The nuts & bolts for this design project (not a game!)
Don't worry about Boons & Hooks, we really don't use or even need them for this. It's just a matter of setting the environment to design the characters for.
As for the development process, you can assume any "standard spells" can be found on lab text - meaning spells published in the core rules at least, and probably also in other books. However, these spells are less interesting since there is no design process or discussion. But for plausible characters it is highly likely they have a good deal of standard spells and not just tailored spells (however fun that might be). I have a bad habit of doing that, even if just variations on one parameter on a standard spell.
Develop the magi per standard rules of 30 exp per year, -10 per season of labwork (so better bunch the labwork together in entire years!). Don't track exposure, don't worry about plausible book qualities. Over time 30 exp per year should be an ok average covering both seasons with great books as well as limping through mediocre tractatus or exposure. Don't try to track each individual season of study. Just look at the 15 year period and decide how many of the potential 450 exp you want to put in which Art or ability, rather than try and put the average of 7,5 per season in each. Make it easy for yourself, and just make the numbers add up in the end.
Assume any reasonable amount of vis available for devices. What is reasonable? Dunno, but don't spend 10 pawns per season for all 15 years.
If you want a better lab, use seasons of labwork to improve it. Assume any reasonable Upkeep. Again, what is reasonable? Dunno, but don't assuem an Upkeep of 10 is fine for a spring covenant
Use seasons of lab work rather than assigning 30 levels of spells/devices per year. IMO that doesn't model things well at all.
When using 30 xp per year and no exposure experience for lab work, when you back calculate what sort of plausible activities a magus might have undertaken during their years of "study" you come up with a fair amount of wiggle room to shove in non-lab work stuff. You don't have to justify every action by removing a season of lab work.
When we've done apprentices, both in previous threads and in the magi of hermes book, we've accounted for the seasons spent training the apprentices as if they happened all together - you don't need to knock 10 xp off of every year for a whole 15 year period.
We've been all over the place with xp for familiars. In general we've given them fewer xp than humans just because we don't imagine that with their inhuman personalities they'd be as inclined to be as studious as magi are.
I'm going to give a few preferences for how to present stuff, which you needn't follow, but if you do you'll make me and possibly others happier.
Present new spells and devices in a quote box with the title highlighted. I find the code box more difficult to read and it's easy to miss stuff if they're not set away from the rest of the text.
Do include the level arts and spell parameters on the top as well as in the design line. I know it's redundant but it has been standard for the whole fifth edition line and I find it very clear
Put your new creations in a post by themselves, not with a character sheet. When they came together in the Annulus Connctens thread I found it too much to digest, and also too late to change the spell without messing up the character sheet
To repeat, that's just my desire, don't post that way if you find it too fiddly. I anticipate exactly 0 negative consequences if I don't get my way.
Suggestion: Life becomes much easier for readers if the guideline used for a spell or effect is actually listed rather than just "Base 3" or whatever. Page count matters in a book, so it makes some sense for AM books not to rewrite the full guideline in the spell, though there can be ambiguity when multiple guidelines share the same level. Online, a reader without access to the books benefits greatly from seeing the guideline used. Most of the guidelines are one-liners, so this should not clutter things overmuch. Some guidelines are more complicated, and some complicated spells involve more than one guideline, but these are often the instances where extra clarity helps most.
I like that, it can help a lot with understanding, and saves people from a figurative treasure hunt. I'm actually doig that for some of the spells I'm fiddling with now. They're specially tricky since I'm doing a few mental animal spells, so they're ReAn but based on ReMe guidelines.
To provide a definitive answer to this, we discussed this issue privately with Christian. For those concerned, it may be useful to know that the scope of the project is now set and all of Caepernum's activity will be taking place in the currently extant threads. We think this footprint on the forum is not overwhelming (it's not pushing other content off the first page at an alarming rate, for example). Furthermore, as the goal of the project is to engage with the forum at large and have wide participation in the threads (as opposed to the limited interaction with a set group of people you'd expect from a PBM), the main forum is the most logical place for this project to exist.
Those interested in this material might also want to check out the old Anulus Connectens project which ran along similar lines on the forums here back in 2016 and created a lot of cool content.
If you have additional concerns that you feel I haven't addressed here, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Most of the fresh out of gauntlet characters are up. We really need a theme or two for the first 15 year period. Certainly anything that can make the covenant friends or money would be appropriate for a newly formed covenant, but perhaps we can add in another issue?
It looks like at least six of our seven characters are male, that strikes me as a bit unlikely. I'm going to change "Gascon" into a woman to make things more believable.
Corvus is still cooking, the latest discussions will result in some changes. The quite specialized spells posted earlier will most likely come during the next 25 years.
And Corvus’ concept could be whatever. I could easily change it to be Corva instead. I’ve done that before.
I am changing the affinity of Aeric from Creo to Perdo not to have 3 Magi with Affinity with Creo. Samual already has Muto Affinity, which was the other option. I think that Perdo is also fine and we will have more variety. I will make small changes in arts and starting spells. I know that this is not necessary, but I think that it could improve the result.
About the themes of the first years, looking for allies sounds good. I also proposed:
I think that Eleutherius and me could work in the third one.
In the first period I’m planning for a few magical devices for to add lab improvement virtues (magical heating, preserved, insulated) and taking the dedicated lab virtue too. Sharing so other Magi will know and might reuse the lab texts for their own lab items. Interested in collaborating too.
Edit - try to create some items - my lab totals are very low.
I think we should do things as simple and basic as they can.
Assume a completely standard setup, until you spend time improving the lab. It makes perfect sense to assign 2 lab season in the first period to actually build a basic lab, because any normal magus building a new covenant probably needs to do that. I know this it not completely standard, because the young magus might as easily join an older covenant. The again this might make demands on the young magus' time due to services owed. But there are a myriad of variations and we can't encompass everything. Anyway, 2 seasons for this is not is unlikely to matter much once the magi pass +75 years post gauntlet.
I am checking the characters of Magi of Hermes to see which is the way in which Warping is handled. It seems that generally 30 points of warping are assigned for that first 15 years in most of the characters. And a few twilight scars assigned (normally none in this first period).
Aeric has twilight prone and I think that should affect in some way the warping gained. The quantity seems ok (otherwise he would only gain 6 warping from longevity ritual), but twilight rolls should be made, twilight scars gained and art xp gained or lost. Perhaps even virtues and flaws.
I have been thinking in gaining a virtue and a flaw together (I mean, two different twilights, but for balance purposes get a virtue and a flaw), or perhaps in different periods. I also will compensate the xp (some gained, some lost, result equal), but assign some twilight scars each period. How are you going to solve this?
It seems unrealistic to gain so few twilight scars. Where are those extra warping points gained if not from twilight experiences?
Remember than single Botches on spells yields 1 warping point but no risk of Twilight, unless you're Twilight Prone.
Also , spending time in high auras, under influence of powerful or long lasting magic. I don't know if any of the magi are using Longevity yet, but I know Corvus wants to create one early in year 16-30.
I think we did something simplified in Anulens Connectens. IRC we just took 2 warping per year, like the rules for converting magi from 4th ed says. If someone is Twilight Prone I'd use a higher yearly rate.
Yeah, single botches should be a major source of warping for normal characters. But being twilight prone, each of these is a chance of having a twilight, so I think that I should increase the number of scars and side effects, although it is true that having high vim also increases the ability to avoid twilight.
Healing magic has been the other big source of warping (for my troupe at least, that features two melee fighting magi). I don't know if that is also applicable for other more careful magi.
Anyway, I take that is expected to gain around 2 points/year in normal conditions. I will think about this and make changes relatives to warping to the first 15 years.