Well, we all have 2 views on this- our own preferences, and our Character's. I hope we can keep focused on the second, while moderating our "emotions" from the perspective of the first. For my part, I'll do my best.
Also, there are many, MANY aspects of a Charter- let's address as many of others' points as we can- that way, no one issue gets "ignored". (Obviously, don't bring up a new issue unless it's relevant or of importance.)
That way, we can more readily nail down various topics that we agree upon as we go.
Further, there seem to be 2 parts to this discussion- 1) the Charter re the normal running of a covenant, and 2) the specific complications due to Mab. I'll suggest we find a consensus on the first, and then, once we know "how the covenant works", we can move on to our specific dedicated purpose within that framework.
1) Dierdre is in Charge, and her word is law.
Um... like I'm going to argue with a senior Flambeau?
Damn, I talk a lot.
Here's a brief "chapter contents" of the below blather, so you can skip anything you're not interested in:
[i][b] Governance[/i][/b] o Dierdre as Covenant Leader, @ head of Council. Members w/ equal votes. She gets some few additional powers.
o "Mage on Duty"- yearly position to be daily "face/voice" for minor covenant matters. Elected/appointed/rotates.
o How a Council vote is made (longish)[i] [b]Allocation of Resources[/i][/b] - Suggestions for splitting the wealth
[b][i]Responsibilities[/i] [/b]- working together vs every mage for themselves.
[i][b] Membership, etc.[/i] [/b]- general topics, future petitioners
[b][i] shared vis[/i] [/b]o a discussion of what the Covenant should get, vs what the magi should deserve.
o Varying the above %'s based on yearly need
o finding renewable resources (claimable by covenant)[i][b] Covenant Improvement[/i][/b]- a slightly radical approach, includingo a method for consistant contribution, based on Covenant need
o equal but non-identical contribution from all magi
o optimization of talent
o variable demand (as seen by the Council)
o options of activities for non-critical periods
o options for Council to assign (non-dangerous) seasonal activities (equitably!)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Here we go...)
I think D should be Praeco (at least to start), holding a tie-breaking vote and veto power [i]in extremis[/i] (and this works well both IC for my mage, and OOC for the SG), but otherwise we vote on stuff. Majority for normal issues, 2/3 to change the Charter.* If we want, a (yearly?) vote for acting Council Leader could be established.
(* This means that it's best if "The Charter" is broken down into 2 parts- 1 is The Charter Proper, and the other is SOP's, or stuff that is convenient now and in the foreseeable future, but doesn't need to be given Charter level permanence. Voting & membership would be in the Charter- that we are going to help each other build Labs doesn't need to be.)
Also, we [i]could[/i] establish a "Mage on Duty", who's responsibility it is to speak for the Covenant in minor matters that arise for the year, and call a Council if need be. This duty could rotate, or be voted in, or whatever. If another mage visits, or a request arrives, we don't need to convene a Council every time, the MoD handles it, no big. This MoD's powers would be limited, and they would be responsible to the Council for their decisions. They would also effectively be tied to the Covenant grounds for the year (so no long-term "adventuring"), but everyone (including Angus!) knows who is "on duty" for any such matters. (One alternative is the "hot potato approach", where the first mage who wants to handle the issue does so, which can also work.)
There is also the question of "What establishes Quorum" for an issue before the Council - that is, how many magi need to be present to call a Council, and have the vote count? While we can expect most members to attend at MidWinter Council, emergency councils are less predictable. Having a flat % required can lead to "No legal vote possible, by the Rules of the Charter" - a shortsighted and avoidable pitfall.
I suggest this: First, define what constitutes a legally convened council. Adequate notice, time to respond, etc. [i](Maybe a bell, or other warning device? Not a bad thing to have in medieval times. One single ring for Council, many rings for "Halp!")[/i]
A standard Council requires at least half the magi (or so?) to be present. If half are present, the standard rules for majority/2/3 votes apply as normal
If something less than half the members are in attendance, then any assembly can constitute an Emergency Council (aka Minority Council, or whatever). Votes are tallied as usual, and the decision is enacted, BUT - 1) those carrying the vote are responsible for that decision to any not present, and to the Covenant as a whole. This minority Council does not have carte blanche to vote in whatever they please, but any reasonable, justifiable response to an urgent situation should not be prohibited nor punished. FURTHER, 2) Any absent magi still can Vote on that issue! (And must upon their return, or Abstain.) If the votes or these additional magi [u]reverse[/u] the decision, it must be remedied to the best of the ability of all. Further, any such emergency measure that cannot be acceptably justified is punishable as if a breech of the Charter were committed.
[i](Thus, nothing "long term" can be changed by an emergency-vote, or by a couple magi claiming a Council was legally convened. And if they try to profit by it, they're not kidding anyone - any such vote must be justified, otherwise it would be just as if they acted without the vote. So a minority better be sure of what you're doing!
Otoh, if we have 8 magi, and 3 form an Emergency Council, and all 3 vote the same (ie, an "obvious" solution), then it would take 4 of the other 5 to vote against that decision in order to raise the issue to the next level where it needs to be reversed.)[/i]
Abstaining- A mage can choose not to vote. Their presence is counted for purposes of Quorum, but their vote is not tallied for or against the proposal. (That is, there is no default "just vote no", and no playing cute and shooting down a proposal while pretending to stay neutral. If you have an opinion, you vote. If you choose not to vote, you have zero influence on the outcome.)
A mage must attend Council if they are able to, or justify their absence. Two unjustified absences put them "on probation" (?) and their absence is NOT counted against establishing a Quorum, nor can they later vote on any issues. (This keeps magi participating, or out of the process, not clogging up the works. Details as to what "on probation" means, and durations, and etc, are to be determined.)
[b]o[i] Allocation of Resources...[/i][/b]
1, even split. Either a flat amount/year or %, and/or with a standard "warchest" kept in reserve for emergencies.)
2- allocation by request- apply to the council at Midwinter for expected needs.
3- #1 (small), but with #2 added on.
The Covenant should maintain some hefty reserves for emergencies (esp now that Vis only counts as +2 for spell-boosting and Certamen!), but the rest should be spread around to be used. Possibly only if a given Art reaches an equitable amount (x = # of magi?), or if, during a Council, an acceptable combination of Arts can be distributed evenly.
How Socialist do we want to be? Are we "one for all", or are we just allies of convenience, when and if etc? "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need."? Do we trust in the Social Contract, or spell it out and enforce it? Do we require a set amount of work towards the Covenant from each mage, or do the lazy/selfish ones benefit from those who feel like contributing? (& Guess what I think!)
As a Player, I know that working together will make us stronger in the long run, and believe that won't happen unless structured, but Daggin is a bit more independent, but also doesn't care so much as long as it's "fair". :wink:
(And see radical suggestion, at bottom)
Also, something to address those breaking the Charter, and how to oust a member should things get so extreme. Perhaps probation, perhaps penalties, whatever.
[b]o[i] Membership, etc.[/i][/b]
Probationary period? Duty owed? Senior and Junior magi? 1/2 votes for probationary members? Can non-magi sit on the council?
How does a newly arrived mage "prove themselves" before joining (and do we apply that to ourselves now?)
When and how do we tell them about our "purpose"?
shared vis (small expenditures are OK, extravagant expenditures need approval), with half the vis you find on expeditions going to the covenant.
Some magi will be better at garnering Vis than others- either thru adventure, or luck, or whatever. We should encourage vis to be found, but allow magi to keep the lion's share (in most cases). I'd say the Covenant Charter state "some percentage/some part" be given to the Covenant, but state that the tithe is to be set by the Council, and changed as needed. In times of greater need, this increases; in times of plenty, it drops. All good (and an example of what needs to be in the Charter, vs what can be left undefined, to change year to year).
Renewable sources that fall within the claim of the covenant should be the Covenant's, perhaps with a finder's fee. But the finder should not be encouraged to strip the find, lest the source dry up- these need to be investigated just a bit before being harvested. But maybe an amount based on the yearly harvest, at a rate of 1/2 that amount/year for 3 years? (Or the equiv using Cov' stores?) Incentive to find, incentive to wait, incentive to share.
Now, I think most(?) will agree that if a mage spends a season in their lab on their own time, milking Vim vis from the Aura, that vis should be theirs, not the Covenants, not even in part, no more than a magic item or spell is partly the Covenant's. On the other hand, if that same mage spends the same season filliing Covenant needs as a duty to all, they don't keep that same percentage, if any.
I think that, during personal time or personal adventures, a mage should keep what they find (or at the very least the Lion's Share). However, if they find something while on an Assigned Mission for the Covenant, using Covenant Resources etc, the majority of that should belong to the Covenant - not all, but most, perhaps with a "finder's fee". Your time, your gain- Covenant time, Covenant gain (and see below.)
Now, on that subject. there will be times when the Covenant Council decides "Stuff needs to be done!"- might be one task, might be another. And there's always something that needs to be done, even if it's not a Council priority. It's not fair to expect one mage to take time from their personal projects to give to the covenant. Nor is it a wise use of human resources to ask a Lab Rat to go exploring for Vis for a season, or a Combat Mage to squeeze the Aura for Vis (when you could do the opposite!). So, I suggest the following, which is a bit complex, but works:1) Each mage owes a # of seasons to the covenant each year. Might be 1/2 (ie, 1 season /2 years), might be 4 in dire emergencies- this is voted on by council, so it "should" be close to consensus. (Exceptions, variations always possible. Senior magi, junior magi, probationary/punishment, etc etc.)
- If the Council chooses, they can assign specific duty to address the Covenant's needs - Mage A does X, Mage B does Y, for the good of the covenant. No mage may be assigned any task that may be deemed "dangerous", tho' they may voluntarily accept such an assignment. (That is, these "assignments" would be limited to "standard tasks", such as "design a spell" or "make some potions"- not "go kill that dragon, would you?", tho' that could be proposed voluntarily- see below.)
(The Council could also make a list, and let magi volunteer for whatever they choose as opportunity arises.)
2.1a) If none is assigned, then the Mage proposes a Covenant Project to fulfill one or more of their season(s) of duty, and that's either accepted or not by the Council.
2.1b) Guidelines are established as to what is "acceptable duty"- provide X pawns of Vim, or Y Levels of Spells, or Z amount of coin, or whatever. A mage picks one and runs with it, and if it takes them 2 (or more!) seasons to achieve that allotment, that's tough.
You can also sell/barter current seasons of assigned Duty, but not future ones- if we need "all Magi on Deck!", they have to show that season.
At their discretion and in rare instances, the Council can deem a single, exceptional Season as counting for more than one.
What this does is the following:[list]o Guarantees a steady growth for the covenant
o Guarantees a fair contribution from all
o Encourages a mage to contribute what they are good at.
o Gives set Guidelines to what is expected from 1 Season of effort. (1 full season from one magi or on one task is not equal to a full season from another on something else. Exceptional production need not all be given to the covenant.)
o (Is, unapologetically, Socialistic at its core.)If things are going well, maybe 1 season in 8 may be required. If the fewmets hit the windmill, maybe we need to get everyone addressing the problem for the next 3 seasons- 24 seasons of concerted, equitable effort toward the issue, and the hammer comes down on it, no prob.[/list:u] And no imbalance or injustice in who contributes and who enjoys the fruits - if the combat magi are dedicating a season to go out and smash a BBEG, then the LabRats are dedicating a season to create an item that will help them (and the Covenant as a whole), and the Social types are dedicating a season to spying out info on the BBEG to help the others. And the one mage who just has nothing relevant to contrbute contributes a season copying a Summa to trade, which is always a good thing. Everyone chips in a season, everyone shoulders "equally", and the covenant as a whole thrives.
There are certainly other approaches, this is just one.