A Covenant in Mythic Iceland: What do i need?

So , my players have chosen to set-up in Iceland.

I will be using the basics from Land of Fire and Ice , but modifying for 5th Ed as best i can.
Ex Miscellanea magus with a minor focus in Healing.
Trianoma Bonisagus , Gentle Gift , currently undecided on a minor focus.
Will be using the Scartaris Sanctum site , which i have decided was abandoned during the Schism War ,
and someone is just now sending a couple of guppies to get it going again.

Except for the inbuilt enchantments , the place is currently empty of all else , so they will have to take nearly all they need with them.
Assume they get expert advice from House Mercere working with their Steward to get all the basics
and have enough supplies for a full season for the inhabitants.
Unless they purchase any luxury foodstuffs with covenant cash before they leave , it will be lots of lentils and salt pork , smoked fish , etc.
Initially they will not be able to get access to any farmland and the covenant itself is inside a mountain.
Water is not a problem , they have a glacial tap.

They chose a Secondary Income boon (page 16 , Covenants).
I was wondering if Glassmaking would be ok.
No final decision as yet , but i am also suggesting Shipbuilding , as their Primary income is Fishing.

One Major Hook is Regio (page 09/10)
Can't think of anything inspirational to put there atm , so any suggestions are welcome.
Magical Dwarves of the Norse-type , A Wyrm (with vis-sensing abilities) , The Clan of the Cave Bear , Trolls ,
Jotun-kin of some sort , Xavi and The Isle of Mann Covenant Chapter House , An exiled Titan or a sapling of Yggdrasil.

Guess i will post more as i think of it.
Thanks in advance for any help. :slight_smile:

Oh yeah , i guess that Old Norse is a Dead Language (similar to Latin).
Not sure what the Norse Dialect penalties are , but i can fake it as needed , or take helpful hints on the matter.

I assume you are disregarding the guardians of iceland thing.

In Iceland a minor focus in ... ice would be useful. :slight_smile:

Shipbuilding is cool. We do that IMS, but as a secondary income, since the first income is the fact that be built a good harbour for Port Erin, where we get most of our mundane income (not really relevant since we are basically swimming in vis in this saga, but hey). Port Erin is developing a thriving international community, and is becoming one of the major centres for redistribution of wool in the British isles before shipping the production to Flanders. The dublineers hate us, BTW, so careful to what you upset by breaking the economic equilibriums.

The regio is inside the covenant? A captured jottun might be too much, but a bunch of underground trolls might be a problem. Think about Grendel stalking the covenant or the nearby villages shortly after the covenant settles down. Who will you blame? An alternative to the regio might not have a regio at all, but have your glazier be a breeding ground for some kind of threat. Troll breeding ground? Ice dragon breeding ground. If you have an access to the sea, a regio with sea worms might be an issue as well. Or a regio full of fae that raid the coast "viking style" like the ones in TOME. maybe tjhe regio is a kind of natural random hermes portal (think stargate) that has a penchant for explorers. So you might find Vasco da Gama, Marco Polo, Erik the Red or Columbus being dropped in your doorstep since they entered a triangle in the other side of the ocean or something like that.

I do not fully understand the reference to myself :stuck_out_tongue: Are you a chapter house?

For the language, GotF has a conversion table for several german diablects that might work for the relationships between Norse dialects. IIRC Ultima Thule has that in 4th edition RAW, and LoFaI might have it as well...

No , i intend to use them in some form , seems too good a story hook to disregard.

"Obviously" , he says (hastily messaging the player concerned)

Well , The actual Mannish Magi might be too dangerous for my players , so a chapter house should be less so.
And Xavi as a Genius Loci of course. Have to get the Norse equivalent of your name in runic script. :slight_smile:

The Lion and the Lily has one also , thanks.

Ice would be a major focus. It's as broad as stone, which is a major and it's as broad as "fresh water" or "salt water" which are given example of major aquam focus. IMO, it doesn't at all qualify for a minor :smiley:.

I am just developping a ice focused magus hence my comment.

Using magic to get a better timber from growing a small forest would probably be a good one.

Glassmaking would probably be ok as well since Iceland isnt easy to trade with and more or less lacks a lot of the wares otherwise commonly traded. There is however probably an extremely small market for such so it might be easier to have a magically assisted trading ship or two making traderuns for a more mixed set of items.

Totally not. And its especially "alive" in Iceland where it remains the most for the longest.
Its not until after the middle 14th century that Icelandic starts to really become a language of its own.
Depending on how early or late you are you can use either "old norse" or "old west norse"(sometime from 11th-14th century and after) as the local language.

Heh, you covered a lot of options already. Well, there´s always the options of it having hidden access to another regio and/or having entries/exits in either odd or far away places.
Hmm, my imagination seems to be on vacation right now though...

Ultima thule and land of fire and ice have a linguistics section, IIRC. Will check later the exact reference.

No need for herbam. if they have animal and auram they can improve significantly the chances of the tres to grow hale: wards vs pests (and perdo-pest spells) and improved weather makes for a happy forest.

Besides, your trianoma has yet to decide on his focus :slight_smile: A type of tree (say, yew or whatever is good wood for shipping) might be a good focus if Ice is considered to be too broad.


The Ex Misc magus has Giant Blood.
This is a virtue that i thought would be far more common in Mythic Iceland than in Mythic Europe overall.
But not so common , that even the chickens have it.

With Rival Magic in use , i thought that Giant Blood could be extended along the lines of Mythic Blood ,
either through a Mystery Initiation or simply an extra virtue or two as with the various Faerie Blood options.
Giant-blooded people who had the same Jotun ancestor would have an affinity to each other for example.

Running 2 export routes to England and Norway respectively should work nicely, maybe a third to somewhere on the south coast of the Baltic perhaps.

Which is enough "in the middle" for you to pretty much pick and choose what language you prefer as the common one. Icelandic is unlikely to really exist yet, and old norse and old western norse are close enough that they can be like dialects on different parts of the island if you want to mess things up a bit.

Existing knowledge is really just about the written language, and old norse stayed alive until beyond 15th century as such, so my main point was really that it is by far not a dead language.
When the exact changes and splits in the languages happened with speech is pretty much just advanced guesswork and estimations.
Wiki states old norse as being 8th to 13th century, but with potential variation counted in a century or 2 in either direction, its more a matter of picking what you prefer.

About the Guardians, take in mind that acording to LoFaI it is impossible to enter Iceland having the Gift, since a dragon will come down on you and turn you into charcoal. This was used as a justification of why no OoH was there. I think that the awful climate and being where Jesus lost his caligae is enough to justify no hermetic presence, but the 4rth edition autors disagreed with me here :slight_smile:

Soooo, you will have to change how the dudes enter the island OR change how the Guardians act. The "pre-emptive strike" that they use right now might be easily changed without upsetting the background.

Land of Fire and Ice , page 07.
Resisting the effect is considered hostile , not just possessing the Gift.
As i prefer my Mythological Beasties to be less than painfully obvious (causes Paradox , dontcha know) , at least initially ,
i was simply going to have contrary weather and tides , hidden sandbars , etc , turn the ship back or delay it.
If they have the ship sufficiently warded , then i will see what happens.

As i dont really want to sink the ship with all their goodies (players get annoyed by such) ,
then some local hedgies will row out to them and explain the situation.
Dragons aint stupid and do have agents working for them (if not directly) , knowing that a ship is on the way ,
some preparations have been made.

The Order has effectively had minimal impact on Iceland and none for nearly 200 years.
My pre-adventure history has one sanctum built a few years before the Schism War.
There were two magi there and also a Hermes Portal.
During the war , they were simply recalled , all gear removed and the portal disabled or destroyed.

Part of the plan is to see what vis sources are there and recruit local hedgies to the OoH.

The Trianoma magus has taken a minor magical focus in changing memories.
Both players have taken Favours (Major , Story) page 54.

House Mercere would be logical if they funded the expedition.
Mapping of local vis sources to see if it justifies the placement of a Hermes Portal.
Even if not , extra vis sources never hurt business.

A Tribunal directive to get info on The Order of Odin and sponsored by Durenmar.

The Trianoma magus is Ambitious (Major , page 51) and will be trying to recruit local Hedgies ,
and looking for Gifted children to apprentice.

I could also see the Normandy Tribunal wanting extra vis sources.

If anyone has any suggestions , feel free to post them. :slight_smile:

You know, a better articulation of your posts better would help us understand what you want, if you want help. :slight_smile: I am not sure if this is your bullet point of "things to take into account when designing the saga" or what. They are not questions, after all, and the diverse reference to the tribunal might be options, but I do not see if it is a question of "what tribunal or house would sponsor the covenant?"

Just a suggestion :slight_smile:


Ok , then. :slight_smile:

"What tribunal or house would sponsor the covenant?"
Are there any other groups/people/beings that the magi could be indebted to?
Should i include some Mythic Elements to make the saga more like a Norse Saga?
Is there anything magical or mundane that i have forgotten or overlooked in designing the saga?

Well, it may be too nit-picky, but the "glassmaking" jumps out as unrealistic, but admittedly only to anyone who cares about medieval glass-making. Venice had the best glass, followed by Arabia and then Russia, with anything else being 3rd rate if it even existed (which was rare). Both potash and fine sand are necessary for glass and kept an aggressive lock on it, and the best quality potash comes from certain trees - and "trees" are not an icelandic forte. But "trees" are not enough - England and France had plenty, and they didn't make glass. If you did allow it, it should(?) be very low quality indeed, both from lack of proper raw material (the right kind of trees) and lack of skill, skill that Venice would go to war to maintain its monopoly over.

And "shipbuilding" requires, again, wood - that's still not Iceland.

Fish is good for any seaside-ish area. Even "inland", an Icelandic covenant could have a controlling interest in some fishing fleet, maybe using magic (overtly or covertly) to increase the profit, either by increasing the haul, lowering the risk/costs, or whatever.

Likewise, salt - seawater and heat, and you got it aplenty. Magical heat is easy, and only increases profit. (And it's far more valuable than it is today - but if they try to start up their own saltworks, they may be stepping on some very affluent toes.)

In City & Guild it lists, for the goods of Iceland*... falcons. Which is news to me, but who am I to gainsay it?

(* Under the geographical heading of "Places So Far as to Verge on the Mythical"...)

That in the line above in that same section it also lists "gemstones" as coming from "everywhere" (... anywhere so far as to verge on the mythical, that is). For Iceland, "gems" are scarce in reality, but you could go with spar crystal (aka calcite, a light refracting), carnelian, feldspar (including sunstone), and, of course, obsidian. And you could always pretend that diamonds or other high-value gems are found in the volcanoes there - they aren't, but it works for fiction.

And/or pumice stone - that's lightweight, and I'd guess (don't know for sure) that Iceland has some of that.

Each gives a slightly different feel to the Covenant, how they acquire the product, who they sell to, who does the work for them, etc.

Other than that, for natural resources, you're screwed. Iceland is aptly named - but that doesn't mean that (especially with a little magic) the magic couldn't lean toward some industry, some "processed goods" that they could then sell across the island or export back to Europe. They could go with anything that the locals produce, only better - parchment from sheep, tallow or leather from cattle, Or with a good smith, ingots of raw metal (iron, brass or bronze) from Europe and a forge (perhaps a magical one? easy enough) they could produce metal products. (If they need to import the raw materials, they're selling that locally, and aren't selling those products back to Europe - their competition there doesn't have to bear the same transportation costs to and from.)

For that matter, their "income" doesn't have to be local - it could be anything on the nearest mainland with more plentiful resources - trees for lumber or charcoal, furs or leather, wool, salt, foodstuffs, even something simple like rope or cloth - and shipping the product to them where they then distribute it.

Or (if you're comfortable with their access to ships) it could be a small shipping company itself - this would keep them more connected with the mainland (which might be good or bad, depending on your image of the future saga). That would feel better than the shipbuilding (unless the shipbuilders were in Europe - again, anything "there" is far easier to believe, if not more practical to oversee).

If they could build a magical greenhouse (not that hard, but some work, admittedly), they could go with herbs, and/or bees, and the honey and wax would both be a luxury item across that land. Once magic is brought into the mix, many of these obstacles are irrelevant.

If the Healer Bonisagus wanted, they could create a "house of healing" - especially if there were thermal vents that might be found to have magical healing properties, but could also be used as a "cover" for Hermetic effects. Hot pools, saunas - now we're talkin'.

Any House interested in exploration and new lands (altho' they'd send a representative of that House, I'd think - PC or NPC), or the nearest existing Tribunal as a whole (hoping to "annex" Iceland to their own Tribunal in the future.

Possibly a collection of their own Parens and some other magi for their own personal reasons, as investment, political maneuver, or as a friendly base for their own purposes. Nothing stops private ventures in such matters.

House sponsors:
o Bjornaer: Wild is good, tho' a bit thin on animals
o Bonisagus: would have to be feeling very philanthropic, but if it expands the Order, sure.
o Criamon: who is to say "no"?
o Ex Misc: as above
o Flambeau: Offensively or Defensively against the Order of Odin, or as punishment for a specific mage
o Guernicus - I'd have to say "no" - cost/benefit just doesn't support it imo.
o Jerbiton: Likewise, a tough sell - just a bit sparse on culture and population centers
o Mercere: Exploration is good
o Merenita: Wild = fae, sure
o Tremere: "Ha ha, now we have an unstoppable majority of votes in all of Iceland!..." (???) sure, I guess...
o Tytalus: Challenge is good
o Verditius: "Maybe NOW no one will bother me..." er, but as a House... maybe they thought some insight to forging could be gained from the volcanoes?

Sure, of course, and yes.

They could be indebted to anyone mundane or Hermetic, in Iceland or back in Europe proper, either as "rent" for existing in Iceland or in repayment of set-up costs.

More mythic elements are always good. I'd lean toward odd, fire and/or ice-related Fae and old-school giants and dwarves.

They need specialists, anyone to upkeep what they have and don't want to constantly replace, and anyone to help build/expand/maintain the covenant grounds - smith, carpenter, mason, a master miner if they're going into the volcano, clothier, armorer, cartwright, chandler, shoemaker, cook, mundane nurse/healer (unless anyone with a cut finger or a cough will receive vis-based healing), butcher, parchment maker, etc etc etc. Stablehands/teamsters/muleskinners if they have mules/horses. This list can be verrrry long.

Plus a castellan to run the grounds, a chamberlain to head the servants, the steward to oversee the covenant finances, and of course grogs and a grog sergeant.

Plus all the mundane gear, food and raw materials to get them thru the first year that they can't make themselves.

I, myself, would also toss in a (semi) portable enchantment or two to get them started and survive the first winter - maybe a brazier or chandelier for their main hall, or a long-range communication toy to trade messages with the sponsoring party. And include in the library some of the more obvious spells - light, heat, clearing snow and ice, etc. If you're not sure, let them negotiate that In Character - more goodies for more debt, as much as they want.

If you want to have the story revolve around creating the covenant, this is a long row to hoe; if you want to get to other story arcs, then they need what they need, and should either be handed it (with an appropriate debt, natch), or be able to acquire it somehow in the first year(s) of the saga.

Or if the area is rich in Vis, they could use it to magically create very high quality glass. If the covenant is small, sending off a trader once or twice a year with such will probably be enough to keep them ok with cashflow.

Not really an issue as long as at least one magi can do a decent CrHe spell or two.


Land of ice and fire... Might be interesting as a place to study.

Anyway, nice input.

If this can be of any help, here is some material about my now long-defunct Icelandic Saga: darmont.free.fr/arm/?page=arm-snaefell&lang=eng .

Thank-you very much! :smiley:
The pictures and the Covenant write-up for Books are of great use.
(though my players chose different Hooks , obviously)

Besides magical intervention , had Glassmaking been chosen as a Secondary Income (page 16 , Covenants) ;
Alchemical Reagents (page 74 , A&A) can be used to improve the base quality of raw materials.

Falcons (page 140 , C&G) looks like a good choice.
Of the Falconidae , the Gyrfalcon (page 59 , LoM) and Merlin appear to be readily available.

The local market in Iceland is probably not up to providing the full value of a typical income source for Falconing though.
LoM , page 60:

A Royal Mews has a +03 LC mod , so Falconer at 06 or better is needed.

As we dont need Profession: Slaver to cover the LC mod provided by the Covenant
(+03 bonus to Aging rolls from Healthy Feature , page 08 in Covenants) ,
then i assume this stacks with that from a mews.

Whaling is the most likely secondary income choice as this would fit more with having Fishing as the primary income.
Plus , gets the players out on the big , deep ocean away from their mountain stronghold and into the territory of Ægir.