Simulating a covenant

The following text is quoted from an ArM4 project that simulated covenant growth. I've been wondering about how this would work for ArM5 (in fact, I've started a simulation on rpol, but I think it is going to take years; so I might as well start a second one by myself).
Before starting I have to get the premises right. I'll let you have the finished simulation.

Adaptions to ArM5:

  1. I can take the 6 starting magi from the templates
  2. Aura 3 seems to be average
  3. 40p of vis seems to be too much. But what is average? 15p per year (1p of each art))
  4. mundane resources: enough seems like a good way to minimize book-keeping. But what happens when the magi build high-upkeep labs? Should the extra cost simply be paid in vis (1pawn = 10 pounds?)
  5. additional trade assumptions: alternatively, the redcaps can be used (as in HoH:TL). Books may not be lumped together to get better books (3 bad books for 1 good book). Items/rituals can be traded as in HoH:MC Verditius. But how do I trade items for books? How do I factor in bargaining skill and other people skills? Should it be possible to trade several low level items for one high level item?
  6. my year starts in winter, so vis appears on the first day of winter
  7. the xp for adventuring seem low. Does 5-10 xp 4+1d6 sound better?
  8. How can I spring surpise adventures at characters (how likely is it that characters have an adventure forced on them)?
  9. How do I handle adventure injuries and death toll? Is there an easy way to include competence in the simulation?
  10. How do I simulate familiars?
  11. tribunal xp = (codex of hermes + Order of hermes lore) xp
  12. How many warping points do they get? 1 + 1 for the ritual? But then: How do I simulate twilight episodes? Most players on this forum seem to be pretty relaxed about using dangerous spontaneous magic all the time!
  13. Should I include the possibility to use the Durenmar library?

Thanks for your input to any and all questions I have asked (and those I haven't)

Some random thoughts. Not everything answered, and is all my own random thoughts from various sagas I've run or played in.

I tend to work a baseline of 3 or 4 pawns per magus per year.

Lab costs are never a major factor for covenant finances unless the labs start getting seriously high upkeep costs. If you want to keep the simulation simple, just cap them at +3 upkeep. There are options for reducing upkeep via magic.

That's a question you'll get a whole lot of different answers for. It really depends on the adventure, the SG, etc. 3xp is a better deal than exposure xp - and the rewards of a successful adventure are typically not primarily about the xp. The adventure should resolve something, provide some gain or otherwise allow the covenfolk to continue to spend some seasons not being bothered by adventures. I tend to use low numbers (3-5) for adventures that don't take a season, and higher numbers (6-10) for adventures that do. The low xp values are usually ignored in favor of another source, but not always. The saga I'm currently playing in awards adventure xp on top of seasonal activities (house rule), but otherwise follows a similar structure.

If you want some randomly made up numbers... each story flaw should prompt ~1 adventure/7 years, each hook should prompt ~1 adventure/7 years and each major character should probably self-prompt ~1 adventure/7 years. 6 magi and 6 companions will therefore generate 24 adventures in 7 years, plus 4 adventures every 7 years for the covenant hooks. This means for six players each with a magus and a companion you're looking at ~1 adventure/season. Note that most adventures won't take an entire season, and may be resolved in as little as an hour of gameplay.

A couple of caveats on this from my personal experience. Firstly, most sagas I've been in have ~4 players. This means free seasons come along at least once a year. Second, NPC magi don't generate stories of their own. They may feature in stories, or be part of covenant hook stories. Their story flaws (if they even have them) only matter for character colour or for how they interact with the players.

I'd say yes. Limit to once every 7 years per magus, probably. Depends on the magus, of course - and what kind of travel magics they have access to.

  1. Sure.
  2. Yes, though i usually raise it to 4 or 5 as the cost tend to be worth it, while it still doesnt cause any serious troubles with warping.
  3. Instead of such an artificial sort of income, decide or roll dice for lets say 5-10 Vis sources ending up giving 3-10 Vis each, each year. A total of 40 for 6 magi is quite high yes, 15 is low to middlish. OTOH, if you´re saying that the place starts mostly without other resources and placed "here" because of rich Vis sources, then 40 certainly isnt TOO much. You might make it a political/background thing that the covenant is settled with the permission of an older covenant on the basis of "we cant harvest all the vis every year, so if you give us 1/4(or a specific amount of a certain Vis) we will let you settle the area even though its really ours...".

Very much preferably NOT. Use the Vis for Ritual spells instead, spells that improve the productivity and/or quality of whatever mundane source of wealth you´re relying on already.
And there´s always the option to simply create something that is either valuable(gold, silver, salt, ivory), or plentiful(grain etc), just make sure that too much of it isnt used in one small/low population place or you will crash the economy.

Simple answer is that it depends. If you´re selling something that the other person wants badly, you get a good exchange rate from it, if its just stuff the other expects to pile up until he sells it on(and, that it´s items he knows he CAN sell on, ie that they´re really worth something) then you´re going to get bad rates.
I would say its more common to use Vis as the common currency however.

Easy to handle, but no flavour. I prefer different Vis sources to be harvestable at different times over the year.

In AM5, its 5-15XP.
Personally i dont force adventures to take up full seasons, but a small and easy mission that takes a few days might just give 1XP, while something epic and extremely hard that takes at least a month will likely get close to 15XP.

Or XP in social skills.

RAW is 5-10 actually (p163)

Gah... Sorry, such a "normalised" houserule that i´d forgotten the original.

:mrgreen: Gotta love entrenched house rules! It all started with Free Parking....

  1. I would look to the Boon/Hook rules in Covenants to determine starting Aura vs. other things.
  2. Here, I would look to power levels of starting saga, determine the power level, then have each Magus' player assign as equal amount of that total... so it'd be up to the players to determine how much to put in vis sources at the covenant versus starting with more texts to read.
  3. This is a question I've run into in both of my sagas in the Boston area. We tend to define a money-to-vis equivalency based on how much vis it takes for us to print money, how rich the covenant is without turning vis to silver/gold, whether there are limits to how much money we can print, etc.
  4. I would again look to Covenants here for book value. A large enough pile of bad books can be clumped together, but I would make some sort of bargain roll for each book to see if the covenant with the book attempting to be bought is interested in the book being offered, with a difficulty based on how poor the book is.
  5. If we assume what I feel was an AM standard at one time of "one mage-required problem per year", I'd come up with some sort of system where a magus is determined at random, and is allowed some sort of resisted social roll to convince a different magi to take the job on.
  6. STA rolls are an obvious choice; some sort of roll based on a magus' best Art, or giving him/her a bonus based on avg form bonus, or something, seems reasonable.
  7. Hm. For a magus selected to go on an adventure, make a stress roll, and on a, say, 15+, the magus comes back with a familiar or apprentice. How's that?
  8. Whenever a magus goes on an adventure, make a stress roll, with a bonus for every point of spont-bonus virtue they have, and a penalty for every point of spont-penalty flaw they have; on a 15+, they get two warping points and have a twilight episode.
  9. I think there are all sorts of special border cases, like Durenmar, the folios, the active interest of other covenants/magi in trading objects/books/spells/longevity rituals/vis, etc, that are hard to build into a general simulation.

For what it's worth, I fiddle off and on with such a simulation myself, in part to try and decide how large and active the book trade should be. It's nowhere near being worth sharing with others yet, but I'll let people know if it ever gets to that point.