"Sodales, I have been given a vision of the future.
I saw a day when we were attacked, driven from our covenants, and attacked everywhere.
Then I saw magi taking refuge inside a huge tower on the outside of an volcano.....
the tower contained farmlands, a city, and areas that could house everyone in the order."
I was thinking of starting a new game where the PC's are gathering the resources needed to create a Hermetic Sancuary...
The final result would combine Volcano magic along with the Great Tower magics to create a refuge/kingdom for the Order (combined with the info for magi taking control of the canary islands found in the Ancient magics book)
Given that distance is almost immaterial for Hermetic magi, it shouldn't matter whether your friends and enemies are hundreds of miles away or just a few levels in the tower. And that feels kind of interesting to me. There's something very dramatic about putting everyone in one place; all the conflicting ideas, desires, and personalities getting chance to collide within the confined space.
And magi may still have remote estates that they need to manage, which actually helps to bring companion and grog stories to the fore as they are the ones in the world doing the Order's work, which serves to make the Order that much more mysterious to the world.
The main reason for thinking of the Canary Islands for location was (as in Ancient Magics) its already ruled by magic users (hedge wizards - but still wizards) therefore its not interfering in the affairs of mundanes
If you haven't read Anathem by Neal Stephenson, you might be interested to. First of all it's an incredible book. Not that it's about magic or anything - it's science fiction, and the in-group are basically logicians - but it has a wonderful construct of closed societies within closed societies that I bet you would find very thought-provoking for your magic sanctuary scenario.
I love this idea. I'm a big fan of the Canary Islands scenario in Ancient Magic. I've got a weak spot for anything involving seafaring, and while I would have loved to see the setting in a more developed presentation, what was there was great.
In my own saga, set in a heavily modified and enlarged Semita Errabunda, I've been hinting that one of the founders reasons for establishing a covenant there was to "colonize the regio" as a hedge against a vision of a distant, uncertain calamedy from which the Order as a whole, or at least significant numbers of Magi, would need a refuge.
I'm not even certain what the calamidy is. Ideas I'm considering include a non-historical Mongolian invasion/conquest of large parts of Europe, a rising Catholic Inquisition that targets magi, or the Black Plague.
And here's where I come to my concern. Lots of sources hint at mundane dangers to wizards. I understand well the risks inherent in trying to meddle with mundanes. But if mundanes came at the Order in force, and they were backed into a corner, I do not doubt that the Order as a whole would fight back, and in that case, who do you really think would win?
Whatever this calamity is, it needs to be capable presenting an overwhelming threat to over 1,200 magi, scattered widely across Europe, sufficient to provoking them into fleeing en masse rather than standing up and fighting back. It would have to be supernatural in origin. Hence my ideas of Mongolians, either as mundanes with the aid of their own powerful magic tradition or as dark fairie; the Inquisition, either Divinely or Infernally inspired, depending in part on the saga's perspective on magic; or the black plague, a disease that might be infernally or divinely inflicted, and prove impossible to cure with Hermetic Magic.
What calamady were you thinking of? What other Order-threatening events have others introduced in their sagas?
How about another Muslim invasion of France via Spain. This time with no Charlemagne to stop them.
Or how about an interanl threat. Perhaps House Tremere is making a successful bid for domination.
The the return of House Diedre. Or the Order of Odin.
If you want a cliche you can always go with Zombie Apocalypse
My suggestion is to use several disasters at the same time.
If you meant some of mine, thanks, but I'm not so much creative as an excellent thief. C&C gave me Mongolians, A&A gave me the black death.
If plausible scenarios could be worked out, a simultaneous Muslim reconquest of Iberia and beyond, backed by the Order of Solomen, and the Khan's army, backed by shamans of some sort, would be pretty epic. But personally, I couldn't run a story like that with a goal of escaping and creating a private sanctuary.
It would have to be something that you couldn't fight back against, like black death or the God in the form of the Inquisition.
If you go for the Canaries as a hermetic sanctuary, I would turn the 7 (+1) islands into an equivalent number of factions. One might be the central one, but the rest should have some chapter houses, some of which can be really powerful (read: effectively independent covenants). That adds (more) friction to the game, and that IMO is a good thing. In practical terms you can have 15 or so covenants there, just that a few will share physical space and some resources. There were very divided covenants back in 2nd and 3rd edition (I think I have no seen that level of internal mistrust in 5th) that had divided loyalties for the inhabitants and divided resources. They might pull together in front of an internal treat, but otherwise they can be on the brink of war internally. No need to be so radical, but internal divisions make for interesting positioning of the PC as well.
The Canaries have some very diverse climates, from jungle-style to desert, so I can see (for example) fuerteventura having a strong pull for Ignem and terram magicians, even if the main ignem dudes will be in Tenerife having fun with the Teide volcano.
I just envisioned a catamaran competition among the inhabitants/magi for whatever reason you fancy. Catamarans are totally out of location and culture, but they look cool
What I would try to do is to have the very efforts done to avoid the calamity cause it.
Don't have much ideas for this, but, for exemple, in settling and burrying in their volcano , they might open a gateway to hell inside it, with the each and every demon in it escaping and pouring over the face of the earth.
Sure, a covenant can use the aegis to defend itself against demons.
But without the ressources provided by mundane society, they'll wither and die nonetheless. And the demons have ways to enter Aegis. Also, hidden infernalists could help them, corrupted armies would attack the covenants, reanimated dead too (zombie plague, yeah!)
Cue to the Apocalypse from St John and all.