Just Quickly Writing Some Books Here

Just a quick content post - I know we're not anywhere near November, but I've been working on a project anyway and decided to share it.

I haven't been on the Forums for about nine months, and I an already sad at the fun conversations and absolute Flamebaux-worthy arguments I missed.

In my home saga we had some fun discussions about the roleplaying of a Library, and about what happens when you go book shopping during a Tribunal. Magi usually can't apply numerical xp to a book, so I wanted some other way to identify and create books.

A library is one of the most important parts of any covenant. Every covenant has one, some have more. Even if the library is just a magically protected cabinet in the back of a rickety wagon, the magi value their books more than their fingers - the fingers are much easier to replace when lost.
Storyguides and troupes can easily work together to build a library that feels real and fun, and they build libraries that show the interests of the elder magi around, and that give the players something to strive for themselves, either in advancing themselves or in having books to write for their own library.
This task gets harder once Hermetic politics and social shenanigans comes into play - It would make sense that players in Stonehenge would want to visit Voluntas for their famed library, or use their temporary alliance with Blackthorn to gain access to a few seasons of really good books on dark magics. Obviously, the players are going to ask the Redcaps to keep an ear out for any rumors of wonderful, rare books that might be available in any library; I haven't had any game where players did not start asking about trading books for more in their own library.
It feels pretty strange, though, to have the Redcaps say "I have a Quality 10 Tractatus on Ignem, and a Quality 9 Tractatus on Magic Theory, and a Quality 13 Tractatus on ignem. There also is a Level 10 Quality 8 Summae on Ignem." I find it rather hard for me to just pull up books and authors out of nowhere, and when we do come up with a good name, often the players may just ask, "Okay, Ignem. What's its Quality?"

This project is designed to make your libraries more interesting. To give an easy list of authors to use, and to give a series of books they've written. I want the books to feel alive, and I do not want a library to be a series of Abilities, Arts, and raw numbers. To make the books feel alive, we need to make the authors into actual characters, even if those characters are long dead, or barely known newcomers instead of well-known archmagi.
To further enhance the reality of libraries, tractati will all have a topic, in addition to a subject. For example, a book on Faerie Lore (Q11) would be focused on forest faeries. This could be used to provide research opportunities, or bonuses to Lore rolls.

Here is the math I played around with to get a simple concept or schema for what I expect from randomly generated Tractati for sale.

My site and source below if people want to follow progress or make comedic commentary.


Thank you for pointing us to your site! Lots of interestjng things there and a great resource.

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I have to say, your proposal of Quality tractatus seems more reasonable than Durenmar's library (2+simple die, so 3 to 12 range - GotF p57).
I understand that it is mechanically possible to write a tractatus of very poor quality (-3 (Com) +6 = 3), but beside an exercise given to an apprentice, I have a hard time conceiving that a mage would write such a humiliating document, as it will clearly disservice him and his reputation, regardless of his expertise in the field.
And 5% for the best quality (13-14) feels about right considering the parameters you took in consideration.
I tend to be conservative with source quality, but if my players go to Durenmar and fish a quality 3 tractatus, they will make quite a fun of this poor library :slight_smile:
The only case where I would consider such document is if they bring some additional benefits, like a new parameters (range/duration/target), a new guideline or a new mastery. Then the document was kept because of this unique feature, not because of its quality.


I think there's more risk of Durenmar having some low quality tractatus than your average library for a couple of reasons:

  • One of the ways of getting a couple of seasons of study is to donate something you've written. The librarians do exercise some quality control as to what they accept, and "there is little need for low-level or mediocre-Quality summae, or common spells", but "Tractatus...are usually welcomed."
  • One of the key ways of spreading Major Hermetic Original Research breakthroughs is by writing tractatus on them. There's no particular reason the researcher should be a good writer, and people are still going to value a text that significantly advances Hermetic Magic even if it's poorly written

Decided to start using the Post a Day to force myself to post more.

Put the thread here, but any comments would be appreciated in this thread instead to keep it clean.

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The joys of not being on a November Timeline.

Made more posts here.

quick reminder-- Sub Rosa #9 has a compilation of the books in various supplements up to Cradle & Crescent and collection of hermetic and mundane tomes.


Here's one:
De Fide Trinitatis
Tractatus: Dominion Lore; Quality: 8
Tractatus: Latin; Quality: 8
Tractatus (commentary): Theology (Christian); Quality: 8
Covenant Build Points: 24
Possible Locations: a private collection in Palermo, with a traveling physician, hidden in a desk the library of an abbey in France.
Description: Alcuin of York had a long career as a teacher and scholar, first at the school at York now known as St Peter’s School (founded in 627 AD) and later as Charlemagne’s leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs. From 796 until his death he was abbot of the great monastery of St Martin of Tours. This book is Alcuin’s commentary on the Bible. It is an octavo bound with yew boards wrapped with black dyed linen. Its edges and clasp are fashioned from bronze crafted with an angelic motif.