building the covenant

This is a game intended to cover long periods of time with an overarching plot. Characters will need to remain consistent over this time period, and everyone enters the game as an apprentice. The first 120 years will move quickly using a custom version of solo play rules, and the game will be heavy on intrigue over combat, and is set in the Roman Tribunal.

The covenant of Praesidium Orae began as a chapterhouse in 1061 when Roger I decided that the ruined town of Locri was vulnerable to Saracen raiders as a landing spot, but with people having already abandoned the location on 2 occasions it would be hard to support as a defensive position. When it was pointed out that the location had a pagan temple which had been leveled but a century earlier by Saracen raiders, it was gifted to a covenant from Normandy along with a writ of crenulation and a rent that was expected, and the expectation that the magi would defend this land for themselves from Saracen invaders.
50 years later the chapterhouse has become a covenant, with a mixture of people of Greek, Roman, Norman and Saracen heritages.

This thread is for discussing the use of build points and which additional hooks and boons to assign the covenant.

So I am thinking that the Original Original site of Locri (the one abandoned in favor of the site that would be later sacked by Saracens) sure sounds like someone non-mundane drove out the people, so perhaps it is a site of Aurum vis occupied by someone? Not sure if or how to represent the above mechanically.

Boons that would make sense to me are Vivid Area, and Healthy Feature. The Minor Hook road also seems very appropriate.

How do we pay our rent?

rent is defined (as a hook) as 25% of your income.

As mentioned in the players wanted thread, a natural vis source would have previously belonged to someone else, and thus would necessitate taking a rival hook as well.

Let’s move the discussion forward by actually trying to build a package of boons & hooks and actually try to visualize the covenant. The compulsory boon and hook are Writ of crenellation and Indebted (rents). Here is the first suggestion from me:

Situation one: we have the castle on the edge of a town. The castle is in the process of being upgraded from its initial mostly wooden construction to all-stone but this is a lengthy work in progress. (remember from the fast advancement period rules on the wiki, 6 “notches” on a minor hook remove it, so we can represent the upgrade that way). The healthy sea breeze counts as a Healthy Feature improving everyone’s living standard. The combination of the natural beauty of the area and the sea breeze makes for a Vivid Environment.
The town is by a major sea route, so counts as a Road hook. The major sea lane allows for the covenant to generate a standard income from Trade by having a small fleet of ships going across the Adriatic. The covenant generates a Secondary Income from the manufacture of goods inside the castle – maybe an armourer or from the apothecary (following companion suggestions). Some of these manufactured goods are traded for vis of account (representing our vis sources). There are also a couple of vis sources occurring naturally within a couple of days travel, mostly along the rocky shoreline – these are Contested Resources as other covenants harvested them before we settled.
The aura is generated by the buried remains of an ancient temple underneath the castle. Plaques (pinakes) of Aphrodite and Persephone were taken from the site of ancient Locri and added to these ruins, which has enhanced the aura.
Politically, as the castle was founded by the orders of a king to protect the coastline, the covenant has strong Mundane Politics links. The castle has a few pieces of artillery to protect the town and to discourage pirates from sailing too close to the port. There is a small professional garrison to man the castle and make patrols of the coastline.
Deliberately left unchosen – what sort of governance the covenant has, and how we divide the vis up (vis grant or salary)

Writ of Crenellation
Curtain Walls and Mural Towers(major)
Healthy Feature
Secondary Income
Veteran Fighters
Vivid Environment
One other minor – more aura, or crossbowmen, or a local ally?
Castle (major)
Road, minor
Contested Resources
Mundane Politics (major)
Urban (minor)

Situation two: the covenant is mostly in a regio situated in a temple to Persephone. It is located a few miles from the nearest town. The covenant has a Manor House above the regio entrance - the Writ of Crenellation theoretically allows for a much bigger defensive structure but this was built to avoid alarming nearby landowners.
The manor house encloses steps leading down, which do not lead to any mundane cellar but to a large regio which holds ruins sacred to Persephone. Perhaps the regio leads to deeper levels, closer to Hades' realm? Certainly a three-headed hound occasionally stalks the regio.
Being out of town and with a small manor avoids entangling with mundane politics, but hermetic politics have entangled the covenant in many issues, and the nearby vis is claimed by other covenants.
Writ of Crenellation
Manor house(free)
Regio (major)
Fallen Temple
Monster, Minor
Hermetic Politics
Contested Resources

Any castle you have will be one you built, and is not likely to be crumbling.
Given the rules that exist for vis harvest your vis is unlikely to be contested (unless it is faerie vis...), though one of your sources of income might be contested in some way... if you have a source of vis you "took" from another covenant then it is more likely that you have a rival than a contested source... though certainly both are possible.
There is no town at the site you are building at as a matter of background, so Urban is out.

I think it would be best to try and build scenaios instead of tryin to list them as options- here is what IS:
50 years ago your group was granted this land with a writ of crenulation and an obligation to pay rent on it by the Normans to hold out the Saracens who were using the empty beach and abandoned town to stage raids and potential invasions. The temples have been torn down by the saracens prior to your arrival. If you have built the covenant over it then it is unlikely to be a fallen temple hook, as that would have been dealt with years ago, but the potential is there if it was decided to leave the temples alone when you first established the chapterhouse which is now a covenant.

The three big questions to begin with are:

  1. have you already built a castle?
  2. Have you already made use of the ruins?
  3. What is your source of vis (and how much)?

Logically if you use the temples (and do not take the hook) you can have a massive aura which is left over from them, otherwise you would be limited to a level 3 aura due to the setting.

We might also consider an impinging aura from where the temples were. Not sure if that's a hook or a boon or both.

If it is within te covenant it could be a smaller aura inside the regular aura, which would be a major aura boon. If it covers a portion of the covenant the same result is implied. If it is merely nearby there are no virtues or flaws for it.

Of course if the temple is outside the covenant it might have a faerie aura...

Here's a possible scenario:
When the chapterhouse was founded 50 yrs ago, we had the writ of crenellation, and created a ringwork that surrounded one of the temples. During the 50 yrs, the covenant created a tower keep, and the repeated use of magic in the covenant opened/revealed a stronger magical aura, possibly with a regio entrance on the temple site. Due to the location and fortification (not to mention all the covenfolk), a small village has grown up around the castle, and we have provided a haven for a group of mercenaries (pirates?). If we are relatively close to the ruins of the amphitheater, that could include a faerie aura with a vis source that we contest with another covenant.

This give us:
Writ of Crenellation (minor)
Ringwork (free)
Tower Keep (minor)
Increased Aura (major)
Vivid Environment (minor) (I like this one, given the location and picturesque ruins.)
Hidden Resources (minor) (to be partially developed as vis sources from the regio, as we explore that)
Criminals (minor) (the local, loyal pirates)

Castle (major)
Road (minor) (reflecting the travel and diverse commerce in the area)
Regio (minor)
Outbuildings (minor) (the surrounding hamlet)
Indebted (minor)
Contested Resources (minor)

it wouldn't be contested, it would be yours if you control the land, theirs if you have not taken control of the land (through mundane means). What you would have is a rival who bears you animosity for taking over their vis source. It could easily be a minor rival however... depending on who you took it from and the state of their covenant. Now it could be contested with a non-hermetic group which will make some claim that cannot be processed through hermetic courts and which does not recognize civil authority to determine such things- but this would likely be in addition to the rival covenant who is miffed you staked a claim to what was previously their contested source....

I vote instead of Contested Resources we take Vis Salary. I also suggest Suffrage because Feminism!

I want to point out that resources should be decided here as well, and that they are integral, not a seprate topic. How much vis you have, as an obvious example, is going to impact what sort of hooks relate to that, as well as whether you have the vis to be giving out a vis salary.

and again I ask that we build this cooperatively instead of throwing out compete scenarios. We have an established origin 50 years in the past (before the prelude) it isn't being cut whole cloth- lets start with what there is and work from there- 50 years ago you were granted the use of land and the right to build a castle in the area of a ruined town which had Greek Temples in it which had remained undisturbed until the Saracens destroyed them. Did you settle for the lesser aura on the coast or move into the temples? If you settled or explored the temples did they have a magical or faerie aura? If you settled there how much of an aura?

For the three questions above, I vote for:
By the temples rather than the coast
Magical aura
I'd like an aura of 4 or 5.

For resources:
I suggest 68BP on the lab texts which will later be compiled as "Roamer's book" as seen at [url]]
(Me and CJ had fun running down the popular spells, and this makes a good basis to start from.
I suggest we have vis stocks of 50 in creo and corpus (to allow for 4 or 5 people to use 7 pawns on their longevity rituals when the time comes, plus a bit for aging crises or magic healing), and 50 pawns of vim (in case we need a stronger aegis, need to boost casting of Perdo Vim spells cast on curses or deleterious magic, new items). That only costs 20 BP.
I suggest a few build points go on housekeeping items from Covenants, like 3 BP on an Abluere Magica or a magic oven or a magic broom - it offers the chance for apprentices to practice finesse while keeping the number of housekeeping staff down.
Covenants p56 mentions you can buy starting money for the covenant at 1BP per 10 mythic pounds - I suggest we buy a modest reserve in case of financial disaster in the first year or two.
Specialists - we will need a teacher so our apprentices learn Latin + Artes Liberales + maybe some academic skills. We will need 18BP on a scribe, bookbinder and percamenarius so we can write those books we want to.
Can we buy a spare scribe and teach him Magic Theory in play so he can go copy summae from the Tribunal library, or do PC magi have to do the copying?
I suggest we spend a big chunk of our build points on vis sources as well managed from 1100 to 1220 we will build up a decent amount (whether in personal stocks or communal).

point based specialists are not continuous characters- they are essentially an ever filled position that does not grow and develop the way characters that are written out do. At the same time, if you create grogs you do not need to pay for them with build points (both of course need to be supported financially)

I agree with Darkwing about location et al.
Resources listed are fine with me.
We have 2000 BP, I think, so there is still lots of room for more stuff.

Next question- would the temple have a regio? If so, as a boon or hook? I will note that as a boon it means the covenant is in the regio, as a hook the regio is in the covenant... minor hook means not fully explored, major means that things come out of the regio. Resolving this as a hook would mean the regio is fully explored and may be utilized...
One obvious possibility for a major hook would be Persephone's gate- where the dead emerge every Oct 31st as Persephone goes into the underworld for a night- which may be behind the town being abandoned and the Saracen destroying the temples...

Which also reminds me- dealing with Saracen raiders: was a castle built and if so what sort?

I vote we build a Castle complete with Walls, Towers, Artillery etc. Or at the very least a big stone castle because Hermetic Magic makes it easy to do.

I would say the regio in the temple should be a minor hook; something to prompt exploration. The major hook idea, Persephone's Gate, is interesting, but I would want develop some way to work with / avoid the emerging dead. Playing through the traffic every All Hallows' Eve seems like it might get a little tiresome.

As for the castle, since the covenant has only been in existence for 50 years, and then mostly as a chapterhouse, it seems like we might not have had the resources or time to create a full-blown structure with curtain walls, etc. (These take lots of excavation, and even with magical means would require some serious efforts and vis expenditure.) I imagine a ringwork would have been initially created, along with a small tower. In the last 50 years, a Tower Keep could have been constructed, with Artillery added, and perhaps work started on Curtain Walls. As we gain more power, a Magical Fortress would probably be coming ...

Could we have constructed a Tower Keep with Conjuring the Mystic Tower, or would that be too small a footprint for the defensible structure? Also, where are we putting labs?

I would think using magic much of the castle could be underground so it could be extraordinarily large without those nearby seeing it. Also, illusions could be used for the first while so it wouldn't seem like it just appeared.

I wonder if we should still have an intact Faerie aura beside or within the covenant as well if we're by the temples.

I like the idea of a Faerie uncontrolled Regio at the temples. I suppose we could have a swarm of undead each year, but that seems like it would be kind of silly. So Minor Regio Hook, with a bonus minor hook since it isn't Magic? If we really do want undead Fae associated with the temples, I think a Faerie Court would make more sense. Of course, that conveniently is 3 points, so we could just take the Major Regio hook to start with!

We certainly could have an underground Castle, but why not just a normal above ground one? Underground structures have a bunch of issues, light being not the least of them. Of course, we could take the Magical Fortress boon, and Castle Hook. Maybe even throw on the Vast and Labyrinth if we got truly out of hand. We'd probably want some sort of living castle that can maintain itself and provide light. Transforming Mythic Europe talks about using Creo(Muto) rituals to create unnatural structures, such as self repairing walls. We really don't want excessive maintenance costs.

I could whip up a description of this magical castle if you want...