Covenant Discussion

The wiki has been created:

The build points have been posted here:

I will contact each of you by private message to let you know your username and initial password. Once you log in, you'll be able to change your password and add additional information (such as email address for password reset). As a default username, I will use your board name from here. If you'd prefer something else and cannot change it yourself, let me know.

Adding the one-liner descriptions to the "Specialists / Grogs / Covenfolks" table of content (first post of the thread).

I've sent out usernames and temporary passwords to each via private message. If you didn't get one, just let me know.

I've also started copying information from this thread to the wiki, as well as my magus, and I've created a bare-bone outline for each magus. Feel free to add more stuff, that's what a wiki is for! :slight_smile:

Do we need to initiate some deadlines of when we want "play" to begin? I have been, perhaps, a bit lax in this area.

I'd like to hear from everyone on this particular issue by next week. If I don't hear anything, I think we need to presume that a lack of a response is an implicit "I'm out." Consider that this is more of a story/writing exercise than a game. The game aspect is going to shape our choices and we're going to write expository pieces about things we think are interesting. I think I was clear on this when I cast my InMe so long ago. It took a while to find my voice for Praxiteles, partly because I had to find other voices since I was intent on him being Greek.

I'm in.
Next week is fine for starting.

Anything is fine for me. However, we've got a few people lagging, so I'd say a couple of weeks might be nice for them. I would suggest October 1st.

Since there's quite a bit of work left to be done on the covenant itself (secondary site, Koblenz lacuna, grogs, and so on), whoever is ready could work on those in the meantime.

And we can also play with the following items:

  • Pre-saga correspondence
  • The meeting of Aedituus and Petronius at Triamore
  • The meeting of Aedituus and Praxiteles in Koblenz, investigative work they would have done in the area
  • Recruiting of the business-type companions in Koblenz (Gregor and Amelie)

Titus, public resources:

Ultor ("The Avenger") 26
Type: Summa; Total Quality: 11; Quality: 11; Level: 5; Topic: Penetration; Language: Latin; Author: Elaine of Flambeau
Staying Aloft 12
Type: Tractatus; Total Quality: 12; Quality: 12; Topic: Wings of the Soaring Wind; Language: Latin
True Sight 12
Type: Tractatus; Total Quality: 12; Quality: 12; Topic: Sight of the Active Magics; Language: Latin
A Teacher's Advice 12
Type: Tractatus; Total Quality: 12; Quality: 12; Topic: Teaching; Language: Latin
Tractatus on Vim 10
Type: Tractatus; Total Quality: 10; Quality: 10; Topic: Vim
Tractatus on Vim 10
Type: Tractatus; Total Quality: 10; Quality: 10; Topic: Vim

Wings of the Soaring Wind CrAu30
The Invisible Eye Revealed InVi30
Gather the Essence of the Beast ReVi15
Reveal the Lurking Watchers InVi30
Sight of the Active Magics InVi40
Unravelling the Fabric of Ignem PeVi10
Unravelling the Fabric of Corpus PeVi10
Unravelling the Fabric of Imaginem PeVi10
Unravelling the Fabric of Mentem PeVi10
Wind of Mundane Silence PeVi30

Vis Sources
Vis Source: Vim 12
Vis Source: Creo 5

Total: Build Points: 210

I'd prefer to wait a bit longer with the private build points if that's OK?

I've integrated Tellus' build points to the lists in the saga wiki.

I'm getting a little uncomfrotable with how rich the covenant seems to be. The level of our summae are quite high (while some Arts are completely devoid of any book) and we'll have a lot of raw vis.

Here's a summary (I,ve removed private resources from the list):

Vis sources:

  • Creo: 5 pawns/year
  • Rego: 3 pawns/year
  • Animal: 4 pawns/year
  • Auram: 2 pawns/year
  • Corpus: 5 pawns/year
  • Ignem: 3 pawns/year
  • Imaginem: 4 pawns/year
  • Mentem: 3 pawns/year
  • Vim: 20 pawns/year


  • Minor Virtue "Extensive Stores" (+2 Safety) on the shared lab.


  • Art Summae:[list]
    [*]Creo (L20Q11)
  • Intellego (L9Q11)
  • Rego (L18Q12)
  • Animal (L15Q11)
  • Auram (L15Q12)
  • Corpus (L20Q11)
  • Mentem (L15Q10)
  • Terram (L15Q10)
  • Vim (L12Q10)
    ]Arts Tractatus:
  • Creo (Q10x2)
  • Intellego (Q11)
  • Perdo (Q11)
  • Rego (Q10)
    ]Abilities Summae:
  • (High) German (L4Q8)
  • Magic Lore (L5Q8)
  • Magic Theory (L8Q11)
  • Penetration (L5Q11)
    ]Abilities Tractatus:
  • Artes Liberales (Q10x2)
  • Enigmatic Wisdom (Q10)
  • Finesse (Q10)
  • Magic Theory (Q10x5)
  • Magic Theory (Q10)
  • Order of Hermes Lore (Q8)
  • Penetration (Q10)
  • Philosophiae (Q10x2)
    ]Lab Texts:
  • Lab texts for 680 levels of spells
  • Lab text for 74 levels of enchanted item
    Money: 100 pounds.

Am I the only one getting uncomfortable here? This looks to me more like the library of a late Aummer or Autumn covenant than that of a Spring one.

According to Covenants (p.20), an Exceptional Book (Major External Relations Boon) has a (level+quality) of 35, with a max of Art level 20 and quality 25. And here we are 3 books with a total (level+quality) of 30 or more (Creo, Rego and Corpus) as well as 4 more in the 25-27 range (Animal, Auram, Mentem and Terram).

Vis sources are similar -- we are currently at 49 pawns/year (including a whooping 20 pawns/year of Vim vis). That... feels... like a lot to me.

Now, I understand that Jonathan said this would not be a saga where the magi should be scraping for resources, but this gives me the feeling that we're going overboard in some areas while leaving others completely bare. For example, no one but me has spent any build points on money or on the shared lab. Wasn't the shared lab supposed to be an intriguing feature of the covenant and how the magi interacted? Do you believe that the covenant can operate without at least some reserves of cash?

I don't mind completely changing my allocation of build points (pulling out almost all them from the library and vis sources) to get a more balanced result, but I don't think that will solve the problem. I understand each of us wanting our magus to have really nice resources in our own areas, but the end result looks so unbalanced right now...

Let me know if I'm completely off the track here... :blush:

Yes and no...
Consider the environment of the Rhine where one must get tacit permission for the covenant to form. All of these books are likely covered by Cow and Calf and we don't have the right to make copies to sell any of them, so we might very well be library rich. This does go to my underlying problem that books, specifically summae are too cheap.
We probably need to increase the costs for any summa that has a bp >= 20 by at least least that's my opening gambit. Am I the only one who hasn't submitted build points?

Yes, all the others have submitted a list of build points, at least for shared resources.

I understand that the Rhine and its abundance of good summae. Raising the cost of those is indeed a step in the right direction, mechanics-wise. But I felt that, no matter what tweak we apply to the numbers, common sense should guide the build points allocation. If we, as a troupe, realize that the result feels odd, we are all mature enough to apply the fixes as needed.

For example, if we as a troupe agree that Art summae that cost 25 or more point should be rare, and see that we have 7 Arts where that is true, we will collectively decide to drop the level for a few of the books and diversify into Arts that are not currently covered. (We have 6 Arts with no summae aside from the apprentice-level ones.)

Same with the vis sources. How much vis does it make sense for our covenant to have access to? To me, 10 pawns / magus / year seems incredibly rich. (That is close to what we have right now, without your build points.) My sense of scale may be skewed, as I am more used to relatively vis-poor sagas. And this is the Rhine Tribunal, which is generally described as constrained by disappearing sources of vis due to mundanes spreading. Admittedly the Rhine Gorge is supposed to be richer in vis, but at what point does that cease to be credible if we can pull ou 50 pawns/year from sources within a day's walk from the covenant?

Coming back to the cost of books, Covenants (p.94) describes a number of summae categories:

  • Peerless (no such books have been written): Quality is (41 - level)
  • Perfect: Quality is (35 - level)
  • Normal: Quality is between (31 - level) and (28 - level)
  • Vain: Quality is (25 - level) or less
  • Discarded: Quality is between (18 - level) and (15 - level)

I would suggest that we translate this to the following (using level+quality for number spread):

  • Exceptional: 31 or more, requires a boon
  • Excellent: 26 to 30, cost (total x 1.5) in bp
  • Vain: 21 to 25, cost (total x 1.25) in bp
  • Damaged: 16 to 20, cost (total) in bp
  • Apprentice/Basic: 11 to 15, free

Folks, I'm going to bow out of this saga. I definitely love what you've done with it but I'm trying to keep my online gaming on Rpol for one-stop. In addition, I can access this page at work which provides a bit too much distraction and will eventuall result in the site being blocked if I'm on it too much. Very sorry and best of luck.

My feeling is not dissimilar, but when I look in the box on p. 218 of the core book, 10 pawns per magus per year is considered 'moderate'.

And in The Greater Alps, 10 pawns per year is the minimum necessary to support a magus within the tribunal, but covenants often have amounts in excess of the number of magi they support.
Keep in mind that we've minimized vis stocks, which are ridiculously cheap, and have to grow and accumulate this vis over time. Further, maybe at the beginning of the saga not all the vis sources are actually known to the Magi... Maybe 1/3 of the declared vis sources are available immediately, and 2/3 need to be discovered as the saga progresses and may materialize over the next 10 years or so?

That would make much better sense. Starting with some of the "core" sources (those at the main site and some from secondary sites) would be logical, while the possibility of discovering some additional ones as play progresses would be an incentive for the magi to explore the surrounding area.

Even known sources might get "upgraded" as we find out ways to optimize their yield.

Sorry to see you go, but I can understand.

Note that I also will have to cut down on the time I spend on the saga. I'm still here, but I will post less frequently.

Well, my vision for this wasn't to take up a lot of time on the boards. More time thinking and writing is what I was going for when I set this up. Submit something have people critque and edit it. Progress the stories in areas where our characters want to go... Setup and getting everyone on the same page is the largest part and the most demanding part of this process. And frankly, I underestimated the amount of work necessary... :-/

I'm thinking...

  • Exceptional: 31 or more, requires a boon
  • Excellent: 26 to 30, cost (total x 2) in bp
  • Vain: 21 to 25, cost (total x 1.5) in bp
  • Damaged: 16 to 20, cost (1.25) in bp
  • Apprentice/Basic: 11 to 15, free (as long as the quality is less than or equal to 7)

Maybe instead of dancing around and increasing the cost of build points we limit the number of build points that can be spent on categories, and also reduce the number of build points we have available to spend. I mean if we change the cost of books, we're going to have to do the same thing anyway, people will have to chose to keep or jettison items that they've selected.
Alternatively, I just don't spend any(?) or all of my build points. I might just bring one thing into the covenant, and then I look like a greedy mooch. Which is kinda Praxiteles thing... :smiley:

Well, I think the goal is to encourage more variety in the resources -- in the sense of a lots of relatively low-value resources and only a few really good ones. This simply makes sense for a new covenant -- they would be gifted with no-longer-valuable books from other covenants.

Another, less mechanistic way to do this might be to say that any single resource that costs over 20 build points must have a corresponding time spent by the magus pre-saga. So if someone wants a high-value summa, a magus must spend at least 1 season acquiring it (so losing 10 xp of pre-saga experience) for each 5 points above that treshold (so a 30 bp book means 2 seasons also spent on it).

IMO, the really good stuff should be acquired during the saga, even if it simply an in-character post (or short story) about how one of the characters (or the covenant as a whole) acquired it. Otherwise it is just a bunch of numbers -- another way to boost the power level of your magus -- and it cheapens the value of those resources.

Maybe we define the good stuff now and acquire it in play, period? That there's some contingency to collecting the book or other 20 bp item? It doesn't have to be big, but it should entail some effort or story write up... The characters know it exists, and anyone one of us could perform whatever task is necessary to get the book (and also get dibs on first use of the book).
Pre-play advancement, per RAW is parsimonious enough, I can't afford 10 or 20 xp anywhere. When play begins, XP flows a lot more freely, in my experience... So I'd rather pay later, and it gives us an opportunity to write some interesting stuff, I think.

Having to write short stories to activate the better resources works for me. It solves the problem in two ways: it explains how we could have gotten our hands on such a valuable resource, and we don't have to fiddle with the build points. (It's always the reflex to play with the numbers, but it often has unforeseen consequences.)

So are we agreed on the 20 bp treshold? Everyone?

The story does not have to consume a season, btw. It might also be spread out through time, since this might involve contacting other magi/covenants through letters, having a scribe do the work, investigating a site, consulting a redcap or a specialist, etc.