Covenant Discussion

I would go for low-medium, but I don't really feel it makes that much difference for a new covenant. We're going for a new covenant, so it should probably be Spring?

The rules make it easy to write high-quality, low-level summae. That said, I don't have a problem with a library with primer-level books with low qualities (Q4 to Q6). Their probably throw-away books for most established covenants, so I agree that we should have them for essentially free. (Or maybe a token 1 build point for each? Except, are we even going to be counting the build points?)

A bunch of tractatus (which are more useful than summae) as well and some mid-level summae (L10-12). It's probably easier to get hold of mundane Abilities books, as these can easily be copied by mundane scribes. Lab texts are usually quite usuful, for spells mostly but some items are also nice.

How many players/magi do we expect for the covenant? We could have each one prepare part of the library, based on each magus' interests.

Ok, I'm going to suggest some stats for the covenant, quick an dirty. That's just a basis for discussion, not anything I want.

If we go for low-medium level (let's say 300-400 build points), we could divide it between:

  • 250 library (including lab texts)
  • 50-75 vis sources (10-15 pawns/year)
  • 25-50 for the rest (money and specialists).

Possible boons and hooks (minor boons/hooks are not identified, major and free ones are identified in parantheses):

  • Site Boons: Regio (major or minor), Healthy Feature.
  • Site Hooks: Regio (major or minor), Regio With Unexpected Entries (minor), Flickering Aura, Poorly Defensible, Road (major or minor), Weak Aura (x1 or x2).
  • Notes: Petronius would also like Mystical Portal (minor boon) or Uncontrolled Mystical Portal (minor hook), but it is not essential. If it is there, it could be in a degraded form such as an unworking or inactive one.
  • Fortifications Boons: Manor Hous (free) or Island (free)
  • Resources Boons: Right, Secondary Income, Vis Grant
  • Resources Hooks: Regional Produce, Vis Salary
  • Residents Boons: Hunters and Sailors (free) or Peasants (free), Criminals, Veteran Soldiers.
  • Residents Hooks: School (major), Dumping Ground, Fosterage, Refugee.
  • External Relations Boons: Powerful Ally (major), Local Ally.
  • External Relations Hooks: Hangout, Itinerants, Public Vis Source
  • Surroundings Boons: Chase.
  • Surroundings Hooks: Fallen Temple, Festival, Ford, Massacre Site, Roman Ruins, Sanctuary, Ungarrisoned Castle.

Let me stress again that those are just a list of the boons/hooks that seemed possible for the covenant while quickly going through the list.

The value proposition for summae really change depending on whether you know the Art or not. If you take someone with an Art score of 12, with 78 XP, the value of the L15Q15 summa is greater than an equivalent bp expenditure in tractatus: to reach 15th level requires 120 xp, so one can add 30 xp or 42 xp for the same bp cost. If the Art is 0, that value proposition is huge, 30 build points gets you 30 xp or 120 xp.

It's looking like 4 or 5 magi, maybe 6? 300-400 bp is pretty low. While we are starting a spring covenant, I'm thinking that our back story period of 5 to 10 years post gauntlet could have been spent acquiring some of these resources to bring into the covenant, including identifying vis sources nearby our covenant site. We can of course be a poor spring covenant that grows into a powerful summer/autumn covenant over the life, but having only 300 bps means we hussle more soon after covenant founding to fill in the gaps in the covenant than study. That has an impact to the growth, if our characters are scrimping for scarce resources.

Sure, we can start with more resources, I certainly have nothing against that! :smiley: We can easily double or even triple the numbers, but I think the proportions for library/vis/other remain pretty much valid.

This would give something like:

  • 500-750 library (including lab texts) -- so each player prepare 100-150 points worth of books
  • 150-200 vis sources (30-40 pawns/year) -- that's 5-8 pawns/magi/year, before Aegis and other covenant need
  • 50-150 for the rest (money and specialists). -- that's quite a bit of money and specialists, maybe too many if we want to keep a low profile(or maybe not, I'm not used to counting those)

Any ideas regarding the boons and hooks?

My comment was more along the lines of saying the choices we make as far as selecting and allocating a build point amount will set the stage for some of the things we do starting off. Do we do more stories up front about scrounging for resources to fill in gaps because of low build points, or do we presume it was done in our back story and increase the amount? See how the covenant is already shaping the stories? :smiley:

Understood. Some stories about resources make for good sidetracks, particularly if all the magi of the covenant are very focused on their own research. If nothing comes up to disturb them once in a while, then most of what they'll do will be spend time in the lab experimenting. Having your elbow jostled once in a while by an unwanted and unrelated story makes for a more realistic advancement of the magi.

Random idea: Considering the nature of the saga, maybe having a "fragmented" aura might fit well. Small, relatively weak pocket auras scattered around a somewhat wider area. Could be related to different Roman ruins in an area. Good candidates for something this would be the areas around Trier (described in GotF), Mainz, Koln (Cologne). Having each magus' sanctum some distance from each other has some advantages from an in-character perspective, but also saga-wise, since each of the magi will essentially have a thread on their own. Then the magi meet each other once a season or so, to discuss things related to the covenant's resources (harvesting and splitting off the vis, trading books from each individual libraries, etc.)

Having separated and fragmented auras where each magus occupies a spot difficult to protect with an Aegis. I like it. :smiley:

So, I've been thinking about my character in the context of a Rhine saga; and it looks like it's Rhine, because you've been the most vocal and no one has naysayed you, so I'll take that as consensus (if anyone else has strong opinions now's the time to voice them). How fragmented and how wide an area are you thinking? I'm kind of thinking about the trader archetype and being around the Deutches Eck which is smack dab in the middle of Mainz and Köln, in Koblenz. He would likely be Gently Gifted, and I could see him trying to setup in Koblenz and be in the bustle of trading activity at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel.

Speaking to the fragmented aura, perhaps we have a stronger aura in a small location where the ostensible council hall is and it's large enough to house a common lab that is better than what the magi individually can produce? I'm playing in Peregrine_Bjornaer's Canaries are Dying saga, and he made a common lab, by accident, that has too many specializations and is setup for transient use so the intelligence of the user doesn't interfere with the refinement score. We decided to leave it as is, despite the rules limiting the number of specializations from Covenants. I really like it, it has character and it looks like 5 people designed it for their particular needs, it's a hot mess. It breaks Hermetic limits and no one either stops to thinking about it or they don't care. I can see something like that developing over time, and indeed the story of making something like that is an area where we can collaborate without getting in the way of each other and slowing down pacing, as long as we reserve the lab before we start writing stories.

So the idea is that we build one common lab where we all can spend our specialization points and build (seperate?) refinements, but will need to book it for those special uses? And then we have our sanctum-labs spread out somewhat apart according to personal wishes for stuff like reading and teaching and slacking off?

Sounds like fun and a nice trade-off since we then get a discount on the cost for Superior Supplies and such at a cost for bonuses to reputation (which I guess go to the Covenant instead of each magus). It would be a nice place to work on that "boost the aura" thingie as well :smiley:

It might make some of the site hooks vary between magi, maybe? If my health freak lives on a hill by the river and the roman mystery mage lives under ground in the sewers in the city they probably don't get the same site bonus, but that shouldn't be a problem?

How far and wide? Depends on what the others would like. Some of the sanctums might be close to each others (close enough for a single Aegis to cover more than one, but more cramped), while others may be more isolated.

Koblenz and its surrounding area sounds good to me. The city has some Roman ruins (including a destroyed Roman fortress and a Temple of Mercury), is on a good trading route, and the Rhine Gorge is said to contain many sources of vis.

There's also a caldera lake (potentially active volcano) called Laacher just 10 miles west of the city, with an abbey built on its shores. So there's potential for a sanctum site, sources of vis (carbon dioxide bubble up from the lake) and stories (abbey).

A superior lab to be shared sounds good. Individual as well as shared boons and hooks sounds good.

My magus would want to be protected by an Aegis (he doesn't have much defensive abilities) and be close to rhe Roman ruins, so would be willing to compromise on space and living conditions.

EDIT: Added link about the Temple of Mercury outside the town.
[strike]EDIT 2: Added link to the Roman fortress inside the town.[/strike]

So, I worked up atable a while back for Bibracte, because they have a large Aegis covering the top of Mont Beuvray (central-east part of france, Burgundy). They needed an Aegis that was larger to cover the top of the Mont, so the Boundary size is +3 which made a minimum Aegis power a 35th level spell, but only protects at 20th level effectiveness. It requires a total CT of 55 to get the proper level of penetration, not 70 as the spell level would suggest. Their boundary areas is, as I recall, just over 3/4 of a square mile, so they had to pick size 3 to get the right size, even though it could cover a much larger area than it actually does. Make sense?
How far and wide is how much we want to be protected by an Aegis? I don't know. My character will likely be in Koblenz quite a bit with a pied-à-terre at least. If there's a lacuna to be found, he'd probably be there all the time. So an Aegis, to him, could be considered a waste of vis, which is hilarious since he is a waster of vis. He'd love to have a portal eventually and has very little interest in Corpus magic so would certainly avail himself of services from his covenant mates. He could, and wouldn't mind being the autocrat, but he'd need an able deputy while he's away.

[tableborder][tr][td]Imperial[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size[/td][td]Paces (dia)[/td][td]Feet (dia)[/td][td]Area sq. ft.[/td][td]Area sq mi[/td][td]diameter miles[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 0[/td][td]100[/td][td]300[/td][td]70685.775[/td][td]0.0025355032928719[/td][td]0.0568181818181818[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 1[/td][td]158.113883008419[/td][td]474.341649025257[/td][td]706857.75[/td][td]0.025355032928719[/td][td]0.0898374335275108[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 2[/td][td]500[/td][td]1500[/td][td]7068577.5[/td][td]0.25355032928719[/td][td]0.284090909090909[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 3[/td][td]1581.13883008419[/td][td]4743.41649025257[/td][td]70685775[/td][td]2.5355032928719[/td][td]0.898374335275108[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 4[/td][td]5000[/td][td]15000[/td][td]706857750[/td][td]25.355032928719[/td][td]2.84090909090909[/td][/tr][/tableborder]
And for everyone not in the US...
[tableborder][tr][td]Metric, approx[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr]

[tr][td]Size[/td][td]Meters[/td][td]Area sq m[/td][td]Area km sq[/td][td]diameter km[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 0[/td][td]100[/td][td]7853.975[/td][td]0.007853975[/td][td]0.1[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 1[/td][td]158.113883008419[/td][td]78539.75[/td][td]0.07853975[/td][td]0.158113883008419[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 2[/td][td]500[/td][td]785397.5[/td][td]0.7853975[/td][td]0.5[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 3[/td][td]1581.13883008419[/td][td]7853975[/td][td]7.853975[/td][td]1.58113883008419[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Size 4[/td][td]5000[/td][td]78539750[/td][td]78.53975[/td][td]5[/td][/tr][/tableborder]

Vido has similar problem as Arthurs character has - he has no defense capabilities to speak of so would prefer having Aegis over him and is willing to compromise for that. Fragmented aura sounds interesting for research, but certainly not for living. Top of a mountain would be lovely place for a covenant now that such has been mentioned.

High amount of vis income seems to be very useful - and if we we're set in Greater Alps we'd have at least 10 pawns/magus, which is plenty for Vido. I'd like to start with medium-high power level and quite definitely not with low since research does take a lot of resources - with so many Bonisagi doing their research here we could even get side income from donations from other covenants. Young promising researchers getting together sounds something laudable indeed.

Perhaps we should have something like 150-250 build points per magus? If we got some of our resources as gifts from other covenants we as players could design our parts relatively independently and then see what we have.

I checked out Koblenz and its surrounding area, and we have some possibilities for the primary site of the covenant (where the Council room, public library and common lab would be situated) based on historical elements of the area. We can always add more to suit individual players needs.

First, there is the city of Koblenz itself. There used to be a Roman fort in the upper part of the city, where a fortress was built around 1000 A.D. by a local noble. It is reasonable to assume that it is now occupied by vassals of the Archbishops of Trier, who own the city. There could be remains of the Roman structure buried under the city, which would have a weak magical aura. There could also be a few places in the city with lacunae (areas with no Divine aura).

Second, there is the forest just south of the forest. There are numerous Roman ruins within the forest, including the previously mentioned Temple of Mercury and Rosmerta, but also a number of Roman villas and farms. There could be a somewhat stronger aura around the Temple itself (possibly too small for all of the magi's sancta), but possibly some small auras scattered through the forest based on where individual villas once stood. (Maybe all those auras were once a single larger aura -- possible research there for someone interested in the subject). There were more villas just north of the Mosel river as well.

Both of these could include regio (or multiple regiones) for a slightly stronger aura.

Third but least likely would be some caves in the caldera mountain of Laacher Lake. Less convenient because it is close the the abbey. Still might be interesting for a single sanctum, or a source of vis. The volcanic activity may be related to the infernal instead of the magical realm, if we end up not using the site as a place for sancta.

In case it doesn't show... :laughing:
I'm very mechanical and rules oriented in my approach, and I tend to take a conservative approach when interpreting rules that might be reasonably read in a different view (botching with rituals and mastery). I hope that it keeps me honest.

I will also point out my philosophy of the Aegis is not really there for the magus. A magus is pretty well protected from most magics by his Parma, and with 5 to 10 years PG we should be at or close to a Parma score of 2. We should also have some respectable form bonuses to our specialty in addition to other interests. No, IMO, the Aegis is really there to keep the magi from being annoyed by anklebiters. That might 10 creature is no match for an equipped magus, but it can do a lot of destruction to the covenant in general. It doesn't look like we'll have any combat monkeys, not that I expected one, but we might consider hiring a pereginator which could be run as a 'communal' magus to handle some of the more combat oriented tasks we might encounter.

There are some high hills Hohe Acht had a castle on it, at the time, it's about 50 km from Koblenz. Laacher See which Arthur mentioned is about half way between at 25 km from Koblenz. It's not quite a straight line connecting them. In any event, a spread out environment just shapes the stories. We may be vis rich, but because we have so many sites who require protection because the magus insists, we have multiple castings of the Hearth, we might be vis poor until we buff our Parma up to a suitable level we feel we can be less reliant on an Aegis.

Yep, the Aegis is the to protect the covenant's base, but also the magi's sancta when they're not present. To me, having an Aegis is part of having a "safe base of operation". It just sucks to come back from a trip to find your lab destroyed by the local faeries or whatever.

It also protects from other magi.

Sure, totally see it. I'm trying to say that all of our choices have costs and trying to outline those costs. If we want to be spread out, this is how it will cost us. If we want to all be together in one spot, well then we have to compromise on where that spot is. Mountain top, close to the lake? If we don't want to compromise and stay spread out, and if you want your personal spot covered by an Aegis, does that come out of your share of a salary, or is that paid before salaries? Why would the other magi allow that, what's in it for them?

These things are all really easy to decide OOC, when we attempt to decide them IC we tend to take on our character's worst aspects, for example my greedy Jerbiton merchant will take a dim view of spending vis to cast Aegis in several locations, especially since he'd probably be in the city and unable to avail himself of that. So he's biased, and will act accordingly.

Completely agree with that. For my part, what I'm saying is that the scattering out doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing thing. One or three of the magi might live at the central location (with an Aegis protecting the common lab and library) and chip in for the protection, while the others are scattered in locations usually more convenient for them for whatever reason (healthy feature, in the city).

The magi would of course negotiate as to what their fair share of the common costs would be. That's what the Charter would describe.

For example, since we're probably go with splitting the build points amongst the magi, this may result in each magus having ownership of a part of the vis sources and required to contribute a certain amount of vis for the covenant's needs (like the Aegis at the central location). The fair share of a magus living at the main site might be 2 pawns/year and X pounds of silver, while one living elsewhere might be charged only 1 pawn/year and Y pounds of silver. (Silver for the maintenance of the mundane facilities.)

Anothe agreement might be that the covenant owns the sources of income and vis, and grant vis based on the location of the magi, with those with sancta outside of the main site would receive slightly more vis.

I'd be willing to handwave if we bought a healthy feature as a covenant boon, everyone gets the benefit of it, somehow, so instead of being mountain air, it might be the fine wines we secure, something along that line. If it is something that is location specific we might need to adjust it a bit...

Playing with ownership of build points is problematic, I would prefer that the covenant own the build points we're discussing now. Our characters discovered or acquired these things over time and we donate them to be used by our sodales with whom we join in covenant. These things are common property to be used by all. If we want to go with personal ownership of things, we can do something like 50 build points (depends on some things) or some number that comes with the magus and is that magus's personal property to be used as he wishes (no vis sources here, though). You want that great book on your favored art that's better than what the common library has? Knock yourself out. And you can trade for access to it as you like.

I think it's important that the covenant own everything. I don't want to have to have to have a conversation with another PC where I have to ask permission to use that resource. If it isn't already in use, I just want to use it, and not have to explain why or try and barter to get access. That invites an asymmetric system that defeats the entire point of forming a covenant.

I agree on the "lets pool the resources and share" approach.
And I like very much the concept of "a bunch of talented, young researchers gather for inspiration and community"

I'll chime in more when I get back to my books tomorrow. Of course the first time in 5 years I go on business travel without some Ars books I actually need them :smiley:

Two words: PDF, Dropbox.

Fine by me. :slight_smile:

I too strongly favour this approach.