Let's build a covenant

Let's put our heads together and decide what features we would like in our (currently) theoretical covenant so we can have in game direction once we get rolling.

First, some assumptions. Silveroak mentioned in the house rules thread how we can build using the BP/lb idea based on inhabitants, so let's look at who we have/need.

7 Magi@ 5 pts each
7 Companions@ 3 pts each
21 Grogs@ 1-2 pts each (1 for regular, 2 for specialists)
1 servant per 5 pts (and add 1 pt each)
1 teamster per 10 pts (and may live off site)

By my reckoning, we have a bit over 100 points in people already (including our as yet to be recruited servants and teamsters), and need room for growth such as additional forge companions, or guest quarters for Tomas' clients. I'm assuming we may conjure a tower or two, but regardless, I think whatever plan we make needs to anticipate about 150 points in people, translating to 150 lbs of silver just for physical space. If we wish to build it ourself we can make better space (excellent quality) and save 50% on construction costs (If I understood Silveroak correctly), but we can only build about 10-20 points per year with our current grogs. Given this, we may wish to limit our excellent quality build points to labs and hire out building the rest of the covenant proper.

Once we have basic living space, workshops, space for labs, etc, we need to decide what else we would like to add on. Here are some of my ideas:

  1. A hospital consisting of antechamber, main room for diagnosis/surgery (set up as a lab), and a recovery room (+long term recovery boni)
  2. Guest quarters, including a basic lab
  3. Specialized labs for teaching, texts (scriptorium), vis extraction, etc
  4. Additional mundane aspects such as stables, a brig, gardens, cellars, underground caverns (concealed dock?) etc.

What do YOU want in a covenant?

Without my books in front of me...

Do the companions count if they do not live in the Covenant? My companion will be a ships captain so will be a guest at best at the Covenant.

The one thing that, as far as I know, is really hard to improve later with a covenant is the Aura. It would be nice if we can find a place with a 5 Aura at least for our labs.
On the other hand, the Hospital ought to be somewhat convenient to the patients (the coast, I presume).

Companions only count if supported by the covenant, so that will save us 3 BP.

I agree that aura is a priority, but will have to be done in game. I'm hoping we can decide on what we want in an ideal world so we can adapt it to whatever space/area we find with a high aura.

I put some thought into what physical space we might want for labs, and I think we want to err on the side of larger potential labs, even if we never use that potential. Here is what I came up with:

Size 5 (1500 Sq ft, three times the size of a "standard" lab)
Occupied Size: 5
Refinement: 0
General Quality: 0
Upkeep: 0
Safety: 0 (-5 from occupied size, +5 from virtues)
Warping: 0
Health: 0
Aesthetics: 4 (+4 from virtues)
Specialty: Teaching +1
Specialty: Vim +1

Well Insulated
Superior Construction
Auspicious Shape

Note that these are all structural virtues - they are present because of construction, not because of the lab itself. The idea is to construct a physical space in this manner, then when the magi sets up his lab, these virtues "activate" for lack of any better word. They all take up space, and provide a safety bonus to offset the extra space. It is basically the same as a size zero lab, but if a magus spends time refining it, they can change these structural virtues to other, more desirable ones (by removing the extra "stuff" to make room". It's a lot easier to build larger labs now than trying to expand a small lab down the line.

Silveroak - obviously doing this will take up more room. I assume the 5 bp a magus takes up includes space for a standard lab, and therefore this would take up more. Thoughts?

Well, I think 1500 sqrt-ft is quite large. It gives a round tower of approximately 42 ft in diameter, or a square tower of 38 ft x 38 ft. We are seven mages, so a building(s) that large poping overnight might bring some unwanted attention quickly.

We might be able to get away with a casting of conjuring the mytic tower, if we let say use it as a lighthouse for our hypothetical small harbour.

I do have an alternative solution. There are plenty of cliffs in Malta, and the view from them must be stunning (check it out on Google). What I plan to do with my lab is to, using a mix of perd terram (excavate quickly), rego terram and muto terram (to transform to clay and thus seal the crack). After I quick search, it appears that Malta is composed in good part of limestone, so in fact there might be grotto already.

I would really like an underground/cliffside lab, with windows opening directly on the cliff side.

Granted, the subterranean flaws isn't too fun, but that is probably what i will do if I can.

Something to keep in mind here- the servants need to come from the grog pool, which means that 11 to 13 of the 21 grogs should be servants... or you will start the game needing to recruit servants.

Of my 3 Grogs, one will be a guard for my redcap (it seems to me that anyone traveling that much ought to have a guard).
For the other two, one will be a medical assistant (educated, with a bit of skill in Medicine and Chiurgy, and some social skills to help manage patients) and one a more general servant.

Here is a quick list of things we need to do early on:

[tab][/tab] Necessities

Things we need right now. Water, food, lavatories. Building plans and division of labor.

[tab][/tab] Buildings

Houses. Hospital. Laboratories and workshops. Central hall, dining hall, council rooms. Kitchens and dining area. Middens. Library and bookmaking facilities. Cistern. Stables, barracks, training area. Farm-sheds and pens. Quarry. Building for religious, commerce and entertainment use, brig. Gardens, maybe herbalist area. Guest quarters and specialty labs and work spaces.

[tab][/tab] Security

Town walls, watchtowers. Grogs for muscle. Duty rosters.

[tab][/tab] Income

Agriculture, quarrying, stone working, other crafts.

[tab][/tab] Outside Relations

Dealing with the Count and his brother, the officials of Malta and our host. Dealing with the Order and perhaps the moors and the African muslims. Relations with any magic or fae dwellers, including the cavemen.

[tab][/tab] Supplies

Trading for food and things we cannot produce ourselves. Also ways to trade our products out and specialty items in.

[tab][/tab] Surveys

Survey of the aura and its boundaries. Survey on what we can grow on our land, what we can hunt or fish. General survey of the island and its inhabitants. Survey of magical auras and vis sources. Survey for quarry and cistern.

[tab][/tab] Residents

More grogs at first. People to farm, fish or hunt. Quarry workers. Specialists.

[tab][/tab]Right, so let me start this will need a lot of work. First of all necessities, things we absolutely need to have right now: we need food, water, shelter and sanitation. Food we cant yet grow it so we will need people to buy enough for us from the locals. It will definitely affect our living quality for this year but cannot do anything about it. We also need to think about storage and about keeping food for winter. We don't want to tax the locals too much either. This should be addressed by someone who knows about such stuff. Shelter we will just have to do with the caravan tents for now. We should finish one stone building until fall so that we can have a permanent place in case of emergency. Sanitation liberal use of magic here might help, especially digging up and closing privies. Water our main problem. At first we will have to ferry water to our place. Digging wells might not be a good solution up on a hill, we might or might not find water. Building a cistern should be a priority too. We could a) survey for wells and dig them, b) make a cistern to gather water from rains or ferry water from somewhere else to it, c) solve the problem with magic. That means have magic create potable and arable water (CrAq), make a lake or large reservoir fed by regular rain water (CrAu), or even change sea water (PeAq or Mu/Re to also get the salt). This needs to be researched for a permanent solution. We also need people to deal with these problems...
[tab][/tab]Buildings. What we need right now is a rough building plan for our covenant. We cannot have both a tower and a town wall under our charter, so we will have to do with a large manor house and a wall. My proposal is this: First, make an earthen rampart around the ruins. This doesn't have to be as large as the "town" will be be, just a starting security wall to protect us. Later it can be brought down or replaced by worked stone. This should be built faster with the use of our magic. Second, choose the most appropriate place for the Hospital, away from the aura itself. Make the building plans for it then slowly start working on it. As this was appointed central to our covenant, it should have priority in space, and all other construction should reflect that (ie don't put it near the workshops). Third, choose a building that can be made in one or two seasons and built it, so we can have something permanent. And lastly, after surveying the aura and where it ends (including during key times and dates, like the solstice), cordon the area off. I was thinking something like this: a large two manor shaped like a circular or square Omega, with the ruins in the center. The circular part or sides will be inside the aura and contain our laboratories. The two jutting ends will also have parts of them extended outside. One could be a workshop/lab for Tartesos, the other for Paphos or for a library. This way mundanes would be kept out of the strong aura. I doubt that such a large manor can be quickly completed, but the side buildings or part of it could, no need to make it in one go.

As the Magi discuss the building plan around the evening fire, Penko steps hesitantly into the circle. He is bearing a sheaf of parchment that he worked hard on for the last week, including asking Asha for help with the illustration.

"Um, well, I've been thinking a bit about what everyone has been asking, building-wise, and I've come up with a plan to present to you." He unveils a sketch of your hill with a manor house straddling the are of the aura, and a cluster of outbuildings around it. The estate is a combination of the hard grey and soft buttery limestones found as bedrock in the area, and there is a stone wall around the estate. Light outlines show a town growing around the estate but the additions are ephemeral and easily ignored. The estate is clearly the center of the sketch.

Once everyone has seen the estate plan, he moves to another parchment that has a stunningly beautiful illumination of the main manor house. It is two stories tall, fronted with Doric columns bearing a massive triangular gable at the top. Small towers flank the columns, and the main building behind the facade is a two story round building topped with a dome. The facade architecture is clearly Greek in inspiration, but the round main building a dome top are remniscent of Saracen buildings common to the islands. It is inspiring, yet blends with local architecture.

The most striking part of the image is that the entire structure is fronted with the buttery limestone of the region, but every square inch of it has been polished to a marble-like sheen, causing the image to glow like liquid gold!

Gaining confidence at the gasps of appreciation from the audience (which may or may not include the council), Penko proclaims, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Domus Aureus, the Golden Covenant of Malta!"

OOC: My inspiration for the piece: St Mary's Church. This is a bad picture, not sure where I can find a better one.
dreamstime.com/stock-photo-m ... ge49843367

Terra can drop down a building as soon as she gets here... I'm pretty sure she has a pile of vis for starters...

[tab][/tab]Maffeo is suitably impressed by the bold plan, something worthy of gaining a Master Architect's reputation. '[color=blue]This is most... impressive. It will take...ten? twenty years to build it?". Maffeo listens attentively, pestering the young architect with questions about time tables and supplies and workforce, all the time making detailed lists with his wax tablet and stylus....

OOC The "drop-a-building-with-magic" idea is also very good. We could use it as our first building, a common town building, or even as our hospital to get it running as soon as possible. I think however our stone mason artists want to build something large and artistic, to gain fame and have their names last in history. Doing that with magic heaps an extremely large penalty to the finesse roll I am afraid (I think its somewhere -15 to -18, I'll need to check). Lets do both?

Oh for sure. If Terra does it it would be a building, even a functional building, but it would lack certain features some people might want. Like doors. Now you can still ensure some level of privacy with a short curved hallway, but it will need mundane modifications for a good building. It would have plenty of room though.

Keep in mind, you have also just excavated 4 ancient temples...it was just a matter of removing the dirt. Also these 4 buildings pretty much define the aura space, so you will need to take them into consideration when defining what the space in the aura will look like, unless you plan on reburying them or tearing them down...

Personally, I like the idea of ancient temples in the basement, away from prying eyes. I don't think we could have already excavated the entire hilltop just yet. If Silveroak is feeling very generous and allowed Penko and Paphos to set up workshops in Spring, serious excavation would have just begun now; although we could certainly have found the temples using smaller exploratory excavations (or magic). If workshops are set up in the summer, we won't even get to the hilltop until next season.


I'm assuming that workshops were set up in spring. Certainly a structure can be arranged to place them in the basement.... if you excavate to the doorways only it will make for fairly easy excavation and these 4 'rooms' can be used while construction is ongoing, once lighting is provided for...

point detail- it is now evident the reason the grass was so thin on the hilltop is because the stones of these ancient temples were so close to the surface.

Antonius is truly amazed by the structure that Penko projects to build.

"That is simply stunning Penko, and I promise you I will try to assist you with the best of my abilities to make your vision come true."

He turns towards the other magus, and say:

"I think we now need to lay claim to where our sanctums will be. As the most senior magus, I claim to the easternmost temple as my future sanctum. It is but a pile of stone now, but it is secluded from the rest and I will give me the quiet environment I need to conduct my researches in peace."

All - bear in mid that there will be room for above ground labs that don't have the subterranean flaw. We could even add CrCo stuff if that's your thing. Paphos wanted an underground workshop because he's a Terram guy with the study requirement flaw!

My thoughts for a general floor plan:

The columned entrance opens into a two story high central entryway/hall.

The hospital annex will be the right side of the building, with two stories of space (lower = "public" exam rooms, etc, upper = private offices, etc).

The left side of the building will have two stories of living quarters, communal spaces, armory, etc (henceforth called covenant space).

The very rear of the building will be in the aura and composed of lab space, magi living quarters, and magi only communal space (such as a council room?). For added security, the area in the aura is not accessible from "public" areas, they are only reachable from the upper level of the hospital or the very back of the covenant space. Likewise, the basement areas will have similar access, perhaps with dedicated stairwells to the lab space above. The basement is currently only in the aura, but expandable upon need.

If Silveroak allows, the temple excavations and above ground labs will have the following virtues from construction:
Auspicious Shape - we will generally follow the same shape as the aspes. Not sure if this would actually apply to hermetic use.
Well insulated - it's underground, 'nuff said
Spacious - we have room to burn and this will avoid taking an empty flaw
Superior Construction - Paphos has a ridiculous masonry workshop total. Alternately this might not apply to the temple spaces because we are only excavating, not building.
Gallery is an optional one - we can leave enough space excavated in the appropriate shape to allow it, or leave as is.
Subterranean (flaw, temples only) - for obvious reasons.

The purpose of these virtues are to take up space that would otherwise be filled with empty or unhealthy flaws. Some can easily be converted to something else at a later time.

Tomas is also impressed with the plans. "I believe one of the larger aspes in the northern temple would suit my needs. I will need to do something to ameliorate the health damage. But that would seem easier than trying to improve an existing lab to the same degree of CreoCorpus focus. The primary challenge is probably to avoid safety hazards while having the size potential." (OOC: Is there some way during construction to apply Spacious to the lab? Also, I doubt the below ground labs will get Auspicious shape. We ought to be able to build an above ground one with auspicious and spacious for either the Jerbiton or Verditus, as I expect they both tend to like "showy".)

I'm going to allow superior construction not because Paphos worked on them (they were only excavated) but because they have stood for 6000 years are in the real world last into the 21st century and that sounds pretty superior to me.
Auspicious shape does apply to the temples, there is nothing in hermetic theory to explain why though, and you are not certain if it will apply to buildings built above.

The others are acceptable for obvious reasons. Keep in mind as well you can claim a temple for your sanctum and build your lab in a single aspe, depending on which temple...