Simultaneous Original Research

Howdy, all: long-time reader, first time poster, etc.

Anywhoo, I've finally managed to get into an AM game that looks to be lasting for more than 2 seasons, which means I'm finally able to play around with the Experimental and Original Research rules. In perusing the forums, I think I've got a pretty good handle on how it all works, except for the following, and I was wondering if anyone could clarify it for me - specifically, the last paragraph in "Multiple Laboratory Activities (ArM5, pg 102):

"If you perform arcane experimentation, you add a single simple die + risk modifier to your Lab Total, but any results rolled on the Extraordinary results chart apply to all activities performed in the season."

  1. Does this apply to Original Research? It seems reasonable that it would, in that OR looks to be a form of arcane experimentation.

  2. Does this mean that you roll once on the Extraordinary Results chart for all experiments, or does it mean that you roll separately for all of them, and then apply all of the Extraordinary Results to all of your experiments? I would guess a "roll on the chart once, then apply to all experiments". Otherwise, you'd end up with multiple spell effects that (for example) simultaneously work, don't work, are complete failures, and lead to a Discovery.

But if this is the case, then it begs the question as to why more magi don't simply run huge number of mini-experiments in their labs, and then have minor breakthroughs every year: for example:

  1. A research specialist ends up having a specialty lab total of 80. Not wanting to blow his head off with Warp, he decides to do 8 lvl 5 Original Research rolls. Assuming he spends a year doing this, he'll probably blow one season on a "Complete Failure" or "No Benefit" roll, but the other 3 will give him 8 Breakthrough points a season, with no chance of Warp.

Doing the math this way, there is no Breakthrough difference between doing 1 lvl 40 experiment, or 8 lvl 5 experiments: they both gain 8 Breakthrough points. The difference, of course, is that the former is likely to get the researcher exploded in a puff of eldritch energy, while the latter won't.

Of course, the other difference is that at the end of the Experimental phase, the former ends up with a (theoretically) useful lvl 40 spell, while the latter ends up with a bunch of lvl 5 spells he could have sponted in his sleep. But that's just the first phase - after that, the lvl of the spell doesn't seem to be very important, other than as an indicator of how many Breakthrough points/Warp you gain in the next step.

My main counterargument here is "magi hubris". It (theoretically) takes time to get a lab total of 80, and by that time the magi doesn't want to work on fiddly lvl 5 effects. No, he'll want to make his mark with LVL 40 BALL OF SMITE ALL WHO OPPOSE ME, or something like that. But the example in the book explicitly shows a magi doing low-level research. And as the math above shows, you'll end up with the same amount of Breakthrough Points anyway.

Welcome to the Forum, Kevin.

I do not see a reason for assuming, that HoH:TL p.26ff (and the relevant errata) consider or give the possibility to run several attempts to reach a Discovery, or to stabilize it, in the same season. Do You?
If a troupe allows several small experiments in the same season to count for a Breakthrough, they will best use the combined levels of all these experiments both to determine the Breakthrough points to get, and its Magnitude to stabilize as a single Discovery.



You can do several experiments in a season? For sure. Ypu could invent several spells, for example. however, the experimentation bonus is added ONCE and you divide the lab total (experimentation bonus included) among the several projects (the diverse spells you are inventing). I see no problem doing that. in fact we have seen it done in our sagas.

What you do not get ios a +3 to each spell. You get a D10+3 to the whole combined lab total.

We apply the results to all the end results (spells) you are getting in your lab during that season. otherwise it gets silly really fast when you discover the 10th thing in a season after inventing a load of level 1 spells.

So, basically, after all that ranting, yes you got the same impression and end result as us :slight_smile:

The way I've always read that last paragraph on Multiple Laboratory activities is that get one result, which affects all your creations equally, but affects you and your laboratory only once. Thus:

a. Side Effect, Modified Effect (and Complete Failure) apply once to each product of your experiment.
b. Discovery and Story event apply once.
c. Disaster effects apply to you and your lab once, and/or once to each product of your experiment.

In other words, if your lab total is 80 and you research 20 level 2 spells in a season by experimentation, if you get a Discovery you don't get the bonus xp 20 times -- nor does your lab explode 20 times if you get a Disaster (and you make only one Perception roll to spot it before it happens), nor do you get 20 stories if you roll for Story Event.

In the case of Original Research, it's a little trickier because unlike other Discoveries its effect depends on the magnitude of the effect. It seems to me that the rules for Original Research are written assuming you invent a single spell at a time. But if you allow multiple experiments, you gain the same Discovery from all of them (just as you would if you were not attempting Original Research). Thus, if you invent eight first magnitude spells, it's really like inventing a single first magnitude spell in terms of Breakthrough points. It's just that you end up with eight spells rather than one.

If you invent a 4th magnitude spell and 4 1st magnitude spells, it gets a little trickier; but the catch is that you can't get breakthrough from more than 1 spell, because it's really the same Discovery. I'd allow you to choose whether you want to stabilize the 4th magnitude spell or one of the 1st magnitude ones, and gain breakthrough points and warping accordingly.

There's one more important thing to consider. Experimentation is not abstract. You should come up with some effect that captures what you want to discover. Suppose you want to discover how to, say, heal wounds magically (without Rituals) in a way that still allows the patient to make recovery rolls "under" the spell, in a way similar to what happens in Dreams (see TMRE). You won't be able to do it with first magnitude experiments. You'll a minimum Base of 15 (heal a light wound), and probably a Duration greater than Momentary, for a spell that is at least 4th magnitude.

Thanks for the responses, all. In order:

Not particularly. However, I don't offhand recall reading about the possibility of multiple activities in any rule set or example, in any AM book that I've read: they all assume a single activity. And yet the rules for multiple activities explicitly exist. As such, I interpret that to mean that any example is written for the most simple scenario in mind, with the extended rule kept elsewhere for those who wish to implement them.

This actually seems like a consistent explination to me. I was mainly looking for a reason NOT to do this, and the idea of taking warp as a whole (rather than individually) seems to be in-line with the idea of applying the experimentation bonus roll to everything. (I tend to be a simulationist/minMaxer in my character creation, but I didn't want to wreck the GM's story arc simply because I found a wierd loophole in my character concept.)

Heh - I actually wasn't even considering the actual bonus roll, as the character is specialized enough that it's not an issue - although I was under the impression that you didn't add the Risk Modifier that to the Lab Total roll (True Lineages, pg. 27: "Instead of calculating your risk modifier into your Lab Total during the season, you use that modifier to adjust your roll on the Extraordinary Results Chart.")

This seems reasonable, to me.

Oh, sure - the character in question is a ReVi warding/amulet specialist with an "all is one" theory of magic. As such, he's a bit cheezed that he keeps on having to learn separate wards for the different Realms, and that he can't have more than one ward active on his Amulet at any given time. (He tends to hand them out like candy to the grogs, and then sends them to fight farie lords and whatnot.) I mean, Parma and Aegis do it, right? So obviously it's POSSIBLE...As such, the first thing to do is to try to get one ward to do the work of 2, 3, or 4 realms. But wards are General spells, and so a mag 1 is just as valid as a mag 8 - likely moreso, as it's easier to find a sprite to test a mag 1, than it is to try to convince the local dragon to breathe fire on you. (Wait. No, it's probably quite easy to do that. The CONSEQUENCE of that type of test, however, tend to be a bit more annoying.)

The next step was to try to create a "target: Amulet" effect that used Magical Theory as the limiter instead of a separate Amulet skill. (The idea here is that he's folding the insights of the original amulet skill into Magical Theory - looking for the underlying pattern, and identifying how to use the base concepts of MT to quickly extrapolate the end results of Amulet-making, rather than having to go through the laborius calculations which represent the Amulet skill itself.) Which, again, could be invented in a rank 5 effect, although I suppose it would be more appropriate for him to try and max out his MT and create as large a ward as possible.

After that, he'd work on trying to integrate Parma with Magic Theory - which from what I undestand would probably get him Marched, as it means that anyone who knows Magic Theory would automatically know Parma (including apprentices before their gauntlet) - but he's honestly not thinkning about that. I suppose it could be taught as a Hermetic Virtue that is taught in the final season AFTER the gauntlet...or alternately it's a form of Parma that's linked to a created amulet, and as such it can be physically removed (thus making it not quite as useful as a regular parma.)

EDIT - or alternately it's "just" an extension of a ReVi ward, and as such only applicable to high-level practicioners of those arts. Or it's limited by your current Parma score - so you could create Parma wards/amulets, but they could only be as good as your current Parma score and ReVi combo.

Point your troupe to Legends of Hermes (LoH), and there specifically to Conciatta, a 10th century Bonisagus researcher who unified a lot of Vim effects for different domains. Perhaps there are some joint adventures of the troupe, which can also benefit the research of your magus?
Anyway, the rules about looking for Insights for your research from the experiences of ancient magic practitioners, Hermetic or not, are contained in Ancient Magic (AM p.8f). And following up an Insight is far less warping than Original Research only based on the desire of the researcher.