Covenant Development: General Discussion

I think I'm leaning towards allowing Parma sources to exist. There are a lot of potential issues to weigh both in character and from a broader gameplay perspective. I think however that not having access to the usual sources would make Parma prohibitively difficult to learn.

It has put a line of thinking in the back of my mind however to make me wonder whether there shouldn't be a vexillation-like group, perhaps of Hoplites and/or Quaesitori, that specifically protects the Order from the threat of having Parma or Hermetic Magic itself compromised by enemies.

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So how much should we worry about the ease/difficulty of getting people/things on/off of the island?

Should we feel exposed magically/hermetically out there in a boat magically/hermetically speaking?

I'd say it's pretty hard for mundanes to arrive without being seen, and we could generally deal with them from afar using mundane means (equivalent to Difficult Access Site Boon).

Hermetically... I like the idea of a magus having an easy time targeting us, as long as he is willing to expend a few years on the task (should also be possible, but a little bit harder, for hedge wizards).

Meaning we have a few years to create/improve our magical defenses. After that, we would be foolish to not expect the continental magi to take action against what they perceive to be our weak points.

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Agreed.

Not saying that this is the plan or anything, but...

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Second take (Inchcleraun and Whinning Forest remaining as is).

Re: Portlick, historically it should belong to the Dillons, but I've changed his surname, while trying to anchor other things to historical events.

We can totally change Brian's family, but with him we have the option (if desired) to meddle on the affairs of the mundane rulers of Connacht (regardless if we support him or not).


A small but growing village, and an inn

To the east of Inchmore, on the eastern shore of Lough Ree, one will find an yet unnamed hamlet. The small village came to be due to the constant needs of Inchmore, and today most of the goods provided to the covenant go through hamlet, be it food or craft.

The crafters of the hamlet mostly deal with wood or weaving. High-quality items come from Athlone, as well as metal items and other rarer products. The one notable exception is bone-carving: there is an exceptional artisan who makes outstanding objects out of bone and horn, (generally flutes, combs and jewelry).

The shipment of goods to the covenant is overseen by Eamon O’Reilly, a seasoned fisherman with weathered hands and a keen understanding of the lake's ebb and flow. He is the unnoficial liason between the hamlet and the covenant, and has some kind of deep connection and understanding with the lake itself, but the nature of this connection is not clear.

At the heart of the hamlet, despite it's small size, there is a sizeable inn, Cloch na Tinte (Hearthstone). All roads in the hamlet come and go from the inn, and on the early hours in the morning a bustling market comes into life. The inn is always full, and guests of Inchmore are advised to seek respite in there for a couple of hours until granted authorization (and passage on a boat) to board the island.

Hearthstone's innkeeper is a jovial woman named Mauve. Possessing an uncanny beauty, Mauve captivates all who watch her occasional dance around the fire, and the magi of Inchmore have already confirmed that she has the power to affect peoples emotions. She also leads the dance on the local festivals and cerimonies, in particular on the celebrations of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. One day, about eleven years ago, Mauve came to be pregnant with twins, Aisling and Eamon. She has never spoken about the children's father.
(Note: Mauve has the virtues Enchanting Dance (variant of Enchanting Music, HoH:MC p.86) and Folk Dancer, HoH:TL p.142.)

Brian Ó Conchobair, ruler of Athleague

A distant descendent of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, last High King of Ireland, Brian wants nothing to do with politics. Better known by his poetry than his swordmanship, nonetheless he has a (very limited) chance of becoming King of Connacht.

Brian lives in Athleague, about 8km south of Roscommon, and spends most of his days concerned with his own affairs, trying to stay out of trouble.
While having no magical powers of his own, seven years ago he married Ava Dillon, a Gifted Hedge Witch. From their union, a son and three daughters have been born so far.
(Note: Brian can easily be from a branch of the O'Hara instead of the O'Connors if deemed better. Alternatively, we could change his disposition regarding the throne of Connacht)

Portlick Castle and Alistair Walls

In the nearby vicinity of the village, a figure of authority and nobility emerges in the form of Lord Alistair Walls, who marked his presence by the construction of a sturdy motte castle, situated barely one mile away from the lakeside settlement. The castle, surrounded by a protective wooden palisade, overlooks the surrounding lands and provides a strategic vantage point, serving both as the administrative and defensive center of the region.

The Walls' rights over the area where the castle was built were granted by Hugh De Lacy, who in turn was granted large part of Westmeath by after the military campaign against Lord Strongbow. However, rumour has it that the relationship between William de Lacy and Alistair Wall has strained since Alistair aligned politically with the late King John (who temporariy deprived the de Lacy's from their lands from 1210 to 1215). Alistair has shown no inclination toward the irish king so far.

While the villagers acknowledge the mundane lord's authority, there is a delicate dance between him and the covenant. Alistair views the magi with a mixture of curiosity, caution, and, at times, skepticism. Being grounded in practical matters of governance and military strategy, he finds it challenging to fully comprehend the mystical forces at play.

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Consolidated for review before posting to the sticky threads.

A small but growing village, and an inn

To the east of Inchmore, on the eastern shore of Lough Ree, one will find an yet unnamed hamlet. The small village came to be due to the constant needs of Inchmore, and today most of the goods provided to the covenant go through hamlet, be it food or craft.

The crafters of the hamlet mostly deal with wood or weaving. High-quality items come from Athlone, as well as metal items and other rarer products. The one notable exception is bone-carving: there is an exceptional artisan who makes outstanding objects out of bone and horn, (generally flutes, combs and jewelry).

The shipment of goods to the covenant is overseen by Eamon O’Reilly, a seasoned fisherman with weathered hands and a keen understanding of the lake's ebb and flow. He is the unnoficial liason between the hamlet and the covenant, and has some kind of deep connection and understanding with the lake itself, but the nature of this connection is not clear.

At the heart of the hamlet, despite it's small size, there is a sizeable inn, Cloch na Tinte (Hearthstone). All roads in the hamlet come and go from the inn, and on the early hours in the morning a bustling market comes into life. The inn is always full, and guests of Inchmore are advised to seek respite in there for a couple of hours until granted authorization (and passage on a boat) to board the island.

Hearthstone's innkeeper is a jovial woman named Mauve. Possessing an uncanny beauty, Mauve captivates all who watch her occasional dance around the fire, and the magi of Inchmore have already confirmed that she has the power to affect peoples emotions. She also leads the dance on the local festivals and ceremonies, in particular on the celebrations of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. One day, about eleven years ago, Mauve came to be pregnant with twins, Aisling and Eamon. She has never spoken about the children's father.
(Note: Mauve has the virtues Enchanting Dance (variant of Enchanting Music, HoH:MC p.86) and Folk Dancer, HoH:TL p.142.)

Portlick Castle and Alistair Walls

In the nearby vicinity of the village, a figure of authority and nobility emerges in the form of Lord Alistair Walls, who marked his presence by the construction of a sturdy motte castle, situated barely one mile away from the lakeside settlement. The castle, surrounded by a protective wooden palisade, overlooks the surrounding lands and provides a strategic vantage point, serving both as the administrative and defensive center of the region. This construction appeared to be in response to all of the activity on Inchmore Isle and correspondingly on the shore of the lake. It is clear these affairs have drawn his attention in some way though what precisely his attitude about things is remains to be seen.

It could be noted by a keen observer that relations between Magi and mundane Lords are considerably different in Stonehenge than in Hibernia and there may be some "culture clash" at play here.

The Walls' rights over the area where the castle was built were granted by Hugh De Lacy, who in turn was granted large part of Westmeath by the Crown after the military campaign against Lord Strongbow. However, rumor has it that the relationship between William de Lacy and Alistair Wall has strained since Alistair aligned politically with the late King John (who temporarily deprived the de Lacy's of their lands from 1210 to 1215). Alistair has shown no inclination toward the Irish king so far.

While the villagers acknowledge the mundane lord's authority, they are economically tied to the Covenant, and there is a delicate dance between Alistair and the Covenant for now. Alistair views the magi with a mixture of curiosity, caution, and, at times, skepticism. Being grounded in practical matters of governance and military strategy, he finds it challenging to fully comprehend the mystical forces at play. The village also does not generate a considerable amount potential taxes at current yet that could easily change if it continues to grow over time. There could be conflict brewing here, or a relationship for the future to build either one.

Brian Ó Conchobair, ruler of Athleague

A distant descendent of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, last High King of Ireland, Brian wants nothing to do with politics. Better known by his poetry than his swordmanship, nonetheless he has a (very limited) chance of becoming King of Connacht.

Brian lives in Athleague, about 8km south of Roscommon, and spends most of his days concerned with his own affairs, trying to stay out of trouble.

While having no magical powers of his own, seven years ago he married Ava Dillon, a Gifted Hedge Witch. From their union, a son and three daughters have been born so far. His influence, status, and wealth were considered quite a coup of achievement as strategic marriage by the Dillons. What long term plans the witches and lord might have together remain to be seen yet it is generally rumored that neither entered into their marriage alliance without goals of their own.

Whinning Forest, Whining House

Sailing to the south of Inchmore one will find himself reaching the Whinning Peninsula, upon which grows the Millennium Forest. In the midst of the forest there is a small manor, locally know as Whining House due to the cries one hears coming from there at night. No one is quite sure of who or what lives there, and no one is keen to find out.

Inchcleraun

To the north of Inchmore, the island of Inchcleraun has a deep history. Over the course of the years the island and it's several churches were plundered, burned and razed. Despite this, the churches persist. It's unclear which force is trying to drive the Dominion out of the island, and for what purpose. It might be related to Queen Medb, for one legend says that the island was the place of her death, killed by a stone thrown by her nephew from the Elfeet castle, on the shore of the lake. It might be something else entirely.

Currently the island houses an Augustinian monastery. Ambrose of Inchcleraun, the abbot, has sent an envoy to make sure of the magi intentions. Politically the monks lean towards the English side, if nothing else due to the sheer amount of times the island was plundered by men from Munster and Connacht. They are, however, members of the Irish Church (in opposition to the Anglo-Irish church), and had sufficiently neutral relations with Praesis. So far, everything seems to indicate that as long as Inchmore has no intent on raiding Inchcleraum, the monks will pose no trouble.

There are six temples built on the island: the three most important are described below.

Teampall Diarmada
Teampall Diarmada is the oldest and smallest church in Inchcleraun, built around the year 540 (either by Saint Diarmaid the Just or in his honor, the accountings are unclear), a stone building with a stone roof measuring not more than 7ft by 8ft. It might very well be the oldest church in Ireland. Saint Diarmaid was the teacher of Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland.

Teampall Mór
Recently built, standing barely four meters to the north of Teampall Diarmada, this Augustinian priory church is constructed in an “L” shape. It is the largest building on the island, consisting of a church, sacristy and living accommodation. It has a more modern appearance than any of the others.

Teampall Clogas
Built together with Teampall Mór, Teampall Clogas stands alone at the highest point of the island. It has a square bell tower attached to the main building, being distinct from most other churches of this era (which have round towers, separate from the main building). It is located on the northern part of the island and is visible from the shoreline. The church is rectangular, 35 ft by 17 ft. It's bell is a blessed bell (TCE p. 132), whose sound covers the whole island.

So I think we settled on allowing Parma Magica, allowing Area Lore: Hibernia as a general Area Lore covering the island, and shifting Area Lore: Hibernian Tribunal to Organization Lore: Hibernian Tribunal.

Are there any other things we need to clear up regarding the library at this stage?

Not overly critical, but are we going to use the extended library rules from Covenants (resonance, clarification, skilled scribe/binder/illuminator, etc)?

I honestly forget what they are 100%, so let me glance at it when I get a free second tomorrow and I'll let you know!

Looked at them again, and yeah, I don't have an issue with 'em. But as always, we need @Vortigern to give final approval.

With that in mind, here's my first run through the library. As always, please feel free to make suggestions/tweaks as you see fit.

"Legends of Ériu"
-Area Lore Hibernia, L4, Q15

"The Liberated Mind"
-Artes Liberales, L4, Q15

"The Code of Hermes and Its Application"
-Code of Hermes, L4, Q15

"Focus and Clarity: Mastery of Concentration Techniques"
-Concentration, L4, Q15

"Classical Tongues and Esoteric Scripts"
-Dead Language: Latin, L4, Q15

"Divine Dominion: Understanding the Powers of the Divine Realm"
-Dominion Lore, L4, Q15

"Life Amongst the Sidhe: Explorations of the Faerie Otherworld"
-Faerie Lore, L4, Q15

"Subtlety and Precision: Techniques of Finesse in Magic"
-Finesse, L4, Q15

"Fiendish Lore: Exploring the Depths of Hell's Dominion"
-Infernal Lore, L4, Q15

"Tongues of the Isles"
-A set of books teaching Gaelic, Norse, and English, L4, Q15

"Unveiling the Mysteries of the Magic Realm"
-Magic Lore, L4, Q15

"Principles of Magic Theory and Practice"
-Magic Theory, L5, Q15

"Ancient Alliances: The Lore of Coill Tri and Its Significance"
-Organization Lore: Chill Tri, L4, Q15

"Insights into the Hibernian Order"
-Organization Lore: Hibernian Tribunal, L4, Q15

"The Hermetic Enigma"
-Organization Lore: The Order of Hermes, L4, Q15

"Shield of the Magus"
-Parma Magica, L4, Q15

"Techniques for Breaking Magical Barriers"
-Penetration, L4, Q15

"Ruminations on Reality"
-Philosophiae, L4, Q15

"Teaching the Arcane: Strategies for Educating Future Magi"
-Teaching, L4, Q15

"The Journeyman's Primer on (Art)"
-A set of texts covering every technique and form, L10, Q15

Don't forget anything gifted to the magi from their respective parens. Figure a good book in a given art (15/15?), a few lab texts, and some assorted tracts?

Keep in mind there's an errata. With the errata, basically:

  • the standard +6 for summae/tractatus becomes a +3 +1 skilled binder +1 skilled scribe +1 skilled illuminist (with the option of up to +3 extra for ressonant materials, for Art books only).
  • a bunch of colorful options for different kinds of books are added (like palimpsests, for example). Not usually the best sources of knowledge, but fun little pieces.


First a general comment: I like to rip off   get some inspiration from the list of ArM5 Books by Ability. The list is not complete, but it is quite comprehensive, and brings most of the (real, mundane-ish) books mentioned across the several sourcebooks.

For anything where there is a listed authority on the subject (any academic Ability, essentially), could we stick to this the books from the list as a rule of thumb? I mean, there are other authors and sources for the classical subjects, of course, but if our library has none of the classics, how good it really is, and who are we learning from? Random, deranged Bonisagi? : P

Given that, further comments below.


Maybe a bit more of randomness across summae levels? Everything is either L4 or L5. Where are the L2, L3 and L6 or higher books?


I get that Q15 is an easy and round number for study purposes, but I personally find it a bit mechanist. Q15 implies Communication +3 from the author, and either a 2 level drop for increased quality or a 1 level drop + Good Teacher. At L4/5, this means the author's score on the ability was something on the 12~14 range, which is quite high end (IMO), requiring 20+ years (plus Affinity) to reach.

All sumae being L4/5Q15 also means we pretty much have only the creme de la creme in terms of books, volumes written only be the very best authors of each subject, both in depth of knowledge and capability of explaining the subject. Which I find unlikely, generally speaking, for any library at all, even more a spring one.

This all to say, personally I like slight more varied L and Q (and on average, slight lower Q). But I lean towards harsher conditions and higher verisimilitude, and I recognize I am usually alone in that camp. ^^
I have no qualms if the SG's prefer higher library stats (or simply chose Q15 because it makes bookkeeping scores easier).



We seem to lack tractatus. In particular, TCI presents Topographia
Hibernica and Expugnatio Hibernica on p.20, both tractatus on Area Lore: Ireland (Q8) written by Gerald of Wales. But on a more general note, tractatus overall. They are easier to write, and while more expensive (in comparison with a summa with the same quality) we should really be drowning on them. Eg. instead of a L4Q15 summa on penentration, a L2Q15 summa and a couple (or a bunch) of Q12 tractatus. Makes sense?


I assume most of these books are written in Latin, but if any is not, it should be noted. In particular

this one should be in some language other than Latin, unless it's a dictionary (a tractatus in Latin, on Latin, as per A&A p.12).


A pet peeve of mine: language books above L3. The sourcebooks don't cap language at 6, but do seem to imply that a cap exists (and even if it does not, language scores above 6 would generally not be common anyway (because they are mostly useless)). Since Puissant does not contribute to the score when writting, language books should generally be capped at 3, and if language scores have no cap, should still be exceedlingly rare at higher levels since it would be so unlikely for someone to write them.

For languages, I'd rather we stick to a teacher, complemented by a set of tractatus when applicable.


Anything that gives more than passing knowledge on the Infernal would likely drawn the quesitores/hoplites attention, wouldn't it?


Even if there are books on Parma, this one seems like a bit too much. The same as the books on Infernal, I think these would draw attention.



Well, there it is. Sorry for the (perhaps a bit undue) criticism. Drafting a library is hard work, and I don't want to come across as if I don't appreciate your effort.


Bonus coment:

Going by the title, I get the feeling of a Tytalus teaching the reader how to exploit the system. =9

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Apologies for the slow reply, just been buried under end of quarter stuff/parent teacher conferences. But that's all in the rearview mirror thankfully. Fingers crossed for no more distractions at any rate?

Ew, no, forget I said anything. Talked to @Vortigern and we agree that nope, it can die in a fire. Hard pass.

I'll happily go take a look and see what we can blatantly steal! Er, borrow?

Totally fair, and as you have correctly guessed, purely a product of my laziness. I don't mind you coming in and randomizing things up if you're so inclined!

Planned on going back on adding a number, as well as lab texts, etc. My fault for not being clearer on that point! But again, please feel free to jump on in!

Absolutely. And don't worry, @Vortigern mentioned he was thinking about going in and adding a little blurb to each book, so we'll make sure that gets covered.

Fair enough. And who am I to deny someone fixing a pet peeve? We've all got 'em after all and I'm sure mine will come up at some point!

I think it depends? After all, if you're going to use Vim against magic of a given realm/tradition, it's stated that you need to have some level of understanding about how that magic works in order to design the effect. So really, it depends on the book's topic I s'pose?

As mentioned earlier, I'm more than happy to tone some things down and replace them with tracts! Feel free to make any suggestions though if you feel like saving me a bit of work!

Please, you don't play Ars if you aren't willing to argue about the tiniest of details my friend! And don't worry, I wasn't offended in the slightest? This is a troupe game, there's always give and take. There's a reason why I solicited feedback after all!

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Sorry for the delay, I was also kinda buried in work. :sweat_smile:

Glad to hear! In my mind I always come up a lot more argumentative than I usually want to come across as, specially in long texts. ^^


I'm ok with sticking to Q15 for quality, really (work smart, not hard, right? Ars is complex enough as is). The only thing I have slightly stronger feelings are the language books (but hey, no use to die on this hill if no one else is bothered by it).

I'd be interested to hear others' inputs on the library, if anyone has some. As you said, it's a troupe game after all. =]

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Fair. Seems a common affliction!

Haha totally fair, but don't even worry about it in the slightest!

I will probably go back and tweak some here in a bit, and leave others. Middle of the road as it were.

Already dropped 'em on my rough draft for the second pass, so no need to worry there! And speaking of, working on that right now. Gonna try to include the tracts, but we'll see how much brainpower I've got left after grading all these tests.

Hi all, I have two questions about the first library draft:

  1. A few of our magi have favored Art scores already at / near 10, so they will have no / limited use for the books in those Arts, and then no way to increase those Arts by the study of books. Is that intentional, or will each of the magi be allowed to bring one or two books from their past lives that is of higher Level (and likely lower Quality)? If the latter, what guidelines (e.g., max sum of Level + Quality) would we stick to?
  2. Maybe this is already appreciated, but I did the math for how long it would take to get Art and Ability scores up to the maximum Level (Ability: 4 / Art: 10) of the books in the first draft:
    For Quality = 15, it takes 4 seasons of study to bring both an Ability up to the max.
    For Quality = 10, it takes 5 seasons of study to bring an Ability, and 6 seasons to bring an Art up to the max
    For Quality = 5, it takes 10 seasons to max Abilities and 11 for Arts
    Is there a preference for how quickly our characters increase their scores, or for slowing advancement of certain Abilities? Faster is fine with me.

Lastly, I'm also in favor of no language books. It makes Well Traveled (and Linguist, though I don't think anyone took that virtue) more valuable, and it seems to me more appropriate for characters to have to learn languages through exposure or teaching. I'm not fundamentally opposed to book- or tractatus-learning languages though, if that's where the consensus lies.