How many seasons/year are spent for a custos?

If I have a companion character with the custos virtue, so how many seasons are spent doing their covenant maintenance work? I assume that these seasons cannot be spent reading or training, etc. Reminder that custos prohibits taking either the wealthy or poor virtue/flaw.
I figure it is in the rules, but I cannot find it. I promise that I looked before posting.

Pretty sure every covenfolk no matter their rank supplies two seasons of work for the covenant. In one game I did have my scribe asked to do an extra season in a particular year and he asked for extra time for himself the following year but that seems to be a as it happens thing and he still resented them for making him work hard the one year.

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Two seasons...
Good to know. We just assigned our scribe with copying 3 books in 1220. But the covenant saved his life and that of his son, so hopefully, he will forgive.

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Two seasons is the canon default. No doubt.

I still believe that this is down to the covenant's discression. They may abusively overwork their staff and earn their resentment, or they may leave them idle to succumb to sloth.

Another question is what sane covenfolk would use their spare time for training and reading. I imagine that that would be their work when the magi need them trained or educated to solve a certain task. In their spare time, I imagine practising music, storytelling, carouse, or even teaching their own children.

One of those mysteries of RP behaviour.

Well, those who have to face horrible monsters in the service of the shady wizards, and for whom a bit more training might mean the difference between life and death. Or those who think that the shady wizards sacrifice the underperformers in a dreadful magical ceremony every solstice?

Seriously though, this is a very good point. I think that a lot of people would just slack a significant portion of their free time (50%?). In ArM3 I remember you could choose whether your character would be lazy, "average" or driven, and gain 1,2 or 3xp respectively in any year in which he'd participate in no stories or labwork (1xp in ArM3 = 5xp in ArM5). Somehow, all our major characters ended up driven...

I wish there was some way to reward lazyness. For characters with Confidence and an appropriate personality trait, I think it would be reasonable to give them 1-2 extra Confidence points for any season spent slacking off (and getting just 2xp of exposure, perhaps to carouse or area lore). Providing a bonus to aging rolls is another possibility. I still have to find a mechanic I really like.

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They will net the character exposure though.
Also, in some cases you can get "trained on the job" - not the case for a custos probably, though perhaps if the old turb captain is training him as a replacement....

The standard is 2 seasons per year, a covenant might overwork their coven folk but I would expect that to wind up reflected in the loyalty attribute for the covenant.
Similarly a grog might decide to spend their spare time training if it meant advancement to a more comfortable life, the way an independent businessman can earn labor points towards improving their social status. Or they may feel they owe more seasons of service after a particularly benign act by the magi when covenant loyalty is already high, or of course fear of the magi's anger when it is low (and likely dropping due to resentment)
The big thing is that typically grogs don't have much of the way of story or independent motivation from a narrative perspective. If you have ever watched Black Adder think Baldric and his ambition for turnips.

Very true, but C&G makes it clear that overworking to improve one's standing is considered sinful in the community. Is it pride?

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This would be true in a city, and probably by the church if they found out. Magi tend to be more tolerant and understanding, especially if it benefits themselves. Note that the prohibition against overwork is when it is done with clear ambition- someone trying to serve their ruler or the church is simply being a faithful servant, even if they do secretly hope to gain something by it.
Again, however, customs remain as they are, and if asked to do extra work most people will resent it, but someone putting in extra hours hoping they will be seen as being worth making a longevity ritual from can likely be okay, as an individual. They certainly won't be typical.

sure, I was worried about friend and families, for those covenfolk who has such things.

If they have friends and families (outside the covenant) why are they spending their time in service to those weird creepy magi?

  1. Because they pay well?
  2. Because their friends and families are more numerous than their land can feed?
  3. Because these particular magi are less creepy than the stereotype?
  4. Because the magi aren't around anyway, and the autocrat is actually a nice guy?
  5. Or maybe because their friends and families are also covenfolk and just uphold their good Christian lives?

The point being by classic narrative as well a covenant is not the high reputation first choice for most people for a place to live and work, and medieval society is not highly mobile and doesn't tend to network over large distances, so they do tend to become their own isolated cultures.

I was not saying that this applies to every covenant or saga, but it is not as far-fetched as you seem to try to make it.

Firstly, the classic narrative as you describe it, was what we assumed when we started playing in the mid-nineties. Isolated covenant cultures with a modern, liberal mindset in an otherwise intolerant, medieval society. However, already in the nineties, before the publication of 4ed, the discussion was going in the community, are the magi really that different from the rest of society? No, was the conclusion. As worried about their eternal souls as anybody else, they are likely to uphold the same moral standards.

Secondly, while there are secluded covenants, not every covenant is secluded. Barcelona, Cambridge. and Lübeck are the extreme examples. A large rnumber of covenants have labour intensive income sources (agriculture or other things), needing a large number of serfs or other labourers who live next door but not in the covenant. Barring the stereotypical evil sorcerers, the magi are not very likely to mind the business of their serfs, who are bound to the land, but free to live their lives like serfs in the rest of the country. Many covenfolk are likely to have friends and families working covenant income sources and stay in contact. Elk's Run in Hibernia is a canon example of this.

Yes, you are right about the classic narrative. It is so 1989.

The thing of it is, magi generally are (at least to my thinking) less worried about their soul because the impression is (whatever the reality may be) that rather than facing heaven or hell they are likely to wind up in twilight. Plus magi are educated, and this makes an even greater difference in the 13th century than it does today- education had a reputation for producing wicked people in terms of widely held conventions because they had read Plato and Aristotle and not just absorbed the words of their priest.
Now does that make it true of all covenants? No, but the fact is that in the early 13th century old trade routes and infrastructure to support them was still being re-established, and while there were nations at war with each other local rulers still had a lot of influence, to the point where there were wars over things like the placement of a bridge.
On top ofthis mages have power, and covenants, owning real land and real estates while being forbidden from interfering in mundane society- a juxtaposition which essentially defines them to be outside the normal thought processes of the time.

Aside from a few merchant empires (mostly in Italy) politics and travel was still heavily localized, and even those merchant empires depended on the work of a large population the vast majority of which would never travel more than 20 miles from where they were born. The point of isolation is not simply that mages are isolated because they have set themselves apart, but rather everyone is isolated, because that is where the infrastructure of society stands.

Sure. And 20 miles is probably stretching it. Most contact would be within 5-10 miles, the distance you can travel and return from in a day. However, a covenant is likely to have a lot of neighbours in that range. Covenfolk are likely to visit a church 5-10 miles away, socialising with people, on a regular basis, that live 5-10 miles away in the opposite direction.

Some covenants are more secluded than this, but we are not talking, necessarily of covenants near a town or a densely populated area. It only takes a village with a church five miles away to create a meeting point where covenfolk can maintain relations. Or maybe a brewer keeping a public common room 2-3 miles away.

People may be isolated in the sense that twenty miles is a long way away, and enough to be estranged from friends and family, but it is not as if villages are scattered twenty miles apart, and you do not need great numbers of relations to maintain social pressure and mainstream moral standards.

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Keeping in mind as well that divine auras from towns and cities tend to suppress magic and thus strong magical auras tend to lie further from towns, plus the fact that towns were not exactly thick on the ground- take a section of google maps and start trying to google the history of towns you find on it and you will find that the vast majority of them are far more modern that the game setting, to the point that depending on region it could easily be 60 miles between towns. Keep in mind that in Canterbury tales (written in the 14th century) the pilgrims would have to camp overnight several days in a row for lack of nearby towns to take shelter in.

That's why I was not speaking of towns.

point being that once you get away from cities and towns then yes, villages often are more than 20 miles apart- again Canterbury tales did not find villages spread conveniently along their route either, and it as a route commonly taken for pilgrimage.

Do we know that they did not find any villages? I would not expect that a village would be able to house the pilgrims. That does not mean that the village did not exist, even if they had to camp out.

A village 20 miles from its closes neighbour is hard to believe in. As you said, most people never travel 20 miles from their birth place. Such an isolated village would see a lot of inbreeding and hardly any trade. Sure, as a traveller you might occasionally find that the best route goes through the wilderness with 20 miles between villages, but that does not mean that the villages have no closer neighbours.