Covenant Generation Rule alternatives

I find the mix of a points system alongside the Virtues/Hooks system to be a bit of a mess. Has anybody house-ruled any alternatives?

For example, giving covenants a base library and Vis levels and then adjusting those with Virtues and Flaws?


There is Troy's system, which we revised for the Wake of the Schism, calling it dowry.

The way I interpret it, young magi are expected to bring some kind of Gift into the covenant when they join, and their parens or alma mater would usually provide them with this. Mechanically, the players can then design their portion of covenant resources as part of character design, even if it belong to the covenant once the game starts. This expediates this part of covenant design.

The dowry is not as appropriate for an Autumn covenant as it is for a Spring one. One may still have dowry, but it would only make up a small fraction of total resources.


Those rules change as often as the combat rules. Meaning every edition has a new version.


That's a really interesting take on the system.

I'd always assumed that when somebody is planning to form a new Spring Covenant, that they would approach ideologically aligned Summer and Autumn Covenants and request donations in exchange for the Spring Covenant granting either an implicit suggestion that they would be allies and support the elder Covenant at Tribunal or a more formal binding agreement.

For example I set up an NPC Spring Covenant on the Vis rich East coast of England, established by the Jerbiton apprentices (and one master) of Oculus Septentrionalis. That feeds a portion of its Vis back to their parent covenant each year in exchange for the money that the covenant needs to function and a starting investment of books, lab equipment and other materials. A state of affairs that might continue until they are able to secure enough of an income to stand on their own and become more of a Summer Covenant.


That's one approach, of course, but canon treats such strings attached as a possible flaw, and not a default position. Only Normandy institutionalises the strings. Rhine have an established custom without strings, and the Greater Alps fund their young magi to go away and found their covenants elsewhere.

In general, funding a Spring covenant is a losing prospect. Most Spring covenants fail. Sure, for Oculus it is worthwhile to risk some of their excess silver on the chance of vis payments, but then the covenant is likely one without vis stocks or Hermetic books.

This is supposed to vary by tribunal.

The dowry system can still be used as OOC mechanics. The main feature is that it is devolved and ensures some distribution between different kinds of resources. It does not solve what I consider one of the major problems, especially for old covenants: bad books are disproportionately expensive. I would expect an old covenant to have large numbers of Q6 books. No player is ever going to spend BP on that.


I did look at the BPs of books and I found that tweaking the build point cost formula is actually quite easy.

Currently a very poor quality art book for example a L5 Q5 Summa is worth 10 points. Whilst a L10Q10 is worth 20 and a Lv 15Q15 is worth 30 points.

A single Lv 15 Q15 is obviously significantly more useful than three L5Q5 books.

So change the Formula:
(Level x Quality)/5
This makes those books a lot more balanced:
L5Q5 = (5x5)/5 = 5 BP
L10Q10 = (10x10)/5 = 25
L15Q15 = (15x15)/5 = 45
So that the more valuable book is now worth 9 times what the poor quality book is worth.
The mid-quality book is marginally more expensive.
For Ability Summa just multiple the level by 3 before doing the calculation.

Similarly you could make Tractatus cost less by using the accelerated exp level (The exp cost as if it were an art) and dividing by 5 (round up)

Q5 Tractatus = 15exp/5 = 2 BP
Q9 Tractatus = 45exp/5 = 9 BP
Q14 Tractatus = 105exp/5 = 21 BP

So filling your library with cheap vanities becomes relatively cheap, whilst high quality works are more expensive, whilst works of average quality remain the same.

Yes this is more time consuming, but as it only needs to be done once at Covenant generation, it's not too difficult.


"My" rule is not really mine but build by a group I played with. It is also not really a replacement for the V/F and BP. What it was originally designed for was to separate the building of a new Covenant into three different categories. Those categories are: Group, SG, and Player (the part covered by the rule).

Group: This category is not really mechanical. It is choices like "where is the Covenant being founded?", "What type of story do we want to tell?", "Anything special about the Covenant?", etc. This is just a discussion by all the players and SG. No rules needed, just take some notes.

SG: The SG builds the Covenant however they want. Mostly this will be V/F, since most of the BP stuff will come from the players. They should make a few BP choices though such as Vis in the area, which is discovered in play. What they are building is what the area is like before the Magi show up.

Player: Using the rule, each of the players has some contribution that they get to choose. Each of them brings so much resources with them and shows up at the site. This is generally all of the people and resources that the group has. Depending on choices they could end up with way more or less than the normal V/R+BP rules provide.

It is very easy to customize as shown by Loke's version. You can adjust the total points, take out the Special Gift, split the broad categories in two, etc.

We have used the (Level x Quality)/5 which is more balanced for Summa but we found that it does not encourage buying more average (i.e. crappy) books. The easiest way to fill an older library I have found was to buy all of the good Summa with BP and then take a like amount to only buy average or worse books (without charging for them). Most of those books will never be used by the Magi so they are really just fluff. I would be careful doing this for a player controlled Covenant though, since they might just try to sell/trade them all away so it becomes free resources.

Never tried that alternate cost for Tractatus but it is more likely to be used to produce a range than Summa. It comes down to the difference in how they are used in play. If you have a great Summa, then you never need the average ones. But even if you have great Tractatus, if you are focused in that area you will eventually end up reading all of them (and even actively hunting more even just average ones in play).


You could easily define starting books on magical subjects or arts as donations and thus under Cow and Calf.
Mundane books on the other hand are already widely circulated and therefore there is not substantial demand for copies of them.