Seasons of Service

One of the key features of a covenant charter is the agreement on Seasons of Service that the magi owe to the covenant. Basically, in exchange for the privileges of the being a member of the covenant, the magus/maga needs to spend some time doing things that help it out on the whole. The mundanes, of course, are spending virtually their entire lives helping out the covenant as a whole – that is their job – but they will be likely to be allowed to spend part of that time being instructed in relevant skills: weaponry, riding, etc., as well as practicing skills they are already good at that benefit others (scribe, hunting, craft skills, etc.). We will want to add into the charter a way to vote on whether a proposed form of service is acceptable or not.

Basic ways for the magi to spend a season in service:

Invent a spell or a construct a device useable by the rest of the of the covenant and which the other covenant members agree is of use to enough people to be worthy as a season of service. Here is a list of some Possible Devices based on spells that individuals already know. Bess has pointed out that you can invest a device with a spell you actually don’t already know – I hadn’t realized that – but it’s still a decent starting place.

Prepare spells you know for study by others, and place them in the covenant library.

Copy existing spells or magical texts for trade with other libraries.

Improve the resources of the covenant. This can be magical, such as vis extraction or hunting for vis sources, or it can be mundane, such as improving the productivity of the lands, the mine, or establishing more lucrative trade routes. Vis is essential – we will need it yearly for renewing the Aegis, as well as for creation of any durable magical goods and/or and permanent magical effects (like healing) – but it would be foolish to overlook mundane resources such as silver and grain and livestock. This can also include negotiating deals with other covenants and libraries for exchanges of texts.

Improve the defenses of the covenant. This covers both physical aspects like rebuilding the outer walls, digging a moat, raising guard towers, etc, as well as the social aspects like establishing better relations with the local nobility and any nearby covenants or church holdings. Magical defenses beyond the Aegis can be considered, but must be thought out carefully to see if they are indeed worthwhile.

Investigating the properties of magical items held in common. When we find devices, it takes a full season for someone to investigate them, using Intellego Vim.

Study, as deemed appropriate. This is a tricky one, as we need to be sure the study is of benefit to the whole covenant, and not just the individual studying. Dalton studying Aurum for a season in order to then be able to open Tristan to the Art and let him take his Gauntlet – and hopefully join us afterwards – is a good example. So is having some of those currently weak in Rego Vim study one or the other of those Arts so that next year’s Aegis won’t require outside assistance from individuals like Lucian and Guillaume. It is also probably appropriate when additional study will allow the magus/maga to invent a spell or invest a device in a smaller number of seasons than otherwise.

Here follows a merging of Mike W’s and Bess’s recommendations for the most useful ways for the magi to spend their seasons of service:

  • Everyone in the first few years: we need to eat, and we need Vis. We don't have terribly extensive food stores, so any source of income by which we could reliably feed ourselves through this winter will be highly welcome. Our Aegis is extremely powerful, and will drain off 14 pawns of Rego Vim vis every year. Until we have a reliable Vis source of one or both of these Arts, we're going to need somewhere around 5 seasons of service extracting Vis simply to maintain our Aegis.
  • Aite is a Strong Writer. He also has Mythic Intelligence, which boosts any Lab Total. But Strong Writer is such a strong virtue for our empty library that he should be either writing out his own spells or making copies of things already written (if we can find someone to trade copies to — perhaps Lucien or Guillame would be willing?) Writing about Muto would also be an excellent use of his time, though MW points out that we do have a level 13 Muto summa in the library; while Aite's would be of higher Quality, it should be considered when figuring out seasons.
  • Atria is a very bad choice for scribing, given her awful Scribe skill. Bess feels The Inexorable Search is so useful that she ought to write it out soon, but otherwise she can be put to copying or enchanting Intellego devices. With her weird witchy skills, she might also be a good choice to go hunting for vis sources. Mike W favors the search for vis/divine best time to plant/try for visions on which way to expand the silver mine tunnels. With a small increase in her knowledge of Vim, she could also usefully investigate invested devices. In any event, her first year is probably going to be heavily tied up with developing a Longevity Potion, so she’ll have to make up the seasons (and the vis cost) later.
  • Cornelius is our magus with the ability to treat with the outside world, and we should not ignore his diplomatic abilities. He also has a high MT with specialization in Potions. This seems like it could be very handy; anything non-permanent can be made into a potion — and while they are single-use they require no vis. Healing potions, with vis, could also be made — his Creo Corpus lab total is quite good (not compared to Isaiah, but…).
  • Dalton is one of our Inventive Geniuses, and specializes his MT in Experimentation. He is best put to enchanting items or inventing spells, especially in those areas where his generalist talents make him more skilled than any of our specialists. If he's going to experiment, though, Bess suggests starting with inventing spells until we get an intuition as to how dangerous that is — there's a risk of wasting vis if he flubs while making a device.
  • Isaiah is another Inventive Genius with an insane Magic Theory. He wants to invent Corpus spells, and that's what he's good at, so he's first choice for doing so. He is also a good choice for creating Corpus enchanted devices or potions – for example, he can make a device to Bind Wounds an unlimited number of times per day in a single seasons as a Lesser Enchanted Device. He has many useful spells that we might want him to write out — but he probably shouldn't be used as a copyist until the vaults are full of healing spells and potions. Finally, if the covenant as a whole wish to learn more Magic Theory, he could spend some time training others in it; he can teach up to 9 people in a season, and each of them will get 3 experience in it for him doing so, so that can mean every mage at the Covenant and the possibility of charging some of our neighboring mages for the privilege. If a mundane will be acting as a scribe for actual spells (like, say, Marsilia), it would probably be best for her to also learn some Magic Theory so that she can know whether she's made an error.
  • Ysle is a Verditius, built to craft. She is also a Weak Writer, one of our last-choice scribes. (While this doesn't affect her ability to invent spells, her spells are less useful to the covenant as a whole since she cannot transcribe them quickly.) She can make most spell effects in the 2-3 magnitude range as lesser enchanted devices, a considerable savings in time and vis cost, and as long as we have desired devices in this range, it's probably worth having her make them while others work season-by-season on more difficult items. She may also be called upon to investigate unearthed devices.
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