Designing the (house) rules

This is my first draft of how I think the Library search should work.


It would be a lot simpler if I just said: You ask, you get until the points run out.


The Library at Voluntas starts with only a few texts defined.

There is a full set of ‘Roots of the Arts’ with Quality 9 Level 5.

There are Lab Texts for Aegis of the Hearth 30 and Wizard’s Communion 30.

Everything else has to be defined by searching the Library.

The Roll would be (Better of Int or Per) plus a Stress die. (QUERY What happens on Botches?)

When seeking a book in the Library at Voluntas you may be looking for materials in the following categories:

  • Lab Texts. Instructions in how to put together a spell. The Texts are always standard texts from the main rulebook. If you want more specialised texts you will have to contact a mage who may have them: a story process.
  • Summae and Tractatus on the Arts.
  • Summae and Tractatus on Arcane Abilities
  • Summae and Tractatus on Mundane Abilities.

In each of the four categories the Storyteller will keep a list of how many build points have been spent on in the category. For every full 10 points in that category the difficulty in finding more books in that category increases by 1. This is the Category Cost.


The Ease Factor for Lab Texts is:

Magnitude of the Spell + Category Cost.


You must specify the minimum level of Quality and/or Level that you will accept.

In all cases the Ease Factor for Summae is

(Higher of Quality and Level) + Category Cost

And for Tractatus

Quality + Category Cost.

If the roll is more than 10 above the Ease factor you may increase the Quality or Level by 1 per full ten points above the Ease Factor.

The cost of the book will be deducted from the build points for the covenant.

I’m assuming we can comment here and you will edit the top post if necessary… I think roots should be either L5/Q15 or L6/Q21 (that’s what people usually do). ie one season’s worth of reading.

For the books generally, I like the idea, but I think the numbers are a bit off. Covenants 94 has a little box in the upper left where it discusses book numbers; as it says, most of the summae in the order are quality 31-level to 28-level; so basically they average out to L15/Q15. But that book would be very hard to find in your system.

Good point.

Are you good with the standard for Lab Texts?

If so it might make sense to divide the higher of Level or Quality by five to create the Ease Factor for Summae and Tractatus.

Or we could just say that what the PCs want to find, they find until the day comes when all the budget is used up.

If I’ve got it right Quality 9 Level 5 is enough to take a Magus from 0 to 5 in two seasons of study. Or have I missed something again?

You need 15 xp so that would take 3 seasons. I really think 5/15 is the logical minimum, anything else might be a vain summa out there but wouldn’t have been widely adopted as a primer. (Driven by the one-season of learning, and the fact that everyone needs at least a 5 in each art to properly train an apprentice.)

I think dividing by 5 is too much, because high level stuff gets easy, but there could be a cap.

I’d suggest to find a book the first Summa is guaranteed; then you have to make a Per roll EF 3*number of existing summa on that subject. Once you find a summa, and it’s Quality = 10+[Simple die]; Level 31-Quality. That gives a range from L20/Q11 to L11/Q20. If it’s supposed to be the best library in the tribunal; I think every Art and most common abilities would be there; but there could be a diminishing chance as you looked for multiples of the same Art.

Tractatus have less range in Quality, so the d10 makes some outliers, but they’re also easy to write so relatively numerous, I’d suggest maybe Q 6+[simple die], and the first 3 are findable before you have to start rolling Per/Int vs. EF (# of tractati on the subject).

BP may be a bad metric for this, if you say “a really impressive library has 3-4 summa on all common topics, and 5-6 tractatus”, which I think is reasonable, you end up with 2000-ish BP. Not even including lab texts (which is harder to figure out, but certainly would be another 500, probably more).

For lab texts, I think the difficulty curve of rolling just a stat is problematic. For instance, a level 40 text on Aegis of the Hearth should be fairly common, but we’d have a 50/50 shot of not having one (with Int +3). I don’t think it would be crazy to say “everything in the main book is there, but any spell from another book you have to roll to find.” But I recognize that may be too much.

I guess it depends on your goal for the game - do you intend “finding learning sources” to be one of the challenges? Or are you content for learning to be a given and we find our challenges elsewhere?

If I don’t take build points into account then I may as well abandon the COVENANTS system entirely and handwave the covenant based upon Boons and Flaws. There’s something to be said for this but I’m not sure if that’s what I want to do or what would give you the best adventures.

If I were to go with the ‘say what you want and get it until you run out of build points’ option then ‘finding learning sources’ only becomes a problem later in the campaign.

And I must ask: why doesn’t Source 9 Level 5 lead to 15 xp in two seasons? Why do you have to take 5 per season to get to 15? You earn the xp per Source each season until you get to the level limit, surely?

I was reading backwards, that’s why. Q9 does get you there in two seasons, sorry.

Ignoring BP is a bad idea, then.