stable agricultural areas in Mythic Europe ?

They have to be formed in pairs, and each of the pair has to be in a certain place to work. Whether the target a place or each other may well be part of the mystery- the guidelines say "They can be built by different magi in different locations, but both sides of the paired set must contain an arcane connection to the other." (emphasis mine) it also says that once they are completed they are moved into place and then activated with a connecting ceremony, and once they have been connected they cannot be moved without destroying the effect.
In classical physics (such as aristotilian) place was not a thing on its own, rather dimensions like height, and length were properties of an object- the idea that space or location could be a thing in its own right was established by Einstein as part of his theory of relativity.

Well, since you can use soil or rock samples to create an AC to a location, it seems reasonable to use that sort of connection. Besides, if you've integrated Ptolemaic Coordinates in your saga, then you can target places based on the measurements relative to the planet.

Yes, in principle it could be done, but since we are talking about mercere portals versus a maybe breakthrough that is clearly not how it has been done.

Quite true, we are talking about Mecere Portals, which require Arcane Connections, which allow you to target a place. That is, therefore, the most likely solution to the question of what is targeted.

Unless you read the description of how mercere portals are enchanted, and recall they don't follow normal guidelines, and that the pair of mercere portals specifically states in true lineages that they have arcane connections to each other.
But if you are going to disregard what's in the books I guess it can be whatever you want.

Due to the earlier conversation about the lab used to produce Mercere Portals, along with a nagging drive, I have decided to attempt to build it. A really high specialty in Items, Re, and Te was the focus, with little need for General Quality if those bonuses were high enough. And so I present to you...

The Hall of Portals
Description: (This is very much a work in progress)
Deep within a House Mercere Covenant is a grand gateway sealed by massive bronze plated doors covered in sigils (House Mercere, Rego, and Terram being the easiest to make out) but having no handles. A very serious Redcap stands guard, gently ushering everyone out of the area.

Anyone who manages to get past the guard and through the doors finds themselves in a grand entry hall. While the walls, floor and ceiling are all covered in complex engravings only two objects are within the hall. A large marble monolith, the nearest face baring a long list of Magi, is installed in the center of the room. A highly ornate portal arch stands just short of the far wall.

Travelers through the portal arrive in a large dome ceiling stone chamber filled with a dizzying array of laboratory equipment, seemingly all one solid piece. A soft warm light fills the entire chamber, with no shadows visible anywhere. Strangely despite it feeling as if no one has been here in years, not a speck of dust or a single item out of place is visible anywhere.

Each cardinal direction bears a prominent feature:

  • The portal they arrived through is located on an elevated platform, surrounded by several drafting tables covered in construction notes and pedestals bearing parts matching the portal.

  • A stoneworks dominated by a complex arrangement of wheels and pulleys, for manipulating heavy pieces of stone. The central wheel spins slowly. Racks bear a dizzying array of stone working tools line the walls. A doorway leads to a room filled with tons of fancy dressed stones.

  • Opposite the portal is a large contoured surface map of Mystic Europe built from a slab of stone. While it is colored, examination revels that it is the actual stone rather than paint. The map is covered by small glowing dots, blinking in an seemingly random pattern (careful examination finds there are subtle differences in color, with only two of each color on the map. The matching dots blink at the same time.). Arrayed around the map are a large desk and several small bookshelves. A small writing desk floats in the air beside the larger desk. A doorway behind the map leads into a chamber filled with spare laboratory equipment and supplies.

  • The final predominate feature is a forge filled with complex mechanisms and jigs. Although most of the mechanisms make little sense, a few parts such as a bellows can be made out. Like the stoneworks, the central wheel is slowly spinning. A doorway leads into a store room that would make any smith ecstatic, with enough materials to seemingly last years.

In the middle of the chamber is an elevated platform, cleared of everything except a few collapsed frameworks. It is clearly the central point for things made from all the surrounding areas.

Time to Build:
13 Seasons Work, plus time to build enchanted items. That is something in the range of another 24~36 seasons, though several of them can be bought. Nine to twelve and a half years total, spread out over nearly 450 years.

Calculated two versions of operations cost, one the Covenant has skilled Lab Equipment/Tools craftsmen, one they do not. Also included my groups "Mothballing a Lab" houserule numbers.

(1/10 season cost per year [round to nearest .25], must spend 1 season cost to Prepare for Use; Mothballing and Preparing for Use each take 1 month, but can be performed by anyone with Magic Theory. A Magus can do ether in combination with Labwork at the cost of 1/3 their Labwork total.)

  • With Craftsmen: 3 lbs silver per season, with a max of 9 lbs per year. Mothballed at 0.25 lbs of silver per year, Prepare for Use at 3 lbs.

  • Without Craftsmen: 10.5 lbs silver per season, with a max of 31.5 lbs per year. Mothballed at 1 lbs of silver per year, Prepare for Use at 10.5 lbs.

(Oh, you wanted actual cost of the Lab? I stopped counting at several hundred pounds of silver and several queens of Vis)

Size 11 (used 11), Refinement 0, General Quality 8, Upkeep 3 (6 without Craftsmen), Safety 1 (12-11), Warping 0, Health 2, Aesthetic 21

Rego +12, Terram +12, Items +12, Texts +3, Creo +2, Imaginem +1

Greater Feature (Forge), Greater Feature (Portal), Greater Feature (Wheel), Lesser Feature (Map), Extensive Stores, Spacious, Dedicated Building, Superior Construction, Greater Focus (Portal), Greater Expansion, Magic Heating (Superior), Magic Lighting (Superior), Highly Organized, Spotless, Superior Equipment, Superior Tools, Missing Equipment x2 (can not perform Vis Extraction, Teaching, Longevity, Familiar), Gateway (Mercere Portals), Grand Entrance, Impregnable (enter by Mercere Portal), Guard (a Redcap)

Special Virtues/Flaws:
Site of Legend (So I don't have to create dozens of enchanted items; I used +1 to General Quality, Safety, & Aesthetic, as well as +4 to Specialties [half+ to Items, Re, Te] every 100 years past 700. Starting at 700 represents the higher initial work done to build the lab, as well as offsetting part of an error I made in design.)

Enchanted Items:
Magic Heating (This is a common and easily bought/built effect)
Magic Lighting (This is a common and easily bought/built effect)
Highly Organized (Modified Library Book Sorting Effect, moves all tools & equipment back to proper storage space when activated)
Spotless (Based on a spell in Covenants, this cleans everything in the lab twice a day)
Bookstand of Hespera (Common item, located in Map area)
The Tireless Servant x2 (Common item, though it should be a Te rather than Co Form, only get points for one. These are the enchanted mechanisms in the Stoneworks and Forge areas)
Site of Legend (Covers all the other enchantments performed to improve lab)

Legendary Lab for making Mercere Portals 6

Note: I fixed a major issue pointed out by Salutor. I thought things were going to easily and the lab being to small. Guess I was right about something feeling to easy, since I missed only a single Greater Focus allowed.


Note that whilst you can have multiple Greater Features, you can only have one Greater Focus (because the point of a focus is that the lab is overly centred around that one particular thing). That's going to cause you significant space issues.

Maybe an Intellego Vim tool to help you examine the threads of magic going into the item (e.g. Magic Item bonus)? Another minor InIm magic item that duplicates The Brushstrokes Revealed (pg 65 of HoH:S, but basically a magnifying glass).

Dang I missed that. So 9 extra size points (bringing the used size to 13), but the bigger lose is 12 points of specialties. That is offset by +6 in General Quality.

One change would be to reduce one of the the Greater Features (Map most likely) to a Lesser Feature. That would reduce the used size by 2 to 11, while losing +2 specialty from the dropped Greater Feature.

So make that change, increase Size to 11 (used 11), change General Quality to 7, drop Safety to 0 (11-11), and drop Aesthetics to 20. The three main Specialty all drop to +11 (consuming the 2 unused points).

You can make up loss of capability by increasing the Site of Legend bump by 1 to represent a few more items.

EDIT: I made all the changes, including the slight bump of Site of Legend, to the original post.

I was trying to avoid creating custom Enchanted Items, since that always seems to be the biggest part of highly complex labs. Though I guess I could have grabbed "The Wheel" and "The Soak" from Hermetic Projects (Shipyards) section and the "Fire Guardian" from Semita Errabunda to increase Safety. (Part of the reason I didn't is that in my current game, my character did grab those effects for his lab)

Something like the Arm of Zeus/Arms of Hercules, True Falsework, The Stonemason's Art, and The Laborer's Rest could also be used. They would allow lifting/moving heavy stone effortlessly and shaping stone items to an exact requirement (could be expanded to effect metal and wood). Also the reorganization/rearrangement of falseworks could be tweaked to allow that effect on lab areas.

I also treated the lab as if it was built using "stone like viscous clay". An item producing this effect could be very useful for building the Portals, though not sure how you would write it up to get a lab bonus.

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