The Covenant Book....

Got it recently, read it superfically.
Looks like Money well spent.

But I consider the morale and money Rules purley optional. I am trying to have fun gaming not keeping books.(I do that for a living).

So what are your thoughts on it ?

Books like Covenants are just superb for giving more and more options to a troupe. That's what you pay your money for and that, in this case, is exactly what we've got.

Personally, I'm quite excited about all the rules in the book. I'm looking forward to trying them out (people have worked hard on them and I've spent my money...) but I can't say for certain that they'll be maintained all the way through.

They do support the themes that will be common to many sagas, that is, the need to build and rebuild. In our game we've had magi invest time in viniculture, paying attention to the pigs in the woods and even listening to the grogs' suggestions to start a brothel (not sure whether that would be Lesser, Typical or Greater income in Verona). This book lets me know how I can best reward those kinds of activities.

As for morale, the same thing applies in my view. If we have a magus who goes out of his way to do "uncomfortable" things to grogs, I can respond in a measured way because these guys have already given me a framework.

Like I say, I'll look at trying everything in this new book. Certainly one of the "required" texts in my view.

I agree that they're all optional, but I think that there are advantages to playing with them; whether those advantages outweigh the cost in record-keeping would vary from person to person.

The main advantage, it seems to me, is a real drop-off in arbitrariness. With a solid way to keep track of loyalty and finances, the GM can use those features of the covenant as story hooks, and the magi will have brought it (whatever it is) on themselves. No one will get the sense that the story is coming out of nowhere.

Keeping track of these things also seems to be a neat way to give the saga a more low-fantasy feel and turn the game into a little bit more of a grind for the characters, which some people will like and some people will hate.

I found the morale rules interesting and insightful. In my troupe we have often disagreed on how the covenfolk view the magi. A few magi are indifferent to the covenfolk, a few are so zealous in trying to earn their approval that I've argued they are scary. Still other magi are nice and benevolant to the covenfolk.

Players in our troupe have take the full range argueing that the covenfolk fear us to love us. I used the rules and attempted to look are our dynamics and in unbiased manner. Per the rules our generous actions and age of the covenant out weighs the negative actions of a few magi.

While I probably wouldn't maitain a morale/loyalty score on a regular basis it sort of acts as a tie breaker and strengthens the arguement that our covenfolk sort of like the magi of our covenant. That kind of ruleing is usefull when the troupe can't agree on the matter.

I've seen this "no book-keeping!" attitude expressed many times on the core list.

I would like to ask what sorts of games people have played before, that the covenant Wealth or Morale rules look like heaps of book-keeping. Sure, I play a lot of Amber, and you can fit an Amber character sheet on the side of a business card, but I presume a lot of you come from the D&D tradition of four-page character sheets?

This is nothing compared to Pendargon or Epic D&D domain management, and the fanbases of each of those games seemed ot manage just fine.

I'm just pointing that to me it looks like we are getting vote after vote for "Companions? I never play companions!"

"But I consider the morale and money Rules purley optional."

Maybe I'm an outlier, but I consider ALL rules optional.

If you don't like it in your game, don't use it.

I love the book-keeping aspect of the game and so do my players. We refer to ars as Wizards the acounting game! :laughing:
I am greatly thrilled with the wealth rules, since I now have guidelines for income and upkeep. The players now know how much money the have where it comes from and what they have to spend it on. I sorely missed that and was unhappy with arbitrarily deciding on a surplus sum of money for the covenant to spend on stuff.
last gaming session we had I forced, I mean convinced, the players to create companions and grogs to enhance the game. Constantly forcing reclusive labrats out on adventure just because I prepared one isn't fun in the long run. Also many magi do things on there own and without the company of other magi, and we often experienced several hours of gaming with one magi doing things and the rest book-keeping and acounting in the meenwhile. Forcing players to have companions and grogs allows them to participate more in these solo magi activities.
Now everyone is happy. Hurrah for grogs and companions!

Hail Eris!

We got a few Questions regarding the morale Rules :

How long does the negative modifier stand (anybody who read the book more precise then me)?

When to Wizards fight a magical Battle (say one marches the other),do th morale modifiers affect the Grogs on both sides?

(Oh and I must confess after reading the Wealth rules again,they are managable.)

(Adumbratus brought up these Questions and I know he has a few more but since he is usually too lazy to post them.........)

Personally, I'm not very fond on the money rules simply because I cannot get them to jibe with my vision of the Order of Hermes -- I tend to believe they have to maintain a much smaller footprint, both politically and socially, than the rules in Covenants suggest. And between Touch of Midas and The Riches That Are Rightfully Mine(d) I believe most covenants would be able to maintain a sustainable, if not exactly elegant, lifestyle. In the sagas I have been in, most magi live pretty much the life of yeomen, very well-to-do peasants, something along that line, rather than than of minor lords.

I like the general thrust of the prevailing loyalty rules, though not the mechanics, per se. Based on the information in the book, our group is coming up with similar rules that fit more to our style of play, which would include, for example, greater acceptance of the magi by the direct covenfolk more quickly, but less so for the "outer retainers", coupled with ideas on how to deal with an influx of new mundanes to the covenant, which we believe would equally affect the equation.

Our games have not dealt with money much in the past. Why? Because the 12th & 13th centuries were not particularly money-conscious or money-literate societies. Two barriers that most people have a difficult time getting past when dealing with medieval roleplaying, strictly in my own opinion, are the post-Reformation and Capitalist mindsets of our modern world. There is nothing wrong, inherently, with either of these ideas, but neither of them are stronlgy part of the Middle Ages. In our vision of Mythic Europe there is a single Church and then there are heretics -- not every member of the clergy is good, indeed some are downright foul, but at least in the aggragate they are more right than the heretics. Why? Because this seems to more closely fit the mindset of the day. Equally we consider broad social/economic levels, but not specifics, mainly because so few people dealt with money on a day-to-day basis or really considered its impact; equally, this means that social mobility, while possible, is excruciatingly rare and highly notable. "Men risen from the dust" are few and far between, and often objects of deep scorn and mistrust by the established elite. Thus a covenant may increase in a limited scope, but for major advancements it would require massive stories, not merely keeping track of how much wheat or silver one has on hand. Again, this is a personal take, but due to this, there are large sections of Covenants that have proven worthless to our saga group.

I think that the lack of a monrtary economy inthe 12th and 13th centuries is why Touch of Midas and The Riches That Are Rightfully Mine(d) won't typically work for covenants and if they do work they'll give the covenants a larger footprint than owning a merchant company, a fishing fleet, a shipyard, 1,000 head of hogs, or the other typical choices presented inthe covenants book.

Prior to this edition of AM, money and support had no strong place in the literature. As such, no one really had to deal with the realities (or assumed realities) of economics in the game.

The problem I am seeing here under 5th edition (and for the most part I truly love this edition, even more than previous ones) is that in trying to bring in any serious mention of economics more questions will necessarily arise. This will include questions of how the magi eat, where they get their materials, and how they have any rights to their lands (or the other areas providing them with economica support). Essentially in beginning to define the problem more holes are found. If money is to become important in the game, then more attention has to be paid to it, not simply in terms of spreadsheets for covenants but eventually for business, investments, personal cash on hand, and quite probably a host of small-scale individual items. Basically I am worried that the game will end up spending a lot of time focusing on the economic aspects, heretofore unimportant to the game and this lack of economics bing one of the major aspects that attracted me to it, possibly even to the detriment of the more magical aspects.

I have also seen a number of people respond that all you need is a "tame" nobleman to "cover" for the covenant -- the land is legally seen as his and thus there is no question to ownership. This works well as long as you are only dealing with a single mundane generation. I have had two sagas that lasted 30+ years, thus bringing in a second generation. The elder noble dies; his heir, byt the laws of mundane society, will be expected to take over. What if this heir is not as ammenable to the magi and covenfolk? Certainly there are more than enough historical instances where a change of lordship led to a massive change in political, religious, or social direction. Thus a tame noble in one generation could easily become a very non-tame, all-too-knowledgable noble in the next and threaten the covenant's basic existence. Again, in trying to make sense out of the economic situation of covenants and by trying to define matters more closely we open ourselves up to greater questions and problems.

Thus while I very much agree that the lack of a strong money-based economy could also mean that the silver-and-gold spells would be problematic, the only reason I favour them is strictly because they move the game (mentally) back to the earlier position, one where I don't have think about the hydra-headed problems of economics.

I find this supplement to be of incredible worth, and extremely well written.


I particularly enjoy the "Library/Lab" section.

I'm not sure anyone has to now. My storyguide told us that "the mythic pounds stuff drove him nuts" and to take care of the covenant's finances ourselves if we wanted, and keep him informed of the bottom line. If we decided not to do that, he would just keep storyguiding without any record of money. A couple of us get off on figuring accounts (go figure - hah!) On the contrary, before this edition of ArM, no one really could deal with money in a serious way, without inventing the rules.

Necessarily? If the storyguide wants to make things really simple, she can streamline.

Uh, then the storyguide has decided to craft a story around the land ownership issue.

If your troupe doesn't want to worry about money issues, then just get a couple of quick rulings (you've got a typical source of income, Bob the Grog manages it, and you can maintain the covenant but can't enhance it without going out of your way; you know where the skeletons are for the local baron and he keeps out of your hair). Then don't ask any questions that you wouldn't have asked under previous rules. No problem. But for those of us who want a gritty, low fantasy feel, having the chance to constrain our troupe economically, these rules are great.