Ritual spells to boost a Laboratory?

Hi everybody

I have this magus who wants to construct a lab with a very high specialization in Spells. He has the Mercurian Magic Virtue, so his spontaneous spell-casting is severely hampered and he needs to know a lot of spells to be any good in situations without time for ceremonial casting.

He has access to a large lab and plans to construct greater features and a greater focus that adds to the Spells specialization. But I thought it would also be interesting for him to use his Mercurian advantage in ritual spells (half vis cost) to invent and cast ritual spells that adds to the spell specialization as well (ritual spells to boost a lab is mentioned in Covs 122).
This has generated a lot of questions, though, and I could really use some help from you guys, if you could spare the time. A wheelbarrow of thanks in advance!

Elaborate marble summoning circle, CrTe20-ritual
for starters, I would like him to invent a CrTe20-spell that creates a large summoning circle. That could give the lab a +2 to Spells specialization (The Covenants book states, that: “if the effect does not resemble a Laboratory Virtue or Flaw, then the final level of the effect determines how many points of Characteristics or Specializations may be gained. Every ten levels may grant one point in a Specialization” (121).).

I have been wondering how to make the summoning circle unique enough to warrant that it gives +2 in spells: Maybe some exotic material, like a single circular piece of marble, 7 paces in diameter, with a lot of carved lines in different patterns and in different depths to channel the natural magic of the room, maybe with some whitish surfaces where notes could be written.

Possible stats:
Base 3, +1 marble, +1 size(?), +1 or +2 for elaborate shape.

First question: Does this sound like a ritual spell that - if cast - should grant a +2 Spells specialization to the lab? Or is there something missing?

Second question: If the lines has a blueish glow that becomes extra visible when the room is dark or dimly lit. Would this be +1 ignem to the stats?

Third question: If there is a +1 ignem requisite, does this affect my magus’ lab total when inventing the spell? His ig score is a lot lower than his te score.

At a later point he would make the marble circle into a Greater feature (maybe by writing/chiseling inscriptions all over the circle) and make it a Greater focus (by pushing all other lab equipment out on the edges of the room)

Image of the Heavenly Bodies - ritual or enchantment
I have this idea that a further +2 Spells specialization could be justified if the lab included a large visual image of the positions of the sun, the planets and the moon, preferably a three-dimensional image under the ceiling, where the heavenly bodies moved according to the geocentric cosmology as described in Ptolemy’s Almagest or something like that. Ideally all heavenly bodies had a certain glow, so as to be clearly visible in the dark.

Fourth question: Could this be a CrIm20 ritual spell?
Base 1, +1 touch, +2 size, +2 or +3 for complex moving image, +1 ignem requisite

Fifth question: Does it sound reasonable that this permanently created image of the sky grants a +2 spells specialization?

I've wondered if it would make more sense to let the magus create the image as a lvl 20 lesser enchantment, enchanted onto a huge cloth.
Base 1, +2 sun, +2 size, +2 complex moving image, +1 ignem requisite?, one use pr day, lasts 70 years.
I have never had a magus make an enchantment, so I probably made some errors here.

Sixth question: Any thoughts on making the image an enchantment instead?

Seventh question: If there’s an ignem requisite, does this affect my magus’ lab total when making the enchantment? Again: His ig score is way lower than his te score, so with CrIg he wouldn’t be able to instill the effect in one season.

I’ve played this character for years, and now we’ve finally reached a moment where he has the prospect of becoming a useful magus. There has been a lot of sessions where my magus and I have envied the power of the other mages in the troupe. We started playing ages ago when I was new to the game, and at that point I didn’t grasp what the Mercurian magic virtue would mean. Though frustrating at times I don’t regret taking the virtue. It has shaped my character in wonderful interesting ways.

Again, Thanks!



The first spell just sounds like creating the Greater Feature, in this case a summoning circle, with a momentary Creo spell. I think the glow has cool points, probably allow it, might require the ignem requisite.

Not sure one can create nearly permanent yet changing illusions with a CrIm ritual. For the sorts of bonuses I’d view this as plausible to give I’d look at S&M bonuses for an Armarilly Sphere and the lofty ceiling or astronomical device features for some ideas of what an illusion like that might do. If it provides actual light then it probably needs the ignem req. and it might need an Intellego req as well so it accurately displays the heavens.

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In general enchantments are much more efficient than (non-instant) rituals. While they take more time, they are more vis efficient. Instantly so for Lesser Enchanted and after only a year or two with Invested. They can also be used as a Feature and/or Focus. I would recommend making any you plan to use as a Feature or Focus an Invested Item, so that you can improve it as your lab develops.

Since you can have two activity specialties active in a lab, I would recommend Texts as the second one. While it only helps with learning spells for which you have a lab text, it does improve your ability to write and copy text. If you can start a loop within your Covenant of all the Magi writing out lab text for spells they create this can greatly increase the amount of spells your Magus learns.

Do not neglect increasing your Labs General Quality. While only half as effective and twice as expensive as a Spells Specialty for inventing new spells, it improves nearly all lab activities. The only ones it does not improve are teaching and scribing texts.

Here is my Magus' lab, which was created through play. While it is generally focused towards Item Creation and Text, many of those can be changed to Spells.

One of the items in it is an enchanted sphere (The Sphere of Woven Thoughts) for creating illusions. You will find that an enchanted item is much better than a ritual for creating illusions which can be manipulated and changed, but which you want around all the time. The item can maintain the concentration required for the effect. You could manipulate the Im and Items bonuses to Spells, so something like it could provide Spells +6.

Another item (The Circle of Magical Threads) was actually originally designed to improve the Spells specialty. Sub Rosa #22 has a whole host of additional enchantments which could improve it that I never got around to enchanting.

While nothing in it is lab specific, you might be able to find something you can use in my Covenant Collection thread. There are over 100 different enchantments ranging from simple to very powerful. At the very least it can give you some ideas.


I hadn't even thought about the possibility that the first spell maybe just creates (or lays the groundwork for) a Greater Feature in itself.

Good point looking at Armillary sphere S&M bonuses, and the features lofty ceiling and astronomical device. None of these lend themself to a specialization in spells. The Covenants book is a bit vague when it comes to specialization in spells. I think it only mentions space, antechambers, summoning circles and balconies as things that could help inventing spells, so if I want anything else that supports spell invention per se, I need to be a bit creative.
Intellego requisite - good point as well!

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That is really an impressive lab you have made. Very inspiring. I really like your ideas for an enchanted sphere and an enchantment that makes the magical energies visible. Good points about ritual magic vs. enchantments. I have been so obsessed with imagining permanent rituals, that I forgot that many rituals are not permanent (and as nullsettings mentioned - that might very well be the case with the CrIm-effect I had in mind).

Good points about texts and General Quality. My plan was that my magus would be occupied with inventing spells (new and from lab texts) for the next many years, and GQ therefore wasn't as important, but if he's going to create enchantments as well, that's another matter.

I had a quick look at that jawdropping Covenants collection - those cost-saving MuTe-tools is right up my magus' alley. I'll look forward to studying the rest of the collection. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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I made this one for a home game:

The Magi's Thermae
CrAq (Ig) (Te) 25 Ritual

The caster ritually stabs a dagger or staff into the ground then traces the outline of the area he wishes to affect as part of the ritual: From the wound, a source of mineral water that travels from deep within the ground to a source of volcanic heat is born. The water that reaches the ground level is comfortably warm and cleansing. Arround the source, a large bath of marble is created. It is the size of a small pond, large enough to accomodate four persons, and comfortable to sit in. It also includes a drain that sends the excess water back into the earth to avoid any overflow from the mineral spring. If this ritual is cast in a laboratory, it functions as the Mineral Bath virtue (see HP p. 27), and does not require a season to be installed into the lab. If installed elsewhere in a covenant, any character that is able to bath daily for most of the year receives a +1 Living Condition modifier to their Aging roll for the year and a +1 Modifier to any Recovery Rolls they make during the year.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Group to create a spring long enough that can be heated in a non-volcanic region, +1 Ignem requisite, +1 Terram Requisite)


not really awake, but do you not need size adjustments for that much marble?


Marble falls under Stone in Terram. The base individual for stone in a cubic pace. If the spell was Creo Terram, yes, it would require a size modifier.

Creating the bath only would be something along the line of Base 3, +1 touch, +1 size (3 pace x 3 pace x 1 pace give or take) which would a level 5 effect defaulting to level 20 because it's a ritual.

However, in this case, the spell is a Creo Aquam with a Terram requisite. This means for target, you default to aquam base individuals. Individual is too small (part of a stream) so group is needed. Then you apply a magnitude bump based on how powerful the additional effect is (see requisites p. 114-115). The requisite here enhances the effect since otherwise, you would need to build a bath arround the spring or have a rocky ground that is appropriately shaped to contain the water. The lack of a drain could be a problem, in a lab anyway. How many magnitudes? Per the book - "Most such requisites add only a single magnitude to the spell effect, but if the adfitional effect is sixth magnitude or above, it is often appropriate to add two magnitudes.". As shown above, it is a fourth magnitude effect (and a weak one, because terram could multiply the amount of stone a thousand times for the same effect level.

Hope this helps.

Thank you! My brain was feeling fuzzy this morning, and I could not quite get it to work.


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Switching Forms doesn't usually let you bypass base Individuals like that. There are a number of spells that show this, plus it opens up a ton of abuse.

However, the CrAq base Individual for water is 20 cubic paces, and this uses Group. 20 cubic paces multiplied a bit is plenty of water. I figured the rest of the extra size was heading towards having several cubic paces of stone. It doesn't take that many cubic paces of stone to encase a bath like this, as the walls don't need to be ultra thick.

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IIRC (serf's parma), you take the highest base.

So if I said "This spell turns someone pink, which intoxicate and kills him", I wouldn't get to say that's a Mu(Pe) Im(Co) base 1 spell. I'd have to use the PeCo level... 30 I believe? base guideline.

Now, this type of spell is interesting, because it pauses several questions which, AFAICT, are very saga dependant:

  • Do the Group target applies to the water part, the terram part, both? While both may seem sensible (I agree with Callen's reasoning above), you could have spells that create material in 2 forms with a combined quantity superior to that of either form. Is it ok? Is it not?
  • What is the target (little t) of the spell? Is it not, in fact, 2 spells at once? While, in this case, the target look similar to me, this is not always the case (For example, a CrIm effect that shows in a mirror what InIm perceives somewhere). Likewise, some troupes will have no problem with this, while for others it will be a big no.

Regarding the spell creating two materials, remember that a requisite adds +1 to magnitude so a spell that creates only water or only marble would create *10 the material of each.
In this case, because the Terram is placed first to cause the water to have a drainage as well, there might be cause to require two magnitudes for the Terram, but I don't think it needs it

Neat spell!

Shouldn't you have +4 Year? If this is momentary wouldn't you simply create some heated mineral water?

You're correct that the highest base is taken, but let's not be absurd in the first place. Muto Imaginem doesn't kill. This is a perdo corpus effect with a cosmetic requisite that doesn't add magnitudes.

Base 4 to create a spring, not to create water. Much more fun to create a water source.

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To be fair, I didn't have the time to do a well-thought-out, useful in game example.
My goal was more about providing a clear example of "you shall take the higher base, whatever the description".
=> I could just as well have done "you read their thoughts and they die", that was not the point of the example :wink:

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