The Dragon's Library

This is the deal. One at a time, we each get to spend a season in Sigmundo's Library. You can spend that time Studying or Copying. He will provide the facilities and materials needed for either.
Also, each of us as we visit shall bring one book from our current library, and he shall send us each home with a better copy of that book.
At first I planned to give you each a tricky decision: should you copy or should you study? But you would figure it out in the first few visits anyway. So instead I decided to make it so either way has advantages & disadvantages.
The best thing to do is copy, which Sigmundo is strongly trying to influence you guys to get in the habit of doing (writing in general really). Now, if you notice on the wiki of the Library, I dropped the Well Bound/Scribed/Illustrated optional rules from Covenants, but kept the others. I didn't want to futz with it all, and wanted people just to be able to write books just like they do in the core rules. Actually, that is half true. I do have another version of the library that includes those options and two-dozens more that my mad genius forced me to invent. I decided to cut them all and simplify :laughing:
I digress.
No matter what your Scribe score, you may copy the contents of one entire Summa no matter how large. You may also copy a number of Tractati equal to your Scribe score. Available topics include the Hermetic Arts, or any Ability from the core rulebook. You may choose to copy Spell Lab Texts, calculated at the normal rate but with a special choice of spells.

The book you copy will have the following scores...
For a Summa on Arts, the maximum level is 15 and the maximum Quality is (25 - Level).
For a Summa on Abilities, the maximum level is 8 and the maximum Quality is 14 + (3 x (8 - level).
You may copy a number of Tractati equal to your Scribe score, but the sum total Quality scores of them all may not exceed 32, and the maximum Quality score of any one of them may not exceed 14
For Spell Lab Texts, you may only choose from old spells. Spells printed in the cannon of earlier editions. Examples include the Wizard's Grimoire or the WGRE. The mechanics of the spell will have to be revised as well as possible for ArM5, but this spell will result in the same Level, Arts, and the same general effect (or maybe the exact same effect). Some of these spells were a little loopy in their own editions, let alone probably bending the current rules somewhat as well. Go for it. These will be unique rare gems in your collection. Carmen is choosing CrAu35 Fulgurous Orb for example :slight_smile:

But if you want to study something he won't let you copy...
The Arts don't get much better, but he has texts on almost any topic imaginable (abilities outside the core rules, such as mystery lore or some strange ancient magic). He also has academic texts that he won't let you physically touch. Just view it through the glass using the magical flameless lamp, tap the glass to turn the page.
If you want to be greedy and study just for yourself, Sigmundo will laugh at you for wasting your time and tell you to choose from the same stock you could copy from.
But if you agree to write a book, promise and swear to do so within seven years, he will let you into his secret collection for study. Antonio did this, it is in his journals (which is how we know it now), and you may notice he has some pretty meh books in our library collection.
Level is irrelevant (you get to study once, and you find something in range). The maximum Quality is 20 for Academic or General Abilities, 10 for occult abilities (mysteries, ancient magic, etc), and 15 for other Abilities.

Then there is the book you bring in. Whatever it is, somehow it will be improved. But it has to be one of our existing books that survived the fire, not anything obtained afterward.

so, I got to wordy again, didn't I?

So, let's deal with this one step at a time.
Everybody line up, and state what year and season everyone is choosing. Vibria is first with Spring 1230. Carmen is last with Fall 1233.
Copy, Paste, and Add your name to the following list, in sequential order with the season/year you choose. If you know what you want to do, list that also, go right ahead. If you want to get into more detail, have questions, or want to do something special, leave it blank for now. I will deal with each of you one at a time (in order), working out the details or confirmation for what you want to do. It is at this time that we will determine the title & author of the text as well.

Spring 1230 - Vibria
??? (your name here)
Fall 1233 - Carmen: Copy Spell Lab Texts (CrAu35 Fulgurous Orb & Cr(Re)Au25 Call Aeolus' Servants)

Spring 1230 - Vibria
??? (your name here)
Fall 1231 - Vocis: Copy Finesse summa (level 8, quality 14), take Corporeum for repair/improvement
Fall 1233 - Carmen: Copy Spell Lab Texts (CrAu35 Fulgurous Orb & Cr(Re)Au25 Call Aeolus' Servants)

I appreciate the generosity, but this house rule completely invalidates Tiana's Major Virtue.

If I'd known anyone could copy an entire summa in a single season, without regard to Scribe skill or the summa's level, I would have been highly unlikely to have spent three points of virtue that basically allow this character to take twice as long to copy a summa (one season to memorize, 1+ season to reproduce) as it would an unspecialized character (1 season to reproduce, period, no loss in quality).

How short sighted you are :slight_smile:

Did I not just tell you that he has a selection that he will not let you copy but will let you study? Spend your season reading one of those books, then reproduce it. I mean, let's really squeeze the value of that virtue here :smiley:
So in this case, Summa level is important.
Don't get stinky because of the magic scriptorium :laughing: Use this as an opportunity to get access to something truly awesome and unique!

Sure he did, but that offers me absolutely no benefit, and actually is significantly worse to do so.

Using the house rule of "copy a summa for free, regardless of your skill or the book's level/quality," this would let Tiana copy a summa on Latin, level 6 quality 20. One season, one book, and it's a pretty good book.

Using my major virtue, this would let me spend one season memorizing that EXACT SAME Latin summa, Level 6 Quality 20, only now I'd have to spend not only a second season reproducing it, but ALSO a third season writing a book for Sigmundo.

Your house rule not only makes this major virtue irrelevant, but trying to apply it is strictly worse.

Here's another example. If I choose to copy with your house rule, I can get a summa on Magic Theory, Level 8 Quality 14, in a single season, but if I use my major virtue, I could instead spend three seasons to end up with a summa on magic Theory that's Level 8 Quality 15. Two extra seasons for +1 Quality? That's the ONLY way I can get a benefit out of my virtue, but spending two extra seasons to get one more point of quality is REALLY NOT WORTH IT. Compare to: I could spend a single season copying a summa on Magic Theory that's Level 7 Quality 17, but if I apply my major virtue, I spend three seasons getting a summa that's Level 7 Quality 15. Two extra seasons for two less quality. Again, I'm penalized for trying to apply my major virtue, not only in time but also in quality.

So I'm not sure where I'm being "short-sighted," because not only do I receive no benefit for my major virtue, I'm majorly penalized for trying to use it.

Consider also that as a Redcap Tiana has only half the amount of time as magus characters or other Companions, so spending three seasons to get, at most, the benefit of a single +1 quality bonus, is not what I would call "squeezing the value" out of a virtue.

I don't have my books with me, and honestly even if I did I don't know all of the intricacies of the game to completely understand all of the nuance's of this house rule, but I tend to agree with Ryu in principle on this. Tiana's virtue notwithstanding, at least some people (like me), made it a point to put at least a few dots in Scribe to ensure our ability to be competent (or better) copiers. Now, it seems like you're devaluing that skill after character creation which can be problematic.

I'm forced to agree, despite the fact that Vocis is one of the characters who can actually benefit from your house rule. Though I also read the 'rule' as being a one-off thing that happens because we're copying in Sigmundo's magic library. I'd be on board with that.

Hmm, for some reason I read that the house rule was for everywhere. If it's only for Sigmundo's library then I think I'm cool with that, even though it won't help me since Solomon wasn't part of the group that reached that deal.

In practicality it seems that Sigmundo's Library is where most of our copying will be going on, so in essence that becomes "everywhere." It should still benefit Solomon, though, because he is part of Andorra, and we were bargaining on behalf of our covenant.

I had missed the "this only applies for Sigmundo's library" thing until it was spelled out later, but looking back I can kind of see it.

She will copy a Summa on Philosophae: Level 8, Quality 14.

She will bring On Transmutation (which has suffered some minor fire damage...and it was like that before she found it, she swears!).

Isn't he just doing this because we helped him with el Gulio and/or with the Three Stooges there? If we have to do a major favour for him to get one season of copy and repair, that doesn't seem too onerous.

It is a one off thing. You can work out a deal with the dragon to go at it again in his magical library, but that involves another story. So no, most of your copying will probably not take place here.

Ryu, you are missing an essential element. According to RAW, everyone is able to copy that fast already. ArM5, p. 166, note the formulae for "Copying Carefully" versus "Copying Quickly". For a mere -1 penalty to Quality, you can copy 3 x (6 + Scribe) levels a season. Or three Tractati. So if your Scribe score is 1, you can copy 21 levels of summa in a single season. If the original was Q17, the copy will be Q16. In RAW as is already. So if you want, we can flip it around and say "everyone copies at normal speed and gets +1 to Quality from the magic of the library". Everyone can then just use the "copy quickly" rule and wind up with the same results.
Solomon gets a turn. Sigmundo's main motivation here is to get you guys involved in writing and copying books.

Nope. Reproducing the text counts as writing a book. So the third season is unneeded. As for the theoretical Latin Summa, you would have access to a much better one. Now off hand, I cannot imagine a L10 Latin Summa (who has Latin 20 anyway?). But there are examples of L10 books on Philosophiae & Theology and Magic Theory. Q20? No. The best base Quality possible is 14 I think (base 6, Com +5, Good Teacher). Higher than that comes from lowering level.

Example using RAW. Spend one season to copy quickly at L8 Q13, or copy carefully taking 3 seasons for L8 Q14. Two extra seasons for +1 Quality.
And I say again, reproducing that book you study does count as "writing a book" as far as the dragon is concerned.

So, I hopefully pointed out that this is not a significant impact in consideration of RAW. Instead of letting everyone copy quickly at no penalty, I could instead let everyone copy normally, -1Q for copying quickly. No benefits, nothing. Straight RAW.
Would this satisfy you?

So, in short, your house rule benefits everyone, and my Major Virtue basically allows my character to work as per RAW instead of gaining the benefit of the house rule. Already got that, that was my whole point. You completely missed mine, or you just ignored it.

This is not a HR. It is a one time special benefit I wanted to gift you guys with. But if you insist, I shall withdraw it.

If you'd like to give us benefits, please give benefits that don't invalidate a character Ability that a few of us have spent precious points on.

If the intention is to get our characters interested in scribing, you could have Sigmundo do any of the following:

  • give each character one season of free access to "the best resource on the scribing profession ever created" prior to spending our season copying
  • while spending our season in the library, each character could use a magical quill that grants "Puissant Scribe" while you're using it
  • have magical erasable ink, increasing the Quality of everything you scribe by some fixed amount (leaving each character the option of scribing quickly or scribing normally at our discretion)

And if you'd like to leave me the option of being able to use my major virtue, you could make the texts in the private collection actually better than the ones in the public collection, because with the Level/Quality guidelines you gave, they're not.

Just straight rules, I don't want anymore landmines.
And the books in the private collection are better. I never revealed potential Level scores.

Thank you.

Vulcanus is interested in lab texts, but as he has no skill in scribing he cannot copy any texts at all (0 x 60 = 0). He asks if he can defer his season until he has had time to learn how to write legibly.

Speaking of which...

Assuming Carmen's scribe specialty is copying (I don't think I've ever seen anyone pick a Scribe specialty OTHER than copying) she can get 120 levels of spells, not just 60.

The spells Vulcanus wants to get, once he can get his Scribe to 1 (and he'll pick a specialty of copying, natch):
Blessing of Antaeus' Fortitude (MuCo35)
Breath of Vulcan (CrIg30)
Last Flight of the Phoenix (CrIg50) (this one's for Vibria)
He'll take the Terram text to get its quality improved.

Tiana, meanwhile, will shyly admit to the council, in the strictest of confidence: "I have an eidetic memory, and am a fairly adept scribe. I can memorize any text in a season, and then produce a perfect replica afterwards. Are there any subjects the council would like me to look for in Sigmundo's private collection that I could write a copy from memory of? I..." her face turns scarlet and she turns her eyes to the floor, "I was apprenticed to a magus Mercere, before I lost my Gift and began training as a Redcap. So I can memorize and reproduce any magical texts the council deems of most use."

So, that means straight 6 + Scribe levels per season for Summae (i.e., for Vibria, 7/21) instead of one book per season just in Sigmundo's library?

Vibria's is "transcribing legends and oral history", and Fédora's She doesn't have Scribe. Looks like she may have to have someone teach her how to Scribe (write/copy) properly. Do we have a librarian or a scribe or a monk chained to a desk who can do that?

Tiana would make a good teacher but she doesn't have any skill in Teaching yet. She needs to pick it up, stat, for Semyon, and once she has she can teach Scribe. She's only got 3 skill in scribe though.