Lion of the North

If your in for another scottish covenant: . I put up a list of all covenants at the time.

About Lion of the North, I kinda like it as it is. It is more easily digestible than most 5th ed. Tribunal/geographical books.

Ok, home with phone only, so will reply tomorrow in full since this is my fav tribunal book by far. I even have 2 copies of it, one to use, one to keep. :slight_smile:

In the meantime regarding the Isle of Man, look for Hermes portal magazine, issues 14 and 15. That is the tribunal book for the Isle of Mann. :slight_smile:

We have played 2 full sagas there retelling the war against Davnalleus. Been a blast both times.

Ok, rant mode ON

Like I said in the previous message Lion of the North is my favourite tribunal book ever. The only other tribunal books that caught my imagination to the same level were Heirs to Merlin and Guardians of the Forests. Heirs to Merlin was important to me as a show of what a regular vanilla tribunal should look like and specially regarding the non mythic elements. In a sense it is the medieval handbook of 4th-5th edition before 5th cranked superhero and D&D powers to the sky. Guardians of the forest had character, but maybe because it was the first (I think) tribunal of 5th edition did not have the Sword of Joram society feeling to it that later books have. That is my pet peeve of 5th edition, sorry about that.

Now, Lion. Lion is a 3rd edition book and it shows. These books were way more sparse in hermetic DETAIL than later editions, that nailed a lot more chamber pots. Iberia has 4 covenants and while it says the tribunal has something like 13 of them, IIRC. Same for Rome, that only shows the Magna Houses. HOWEVER (and this is the key for me here), Lion and the other 3rd edition tribunal books it has A LOT OF MAGICAL FEEL & CHARACTER to it. You can tell how hermetic (or mostly exmisc society in Lion's case) works and interacts with its environment by how the book is written. You do not need detail. I have more problems telling you how some of the other nailed tribunals work than Loch Leglean.

I really got that feel to be the boon of the book. this and the background of the war against Davanalleus, that is just great. We have played the war twice. The first time using regular hermetic magic (3rd-4th edition) and later in 5th edition using mostly nonhermetic traditions, including Pralix (spirit master) and Ignes Festi (why the name change I ask?) that was played using the rules of Hyperborean Hymnists, since elementalists did not cut for us (this is also something we have discussed: we cannot nail Guernicus or Flambeau using pre-hermetic systems, and that bothers my Ars troupe). Both times the minisaga (under 20 sessions) has been a blast. For me the major concern is something that most people would find irrelevant: the fact that the hermetic and mundane history timelines story chapters and timelines are not integrated in a single chapter. I prefer when they are mixed.

Regarding the things that bother you, I have nothing to say. I mostly agree with the criticisms, but do not bother me as much as you, I guess. Each one of us have a list of things that irk us and you listed yours. I will try to reply but I am sure that it is unlikely that I will change your mind since we simply demand different things from the books :slight_smile:

  1. NO MAP. Correct. I have nothing to say here. All power to you. Still the concrete locations are so sparse that it is not difficult to locate them yourself in a real map.

  2. 3 COVENANTS. As said it is a feature. It irked me somewhat as well, but given the profusion of potential covenants to fill the gaps in I came over it in the year 2000 or so. Yes, redcap was already around and I milked it like a madman :slight_smile: I see the 3 covenants of the book as templates of how highland, lowland isolationist and quarrelsome covenants are in Scotland. Highland covenants are not castles on a hill, but clan based, for example. usually quite loose in how they act as covenants. I agree that have some more (like 6) and adding an English covenant or 2 (we have done that when playing in the area; in fact we had 4 or 5) was something I would have liked, but it is an old book and it was the design style at the time. If you want a 5th edition work around for that, take the irish tribunal and dump it in Scotland. You will need to change very few things to make it work as written in the contested isle. Change the diverse local kings for clan chiefs and be done with it. :slight_smile:

  3. MYTHIC LOCALES. true. Again, a thing of the times. As we say in spanish do not ask the elm tree to make apples.

  4. Layout. Again, true. I use them to put post-its with ideas, but it is a bad design decision.

  5. Norman covenant. Answered above. Use Contested isle for this.

  6. CUN CLACH. As you pointed out Cun Clach is too powerful. I hated Caitlin from moment zero. Looks like the grandmother of Merlin like you do. However, it is easy to change :slight_smile: We made them too centered in having fun and being the centre of a sidhe court to interact much with outsiders, so a winter covenant that is EXTREMELY powerful but does not care about the outside world without changing a coma of its description. Winter does not mean decrepit, it means hermetically irrelevant.

I also point out that I think it was the first book to introduce non hermetic traditions tied to a locale. And I just LOVED gruagachan. they were my base for non hermetic opponents of the Order for a long time before 5th edition introduced a plethora of other traditions.

Artwork! This is just the best book of the line regarding artwork I think. Inspiring stuff all around :slight_smile:

So to end the rant I think the book could be improved, but I would hate it being treated like a 5th edition tribunal book that nails everything down, since it would lose the "wow" and awe feeling I get from it, I am sure of it. More covenants and some mythic locations would be extremely appreciated, but a change to nailing chamber pots? No thanks.



I’m sincerely glad the book works for you, and that you’ve had so much fun with it!

Xavi convinced me and I am flipping my opinion. Thing is, I never actually used that book. I started with 4th edition (though my love of Iberia makes people think I started with 3rd). It is actually only within the last year that I ever had a chance to read 2nd or 3rd edition (both available as PDFs on DrivethruRPG at a great price). Rethinking, and imagining that I had approached the game from 3rd then LotN, I would not have had the same confusion. The criticisms Xavi agrees to are valid, but his point about the mythic feel is also valid. With these considerations, I would re-rate it as mid-tier. The top three (IMO) are Iberia, Faith & Flame, then Heirs to Merlin. I will not assign the bottom tier at this point, as I am easily swayed by positive perspective. But I will say I am not in favor of most 5th edition treatments of Tribunals. In general, I am not in favor of the scorched earth policy 5th had taken to the lore of earlier editions.

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for me Iberia had this word written all around.


I read the book, and saw an empty region, with some small communities sparsely populating it.

And this is what it really was, so great. I did like the shadow flambeau (I even liked Metron and her specialities when I was a teenager :stuck_out_tongue: ) but in general the "this place is full to the brim with BAD MAGI and DEMONS was a little bit too much for me here. In fact igf you look at it from the type of covenants that it has (just thought about it) it is like Lion of the North: One sensible covenant (Cun clach, Barcelona), one covenant that causes trouble and flouts the code (Horsingas, the shadow flambeau one), and one covenant that belongs to purely local traditions that is not likely to be in other tribunals (Mac Gruagach, Estancia Es Karida). thren we have the BAD GUERNICUS!!! (TM) that were a feature of 3rd edition. You had to want to play EVIL characters to play Guernicus or Tremere in 3rd edition.

The funny thing is that the duresca scrolls were totally irrelevan teven if they were real. No need for them to be forgeries at all. They would have passed as a failed plot in the history of the order. There are plenty of these all around, so I do not see how this would tarnish much the role of the quaesitores.

BTW: i am rereading hedge magic and Lion just because of this thread. The gruagach are still my favourite magicians of all time. I recommend everybody to play a saga with hedgies (witches with mythic herbalism instead of Curse, elementalists, gruagachan, ollamhain...). It is great. great power, but on another scale than hermetics altogether.

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