I've had this idea for a pair of enchanted wax tablets that reproduces the markings on one tablet on the other, and designing the effect has been vexing me for a while. So I come to you for a swift kick in the head.
The 'Read What is Written' effect. InIm or InAn (wax is Animal, yes?)? InIm seems most appropriate.
Range: Touch. Duration: Should it be Concentration, as in the item is constantly 'reading' the tablet? Sounds similar to an item looking for a mental command. Target: I'm thinking Touch is appropriate. Or would I have to go all the way to Vision?
Assuming it's InIm Base 1 and the parameters are R: Touch +1, D: Conc. +1, T: Touch +1, +5 levels to maintain concentration, Unlimited Use +10 we get level 19.
The 'Copy What is Written Here to the Other Tablet' effect. Seems like ReAn to me, assuming wax is Animal. And assuming Rego; it's just pushing the wax around, not creating, changing or destroying it.
Range: Arcane Connection. The wax that is poured into the frames comes from the same blob, thus forming the Arcane Connections. Duration: Momentary seems correct. Target: Individual.
Base 1 with the parameters R: AC +4, D: Mom., T: Ind., Unlimited Use +10 levels, +3 levels for Linked Trigger we get level 18.
The way I would do it would be a ReAn effect, that caused the wax in tablet B to be changed to the shape of the wax in Tablet A. Range: Arcane connection, Target: Individual, Duration: Momentary. Give the item unlimited uses per day, but don’t give it a environmental trigger, since those are supposed to be gross changes in the environment, just have the item triggered either when the wax is moved or when some other triggering action is performed. Personally, being able to complete the message and then send it rather than having it show up bit by bit is a feature, and it would not be any more difficult to make it that way.
Yeah, that's the direction I'm headed now. Originally, I was using the Linked Trigger effect, where one enchantment triggers another, but I'm starting to think that isn't really necessary. I think it'll work as a pair of Lesser Enchanted Devices instead of a pair of Invested Items.
I'm basing it off the guideline "Level 1: Manipulate items made of animal products." But maybe it'd need a magnitude for complexity.
So, Base 1 Range: Arcane Connection +4, Duration: Momentary, Target: Individual, complexity +1, Unlimited Uses +10 Levels = Level 20.
With her apprentice's help, a lab total of 40 is just within reach of our Bonisagai (with the Tablet Shape +1 Affect Writing bonus, they can hit a 42).
One thing to consider is the duration of the arcane connection between the two tablets. I don't think creating the enchanted device does anything to fix this; therefore the tablets are only going to stay linked as long as the connection between the wax endures. I'm having a bit of difficulty deciding how long that would actually be, though.
That was one of the first issues I had. I grumbled about wasting a season (or possibly two!) fixing the connections, but then I remembered the "I have an apprentice!" But then I thought better of it, see below.
Yeah, I'm going to make a ruling that fixing Arcane Connections built into enchanted items is part of the overall enchanting process, but it requires an additional pawn of Vim vis along with the requisite vis needed for the enchantment itself.
There isn't anything in the RAW that supports this position, nor is there anything against it, I just think it's one of those little things that was overlooked by the designers.
Now you see why I said this has been vexing me for a while. Originally, I'd started designing this as a pair of blank books which cranked the complexity dial up to 11...
Personally, I would allow both tablets to be enchanted together as a single item. They only work with each other and you can't add other tablets to create a "network".
I would also suggest making the connection bi-directional. Any change made (manually) to the wax on one tablet is reflected on the other. So one person can write a sentence on his tablet and this is reflected on the other one. Then, the other tablet is changed so as to deleted one word and replace it with another, and this change is reflected on the first tablet.
Seems more intuitive this way -- the two tablets are linked by a single effect and are treated as a single object. If one is damaged, both will stop working.
The original intent of the item was for a pair of Bonisagai Amici to share thoughts and notes with one another. One tablet will be created by each magi at their home covenants, so that the items can bypass the Aegis of the others covenant, without both magi having to have a token for the others covenant.
First, if the tablets are created separatedly (one by each magus), they cannot be enchanted as a single effect. It might be better if one of the magi created both at the same time, then gave one of the tablets to his friend.
Second, I don't see how the items could bypass the Aegis of both covenants. I don't have my books with me, but I believe that tablet A would need to be able to penetrate the Aegis where tablet B is, and vice versa. Effect level could be boosted to provide additional Penetration, but aside from that I don't see any simple way to do this. A high-level Aegis would still block the effect.
They could always agree to communicate this way once in a while, moving outside of their respective Aegis to do so. But I get the feeling that this is not what you envision.
In my saga two apprentices in love with each other, who lived in two covenants at the opposite ends of Mythic Europe, kept in touch using a similar effect. Before parting, they had exchanged the spines of their diaries (we decided that the spine of a book counts as a "body part" and thus is an arcane connection that lasts decades). Then, every day at an hour they agreed upon, they would sneak just out of their covenants' Aegis (but not Auras), leave their diary open at the last written page, and cast a Mom, rather than Diam duration, Level 1 Opening the Intangible Tunnel to the twin diary. From various examples in the books one can infer that Mom duration can extend to a full round, so this gave them just enough time to channel through the Intangible Tunnel a:
Level 2 Intellego Imaginem
Glimpse the Diary of my Beloved
R: Touch, D: Mom, T:Ind
You can see in the pages of the book you are holding open (this is purely cosmetic) the contents of a book within range of the spell, which is the target of the spell. You can only read the target book at the page it is open at, just as if you were looking at it.
(Base InIm1 - use a sense at a distance, +1 Touch, boosted to Arc by Opening the Intangible Tunnel).
and then, after sneaking back into their rooms, a large number of
Level 2 Intellego Imaginem
Recall the Beloved Page
R: Self, D: Diam, T:Ind
You recall in perfect detail a page you have looked at for just a few moments - enough to read its contents within your mind.
(Base InIm1 - perfect your memory about an image you have encountered, +1 Diam)
Both apprentices at the time had a ReVi casting score of 5+ and an InIm casting score of 10+ (including their respective Auras of 3+, their Int of 2+, and in one case exaggerated gestures) so they could cast all these spells spontaneously and without fatigue.
I now see I was was quite unclear describing what I meant and omitted a major detail.
Each magi makes one tablet at their home covenant, from the same lab text, incorporating the requisite Arcane Connections, then they swap tablets.
I'm assuming a magus can activate, in their own Aegis, an item created by someone else who is not invited to that Aegis. Otherwise that'd put a hefty crimp on the item trade. I'm also assuming an item's creator can revoke Aegis permissions from an item he creates, for the same reason. Otherwise Verditius magi are going to have a lot of explaining to do to their covenant mates.
EmirikolTheChaotic, I still fail to see how what you propose would bypass the Aegis problem. No matter who made the item, after the two Aegis expire, one cannot use the item to punch through the other's magus Aegis with an Intellego effect without penetration.
There may be, however, a workaround. If I were one of the two magi, I would suggest choosing a remote location outside of an Aegis and have each of us acquire an Arcane Connection to it. Then I'd use the CrIm Lev 1 guideline "Create an image affecting one sense" to leave a message at the location (hey, it needs not be in writing - we can use voicemail), and the InIm Lev 1 guideline "Use one sense at a distance" to read the other magus' messages. To beat down the magnitude of the Arcane Connection range, I'd make both effects Touch range, and pair them with an Opening the Intangible Tunnel of the same level as the highest effect I want to invoke. That's probably a Moon duration level 5 CrIm spell or a Sun duration for a level 4 spell if I intend to write daily. The latter would mean casting scores of 20 to invoke the effects spontaneously without fatigue, which most magi capable of training an apprentice can manage.
I'm not even going to try. I'm thinking of just scrapping the whole idea as unworkable, in it's current form. That's why the Redcaps get paid the big bucks.
This is one of those situations where the system bites itself in the ass. Damn you, Ars Magica! How dare you make me think!
That's an idea I'll propose. Thanks!
I'll also propose the idea of going ahead and making the items anyway and just have their apprentices hoof it out of the Aegis and retrieve them. Which I like, simply because it's got story potential! "Now where did that little brat get off to? I sent her off for my messages hours ago..."