Covenant Development

The current covenant statistics have been revised several times, and are due for an update again. They are ten years out of date.
I have been playing with numbers and making calculations. There are no freebies or handwaves or free lunches. I just set sources very high so I don't have to worry about accounting. I don't want to worry about accounting. Please don't make me worry about accounting.
There is a lot of stuff that needs updating and revising, and I am slowly working on it. Hopefully the covenant will be updated to 1242 by the end of the summer.
One thing I worked a lot on is revising Boons & Hooks. The originals are found under the link. What I propose for the revision is in the next post

[size=125]Boons & Hooks[/size]
[tab][/tab]I am giving in and using proper form, yet I am keeping entries in categories with each bearing a positive or negative point total. In each category they are listed in order of Major Boon, Minor Boon, Major Hook, Minor Hook, with multiples of a kind listed alphabetically.

Site +4
Aura (Minor Boon x2): The Covenant is situated in a Magic Aura of 5
Difficult Access (Minor Boon): The covenant is built atop a rocky plateau, overlooking the village of Arans. It can be approached by a long road alongside the cliff, which makes it pretty well secure. However, the mountains soar higher still and overlook the plateau.
Healthy Feature (Minor Boon): Clean Mountain Air, healthy food, good environmental conditions. This grants a +1 bonus to Aging rolls.
Mystical Portal (Minor Boon): The covenant has established Mercere Portals with Barcelona, Doisettep, and Harco. Through Barcelona, the covenant also connects to their properties in the Balearic Islands.
Seclusion (Minor Boon): The covenant is located in a remote portion of a remote principality.
Regio (Minor Hook): There is a magical Regio underneath the covenant, in the catacombs and caverns beyond. The extent of this area and the fact that it is a regio is not quite known, but the covenant has been able to utilize the space. Perhaps Past Masters knew more than we do now. The Eternal Flame, the Ice Cavern, Vault Thirteen, the Magma Chamber, and other odd sites are in this area.
Uncontrolled Portal (Minor Hook): In reference to the Mystical Portal Boon, the covenant does not have control over them. They have full access to them, but cannot limit their use by others travelling through.

Fortification +3
Castle (Major Hook): This is a castle after all.
Curtain Walls & Mural Towers (Major Boon): The covenant consists of a hall keep, an inner and an outer bailey, an inner gate house barbican, an outer gate of two towers, and seven other towers. There are also numerous interior buildings. The main keep is built atop the old ruins, and incorporates elements of them in its structure (columns, sculpture, etc).
Artillery (Minor Boon): On top of the towers, the covenant has ballistae rigged to be able to aim at aerial targets. They have been attacked by flying opponents in the past. There is also magical artillery.
Writ of Crenellation (Minor Boon): This is part of the culture of the land, no restrictions are placed upon construction.
Vast and Labyrinthine (Minor Boon): As mentioned above in the Regio Hook, the catacombs and caverns beneath the covenant are quite extensive. This space is unorganized and underutilized because it rambles on in a chaotic fashion.

Resources +13
Contested Resource (Minor Hook): The covenant’s single largest vis source isn’t owned by them. It belongs to the Covenant of Barcelona, who in turn pays generously for the covenant to manage the source and keep it secure. There is some discrepancy on the arrangements and balances, but they are trivial. Regardless, it has come up before and will come up again. And the main point is that the covenant does not actually own their largest vis sources.
Hermetic Economics (Major Boon): Because of the close affiliation with the Mercere, and due to the vast resources they control, Andorra has become a hub for Hermetic economics. The primary advantage is fair trade exchanges at even value using the Vim Standard. A pawn of any Form is worth one Vim, a Technique two. A pawn of Vim is worth 12£ silver. A Hermetic Text on Arts is worth a number of pawns equal to one-fourth of (Level + Quality). There are other opportunities and benefits from this arrangement.
Regional Produce (Minor Resources Hook): The exceptional quality of the local vineyards is causing the area to develop a prestigious reputation for its wine. Aristocrats have begun to treat nearby Vallnord as a seasonal resort village because of the wine over there. This is an unusual bounty, since there is little arable land in Andorra. In real-world Andorra, only five percent of the land is suitable for farming. Even doubling or tripling that for mythic Andorra, this does not account for the amount and quality being produced in this region.
Secondary Income (Minor Boon x4): Though the majority of income is generated by silver, the covenant generates nearly as much from additional sources and is well diversified. They have a partnerhip in the salt mines of Las Salines, and their silver allows them to profit from a little Hermetic banking and investing through House Mercere. These are both considered Typical Sources of Income, each yielding 100£ per year on average. The covenant also profits from Agriculture and Real Estate (Rents), which are more prosperous and discussed under the Minor Boon version of Wealth.
Vast Library (Major Boon): The covenant has a vast library, having quickly recovered from the attack a decade ago. Most of the best were saved by proper cautions, others were replaced or repaired by Sigmundo. Further improvements and additions were accomplished by Vocis, Lucas, Fleur, Fredrika, and others. Further expansion is easily facilitated by exchange through the connections attracted by such a library.
[tab][/tab]Essentially, due to efforts in game thus far, the library has expanded far beyond the relative values of Build Points. Tracking such is no longer required. The only concerns are the current content and new acquisitions, as already in play and accomplished in game. Keeping track of the trade value of the contents is still relevant.
Vis Grant (Minor Boon): As a right, members receive annual Vis dividends, with an amount depending on Rank. The amount is trivial for low ranking members and may not be readily visible, since it is paid in silver.
Vis Wages (Minor Hook): Members may earn vis by performing extra duties and services for the covenant. For most low ranking members, thi is their primary source. Higher ranks receive a vis grant, but often still perform services as officers that earns them additional shares.
Wealth (Minor Boon x2): The covenant is prosperous with Agriculture and Real Estate. Agriculture comes from the village below, Mythic Arans. Arable land is not as scarce in Mythic Andorra, yet is still uncommon and these lands are exceptionally fertile. Grains are the main crop and enough is produced to export to Valnord and La Vella. They also produce an excellent mountain wine unique to this Parish of Ordino. And somehow they are also able to produce olive oil. The olives themselves are not so good, but they make pretty good oil. The covenant owns their own fields, plus the villagers also own property and provide the employment for the covenant's fields.
[tab][/tab]The covenant also profits from Real Estate, though this was not intentional. A token is paid by House Mercere for leasing their Quarter. Their arrangement mainly involves mystical and political exchange, but this set a precedent. The covenant owns other properties in Andorra, and has always collected minor rents and fees. These include some farmland in Arans, a tavern in Valnord, and a manor in La Vella. The Covenant of Bellaquin leases the La Vella property, and pays a large sum for the privilege.
[tab][/tab]These each are upgraded to Greater Sources of Income, each yielding 250£ per year on average.
Wealth (Major Boon): The covenant’s primary income is in silver, and owns a silver mine located nearby in the village of Argent. A separate mundane mining guild owns the rights to operate the mine, paying the covenant a generous share, and the magi are totally hands off. Loyalty and control is maintained through agents it has in the town and in the guild leadership. This is considered a Legendary Source of Income yielding 1000£ per year on average.

Residents -6
Alienable Lands (Minor Residents Hook): The covenant has no choice about this. Just as they own their land, the people of the village that supports them own their lands as well. They can sell, rent, mortgage, or buy lands. They owe the covenant neither rent nor service, it is merely a beneficial economic arrangement. They work their lands for their own benefits and they tend the covenant vineyards for wages.
Chapter House (Major Residents Hook): Sa Dragonera, situated at various sites in the Balearic Islands.
Literate Covenfolk (Minor Residents Boon): Education is available and encourages for all covenfolk and is sponsored in the town below.
Loyal Covenfolk (Minor Residents Boon): Prosperity and good treatment go a long way.
Mercere House (Major Hook): House Mercere occupies a portion of the covenant casually referred to as the Mercere Quarter. It includes a lodge and outpost, a vault, various operational facilities, and three Mercere Portals (Barcelona, Duresca, and Harco).
Rights & Customs (Minor Hook): The traditions of the covenfolk are intertwined with that of the village, and go back for centuries. In some ways, the covenfolk have more control than the magi. This is part of the reason why their Custos are treated so exceptionally well, and they expect the magi to invest vis in their health care. A grog that gets his hand chopped off gets it restored with ritual magic, and officers receive Longevity potions. And as mentioned above, covenfolk do not serve out of obligation, but because they are paid wages and treated well. In addition, an ex-officio vote is granted to certain key covenfolk (such as the Autocrat and the Captain of the Guard)
Strong Community (Minor Boon): This is the natural result of living in an isolated region such as this. Everyone in the covenant and the village of Arans know each other, and this is common throughout the parish of Ordino.
Spies (Minor Hook): Interested others have been able to gain knowledge of the arrangements and activities of the covenant. Security efforts in place minimize this, but with the set up athand there are bound to be numerous holes.
Superiors (Minor Hook): The covenant has a three-tiered hierarchy; Journeyman, Master, and Pontifex. All members have rights and freedoms, but with increased rank comes increased influence and privilege..
Veteran Fighters (Minor Boon): The covenant maintains a staff of professional mercenaries, and made officers of the few remaining veterans of the old Andorran Guard.

External Relations -5
Autocephalous (Major Boon): This pretty much defines the mundane political situation of the entire principality.
Hermetic Prestige (Minor Boon): This is due to the acclaim of past (and current) magi. Although this reputation reflects well upon members of the covenant, it also means that more is expected of them.
Hermetic Politics (Minor Hook): The covenant has been unable to avoid the entanglements of politics, but this comes with the territory of what they have established.
Hermetic Services (Major Hook): The prosperity and influence of Andorra is tied into the Hermetic Services provided here. This involves the activities of the Mercere and being a hub of Travel and Hermetic economics. This also includes the covenant’s monetary exchange services, and the growing book-exchange practice.
Missing Founder (Minor Hook) : Antonio, Carmen's father, is currently lost in Twilight and it is unknown if he will ever return. In any case, the covenant must cope with the legacy he left behind.
Rival (Minor Hook): Vulcanus of Flambeau has apparently chosen Andorra as his beloved rival or vendetta or something. Unless there is something else behind all of this.
Tribunal Border (Major Hook): This was mentioned earlier, whether Andorra lies in the jurisdiction of the Provencal or Iberian Tribunal is a disputed matter.

Surroundings -7
Hidden Ways (Minor Boon): There are obscure mountain paths and areas nearly impossible to access. The covenant has mapped several of them and travel is of little difficulty for the magi.
Monsters (Minor Hook x3): There are three specific monsters, or groups of monsters, that the covenant needs to be wary of.

  • The first is Sigmundo, an Elder Dragon that lairs within a few weeks travel through rough mountain passes (via flight or teleportation it isn't all that far at all). Sigmundo is a Dragon of the Tome, Scion of SuGar who is the Great Wyrm of the Pyrenees, Peer with the likes of Pan Caudrax and Fetillusclaviceps, Smok Vavalski and Fafnir, and others of that magnitude. Sigmundo lives in a massive cave deep underground in twisting tunnels. He commands numerous drakes in the vicinity, some of them his offspring, and has control over other interesting creatures as well. He is a well educated dragon, and himself has a massive library of academic and arcane knowledge. His favorite subjects include Philosophiae, Magic Lore, and Legendary Sagas (Area or Organization Lore). He is able to change shape and can take on a human form. Sigmundo has worked out several treaties with the covenant. Recently, because of the fact that they knew he had Hermetic books in his library, felt compelled to ask him to swear to the Oath of Hermes (using his power to shapechange to assume the guise of a Roman scholar, as he was already fond of doing). Though Sigmundo is an ally, this counts as a Hook because this is a looming political concern, and because his numerous offspring inhabit the mountains.
  • The second concern is a group of monsters, a horde of ogres and goblins that inhabit other secluded mountain areas. They often rival each other, but will unite against an outside threat. Any individual is easily defeated, but in large numbers they are a threat.
  • Thirdly, there are a lot of mystical creatures in my vision of mythic Europe, and the isolated mountain regions of Andorra are ripe to be populated with them. Griffons are common in higher altitudes. Owlbears range in nearby woodlands. There is a known hag on the loose somewhere. None of these are immediate threats, but they are out there close by.

Mythic Location: Caverns of Entropy (Major Hook): Located within a few miles of the covenant, the Caverns of Entropy is a strange and mysterious supernatural site. There are multiple Regio layers, Magic and Faerie, and there are strange inhabitants that dwell within.
Protector (Minor Hook): The covenant is responsible for the protection of the village of Arans down below.
Uncontrolled Portal (Minor Hook): Though the covenant benefits greatly from the Mercere Portal Hub in that Quarter, they have no control over it. Random visitors could pop in at any time.

Undetermined -2
Hidden Resources (Minor Boon x4): The covenant has several hidden resources. Some have come into play during this saga, such as the library arrangement with Sigmundo, the thirteenth Vault of Valdarius, and the payoffs received from Barcelona and Bellaquin. It is certain there are more, with a few probable locations but no definitive knowledge or sense of urgency to dig around. Excavation of the Vault of Dimir Taar might yield some useful magical items, but with little effort put towards it there have been no results. They say his vault was built upon a second vault, one crafted by the legendary Valdarius. There is more than one Vault of Valdarius, and they all contain mysterious treasures. But where they are and how to open them and what they contain is often a Hook. There are many mysteries, and maybe dangers, in the caverns & catacombs (& regio) below the keep. There is the Eternal Flame, the magma chamber & the hot waters, the Ice Sanctuary of Glacius, more Vaults, and who knows what else.
Undetermined Boons (Major Boon): There are various little detailed yet open to development. For example, the Sa Dragonera Journeymen have some variation in Personal Boons & Hooks. Residents at Arans have more static advantages but more of them. Things can be tweeked, and new Boons (and Hooks) can always be discovered or added of the Troupe so desires.
Unknown Hooks (Major Hook x3): The Unknown Hook is reserved at least three times so players can design and run stories of their choosing. Or for me to drop a secret spontaneous story on you. And when used up three times, it opens up again three times.

None of the above is set in stone. It is a direct evolution from what came before, which was based on what came before that, and before that, all the way back to ArM4. You are all part of a glorious tradition that has lasted decades, and future generations will have your stories inflicted upon them :smiling_imp:
As for Resources...
I changed the primary income source from agriculture to the silver mine. It makes more sense, plus I originally did not realize how agriculturally poor this land is in real life.
But this is Mythic Arans, not the real Arans :mrgreen:
Some of what was added comes directly from in play development, such as the salt mine and the Sa Dragonera pool (I list it as a stone, it will get changed to a pool as per the vision of Prince of Boredom).
As for anking and anachronistic business practices, I mean to imply Hermetic banking and investments. We rent property out to the Mercere and Bellaquin, we invest lots of vis with the Mercere so they can stay liquid and in business, and we do some banking in silver to the benefit of Barcelona Covenant. This is the era where banking begins, in Italy and amongst the templars and the Jews. I remind you all that we do have Templar affiliation, or at least in past days we did. And Carmen is indeed Jewish (though also a Catholic, she gets confused sometimes). And we had Italian influences in the past. Plus the whole Mercere thing. No so much anachronistic as it is a fictional advancement over mundane society.
Magi are smarter than muggles :smiley:

There! I said it! Muggles!
I do know what it means. I am just not a Harry Potter fan. I dislike Lord of the Rings also. I know that makes me an oddity amongst fellow gamers, but there it is. My influences are old Conan books, Thor comics, and the study of Spanish history of the middle ages.

Uncontrolled portal seems inaccurate. The portal is controlled, and if we are going to try and slide by on the technicality it is not the covenant directly which controls it, it is also not technically on covenant grounds. Most significantly, is it actually a story hook?

Actually, I'm pretty sure the Mercere portal is on covenant grounds. If that's true, it absolutely could be a story hook if an unwanted magus pops through the portal and we are caught unaware.

To the best of my understanding, the Mercere portal is on covenant grounds. It's in the castle, and I was under the impression that the covenant encompassed the whole of the castle.

And it is also controlled- Mercere portals require activation passphrases that the Mercere watching them possesses. It's not as if some criminal from Itally is going to just slip through and surprise us. The fact that those controlling the portal are renting that portion of the castle from us doesn't make this a hook.

I disagree. The fact that it's not controlled by the covenant means that the Mercere could allow someone to pass through that the covenant doesn't want.

Aye, the portals are "controlled", but they're not controlled by us. Even though they're on our grounds. It's unlikely that anything too bad will happen (because the Mercere on the premises are very friendly), but people we don't want could still show up, and we might even be denied access to the portals for some reason or another. It is a potential story hook / complication, even if it's not one we generally have to stress over.

Very nice to see the list by the way. It's extremely useful to see all of this up-to-date and in one spot; paints a concise picture of Andorra. A great thing for someone who hasn't been involved in all the prior stories! Will there be a similar list for Sa Dragonera / updated guidelines on laboratory construction?

Sa Dragonerais next, after I refine and install this.
Uncoontroled Portal is very apt. Though an advantage to us, we do not control it and it is on our property within our walls and Aegis. Just about any magus in the Order can show up at any time, regardless of how we feel about them. They have the tight to use the portal. It is out of our control.
A storyhook does not have to be a constaant story, just a "hook" that anyone can hang a story on.