Globetrotting and Belonging to Multiple Covenants


So, I'm rolling up a new character who's going to be a bit of a globetrotter due to several rapid/instant overland movement items that will let her avoid long travel times. In her backstory, up to joining the French Alps covenant in which the game takes place, she was a member of the Pripet Maior covenant in the Novogorad Tribual (see, Dragon&Bear).

The thing is, Pripet Maior has proven to be a pretty good deal for her, scoring a lot of Vis and political capital. While the Alps covenant offers a better deal, if she could keep benefiting from prior arrangements, it would be nifty keen.

Normally, political issues would make belonging to two covenants at once a fascinating exercise in suicide, but given that the magi of Pripet Maior are essentaly too senile to notice (and wouldn't care if they did), is there any rule against being part of two covenants so long as I can keep up my obligations to both?

Well, for starters, you can only have one unique sanctum, and there have been precedents against moving it abusively. Beyond that, most oaths of covenant probably demand you renounce any previous ties you might have had.

Now, on the other hand, the Rhine Tribunal has a well-established peregrinator tradition, so your idea's not outlandish.

I believe there is a rule stating that a magus must belong to a single Tribunal... So there would be some problems belonging to covenants in different tribunals...

At the same time, who's going to notice?

House Mercere. Then House Guernicus.

The Tribunal you belong to is where you're entitled to vote. I don't know if it's explicitly spelled out that you have to live there (journies, especially those to conduct research elsewhere can take a hell of a long time, after all) nor is it necessarily the case that you have to belong to a covenant to be a voting member of a Tribunal. Covenants are convenient, both for the game and the Order, but they're not actually required.

I see no difficulty in belonging to two covenants provided both recognise that and allow it. I see it as comparable to being on the board of two different charities in the modern world. You gain the benefits of both, but also the responsibilities. The problem, of course, is that when the responsibilities of one might cause you to cross the charter of the other, then you're in serious trouble. Not only will it piss off the other covenant but in many tribunals Covenant Charters are recognised as having weight under the Peripheral Code. As such, you'll have alienated a load of friends and given them the weight of law to support their retribution.

Owing fealty to two lords is never a comfortable position.

Actually, I think you might work that as a nice Story Flaw with your SG. Given that you get some advantage out of it, it would only be a minor flaw.

You might want to make sure you do get a hand in your troupe's Oath of Covenant.

The Mercere don't specifically track magi if I remember correctly, just covenants.

But they keep track of who is nominally living in each covenant. So, if you are living in two covenants they will probably notice, eventually. If the two covenants are geographically remote then it might take them some time to realise this. And of course, even if they notice they may well not care.

I think that the bit about Mercere tracking covenants rather than magi more means that if you aren't living in a covenant, which is entirely possible and legal, then they might not be able to find you.

The Mercere tracks all magi so that letters, summons (to say a trial), and such can be delivered.

In a sense. The magus is required to tell House Mercere where to drop his mail. House Mercere doesn't follow wandering or homeless magi around, wondering where they are. If they drop your mail at your Poste Restante address and you are 500 miles away and don't get it in time, oh well. Sucks to be you.

Fengheld has at least 1 chapter house outside the Rhine tribnunal, in Cherbourg. The maga living there belongs to fengheld, but is a member of the Normady tribunal.

It would seem that you can belong to a covenant that is outrside your tribunal. Your tribunal (where you can vote) is where your sanctum is registered with the merceres/quaesitores, not necessarily where your covenant is located

Nowhere it says that you MUST belong to a single covenant. Most oaths of the covenant would force you to belong to only that specific covenant, but if such a provision does not exist, I see no problem having a dual (or triple...) membership. At least until both your covenants get at odds with each other that is. But that is a common problem with mundane politics, so I see no "problem" with this kind of issue making a step into the OoH if gthat kind of political trouble has an appeal to you :slight_smile:



Sure dual fealty isn't comfortable, but lots of people did it. The key I suppose is getting one of the two organisations that accept your oath to make it subservient to the other. So "I swear to do this as long as it doesn't conflict with my oath to the other guys.". You need some good rolls, some good incentives and some good excuses for this to fly.

Belonging to multiple covenants could actually be one manifestation of the tail end of a Hermetic normal curve - the Languedoc region in the south of what becomes France at the end of the Albigensian Crusade has a history of nobles swearing oaths of fidelity rather than vassalage to multiple lords.

These are not as binding as traditional vassalage ties of the north and are more akin to non-aggression pacts and recognition of prestige/local rights between peers - a situation not unlike Hermetic society.

Another interesting aspect is that a single site (Castle, mill, ford), right to levy a fine, or income from a particular enterprise could be divided between multiple "lords", often members of the same family, each with a partial share. At one stage there were three Counts of Provence, each holding different interlocking assets over the same wider territory. Likewise, the city of Narbonne was held by a Viscount and the Archbishop, each of which had powers over different parts of the city, including its gates and walls!

Although Hermetic society shouldn't have to mimic mundane society necessarily, it can be interesting to reflect on how these regional influences impact on local Hermetic Culture - a theme which is pursued in both GoTF and in L&L.

I'd consider that belonging to multiple covenants and perhaps even having partial rights to magical resources (vis sources, voting rights, apprentices) may be a common if somewhat complicated and confusing local practice amongst Provencal Tribunal magi, particularly those associated with mundane society such as Jerbiton and possibly Merceres/Redcaps.



My input on the consequences:

I have seen games in which tribunal minutes are passed around to other tribunals as news of what goes on, what resolutions have been passed, who has been renounced and otherwise punished, so that other tribunals will be aware of new events and troublemakers. Included in those would be votes cast and attendance. If someone begins voting in a new tribunal the old tribunal would assume that that means they have left the old one without bothering to inform anyone. Not good practice but certainly not the worst, after all messages do get lost, in medieval europe even for magi communication is not perfect.

Finding out that a member of your covenant has defected to another covenant because you have read it in such a report would probably be an unpleasant shock, but the magi of pripet major might not care much even if they do find out. However the next time the magi comes back to collect their share of the vis from pripet they might find they have been formally voted out of the covenant, and if it is obvious they have been abusing dual covenants, dual vis income etc. for a long time then they might find a tribunal vote has been made to formally banish them from the novgorod tribunal, or that the quaesitores have had motions moved to vis fine them to get it back.

The Rhine Tribunal has a very well-established legal acknowledgement for peregrinatores, i.e. mages who are authorized to jockey their temporary membership among various covenants by an adaptation of the hospitality tratidion (something I made good use of for my character). Extending it to other Tribunals would just take a minor GT ruling, or a similar ruling by the Tribunal your Saga it is in. Since this comes from the precedent from the most prestigious Tribunal of all, I deem it would be quite reasonable.