Canary Islands Tribunal?

I am mulling a hypothetical saga involving colonizing the Purple Islands. Ancient Magic's chapter on the Hesperides is the main inspiration. This quote from pg 92 of AM particular has me particularly thoughtful:

The Code May Not
Protect the Guan
The Code of Hermes prohibits magi from interfering with mundanes, but the Guan are the servants of a caste of hedge magicians. The Order has historically asked powerful wizards to join, under threat of death. Weaker magicians, like the Guan kings, have usually been told to serve the Order or die. The servants of magicians are the property of those magicians, and may be legitimately targeted.

Some in the Order would suggest that direct rule of the Guan is entirely within the Code. The Guan are not Christians, and their kings are always magicians. This has interesting political ramifications, but these are beyond the scope of this chapter.

The last part I bolded as this is the part I am most interested in. The goal would be to create a "Tribunal of the Hesperides", settled by Magi from the Theban Tribunal who want to create another Classical Greek speaking Tribunal, but one where the Order can openly integrate, or perhaps rule, the mundane society there.

How would the rest of the Order react to such a Peripheral Code? Though this may be putting the cart before the horse as there are other issues:

    1. Those in the order in favor of the Status quo will resist the new Tribunal, and perhaps argue it should be part of the Iberian Tribunal.
    1. The Guan are highly technologically backward, living in caves and still use stone tools. This means anything useful will have to be imported or created with magic.
    1. Technogical brought on by the PC's will affect the society there - though I know little of the anthropology/sociology of this.
    1. Getting enough Magi - 12 magi from at least 4 covenants is the requirement. The PC's will likely be 3 to 6, and can try to either bring in more people, or have lots of children and hope they don't want to leave.
    1. Historically the Spanish invade in the early 1400s and things go as bad you might think of early European colonization.This may happen sooner if the PCs antagonize other Hermetic factions in Europe.

There are many possible allies or competitors for such an undertaking: Lotharingians (GotF p.29 box), the Coenobium Rhodanien (F&F p.128ff), Tremere, magi building (TME p.54ff) The Island of the Magicians, or magi from the (TtA p.10ff) The Northern Seas covenant.


Good suggestions! I have looked at these for further ideas. Using these groups as competitors could be more interesting than allies. I'm not sure if there are say, canon rulings on how many tribunals can be great per Grand Tribunal.

The Lothoringians want to take Chunks out of Normandy and the Rhine Tribunal, so might actually be allies in some sense. Regarding the Coenobium, a large multi site covenant is interesting, but not where I want to go with my idea.

I think legally, the order will have a hard time arguing against a group of 12+ magi in 4+ covenants in an entirely geographically new area.

Seems likely to be a small tribunal.

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There are 8 islands, so if there is a covenant per two islands... it works out. My thought is that since the locals are pro magic pagans, the islands are rich in vis and auras.

A Tribunal should have at least 12 magi and 4 covenants. That seems impractical for the Canaries.

The most obvious Tribunal for them to attend is Iberia. If a Tribunal of Africa launches or is starting to be organized, there you go.

On the other hand, if Antillia is located, perhaps these two island covenants might form the seeds of an Atlantic Tribunal.

I seem to recall a covenant was trying to form an oceanic Tribunal. The Covenant of the Canaries might be their minority island covenant. Or perhaps not minority, if a Covenant forms in Iceland.


TtA p.13 Carles Magnus of House Tytalus plans a "Tribunal of the Northern Seas" - so I thought he might combine forces with the Canary magi.


Madeira and The Azores (now there's a band name) don't seem to be specifically known in period, but there were Viking seafarers, various fishermen (Portuguese, Basque), possibly Arab explorers who may have stumbled across them. It seems plausible companions or magi may have heard rumors.

Then there are the legendary Vanishing Islands, which may be real and perhaps not so much vanishing as easily misplaced. There probably are vanishing islands, though, fading off into regios except under certain astrological events, or approachable from certain directions.

I don't know if a Tribunal of the Seas would be stable enough to secure recognition, but so far, several candidates: one or two itinerants, the Canaries, Madeira, the Azores (none of which would be called that), Iceland, possibly Antillia,

Several of these covenants would have the appeal of essentially no mundanes to interfere with. The Order could essentially establish a hegemony over the Atlantic.

There's also the possibility of creating an island magically. I think that's explored in Hermetic Projects.


You could even add on some of the (even more) desolate islands in the southern atlantic: Ascension island, St. helena, Tristan da Cunha.

These places could conceivably be very magical due to their isolation, unique flora & fauna, and general unspoiled nature. They are also great places to be left in peace.


Well, it doesn't sound so bad in portuguese (or spanish); the name is generally assumed to come from goshawks (literally "azores"). Which is kind of odd because there are not (and were not) goshawks in these islands.

Digging a bit more the name seems to come from the mythic Azuis islands, which doesn't do much to improve the sounding of the name in english, but means something like "Blue Islands", because the trees & plants of the island seemed of that color when spotted from afar (also because some kind of blue lichen named roccella tinctoria grows there). So you can always label them either Blue Islands or just latinize it to Caeruleum Insulae.

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A tribunal of the canaries (and other atlantic islands) is a very good setting if you want to have a saga that focuses on stories about the magi either living in isolation or ruling over mundane servants openly.

Ordinarily in ME it is quite difficult for magi to rule over mundanes openly because they inevitably have to either swear fealty to a mundane king/lord/what have you, or refuse to swear fealty to same and go to war to protect their independence. But on a desolate island you could very well set up a small magocracy of your own and be independent quite happily.

There is also the potential for interaction with whatever magical being live in or on the deep ocean. Usually those small islands have very steep shores, meaning that even a short distance off the coast the sea is very deep. Deeper than is usually possible to go even with our modern technology. There could be anything in those seas but also conceivably living on them. Giant birds, kingdoms of sargasso people living on rafts or seaweed.

As for the deep ocean you could have merfolk kingdoms, giant sharks, cthonic spirits, spirits of the deep ocean etc. There might be comparatively fewer faeries because they lack the large numbers of people necessary to sustain them. But magical creatures have the place to themselves and so could be very powerful and unhindered in their ability to act.


I'm actually at the point where my character in my personal story saga campaign quest setting is also going towards the Canaries. I'm gonna read over the book again to see what sort of interesting elements can be brought forth from traveling there. :slight_smile:

So this thread is really cool to me.

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So here is one thing I just realized that I should have earlier but I guess it didn't come to me - the Canary Islands, in which the Ancient Magic book covers, is the island chain Africa rather than the island chain in the Atlantic past Spain, you know the Azores. Which is what I thought it was.

This is slightly disappointing to me to be honest. hehe

The Azores weren't even known to people in Antiquity. The Canaries or Hesperidies feature in Greek Mythology, which makes them quite interesting to me!

I'm not against the the Canaries being the site in the adventure, not at all. Its just that my character has a place on the African shore and so isn't really suuuuuper far from it and stuff. While the Azores are far far out there.

That said the whole Magical Coordinates system is something that super interests me, same with the dragon and the magical beings on the island. So there is much potential for great fun in said area.

Actually, when I think on it, no matter what the Magical Coordinates system is going to be really really useful in my story game setting campaign.

PS. I should note that at least for me the Azores could be Atlantis sooooo that interests me. hehe


I don't know if this is something you want to throw in, but a while back I read about a lighthouse where the small group of occupants disappeared mysteriously, and it got me to thinking about how a lighthouse on a small island would be a really interesting setting for Covenant.

Far from civilization, it would of course have good magic Aura. The light itself could be provided by a device enchanted with CrIg spells. I started designing such a thing, and I realized there was a lot of room left over for other enchantments, and being a belligerent (I mean, defense-minded) gamer, I imagined that it could reasonably have some Sight-range CrIg spells to take out invading ships if that ever became necessary. (There are most likely spurious legends of the Lighthouse of Alexandria focusing sunlight in this way--a magic lighthouse could be the source of those legends in ME.)


Considering the lighthouse of Alexandria predated Archemedies by a Millenia or so, and the stories of his accomplishment are dubious, I would say the stories of the lighthouse of Alexandria are well overblown. To be honest, while I have heard of Archemedies feat many times I had never heard this story about the lighthouse of Alexandria, which is in honesty a very odd claim as lighthouses don't harness sunlight to begin with.
in fact according to this: it would seem that the existence of the legend, never mind its veracity, is a modern day myth fabricated in the 20th century.

Maybe you missed the word "spurious" in my post. :slight_smile:

Problem being that lighthouses weren't precisely a common thing in the Middle Ages. Navigation wasn't something you would be doing at night and close to the shore back then, it seems, and only a handful of lighthouses of roman origin kept working, like the Tower of Hercules in A Coruña, here in the Iberian Tribunal, and with most of them located in the Mediterranean Sea. By then the star tower-shaped building to put on a shore wasn't a lighthouse, but a watchtower, which would also be a nice candidate for these effects you mentioned.

A lighthouse on a small island seems odd, because it won't be on a common naval path, which were following the coastline back then, and also because lighthouses, at least before you get to them with a handy Flambeau or a Verditius, need a lot of fuel to make a quite big fire during the night. That fuel back then would probably be either coal or wood, and the steady supply of it you would need requires for something more than a small island to get it.

Watchtowers, on the other hand... there are many reasons to keep an eye on the sea (and to have next to you some Ignem and intellego effects). Returning Diedne, the Fomoir, Vikings, pirates, sea monsters, dragons... just name it.


The potential exception is if placing a lighthouse on an island would make it easier to use a nearby port- then that port city might well sponsor the lighthouse, and if they found a group of mages who were interested in running a lighthouse for free, or even a small cut of the taxes on the trade... depending on the tribunal you might have trouble with the code but probably not too much...
Venice historically didn't support a network of lighthouses but if you bring the costs down enough the (or one of their rival merchant cities) might well be willing to.