Peripheral Code ruling on magical creation of silver

The Stonehenge Tribunal (Heirs to Merlin pg 116) ruled on magically created silver and stated "2 pounds per resident of the covenant, magus or mundane" was the accepted limit.

So does this mean 2 pounds for each companion and each lowly grog in the covenant? It seems like it to me.

Oddly, Covenant page 61 in the spell description for "The Riches that are Rightfully Mined" states that a covenant of 10 mages could only distribute 20 pounds of silver - which either assumes the covenant has no grogs or companions or ignores that portion of the ruling.

What are your thoughts? Should grogs be counted? Is this a good basis for a Tribunal cases testing the boundaries of this ruling?

Pretty sure it's 2 pounds per mage only. Heirs to Merlin is a 4th edition book, and there will often be areas that have changed in 5th. I suspect this is one of them.

HtM p. 116

Based on a weird inflation that England suffered at the end of the 12th century as a base for this :slight_smile: I find it really cool myself.


Xavi, yes, but isn't all the debate about the fact that in (cov?) this is only magus, which mean 5th ed is different from 4th :smiley:

Oh, reprinted in HoH:TL p.87. It IS per resident. My mistake.

Edit. Unless residents only refers to resident magi, which covenants seems to imply

We still use this in 5th Ed as a hangover form 4th ed. It's mainly to stop the more avaricious magus from using magic to basically ruin the local ecconomy. This applies to any magically created wealth albeit actual silver or magically grown crops.


I'm not sure how "one inhabitant" would be defined by a Tribunal - I'd think it's contextual, but in this case I'd go with "anyone annually supported by the Covenant".

"One Mythic Pound" is defined as "equivalent to a pound of silver, the annual income of a typical peasant" (Covenants, p 56). Since "typical peasants" did not have a lot of (read "not any") "savings", and since grogs and servants are not only fed, sheltered and clothed, but also paid a bit in addition, and since upkeep of Specialists and Magi (and their labs!) would typically cost quite a bit more than that 1 pd/year, 2 pds/inhabitant/year would mean that a covenant could cover its expenditures and have something (significantly?) less than 1 pd/inhabitant as "disposable income" for the next 4 seasons.

Now, the Tribunals don't care about "game balance" but about the inflation of local economies, so if a covenant claims 500 nightsoil collectors as "covenant inhabitants" (or is simply spending a smaller amount in an economically isolated area), they may find themselves in trouble, any wording not withstanding. They might (maybe) get away with it once, or not, but never more than that.

Likewise as far as game balance goes - SG's should shut them down if they feel things are getting out of hand, regardless of "the Law". And also likewise if magi try to cut corners and spread around large quantities of "Duration:Moon" silver instead of permanent species created with vis (or at least if they aren't smart when they do it!).

But meanwhile, if an average covenant is, say, 100 souls or less, a creative SG* can easily find excuses to immediately reduce the majority of the remaining 100 pds** and then find more reasonably attractive base expenditures (labs, basic comfort items, etc.), leaving them with only a couple/few dozen pounds to spend in adventures and improvement - which is not unreasonable, especially considering the expenditure of vis (and someone learning/inventing that spell!).

(* or one with the Covenants book, highly recommended if you care about expenses, not to mention labs, texts, building neighboring covenants or filling out the covenant's non-mage population.)

(** If Players think their Magi (and their Specialists) are living like "the average peasant" at 1 pd/yr, then constantly remind them with any unpleasant details of "peasant life" that you might think of. If they think they have more than one change of worn-out and coarse clothes, boots, warm cloaks, chairs (vs benches or stools), anything but the simplest and most repetitive food, wine, lamps (vs a few candles), comfortable beds, rugs or tapestries, jewelry, etc etc - they are not living "like an average peasant". No visitor will be impressed (nor stay long), no innkeeper or fishmonger will give them respect when they travel, no noble or priest will receive such shabby "wise ones" without cause! And that's before The Gift kicks in!...)

Of the 12 "stereotyped" magi of the 12 Houses depicted on the cover of the core book, only a few are dressed anything "like peasants" - and some of the rest are spending far more than their 2 pd/year share. On new, clean clothes, if nothing else!)

I'm not sure that Tribunals would really care about that either, or would realistically think of it as being an issue. Afterall, if the local economy tanks the magi can still keep ahead by making more silver...or by using magic to directly create whatever they are wanting to buy with the silver...or using ReMe to ensure that they get what they want.

I think that a more realistic care for a Tribunal is not wanting to be seen to be "too wealthy". If magi appear very wealthy, then nobles will want loans, and then nobles will inevitably want to suppress / destroy covenants in order to avoid paying back the loans.

Of course, it is entirely possible for magi to be dressed in either illusions or clothes that are enchanted somehow, or merely magically cleaned. In fact, it seems quite trivial to do that.

It says explicitly on page 57 of Covenants that Redcaps notice inflation and that Quaesitors may care about it.

I know it says that. I just question how realistic that is ... and as I said, 'being seen to be very wealthy' seems like a bigger and more immediate concern for magi (to me).

That would be an exceptionally bad idea. Instead of a bad local inflation, if you try to solve that by pumping in more cash, the result will be local hyperinflation and regional panic. It will attract both shady people as well as people "taking a chance", while people in the area that are not directly part of the cashflow from the covenant might starve or be forced to leave.
Chances are fair to high that you manage to kickstart either a war or a crusade, possibly both and also quite possibly aimed directly at the covenant.

Mmm, as always its very easy to forget how severe the price jump for textiles is in a preindustrial economy.


It really depends on the extent. If the magi just set themselves up to be "slightly wealthier than the neighbouring nobles", I can't really see how that will cause the economy of Mythic France, say, to collapse. Sure, maybe they find that over a few hundred years the silver isn't going as far as it once did, and so they need to do their ritual once every seven years, instead of once every ten years, and perhaps the local region is a bit wealthier than it otherwise would be. But that's not exactly hyperinflation. Covenants are simply not that large.

It should have much the same impact as any other wealthy noble moving into the area.

To have a real, immediate, obvious impact on their local economy the magi need to be throwing around enormous amounts of silver. The more immediate and dangerous problem (and which will be a problem at much lower levels of apparent wealth) is that the 'neighbouring nobles' will have issues about the arrival of these vulgar, nouveau riche scholars. This, rather than some sort of economic analysis, seems like a much more believable problem for magi to be worried about.

Mmm, it may indeed be an excuse for game balance, but page 87 of HoH:TL adds a bit more detail and rationale, and indirectly parallels your own view - that it's not a good thing....

"...A group of Redcaps brought the issue to Tribunal in 1208, and it was decided that this behavior was interfering with the mundanes..."
Bring the Code into the equation and suddenly things get more tricky. As written works for me.

Agreed, they could - but do they, do the magi in your saga actually go to that trouble? My point was not directed at clothing but "cost of living", the lifestyle that many players assume and take for granted in their game play, and the costs of that overall upkeep. Even if magic could mimic 100% of that, how many magi would both know all those spells, and want to cast them daily?

As opposed to assuming they're living high on the hog - that was my point. I know if a mage character of mine cared about creature comforts at any level, he'd far rather have a nice warm robe and a comfy chair in his sanctum than a spell that made a bench look and feel like a comfy chair. Just not the same, somehow. Same with every example.

(I was looking for a graphic (thought there was one) that had both a peasant and "lord" type in one image, but the cover was the best I could find. )

Having some sort of Tribunal imposed limit on wealth creation seems sensible, yes.

It is just having the explicit, in-character Tribunal justification for the limit, being an economic analysis that such behaviour leads to hyperinflation and economic collapse, that seems wrong. As you say, it's much more likely, I think, for the Tribunal to recognise that 'being more wealthy than the neighbouring nobles' is 'mundane interference', because of the likely responses of the nobles. That is a much more concrete and believable concern than some abstract economic theory.

Not illusions (that's the sort of thing faeries do), but magically created clothing, yes.

It also means that you can have clothing items that are effectively impossible to make by mundane (1220) means. Garments made of spider-silk, exotic patterns and images imprinted on fabrics, cloaks that are impenetrable to rain, armour that is made of articulated bone, dresses made of gemstones, tunics made of 'frozen' water, etc.

Which officially counts as Showing Off Your Mad Magic Skillz. Which is exactly the sort of thing that magi are prone to do.

Bjornaer, might also be keen on magically created clothing for more practical reasons.

What you said was creating more silver as a "fix" to inflation already happening.
The effect of doing that is a sharp increase in inflation, requiring more silver to be created to keep up.
You´re pretty much just "adding zeroes" to the money, Zimbabwe and Weimar style.

What you create like that is essentially a goldrush economy, except without the benefits.
You might want to take a look at the stories from the Alaskan goldrush to get a basic picture, except there, there was still a separation between the cash and the gold, in your scenario the two is the same.

And your comparison with nobles is invalid because it was rather rare to spend huge amounts of cash in an area that was completely cut off from the source of that cash.
And when that DID happen, it sometimes screwed up the local economy for years, despite being the result of "just" a short stay in the area of the local nobles superior. And to this situation, pouring in MORE cash?
Yeah it wont automatically create hyperinflation, but the risk of it is very notable.
This is also one reason why, when a nobleman was assigned a "fresh" new area to set up a strongpoint in, they didnt arrive with just cash, they brought some of everything, including people, and it was still normal that the local economy took a severe beating(and an upturn at the same time unless the noble handled things poorly).

And no, covenants are not so large, but they´re usually also not conveniently placed in a city or other densely populated area. Spending a few hundred silvers per year in a decent sized city(or major trading point) wont be a problem, but if the surrounding area that interacts with the covenant includes maybe a thousand people spread out...
At that point, you´re adding 5-30% to the local economy, in cash only(where a lot of people probably dont handle that much in cash for many years, possibly never), per YEAR!
Expect a >20% inflation in the first or 2nd year. If magi keep spending the same adjusted for inflation, the inflation will rise quickly.

Oh and dont forget everything from bandits to all sorts of fortune seekers.

I agree.

Really, having an extra silver mine in the area is not going to set off massive inflation. The same goes for a covenant magically creating silver.

I have to say, that generally I find such "realistic" economics boring - I much prefer to deal with high fantasy and adventure, and leave the petty economical concerns to the background. As such, I tend to ignore the Peripheral Code ruling. If a covenant wants to take care of its economic needs this way - fine. Whatever. I don't really care.

So, how do you, as SG, limit the wealth of your Magi/Covenant? Or by allowing your players to drown themselves in mundane wealth do you raise them above those concerns, having hooks that are more social/political/metaphysical? Or do you just wandwave it all and downplay it relentlessly, so "wealth, no wealth, all same same... Now about that dragon..."?

The latter. Mostly (depends on the saga). I don't bother with the economy much like I don't bother with who mined the gem the wizard gets to put on his staff. These are just not questions that are important for the story (that I like to tell; YMMV and all of that).

Oh, I understand completely - it's how one almost had to run AM back in 3rd ed, when there simply was no economics system except as applied from outside sources. And I've certainly done it that way, or not, depending on the preference of the Troupe I've had for any given saga.

I understand the idea of hyperinflation. I just fail to see how a covenant can be big enough to have this effect.

Today, in real life, when a big company makes, say, a new manufacturing plant in a small town and thus pumps money into a small local economy, the result is not hyperinflation. The result is higher local wages, an increase in population, the growth of local contractor-industry to support the manufacturing plant, the growth of local cafes and recreation industry, and possibly a bit of status-seeking-competition between the existing local politicians and the newly arrived company executives. Sure, a bit of inflation will occur, but that's not the same thing as hyperinflation.

Yes, but this wasn't because the nobles feared destroying the local economy through hyperinflation. This was because there were no shops in the frontier for the noble to purchase stuff from, i.e. there was no local economy of significance.

In fact, exactly the same applies to a covenant. If a covenant built in a frontier region creates silver to buy mundane supplies (like food) or more esoteric supplies (like glassware for labs), then the actual silver will be spent in distant places in relatively large economies. Money for food will be spent in some regional distribution and storage centre (i.e. a local town). Money for exotic items may be spent on the other side of Mythic Europe --- perhaps Venice for glassware.