I'm about to run an AM5 game with four players. All are experienced gamers but none have played Ars Magica before. I am going to set it in the Rhine Tribunal. The idea is that they will become a chapter house of Fengheld. They'll go to the Black Forest and attempt to settle in at a covenant that was abandoned a hundred years ago. The characters are all new magi; the saga will start with them two years out of apprenticeship. The first few sessions will involve adventuring in the Black Forest before they reach the covenant and strive to make it safe, inhabitable, protected, and productive (in roughly that order).
What arrangements do parent covenants likely make with a chapter house of younger magi? I've never run a game of this style before. Here are a few ideas I have:
-As Fengheld is nowhere near the Black Forest, communication will be irregular and infrequent. I will have a character of similar power level to the players in the troupe, but there will not be a powerful NPC/mentor present.
-Fengheld will provide the characters with some lesser invested devices and charged items.
Lesser devices: A box that preserves all foodstuffs put into it directly, a means of shrinking food, a blanket of bonus to recovery rolls, a device to make it drizzle and correct the rain
Charged Items: Extinguish fires, destroy storms.
-Enough Vim vis to maintain a low-power Aegis of the Hearth for 2 years.
-A few seasons of training on what the senior magi think will help the troupe survive in the forest. They'll be making educated guesses, but will let the party read Summae on Herbam, teach some spells like Intuition of the Forest, etc. The sub-reason is to teach the players how the rules for advancement work. (I poked, prodded, and bullied, but none of them would read the book to any length).
-Grogs and covenfolk, particularly a forester and an autocrat.
What Fengheld will expect from the chapter house:
-There will be a public vis source (as the covenant hook). Fengheld expects the full income of that source, payable at each Tribunal.
-Fengheld can occasionally give missions or quests to the magi in the chapter house and expect that they will perform them in reasonable time.
-Fengheld can occasionally exert pressure for the chapter house to vote a certain way on a particular issue at Tribunal. (Not often though; independence is important).
-The Chapter House is required to establish diplomatic relations with a specific faerie court that Fengheld has had its eye on.
-Any magus from Fengheld may use the library at the Chapter House without restriction, but they can't automatically requisition books to be sent to the Fengheld site.
-The Chapter will need to abide by the charter. However, seasons of service performed at the chapter house count as seasons of service to Fengheld. Thus, writing a book or extracting vis at the site counts as their duty. No 'tribute' is levied.
-The Chapter house can make slight alterations to the charter such as how vis is distributed.
-Additional vis sources belong to the Chapter House beyond the required, known source.
I'm thinking that I want to emphasize that the troupe will be on their own, or at least heavily feel that way. There will be an experienced maga who accompanies the troupe into the black forest, but she will conveniently botch and disappear into Twilight.
Does the above sound reasonable for an agreement between a chapter house and a parent covenant? I'm concerned that Fengheld is being either too generous or too kindly. My intention is to give the party enough to survive and avoid some of the more mundane concerns like food or carpentry, but leave myself numerous plot hooks. I am curious to see people's opinions.