How do you manage ressources & pay for Covenant's work?

Ô wisest sodalis, I salute you !

I come here to seek advises, and the matter is about the management of the ressources of our alliance...

Our gaming group tried to "solve" this for many years, and we have not found a satisfactory way to settle the redistribution of ressources (generally it is about vis).
How/how much do you "pay" for a season of work when a member spend his time "working for the covenant" ?
Or do you manage things like this at all ?

For exemple:
#1 Maëva spend 2 seasons exploring a magical regio near the covenant, as this was deemed important for the security of the alliance. (An intelligent magical creature reside in there: what are his intents ?)
#2 Francesco invent a magical item, a Brasier ReIg20 and then fabic 6 of them for all the covenant.
#3 Sextus transcribe 100 levels of his spell for all to use.

What happens when a magus do more seasons for the covenant than another in a given 7 years, for exemple ?

What happens when a magus tries to avoid doing works for the covenant ? How to you manage this ?

What happens when a magus tries to only do a certain type of works for the covenants, that are "advantageous to him" ? Here I mean something like exploring (where you may find vis, establish social contacts, find lost lore, do "something interesting") OVER building a magical item. In the second case, you have to give the item, leaving you with a season "wasted" compare to the one who explored and gathered 7 vis of herbam.

I would like to hear from your experience, what you find works for you, what you think can be done to help this "problem".
I hope you understand what I mean, if not, please ask for clarification. :slight_smile:

Mind you, I don't think anyone in our group see this as a problem ! This is roleplaying, and we like it. There are always internal intrigues that will make an ideal organisation less likely.
But still, I think we could profit from knowledge about a fonctionnal way of managing the magical ressources of the Covenant.

Sadly, I've found very little help from Covenants . I do thank the writers for that book, that we use in our campaign with good effect.
But I feel the book avoid this important and often discussed matter.

Then let them haggle over it. "-I want this much for it, or i wont do something this good as my covenant service ever again!"... "-Thats outrageous! How about this much?"...

Im not sure if i have seen anyone use hard rules for something like this. You could try categorising the different work on the basis of how beneficial or expensive it is for the character and then set a payscale based on that.

In my (on hold) campaign, all vis (except from vis extraction) gets pooled together. At the end of the year, it value is worked out (technique is worth 2, form is worth 1), then shared.
Each mage gets 1 share.
Each mage who spent a season doing something which benefitted the covenant (scribing, visiting nobles, killing beasties, collecting from vis source, etc) gets another share.
Each mage who brings back some vis (not normal vis source) gets another share.
Each mage who brings the covenant into disrepute loses a share.

I can't say how well it works, the players kinda leave me to see to it :unamused:

In our group all the vis is pooled and after a year all covenant costs (in vis) are subtracted and the rest is divided among the magi. Every magus has to do a covenant duty twice every 3 year, after discussing the use with the rest of the magi (this was introduces after someone wrote a rather useless Guile tractatus).

Our covenant uses the "one season per year in covenant service" rule, which seems to work well. We don't really enforce what the service has to be, unless someone is asked to do a particular thing.

All non-personal vis source or extracted vis, from critters or other sources, gets pooled. 50% (per Art) stays in the coventant stores, the other 50% is divided amongst the Magi who can bicker amongst themselves and trade if they so wish. Any service to the coventant may request Vis from stores for that purpose.

It seems to work. We have Vis to play with (more of some than others - extracting Vim Vis for the stores counts as service, for instance), there's enough for specific projects, and anyone can get access to communal stores for their own projects if they need to by petitioning the Senior Council.

I think, in the end, that just letting people haggle about it is as much a part of the game as anything else.

In my two last sags (4th ed), we had some rule of covenant services, to begin with. It had to be something useful, and something within the abilities and specialities of the magus in question. Nobody was ever forced to do a certain thing. But it could be heavily suggested.
At first in the first saga, the new covenant wanted such activities for one season per year for each magus. This quickly became a problem, because we couldn't always come up with a good project for some magi. And it was too often. It became less organized and more scarce. In the end we just registered who had done services and how many. In any event of a dispute, people could point to this for terms of loyalty and dedication.

In the second saga, the exact same thing happened. But at the first Tribunal after the funding of the covenant, a Quaesitor suggested in no uncertain terms, that the library was too weak for the probationary covenant to be taken seriously. So now everyone had to write what they could, to fill the holes. Since no magi had very much overlapping specialities, we filled it out nicely. Some players felt that their magi would refure to write a simple book, and traded for an apporpriate one from their own resources. A fully acceptable action, we agreed. Even the poor writers had to produce works, since the books could always be cleaned up. We used all the expanded book rules from WGRE, so the academic magus glossed many books, resources and good craftsmen were used to boost the Physical Quality etc. Most books were commented by our magi as we red them.
In the end, this resulted in out covenant becoming one of the finest libraries in Normandy tribunal, opening up for magi to come read for a modest vis contribution (plus the threat of persecution if they stole or rioned any works). It was made possible du to some extreme political events at the other large library, where the magi actively played a role, and came out on the winning side.
So simple covenant services made major changes to the power in the tribunal, greatly evolved the covenant, and made for some major story events. Although, some magi readily spent more time than others. And, it still had no consequences per se for the lazy magi.

I can explain our covenants approach best by showing you our charter.

I've trimmed out the oath and the signatories.

The Articles

There are four ranks within the covenant and these ranks are each afforded different rights, privileges and responsibilities. Progress through the ranks is a matter of seniority.

First Rank, that of Supplicant Magus.
This being the first rank, it is the rank that a newly joined magus receives. A supplicant magus must spend one out of every five seasons working on behalf of the covenant. This must be an activity that has been approved by a majority vote of at least half of the total votes available to the council. A supplicant magus receives a single pawn of vis from the covenant stores a year. This may be of any kind but cannot exhaust the vim vis stores to the point where the Aegis cannot be renewed. A supplicant magus has a single vote at council.

Second Rank, that of Journeyman Magus
A supplicant magus becomes a Journeyman when he has lived 6 full years at the covenant. Upon reaching this time span his rank shall be upgraded and he accepts the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the Journeyman. A journeyman must spend one out of every six seasons working on behalf of the covenant. This must be an activity that has been approved by a majority vote of at least half of the total votes available to the council. A journeyman magus receives two pawns of vis from the covenant stores a year. This may be of any kind but cannot exhaust the vim vis stores to the point where the Aegis cannot be renewed. A journeyman Magus has 2 votes at council.

Third Rank, that of Ancilla Magus
A Journeyman magus becomes an Ancilla when he has lived 11 full years at the covenant. Upon reaching this time span his rank shall be upgraded and he accepts the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the Ancilla. An Ancilla must spend one out of every eight seasons working on behalf of the covenant. This must be an activity that has been approved by a majority vote of at least half of the total votes available to the council. An Ancilla magus receives three pawns of vis from the covenant stores a year. This may be of any kind but cannot exhaust the vim vis stores to the point where the Aegis cannot be renewed. An Ancilla Magus has 3 votes at council.

Fourth Rank, that of Elder Magus
An Ancilla magus becomes an Elder when he has lived 21 full years at the covenant. Upon reaching this time span his rank shall be upgraded and he accepts the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the Elder. An Elder must spend one out of every ten seasons working on behalf of the covenant. This must be an activity that has been approved by a majority vote of at least half of the total votes available to the council. An Elder magus receives four pawns of vis from the covenant stores a year. This may be of any kind but cannot exhaust the vim vis stores to the point where the Aegis cannot be renewed. An Elder Magus has 4 votes at council.

Services to the Covenant

Where possible magi will assume responsibility for collecting vis from the covenants vis sources on a rotating basis. Where this is not possible, it is the responsibility of the magus whose turn is due to arrange for a sodalis to cover his role.

Seasons of service are owed to the covenant by magi according to their rank. Mages are expected to work to improve the covenant, its resources, defenses and allies. Magi are expected to work to the limit of their ability. Magi are expected to spend the entire season in service and not to split their time with personal projects.

Bonuses of Membership

Upon joining the Covenant a magus must inscribe their sigil upon the arc of Brunnaburgh. It is considered polite to inscribe ones sigil below that of living senior members.

The magus will be presented with a token allowing them to practice their arts with the Aegis without penalty. At the next casting of the Aegis, magi should ensure they are present to partake in the ritual. The Aegis shall be renewed every Winter Solstice.

Magi shall have word of command over servants and the turb. In general the orders of a senior magus is not to be countermanded except in situations dire or perilous.

When leaving the covenant magi are entitled to take a shield grog with them, this warrior shall be drawn from the common pool and is to serve as a bodyguard.

Finally, a new magus will have a tower constructed for him by the most experienced terram magus present. This tower shall be formed by a Conjuring the Mystic tower ritual and will be created in good faith and to the best of that magus’ ability. The covenant shall provide the vis for the ritual from the communal store.

As you can see, our magi get assigned a certain amount of vis every year. They also have to perform duties every now and then. These plus the votes they get at council are down to their seniority. The elder magi wrote the charter when the first of the younger magi joined and it was their desire that they would receive the lions share of the vis/votes.

Younger magi in particular are heavily indentured. To show the covenant that they are serious about committing to the charter they must perform an extra 2 seasons of work in their first year in addition to the 1 in five seasons.

Magi can do their service in whatever time they like as long as they meet the minimum requirements. If a magus wants to do the next 5 years service all in one year this is perfectly allowable. Our resident terram expert (an elementalist) finds he never runs out of tasks for service, while our mentem specialist mainly translates books of slain magi into plain latin for the library. Our verditius tends to make trinkets that make the covenant life easier for grogs, an enchanted plow, magic nail that when hammered into a wall turns the room in which its in into a freezer of sorts (prevents meat and vegetable matter from decomposition). Our criamon necromancer tends to have his ideas for service vetoed by the other magi due to their grisly nature, while our sneaky bjornaer tends to try and do services which benefit him most.

As for our vis stores, we have enough to cover the magis allowances and the rest is put into the stores. This ensures that in emergencies we have a reserve of vis to perform rituals, etc. In particular we ensure that we always have enough to cover the yearly aegis ritual and enough corpus (of which we get quite a bit) to cast our inst-heal ritual at least once. We general need it quite often.

We have a system that rewards covenantwordk as follows: You get one share when handing out Vis, plus one for each additional season of covenantwork (which has to be sanctioned by the praeses) If you fail to do covenantwork, you do not get your share, and you get a fine, but since this has not occured, I do not know how bad the fine is

Thank you a lot for your responses, I read them all carefully and it helped me a lot into thinking the whole thing.

Some people does not see this as an issue in their campaign, some seems to have encountered it as we did...

@The Baron, Thijs, Fhtagn, gribble_the_munchkin, Henricus
Those who share: you share based on different basis: status, available ressources.

But what happen when you encounter those problems ? (if you encountered them)
A) Taking The Baron exemple: Let say you have 20 vis to share each year, and there are 4 mages. So they get 5 vis each on YEAR 1.
Now, in YEAR 2, let say magus #1 do a season of covenant work, he get two share, so 8 vis in total. The other magus get 4 vis each.
Magus #2, a Tytalus, feel he is robbed of is 5th vis. What do you answer to him ? After all, he did nothing wrong, and he gets 5 vis instead of 4 because magus #1 did a season of work.
B) Same exemple, YEAR 3. Let say the other magus learnt their lesson, and each did a season of covenant work. So each get 2 shares, 5 vis each.
Magus #2 protest, because he say that he didn't get anymore than YEAR 1! He is true, you know... He could challenge each other magus in certamen, because they stole "his" vis doing a season of covenant work...and he is not entirely wrong, you must admit...

Did you encountered those problem in your campaign ? if yes, how did you solve it ? if no, why do you think it did not happen in your campaign ?

1st campaign:

2nd campaign:

This is an interesting thing, because your group seems to be sensitive to the status that covenant's work give to the magus.
This made me thinks about a "system" were covenant work could give some reputation XP, representing that status.

I have a question for you: how different was the implication between the lazy and the busy magus ? Did that made the "lazy" more powerfull in statistical terms ? How do the busy magus felt about that ? and their players ?
I am not impliing any answer by my direct questions, if you accept to answer them. :slight_smile:

Haggling. Depends on real value of the season of covenant work. I like this solution the most. The only problem is, you can become bored of haggling about such things. We haggled in our last 4 years campaign, and we decided for the new one to simply say "our character find some equilibrium for sharing of ressources". We don't actually roleplay it. We prefer to roleplay other things (could be as well otherwise, of course. Haggling is not boring in itself !)

Another way is to enforce a definite number of seasons of covenant work to do. We did that in our current campaign, but for each 7 years lapse. Our covenant was so poor that we didn't have ressources to we have, hence founding me here. :wink:

I see a principal problem with that:
What happen when a magus do more than the needed seasons ? If you pay him in vis, you risk seeing your ressources depleted, or unable to pay for the service.

Anyway, these are food for thought, any comments or new experience are welcome.

We sorta sidestep it. We just decide that 1 season per person per year is mandatory, but offer leeway in what people do. All work is assumed to even out in the long run (even copying mundane texts generates valuable trading resources and apprentice teaching tools). As such, all magi get one share per year. A magus who does more is far more likely to be awarded Vis from the stores for personal projects, of course, because it's assumed he's earned them. That's all politics though.

As an example, one magus in our covenant dedicated 5 years of solid work to creating a better, versatile library by means of necromancy, spirit magic, enchantments and ::coughs:: head-hunting suitable teachers. In return for this, his seasons-of-work were waived in perpetuity. The covenant decided that 15 extra seasons now were worth more than however many down the line. He drew on some vis from the covenant stores to achieve all this, and it was granted. He now still gets his one share a year.

Our covenant's very long and convoluted charter is pasted below (this is what happens when a bunch of young magi join a winter covenant). I tried to pull out only the relevant sections, but most of the charter is dedicated to vis and resolving disputes between members, so I'm just giving you the whole thing.

(spelling errors are, um, historical)


Initial Covenant Charter, May 16th, 1037

I maga Gretta of House Bjornaer do swear to protect and defend the covenant I found on this day, the day of Brendan the Apostle, in the Christian Year 1037 by the reconing of the emperor Julian. Those who swear this oath I shall treat as I wish myself to be treated. We shall be as one body and one mind against the trials of this world. From them I will keep no vis or books, as they shall not keep these things from me.

I shall serve on a council of my peers, which shall gather on the full moon before mid winters day every year. I shall make every effort to attend this meeting, or, if I may not, in making my opinions known to my peers and giving my sigil and voting right to another who is able to attend. No meeting shall be held unless more than half of those who swore this oath are present. Meetings may be held at any time to decide issues of import to the covenant, provided enough of my sodales are present. Two thirds of the votes must agree to amend this oath. A majority of votes shall be needed to decide any other issue.

That I not be accused of abandoning my sodales in their hour of need, I will willingly give one season of my time to the covenant every year. The use of this season shall be at the disgression of the council.

At the yearly meeting of the council, shares of vis shall be given to myself and those others who have sworn this oath. Each magus shall receive one share of vis, and the covenant itself shall recive two shares. The use of the covenant's vis shall be at the disgression of the council. It shall be used only for the good of the covenant.

Should I find myself in a dispute with another member of this covenant, I swear that I will not challenge them to certamen or Wizards War. I shall bring my dispute to the council and ask for resolution.

I swear that the members of House Diedne and their demonic allies shall be my enemies. I shall offer them no shelter at this covenant.

The text of this oath shall be brought to the senior Quaesitor of Hibernia, and it shall be kept safe by him. Should any dispute as to what I swore, I ask my sodales to inquire with the Quaesitors. Any ammendments to this oath shall be brought before the Quaesitors as well, and kept by them.

I swear that I shall hold to this oath and to any amendments made to it. Should the council of my sodales agree that I have rejected this oath I will willingly leave this covenant, asking for no compenasation from common covenant stores. I swear this solumly, in the name of Hermes Trismegistus and Jesus Christ.

First Ammendment, November 25th, 1037

I further swear that, should I want vis of an Art that my sodales also desire our skill shall be the judge of our need. We shall all cast the spell that we know best which uses the desired Art before the yearly council. Who ever shall cast the spell of the highest magnitude shall gain the desired Art. If there are two spells of similar distinction, than none shall take any vis of the desired Art until the next year. By these means we shall hone our skills and grow togeather as magi. The covenant shall take its shares first and irrespective of this portion of the oath, as decided by the vote of the council

Second Ammendment, December 15th, 1065

I further swear that there shall be two classes of membership at Beria. The first shall be composed of those magi currently resident, and any they, and they alone, vote to have join them. These shall be the senior members of the covenant. All other members are junior members. While the responsibilities for both parties shall be the same, the priviledges, including vis shares and voting, shall be doubled.

Third Ammendment, December 20th , 1070

I further swear that any services owed by me to the covenant will be done promptly and dilligently. Should I fail to uphold this portion of the oath, or should the council find that I have done so, I will return my vis share for that year to the covenant stores, with no hope of having them returned to me.

Fourth Ammendment, November 26th, 1140

I further swear that the covenant of Beria is strong and stable, and no longer requires a full season of service from its members every year. Instead I will give the covenant one season of service every three years. That I may be encouraged to represent my covenant before Tribunal, the year of Tribunal shall not count as one of the three.

Fifth Ammendment, June 3rd, 1145

I further swear that the statement of this oath alone is not sufficient for membership in this covenant. Any new member must be accepted by a vote of the yearly council. Further, I swear that I shall pursue any magi who have trecherously gained membership in this covenant by oath alone, and not by general agreement of the members of this covenant, to the ends of the earth. I shall see all they love destroyed, including their lives.

Sixth Ammendment, December 1st, 1145

I further swear that no part of this oath conflicts with Hermetic Law. Should any part be found to, I shall follow the Code before I follow this oath. Further, I swear that no ammendments shall be made to this oath unless they are voted on at the yearly meeting of the council or unless they are unanimously aclaimed by every member of the covenant.

Seventh Ammendment, November 27th, 1159

I further swear that any magus charged with the management of two vis sources of this covenant shall be counted as having done his full service to the covenant, even if such service takes less time than one season every three years.

Eighth Ammendment, December 12, 1163

I further swear that it shall be sufficient for any magus wishing to lawfully join this covenant to state "I swear to uphold the covenant of Beria and its attendant oaths as held by the Quaesitors" rather than reciting the full text of this oath.

Ninth Ammendment, December 19th, 1184

I further swear that any product created with the vis of the covenant is the covenant's, even if but a single pawn was used. I further swear that any member of this covenant who does not attend ten yearly meetings in a row shall be cast out of the covenant and I shall be free of all responsibility to them.

Tenth Ammendment, November 28th, 1205

I further swear that the covenant shall recieve a double vis share every seven years, as counted from Tribunals.

Eleventh Ammendment

(Scrawled below the above, undated. Quasitorial records report that this was recived in the fall of 1234.) I further swear that the junior magi shall have their own council. They shall not recive an individual vote on the ruling council of the covenant, but instead they shall collectively have one vote, to be aportioned based on the decisions of this junior council.

I would post our own charter, but it's in french and too long for me to translate here.
Posting yours helps, thanks. I've written the one for our own covenant, done some research for it on the net, visited many ArMag website.

I'm guessing more and more that the best way for us could be to oblige a set number of season per year (or per 3, or 7 years) to do for the covenant, then simply share the ressources. Probably 1 season/year.
Since we basically wanted to "sidestep" it as a problem.
Extra seasons are for the counsil and politics to resolve on a case by case basis...

Maybe you don't have power hungry magus in your covenant ? you are blessed indeed.. :wink:

Another possibility could be something like this:

50% of the vis goes to the covenant's stores.
50% goes to the magi.

Every 4 seasons of service, a magus gets double share, taken on the covenant's stores.
An exception to this would be when creating items for the covenant: These wouldn't count toward additionnal shares, but the vis would be taken from the covenant's stores, not the magus.
Every 5 years, the council may devide to distribute additionnal vis to its members if the stores are very large.

We do. I run him. Hence negotiating for 5 years research I was going to do anyway to be counted as sufficient service in perpetuity. ::grins::

Well, that is a problem. But, since the council has to approve each season of covenantwork, you know in advance how much you are going to get. The problem otherwise arises with large projects, you'll get less compensation for a second season of covenatwork than from your first, As for the imbalance, it is made with this express purpose, I wrote the charter, and think myself as the smartest and most useful person in the covenant, so I will not get myself trapped with less vis than possible. I had to defend it against all the others, and still it got through.
If you designed a magus who can better the covenant twice per year where the others help once per year, you will find you have a lot more vis to work with

Unless I have misunderstood your question, there is indeed some guidance in Covenants, in Chapter 3, under the section "Member Rights", and a worked example in the insert "The Carrot and the Stick".

One suggestion given there is that a 'standard service' is equivalent to a season of work at low personal risk, one month's work at moderate personal risk, or one day's work at high personal risk. Everyone who has performed a standard service receives a share, and extra shares can be earned. Once all shares have been determined, you divide half of the covenant's current vis between those shares, and dole them out to the members. That is, if four people claim a share, then half of the covenant's vis is divided into four equal piles, one for each person. If one of those four claims two shares, then you divide into five equal piles, and that person gets two.

Actually determining who gets what can take some time. In our covenant, everyone who has earned a share randomly picks a tile inscribed with a number. The person with the highest number gets to choose a pawn of vis, then the next number and so forth. We then return to the first person who chooses a second pawn, and so forth until everyone has claimed the pawns of vis they are entitled to.

Other covenants might have one person who doles out the vis and makes all decisions on who gets which Arts. Some covenants might fight certamen if there is a conflict between a rare resource.

As to what vis is partialled out in the first place, Covenants again has a few options.



Once again, thanks for your answers.

I do thinks the covenant itself need to keep some part of the vis ressources. The problem is really how to share the rest of the vis between the members, and then how to "pay" for a season of work for the covenant.

I will answer to Mark Shirley, because I think I have something that writers could take into account when writing. I will make some critic, but really I am thankfull of the work all the writer are doing. I maybe hard, but really, the end message is thank you for making the game alive !

I do think Covenant gives poor answers to this problem. I don't want to pretend to be an expert, but I recognise here a pattern I've seen in many books of RPG.
Instead of giving leads and vocabulary for the player to use in roleplay, the autor try to describe the phenomena at hands. He does it from a third-person perspective, where roleplaying mostly occur (or try to occur) from a first-person perspective (of the player or character).
This lead most rpg books to be difficultly usable by player to improve their gaming experience. In fact, I would go as far as saying that those books (most of them in the industry) only gives them some bits of vocabulary, there and there, to use in the game. Often, players don't use those terms in the same way as the autor. This would mean, for exemple, that reading a novel would be as much helpfull then a supplement book.
Or course, I'm talking about the parts in books that talk about background, setting and such (the "fluff") , not those about new rules and such ("crunch") , who are always usable. (IMO this is the cause why some player prefer those part: they are really usable, where the rest most often is not, sadly. See the negative connotation of fluff and positive of crunch)
It's difficult for me to be perfectly clear, please follow me in...

Covenant is a good exemple of that happening here, for the question we have at hand.

What do covenant say ?
"The charter may stipulate a standard reward for a particular task, or set aside a share from the yearly income of resources to pay those who perform covenant work." (p. 35)

What happen here, is that any player in an Ars Magica campaign will discover that by himself. It becomes clear when playing. As such, the book would have profited from making that one of the starting point of the chapter. Describing what is a covenant charter is something intellectuals do. It's usefull : to put into books and augment knowledge.
I don't buy rpg books to get knowledge about Charters in Ars Mag. I want to found how critical issue could be played in different, interesting ways. And then this make up for different Charters.

The quotation up here simply state two alternatives. But they really are very abstracts ! You must admit that. I invite you to notice that when roleplay occur in a game, it is not done with abstract terms (well, most of the time). Making an abstract description what is charter, what characteristics it may or may not have, is not really usable rpg material. Now, I'm no expert, but really I play for some time now, and most books are done that way, and I think this should change.

Our troupe had to make his own charter, because our magus were founding a new covenant. We looked for help in Covenant, but we didn't found the issue of vis sharing adressed. This came to a surprise to me, since I think this is very central to playing a magus in a covenant.

The propositon in "the stick and the carrot", that of sharing ressources evenly, (giving shares to each magus depending of seasons given to covenant work,) is not really serious. I don't mean to offend those people who already said they are using this system up here. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that it work for you because you never challenged that system. That's normal, because your interests probably lies elsewhere, I respect that. This the same for us, about other issues.

But our group care about those problems, and I think covenant ought to have given some answer to it, yet it does not. I've already pointed out up here why the share system is not serious (Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:31 pm, Problem A) and B) ) : I can't see no mage accepting this system, it's not realistic. The Order exist for some 400 years now, they ought to have found ways to deal with this.

The haggling answer is really no answer at all. This is because for haggling to occur, there need to be some measure of value to assess a season of work. And that is the initial question : haggling is actually using that measurement. When you haggle for a car, you already have some good value of a $dollar. You can check journals and such to see at what price a similar car is sold elsewhere. Then, haggle occur.
Covenant ought to give such a measure of value of a season of work. Yet it does not - at all.

This, really, was the center piece, the one thing we were looking out for help. Not necessarily a definitive answer, but some leads. The only thing we found is a description of the problem and no clue as to how this could be roleplayed out.

The rest of the chapter does give good answer to questions we deemed important for our campaign: the oath, censure and method of governance mainly. We didn't thought of adding an oath to our Charter, this really add to the campaign, it has medieval feeling to it. :slight_smile:

Still, I want to make sure you all understand that in the end, I appreciate a lot that book, Covenant. We happen to use it with good effect in our campaign.

So now, you have a better description of the question I'm asking. The posts up here says a lot on how the game can be played.
What I would really like to find out, could be explained in asking if there a few, more popular, ways to deal with this in the Order, and what are they, in your opinion ? After many century of existence of the Order of Hermes, how is magical ressources management best deal with ? What are the school of thoughts, and what are the proponent arguments in defending them ?

Ok, taking my proposition above:

A) 20 vis to share between 4 magi would mean also 20 vis for the covenant stores.
If magus #1 does a season of service each year, while the other magi do nothing, he gets 10 vis the fourth year, while the other magi get 5 and the covenant 15.

B) This very similar to A. If all magi do 1 full year of service, they all get 10 vis, the covenant gets 0.

Nobody gets robed of his share (save the covenant stores), and service is rewarded even if all magi do it. Does this pleases you?

I think there are three things to consider

A the covenant's wellbeing

B defendable shares to the members of the covenant

C incentive to do covenantwork

A First off, if you wish to max this one, noone gets anything out of the vis sources, and only projects and protection are funded from it. Why would you become part of this?
A lighter version would be where all periodic sources go to the covenant, and incidental findings go to the members, still, this is extremely harsh

B Equal shares to everyone, there is no aegis, or just as a private venture. This is extremely dangerous, as this plays into an isolationist view and, at best, a haphazard common defense, not only dangerous for the covenant, but for play as well.

C You only get a share if you actually do something useful for the covenant, what you get is proportional to what you give. This makes it quite impossible to do uninterrupted labwork that is needed for the really cool breakthroughs, but has my preference (of course, I wish for my covenant to get as good as possible, so I can flaunt with my grandiose managing skills).

There also is a D
The best for those already part of the covenant. Most charters have something to make it harder for new members to get in, sometimes just because they can (they can make other people work for them, who doesn't like that?), sometimes to have a lesser flood of new magi that nibble on their power.

In our covenant every magus has an obligation to work one season in two years for the covenant. In the beginning decades it was good but after 30 years I suppose everybody just extract vis if any. There aren't any other activities. Our covenant is quite neglectful. Nobody checks if the work is done or cheated.
The Mercere is free from this duty.
Joining magi have to work for a year for the covenant before accepted as a full member.

In the old times vis was spent buying books.
Today the counsil declared every magus gets 4 vis/year except the Mercere but nobody wants vis only my young magus. Every magus gets enough vis to his elixir everytime he need.