I am preparing a new Saga, and it seems to me that since new Covenants spring up with some regularity, staffed by new magi who won't know all the traditional spells, a Magus could make a career out of being that guy who helps you build your Covenant in a day.
This magus has Minor (?) Magical Focus: Buildings and Fortifications. He is a Terram specialist with Puissant Terram, strong Fnesse, and Mastery of Conjuring the Wizard's Tower. His Herbam is strong enough that he can make bridges and wooden buildings. He knows Aegis of the Hearth at multiple levels. Though he uses it much less frequently, he knows Hermes Portal. Let's say he's Guernicus, since they have a tradition of Terram magic and there are added benefits to having a Quaesitor show up on your Covenant's first day. He could meet all the magi in a fairly informal setting, make any inquiries his fellow Quaesitors might want to make concerning the new Covenant and its magi, and then get down to the business of building your Covenant. Presumably the design and his payment would have been arranged before hand. New Covenants don't have a lot of wealth, so they might pay on an installment plan. He could cast your first Aegis with you (there is risk here, but he is Guernicus, which helps a lot in this regard) and then rent you his text for a year, giving you time to set up your lab and copy the book yourself before sending it back via recap.
I would call a magical focus like this major, because buildings and fortifications can be made out of wood, too. Might be inclined to go with minor if limited to Stone Buildings and Fortifications, but the category is still pretty broad. Although I think you're leaning towards Major because of the bridges and wooden buildings.
He could be from House Guernicus and not a Quaesitor. I'd say if he's doing this for a living, that all of his spells need to be mastered. Having him know Hermes Portal pushes his Arts development into Rego and Terram pretty heavily, and doesn't receive any bonuses from his focus, so he'd have high scores in these arts just to get to the point of knowing the spell. Say a MT of 7, Int 3, learned it in an Aura of 5 with lab bonuses of +3 is 18 you still need a ReTe combo of 57 to learn the spell...
I imagine a magus who is just genuinely happy to be helping the Order and making a comfortable living doing it. Although Guernicus, he doesn't Investigate crimes as some in his House do, but his service is clear. If the Focus is Major -- and yes, I think he would want it to cover wooden buildings and such too -- then he cannot take Flawless Caster to Master all his spells and will have to Master them thr old fashioned way. This, combined with Hermes Portal, suggests we might have to make him pretty old to get to his current level -- though he could have been building Covenants for a very long time now and only finally learned Hermes Portal after many years of study.
First, I want to give the players the option of hiring someone like this, just as another idea for them to have available. But, if hired, I am thinking that he travels with a Companion who is very dear to him. When he shows up and creates the PC covenant, his enemies use that moment -- when he is fatigued and unable to fight back -- to abduct the Companion, whom they will murder if the Magus does not reveal some secret he knows regarding another Covenant, like a secret entrance or a way past their aegis.
This puts the players in the position of saving not only this magi's companion, but his career, since if he is forced to betray a secret of another Covenant it would destroy the trust he has built up over perhaps a century of labor.
You could change the focus to Erecting Buildings and Fortifications, which would be enough for what he does and should be minor (narrow fields of CrHe and CrTe). He just won't be able to destroy them that easily, or do things to them other than erect them, but it would fit well enough.
House Mercere is also an option, Puissant Creo and they too have a reputation for serving the Order, even if they can't quite register a covenant the way a Quaesitor can... but if a redcap accompanies the mage, in some Tribunals it might be enough.
If this magus is an npc it really doesn't matter if the focus is minor or major. And don't worry if he has one or two major hermetic focuses. These limits are recommendations for pc magi only. Specializing in Hermes Portals sounds reasonable only because it has a very high level and may worth a magus to get it early.
As a player I wouldn't hire such a magus to build a covenant because the resources of spring covenants used to be limited. I would spend the vis to buy books instead.
I think that the Focus being related to Herbam/Terram the Craft: Mason/Builder Ability simply should work and so Minor, because it didn't cover any furniture (Herbam) nor any Iron Tool or Object (Terram), only spells and objects that are for Build structures and buildings. One minor focus can cover two Forms if the Technique or objective are really limited i think, and more if it isn't combat or RM beating related.
I've seen that if both, Spellcasting and Lab work are boosted with the Magical Focus, there are times where one or other, Spellcasting or lab Totals, are favoured: Djins from Sihrs (HoH:S) are of the first where the Alchemical MuTe (tMRE) are of the last.
I would make it a major focus as well. It could be made into a minor focus if you put some limits to it, like it needing to be MASSIVE building, so no hut-building for him. Anything smaller than a whole manor house or a gatehouse would be offlimits of his focus. Stone and wood for sure, or maybe he can only shape the stone part, and the wood parts (floors, doors etc etc) needs to be added later. Could also work.
I hate repit myself, but Minor, just like a Focus Power cover two Techniques and one Form, Building should be limited to Creo, Intellego, Muto and Rego Terram/Herbam for construction and Buildings, because you aren't gonna to beat Magic Resistance or to use damaging Magic, i'd say that is Minor.
All Major open Focus have harmfull applications: Damage, Necromancy, Fire, Familiars and so on.
Minor Focus are more inocuous or centered on a really single subject: Ice, canines, etc. But spells on Vim for Hedge Wizards is minor and cover many Techniques. One Focus that cover two Forms (basically for Requisites combo to the construction in this case) is limited too on the objective: you are not to affect any rock or clay object, nor wood item, only the parts of a building. If you take off the siege uses then to my is correct like a minor.
I have to say that "Buildings and Fortifications" is probably a Major. Change it to be slightly less inclusive, like only "positive" changes, ie creating, repairing, improving etc, maybe "Creating and improving Buildings and Fortifications" and i think it´s ok as a Minor. Still wide, but no more than "Healing" which i generally use as the upper limit.
Otherwise, well "Buildings and Fortifications" without ANY conditions means you can also use the Focus while scrying, or for targeting a room full of enemies with a "room filled with fire" spell and so on.
Yeah, because i am thinking about the Focus covering only the Craft: Mason/Build Ability, that works. Building = to build, not the name for structures. The Intellego uses that i'ld cover: To see occult parts, to meazure things like the time of construction or talk with the building, sense the problems of the hidden parts of the structure...
This may be a language issue. In this instance Buildings means structures such as houses, castles, and not the verb to build. If you were to interpret that way, it would be "Building of Fortifications" and not "Buildings and Fortifications." It would also be very limited to something that would be a foritifaction, and may not include other structures, such as a house, or even a bridge.
Buildings and Fortifications is not at all a minor focus, since there are aspects that can be applied across all techniques and there are two forms that can be involved. The proposed focus is not minor!
I reafirm myself with the Healing spell and one more similar to this thread: arms and armory from MoH, minor focus and great use, greater that my idea, because cover Terram an Animal with the 5 thecniques. My opinion is that any Perdo Spell could be covered for the specialized magical crafting, Perdo spells didn't control the destruction.
Just to put the debate at an end on my side: I'm the OP and I am calling Magical Focus: Buildings & Fortifications a Major Focus. On purpose. He's an NPC, and I am happy to give him a Major focus while stretching it as wide as possible.
Now, how the character will be used in the saga, and what stories he helps to tell, that remains to be seen. I am currently using Citadellius (as I have named him) as a tool to teach me about advancing magi through their careers. Citadellius is currently 25 years past his gauntlet and has invented five new ritual spells, including one to create a Great Hall and others that make a cottage, a covered bridge, a wooden palisade a hundred feet on a side, and so on.
Some have argued that hiring a magus like this to build your covenant would be too expensive. Citadellius charges on an installment plan, so Spring Covenants can secure their local vis supplies and then start paying him back for building their Covenant. Craftsmen like Masons and Carpenters also cost build points, and of course a Covenant is going to want some for upkeep purposes, but if they don't need to build the structures in the first place there is some substantial cost savings. Many Spring Covenants are appearing in wilderness regions where craftsmen are hard to find, supplies are hard to get (especially building stone) and living conditions are harsh. Citadellius helps with all this. Oh, and you don't need to include Aegis of the Hearth in your library, since he can cast it for you the first year and loan you a lab text to copy.
I don't know. After a couple of sagas in which we had to do all this stuff ourselves, spending a couple of years in the process, the idea of a magus who comes out and does it for you in a week seems pretty damn attractive.
I agree. In our current saga, the covenant was set up as a new chapter-house. The parent covenant sent somebody out with a suite of spells to actually build the physical structure. But, of course, we are consequently indeted to the parent covenant.
Although, possibly one thing to think about is how often this would get done. You don't need to bother considering this, of course, but how often would the specialist magus get to use his suite of powers? Is this often enough to really support a specialist? Consider how many covenants there are in a Tribunal and how often they are founded. Using the Tribunal books as models my impression is that new covenants might only be founded at a rate of one or two each generation, but having said that covenants do seem to be founded in waves. There are often a lot of covenants of a similar age, then hardly any, then another bunch of similarly aged covenants. Of course, if such a specialist covenant builder exists, then he may well be the cause of a new wave of covenant building!
There are distinct story possibilities here, if your troupe wants to explore it --- older established covenants may frown at lots of new covenants suddenly appearing and competing for resources and claiming equal consideration at Tribunal, etc.