Covenant Creation

To discuss the location and resources of the covenant.

The covenant will be located on the island of Heligoland, along the coast of Germany and Denmark.

At the time that interests us, Heligoland formed the core of a much larger island, surrounded by a large, low-lying marshland and sand dunes separated from coast in the east only by narrow channels and surrounded by marshland. The action of the sea has since eroded most of the chalky island, leaving only the small island of Dune as well as the core of Heligoland, which is made up of red sedimentary rock.

Neither the lowland nor the plateau has any trees. Too salty and too windy, respectively. Wood is imported from the mainland. There is a variety of plants growing up on the lowlands, some of which are edible. Plenty of sea birds, and fish a-plenty. Copper was mined and processed locally; some was also found in native form. Amber could also be found within limestone and gyspum in other parts of the island (but not the core plateau, which is made of red sandstone).

From wikipedia: "Traditional economic activities included fishing, hunting birds and seals, wrecking and – very important for many overseas powers – piloting overseas ships into the harbours of Hanseatic League cities such as Bremen and Hamburg. Moreover, in some periods Heligoland was an excellent base point for huge herring catches."

The piloting of ships may lie in the future, as the Hanseatic League hasn't been formed yet. Or it may already have begun. I think I'll go that way, considering that the island has reasonable industries that depend on exports and imports.


I assume we have to bring everything to the island, or will there be a basic structure up for us to occupy or take over?

There must be a reason for us to be going there in the first place, so what is our reason (besides getting out of the way of our betters). So, what reason do we have to go to Heligoland?

How much resources do we have to build up the covenant?

I assume that the creation of the covenant is a "waste disposal" action by the Rhine tribunal in order to get all those new troublemakers that just graduated out of the way until they are worthy to be recalled to the "proper" covenants where their betters live. So some resources might be available as sponsorship to get us something even if not much? Stuff like a pair of skiffs and building materials, at least?


The tribunal of 122X decided that a new Rhine covenant was desirable. A number of apprentices had graduated in the past 3 years and the current covenants were having difficulties accommodating them, either by a lack of desire of increased membership, internal contests for resources or because they were convinced that the apprentices needed to bloody their noses abroad and leave the protecting wing of their betters. So the tribunal approved the creation of a new covenant, but one that would have problems encroaching on the land of established covenants. Heligoland was chosen, even if the Waddenzee magi protested their voice does not carry much weight in the tribunal.

The tribunal granted a number of boons on the departing magi, from some books (scarce, mostly low quality tratatus and books on mundane subjects), some vis but mostly gave sponsorship in mundane resources: seasoned wood for construction, nails, money to hire skilled covenfolk and other similar stuff. Some well trained grogs were also provided or were already under the control of the new magicians. Occulus septentrionalis was specially generous and provided a pair of large fishing smacks that could accommodate up to 10 people with ease as well as cargo, even if they are not true trading vessels due to their small holds, and are more suitable for rapid transport and fishing activities. These are minor enchanted devices. On the other hand Durenmar has proven very poor in its sponsorship, only granting mundane resources. Fengheld has used this as a moment to shine, and has become the main supernatural sponsor of the venture. It is unlikely that this will continue in the future since they have already scored the point against Durenmar in their centuries-long prestige contest.

Hope you like this. I tried to keep it open enough to accommodate whatever we build in the end, but we can have supernatural support from Fengheld if we want big stuff for starters, but have tried to mark the low level of support for the covenant in mystical terms. The skiffs will be built using my own build points allowance if we do that kind of shared covenant resource building.

Obviously this can be changed as much as you want :slight_smile:

Just to be clear, the covenant doesn't exist at all when play starts. Here's a little more background.

This means that the magi know each other before play starts. They've made plans and gathered what resources they could from their pater/mater, from working for others, etc. Play will start when they are ready to depart for the site. The redcap will only reveal the location once they're on their way (knowledge of the location is strictly OOC at this point).

(I initially posted this in the CHaracter Concepts topic in answer to your concept, but move it here instead.)
Now, for any other question that didn’t answer…

For the most part, that is correct. There may be something that already exists to serve as an initial structure. That will be determined in this discussion.

Not much. As I wrote in the recruitment post:

Forget about the build points system from Covenants. Forget about money. A typical newly-Gauntleted magus might receive a book or two (about 30 bp total) and a few mundane servants. Another might get the equipment needed to set up a lab, plus a few lab texts. Another gets a small turb of grogs and a minor magical item.

So I will ask each of you to rank the following categories of resources: lab equipment, books, lab texts, mundanes servants (such as grogs and specialists), and mundane resources (such as money, building materials or a boat). You can indicate if you feel one category is particularly important for your character.

Each magus will start with a single grog and a single servant, any additional resources will be allocated based on your priorities.

Your plan is to form the covenant first, and then get it recognized later. Any attempt to get recognition was simply blocked or ignored. Any vis source you find will have to be defended. Note that individuals are allowed to register vis sources, provided it is regularly harvested. Any lapse in this may result in forfeiture of the source (it essentially become contested). You have to harvest a vis source for three continuous years before it is no longer contested. That is the reason for the secrecy of the redcap.

I know that this may seem particularly severe, but I’d rather start with less and gradually introduce more as your characters are able to trade for additional resources.

Mundane servants and materials above magical ones for me. If we are building a covenant I guess my magus will try to secure a roof first (and some people to help him build that roof) before moving to his more supernatural needs. He might have secured a boat or money to buy one.

The grog will be a hunter and tracker (light armor if any, bow, spear, hunting and tracking skills), the servant a housekeeper with some modicum of cooking, sewing and related skills.

Resources: I would say my character, if the concept goes through, needs mundane resources first, starting with a small ship and a couple of grogs to man it. Then more resources to actually build a covenant. Lab equipment would be nice but is less essential, lab texts and books are the last priority.

1 lab equipment,
0 books,
0 lab texts,
2 mundanes servants (such as grogs and specialists),
3 and mundane resources (such as money, building materials or a boat).

Please rate each category, giving each score from 0 to 3. The comments are useful, and we can discuss the details for each afterwards, but having a number will help me.

I should have specified, but the automatic grog of each magus is a shield grog, there primarily for your defense. He may have some secondary capabilities, but his primary job is to get between the magus and harm. Any other kind of grog will be under the auspices of the "mundane servants" resource category.

EDIT: This would be the shield grog permanently assigned to you when you were near the end of your apprenticeship. You get to choose whether this was a younger grog, or a grizzled veteran at the end of his career. He remained with you ever since, being considered your "property" in Hermetic circles. This is the only mundane that is reasonably used to the effects of your Gift at the start of the saga.

As players, what would you like the covenant to look like? Keep in mind the low resources, but what would you imagine the covenant to be? It may or may not happen, but having an idea of what you'd like makes it much more likely that it will happen.

Location and Buildings: Set atop the core of the island? In a cavern carved out of the red sandstone? Along the shore? In the marshland? Would it be a stone tower, a collection of small buildings, or a single large house? Will those be existing structures or do you want your magi to build them? Or a mix of both?

Magical Aura: Small or large? Powerful or weak? A regio or not? Magical inhabitants (such as ghosts)?

Vis Sources: There will be an initial vis source. What would you think appropriate and interesting? This probably almost certainly won't be a Vim source, but I'm open to suggestions. There will also be some secondary sources, so feel free to suggest more than one.

Source of Income: Although most of it will be abstracted away, the covenant will need a source of income. In what direction do you think your magi will want to invest? The description of the island mentions copper and iron ores, native copper, red amber. Plus food sources like fish, birds and seals. And pilots for ships.

There is more, but that would be a start.

A compound. Central building with some outlying buildings (labs?) inside a wall. In the centre of the island, but with easy access to the sea.

The whole island might have a low level magic aura rising in the point where we locate the covenant and in some other points. Not very powerful or it would have been occupied already, but it does not need to be weak either.

The birds, the marshland or the sea coast can all be easy vis sources. I have no specific preference, but Aquam and Terram come to mind as types, as well as animal. Maybe the hook is that it is Technique vis. Some ideas:

  • Bird eggs: if gathered, they contain animal vis. If not, 1 in 10 of the ungathered vis eggs will spawn a bird of virtue. The non-virtue eggs will spawn excellent (but mundane) versions of their species.
  • Sea weed. Cast on the coast after storms, it contains particles of a shinny black rock. The rock contains vis. It could be investigated if this is effectively an underwater source, or if the black sand forms during storms.
  • Marshland. Some marshland bushes have small red fruits. when made into a syrup what you get is herbam vis.
  • Marshland. Digging in the marshland sometimes uncovers rests of dead sailors. The bodies are surprisingly well kept even if quite a few of them are centuries old. Corpus vis, potential source of ghosts.
  • Red rock. Much harder than the white rock. The rock that can be harvested just in the point where the 2 rock types gather can be gathered for Rego 8red rock) and Muto (white Rock) vis.
  • Old Anne. This rock braves the elements. After a storm, rego and aquam vis can sometimes be found in its recesses. it needs to be gathered before the sun of the new day reaches its zenith or the vis washes away back into the ocean.
  • Wind. Sometimes strong winds hit the island. In one of the bays the sea foam that jumps up the rock surface keeps climbing up much father than in other areas of the cliff. This sea foam contains Auram vis.
  • If the roof of the houses of the island is changed in the spring, the soot embedded on it during the winter can be processed in the lab. Each house can provide a number of pawns of Corpus, Animal, Herbam or Ignem vis.
  • The first red flowers that bloom in the fields of the island contain Herbam vis. If they are collected the harvest will be smaller, though.

For starters, mining should be easy for the kind of spells I am planning to have (rock of viscid clay being one of them). Trying to secure rights to shipwreck gathering would be important, but in the short time it might cause tensions with the local population.
Once we are more established I can see us going for fishing and salting fish as a source of income as well as bird exploitation. And/or plain ol' piracy.

I'd like it set over the highest cliff, overlooking the sea, or even carved into the cliff. Stone almost certainly, since there's stone but not wood on the island. I have no particular preference as to the exact form, I'm fine with a tower, buildings, existing, or to be built.

Powerful, extending over part of the sea if possible. I'm not particularly interested in a regio. I'd like ghosts (or some other kind of spirit) as I'm probably going to end up able to see them to satisfy the 'requisite courses set by the parens' clause of my apprenticeship.

Something washing up from the sea. Ambergris perhaps, or general wreckage, or sea-coal, or interesting seashells. Obviously Aquam would be appropriate, but so would Animal, Perdo, or Terram, depending.
Amber is also a possibility, with some amber containing vis, perhaps Muto vis ?

I'd prefer amber and or seal fishing (for food and fur), which seem the easiest to turn into silver. Copper and Iron need mining, refining and transporting back to the continent, which might be too ambitious at the start of the saga. Far easier to transport a bag of amber or a cargo of seal fur.

Regarding the site, yeah, highest cliff looks cool. We can go for a mix of over the ground and underground, specially since we can open windows in the cliff side. :slight_smile:

I also think that halancar has better income source suggestions. I would place the ghosts in the marshes (dead sailors galore)

Fopund an image that shows what the island of Heligoland looked like in 1500. It is much much larger. The current island corresponds roughly to the two inner-most areas of the map.

The caption of the website where I found this is: "The medieval Helgoland on a map of Husum cartographers Johannes Mejer (outline around the year 800; gray area: around the year 1300; small island 1649)"

We can use that as the basis for the island in the saga.

And here's another version of the map, slightly larger

Much nicer than mine, even though the 1300 border is a bit less clear.

I may use it to draw up a map of the 1210 island, including the location of various buildings and facilities on the island.

Ha! Found it in Wikimedia Commons, even larger and in better colors.

For a full-sized version:

The grey-ish arms showing around the core of the island is probably stone -- red sandstone for the core of the island, chalk in the northeastern and south arms.

There seems to be much more vegetation than I thought, even trees. And I notice that there are numerous marks for churches and some sort of fortifications. That seems to be in line with some indications that the population of the island would have been around 2000 people. Very far from the small island that survives today. That gives us many more possibilities!

If I compare the length of the core of the island today (about 5000 feet) with the dimensions displayed on that map, I get an island which is almost 5 miles (7.5 km) long and almost as wide.

Seems we will be doing a lot of Perdo Terram!!! :mrgreen: Or suffering it. My magus concept is happier with the existance of trees on the island :slight_smile:

What size will be used? The 800 or 1300 one?


Or trying to prevent it? It would seem poetic that your small covenant fights against entropy, both physically on the island and petaphorically in the Order.

I will be using the 1300 border as a guide. A bit larger, but not that much.

I found some artwork depicting Heligoland. Great mood pieces, so here they are:

That cave and the fock of virds are vis sources, I tell you :smiley:

Now, to answer the question (I missed that!)

Resources (5 categories, ordered in descending order of priority)
1- Lab equipment
2- Mundane resources (such as money, building materials or a boat).
3- Books
4- Lab texts
5- Mundane servants (such as grogs and specialists)

Getting the materials to outfit at least 3 labs would be a high priority. We are in a quite remote place, and lab equipment is expensive, so getting this is not easy. We will be doing a lot of auto-research, so a lab is important whenever any of us wants to do anything except study vis. Creating minor items and inventing spells requires a lab, and these go a long way to improve our (fairly bad) starting position and making at least contenders for minor opponents.

I think that to build up the covenant my character would start by getting the necessary materials: money and materials. he can create some of the materials, but not all of them. Money would be especially important I think, or weapons. Weapons act as good currency in most parts of Mythic Europe. A boat would also be good, to have a way to communicate with the mainland without having to rely in people not used to The Gift.

Books are always welcome.

Dunno about the lab texts, but a text for Wizard's communion 20 would be more than desirable. "Highly desirable" as in "we must get that to be able to have a functional Aegis".

I prefer to get local servants, so specialists are not a high priority for me. Yet. Still, some servants that can sail would be necessary if we get a boat.

From important to less important

3: Books
2: Lab equipment
1: Mundane servants
0: The others

We should probably have at least a (lowish-level highish-quality) vim summa of some kind if we ever intend to be able to all learn and cast the wizard's communion.

Labs might be tricky to get our hands on.

Perhaps we might have someone who is capable of leading people who build us stone houses.