[Table Talk] Build Your Covenant!

Oh, yes... There is no librarian. The scribe has been trying, but, as suspected, Angus has been keeping him busy, and the poor fellow has this most dreadful twitch... Fortunately, this situation has only been for the last year or so...

I withdraw all suggestions/houserules, not quite realizing what I was letting out of the box.

Aim for what you want with 1450, and we'll cover the rest in play.


(Cross post- doesn't answer the question!)

Who needs to spend 1800 more? Even without your houserules, we could get a legendary library for 1500 total! (Just no longer a library that alone is worth more than an entire "Powerful" covenant!)

What's the deal, Monty?

See the edited post above...


Cool- sounds better. Once you see what we have, then, as you said, adding a tweak here or there is easy enough, far easier than tearing up something after the fact. (Or, more elegant, at least.) :wink:

Play on, no foul, play on...

On a side note, you really shouldn't try to to SG stuff when...

  1. It's 3am on a worknight.
  2. Your blood glucose is below 80.

As of now, I'm staying out of the build process, it's all up to you. I've laid out the basics, you can come up with the rest. I'll make sure the few things I want and need to have around the covenant are there afterwords... I know I've laid out details for some stuff prior to this, so try and use them as a guideline.

However, I'll be watching... 8)


Magic item for the library doors, set into the stone just above the doorframe: Will sound an alarm if someone removes a book and they are not wearing a ring with the covenant sigil engraved into it.

Everyone who enters the library is informed beforehand that there are anti-theft spells in place and that they may try to "read" them or their belongings. Magi who do not agree to this are not allowed into the library.

Stop the thief
(soft stone, small = 3 * 2 pawns of vis)
This item will only allow specific persons to remove books from the library. It has two effects, one to detect when a book is being removed and the other to sound an alarm.

Locate the Tome
InAn (Te) (50)
base 4, range:voice +1, dur:conc +2, target:group +2, intricate +1
2 uses +1, environmental trigger +3, item maintains conc +5, 22 pen +11
Detects if a book is being removed by someone not wearing a covenant ring. Pen is added in case someone tries to magically disguise a book or user their Parma on it.

Sound the alert
CrIm 10
base 1, range pers, dur mom, target ind, +1 clear sound
linked trigger +3lvl, 24 uses/day +5
Sounds like a bell ringing loudly from the doorway.

[size=134][color=red][b]A 2nd stab at the Points[/size]

That, by itself, would use 1/4 of our allotment of magic items. I think we need to aim for stuff that is more economical.

I like the idea to detect if anyone "not invited" is in the library- that alone may have to do. (see broad suggestions, below, and I'll take a stab at it as well.)

, according to the Core Rules[/b] (see p 68-74)
Aim for what you want with 1450, and we'll cover the rest in play.
Right, then.  That's a bit lower than the 1520 I spent as a stab in the dark, but certainly close enough to cut back to without flinching.  

As per discussion above, Specialists and Magic Items will be trimmed a bit, but as is the Lib' doesn't have to change.  In fact, in "de-munch'ing" the Arcane part of the Lib, it now costs less while having more texts!  (see math below.)

[size=150][b]Resources [/b][/size]

[b][u]Total Points spent:[/u] [/b]
_820  Library [i](actually costs a little less!)[/i]
_250 Lab Texts [i](cuts back -125)[/i]
_210 Vis [i](no change)[/i]
__80 Magic Items [i](cut back -40, from 300 to 200 Levels)[/i]
[u]__65[/u] [i]Specialists (-7, loss of Librarian & -1 to Woodsman) (& possibly Blacksmith if companion?)[/i]
1425 (at the lower end of "High" power, 1250-2500- see chart, p 71)

That leaves [u]25 pts to spend[/u] - I'd go with more Lab Texts or Tractati, but... suggestions???
[i](Tractati costs = Quality in pts, Lab Texts bought 5 Lvls/1pt, specialists = their highest skill.

So, Tractati (or Specialists) of 6, 6, 6, & 7, or 125 pts more Levels of Lab Texts, or a mix of those and/or others.)[/i]

[b] Library[/b]

[u]Arts Summae[/u]
(520 pts, 20 books, T/F listed in no particular order)

Techniques:o L20 Q11, L8 Q20
o L17 Q11
o L14 Q15,  L 5 Q20
o L12 Q19
o L10 Q13  
(195 pts)Forms:o L18 Q12
o L16 Q10, L  8 Q17
o L15 Q 8, L10 Q16
o L14 Q11
o L12 Q18
o L12 Q  8, L10 Q15
o L11 Q18
o L10 Q11
o L  8 Q22
o L  5 Q10 (stopgap replacement for lost/missing text?!) 
(325 pts)
[u]Tractati[/u] (Arts and/or Abilities, mixed) 
(100, 15 texts)o Q11 
o Q9
o Q9
o Q8
o Q8
o Q7
o Q7
o Q7
o Q6
o Q6
o Q6
o Q5
o Q5
o Q4
o Q2 (Probably a Supernatural Ability, possibly a corrupted copy and/or incomprehensible author to explain low quality)[i](RAW, we could take "Quality 11" Tractati all day long, and the examples have such in abundance.  BUT, to actually "write" Tractati, Quality 11 requires (6+Comm+Virtues) = 11 - not sure how common that would be, except for the ancient Masters, perhaps.  Not to mention corrupted copies, which drop the Quality by -1/corruption. 

Higher Quality should(?) tend toward the Classics, middle Quality toward Arts and common topics, and lower Qualities toward obscure or rare topics. 

Qual 7, = 6+ ~+1 Comm, no Virtues, would be common for Arts, I'd think.)[/i]

[u]Abilities Summae[/u]
(200, 8 texts)o   Lvl 5, Q17
o   Lvl 5, Q12
o   Lvl 4, Q16
o   Lvl 4, Q12
o   Lvl 3, Q22
o   Lvl 3, Q16
o   Lvl 3, Q11
o   Lvl 3, Q4[i](Some of the very low level/quality texts could reflect rare or obscure topics addressed, where any text is valuable and no "great works" are easily found, or just amateur efforts on topics of little/local interest.)[/i]

[b]Lab Texts [/b]

1375 Levels of Lab Texts (mostly all spells, but some few misc. enchantments & etc.)

[b]Vis [/b]

175 pts = 35/year, varied types.
_35 pts = 175 stockpiled (or ~11-12 pawns/Art on average.)

[b]Enchanted Items [/b]
(80 pts)

200 levels:o ~1 item of Level 35-40 (complex?) enchantment
o ~3 Level 20-30+ "major" enchantments
o ~100 levels of   Level 5-15 lesser enchantments  We have been told...
On the subject of Magic Items :  Despite being around for 200+ years, there are very few magic items at the covenant. 
We'll burn thru 200 levels in a blink.  4 major items, plus a half-dozen or so much lesser ones, scattered about for various purposes (many fixed to the covenant, such as heating or light, etc) will not seem like that many.  If it's still too many, easily enough reduced.

[i]Repeating my own first ideas from previously, off the cuff, the Cov' could need...[/i][i]o Magical Lights & Heat for commonly used rooms (Ireland- cold, wet  and dark in Winter! In Library (no real flame!), in Main Hall.
o Magical Defenses on library/vis stocks
o Magical Kitchens/Food Storage
o Intelligence gathering magic (Scrying Pool for lake???)
o Magical buff's on Guards
o Some Armour, weapons (one previous mage here [/i]was[i] an armourer!)
o Magic Defenses on other buildings, wall?
o Some magic items for expeditions
o Some personalized/"pointless" fluff/flavour items
o Others???...[/i]
65 ptso 5- Angus (capable, but neither "old" nor expert, but broadly skilled to serve his function.  He could have a "5" in a dozen or more of relevant abilities.)
o 28  Fae Guards (7x4)
o 6 Velum Maker 
o 6 Blacksmith [i] (Unless this will be a Companion???)[/i]
o 5 Scribe
o 7 MineBoss (age 36-40?)
o 4 Smelter [i](doesn't need to be "the best", not with magic around.  He's just making ingots of raw metal, not actually casting anything demanding.)[/i]
o 4 Woodsman/Ranger/Tracker [i](not the best, but "acceptable", perhaps(?) with one Supernatural Ability?)[/i]
Oh, yes... There is no librarian.  The scribe has been trying...

Probably [i]very[/i] trying...   :unamused: 

[i]Any/all of these still have Characteristics and Virtues (or Flaws?) still to be applied to them, which can reasonably be expected to add +2 or more, depending - that makes these quite respectable.  And with the odd Puissant Ability or etc, even moreso.  The elves, of course, are wildcards, and could be anywhere.[/i]

[size=117][color=blue]Suggestions for Magic Items[/size]

(Since it costs 1 pawn/10 levels, "thrifty" enchanters would make effects of either 10, 20 or 30 levels, but not 5, 15 or 25, etc. I'll try to keep to those considerations, but some math just doesn't want to cooperate.)

Enchantments for Library:
[color=red](Edited as per Fluffy's suggestions)

Lvl 20, The Glow of the Candelabra:
Base 2 (Candlelight), +1 Touch*, +3 Structure, +2 Sun.
Usable only once/day, usually turned on at sunset by the Librarian. It bathes the entire library in a soft light, adequate (if not optimal) to read by.
*According to the definition of "Range: Personal", no target greater than "individual" can be used with that.
(Still having trouble here- would like to make it 24 hours)

3 x Lvl 9 - personal Lamp without Flame
Base 3 (torchlight), +2 Sun, +1 Lvl 2x/day, (+3 Env trigger)

The Librarian uses this to find specific texts, peer into dark corners, and/or do his own works in the Library, and has one spare to loan out to non-magical guests and for other uses. Angus has the 3rd.

The "environmental trigger" lights the lamp automatically at sunrise/sunset only if it is already "lit", thus it does not "spring to life" on its own.

[i](Could this just be a spell with duration: Ring? If the ring were set into a candlestick platter, would the light "spill out" to read by, or exist only within that ring?

Additionally, "reading tables" could be inscribed with such a ring and spell, more or less permanantly- that would be cheaper, but not solve the problem of needing a portable light to find stuff.)[/i]

2x Lvl 20 Brazier to Heat the Hall
Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Room, +2 Sun, +1 Level use 2x/day, +2 Lvls variable temp, +2 Lvls special Ignem light effect.
Wrought Iron Brazier that produces false, low glowing "hot coals" (only slightly hotter than boiling water if touched, so unable to ignite material) but heats the entire room in which it is placed. The heat produced is adjustable to maintain a "comfortable" temperature. These are usually found in the Library and Main Hall.

Now, sad to say, that's already ~90 Levels! See, it goes REALLY fast with only a bit of return.

[size=117][color=blue]Suggestions for Magic Items[/size]

Covenant Safehold

I envision an underground vault, with two sets of bronze-bound oaken doors, one at the top and one at the bottom of a stairway, carved from the living rock, but whatever works.

Top Doors- mundane key.

Lower Doors- dummy keyhole. An over-sized oaken beam thoroughly bars the bronze-shod door from the inside.

Door Bar
Level 10 ReHe.
Base 3, +2 Conc, +1 Item Maintains Concentration (ie, cannot be moved "by hand").

The bar both fits into brackets to hold it in place, and the magic itself does so as well, so both a mundane and magical barring exists.

To open, a mage must lean in close and speak a long trigger phrase in Latin- not hard for an educated man to memorize, but it would be difficult for any to catch at first pass (without magic). Then, their concentration can control the bar, opening & closing at will.

The Soft Footfall
Level 5-10 MuTe/Aq
Base 3 (slightly unnatural- thin mud), +1 Stone, +1 Touch, +0 Momentary, +0 1x/day, +1______? (Level 5, Level 10, both cost 1 pawn- suggestions?)

A large, thick flagstone placed in the center of the entryway, this trap is simple and effective. If anyone steps near the center of the large stone slab, it turns momentarily to mud, then re-solidifies, trapping the feet of the intruder (and any at the edges!) for a full day until it can be activated again (and then they better be fast!) Any competent mage forgetful enough to step into this can easily enough free themselves.

Stone of Keeping Secrets
Lvl 8 MuTe
Base 1, +1 Stone, +1 Part, +1 Concentration, +1 Item Maintains Contentration, +3 Levels Effect Use (now limited to Mab & Dierdre!)

A part of the living stone wall has been enchanted to open/close on command, revealing a set of stone shelves where the Covenant's valuables are kept. (There is also a false "strongbox" set into the opposite wall, with appropriate false spells cast upon it.)

Hmm.. moonlight isn't much good to read with at all.. and plus, people will want to read during the day too.. and old buildings tend to be rather dark unless relatively open, which is fairly uncommon for libraries. Maybe just up it to torchlight for a level 20.

2 uses per day is only a +1.. and plus, it's as mentioned earlier, a waste of vis not to use a level 10 effect.. also.. if you're making it as an item rather than a spell.. then there's no real need to make it touch, when you could just make it personal and the item itself lights up.,. could just make it always on too.. so.. far more efficient to just make an always on lamp, at level 9.

That would be base 3 (torchlight), +2 Sun, +1 2x/Day, +3 Environmental Trigger (Sun)

Handy thing is, you can always just put a cover over it if you want it blacked out, or could always just enchant a bit of stone, and stick it in a normal lantern.

Ya know, there are SO damn many corners of the rules that are just not intuitive, nor jump out, but still define stuff. Normally I'd agree with ya, but, taking a look at p 139...


"Causes a gentle light, bright enough to read by..."
Base 1 (which is "moonlight")

But your other comments are well taken. That, and I'm realizing that the "one room" libraries of today may not be the same as those of yesteryear, even tho' there are only perhaps 50 texts, plus lab texts total. Maybe "candlelight", and up the range to "structure", light the whole damn thing, top to bottom, forget the lamps (in the lib, anyway?), and call it good.

That works better. "7" was nice because 3 of them = 20 pts (or so), which saves with the "points" rules we are working with here, but unless it's a consideration of Lab Total = 42 (which works to 21 levels of effect), saving the Vis is more "realistic".

And even if no longer needed in the now-fully-lit library, they're handy for other purposes.

The "environmental trigger" would light the lamp automatically at sunrise/sunset. This may or may not be desirable, depending on the circumstances. Thoughts???
(Meh, I guess(?) you could define it as triggering only if it was already "on".)

I like the look of things so far but I do want to peg some of the ability books that the covenant will need to help teach apprentices some of the basics of the order.

Lvl 3, Q16 Order of Hermes
Lvl 4, Q16 Latin
Lvl 3, Q11 Philosophae
Lvl 3, Q22 Artes Liberales

Could really drop the level/qual of the last two to make a third book dealing with Profession (scribe) giving something similar to this:

Lvl 2, Q10 Philosophae
Lvl 2, Q10 Artes Liberales
Lvl 2, Q13 Profession (scribe)

As to the rest of the books, I'm fine with the listings. I like the items too :wink:

That works, OR we have those 25 points left over for just such a perceived need. 25 pts could give a book of Lvl 3, Qual 16.

[u][size=117][color=blue][b]Suggestions for Magic Items[/b][/size][/u]

Magical Lights & Heat- check.
Magical defenses for vis- check
(Not that these are locked, but they've been suggested...)

Buffs for Grogs:
(One of the previous magi was "an armourer", so...)

The Dancing Man
Level 20 ReTe
Base 1, +2 metal, +1 Conc, +2 group(???) +1 item maintains conc, +1 complex
Spell supports and moves a full suit of chain armour as the wearer moves, eliminating most all the "load", dropping the effective load from 6 to .5.

Resiliant Vest
Lvl 10 MuHe/Te base 4, +1 Diameter, +5 levels 24 uses/day,
Transform a doublet to a steel-like substance, giving it +3 armour value. Only lasts for Diameter.

The 10 of Swords
30 MuTe
Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Diam, +2 metal, +2 group
Named for a tarot card, this item casts "Edge of the Razor" on a group of swords...
(Meh, this turns out to be too expensive for the effect, imo, and I'd want it usable a couple times/day at least. I'd delete it, but it's already here as an example, if a bad one...)

Enchanted Sword
MuTe 10
Base 3, +2 Metal, +1 Diameter.
A single sword or axe that can be given "Edge of the Razor" once/day for Duration Diameter. More than one of these might be in circulation (esp since several could be made at once in a single season by a decent Armourer mage.)

Gift of the Night Hunter
Lvl 10 MuCo
Enchanted dingus that casts "Eyes of the Cat" at touch up to 24x/day. Kept by the Turb Leader in the Grog Quarters.


I was thinking that the higher Quality summae would cover the classic subjects, like Artes Liberales or Latin, or other Academia such as Philosophia, Medicine, Music or Law. Such "traditional" topics have a longer history to have achieved the attention of a truly great author.

Some of the cheesier ones, the Level 3 and such, could be on (Local) Area or Group Lore, Music, (X Realm) Lore, or other such "dilettante" or "vanity" subjects (tho' some of those could be Tractati as well!)

Including the ones Brutus suggested, I think we need...o Order of Hermes (this book should be guarded quite well!)
o Latin
o Philosophae
o Artes Liberales
o Profession (scribe) ( a book on calligraphy, I'm guessing? works for me!)

Plus, I think we should consider...[list]o Code of Hermes
o Local/Irish Nobility
o Local/Irish church
o Area Lore (maps etc) (perhaps more than one!)
o Magical Realm Lore
o Local Tribunal Lore

Other topics could include...

o Medicine (another classic)
o Etiquette
o Music
o X Language (Norman, or Greek?)
o Theology (we ARE in a high-church area)
o Civil & Canon Law
o Teaching
o Faerie Lore (for obvious and very present reasons)
o Great Weapon??? (a bit early for treatises on fighting, but close - mostly Italian.)[/list:u]

How does this look?
o Lvl 5, Q17 (Philosophia?- Aristotle, collected works, w/ commentary)
o Lvl 5, Q12 (Latin?)
o Lvl 4, Q16 ______? (Law? Theology? Local Group Lore/Noble Family History? Tribunal Lore?)
o Lvl 4, Q12 (Area Lore? Maps and commentary by a wandering monk)
o Lvl 3, Q22 (Artes Liberales? Euclid & Ptolemy)
o Lvl 3, Q16 (Code of Hermes?)
o Lvl 3, Q11 (Order of Hermes Lore?)
o Lvl 3, Q4 (Local Nobility Lore?)
(25 spare pts into...)
o Lvl 2, Q8 (Prof: Scribe?)
o Lvl 2, Q5 (Maybe... Premonitions?* Great Weapon? Faerie Lore?)

It seems we have more ideas than books, and that's just from two of us. We can easily rebuild it so there are more books, but with slightly lower levels. (And we can also apply some Tractati to subjects.

(* Iirc, one can't "gain" a Supernatural Ability from such a low source, but, once gained, it can be studied as any other.)

A note on the Steward - Angus is Old, but not too old. He's in his early 40's. Several 5's in relevant abilities is good.

Books look good so far, too.

Code of Hermes and Order of Hermes should be in the list.


Cool. (and got 'em both, currently, check.)

re Ability Summae:

The "best" book we are allowed buy with the Covenant Point System looks something like:Level 8, Quality 11 (max Level allowed, max Quality for Level 8 )
Level 7, Quality 14 (max Quality for Level 7)
Level 6, Quality 17 (etc)
Level 5, Quality 20 (etc)
Level 4, Quality 23 (etc)
etc...Both in buying and writing, for every Level you drop below your max, you can add +3 Quality, no prob.

However, I have NO idea how one gets a Level that high to begin with, which is what they are all premised upon. Level 8 requires either a Skill Level of 16 (get back to me about that when it happens.*) Or maybe some non-canon Virtue that lets you write at a Level of more than 1/2 of your skill.

(And let's not forget that those Authors with Skill 16 seem to all have +2 Communication or so... fortunately.)

Point is, with the arguable exception of Aristotle et al, those books are a bit "unrealistic". Unless the Author has a humongous skill level to start with, there are no book levels to trade away for those absurdly high Qualities- just can't do it.

So... what do we want to do about that? Ignore it? Or, accept that a skill of 10 rocks, and (without Virtues), that would make your average "good" book look something more like...Level 5, Quality 7 (Skill of 10, +1 Comm)
Level 4, Quality 10 (max for the above & Level 4)
Level 3, Quality 13 (etc)
Level 2, Quality 16 (etc)While these texts are not nearly as delicious, they would give us more books (on more topics).

Using those guidelines (but with some exceptions for "the classics"), we'd have a few more Ability Summae (actually just 1 more good book!), but the Quality (which dictates the Study Total) would be slightly lower (than "huge") for all but the well-written ones (of which there could certainly be a few). See below.

Assuming about a 10 skill level max (more for the Masters, less for obscure Lores), and about a +1 Communication for anyone interested in writing a book...

o Lvl 5, Q17 (Philosophia?- Aristotle, collected works, w/ commentary)
o Lvl 5, Q10 (Latin? Good Teacher!) [color=red](-2 Quality)
o Lvl 4, Q 8 ______? (Law? Theology? Local Lore?...)[color=red](-8 Quality)
o Lvl 4, Q 7 (Area Lore? Maps?...)[color=red](-5 Quality)
o Lvl 3, Q21 (Artes Liberales? Euclid & Ptolemy)
o Lvl 3, Q12 (Code of Hermes?)[color=red](-2 Quality)
o Lvl 3, Q10 (Order of Hermes Lore?)[color=red](-1 Quality)
o Lvl 3, Q 4 (Local Nobility Lore?)
(25 spare pts into...)
o Lvl 2, Q10 (Prof: Scribe?)
o Lvl 2, Q5 (Maybe... Premonitions?* Great Weapon? Faerie Lore?)

bonus book:
[color=blue]Level 3, Quality 9
(maybe.... Law? Local Church Lore? Magic Realm Lore?
or General European Area Lore- i.e., the AM map of Europe?)

(btw- the "average" books we have cost around 20 pts.)

Whadya think?

Not necessarily a "good" trade, but perhaps a good story decision? :confused:

[i](* Actually, a dedicated scholar could achieve a Level 16 skill without too much fuss and ~23 years (680 xp) to burn. With an Affinity, it would be only(!) ~455 xp for ~15 years. That would be about 15 years of dedication to that one Skill, before writing about it. And only just less than 12 years if the character was "Wealthy" (a Major Virtue) and got 33% more XP/year, a true dilettante scholar! So it could certainly be done. And it was with some of the ancient Masters. But it would be rare with more modern topics, especially many "Lores", I'm thinking.

Otoh, that is what an "excellent" library is all about...)[/i] :wink:

What about books on Finesses, Penetration, and Parma?

The other selections look great though.


Guys! PLEASE allow some input from those of us who have not mastered the "quick posting" Ability! Lets get the other folks to chime in a bit.

I'd really like to put in some input, myself, but I can't take the time away from work and the beginning of the week is ALWAYS busy for me.

BTW, I like a LOT of the ideas that y'all are coming up with.

Thanks much,


So, where's the input??? :laughing:

Nothing is locked up or written in stone, but (as you may have experienced yourself), sometimes once one gets the bit in their teeth, it's hard to drop it. And one can never be sure if "silence" is disinterest, silent approval or lack of opportunity. and finishing this seems like light at the end of a tunnel.

Chime in when you can, we'll be here. :wink:

[quote="qcipher"] What about books on Finesses, Penetration, and Parma? [/quote] What about them?

And what about texts on Mastering common Spells, and on all four Realm Lores, and our neighbors the Loch Legean and Stonehenge Tribunals, and the local Church, and...

We're scrambling as it is to decide what we have room for, and to cram in "just one more book". If you want to make additional suggestions, those have to be accompanied by what you suggest we axe, either subjects suggested above that you feel we don't need as much, or by losing something elsewhere (Lab Texts? Magic Items? Specialists? Vis?) to provide the points to buy more books!

Glad you like them... so which do we toss to make room for your suggestions?

The Library is going to cover some Hermetic subjects, some general Mundane subjects, some of only local interest (Area/Group Lores) - we don't have room for every Hermetic Ability as it is, so we made our suggestions based on (I hope) a combination of balance and personal priority ("apprentices", or "politics" or "exploration", or whatever.) So... which ones would you view as most important? You see the book "slots" we have to fill- give us your preferred list!

(And don't forget that some few of those might be covered by Tractati.)

(I have no idea)