I can imagine rich covenants might commission one, but I'd also imagine that house Mercer would maintain at least one portal per tribunal to make it easier for them to travel around easily, so I'd imagine that there are some covenants that have a mercer house attached or are particularly friendly with house Mercer having one installed anyway.
From what I remember from HoH:TL portals these days are usually constructed outside the covenant itself, after raids through mercer portals during the schism war made it clear that having doors into your covenant outside your immediate control might not be the best idea.
If i remember correctly the Guardians of the forest book also has some info on the several mercer portals in Durenmar, but beyond that I can't think of a cannon list of portals I've seen
GotF page 26 mentions the portals Durenmar has to ther places. Portals leading to Hardo and Verdi are mentioned, as well as one which led to Rethra which no longer exists. Also a sidebar says the exact number and destinations of portals must be decided by each troupe for their own saga.
Nothing particular to add to the above. I think we visited Harco in the last game I ran, and it was a bit insane with the security around the portals and the frenzy of the Red Caps in their own territory.
Atlas and the other producers of Ars have always done a good job at hinting at where they might be, even though when the time comes they never seem to actually discuss them. the Tytalus's Domus Magna... blanking on what it is call, had a write up in Normandy. Is the Gate even mentioned? Durenmar has theirs briefly mentioned. I guess the rick is make them just convenient enough to want to take, but not convenient enough to lose interest and mystery. I always thought a Covenant being brought into a story when the Red Caps are moving a new one around would be an interesting story. Not sure where it would go. Likewise, a good story is lost pairs of portals since I am pretty sure they are point to point. There are only a few that don't go to Durenmar, and surely the Diedne and other lost covenants had a few. Hint that some meta-magic breakthrough may allow moved portals to be relocated and all sorts of Second Schism War fun is to be had.
All the Alpine covenants have at least one (I think one of their chapter houses also have one). Magvillus has one, but some distance from the covenant itself (for security reasons).
We also know that there should be at least one per Tribunal, but Loch Leglean doesn't have one. Hiberia is implied to not use one with frequency.
Mostly to each or themselves, yes. The Alpine tribunal have a place that acts as a central hub; it is where they host the Midsummer Fair, I think. I believe they just build more when they want to change their central hub. Overland travel isn't exactly an option, and they are reasonably wealthy. Heck, the chapter house system they use there heavily implies that they need portals, to connect their disparate holdings. They certainly have a significant number of redcaps; the rules for playing one in forth edition are in the Alpine book (Sanctuary of Ice).
Valnastium is outright called out for having a network of Mercere Portals. This is truly the rich gated community of the Order.
P.S: All portals I know of have one connection and cannot go elsewhere. No star gate style, 'dialing' destinations.
Yes...but I would be looking at Val-Negra for the Flambeau portal. I imagine that during the Schism War (when they 'started' to move to Castra Solis) they weren't planning on reintroduced the then newly acknowledged vulnerability of a connected portal to their base of operations. I alsowould assume the portal is broken these days.
Although they're even more expensive to set up, I've been assuming Mercre Portals (the enchanted device from true Lineages, rather than Hermes Portals, (the duration Year ritual from the core book) are the things that get set up in covenants.
Which doen't change Timothy's point but it should be considered.
It would be great to have a list of Mercere's Portals. With fifth edition books of so many tribunals it must be possible to attempt it, with just a bit of fudging for tribunals where we just have third or fourth edition books. My reading is that Harco is the hub of an extensive portal network, with portals to most, if not all, Mercer Houses in other tribunals - which enables the swift movement of redcaps when they travel between tribunals, facilitates the movement of goods (to further the business interests of the House), and is used to help execute high level (and probably secret) matters pertaining to the Order. But there are other portals as well, not connected to this network - I think there is one between Dorsum and Templum at Aedes Mercurii in Provencal?
Thanks for the pointers. Although I don't think that working out the network of Mecere's Portals is at remotely the same level as mapping out the location of every chamber pot in Mythic Europe! The network would obviously have a big effect on the Order and might mean that magi from a very distant tribunal could frequently turn up in a saga - which could be fun but would fit some sagas better than others. Of course I can decide on the nodes of the network myself, but this is the sort of thing where it would help to have a good knowledge of the published books, especially all the tribunal books, which I don't have.
I started this thread due to some comments from my SG.
He has now sent along a clarifying e-mail, in the form of a successful Lore of Hermes check. I will share my summary of the e-mail if anyone is interested.
In our saga there were a lot of early Mercere Portals, sort of the OoH boasting that "we are here and we are powerful". Some of the first Mercere Portals were used to organise the resistance on continental Europe resistance to Davnalleus' incursion. Then every Covenant wanted a Mercere Portal to boast of.
Then comes the Schism War and having a Mercere Portal becomes a security nightmare. Many were destroyed, others put behind walls and other security. Many Covenants on the outskirts of the Order were convinced that a Mercere Portal could be a target by an enemy of the Order (Order of Odin to the North, Order of Suleiman to the South), and thus to be avoided.
Only stable Covenants in the safe center of the Order of Hermes territory, such as Greater Alps Tribunal have, and advertise having, a significant number of Mercere Portals. The further from Greater Alps you go, the more security around a Covenant's Mercere Portal, if they have one.
And Harco for Redcap travel and goods transfer. But all recent Mercere Portals from Harco tend to go to places where mundane goods transfer is most useful, rather than close to Covenants, unless specifically requested and paid for.
My understanding is they do not follow standard hermetic guidelines, but are close. Similar to Aegis Spell I guess. It is a good question why no one else makes them, even if they are non-standard though. Maybe they do... ?
The information is in the Mercere chapter of HoH:TL
It has been a while since I read it, but from what I recall, Mercere the Founder brought to the Order the Mercurian Ritual that "Hermes Portal" ReTe75 ritual spell is based off of.
He also created the original Mercere Portal enchanted devices, and many believed Bonisagus assisted him (though reading between the lines it suggests that Bonisagus' biographers can't point to when he helped Mercere on this project). Mercere apparently thought the process trivial enough that he never left any lab notes (maybe Mercere also had the virtue Magical Memory)
After he died, some of his apprentices studied the existing Mercere Portals and reconstructed the enchantment formula. They jealously guard this, not disseminating it outside the House.
Technically any Magus could build a laboratory around a functioning Mercere Portal, and spend at least a Season researching it to rediscover the enchantment formula.
NOTE A Mercere Portal is the only known example of Hermetic Magic putting a ritual spell into an enchantment. The magi who know this enchantment don't have enough understanding to be able to extend the process to put any other rituals into an enchantment.
And yet Mercere the Founder thought the process trivial. A possible avenue for breakthrough research?
I originally wrote the line thinking that an active Mercere Portal would be too valuable to be monopolised by a single magus, and what magus would want to risk an uncontrolled entry into their sanctum.
But on retrospection, what happens if a magus managed to gain (legal) control of both sides of a Mercere Portal? Could he build a laboratory around both parts of the Mercere Portal, and claim that the two "connected" rooms was his sanctum? Even if the two ends were in different Tribunals? Same Tribunal?
I may have been mistaken in claiming that ritual spells cannot normally be put into enchantments.
For some reason I was convinced that Hermetic enchantment can only replicate the effects of Hermetic Formulaic spells, not ritual spells. But I can't seem to find this in RAW.