ArM5: The Heir of Laimunt Valley (FULL)

Campaign Title : The Heir of Laimunt Valley
System : Ars Magica 5th Edition

Number of Players : 4 to 7 players willing to act as Beta SG for a troupe-style saga

Posting Rate : At least 2 substantial posts per week, more when you are running a story
Plot- or Character-Driven : Mostly character-driven, with some occasional plot-driven stories.
Focus : To be determined by the troupe

Character Types : At this time, I do not want to see character concepts. This should be discussed as a troupe so that each character can have stories generated by several

Saga Concept : Ars Magica's troupe-style play is a challenge, but it gives everyone a chance to play. In this saga, each of the players would run stories for each others, while I would provide the overall setting and an occasional story.

The troupe will decide how to build the saga (starting level, advancement rules, sourcebooks used, frenquency and duration of stories, etc.) and the broad strokes of the covenant (aura, vis, library, buildings, etc.) I already have some ideas about the covenant, but that's all they are at this point – ideas.

Before any magus character concept is accepted, there will need to be at least 2 other players who will state their willingness to run stories for that concept.

Campaign Description : After an old and powerful magus passes into Twilight, his substancial inheritance pass to his filii. Along with the usual enchantments, books, lab notes and an important amount of raw vis, he also leaves behind ownership a secondary sanctum with several registered vis sources. As part of his Hermetic will, he stated that to be allowed to gain access to the resources of his secondary sanctum, a covenant would need to be established there and that only a magus of his lineage could head this covenant.

The problem is that this sanctum is located in a valley located near Basel, at the crossroads between the Tribunals of the Rhine, Normandy and Greater Alps. The potential for conflict is great, as these Tribunals have sharply different rules governing covenants, with each Tribunal able to lay some claim to this territory and its vis sources.

Instead of letting one of them take direct control of the site, which would mean that they would need to leave their own covenant, the heirs decide to send the unsettled filius of one of them as head of the covenant. This magus is of course too young to defend and manage this inheritance by himself, so a number of magi are approached to join the covenant.

(Note that the young magus who heads of the covenant will be my character. The precise character concept is yet undecided but will be discussed with the troupe like any other character.)

Interested with ability to beta storyguide as long as it fits other commitments.

I would be interested, and able and willing to run some stories.

I would be interested, but see some plot holes- every magus by law must belong to a tribunal and a covenant, if for no other reason than the delivery of mail. In principle a magus could belong to more than one covenant, so having a covenant of disputed tribunal allegiance should not be a problem. However describing a magus as "unsettled" does become an issue.

Also worth noting that while the rules for joining the Rhine and Normandy tribunal are in 5th ed sourcebooks the Greater Alps only has a description in the 4th edition, so we need to decide whether we are using that description or not (as well as whether the tribunals need any adjustment for our saga.

My preference is for fairly high powered magic, and something light on combat and heavy on research.

I also tend to like playing "lower" characters- companions and grogs. One issue I would like discussed early on is whether we need to pay build points for PC grogs.

In this context, I used "unsettled" as meaning he hasn't established himself strongly in a covenant. Several Tribunals recognize magi who travel from covenant to covenant, only spending a few seasons or years at each. In the Rhine there are peregrinatores, while in Normandy there are eremites. Also, a junior magus in a large covenant tend to see it as easy to leave his current covenant when a better opportunity presents itself.

Yes, the troupe will need to decide whether it uses the 4th edition description of the Greater Alps. One of the basic assumption of the saga is that a tension occurs when a covenant is established at the border between Tribunals. Which will they join and on what terms? Is raiding a problem? I would certainly see one of more of the Beta SG staking their claim, for example saying "I will run stories involving the nearby Tower of the Ashes in the Alps and how Jacinta of Flambeau interacts with this new covenant." If no one wants to create such stories, no problem. We can either write off that chapter house, or say that we came to an agreement with Jacinta. Another Beta SG could say, "I will take care of the redcaps and the Copper Rooster Inn in Basel." And so on and so forth.

My usual preference is towards the low end of magical power. In this saga, I am personally aiming for mid-level power. I am more interested in the stories that can be told rather than the research being performed.

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From my perspective research can lead to stories, either because you are seeking sources of insight or because things don't go so well..

Maybe we need to start by deciding how we are going to decide things- are just raising hands for story ideas without worrying how the mesh together or do we set up the framework of the setting first?

I think we should wait a few days before we start making decisions and putting any structure in place. Time enough for people to express interest and ask questions.

When we have a full roster, then we will start making decisions. I don't want players to join and have previous decisions forced on them, or having to restart a discussion and modify a decision because people were added. That's wasted efforts and it can destabilize a game before it is even started.

Note that I do not expect actual play to start for a few months.

I also don't want people to not join because it looks inactive, and I think a discussion about which way to approach it might well be a good place to start... I tend to be more of a "superstructure" approach where I get the impression you prefer everything be based on what stories will be told.

Not everyone spends as much time checking these boards as we do. Let's give everyone a chance.

My initial post is only 2h old, so I don't think inactivity is a problem just yet. :wink:

4 to 7 is a bit of a range. With us here having expressed an interest we are at 4, would that be enough though or want more before discussing things?

I'd like to start near or at the upper range of the number of players, so we need at least 3 more. One thing I've learned is that, in PbP sagas, there are a number of players who will leave over time. Also, I wasn't counting myself in the 4 to 7. :grin:

That being said, there is nothing to prevent us from discussing our preferences, like silveroak and I did a few posts ago. What are your expectations? What are you confortable with? What kind of stories would you enjoy running?

Just be aware that no decision regarding the saga will be taken until we have a full roster and everyone can chime in.

I would prefer a saga with a small cast at the covenant. I prefer knowing the NPCs on a deeper level than "you have 3 stablehands" - though I am aware that not every single npc at the covenant or at a local inn can be fleshed out. That means "tighter" stories with recurring traits and "memories" from earlier times.

For tone - gothic I would say - a valley in the Alps, three tribunals desperately trying to vye for our membership with murder, politics and foul play. Maybe also a sombre tone - one of inevitability and slight despair - interspersed with bright moments.

Comfortability level in terms of things that are "unpleasent" - I am all in, nothing really scares me or makes me go "no!". I will do my best to adjust to others' expectations during stories I run.

I'd enjoy running some politics (though I like playing magi with that focus too...), mundane interactions with nobles, things tied to the local area or things from "old days".

If we are going to get involved in mundane politics how real world do we want to get? I mean we have the war between Fredrick II and the Vatican brewing in the Rhine/Alps region and the Albigensian crusade launching from Normandy on the other. Not exactly what strikes me as small local issues. Even things which would be small local issues tends to tie into these conflicts, unless we simply leave the historical world behind.

That assumes we use the official date of 5th edition. We can always start things a few decades earlier, which is something I like to do. It is easier to mine the historical section of the Tribunal books for ongoing events in the Order.

Yes, but there are real world issues swirling about there for some time that have implications of impressive magnitude if not those ones precisely.
I also ask because writing stories with RL historical context is one of my strong suits.

I'm all in favour of using real historical events as an inspiration, without going too far into the details.

For example, if the Holy Roman Emperor dies then his successor is the same as in history, but perhaps not all of the territory that changed hands in real world history does so in the saga.

But I would tend to steer away from large-scale changes from history. No burning down of the Vatican or blatant murder of the King of France by the Order of Hermes, for example.

Also worth raising as a point- Basel is already the location of a recap hub and historically a bishopric, being ruled both secularly and liturgically by the bishop, meaning the area is likely to be very non-magical. Perhaps a slight change to the setting? Like 150 miles west of Basel?

The location I am preparing is over a day's travel from Basel. Only about 30 miles away, but outside the main trade routes that pass through Basel. Still far enough that the Dominion will be less of a problem in the area under the covenant's influence.

(Edit: Note that 150 miles west of Basel would put you right in the Dijon area. Not exactly a Dominion-free area either! :wink: )

I picked 150 because it is, according to the map from Guardians of the forest, the actual point of intersection of the three tribunals. The game map and real world map don't exactly line up at that level of detail. 30 miles will put us in Belfort, a town which does not exist at the point in history where the game begins, though 45 miles instead would put us a bit more comfortably in the middle of nowhere.

I would have thought a troupe-run campaign with several storyteller would have had a discussion about Tribunal, location, hooks and boons. You seem to be preparing the setting already. Did I misunderstand the intent, and will you be the main storyteller?