Writing books

Hi everyone. I’ve been lurking for a long time but now it’s time for a first post…

I love books. I believe most people on this forum do too. But I have a problem with the way books are written in the 5th edition and the quality they have. If you only care about gaining experience points from them, use the rules in Covenants p.94 and that’s it: legendary books have a quality of 41-Level, extremely good books have qualities around 35-Level, most of the books traded within the order are between 31-Level and 28-Level. Vain/weak Summae from weaker writers have qualities of 25-Level or below. A legendary Tractatus have a quality of 17, an excellent 14, a standard 11 and a weak Tractatus 6.

But what if you want to write books and share your insights inside your own covenant by writing for your sodales? The actual formula used to calculate quality only takes into account your Communication (and the Good Teacher virtue). No skill is added or needed. So a very medium mage with Comm 0 and no special virtue, would write a Tractatus of quality 3 (Base +3 + Comm), then with talented scribe, binder and illuminator it would climb to a marvelous Quality of 6! Even with brain steroids (and warping!) it would climb to maybe 11? And don’t even think about putting resonant material (except maybe the first +1) in a work that will be used a few times and traded away after. With a Quality of 6 or 7, why would anyone bother to write, and also lose a season?

So why does it bother me so much? I think that there is a lot of written communication in the OoH. That’s what’s implied by the major role of the Redcaps. But if the very large majority of mages have no interest in writing books (especially Tractatus that should be, theoretically, more numerous than Summae), something might be wrong. I’m looking here to find a way to make writing a book interesting for the players, as are most of the activities that a mage engages in.

First thing would be to put some ability in the Quality calculation. Almost everything works that way in AM, why not book writing? Artes Liberales would be the logical choice (grammar, logic, rhetoric, and the ability to use a writing system). I would also have a requisite in the language you write in. So if you have Artes Liberales 4, Latin 5 and Arabic 2, you would have +4 for books written in Latin and +2 for those in Arabic. If we had this, we would have to limit the virtue Good Teacher. A bonus of +1 would be enough, IMHO, as the +5 when you are teaching someone is quite strong already.

So what will it look like? Let’s look at a summa written by Alchimillius: Base +3, Communication +5, Good Teacher (+1 now), Latin 6 (you now have a reason to go higher than 5!), Artes Liberales 6, 40 in an art. You could write a summa of Level 20, Quality 21 (with all the bonuses of scribing and resonance [+6]). A legendary level book! And even if you have Orfeus with an art at 40 but Comm 0, no Good Teacher and 5 in Latin and Artes Liberales, it is still a Level 20 Quality 15 (with all the bonuses of scribing and resonance), an extremely good book. And if you find this too much, we can always remove the Base +3, which I think we should do.

For Tractatus, we already saw that no one would be interested in putting a second or a third level of resonance in it. So the maximum bonuses for scribing and resonance are +4. For our first mage, Alchimillius, he would write a Tractatus of Quality 19: Base +3, Communication +5, Good Teacher (+1 now), Artes Liberales 6, +4 for scribing and resonance. For Orfeus, we have Quality 12: Base +3, Communication 0, Artes Liberales 5, +4 for scribing and resonance. Probably too much. The base +3 should go, or be diminished to +1.

Finally, what’s in it for mages? I was thinking of a number of experience points equal to Artes Liberales (limited by the language again) + Art score/5. That’s a lot! But remember that a mage cannot write more than Art score/5 Tractatus, and we could only count the first Summa he writes (that would explain why he would come back to correct it later…). For Alchimillius, that would mean a maximum of Artes Liberales 6 + Art (40/5) 8, that’s 14 experience points. 8 Tractatus and 1 Summa, that’s 9x14 = 118 xp. If he wrote them when he has 40 in his Art, it would take him 10 seasons, and he would progress from 40 to 42. A far younger mage, with 20 in an Art and 3 in Artes Liberales could write 4 tractatus for 7 xp each. There are a lot more ways to gain xp, but if his goal is to share with his sodales, it might be worth it. And why gain experience points? How many times have you written down something and finally understood what it was all about. You gain insight by reorganizing and rearranging your knowledge, debating and (trying) logically to make your point


Maximum Summa Quality

Author’s Communication + Author’s Artes Liberales (max = Score in Language) + 1 for skilled scribe + 1 for skilled binder +1 for skilled illuminator + 3 (or less) due to mystical resonance + bonuses due to Virtues + bonus for writing less than half of Art score.

Maximum Tractatus Quality

Author’s Communication + Author’s Artes Liberales (max = Score in Language) + 1 for skilled scribe + 1 for skilled binder +1 for skilled illuminat or + 3 (or less) due to mystical resonance + bonuses due to Virtues

Note: Good Teacher only gives +1 to the Quality of written books.


Writing books Source Quality

Artes Liberales (max = Score in Language) + Art score/5

[size=75]That was a very long one! Thanks everyone who will read it and comment on it.[/size]

I'll start off by saying I've never bothered with the covenants rules on books. It's my opinion that you should gain experience in proportion to the cost of obtaining it, and the covanents method seems to unbalance this.

[size=75]invokes a HIGH LEVEL parma and ward against flames[/size]

In the original book...Tractati of 11 were legendary, now by adding a few drawings and such you have a 17 for a trivial cost (I'm considering mundane cost trivial). Compare that to study from Vis...Quality =Die roll +Aura. So your looking at an average of ~10exp...But that cost VIS! If you go adventuring you'll be lucky to get 10exp, but your LIMITED to 5 points in an ability/art.

Summa have a level limit built in so I'm not too worried about them, but tractati can always be read! size=75[/size]

Now maybe since I've tried in general to forget the covenats book exsist I'm overlooking the fact that putting in all these extras cost Vis...but from reading the original post I dont think so. The maximum quality 11 with a VERY low probability of finding any that are higher maintains at least some bit of balance. I'd rather ignore the splat books than break our saga. The only other option I see would be increasing the exp value of all other types of advancement.

When you write a book it is often in trade for something else you need, eg: tractati for tractati. You should NOT get paid twice (once with exp for writting and once for the payment of the book)
I know the order is supposed to be about the sharing of knowledge and such, but it's my opinion that most magi comply with this to the absolute minimum to maintain power for themselves. So why write books? For most it's so you can "bribe" some other magus to share their knowledge.

So in summary....NO! ignore the system breaking rules from the splat books, there are enough problems with the exp system of creating starting magi vs advancing them year by year in play that any thing that raises the amount of exp you can get with out adding a significant cost is bad!
sits back and waits for wizards war[/size]

I agree with Agnar...

Consider...The basic Quality is 6 for both Summa and Tractatus ...

To this 6 you get to add or subtract your communication...Most Magi don't have high (or positive) communications.
Check most of the books that are out there...if you can find the numbers, you will find most books have basic qualities of 8-12. This means that either everyone that is writing a book has a high communication, or only the ones with high (communication) quality are being circulated.
Since the Covenants book came out, the Qualities have gone into the 20's. This is triple the average Quality from before...
A few months ago, one of the Fellas put out an outstanding listing of the study life of an Arch Magus. IMO, the quality of his books was WAY out of hand. Almost all of his books, from Gauntlet on were in the 20's (IIRC?). Obviously, the Quality is adjusted by what Season the owning Covenant is in, but his books were on the average, about 25% higher than our groups BEST books (we have about 500).

Consider this as well: Since that book came out, everyone who is making a Magus character season by season has noted that the experience doesn't work out the same as an 'insta' mage using the regular rules.
Yes, I agree that the rules did favor the season by season method before..but the situation is much worse now.

The Covenants book is a very good book, but the scale is..not right.

I also agree with Agnar that unless you put in Vis, you should not be able to increase the quality like the rules say...(illumination and such). I would recommend an increase of one Quality point cost one Pawn per magnitude of the increase. Example: to increase from 8 to 9 you would need to add two pawns to the item. Too increase from 14-15, you would need to add three pawns. Of course you would need to add the other things too...
I might also go as far as to say that for each magnitude added to the Quality, the reader would suffer a warping point as well...(or some scalable number anyway)
Of course you are free to do it any way YOU want to..

The base quality from the core book is 6+ communication.

The quality from covenants assuming you have 3 of the following four items, money to dump on the first point of resonance, a skilled scribe, a skilled illuminator, a skilled bookbinder is 6+ communication.

I believe that the difference is minimal. Covenants just gives you more options and more description if you want it.

If you have an adventure that you can tie to your book you can get an additional one quality. Tyeing stories to mechanics is always a good thing in my opinion.

Urien said:

Here are some back of the envelope calculations;
The order had averged around 700 magi for the last 400 years.

On average a magus produces a book every 10 years (some will produce none and some will produce one every three years).

That gives us an estimate of 70*400/10 = 2800 original works that were penned by members of the order.

the people who will preferentially choose to write books are the ones with higher communication scores, because their books are worth something in trade.

the books that will be copied and transferred between covenants and therefore persist through history are the ones with higher qualities.

I disagree. I believe that the scale in the covenants book is dead on if you give the matter sufficent reflection.

Agnar said:

How do you get a quality 17 tractatus? if you dump all of your "trivial" mundane costs into a book you get a quality of comunication +7. It takes magi to do story based resonance. It takes magi to waste their time on something as generally stupid as imbuing books with vis for that last point of resonance. It takes magi to collect a tractatus into a collection (floregium). Agnar, you are incorrect.

Teufelted said:

I do see a need for moderate and low quality summe. That reason is specialists.

Let's look back at the 2800 original titles that I had estimated for the order. I think that it would be fair to say that only a fraction of these have survived to the present day (although that fraction will overwhelmingly be composed of high quality books). I'll say 1/2 of the books survived. Furthermore it is clear that not all of the books will be owned by one's contacts to trade with. I'd estimate that perhaps only one sixth of the surviving books would be available to a magus. Some of the books will be sumae that are of a level that the magus can not use perhaps one out of six. Finally only a fraction of the books will pertain to a particular art or skill that is the focus of the reader's specialization there are fifteen arts and lots of skills, i'd say one out of twenty five books are in the art or skill that a specicialist want s to read about

So the total amount of reelvant trractatus available for trade to a specialist magus in his favorite art is

2800 * 1/2 * 1/6 * 5/6 * 1/25 =7.78 relevant, high quality tractati

assuming an average quality of 10 that give us less than 80 experience points worth of quality tractati. That's not enough to get a high skill level. A specialist will undoubtably need more. Where can he get them? by commissioning other magi to make tractati and exchaning new, proabably low quality, tractati with other specialists. (Perhaps I was too conservative regarding what fraction of the existing books are avaiable.)

I beleive that your system would produce higher quality books than the used in the covenant creation system, higher than in the covenants book and higher qualities than were used as the assumptions in the character creation system. (which may suit your game fine)

And time to call bullshit on you, Agnar. 8)

This is untrue. I don't mind you not liking the book: go for your life, but if you are going to insist that your reasons for not liking it can be explained on a more than artistic preference level, then back them with examples. The scale in the Coveannts book is counter-inflationary due to an error I made when putting the formulas together. Atlas has since errated it, so that it is mildly, but only very mildly, infationary at the highest levels. You get less XP in Covenants than in the previous system, not more, to such an extent that Atlas felt the need to up the level with an offical correction.

Yeah, but vis is more plentiful in the new edition.

Yes, adventuring is bad: don't do it. Welcome to the world of Ars.

Yes, they can.

If you want to play a game outside the design parameters of the game world, then sure, you need to make modifications. Adventuring grants low XP: that's deliberate.
When you write a book it is often in trade for something else you need, eg: tractati for tractati. You should NOT get paid twice (once with exp for writting and once for the payment of the book)


The basic design idea is this: the Order has existed for 400 years, and isn';t made up of drooling idiots. That means that if you, Fred the Art 15 Herbam mage want to wrtie a book on Herbam, most people will not buy or store it, because they know that there are far better books around. This idea, from previous editions, that PCs optimised their libraries by selective buying but that the rest of the Order were magpies selecting random stuff is just, IMO, versimilitude shattering.

Most magi don't write books.


I'm sorry to shock people with this idea, but your character, unless he is in some way exceptional, is not worthy to write the sort of book that the rest of the Order will want to buy, store, and read. You need to be interesting or exceptional to write a popular book, because good books force out bad.

No, it isn't. It's just triple the quantity you, personally, used before.

Urien, Agnar: In the core rules, you get Com +6 as your basic quality, right? In the Coveannts RAW, you get Com, on its own, with -up to 6- for illumination and stuff like that. Illumination -doesn't- make books more powerful, it just lets you earn the bonus you used to get for free by paying money, and later vis, for it.

This idea that the Quality is so much higher is laughable, given that Atlas has issued an errata saying I was too low.

Need to think a bit more about the rest of the post, but this idea I like. You should definitely gain exposure experience points during seasons in which you write, which should be split between Magic Theory, relevant Art, Scribe, Language or possiblity Artes Liberalis or even Philosophae (it's relevant to ritual casting so it may be relevant to tractati). However, I'd be relucant to go much above basic exposure experience points, and if I did so I'd be inclined to make it a fixed value above rather than variable - one obvious argument might be that higher intelligence means you'd benefit more from the exposure, but that just adds even more value to hyper-intelligent magi who get enough benefit already.

One thing I've been toying with is widening the ability of magi to benefit from magical writing, however. I feel that the nature of magic as an art, and the extremely personal nature of each magi's experience (as evidenced by wizard's sigil and the need for every spell to be reinvented for each individual) means that even the lowliest apprenctice has the opportunity to illustrate some light on their arts - so long as they have the ability to communicate effectively.

I quite like the idea that a magus advances by studying one or two great summae, whereas arch-magi has to seek out dozens of lower level books, searching through each to find small gems of wisdom that when combined with his enlightened understanding achieve greater significance. In a way, this is what Bonisagus had to do, exploring magic at the personal level to divine common themes.

How this might work game mechanically I really haven't given any thought to, but I would think that the key barriers are physical: locating the books, accessing them, travelling to where they are located. If these barriers could be overcome, I'd suggest that the return ought to be greater than studying from raw Vis, if only because otherwise there'd be little point in having the option! I think something like 1xp per summae or tractatus, regardless of level, but those documents must not previously have been read and can study no more than 13 per season (probably want to make this a variable based on advancement total and Latin skill, rather than a fixed number. Could also introduce a Minor Virtue of Speed Reading which increased this too, although this is starting to seriously stretch the medieval paradigm in terms of reading.*)

An additional "benefit" is that it explains why the great covenants have libraries containing thousands of documents, whereas game mechanically speaking there's little point in having more than a few dozen of the highest quality books.


  • Off topic for this thread, but do we assume that Magi have mastered the art of silent reading by 1220? Or is everything still read out loud from a standing position? I do hope that covenant is well sound proofed.....

They have mastered the seated position...

As to silent reading, well, not so much. When writing, you speak to yourself, even if you are a silent reader. I know how wierd that sounds, but monks working in scriptoria in period had to use sign language to communicate with each other. This lead to the invention of the work cubicle, by the way.

Silent reading is known and practiced: Augustine claims that Ambrose did it.

From the original post...I'm just working with what I'm given.

I think that you get what you want from the rules as written. Any character with more than 20 in an art will be more or less completely unable to gain experience from a summa (and for the most part this limit will come at levels lower than 20). This means that they'll have to search out tractatus. As they exaust the supplies of tractatus easily available they'll have to go further and further afield to gain access to books that htey haven't read. They'll have to search out other specialists in their art to exchange tractatus and comentaries with. They'll engage in correspondencies with other magi interested in their subject to learn more. They'll end up commissioning (by trading away parts of their exhausted library) books from less competent authors that contain smaller but still usable nuggets of information.

What they won't end up doing, except as a dramatically appropriate last resort, is grabbing seven pawns of vis and taking their life into their own hands. A character who has an art score of more than thirty is a character who is old enough to worry about final twilight. Using lots of vis means rolling lots of botch dice when that zero comes up. A double botch means that the character could loose seasons, years, or never come back at all.

This gets kind of funny...

I will let Truth of the matter play out and become history. Perhaps I am incorrect but I will wait to see. I believe history will prove me correct and that the Qualities are too high...
When the Covenants book came out I stated that the MC book should have come out first...
Most of you blasted me saying that "No, Covenants is more important"
I pointed out various ideas.. .they were shot down.
I pointed out the sales figures I saw...No one responded
I now direct you to the Post with the Poll that is on going....
It quite clearly shows that most of you rate the MC book more important than Covenants.
Erik: (Politely) I think you are making a lot of assumptions. I realize that barring hard data, it is difficult to make an arguement...perhaps you shouldn't argue the point until you do.
My arguement is based on the observations from my play, and the observations of those that post here...namely that the character creation system (either method) is at odds with the qualities available in the Covenants book. This seems to indicate that its broken.
Also: I've notice an interesting trend: When ever someone disagrees with some of you folks, you start abusing them with statements like:

Any reason you can't converse in a civilized tone?

Yes, it does.

I've made my point, and stand by my arguments.

"Most of us" being who? I know I didn't participate in that thread because it was futile: I was writing on both books, and they would both come out at their ordianed pace regardless of my opinion on them. As to the poll, I voted for The Mysteries...it's just a great book.

Populations are assumptive, yes, but his data on the scores for books is dead on, because its set by the rules as written.

And yet the guy who wrote the first one was the editor on the second one and, having reviewed the second one, issuedan errat which over-ruled the levels I put in Covenants, and increased them, so that they were a better match to his authorial intent. How do you explain this?

When I neded to know the Quality - Level totals for my chapter, I asked what they were and was given them, then I lowballed them by making it more difficult to earn the +6 bonus you get for free in the core rules. This idea that the quality levels have jumped is absolutely false.

Can you imagine the fun I had last time this thread was run when I had exactly the same argument from guys insisting I should -up- the Quality to bring it into line with the core rules?

OK: you claim that we are abusing you? Let's look at this, shall we?

Erik said it would be stupid for mages to regularly spend vis on the final point of correspondences. How does this refer to you, personally?

I said that in terms of their purchase choices, magi were not idiots. How does this refer to you personally?

Hey, dude, you've said it's getting funny too. I just got to the funny before you, that's all.

I said Agnar's example is rubbish. How does this abuse either you, or Agnar?

I have every right to say a person's example is rubbish if they refuse to
do the basic checking of the book required to discuss its contents. Agnar has not read the book recently and is trying, very hard, to forget its contents.

As to civilised tone: how has Agnar treated me with the very basics of respect and civility, Urien?

In this case what I mean is this: If I and a group of dozens of other people spend months writing and checking a book and he is going to come on a board he knows we frequent and tell us our work is incompetent and should not be used (which is my interpretation of "NO! Don't use the system-breaking rules from the splatbooks!") then he should do the following things:

  1. Check the book he is criticising. Agnar says that he has not done this, and is trying to forget the work was ever written.
  2. Quote from the work, and give examples. Agnar does not do this: he quotes from the post of someone who is proposing their own, new, system, which increases the Quality score of upper level books by between 6 and 12 points, and then, confusing these with the rules from Covenants because he has not checked the booik, claims Covenants makes Qualities too high and should be ignored.

When people come onto the board and are quoting a book in a way that the simplest fact checking would demonstrate were misrecalled, and going from there to say the book's mechanics are worthless and broken, then I think it is entirely fair to say that their example's rubbish.

What, him saying my work's worthless ands broken is fine, but me saying that's rubbish is somehow uncivil?

Me saying that having a pack of people give me a hard time about having qualities to low for ages, and now having people give me a hard time about qualities being too high, and quoting rules that aren't even mine, is funny is somehow uncivilised?

Show me the bit where I abuse you, Urien.

Let's return to what really interest me...

This is not true. In an Order where academics are so important, writing something should not be trivial. There is no way (with the actual rules) that the big majority of mages will ever bother writing something (if we try to stay logical). And the minority (blessed with incredible Communication and the Good Teacher Virtue) will lose SEASONS of work. For what in return? We're talking about mages here. A season means 2-3 pawn of vis extracted. Is a Tractatus worth that much vis? And don't talk about copying these Tractatus: someone needs Magic Theory to do so. It is not that common outside the Order, is it? Or are there that many failed apprentice lying around that every covenant has a magical scribe or two...

I strongly disagree with you here. First, remember that Good Teacher only gives a +1 when you write a book. So that's 2 less the the usual maximum. And I removed the +3 base for Summae and Tractatus. That's 5 less. And now you add your Artes Liberale score, limited by your Latin score (in case of a book written in Latin). Most people won't bother to go beyond a score of 5 in Latin. So I substracted 5 and added a usual max of 5. What's the difference? Maybe once in a while you will have a mage with 6 in Artes Liberales and Latin, or even 7. But will they also have +5 in Comm and Good Teacher? I'm trying here to put a skill and the Quality calculation so that you can aim to become a great writer, not decide this at character creation. But it really only affect Tractatus anyway. And we have to substract 2 more for Tractatus as they would never go to a Quality of 17 anyway as you will not put the last 2 points for resonance.

I totally agree with you here, but nobody will write those books! Let's look at some of my back of the envelope calculations. You're a specialist in Muto. You want people to write Tractatus about Muto. If you use the rules in the 5th Ed., that's easy Quality 6+Comm, and maybe half the mages have +1 or more in Comm. Ok. So Quality 7 or more. Now what's the payement.
"I use a season, I want three pawn of vis (what I would extract).
-Please, take this wonderful Quality 7 Muto Tractatus instead!
-What! A mean of 3.5 xp, I'd better go adventuring..."(7xp for a season writing and a season studying the Tractatus)

Specialist will want Tractatus. But I think that it would be even better if mages wanted to write those Tractatus first...

There no Int score in it. The Study Total would be equal to the Artes Liberales score (limited by the Language score) + a bonus of Art/5 or Ability/2. You can write books when you don't have a lot of experience, but you gain more if you do it later in your career. A young mage with Muto 10 and Artes Liberales 3 would gain 5 xp for writing the 2 Tractatus he can. Is that too much? Or it could be considered practice...


You guys are blaming Covenants without carefully checking the core 5e book. Yes Covenants adds some more depth to how you get extra Quality, and adds a few new sources and a slightly higher top - but the basic system is exactly the same as in 5e.

ArM5 p.71 - the summary of Covenant design-by-points, which is a reflection of what the Book Rules permit.
Covenant Summae are expected to have level anywhere up to 20 (beyond that is Exceptional and not just "Points") and Quality from 11 to 22. Note that the limit on Quality depends on Level. This is because the Quality is being boosted by the rule on p.165 about writing a Summa below your max. level.

The basic Q11 assumes that a book by an author worthy of forming a Covenant Library may have Com+2 and Good Teacher (+3 Quality). The core also assumes that given a choice of copying a book by Minimus (Com 0 or less, no Virtue) or Maximus (Com 1 or more, Good Teacher), that any sensible purchaser will choose copies of Maximus. Maximus' books will come to dominate the numbers of texts floating around the Order. The true assumption that most magi have poor Com just means that most magi don't write books worth copying!

(Generally Authors with Com+3..5 and Good Teacher, who can write exceptional Tractatus of Quality 6+5+3=14 are again so rare as to be Stories not point).

Covenants adds magical methods to boost Quality - but not exceptionally so. A strong Arts score means you write good (low level) books.

Note in particular that most 5e Libraries should have Summae on Arts with Level 6, Quality 21 - standard under the core rules, and providing study from 0 to 6 in one Season.
(This is the only time you can ever get such exceptional results - at higher Art scores, you needs so many more points, and Quality falls, so you just don't get the boost.)
(Ability Summae can't even get from 0 to 3 in one season - it takes 30XP to do that!)

AFAIK the averaged rules are meant to work over the lifetime of a magus, and assume they are distracted and neither studying nor working "fast" in the lab. (Frex, enchanting a device at level higher than (Lab Total/2) gets quite slow ... by (Lab Total-5) it's very slow - much slower than the Average Rate.)

Young magi do indeed progress faster than average - but older magi take longer doing things and have more distractions from study. They no longer have high Quality books, either, as they only exist at low Level...

My apologies for not reading your initial post more carefully.

Why are you assuming payment for writing a summa will be a summa of equal quality?

The situation is that I'm speaking about is as follows; Twisty of Tremere has been out of apprenticeship for more than thirty years. Twisty has read every Muto Tractatus that he can get his hands on. Twisty has acquired an extensive library of Muto tractatus over the last thirty years. Yet Twisty still wants to study more.

So Twisty approaches several young magi who both have a strong enough understanding of muto to write a tractatus and are not incompetent communicators, He tells them all, Write me a tractatus and I'll let you read my copies of Tractatus Q and Tractatus Z.

So each of the writers gets in three seasons 2xp (exposure) + 20-24xp (access to two solid summa) = 7-8 xp per season, and twisty gets some quality 6-9 tractatus which will suit him fine because he has an affinity anyway.

If twisty needs to sweeten the deal then he'll let them make a copy of one of his tractatus to share with the rest of the covenant (perhaps making an individual version of the cow and calf oath).

Simple: You were paying attention. The editors were not. My view on this is as follows: Run a game for ten years...NOT character years; Game years. After running a game for that long, see what the effects are on the characters.
You and I have a difference of opinion on this subject (thats okay..thats how things get done). I simply am seeing in to the 'future'. I have run several game systems over the years (some side by side). One of my games lasted..well a LONG time. I have seen many changes to the various systems that I have run and seen what they have done to the games. These changes are wrong. Yes thats my opinion, but as I said before..time will tell.

We are discussing a rules correction and you are quoting the rule as your reason for it being correct.


From what you were saying, it wasn't your work. The powers that be changed your work (as you said).
IMO your work was probably correct. The changes instituted at the top overbalanced the system.

I more or less answered this above but I will expand upon the part that does affect you...
When you start 'laying' into people in this setting (a typed board) without first making sure as to what they are saying, your answers can come across that way.
For instance, here is a good way to disagree:

Your statements:

There was no need to include those particular words in these statements.
If you don't choose your words carefully, they incite problems due to the lack of body language and tone. By including them you ARE being abusive. Now in a FTF conversation those words might pass without a problem, because your probably a good guy and your tone would be such that it would disarm any aggression.
I understand that you worked on the book, and that anytime someone takes a poke (intentionally or not) you can get a little sensitive about it. Hey, your proud of the work you've done. That's completely cool. :slight_smile:

Now did you want to discuss this some more, or did we want to get back to name calling? (If we are going call each other names, I will back out of the Certamen and leave you to it)

Perhaps you'd like to say why you believe this (especially with the consideration that producing a book using the covenants rules a character has to work significantly harder to produce a book of a given quality than they do with the core rules.

I fail to see how this has anything to do with book quality. Perhaps you'd like to elaborate some connection between this statement and the discussion?

Incidentally, I still believe that the covenants book is more generally important. I use the covenants book n my actual game frequently. I've used the mystery cults book once (for the art of memory).

To quote from the original post in that thread;

Is it any wonder here that people are suggest Mysteries more than covenants?

but we were discussing book quality

The assumptions are provided for discussion and they are influenced by my observations from actual play. I've been playing fifth on a fairly regular basis since the play tests. If your observations differ from mine then tell me how.

The character creation system is at odds with the rules in play because in play characters (particularily apprentices) seem to spend more time in the library and lab and less time writing, beng a lab assistant, and going on 5 xp. adventures. This variance has nothing to do with the book qualitiees in covenants as compared to the core book because the qualities haven't changed.

As Tim pointed out not one of those words was directed at another poster. Your accusation of incivility is both completely unwarranted and far less civil then any previous statement on the thread. (Nevertheless I will try and watch myself more.)

Michaël de Verteuil , from the Berklist , might be worth getting a comment from in regard to Book Qualities.

I also fail to see how the qualities have changed. As far as i can tell with the exteded rules you need to have three skills at 6 (scribe, illumination and book binding) in order to get the same quality. Other then that it seems like people are quoteing the uber scribe that has 5 comm and good teacher, which if you build a character like that you should be able to write better books.

I'm not concerned with the possibilities that someone creates a character who's sole purpose is to write uber texts. Guess what? there's no NPC in my game with those stats. And if there is he's going to charge so much for his books that it's just a way of me depleteing your vis stores. I see the covenants rules as WORSE for players, who now can't write a book worth tradeing away.
If you want to make a character like that just stay at home and email what you're writing this session, i'll let the other players have some fun... and read your books...

Covenants states that the effective max quality for a book is 35-level. The library in my campaign's best books have a q+l total of 30, with a handfull more around 26-28. And those are the best books they could find and buy from durrenmar.... where's the problem here?

I'm sure you'll argue with me at the game tonight urien... but i just disagree.

You're talking about Tractatus I suppose... :slight_smile: I corrected it in your following example.

Your example is very good, but I'm not sure how often that might happen. A magus is rarely interested in a Tractatus before reaching 20 in an Art. Before a score of 20, Summae can get you a long way and experiementing with vis will give you an average 9.7xp for 3 or 4 pawns of vis. Twisty would probably have to give more than Tractatus if he asks young magi. And doesn't it seem strange that en expert asks newbies to write books so he can understand better his field of expertise...

This brings back to the reasons why I think a magus writing a book should get more xp. An expert should be interested in writing a book, even if he's not good at it, instead of the reverse... And they say in the rule book that there are book on Spell Mastery? Who would write them? There is a very small number of "specialists" on these subjects, far less than on the Arts. Twisty would be hard pressed to find people to exchange with... If you gain (as much or more) points by writing books on Spell Mastery Ability than practicing, I now see a reason for their existence. And remember the formula: Study Total (Writing books) = Score in Artes Liberales (limited by Language Score) + Art/5 or Ability/2. A magus would rarely be able to gain more than 12xp for an Art and 8xp for an Ability. And he is limited by the number of books he can write anyway. A magus with Spell Mastery score of 2 and AL 4 would be able to write one Tractatus, for 5xp...
Is there a possibility of abuse I'm not seeing? I'm counting on the collective wisdom of this forum to help me before I implement this change in my saga.