New Tribunal in Mann: possible?

Hello there!

Last Friday we were discussing how to proceed with our Manx saga in our local bar, when Marc, one of our casual Ars players, put forward a quite intrepid idea.

We are playing around the Partitio Monaviae (Partition of Mann in faulty latin AFAIK). Our covenant (Lumen Australis) vouches for the island to become part of the Hibernian tribunal, while a rival covenant (Gloom) supports an inclusion on the Loch Leglean tribunal. Stonehenge tends to side with Gloom, but it is mostly unhappy at the current situation and we tend to side together in front of an external enemy when they come with the idea of kicking us out of our island to maintain the status quo.

Now, we have had Gloom as THE nemesis for a long time. More than the dragons, the faerie gods of the island or any mundane conflicts. However, Lumen is getting the upper hand, and is likely to emerge as the victor in the end. Especially since we are older by 6 months than the Gloom covenant, and the Grand Tribunal pof 1195 said that "the older covenant takes precedence" in case we both survived a full Grand Tribunal period (1195-1228).

Now the twist.

Mann is full of non hermetics. There is a Pralixian Quaesitor likely to join the Gloom covenant. Marc suggested that we could try to push forward for Mann itself to be a full tribunal by incorporating 2 groups of magicians (a group of vitkir and a Gruagach collective) into the Order and declaring them to be covenants. Mann is certainly rich enough in vis to still have a surplus after we all take our shares, so it can support a thriving hermetic community like that.

We are finding ways to end our destructive relationship with Gloom, so that could be a step to take.

Now, do you think that this could fly? Or do you think that it breaks down? It would mean both us and Gloom to declare that we would like Mann to be part of its own tribunal in the grand tribunal of 1228.

Besides all 3 other tribunals surrounding us having to be calmed down (I think it could be done by vis tributes and with the support of Redcaps, that are finding Lumen to be highly useful as a springboard) and the native magicians to be convinced this would be A Good Thing (TM) for them, what other problems do you envision?

For the record, the isle of Mann and the Realm of Mann and the Isles is the only place in the British isles where the Norsemen really rule along the old norse traditions (tinwald et al), and here there is an overflow of vis and the faerie gods of the norse are still strong along with the Celtic Church. So, we could try to claim this to be different from the other regions somewhat mundanely as well as hermetically. Until (or if) the English conquer it, that is


Hmm... If there were enough covenants on the island... maybe?

It depends a lot on how you view the Tribunals themselves.

On the one hand, I could see the established Tribunals, esp those with a claim to the island, opposing the move on the grounds, motivated by a desire to keep access to the islands vis sources and magical areas. That view depends on the idea that the Tribunal as a whole benefits by having a particular geographic region under its control, for instance by gaining vis income from fines.

On the other hand, if Tribunals are just loose associations of covenants within a common area, perhaps the other covenants don't care if your island is part of that area. Some traditionalist elements might oppose the change because it is change, but others might be indifferent or even supportive.

On the Grand Tribunal level, some other groups of magi might be very supportive as it gives them a prescedent to break away from their Tribunal as well. I could see the English covenants of Stonehenge, led by Voluntas, wanting to break away from the domination of Welsh Blackthorn. By the same token, I could see the Iberian Tribunal spliting along Christian and Muslim lines and the Rhine simply fracturing under cultural stress. All of those would be strong reasons why some politically motivated magi - especially the magi Trianoma - would want to prevent such a move.

Precedents for this:

  • The Isle of Mann is extremely vis rich. It was a battleground for its resources between magi of all 3 tribunals until the partitio monaviae (division of Mann) in 1145.

  • The Partitio Monaviae FORBIDS ANYONE from the 3 tribunals from gathering ANY vis on the island. The only way to break this is by establishing a covenant on the island itself, and then the covenant needs to claim membership in one of the 3 tribunals. By so doing, the island becomes part of that tribunal, and along with it, its vis sources. Nothing prevent you from having vis sources in a foreign tribunal, but the court of appeal for you will always be the foreign tribunal, so there is an incentive to get the votes where you get most of your friends :slight_smile: Tribunals get to vote in favour of their own residents when there is a dispute with foreigners regarding resources.

  • A wannabe-tribunal needs to contain at least 4 covenants and a quaesitor. This is so because a quorate tribunal needs representatives from 4+ covenants and a quaesitor to endorse the tribunal decisions. Right now there are 2 hermetic covenants in Mann, and we have been at odds for the best part of 2 decades since we represent the interests of 2 opposing tribunals in the dispute. However, we think that it would be likely that these differences could be shelved if a better outcome (our own tribunal) was a possibility. Getting 2 more covenants would be possible if we convinced some people (vitki and gruagachan) to join the order as Ex Miscellanea. The Parma Magica might be the carrot here.

@Lucius: thanks for the breakdown. it sounds like we are going to talk with the apple guild and the moorish exmiscellaneas of Iberia right away. :slight_smile: Heorot might also support us since they want to change tribunal boundaries. Dunno if trianomae would oppose this so much. They search consensus and agreements, and there has been quite a lot of blood shed on this issue already.


Well, maybe, but probably the other Tribunals didn't think the same... and possibly the others Traditions could argue too... since the Traditions work like little groups or powerfull individuals and not organizations.

Yes, but with difficulty. Geographical size is minimal, only having the absolute minimum of covenants will probably not be looked kindly upon(though this can also be avoided or even exploited if you can manage to scrounge up people for a fifth covenant, then you can proudly proclaim that there´s actually already more covenants than required in the potential new tribunal)... Those two together with greed and tradition/pride is what i would expect to make up the main opposition.
Although you might be able to exploit those as well... Ie, none of the existing tribunals gets the maigcal goodies nor the extra influence, and wouldnt it just be a great achievement for any covenant to assist their fellow magi in creating a glorious brand new tribunal, expanding the greatness of the order and it would be so sad to see that prestige only gained by one or the other or even shock none just because they´re so busy bickering with each other... :mrgreen:

If I would be the ST and the magi are powerful archmagi, you might have a good chance. Otherwise you would be convinced to forget this quickly or destroyed.

There are 2 archmages around. Severin ex Tytalus (leader of the hyppian faction of the house to add to that) and Aurora of Merinita. Lumen Australis is also a mercer house used as a clearence point for messages between the 3 tribunals and the mainland. Gloom is being used as a test ground by house Tremere for development of a highly magical environment right in the face of mundanes (castle in the sea just a few hundred metres from Douglas) since they are testing if isolationism, urban environment and powerful magics can be combined, so attacks on both of them are not so easy without arousing some powerful people's wrath. Besides, Lumen is well liked by the mundanes and Gloom by the fae. Been around for a while, you know :slight_smile:

Besides, about the destruction part... why? Remember that currently none of the tribunals is getting ANYTHING out of the island. it is as if it did not exist. destroying only makes this status quo remain, and would likely upset a few people. Creating a tribunal would make the vis available for trade at least. Right now it is being used for that by the local covenants, but not on the same level as it should be if the tribunal was institutionalized.

That is our line of defence, at least :slight_smile:

DW75: we can get a 5th covenant easy enough. Mann is quite rich in fairly good supernatural users. The hermetics are still the big guys, but there are around 12-15 vitkir, 6 gruagachan that we are aware of and at least 2 witch covens as well as 2 sailor magi (that do not talk between them, though). We will work on that :slight_smile: Can you intrudce a pair of dragons as an "exmiscellanea lizzard covenant?" :stuck_out_tongue:


Well, technically i dont think there are any direct obstacles, but getting recognition will probably be obcenely hard.
But there´s nothing in the rules that members must be human, so why not... :mrgreen:

Well, that should certainly be enough. Add the the 2 witch covens as a covenant each and hopefully get the sailor mages into any of the 6-7 covenants and you should have quite an excellent argument for making it a tribunal of its own. Its no longer a "tiny and on the limit" addition and managing to include all or most of the nonhermetics in the area into the order, big plus for you and the plan.

Oh, and if there´s a lot of large/vast regios around, you could use that to argue that the place is much larger geographically in total even if its mundane geography is small. :wink:

Since both you and Gloom are sworn to different tribunals, it's going to be unsettling to a lot of magi for you to strike off on your own. You're going to be compared to a liegeman abandoning his liege, switching lieges, or seeking to go allodial. To a guildsman leaving a guild to start his own. To a dependent of a Republic separating from the Republic. To a Priest wanting to move his parish into a different diocese. So when you say, "all 3 other tribunals surrounding us having to be calmed down," I think you are severely underestimating the challenge, even if all they get out of stopping you is satisfaction.

Obviously covenants who dominate their tribunals (like Blackthorn) are going to be against any precedent that a smaller group of covenants can just choose to split off. But I think you'll find that even "lesser partners" might oppose the precedent, since it means all their politicking to gain control of their tribunal has been useless... they just split off. Worse, if they do just "split off," they'll see their chance at revenge against the covenants that have been dominating their tribunal slip away.

Luckily you're blessed with an abundance of factions. If you can conclude your peace with Gloom in secret, a sock puppet strategy is possible. You can have a blatant mole in each opposition faction, there only because they hate "That other magus" specifically, and every time an opposition faction makes a really good argument, your mole agrees 100% and goes on to say something completely outrageous. Now your OTHER opponents join you in shooting down the original faction.

There are also some interesting false flag arguments you can make. If one opponent uses argument A, and another uses argument B, create argument A' that refutes A by assuming B. But don't send A' against A, send them to B, and then let B argue with A using A'. Do the same by sending B' to A. If you do it right, you can get both A and B refuted without dirtying your hands. Then you walk in with argument C that supports you, and both A and B have crippled their own arguments to oppose you.

Don't swear your Hedgies in right away. Containing the Hedgie threat is a powerful argument, and if they'll only swear to their own unique tribunal, there's a threat of war if the Grand Tribunal doesn't comply. And everyone already knows what a nut to crack Mann is.

But that's probably how it's going to have to end anyways. Everyone respects the right of conquest. Just before the tribunals, proclaim that you've ended the Hedgie threat by swearing them to House Ex and to the Manx Tribunal. Or better yet, to House Tytalus. Have the Hedgies "defeat" the Tytalus Archmagi, and induct some (not all, the rest go Ex Misc) of them into House Tytalus. He has been "forced" by his defeat to declare the existence of the Manx tribunal, and his "honor" demands that he defend it against all comers.

This transforms the Tribunals of 1222 and the Grand Tribunal of 1223 into peace talks instead of legal administrivia. All the allies you've built up who will benefit from your peaceable assimilation (because you're still upholding those vis tributes, and still have the Redcaps as your allies, right?) can now claim expediency instead of having to argue about what is good and just. Once expediency is met and the Manx tribunal declared, you can immediately ally yourself with all those opponents I listed above, in getting the legal loophole closed so no one else can do what you just did, without being a hypocrite about it.

Dirty pool old man - I like it!

Well, now that I've wasted my Discrete Math class thinking about it, I'm not done.

If you can get six covenants together, you can send them in pairs to each of the surrounding Tribunals and dominate the agenda with arguments over Vis sources. Naturally each Tribunal is going to assign the vis sources in different ways, as well as being annoyed at wasting so much time with issues on one tiny island. So now you can threaten to dominate the Grand Tribunal agenda with resolving the differences between the three tribunals... or ask that a "local council" be called to judge the issues amongst themselves, thus saving the surrounding tribunals the hassle of dealing with them. If you've solidified your allies, you should be able to push this through over the people who think you're upstart Parvenus.

The Tytalus archmagus can hold off on declaring a Manx tribunal, and instead be enforcing a noninterference doctrine on Manxian politics. Anyone who interferes gets a wizard's war. With a local council and a non-interference policy being maintained by completely different, nominally unrelated factions, you may find out you're a Tribunal without anyone actually ruling on the matter. Hold your four "local councils" the year before the surrounding local tribunals, make sure they are busy, then send your reps to the three surrounding tribunals and offer them a chance to rubber stamp your decisions... or rehash each of the debates, sucking all the air out of their tribunals again. After 4 rubber stamps from each of the surrounding tribunals and 33 years of enforced noninterference, at the Grand Tribunal after the one where you got your local council approved, you can ask that your council be stamped as a Tribunal on the "It looks like a Tribunal and it acts like a Tribunal" principle.

All of these are in addition to your original plan to promise trade agreements and other incentives to making a Manx tribunal beneficial to as many parties as possible, and in addition to whatever sock puppeting you want to do to disrupt your opposition. Each of these plans is pursued by separate factions that freely denigrate each other's solutions.

I, uh, sorta got sidetracked from the "What opposition will we see?" question. Sorry. Here, let me make it on topic: Assign NPCs to one or more of the factions I've discussed. If your players are trying to implement a "peace treaty and tribute" policy, make sure there's a recently sworn hedgie pursuing the declaration of independence/enforced noninterference policy. If they're pursuing argument A' based on B, put an NPC onto argument B' based on A. Now instead of it being a sock puppet it's a legitimate "ally" faction that's sucking the air out of your own attempts. "With friends like these..."

Actually, our tytalian archmagus is an herbam specialist (Severin from TOME). For the heavy artillery you need to go for Presteris Ex Flambeau (another covenant member of Lumen Australis) and Lianna ex Tremere from Gloom. Presteris is a duelist. Linna is more of an hermetic heavy artillery expert (she practices sinking pirate ships at sight range). So yes, we have combat capable people, but they are not the archmagi, even if they don't come shot there either :slight_smile:

LOADS of interesting stuff there! I like it. Sounds like being a total ass can be fun :stuck_out_tongue:


Dammit, you beat me before I could edit my post. I am obsessive-compulsive about being perfectly clear, so you probably inferred this already, but in that last line, I meant that any faction (or all, all is suspiciously realistic) that I described as a sock puppet may arise as an independent faction that actively opposes the PCs instead of secretly conspiring with them. Like, the PCs ALMOST have the vis tribute deals worked out when a hedgie recently sworn to the order decides he likes his Vis and declares Manxian independence and the PCs need to take him down before he ruins everything.

Flambeau is good. They tend to be honorable people, so he could be defeated in, say, a debate, or a game of chance or skill where the stakes of the game are a personal favor, to explain why such a powerful mage could be so easily defeated. Or perhaps someone simply saved a friend of his from certain doom or some other great personal favor that he feels compelled to repay.

That made me think of a situation from another game...

Two military forces decide to "combat" by proxy, settling on a single cointoss to determine the outcome.
One CO flips a coin and asks "heads or tails?", and the other´s reply is "edge".
When asked why she picked such a near impossible choice, "but think of how glorious the victory would have been if i had won". :mrgreen:

It's an interesting question how new Tribunals get created. There must be some reason that you can't just declare yourself a Tribunal and get the right to participate equally in Grand Tribunals along with functional autonomy. Grand Tribunals every 33 years with limited numbers of issues that can be raised aren't much of a check on a local Tribunal that develops its own unique ways of managing mundanes or dealing with the Divine. The existing Tribunals are all large and generally discrete units, the only exception being the British Isles, which likely got its trifecta for out of game reasons, i.e., the numbers of English speaking gamers with an interest in the region.

I guess I'd be a little more conservative in a game that involved the Order as a whole. If you're focused mostly on local matters then you should go with whatever seems most fun for the covenant.

In 5th edition vis is not so important by vanilla rules.

Why to destruct? Keeping and demonstrate power. RL stories show it is more than enough.
There are so many "trigger-happy" magi who rarely can use their destructive spells... What if one or two new Ex misc covenants get wizads war challenge right after publishing the intention to establish a new tribunal? It is absolutely legal. The hermetic cousins might live even without any harm. Especially the reason 2 of them are archmagi.

This is only one possibility. Everything depends on your ST.

For the Hibernians and Loch legleanians: "you carry on with the WW and we declare we want to belong to Stonehenge"
For the Stonehengians: "you carry on with the WW and we declare we want to belong to Hibernia" (loch leglean is second best for them, so better the worst case escenario).

Play with the tribunal animosities?

There might be attackers from all these 3 tribunals along with 3-6 other ones. And this is only one way IF powerful magi (leaders of tribunals or houses) want to obstruct you.

Just reading the Lotharingian Tribunal insert on page 29 in Guardians of the Forests.
While you are not running a canon game , the general indications are that your proposed new tribunal in Mann ,
should be at least as easy and trouble-free.
Perhaps you could enlist their support , and propose two! new tribunals at the Grand Tribunal of 1228.