Covenant of the old North - Discussion

To plan and discuss the building of the Covenant.

Synopsis of existing discussion in the announcement thread

I thought I could try and summarise the existing discussion, and identify proposed hooks and boons. I cannot promise that I caught it all, so please fill in. More importantly, we should hear secondments and objections, and more ideas.

There seems to be a general concensus for a stationary, rural Spring covenant.

Centralised kingdom (External Minor hook)
(Only mentioned once) This seems to be obligatory in England.

Roman ruins (Surroundings Minor hook)
This has received some interest from several posters, but has not been elaborated.

Ruined covenant (Surroundings, Major hook)
Proposed and seconded. It offers an explanation for some initial Hermetic resources. An alternative which has been mentioned is to take a Winter covenant and turn it around to Spring, before it is ruined, but it seems that SG has the founding planned. One take on this, which attracted some follow-up brain storming in a covenant in an abandoned mine.

A variation of this is John Graham's idea of a magus trained by a late solitary magus. That could explain an income source (e.g. farming village) but not the Hermetic resources.

Pagan community (Several possible hooks: Hedge tradition, Heretics, Pagans, Protector)
A few people have suggested centering the covenant around a pagan(ish) community. Such a connection can be spelled out in different ways, leading to different boons and hooks)

External relations/surroundings
This is my personal preference as a general theme for stories. Nobody seems to have commented one way or another. Many possible hooks involve external agents, neither friend nor foe, who interact with the covenant based on their own agenda. This includes Tribunal Border, Faerie court, favours, Road, and some more challenging ones. How do we befriend this noble? How can we get that meddling friar off our backs? I am not suggesting taking all of them.

One poster, planning a Merinita, wanted stories with lots of faeries in them. This could be construed as vote for the faerie court minor surroundings hook, or something similar, as also suggested above.

Vis salary (Minor resources hook)
(Only mentioned once) Natural for a week covenant.

Here is a possibility. everything below the divides is what I added.

Centralised kingdom (External Minor hook)
Roman ruins (Surroundings Minor hook)
Ruined covenant (Surroundings, Major hook)
Vis salary (Minor resources hook)
Faerie Court(minor Surroundings hook)
Hedge Tradition (major External Relation hook)


Aura (minor site boon)
Regio(minor site boon)
Hidden Resources ( minor resource boon)
Strong community ( minor residence boon)

I mentioned Hedge Tradition, but I had the hook in mind. I had not noticed the boon. I am not particularly keen on the boon, as I think it hard to take advantage of. The hook makes sense, given several ex Misc and the location, but at the risk of overdoing hooks.

That opens up a major or 3 minor boon.

Have fun and add Vast and labyrinthine ( minor boon)

Ok, here are some of my thoughts. I assume we are running the rural lead-mine idea near Alston.

We have a Ruined Covenant (-3) nearby or building on it. That would also give us Hidden Resources (+1)
I believe the head ST wanted us to start with Poverty (-1, -3) ? If we have a mine I would suggest Vast and Labyrinthine (-1) , Indiscreet resource (-1) or Regional produce (-1). Those mines will also be of high interest on the local lords and the kings; Spies (-1) would be apt. However the legal ownership could go either way: Centralized Kingdom (-1) , Favors (-1) , Beholden (-3) or Mundane Politics (-3) on one side, Right (+1) or even Ungoverned (+3) on the other.

Roman Ruins (-1) seems popular:,-2.451196,4404m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x487dac11e4116d0b:0x4aef89c4cff93067!8m2!3d54.8324475!4d-2.476564 that Epiacum ruins looks nice.

Due to the placement of the site I would suggest Road (-1) or War zone (-3).
Aura is important. I am not keen on Regio though. How about Aura over 5 in places instead?

As for our outside relations with the Order, wow we are sitting on a powder-keg.

I really like the hidden resources boon as you can take it multiple times. That allows the exploration of the ruined covenant to be a major part of the story. The "Through the Aegis" supplement does this really well with the Winter in to new Spring final example in the book.

I also like the idea of a level 5 aura (Minor Site Boon Aura x2) over the whole covenant and then the Major Site Boon Aura to give a smaller area an Aura of 6. That keeps the coven folk from warping due to just the aura while the magi get a higher number. Not sure if you would apply another Major Boon - Aura to get a limited aura of 7 or just have to apply a the Minor Boon - Aura? If it is the minor boon this can be a great use of any spare Boons once we have assigned the Hooks.

Roman ruins (Surroundings Minor hook) -1
Ruined covenant (Surroundings, Major hook) -3
Vis salary (Minor resources hook) -1
Poverty ( minor resource hook) -1
Vast and Labyrinthine (Minor Site Hook) -1
Regional produce (minor Resource hook) - I like this one if we mine iron or perhaps run an inn with really good beer/ale :slight_smile: -1
Centralized Kingdom (minor relations hook) - this just makes sense. -1
Faerie Court(minor Surroundings hook) - i like this one but it can go. -1

The area will be very story driven.

aurax2 ( minor boon) +2
Hidden resources x2 ( minor boon) +2

I like these two. If we have points to spare, I would not mind a major aura boon or two on top (locally boosted aura).

I believe we need an ally or maybe more, to survive. I would prioritise a mundane ally, superior (+3) or local (+1), but any ally has its uses.

Vast and Labyrinthine is a minor boon in Covenants 5th, not a hook as suggested. It does not seem like a good choice for a starting covenant either, since it implies subcultures within the covenant staff, which I suppose we have not recruited yet ... OTOH, I like Hidden Ways. Maybe combine this with Criminals, to give us a couple of seasoned guides; the magi are probably new to the area. The criminals may have used the caves for a long time, even if they have not explored the deeper caves used by the ruined covenant. (For higher fantasy, there is probably a boon to merit faeries guides instead, but criminals would be my first choice.) If we are still thinking about the mines, at the risk of making an anachronism, the hidden ways could be an extensive network of caves with hidden exits. In short, given that the covenant is still in its infancy, the vastness should be exterior, not interior as implied by the «vast and labyrinthine» boon. The ruined covenant boon already assumes a certain vastness to be explored.

Worth noting that my magus is local with a good area lore skill.

My companion as well. Which is two really good outdoorsman.

I had been thinking about a laboratory for Aella when I was going to play her. Mountain Top, natural feature, Spacious, Regio in the mountain, labyrinth, lair, and precarious was what I toying with as it starting out.

Lab would take a while to upgrade, but the idea being a series of caves (labyrinth) leads up to a peak where the Lab could be built with a balcony and connected to the regio's caves into a volcano. With multiple paths to the center. The volcano being dormant and in the regio, but still hot with lava and a few Ignem residents.

All of which I was waiting to run by you guys. It sounds like it would fit. It would be disconnected from the main covenant site.

No active volcanoes in the borders I am afraid. Plenty of mountains though so may be able to get the idea through the troop.

Yah. There are some igneous deposits in a few places, from my research, but nothing that had been active for a very long time. I mentioned it because it seemed we were on the same lines as far as the cave network and mountains.

According to Covenants and as I read it you can't have the Poverty hook and any other income source boon. Maybe the income source hook could be another hidden resource that we discover in play?

What do you all think about this for the site for the covenant?

I have not seen the a medieval map, but IIUC, this is going to be a busy place where nobody goes under the radar. It is close to Carlisle - return travel in less than a day. Carlisle is a significant town AFAIU!? We are going to be much closer to some harbour serving Carlisle. Lot's of challenges. Why not?

Anything is fine with me, just lets finalize things


It's 11 miles from central Carlisle as the crow flies, and looking at the Ordance survey map (I was using to check the modern map) and there's a few streams that might cause detours but no serious hills, so you should be able to get to Carlisle in a few hours but that will still only be a day trip during summer.

As a site - well the western end of Hadrian's Wall will satisfy those who want Roman ruins and the possibility of stone fortifications. In terms of getting staff for the covenant, we should be able to hire from Carlisle if there's no-one suitable in the local villages. Looking at income - unless we use magic, we'll have to figure out a farming or fishing income.

I'm OK with this as a site.

Looks good to me