I'm just curious what folks thoughts are on solitary mages, that is, those who choose not to associate much with others in a covenant. This might be interesting both for GMing for one player, or messing with the Arm5 solo rules I've got around here.
It seems to me that you lose the potential for conflicts among the mages in a covenant, but a lot of their ideal lives seem to be kind of solo anyway. THe Gift, by its nature, doesn't make them very social creatures.
Has anyone ever run or played in a game featuring such a personage? How'd it work out? Was it very different from the more typical experience?
Two solitary magi from the Rhine Tribunal, Maiusculus and Bodo the Hermit, form the base of The Friends of the Apacei of Vinilandia in sub rosa #19.
I have seen quite a few lone magi around; Tytalus going Walden, Merinitas moving into faerie regios, and a Chthonic magus establishing into an infernal aura. You get rid of conflicts amon magi but you replace them by a bunch more conflicts with mundanes, and spend a lot more time away from your lab dealing with silly mundane things.
In our current saga magi spend one season working for the covenant, officially harvesting vis, but we assume that they also use that season to walk around the covenant and interact with the covenfolk. This is useful to get them used to the Gift and increase some loyalty, but also to remind them that there is always at least one magus roaming around that can be quite angry and dangerous if they stop doing what they should be doing. With only one magus in the house, you are going to need a quite competent autocrat, and he will be the de facto leader of the covenant, probably overcoming his hermetic master if he spends his time doing arcane stuff in the lab.
The same thing happens at the other side of the covenant walls: covenants are so popular because magi are stronger together. A handful of magi can keep an army at bay, but a single magi can be overcomed by a small force if they plan a careful strategy. When defending your covenant you can have some of your magi exhausted or botching, but if you are the only defending magus getting exhausted or botching can be lethal.
But that, mixed with the opportunity to desing a quite small covenant with only one lab and a lot of build points spent on books or vis sources can make a quite nice story.