A covenant is a group of allied magi. The word "covenant" refers to the oath of cooperation and/or brotherhood they take together, but also (more commonly) to the group itself. In most covenants, the magi live together and share a magical library. Most covenants also have guards (called grogs) and servants (covenfolk).
A Typical Covenant
The covenant typically houses a handful of magi (one for each player), an equal number of grogs, and about double that number of covenfolk (servants, craftsmen, and so on). Atypical covenants can be larger or smaller, and the magi might not live together.
Covenants in the Saga
The covenant plays an important role in most sagas, providing not only a setting for story events but also a common interest for all the magi. It can become a kind of central character in itself: one that outlives any individual player character. The covenant thus provides the "home base" of the characters, and adventures can revolve around its interests. As all characters live there, its interests are the interests of all characters and the interests of the characters form the covenant's interest.
The conditions and facilities of the covenant provide the basic resources for character development - from the contents of the library that the wizards use, to the lavish (or miserable...) living conditions that the covenfolk enjoy. The covenant's abundance or shortage of books, vis, and wealth help define the rate at which character can advance in their Arts and Abilities.
Like characters, covenants can progress (or deteriorate) over the course of a Saga. Ars Magica uses the metaphor of seasons to describe a covenant's life cycle, from the instability and rapid growth of Spring through the prosperity of Summer to the decrepitude of Winter.
Kinds of Covenants
- Domus magna
- A domus magna is the headquarters of one of the Houses of Hermes. All domus magnae are House covenants.
- House Covenants
- A minority of covenants consist of magi all from the same House, with some exceptions allowing for specialists from other houses to join or occasionally for social reasons. House Tremere, in particular, has a number of House covenants
- Mixed Covenants
- Most covenants have mixed membership; that is, magi from more than one House. Most players' sagas are based in mixed covenants so the players can create magi from whatever Houses they want.
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 13, "Covenants"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 71, "Baseline"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 68, "Covenant Seasons"
- Houses of Hermes: True Lineages, p. 115, "Coeris" (inset)
The history of this page before August 6, 2010 is archived at Legacy:covenant