along the lines of "To perform multiple activities, simply divide the lab total by the number of simultaneous activities." is a very reasonable house rule that resolves all inconsistencies. Plus it's functionally identical to RAW in almost all cases. Or @InfinityzeN's similar version where you can choose how much of the lab total to apply to each part.

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A somewhat related question is the case where you invent two spells, and have a lab text for one of them. This case of multiple activities does not seem to be excluded, but RAW does not actually tell us how to calculate the required lab total.

Both are cases of rule completeness being an intractible problem. What RAW says does not really matter, because the author never really thought of the case.

Personally, I am a little surprised that with a lab total of 100 and a lab text, level 5 is as hard (slow) as level 100. You make 20 doses¹ either way. Without the lab text, you get respectively 1 and 19. This is an oddity of charged items. For spells and other items, you can really do more low-level effects both with and without the lab text.

¹ sorry, charges, I keep thinking in 3ed terminology

I don't really see the problem. The core book tells you to add the levels (10+15=25), and then to apply the lab total to the combination (not each individually). So you get 30/5=6 charges out of these. The only real oddity would be that normally you couldn't get fewer than 2 for the level-10 effect and fewer than 3 for the level-15 effect, while a total of 6 doesn't specify how they're divided. But if you just agree to not make things messy, take 2 charges of one, 3 charges of the other, and 1 more charge of your choice between them.

For the lab text and not for typical stuff it still works out fine. Let's use two spells (InVi 20 with text and InVi 10 without) as an example. You need to accumulate 0 points for the one with the lab text. You need to accumulate the level (10) of points for the one without. So the total is InVi 30. Let's say your lab total is 35. You get 5 points. You apply 0 to the one with the lab text and 5 to the one without. You learn the spell with the text, and you accumulate 5 points toward the other one. Again, this can work just fine.

Multiple activities must be able to be completed in a single season. Though with a lab total of 40 you could do both of those.