Covenants 1990 or Covenants 2006

Anyone have older and/or current editions of 'Covenants' to compare or talk of. Our story guide has been switching over to 5th Edition, but pulled out his 1990 Edition of 'Covenants' and demonstrated it's coolness in picking out various aspects of covenant life (based on how many positive points of covenants characteristics balanced out with negative points).
e.g. :

Dilapidated (-2)
A limited ability to rebuild what we found has left some areas of the covenant unmaintained, and very little of our underground area has been explored.

Underground Area (+1)
As mentioned, we have a well-designed underground area directly underneath the covenant, with at least two points of access. We have not ventured further than the bottom cellar under one of the stairways.

So for our first session we just sat down as a troupe and went through the various lists and went shopping, discussing and joking around about various aspects about the covenant.

Anyone know aspects about the 2006 edition?


Steve Jackson Game's e-23 has a digital copy of Covenants (1990) available for $7.

Well, the 5th Edition basic rulebook already has Hooks & Boons that fill similar role. The Covenants book (the 5th edition version) just gives a lot more options to choose from.

Of course, the Covenants has other useful bits as well. It has rules for customizing your laboratory, more advanced book rules, maintenance of covenant finances (purely optional, some people like to know roughly how much wealth a covenant does, but not everyone likes to pay attention to it), chapter on the covenfolk, and some sample vis sources.

So, while the new Covenants is not (obviously) necessary to play, I find it one of the most used books during a saga.

I would say the 1990 Covenants has a greater breadth of ideas you can add to your covenant (a mixture of really cool ones and a fair number of lame ones), and 2006 Covenants does a much better job of fitting a covenant into a medieval-feeling world.

1990 paints vivid colors with a broad brush, 2006 goes into detail.

My ideal Covenants book would probably be somewhere in between. What I do is skim the 1990 book to steal ideas then crack open the 2006 book when it's time to get down to business.

The options in the 2006 book tend to be bigger in scope and more story focused than the options in the 1990 book. the 1990 book asks you to choose the quality if the mounts available to the covenant the 2006 book gives you options for wealth and an option for having a troop of heavy cavalry working for you with a discussion about what sort of stories that can lead to.

The 2006 has a lot more high fantasy options in it and the more moderate options seem to be more historically aware. the 1990 book is more narrowly focused/ less wide open but it still gives tons of options. The options in the 1990 book (and many of them are high fantasy as well) are more unified. The game had a narrower focus back when it started a more specific feel, so while your covenant could be persecuted by hell, you didn't have options for time dilation sitting next to options for dealing with the centralized nature of the feudal structure of england.

Part of this is the structure. in the 1990 book the players went through and decided on each option for their covenant.

In the 2006 version the players start with a baseline covenant that is modified in two ways

First there is a pool of points for resources such as books, vis sources or enchanted devices.
Second the characters can take boons and hooks to modify the covenant.
As with virtues and flaws versus experience points in character generation, boons and hooks only indirectly relate to resources.

The 2006 book allows lots more options and makes some truly wacky ones available to you, the 1990 book is a big flowchart that gets you from no covenant to all of the details filled out in record time.

The 1990 version has one advantage: it details some covenants from Provencal ready to drop in to your game. Lariander and Val Negra spring to mind, I forget the others but if you are doing a Mistrige campaign it's pretty much an essential buy - but not entirely as I ran my Mistridge game without knowing what I was missing!

cj x

I don't suppose you'd mind posting or mailing me a link? I've been searching on there and can't seem to find it.


Found it on the Paizo site. $7.47 for the pdf.


Good deal. And for future posterity and other Ars Magica digital copies from e23:

Then click on 'Browse' on the side and a list of links to different game systems pops up with Ars Magica one of the few in bigger and bolder font.