NPE Variant

While reading an account of a poltergeist from Luther I had an idea: what if there were no permanent enchantments or magic in Mythic Europe. Instead your magic item consumed vis, which then powered it for a certain duration. When that runs out, you can reactivate it by spending the vis again. So magic spells need to be recast, but a wand of fireballs works for say a year (assuming that the build in duration) but then requires reactivation by a fresh spend of vis. What would the effect be?

You lose a whole lot of the mythic flavor if you go this route, which can be a positive or negative depending on what you're trying to accomplish with the particular saga, because you lose access to all those stories involving legendary items, or raiding the lair of powerful dead people for their stuff, not to mention that places themselves become less mythical as people won't have self-animating brooms or any of the special covenants magi normally inhabit. Also, magic items would be far less common, and magic in general would never get used for anything except really important business. Magi in general would be significantly less powerful, though it would mean that the rare opportunities in which they decided to pour all their resources into accomplishing something would appear much more impressive. Importantly, the vis economy wouldn't actually change much, in fact vis might become less valuable, because rather than becoming more expensive, magic items are pretty much just less valuable now.

I have this thing in the back of my mind/notebook about Hermetic Prototypes. These would be devices/spells created pretty quickly by the magus to explore and experiment with the eventual project. They would require vis to activate in some way, which makes them somewhat useful, but importantly they would provide a bonus to the lab total when undertaking the final project. Not sure whether it would be a full lab text-worth of bonus as that could get quite abusive.

So I'm not sure about a blanket ban on permanent enchantments, but there's certainly space in my Mythic Europe for spells and/or devices that require vis and/or other consumable components in order to use them.

Barring the rare occasions you NEED to make it a complex enchanted item, why would a magus ever make anything but a charged item?

Not necessarily, if the legendary items can be reactivated with some fresh vis. It could explain seemingly inert heirlooms and museum pieces that actually conceal amazing powers.

It certainly does lead to a lower fantasy level Mythic Europe. You'd probably have to restrict charged devices too, or else magi would just concentrate on these.

I like it as an option.