A New Morning (Spring 1234)

It is time for the Covenant Meeting of 1234. There will be many topics to discuss concerning where we have been and where are we going.
Topics for the agenda...

  • The Redcap Quarter, the new arrangements, and the portal project
  • The discovery of a large vis source on Sa Dragonera, claimed by Barcelona, and their desire to form a partnership.
  • The mystery of who attacked our covenant and why. Carmen has turned up some interesting information.
  • The town in the valley, Arans, has recently experienced a spike in paranormal activities, such as hauntings by ghosts that cry out in some nonsensical language.
  • Provencal magi have been encroaching on our territory. There was that Lord Featherbottom incident. But further it has recently been discovered that a Jerbiton magus associated with Bellaquin has been residing in the capitol of Andorra la Vella.
  • Our investment in the salt mines of Las Salines has been paying off quite well. In fact, maybe too well. We have offered little in the way of magical assistance, but they have prospered so well now that they are rid of that dragon, it has caused rumors and gossip in nearby towns that they have struck a deal with Satan.
  • It isn't our business, but could be a concern. In the last few years, at least three Wizard Wars have been conducted between Flambeau magi of Castra Sola and Doisettep. One magus from each covenant has died, and in the third incident both magi were severely injured and crippled. However, the conflicts are not actually between these covenants. The conflict is one that has been slowly escalating between Mithraic and Mercurian Flambeau magi. Similar tensions have been evident in tribunals such as Normandy and the Rhine. This is a concern because Andorra has always had strong ties with Mercurian Flambeau. Most Flambeau magi in Iberia, like those from Doisettep, are Mercurian. But in the last decade there has been an influx of magi immigrating to Iberia from other tribunals.
  • A new covenant has been established in the region of Pampalona in the kingdom of Navarre. Like ourselves, they have declined to formally participate or ally themselves with Iberia or Provencal, yet like us they have ties and connections in both tribunals. Their political situation is so similar to ours that it is worth keeping an eye on.
  • The past five years have been quite profitable, and in every category the covenant is now stronger than we were before the attack. However, keep in mind that this has required a lot of effort, and it also means that the last five years could have been growth instead of recovery. Someone out there still has our stuff that they stole; three queens of vis and a bajillion miscellaneous magic items.
  • There is this new junior magus, and upstart journeyman named Roberto, who has submitted a proposal that he claims will revolutionize the way our custodies are managed and utilized. He submitted a written proposal to Vibria the other day. Alexandro received a copy as well, and though he thinks it is a sound plan, he thinks it might be too ambitious. Roberto proposes terminating all mercenary contracts, hiring men-at-arms directly and merging them into a newly organized Andorran Guard. He further advocates developing the Andorran Guard into a mercenary company that we own and operate as a covenant. Our clients would be other magi only, and we would contract out one to four guards as a group of specialists for magi on expedition or adventure or simply to pad out their bodyguard/entourage.
  • I am brainstorming these random talking points, so feel free to add as much to this list as you want :smiley:

Arachne will, of course, express almost paranoid concern for the covenant's safery. She has done much, but still not enough. And she is concerned about the attackers (are these related to the ones who destroyed Insidiae?) and their eventual return.
But there's only so much she can do, so she's been thinking about hiring hedge wizards, and maybe hermetic contractors.

Arans is of great interest to her. Not only could this cause trouble in the future, so better to investigate now, but this is a boon for her: She seeks ghosts to bind for andorra's defenses, but hasn't found a way to bring this to the table, especially as binding ghosts from Andorra might be ill-perceived by the surviving servants. But this... She could both supress trouble and strengthen Andorra!

She'll also support Roberto's proposal, if only because she thinks the covenant will be safer that way. Having trustworthy grogs will also make her task easier, in that she'll be able to equip and train them with magical items. Likewise, she'd like to hire and architect and a team of masons, woodcutters... Time to do some serious work on Andorra's defenses.

And yes, she wants revenge, and she wants to get back andorra's items. It's her friends who were attacked, at least once, and it's her new home's safety that needs these...

(Good ones, marko, a lot of these interest her :smiley:)

As best I can recall, the "new arrangements" is the proposed charter between Andorra and the Redcap Lodge, yes? And I honestly don't remember where we wound up with the portal project. I want to say that the first stage was a Portal between Barcelona and Andorra, but don't hold me to that.

I, as a a player, have no strong opinion on that, as long as we don't overextend ourselves or stretch ourselves too thin, both as players/a troupe and as a covenant. Vibria will get ($).($) (or, if you're British, (£).(£) :smiley: ). On the one hand...[color=red]More vis for me!. On the other hand, [color=red]Wait...I have to share?.

Even though that was before Vibria's time (although not by all that much, iirc), she still would be interested in that information. She's interested in gakking them, more as a matter of principle than anything else. Fédora is also interested in the covenant shutting down or eliminating whoever (or whatever) attacked the covenant, because if people think that it's dangerous here, they'll be less inclined to put a Portal hub here. Kind of pointless to have a shortcut to the Order here if everyone has to send a Bjornaer seal team in first.

Definitely worth investigating. (Vibria)

[color=red]"Doesn't he at the very least owe us back rent?" Vibria (or maybe Fédora, as what might be part of her Redcap duties, unless she's carrying another of Vulcanus's children) would be interested in checking this out.

Maybe it's been too long, but that proposal isn't ringing a bell at all with me.

Tackling everything in some sort of order of reply...

and...

That is because I just thought it up. :mrgreen:
Not entirely though. It draws from various ideas discussed in the past. Vibria has a few personal custos, Gold Gryphons who have either sworn loyalty to her&/or struck a personal bargain / contract with her. The idea is based on that. The Gold Gryphons of Andorra are part of a larger organization called the Vibra Company (mentioned in Grogs under Almogavars). So they don't actually work for us, they are contracted out to us by the main company.
Roberto's idea is to hire them all directly. Some will stay with us, others will return to the main company. Depends on ow they feel abut the deal and other plans they have in their lives and what their friends in the group are doing here or elsewhere. No big deal about it. Happens all the time. There is a respectable fee due to the main company for doing this, it is written into the contract.
Some will stay and some will go. And they will still be mercenaries. The distinction is that they are directly ours. And technically, the Andorran Guard has always been "mercenaries. They were always paid wages and had their own distinct chain of command. Many came from other mercenary companys and some came and went as is always normal for free soldiers. So theoretically, there might be former members of the old guard somewhere out there, old guys that retired or took other jobs and whatnot.
Then we need to pad out our ranks to replace the Gold Gryphons who decide to go back to Barcelona or elsewhere.
That's where Xavi comes in.
This is only a partial solution, but Roberto knows a mercenary captain who is a hedge wizard. Now it wouldn't be the same as hiring a batch of individuals, they are his soldiers. But the group would be contracted directly to us instead of contracted through a larger group.
At least I think that is how it works. Xavi, is Arnau a leader of men or is your character the servant of some larger group? I should of passed this by you first, but I am trying to knit things together and kick this game back up to speed. I apologize.
Actually, I do remember we were debating that, and you were outraged by my meager ballpark figure.
Name your price and we will figure it out.
As for Hermetic contractors, no need. I decided to let Vulcanus run on NPC autopilot for the sake of keeping Fedora around and happy with family. We will figure that out down the road, but i am thinking two seasons a year of stuff for the covenant.
Rational: now a father, Vulcanus takes his grumpiness out on his children and is to fatigued by family to get involved in the personal affairs or public issues of other magi. The two seasons are designs we tell Fedora to nag Vulcanus about and he complies with the ideas.
No. One season for that, and one season for something one of us designs in the mindset of Vulcanus and his specific masterpiece driven/hubris mindset.
Something like that.

This is one for good ol' PoB :smiley:
The ghosts seek the tablet. They cannog get through the Aegis so the wander in confusion. They are apparently not as powerful as the one that communicated with yough through the tablet, and ghosts roaming so far a distance from their graves are running on autopilot obeying the command of their prince.
And it isn't a spike. It was a rapid curve that followed the initial opening of the Vault.
Fast forwarding it for you, but this is a segue into the urgency to mount and expedition to the City of Brass.

Lots of sticky bits we forgot to work out and finish up on.
But yea, as I recall, we were to have a portal with Barcelona and with a Provencal covenant (I think it was Doisettep). I shall sya the Barcelona portal is finished, and the one to Provencal will open this Summer.
...

We shall make a side story of Fedora doing just that :smiley:

Which will "coincidentally" ( :wink: ) have something to do with whatever the next major group adventure that the players choose. Majority vote. These ideas or one you guys invent.

Great! Having existing ghosts available will be way easier for Arachne, both on morale and finances: Without it, she'd have had to use Incantation of Summoning the Dead, which costs quite some vis.

Her goal is to bind them in service to the covenant, and then give them control over some magical defenses, like mechanical spiders.

IMO, the easiest way is to consider that his lab total increases on average by 1 each year, 2 whereas his focus is concerned. Keep it simple.

Hum... Would his mindset be applicable to enchant a giant mechanical spider? Or at least open it for enchantment?

IoStD was errattaed, uneratted, and there is another spell just like it and I don't know if it is a ritual or not anymore. It shouldnt be, IMO. So long as the ghost is already a ghost and you are in it's haunt &/or have an AC. On the other hand, I can see it as reasonable to requie a ritual to summon the resting spirit of someone not active as a ghost. But then if you have their body you can use a low level InCo spell...
Maddness
So I handle these things on a case-by-case basis.
Anyway, manipulating and binding automatons is creapy business, the sort of strange magic Dimir Taar was into. I suggest you take a walk though the archives in the storage basement located under the keep, just to see what you might find :wink:

Nah. Just keep the scores static, and maybe bump them once eve seven years (or maybe hold out for Ryu to return, 'cause I know that cranky Texan still reads these things.

I really doubt it

:smiley:

That's exactly it :smiley:
It was in Legends of Hermes.

In short, to call a ghost, either there's an existing one and you don't need a ritual, just a "regular" summoning spell and an AC, or there isn't one, and you need IoSD.

And since it seems these ghosts are rampant, arachné is just hoping she can see one, and bind it right away 8)

Everyone reread this post. I messed up a few "quote-/quotes", and just edited it to clear up confusion.

"Rampant" is an exaggeration. But only slight. Before the door was opened, there was only an occasional ghost every few years or decades. Whatever. Dead ancestor or murder victim or whatnot. Some of the grogs claim that there is a ghost among them. So they say. And it is kind of true. He is one of the old guard and is the Ghostly Warder of another guard. But since the door was opened; there was two of these hauntings by foreign ghosts in that year, and rapidly escalated to a current average of once a month.
And there is uncertainty about that. Sometimes an incident gets reported two or three times in different ways, and people get jealous of those who have good stories to tell and make up their own. And none of this has been confirmed by magi of the covenant or its agents. With the sole exception of the ghost Solomon saw (if he reported it). So in reality, what we have is a spike in "ghost stories" coming up from the town. The common thread in most of these stories is the ghost looks like some foreign soldier, if confronted he speaks some strange language, sometimes he also gestures up at the covenant keep, and it quickly disappears thereafter. It is most often encountered at a crossroad. Sometimes it is seen marching alone and disappears turning a corner. The reports indicate belief in more than one ghost soldier. Descriptions of appearance vary. There is a report of two meeting at an intersection, and a tale of three marching together.

But anyway, Carmen approves of Arachne's ideas. As you are the Warden, I leave it up to your discretion as how to best protect the covenant and the town from these ghosts.

Carmen wants to move on to this military proposal, which she does not like. She feels hiring another officer (Arnau) would be a rival to her brother's position. She also thinks that Roberto is an upstart Journeyman trying to insert himself in a Master's role. Further, she wants to keep good faith with the Vibria company and keep the Gold Gryphons as they are.
And she will be direct about it..
I don't like this idea and think we should vote to turn it down. We don't need two captains. We have a good relationship with the Vibria Company, and the Gold Gryphons have spent the past four years training with us. And who does this Roberto think he is? Coming to us as a new member and trying to run things. How many former covenants has he gone through now? How long does he plan to stick around?

Yes, Arachné has met him once or twice. She wouldn't bind him, however, not without his consent, since he's an ally.
She wants to bind ghosts in various points of the covenant, with the specific mission to defend it. She also wants to bind one to a mechanical spider (Not unlike the Living Corpse).
Thing is, magical defenses are dumb, but this would allow intelligent ones. This would also create defenders that are immune to a mass PeCo spell like the one that fell the previous defenders.

Thank you, carmen. I really appreciate it. I will do my best, you know it. I owe it to your father.

Arachné ponders carmen's words for a moment

I see your point. We certainly don't need 2 captains, so these would need to be under your brother's command.
Now, we could divide our turb in 2, the home turb and the one that ventures outside, but that's a bad idea in my opinion.
The idea has merit, still, and I don't think we should discard it.
We don't have to keep hiring mercenaries to have good relationship with them, we can part ways on good terms. Could we make an offer to those soldiers of the Vibria Company and Gold Griphons that want to to stay here? After all, some of them must have made... attachments in the country. I'm thinking that, in these companies, there must come a point where the men just want a nice place to stay, and would otherwise leave the company. We could offer them such a place, and everyone would be fine.
It is my opinion that we need soldiers who know the lay of the land, know the magi and the covenant. We need soldiers who'll fight to protect their home, not to earn some gold. We can't have that with mercenaries.

This Roberto... I thought he was gonna be send to secure Sa Dragonera. He sure don't get to run things here, and get no say into the covenant's affairs, although I am open to suggestions. And maybe he don't plan to stay around. Like any mercenary. What's the difference? Maybe we should hire him. For what I've seen, he sure looks like a nice fellow. Not unlike your father, actually, but without his... failings. And maybe too brash. But a good man. Take him in as a Protected Guest, with a share of our wealth and vis, and see what he's made of, and if we can trust him.

My heraldry geek kicked in, and my first thought was "What? What does a 'ghost rampant' even look like? Oh. Right. Um...nevermind."

[color=red]"I would prefer that we have one person in charge of the company...the fewer soldiers I have who have a reason to come leer at me the better.

"Although I do think that having our own company of mercenaries. One, if we can rent a few out (while keeping the bulk at home for our own defenses), that would be more money coming into our coffers rather than spending so much a month for someone else's mercenaries. Plus, with our own troops, we run less of a risk of, say, someone else outbidding us for men and depriving us of our regiment before we're attacked.

"And...is it typical for a covenant to rely on hired mercenaries for its defences? I had always thought that a covenant's turb was its own men.

"I'm not that familiar with Roberto. I've only sparred with him a handful of times, and I was impressed. He didn't seem that distracted by my b...my bounciness in the yard.

"Can we terminate the contract with the Mercenaries without paying some kind of penalty? If we can, then I would be more then willing to welcome any who wish to join our new company."

I am going to NPC Vulcanus just so I can contradict Carmen :mrgreen:

Vulcanus hrumphs and shakes his head. [size=20]You know you like it you tramp...[/size]Ahem There is already a system of officers in place, with Alexandro as Captain and the rest of the old guard ranked as sergeants and corporals. The Gold Gryphons have their own chain of command, with their own captain with several sergeants and corporals, all subordinate to Alexandro. This would be the same thing. Although I see no need to cancel any existing contracts. But I do think a reorganization is needed and the additional soldiers with arcane experience would be useful.

Vibria is exactly right. You are being short sighted Carmen, and letting your attachment to status quo get in the way of progress.

Carmen responds. It varies. Some are bound to their covenant, some are free folk pid wages, some are mercenaries, and some are mixed.

Vulcanus sticks up for Roberto because it gets under Carmen's skin. He seems a fine upstanding Flambeau magus to me. Both stoic and heroic. Carmen, again, is being short sighted. This time her judgment clouded by her daddy issues
Carmen fumes, counts to ten, then twenty, then backwards to zero.
Fine. I then motion that we go with the plan, with the amendment that we terminate no contracts.

It is what's fair.
Think of it as a temp agency or other contract work.

You, guys, write a lot. Difficult to catch up, damnit! :mrgreen:

The idea is that Arnau is a captain-level figure in a larger organization of around 3k almogavers. He formally has around 60 dudes under his command, but he will never be able to muster more than 20 (wealthy mercenary captain virtue) for regular operations.

The mercenary company of the Fire Brothers have upper echelons with a mystery cult. They can initiate some supernatural virtues, the most spectacular of which is the ability to cast and manipulate fire. In the organization it is strange for them to have more than 10 dudes with that ability at any given time. They have worked for several covenants in the past and the Quaesitores, Tremeres and some Flambeaus have looked into them, and while they were deemed a powerful force in mundane terms, they were not esteemed powerful//dangerous enough to be introduced into the OoH.

In practical terms the Fire brothers are a military witch coven and follow the same rules as witch covens for most virtues and flaws they can grant and for organizational purposes. The have Fire Casting and Hex instead of Cursing and Healing.

I talked with Ryu about introducing Arnau here, and the original idea was for the Flame Brothers to have been granted Sa Dragonera as one of their fiefs in Mallorca by the king due to their role in conquering the islands. Arnau would be in charge of that location. Most of the company is in the Levant right now, with about 200 Flame Brothers in several locations of the island right now, and only 3 fire casters all in all (Arnau, a junior member and a senior member).

That was the idea. if it is OK, I will keep it up. If not, I will change it. No biggie.

Cheers,
Xavi

Roberto's idea is to make Arnau and a number of men in his command a permanent part of the covenant. Is that possible? Is that necessary? Essentially, the goal is to increase security and assure loyalty. Security in the sense of protecting the covenant, but also in the meaning of feeling secure in our relationship with our armed forces. As for loyalty, their is no doubt that companies such as the Flame Brothers, the Vibria Company/Gold Gryphons, and the Monjoy Company; each are loyal to the Order of Hermes. Magi are their exclusive clients. (The Monjoy Company is also detailed in Grogs, it was the model for the Vibria Company, which was inspired by the Barcelona Almogavars described in Iberia.) The concern is that we want them to be directly loyal to us, uninfluenced by political powers in Provencal or Iberia.

Let me mentalate here.
Okay. There is a vis source on Sa Dragonera and a deep regio centered on a house in Palma in Mallorca. Barcelona sent Pere to investigate the house, he enjoys the standard of living and has moved in. Roberto was on Ibiza when he met Arnau. I kind of like the idea that they formed a begrudging mutual respect and gruff friendship. Kinda like two soldiers :wink:, or maybe a pair of old bikers. Then Tiana has the brilliant plan to form a Redcap HQ on Mallorca and stuff I have no idea about. She goes over there and invites Roberto to join Andorra. Roberto convinces her to hire Arnau.
Hired on Xavi's terms and Xavi's price. For now. So you and your men are already in. This is about altering the bargain I suppose.
Now that I have figured that out, everyone feel free to shoot down the proposal or table it for later review or something :mrgreen:
So anyways, Roberto travels to Arans to be sworn in, spends the winter here, and is so distracted by how awesome cool everything is, he has totally forgotten about the islands.
Does that work? Play along with me here and we will shape reality to suit our purposes :smiley:

I see no problems here. It is our saga anyway :mrgreen: Even the Flame Brothers might be interested in this, not as a military organization, but as a magical tradition.

Let’s say that in the past the Flame Brothers have had some near wipe outs, and they do not fancy it. Almogavers (and magic items) can be replaced, but a wipe out of their supernatural tradition might not. Hence, having an offshoot that can act as a reservoir for their tradition might be seen positively. Those would not be members of the flame brothers, but might act as a “savings bank” for the tradition if at least one of the fire casters survives to initiate new members if necessary. Cousins, not brothers anymore.

An offshoot tradition can also be seen as a good source of new recruits for them. We train them a little, send them to travel the world and they return to us while veterans of the Levant and/or Iberia. They earn a bunch of almogavers that are already well trained (while green) and know how to incorporate magic into their tactics. We earn veterans. I can see a working relationship there. It is not necessary, but I can see this as a source of hooks for the saga, and that is always good in my book. :slight_smile:

Arnau can be OK with this. Fast advancement and new challenges ahead instead of being stuck in administrative work in Mallorca. If Arnau and his eam are already hired I can see no problems with Andorra upping the stakes and hiring them on a permanent basis.

So yes, it can be offered and being a PC Arnau is likely to accept :wink:

After all, Roberto is not such a big shot, and he needs someone to care for him when he tries to go out there and do stuff that are above his capabilities. I will send a pair of raw recruits to do it and keep him out of trouble.

This works as well, and looks good to me :smiley:
Actually I still see them as brothers. Kind of like a mini Order of Hermes. You get trained/initiated, you are assigned a number of soldiers, and sent off into the world.

Moving right along...

The Idle chatter betwixt Xavi and myself was actually the banter of Roberto and Arnau out in the hallway. The Master's Council meets before opening for General Council, and you guys haven't decided to let him in yet :laughing:

Anyways, Carmen looks at everyone and says I say we leave the Gold Gryphons as they are. It may be a good idea to start offering direct contracts, after a number of years of service. But no need to terminate any contracts or anything. And forming our own company, let's just drop that idea. It makes me uncomfortable, it places us in competition with our closes associates, and I have seen other covenants try this and it always fails. That is my advice.
As for Roberto's mercenary captain buddy, I guess he works through a larger agency but is willing to go for a direct contract. I see no problem with that, but realize that we are hiring this Arnau guy, not his soldiers. He pays his soldiers. They are his men, not ours.
And I say we leave them stationed in Mallorca, as was originally intended.
What's this Roberto guy doing here anyway? Tiana dug him up in Ibiza, and invited him to join so he could watch over our interests there. But of course, why would he want to stay out there? He is mister gung-ho happy to be at the covenant of the legendary Delendos and home of the Knights of Seneca. We need to find a way to convince this guy to go back to Ibiza or Mallorca or whatever, and take his mercenary buddy with him. Either that or find an expedition to send them off on. Make themselves useful. I want to make sure he earns his keep. Let us see if he even sticks around for the seven years required to become a Master. Has he ever stayed at a single covenant that long? Has anyon done a background check on this guy? I want one of you to check him out. Size him up. See what he's got and what he is up to.

[size=150]Solomon of Gurnicus...[/size]
The large text and bold text are meant to grab your attention. This is your cue.

Arachné moves her fingers delicately

I agree with this. As much as I think roberto is a good man, we can't just have some unknown guy come and make himself at home here, especially when he hasn't even asked to be a part of this covenant. Hell, when they gave me asylium, your father and his sodales gave me protected guest status, as it should be.

I can certainly see the utility of having new magi join Andorra as jouneymen and set up a chapterhouse to watch over mallorca, or any other task. And I'd be ok with this, he is senior enough to be able to manage this thing, yet this is removed from the main covenant here. If, later, he wants to move to Andorra, he'll have shown us what he is made of, and we'd have had time to get to know him at least a little: For all that I like him, you are entirely right: We don't know him, at all.
So I say either he stays here as a guest, or he manages Mallorca as a journeyman. If he stays here and perform services for the covenant, we can perfectly grand him a vis share, in all fairness.