First, yes, I'm aware of the erratum.
Inspired by some recent threads and interested due to a current saga, I was wondering if anyone had interesting examples of realia. I'm not thinking so much of descriptions of individual pieces, but rather descriptions of the group of pieces. Post away! Thanks!
I also came across an interesting, maybe intentional, oddity in the rules. What happens when you split a collection into two (or more) smaller collections? I would think the combined collection would be better since you could make better comparisons. However, in general the greater collection is better for expedience but worse overall. Since realia aren't likely to be so useful until they get to the level of tractatus that are so cheap they'll be practically given away, I'm starting at Realia 5 (16 pieces).
Realia 5 vs 2x Realia 4: 5x5=25 experience over five seasons vs. 2x(4x4)=32 experience over eight seasons
Realia 6 vs 2x Realia 5: 6x6=36 experience over six seasons vs. 2x(5x5)=50 experience over ten seasons
Realia 7 vs 2x Realia 6: 7x7=49 experience over seven seasons vs. 2x(6x6)=72 experience over twelve seasons
Realia 8 vs 2x Realia 7: 8x8=64 experience over eight seasons vs. 2x(7x7)=98 experience over fourteen seasons
Realia 9 vs 2x Realia 8: 9x9=81 experience over nine seasons vs. 2x(8x8)=128 experience over sixteen seasons
Realia 10 vs 2x Realia 9: 10x10=100 experience over ten seasons vs. 2x(9x9)=162 experience over eighteen seasons
Realia 11 vs 2x Realia 10: 11x11=121 experience over eleven seasons vs. 2x(10x10)=200 experience over twenty seasons
Realia 12 vs 2x Realia 11: 12x12=144 experience over twelve seasons vs. 2x(11x11)=242 experience over twenty-two seasons
The best way to generally evaluate the value of breaking up a set of realia is to examine the difference:
Realia 5 vs 2x Realia 4: splitting gives 7 experience with an extra 3 seasons of investment
Realia 6 vs 2x Realia 5: splitting gives 14 experience with an extra 4 seasons of investment
Realia 7 vs 2x Realia 6: splitting gives 23 experience with an extra 5 seasons of investment
Realia 8 vs 2x Realia 7: splitting gives 34 experience with an extra 6 seasons of investment
Realia 9 vs 2x Realia 8: splitting gives 47 experience with an extra 7 seasons of investment
Realia 10 vs 2x Realia 9: splitting gives 62 experience with an extra 8 seasons of investment
Realia 11 vs 2x Realia 10: splitting gives 79 experience with an extra 9 seasons of investment
Realia 12 vs 2x Realia 11: splitting gives 98 experience with an extra 10 seasons of investment
As you can see, at the lower end it's not worth splitting up the set. For example, you wouldn't want to spend 3 seasons getting 7 experience in an Art. You might as well spend those three season in the lab, get 6 experience in that Art, and also get some spells out of the process. But at the upper end the trend starts to go the other way. The extra seasons from splitting a level 12 realia are like having plentiful quality 10 tractatus, and even splitting a level 11 realia essentially provides plentiful quality 9 tractatus. We could even look at splitting the level 12 realia twice or three times.
Realia 12 vs 4x Realia 10: 12x12=144 experience over twelve seasons vs. 4x(10x10)=400 experience over forty seasons
Realia 12 vs 4x Realia 10: splitting gives 256 experience with an extra 28 seasons of investment
In the first twelve seasons you'd fall behind by 24 experience. However, you'd have twenty-eight remaining seasons with a quality 10 source. If you really want to be an expert in an Art and have spent time building a significant collection (we are talking about 2048 pieces for the level 12 realia), I would expect you would want to divide it into at least four separate realia, maybe even eight for a collection you could just keep studying for many years:
Realia 12 vs 8x Realia 9: 12x12=144 experience over twelve seasons vs. 8x(9x9)=648 experience over seventy-two seasons
Realia 12 vs 8x Realia 9: splitting gives 504 experience with an extra 60 seasons of investment
If you have an affinity, splitting to hit an odd level such as this works out even better:
Realia 12 vs 8x Realia 9: 18x12=216 experience over twelve seasons vs. 8x(14x9)=1008 experience over seventy-two seasons
Realia 12 vs 8x Realia 9: splitting gives 792 experience with an extra 60 seasons of investment
Where the balance lies will depend on your intentions. If you want to be a true master of one Art, split it a lot, but not so much that you'll never come close to finishing using it. If you just want to study for a seasons or two (probably using someone else's realia), you don't want it split at all. That does pose a bit of a conundrum for the owner I suppose, and a conundrum like this isn't a bad one to have. I could also see this implying that several experts in a subject might be interested in sharing pieces between them. For example, four archmagi, one with a level 11 plus a little, on with a level 10 plus a little, one with a level 9 plus a little, and another with something smaller might combine their resources to make four level 10's or eight level 9's that they then share between them. Those four could get to very, very high levels within their specialty Art. I could see four such magi scouring the world for the best samples as a non-mystery group.