Non Magi copying Lab texts

Hello,

With my group, we had an issue about scribes (with the Gift, but with basic knowledge of Hermetic Magic Theory) able to copy lab texts.

Rules says that someone having a score of at least 1 in Hermetic Magic Theory can copy books about Arts.
One could think the same goes for Lab Texts (althought this guy couldn't write these lab texts in the first place, being unable to create and cast spells), and a scribe could copy "profession Scribe x 60 levels of spells" in a season.

But rules about copying Lab Texts are within the laboratory chapter, and could arguably require a laboratory and The Gift.

What is your opinion?

Thanks :slight_smile:

Why not?

Yeah, copying texts is a Lab Activity, and thus requires the Gift. It is no big deal though, and if you let it slide I am sure no disasters will result.

I disagree wholeheartedly!

I count it as copying books on arts.

That's all well and good, and I support the idea. I would allow it as an SG, but as a player I would not make such an assumption automatically. I would realize that the ASG needs to be convinced first.

I know that is an ugly and bored thing, that the wizards must copy and can't give the work to other monkeywrech, but for taht things there are apprentices. Suppose taht this is a good way for teach latin and Magic Theory. The Gift is needed for me too.

I totally agree. Not understanding the text/examples/drawings could easily lead to mistakes. But that is covered in the rules as well.

There's no functional difference between lab texts and spells in 5e. A spell is just a lab text about the invention of that spell. No mundane could figure out an "untranslated" lab text, clearly. But I see no reason why they couldn't copy one, spell or not, once it is in standard Latin. Mind you, I'm of the opinion that most wizards don't trust mundanes with anything as precious as genuine magical texts. Not only does it make sense to me, but I like the effect it has on the abundance of magic texts in circulation.

If you consider that lab texts contains also schemas, regular hermetic abbreviations and such, I'm not sure a mundane could copy it without altering it slightly. A mundane could also make more mistakes due to lack of attention than a magus who actually understand what he is copying.

Isn't there a rule for people copying books written in languages they do not fully understand? In Convenants maybe? I think it could apply there, not invalidating the full work but making it a bit harder for a magus to understand the copy than the original.

Well, the question really boils down to whether you allow the unGifted to actually comprehend Magic Theory. If they can, then they should be able to copy. If they can't, they shouldn't. Regardless, my point was mainly that there was no basis for differentiating between copying spells and copying other lab texts. They are the same thing.

The question boils down several things for me.

  1. Is a lab text a magical item
  2. Are we talking private texts or standardized ones
  3. do scribes have to understand what they are scribing?

Let me give an example. The Jewish Torah is hand written on sewn sheepskins. Every section is created by a scribe where exactness to the prior one is precise. While the scribe probably understands it all, it is the precision in the copying that matters. This is why sections of torah found in the dead sea scrolls over 2000 years old match modern torah precisely.

With this as the standard, the knowledge (magic theory or not) of the scribe has no relevance to the copying. They don't have to know a thing about the meaning of the source at all.

Now, the next question is whether a lab text is magic item and copying it is some sort of magical process. If it is, then you need the gift and probably some magic theory. If is not, then any one with high profession scribe should be able to copy it precisely.

I thought all lab texts are done in a magus's personal code?

once the magus spends the extra season to decipher them,
at that point I don't see a problem, if a mundane scribe has magical theory, he/she/it should be able to copy them.

My point is that a text done in the personal code of the magus would be a copy still in the personal code of the mage. The skill of a scribe is in making the exact copy, not in being able to understand it or not. They are copying including every little ink blotch made by error.

WHY would you ever make a copy using the personal code for the end result as well? You already know the spell, and making a copy means its for someone else, and then it would be silly not to "translate it" instead.

BTW, always included as option for magi in play here, using a STANDARD code for any texts...
(and made it far harder to decipher one using a personal code)

I believe this matter is clearly described in the RuleBook (see p. 102).

From Writing Laboratory Texts

and also from Translating Laboratory Texts

It seems to me the process is then as following :

a) Magus A invents a spell and so produces a Laboratory Text which is a draft which can not be used by anyone else as such.

b) Magus A decides to copy his (draft) Lab Text making it a proper Lab Text.

c) Any Magus can now use the proper Lab Text.

and

d) Anyone with a sufficient score in Profession: Scribe can now make copies of the proper Lab Text. A Magic Theory score of 1 will avoid corrupting the Lab Text.

Another way to go is :

a') Magus A invents a spell and so produces a Laboratory Text which is a draft which can not be used by anyone else as such.

b') Magus B spends seasons to understand the abbreviations system of Magus A.

c') Magus B writes a proper Lab Text from the draft.

d') Any Magus can now use the proper Lab Text.

and

e') Anyone with a sufficient score in Profession: Scribe can now make copies of the proper Lab Text. A Magic Theory score of 1 will avoid corrupting the Lab Text.

a) & c) require a Laboratory, whether b) and d) do not.

a'), b') & d') require a Laboratory, wheter c') and e') do not.

An unGifted character can not copy a draft Lab Text, well a proper one. A Magic Theory score of 1 will avoid corrupting the Lab Text.

  • Nicolas -

this brings to mind a related question...

can a scribe with magic theory do a lab activity to decode texts?