Alternate Tribunals and borders

The challenge you have here, is that if you add the tribunal of Scandinavia. you need to design its Hermetic history as well. You are absolutely correct that Scandinavia is not pagan wilderness in 1220. Iceland is Christian by parliamentary decree about AD 1000, Norway from soon after St Olav's defeat at Stiklestad 29 July 1030, and Sweden in the same century.

However, the fact that the Church lives peacefully in settled areas, does not mean that Hermetic covenants would not be under constant threat from magical and/or faerie beings from the wilderness, and there is a lot of wilderness. Not pagan, but virtually uninhabitable. There might well be threats that have kept the Order out, not necessarily human (OoH).

Comparing it to Britain, it seems that Hermetic colonisation depends entirely on a single magus with a great vision and determination to match. Such pioneers arise more or less at random, and not necessarily immediately when the land is ripe for the taking. Maybe that exceptional magus simply did not emerge until after 1220 in Scandinavia.

Thus, leaving Scandinavia out of the OoH seems perfectly plausible and consistent. Including would also make sense, but the map exercise does not suffice. One also has to decide when the tribunal was formed, how, and by whom, and one has to map out the magical landscape as well. As long as it is wilderness, to be explored in game, it is much easier for SG and the troupe to design it along the way. If it is settled, there has to be a lore which needs to be available IC and OOC.

Considering that the entire point of the thread is to redesign the tribunals in their entirety i think it is fine to add a whole new tribunal with new history. It would be a challenge to do yes, but again that is the point of the thread.

However, the fact that the Church lives peacefully in settled areas, does not mean that Hermetic covenants would not be under constant threat from magical and/or faerie beings from the wilderness, and there is a lot of wilderness. Not pagan, but virtually uninhabitable.

Aye there is a lot of wilderness. But more importantly there is also a lot of tamed land and a lot of land on the border between wilderness and tamed land, which is where the order in general is happiest. As such I see no specific reason why hermetic magi would have a harder time settling scandinavia than e.g. the areas covered by Novgorod or Transylvania, which also have lots of untamed wilderness.

Comparing it to Britain, it seems that Hermetic colonisation depends entirely on a single magus with a great vision and determination to match.

I dont agree with your assessment here. The british isles where not settled by a single magus but rather were conquered by her. This may or may not be the case in regards to the order of odin.
There is to my knowledge very little evidence to suggest that the other areas settled by the order were settled by the efforts of a single exceptional individual. IMO the more likely explanation is that these were settled slowly over time by lots of individual magi coming there because it presents an opportunity to settle outside of the pressures of established institutions.

Thus, leaving Scandinavia out of the OoH seems perfectly plausible and consistent. Including would also make sense, but the map exercise does not suffice. One also has to decide when the tribunal was formed, how, and by whom, and one has to map out the magical landscape as well.

This is a strange point to raise in a thread specifically dedicated to a map exercise disregarding the impact said map exercise would have on canon.

EDIT: sorry to add so much in the first edit, I was going to write the full post the first time around and accidentally hit the "reply" button.

Then let me rephrase what was really the point.

This is not a question of which tribunal map makes most sense in the historical context of Europe, because many different solutions can make sense, depending on the Mythic assumptions you make. Instead, it is a question of what gives the best story.

You are absolutely right that a Scandinavian tribunal could have formed by 1220, if sufficiently adventurous magi decided to go that way, and the opposition from native faeries/wizards/magic beast is not vastly more ferocious than elsewhere in Europe. Whether that makes a narratively interesting and playable setting, we don't really know until you make its culture, history, and supernatural landscape.

What I claim is that the setting as it is, where Hermetic wizards were chased away several centuries ago, and only a few have dared return, and only in secrecy, is equally plausible. There are at least two narrative sequences which make it plausible. One is that the native forces really are as ferocious and powerful as the Order used to think. This may or may not be the OoO. It could be trolls who leave the mundanes in peace, but quickly crack down on settling wizards, like the Manx dragon. The other is that it was rightfully seen as to wild and barbaric before the Schism War. After the Schism War, the Order was busy rebuilding, and only now, after almost 200 years, has the time come to expand into Scandinavia. This offers, to me a setting even more pristine than Novgorod, already prepared with canon lore.

There is a third option. Historically, Norway's had its closest links to the West, and Christened through its contact with England. One of the first Christian king was Håkon Athelsteinsfoster, fostered by the English king Athelstein. Sweden expanded West. It is quite plausible that both Loch Leglean, Rhine, and covenants in the Baltic Sea have expanded into Scandinavia and remained within their original tribunals. The West Coast of Norway really had better communication with the British Isles than with Eastern Norway until the railroad was built around 1910, and the See of Drontheim covered what are now Scottish islands, at least down to the Isle of Man. Similarly, the Swedish King came to rule most of the Baltic Sea. Tribunals formed around these lines make as much sense to me as a new Scandinavian tribunal.

So in short, while a Scandinavian Tribunal can be designed to make sense, it is not a logical necessity, and you should convince us not only that it is possible, but also that it is worth doing. The canon authors have made a good job of making every tribunal unique (except possibly Iberia and Loch Leglean, which are out of date), and to justify a new tribunal you need to find the unique quirk which makes it worth playing. Speaking of which, the split of Novgorod, presumably increasing its Hermetic population to make it sustainable, risks depriving us of its unique quirk - the insanely vast distances.

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I'm looking back to the founding and something is hinky ith the first tribunals. 817 was a grand tribunal in which (by core) ordo miscellanea became ex miscellanea, and Tremere had planned to take control at the Grand Tribunal of 850 according to true Lineages, but Thebes was accepted as a tribunal at the Grand Tribunal of 865 according to the sundered eagle, which was described as being the 6th grand tribunal since 767, when the first Grand tribunal met, a period of 98 years. Also it is clear that there were tribunals established by 848 when Tremere's plans for domination were thwarted, but the description of the founding of Ordo Miscellanea suggests that there were no Tribunals before 817...possibly putting the formation of tribunals at the 817 tribunal and being part of acknowledging that one Tribunal could not rule them all.
If this is the case then a Celtic tribunal is almost an initial necessity, as it would have been part of the negotiations with the ordo miscelania. Presumably the core of the order at the time would have followed the rough borders of the Holy Roman Empire of 817, and the split of the order may well have followed the split of Charlemagne's territories (interesting note- the core book indicates that the early order worked with Charlemagne)
Although 843 was the first split at the Treaty of Verdun, which would be later than 817...

More precisely: at a planned special Grand Tribunal, which because of the breaking of the minds of Tremere's lieutenants in 848 never took place.

This appears to mix up Tribunal as territorial organization of magi with Tribunal as a formal meeting of magi. The overall territorial organization of the Order was decided at the Sixth Grand Tribunal of 865, while procedures for lesser Tribunal meetings were already determined at the Second Great Tribunal of 773.
The Ordo Ex Miscellanea joined the Order of Hermes as Ex Miscellanea at the 4th Grand Tribunal 817. Of course there were Grand Tribunals and lesser Tribunal meetings before 817.

The second meeting in the first tribunal 773 constituted the regional tribunals [HoH:TL:41]. The 33-year and 7-year cycles were established 832 [GotF:140].

No, I am not saying that there are not other canon sources who say otherwise. Merely contributing to your evidence gathering.

Hmm. Are there any examples of what might constitute a lesser, non-territorial tribunal before 865?

The Grand Tribunal and the Regional Tribunals were first constituted at the second meeting of the First Tribunal in 773.

"As the population of the order grew, regional Tribunals were established in 773. These regions had no definite borders, but were instead composed of covenants located in more or less the same parts of the world."
Faith and Flame p9

Bonisagus the Founder "was last seen at the regular Thebes Tribunal meeting of 836, recruiting young magi for some secretive mission."
HoH:TL p8

Creating the Grand Tribunal would not have been needed at all, unless there was a split into regional Tribunals at the same time.

I suspect canon sources are less consistent about this than they ought to be.

I should think so: GotF p.140 mentions an "inaugural Rhine Tribunal" meeting 780 - thus putting to use the rules for lesser Tribunal meetings from 773.

«Inaugural Rhine Tribunal» sounds like a geographically restricted tribunal. What happened in in 865 was a formal definition of the boundaries [GotF:140]. This does not imply that the previous lesser tribunals were not territorial organisations, merely that their boundaries were more fluid.

More precisely, they were not sanctioned by any Grand Tribunal. Magi gathered, and the participants of the gathering detemined the scope of their jurisdiction.
Of course, places with many established magi and relations, like the future Rhine Tribunal, had already established their claims for an area of jurisdiction well before 865.

Even more precisely. The tribunal had been sanctioned, by the general decision in 773. The tribunal borders had not been sanctioned by the grand tribunal.

Up to 865 the function of the Grand Tribunal was different from ArM5 p.14 The Grand Tribunal.

The Tribunal as a meeting yes, but not the scope of jurisdiction of that meeting.

While that is a possible interpretation, it does not necessarily follow from the canon quotes presented thus far. The fact that the Grand Tribunal did not fixate any borders until 865, does not imply that the regional tribunals did not have the same mandate earlier. Until we find a canon source which describes more details about the tribunal practice before 865, this is anyone's guess.

Where do you get this information from?

I see nothing there, or elsewhere, to indicate that the function of the Grand Tribunal has changed since it was constituted in 773.

This makes me think that a Greek Jerbiton Covenant could have been the first in Sweden as they went back up the trading river route with Varangians and settled somewhere in Upplands, possibly battling the Draugr in the many barrows and Kurgans that pepper the region. The Great Temple of Uppsala would have been a good faerie site, and the burials mounds around it would be Co vis sources.

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on the orriginal point- regional tribunals were established in 773, borders defined in 865, and in between the two events was the (mundane) treaty of Verdun, and the treaty of Prum, which if we were to reconsider the tribunals (outside teh official timeline) from this point, it is entirely possible, given that we know Bonisagus interacted with Charlemagne, that the borders at that time could be influenced by those treaties.

Which would potentially result in the Tribunals of Lotharingia, Italy (Northern modern Italy), Rome (Southern modern Italy) Provence, East Fanconia, West Franconia, Thebes, Rus, Scandanavia (who were being christianized rather enthusiastically at this point) a Celtic tribunal for the British Isles, and and Iberian Tribunal