Covenant building

OK, the fun stuff. I've started putting together a few things for the Covenant. Plenty of the Covenant building will be done in character and discovered that way also. I'll be using 400 build points, but it is a Spring Covenant.

I haven't decided on how much the PCs can spend yet, but I should have that shortly.

Here are a few other things. The Minor Boon of Hidden Resources is going to be purchased. I'd like someone to take over the job of spending these points. Basically when you're ready these points would be introduced in an adventure that you'd run. If you'd like to have it split up between another person (2 players being the most) that's fine. So each of you would take a portion of the 250 points.

The other thing will be the Boons. Some of the Boons are already decided, but not too many. The site I have in mind is actually quite large, the Covenant could be placed in a variety of areas within the site. What I'll be doing is offering Boon options. For example, you could choose to have the Covenant in a Secluded area and gain a Boon or two that represents that or be nearer to civilization. I will list the package of boons you'd get for either choice, but I would not necessarily list the Hooks that would pay them off.

I'd have choices for Location and Fortifications, Resources, Residents, Local Relations and such. Basically divided the way it is in the Covenants book. And some choices can include the default, as in no Boons or Hooks for it. There will not be a lot of choices on some necessarily, this is a Spring Covenant.

Once the story progresses a bit further we'll see these choices. For now if you want to think of some ways to spend a few points, feel free. Figure about 25 points or more maybe. If you want to make a specialist with those points that's fine, but if you're spending points on a specialist, then that basically means he's not really a playable PC. You can just as easily make the person one of your Grogs and save the points.

Please include any ideas and talk about the Covenant here. Things you'd like to see, things you'd like to avoid.

250 build points for hidden resources is a lot.

It can be a lot of good books, a vis source of 10 pawns a year, a supernatural creature or two to move into a lab and still have a couple points left over.

I recently wrote up the covenant for my offline group. It was 300 base with hidden resource (x2). Even with 20 pawns of vis a year, a library that was fabulous (though still in travel bundles or complete mishmash of sources that no one really knows what is there other than it was a good library), labs for 5 mages, there was still 75 pts left over.

It might be better just to keep the pool and then let people that have story ideas, spend it as time comes up. A magic item that group has to go fetch as it was commissioned by the senior mage. A book of high arts and quality that he was owed. A vis source that was unknown. THose points can justify a lot of stories.

It certainly can go fast and provide plenty of stories. The 250 is what comes with the boon though. If people want to split it up more I'm fine with that. Perhaps split 3 ways with one of them being quite a windfall (like 150 points) and the other 50 each or something.

A story is required for any of these points to be discovered though. I'm perfectly willing to be flexible here, if a lot of you have an idea to divide this up that's fine with me. The main rule would be not to reveal what the boon is (and the points possibly) until revealed in the story.

OK here are some of the choices that you have. I won't be showing the Hooks yet.

Location and Fortification
Boon: Major Fortification (Magic Fortress)
Aura *2 (total Aura 5)

Not as much choice in boons here. The main thing would be the Hooks that pay off the above Boons. Basically do you want to be:


Closer to civilization (not in an urban area though)

Poor option Boons: Hidden Resources, Hidden Ways

Wealthy Option Boons: Hidden Resources, Wealth (minor)

You have some choices here. You would pick one and have a Hook that covers this and is likely related to the Boon you choose.

[i]Default /i this is free and doesn't need to be paid for.

Military Boons: Veteran Fighters

Loyal Boons: Strong Community

External Relations
Again you have some choices here, you must decide on one.

Default No specific relations and no Hooks.

Dedicated Covenant Boons: Dedicated Covenant (Major), Secondary Income; allowance from the Tribunal (Minor)

Prestigious Local Ally, Prestige, Promised Favor

These are not the only Boons and Hooks that remain, but the rest are basically decided by me. Take some time to look these over and perhaps come up with a theme from the choices made.

Based on the choices made, other Boons and Hooks might be chosen to better design the Covenant. However this is a Spring Covenant, too many Hooks can basically cripple it.

This is the big Boon that will define a lot of the Covenant's character. The intended Covenant building is a tower raised by "Conjuring the Mystic Tower". I was planning on saving this revelation til later, but I'd rather have some input on how you'd like this to be designed.

As a Major Fortifiation Boon, this will be more than just an 80 foot tall tower made of seamless rock :wink: . The Boon itself says that the fortress is very difficult to assail due to some magical benefit. As a magical tower it is unnaturally tall, should have more than enough room for the magi plus an extra room or two. It could potentially be two towers even (similar to the covenant in Nigrasaxa which is two magically raised towers connected). So we'd want to see some input on its design and what kind of fortification specialties it might have. These can push on the limits of the spell and Hermetic magic.

But basically I intend to have the NPC wizard raise it to the specifications of you (the rooms, the stairs and such will be planned by you, his spell will then make it so, assuming there are no botches). From there if you can think of some magical beneficial quirk that helps make it stronger please let me know.

I could see just inside the outer wall of the tower is a spiral staircase that circles upwards with a door every two stories. Open the door and you enter a lower room that is ante chamber and bedroom for the magi with inner staircase up to the a lab one floor above.

The library would be same: Lower floor with reading stands and scriptorum and upper floor of book storage.

Arrow slits along the staircase for defense.

That works just fine. At 80 feet tall, 30 feet wide, and a 20 foot foundation there's a lot to work with. I can see for example 8 floors above ground, perhaps a special facility on the roof, and then one chamber below ground which could possibly be split even. This plan would maximize the space for a single tower and possibly be a touch crowded but still OK.

The option you mentioned is pretty luxurious and can easily justify the expenditure of the Build points on making the labs bigger than normal, which allows for easy advancement of them later. How many chambers in total would that be then? 4 above ground?

Are there any mystical features of it that you'd like to see? Making it a double tower would count and give a lot of space. Basically the tower is the easy part, the extra benefits come from it being a Major Boon, 2 towers covers that, but maybe some other kind of mystical benefit or defense can go with it too.

We could also do two stairs that are on opposite sides tower (double spiral up each. So that each two story mage quarters is only half the size. We could just give each mage a single floor but make Library two full floors as I specified.

With original plan, 8 floors above ground, you have 6 mage labs/quarters (3 at top of each tower with lower two floors of one tower is library, of the other tower is council chamber and one more room to be determined (maybe the armory or magic repository),

Either way, the very middle of the each tower is a chimney with fire places in rooms having angled flues up to the central chimney.

I think having a Dedicated Covenant would be interesting to play. If we take that, I'm not sure the Poor option would work since the covenant would be getting an allowance and secondary income. After that, my first choices would be Closer to Civilization and Loyal boons. But I'm willng to hear others thoughts.

As for the tower, if we can have two, what about going crazy and have a 160ft high, 40ft deep tower, instead of 80 and 20?

Mystical benefit... A wall surrounding the tower that is sticky like glue: anyone who touches it gets stuck on the wall until a resident of the tower can come out and release them? Or something... Could make the aura at the tippy top of the tower aligned to Auram or some other art, which could tie into my dedicated covenant idea.

Assuming we have 30 diameter tower, 5' wide staircase circuling the whole outer level. 1 floor is more than enough for a wizard's lab, quarters and other rooms. Indeed half a floor is enough for a size +1 lab. That said, We could give each mage 2 half floors one over the other or one whole floor.

I would prefer farther from civilization as 80' tower is bad enough without scaring the mundanes about such being so close to them. I like secluded with hidden resources and hidden ways. If on the scottish coast, we could have all sorts of sea caves and clifts below the covenant. This gives the poorer option with hidden ways and room for expansion.

Loyalty is the next thing I think I would prefer. Especially if we get a small fishing village or fishing community tied to us.

I like the dedicated covenant idea as well.

a 160' tall tower is too likely to crash and I wouldn't want to be the person on the 16th floor who has to go down to the ground for meals and fresh air and back up. Two 80' story towers is enough stairs to walk if for some reason resident of top of one tower wants to visit the magus who is resident of the top of the other tower.

Unfortunately, unless the extra tall tower was supported with magic, it would fall over. But with two Verditius, I would think we could whip something up for all those stairs. :wink:

If you don't like the extra tall tower, how about the regular tower with attatched hall? Then you have more than enough room for magi, servants, visitors, library and anything else you might need (like dedicated covenant space), and you would not have to go outside for it.

Being farther from civilization is OK, as long as we still have the ability to connect with civilization. Us Verditius have things to sell.

Don't forget Verditius need space for a studio when thinking about how much space each magus would take up.

A comment, from previous experience with this same discussion, on the chance my input might be of value... 8)

By the Rules, a lab must be "at least 500 sq feet of floor area..." (AM p 94). That is baseline - no room for expansion, but no penalty. 500 sq feet is a circle with a radius just over 12.5 feet, or roughly 25 feet in diameter. The ~outside~ of a tower would be wider by "some thickness" of the walls. (The authors have stated that Conjuring the Mystic Tower, which creates a tower "30 feet in diameter", was designed to provide this minimum size for labs. Stone walls roughly 2.5' thick seems a reasonable hand-wave.)

If using Covenants, a lab on 2 adjacent floors of a tower is "two separate labs" (p. 109, sidebar). And if a mage is going to sleep in that same 500 square feet, that subtracts from the lab space (p 107, col 1, & p 101), giving a penalty to the lab by those rules.

A 40' tower (35' interior diameter, and a noticeably large and imposing construction) almost doubles that area to over 950', and that becomes 1 floor/mage, with plenty of living space, no prob. (Many towers were much narrower - this is a serious military construction. "Military", because all towers were military back then - libraries and scholars did not need towers.)

If sticking with the 30' tower, a nice solution is to give each mage 1.5 floors - one for their lab, and a "half floor" for their private living quarters - one walks 1 floor up to their lab, the other walks 1 floor down.

~ Mage A Lab ~

A / B split Living Quarters

~ Mage B Lab ~

Other arrangements are certainly possible.

Another is to house all magi in one area, away from any lab accidents, and put all labs in the "high-risk" tower (possibly separated by storage or grog living quarters?). Each approach has its own strengths/weaknesses - convenience and oversight vs danger from lab accidents, yours and others'.

(Obviously, the "best" solution, each mage completely separate from the others, would be a different scheme entirely, but is also a free Virtue by the Covenants book.)

According to Covenants, the ceiling height should be at least 10' (p 114-115) - that's big for medieval architecture. A typical medieval tower simply has thick wood planks across at one level to create a ceiling/floor divider, so there is very little lost there. But an 80' tower would have 8 floors, plus a top deck and possibly a basement level or two.

At 1.5 floors/mage, and assuming a usable basement, and that half the ground floor is ~not~ used for grogs/common area, that's 6 magi & labs/80' tower - and the top deck is unclaimed.(top) (floor @ 80')

F Lab (70')

E / F (60')

E Lab (50')

D Lab (40')

C / D (30')

C Lab (20')

B Lab (floor @ 10')

A / B (floor @ ground level, 0')

A Basement Lab (below ground level)An attached manor house could allow grogs and storage to occupy the "dangerous" living areas between labs, and a 2nd, higher entrance could exist directly from the Manor House to an upper floor.

Two towers would definitely attract the attention of any nearby nobles, perhaps even more than a 160' tower - the latter is a wonder and a marvel, but the former could be seen as a very real threat. A single tower with manor house, and some creativity, should cover a half-dozen magi, with grogs manning some areas of the tower and keeping watch, and not stand out too much from the crowd.

Or not - like I said, I'm just covering aspects that I remember going over in a similar discussion. Your Troupe doesn't have to agree in the slightest. Have fun!

A tower and a dedicated covenant huh?

I don't suppose the other magi would let my magi build a magical windmill of some variety on top of the roof or off in the corner somewhere, would they?

Anyway, my two cents:

Either secluded or closer to civilization is good for me. Good stories can be had either way.

Kerry has a good point about it being hard to be poor if you are a dedicated covenant.

If we're a pre-existing Covenant (winter to spring theme) then I say go with the Loyal community. If not and we're a start up covenant, I think going with peasants makes more story sense.

If we're a dedicated Covenant, what are we dedicated towards?

Hey! Who invited you Cuchulainshound?! :wink:

Great contribution, I hope it's taken seriously.

I saw the 160 foot tall tower idea and I'm like 'Well, if that's what they want.' Two towers is a threat, but it needn't be too bad depending on the seclusion. Nigrasaxxa is two towers and quite close to civilization. Per the Covenants castles and fortifications within 10 miles or so are the threat.

The tower is the main structure, but because it's a Major boon I want to make sure it really is major. Any additional structures might have to be paid for with boons and hooks.

I have plenty of ideas for the Boons and what they represent. I'll give some ideas regarding what they might be on the next post. Specifically Dedicated Covenant.

Dedicated Covenants would be a major experiment for a Spring Covenant. Typically such a covenant is filled with responsible magi that are trusted to fulfill a great service. As a Spring Covenant the task would be important, but 'important' could be in the ey of the beholder. It is unlikely that you'd be tasked with something that the whole Tribunal hinges on. But such things as copying books, invention of certain types of spells, researching the unique features of nearby mythic sites. These are the kinds of tasks that a young Covenant of freshly gauntleted magi might be entrusted with.

Then again, perhaps the dedicated task is impossible and/or dangerous and you're being set up to fail?

It would be hard to be poor while dedicated, but poverty could be the result of debt. It can work, but some work better than others.

The Covenant is in Stonehenge though. The location is yet to be revealed, but it can easily be secluded or nearer to civilization. I'm doing the research for the local sheriffs, nobility and bishops.

If you want to start tallying votes on the boons I revealed you can go ahead. List each set of boon that you want. Or continue discussing them.

I'm fine with new Boons and Hooks getting developed based on story events and roleplay, plus your own actions.

I would prefer not to be in debt to start.

Brainstorming Dedicated Covenant Ideas:
-Aligned Aura
-Study of a specific magical regio
-Gaurdians of a tomb/twilighted magus/something to watch for a prophecied return
-Caretakers of an insane magus who can see the future and periodically speaks prophecies that will come true, but speaks in riddles at all times. We would have to document everything she says and send it on to those in charge.
-Watchers of an ancient sleeping dragon. The covenant is to get a warning out to all the others in the Tribunal should the dragon ever show signs of waking.
-Take care of a magical garden/plant that cannot be moved from where it is growing.
-The aura is aligned to animal, and all animals spending a year in the aura give birth to twins, or even triplets. The covenant is a supplier of parchment to most of the tribunal.
-Investigate a large hedge tradition in the local area.

Dedicated Covenant:

We have a Bonisagus, a Guernicus, and two Verditius. Why would the Tribunal gather this group together?

That doesn't take into account what Max and any neew comers might want to play, but we can start with what we got.

From Kerry's list I could see Study of an Aura or Regio fitting the group's makeup the best.

I could see study of a magical site or specific item.

One other option is establishing an annual Hermetic Fair. I read City and Guild and England certainly has a tradition of Fairs. And there's only one tribunal that has a fair spefically designed to cater towards Hermetic customers and that's the Greater Alps. Having to stage, coordinate, and actually run a Hermetic Fair each year would offer us plenty of opportunites for stories of all kinds.

What do ya'll think? QC, would that mesh with what you've got in mind?

I like this one. Visions of silver dance in my head.

I had a Dedicated purpose in mind, but I have to admit, I like the fair idea myself.