(editorial note: I’ve chopped a lot of the guidelines which Xavi asked/recommended out of the text here, as it didn’t make sense for when it would be read within a source book. No offense intended at all)
Premise: Ars Magica needs a book of covenants.
Consequence: lets write one.
Ars Magica 5th edition does not have a covenant book like Mistridge (3rd ed) or Triamore: the Covenant at Lucien’s folly (4th ed). According to feedback to the community from the Line Editor for Atlas Games’ David Chart, a covenant style books generally do not sell well, so the concept has been vetoed by Atlas Games. Many within the fan community believed in the concept, and with the blessing of Atlas Games the fan community has gathered contributions and materials to create this book.
The purpose of The Tome of Covenants is to provide detailed sample covenants based upon the 5th edition rules which can be used within Ars Magica stories.
The reason this book is useful is because the creation of Ars Magica covenants can be quite demanding on a troupe. The creation of a detailed covenant and immediate mundane area is quite a lot of work, so having a launching pad of pregenerated material can be useful to make an immediate start, or to provide inspiration for a troupe’s own covenant development.
The nearest thing that exists in 5th edition is the Curse of the Rhine Gorge saga seed in the Guardians of the Forests: the Rhine Tribunal tribunal book. The idea of this book is to demonstrate how to define a covenant in detail, and to provide the groundwork for play within a saga.
This book should be especially useful for a new troupe, as a new troupe is likely to be still trying to imagine all the options that magic offers and to cope with the richness of
the setting. An experienced troupe may also find ideas, story hooks, and examples which spark new ideas and new stories.
1. Why the Stonehenge Tribunal?
The Stonehenge Tribunal reflects a stereotypical medieval perspective on England and Scotland in the period, so many new readers will be familiar with the geography and the flavor of the locales. Heirs to Merlin: the Stonehenge Tribunal was the last pre-5th edition tribunal to be released and is fairly standard (and has no stats, so is 100% edition-compatible). This means that the existing source material for the region can be reused, with adaptation and assistance from this book.
2. Change It As It Fits Your Saga
The authors intend for the material to be used in play as well as providing the covenants as examples, so the covenant descriptions contain suggestions and options for how the covenant may be altered to suit a troupe’s specific setting.
3. Suggested Saga Arcs, Improvements, and Seasons
The saga arcs, improvements, and other box text areas in each covenant description are intended as points to be altered, explored, and extrapolated by use within the troupe. They may be freely used or ignored as appropriate.
4. Power Level and Statistics
Each covenant provides a summary of the build points and the covenants are generally aimed at Medium power level within the setting. The covenant statistic are developed using the rules in the core Ars Magica rulebook and the Covenants supplement. Other supplementary source books and resources should not be required to use the Tome of Covenants in your saga.