Covenant design thread

Until the edit function is available I just need to point out that Titus does want a magical aura for his lab. Sorry about the confusion.

It's alright: once we have something we are all happy with I'll collate it into a sticky.

I'm in the same boat as O, in a manner of speaking, in that I don't have access to Covenants either.

V would want a lab where the aura is, and if the environs aren't perfect, that's just another challenge to be overcome, all good by him.

How "damp" are the tunnels, and the labs in the aura? Just the vis is found in that magical air-pocket, right, not the labs themselves?

The guy who was here before you had his lab in the air pocket...well, he -made- the air pocket and put his lab in it. You don't have to do that same if you don't want to, though.

Yeah, not being all that excited about Aquam, it seems... unnecessary. Let someone who ~is~ excited about Aquam grab a spot there, no prob.

V will set up shop somewhere well off the main tunnel, in a back corner where privacy and low traffic flow are available. Priorities are Aura, and a lab that won't be immediately found/stormed if the peasants ever desire to exercise their god-given right to form a mob. :unamused:


My Latin is virtually non-existent. If someone wants to correct the grammar on the ship's name, I'll gladly change over.

Right now, I don't feel much need to really detail the ship, or give a PBeM version of the 10 minute flyby of the Enterprise in the first Star Trek movie.

Key points:

The Sanctum Mysterium is a large ship, though some mundane ships in Mythic Europe are larger.
The Sanctum Mysterium is kept surprisingly, stunningly clean.
The crew too, which is even a greater surprise, in a way. More about the crew below.
There is an obvious sanctum marker on a pennant flying from the ship; the sail has a huge sanctum marker, and there is another sanctum marker next to the name of the ship and on the door to Iohannes' cabin.
The bow of the ship is a carved figurehead in the likeness of a swan or similar seabird, well-carved and lovingly painted.

The crew:
A full complement for sailing (1 per 10 tons laden) plus a retinue of archers plus two senior men; this is not too unusual for the period.
Crew tend to have one or more spells on them at any given time. This will cause Warping, though a sailor who lives long enough for Warping to matter much will have gained overall.
Many are outcasts or misfits of one kind or another not likely to find a better berth anywhere else. All are extremely capable and paid for it.
Extremely loyal: InMe spells ensure each sailor is right for the ship, despite appearances and past history, and continuing prosperity commands a loyalty all its own.

Able but less likely to take ordinary, bulk cargoes, because these do not command the high prices suited to a ship with her unique advantages. (The specific advantage is not obvious, only the results.)
Tends to get lucrative cargoes, including travelers who can afford it.
Accepts interesting commissions.
Rarely engages in non-trade activities; there is no law of the sea in this time period.
One of the few ships in-period (there are some) that will round Iberia, and can operate effectively in both the north and the south.
Will not travel completely out of season, but will push the edge. (The Mediterranean does have a winter season in which ships rarely sail.)



Bad Latin is traditional. Name sounds good, either way.

re crews and longevity- heh, yup. Good point. Add retirement benefits and a pension, and they'll be storming the gangplank to join up! :laughing:

Med & "Winter"- it's not that the seas/weather become too rough to sail, it's that the weather becomes too unpredictable for a time where 1) even short hops took a long time, 2) there was no understanding of weather beyond what could be seen on the horizon, and 3) boats were still relatively fragile and handled poorly in bad weather.

A magus in your position could largely overcome all 3 of those with little challenge, I'd think, the first two at least, and thus, while sailing during the occasional squall or storm would ~still~ be nearly as dangerous, you could easily avoid those situations to begin with, which is the battle won. Also, many of the "storms" are actually just squalls, which, if given adequate warning (read "magical"), are weatherable.

Same is true to a lesser extent in the North, it's just that day to day stormy weather is more the rule than the exception, legs are longer and there are fewer places to hide, and the storms, when they do hit, can last weeks (actually multiple on each others' heels), not hours, and are far, far more brutal.

While sailing in the Med in Winter is merely quite risky, sailing in the North would be seen as simply suicide, and sailing into a Northern port in that season would cause quite a commotion in the populus, I'd think, implying either some life-or-death issue, or... some other explanation. :wink:

(some day, we'll be able to edit... some day...)

Oh, question- the large "sanctum" marker on the sail- does that claim the entire boat as sanctum, or just declare that there is a sanctum "on the premises"? (And if the former, is that kosher by the peripheral code? Anyone know?)

Thanks. I have toyed with running an Ars Magica game in which the players had to speak for their magi in Pig Latin.....

grin I think that's a bit anachronistic... and a higher salary would probably appeal more to sailors anyway.

I don't mind some anachronisms: The compass and stern rudder are not anachronisms for this period. Portolans? Just barely, and who better than a sea captain with a real education to help start that rolling? Maritime astrolobe, Jacob's staff, quadrant... that's pushing it, but maybe not for a magus (and Iohannes has a specialty in astronomy to support his being a bit out.)

But a caravel is right out. :slight_smile:

However, oddly enough, a Chinese junk is not. These are awesome ships and have just begun to come into their own. I'm not talking about the fleet of Zheng He, both overly hyped and anachronstic, but ships of the Sung dynasty. Maybe he sailed to China and back during his ten years away from the Order.... but maybe it's more appropriate for that to happen during play, if at all. Having the best mundane ship in Europe feels too much of a stretch.

Later in his career, armed with reliable Auram spells, this will be true. Sailor's Foretaste of the Morrow to warn, and ReAu to own any storm that comes. Right now, though, if Iohannes wants an Auram spell, he has to spont it. He's awesome at spontaneous magic, and can even do it reliably, but it still costs too much to do it all the time, though he's doing it during my introductory blurb.

(I had an interesting time designing Iohannes: Given that I wanted him to start with a newly Gauntleted magus' spells and Arts, and given that I wanted him to be both a magus and a mariner, with neither being an afterthought, what kind of magic to give him? Weather magic? Herbam? Aquam? Maybe even Ignem (win every mundane fight at sea)? I could only choose one and settled for Mentem, which makes him a better captain. He usually uses magic to get the most from his crew.)

BTW, storms in the Med can get nasty, smashing entire fleets even on short hops.

However, as you say:

Definitely, if that arrival were seen. My introduction to Iohannes deliberately had him arrive late at night, his ship unlit. Few people would likely have been out, and in age when cities were not lit by night, no one would likely have noticed. I assumed that the dock would be deserted.

Stretching the sailing season by a month on either side wouldn't raise eyebrows as much, and probably in a useful way.

Thanks for your comments!




Iohannes considers the ship his sanctum, though he can easily lower the banner (the sail is lowered in port) and cover the marker on the hull, if a visiting magus feels nervous. Though Iohannes will point out that a magus who abuses his sanctum privileges by killing a magus guest is not likely to live long and prosper once the Quasitors explain to the Tribunal what happened and various more powerful magi decide to express their offended sensibilities in a tangible fashion, the official outcome of the trial notwithstanding.... unless, of course, the slain magus has enemies and no friends or patron.

Considering the potential of a Sight PeHe or CrIg cast at sea, a huge and prominent sanctum marker has its place.

grin Thanks again for your questions!



Remember, Sailor's Foretaste is deceptively named- it also gives an idea of the weather for the next week. If you can conjure a little wind in the sails 24/7, and plan short hops, that's all you really need. It's getting caught a day out of any port when the horizon turns dark...

Blackline squalls can be like that. But the idea is to know what's waiting for you, magically, so you know whether that short hop is timed right or not.

Mmmm, mariners and associated bussinesses and townsfolk ~know~ their own harbor, and a new ship showing up in the morning would be little different than witnessing the arrival- maybe even more literally remarkable, because of the nighttime navigation. The populus as a whole might not mark the addition, but those who are in the trade certainly would, and children who play in/around the docks and have nothing better to do than know the local goings on, and word spreads, especially in Winter when there is less news anyway...


And decent ReAu solves the problem entirely. I seriously considered going Auram with a focus in wind rather than Mentem.

It's useful to have those in the know know.... or think they know. These are the people who will want to transact business to mutual advantage. Most people won't even want to hear about it, and probably never will. It's entirely different when the thing is obvious and everyone sees.

Iohannes is probably not the only great mariner out there. A companion-class character with Ways of the Water, Puissant(mariner), Intuition, Weather Sense, etc, will also be quite effective in his own way.



How many vis are available for lab work for each magus? I am planning Titius lab work for the year.

The covenant has 250 pawns of vis in storage, or various types.
It gathers 30 pawns per year.

How many is available per magus is effectively an IC political decision for those of you with magi.

How many magi do we have? Titius, Theodora, Iohannes, and Vispillius, right? (Does our SG have one I'm forgetting???)

Well, saving a little isn't a bad plan. That's 30/5 = 6/year, on average, before random additions from adventuring (which should not be included until they're present, sadly). But, if someone wants to tap into the reserves (say, for a talisman, or some largish enchantment), that's cool by me, so long as it does not become a habit, and it all balances out over time.

That's a big warchest, maybe "too" big, so 12, even 16 in a year, no problem- just don't be expecting the same next year, unless we get a windfall. :wink:

No, the guy who ran the place selected you as his heirs and then "went away" on a long cruise, with the stated intention of not coming back.

He's doing that weird Jerbiton thing they do where they all but give up studying magic to go do his own thing. His thing's visiting Jerusalem, and thedn thinking seriously about his life.



Thinking about the covenant library, I notice that we lack a book on Parma, which would be really useful.

Either we can restructure the library we have to squeeze one in, or maybe acquire one.



A book on Parma would indeed be useful

Recently got access to the Lab rules, so, to get back to this for a moment...

In order to get an Aura in the lab, it needs to be in the underwater air pocket, right? How big is that? How many of us can fit? Is that even a concern? Can we build walls and section it off, is it that big? (Don't know if I should be picturing a bubble the size of a small parachute (1-2 labs max), or the size of a pro-sports dome! Don't need a scale map, but a rough idea of what we have to work with.)

What is the "sea floor" like? Sand, rock, dried mud/dirt? Long since paved over with a civilized flagstone surface?

Which free flaws would be mandatory - damp & "subterranean"? (or would the ward be so effective as to make the area bone dry???)

I take it "magical lighting" and "m'l heating" would be free as well, if in the bubble?

How much time is reasonable to assume we've had to work to improve this puppy? Refinement? (and etc from that?)

Other SG suggestions/expectations for a lab in that aura area? Size? Virtues/Flaws?


We have 120 points left to spend.

I can think of a few ways to spend them.

Without much thinking: Books! We lack essential texts on Parma and Magic Theory, along with less essential but still potentially useful texts.

Parma Magica, summa Lvl 7 Q 14
Magic Theory, summa Lvl 7 Q14

This costs 70 points, leaving 50 remaining. Or, maybe we lack these texts for some reason!

A covenant of this kind, living in the midst of a commercial center, ought to have a specialist or two. A factor seems likely, to manage the covenant's holdings and commerce, representing the Company, er covenant, in guild affairs. Any other ideas?

Maybe one more book and another specialist, perhaps a teacher? A scribe?

(Does our covenant have a name?)