[In Your Sagas] How has your covenant made money?

I was just curious how folks supported themselves in their sagas.

Or do you not pay much attention to the economics?

In my saga, the Cruciator (Fall and Rise, from Tales of Mythic Europe) murdered all of the covenant's serfs, so I figured a brief consideration of the covenants economics might be apropos.

Currently there are vineyard and truffle income sources, but as the membership of the covenant has grown, there is now talk of conjuring a bridge and charging tolls in the name of the local lord/companion they use as a front, or raising peppercorns from the East using magic to regulate their health. It's been a fun conversation, but I'm not planning on dwelling on the issue over the long term.

How about your sagas?


Most of the time they make gold. Yeah, there is a tribunal rule about it (forgot when and where) but once you make a big pile, you can easily keep within that ruling until you use that gold to buy/make resources so you don't have to make gold again.

Or they steal it. Seriously, they are all psychopaths and would rob the pope blind (and by that I mean steal his eyes) if they thought they could get away with it.

Farming is generally our choice. Some coven folk work the demesne lands of the estates and the rest of the income is from tennant farmers on the outlying estates.

We've sheared sheep for wool, grown grapes for wine, and ferried cargo through marshes. I don't recall any of our revenue streams every seeding a story so I don't accurately remember that well. Not that they couldn't, of course. We've found the revenue resources listed in Covenants very helpful, and I think a few times just picked one of those and moved to other things.

Matt Ryan

I run a saga based on Triamore: looking at the size of the land-holding for this and doing my best with what medieval sources I have, it seems that this is a really large manor. Factoring in arable income, rents for land and use of the mill etcetera, I determined that we have enough income for a Spring covenant per the Covenants rules. If you are interested http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thelemur/ars/triamore/Manor/bois_manor_economics.htm.

There is also a quarry that was started magically and then continued mundanely for a while (taxes were paid in stone - to help the local Count enlarge his castle), but the mundane quarrymaster whom it was hoped would take over never got round to doing so. (It turned out he'd left and a faerie had taken his place, who did not have the necessary skills or person management skills to work it). This quarry should be the way the covenant, following an influx of mages, gets back up to summer levels of expenditure.

Hey nice website mate. What program did you use for your maps, or did you make them by hand in a drawing program?

On the story side of things we just had exactly that. A story driven by our income sources, in this case sheep... A hungry troll sheep-rustler!

More of an encounter than a story but I like episodic elements anyway. The work especialy well for PBM, which is what I am playing at the moment.

Our Covenant's primary resources fount are actually the Beekeeping/apiculture. Can Apiculturist or Beekeeper be a good Profession Abilitiy? Or still under the Animal Handling camp?

The father in law from our jerbiton magus is my companion, and runs a very big compagny (wealthy + capo) and is in charge of selling the production (wood + farm products + superb blacksmith products, and vine) in his stores.
Currently, it works very good.

We are in provence between TOulouse and Carcassone.

BTW: beautiful maps!!

My maps are made using Campaign Cartographer from ProFantasy. It's powerful but not very easy to learn and I have never had time to make full use of it. Many of the maps themselves were based on a main map, which is a copy of Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe by Euratlas, which I bought a few years ago. This gave me a map that goes from the Paris to Nurnberg in latitude and Mulhousen to Osnabruck in longditude. I clone off copies and go into more detail for particular areas.

While researching the size of the manor and the income it would produce, I found that I had woefully underestimated the manors in a county. I had 19 for Namur but comparing with Essex in England in Domesday book and some material that indicates that there were about 370 settlements in Namur around 1200 I am revising that ten-fold. That means actually less mapping as I am not going to try to identify 190 manors. From Domesday Book, it seems that all game-related patterns of land-holding are woefully simplified in RPGs, even ArM. I intend to make things more complicated, particularly by adding in many more church holdings.

Salvete, Sodales!

Well, in the P&P saga where I act as storyguide CrTe specialist took some pawns of terram vis and performed a variation of the 'Touch of Midas'-ritual (one magnitude bigger for even more gold. Aferwards they started to make jewlery and other stuff out of the material (and a big golden statue that looked antique) and went of to the big cities in Flnadres to get mundane coins for this. With this they paid of their liege lord, ordered material for their labs, gave out lavish gifts of gratitude to those grogs who saved a magus' life...

Up to now this seems to work, but recently a quaesitor came along for a visit (and to use the library of the covenant. And he didn't get the whole picture, but enough to become slightly suspicous - and the fact that the giant blooded ExMisc Knight was just marrying the local (heirless) count's only niece didn't put him at ease, either. (We play a Triamore-based saga, so this marriage has other consequences as well.)

So, our magi don't have any problems with gold. Actually at this moment I handwave their expenditures, and if after some time I tell them that they run low on gold, they will probably just cast the ritual a second time. But sooner or later they will pay for this :smiling_imp:

Alexios ex Miscellanea

I would say a professional ability

So far we have used the following ones:

Agriculture. Our main revenue source in most sagas.

Exploit a forest. Both for its wood and trapping animals for their fur. Used in 2 sagas so far. Allows you to “carve your own domain” out of the wild, so the feudal obligations of the covenant are few and far between.

Fishing. A village near the covenant specialized in catching some varieties of difficult fish to catch with some help from magic.

Trade. One of our major source of primary or secondary income since a few years ago. Magi are A LOT into sea trade. Easy to make small minor items that help the ships sail better and the merchants get better deals. Can be used to bring stories and run adventures in far away lands without stretching the suspension of disbelief of the troupe.

Create wealth from scratch. Silver, gold, gems and salt have been used so far.

Mining. Silver and tin as well as sulphur. Used in several sagas. “Stone mining” (cannot remember the word in English right now: create stones for building stuff) has also been used. Silver mining was the first income source we got in any of our sagas.

Taverns. A group of several taverns used to get wealth in a urban saga.

Animal training. One of our sagas has the covenant build up a trade for horses that withstood the Gift. Our 6 animal handlers were marked by magic (magical air flaw), and so the horses hated it, but learned to trust Gifted characters. Our war steeds and palfreys were highly prized in the order of hermes.

Selling minor items has also been used, but only on a case by case basis, and more for favors and concessions than as a regular source of income. Selling books and getting moeny from other supernatural services and products as well

Generally we do not like a lot micromanagement, so we simply say that things give enough revenue for X level of development. If we decide that we want more (moving from spring to summer, for example, and needing cash for better labs and infrastructure), we build 1-3 adventures around that theme and go for it.


Unless you want the economic concerns to play a part in the saga, just rubberstamp it -as Xavi suggests, the covenant has an "adequate" income from some nearby X, and it's all good. The more detailed, the more likely it is to enter into the saga.

I've seen sheep for wool and a felt mill (easily done w/ magic, you just hammer the stuff), highly skilled craftsmen for hire, magically quarried stone and magically hewn timber, negotiating w/ the local noble to build and tax (and guard) a new bridge, secret court magi, a wide variety of banditry (not anywhere within their home Tribunal if they're smart), preying on mundane bandits and criminals, selling potions and lesser items, and wine from a faerie-aura vineyard.

The predictable CrTe ritual can likewise be a solution or a problem in and of itself, depending.

It produces a product, so it's a Craft, not a Profession.

Animal Handling would be if you wanted to avoid angering bees IC, but Craft: Beekeeping would cover that for all honey-gathering/new-hive/etc activities related to the production/collection of honey and wax, as well as cleaning and preparing those for sale.

If the character wanted to oversee (but not actually handle) a honey farm, that might be a profession.

  • famous wineyard in Bourgogne (Normandy campaign)
  • Salt mines on an island of Iberia (Iberia campaign)
  • Flander weavers in our alliance of Loch Ness (Loch Leagan Campaign)

Our first 5e saga is set in Iberia.
we agreed we didn't want to 'worry' about having enough money for day-to-day expenditures, so we decided to take two minor boons: Secondary Income, and Wealth (Minor). Since there are a total of 4 magi, our income is slightly less than the default, which assumes 6 magi.

Our Greater source of income is a swordsmithing shop in Toledo (straight out of the book suggestions).
Our Typical Income Source is a large vineyard. Our covenant is actually within a regio in this vineyard. If you're interested, one of the ways inside the regio is to drink a glass of wine with an olive in it. (Best I could come up with. Yay for the 'regio with unexpected entries' minor hook).

One of my players has volunteered to keep track of the treasury, for which I am extremely grateful.

So far, I haven't really had any plotlines involving either income source, but I fully intend to do so.


Mad Max has an interesting set up in the Novis main PbP saga. We are poor and have no spare money. So we must think of ways of making the Covenant produce. We have a fishing fleet being build and my mage casts a spell to make the ground more fertile ( thus the farming aspect). I was angling to starting bringing in the materials for future book production. At this point we have some geese and cattle ( quills and hides) but that is a long range plan.

If you have access to the Covenants book, you can find a reference to "reducing overhead" - which is a way of making money with an effective limit. You produce (part of) what you need, but don't worry about making the effort so large and complex as to actually "make a profit" off of it.

Still, as a side project with less investment of effort and resources, there are scores of ways you can cut back on expenses - and that's the same as making money, up to the point of breaking even.

First saga in Stonehenge Tribunal, in Cornwall was quite poor the first years, until we made a device to evaporate the water from the sea, to get salt. We sold this for a fair profit, although we did not produce too much to ruin the market, nor did we earn much from the just about adequate quality product.

Second saga in Normandy Tribunal, in central France, started out with building up a vineyards and producing wine. Eventuelly it became a fair product and we earned some dosh here. During the saga - spanning some 27 game years - we also made arrangements with the local dispossessed and now returned noble, about his abandoned iron mine. Every time our adventures involved defeating a bunch of bandits or misfits, we sent them to the mine as slaves. This naturally led to all sorts of stories about them escaping. During travels and adventures, the magi managed to get ahold of a good glass blower and various craftsmen to make lab tools and vellum and books. We made some devices to lure them to us, among others a sieve to sort sand according to size or composition, to get the best raw materiels.

A short lived third try, also in Normandy, this time at the Mediteranean coast, we has a mixture of agriculture and animal husbandry to supply food, and the rights to demand tolls at a bridge. But we had to to buy our lab stuff and rare items.

A saga based in Constantinople a few years after the sack runs solely on the earnings from massive and well organized trade. The small chapterhouse in the Aegean sea lives on fishing, and whatever supplies come in by boat.

And a saga based in Denmark featured a special deal made with Harco. They supplied all our needs if we'd actively search for and investigate the Order of Doin and the little known northern lands. As this deal is about to go sour - since we a) don't want to be their puppets b) know they'll never really be satisfied c) don't want to spend all out time discovering the OoO and d) might not want to tell them everything - we're starting to do some trade with Holland, do some raid in Sweden (mainly after silver, iron and slaves) and are about to start up an effective mining salt, lime and gypsum operation, using magic devices.

ReCo wards anyone?

Yes...that would be the clever thing. But this was back in 4th ed and before wards went amok. Also, not good for the stories. Think of this as a Covenant Hook; good income, good resources, good place to dump prisoners and not worry about them...until some of them escape.