One of my players is an aspiring alchemist of House Verditius. She is specializing is distillation and brewing in order to make a wide variety of exlirs, dyes, potions, oils, perfumes,... She is taking Major Magical Focus of Potions (which will cover the variety of different distilled, brewed or otherwise manufactured substances). She also has the minor viritue of vulger alchemy as a starting virtue. She then wants to take unstructured caster to reflect her inability to get the hang of formulaic magic. Instead she seeks to have many of the spells reflected within her potions. So, when she out on "adventure" she'll use those potions to produce a variety of magical effects.
I believe that, for the most part, a consumable potion is a type of enchanted item - a charged item as discussed on 96-97 of 5th ed.
Her goal to to make a magic distillery (a laudible goal) which will be able to create potions based on the vis and other substances "distilled". So, add the vis form and technique and out will distill a variety of magically charged liquids that, depending on the wishes of the user, may vary. For instance, put in Mu and An vis into the distillery, out will come potions to create effects of Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (Armor All), Growth of Creeping Things ("Miracle Grow") and Beast of Miniscle Proportions in a single season.
My ultimate question after this long winded rambling is what on earth is the level of the invested item? I'm guessing the base power is Muto (change of substance), Terrum (glass, bronze, and other metal components) with Aquam (liquids) and/or Ignum (heat needed for the transformations) requisites. But what's the level?
Would it be based on the max level of potion/spell created? Or do we start with level 5 (from p123 MuAq guidelines) with range of Touch. Not sure of the actual duration for the still itself? Also, Target would see to be individual substances transformed. But the potions will have durations and targets exceeding those of the still. Any advice?
As things currently stand, "Potions" is not a valid Magical Focus, being merely flavor for "Charged Devices".
If you follow the guidelines in Covenants, a "magic distillery" isn't something that would function on its own, creating potions unattended, but would produce a bonus to the lab total dependent on the level of the spells invested. Right now, the effect you describe would seem to be a breakthrough on top of the alchemical mysteries (that allow automatic vis extraction).
Creating charged devices is a laboratory activity, not something you do with a spell.
I would create a magus with the flaws unstructured caster and short-ranged magic and the virtue tethered magic (from HoH:TL) and many virtues and skills that aid him in spont casting (like affinitys, boosed magic, virtues that give you exp like secondary insight, and of course artes liberales and philosophy) and the virtue enduring magic would be good too.
With this you would simply enchant your potions at the beginning of the day with your tethered, spont magic and use them whenever you want.
Combined with Diedne powers (instead of a Verditius which wouldnt gain any benefit from his lab virtues) this char concept could be very cool and powerful.
I'd agree that what you want to do ( potion -o-matic machine) is beyond the scpe of present day hermetic magic.
I think that another tack to pull from would be rego vim spells such as waiting spell and watching ward. Make these spells duration moon so they are not rituls then enchant them into an item that is restricted to casting the spells on liquids.
You could then switch your focus to something which encompases rego vim and you'd be square with the rules. (although a focus in potions is sufficently narrow that I wouldn't worry too much about it in may game, providing that I'd already house ruled the penetrations for charged items)
Very interesting suggestions. I think Fruny gave an excellent official stand, if you want to follow the rules follow his advice. Invest powers into the distillery, specializing the lab in creating potions. I agree with Tyrell that a focus in "potions" is sufficiently narrow that I would accept it as a Major focus (although I'm sure it would come back to bite me...).
Just make sure that you see my caveot about house ruling charged itme penetration. If you don't do that well charged items just become too powerful over all, but it would especially bad for someone with a specialty in potions.
Thanks for the ideas. How about "distillation" or transformation of substances (lead to gold, water to wine, balm to poison) as a magical focus? Gets at the idea of transforming various substances into something magically useful. I don't think that should violate the letter of the rule. So the maga would be espicially skilled in transforming a single substance (liquids) - minor; or would be skilled in transforming a wide arrange of inputs (earth, air, water) - major focus.
Love the idea of rego vim and tethered magic as means of avoiding the whole "charged item" challenge.
Ah, that's very good. After passing along the referal she added enduring magic with a major focus in transformations along with a corresponding unstructured magic to get the potion-making Verditius. Thanks for your help.