Advice for a tribunal story

As the subject says, I'm going to be running the first Tribunal in my game next Sunday, and I'm looking for tips on how to play it. This is set in Stonehenge, 1221. All three players are bringing their Magi (it's the first time for these Magi out of their gauntlets).

I've got some ideas pertinent to my campaign, but I was looking for suggestions/ideas for court cases, Hermetic politics, personalities; side plots, basically. Also, any advice from other storyguides on what works and what doesn't, and how to make the most of the tribunal would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Sub Rosa #5 has a whole article on running tribunals, with a lot of that addressed. The reviewer appreciated the article, so I may have said something right. :wink:


I'm running in Stonehenge, too, but just so you know... Tribunal sessions in Stonehenge are one year later than the rest of the Order due to historical peculiarities. :slight_smile:

One thing I did was to make sure the characters got into a conflict with another maga over resources. Some Certamen was involved. Some... less-than-sanctioned actions may have also involved. At any rate, the magi present are now all being charged by the maga in question, so this gives the PCs some reason to both attend and figure out how Tribunal works so they're not railroaded into paying a huge vis fine.

Wait, so WHEN is the first Stonehenge Tribunal supposed to be after the 1220 start?

1222, 1229, 1236 etc, IIRC.

And the next Grand Tribunal is still in 1228, yes?

Yes, so Stonehenge would run an extraordinary Tribunal in 1227 to prepare, like everyone else.

Okay, so I got the date sorted, but any suggestions for events or plots to include at the Tribunal? Preferably Stonehenge related, but if anyone had any great Tribunal stories from their games I'd love to hear them.

For a Stonehenge-specific issue that my Saga will be dealing with in the Tribunal of 1222:

A coalition of northern covenants who have been suffering from raids by Horsingas and its allies for years have finally had enough. They bring to Tribunal a proposal to collectively punish these Loch Leglean covenants by committing the entire Tribunal to military action. If the resolution is passed, every covenant in the Tribunal would be obliged to provide at least one battle-ready magus, or a supply of vis, or grogs to fight off mundane raiders. At a designated time, participating magi would collectively declare Wizard's War against all known members of all known covenants who have taken part in the raids from Loch Leglean into Stonehenge over the years. The coalition feels that because Loch Leglean refuses to sanction or punish Horsingas (and its allies) for its blatant violations of the Code, that this inter-Tribunal action is necessary.

Where would the players stand on this issue? Do they have links to those northern covenants? Do they have any Hooks or Flaws that could be leveraged against them by magi in support of this action? If they support it, maybe those same Hooks or Flaws would be used to restrain the PCs. If they participate in person, what is the fallout with those covenants in Loch Leglean? Do they hold a grudge? Can a Spring covenant survive reprisal Wizard's Wars?

Ooh, that's a good one! Great, thanks! That's just the kind of thing I wanted to throw in!

For court cases, there was a thread where several cases were mentioned. There was also the much discussed topic of whether testing an AC to a magus counted as scrying. This may not actually be determined in your saga/Stonehenge Tribunal, and so it might be a contentious case, perhaps the defining case of the Tribunal.
Also CJ did many (30?) cases in this thread.

What you don't mention is whether your players are new to Ars. If they are new to Ars, a Tribunal can be a bit daunting. And in any given tribunal that I've run, I've focused on one aspect and let the others happen in the background.