Magical Compounds - Clarification

Sorry if I'm being dense, but I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the game advantage of magical compounds over monster parts. I've written out an example below to make sure I'm not misunderstanding the rules.  Assuming that it is correct, my questions follow.

Romero is a 6th level mage with an intelligence of 16 and proficiency in Magical Engineering. He has an 8,000 gp workshop, the minimum needed to create magical items based on 3rd level spells. He has a formula for potion of human control. The potion costs 1500 gp (500gp x 3rd lvl spell) and 3 weeks (1 wk x 3rd lvl spell) to make, as well as the vocal cords of 23 harpies (1500gp/65xp per harpy = 23). He doesn’t have those in his metamphora storage locker, but he does happen to have 1500gp worth of beguiling powder.   He can substitute the beguiling powder for the harpy vocal chords. After spending the required time and gold, he will succeed in brewing a potion of human control on a magical research throw of 11+ (with a bonus to the roll of +2 for his intelligence and +1 for his Magical Engineering proficiency).

So, what is the game advantage of beguiling powder over the 23 vocal cords of harpies? Is it simply that Romero didn't have to hunt down the harpies himself, or hire adventurers to do so (and thus, save table time for more dramatic adventures)? Is the advantage that beguiling powder does not require metamphora for storage? Is it that the compunds can be purchased according to ACKS market rules, and it's easier to find then fresh, properly stored vocal cords?

Thanks for any insight you can give!

 

oo! I get to answer this one!

When you first make a magical component, you're trading the versatility of a monster for the versatility of a spell.  Assuming the magical component you're working with can be made from harpies and used on human control, you can use it for any magic item built around the spell human control. 

In your case, you need a particular monster that you don't have, so the magical component isn't immediately useful.  If you had the formula for a magical component that wasn't harpies but DID support the effect of "human control" (which seems to be a custom spell), you could effectively make your potion out of that monster instead of harpies.  Similarly, if you performed research to add human control to the set of spells beguiling powder (or whatever you call your magic components) can substitute for, you could begin using it without having to go out and look for harpies.

 

Ah, I see someone's started one.

When using the formula, "possession" is literally "has in hand"?

Would one suggest that mundane alchemists would be treated as 5th level mages for purposes of formula? Twice time and cost to research?

 

 

The research cost is only in gold? Not special components, even in the case of the researcher picking the 'monster' half of the result?

"When a character decides to attempt to research a 1st level formula, he should specify either a particular monster or a particular spell from his repertoire." would be a better split if the researcher needed the parts of the monster - though at a first glance, I kinda feel it might be easier to always do it via the spell in that case  (haveta look at the cost of changing repertoire vs.  costs of getting monster parts...)

I'd second skidoo's question on whether metamphora are still required.

When using the formula, "possession" is literally "has in hand"?


-koewn

I'd say that's best to leave up to the judge.  That decision has a lot to do with how picky your party is about inventory. In my game I probably wouldn't require "in hand" because it just means they initially harvest X monster part and then when they return they turn it into Y magical compound, as opposed to initially harvesting Y compound.

Would one suggest that mundane alchemists would be treated as 5th level mages for purposes of formula? Twice time and cost to research?


-koewn

I didn't think of that but it sounds reasonable!

The research cost is only in gold? Not special components, even in the case of the researcher picking the 'monster' half of the result?


-koewn

I was starting from a premise that these formula are most similar to researching spells or construct plans, which use a library and don't require special components.  For flavor you might decide they must have at least a tiny sample of the monster, but there's no reason they should need 1k or more XP worth of monster parts to do the research.

"When a character decides to attempt to research a 1st level formula, he should specify either a particular monster or a particular spell from his repertoire." would be a better split if the researcher needed the parts of the monster - though at a first glance, I kinda feel it might be easier to always do it via the spell in that case  (haveta look at the cost of changing repertoire vs.  costs of getting monster parts...)


-koewn

See above, I think it's a reasonable requirement, but I have a feeling it will be a moot requirement because this kind of research usually starts with "What can i possibly make out of all these troglodyte glands?"

I'd second skidoo's question on whether metamphora are still required.


-koewn

Missed that the first time, sorry.  In my own game I don't carefully track metamphora usage, so I would say to leave it up to the judge.  All the judge has to consider is that if monster parts require metamphora and magical compounds don't, then immediately harvesting monster parts into magical compounds offers a bit more utility.

Cool. The intersection with alchemists, at least, gives them something else to do. 

Seems like it'd be an easy enough swap to replace 'monster parts' on the market lists with 'compounds'.

I'm kinda split on metamphora. I think if I were to want to get rid of them for compound storage, I'd charge the 'metamphora value' as the cost required to transform the components into the compound, thus keeping the metamphora value on both sides of the equation.

See above, I think it's a reasonable requirement, but I have a feeling it will be a moot requirement because this kind of research usually starts with "What can i possibly make out of all these troglodyte glands?"

-Jard

I've got a sudden vision of a troglodyte on a mortuary slab with a bunch of alchemists picking out parts to see what they can do with them.