ARM5: Ad Astera per Aspera

to the stars through difficulties- this pretty much sums up the campaign I'm looking to run/play. The covenant will begin at the low end of the power scale but will face great challenges and grow to great heights- or die trying. My basic concept for a setup is this: a caravan of research has been traveling site to site for decades, looking into all kinds of phenomenon and ancient relics. Nobody even thought of it as a covenant until the founder died and the group began to break up. The players will comprise a core group which is remaining to set up a new covenant with what they could salvage from the caravan's equipment. They will need to find a site and begin establishing the covenant, with no beginning source of income- money or vis- only the stores from the caravan and the grogs loyal enough to tough it out. I'm open to suggestions on tribunal (or it can be outside a tribunal, but we still need a basic geographical location), but would state it should be somewhere that they do not need tribunal permission to establish a covenant (so Rhine and Thebes are out)

What level of development are you looking at for the starting characters? I don't think this will work with folks right out of gauntlet, but I am probably interested if they are more advanced (which of course raises the immediate question of which advancement rules.) Any other thoughts on which house rules will apply?

A covenant from ground up is tough, which is why I gotta be on this! And for added masochism, I'd love to go Verditius. Fair warning: I've played a coupla short Ars campaigns, and have a few books, but have never played PbP before.


I'm figuring all levels of development, per standard rules, no initiations or breakthroughs for starting (beyond intrinsic mystery houses), but everyone (starting players...) will be given an allocation of 50 build points that can be spent on books, lab texts, money or enchanted items, which can include someone else's lab texts on a breakthrough (especially in ancient magic). Afterwards I will spend about 3 times that on 'lost' items from the caravan- basically books in one form or another, that anyone who wants to make their character with seasonal advancement post apprenticeship could have studied from. In fact if you want to pre-post your 50 points here, and discuss locations (broad brush geographic location) that will probably make things go smoother...

I do not have all the tribunal books, so I have some questions about location. From what I have seen, Normandy / France is low on Vis? And Iberia is full of feuding kingdoms and some feuding magi? Both Scandinavia and Novogorod have significant groups that dislike the order? But Novogorod is within the sphere of the order, while Scandinavia is not? And what is the situation on the British Isles? Having too big a range of advancement among the characters might make things tricky for play (although some range seems fine.)

When you say "all levels of development, per standard rules", does that mean as many years as folks want, with 30 xp per year - time spent doing other things? From your later text, it looks like you also are willing to allow fully specified seasonal advancement, based on what we have personally and what you put in the "wagons".

If I am reading this right, the plan is to plant ourselves somewhere, using the limited resources we have, and the knowledge from the caravan. If so, once we have picked an area, is it reasonable for the group to already have some information on aura and natural (non-magical) resources we might be able to use? I presume that finding vis sources and such like will be part of what we have to do once we start?

With regard to build points for us individually, how much does a talisman (with or without attunements) cost?

(Sorry to be pedantic. I have misunderstood storyguides before, and I want to avoid doing so.)

I'm quite partial to the wild west of Iberia ( have the 3e book, which, after subtracting all the insane infernal gunk, is of some use to establish the setting). I have very limited knowledge of other tribunals, but that player flaw can be worked into the character background easily enough if we choose somewhere else.

Quick question - do we have a copy of the roots, are they readily available, or do we have to buy those out of our 50 points?

They would have to be in either your 50 points or my points-

I do not have all of the tribunal books either, if it is not available in pdf we will be playing a variant version of that tribunal. Normandy is definitely low on vis, Stonehenge is very hard to avoid mundane entanglements as a result of the Domesday book documenting the nobility and who has charge of what territory. Hibernia is in the middle of a "war" between the scattered lords of Ireland - who also fight amongst themselves, and the Brittish. Loch Leglean is less controlled than Briton but still under English rule.The Alps I have heard may not require advanced permission to establish a covenant but they do exert a lot of control over them and are very strict with the non-interference rules. Scandanavia is part of the Novgorod tribunal. Of course there are lots of possibilities outside the tribunal- places in between (the black sea lies between the Levant, Thebes, and Novgorod) or outside (a mediteranian island or Northern Africa, or east of the Levant...)

I hope that we get a few more people interested. If so, we can probably each contribute points to have a complete set of roots.
Western Iberia or Ireland sound like good bets.

I'm interested but will be a bit busy until after the holidays.

I took a glance through covenants, and it looks like it will take 300Bp to get a set of 5/15 roots. I think we would be better off spending points on vis and lab/spell texts, then trying to get summae in game. OTOH, if we can get more than six players......

I based the 50 points/player on a group of 6 to begin with. You will definitely want to start with some vis and/or silver/gold (it is counted as silver but could actually be in gold, just a lot less). Once you get set up you can write some of your own books, trade training where you are weak, etc. One issue will be how well your location will be accessable to the redcap network. After all 1 point can buy 5 pawns of vis which would buy 5 levels of a sound summae...

Could go Isle of Mann :smiling_imp:

I personally like Hybernia but the background story for this game makes it difficult. Provencal could work except for the Crusade problem. Transylvania would be out. The alps just need to have 10 vis/year per mage in the covenant. I would not do Novgorod just because the concept is a spring covenant and there would not be enough time to gain power before Mongols showed up in 1237-1241.

Iberia would be interesting if all of the demon stuff was toned way down.

The background is that a traveling covenant that was not considered a covenant went around investigating mystical sites until it's founder died and the organization dissolved. Finding mystical sites in Ireland can be as easy as swinging a cat...
... okay, I exaggerate, but I don't think there is any trouble at all with fitting Hybernia into our background. The bigger trouble would be avoiding all the warfare between Irish traditionalists and the new covenants, between the English and the Irish, between the Irish and the Irish, between the Tuatha de Danna and the Fomorians, between the O'Donnels and McKeaths...

So popping up a tower in a corner of Ireland where we found an aura is likely to get noticed, but there may be as much fighting about who gets to argue with us as there is an actual argument with us?

Honestly, it'll probably get less notice than in a more populated tribunal like Iberia.

Less populated
More magical resources?
"civil unrest" can provide opportunities, especially to less scrupulous magi...
unclaimed mundane resources

Less populated
many magical resources fae related/controlled?
"civil unrest" gets people killed
lacking infrastructure to obtain/transport mundane resources
isolated from trade, both hermetic and regular
less "cultured", meaning few large cities

What am I missing?

i ment that to form a covenant in Hyberna one needs to have cattle and a Cathach. Not having these in Ireland means that the traveling group would be considered vagrants and hunted. Since the covenant traveled it would have a hard time meeting these goals.

Not saying that the group could not have been hunted for years but that would change from a research group to a much more war-like group.

Maybe I wasn't clear- the caravan traveled Europe (and a bit more) searching for arcane knowledge. Also I do not have the Hibernia book as it is not in a pdf, so if we play Hibernia, it will be my own variation, not the published book (same goes for Iberia).Hunting people who move around would make it impossible for the economy of Ireland to be sustained, and this is the first I have heard of any such claim being made in terms of the habits or customs of any land, and certainly would not be an aspect of any game I run.

I'll say it now, 'cause I'm probably not going to be on my computer tomorrow.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I'm already enjoying an early xmas gift - a 15 yr old solera scotch. Christmas cheer is alive and well......


I'd love to play if you still have space

Assuming there is space - which there ought to be, I hope, based on the player count and previously-stated sentiments - and that you wouldn't mind another person relatively new to PbP, I'd like to join as well.

Given medieval conceptions of the nature of 'lost knowledge' and 'ancient relics', I imagine the group would've traveled primarily through the Middle East, Greece and the heartlands of the former Western Roman Empire, perhaps with the occasional diversion leading them to other places ("So I heard that this Krakowian lord seized a mysterious object from a Jewish merchant, and it sounds a lot like what we've been searching for ..."). Ireland has mystical sites, yeah, but they tend to be awfully faerie in nature. I have no doubts that the Merinita would love it, but for a lot of others ...

I like the Mediterranean. Makes for handy mundane travel, gives us access to all the Interesting Ancient Places, and the climate's lovely. It's also relatively hospitable to a diverse group of settlers such as our own (I get the impression that the people in this caravan have been picked up along the way by means of "Oy, you there! Follow me!"), so that's a bonus. And if we end up having to deal with the occasional crusader effort or group of foolhardy pirates, well, every magus, maga and mag@ needs little excitement in their lives, don't they?