Uses for Memory Palaces

Maybe I am just uninspired, but... I was reading the Mysteries Revised Edition and trying to determine the in-game uses of memory palaces (even Memory Palace of the Sage). Have people had sagas where characters used memory palaces? How did it serve the character? Has anyone had a character memorize an entire text via Memory Palace of the Sage? How did it help?

Munchkin or story answers are fine, by the way.

My Magus has extensively used Art of Memory (at an ability of 7), as well as having the spells Enhance the Memory Palace, Memory Palace of the Sage, Constructing the Memory Laboratory (of course customized to suit him), and a custom version of Constructing the Memory Palace (Level 25, T: Group to create 10 rooms and Size 1 to create 10 Loci in each room, so 100 Loci per casting).

His "Memory Palace" consist of six large rooms of a Mediterranean style villa built around a courtyard in a hexagon array, with each room having a pedestal in each corner and one in the center of the room (5 per room, this is natural from his skill). The central courtyard does have 5 Loci, but it is also the location of a large fountain (where short term memories from Enhance the Memory Palace are stored) and has stairs up and down. Going up the stairs leads to a small comfortable library which currently has eight books (from Memory Palace of the Sage). Going down the stairs leads to a basement with ten small rooms, each with a scroll rack and reading lectern (Constructing the Memory Palace).

A pathway leading from the "Memory Palace" leads into a massive hedge maze made from rosebushes with gemstone blooms. In the center of the hedge maze is his "Mental Lab", constructed as a more whimsical version of his normal lab. All of the lab tools and equipment fly about and respond to command, assisted by a hoard of magical flying hands. The light and temperature are always perfect, adjusting to precise command. Located under the "Mental Lab" is another basement of ten small rooms each with a scroll rack and lectern (another Constructing the Memory Palace).

His uses of them are varied based on the locations they make up.

The 35 Loci in the villa are the ones he uses for common things, the ones most likely to be willingly forgotten. Names (and descriptions if not that many) of all the Magi who will be present at a location, maps for areas he will be traveling through, important conversions he witnesses or takes part in, Tribunal notes (Magi position on an issue and vote), important notes gained from research on a short term (which could be many years for a Magus) project, and so forth. Any worth keeping are written out or moved to the basement, with them being erased as necessary for space.

However one of the Loci in the Courtyard is special, in that it is his mother as she appeared the last time he saw her alive. It has her look, feel, smell, and sound (from that last conversation). She serves as the "library index" for the memory palace and he will also spend time talking with her (which is actually talking with himself) when trying to figure something out.

(Edit: Forgot the Library)
The books in his library are a mix of things he wanted to study while traveling and reference books. One of them is "De Theoria Magica" by Bonisagus, which is considered the Authority on Magic Theory (and thus useful since most Commentary on Magic Theory are based off it). He also has "Of the Magic of the Human Form" by Oberr of Verdidius (Summa on Corpus, L 26, Q 5) which he still studies a little from during long travels. Rounding it out are two Language (Ancient Greek and Demotic Egyptian) and three Area Lore (Canaan, North Atlantic, and Mythic Europe) Summa.

The 100 Magic Loci in the basement under his Memory Palace are mostly used for "long term" storage of things which he might need.

One of the rooms is focused specifically on his Covenant, containing such things as a census of the Covenant (all non-turb, with basic info), Turb roster (as census, but more detailed), index of the Library (Books with Author and Subject), Enchantments & Rituals list (Covenant owned Enchanted Items, yearly rituals, etc), Covenant Holdings (Land, Workshops, etc), Covenant Treasury (the "Books" as if it was a business), Magi Secrets (commands for Magi only items, along with other information), and Notes (just general things he wants to remember). He has two free Loci in the room.

Another room is dedicated to the Landen Mystery Cult, currently storing seven Mystery Scripts.

The other basements rooms include things like Tribunal Notes, Important Conversations, Maps (of locations commonly traveled to), etc. Anything that he needs to remember on a regular basis or might be important years later.

The 100 Magic Loci under his "Memory Lab" are used for Lab Text and Lab Notes. Our group ruled that the low annual cost (it is 0.05 pounds per season) of a Mental Lab was for the paper and ink to take Lab Text/Notes, which are not free. We did classify them as small enough to fit within a Loci however, thus this dedicated space.

Play wise, it allows him access to any researched information, maps, and the ability to ask the SG to repeat anything he classifies as important in play (ie tells the SG "memorizing"). People he interacts with he mostly knows their name, job, and important trivia about. He is by far the most popular Magi among the Covenfolk who does not have the Gentle Gift.


Have a look at the last sub rosa so far, #22 p.66ff DE ANIMA.

Candidus Norembergensis is a Hermetic magus specializing in memory magic and has many uses for the texts he memorized. He also is a magus trying to get a foothold in the Padova universities - so not your typical NPC in a covenant,

Wonderful post, troy, thanks for sharing it.

I'd say there are 2 sides to making this great. The player's, and the SG's.

Troy covered the player side in awesome details.

For the SG's, I'd say you need to ensure he is on board with your ideas, and gives you moments to shine with them. Other things, such as a Pilum of Fire's damage, are defined by the rules. But benefits from a Memory Palace are very much fluff, and thus SG-dependant.

This means, at least (and as outlined by troy), agreeing to serve as memory for important detail for this player, but not for the others. If this is empathized, even for "trivia", your memory palace feels special and useful. Otherwise, not so much.
If I understand correctly, Troy's SG also uses this, combined with his character's gentle gift, to make them popular ("S/he knows me! S/he's cool"), which is a great way of outlining possible benefits. I probably wouldn't have thought about this, despite it being a very good, and logical, idea.

Another, related way is to allow you "free" successes.
For exemple, if you memorize the names and rough details of all the magi in the tribunal, your SG could require OoH or Area lore to other players for relevant information, and give it to you for free.
For example, if engaging in Certamen, your SG could flat out tell you "This is Stereotypus of Flambeau, he's very focused in Creo and Ignem, to the detriment of everything else"

So, before investing in it, talk to your SG! :smiley:

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Close. My Magi is one of the six who does not have the gentle gift. The two with the gentle gift are more popular (one is a healer and setup the Medicus). However of the six with the normal gift, he is the only one that the covenfolk will seek out thanks to a combination of his charisma (Venus Blessing, high Presence, good social Abilities) and the fact that he "seems to know everyone" (Art of Memory). His bonuses & abilities are high enough that even with the penalty from the gift, he will generally get a positive reaction. The Art of Memory just enhances that by making it seem that he cares enough to know and remember everyone (which he actually does, since he memorized the details to do).

[He has the Virtues SFB: Sidhe and Venus Blessing from his mother, which are combined with good Presence and Communication (further enhanced by Stat boosting rituals later in life)]

You are very correct in that the most common effect it provides is for things you prepare ahead of time, you are not required to make ability rolls for relevant information. Going to visit another Covenant? Spend a little time researching about it and the Magi, then store the details. Going visit a strange city? Compile notes on it from text (mostly Area Lore ones) and any maps, memorizing them to access as needed.

One thing I will add is that having a high Art of Memory ties in with the reputation 'Absent Minded Magus' you get from a Mental Lab very well. The Magus will space out for a few moments as they access it. So they notice someone walking up to them they do not know, 'space out' for a moment to access the Loci, and then great them "Ahh Master Johann, how goes the business of your shop? And I hope your son is doing better after his illness..." while knowing that his shop is doing well and his son fully recovered.

Oh and he has the Flaw Busy Body. That is something else that Art of Memory ties in well with.

I played a young Guernicus for a while; she used the Art of Memory and her memory palace to memorize crime scenes, witness testimony, and the Code in perfect detail. This allowed her to, for example, go back and visibly inspect the area for clues weeks later, or cross-reference new information against old statements, making connections that were previously impossible. I never got the chance to expand the palace magically.

Once, while we were chased by (I think) a demon, we all retreated into my memory palace, more or less by GM fiat. That was fun.

I’ve long tinkered with a new Arcane Ability that magi would use to create a mental laboratory, invented by magi who wanted to apply the Art of Memory in a more mechanical way. This would simplify and standardize the mental lab rules from Covenants, and any magus could make one; they’d mostly be useful for inventing spells, but the mental lab rules suggest this bonus might be very high. I never settled on a name for this ability; if Sanctum/Sancta didn’t already have a Hermetic meaning, I’d have used that.


I love the idea of the Memory Palace, and its sideways Memory Laboratory. I think the benefit of an adventurer having such a place to 'retreat' to during their troubles provides a bunch of benefits - including research as they travel, access to important gathered information, etc etc.

As an interesting thing the base 20th level ritual spell Constructing the Memory Palace naturally makes 100 loci. Popping the ritual to 25 gives you 1,000 and 30 gives you 10,000. I mean at that point you might as well say "everything the mage knows is in a loci" lol. But its amusing cause it showcases how the magnitude system allows for vastness.

Actually, thinking about it, a self-only version of the ritual would naturally lead to 1,000 loci as its Base 5 + 3 sizes since there is no reason its Touch Range. That said I could see adding a +1 complexity feature due to how much 'power' one is adding to one's mind via magical means.

Also, @InfinityzeN that is really nifty and awesome. So yeah kudos to you for that detail.

As an aside, besides mentally creating and 'walking' a memory palace/lab and finding a way to bring one's familiar in, the next potential goal is to see about creating its own internal aura and gaining the ability to bring some things in and out of it. Mind you these are just half-formed thoughts and not actual things I have designed mechanically yet. (I do wonder if there is a way to use some of the ideas in say Dream Magic to enhance the memory palace stuff.)


I have always in mind the idea of having an NPC's Mental Lab and a Memory Palace as somewhere that PCs would need to break into to search for something. If breaking into someone's lab makes for a dangerous and thrilling session, having to do that into a mental one should be epic.


Could make for an interesting concept for a cosm- the group winds up in a cosm for a single individual and finds within that a secondary cosm which includes the physical memory palace, all within the magic realm.


While you could most likely get away with just increasing the size, changing the Target to Group does allow you some more freedom in the breakdown and structure of the added Loci. It is very much a YSMV thing, but might well fit the design intent of the Magus for the rooms and Loci created.

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Oh yeah this is a nifty adventure seed with lots of potential. Especially all the research that would need to be done previously in figuring out how to get into it - as I don't think it would be as easy as using spontaneous magic.

Oooh now this is interesting. Imagine taking a 'Memory Palace' and 'Imagined Laboratory' and turning it into a place connected to the Magic Realm. What an interesting set of potentials. Not sure the steps for this but I love the idea. Will have to look up the Magic Realm book and see if there are any elements I can borrow to let this be a potential path to walk.

My immediate reaction to this was "nah,not necessary" but the more I think about it the more I can totally see the benefit and potential in it. Having it be Group causes each locus to be its own thing rather than a packaged deal. I mean I do think that creating the loci through magic and filling it with a memory aren't the same actions - one can create the loci and then later on put a memory into it. So it is, as you say, very much YSMV thing, but having it be Group could aid in making the place a bit more modular.

I could see changing Target to Group, adding Complexity, and also adding Size modifiers. The mix of traits give maximum flexibility and control.

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In my group at least, if you only increased Size you ended up with ether adding a ton of Loci to an already existing room or creating a single room with all the magically created Loci. Adding in Group let you create a bunch of individual rooms each with some share of the Loci in them. My character's version of the spell is rather simple since it creates 10 rooms with 10 Loci, rather than adding 1,000 Loci to a single room (ether existing or new).

If you play it out time wise, it is much easier to find the specific Loci you are looking for if they are divided up into smaller groups in individual rooms rather than all in a massive group. For us it came down to trading off x10 in size for a more organized and usable space. My SG uses "Mental Rounds" that are about a second each (so 6 per normal round) when looking for things, with some combination of Int, Per, and Art of Memory for how many Loci in a room you can sort through in each round. So with only 10 Loci in the room I can find what I am looking for in a second, while if it was a single room with 1,000 Loci it could take me up to a minute.

If I invented two versions of the spell at the same level, I might have gone without T:Group for the set I use to store Lab Text/Lab Notes. Speed does not matter as much for them, since they are normally used with a seasonal activity rather than when trying to figure out who it is you are talking to or quickly accessing a map of the area you are walking through.

Complexity could be used to add something which makes searching through and accessing faster.

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There being a time factor in going through one's memory totally makes sense. I also see Art of Memory and maybe even Intelligence aiding in increasing said speed. But yeah that element is pretty cool.

One of the things I wanted to mention was that I added this to my house rules (I probably developed it from conversations here years ago, lol).

Memory Palace - To figure out how many Loci a person needs to cover all their memories add together the scores in all mental Characteristics x 5 plus Abilities (including Spell Masteries). Do not include one's rating in Art of Memory in this calculation (as it gives Loci rather than uses them).


On the whole Room to Loci element I guess the question is how much flexibility does the memory palace let the user have. I kind of like the idea that, at least with magically created loci, their is extreme flexibility. Making it as Group adds that and so does Complexity.

Hmm, looking up Group while its a +2 magnitude it also has 'base of 10 individuals' meaning you actually gain from it.

So having the spell be Base 5, +2 Group, +1 Complexity, +1 Size allows for a CrMe 25 spell and 100 loci. Making it CrMe 30 could add +2 size (total) for 1,000 loci since the 'base' is 10 loci for Group Target.

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While Group does make the base 10 Individuals, it is +2 Mags which with Size alone you could get 100 Individuals. So it is a small trade off which should give you some advantage. That is where my SG figured the advantage would be speed of access/searching.

I have actually used the Ritual on a few other Magi in my Covenant, so it is a good thing I kept the Touch range. If you do not plan on ever casting it on someone else then dropping the range to Personal lets you boost it. However you can easily get to the point where a single casting gives you all the Loci you could need and so dropping the range might not really be advantages. It comes down to the individual Magi's Lab Total really.

So what are you thinking about using the point of Complexity for? A "Magical Index"? Fancy design? The ability to access multiple Loci at once (which might be an advantage to the Guernicus above)?

EDIT: Hummm, with your groups fit everything into Loci calculation and if willing to use a higher level spell you could create a really complex version of the spell. Use T:Group to create individual rooms related to specific things, locations, and activities. Enough Size that you can store everything. Multiple Mags of Complexity for an Index to find things quickly, as well as pull the Loci temporarily to your current mental location for viewing.

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Hmm, yeah, okay I can totally see dropping Compleixty for the 'base' version and instead adding +1 Size. So a CrMe 25 that creates 100 loci could be set up as Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +1 Size.

That said I do think that having any more than 100 loci being created needs a +1 Complexity, so adding +1 more size would also need +1 complexity bringing the ritual to 35.

Having a single ritual that covers both yourself and others makes a lot of sense, so yeah, I can see keeping the +1 Touch as part of it. Its a safety feature in a sense.

The fact that its a ritual spell means all the bonuses that can be added to it, making a level 30 to 35 spell isn't really that big of a "OMG what can I do!" element. Especially if you Master it, which I think someone who uses it a lot probably would.

On Complexity, well, part of it is that I am a huge fan of that modifier. (I think its better then the Finesse ability to be frank.) But also because I think it basically serves to represent the caster having some inbuilt room for some changes and manipulations of the spell. In this case I think it would represent the sheer amount of memory space added (which is why I think its required if you go the 1,000+ version) and also things like fancy design and the ability to link and connect loci.

On "Magical Index" (great idea by the way) I bet an memory laboratory based enchantment would work the best.

And yeah on your edit addition. I think the potential for this ritual, and maybe others to improve upon it, could lead to some really useful advancements. Especially if one adds, as I did, an Imagined Laboratory for actual lab work. Having all that you know (both mechanically but also fluff wise) be accessible within rooms and loci would create boosts and bonuses to various activities.

EDIT: So what do you all think about the potential saga seed that lets someone turn their Memory Palace into a place within the Magic Realm? I'm looking through the Magic Realm book to try and see if I can find any starting hooks to allow the journey. I mean the base idea "that within the self one can access the other" totally fits in the game's theories of magic, its just figuring out how to do it. hehe

In My campaign I have a druid (Diedne) mage who wants to have an oral tradition (written traditions can be dangerous).
He specialised in Me and Im to be able to better teach the next génération.
I was thinking about allowing him to get Art of Memory so he can store knowledge but also initiation scripts in his palace.
I was wondering how long is supposed to be an initiation script (anf how much loci he'd need to store them) ? 1 page, 1 tractatus long ?

And the secondary effect : Do you think it's possible to transfert a locus from one palace to another ie Transfer of knowledge from one magus to another (provided they both have a memory palace) ?

The critical text here is HoH:S p.68ff Memory. So a magus can indeed transfer episodic memories from a locus of his into the memory of another. If that other has a free locus, she can store the received episodic memories there. A text may well be remembered for some time as episodic memory.

Magical transfer does not work with inscribed or procedural memories - like physical abilities or knowledge. So a text about knowledge stored in episodic memory needs to be studied to obtain the knowledge, just like e. g. a book.

In the sub rosa #22 adventure DE ANIMA. memorizing books with and without memory palaces plays a major role.

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I don’t think Mystery Cult Initiation scripts would often be written down, they are just known through an oral tradition and having undergone them. Sure there might be art that depicts the stages of the quest or initiation script or whatever but it’s not usually in a “recipe” format for the exact reason you mention.

Along these lines I've written a Dream magus (of the Volshebnii Mechtateli) that received his initiation through dreams and through a Touch version of Memory Palace of the Sage that "imprints" the memory of a book into the initiate. The book may or may not really exists but there is a memory of it passed down to every generation of dream magi.

Also, without using a book, I thought of a version of Memory Palace of the Sage that stores a "lesson" from a teacher (that must be studied as you would with a book), the problem here is how many XP does it grant. Is it a Tractatus using Teaching? Maybe, but seems powerful (even though it costs vis).

A memory of a lesson is good because you can watch again, but it shouldn't give as much XP as direct teaching, since a teacher can plan the lesson for the student, answer questions, etc.

Art&Academe p.102 has rules for Lecture Commentaries. A scribe takes notes while the teacher teaches, and these notes can be bound into a tractatus based on the teacher's Comm and the scribe's Prof:Scribe/2.

I think the same rules could be adapted, but maybe using Concentration of the one who watched the original lecture instead of Prof: Scribe?