Studying in the Magic Realm

That was exactly my impression as well. I reread the section, and it does seem open to other forms of experience gain, but regardless, it doesn't seem like they considered the alternatives when they wrote that section.

(Bolding mine)
The problem here is you don't actually learn anything in the Magic Realm, you are transformed by it. It's like a dream. Your experiences manifest as vis instead of knowledge, so if you feel like your experience wandering around teaches you anything, you do indeed forget it once the vis is spent. That said, it is perfectly acceptable to gain the Quality that gives you 50 xp if that's the best way to represent your transformation-- that's why it's there.

Except that Qualities only work for beings with Might, not for human magi who only gain virtues and flaws. A normal character can gain Educated... once. Or Magister in Artibus (from Universitas Hogwartsius). Or Warrior. Etc. Which is cool... very cool... but also very efficient.

I do understand the intent of the rules, and even appreciate that intent. The MR represents the essence of the things, and stripping things down to their essence is revolutionary, inspiring, enlightening, the kind of knowledge that Rumi would (will :slight_smile:) say cannot be tabulated. All well and good. It's a great idea.

Alas, applying these rules actually do something different from their intent. There are some very large, very strange corner cases of the kind being discussed here.

I find this true of many rules in RoP:M. EG: Using the Aura table makes it scary to do anything that can alter the aura; where a reading of the core rules suggest that Auras are pretty stable and extracting vis a relatively normal activity, these rules have auras bob up and down as stuff happens. EG: A castle uses siege rules and does not have normal Sta or Soak... until it becomes a Magic Thing, at which point it is weaker.

Returning to the MR: AM5 has another set of rules for transformative experiences, Initiation. If it were me (and it's not; my membership in the SMoArM was revoked long ago), I'd use those rules for traversing the MR, to represent coming closer to the deeper essence of things. Along the lines of...

  1. A character or group of characters can only enter the MR with intention, since the essence of the MR is essence rather than ephemera. Characters in a group need not have the same intention, and not all characters in a group need have intention.

  2. A character can set an intention for how he is transformed. In doing so, however, he loses control over what happens, beyond the first step. He is essentially committing himself to an initiation script about which he only knows the benefits gained and flaws received. As usual, there is no guarantee of success. For example, a character who decides to earn a doctorate (Major Virtue) at the Unseen University in a realm of Imaginem, without paying the usual tuition of an arm and a leg (general Flaws :slight_smile:), might never reach the university, or find himself working the most dangerous jobs on a work-study program, or spend 7 years at it, etc. He might also drop out.

  3. A character can set an intention for what he does. In doing so, however, he loses control over how he is control. He has essentially declared part of an initiation script. As usual, there is no guarantee of success. For example, a character who decides to investigate the Unseen University because he believes Diedne magi are hiding there may or may not learn something, may or may not find himself on other quests, may or may not pay a price for what he learns, may or may not return with tentacles instead of arms, and/or may or may not return having gained or lost nothing at all from the experience.

  4. A character in a group who does not set an intention, has effectively set an intention of "accompany the group." When characters in a group have incompatible intentions, either the dominant intention wins out, the group is split, things work out to satisfy both intentions, or there is no control at all. For example, if one character wants to get a doctorate at the UU and another wants to Slay the Boar which is Her Ex-Lover's Heart, either one, the other, or both can happen, or the intentions can cancel each other leading to surprising results, such as a journey to the Cosm of the Essential Roast Duck with Apricot Glaze because of a grog's stray thought about the best meal he ever had.

  5. As with any non-canonical initiation, the GM can always do what he likes. There are no guarantees.

And.... with these rules, going to the MR is a lot scarier, as befits experiencing the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.



I'm not sure what i'd do - I ran an adventure in the Magic Realm last night and just gave out XP like normal. I think studying the same book over and aover again for xp is a bit silly. At the very least I'd say a book can only generate as much vis as it contains xp (so a L10 book can generate 55 pawns of vis) - or just restrict the vis to adventuring XP.

In theory you could read about any book and spend the vis on improved characteristics repeatedly to boost your int and com, at least until you have to spend them on great intelligence and communication...

personally it seems to me that gaining the gift while in the magic realm should be possible as well, perhaps in the same way as it can be given in ancient magic fertility rituals- treating it as a major virtue.

Well, the way around the first would be to teach someone in the Magic Realm (teaching really is infinite). Also, studying from vis should absolutely be legal. (Yes, I'm aware that this is a perpetual motion machine, if you want to shave a bit of the generated vis off.)

It's mainly a question of how fast do you want characters to be able to transform themselves in a tamed boundary.

I'd personally be okay with there being a way to give someone the Gift through transformation, but I'd be careful with allowing it as a storyguide. Not because it's broken mechanically but because it has major setting consequences that I'd want to consider before letting the players use it, and the political ramifications of this would be eating up most of the stories that the PCs get up to for a while. (Thart's "be careful," not "no.")

Of course fundamentally it also explains why the magic realm is so mysterious- you spend a season wandering there and instead of getting area lore (magic realm) at 1 for the 5 experience you get 5 vis and no coherent knowledge of where you have been...

Personally, if a player tried this scheme, I'd do the following.

He goes to the Magic Realm with his book. Starts studying and accumulates xp towards the Ability or Art, subject to the maximum (based on his current score and the level of the book). He doesn't actually get vis until he is ready to leave the Magic Realm, the the limit of how much xp/vis he can obtain from the book is limited.

But that means the book has spent quite some time in the Magic Realm, also subject to its effects. I'd have it suffer the same consequences as a clarified book (from Covenants) upon leaving the Magic Realm -- it turns to dust. Or, perhaps, the book itself transforms as it is read in the Magic Realm, becoming an animated and independent creature, or evaporating, or something else approriate to its subject.

In short, doing this would consume the book.

And if the magus tries bringing a copy of the same book, he finds that he cannot study it any longer -- it quickly suffers the same fate as the initial copy, since it now has an existence in the Magic Realm.

I know it's not RAW, but that's what I would do to prevent abuse. YMMV.

I think your idea of transforming a book that spends too long in the magic realm makes sense- as for bringing in another copy, how do you think the original will feel about that? My guess is the original would consume the copy, perhaps gaining a magnitude of might in the process...

So some issues:

  1. All xp in the magic realm turns into vis. You get no Area Lore: Magic Realm. Which makes finding your way around... difficult.
  2. Its crawling with nasties. Also these nasties eat vis. Studying makes the vis YOU!
  3. Not only should you get 25 vis from the book, you'll also manage to get probably just as much vis from the wandering monsters! Huzzah!

So yeah, you can probably get a lot of vis that way. You can also get eaten that way.