Laboratories

copy/pasted from this blog. Idea will be tweaked to better fit my rules and campaign.

Magical Libraries and Laboratories for Magic Words

A magician’s laboratory is where they store objects for study. Tomes of forbidden knowledge, mystical objects of unknowable purpose, the corpses of demons ready for dissection; such things can provide insight into new realities as yet unknown.

Laboratories are ranked according to their value, which is measured in two ways. First there is Total Value, which measures everything in the lab taken together. Second, there is Unused Value, which measures the the objects which the magic user can still learn from.

For storage, every 500 silver pieces worth of lab value requires 10′ of square space to store. Objects that are appropriate for a magical lab must be discovered through play. If sold, lab items are worth 1/2 their value on the open market.

Unused Value can be spent in place of the time normally required to craft a new spell. It costs 500 sp of unused magical laboratory value to combine words into a new spell, which the referee will present at the next session as usual. Though, if the Magic User decides to go on a spending spree and produce a dozen new spells in a single session, the referee is well within their rights to say they’ll deliver the new spells in installments. A player expecting more than two or three new spells a week is being excessive.

This is a useful change for two reasons. First, my intent was for the player to be able to make a new spell pretty much every game session. But in practice, my players often end In Media Res three, four, or even five times in a row. I can’t reasonably allow the Magic User to craft a new spell while they’re in the middle of a combat, and as a result, Magic Users get frustrated. They wind up with ever-lengthening queues of spells they’re waiting to craft. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but it can reach a point of excess. Hopefully, this will alleviate that.

Second, this will allow higher level magic users to spend a little more time pursuing goals other than crafting new spells. Stuff like training skills, or casting longer ritual spells. They can diversify their interests a little bit without feeling like they’re wasting time that would be better spent on their wizard duties.

Once unused value is spent it’s subtracted from the unused value. However, it remains in the Total Value.

The Total Value of a magic user’s lab is a measure of cosmic prestige. Magicians hoard the mystic oddments they discover, show them off to their friends, and brag about them to their enemies. The acquisition and display of magical novelties is the primary social lubricant of the wizardly caste.

A wizard who is high level, but lacks a princely collection of curios, will be looked down upon. They’re like a wealthy merchant without a noble pedigree. A creature to be dismissed in public, and only dealt with in dark rooms where no one can see your shame. On the inverse, a wizard of low level with an excessive wealth of curios is likely to be robbed and murdered in a trounce.And wizards are not the only folks who take notice of fine collections of magica obscura. There are things which move beside us. Things for whom most of us are beneath notice. But a fine magical collection may draw their attention for a time. Players should track the Total Value of their labs according to the Specialist’s experience table. Each time their lab “levels up,” it has drawn the attention of a thing beyond the experience of mortal things. The DM will roll on a table to determine what exactly arrives.

These rules apply both to Wizards and Shapers, though the exact form of their laboratories will be different. Shapers don’t attract attention of things beyond mortal comprehension. They instead discover some new shaping secret to improve their creations with.

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