[Tribunal Ideas] Magic Items for Sale! - ideas welcome.

Inspired by the article on tribunals in the latest Sub Rosa, I've decided to follow that model and approach for my Saga's Normandy Tribunal of 1226.

One suggested idea was the Verditi Displays, where enterprising enchanters offer simple items to aid or entertain magi, charging vis for the items they have on offer.

Mentioned in the magazine are the Lantern of Unfaltering Light, the Scrivener's Alembic, the Researcher's Table, and the Invisible Brewmaster, ranging in price from 5 to 8 pawns. Some of the items, such as the Lantern, give lab bonuses be replicating minor Lab virtues.

SO, ideally I'd love to see the collective imagination of the forum throw ideas into the ring. What items might be on sale at Tribunal? What might they do for a lab, if anything? What might they cost?

I'd love to use any ideas for the kickoff of 'season 2' of my Saga, coming in a few weeks.

Minimal cost: two or rather three times the amount a general magus at the sellers age could extract and the vis cost of the item. If the materials were expensive they should be payed in vis, too. At least half of the vis should be the seller's preferred Art the rest probably in Vim vis.
With the current rules I suppose magi want tractatus on preferred subject instead of vis because in our saga vis use is minimal. New books on particular arts, magic theory, parma, spell mastery and casting tablets, assistance in lab would be welcome.

Sales might also be an opportunity for magi to get rid of items they do not need or do
not want. I am thinking especially of experimentally created items which may be flawed
in some way or just plain odd.

A few ideas:

  • An invisibility cloak which only works from behind
  • A lamp which is far too (blindingly) bright to look at.
  • A wand which casts Ball of Abysmal Flame at range touch (3/day).
  • A labtext for a spell which makes the caster feel inebriated.
  • A returning throwing axe which requires a Per+Awareness roll of 6+
    to avoid being hit by on the return.

One of my magi had an enchanted armillary sphere attached to the ceiling of his laboratory. It changed its appearance to mirror the night's sky, without any obscuring clouds, and could be used to make more accurate astrological calculations.

Another had a PeIg effect that permanently kept the lab in deep "winter"; might be good for Perdo or Ignem bonuses. I suppose a Rego Auram would be needed to truly bring winter into the lab.

In another game, a wizard had a one-way window in his high tower overlooking the town. His homonculos sat there, carefully recording the actions of all the cityfolk. In Ars Magica, such notes might be used to grant a bonus to Intellego, or perhaps to Mentem.

Enchantments to ward off undesired intruders or traps for them would also be a possibility.

Interesting ideas! Thanks so much!

I had totally overlooked flawed items being sold on the hermetic clearance rack!

I think there should be only few of flawed items. Experimenting is not worth much.

I would disagree with that. Experimentation can be done for several reasons.

  1. Magi attempting to research a breakthrough. These magi might produce a relatively large
    number of flawed items.

  2. When attempting something which is just out of reach, experimentation might be
    tempting, especially for younger magi or those more inclined to take risks.

  3. There are bound to be some magi who experiment out of curiosity or desperation.

Also, do not forget that some of the items might very well be quite old if they are
heavily flawed (noone wants them) so they could accumulate over the decades.

All in all though I do not think their number should be very high unless you have someone
who specializes in them. They could also be used as a bargaining tool, e.g.: "What if I throw
in this invisibility cloak?"

I have to take exception to this. There is great value to experimenting - great entertainment value, that is...

Witness the arrogant Verditius mage in our game who constantly experiments on pretty much everything he makes...the big demon battle had half the party glowing green by the end.

And let's not talk about the disaster that was the recent Normandy Tribunal tournament!

The magic item that most often seems to be talked about (never implemented, alas) in our games is a Rego item with multiple requisites - the Item of Invisible Holding, I guess you could call it. It would be a bonus all lab activities...as it would be like a lab assistant. A command would hold (glassware, wooden box, feather) in place in the air for your experimentation. Sort of like having extra hands. Such an item with a lot of uses a day would actually be quite valuable, what with all the requisites and the level needed to achieve enough uses a day to be workable for a bonus.

By the way, new here, my husband sent a link to this conversation (as two of our current group are playing Verditii, the aforementioned arrogant one, and myself). I really ought to make use of the forums so I can come up with ideas for items. :slight_smile:

You do not need requisites to hold physical stuff up. read the Rego Terram guidelines :slight_smile: With Terram is enough. Now, if ytou want to hold a bunch of water or some wind to experiment, yes, you need Aq or Au requisites.

One use charged items (no vis required) can also be popular here. Especially since apprentices can make them to practice and you get them "for free" if you are the parens. Then you can change them at tribunal for whatever you fancy.


Interesting. I seem to have overlooked that!

Of course, if you're feeling mean, you could have one of the items that the characters pick up be flawed in some way that isn't easy to detect, so that the flaw only turns up later when you want it to become the focus of a story.

If you're feeling really mean, have an item bought by the characters be planted by one of their enemies. Something like an item that suppresses the covenant's Aegis when a command-word is spoken might be a good way for an enemy to make their lives difficult, or maybe an item that opens a mystical tunnel that enemies can use to bypass the Aegis in order to cast spells at the covenant or teleport into it at an inconvenient moment...

Just a couple of ideas...

New idea: Arcane Connection insurance, as an option when you buy an item from a Verditius. For only a small increase in price, you can buy a fixed Arcane connection to whatever invested device you bought. So a magical scepter would have a tiny sliver of it shaved off and fixed as an Arcane Connection. When you go out adventuring with the scepter, keep the sliver back in your lab. That way if you lose it, you've got a connection handy to help recover it. Likewise, if you leave your scepter back in the lab, take the sliver with you. You can quickly summon your scepter in an emergency. And it only costs an extra 2 pawns of Vim vis to bundle in with your regular item purchases!

Time to make a house rule on how many Arcane Connections you can fix in a given season. This started as a joke, but I think I might actually have my Verditius do exactly that.

A lab notes exchange program: A group of Magi might agree to pool their learnings and distribute to each other. Every Tribunal, each Magi distributes a preselected number of levels of lab texts to the others. The understanding is that its' each Magus' own works. So if there are 8 members, you'd ahve to make 8 copies of 50 levels of lab texts. But you walk home with an additional 350 levels of lab texts to use.

Other wacky ideas:
A pair of pants with Muto Imaginem, range touch. It makes every chair you sit on feel as though it's cushioned and comfortable. It won't protect you against spikes or other dangers, but it does make a lumpy chair feel like a throne.

Creo Aquam goblet; makes alcohol. A perfect way to win a drinking contest without an annoying hangover.

An air freshener with a CrAu Chamber of Spring Breezes. 2 uses per day; sunrise/set trigger. For an additional 5 levels, it can affect an entire structure.

Combination latrine-cleaner/fertilizer. ReCo(an) effect. It transforms the contents of a building's chamber pots into useable fertilizer. Not only will this save the covenant some money, but the covenfolk will appreciate that the least enjoyable job is now less onerous.

I love the idea of 'clearance' items that sell cheap because of annoying side effects.
Random side effects:
-User is compelled to either sing or speak in rhyme for 2 minutes after using the item. Make a Dignified or Quiet personality roll to overcome this urge.
-User automatically assumes that he is at fault in any debate, argument, or misunderstanding for one day after using item.
-User's voice rises in pitch for 1 hour after using item.
-User is extremely hungry immediately after using item. This is a 'normal' hunger, as if she hadn't eaten for about 6 hours or so.
-The item occasionally tries to activate itself.
-User suffers from the Magic Addiction flaw for 1 day, but applied to invested devices instead of spells. Note that using the device in question does require a roll as per the flaw.

Hope this is helpful!

As was mentioned earlier, the ones I personally find most popular are magical items that you can just handily buy and improve your laboratory with.. in one saga I ended up selling quite a few to covenant members, examples I've made include:
Cabinet of Reagent Preservation (Big birch cabinet that Keeps all your flora and fauna based reagents within nicely preserved, grants the Preserved virtue, only level 24)
Hearth of Dragon Fire (A small brass hearth that will keep up to 100 rooms of any structure its in pleasantly warm constantly, grants Superior Heating (also good to sell to castle owners!) Level 29)
Heart of the Sun (A small brass lamp with a stone orb set in the centre, when activated it lights up light the sun, perfect for lighting a lab. Grants Superior Lighting and can be turned off and on for when you want to sleep and such. Level 20)
Hourglass of the Frozen Moment (An hourglass filled with mercury instead of sand, is constantly running and never seems to actually drain, magically improves and protects any tools made from glass, metal or stone, granting them the Flawless quality. Level 34)

One item which I thought was particularly marketable, especially to rich nobles, was the Basket of Plenty, a basket which can at a word be filled with any kind of food that the user can imagine, allowing themselves to feast and gorge as much as they like, but without having to worry about gaining weight. Level 55 though, so you'd probably have to be Verditius to give it a go :wink: )

It's also worth considering buying/selling enchanted items with Leap of Homecoming, as it's a wonderfully useful spell to save time and get about, and not every mage can manage to actually cast it normally. It's more of a custom item though, as you'd need to tailor it for the magi in question or they'll get warping.

As for experimentation.. yeah, I think it's actually more common than you think, most people who are dedicated to making items are more likely to have Inventive Genius, and a +6 to your labtotal is quite considerable.

You will likely want to consider cooler-sounding names, but these are items that have proven useful and fun in previous sagas:

Enchanted Bookshelf (ReIg/ReAn/et al.): Enchanted bookshelf that resists fire, vermin, water damage (ReAq), mold (ReHe), etc. Could come in very useful, a favorite of the paranoid and/or clumsy.

Faithful Cup (PeAn/He/Te): Goblet that destroys poison whenever liquid is poured into it (obviously needs to have unlimited use, or a high # of uses/day).

Magic Harness (ReAn): Horse bridle w/ Gentle Beast for Magi who want to ride and lack the appropriate Arts to tame animals.

Poseidon's Horseshoes (Re/An/Aq): Horseshoes allow your mount to walk/run on water; some "breaking in" may be required.

Magic Pants (MuCo/An): Transform wearer's legs into satyr/goat legs for nimble mountain climbing (probably better form bonus with jewelry or others, but I get a kick out of magic pants--just say it out loud: "magic pants", LOL)

Since it costs a pawn of vis, I say it has a limit of the number of pawns of vis you can handle in a season, minus the vis cost of whatever else you are doing that season.

Sorry, had to comment. I've seen this argument before, and it doesn't wash with me. The consequences of a created thing persist beyond the duration of the spell. The footsteps of a magically-created horse do not vanish when the spell ends, so neither should the hangover. The heavy, malign humours caused by overindulgence still occupy the channels of the nerves long after the alcohol has vanished.

I would say however that it is a simple ReCo to purge yourself of those humours, much like the A&A spell Gift of the Tortured Bowels (based on a level 5 guideline, so it can usually be sponted at R:Per by magi even with low Rego and/or Corpus)


I have a player whose magus is planning to fix a bunch of Arcane Connections in the near future. We had thought that you could only fix one per season, and there seems to be nothing in the main rulebook (or errata) saying otherwise... :question:

Is there a reference anywhere to the fact that you can fix multiple ACs in a single season?

My bad: the rules are quite clear:

It definitely takes a season to do this, to the exclusion of other activities. I was confusing this with the rules on vis transfer, which follow this section.


I'm thrilled that you liked the article! :slight_smile:

As far as pricing goes-- I think I would suggest something similar to another poster: the investment cost of the item plus the amount of vim (or its trade equivalent) vis the caster could make in a season.

It's also worthwhile to give the vendors quirks-- perhaps one really likes magical beast trophies, another is looking for a specific Hermetic text, while another likes different copies of the Bible. These nonstandard currencies could be substituted in place of the vis, even directly traded. Magi might also be willing to sell the item for an agreed upon task, like Conjuring the Mystic Tower, or the acquisition of a particular element from a person or place the vendor isn't permitted to visit or doesn't dare go because of an old deal or lost certamen. The "arcane connection" insurance mentioned before can even be used to keep tricksy players honest, as an item might deactivate if not the vendor isn't "paid" in time. Failure to complete the payment would probably affect the reputation of a magus, providing further incentive. Heck, even completing such a task might earn the magus a reputation as "the vendor's toady," depending its nature.

As for other items, consider ones that have a bit of a price, too. A goad that grows animals huge and warlike, but they die at the end of the effect. A hammer that shatters stone, but inflicts a light wound on those around the wielder. A bell that wakes everyone in a building, but resounds for miles and draws attention.

A couple of nonHermetic items might be fun-- something egyptian, greek, or levantine might be a cool way to slip a little Ancient Magic into your game without making it a focus. A statue that aids with longevity rituals when bathed in olive oil, an ivory dagger that creates a circular ward effective only when the wielder sleeps within the circle, or an ancient clay tablet that makes the incorporeal visible when they come within 30 paces. Treat them as an Art tractatus that cannot be copied or allow them to be studied for Insights.

Hopefully these help...


There is an interesting, meandering, extremely exhaustive (and possibly exhausting) thread on this topic, and if you can bear to dig through it all there are a number of interesting alternative ideas to the RAW. But if you're intent on sticking to the RAW then yeah, it's one per season. The discussion in question is at:

So... how'd the session go?