First covenant

Nope, it was done by rolling a die for what type and another for how much. Duplicate types just got added up.

The Com scores of the specialists seem unusually high. I could certainly understand one or two of them being a superior teacher(s), but all of them? That seems a bit too much. Particularly, for the more "practical" minded spacialists, like Markus and Jake, a high Com score doesn't seem to make much sense. Nor is it necessary, as they woulld probably be more inclined to pass on their knowledge through the Training method, instead of the more academic Teaching method.

As they stand right now, for one-on-one teaching, they can impart from 15 (Jake) to 18 (Theon) xp in a single season. Theon makes the summae on Latin (Q15) and Artes Liberales (Q15) completely redundant, in addition to providing a very high-level, high-quality source for learning Magic Theory as well.

They may be perfectly legitimate according to the rules, but stacking multiple abilities under a single specialist magnifies their value without a corresponding increase in their cost (build points). You should know that they will result in the player characters gaining a lot of knowledge very fast.

Thanks, this is the kind of information I was looking for. I'll tone them down and figure out what is 'training'.

Then I think you have very few Vis sources, but that's possibly not a bad thing if you plan on introducing new ones in play.

Some of your books are very good, but not really problematically so, just better than I'm used to.

  • Aegis of the Hearth is a ritual and as such must be level 20+
    It is also the single spell that in many ways define a covenant (well, not really, but closest thing). This is also why Arthur mentioned that you have no Rego or Vim Vis - meaning you can't easily cast this ritual.

I really recommend having atleast a source of some Vim Vis (besides extraction from Aurae) - as it is extremely useful.

The specialists feel ... overpowered, but that has already been mentioned.

Hows it looking now?
Now the specialists are a bit toned down but still useful. I removed Markus's ability in teaching. I guess people can still teach/train with any of them, it's just not as fast now.
I changed one of the Vis stocks to Vim. I think I will have them discovering Vis sources during play. Kinda the premise of giving them a Winter covenant. The old wizards stockpiled what they would need for the rest of their lives and gave this fraction of their stockpile to the chars as 'available resources'. Since they haven't been collecting in years, others have gobbled up the nearby Vis sources leaving the PCs with just those sources INSIDE the Covenant.
Also switched out the Latin Summa to a Philosophae Summa.

What's a good level for the Aegis spell they start with in the Library? 20?

For a winter covenant, probably level 30 or 40 depending on the elder magi inside. Remember, their elders will be the ones leading the ceremony, and might have high scores. They just need to participate, not contribute.

A covenant in winter can reasonably have two or more lab texts for Aegis. Thye probably have a 20th level version when the covenantwasfirst founded, and then the higher level one they cast later on when they angered a faerie lord, say 30-40th level. If there was a a possibility of a wizard war being waged, they may even have a higher level.
Also, if you are playing with a penetrating Aegis having lab texts for Wizard's Communion for different levels is advisable.

Noob has no idea what you talking about.

I assume that if magi involved in the Ritual try to commune through the Aegis - no problem.
If another magus wants to commune through the aegis, they have to have penetration > Aegis level.

This can be challenging to understand for new players. To affect a being with magic resistance, all spell must penetrate, this also applies to Wards and the Aegis[1].
To keep a Might 30 being out with a Ward, you need to make a ward of 30th level that can penetrate the magic resistance of said being, in this case 30, so your casting total needs to be 60. The same would apply to the Aegis.
Many troupes play without requiring Wards and the Aegis needing to penetrate. Many troupes do. I find that requiring penetration can give characters (not necessarily the players) a reason to cooperate, at least once a year.

See, callen's Guide to Aegis of the Hearth.

So, in order to get a high level Aegis to penetrate, you need to come together with Wizard's Communion, and cast the spell. Also, Wizard's Communion has been corrected with the Muto Vim errata, and to affect a ritual spell like Aegis of the Hearth, Wizard's Communion must be of Sun Duration, taking 10 levels away from the power it can provide to the communion calculation.

Playing without penetrating Aegis & Wards is easier.

[1]This is controversial, some say that it is or isn't in the Rules As Written (RAW). My hope is that debate doesn't erupt here, but it is important for you to be informed now before a player asks, if his Ward needs to penetrate and then you need to retcon. Although retconning this can be relatively easy, too.

So I was way off. I thought Wizard's Communion was the AM5 telephone. It's not, now that I read it.

Ok, so just checking to see if I understand you.
Nonpenetrating wards/aegis: lvl 30 Aegis with a Casting score of 30 gets the ritual up and running, it then keeps out Might 30 and below creatures.
Penetrating wards/aegis: lvl 30 Aegis with a Casting score of 60 keeps out Might 30 and below creatures. The first thirty levels of casting score to cast the Ritual, the 2nd thirty levels to penetrate the creature's might so that the first 30 levels affect him?

I personally like to treat Wards as needing to penetrate, and the Aegis as not. It makes life more interesting, since it explains WHY an aegis is better than a rego-vim ward of the same level.

That I like. Think we're going with this one.

Okay, getting back on subject. Here is the first covenant as it stands. I added 2 different Aegis and a Wizard's Communion to the Library.

Personal preferences:

  1. Note on the book list: The Roots (ie, the low-level primers of the Arts that you read in a single season to jack your scores up to 5+), according to Covenants, are "available to anyone, for a nominal fee" - they're the closest thing that the Order has to mass-market paperbacks. It looks like you've got five of them written up. Even if you're in a Winter covenant, any Gauntleted magi should be able to contact the Redcap, who can get you the full set. Of course, what counts as a "nominal fee" is up to you - but it's heavily implied that it's probably "a pound or two silver" or even "sure, take these old things off my hands" or even "why don't you have a copy already?" It might make a good beginning story, but beyond that...not so much. But again - that's my personal preference for the Roots - if you want to have low-level book be more rare than that, it's certainly up to you.

In contrast, those other books you have in there are probably Branches - the next level of Summae up in quality, and are the Deluxe Encyclopedia Britannica (in embossed leather and lushly illustrated) - common, but pricey, and not handed out lightly. Paying build points for THOSE seems to be perfectly in-line.

  1. You may want to have an experimental spell or two in there - I would imagine that palm of flame has been re-created so many times that the versions that people teach are probably one-off Experimental versions. Easy Experiment - add in a nice automatic Mastery Ability (Subtle Casting), but with an odd side effect (smells like cheese.). Demon's Eternal Oblivion (PeVi lvl 10) is usually a nice one to have in the Library, as well.

If you are looking for inspiration on what spells to include, this

discussion might be helpful,

it is biased towards a spring covenant, but might have insight nevertheless.


First, let me repeat my mantra - There are 101 ways to Role Play, and every one is right - just not right for everyone. So ready your grains of salt, and read on...

Relying 100% on random generation is inarguably impartial and certainly quick, but it does not always create the best story. After all, if the dice say that 1% of all starting players die early, who wants tell the story of a character that dies before the story really starts just because they got (really) unlucky on one roll? Or be facing "Fail" in their covenant (and possibly the Saga) for the same reason?

Having a Covenant with no Rego or Vim vis means that one or more stories will have to revolve around acquiring that and/or a source for it. Without Re or Vim vis, no Aegis, no covenant, no game. (OR a big story to find it - read on.)

So - is that a story you and your Troupe are looking forward to playing, as opposed to any others that the SG might have in mind or that the Troupe would prefer?

Or, to take this comment to the next level - as SG, you can randomize stuff, but as a literal Story Guide, one who guides the story, and one knows the Troupe and what kind of stories you and they want to play, make intelligent editing choices to guide the Saga toward those stories, and away from ones that would slow down the game and/or bore the Troupe (or you).

Consider this in all your decisions - how big the available Study bonuses are (from Texts, Teachers, Trainers, etc = how easily/fast PC's will improve), how many and which Lab Texts are available (for quick study), what vis sources and how big (which allow easy labwork related to those Arts - Techniques are MUCH more desirable for PC's than (most) Forms), what Specialists does the covenant have to provide rare materials (parchment, glass, lab gear) and to take that burden off of Companions - the list is endless.

Anything you add now will not be a concern for the Players - anything that you leave out will be added to their list of concerns and goals, in addition to whatever plots you have planned.

@ OP: Here's the practical diff - if a Ward must penetrate, it effectively cuts all anti-magic Wards* in half.

(* We're talking only about Wards that stop creatures (of appropriate Realm) of Might or that stop magical attacks, such as magical fire or against Scrying, etc. A ward against wooden weapons, against mundane animals - that type is not affected, since "penetration" against a non-magical thing is unnecessary.)

So, if a mage has a Casting Total of about 30, they can "reliably" cast a Level 30 Ward - but with +0 Penetration on top of that. (Casting Total 30 - Spell Level 30 = 0 Penetration). if Wards do not need to penetrate, that L30 Ward is good at face value and stops creatures of Might 30.

But if that same Ward DOES need to penetrate, that same Casting Total = 0 penetration, so that Ward stops (almost?) NOTHING magical. In this case, that same mage can only rely on casting a Level 15 Ward and expect to stop a Might 15 creature (Casting Total 30 - Lvl 15 spell = +15 penetration, good against Might 15).

It also means that a "Ward against Fire" suddenly becomes useless against magical fire, unless the ward penetrates as above.


Texts: vary the Quality +/- each, break up the 10/11/15/21 pattern for Quality, and the 6/16 pattern for Level. In practice, these can vary easily, and "realistically" the library should reflect this. Gives the players a bit more to think about, and less of a "pre-fab" feel.

Lab Texts: Was this "random"?

I like to put some "patterns" in (part of) my libraries, to reflect where these might have come from. Many will be orphan texts with no real rhyme or reason to be included, but many will, taken together, "make sense" to be there - maybe a mage with a certain interest donated a stack ("sailing" or "weather"), or with a certain favored Art or magical interest. A "theme" for a handful of them, that might be bound together in their own volume (as opposed to thinking of them each as a physically separate scroll/text). Maybe a Redcap donated a volume of "be comfortable while you travel faster" spells - that's a good and useful theme. Maybe a Flambeau donated a pile of "Fun with Fire" spells, that could be useful if "combat" were on the horizon. Or maybe a Merenita left a stack of "investigate fae animals and plants" spells - useless except in a very specific context.

Or, maybe there is a long-known awkward situation near the covenant, and over the decades spells have been acquired that help address that situation - if a faerie regio or a troll bridge, or just a nearby noble manorhouse that is predictably troublesome, there are spells that would be handy for "everyone" to know.

Also, there are a LOT of "General" Level spells that should be more common than the examples imply - throw some of those in there. See PeVi "Unravel the Fabric of (Form)" and many Intellego effects in the context of the previous paragraph.

Lastly, some of the examples should NOT be simply copy/pasted straight out of the book - magi love to tweak R/D/T and/or the exact effect. Get creative, surprise your players, spark their imaginations as to what is (easily) possible. Also, many effects are implied or mentioned in passing but not listed - Co or Me spells that work on Animals (healing, mind-reading, teleporting, etc.), Imagonem effects that are quite specific in final appearance, etc.

Ymmv - use your Editor's sensibility and make decisions for a better Story. The more creative the more color and life you put into the library, instead of "my big list of randomly generated spells".

Vis Sources
A Lvl 30 Aegis will use 6 vis. A single mage can easily use 8 vis in a season in a lab project to make something. They won't every season, nor every year, but they can - and you'll have 6 magi. An income of 9 vis/year (-6 for the Aegis) is .5 vis/year for each mage - and that's NOT going to do it. There is a small stock of vis, but Magi will want to find more, so expect that to be in the future for your stories sooner than later (unless you bump this up by a dozen or two).

Magic Items
Blastem wands are fine, but what about making the covenant as a whole better? Classics are Light, Warmth, Alarms, Traps, a strong room for valuables, anti-fire (in the library!), communication (a summoning chime?) , flowing/warm water and/or baths, healing (as a wand or bed), boosting grogs and defenses, etc. These can be cheap, quick and dirty or complex, vary from small and portable to larger and barely portable to part of the buildings, usable by/useful to only magi or by/to any mundane, subtle (a Cat's Eye helmet or disguise ring) or overtly magical (flaming sword or flying carpet) - the list is endless.

But a Winter Covenant should have a few items lying around in corners.

(One of my favorites is a "traveling staff" - a staff w/ a handful of small but useful (and mostly subtle?) enchantments, designed to be given to a group traveling on covenant business for their comfort and safety. Keep them dry, start a fire, a simple ward against wild animals (and maybe bandits?) at night - that type of stuff. Many ways to interpret that, and that's just one possible example of something a long-standing Covenant might have acquired over time.)

All of your Specialists have Teaching - was that a Covenant requirement?

Specialists are often hired to do important jobs in the Covenant that the magi (and Companions) don't want to do. Most Covenants would fill these positions before they move on to Teachers. Suggestions might include...

o Majordomo - someone to oversee the daily running of the Covenant. The servants and laborers, the mundane finances, etc. etc. Possibly the "public face" of the Covenant if no magi has Gentle Gift.
o (And, depending onthe size of the population, a variety of lesser functions to back up the Majordomo - cellarer (provisions), castellan (arms and physical defenses), steward (servants and "housekeeping"), chamberlain (finances) - the list could grow long)
o Blacksmith - all the metal needs and upkeep.
o Carpenter - all the woodworking needs and upkeep.
o Healer - Mundane cuts and breaks, long-term non-magical healing. (b/c magical healing costs vis - see above.)
o Librarian - care of all(?) texts. Copying and oversight.
o Stablemaster (if stables)
o Profession: X - if the covenant has an Income from a specific mundane source that requires oversight. From Mining to a secret Slave Market. For instance, a "Ship's Captain" would fall into this category if the covenant owned a ship, etc etc.
o Turb Captain - speaks some Latin, intermediary between grogs and magi (might be better as a Companion, but if not, he's the guy.)
o Scout - lots of traveling and local Area knowledge Abilities (& see Turb Captain comments)
o Glassblower - a rare specialist, for lab equipment (among more mundane uses)

Without many of these, you don't have an operational Covenant to begin with. :wink:


If your magi are just arriving, they're on their own, but if they've been here a long time they'll probably have bonus-quality labs. Throw them a bone.

But, again, it all depends on the stories that you and your troupe want to tell. Use some foresight, plan ahead, and have fun with it.

Few would choose to found a covenant without a Vim/Rego vis source, unless they had formalized trade with a covenant that could supply such. Nobody wants to spend their seasons cranking out vis for the Aegis unless the compensation is particularly high (even then, some players won't want to because their plans need to be uninterrupted). Because sooner or later every magi (almost) has to do this to get the vim vis needed for talismans, familiars, longevity rituals or other enchanted stuff they want to make.

Almost makes me wish you could render down any other vis to Vim vis somehow. Aside from the Redcap network, that is.

Also, if you can get you hands on the 5th ed Covenants book*, that's a wealth of additional material, opens a lot of doors, adds a LOT of color, answers a lot of questions - and adds some (optional) complexity and bookkeeping but as an overall advantage to the PC's. Recommended - altho' if someone in your Troupe is thinking of buying a single book, perhaps not before the 3 Houses books (also very good), as approp for the PC's House. Or maybe so - ymmv.

(* There is also a 3rd ed "Covenants" that is floating out there, that is still nice but VERY diff rules-wise. Not a waste if you can find it (really) cheap, some is still usable and good for inspiration - just be aware of the diff. The covers of all 5th ed books have that similar look. 5th ed Covenants: )

Re-read the description of the seasons of the Covenants (68-70). A true "Winter" covenant has declined considerably, and is often seen on a par with a Spring Covenant, with different headaches but just as many (and often bigger ones).

Then re-read the the insert on page 72. 825 build pts is an "early Summer" covenant. Now, given the drop from 2000 ("a weak Autumn") to Winter (200) maybe a Covenant on the slide down. Nothing wrong with a higher-powered campaign, but be aware that this is not the "kiddies' wading pool" depth. :wink:

In the vein of good supplements to pick up after the main text, Covenants, and the Houses of Hermes books are all excellent choices. And I personally prefer the PDF versions (searching the PDF for the win), and they are about 1/2 the paper price. They are DRM free, too.

Maybe you should think about which Boons/Hooks are obvious or likely to be chosen, to help the players get an overview and decide. In the setup of a Winter covenant is decided upon, some Boons/Hooks are more likely than others.

Personally, I belong the the group wanting Aegis to need Penetration.

First, there are no rules saying it does not. Yes, Aegis is said to not mesh perfectly with Hermetic theory, but this does not need to mean it is excluded from normal rules. And all directly affecting spells, Wards included, are ruled to be Resisted.
Second, Aegis is better than a Rego Vim ward, since it does not only keep beings of Might outside, it also reduces Casting Totals
Third, it gived us a reason to ever want to use Wizard's Communion. Although with a higher duration, as ruled in errata, to account for the casting time of the Ritual itself.
Fourth, withiout the need for Penetration it is too easy to cast a high level Aegis, since casting total does not matter then, and you can simply accept the fatigue loss. Missing the level by less than 10 still means the ritual is cast. So the same Art scores needed to cast a lvl 20 Aegis with pen 20 allows you a lvl 50 Aegis if you don't feel a need to Penetrate.