Verticius' questions

OK, folks, I'm finding that I have a fair number of questions and I want to cut down on the rate that I generate topics. So, a few notes about myself:

Books I own:
-- Core ArM5
-- RoP: The Divine
-- HoH: Mystery Cults
-- HoH: True Lineages (Tremere and Guernicus chapters embargoed , however, due to the fact that they contain a fair number of the plot hooks that are active in a saga I am playing in)
-- The Mysteries (Revised)
-- Ancient Magic
-- Core ArM4 (pdf)
-- 4 Ed Mysteries (pdf)

Next Purchases:
-- City and Guild
-- HoH: Societates

I have been playing for maybe about a year and a half and I hereby vow to look in these books BEFORE asking. :slight_smile:

Having said all that, I would appreciate your collective help. Please feel free to perform threadomancy or just refer me to book and chapter if the answers are there and I just missed them.

First question: Damaged lab texts

There seems to be no rule on this as there might (!) be for "learning" texts. With a summa or tractatus, one can assess a penalty of -1 or -2 for damage due to water, or bookworms, or whatever, but the damage in those cases is probably completely recoverable with the judicious use of Rego Crafting or some slick Intelligo and Creo spells (or just good, old-fashioned, rewriting). With Lab Texts it seems you go from allowing reinvention of a spell or enchantment at a very high rate to completely useless with no middle ground.

The questions are:
-- Is this reasonable?
-- Could one, say, use the lab text but force a roll on the experimental results table ("Oh, uh, master, sir? Is your nose SUPPOSED to be purple?") to represent missing a critical fact?
-- How about allowing the uses of the damaged text for an increased reinvention rate by, say, adding the Magnitude of the spell to your magus' Lab Total?

What motivates the thinking on this was a friend of mine in college had spilled IPA on our lab table in Chem 102 Lab Section and damaged some, but not all, of the lab notes that me and another friend were using (as well as his own). His own notes were completely ruined, but John and I were frustrated and decided to try to figure things out. John "Look at the pretty smoke" F... (withheld) ended with a result that met the class requirements but had a mildly annoying side effect (a slightly colored smoke). I spent longer than expected to get the work done but got it done correctly and still quicker than if I went and copied the notes from an undamaged lab book.

As a side note, the other John ("The Spiller" or as he later came to be known "IPA guy") went on to become a PhD chemist working at Merck. Go figure...

Anyway, please comment/advise.


Rolls on the experimenting table would be kinda interesting yeah

This isn't quite "rules as written" but I think it builds on them...

Without a lab text, you'd need to accumulate 40 points in the lab in order to complete it. You generate a lab text of level 20.

The next guy comes along and wants to create the same spell using the lab text. Luckily his lab total is 20 so he's able to use the text and complete the spell. Unfortunately, he damages the text slightly. Let's drop the "quality" of the text by 2.

A third guy comes along and wants the spell. The lab text now only gives 18 towards the spell but as this guy's lab total is also only 20, that won't allow him to invent it in a single season. There's not enough there for him to go on... unless he experiments of course. But he decides that's too risky.

The fourth guy who uses it has a higher lab total and has no problem. He even has time to gloss the text and add in a few resonances. This raises the "quality" of the text to 22.

He gives the book back to the third guy who still has a lab total of 20 but this season the book is much clearer and easier to follow. He can make use of it and so he invents the spell in a single season.

The important rules are that the book provides a bonus equal to the effect/spell's level AND that when inventing from a text the magus needs to be able to complete the work in a single season. I think the above adheres to that while allowing for damage/improvements to the text to give a penalty/bonus to the book's "quality".

So close! Creo spells repair the physical book, they don't repair the writing. In quantum terms: magic doesn't affect "information" so there's no spell that can tell you what's written in a book that's closed, or what used to be written in a book that's been destroyed.

I'd say that works well for an already-translated but damaged text. Equivalent of known spell bonus.
Another suggestion, for an effect that hasn't yet been translated, is to levy a penalty to lab totals used to translate the effect. I'd use the "Distraction" table from ArM165 as a guide; if the book has some cosmetic damage, don't worry about it. If roughly 1/3 of the book is damaged (not gone, but not readable) reduce the lab total by 1/3.
If the text is very badly damaged, but something rare (i.e., non-Hermetic), consider allowing it as a source of Insight.

I think I'm suffering from a much broader misunderstanding of Intelligo guidelines.

I though that, at sufficiently high level, that an Intelligo Animal spell could tell me every fact about an animal, or corpse of an animal, or part of an animal. If an animal has a hole in it's heart, I don't need to gut it to find that out, I just cast a spell. Extend the example: let us say that for some odd reason, someone opened the animal up and put a tattoo on it's heart and then sewed it back up again. It would seem to me that the same spell could identify the tattoo and, with some added complexity or some sort of PER test, would be able to discern what that tattoo was (though not, perhaps, it's meaning).

Now we get to books. I was operating under the assumption [yes, I know! :slight_smile: ] that if I can know anything I want about an animal or rock or tree (within the limit of time, perhaps) a suitably high enough intelligo spell could tell me all I want to know about the durrent condition of a part of animal, vegitable, or mineral. Further, if a rock or tree can have a memory, then a book could have a memory -- at least a memory of how it's internal parts were originally arranged. And, given that, one could use Rego magics (with a PER + Finesse, or PER + Scribe test, perhaps) rearrange the internals to match the original.

Now, this all falls apart if things (or at least man-made things) don't have memories. But in that case, I would argue that there is no Hermetic Intelligo spell that can let you "speak" with a castle wall and ask "when where you built?" or "what quarry did you come from?" or the like.

I agree that without allowing the intelligo effects listed above, a Creo or Rego spell would only be able to heal the physical damage but would not be able to correctly rearrange the inks in the proper way.

Anyone care to offer further insight on this?

Hmm. I like this a lot, actually. Tracks well with my own experience. Let me game that out a bit and I'll get back to you.

Thanks for the help!


This sounds kinda like a doctor asking me how my organs are suposed to be organised... While most books would like to be repaired, their insight into what they looked like on the inside would be rather lacking (who bothers to actually explain to a poor book the details of it's insides?)

One could argue that the books essential nature includes the knowledge it contains. Otherwise it's just a stack of "paper" only when the writing is added does it become the book. Since that knowledge is essential nature you can use creo spells to heal it.

In general i think it's best to let each group decide for themselves if this is possible.

While i am far from an expert on Platonic Forms ,
does the knowledge , in the form of writing , placed in a book ,
make it a reflection of a more perfect or ideal knowledge?

Humans and animals (and presumably plants) can be improved by high level Creo rituals to bring them closer to perfection.
If a book can be repaired physically , can it also be improved in Quality as well?

Normally the answer would be a resounding "nope".


Covenants defines Quality a bit more fully than the mainbook. I tend to think of it in three categories: Opus Quality, which comes from the writer; Codex Quality, which comes from the physical book; and Resonant Quality, which is similar to Codex Quality but has additional limitations in that different sources of Resonant Quality do not stack.

Now, Creo magic can't improve Opus Quality. Not happening. Codex Quality, though, ranges from 0-3; one point for a skilled binder, one for a skilled illuminator, and one for a skilled scribe. Scribe and illuminator bonuses are again, imho, outside the range of Creo magic. But I could totally see a CrAn spell "perfecting" the binding of a book, thus adding a single point of Quality if the book was not already finely bound. Likewise, if the book doesn't already have a Resonant bonus, I could see using Creo magic to add a single point of Resonant bonus.

Thus, I'd probably allow ritual magic to add up to two points of Quality to a book; under certain circumstances.

Some great insights. And yes, I can see that this is, indeed wide open to group "clarification" since there appears to be a fair amount of wiggle room in the RAW.

Actually, I think that Agnar's Conjecture On What Is The Essential Nature Of A Book :slight_smile: in the context of the game has the most chance for sprited debate (and as a source for original research projects, maybe). When does a carefully arranged set of peices of wood and metal become a table? When does a carefully arranged set of peices of animal hide, mashed lined rags, threads, and inks become a book?

Ooooo, I can really turn this into a brainbender for a saga I'd like to run.

Thanks one and all for the comments.