Boons and Hooks
Despite being a vanilla covenant, Iusto Foedere needs Boons and Hooks. Boons and hooks offer opportunities for stories, and open up ways for the covenant to get some special stuff that plain build points will not get you.
I decided against using the Covenants book and rely solely on the core book of Ars Magica 5th Edition. This is supposed to be a starting covenant, so the special features of Covenants do not need to be around necessarily. As such we remain with the core features. It is trickier to get this down using only the core book, but not impossible.
First things first, the covenant looks like Stokeshay Castle. Despite its name, Stokeshay is a fortified manor house, not a castle. Stokeshay was built during the Ars period, so it could have been the covenant easily. Despite its impressiveness, this covenant could not withstand a protracted siege. it can resist a raid easily, though, and the hall and tower are quite impressive. That gives us our first ideas for Boons and Hooks.
Fortification (minor). The covenant of Iusto Foedere can withstand an assault (the central building and the tower are sturdy enough to ensure that) but not a siege or a magically-assisted attack. At this time the gatehouse will not exist, and only a wooden palisade will surround the compound. A clear improvement for the covenant would be to get a writ of crenellation from the count palatine and be allowed to fortify their courtyard.
Buildings (tower). An impressive tower dominates the compound. One of the covenant founders has his lab here, while the other resides in the upper floor of the manor house. More labs could be located in both buildings, or in less sturdy buildings around the compounds, as the players see fit.
Prestige. The covenant runs a small chapel and recovery facility for the poor in the village. This has caused them to have a good reputation in the area as good God-fearing and soul-caring Christians. The installation is specially effective thanks to Hermetic magic items that favours recovery. This construction is part of the agreement they have with the church. Running this establishment grants a good reputation at level 3 to the covenant and its members. The chapel and recovery house is specially popular with pregnant women and people with dangerous jobs like hunters. The covenant also uses it when its grogs or other covenfolk (or God forbids it, its magi) get wounded.
Hidden Resources x2. There are 500 build points available for the construction of the covenant. However, these are not readily available to the player characters. These might be parts of the library or vis stores open only to the older members of the covenant, items that have been lost in the vaults or stored when the stuff of the old magi was moved to make space for the new magi, vis sources still to discover…. A mix of lost items, books, vis sources, vis stores and stuff that is simply not available to the player characters yet because the NPC magi control them or are unaware of them. These Hidden Resources are a source of stories and growth: play them accordingly before handling them to the troupe as “trasure”.
Along with its Boons, Iusto Foedere has a number of Hooks.
Beholden (minor). The covenant owns favours to the bishop for letting they settle here. So far they have not been asked to provide anything extreme, but that might change. They are not a vassal, but well, they are not free to do as they please either since they are renters. They have also been asked in the past to provide support in an investigation about a reported demon infestation in one of the villages belonging to the bishop’s demesne (it ended up being dark faeries at work) and help in solving the problem. They have also had to build the small church and recovery house in the village. However, the current bishop is getting old, and his likely substitute is not as well predisposed towards magi as the old one was… The Quesitores are not very happy with the renter status of the covenant (they can pay the price easily so far, since the rents are regular and sensible for a household of the covenant’s size), but so far they have not found anything improper in the agreement between the two parts and are staying quiet. They have an eye in the agreement, though.
Road (m). Watling Street, one of the oldest roads in Britain, passes by the covenant. The road connects the Manx coast to Wales, passing through London and other important locales. That means that it is a fairly well trodden road. This brings mundanes from time to time to the doorstep of the covenant, mundanes (or not-so-mundanes) that bring stories with them.
Superiors (m). The player characters do not administer the covenant: the older magi are permissive and cannot order them to perform specific chores, but they take the important decisions. This fits with (part of) the Hidden Resources boons above, and potentially to the Hooks below.
Unknown x2. There are 2 unknown hooks. This is an open letter to the troupe to define them in play. A contested resource (from the Hidden resource spool, for example) or a nearby Monster are clear options, for example.
The Unknown hooks are balanced by the Hidden Resources boons, so as a starter covenant Iusto Foedere is balanced between Boons and Hooks. If the troupe prefers, they can ignore both the Hidden Resources boons and the Unknown Hooks, but they are here to provide a troupe with customization options well inside the context of the game.