Grand Tribunal 784?

Brandon, Korina and Sebastien please don't read.

Hi All. I'm running a game set in the very early days of the Order of Hermes. The first four adventures have been the PCs in various stages of their apprenticeship and solving problems for their Maters/Paters. (Some of the local faeries will only deal with children or virgins.) The sessions have been good but now they will be graduating. The point of running a game this early on was that the PCs can change Hermetic or Mundane history, and that subsequent games will be run in the same universe.

I've decided to have their introductions as full magi where they will be at the 3rd Grand Tribunal which I've decided to run in the non-canonical year of 784 instead of 799.

I've got some basic ideas down for the tribunal:

1.) The Introduction of Certamen
2.) Some of the drama between the founders: Geurnicus the obnoxious sourpuss... Tremere is totally in love with Diedne, who does not return his feelings... Mercere announcing that he has lost his gift and will dedicate his house to delivering messages between covenants of the Order. That kind of thing.
3.) Introducing graduated Apprentices as full Magi to the rest of the Order. This will involve a demonstration of their capability, and the PCs are going to outshine all the others. This will cause problems, but I'm trying to think of how to leverage it.

But I'm trying to think of how to give the PCs some agency to influence future events in the Order. Or make enemies somehow.. You know those situations where all the choices are bad, it's merely choosing which are less bad? Thoughts?

Given that you are going to allow (encourage?) the PCs to change Mundane and Hermetic history, what about giving them a chance to find out why Mercere lost his Gift, and to discover a way to restore it?

1 Like

If you want problematic situations, make the founders be quite a bunch of jerks :unamused:

Tremere asks them to help him get Diedne's attention. Diedne is quite annoyed and can cast spells on them since she thinks of them as little more as puppets of the insuferable tremere. Tremere and some of his cadre of followers then try to corner and violate Diedne unless the players intervene. Or help him.

Tytalus is the actual culprit of mercere losing his powers. Nobody knows it. Tytalus is applauding the commitment of Mercere facing such great odds. Tytalus can actually restore mercere's magic. A demon masquerading as a spirit under the supposed command of Tytalus has actually supressed them, but not destroyed them. Yet. The players can uncover this and risk tytalus being marched.

Guernicus present some ideas he is having for strengthening the role of quaesitors, so that they can sdeprive magi of their magical power during investigations. And they cannot be targeted afterwards by wizard wars by people they have investigated. Ever.

Flambeau and some of his followers get drunk and torches a nearby castle when on the way to tribunal. Flambeau refuses to apologize for his actions or make reparations. No mundanes survived after all, but a strong odor of magic permeates the whole burnt structure of the mote and bailey castle. A carolingian delegation is already at the ruins and the lead investigator is magic-sensitive.

The creation of Crintera, Fenistal and other covenants is announced.

Bjornaer and Merinita play hide and seek in a nearby forest for a while before the tribunal. The area is considered haunted by the locals and they send quite a bunch of lads to raze it to the ground with the help of holy God. The forest contains around a queen of vis worth of vis sources.

There is some talk about smaller tribunals, specially from the Diednes and Romans, since they are quite far away from Durenmar and the 33 years between tribunals is too long to address certain issues.

A Criamon casually foretells parts of the future of the order's history as if they were known facts of the recent past. Some of the magi he refers to are just recent apprentices or are just not apprenticed yet, even if they are born and Gifted (Pralix, for example). He can also say some really terrible things that are not cannon, like talking about:

  • the well known destruction of Durenmar.
  • how tremere ovethre the order after eating a demon's heart.
  • the corruption of Guernicus
  • the flambeau - verditius wars
  • talking about the provençal tribunal or some other 781 nonsense.
    Make sure he starts saying "I have seen things you people wouldn't believe". Tannhäuser is a magus, of course, why do you ask?
1 Like

Tribunal votes not to accept Certamen?

1 Like

And even records in the official annals that someone asked Tremere whether he had been drinking from the chamber pot to cause him to make such a preposterous suggestion. The house's reputation would forever be marred, and they would not be taken seriously. This would seriously change Hermetic history.

1 Like

Tremere being defeated at certamen so that he would not present the certamen proposal at tribunal would make quite a story.

1 Like

If we are open to changing hermetic history, and the pcs are outstanding, maybe they should form a new House? Or found a Tribunal?

Complicate the Diedne/Tremere romantic triangle by adding a PC to it. If none of the pcs are interested in one of those two people, Diedne is attracted to a PC, who is now the target of Tremere's jealousy.

1 Like

Certamen works as a half-assed proxy for WW so it does have a purpose. However I suggest other possible changes:

  1. The Tremere focus in Certamen is banned, or the Tremere are required to help their focus be integrated into Hermetic Theory. Either way Tremere lose their edge.
  2. It is only allowed as part of a deal between magi. You are free to refuse it. The Tribunal may require it if they deem it a legit dispute.
  3. Rules for assisting in Certamen. I note the deafening lack of any rules on if your familiar or fellows can assist. Gift of Vigour would be a huge help. Indeed, some magical creatures can outright restore fatigue at little cost to themselves.
  4. You could add the need for it to be a legit dispute from the get go. That would strike down Tremere's plots straight away.
  5. The "free spell" could permit an actual attack!
1 Like

Well here's the update from the first session of the GT:784. I've told my players that unless they interfere history will go "the way it does in the books." Whenever they stick their oar in they'll change something. They liked that. The 3 players I had area Flambeau, Jerbiton and Tytalus. They haven't yet been introduced to all of the founders who are still alive.

1.) The founders personalities had largely been glossed over and clean up by 1220. Flambeau was all about capturing Saracen women after the battle and using them as sex slaves and servants.... Oh and did someone say fire?

Tytalus is a 3'6" dwarf who's sort of a combination of Alastor Moody from Harry Potter & Terry Tate see -> . Also dresses Hariste up in revealing clothing and is openly handsy with her.

Jerbiton is a friendly fellow and doesn't quite understand the fame and adoration he gets from his followers.

Tremere & Diedne were up in a tree... K I S S I N G! The PCs haven't quite discovered yet that she's pregnant with his child. She slept with him before realizing he was a going to be a founder, back when she thought he was "just" an apprentice of Tytalus. His political scheming has turned her off. Unless the PCs change history, Tremere will later beg her to see the child, but she will refuse and hide the child. He will never forgive her for this, and always speak ill of Diedne and her house. Tremere's apprentices & followers will not be told this part - they'll simply follow their leader and absorb his attitude toward the Diedne.

The PCs have realized that Tremere is likely quite in love with Diedne though.

Bonisagus & Trianoma I haven't changed much as depicted in the books.

2.) So what actually happened? Flambeau offered the new member of his house a few of his women for the night. Not wanting to be rude, the player "accepted" slept next to the two women but not with them.

Jerbiton had a bunch of groupies making art of him, he's a very handsome fellow who was born to have art made of him. The Jerbiton PC, a tailor, offered to make him new robes & other accessories. He graciously accepted.

Tytalus is opened up by punching the Tytalus PC in the nuts and lecturing him about "constant vigilance" & "All it takes is a ReCo spell to stop this from happening again."

They then were introduced with all the other recent graduated Apprentices by Trianoma, (9 from their covenant & 9 from others) and were asked to "perform their spell" at which point they asked "what if I have more than one?" Trianoma said sure. The PCs & the other graduates from their covenant proceeded to make complete fools of the other graduates.

The PCs are aware that this is part of a plot to demonstrate the efficacy of a 15 year apprenticeship, instead of the current "mastery" model which just requires MT 3, Latin 4, PM 1, Two Arts at 10 & one Level 25 spell.