Covenant Design Discussion

At a minimum, lab texts for spells we know should be free from Cow and Calf, once we take the time to write them down legibly for our scribes to make copies.

As for how prevalent Cow and Calf is in Thebes, I think we'll have to let silveroak tell us what kind of environment we will face. It might not be worth it to have 2 scribes and 2 illuminators as specialists if we cannot keep them occupied.

Here's a few mundane books which should be fairly easy to obtain and make copies of. Some of them may need to be translated from Latin (marked by a ):
Artes Liberales
Ars grammatica - Ars minor (L4Q15 summa) by Donatus
]*Ars grammatica - Ars major (tractatus Q12) by Donatus

  • *De inventionae (3 tractatus Q14) by Cicero
  • Categories (tractatus Q12) by Aristotle
  • On Interpretation (tractatus Q12) by Aristotle
  • Prior Analytics (tractatus Q12) by Aristotle
  • Posterior Analytics (tractatus Q12) by Aristotle
  • On Sophistical Refutations (tractatus Q12) by Aristotle


  • Herbal (L5Q14 summa) by Crateaus

Mythic Herbalism

  • Herbal (L10Q9 summa) by Crateaus


  • Nicomachean Ethics (L6Q12 summa) by Aristotle
  • Physics (L6Q12 summa) by Aristotle
  • Metaphysics (2 tractatus Q12) by Aristotle
  • On the soul (tractatus Q12) by Aristotle

Profession: Apothecary

  • Herbal (L10Q9 summa) by Crateaus


  • Periphyseon (L4Q8 summa) by John Scotius Eriugena
    I don't have Art and Academe, so I don't know how books covering multiple Abilities (such as Herbal) are copied.

Also, if we can get our hands on some of the tractatus scribe by Heron (as in Mechanica of Heron), there might be some demand for that. The originals are in Greek.

I looked through Covenants and answered my own question. You get a +1 in Quality each for a summa from having a skilled scribe, a skilled binder, and a skilled illuminator. Unfortunately, you only start with Com + 3 instead of Com + 6. So to get Com + 6 as a base Quality, we'd need the skilled scribe, binder, and illuminator. That might be reason enough to keep them on the payroll. Because I don't think anyone's going to pay a thing for a Quality 3 summa. Quality 6 is low enough (Quality 7 with a resonance).

Do we have any high-Com, Good Teachers in the covenant?

Cow and Calf is very uncommon in Thebes, but because Thebes is linguistically insular (writing in Classic Greek rather than Latin) books are less common, so the price effects balance out. Latin books are much more likely to be covered by cow and calf, but enforcement in Thebes would be spotty- essentially there is a sect of Tytalus magi who declare wizard wars on violators, and if it was translated into Classic Greek (which is not easy) they are even less likely to pursue the issue since it does not affect the market outside of Thebes.
Within Thebes you have the potential to earn a shard if the original author brings a case for not providing attribution or acknowledging them as the original author. Or they could declare wizard war, though of course you could petition a decree of defamation on those grounds as well...
as for the use of the skilled scribe, illustrator, and binder, they are technically only required to have a skill in magic theory (and then only the scribe) when they are copying the book, not when being used to produce an initial book. Also if their workshop total (dex+abillity+workshop bonuses) is over 12 they can give additional bonuses to the quality of the final product. This however would take the kind of investure of development of skill and workshop that would require characters (even grogs) be dedicated to the project rather than simply purchased specialists. If you do not purchase the specialists they will be assumed to be available as part of the costs for writing described in covenants.

Yes, we need one of each to benefit from the full quality of books, but if we don't have a high volume of copying/scribing/illuminating, do we need 2 scribes and 2 illuminators?

As for high-Com, Good Teachers, we have my companion Christophoros the Schoolmaster (Com +2 and Good Teacher), Kareruren's Omphalos of Bonisagus (Com +1 and Good Teacher), Vespertilio's Liberius of Bonisagus (Com +4 and Good Teacher) and to a lesser degree Monkoflords' Agapitus (Com +3).

Well Omphalos isnt a shabby scribe either 2 (lab texts) though to be entirely fair his better versed in latin because while the thebes tribunal prefers classic greek, the order by and large still uses as its prima lingua. But yea we have a bunch of good teachers in the covvie, though my primary subjects will end up being apprentices.

silveroak suggested spending more points on the library. So, as an intellectual exercise, I tried to pare down the other stuff as best I could., Here's what I came up with:

Library ([strike]274[/strike] 312 points)

  • Terram summa L23 Q12 (free from the Exceptional Book boon, on the Art that got the most votes)
    [*] Rest TBD

Vis Sources ([strike]125[/strike] 100 points)

  • 10 pawns/year in Vim (50 points) -- exact source to be determined
  • [strike]10[/strike] 5 pawns/year in Aquam ([strike]50[/strike] 25 points) -- from the spring
  • 5 pawns/year in Rego (25 points) -- from the dam of the aqueduct

Vis Stocks ([strike]2 points[/strike] 1 point)

  • [strike]10[/strike] 5 pawns of Vim vis (1 point)

Money (1 point)

  • 10 pounds of silver (1 point)

Specialists ([strike]42[/strike] 30 points)

  • 1 book binder [Skill 6] (6 points)
  • [strike]2 illuminators[/strike] 1 illuminator [Skill 6] (12 points)
  • [strike]2 scribes[/strike] 1 scribe [Skill 6] (12 points)
  • 1 ink maker [Skill 6] (6 points)
  • 1 [strike]percamenarius[/strike] parchment maker [Skill 6] (6 points)

I'm not sure that we can squeeze any more out without becoming: (a) vis poor, or (b) unable to maintain the book copying business without raiding our income source.

This has us spending about 70% of our starting points on books. FYI, the unmodified build plan spends about 61% of starting points on books.

I think the real question is what we want to spend our time doing once the covenant is up and running:

  1. Trading for books
  2. Searching for vis sources
  3. Looking for new specialists to hire.

I was / would expect us to be working on the first two things you list. I am sure that there will be books we want that we don't have. And getting more vis sources clearly is important.

We have a PC grog ink maker, and do not need to spend points on that. Also there would be no benefit in the first year at least to having the parchment maker above ability 5.

Good point. I had forgotten that.

Would there be a benefit later on? Because at this point, the difference between Ability 5 and Ability 6 is one point.

Right now we have 9 "writers" In the covenant (7 magi, an apprentice and a schoolmaster), which puts the maximum benefit at 4.5 lbs of silver. If we add a scribe (likely) that brings maximum benefits to 5 lbs, adding another writer brings max benefit to 5.5 and therefor there would at that time be a benefit to having a parchment maker with an ability of 6. If recruiting new covenfolk is going to be part of our objectives than it certainly would be worth the one point, otherwise it would not be of benefit until someone introduces another character with literary capabilities and does not remove an existing one.

Personally, I wouldn't reduce the starting vis sources. I'd be fine reallocating the points saved from 3 specialists to the library.

I had suggested 10 pawns from the spring because it is, after all the main focus of the covenant. It made sense to me that this would be a sizeable source.

Searching for new vis sources is always a draw. But I think the focus will be more on expanding the library, since the covenant is dedicated to the dissimination of books.

Personally, I agree with Arthur that we shouldn't skimp on vis, and that the spring should be a large source of vis. I worked up the first alternate build mostly as a talking point.

So the second alternate build would have:

Library ([strike]274[/strike] 299 points)

  • Terram summa L23 Q12 (free from the Exceptional Book boon, on the Art that got the most votes)
    [*] Rest TBD

Vis Sources (125 points)

  • 10 pawns/year in Vim (50 points) -- exact source to be determined
  • 10 pawns/year in Aquam (50 points) -- from the spring
  • 5 pawns/year in Rego (25 points) -- from the dam of the aqueduct

Vis Stocks ([strike]2 points[/strike] 1 point)

  • [strike]10[/strike] 5 pawns of Vim vis (1 point)

Money (1 point)

  • 10 pounds of silver (1 point)

Specialists ([strike]42[/strike] 18 points)

  • 1 book binder [Skill 6] (6 points)
  • [strike]2 illuminators[/strike] 1 illuminator [Skill 6] ([strike]12[/strike] 6 points)
  • [strike]2 scribes [Skill 6] (12 points)[/strike]
  • [strike]1 ink maker [Skill 6] (6 points)[/strike]
  • 1 [strike]percamenarius[/strike] parchment maker [Skill 6] (6 points)

That's spending 67% (or almost exactly 2/3) of our starting points on the library.

If we don't have a skilled scribe (skill 6), then any book we create will miss on 1 point of Quality. I'd rather we eliminate the parchment maker than not have a skilled scribe.

I'm not convinced that we need/want to squeeze everything just to boost the library by a few points. Aiming for 2/3 library and 1/3 for the rest is rather artificial.

Just 2 more cents from me. :laughing:

Again, I agree with Arthur. One good book might be 30ish points. That's 6 vis/year or five Ability 6 specialists. I'd rather lose the one book and get the rest.

I think at this point we need to start looking at this in terms of actual value of books rather than % of covenant points.
There are 3 books whose value is considered Paramount according to the vote: Creo (31 points), Vim (31 points), Magic Theory (35 points), 1 whose existence is paramount but whose value at higher levels is questionable(Code of Hermes), and 7 books whose need is felt but whose value is less than critical. If we consider the Code of Hermes to be lumped in with the lesser books that will give us a library value of either 297 (258+97) , 305 (268+97), or 313 (27*8+97). 25 is considered the upper level of vain summae, 28 the lower end of sound, so aside from the 25 point level these will all put us in a no mans land of book value (vain summae are worth 1/2 what sound summae are worth)
If we drop to only using books with 3 votes instead of those with 2 as well, this drops the book count by 3, and we can have more points and higher quality books, but so far the view that we should do this has not been expressed in the library discussion thread.

A different question is whether we want only "sound" books in the library, or whether we want to have some "vain" books as well.

The two sample libraries that Arthur posted in the library thread (Subject: Library discussion and Subject: Library discussion) included some vain books.

Have we determined the order of laboratory builds? I only ask because with an apprentice, if Orien needs a lab to teach her, he'll need an early lab because he needs to teach her at least one season in 1222.

You don't need a lab to teach. However you will need one to open her arts... there are 2 labs being built (structurally) in the spring of 1222, you could spend the summer and fall setting one of them up and using it in the winter. The original plan was for a 'guest' lab to be built first which the magi could share while individual labs were being built.

In the seasonal activities thread, I have tentatively put Maximilian's lab space as ready for Fall of 1222, so he doesn't need it right away.

That's right, we planned on the guest lab being first.

Well, if the guest lab will be done by summer, I can have Orion spend summer and autumn setting up the guest lab. Then he'd want to use it in winter to open the Arts for Anastasia.