Read this yesterday evening but decided to sleep on it, both to give me some time to think about it and because I would have had to post from my phone. Which, for long posts, can be laborious.
Seeing you step aside is certainly not something that I want! I appreciate your take on things, even if at the moment we seem to be butting heads on some basic assumptions on the saga.
I will not pretend that a part of what I wrote was not aimed specifically at your objections, as a player. As you have been the most vocal about the objections, and since you initiated this discussion, of course I am trying to answer to you, as a player. But what I wrote was also true, to an extent about all the players and even more, of their magi.
It is my hope that we can resolve this and move forward.
With this goal in mind, I will try to explain my reasons for the position I have been defending in regard to the restrictions being imposed on the covenant by the village and by the setting. Some of this I thought was clear from the initial announcement of the saga, but that is obviously not as clear as I expected. Perhaps the short hiatus over the hollydays clouded the understanding of both sides, or perhaps it was as clear as I thought. In any case, let's try to clarify the game contract.
There, I believe, lies the center of contention. In a regular saga, I think it would be fair to say that a covenant would have almost-exclusive control over a fairly large area of lands, building and expanding as much as they like based on whatever investment of resources they can afford.
To me, when I announced that this would be a low-resource saga, the in-character rationale behind the scarcity of resources was three-fold:
- First, a social context within the Order that limited the sharing of magical resources -- from the lack of trust between magi and the hold that established covenants had over younger ones. This meant that the most obvious magical auras and vis sources were accounted for.
- Second, a cosmological context where magical sites and their vis sources were becoming scarce. This made new covenants even more difficult to establish, since conveniently located auras and sources were difficult to find.
- Third, a context that made interference with mundanes more risky. This meant that control over vast mundane resources would be difficult. Yes, magi have ways to generate income that mundane lack, but they need to be implemented in such a way that did not interfere with mundanes. I explained this by a stricter interpretation of the interference with mundanes clause of the Oath by Quaesitores. The was backed by the desire from established covenant to retain their hold on younger magi, as well as the mysterious occurences of magi being mobbed and killed by mundanes.
Together, these initial assumptions on my part means that the starting position you describe above was not even remotely possible. That would draw too much mundane attention, which is something your magi should be trying to avoid at all cost. Because if mundane powers become aware of you as a covenant of magi, then chances are that established covenants would become aware of you soon after. And once they did, you would come under a lot of unwelcome attention.
This explains why, out-of-character, I had trouble grasping the path you wanted to take. If, as a troupe, you want to change some of those assumptions, then I'm open to suggestions. Although that was the overarching story I was proposing to tell (i.e. a struggle to covertly develop a new covenant in a low-resource environment), I understand that this might not be what you understood you (the players) were signing up for.
Now we come to the in-character reasons for the restrictions. This is a bit of a sideline issue compared to what I wrote above regarding the game contract, but I will discuss it anyway. Note that I will include some information that your magi do not have access to at this time.
I believe that the way I depicted the villagers' reaction is quite sensible. The magi showed up, out of nowhere, and informed the village that they would be taking part of their ancestral lands. This is a rustic willage, which has deliberately kept itself seperate from the rest of the island for the most part. Now strangers come and offer to "make their life better" in exchange for taking away a part of the land that they currently need to survive. The strangers promise that they will bring more wealth to the village than what they will take away as land, not to worry. New jobs! New wealth!
A modern-life analogy would be something like this. Imagine that you are sitting at home, minding your own business after your day's work. There's a know on your door and a man presents himself to you. He offers you to invest a significant part of your income into this new way of making money. Don't worry, he says, the investment will generate enough money to compensate for your lost income. He presented his product to the government, he says, and the investment product has been approved. In fact, it will soon be mandatory for everyone. You get a choice of paying him by way of checks, direct deposit or by having the money taken at the source from your salary. At first you say no, not interested. He insists, telling you that you have no choice in the matter as the government backs this. Well, maybe a little, then. Not enough that you risk losing your house because of the lost income. But he insist that you need to put more of your income into it, right away. Or else. What would you do?
In short, it doesn't matter what you promised the village. They don't trust that you can make good your claims. They may not have a choice, but they will do everything they can to keep it to a minimum.
They seem to know more than they should. Ask yourself why. This is not simply me as the SG trying to foil your desires as players. This is part of the story...
Gotta go, have a meeting at work.