The Dye Trade

It's just a thought.

Casting it? No, nothing illegal about casting it. It's what he does with the resulting dye that determines that. There's reasons to make that much dye that aren't code-breaching, such as fulfilling a faerie bargain.

Or dyeing the sails of your gigantic flying fleet of ships. Why you have one of those, I don't know, where you got the vis, I don't know, but there's NOTHING in the code forbidding you from having one.


Now I want one.

That much dye, you could tint your entire staff and wash the walls of the covenant. Possibly as a display of wealth and power. Or personal taste.

Taste, insanity... what's the difference to an archmagus?

Please don't put words in my mouth. I did not say there was anything "illegal" about casting it. I only stated that because the ritual creates a large volume of an expensive and restricted trade good that it could get a magus in trouble at Tribunal if he was irresponsible with its use/distribution.

No one likes a half tinted staff.




A non - ritual version of my spell and you can create a enchanted paint brush!

Not fan of the spell. To create rhe spell you must know the substance. So only a wizard knowing the secret of the dye can do it. I ll consider it adding requisites of animal and using the guideline of poison because it is a very concentrated of especial properties liquid. We must consider that the price of the dye is extensive because the big work to produce it, so it is a distinctive of nobility. Playing with this can be dangerous not for the order only but for the reaction of the medieval society. How many dye can be sold at the ridiculous price it cost? Not so much. The medieval word is a word where the work has a price no matters what are you do it. The guild sets a fair price. Cheating about prices, is a crime and a sin. It's why creating wealth with magic is so hard. Technically the only thing a magus can do to earn money in a rigorous paradigm is selling magical items or transport things magically or selling spells but this is forbidden by the code...

Shellfish-based dyes like Tyrian Purple probably went out of fashion less because of sumptuary laws than because dyers learned to approximate their shades using cheaper materials. According to The Rarest Blue by Baruch Sterman, Tyrian Purple could be simulated by a mixture of indigo and kermes. So perhaps the market for magi-produced purple would be less than expected.

I agree that producing complex substances like this should be more difficult than simple substance but it should not be prohibitively hard. IMO, AM5 does Creo difficulty backwards. Currently it's very hard to create or work with small amounts of complex materials but, if it's possible for a magus to do this at all, it's very easy to scale up the production to world-breaking levels. I'd very much prefer if the magic system made it relatively easy to produce a little bit of Tyrian Purple and impossible to create a lake of it.

Not really. It is rather easy to create wealth, this why the Peripherical Code has a paragraph on how much mythic Pound per year a covenant can put in the market.

For dye, considering that its animal or vegetable origin is known (depending which kind of colour/source you are looking at), it would be a straight CrAn or CrHe - to have in its powder form, more easy to transport. Requiring prior knowledge to invent such spell is in contradiction with how Creo spell are designed. They never require a level in Craft/Profession/Skill - for example Profession: Architect for CtMT. However, as with Craft magic, you might require a Finesse roll to achieve a certain hue. It is a recurring topic regarding Craft magic and the difference between Rego & Creo spells so the jury is still out and not about to come back any time soon.
So if you want to put some restriction on the dye spell, a Finesse roll to achieve the right shade is one possibility. Refer to discussion regarding crafting Quality item through Craft magic. You can consider the expensive hue as the equivalent of Mastercraft quality (15+), so you can require a Finesse roll of 18. From my view, it is more consistant with the rules than setting an arbitrary high base level to create dye.

What makes the hue expensive and rare is more a tight control on the raw material sourcing (fishing/collecting) and its scarcity/low yield than the real transformation process.

Alternatively, you can go the Formula ways (in A&A, p69 onwards, p75 for level guideline), which includes non-magical ways to discover specific formula - dye could be one of them - and how hermetic magic can replicate said formula.

The EF of the Finesse roll required is outlined in HoH:S p.60f (and was before in Covenants p.49 box Rego Craft Magic).

ArM5 p.77 requires in its introduction of Creo Creo (CR) "I create", that "a magus can only create something he knows about". "A magus need not be able to create an artificial item by mundane means in order to create it by magic; he only needs to be somewhat familiar with it." What that means for really complex things at the edge of medieval understanding is shown in A&A p.70 box Replicating Formulae with Hermetic Magic.

This discussion appears every now and then on this forum: see Mass-Produced Reagents . Using magic only to create the animals and/or plants the dye is made of avoids it.


Absolutely. You can then invent a Rego Animalem spell to collect the secreted mucus by the snails, which - according to Wikipédia - contains the pigment, and you have a sustainable source of natural dye. The magus needs only to invest vis once, in the creation of a large snails colony, then he can "milk" them whenever he needs. And to create the initial spell, if he secure one specimen of the right murex type, he has enough information to design the spell accurately. No finesse required.

You dont see the point. What is easy, no time consuming to produce is not Cristian to sell it. Your post medieval magi can do what you want but what I mind with "hard" is not a magical difficult but a setting problem. With creo you can't create that can't exist naturally, so you must know the animal to create it. You can't invent the spiderpig and creating it by creo magic, even as a magical beast.
The wealth is linked to work or taxes in a piramidal order. Magi can't be court wizards or beggars so they need to work to live or fall in sin. A coventant somewhere can collect taxes if no one collect, but to give a part for the king, a part for the magi and a part for the cleric is impossible. Creating animals to hunt, creating better crops of more productivity can be the easy way because all need to eat. Magi can earn a fee for the blessing but generate enemies and if people adore the wizards all go further worse. Don't forget only work makes money, money don't make money, this is a sin. Medieval paradigm.
Other important think to understand is who will buy the product and how much can you sell at a given price. The product is easy to produce but really hard to sell (damping can be a demon attractor and a great story flaw). I have 9 billion of magical made purple ink gallons, so? I can sell a barrel each year but is a sin (because I didn't work on it) and maybe is against the code and who has the monopoly want me dead, pretty job xd. I will consider to use the ink to dye clothes. Nice, now i have more enemies and more sins...
The consistent way with the code and the medieval paradigm is to use the vis to all what the magi consume, creating a parallel hermetic economy. That use vis for all but minimize the contact with the mundanes or the soul lost.

Decades of magical study, seasons of spell research and spell mastery as well as the sacrifice of valuable pawns of vis. Magic IS work.

Also, the magus need not know how the substance is made to conjure it. The magus must know OF the substance. Knowledge of the substance comes partly from mastery of the associated Art, as well as other Abilities (like Philosophae). Using Finesse magic to manufacture things is penalized for lack of appropriate knowledge (HoH:S), but knowing something exists is generally sufficient, and having a sample on-hand is definitely sufficient. And with having the substance on-hand, using Intellego magic can probably tell you how it was made. Obviously you couldn't Finesse/Rego manufacture something without the right starting product, however.

What if you're not Christian? There were Muslim and Jewish merchants in those days too.

More seriously, while certain ecclesiastics undoubtedly believed just what you're saying, plenty of merchants and other people disagreed. There was no single medieval paradigm on this or other issues and any game ruling that suggests that the is really misses the beauty and diversity of medieval society.

Also, game-wise, no single theologian (or even entire religion) is 100% correct in all regards. And plenty of in paradigm thinking is patently incorrect according to the game's mechanics - for example, plenty of priests will tell you faeries are just demons - by the rules, they are 100% incorrect, faeries are NOT demons.