Basic design elements

Working on the design of the covenant of Iusto Foedere. This is the basic design for the place, but other features will be added as time goes by.

Along the text you will find a series of comments in blue letter. These are comments about the decisions being made. As such they are here to help a new troupe understand what is being discussed and what is being done.

Conceptual setting

The covenant of Iusto Foedere is supposed to be a vanilla covenant:  a standard setting easily usable by a multiplicity of troupes. As such, it will be a manor house located in a well developed area (Chestershire) but where adventure, wilderness and war lie just around the corner in Wales if the troupe wants to run that kind of stories.

Iusto Foedere

The covenant of Iusto Foedere is an early summer covenant. The founding magi managed to establish it and build a resources base large enough to maintain the covenant and live comfortably. They are now moving to center in their own research and leave the covenant’s day to day to the new magi they have recruited to boost their political influence, grow and talke care of mundane and mystical chores (the PC magi).

The covenant is located in Aldford, south of Chester. Aldford is in the northern frontier between Wales and England, just by the south of Chester. It is a developed feudal area, but more savage places are just around the corner in Wales and the local forests. The place is not be isolated, since a pair of trade routes will pass nearby, the river Dee and the old roman road of Watling Strata.

Storyguide notes: This will ensure a good supply of story elements dropping by the covenant, something that is not great for study, but it is amazing for running stories and making the place a great location to be playing in.

Iusto Foedere is be assigned to the protection of the local village from Welsh raiders (cattle raids are fairly common) and to make the local ford usable at all times. For a payment in services (keep the ford open and the Welsh out of the lands), they have been given the local land to live in by the overlord, a monastery.

SG note: This can be a political problem or not depending on the desires of the troupe. It can be a Hermetic problem, a mundane politics problem or both. Or none.

The covenant

The covenant is a manor house inside an oak palisade on a hill. It overlooks the ford across the river Dee. The manor house is sturdy, and in one of its corners a conjured Mystic Tower can be seen. The tower and manor is where the magi and most of the staff reside, but not all of them. There is enough space for all the labs needed by the player magi and two more labs for the NPC magi. The NPC labs are much better furbished than the other ones, that are plain labs. The village of Aldford is about two miles down the hill.

The magi: Old seekers & fresh blood

The local magi are a pair of older magi and the player characters. The covenant is built around a group of 4 player magi, but more or less can be assigned as desired.

The older magi are Seekers. Seekers are magi that center their research in uncovering the secrets of the past. One of them has centered his efforts in the runic magic of the vikings, while the other one centers in the same kind of magic, but the one performed by the Anglo-saxons. This was their union point. They tend to share their research, but less as time passes. Both of them tend to leave for long periods of time to do research in places of viking settlement after exhausting the local Anglo-saxon and viking runic magic sources. As such, both tend to be out most of the time, since their local evidence is growing thin after decades of study.

The older magi have induced the player characters since they covenant is tasked to perform a series of activities (and to collect the local vis and mundane revenues) and they want to get rid of these responsibilities in order to concentrate in their research. The player magi are junior members of the covenant, but most of the time will be left to run the shop all by themselves. Both magi are fairly skilled in Intellego, but one centers more in the art of Vim and the other in Terram in order to uncover the secrets of the past.

Build Points

The covenant will be built as per a “Medium covenant“. This has a lot of width, since it goes from 300 to 1250 points. 300-500 is a fairly weak covenant in my experience (unless you game the system), so we will go for a total of 850-1000 build points.

Baseline

Since we are going for a basic covenant, we will have an aura of 3, one combat grog per magus (6) and 2 other covenfolk (12). This is fairly limited, but we can manage.

We will have 6 grogs. The 12 covenfolk will be (for now) divided like this

  • One autocrat (Michael of Stafford).
  • One clerk (Martin of Wrexham).
  • Two cooks (Mary and Isabella).
  • One errands boy (Isaac).
  • Three maids (Cristina, Iohanna and Alice).
  • Two teamsters (Osbert and Nigel).
  • Two woodsmen and general staff (Nicholas and Jack).

All in all, a fairly active community, but manageable. To this, we have to add the specialists, but more on that later. You do not need to stat up most of the characters anyway. They are just background information, a name and personality. If a covenfolk starts seeing regular use, it might be worthwhile to stat him or her up.

Now, to spend the points we will go section by section:

Library [730 BP]

Hermetic 500
Mundane 150
Spell levels 80 (400 levels)

The library is the core of the covenant. In this case it will contain few high level books, but a number of smaller texts. We will start assigning 500 build points (BP) to the Hermetic library, 150 BP to the mundane library and 80 BP to lab texts for a total of 730 build points spent on the library. While not impressive, it takes most of the covenant build points, and will be a central feature of the covenant.

Vis Stores [10 BP = 50 pawns]
The covenant is fairly young in hermetic terms, and has active older magi, so the vis supplies are bound to be used most of the time. As such, the vis stores will tend to be small. For the time being we will

Vis Sources [80 BP = 16 pawns/year]
The covenant does not have a lot of vis supplies. For now we will stat them at 16 pawns per year. We will use a Rego source as the main one, and add smaller Terram, Animal and Imaginem sources. We will stat these up later.

Magic Items [80 BP = 200 levels]
The covenant has 200 levels of magic items. These might sound like a lot, but they go FAST when you start stating up items. For now, most items will be dedicated to the covenant, so no wands casting fireballs or anything fancy like that: more utilitarian spells and effects.

Specialists [25 BP]
We will assign 20 build points to specialists. These 30 `points will allow the covenant to build much needed special staff, like a proper librarian, a crafty forester, a smith, a turb captain or a friendly contact in the city to build them their weird supplies. For now we will leave this blank, and will develop it later.

That ends up adding up to 925 Build Points. Not a powerhouse, but not crippled either. It contains enough resources to present a good rest and study area for the PC, but it will be limited enough to force them to move around to develop their knowledge, abilities and power.

++++++++++++++

Baseline

A manor house overlooking the village of Aldford. protects a ford from welsh raids. It can withstand an assault, but not a siege.

Inhabitants

  • 6 magi: 2 NPC magi + 4 PC magi
  • 6 grogs
  • 12 covenfolk (cooks, maids, carters, carpenters, …)

Library [730 BP]

  • Hermetic 500
  • Mundane 150
  • Spell levels 80 (400 levels)

Vis Stores [10 BP = 50 pawns]

Vis Sources [80 BP = 16 pawns/year]

Magic Items [80 BP = 200 levels]

Specialists [25 BP]. 3 specialists with a skill at 6 and one with a skill at 7

Total: 925 Build Points.

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