Bjornaer House Meeting

Hi fellow SGs (and players)! :slight_smile:

In my saga I have a Bjornaer, and it's time for the House meeting. Unfortunately, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I would like to devote a session for said House meeting, but I can't come up with nice ideas. Any input/help would be much appreciated!


  • I have 3 players, one of which is the Bjornaer. I have no problem giving the other two players an NPC character to also play at the House meeting. In fact, this is what I would prefer.
  • We are a fairly non-aggressive group, so it shouldn't be a "kill everything in sight" story. Some combat is okay, though, but no dragons/faerie gods/whatever as enemies!
  • House meeting 1227, so it's a fairly fresh Bjornaer. The character is a cat-Bjornaer with a Mentem affinity and inclination. Gentle Gift, silent/subtle magic... you know the combo :wink:
  • I'd like to have one NPC Bjornaer more prominently involved, he's the princeps of another covenant in the Tribunal, and I might need that character for plot hooks later on. Nothing specific on the involvement, though.
  • We play in the Theben Tribunal, so anything that covers the travel from there to Crintera and back is also possible.

So, what do you do for House gatherings? Political stuff? For Bjornaers, the Ritual and some mystical stuff might also be nice to use. Looking forward to hearing your stories! :slight_smile:

I can tell you about our Seven Year Meeting (or whatever the big shindig is called). Twelve Year?

We'd just played a tribunal meeting, which was awesome (in case the storyguide who ran it checks the forums), and it fell to me to run the Bjornaer meeting. One player had a Bjornaer maga. I made NPCs for the other two players, but one got sick and couldn't attend so we just had one NPC (used by the second player who could make the game). Having recently done a tribunal meeting, I didn't want the Bjornaer meeting to be uber political. Some politics were going to come into play, because of our overall story arc that was building to the Second Schism War (which we ultimately did play as a special all-day board game event [in costume]), but I wanted to differentiate this meeting from a tribunal meeting.

Because the House is essentially pagan ancestor worship, I made it like a giant church meeting/family reunion. Bjornaer showed up from all over to attend. To handle the 70 or so Bjornaer's I used my old Everyway deck. At the table we pulled cards to represent the different NPCs each player encountered. Each had a friend, a neutral associate, and an enemy. It was funny how we interpreted this as the cards were drawn. Anyway, once the initial meet and greet stuff happened, the council was summoned. Both magi (player and player-run-NPC) were from the same Clan. The leader of the Clan was ancient and approaching magical animal transformation, so the Clan had to pick a new leader. One of the House's mystics performed a peace-pipe-trance for the Clan elders, who transcended into the Magic Realm of Totem Animals to select a new leader. Essentially a forced Temporary Twilight. While in this Twilight, the elders reverted to their Heartbeast forms. The whole thing happened in a secret cave. The players were there to make sure the elders' Heartbeasts didn't eat each other. Fairly simple and light-hearted, keeping the boar away from the crow, etc. (I forget specifics).

Suddenly, (of course), the sparrow heartbeast is transfixed by a red arrow and dies. The players freak out and get the shaman, who sends them into the Magic Realm of Totem Animals to find and save the other two elders. They go into a trance (forced Twilight) and the game continues as they search for the elders. To spoil a long story, it was the god-like Magic Human Indra hunting the elders; House Diedne was on the rise. In our saga, House Diedne left Mythic Europe during the first Schism War and retreated to Mythic India. There, they incorporated the Hindu gods into their pagan worship practices and developed a whole new thingie way of thinking. The Second Schism War wasn't with the New Diedne, it was over what to do with them. Half of the Order wanted them dead, half wanted them in.

Or something like that.

Matt Ryan

Just last week we ran the first part of our Bjornaer jamboree for 1227. I stole a lot from this campaign mostly names and such. The PCs had to travel from Hungary so had a few road adventures but eventually got to Crintera. There was/is lots of political stuffs going on, mainly centered on how the House interacts with mundanes and the order. All of which were subtly inter-related so the characters that took a hodge-podge approach rather than a pricipled one didn't do as well.

The first issue was a covenant in Denmark wanted to belong to Novgorod. Some political grumbling but most folks didn't care.

The next was my favorite: Urgen wants the House to stop hiding their magi as apprentices. The House recognizes a heartbeast as a magus but that person may only have been trained 3-4 years. So, they're kept around for another 10 or so until the Order "says they can be magi". Lots of arguments back and forth regarding why this is and why it should not be. Ultimately, some want their Tradition to be treated with as much respect as the other Houses. Some want the Order to not give them crap over their apprentices. General discussions about what it means to be a magus and so forth.

The majority of the Novgorod Bjornaer are not in attendance as the battle of Kalka River denotes the start of the Mongol invasion of Europe and some covenants have already fallen and others don't care to make the 1000+mile trek with this threat on their doorstep. Much angling about what to do, especially as it seems that large numbers of Bjornaer are in Novgorod so this affects this House more than others.

Otherwise, actual things to do: reconfirm the primus (hold a vote of no-confidence or not depending on who shows up), pcs and npcs telling stories of their travels (I think a semi-organized reputation building session would be incorporated into the Gathering--talk until somebody else says something more interesting or everybody wanders off), Council/Clan/Sept meetings (integrated with all of the above, again politics). I envision the Gathering as not so much an agenda-driven activity but as Matt says, a family reunion and endless talking and going over and over the same stories again and again until somebody can get the body of the House to move in some direction, if at all. The Gathering itself I had scheduled to take three days, but magi were showing up weeks early and will probably stay through the season, though most will leave shortly-ish after the ending ceremonies.

That's all I'm remembering at the moment,


Just spread a lot of newspapers in the corner, make sure the grogs are on duty with their shovels. :laughing:



Thanks for the input so far, I'll see what I can hack together for my House meeting :slight_smile:

I ran an extended adventure for a Bjornaer magus - part of an Initiation Quest - which began at the Gathering of Twelve Years. The two other characters took on Bjornaer characters; but rather than them playing random storyguide characters, I had them create two contrasting Bjornaer magi of a similar age to the player's character. But then I was doing more than just the Gathering: there was a story that followed.

The story really begins before the characters get to the Gathering. There is a minor encounter in getting to Crintera; most people land at Dranske and walk along the peninsula. However, the locals will know that it is the Teufelsjahr, and will be ready for the arrival of witches and demons. The characters should probably try to avoid them. There is also finding the Watching Path, and travelling up the regio with its form-changing effects. Did the character bring grogs or companions with him? If so, what animal forms do they take? Any visiting magus will probably seek out his Animal Power, and have a short communion with them (All these things are discussed under Crintera's description in GotF).

The Bjornaer chapter of HoH:MC gives a precis of the Gathering. There is an opening ceremony by the Bjornaer council which causes everyone to adopt heartbeast shape, verifying that all present are actually members of the cult. Initiation is next, conducting the Ritual of Twelve Years for all apprentices present. This can be political - some magi may desire to be present at the ritual for certain apprentices, but their presence may well interfere with the ritual.

If there is a vacant Council seat, then elections are then held. The rest of the Gathering is about honoring the memory of the ancestors. As Matt Ryan has already said, the feel is possibly more akin to a religious ceremony than a political gathering. HoH:MC suggests a few events - songs, recitations, mystery plays are performed that celebrate the life of a famous magus. There is probably a lot of trading of information; magi may be seeking a specific Great Beast who would make a suitable Mystagogue for the Inner Heartbeast, and want to trace down rumours. These might be costly secrets. Furthermore, Crintera is an Ancestor Site, so most (if not all) Clan and House Mysteries can be initiated. Even if the player's character is not seeking initiation, he might be asked to participate in another's.

There is also the matter of settling rivalries and reaffirming friendships and alliances. The former is probably couched in ritual, requiring characters to participate in trials, the purpose of which is to learn to respect another's strength, and possibly even his point of view. For example, a PC magus might meet up with his childhood bully, who was the apprentice of his master's sept-mate. This has never been a Feud or Enemy (as per the Flaw), but he is still sufficiently obnoxious to warrant a smackdown, so the PC may want to manipulate him into a trial.

There is a scheduled recitation of the news of the Order (from the Eagle Elder), news of the House (from the Horse Elder), and house policies (from the Bear Elder). All of these are open to debate and discussion.

I give attendees 5 free experience points in Bjornaer Cult Lore. These 'free' xps do not detract from seasonal experience, they simply represent who the character has talked to, and what he has learnt. (I do the same for Tribunals, granting free xp in Order of Hermes Lore). They may wish to put seasonal experience into Bjornaer Cult Lore as well, but even those who aren't trying to learn pick up something. The Gathering is too short for anything other than Exposure experience, but the character might find a Teacher at Crintera who will permit him to stay on for the rest of the season. This is contingent on him making an impression of some sorts (as a perpetrator or victim of some deed; those who were just bystanders need not apply!).

Hope this helps,


Thanks, a good idea with the Mystagogue "politicking". My player so far hasn't tried to go any further with her Inner Heartbeast, she's not very rules-savvy. I'll see if I can nudge her into a direction she likes! : )