Soon the Grand Tribunal of 1228 will hit my saga, just prior to the Great Sea Voyage I'm also planning.
I've run a few tribunals in the Normandy Tribunal, and my prior saga was set in the Rhine. I seem to recall having the Order attacked by treachery and Mongols in 1228 in my prior saga, setting the stage for the former players having to revive the Order amidst chaos.
Thus I have never run an actual Grand Tribunal without destroying the Order prior to commencement. Mea culpa.
And so... I ask my fellow Ars Magica enthusiasts how does one differentiate the regular Tribunals from the Grand Tribunals? How have you, as a SG or a player, created or experienced the Grand Tribunal feel?
The main political focus of this GT for my players will be the end of the Tytalus Primacy issue, with Buliste, Harpax, and the newly returned Severin from "Tales of Mythic Europe" potentially vying for the position of Primus. The player hope is that their efforts will sway the Tytalus magi to support Severin.
What else might be important enough to feature at a Grand Tribunal?
I've usually had contests and the odd local politics appear, but this is the Grand Tribunal. I feel like I need to turn things up a notch...
Thanks as always!
One feature of Grand Tribunal I suspect, to a much greater extent is the block voting. If you are going to roleplay through it it is unlikely to the player characters could have a major impact. Not only are there a great mant magi present with bearing the sigils of others under instruction there are magi bearing the sigils of the not quite dead twilight bound magi. There is undoubtedly heavy pressure from the houses to vote with the house line and a handful of votes form players will not make a substantial difference in almost every case.
I would focus the intrigue heavily on a single issue important to the player characters. Identifying key people who bear those votes and convincing them by whatever means.
There were quite a lot of ideas in one of the sub rosa issues a while back about verditius trade stalls and tournaments going on alongside the discussions to get involved in.
And of course, you can always just use the tribunal as a setting for adventurous deeds. Perhaps is wizard war is declared during the process - or might without the players intervention. Perhaps someone has brought some diabolical taint with them, an experiment in the host covenant has created a potential disaster - the usual range of everyday gubbins with the tribunal as a setting. Averting a disaster at grand tribunal is likely to earn you great prestige, and the gratitude of some very important people.