My first Covenant

Hello all!

I recently acquired Ars Magica with the Bundloe of Holding, read it, gave it a test run and fell in love very very hard with it.
I am moving in a months time and me and my girlfriend plan to find us a group to play Ars with then. In preperation for that, I started today to design a Covenant and its inhabitants (someone on linked a blog post that stated one should create a bunch of characters and stuff to be familiar with it when one helps others through the process).
I am going to post my results here, perhaps you find it amusing, perhaps you have some tips on how to do better... I am going to comment on my choices

Disclaimer: I am not a native speaker, might be a bit bumpy at times.

So... onwards to our first character, the covenant itself:

When browsing through the Covenant books I fell in love with the idea of having the covenant situated on an island... or even better a magical island. It would be surrounded by some kind of fog or mist and some mermaids/mermen would live nearby and trade with the magi at times (or lure them to their wet graves... who knows with fearies?).
After looking around on Google Earth for a bit I found the island of Ruden of the german coast. Ruden changed owners a lot during the 1200-1300 period, being in the hands of Danes, later Prussia. So my idea was that the covenant was quite yound and would consist of young magi and locals who got sick of being bossed around by soldiers of either side and resorted to piracy... I have no idea if I will be able to make that a consistent theme, but I am going to try.

Name: Insula Nimbata
Age: around 3 years, it was recently established by young magi
Build Points: 200

Description: A newly built covenant on a mystical island surrounded by magical fog, that puts people in it to sleep. Rumour has it the fog conceals something even worse. The magi live in a small manor with their servants/scribes and have their laboratories scattered across the island. Most of the covenfolk live in a small village at the coast, situated by a natural harbour that houses the fishing boats and the one pirate vessel the covenant has. The land isn't suited to farming as of now and natural resources have not been found yet. The place was chosen for its isolation and secrecy - not its resources. The covenfolk seem unfriendly on the surface, but they do stick together.

Art Summae: Rego(level 15, quality 12), Aquam (level 12 quality 12), Muto (level 6, quality 21)
Ability Summae: Penetration (level 4, quality 10)
Tractati: Creo (11), Magic Theory (10), Herbam (10), Parma Magica (9)

I went with the Low Powered Package from the Core Book here and thought about what young magi would find useful when striking out on their own. Rego and Aquam seemmed like natural fits on an island and Muto seems quite useful when you have to make do with what you find. I opted for Penetration as I thought they'd probably make it a priority in case the supernatural neighbours turned out to be unfriendly - same reasoning with Parma Magica. Creo and Herbam are also in the vein of "we are new here, let us build something". Magic Theory seems to be an important skill so I threw it in the mix.

Lab Texts (200 Levels, max 25):
Aegis of the Hearth (Level 25)
Panic of the Trembling Heart (Level 15)
Lamp without Flame (Level 10)
Hunt for the Wild Herb (Level 5)
Bridge of Wood (Level 20)
Awaken the Slumbering Corpse (Level 25)
Disguise of the New Visage (Level 15)
Purification of the Festering Wound (Level 20)
Wind at the Back (Level 5)
Quiet of the Raging Wind (Level 20)
Rain of Stones (Level 20)
Cloud of Rain and Thunder (Level 25)

As for the lab texts... to be frank I read through the spells and picked what sounded fun. The only concession is the Aegis as I thought it would be a top priority to get a good Aegis going. Also... Zombies and nasty weather seemed especially piratey!

Regio (Major) - The island is actually situated in a magical Regio. It can only be accessed by traversing thick banks of mist that magically puts people to sleep
Island (free)
Residents (free): Sailors - The covenfolk is mainly made up of Sailors who fish near the coast (being careful to not get to close to the fog)
Pirates (minor) - Some of the covenfolk are fed up with being the subjects of abuse by nobles, the church and soldiers and resort to piracy now. The magi being young and idealistic (and I imagine a charismatic pirate leader among the Companions) tolerate and support this - for now.
Strong Community (minor) - The covenfolk being all outcasts and displaced the stick together.

Regio With Unexpected Entries (Minor): Seeing as the covenant is brand new and was only recently established the members have as of now not found all ways through the fog.
Fearie Court (minor): A group of Mermaids and -men live nearby and like to lure sailors into the mist... sometimes they might trade with the covenant.
Indiscrete Resource (major): Piracy! The covenant finances itself with piracy, which neither the Order nor the local authorities will like very much should it become known.

I have left things deliberately vague as of now so that I can develop them further when I create the characters.

What do you think so far?

It sounds like a fun location and, to a cursory inspection, appears to be designed correctly.

It is, perhaps, a tad on the weak side, even for a Spring Covenant, but I like to leave a little growing room so the players can add stuff they want before play commences.

In terms of location, keep in mind that it's very, very close to the canon location of Crintera (the domus magna of House Bjornaer) on the island of Rügen half-a-dozen miles to the north. Of course, nothing prevents you from relocating Crintera if you like to do so in your saga! But if you keep things as they are, having that powerful Autumn covenant nearby should probably affect your stories quite a bit, particularly since Crintera is also struggling with the German-Danish mundane conflict.

Also, wikipedia notes that in 1220 Ruden was probably no island at all! "Before the storm tide of All Saints Day in 1304, Ruden was probably part of a land bridge between Usedom and Rügen." But again, it's your fantasy saga, and you are obviously not bound by any "real world" considerations! My current saga is also set on an island, in a location where today's maps show only the deep blue sea (which made the troupe rather nervous :slight_smile:)

I think you have the right approach: start small and weak, it is always easier afterwards to give boost (sponsorship, legacy from an old master, treasure) than to take away nice powerful items/books.
It also gives a natural incentive to go on adventure.
Since you have a nice island for yourself and the sanctums are scattered (lack of central common space) it could be a nice place to build an hermetic shipyard.
Don't bother to much with the canon from supplements, it is usually the easiest to play around yet keping the flavour of the tribunal

The location will give you plenty of opportunities for adventure: the north with what could be the Order of Odin, the Muspelli, the hermetic politics of the Rhine tribunal, the mundanes trouble between the Danes, the Swedes and all.

Good luck!

It looks like an excellent and fun covenant. A few comments

As said above, this is officially very close to the domus magna ("capital" covenant) of House Bjornaer, Crintera (which is on the island of Rugen). But you should absolutely ignore or use it as fits you; don't be bound by canon (=the official product line). Personally, I'd keep Crintera and either ignore it or incorporate it into the stories as the saga progresses: having Crintera support or oppose your piracy according to what is more fun to play out.

Since you set up the covenant in the Rhine tribunal, you might benefit from reading the book that describes the Rhine Tribunal. This costs extra money, of course, and isn't really necessary. You already got the Normandy tribunal book, if I'm not mistaken, so you can see what a tribunal book provides - info on geography and history, lots of story seeds and details based on local folklore and myth, the official Hermetic society in that tribunal, and so on. The tribunal book for the Rhine Tribunal is called "Guardians of the Forests" and is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch (although I haven't read them all). You can get a description of the book, as well as a free map of the tribunal and a link to purchase its pdf, at its official product page:

You can certainly do without the tribunal book, and invent things on your own. You can import stuff from the Normandy book to "fill in" the tribunal (using its covenants and so on). And you absolutely don't need to define the tribunal in advance, too - you can go piecemeal, and invent the tribunal in parts as your saga needs. But I thought you might like to know where the official setting is.

Just as a point of convenience, most magi would probably rather live in/near their lab, no?

Keep in mind that Muto changes are temporary. So it isn't as useful as it may sound at first. It can still be very useful, of course - e.g. for casting or enchanting Lungs of the Fish.

Give thought on how the magi and covenfolk access the regio; there has to be some special way for them to do so, or they'd get lost in the fog, right?

Keep trade and redcaps in mind. The covenant needs to get trade to/from it, and redcaps too. Perhaps one of the covenfolk/Companions runs a merchant ship to/from the island?

Very cool. :slight_smile:

Have fun now!