Game Title: The Rhineland Chronicle of Collem Leonis
RPG System: Ars Magica 5e
Game Moderator: OriginalMadman
**Game Description (1 sentence): A mystical saga of an awakened winter covenant in the heart of Kottenforst in Rhineland. Actual played from september 2021 to [still running] **
Session 1 Writeup:
It is the year of grace 1220 AD. Some young but hungry Hermetic magi from far and wide seek the mythical covenant Collem Leonis, somewhere in the deep and wild forests of the central Rhine Valley between Dortmund and Cologne...
Played by Johan E
Hermetic magus of Jewish descent. Obsessed with the mysteries of creation and true forms.
Convinced that YHWH created everything in 6 days and from this it is still possible to feel the reverberations of an echo of an echo of the first word, from which the universe was created; a driving force to create that can be given outlet through the Hermetic technique of Creo.
- Born in the Jewish quarter in Cologne. Parents died when he was young in a local riot and flogging of Jews in 1196. Helped by Jewish merchant Simon to escape.
- Raised by uncle Ivomai in Lübeck, affiliated with the covenant Oculus Septentrionalis. Somewhat isolated from traditional Judaism.
- Was apprenticed to Carolus of Jerbiton of Oculus Septentrionalis.
- Not an actively believing cultural Jew. Believes that the Jewish tradition as it stands is not capable of protecting and developing the Jewish people. However, tries to follow basic traditions such as the Sabbath, kosher, etc.
- Sees the Hermetic Order as risking the same fate of the mundane mass if the relationship is not actively managed (Jerbiton).
- Still sees himself as a Jew and feels a responsibility to both the Jewish people and the Hermetic Order to find a secure future.
- Built up strong contacts within the Jewish community and is known there as a healer, has supported above all his own family with gold and healing arts. Probably accepted but not appreciated by rabbis.
- Specifically strongly connected to a large number of mother / uncles, cousins etc in the scattered family primarily in Cologne.
- Prominent but aesthetically pleasing nose, high hairline, dark hair. Deep-set intense dark eyes that can catch the eye (pre +1).
- Ascetically emaciated (-2 str), impractical and clumsy (-1 dex, -1 qik), until it comes to magic when movements become sure and precise. Long with slightly curved back.
- Surprisingly deep and melodic voice (com +3).
- Dressed like a traveling Jewish merchant, sturdy dark blue clothing of good quality, including the round badge required by law.
- Passion to create! Feels an urge to create new things where nothing previously existed, and to restore something that is damaged or destroyed. Man as from YHWH's image is the highest form of this, hence healing is the lowest form of actual creation.
- Jerbiton: Create the beauty of the natural form (natural form), especially the human perfect natural form. Order and perfection in thought and surroundings is beauty.
- Must have security! In the long run vs the uneducated mob. In the short term for the family, for the covenant, for the traveling party, for his room and laboratory.
- (Unaware) Prove your worth! As a Hermetic magician, as a Jew, etc. Drive to be recognized as the greatest Creo magus in history, and the great Jewish secular patriarch [not low on ambition this one].
- Fair dealings (type). Giving or demanding is for those who don't understand better, or who have a hidden agenda. Fair structured agreements that give and take are the civilized way. Taking advantage of someone's vulnerable situation or need is just smart. Breaking an agreement is the lowest of the low. [a foreshadowing what will keep happening in the campaign!?]
- Specifically from Jerbiton
- Seek beauty, avoid ugliness. Beauty (inner) = goodness and right (and vice versa)
- Jerbiton dislikes fairies: "parasitic creatures without soul". Inner ugliness masked by outer beauty.
- The Creator gave us an insight into beauty!
- Sinful deeds are ugly
Played by Henrik R
- Sent to the Rhine Tribunal by Master Janus of Tremere (the spy master of Coeris, Tremere domus magna covenant in Transylvania)
- According to ancient information recently found in the deep archives of Coeris, there were signs that Diedne magicians housed in Collem Leonis. However, it could never be proven and nothing more was done during or after the Schism War. If they were even there, they are probably long extinct. No matter what, Tremere has a few points for Alessio…
Ensure that this is the case - no Diedne magi must be allowed to exist! In case of any discovery, the order of priority is a) Report immediately for support. b) Only in case of risk of discovery or danger to life - destroy them. Caution is advised - they can be cunning and dangerous and use unexpected spontaneous forms of magic. Remember that the Diedne were allied with dark fae powers, as well as unique masters of unhurried magic and thus got the whole word on fall.
See if there is any ounce of truth to the rumors that it occurred historically at the covenant.
Ensure that no remaining scriptures are in the library. In that case, these must be confiscated and sent to Coeris. Secondly, that they are destroyed rather than falling into the wrong hands.
Since older covenants can sometimes harbor forgotten knowledge, see if anything else useful is available for the benefit of our stately house.
As always, be sure to counteract and minimize any possible Tytalus influence. May they be kept out like the ever-annoying vermin they are.
In order to effectively carry out his mission, Alessio may "need to officially join the covenant". Janus understands that this may cause some unhappiness, but expects to have him placed there for a longer period of time so it is probably for the best. He's ordered to keep a low profile and hide his agenda. In the meantime, of course, he's free to focus on whatever research he chooses, but it is assumed that, like all Tremere, the house is always put first!
The house expects a detailed seasonal report on the progress of the mission as well as the activities of the other mages in the covenant. These are to be sent punctually to Master Janus in Coeris, as well as to Magister Daria la Gris of Triamore's covenant on the "western front" [the closest covenant against the Tytalus-dominated Normandy tribunal].
During his time in the Rhine Tribunal, Alessio is mostly left to fend for himself, but in times of need he can of course count on support from Tremere brothers, especially from the Triamore covenant in the west and Roznov in the east [bordering Transylvania].
There are currently only two seal-bearing Tremere in the Rhine Tribunal:
- Master Severicus in Roznov, who holds about 2/5 of the seal (and will be allowed to take over Alessio's seal during the time in the tribunal, if necessary he will also take over the role of "supervisor" from Daria la Gris).
- Archmage Stentorius, authoritarian leader of Fengheld [the largest covenant], and Tremere Exarch of the Rhine Tribunal hold the remaining 3/5.
Note that Archmage Stentorius is NOT notified of Alessio's presence or mission [let's keep it that way..].
Played by Daniel B
Originally from the Normandy Tribunal (northern France) - where Tytalus domus magna (headquarters) covenant Fudarus is located (the home covenant). The Tribunal also has several other powerful Tytalus mages.
Guiscard's master is the Prima Buliste of Tytalus (read more below), who quite soon upon awakening from a long-term Twilight brazenly took over early in his apprenticeship from an outmaneuvered fellow mage. Before her Twilight, Buliste was unthreatened Prima over House Tytalus, but after she reawakened after several years of slumber a couple of decades ago, she was challenged by Primus Harpax who became her successor - and who then refused to step aside again. It was shortly after this that she took Guiscard on as an apprentice, almost out of pure anger. Over the years, she has taken out much of her anger and frustration on Guiscard through the apprenticeship, forcing him to endure both spit and spite and many unpleasant missions in her petty vendettas against Harpax.
Prima Buliste now sees that Guiscard has failed her in the power struggle against Harpax, despite "everything she has done for him"! At times she has accused him of running Harpax's errands (truth?).
Having (almost) succeeded in throwing off his master's yoke, he has for a time been a traveling magician (peregrinator) and has heard of the hospitality offered at various covenants in the Rhine Tribunal. It's been a bit of a relief to put as much distance between himself and the troublesome master as possible!
However, his first attempts in Triamore on the border with the Normandy Tribunal almost ended in disaster. He was certainly welcomed (like all magi), but there were several Tremere mages there led by one Daria la Gris who weren't too fond of Tytalus.. At all!
The conflict was indeed a "fun" challenge, but perhaps a little beyond Guiscard's ability, so he decided that a strategic retreat was the best. He'll be happy to put sticks in the wheel of Daria and Triamore if he gets the chance in the future, and one day of course he wants to reciprocate by dominating them completely. It shouldn't be that hard as it really was a small crap covenant with few magi.
The next move was to try to visit Durenmar in the Black Forest, the First Covenant in the entire Order and the seat of the Grand Tribunal! Although he wandered constantly in the forest for probably a whole month and never found it. Cursed be the Fairy Shapes!
The same thing with the covenant Dankmar in the southern Black Forest, but there the forest was much darker, colder and downright unpleasant. Surely there were multitudes of dark fairies that eluded and tormented him! The unrest and discomfort he felt for being there was a bit beyond what he saw as "positive conflict" and he left the forest (never really met anyone to spar with anyway...).
After that he tried something more city-based: Fengheld on the Rhine covenant in Cologne. But there he chose to basically turn at the door as it was also a real Tremere nest with the archmage Stentorius of Tremere himself visiting [Fengheld, the most powerful covenant in the Rhine Tribunal have several chapter houses]. "Some challenges you may have to work your way up to, but one day..."
In any case, the Rhine Tribunal seems to be a more fun playing field than Normandy (and further from his tormenting master) at the moment, but perhaps he should start by building a power base at the right end...
Guiscard has heard about an older, but slightly smaller, winter covenant in the Kottenforst forest northwest of Cologne - not so far away! It has also been rumored that there are fairies there (maybe more interesting to spar with? Revenge?) and that the farmers stay away because they don't want to be eaten by the beasts of the forest. Perhaps learning from conflicts with these could be something as the next step..
He has also heard of the new covenant Waddenzee on the outer islands off the nether lands of the north. It is supposed to have been founded by a Tytalus (Eric Ribecus) and a Tremere (Hygwald Veritas) together (what?!) about two decades ago when they beat out a fleet of pirates. According to the rumor they are now the pirates themselves… [not so compatible with the code maybe? exciting...]
Sometime in the future (not in a hurry) he would like to go all the way to Maddenhofen forest as the founder of the house, Tytalus himself, disappeared there in 807 AD. According to legend, he planned to challenge the Queen of all fairies herself there. The Merinita mages of the Covenant Irencillia are said to be extra protectionist about that particular forest. He might find out more if he can "ask" someone from there?
Guiscard has an ambition to eventually become an archmage! (he is now only "Tyro" i.e. journeyman, and in the Rhine Tribunal they also have "Magister" before you can become "Archimagus" i.e. archmagician). It may take some time to really take down his own tormenting master - but hopefully she'll be busy with her archenemy for a good while longer...
Played by Johan W
- Was a child in a rural village near the edge of the forest - a forest he knew that one was absolutely not allowed to enter as a child.
- The mother disappeared/died or was displaced after birth or at least before he has any clear memories.
- The father was a simple and harsh man "such a child cannot be my son!".
- There was a rumor in the village that the mother lost herself to fairies (or Satan himself, for many it is the same thing)
- Childhood memories of priestly sermons about all the fires of hell that hurt both body and soul..
- Wise old woman takes pity on the weird child, but is eventually lynched by "the godly"
- Saved and hurriedly abducted by a "traveling figure" at more or less the last moment. After that, the memories are very blurry for a while...
- Twigs and thorns that pull and tear.. The smell of dying leaves, the oppressive musk of deep primeval forest. Slumbering and awakening as if out of the blue... The feeling of a warm bosom and the taste of honey-sweetened goat's milk.
- Dark crackling fires, large stones, powerful and loud unintelligible singing in crescendo with sudden interruptions. Strong scents of musk and in the air a taste of metal. Euphoric feelings!
- The savior is a blur in memory.. was a little scary? but somehow still so safe... Was he perhaps called something in A.. or something in F.. or was it both? Or one at a time? So confusing when old memories fail...
- The memories only clear when he is handed over one late and stormy night to his parens at Irencillia. He thinks he was around 9-10 years old at the time - but that cannot be determined.
- A bit unsure of where exactly he grew up in the early years, or how long he was actually with the fairies
- During his time as an apprentice in Irencillia, he was never "caricatured" (see Irencillia's culture and traditions) which several mages there thought was quite strange.
- As a young mage after his gauntlet he has wandered around Europe as a "peregrinator", i.e. visiting mage to the various covenants (to learn more)
- Unclear exactly why he left Irencillia
- Heard rumors that the old covenant Collem Leonis (in winter since long) in the old fairy forest Kottenforst welcomes new permanent magi. There certainly must be "forgotten secrets" and a huge library in such an ancient place.
- There are also dark rumors that the Covenant housed (or houses) Diedne magi, but this has never been proven. If it had, the covenant would have been destroyed in the schism war. Are there even any survivals of Diedne traditions left?
- Also heard that Kottenforst and the Black Forest to the south (where the first covenant and tribunal seat Durenmar is located) house older and more unique fairies than most other forests. Something exciting outside of the more common fairy traditions? You never know with fairies...
- Even wonders of a magical nature must have been seen in Kottenforst. Perhaps they got there via portals from Arcadia or magical regios? Is it time to find an interesting familiar perhaps?
- If one wants to play with fire and tease Tytalus magi, you can always point out that their founder got lost in the Maddenhofer forest when he was about to arrogantly challenge the queen of all fairies. [Irencillia Merinita closely guards this forest.]
Additional Magi and guests TBA here