Does anyone know of any towns openly ruled by the Order? Or even any covenants large enough to be considered a town (I think Doissetep in previous editions was but I could be wrong)? Is the idea of the Order ruling a town even feasible? If so, how would it be done? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.
in 4th Ed Voluntas has the size of a Monestary, not as big as a town, but pretty damn big none the less.
An actual town? I don't know of any, but I'm hardly an expert. My question would be why would a covenant WANT to run a town? You'd have to deal with a dominion aura, politics, superstitions, etc... Seems like a big headache. Maybe some Jerbiton, but most likely not the other 90% of the order.
Towns no, nor covenants large enough. All the major castles seem to be either hidden away in the wilderness or in regios. There are however a few covenants with Mundane Lord setup.
A covenant that owns several manors as per this setup would likely have any number of businesses at the covenant castle site, like stables, glassblowers, candlemakers, blacksmiths, mills etc. There are any number of reasons why a village with these resources could jump in size into a town, and still remain under the ownership of the magi.
Take a look at the book Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet for a story based around this concept. In his book it was a monastery cathedral with a small village growing into a town due to the reconstruction of the cathedral and the problems involved in growing. Problems like getting the right to hold a market and the formation of guilds both of workers and merchants.
The magi as rulers would have to work out charters with their tenants, win the right of the king to hold markets, and hustle their way to greater and greater wealth this way. Or it could happen completely in the background of a game without them realizing it, as their efficient servants deal with all the problems of a rapidly expanding settlement, the local ruler awards the rights needed without being requested (they see more tax from any such growth and would so encourage it), the covenant council might only be disturbed from their studies and Hermetic business for the major disturbances.
Imagine the stories involved in such an involuntary expansion. The only way they can stop it is to make their home an undesirable place to settle, and any magical steps to scare away the mundanes would run afoul of the quaesitores. Rapid recruitment of manager level servants to cope with the population, hiring sheriffs to police the town. The endangerment to local vis sources, and the foundation of church after church in different neighbourhoods of their surroundings.
"Rule" the town? Not that I know of. But the members of Oculus Septentrionalis in Lubeck are all important townsmen with a say in how things are run. I don't believe any of them hold office, but there is no reason they couldn't give their social status in the township.
It also depends on what you mean by a 'town'. Its entirely possible that a covenant might legally be a town with a charter. It needn't be all that big to do so, if its wealthy enough. And Doissetep apparently had some 4 or 5 hundred folk associated with it at the least. That's a bit light for a proper town, but it clearly isn't a village either...
Well, Valnastium is large enough to be a town, if you consider town as a representation of size, rather than legal status. Actually, it's in an allod, so it might well be considered a town. That's assuming you use the 4th edition Valnastium for your 5th game. Cave of Twisting Shadows, similarly has a huge population. Of course most of them are dead, so that might not count.
I think the Tremere likely have a lot of towns under their control. Its just the sort of thing I can see them doing, is all.
Well, my point is, in City and Guild it gave an example of a port town aligned with the realm of Faerie. Could a town be aligned with the realm of magic and what would it be like?
No reason it can't be.
This is something different to being "ruled" by the Order. A mundane town could be ruled by a covenant, and pay taxes to the wizards, and the wizards could either directly control the running of the town or appoint people to a council that ran the town. Indeed many large covenants are effectively towns. A population of a few dozen is a village, a couple of hundred is a decent town, a population of several thousand is a city. From the recent thread on covenant sizes, many player covenants seem to grow to a population of several hundred --- particularly if you include the families of grogs.
Of course, a covenant that directly rules a town raises the possibility of being charged with interferring with the mundane, particularly if the wizards have to interact with the broader feudal system to defend their rights in the town from other lords. None of this is a problem though; this is an opportunity for story.
You seem to be now asking more about a town that is populated by magic creatures. Again, there is no reason that some or all of a town population cannot be magical creatures. Indeed there are ideas for such towns in RoP:Magic. Such a town might have trouble interacting with the rest of mythic europe, but it might not need to; it might be inside a regio or merely remote. Such a town could also be "ruled" by a covenant, but that is a separate question.
Whatever you want it to be. I think that an important issue to think about is how it interacts, if at all, with the mundane world. After that, what it looks like will depend on the sorts of capabilities and shapes that the magical inhabitants have. Of course, the answer will also depend on how many "fantasy" elements you want in your saga.
What Richard said.
I think the main problem is the Interference with Mundanes clause. Any very large Hermetic settlement will have to meddle in the affairs of mundanes to some extent, and that includes large covenants. However, the difficulties are not unique to towns or even just to large covenants (although they loom bigger for them), so I think things could definitely fit into the Code. Some thought as to how the local Tribunal interprets things is in order, however. Very large openly-magical covenants (aka towns ruled by magi) would require a Tribunal that is a bit flexible in its interpretation of the Code.
The other main issue is the Church. I don't see a covenant-town as succeeding in maintaining its magical aura if its denizens worship on-site. It is possible that town-tradition will make the people worship some distance off, or that the magical aura will be limited in its extent, surrounded by the Dominion. It may also be that the town's aura is so high that the Dominion is next to impossible to take hold, and is limited to mere pockets (around relics?) at best. Of course, a fully non-Christian (e.g. pagan) town is possible, but this carries its own dangers as crusaders and zealous priests will march in.
I can't think of any covenant mentioned in canon that is town-like. The few relatively-large covenants mentioned are somehow secluded or isolated in some other manner - they may be large, but they are not the centers of commerce and travel towns are.
Good point. Unless a town is somehow hidden or the inhabitants are pagan there should be a church in a town...possibly several.
Of course, most covenants of all sizes should have chapels anyway. Most magi are Christian, as are the grogs, and so they need to worship somewhere.
Another option could be that it is the magi's laboratories that are remote. The covenant proper could be in a regio in the town, or the wizards could live in a tower/castle nearby, rather than directly in the town's divine aura.
Keepers of the Flame of the ancient Roman lighthouse at (random coast)... there's a story to be told there.
I'd imagine you'd end up with a town-n-gown kind of thing.
Also, I'd think that actually getting to know magi personally probably mitigates the bad reactions of the gift, sort of a fear of the unknown thing with a magical boost. You know, "sure, he's a creepy guy, but he's OUR creepy guy (who has healing spells)" that kind of thing. I'd think the more 'normal' people = less direct contact = more negative effect of the gift?
I can easily imagine big covenants acting like fair towns for neighboring magi and covenfolk, though.
I'd make the town somewhat non-permanent like ina regio or so. It might unbalance the game otherwise.
Plus: Only immense power can draw a magus to live in a town.
You become just one of many, instead of being very special.
Plus, there is always the vis question. How can a town be supported?
If the town includes lots of other magi(which is what i would expect for something called a "hermetic town", otherwise its just the mundanes of a covenant), the bonus from that is immense.
Sure, but easy access to knowledge and resources(except probably vis) that are likely to be, thats a BIG advantage.
Who cares if those rednecks are big fish in their tiny ponds, when "we" get to be whales in the oceans.
Trust me on one thing, the more magi you have in an area, as long as theyÂ´re not hostile to each other, the easier it gets to advance faster. Thats going to be an enourmous bait for many.
Extracted vis and the gathered knowledge that can be turned into lots of books with easy access to all thats needed to get the best possible out of it and then traded. Mundane support is rarely a serious problem.
But of course, youÂ´re likely to get a very "hungry" economy on vis there, inflation could get severe.
Our covenfolk became so rich they petitioned to the Magi to permit them to build estates on the land. On the condition all churhes and worship had to be well outside a particular area, we agreed.
So, effectively, we have a town growing out of our Covenant. We levy taxes against it for income (which has become considerable as trade expands.)
The reason we get away with this, largely, is because we're in a large disputed zone of politics. Various lords, none of them aligned with a King (and all of them possessing that stubborn mountain independence) and no King or Duke interested in the territory enough to engage in the bloody and costly war to claim it. However, the Lords will start paying attention to us soon...