Covenant Discussion

Actually, I read the Rhine tribunal ruling as saying that the covenant needs to be approved before it can be established.

It doesn't make sense for buildings to be raised, vis sources to be claimed, mundane income to be established, and so on, if the covenant is not recognized first. Otherwise, any existing covenant could then raid those resources, since they don't belong to a recognized covenant.

Also, a covenant is first and foremost a group of magi that are recognized as bound by their pact, and a pact with the tribunal. So any group of magi could present themselves before the tribunal and petition for recognition, even if they don't have any site, library, and covenfolks.

So, the way I see it happening as thus.

Some time before the 1179 A.D. tribunal meeting, the magi (at least most of them) meet and agree to seek found a new covenant together. One of them knows of some potential sites* near Koblenz. So they travel around the tribunal seeking sponsors from each of the established covenants of the tribunal. At the 1179 meeting, they petition the tribunal for recognition. The sponsors express their support and each established covenant announces their gifts. For the next 5 years, the potential sites near Koblenz are investigated, one is selected, the mundane grant are obtained on the forest, and the main site is built (as well as the secondary site). The area is explored for other vis sources. Mundanes are recruited. The books for the library are copied. Five years go by as the character gather those resources, gifts, etc. Saga starts in 1184 as the site is ready enough for the magi to live there.

*[size=85]The potential sites were the forest, a small site within Koblenz itself (where some supports of the destroyed Roman bridge still stand), and the caves below Laach See.[/size]

So each character must have participated in many ways to this process. As I mention before, not all magi need to have been implicated right from the first -- some may have been recruited along the way. For example, Petronius was Gauntleted 7 years before the saga starts. If we think 2 years is a reasonable time frame to gather sponsors from the various covenants, then he will have been involved from the first. Otherwise, his pater may have heard of the effort and proposed to sponsor the new covenant in exchange for the membership of his filius.

So, things could have proceeded as follow:

  • 1177 A.D.: Some of the magi meet at Durenmar, at the same time as the special Gauntlet ceremony for Petronius takes place. Aedituus mentions that he knows of a few magical sites in and around Koblenz where he thinks a covenant might be established. The magi agree to try to create a new covenant and split the search for sponsors amongst themselves. They receive support from some senior magi (including Petronius' pater Octavius).
  • 1179 A.D.: At the Tribunal meeting, the petition for a new covenant in the Rhine Gorge is brought forward. Since Treverorum has been destroyed 7 years before and no other covenant exists in the area, it is deemed appropriate to keep an Hermetic presence in the region. Sponsors announce their support and the other covenants announce their gifts to the new covenant, to be delivered during the years before the next Tribunal meeting. A peregrinator (or another magus/maga with strong Intellego) is hired (or maybe it was one of the gifts) to investigate the different potential sites. Meanwhile, the young magi begin gathering resources for the new covenant.
  • 1180 A.D.: The investigation of the potential sites is performed. The results are sent to each of the magi and they meet to discuss the results (this includes 3 different vis sources)**. They argue for a while, and finally settle on the main site in the forest, with a secondary site for additional facilities. Praxiteles arranges for a grant of the forest for us, for a duration of 99 years. The reputation of the forests for being haunted helps him secure this.
  • 1181 A.D.: Restoration of the temple begins, with only a few mundanes helping because of the sensitive nature of the statues. Praxiteles is probably in charge of this, since he is a Rego Craft magus. Whoever it is, they get to meet Amelie (wine merchant companion) and Gregor (cooper companion) at this time. Meanwhile, Petronius travels the tribunal to oversee the copying of books promised to the covenant and perform some of the copying himself. He gets to meet Eberhard the scribe (covenfolk) and befriends him while visiting one of the covenants.
  • 1182 A.D.: Relationship with Amelie and Gregor are cultivated, and they are approached by the magi. The covenant will provide the initial capital to build each of their business, in exchange for a part of the profits and the special benefits magi can provide (such as longevity rituals). They agree and start setting up the mundane sources of income for the covenant. Full-fledged construction at the main site begins (walls, villa).
  • 1183 A.D.: Contruction at the main site is now at its peak. Secondary site is also established at this time. The various lab equipment and supplies begin arriving and are stored until the magi have time to set up their labs. The shared lab is prepared and installed.
  • 1184 A.D.: The saga starts.

Again, this is a suggestion and the timeline can be changed and expanded to suit each of the characters. Simply let me know and I'll update it.

**[size=85]I've already detailed one of the (the Vim source at the main site). I will describe 2 more for the other potential sites. A Rego source would make sense for the remains of the old Roman bridge, while Terram/Ignem (or something) else might be appropriate for the caves at Laach See.[/size]

Work has exploded on me, a long story I'm not at liberty to disclose. It's why I haven't been posting a lot this week, and will likely continue through July 4th. I'll hit some posts here and there, when I can.

That happens.

It'll give everyone some time to finish up their magi. In the meantime, I'll keep throwing stuff out for everyone to comment on.

Arthur, thanks for the timeline. This helps my understanding immensely. I think Aedituus is a little older than I anticipated, but that's not a bad thing. As I advance him, I am adding to his Intellego total, probably not enough to explore the sites on his own, but enough to help in the process.

When you refer to the "secondary site" are you talking about the temple, or some other place? At some point a villa overlooking the Rhine was discussed, as well as lacunae in Koblenz. My current understanding is that the villa and temple consistute the main covenant location, and I want to make sure to have the same picture in my head as everyone else...

I was also wondering if we wanted to include a regio somewhere nearby. No books for the next week, so I don't know if this is a boon or hook or just points. I was thinking an island regio in the middle of the Laach See might be interesting.

Yes, the temple and villa (the one built by the magi) are at the main site. Note that I see what used to be the temple as now enclosed within the new villa.

The secondary site is still in the forest, but to the northeast of the temple. Here's what I wrote about it previously.

If you look at this area on Google Maps, the main site is at the small grey circle close to the center of the map. The secondary site is aclose to the source of the small stream (Grundgesbach) that leads to the Rhine, approximately at the 300 m elevation line.

In the real world, there is no island on Laach See (which makes sense, as it is the caldera of a volcano). That doesn't mean we couldn't have one in a regio. Remember that there is a monastery right on the southwestern shore of the lake.

Another place for potential regiones are the caves below Laach See, or even somewhere within Koblenz itself. One could also exist somewhere in one of the small auras within the forest. In any case, such a regio would need to have some feature(s) that made it unsuitable for the main site of the covenant -- too small to set up labs, unfriendly environment, difficult to access/leave, or something else.

To count as a hook for the covenant, the regio would need to be right on our doorstep, which means in the forest. Otherwise it's just a feature of the region and will have little effect on the covenant. If it's somewhere in the forest, it might be a faerie regio (which of course is what made it unsuitable for the covenant) that opens only at certain time(s) of the year or in some other condition.

I've listed a one-liner description for a number of grogs in the index of the Specialists / Grogs / Covenfolks topic. Take a look at them and let me know your own ideas for grogs. I'll detail each one as time permits.

Ok, I've given some thoughts on the number and types of grogs the covenant may need for the various sites and needs.

First, we have the main site (the temple in the forest) with its palissade. This is where most of the magi will probably reside, and has the highest needs. Just assuring minimal levels of security means having a few grogs on guard duty at all times, manning the gate and patrolling the palissade. So that's about a dozen combat-capable grogs. In addition to that, the covenants needs some additional forces to escort magi when they have to go out, let's say another half-dozen at least. Plus a few grog sergeants and the captain. So the basic force for the main site needs 20 or so fighting men. This can be reinforced by able-bodied covenfolk that can have some small training in weapons (skill 3 or below), say about a dozen more men. In addition to that, non-fighting covenfolk like cooks, staff, laborers, etc. There probably needs at least 15-20 of those to maintain the place and care for both the magi and the fighting force. So the main site needs probably has about 40-50 mundanes living there in addition to the magi.

Second, the smaller site with a view of the Rhine (1 mile northeast from the main site) which is probably the equivalent of a farm or small villa. Enough space for 2 labs at the most, so only a small fighting force is required. This still means a handful of grogs, plus a few other mundanes. So let's say 10 mundanes living here, half of them combat worthy.

Third, the businesses (wine merchanting and cooperage) in Koblenz. Not many fighting men are required there, although the wine-merchanting needs at least some guards at night. These can be either grogs or hired guards and may not need to be aware of the magi. Also some clerks, charioteers, and various laborers. Let's say a total of a dozen people, 4 of which are guards. The cooperage needs a good number of apprentices and journeymen, if the business is to be large enough to constitute a source of income for the covenant. C&G states that a cooper with skill level of 5 makes 15 barrels in a season, and that they are Inexpensive items. So a reasonable-sized cooperage would probably need to employ at least a dozen people (of various skill levels) to account for a reasonable source of income. Having access to the oaks in the haunted forest may explain how the business can produce more profits than usual (don't have to pay as much for raw materials).

So, overall, the covenant looks like it needs about 30 fighting grogs (4 of which would be guards for the wine-making business) as well as 40 laborers (20 of which are skilled).


That seems like a lot of fighting grogs, but that may be because I am used to playing with smaller covenants just starting out. Is there something about the Rhine Tribunal that suggests we need so many? (Not trying to argue, just curious.)

I am picturing a wooden palisade, possibly augmented with some magically enhanced thorny hedgerows, with a gate house in which some of the grogs might live. The manor house and temple are within the palisade, but the temple is not visible from the gate. The house is a "wattle and daub" wooden frame structure on a fieldstone foundation. It has a central great hall, which doubles as a "dormitory" for the rest of the grogs. Two-story wings extend from the sides of the great hall. One side contains the library and some number of labs, the other side contains only labs. (My first thought was a total of three labs in the house, two on one side, one on the other.) The "attics" of the wings would be servants quarters, with storage in the croft under the great hall. The kitchens are in a building behind and slightly apart from the great hall, to help prevent devastating fires.

My rationale is this. A covenant should always have 2 grogs on guard duty at the gate, as well as 2 more patrolling the palisade. That's 4 grogs on duty at any one time. If we go with 8 hours on duty for each shift, you need 12 grogs just for this. These grogs probably have 4 more hours on other duties, like maintaining equipment, training and such. You need that many grogs permanently at the covenant, so for magi to have escorts when to travel away from the covenant you need some more grogs. Usually 2 grogs are enough, but you need to take into account the fact that more than a single magus may be away at the same time, and that sometimes they may need more than 2 grogs. So I figured 6 for shield-grog duty. You also need some officers at the covenant to discipline those grogs, with 1 officer available at any one time, so 1 captain and 2 sergeants. That gives me a total of 21 fighting grogs at the main site.

Same rationale applies to the secondary site, although on a reduced scale. You should have 1 grogs on guard duty at all times, so you need at least 3 grogs stationed there.

So that's 24 grogs, plus the guards that may be needed for the wine-merchanting business. I've always assumed that a covenant should have a 24-hour security detail to prevent infiltration and theft, as well as prevent outside mundanes from catching sight of some magical manifestations from the magi. Of course, the professional fighting grogs may be supplemented by able-bodied laborers with some small weapons training, but then they have less time for the maintenance of the covenant itself (taking care of the animals, repairing the roof, chopping wood for the kitchen, washing clothes, etc.) We tend to assume a rather small workforce because we are used to modern tools and facilities. But just preparing food for 20 people is a full-time job when you have to do everything by hand (such as make bread) and cook using wood.

I agree that the palisade and the gate are probably made of wood, with the ground inside of the palisade raised so that it acts as a walkway around it.

I doubt that the magi would be satisfied with a wattle-and-daub house, because of the risks of fire (this is mentionned in Covenants). Remember that a lab has many sources of fire in it, either for light as for heating some esoteric mixture. So the labs, at least, would probably be walled with stone.

As for the "temple", I was seeing it as having been completely integrated within the main building. Take a look at the map below (from the site I quoted previously), along with a picture of what the original structure may have looked like. The main building would probably be somewhat larger than this. It should be sufficient to house the 30-40 people that I assume live here, along with the labs, the library and the main hall.

I've been trying to map out what a manor house would look like if the statues are not moved from their original site, but that's not been easy. I would assume this would be a 2-story building.

How about this?

The center square is an open courtyard. There are four labs on this level, and a library on the right (east?) side. The great hall (large rectangle) is two stories, and there might be servant/grog quarters above the wings.

As I look at examples of medieval manor houses, most seem to have some sort of great hall with wings.

Looking at the scale again on your diagram, I think the dimensions may be off on mine, but you get the idea...

Sorry things have been super crazy for me around here. I live in WV, and we had all the troubles with power outage and internet outages. Work has been super crazy, too. I'll catch up and post some commentary and my complete magus by Sunday.

Nice map. But you are right about scale and dimension. If we want to fit the building within the palisade (and thus the magical aura), without having it too close to the wall and without moving the statues, then we can't really have an open courtyard within the manor itself.

Having an open courtyard as well as a great hall makes the manor simply too big. Seems like an inefficient use of the space we have... unles we go really radical and got for a large hollow square of a villa, with no palisade at all since the outside wall of the building would be the protection. But that simply looks too much like a castle to me!

I would rather suggest something like this:

The grey area at the top and right sides of the manor is a pillared gallery similar to what used to surround the temple. That roof only rises to the level of the first floor (one could step out of the second floor windows and walk on the roof of the gallery). Also note that the gate into the palisade has been moved to the northeast (as opposed to the original northwest). Inside of the manor, both the main hall and the shared lab are open to the second floor.

There should probably be some additional buildings on the top map (additional housing for the grogs, stables, etc.) I'll add those tomorrow if people agree to the basic layout.

(Edit 2: Replaced the link by an actual image & added some notes about it.)

Ok, I did some more work on the main site mapping. Added some outbuildings for the barracks, stables, hen house and gardens. All of this fits within the palisade.

As noted previously, the front and one side of the manor house has a covered gallery that protects from the rain.

I've also added a basement level to the covenant, with additional storage space (notably for wine and ale barrels, as well as food) which could also be used as confinement space if we need a prisoner cell. The basement also has space for a sanctum, if one of the magi prefers underground laboratory space.

The size of the various sancta and laboratories are:

  • Ground floor sanctum: 750 sq.feet
  • Shared lab: 1080 sq.feet
  • 2nd floor sancta: about 750 sq.feet
  • Basement sanctum: 950 sq.feet

Looking at the guidelines for lab sizes in Covenant, that means that for the 750 sq.feet sancta, the magus has space for a +1 size lab (650 sq.feet) with minimal living space (100 sq.feet), or a size 0 lab (500 sq.feet) with more spacious living space (250 sq.feet).

The basement sanctum has enough space for a +2 size lab (800 sq.feet) and reasonable living space (150 sq.feet).

Finally, the shared lab with the statues is large enough for a +3 size (1000 sq.feet) or even +4 size (1250 sq.feet) if we count the space available on the second floor's gallery.

Wow! What mapping software are you using?

Parts of the manor feel more "fantasy" and less "mythic" to me, but I can live with that.

A couple of thoughts...

  1. To preserve the "Roman feel" could we move the paddock to the northeast of the stables, and continue the covered gallery around that side of the manor? Also, is it a problem that the temple sanctum is now completely enclosed? Would it feel more "Roman" to have an outside entrance to the temple as well? (Or at least a ground floor entrance near the library?)

  2. Could we add access to the gallery roof from either side of the Main Hall balcony (and from the north corridor if the gallery is extended)?

  3. I am feeling a little nervous about only the two exits from the main floor. If the library corridor was extended to the outside wall (making the library a hallway width smaller), we could add another entrance there (onto the extended gallery). We could change the door into the main hall to just an "archway" as well.

  4. Another stairway from the kitchens up to the second floor might be helpful to servants carrying food to busy magi. To accomodate the space, the southeast wall could be bumped out a few feet. The stairs to the storage areas of the cellar should be attached to these stairs instead, providing the underground sanctum with its own dedicated entrance.

  5. If we combine the library and sanctum on the first floor to a combined Library/Council Room, there would space for (I think) two additional labs on the second floor. This would give us an additional sanctum, so we could also change the south sanctum on the ground floor to an additional guest room, and more kitchen space (which I think we really need given the number of people in this covanent). This would also put all private sancta on the second floor or basement.

I know some of these suggestions fly in the face of defensibility, but I am not really keen to play stories about defending our covenant from outside attack. Besides, given the surrounding, ghost-infested forest, I don't think mundane attack is anything we really need to worry about.

I have a suggestion for another vis source for the area around the villa:

Once a year, during the first new moon after the summer solstice, the ghosts of the area are able to manifest themselves a little more strongly than at other times, as they remember their deaths during the Frankish invasion. At this time, they leave physical traces, like bits of cobweb, clinging to the branches of the trees. If these traces can be collected before the sun rises, they provide Mentem vis. (This might be only a pawn or two at first, but if the magi find a way to increase the ghosts' potency by honoring them, there may be more vis available, or more often during the year.)

Inkscape. It's not specifically a mapping software, but works well and is open source. Takes some time getting used to, and I'm still learning.

How so? I've simply blocked out spaces as I thought were needed for the covenant's needs. It's probably not how something would be built in period, but magi have specific needs so I based myself on that.

That was on purpose. I guessed that since the lab and it statues are probably one of the most valuable resources of the covenant, access to the mundanes should be as restricted as possible. Thus closing out the direct access to the outside, and having to go through the second floor where only to magi usually go. Furthermore, I felt that coming into the lab from behind the statues was disrespectful to the portayed gods.

Thinking about it now, I could have completely turned the manor around so that access from the first floor would be possible to the front of the statues. Then all the buildings inside of the palisade would be flipped vertically.

Easily. I didn't mark windows on that map, but any window on the second floor could give access to the roof of the gallery. Note, however, that this is not a flat surface but has a slope similar to that displayed in the picture of the original temple. There may be a narrow ledge that allows someone to stand there safely, or even small balconies on each side of the main hall.

There's actually three exits to the manor: main hall, mundane quarters and kitchen.

Again, the reason for no other doors was to limit access of the mundanes to the more valuable sectors of the covenant (from the magi's standpoint) -- library and laboratories. But if this doesn't seem like an important concenr to these magi, I can change that.

Hmmm... that's a possibility. But one more stair means more wasted space. I could probably replace the straight stairs to the more traditionnal circular ones to save space.

Good idea.

I'm not worried about defensibility either, but magi (particularly lab rats!) like privacy so I was going with limiting access to their sancta. Also, I was thinking that researchers would be a bit paranoid about spies.

I'll rework the map based on these comments and report once I'm done. This may be only next week, since I'll be away from my computers for the next 3 days.

Edit: Fixed the link for Inkscape.

Sorry, I was trying to express that it was probably not period. As I said, though, not a big deal.

I like the front door facing the gate house. Continuing the gallery around to the stable side would also provide a little more shelter coming in from the stables. I did not understand which direction the statue was facing. Since the gallery has a sloped roof, and does not serve as a second floor balcony, we could close off that "corridor" on the northwest side of the house, giving the shared sanctum a little more second floor space as well.

Missed the mundane quarters entrance. Should that room also be connected to the kitchens?

I think a (circular?) stairway from the kitchens to the storage in the cellar would be a good idea. Another way up to the second floor is not as important.


And nice work on the design. I'm looking forward to moving in. :smiley: (By the way, Aedituus would probably want the sanctum above the mundane quarters.)

I've worked on the updated maps of the main site. Here's a new version.

On the outside of the manor house:

  • First thing I've done is flip the orientation of the manor house as well as the layout of the buildings inside of the palisade. This made it easier to have the shared lab's entrance to face the statues.
  • I've also extended the covered gallery to cover both sides of the manor house.
  • Outside of the palisade, the path leading to the secondary site remains on the north side. But the main entrance into the palisade has moved to the south, so that it faces the main entrance of the manor house.
  • The barracks are now a bit larger.

The ground floor of the manor house:

  • I've replaced the straight stairs with circular ones, and added a second stairway from the kitchen.
  • The kitchen is now larger and has a direct access to the mundane quarters.
  • The library and the council room have been merged.
  • I've added a seperate scriptorium so that the mundane scribe(s) can still work when the magi are using the library for council meetings.
  • There no longer are any sancta on the ground floor, but additional guest quarters were added.
  • A door to the shared lab was added, providing a direct view to the statues of Mercury and Rosmerta.
  • A door to the outside was also added at the end of the corridor beside the library and shared lab.

The second floor of the manor house:

  • Now has 6 sancta.
  • Has doors on each side of the main hall leading to an outside covered balcony.

The basement of the manor house:

  • Has now space for 2 sancta. Note that I've arranged things so that no digging was required under the share lab and its precious statues.
  • The mundane storage section cannot access the sancta, as separate stairs are now used.
  • The storage area is a bit larger. The exact layout is not detailed, but the south wall is probably used for wine.

I've also numbered the sancta, and some of them are now a bit larger:

  • Sanctum #1: 800 sq.feet
  • Sancta #2 to #6: 725 sq.feet
  • Sanctum #7: 1300 sq.feet
  • Sanctum #8: 1400 sq.feet
  • Shared lab: 1200 sq.feet on the ground floor, plus 600 sq.feet for the second floor gallery (for a total of 1800 sq.feet)

So the magi who want larger labs can make the choice of setting up in the basement. And since there is space for 8 sancta, the covenant has space to host the occasianal peregrinator even if all the covenant's magi choose to have their sancta at the main site.

Additional comments are welcome. :slight_smile:

Nice work on the design! :smiley: I can't wait to move in. (Aedituus would like Sanctum #4, for its south-eastern exposure, if no one objects.)

JL, are you planning on having us use the Laboratory Personalization Rules (pg 109 in Covenants)?

Yay! Looks great. I still think I'll set up at the secondary site (if only to keep the concept of living slightly divided :wink: ) but this is great!