Question: Book quality in Covenants

Covenants, p.88 states that "The effective maximum quality for Art Tractatus is 17"; a few pages further on it restates that indeed, a (hermetic) tractatus could potentially have a quality as high as 17. However, I just can't get to such a high number - I seem to fall 3 points short. By my numbers, such a tractatus could get as high as:

5 (Communication) + 3 (good scribe, binder and illuminator) + 3 (resonance and clarification) + 3 (good teacher virtue) = 14.

What am I forgetting? Perhaps there's a further +3 applied to all tractati, not just mundane ones? Incidentally, do resonance bonuses only apply to mystical books (i.e. those on the arts and arcane abilities) or to mundane books as well?

The question of resonances for mundane books is intersting to me too; I assumed it was originally the reason the +3 was assigned to them because they cannot have resonances. That said, they have had this bonus scrubbed from them in the errata so one wonders: should they be permitted resonaces?

On reflection, can they be glossed and associated with a summa for a further +2, or are thoes bonusses not cumulative? eitehr way, thats only another 2 points, not 3.

Ah, apparently the errata says that indeed, all Tractati, not just mundane ones, add +3. This solves one issue. However, the question about whether mundane books can benefit from resonance still stands.

You can't get a better communication than +5 though so you can't gloss ezzelino's example book for better quality.

Include it in a florigia and it gets an additional +1 from context. I suppose that you could do a florigiea of commentaries and get +2 but we're still one short.

There are errata for this section, but I don't see how they change anything:

I think you may have it there erik. If you are the wisest man in christendom and working from the finest collection of books on the subject you can get a +2 Floriegia bonus. Adding that to the commentary bonus you have your +3. That would explain how and why such high quality is immensely rare.

On the other point about communication scores though; I would imagine a mythic characteristic might just do it... if the circumstance selected was appropriate. However, in the errata they suffer the same problem florigelia do - they express resonance so they are not permitted to stack - not without a hermetic breakthrough in your saga. It does at least, permi mundane books to replicate the bonusses available o hermetic books in circumstances just as difficult to recreate.

The bonus from florilegia is not cumulative with that from resonant materials!

It's the "+3 after Author's Communication". You no longer add +3 only for mundane tractati; you add +3 to all tractati. So it's 5 (communication) +3 (errata) +3 (scribing, illumination, binding) +3 (resonant materials and clarification) + 3 (good teacher virtue) =17. At least as far as I read it.

You can't do resonant materials for mundane subjects though, and I think Well Illustrated/Illumiated also doesnt not apply to non-magical subjects.

Um. Why wouldn't good illustrations and coloured text help with mundane subjects?

Sloth's Parma
Now that I think about it, I believe it's the other wat around; that a mundane text is not penalized for having no Illustrations, becase in the year 1220, illustrations were not a common thing yet.

IIRC, you can. The formula is
Com + 3 + 1 for superior scribing +1 for superior illustration +1 for superior binding +3 for good teacher = 14.

For magical subjects you can also add up to +3 in resonances to get 17; this you can't do for mundane subjects.

You can indeed also include florilegia but then miss out on the resonances.

Serf's parma on everything.

If you're using the expanded book rules, note the option for fast-copying in the core rules and how it interacts with the rules on exemplars and juvenilia and the rules on superior craftmanship (answer: poorly).

Incidentally, I assume that a book on Supernatural abilities (like Kabbalah -which are technically neither Arcane abilities nor Arts) would also be able to benefit from resonance. Am I correct?

I would think so, as long as it is still a magical/supernatural topic.

The whole business of copying is a bit of a mess post covenants. Well, it is at least a lot more paperwork. You cannot simply accept the quality of your covenant library if you ever want to copy it - you have to re-build your library completely so as to veryify where every point of quality came from. So as to be certain you have the correct craftsment to reproduce the original work.

So here are some questions -

can you add resonances to a copy of a book you did not write?
I expect you could - cant see any strong impediment to that if its and art etc...

Can you subsequently add skill illustrations and illumination?
Well, the original author didnt draw these eitehr so again, perhaps you could, although it doesnt 'feel' like you should be able to.

I would say yes to both! After all that's the idea behind exemplars - low quality, but with all the information to reconstruct "full quality" books.

The only catch, however, is that a troupe might be tempted to "buy" a library full of exemplars and then improve them, effectively raising the quality of their library without effort. But it's not such a big deal - the total number of points is negotiated with the storyguide beforehand, so I do not think too many troupes would resort to such lowly tricks. On the other hand, a newly established covenant might indeed have acquired a basic, minimal library composed mainly of exemplars, and finding the craftsmen to illustrate etc. the books certainly seems an interesting plot hook.

Unless they hire a lot of scribes (which costs $$$), then they are stuck doing it themelves, which could take 1 to five years. That's a lot of time spent not studying. But yeah, I am all for cutting costs by setting up a new covenant with activity. For one game, I gave everyone an empty room for a lab woth a sawhorse and a beaker. They all had to build them out themselves. For a library, it sounds even better. Almost cooprative :slight_smile:

I would say you can't add illustrations to a book that didn't origianlly contained them, but you CAN add better illustration, i.e. the +1 bonus for a skilled artisan. I don't think it makes much difference, though, as I reckon any exemplar/juvenelia/book has the rudimentary illustrations built-in - just not at a very high quality.

I would allow adding resonances too.

And I agree copying a library becomes much harder with Covenants rules.

What about Bestiaries? Although not strictly magical (about theory or arts), they pertain to clearly mythic subjects.

A bestiary is likely to be labelled as legend lore (or in this edition: faerie or magical lore). As such, it is a mundane ability and no ressonant. I can see it bound in shark skin and having a page marker made of the tongue of some other mythic beast though. This will make its price skyrocket, but not its game XP value. It will look cool, though :slight_smile:

That reminds me that Britanniae (our covenant) has no bestiaries yet.... Something to be solved soon scribes down furiously