Covenant Charter

Here's a thread to talk about the covenant charter (or whatever agreement the magi make to found the covenant).

Some random thoughts about our charter. Take them with a grain of salt please. I'm just breaking the ice here, since no one else has posted anything after almost a week.

Since we are somewhat outside of the normal context of the Order of Hermes, do we need to specify things that are usually covered by the Oath of Hermes?

How do we want to intereact with 'outsiders' (i.e. other refugees)?

Do we use that standard covenant's charter as a base, for example for the distribution of resources and ownership of such? Or do something completely different? Do we want to give a stringer-than-usual voice to the mundane inhabitant of the covenant?

Regarding resources, there are other ways to do things which we may want to try out. For example, instead of establishing a shared library (or resources in general), each of us might keep the resources he brought with him and essentially make them available to the others upon request, either for free or for a pre-established fee. I'm not advocating this, but it might make sense in the current context of this saga since each character never knows when we may have to leave the covenant because of suspicion of the plague. Some kind of 'covenant tax' or service due to it would cover shared expenses (like casting of the Aegis and the vis spent to raise the towers).

So instead of having a single, centralized library, each character would have responsibility over his own library. Anyone who wishes to study one of those books would pay the fee, either in kind (access to his library) or in goods. In the same way, each vis source discovered would be the responsibility of its finder, who could then trade the vis left over after paying the covenant tax to others who need it. Specialists would pay the covenant tax by a season of service to the covenant, with left-over season(s) being sold to others (or to the covenant) as needed.

This isn't perfect, as it is just an idea and would need some more thoughts to make it work.

I'm perfectly ready to see others shoot this down in flames. :laughing:

Thyra's main concern is about other members of the Order or even other magi. If we are fleeing then we need a charter to reflect that.

Some of this is me trying to capture the fear our characters might have given the situation. Thyra was thrown out of her Tribunal as a hedge against the Plague. Others have also been thrown out of Covenants/Tribunals for different reasons. We have to make this work but it does not mean we would or should trust others.

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I understand that this could be considered a chance to think outside the box, but I feel we ought to keep things looking as much like a conventional covenant as we can. And I'll give my reasons why.

Magi live a long time, and as a result, they play a long game. We have no idea how the plague will play out, but there might be a cure found, in which case the Order could bounce back. If it does, we might want to be able to make a colorable claim that we were a covenant all along - granted one that stayed hidden for self-preservation, but a covenant nonetheless. We could even claim with a straight face that we believed ourselves part of the Novgorod Tribunal, but couldn't register because the tribunal had cut itself off from outside communication. Being a covenant would give us protection for all of our resources, particularly vis sources. It would be a real shame if someday in the future we lost our vis sources because they hadn't been claimed properly.

It would be different if I thought that the current system was unfair, but I don't, It has always seemed to me that a basic covenant charter was a fair and equitable way of handling things. I don't feel the need to try something new just because it's new.

So my vote is that we go with a relatively standard covenant charter (with maybe a few special provisions to deal with the plague "for the duration of the emergency."

What about an interim charter? Recognise that we don't really know each other and have a stricter, more isolationist beginning. Say 3+2+1 years. Then Write in a fixed end date by which time the longer charter will be drafted and accepted.

That is also what I was trying to capture with my proposal that each magus/maga keeps control of the resources he/she contributes. If everything belongs to the covenant and someone gets evicted due to suspicion of the plague, then that individual is left with nothing. Having a decentralized management of resources means that each has the option to leave at any time. This would also make sense in ironboundtome's proposal of an interim charter.

I think it would also promote interaction between the magi. And the covenant tax would reflect the tentative cooperation and establish a floor as to what each one is contributing to the common good. The feeling of insecurity may fade as the magi get to know each other, allowing the covenant to move (perhaps) towards a more traditional structure.

A decentralized management of resources wouldn't preclude us being considered a covenant. Each covenant has different ways of treating different challenges. Some pay a stipend to the magi. Some stipulate specific responsibilities for each magus. The fact that the resources could be registered to an individual magus instead of to the covenant wouldn't leave it vulnerable to someone else snatching it. Only a few Tribunals forbid an individual magus claiming a vis source (Normandy and Greater Alps comes to mind). Others officially recognize individual claims (such as Thebes and Provence), while others recognize it implicitly (Rhine) by having rules regarding covenant-less magi. I'm personally placing Novgorod in the "recognizes the claim of individuals" end of the spectrum.

That being told, I don't think that in a Order thrown into chaos by the plague, the challenge will be legal action against our vis sources. Poaching and raiding are likely the more probable area of risk, either by law-less magi or by non-Hermetic forces. In either case, having registered our sources will mean nothing.

Agreed. How long that interim charter should be in force should be determined (somewhat) by the expected pace of the saga. Perhaps Jonathan could chime in regarding that? My experience is that PbP sagas can be either very slow or quite fast, with occasional but severe changes in pace. I can't remember what was proposed as the pace of the saga, if any. If we go through the first 3 years in a single month of play (with most of the seasons spent building the covenant), then we'll be back here discussing the more permanent charter before we know it. On the other hand, if the first year is filled with several stories as we explore our surroundings and meet challenges, it could be a real-time year before we revisit the subject.

I'm in agreement about each of us maintaining control of our of own resources. Calpurnia is interested in trading spells and access to books.

This year, Thyra and I have vis to cast the Aegis. Each year, two magi will be responsible for providing vis for the Aegis.

We're going to need to talk about membership. Maria is about halfway through apprenticeship, and Galan's apprentice is a bit behind her. Adding new magi changes the voting dynamics. I suggest this working arrangement be revisited in seven years, when Maria will take the Oath of Hermes.

How do we handle resources that benefit the entire covenant? For example, Galan spent some of his build points on an expert Autocrat. But he can't exactly trade the autocrat's skill at need. The autocrat either helps the covenant or he doesn't. It's similar for other experts as well.

I agree that we do need to take that into account. Most of the specialists will probably work for the covenant as a whole too. Bartholomeus brought 4 specialists, only one of whom (academic teacher) has skills that can be traded internally. The other 3 (weaver, carpenter and glass-blower) simply provide costs savings to the covenant.

They can probably form the base currency of the covenant tax. Each season's worth of work from a specialist is probably worth something like one-fourth of a pawn equivalent. So each specialist's normal year of work for the covenant (i.e. 2 seasons) is worth half a pawn. We simply need to establish what the covenant tax would be for each magus, based on that. I'd be tempted to say that each magus must contribute 5 pawns per year as a covenant tax, with a season of work counting as 3 pawns (or more, depending on the risk).

This tax would be used to pay for things like the Aegis, raising towers and such, but also reward specific services or risks taken by a magus. For example, casting of a ritual spell (such as the Aegis) is known to involve a certain amount of risk, so it might be worth 1 pawn.

We simply need to establish a worth for each of the things we provide. If we want to estalish something other than pawns as a currency, we can use a different term and establish how much a pawn of vis is worth. But I think a pawn of vis is a familiar currency for the magi and would work well.

I think the distributed resources work if we work on a vis salary. How do we do the vis sources paid by build points. i am assuming they are somewhere near the Covenant site but perhaps found by the Magus who bought them. Owned by the Magi or the Covenant? Or a split? If owned by the Covenant and paid to magi on a vis salary for services it might work. With the plague I could see them tightly controlled and tracked. Realizing this is a pain for the Verditius.

I also think a 7 year charter would work to get us setup. During that time we would have no new members. We would then have to revisit.

If we use the charter in the back of the Covenant book as boiler plate... I would add a line to the Oath about the plague. Something to promise to inform the Covenant if the magus suspects they have it. As above I would want no new members. And a line to revisit the Charter every 7 years.

How to treat unknown members of the Order? Do we need to build a quarantine area outside the Aegis? ( Thyra says YES!!) :slight_smile:

I'm in agreement with all of this.

We may have new players join our group, and so I feel we should allow new entrants, provide they submit to the questioning.

Besides seasons, vis is the most important resource we have. Because we need specific forms to construct various items, I'd prefer to have flexibility, rather than Imaginem and Perdo, which are what my sources are. Having them go into a pool, so that I could take forms that are of the most value for my work, is better.

If we can make vis sharing work, a common library should be straightforward, other than each of us needs to spend a season or so scribing spells for the other players. Maybe we can form a conventional covenant. After all, each of us agreed to leave civilized Europe and settle here, knowing most of the others through letters.

Anyone wants to make a try at editing the standard covenant charter (from Covenants) to adapt it to our situation? Frankly, I gave it a look at there's a bunch of stuff in there that seem totally irrelevant to our situation.

Anyone has suggestions regarding the covenant's name?

I can come up with a few (I'll leave translation to latin to others):

  • Icy Shore (Glacialis Litore)
  • Icy Lake (Glacialis Lacus)
  • Northern Towers (Septemtrionis Turre)
  • The Refuge (Refugium)
  • Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

I like Refugium the most.

I like Refugium

Bullet pointing charter:


  • There are two types of membership (Probationary and Full ) as well as Guest.

Full Membership is automatically extended to to a Probationary Member after he's completed his probationary duties and obligations, unless testimony is brought against him that proves him unfit to swear the Oath in good conscience; in such case, all rights of membership will be withdrawn

  • If she's elevated to Full Member, then all her Probationary rights and duties are replaced by those detailed by the charter.

  • Full membership persists unless abridged through censure or cancelled through expulsion.

  • A magus may resign from the Covenant in the presence of at least two other Members, and is thereby relieved of all her rights and duties.

Probationary Member may be extended to any member in good standing of the Order of Hermes that is accepted by the Council as being free of the Magical Plague.

  • He may owe not allegiance or fealty to another covenant.

  • Admittance requires a unanimous vote of the Council.

  • She has the basic and provisional rights detailed by the Charter, as well as the duties required.

  • Provisional Membership lasts seven seasons, unless abridged through censure or cancelled through expulsion.


  • He is afforded the basic rights detailed elsewhere in the Charter.
  • She is not obligated to the Council, and is not a member of the Council.
  • He has no voice or vote unless granted one by the Disceptator.
  • This status may be revoked by the member who granted it, or by a vote of the Council.

Governance of the Covenant

  • The Council consists of all Full Members of the Covenant.

  • It shall not declare action except on behalf of all members.

  • No actions may be demanded of a single individual by council agreement.

  • The rulings of the Council may not be overturned by an individual.

  • Any member may convene a Council meeting to consider grave matters, and all matters have a duty of attendance and diligence.

  • A quorum consists of half of the current Members of the Council. If a quorum is not present, then the matter must be delayed until a full council may be convened.

  • The Council meets four times a year, on the day before each Equinox and Solstice.

  • Motions must be introduced by a member, debated fully, then voted on. Proposing a vote must be seconded before the motion can be voted on.

  • A unanimous vote is required for changes to the Charter, expelling a member, or accepting a Probationary Member. All other votes require a simple majority.

  • The council chooses a Disceptator to represent the Covenant in both Hermetic and mundane concerns.

  • Being a Disceptator is a mandatory duty of every full Member, and rotates from one to another in order of Hermetic age oldest to youngest (see below).

  • The Disceptator serves for seven years, starting the year after Tribunal.

  • Her duties are to attend regular Council meetings, to keep order at meetings, to break ties, to determine the yearly surplus, and to act as the Council's spokesman.

  • He is not empowered to rule on the covenant's behalf, but is charged with ensuring that the Council's rulings are carried out.

Resources Owned by the Covenant

  • Refugium's resources are held by the Council, and it is the council's responsibility to maintain and defend them.
  • The covenant claims all the vis from undisputed and unclaimed sources discovered by members of the council, and any vis gifted to the Council as a whole. The first harvest of a new vis source belongs to the finder(s). In all other situations, undisputed and unclaimed vis belongs to the finder(s).
  • All books or enchanted items brought to the Covenant are retained in ownership the original Magus.
  • The use of said resource may be gifted to the covenant for any length of time.
  • The resource may be lent to other members by the owning Magus at a cost and time deemed fair to the Owner.
  • The covenant claims all money generated by the covenant's resources, all money received by members while acting at the council's request, and all money gifted to the Council as a whole.
  • The covenant lays claim to the buildings, defenses, chattels, and inhabitants, and to any such buildings, defenses, chattels, and inhabitants gifted to the Council as a whole.
  • Surplus resources are determined at the Winter council meeting. Resources needed for the continued existence of Refugium and the protection of its members' rights are accounted first (including payment for any work done on the covenant's behalf and vis for casting the Aegis of the Hearth). Contributions to debts owed by the covenant are also accounted for. The remaining resources are deemed "surplus" and are allocated to the settlement of requests for each member of the Covenant.

Rights of the Members of this Covenant

  • Every member shall be entitled to full, unrestricted access to the protection and support of the Covenant within its boundaries by all the rights and benefits of the Code of Hermes, the benefit of an inviolate sanctum and the supply of materials thereof, access to the library, and the victuals appropriate to his status. These rights may not be abridged except by expulsion from the Council.
  • A full member of the Council is entitled to presence and a vote in the Council; full and unrestricted access to the services and skills of the servants and covenfolk; an equal right to all surplus provisions and store necessary to his studies or the travel demanded by his studies, including vis, money, and various magical or mundane resources of the covenant.
  • In case of a conflict between members over allotment of surplus resources (where claims have not already been advanced and agreed to by the disceptator), distribution is by drawing lots.
  • A probationary member is entitled to a half share of the rights and duties offered a full member and a half share of the surplus. They are entitled to the services and skills of the servants and covenfolk, but the needs of a full member take priority over those of a probationary one. A probationary member who remains true to her Oath of Covenant has the right to remain for seven seasons after being accepted as a probationary member, and has the right to be considered for full membership after that time. These rights shall not be abridged except by decision of the council.

Responsibilities of the Members of the Covenant

  • The Council will declare duties that need to be performed at the regular meetings of the covenant. Duties include safeguarding and harvesting vis and income, the wellbeing and discipline of the covenant's employees, maintenance and increase of the covenant's resources, and maintenance of good relations with the covenant's allies. Duties lasting less than a week with minimal personal risk will be assigned to the members, with no more than one such duty per member per season. These attract no recompense or advantage to the member who performs them, but cannot be refused without reasonable cause.
  • Duties requiring more time or personal risk will be offered up for service by the covenant. They will be compensated according to the time, risk, and potential benefit to the covenant. Compensation is decided by the Disceptator; minimum payment, for a single season of work with low risk and low gain, two pawns of whatever vis the Covenant has the most of. The Disceptator may increase the pay to increase the attractiveness of a more urgent task; the Council can't force a member to accept such a duty, unless failure to perform said duty would place the member in breach of the covenant, in which case threat of censure may be used.
  • All payments for duties performed will be made in the Spring meeting.
  • If there is more than one claimant for the service, and each claimant refuses to share the duty or to yield to the other, then the Disceptator will assign the duty by ballot.
  • If there is insufficient vis to pay for the demands of the Council, the Disceptator may withhold payment until such time as there is sufficient vis.
  • Covenant work may be declared so after the fact.
  • Each probationary member is required to perform at least one of the paid tasks outlined by the Council during his probationary period. No payment need be offered for this service.

Infected Magus

  • If a Member believes themselves to have become infected by the Magical Plague, they are required to inform the Council immediately.
  • The infected magus will be reduced to Guest member and must move to the quarantine area.
  • Infected Magus cannot participate in the Aegis of the Hearth ritual and will be given a token instead.
  • The infected Magus may take all vis earned, all books and items of which they own and all covenfolk which they brought into the Covenant.
  • If in a 3 years time the Magus can prove that they are not infected then they will be allowed to reenter the Covenant as a full member.
  • If in 3 years a Magus is not able to prove they are not effected they will be cast out of the Covenant and forced to leave the area.

Jebrick, I'd like to thank you for typing all that in.

Refugium is fine.


So the office of Disceptator goes from either Galan or Calpurnia (both at 40 years post-Gauntlet) The 3rd one will be Tacitus (currently 32 years), then either Agnarr or Thyra (at 30), and then Bartholomeus. This takes up 42 years. Do I understand it correctly?

Vis supply. Let's assume at the end of the year, we have 23 vis left: 4 Perdo, 3 Rego, 3 Corpus, 3 Imaginem, 4 Terram and 6 Vis. We have six mages, so 5 mages will get 4 and one gets 3.

I envision the process going like this:

  1. Disceptator player announces the vis available for distribution
  2. All players provide an ordered list of vis desired.
  3. Disceptator tries to allocate as best he can. (Thyra and Calpurnia will always be vying for the Re and Te vis) The decision is final.

I'm assuming that vis sources paid with build points are considered Covenant property. Am I alone in that assumption?

The Disceptator may be chosen by the council but the rotation part was put in so we do not have to choose :slight_smile:

The intention was that the vis bought by BP is a part of the Convenant. I would assume that each magus who spent BP on the source gets 1 year of vis ( as per the charter). then all is held by the Council to be distributed at the end of the year.

I will add a bullet to revisit the charter with each new Disceptator.

I have no problems with the Covenant charter as it stands now. Everyone gets one year's harvest from their vis sources they brought to the covenant.

I'll be Disceptator unless somebody else desires it.

Do we want to add a proviso for guests, that they need to submit to testing if they want to be accepted?

From Thyra's point of view guests can stay in the quarantine area. And I realize that means putting a guest lab there.

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My vote would be to have books from BPs be put into a single library that we all have use of, rather than get into a rat's nest of negotiations for use of books. After all, those who spent a lot of their BPs getting vis sources are seeing those go to the common good. Why not the books too? Besides, it seems to me that the bookkeeping part of trying to figure out who wants to use what books will be onerous.

I'd be fine with a provision that says if you leave you get to take your books with you.

That's my thought.