Covenant in Venice?

Hi all,

I'm planning on starting a game soon and I plan on setting it in an urban covenant in Venice. As this is gonna be my first game as storyguide, I was hoping to run a few things by everyone here to make sure my ideas at least make sense...

[It any of my players from Bath Uni are reading this, please stop or you may spoil your game...]

After reading the Rome tribunal book...

The concept of the covenant is that the former winter covenant has been lost, and as it has a very powerful aura (5+1), it is a very vauble source of vis in an otherwise vis poor tribunal. So, due to order politics and such, it has fallen that a bunch of just past their gaunlet magi are being sent to re-establish it (aka, easily controlled and non-threatening).

The old covenant will have been the centre of the tribunal politics, as it and Venice in general have stayed mostly neutral in mundane and magical affairs of the past. So the new magi will be heavily involved with the politics of the tribunal from the word go, with some covenants wanting to keep tribunal there, others wanting to move it (maybe to Magvillus).

It also has a flickering aura, which requires some sort of good deed to maintain once per year or else it reduces - it is a curse from one of the demons that wanted to undermine the old powerful covenant to help Literatus.

How is that for the bases for the game?

I'm not sure whether to have the other covenants still have their town houses in Venice or not? As the former winter covenant was used to being the political centre of the tribunal, would they have allowed that sort of thing?

Any and all comments welcome :slight_smile:


Realise from the start though that politics will be very likely to play the front role.
The magic stuff will likely end up more on the sidelines.
Of course that isnt a bad thing if its how you want it.


Maybe be a little "lighter" on how often the flickering aura needs "appeasment"? It may be diminishing even before they find out about it otherwise. Or you could make so that even if it has faded, once the yearly "good deed" is done it will start to strengthen by 1 point yearly until its back at its original max.

And how was the old covenant lost? Maybe make that into something that could bring the magic stuff more up front occasionally? So the mix between politics and magic doesnt get onesided.

It was a winter covenant, probably the the oldest/most powerful in the tribunal for the simple reason of its strong aura and being in Venice. The basic idea is that the final magi was lost to final twlight, however, I'm playing with the idea of having another regio (the covenant is within a magical one) beneath the building, under the waters of Venice that is infernal and the final members may be there instead, not too sure yet.

The 'old' covenant will hopfully be a source of magical stories. Plus, magic sources coming from Constanpenoles (i cant spell..) - as the forth crusade as already occured and now Venice recieves much of the former cities trade.

I would like to run at least a one of session early on at the Hermetic Mid-Sumer Fair in the Greater Alps, as I think thatis a just a cool little idea - both magic and politics can happen there :slight_smile: and then characters can retturn there during later years if they wish.

Politics will play a major role, but as the Tribunal as only just met within the last year (giving the players the right to re-establish the covenant), they at least have 7 years before another major offical meeting takes place to 'get up to speed' with hermetic politics in the tribunal.


Ok, sounds like you have good material allround then.

Should be a good story. :bulb:

Sounds good. I was alpha storyguide on a successful saga set in Verona, not far from Venice. Personally, I'd keep the townhouses in Venice. They're so useful in terms of story and really conjure up an Italian feel. You end up with spies lurking around and watching who comes and goes, family members fall in and out of favour and dragging covenants into the fray, and malice thinly veiled by politeness and hospitality as the magi host each other at various functions.

Oh, I'd keep the townhouses!

p.s. I'm quite jealous now...

Check out Andrew Gronosky's Venice Saga writeup (now defunct): ... index.html

Andrew may be willing to share additional material off forum - he's the Redcap / Hermes Web website maintainer and seems a generous kind of guy in my interactions with him.

Several forum members have expressed interest in a book about Mythic Venice, including offering to contribute - I think Timothy Ferguson put his hand up for this at one stage, who knows if it will eventuate...

He makes some interesting comments here: ... ublic.html



Thanks for the links, they were an interesting read, good little bits of inspiration.

I'm still debating whether to include the townhouses....on one hand, they bump up the politics and scheming side of things, but on the other hand, my players may never be free of said aspects, which may furstrate them eventually.

So far, one of my players has come up with a vague concept - she wants to play an Arab. As my own knowledge of history is limited, would Venice be any more or less torelant of Arabs than elsewhere? Did the chruch of the time takes offensive against them?

Also, anyone know who the Dodge of Venice was during 1220?


Glad to be of help.

I think Chapter Houses are interesting, as they provide the abiltiy to have links and politics from other Tribunals - want some Rhine politics? Get involved with the latest Fengheld Chapter House. Stop in at the Mercere House located down near the port for all your Mercurian plotlines and mundane travel issues. Of course, there's always something those creepy Tremere want doing, why don't you check out what their Exarch has on offer in terms of outstanding "jobs"...

If they are a magus, this may be a moot point if they are not Gently Gifted. If they have the Gentle Gift and pose as a merchant, they'll probably be OK as these Venetians are pragmatic...

City & Guild might have more on this or you could ask Niall Christie perhaps?

Pietro Ziani (1205-1229)
he takes over from the infamous Enrico Dandolo (of 4th Crusade, sacking of Constantinople fame). Perhaps he's a Jerbiton stooge, eh?
(love that Wikipedia)

You might find these books by John Julius Norwich interesting if you can track them in a library:

A History of Venice. Allen Lane, 1981 ISBN 0-679-72197-5

The Middle Sea: a History of the Mediterranean. New York: Doubleday, 2006 ISBN 0-385-51023-3

Norwich is not necessarily the most accurate, but he's an easier read than most. Given this after all is a fictional game, the latter may be more relevant to you.



Wow, more great info - thanks ! :smiley:

I'll check out my local libray or maybe get one of my players to check their uni library for the books.

The link also lead to some nice info on San Giorgio Maggiore - a useful location for dominon plot lines me thinks.

Btw, I'm also assuming that as Venice is a republic at this time, it would have its own Bishop? Correct? If so, would Venice also have parish priest(s) to take confession, or would a bishop handle that if he was based in the city?



EDIT - I've come up with the name Decorus Fontis (Beautiful Fountain) , as I imagine the covenant building within the Regio to be a tall, white building that has several springs emerging from higher levels, making small waterfalls - obviously mundanes wont be able to see it, but Gifted will be able to. (does that make sense for a Regio?)

Venice is a major city and trading place, it may not be totally smooth sailing, but tolerated as long as not causing troubles oh yes certainly. Arabs in Italy may be uncommon at the time, but certainly not unheard of.
And not automatically considered evil or bad or something.
Since the few that come this far are often traders or have powerful connections "back home" they may even get better than average reception(arabs control ALOT of important trade at this time).

Include them, but dont overuse them then. Ie. dont make it a must to roleplay the interaction with them all the time, let whoever does the interaction just roll for a single use of Diplomacy, Guile, Intrigue, Intimidation, Etiquette or maybe a combination of them to see how it went as long as the occasion isnt a special one.
That should allow you to keep them from overwhelming the players with less important politics.

As my girlfriend has begun to build her Arab character, we are looking for info about that area of the world in 1220, as I dont have the tribunal book.

Anyone know of any good net sites that would have good info, beyond wikipedia?



Try these for character ideas:

Mansur ibn Fadl al-Baghdadi the Wandering Emir

Salih al-Kamil, "The Master of Storms" (Persian Infernal Summoner) ... kamil.html

Lejla the Valencian Redcap, linguist

RoP:Divine has a great section on Mythic Islam written by Niall Christie, which contains most of the cultural information you'd be after. It's not available in PDF yet though.



Thanks again for the great links.

Atm im going through Covenants, and sorting out the wealth stuff in the hopes that players might take an interest (especailly with lab customisation). Currently, I'm having issues with what source of typical income to give them. They have just finished setting up their labs (and using the inbetween time to set-up the grogs etc of the covenant). Their in Venice, most covenant folk are housed in the city in general, and the covenant is in a single, very tall town house (8 floors total), 6 of which are in a mgical regio.

My current idea is to have scribing as their source of income - however, I'm not certain that would be good enough to generate large income - i have currently put down 2 scribes under specialists, along with the standard bookbinder and illuminator - which doesnt seem enough to earn significant silver?

Any and all suggestion very weclome


A good tip for the background of an arab character in a venetian setting could be the Kingdom of Sicily. Gradually latinized at this point, but I find the multilingual tombstone at that page pretty inspiring for some reason :slight_smile:

If you want something that could cause trouble, maybe glassblowing?
Would have lots of competition within Venice, but would likely be easy to find craftsmen to hire, and with perhaps a pinch of magic assistance or a magic item or two, you should be able to bring out the best quality around.

Use a single "create gold" ritual spell, a rego spell to make coins of the gold and then use that to start a banking buisness(or similar).
This could draw the ire of queasitores if you let it be known that you spread too much gold into the economy too fast. Or possibly the church which doesnt like usury.
Advantage is that Venice is a perfect place for a banking business and historically you´re in the very area where banking first appeared in Europe, around this time, maybe their covenant sets the standards...

A small merchant house or a few trading ships are also excellent, again Venice being a perfect place for such, and especially ships can be "assisted" in many many ways magically, without being too visible about it.

Scribing will require a whole bunch of scribes and illuminators to reach a "typical" income and im not sure if you could get enough work even in a city like Venice to reach a typical income, though i think a lesser income should be quite possible and i wont rule out a large income either.

This is me guessing though and you can handle it as you want of course. But for a typical income, at least 20 scribes is my guess.

I dont think I'll have the covenant start with glassblowing, but the players can always go down that route if they want more income. Again, with banking, I will leave that up to the players to invest time in to create.

I may go with the trading idea, as it does make sense.

Better yet, I may use 2 poor sources, one scribing and one trading.

Another question, reading the library chapter in Covenants, it states there are definitive works on the Roots of [Art] and the Branches of [Art] but doesnt actually give guidelines on what sort of level and quality they would be? Would the Roots of [Art] be summae or tractatus even?



I don't have my book with me, but I think there's a large sidebar (taking up the top 1/3 or so of a page) in the library chapter that talks about the stats corresponding to various types of summae (definitive works, excellent sources, vain sources, etc.). My (hopefully accurate) recollection from reading the text is that these works would be summae with level+quality around 34 or so.

I think, for my purposes I will use the following guidelines for the books...

Primer - Summa L6 Q 21
Root - Summa L12 Q18
Branch Summa L18 Q12

I would assume that most summer covenants have most of the Branch of [Art] books, and all of the Roots. Primers are sort of odd, as not established covenant would want them really, but would likely have a sopy from their time as moderately powerful spring covenants?


Funny, I was just thinking of such primers. A primer of level 6, quality 21 should be pretty widely available: as you say, past a certain point there's no reason for a magus to hoard their copies. On the other hand, most newly Gauntleted magi (certainly PCs) have multiple Arts with scores between 1 and 5. What's the explanation for this paradox?

They never studied the art, just got exposure/adventure/practice xp during some project of their master / random misadventure? Use your imagination.