The community of Iusto Foedere
According to the rulebook of Ars Magica 5th Edition page 71), a covenant with 6 magi will have a community of 6 grogs, 12 covenfolk and a series of specialists. Specialists are bought with build points, so they are added to the base community.
- Michael of Stafford, autocrat. Michael of Stafford is the autocrat of the covenant. The man in this trust position runs the whole operation and is the visible face of the covenant. He could be a companion, but for now we will go for grogs only. He acts as chamberlain, public relations and administration of the covenant and its lands. We will make him a gentleman so he can have a nice face in front of mundanes.
- Martin of Wrexham, clerk. Martin of Wrexham works directly for Michael, the autocrat. He is low born but was smart enough to attract the attnetion of his parish priest, that taught him letter and sent him to a cathedral school afterwards for further education. Martin acts as a scribe, copyist and does general maintenance of the records and books as needed. He is rather jumpy around magi and is always stained with ink in his hands, and more than once in his face as well. Like Michael he is not a native of the village where Iusto Foedere sits, and this has resulted in him being somewhat stranged from the community.
- Mary and Isabella, cooks. Mary is quite a powerful woman. Married to one of the grogs he acts all bossy. His overbearing attitude is quite usual, since she is responsible for feeding a community of around 30 people and make sure that the supplies of the covenant are OK. In that sense, she acts as cellarer as well as head cook. Isabella is her daughter, and helps her as much as she can. She is quite timid and cowed by her overbearing mother. Some of the local men have shown an interest in the girl, but so far she has been too timid to encourage their advances.
- Isaac, the errands boy. Isaac is a young lad that supposedly works for Mary. In practical terms he is the errands boy of the covenant, and can be seen performing a multiplicity of chores around, ordered by all the staff members. He tends to the hens and goats, carries messages and supplies up and down, helps with repairs,… whatever the other covenant members need. He has developed quite a stamina as a consequence.
- Cristina, Iohanna and Alice,housekeepers. The housekeepers do general work around the covenant. Cleaning, changing and washing clothes, sewing and anything needed. Cristina is the leader of the team.
- Osbert and Nigel, teamsters. The teamsters are the ones in charge of getting external supplies that cannot be obtained locally. They take advantage of their trips to the city to drop an ear on local news, and to visit the contacts of the covenant. And other places of ill repute as well if they have the time and money. The grogs tend to appreciate having to escort a shipment of supplies to the covenant precisely for this, since most of them are not married yet.
- Nicholas and Jack, woodsmen and general staff. These guys cut wood, patrol the forests and do general repairs. Osbert and Nigel also help them in performing these maintenance and heavy duty chores, and more than once they also borrow some muscle from the armed men.
All in all, a fairly active community, but one manageable. 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.
Specialists (4) and Companion ideas
A covenant also includes a number of specialists, and generally companions (higher level mundanes) are also present.This section will suggest a few specialists and companion concepts that tend to be seen around a covenant. None of them is essential to the covenant design, but it can provide useful skills and can fit well into the general layout easily.
This first Specialists & Companions entry will provide a list of potential specialists and some suggested areas of expertise. They will be fleshed out in the future.
The covenant of Iusto Foedere has 4 specialists. Several more of them will be defined, though, since some of these jobs tend to be taken up by player characters (companions). As such, 4 main positions will be listed as priority ones, but several more will be provided in case one or more of these positions is taken up by a companion-level character. The companions have a total of 25 build points to divide among them. These points will be divided in three characters with their main ability at 6 and one character with its main ability at 7 as the troupe sees fit.
Marshall of the grogs (PRIORITY). (Grog leader, god skills in leadership, weapon skill and profession: soldier). Iustus Foedere has a total of six dedicated fighting men. This small force needs a leader to direct them in combat and act as their general manager. This post is the Marshall. He is also in charge of organizing the training of the village peasants to act as levies and for the general readiness for combat of all the assets of Iusto Foedere. Given the complement of combatants of the covenant, he is more a sergeant than a proper Marshall, but the name stands. The Marshall can be noble easily, since this was a common post for nobility at the time. He would be likely be a a member of the minor gentry. The Marshall is older than the other fighting men at the covenant. He might be an expert in the wars on the Levant or the continent, or have ample experience in the raids across the Welsh border. He might have been injured and have a past that might come to haunt him. This is a character that tends to be taken up by a companion level character, but can be given Specialist status just as easily.
Forester (PRIORITY). Skills: hunt, area lore, survival, one or more martial skills. A man with outdoors skills is always useful, specially in a heavily forested region with large wilderness areas. Magi tend to be crazy enough to want to go to unexplored places searching for ingredients for their research, vis, magical creatures or magics from the past. A guide to such places is important. The forester is probably a commoner from the area, even if one that has risen to a position of influence in the covenant due to his specialist skills. This kind of character tends to be a companion in a lot of sagas as well. You can always have two of them if you want.
Smith (PRIORITY). Skills: Craft: blacksmith. A smith tends to be strong, and is very useful to a community, specially if it has armed men like this one. he is prime material for a specialist, since he might not travel much, but be very useful for the community.
Librarian. Skills: Scribe, Artes Liberales, Profession: Librarian, several academic and mundane Lores (church and nobility lore, magic lore, divine lore…). A librarian is always a welcome addition to a covenant.he takes care of the library and can work copying books for sale if you do not have a dedicated scribe. He might be highly educated and have developed a strong knowledge of certain unusual lores.
Illuminator. Skills: Craft: Illuminator. An illuminator is a character that is a source of quality books. He can double as a librarian if you do not have one, but in that case it is better to have a dedicated librarian. Illuminators tend to be bookish and patient, since their profession requires lots of care and patience. They tend to be clerks or have some kind of formal education. It pays off increasing the quality of the books produced at the covenant if you use the Covenants supplement. This specialist makes sense if you have a librarian companion. otherwise better to ignore him.
Chirurgeon. Skills: Chirurgy and/or Medicine. Mundane expert in wounds. Same as the forester, magi tend to be quite reckless, at least with the physical integrity of other people. As such, an expert in patching up people is always welcome. he will tend to be around the covenant more than going abroad, so he is good material for Specialist status. Chirurgy is the medieval equivalent of Surgery, so he can be quite a rough character. medicine deals with diseases as well, and that is part of higher education. Doctors are expensive. If no Chirurgeon is present in the covenant, it will be fairly usual for other characters (both male and female) to have some skills with this trade.
Merchant (PRIORITY). Skills: social skills, bargain. A merchant can easily be a specialist of the covenant that does not reside there, but in the city. He would be the local contact there and a valuable source of gossip and interesting rumors for the magi to keep an eye on city and mundane developments. Having an ear on the mundane world outside the local village is always useful. If you prefer, he can be a traveling merchant like a peddler. This role can be covered both by a Companion or a Specialist.
Reeve. Skills: social skills, A reeve is the state manager of a manor and overseer of the peasants. He is the voice of the covenant in the village and the administrator of the lands. A reeve tends to be a commoner (usually a villein) but one with high status. He can be a common character, or he can be fairly rich and even skilled in arms. he lives in the village, but usually in a (slightly) better house than his peers. having good relations with the local reeve tends to be a good idea, specially if you need to feed your covenant from the lan, or you are the formal holder of the lands yourself.
Village priest. Skills: social skills (specially (folk ken and leadership), church lore. A village priest can be either opposed to the covenant or a friendly ear for the community. IN either case he will be an influential member of the community and one that will play an important role. A lot of parishes at the time did not have a permanent priest, so this does not need to play a major role in your community. However, a priest or a member of minor orders would be a useful companion for a covenant since the church is a powerful institution in Mythic Europe.
Neighbouring knight. Martial and social skills. A covenant like Iusto Foedere is embedded inside the social structure of Mythic Europe.It has neighbors, and it can have good or bad relations with them. A knight living in one of the nearby villages (in his own manor) is always interesting for a covenant. He can be a sworn enemy or ally. Its overlord can be wildly different from that of the covenant and this can cause tensions if the two overlords are at odds, for example. or if the knight does not like the covenant. or the opposite. In any case a neighboring night is always a feature of a saga. He can easily be one of the companions of the covenant. he is likely to be a good warrior, even if a mundane one. His stance in the mundane political ladder and his martial skills and resources mean that he can be an important element of the saga.