Nova Astrum is the primary covenant for L'Orphelin Saga
La Nouvelle Étoile
The Covenant of the New Star, founded as a daughter covenant of Ad Astra Per Aspera some five years ago. Its purpose is to harvest vis resources in the New World, as well as to explore the magical potential of the region and establish a strong presence should AAPA eventually decide to move there wholescale. AAPA is a strong Autumn covenant, drifting, like most European covenants, into Winter. It was formally located in the French forests, but deforestation and settlement forced it, a century or more ago, to forcibly relocate into a regio, formally belonging to a powerful and ancient dragon. The dragon was slain by the magi of the day, and the covenant relocated to the regio, although they keep mundane houses in Paris and Marseilles.
Nova Astrum is based in a substantial town house - almost a manor house - on the edge of Schenectady, a settlement of around six thousand people. Beneath the house is a network of tunnels, some of which extend almost ten miles to hidden exits - including one in the town, one near the river, and one in the woods. The tunnels were partially built by the founding magi (visitors from Europe) using Terram, but based upon an existing network built by unknown hands. Strange pictograms can be found on some of the tunnel walls, and their full extent is unknown. Grogs patrol the tunnels on a regular basis, just in case. The tunnels have a Magic aura of 3.
The walls of the tunnels produce a rook (10) of Terram vis each year. Another source is the charred remains of part of the former Shenectady settlement, destroyed at the turn of the century, which produce 5 pawns of Ignem vis every spring. Unfortunately, they exist near an Infernal regio, which sometimes causes problems. A full rook of mixed Auram and Intellego vis can be derived from one of the Mohawk sacred sites, dedicated to divination, by gathering the smoke from the sacred fires there and processing it; a cautious agreement has been struck with the Mohawk to collect this. Finally, 5 pawns of Rego vis are derived from a mighty oak, overshadowing the other trees, located deep in the nearby forests.
Roughly two-thirds of this vis is sent back to Europe each year.
The covenant has a turb of twenty grogs. This many men would draw undue attention if they all lived in the house, so some have dwellings in town. Since the covenant runs several secondary businesses, including a printing press, many of the grogs also work at these businesses - the turb leader worries this has led them to neglect their martial skills. The businesses produce just enough money to support the covenant, but currently the magi live a moderately luxurious lifestyle thanks to regular shipments of cash from AAPA.
The Covenant library - note that compared to a covenant in the middle ages, we're rather better off, thanks to printing!
We have a large library of printed mundane books, effectively acting as a Summa on Artes Liberales, Civil and Canon Law, Latin, Greek, Common Law, Philosophaie, Natural Philosophy, Medicine and Theology of level 4, quality 7. There are also roughly three tractatus for each Academic ability, with quality 8. (Incidentally, Civil and Canon Law applies to French and Spanish parts of the New World, whereas Common Law applies to the British parts.) We also have An Introduction to the Language of the Ancient Israelities, Known As Hebrew, and A Delineation of Its Major and Minor Portions, which is a summa on Hebrew, level 2, quality 5, a copy of The Prince, which is a tractatus on Leadership and Guile, quality 10, various books about the Americas and the Indians, collectively acting as a Summa of level 2, quality 6 for Indian Lore or Area Lore (New World).
In the Hermetic library, we have The Wisdom of Bonisagus, the standard text of the Order, printed privately in five hundred copies in Geneva in 1705, and based on three decades' work by several members of House Bonisagus. It acts as a Summa for all the Arts, level 10, quality 10, and also contains laboratory notes for every spell in the basic 5th edition rulebook, up to the seventh magnitude (level 35.) and notes towards their Mastery. (Acting as tractatus, quality 6, for the Mastery ability of each rulebook spell.) It comes in thirty-five massive volumes, one for each Art plus one for the spells related to each Form, plus one for Mastery of each of the spells. (So, for instance, two different magi couldn't both learn a Terram spell in the same season, but one could study Terram and the other learn a spell.) Less intimidating is Notatus of Tremere's On the Techniques: An Introduction, which is a Summa for all 5 techniques, level 5, quality 14. A prized possession is The Full Understanding of the Senses, a fourteenth century text given to us by our parent covenant, which is a summa on Imaginem of level 15, quality 12. We also have The Fluctuations of the Cosmos, a Vim summa of level 12, quality 18.
We also have some tractatus. Burn, My Pretties, Burn (Ignem, quality 5), Some Notes Towards A Clearer Understanding of the Properties of Gems (Terram, quality 9), Techniques of Control (Rego, quality 11), The Anatomy of Fears, Panics, Night Terrors, and Other Horrors (Mentem, quality 8), Twenty-Two Trees (Herbam, quality 8).
We also have On the Code, a summa on Code of Hermes (level 3, quality 9), The Fay of the Courts of Winter, a tractatus on Faerie Lore (quality 7), The Shield Against All Ills, a tractatus on Parma Magica (quality 10), Striking At the Enemy's Heart, a tractatus on Penetration (quality 5), and On the Stranger Inhabitants of the New Lands, a tractatus on Magic Lore, quality 8.
Relationships with the local town are a little tricky, thanks to the linguistic divide, but since many of the locally recruited grogs are Anglo, things are becoming easier. Relationships with various Mohawk leaders are well established, and the Indians sometimes come to the covenant for help.