This saga takes place in a newly founded covenant on the northeastern edge of the Thebes Tribunal, built upon the ruins of an earlier, destroyed covenant. The new covenant, Nova Castra ("New Camp") has been dedicated by the Tribunal as a base of operations for magi seeking to explore the territory on the fringes of the Order, and therefore many of the magi who reside there are visitors, though those who help set up the covenant are members, and visiting magi who stay around for three years have a chance to become members as well.
The covenant will have room for about six member magi and six visitors. In addition to a main character, players are encouraged to create a second, "B-team" character, probably a Companion but possibly another magus, in order have a character to play if the main character's story is stalled.
At this point in the saga, any newly introduced magi will be visitors. A visiting magus will normally have a home covenant, which you can describe to any level of detail you like. Most visitors will receive vis income of some sort from their home covenants, of any amount and type to be wokred out at during character development, but (to keep things fair for the members of Nova Castra, who have to work for their pay), long-term visitors will be called away from time to time to attend to home covenant business. Nova Castra provides mundane support, as well as labs, to all visitors and their servants and companions.
If you like, you may create a new magus who is homeless for one reason or another. Obviously, such a character will not receive vis income from an external source, but the council of Nova Castra will typically offer him vis in exchange for service to the covenant, as well as the prospect of membership after three years of game time.
Characters can be of any age or level of experience, though senior magi need a very good reason to be poking around in the middle of nowhere rather than sitting safe at home in their cushy laboratories. Character generation should follow the normal ArM5 rules, including any of the published supplements, though non-standard Virtues and Flaws are possible, as long as the troupe approves them as being workable and balanced. Players may use Detailed Character Generation for post-Gauntlet magi, but they're not required to do so. If they do, post-gauntlet advancement should use the following guidelines:
- For Source Quality of books use Quality 10 for Summae, or Quality 14 for Level 5 (for Arts) or Level 3 (for Abilities) or lower, with maximum Level 9 for Arts and Level 4 for Abilities. For Tractatus, use Quality 10, but limit yourself to two Tractatus on a given Art or Ability in a five-year period. Teachers would depend on the Ability. Assume Com +2 and Teaching 5 for a professional, Com +1 and Teaching 3 for someone who's not really a professional teacher but is teaching a rare Ability. If you want a Teacher for any score over 5, it's going to be more difficult to find one. Note that you'll also have had to compensate the teacher in some way, depending on what you're learning and who you're learning it from, unless it's someone who would reasonably have been employed by a covenant (and that would likely cover, at most, Academic Abilities, and perhaps some some practical things like Martial Abilities).
A magus may have participated in, at most, one story a year. Providing a small amount of detail on each story adds color. Stories should provide an average of 10 XP's per season. A story so short that it provides only 5 XP's may occur during the same season as a lab activity (or some other activity that would normally provide only Exposure XP's), but it's not very realistic to assume that stories always happen when it's most convenient for the character. In some cases--for example, when a magus goes in search of a familiar--the magus will control the timing; in other cases, it would probably be best to assume that the story happens at a random time during the year. Obviously, since stories are supposed to provide 5-10 XP's, an average of 10 is a little generous, but the ASG's maga came from an overly generous saga, where characters received 15 XP's from some stories, and he'd like to be fair to everyone.
A magus or any other literate character can participate in correspondence every season (which means there's little reason not to, unless the character's personality or background preclude it). You do need to provide brief details of any correspondents, including the Arts or Abilities on which your character has corresponded with them.
You can use the ArM5 guideline of up to 5 x Magic Theory of vis used per year, but none saved--unless you're using the full amount every year or two, in which case it gets a little abusive. A second option is to take only 5 pawns/year (plus any distilled or received as payment for something, or gained from a Personal Vis Source), which may be saved as well as used immediately.
Given the Tribunals we're close to, assume an Aura of 5, but with a default (0) lab--unless you specifically devote time to developing a lab.
Take 2 points of Warping a year (unless you can convince the troupe that you have a really good reason to take more or less). That's a little unfair to junior magi (who don't need LR's), and a little generous to older ones (who've been on LR's for a long time), and it's therefore fair to correct for that, with fewer than 2 points a year for junior magi.
If Aging rolls are necessary, use a +1 Living Conditions modifier. A magus can obtain a Longevity Ritual from another magus, but needs to provide a season of work (acting as a lab assistant or whatnot) to the Longevity enchanter in exchange, or (if you've chosen the option above that allows the magus to save vis) must pay in vis.
Finally, a magus can pick up the equivalent of about one point of Virtues every 10 years in new resources that could be obtained in the course of stories, such as a Personal Vis Source or Social Contacts. If you're using Detailed Character Creation, write those into stories that took place in the character's background.
Note also that a post-gauntlet magus will likely have developed one or more Reputations over the course of his career.