I´m leading a rhine saga.
The magi have a covenant at Pfalz Island, in the middle of the rhine (see "Guardians of the forest", p. 123ff.).
One of them is a Tremere, a very zealous member of his house. He believes in hierarchy, that central power is needed to guide complex organisations, that Stentorius, the Tremere Exarch of the rhine tribunal is the right man (it´s his parens, by the way), that hierarchic organisations are necessary to avoid losers getting power.
In our last session, we reached 1226 AD. Next year, the Rhine Tribunal will emit three members and some primae to represent its interests at Grand Tribunal. One more year and the Grand Tribunal will come to a decision about the foundation of a Lotharingian Tribunal. The group discussed the matter by going through all the little specialties that make the rhine tribunal a tribunal unlike any other. At last the Tremere realized, that all this specialties support his agenda: The differentiation in Apprentices, Journeymen and Masters is a kind of hierarchical system. The difficulty to reach the Master status is necessary to secure a good education for the Apprentices and worthy members at the positions of power. The Archmage status proofs the acceptance the rhine tribunal has with respect to Tremere ideas: Only the fittest are able to reach this lofty status, the same principle as in the house Tremere! The sigil of the elder magi enlarge the power of the Masters and Archmagi. Consistently this is a good thing, too. The terms for founding a new covenant in the rhine tribunal prevent the existence of ephemeral, weak collectives - a pure wastage of energy - and the rules of hospitality support the system of taking the road by many journeymen and thereby the hierarchical order itself.
This ideas led to the conclusion that the rhine tribunal is the best tribunal for Tremere ideas - beside Transsylvania, of course. So, for our Tremere magus the idea of a Lotharingian Tribunal should be refused. (In addition the covenant of the players would be a frontier covenant between the Rhine and the Lotharingian Tribunal - this is a slightly alarming idea for our magi). But now, another question arose: Why is one of the leading forces of the possible future Lotharingian Tribunal - Daria la Gris and her Triamore covenant - of all houses a Tremere member? Our Tremere magus plans to visit and question her. Now I have to plan her argumentation. Guardians of the Forest mentions two reasons for Daria la Gris´ preference to split the tribunal: a freer hand in mundane dealings and Triamore moving from a minor border covenant to the central covenant of the new tribunal. What do you think: Does she betray her house Tremere with this step? Shouldn´t she be compliant with Stentorius (who wears her sigil) and act affirmative to strengthen house Tremere? Is she confronted with a covenant-or-house-decision?
I´d like to read your point of view.
I see Stentorius as a covert, but committed supporter of a Lotharingian Tribunal. Fengheld has a chapter house in Cologne (GotF p.46, p.83 box Rheingasse), after all. Wilhelm Weiss, co-leader of the Apple Gild, lives there.
So Fengheld would benefit, if the Lotharingian Tribunal starts well, shows how to leverage relations to merchant houses and cities for the benefit of its magi, and becomes a success.
The Lotharingians should know better than to antagonize Fengheld. Indeed, some might praise the Transsylvanian Tribunal as a model of magi closely interacting with mundanes, without relinquishing their responsibility to the Tribunal and the Order.
I also never saw Tremere to be champions of Rhine Tribunal fogeyism - though they certainly are able to marshal some fogeys if necessary.
A starry-eyed Tremere admiring the cooptation system of the Rhine would be tolerated, though - if only to provide a fall-back option, should the Lotharingians mess up big-time.
Interesting... and not too far away from my own ideas:
In "The Lion and the Lily" we can read that half of the Magi of Fengheld approve a Lotharingian Tribunal. O.K., but why? Because there is one chapterhouse in cologne? Is it an advantage to have this chapterhouse in a new tribunal full of wealthy merchants? Maybe. But you can trade cross-tribunal, too, isn´t it? Or do they approve because Fengheld wants to establish new chapterhouses in the Lotharingian tribunal? Why do they need the new tribunal to do this? Why don´t they establish new chapterhouses in the Normandy tribunal? Maybe there are reasons for this. But if the half of the Fengheld members support the Lotharingian tribunal, that means the other half does not. So, what does Stentorius think about it? If he´d see the rhine tribunal similar to the Tremere magus in our saga, he can´t be a supporter. But maybe he only pretends to be against the Lotharingian tribunal. In my saga, he´s already pulled the strings and convinced Poena to make him the exarch of the Rhine AND the Lotharingian Tribunal. That would broaden his influence (by the way: Nobody in our group sees Tremere as champions of the rhine - nobody but our Tremere, of course.)
More important for the next step in my saga is Daria la Gris and Triamore. If I look at your answer, it seems to me that you see two kinds of Tremere: the fogeys and the modernists (I´m not sure what you mean with "cooptation-system"). Daria la Gris seems to be a modernist, because she works close together with nobles and merchants. But this doesn´t conflict with the views of house Tremere, I think. The problem is her independent displacement from a hierarchic system. This has to appear like heresy for our good Tremere, true to house principles.
The more I think about it, the more I reason, that Daria la Gris knows of Stentorius secret plan. She is his compagnon, plays the rebel and Stentorius seems to be the traditional leader, that will surprise the tribunal by a sudden approval of the Lotharingian Tribunal.
What is his plan? He wants to be elected as one of the three emissaries of the rhine tribunal. He pretends to be an Anti-Lotharingian. The enemies of the new tribunal choose him as their representative. The supporters choose Remi of Museau, the Jerbiton from Triamore (maybe they´d choose Daria la Gris, but she has no own sigil). Because we already have one member of oak guild and apple guild, the third man from the rhine could be from the ash guild, maybe someone with other interests, far away from the conflict, so he is able to draw some consensus. Let´s say Igor Rastvan from Roznov. We shouldn´t forget the primi: Murion of Bonisagus and Falke of Bjornaer. Now Stentorius has a secret agreement with Falke: Falke votes for Lotharingia and in six years (next Rhine Tribunal meeting), Stentorius will vote for the Bjornaer right to selfdefense at Rügen. At Grand Tribunal surprisingly Stentorius holds an address not against but pro Lotharingia, Falke does the same. It seems that even the rhine tribunal itself by majority agrees with the founding of the new Tribunal. Then Poena holds an address and gives her consent. Maybe that´s enough and the new tribunal is established.
Note that disagreement can exist within a hierarchical system, even among those fully committed to that system and hierarchy, and even regarding the proper role of individual initiative. (The descent of The Empire of Japan into WW2 deserves special attention, exemplifying the worst excesses of rigidity and initiative, and also disagreement. The benefits and tension of this kind of disagreement, albeit more successful, is also on display in how American and Israeli military doctrine has been realized in 20C.)
So it is perfectly reasonable for one Tremere to see the Rhine as a good way to achieve a desired result while another Tremere sees it as a shortsighted deviation from Hermetic norms, which need to be supported lest general anarchy prevail, Tribunal against Tribunal.
Yes. This is the difference between Stentorius and our player Tremere, I think.
AFAICS this is the essential question.
In 13th century the Northern area of former Lotharingia - today's Champagne, Picardie, Netherlands, Belgium and the German middle and lower Rhine area with important Cologne - are socially and economically growing fast. Benefitting from and taking part in that growth is a tempting proposal for many magi from the Rhine and the Normandy Tribunal. I understand the Lotharingian Tribunal as an attempt to provide a Peripheral Code tailored to ease interaction with important mundanes - merchants, nobles, religious leaders - while keeping peace among the resident magi. The Peripheral Code of the Rhine cannot be used for this.
Once the Lotharingian Peripheral Code is in place and working, the chapterhouse of Fengheld in Cologne could fully exploit its location and perhaps grow into an important covenant. For Fengheld magi, this should be a very solid incentive to join the Lotharingian cause.
Thank you for this idea. It is not explicitly expressed in the sourcebooks, but you´re right: it seems likely. I´ll go on this way (It seems to me, that this inconspicious Fengheld chapterhouse Rheingasse has some special meaning!).
Besides the specific of Rhine, Normandy and the possible future Lotharigian tribunal, other aspects, more global, could be considered:
- Divide and Conquer: a more fragmented Order could be easier to be controlled by a strong centralised organisation like House Tremere. Old Tribunals have grown over time with some strong communities which can opposed Tremere's plan, whereas small, fragmented Tribunal might be easier to take over, discreetly;
- A new Tribunal means also three more topics to be discussed at the Grand Tribunal. Could House Tremere be able to accelerate her plan that way ? Could they slightly shift the balance of power by adding three more votes ?
The strength of House Tremere is her ability to plan, anticipate, organise and execute. Although the Lotharigian tribunal is a topic which have been discuss since many years, this House has probably set plan and contingency for unexpected issues and is the best prepared to make sure that they have a invisible but strong control of it.
Really cool thread.
I had so far planned on running Stentorius as an elderly reactionary opposed to the Lotharingians as their agenda would reduce his control over the situation.
Now I am beginnig to think that the whole thing is his way of countering a stagnating order in the Rhine. By becoming Exarch of the Lotharingian tribunal he will also be able maintain a degree of control in the new Tribunal and influence it's development.
I am unsure as to how all this will affect the Oak guild whose members I assume are very much opposed to the Lotharingians plans.