Covenant Lore

So PC A has been present since the founding of Swamp Covenant.
In that time they have experienced a plethora of adversaries, mysteries and allies.

To an outsider, knowing all of these details might be represented by the Ability: Swamp Covenant Lore.(or Organisation Lore: Swamp Covenant)

However PC A who lives in that covenant doesn't have any Swamp Covenant Lore.
You don't generally need to spend seasons of downtime remembering your own life and deeds and those of your close friends.

But lets imagine that PC B joins the covenant and needs to be caught up to speed, not just on the broad strokes of Swamp Covenant's history, but also on the minutia of the preceding 100 years of deals, names, faces and leadership challenges.

How would they learn it? PC A hasn't studied Swamp Covenant Lore (And likely never will despite spending most of their life there), so can't teach the skill or write a Tractatus on it.

How would somebody acquire this skill except through exposure? Should exp be funnelled this way?

I was envisioning that a person experienced in those events would have a "psuedo-score" of Covenant Lore equal to the number of years that they have lived in the Covenant and that this would represent their ability to teach or write on the subject. So somebody present for 50 years would have an effective score of 4 and could write a book on the last 50 years of Covenant history for outsiders to enjoy. Though I am not sure if that's the best solution here.

What would be the best way to handle this?


Generally its learned by exposure, until someone thinks the Covenant is important enough to write a book. You could probably also use the autocrat's records (or equivalent) as a source.


It depends on how well you want to lean it to the rules.

Option 1. Apply the rules hard. PC has no swamp covenant area lore. The end. If the characters cares, spends a season getting area lore to level 1.

It's not unreasonable. Think about events from years ago. Can you remember the name of the bank manager who made your mortgage? The building contractor who built your house? For renters, the name of the person who you rented your first house from? The name of the salesperson you bought a car from? I doubt it. Without conscious effort we forget all but the most critical things.

Option 2. House rules are fine. Your Pseudo Swamp covenant area lore is a decent idea. 1 point per year is reasonable, and is a fair representation of someone who's lived in a place a long time knowing things.

It also depends on how you see lore skills.

For example, Most peasants, even with no area lore, I'd consider would know the local lord, the local festivals, the most significant landmarks and buildings in the town, etc.

For 1 more example, in a christian area of mythic europe, with no Divine Lore skill I'd consider most adults would know Jesus is the son of god; the meaning of the sacrament; the common rituals such as baptism, marriage; heaven, purgatory and hell, the more popular stories such as Job, and Soddom & gomorrah, etc.

As Fishy said, most people will remember their lives in very broad strokes, garnished with a number of irrelevant minutiae ... many of them subtly or patently incorrect. So it makes perfect sense that if your PC A has not spent any xp on Swamp Covenant Lore, he won't be able to actively train others or write books.

So, assuming the rest of the covenant is like PC A, I think PC B has two options to build up his Swamp Covenant Lore. The first is just to keep his ears open while he's around. Any season in which he gains exposure (or story) xp at the covenant or together with Swamp Covenant inhabitants, he can certainly put 1 or 2 of those into Swamp Covenant Lore.

The second is to spend one or more seasons to actively study the covenant and to interview the other inhabitants (and perhaps other characters who interacted with them). Even if each individual only knows little fragments of the Covenant's history, and has many details wrong, putting everything together and thinking logically about it can probably condense much more knowledge than any individual had. I would treat this as Practice of Area Lore (ArM5 p.164), with a Source Quality of 5-7 depending on how much latitude the character is given to poke his nose around. For a typical grog it would be 5, for covenfolk with higher status (e.g. the Custos Virtue) and magi it would be 6, and for someone with a covenant-wide mandate to reconstruct the history of the Swamp Covenant, possibly traveling to other places to acquire information, it would be 7.


In one of the books there's a note that the covenant's records written by the steward/chamberlain in the course of their duties constitute a tractatus in [Covenant] Lore for every 10 years collected. Thought it was in Covenants but can't find the reference, and I'm away from my other books.

Unless the steward/chamberlain writes high Quality books, though, Practice is probably more efficient.


I'm a bit harsher for Area Lores than the average: I don't give any free Area Lore for living in an area, not even a psuedo-lore for pre-game experience. I definitely allow players to ask about their own history and things they're involved in - their apprentice adventures, their master's work, the name of their personal chambermaid, anything in the library...
As soon as a player puts XP into it, I become much more generous. I look at the lore, give them some knowledge for free, and make them roll for more.

Considering how often I see magi turning away from every mundane aspect of the covenant and spend as much time as possible in library and laboratory, I have NO expectation of the magi remembering the Head Cook's daughter's name.


There are a few abilities which overlap with, but are distinct from Covenant Lore.
Area Lore (Which could have a speciality of the mundane lands immediately around the covenant)
Order of Hermes Lore (Which again could have the covenant as a specialisation)
However Covenant Lore is distinct from both of these.
For a PC that has been there since the covenant was founded, there should never be a need to roll on Covenant Lore.

I know that there isn't a lore skill for individual people, but for sake of argument imagine that there was.

Imagine that you wanted to represent the knowledge of a specific person (like the King of England) rather than a whole organisation. It could be very useful for an enemy or an ally to know the capabilities, flaws, relationships, habits and detailed biography and I imagine that several nobles would have spent time gathering in-depth knowledge of the King and might have something akin to Lore: King John,

The ideal person to teach you this would be the King himself.
However the King has no need to study himself, so he has no skill in Lore: King John (Why would he?). But would be very good source of knowledge about himself.

If he wanted to teach (for example) his new wife everything he could about himself, so that she could report back to her parents about him, what would his source quality for doing so be?

I agree with raccoonmask. It is perfectly possible to live your whole life at the covenant and still gain very little lore. For instance magi would tend not to know who's who among the grogs, and not know whom to ask, and they may be oblivious to the financial state as well. Magi who want to know such things should put xp in covenant lore.

OK. I'll make a few exceptions; people have the basic knowledge needed for their office. Thus the magus who is responsible for the finances may know that, and the stewardess knows the store rooms very well, even if she does not know where to find the tailor and the carpenter.

I would guess that covenant lore comes from practice and exposure most of the time, like others have suggested too. Reading does not really make a lot of sense. Yes, there may be ledgers and chronicles, but they give minute historical details and little understanding of who's who and what's where. Covenant lore is a skill that quickly goes out of date.


I disagree.
A covenant lore roll for esoteric knowledge is a must. Are you saying everyone in the convenant knows everybody's name, their relationships, important conflicts, the resources the covenant has, etc. That doesn't hold up.

Ours is not a big covenant.

Then, maybe, there is no covenant lore for that particular covenant.

There is already a plethora of skills, especially craft and profession, and I don't like this constant increase as it spread thin the little trickling of XP characters gets.

So make sure that having such skills brings real advantage beside knowing what is the name of the Autocrat's kid. To warrant a specific skill a covenant should be old, large and have an history worth telling. I personally would consider only a few covenants in the Order meet this criteria, like Durenmar, possibly Magvillus or Verditius. But other covenants, I would be hesitant to create such skills. I would instead defer to Order of Hermes Lore, with a EF adjusted if the person is familiar or living in said covenant.

Eventually, consider making it an accelerate skill for medium size covenant.


Actually, it is the complexity of the story which matters, not the complexity of the covenant. I think I have made one character ever with covenant lore for their home covenant, and that was an apprentice with an excess of childhood xp to burn on mundane skills. Why no others? Because we never tell domestic stories. Once you do tell domestic stories, it is easy to make covenant lore matter. You can even make the autocrat's kids matter if you tell that kind of story.


This can in some measure be attributed to the personality, event or landmark having a reputation. The EF to know about something within the village (or covenant) is 0. This means that literally everyone has heard about the local lord, as long as you give him a reputation "Local Lord 1". Every covenfolk knows every magus from the covenant because every magus has a at least reputation "Magus of the Covenant XXX 1". But these "small" reputations generally do not need to be stated. It's big strokes, "free" information.

When we get to "weird obscure fact" domain, however, you won't have an applicable reputation to lean on. The same when you need particular information about someone, or something (everyone knows who is the current lord, but knowing how many children he has, who was his grandpa, how big is his state, or the exact history behind the construction of his castle are outside of the needs of most people). That's when Area Lore is a better representation for such knowledge.


Hmm. Can you point out where it says that Covenant Lore is something other than a narrow Area Lore, which by ArM5 p.40 is "Knowledge of one particular region, covenant, or even a village"? Note that "Covenant Lore" is contrasted with "Village Lore" in Covenants, so in my opinion the author was clearly thinking of Area Lore. Besides, the knowledge you are describing seems to perfectly match the scope of Area Lore as per its example specialties: "geography, history, legends, politics, personalities."

There is no such thing as covenant lore in core. There are area lore and organisation lore; a covenant is both an area and an organisation. Maybe you need two covenant lores?

No, I do not want to go there either.

While technically "covenant" denotes a certain type of agreement between a group of magi, as it is usually used (both IC and OOC) the word "covenant" means the place where those magi and their companions and servants live.

Area Lore (covenant name) would cover most information about the place - including many details of the covenant agreement if and as they apply to daily life there.

One could of course also learn an Organization Lore (covenant name), but it would be a very narrow skill of dubious usefulness, and as such mostly a waste of xp. If the covenant agreement follows one of the standard templates it would be mostly covered by Organization Lore (Order of Hermes) anyway.

See Covenants p. 43. "Covenant Lore" is contrasted from Village Lore... both of which are essentially Area Lores. It's a way that book has to build templates to differentiate between two area lores in the templates.

As for your and Erik T's point about Organization Lore... it's a good one. That being said, I don't think there is much use in doubling down the skills. Bjornaer Lore, for example, functions both as an organization lore (how the house works, who's who) and a mystery cult lore. I don't see why Durenmar Lore should help locating the libraries' content but fail to help with understanding the politics of the covenant. So my view is that Covenant Lore is both area and organization lore, because the scope of the lore is very narrow.

Area Lore already has a component about politics and people: Knowledge of one particular region, covenant, or even a village. It includes knowing where things are in the immediate area, local history and legends, and the centers of power in the region. The smaller the region, the more detailed your knowledge.

In my sagas and characters, I've always specifically labelled such abilities are "Area Lore: ___ Covenant".

Now, as for the quiestion of the OP, I would say that a newcomer to the covenant could build up such an ability through the Practice mechanism, by talking and questionning the people who lived there for a long time, while those who've lived there are simply roll using just Int + stress die to remember specific details.


First, I think Covenant Lore is an Area Lore, it’s similar to a village.

Second, I would have old timers at the covenant have this ability. Probably not at very high levels though.

Third, if a player spends exp on an ability, they should rightfully see it used for something. Probably used by grogs to avoid the worst jobs, among others.

Fourth, I’d look at the rules for Practice. Grogs can use one of their free seasons to Practice this, if they want. Or it’s a reasonable place to use Exposure for their work seasons.