Magic Aura in a Covenant. What would you want?

So I need to come up with the magic aura for a covenant. I know the rules in Covenant cover the mechanical part, but that isn't my question.

Right now I'm thinking Magic Aura of 4. it's in a regio (think that is the right term) and the surrounding countryside is Magic 1 with occasional 2's and 3's. There is also a few Fairy and Divine aura's. My thought was the highest Magic Aura in the region.

Now, for play purposes, my wife is fine with whatever. I worry about the mechanical stuff. I was thinking no risk (at least for now) of warping to the non protected people who will live there. I'm thinking she will start inviting magic creatures, so using the Magic realm book, I recall that this could lead to a later increase in the aura.

Here is my real question for the experts. What would YOU think of a covenant with a Magic aura of 4? Too high Too low? I think Durenmar is 7. If you were told by your story guide that your covenant had a magic aura of 4, would you go ewww, too puny? This is pure curiosity, combined with massive back pain and exhaustion, so NO (edit) wrong answer. Thank you for your consideration and expertise.

I have mostly played with 3, and I think that is fine. For the current game we went for 6, which is excitlingly high for us.

Bob

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Magic Aura of 4 is fine.
Indeed, your idea(s) appear fine to me :slight_smile:

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It varies from game to game. An high aura can be exiting and is a great power boost for a covenant, but there are other things that can be interesting as well. A place with an aura 4 would make me look at which are the other boons of the covenant site to see why the magi settled there. As long as the place is interesting enough to play, I would see no problem. If the location has aura 4 as its main boon and that's it, then if I found a high level available aura in play with other interesting boons, I might try and convince the covenant to sink the resources to acquire that place as a new main covenant site. An aura (4) in a highly defensible regio, that has a Healthy Feature and local friendly magical creatures that take part in the covenant's life, on the other hand...

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A Magic Aura of 4 is perfectly fine for a covenant. As long as you stick to 5 or less for the majority of the covenant you do not have to worry about the covenfolk warping. Durenmar is a warp fest as far as the covenfolk go. It is 7 the whole way through, with no tiers or zones.

That your group is in a regio can be an advantage beyond just having a hidden area the covenant is in. The area where the entrance to the regio is located might make a location for a covenant income generator and provide area for some of the covenant population to live. Currently it would be more for space (don't know how big your regio is) but if the aura of the regio ever hit 6 or higher it would protect much of the population from warping.

My current game was actually started with the idea of a crazy regio being manipulated to the maximum extent allowed (and pushing for beyond that) by hermetic magic. Our covenant inhabits the first three levels of a multi-tier regio, with at least one deeper level. Auras are base 2, with the regio tiers at 3, 4, 5, and 6+. Manipulations include sealing off the first tier, gate stones between the base and first three tiers, and expansion of the size of the first three tiers.

The reason we did not inhabit the aura 6+ tier is because of the crazy amount of stuff we have done that could cause the regio to grow (RoP: M, p. 13). No one wanted to risk being on what was the top level and risk getting kicked up or even worse kicked out of the level. It has strengthened to 7, then back down to 6 during play. Currently we think there is an actual fifth tier though since the founder who specialized in hermetic architecture went into FT we have not focused on it much. Currently the aura 6 tier is filled with awakened plants we imported and a covenant held lab setup for hermetic architecture.

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I do not see any problem with a level 4 magic aura. Of course I routinely set covenants in auras of 8 or 9

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A Magic Aura of 4 is fine. 5 is better.
An Aura of 6 or higher starts causing warping for the covenfolk, so that is best avoided unless the powerful aura is confined to a small part of the covenant - so the magi can have their labs in the high magic aura, while most of everything else in the covenant is in a lesser aura.

If you are using the rules in RoP:M and worry about the aura increasing too high - then it is time to start extracting more vis from the aura to counteract whatever would cause the aura to rise.

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Or unless the warping it causes is really useful or interesting... even a standard sized aura however can have buildings outside for most covenfolk- if they sleep outside the aura and only come in for daytime for the two seasons a year they work they are perfectly safe in most auras.

I'm surprised by the amount of concern over covenfolk. They'll only get 2 flaws and gain a virtue by the time they become too warped for the Aura to matter. Covenants tend to be full of social rejects anyways, and magic auras tend to be well away from civilization. And the Warping to A Pattern Hook can give you some control over it (in covenant creation) and add extra flavor.

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It is not just the covenfolk that warp. Plants, animals, objects, pretty much everything can warp. Having some plants warp into Venus Maneater Trees sucks. Or you might end up with mice that start fires every time they are scared.

Mass warping is rarely a good thing and while it is acceptable to ignore it on everything but people, that is not RAW.

I agree it is not RAW. But it's also my understanding that tables and potted plants don't really have a warping score, gaining 1 point of warping per year, and gaining virtues and flaws at regular intervals like a human might, and so while covenant facilities and inanimate objects may warp, how much they do is likely to end up a storyteller device on an ad hoc basis, rather than say, every doors saying hello when you approach them after 5 years of installation. So how much you might worry about everything warping is probably dependent on your storyteller. A home game I'm a player in hasn't had a single story about a warped object in 15 years of living in a 6+ aura. If one day, my dinner table starts walking arround instead of letting me eat, I'll chop it to pieces for firewood and get a brand new table.

Both of the examples I listed are right out of AM5 books. The plants from MoH, in which the Magus actually invented a ring/circle plant ward to protect the grogs and the mice are a story seed.

I am not saying it is commonly played that warping affects things other than the covenfolk, only that by raw it happens. The raw amount of story seeds and ideas both from cannon sources as well as things like Sub Rosa are extensive. Only rarely is the warping (even when to a pattern) a good thing, even if groups wish to ignore it in their games.

And if a dinner table starts walking around, I would be more interested in seeing if it could be made into a mount/vehicle rather than chopping it into firewood. If it is a large table it could be made into an interesting cart or wagon.

Another thing that is commonly ignored is that all the plants in high aura tend to awaken. At the very least they will all develop cunning and the ability to move slowly. Depending on the location and type of plants, this could be a good or bad thing. My Magus awakened rosebushes inherited his "busybody" trait and tend to spy on everyone, then try to hook people up. But if they know he does not like you, walking through the garden can get you very dead.

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It can vary all over the place. Maybe you clothes warp to become a different style of clothes, or they warp to provide an excessive or deficient amount of thermal protection... even without warping to a pattern though things which warp from the same source tend to warp in the same way...

interesting thought is a library of self clarifying books, so they can never be removed.
Or of course doors which prefer to remain open or closed, depending on their individual personality.
maybe the table secret judges everyone based on their diet...and has a 3 int and no way to communicate.

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I note that you ask primarily how we would feel and think as players.

It is clear that I would feel that it is puny, and if I design a covenant as a player I would go for at least 5. And the people I have played with tend to push more towards higher auras than I do.

That is not how I think though. There are many good stories to be told about covenants in weak and medium auras, and I value them too. A point more or less is not that important either.

If in doubt, 4±1 is probably were you want to be. Weaker auras you may regret when players start worrying about their lab totals. Stronger auras give complications with warping and its bookkeeping and need for narrating the effects. Experienced players make make the extremes interesting, but then they are beyond this doubt.

As others have said though, it is worth thinking about why there is a covenant in this aura. There are, I think, three basic story lines which explain a seemingly low aura,

  1. The aura is the best that can be found at the chosen power-level of the saga. (Durenmar may still be Level 7, but no such aura is vacant.)
  2. The covenant site has other powerful features which compensate for the aura.
  3. The style of the saga emphasises other things, such as those who play sagas in the divine auras Cambridge, Lübeck, and Barcelona.

The point being that if your covenant is Aura 4, and you keep telling stories where they visit level 5, 6, and 7 auras, it may get awkward. If you agree on a low-power saga, it is not a problem if aura 2 is the highest they ever see.

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Aura 4 is good. It is not overpowering. It also depends on the tribunal. If you check out the Curse of the Rhine Gorge basic set up, the locations have aura 2-3 to reflect that the Rhine is a depleted Tribunal.

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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the differing opinions and this is/was a fun read.

A bit late to the party, but...

I consider myself generally geared towards low power levels. I consider 3-5 to be a good average for the game. If I'm staring at an aura of 6+ I will assume that is part of the point of the game (not necessarily a plot point, but definitely something that will come up). Also, since auras can be relatively small, you can still have a level 7 aura in a building and avoid warping the mass of your covenfolk (Your housemaid will grow an extra arm though!) Similarly, having a low 0-2 aura will also be a major point of the game's design. Welcome to a city covenant.

This is a REALLY good point and the crux of the issue.

But since we're playing Ars Magica, we clearly all love numbers. Might be fun to go through the Tribunal books and figure out what the average auras are in each tribunal.

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