Covenant design thread

OK, time to get serious on this.

I didn't want to flesh in too much of the detail, because I'd like the rest of you to have some chip in here. Bascially I'm thinking a Spring/Summer covenant, with the following, but to be fleshed out with suggestions from the rest of you.

The covenant has existed for ten years, and was originally founded by Petrus of Jerbiton. Petrus has retired to Valnastium, because although he loves the city, he thinks that the best way for him to live, for now, is in a community of his peers. When he left, he allowed the Tribunal to find replecements for him, but had the final veto on any they selected. He has never discussed why he set the covenant in Lubeck, given the difficulties that this naturally causes. Some suggest that it was simply that he found the covenan't vis source and thought this was a perfect opportunity, or perhaps he had another reason that he did not ever discuss.

The covenant, physically, is an imposing set of buildings near the Lubeck docks. The covenant has its own small dockyard, a large warehouse, and Petrus's old house, which is a sprawling mansion supposedly paid for from his life as a mercenary. It also owns many of the little houses and shops that surround its part of the city.

The covenant also extends, beneath the warehouse, through a series of tunnels out along the seabed. The covenant's vis source is found almost a mile from shore, resting in a magical aura where Petrus once also kept his lab. The area is protected by a circular ward that keeps out water, and has minor magical devicies that freshen the air and provide light.

In the centre of the area are the bones of an enormous, armoured fish. The lichen that grows on this fish contains Aquam vis, which the covenant trades at tribunals for vis of other types. The covenant also has two other minor sources of vis.

The sancta of the magi can be in the covenant's buildings, scattered about the town, under the earth or upon the seafloor. The covenant's library is kept in a special room in the tunnel network, in case the mundanes ever attempt to search or ransack the warehouse during times of civil unrest.

Power level: up to 1000 points
Typical income (the covenant has a fishing fleet of minor vessels)
1 lab each
1 grog per magus and 2 servants each, pooled.

Urban -3
Edifice 1: The covenant's odd structure.
Residents: sailors and their families, some shopkeepers and crafters.
Strong Community +1
Guild -1
Hidden Ways +1

Summae 450 points (feedback by players very welcome)

Art Level Quality
Cr 15 15
In 15 15
Mu 15 15
Pe 15 15
Re 15 15

An 15 15
Aq 15 15
Au 15 15
Co 15 15
He 15 15
Ig 15 15
Im 15 15
Me 15 15
Te 15 15
Vi 15 15

Lab Texts 250 levels 50 points (similarly, feedback welcome)

Money 100 pounds 10 points

Vis 30 pawns per year 150 points (feedback...)
250 pawns stored vis 20 points (welcome...)

As a covenant in an urban area perhaps Mentam or corpus vis would be appropriate for one of the secondary vis sources collected from beneath some of the buildings of the city.
I presume the aura of the covenant varies with the above ground areas in the city having a divine aura , with the subterranean and Underwater areas having progressively stronger magic aura's.
Theodora would have a laboratory beneath the earth or beneath the sea preferring to avoid any risk on mundanes entering her sancta

I always like a concept from the early Covenants book (3rd ed? 4th?), that suggested small adventures to harvest some vis sources ("contested" sources), and the harvest based on the "success" of that adventure. Could even be dangerous - these could be a "side adventure" thread run parallel and similtaneous to the main saga, with magi and/or companions and/or grogs- any or none of the above.

Or, simpler, have the source produce a randomized amount - instead of "10/year", make it "2d10 -1", or "4d4", or whatever. Less reliable, a bit more interesting, same value over time.

AS for "types", well, Mentem and Corpus are easy possibilities, certainly. Given this city's history, Rego is another one- from the city gate/bridge, or tax collecting, maybe?

The other Techniques are possible almost anywhere, as are Terrem (mines, gems, construction), Ignem (smiths), and Herbem (gardens, nearby forests). Animal as well. The others are always possible, but might be more of a surprise.

I'd also like to see that library a bit look a little less "xerox". Even if a Covenant decided to go production line, and write (as opposed to "copy"- but why not copy?) 15 new Summae, the various magi doing the writing would have the Arts at slightly varying levels, and have varying Communications and Scribe skills that would change the product created in X number of seasons. L15Q15 is just... generic. Good, but whitebread. (And no Tractatus, even after 10 years???)

(I'd be happy to randomize that a bit, keeping it within any ballpark guidelines you want, and for the same build points.)

You say "The sancta of the magi can be in the covenant's buildings, scattered about the town, under the earth or upon the seafloor..." - does that mean the labs, too, can be? Is there a magical aura throughout the city? Or would tunnels connect a "city sanctum" with the labs back in the covenant proper? Or is the only Aura and appropriate location for labs out at sea, via those tunnels?

What is the Aura rating?


Lubeck links: ... index.html

Lubeck is situated on the Trave River, not directly on the Baltic Sea.
Lubeck is a German city, but occupied by Denmark until 1227.

I sort of like the simple, bland library, precisely because it's simple and bland, favoring no specific Art. I'm ok leaving it as is, though I notice a lack of books on Magic Theory, Parma, Finesse, Hermetic Law...



More, it's on an island in the river.
Link: [color=blue]The Island City of Lubeck

And ownership went back and forth, about every couple of decades, so I'm not too worried about our SG following precise history. But things could get... interesting. (See "Ancient Chinese Curse".)

And, yeah, some books on Abilities wouldn't hurt.

When we construct labs and or sanctum are there any restrictions or similar concerning the areas that we design? What I am asking about is how we should assign free virtues and flaws and if we can have any minor or major virtues or flaws. Or is it simply that we have only anything special if we have spent background time upon improving our laboratories.

If you want something great, just go for it. If you want to hav to build up, that's good too. THere are some versimilitdue problems if one of you goes "My stuff rocks" and everyone else says "I have nothing, man.", but we can find story reasons for it, if you like.

Oh, the one point I missed is that for auras, you can't have anything higher than a lacuna in the city. (A lacuna is a place where the Dominion is reduced to 0).

I imagines Titius lab like this, I think that it is a reasonable power level for a lab in a summer covenant but as we haven’t decided upon any restrictions it’s up for discussion.

Titius lab is a large chamber deep under the ground and it is shaped like a octagon. It is rather large and filled with high quality lab equipment and all items are spread out in a matter that makes the lab easy and safe to work. The studio outside is for the moment empty but there is a grand entrance leading into the lab.

Characteristics: Size: +3 Refinement: 0 General quality: +1 Upkeep: +5 Safety: +1 Warping: 0 Health: 0 Aesthetics: +3

Specialisations: Items +1, Vis extraction +1, Terram +1, Vim +1

Minor virtues: Auspicious shape, Spacious, Opulent

Free virtues: Grand entrance, Studio (currently giving 0 in aesthetics modifier), Superior equipment, Superior tools

Free flaws: Subterranean

OK, but the only high aura you have is the one I mentioned out under the water. If you have the one above, you aren't out under the water, and so you have an Aura of 0. Is that OK with you?

OK, my misstake. If possible then I prefer a non subterranean lab. Thus altering the stats a bit. I have some trouble with seeing that Titus has a grand lab that no one will ever see. He is after all a bit of a show off.

Size +3(0) refinement 0 general quality 1, upkeep 7 , aesthetics 5, health –1, safety 1
Aquam 3, intellego 1, rego 1, vim 1

Minor virtues
Minor focus summoning circle and scrying pool(the water portal) , opulent

Free virtues/flaws
Superior equipment , superior tools, subterranean, damp, dediated building, underwater portal (+1aesthetic, -1 safety, +2aq)

Located beneath the river close to the Vis site the sancta is down a side tunnel closed off by a sturdy door which opens into the living quarters of Theodora which decorated to hide their subterranean nature with wall hangings covering the walls , the bedchamber being separated from the main living area by a tapestry hanging. Theodora also keeps a room at the townhouse which she uses when not working in her laboratory.
The lab is entered via another door at the back of the living quarters and is a larger chamber , somewhat larger than required by the existing laboratory however the dominant feature is in the wall of the chamber where a portal into the bay is located with the water being held back by a pre existing ward.
The center piece of the laboratory is a Summoning circle placed near the water portal , there are also a number of skulls and skeletons around the laboratory


I don't own the rules for creating labs that aren't generic, and I don't believe that Iohannes has been at the covenant long enough to have created one here.

He has been using the "Sanctum Mysterium" as his sanctum. It's probably worthwhile to describe the ship and crew. Are there rules for ship construction in one of the supplements?



No, there's a description of the state of the art in shipbuilding, but no rules per se.


Ah. I've been doing way too much reading about cogs, galleys, stern rudders clinker construction and such.




Rules? We don' need no stinkin' rules!

A ship of this era would have to be large to be comfortable - smaller boats were never "cozy" until much later.

The 1200's weren't known for spiffy boats, more functional, not really "impressive" by any standard today. A revolution in boat building was about to happen, but hadn't yet, and the designs had been around for centuries. And looked it.

Dromons and Galeas were common in the Med, and the classic Dhow, and had been the same for a loooong time, but early Cogs were just starting to happen. Probably you want one of those. Look for an early one- by the 1400's they were ~much~ nicer, with enclosed castles.

(If you're hoping for something as "nice" as Columbus' ships, they weren't around.)

Link: Early Cog

Here are some "later" boats, mid 1300's, and so much nicer:
Mid 1300's Cogs

I think this one is off by about a century or two later, in the middle of the Hanse, but maybe you could get away with it:
"Hanseatic Crusade" cog (??)


grin We don't, indeed! (But if there are some, I figured I might ask about them.)

I've seen these links, but thank you. I even read up on Chinese junks, the best ships anywhere in this era, but I don't think I want to justify his having one. (I can, easily enough, have sent him around Africa to China and back.)



Ok I changed my mind once again. Titius would not like to not have a magical aura in his lab. After all his craft comes first.

Titius lab is a large chamber deep under the river rather close to the vis source. There is a grand entrance leading into the studio. For the moment the studio isn’t filled with any magical items. The chamber is rather large and it is shaped like a octagon. Inside there is high quality lab equipment and all items are spread out in a matter that makes the lab easy and safe to work. Titius maintains a townhouse where he can eat, sleep, meet guests and if necessary display magical items.

Characteristics: Size: +3 Refinement: 0 General quality: +1 Upkeep: +5 Safety: +1 Warping: 0 Health: 0 Aesthetics: +5

Specialisations: Items +1, Vis extraction +1, Terram +1, Vim +1

Minor virtues: Auspicious shape, Spacious, Opulent

Free virtues: Grand entrance, Studio (currently giving 0 in aesthetics modifier), Superior equipment, Superior tools

Free flaws: Subterranean

This time I hope I made the calculations ok.

Well, I wrote the rulesy bit, so if you have any questions...basically, if you have a stern rudder in the North, you are the only one. In canon (GotF), there's only one and it belongs to the magi of Lubeck, in the covenant yours displaces.

I might suggest, since we're on a river, that you live on a barge, but have a proto-cog (as in that one "early cog" picture) for travel. This would not be unusual, and would give that "sea in the blood" feel you're looking for.