Covenant Discussion [OOC]

This is the thread for discussing the covenant.

I think a regio would be neat - maybe that allowed travel from inside the fort to the town? I don't know if that's broken or not.

((and there's absolutely nobody that would use it for sketchy late-night trips to town... :wink: ))

Adding a couple things:

Some kind of mine, Gold or Silver or something less precious. (Probably a good candidate for a contested resource).

A road (which is a hook but makes for good trading).

A shipyard.

Autocephalous that complements Beholden (which is mentioned below.)

I want one hook that’ll get Aureliana on the trail of some ancient magic.

I want at least one contested mundane resource and one contested vis source.

Suffrage.

Aura 5 if possible.

Some Hooks that were discussed earlier on the Discord server are: Suffrage, Mundane Politics, Contested Resource, Centralized Kingdom, Road.

We have:

Looks like we have Crumbling, possibly Castle

We also discussed the Hooks that would naturally result from some of the likely early choices we’re considering making - like, if the plan (or at least Oktavia’s plan, but I was under the impression everyone was on board) to establish a charter and turn this into a full-fledged town goes through, combined with Suffrage, we’re probably going to pull in a lot of women from the surrounding countryside and beyond who are searching for career opportunities they wouldn’t have legal access to elsewhere, which would most likely result in the Gender Imbalance and maybe even Guild Hooks right away. (And while I recognize the “Hooks/Boons gained in play don’t contribute” rule, this really feels like one of the starting foundations of the covenant - the town foundation really would be happening right alongside the covenant’s own foundation except that the GM’s major plot hook for the entire campaign is asking us not to, and I’d have several objections to being penalized for respecting the parts of the story the GM appears to be most interested in.) You could even make an argument for Incompetent Covenfolk also being applicable to start, since the bulk of new craftspeople entering the city will probably be inexperienced women seeking to learn a trade rather than people already well-versed in those skills, but that one is much more arguable - it’s easily also possible that we’ll get enough skilled people early on to get the unskilled but dedicated masses up to speed, depending on what everyone finds more fun. Those are sort of all natural extensions of the covenant’s basic founding principles interacting with the world - the Church might dislike us and send first friars and then soldiers, and the secular world may initially ridicule us for how “weak and leaderless” (Covenants p.19) we are, but those are stories to be addressed as necessary.

In terms of stuff that’s important to me personally Boon-wise, if we could have Healthy Feature (multiple times, even!) and Vast Aura, really jack up the “magical city” vibe, I’d feel like peach in a cobbler. But again, that’s really just me.

Beholden, due to the way we are "given" the site, Aura is always a nice boon, to +5 if we can.
Let us know what the town idea is, and timeframe. We will probably have enough to do just getting the site, labs, covenfolk, and resources all set-up.

Should we budget on being slightly more generous with money, to help reduce some penalties of the gifted?

I don't have strong feelings on this one, having not played Ars before. I think that my character would prefer to live in an isolated tower out in the middle of the forest, forever, so as a player I'd like to give him a little isolation while still getting him constantly dragged onto adventures. So I think some forests and cropland, and a small town (that is probably politically entangled with larger English politics) is about right. My character is pretty useless in Divine auras though, so adventures in large cities or church politics are probably ones he'll end up staying out of it. That's fine - as a good spontaneous caster he is going to be a strong asset on most stories and he'll need an excuse to stay out of some of them.

I like Suffrage. I don't want this campaign to get too anachronistic - I'm not planning on it being one of these campaigns where the Magi start the steampunk industrial revolution or anything - but it feels like we have a fairly egalitarian, well-meaning, mixed-gender covenant and that would propagate down.

The suggestion for a shipyard seems good, especially if we're supposed to be building a safe port - we might as well take advantage of that. A mine may also be possible, leading to all sorts of kobold-style issues. Looking through the hooks, I'm thinking Monster and/or Fairie Court in the surrounding woods? This might be tied in to the town's inability to stay settled long-term, or give Sceparnius some reasons to negotiate a sustainable timber harvest between the local loggers and some spirits of the woods.

My contributions to the Boons/Hooks of the Covenant. Some of these are obvious, some are personal. All are free for discussion!

Boons
Vast and Labyrinthine: This makes sense if we are taking over the ruins of an old fort. It's entirely possible that we won't have explored the entirety of the ruins for some time...and it feeds into everyone having Dedicated Building for our labs.

Right: If we're given the land the Covenant sits on, it's entirely possible that we have been given the right to use some of the local baron's/lord's acreage for our use as well. I'd prefer this to be a forest, specifically for the use of lumberjacking. We are in a harbor, so we're going to need a navy at some point. So I want a shipyard. Sue me. :slight_smile:

Tame Nobleman: We're given enough land that we're going to end up controlling a town/village. According to the Order, magi cannot enter into feudal contracts, so we need a mundane figurehead. Someone who the local mundanes look up to and respect, but who is subservient to our "power behind the throne" rule, as it were.

Criminals: We're on a harbor, so the idea of having some former pirates around to help patrol and/or control our harbor sounds like a good idea to me. It also goes along with my wanting a shipyard.

Dedicated Covenant: For very obvious reasons. We've been tasked to do something.

Hooks
Road: If we are going to have a town/village that we are in control of, I think it makes sense that we might get some visitors from time to time.

Haunted: We are on the site of Roman ruins, and nobody really knows what happened to the ancient inhabitants. They might be a tad pissed off.

Contested Resource: I think this has been mentioned already, and I like stories about having to go out and actually acquire things we need.

Gender Imbalance: I think one of the topics has been about encouraging women to migrate to the town/village. Kind of makes sense that we'd have an imbalance here.

I made some notes about the region when I was researching where to send you all. These were mostly just things I wrote which I found interesting/relevant, so they might not be as interesting to you, but they do show the sorts of things I considered when I was deciding. Don't let this list limit you though - a lot can change in 800 years, and Mythic Europe can be very different from regular Europe. But if it inspires you guys, great!

Oh, and one last thing: Don't worry about balancing hooks, boons etc. I'll be taking some of your suggestions, but not all of them, and I'll handle balance myself.


Metals found in the region naturally:

  • Gold (small)
  • Silver (small)
  • Copper (medium)
  • Tungsten (enormous)
  • Lead (medium)
  • Iron (medium)
  • Manganese and various other trace metals

Minerals:

  • Alabaster (lots)
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Gypsum
  • Coal
  • Non-metamorphosed marble (porous and not nearly as expensive as "true" marble, but sparkles!)

Trees:

  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Hawthorn
  • Hazel
  • Holly
  • Rowan
  • Silver Birch
  • Various fruit trees including apples and cherry trees.
  • Lots of species of berries, but particularly blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, as well as elderberries (which your father smells of).

A few animals which might not be obvious, but which do in fact live in the region:

  • Several species of whales, dolphins, seals.
  • Tons of birds, including falcons, golden eagles, ospreys, buzzards. Puffins sometimes migrate from Lofoten (Norway).
  • Lots of carnivores: Wolves, bears, foxes, wildcats, lynxes.
  • Bats and rodents (weasels, martens etc).
  • Adder (the only venomous snake in England)
  • Essentially endless supply of fish and crab.
  • Mostly harmless insects. E.g. gnats, small ants, small, non-venomous spiders, etc.

Other resources:

  • Large freshwater lake. Empties into North Sea, creating brackish water, which preserves any sunken vessels and prevents decay.
  • Tributary river that eventually connects with the Thames (this port was one of the primary routes Romans used to reach London).
  • Coast is warmed by the Gulf of Mexico, carried by warm and pleasant trade winds. Effect: Region is warmer than its latitude would normally indicate (Temp ranges from 32-75 degrees F, or 0-24 degrees C).
  • Occasional aurora in the winter.
  • Very fertile farmland, but most of it is not being farmed.
  • Roman roads and ruins remain recalcitrant.
  • Elaborate natural caves, caused by calcifications in the rock being washed away and hollowed out by waves/rain/etc. Several natural caves, especially along the beach.
  • Lots of rain, wind, high waves etc, but almost never has tornadoes or major natural disasters.
  • High calcium levels make soil and riverways resistant to pollution. It also the water slightly alkaline, which is good for cleaning, so NPCs will have brightly-color, clean clothes, but dark colors may fade over time. Alkalinity also correlates with higher incidents of kidney/gall stones, but lower incidence of wound infections and GI symptoms.

I have other stuff too, but don't want to give away too much. This is just stuff that anyone could figure out if they do some research.

Also, someone pointed out that there's a place in Portsmouth by the same name ("Portus Adurni"). Portus Adurni is actually one of those places where we can't be entirely certain where it's located, we just have records saying it did, and a rough idea of its location. There are two major theories on this: One is in Portsmouth, the other is near Dunwich. Since the ruins near Dunwich washed out to sea centuries ago, it's hard to prove one or the other. I just took the liberty and decided it should be the location in Dunwich. But don't worry - it's not due to crash into the ocean for hundreds of years, and even that's only if nothing unnatural happens. So if you want to see where it is, or research the area, don't google Portus Adurni, google Dunwich instead. But don't worry about research if it's not your thing - I'll tell you guys everything you need to know.

Couple more comments - looks like there is a good agricultural base potential - though that's really feudal which could be a problem (things like mining and shipbuilding are more town-economy-based and not so reliant on the feudal system).

Tungsten irl was basically useless at this time, and for a long time after. Is there a magical use that would make it worth developing the tungsten deposits? Or maybe this should a be a project for one of the magi - to discover/create a use for it? Not sure if we have a Terram specialist.

Short version: Correct.
Long version: Tungsten has the highest melting point of all natural elements, so would have to be worked cold in this era, which takes longer and yields a less "pretty" result. I don't expect anyone to use it, except maybe as a cheap substitute for other metals in a pinch.

Tungsten is generally seen as a nuisance, since it interferes with purification of Tin (in fact, Tungsten ore's Latin name "Wolframite" translates as "Devourer of Tin") and is thus discarded. That said, a wealthy and determined smith/alchemist might discover how to work it as Tungsten Carbide - a beautiful metal twice as hard as steel and essentially impervious to heat (although it's also a bit heavier if you want the same shatter-resistance, since it can be brittle). All that's required is: Fire, water, air, charcoal, zinc, water, calcium and tungsten - all of which exist in abundance in the region. It would also require a heavy metal press to mold, but that's a fairly simple (although bulky and expensive) contraption. It could be a long-term project for a alchemically-oriented Companion character ("Find a use for this stuff"), but I don't expect a magus to devote their precious time to it.

Is it correct to think that things you've told us about the region, but that don't end up in the covenant build, can be developed later on through stories?

Absolutely.

Here's a drawing I made of the surrounding area(buildings and sea monsters not to scale):
drive.google.com/file/d/19OCNGn ... lgCOMG93dz

Keep in mind that, from a true historical perspective, tungsten wasn't identified as a distinct element until 1781, and it wasn't isolated as a distinct metal until 1783. That's nearly 600 years AFTER when this game takes place. So are we to assume that you are ruling tungsten into existence in 1220? Or are we sticking with the historically available wolframite and scheelite? And even at that, scheelite wasn't first recongized until the same time as tungsten (1781), and wolframite isn't first identified historically until 1546.

As far as the melting point of tungsten, we're magi. Tungsten melts at 6192 F, which does require some serious forge equipment for the mundane population. I'm not even sure medieval (1200s) Britons/Europeans had the capacity to generate that much heat (by comparison, iron, which is the basis for steel and pretty much every weapon and piece of armor at the time, has a melting point of 2800 F), nor would they have the ability to house a structure that could contain that kind of heat. At 6200 F, any kind of metal forge would have long since melted, and most stone would either melt or crack beyond repair at the attempt. In fact, some modern-day ceramics have problems holding/maintaining that kind of heat.

But as I said, we're magi. Assuming tungsten can be identified and isolated in 1220, we should be able to craft some kind of forge capable of melting tungsten. Right?

Couldn't we just say that the smelting process took out the bits of gunk, and cast them aside? Unless a character has a desire to us tungsten in some manner.

We could. But tungsten has multiple high-temperature applications due to its extreme melting point, which make it a desirable metal (today, not in the 1200s). And with multiple Verditii in the group, as well as potential forge-companions, metalurgists, geologists, or other metal-working characters, coupled with the natural inclination of this system to encourage invention, it's possible that we could very well take those other bits of gunk and ask "I wonder what I could do with that...".

Sounds great Ghost. So be it.

To support a water theme I’m hoping to repair, build or whatever some jetties docks or even a sea wall. Nothing dramatic. Another thought was having Adair’s lab close to the ocean, perhaps on stilts atop the water. Or on a rocky finger sticking up out of the water. Thematic not mandatory and something the magus can build if it does not fit.

We need to talk. I so want to build a shipyard and then do a flying navy ala Hermetic Projects.