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One of my players wants a way to reproduce books quickly in an Ars Magica (5th edition) setting.

What spells exist (preferably without using vis) to accomplish this goal?

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    \$\begingroup\$ 1.magically enslave 100 monks 3. Profit \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk - What's phase 2? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 20:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cthos You have to ask the underpants gnomes. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 21:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've tried this in earlier editions and found it was much cheaper in terms of time to teach a mundane scribe some magic theory and have them copy books for you. Just be careful the first time you use them, just in case they botched their Magic Theory roll. 8') This technique also has the benefit than the NPC can have skills and virtues tailored to scribing quickly and well, so you can end up with texts of a *much higher quality than most Magi could produce on their own. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 16:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ The difficulty of reproducing information is probably the most vivid demonstration of the difference between the medieval ages and modern day that Ars Magica provides. The expense and rarity of ink, parchment, scribes, and skilled bookbinders all nicely highlight the spectacular achievement that is the printing press. \$\endgroup\$
    – Argyle
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 19:46

2 Answers 2

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I know this question is now very old. However, I think it's useful to point out that there is now a published canonical answer to this exact question.

It's covered in the supplement Transforming Mythic Europe, on pages 98-108. The section heading is "The Copying of a Book". A number of spells are included, and a complete magic item design for an integrated "photocopier" Greater Enchanted Item based on several linked effects.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We applaud answering old questions with new answers - and this one's great! \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 23:45
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Without Vis means that instead of magically creating the paper/parchment and ink, you need to supply it yourself.

As for the spell, there is a spell in the True Lineages book we can use as basis: Exactly to scale

True Lineages, Page 139:

Exactly to Scale

Rego Aquam, Requisite Mentem, Level 10

Draw a picture of the magus ideas. Requires ink and a drawing surface, since it uses mundane materials to draw.

Intellige + Finesse roll +9 for the drawing be legible. Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 for highly unnatural control

So, for a magical photocopier, we need not the magus ideas as source, but the writing on a page. I would say, changing the requisite to Intellego would suffice, but if you want to make it a little bit harder you could add Terram as requisite, since most inks where metal based.

So for Copy a single page we have:

Rego Aquam, Requisite Intellego + possibly Terram, Level 10

Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 for highly unnatural control

You want to copy a 100 page book?

We need to go for group target + one size increment:

Copy book:

Rego Aquam, Requisite Intellego + possibly Terram, Level 25

Base 3, +1 Touch, + 2 Group, +1 size, +2 for highly unnatural control

Now, since it is easier to make errors if you have more text to copy, I would say, that the finesse roll should be way higher or maybe a concentration roll is for required for each 5/10 or so pages copied.

An alternative solution would be to add to the spell magnitude for lower finesse / concentration. Maybe +2/+3 for exact design (similar to the +3 elaborate design in Conjouring the mystics tower).
With a +3 exact design we would end with a level 40 spell.
How much you add depends on how easy you would make it your player magus to copy it.

And: Errors could be painful.

A corrupted magical book could lead to some unpleasant encounters in the lab!
So a missed finesse, concentration etc. roll could be dangerous.

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