Novgorod Tribunal

So I have a long standing personal mini-campaign slash setting slash story that I work on for fun. In said campaign I semi-play out the adventurers of my magi character and then write a story slash description for said events.

Said character (named Heru, go figure, hehe) went through Gauntlet in 1200 and since then has basically spent alternating years in his home tribunal of Rome and traveling about Mythic Europe. (His apprenticeship was in the Alps and he still has resident rights in the covenant of his parens.) As part of his adventurers he explores, researches, makes contacts, and builds a base slash semi-covenant in every tribunal he can.

It is currently 1216, his sixteenth year of adventuring, and he is about to head into the Novgorod Tribunal for the year. My problem is that I am looking through the various soucebooks for the potential adventure I can put him through in said tribunal for the year. My first idea was to maybe place the The Flying Castle of Thomae from the Legends of Hermes in this tribunal, though upon further thinking I think that might work better in Levant. My current idea is to put the The Magical Garden of Herisson in Novgorod, also from the Legends of Hermes, there. I do own the Dragon and the Boar, though I must admit to getting nothing out of that book, sadly enough.

So I ask you all, since I would really like to continue with this personal adventure slash campaign slash setting slash story that I am working on. What cool adventure (either a single major or a group of minor) could he have in the tribunal that leads to him maybe getting allies and establishing either a covenant he is associated with or a base of operations he can control. The year is 1216 which means the Mongols aren't going to be the focus.

But yeah any other ideas and thoughts or sources to use would be good.


Where in Novgororod? The Linovian Brotherhood of the sword is rampaging through Lithuania and surrounding Areas with the backing of Denmark, Norway is just coming out of a civil war and building churches like they would manifest gold (or more accurately papal approval of the newly established government), the Cumans and the Rus are probably raiding back and forth...
and baba yaga is running around in her chicken legged hut abducting children...

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My idea is that he spends part of the year just simply traveling about exploring, adventuring, seeing the sights, meeting people, gathering materials, studying magic in as much of the tribunal as he possibly can. (Which yes, I am ware is harder to do in Novgorod then in all the others because they have clearly defined boundaries.)

I will say he enters the Novgorod Tribunal from the Rhine Tribunal, as that is the last tribunal he did his exploration and has to attend the aegis ritual in his new site within the Rhine Gorge.

I am totally up for at some point he meets up with some local newly gauntled magi who, having heard of him (by this point he has started being well known in the Order, partly due to his various published papers) or simply learned of a traveling mage, say 'hey we have a problem, if you help us solve it you can have permanent resident rites in the covenant we later form".

Baba Yaga you say, hmm, might have to look in on that from an Ars Magica standpoint. If she is a Magical aspected being then he will get boosts to dealing with her (well he has some boosts to Faerie to but Magical is where it counts).

I should note that by 1226 he will have visited and set up a secondary base in every Tribunal of the Order. Which means that by 1228, and the time of the Grand Tribunal, he is gonna be well known all throughout the Order. I am not at this point in my adventure setting writing but I figure its not too early to imagine what he will be like in said Grand Tribunal. hehe

worth noting that at the time you are talking about there is a papal bull that all Rhine trade through the Balkans has to go through Riga, the headquarters of the Linovian Brotherhood of the sword, where taxes on the trade will support that order in their quest to conquer the pagan lands of Novgorod. Make what you will of the story wise, but I expect the social penalties of the Gift could play a major factor...

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I love things like this. Story seeds like this. Its what I really love about the more recent, as in before the end of the line, tribunal books rather than the previous edition tribunal books. The new ones are chocked full of potentials. While the older one don't. (Heck they are often filled with too much Infernal or on topics that don't really seem useful to me.)

But yeah, things like this is great. I could totally see this being useful. My character has a bunch of connections with various groups in both the mundane and magical world and so he might get asked to assist things.

It could be fun!

So I have the idea of using The River from the book Hooks as the sort of basis. Basically while exploring the Tribunal he begins noticing that many rivers in the greater area have rushed over their banks, wiping away towns and causing issues of trade. The idea will be that the River Spirit, a Magic entity, did it after the trifecta of mortals causing changes to the land, some Faeries leading the people into acts that effect the balance, the Infernal tainting the rivers, and the Divine overpowering its aura. The River Spirit will exist in a regio that possesses nine entrance/exits connecting to the same number of lesser rivers throughout the tribunal. Solving the issue is multifaceted and also quite fun but in the end an ally of the River Spirit could be made and a covenant formed on an island within the regio that houses the River Spirit, which would give said covenant access to nine different rivers plus its initial site by Smolensk.

Its just an idea I had. hehe

Combined with what you have described in the other thread about transylvania you are beginning to reveal a rather interesting idea. I really like the concept of a group of covenants linking each of the tribunals via a mercer portal.

Such a series of covenants, or are they really just one covenant? holds the potential to become a critical piece of infrastructure in the entire OoH. Imagine if the local tribunal branch could become connected to each of the major covenants in the tribunal where it is located. That would mean that each covenant on the network would be at most 4 "jumps" away from every other connected covenant.
Of course in the olden days the covenant to act as the central hub could really only have been Durenmar. But now it can just as well be any other covenant. Your idea neatly plays along with what I perceive to be a theme in Ars, that Durenmar and house Bonisahus used to be the primary house and covenant and that now things are changing, and power is spread more evenly or at least is not gripped quite so tightly by Durenmar.

In my head, this used to be the structure before the schism war, when suddenly the portals became liabilities and were destroyed/inactivated.

Also this meant for the last two centuaries tribunals have become more insular, and I state that the teleportation guidelines were higher until relatively recently as Bonisagi put effort into travelling around (mainly to avoid schlepping top the Colens taking up too much time)



One thing I should mention is that my character, Heru, is Bonisagus, so even with all the things he is doing different he still has a fondness for that house. hehe

And yeah, while my notes pretty much only mention Heru using the portals the idea definitely is that every mage, Redcap, and authorized grog in his network (so by now ten main locations, though Rhine has two and so does Alps) are using the portals for trade, travel, and allocation of resources. That is, if the covenant in Iberia lacks a doctor and the covenant in the Rhine has two, then Heru is like "send one of your healers to Iberia" and it happens instantly.

Pretty much every one of his portals are within a regio protected by a high level Aegis of the Hearth (he mastered the spell so he can be really good at casting it, and before he was his parens from the Alps would cast it for him) for added protection.

But yeah, there is a lot of communication and coordination going on now that he has built the portals, which also i should note include some sites he set up for House Mercere as Mercere Houses.

I figured, with him adventuring throughout the year by the end of each year he has gathered enough resources and Vis to basically bankroll the one or two portals, meaning there is little issue with getting approval.

Bob (@rgd20 )

I honestly hadn't thought about the security issue. I will have to read up on that so that he can create a plan to counteract any potential invasion of his covenant and bases. The fact that they are in high aegis wards helps, as does them being in a regio, but yeah having other security would never be remiss.

Even if your character does not desire to bring about the downfall of his house, the mere existence of a centralized trade/travel/communications network that is not centered on and administered from Durenmar represents a decline of house Bonisagus. It is a move from an order dominated by the legacy of Bonisagus and the eponymous house, to an order with multiple centers of power. Note also that what I am talking about is not a move towards the destruction of house Bonisagus. It is a shift of the balance of power where house Bonisagus is no longer the primary house of the order, but instead simply one of the 12 houses. Perhaps because another house has eclipsed it, perhaps because they are all more evenly balanced.

Regarding security I believe that the problems alluded to by by Bob is one of an invasion via the portal, from a hostile covenant that is connected to the portal network. I.e. an invasion from within rather than an issue of outsiders fighting their way to a hermes portal and using it to attack other sites. I believe that there is either a canon history or a fan theory that states that hermes portals used to be widespread before the schism war and that many covenants both diedne and otherwise were attack and destroyed by attackers using the hermes portals that connected those covenants.

Honestly the order has multiple centers as written- there is Duernemar which has history and is the academic center, Magvillus which is the legal center, Harco which is the trade/communications center, and Verdi which is the "manufacturing" center. And Coeris which is the military center.

Also, I would think that maybe the Mercere might not look kindly at the loss of their monopoly on instant-travelling, communications and portals. This could give rise to either direct confrontation, political maneuvering on their behalf to regulate their travel monopoly, or even approaches from the Mercere to "join" both networks, perhaps under the supervision/taxing of House Mercere.

Given how Heru is based off the Roman Tribunal, which is where Harco is located, you might get quite a lot of political mileage from this, if you wish to explore this idea.

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Oh yeah @Yirkash , totally. Which is why I actively made sure to do two things. One, at no point is Heru trying to learn the secret of the Mercere Portal, which means it is still House Mercere that handles its construction. He finds the site, gathers the resources, including vis and exotic materials, and then provides the House with the abilty to move - and they build the site. Harco is connected to Argentum Aedes which means that a Redcap slash magi from House Mercere could literally go from Harco and its network to Argentum Aedes and its network. Even more Heru actively supports the expansion of the Mercere House structure to the areas he builds. While he gets some of the proceeds, due to the exchange of goods, they control their own Mercere House operations. Usually said Mercere Houses are near but not exactly within the covenant location. Oh, and said Mercere Houses contain a Portal to Harco.

Hmm. I think I might need something to occur to make it clear why it 'suddenly' became 'easier' for Mercere to build Portals. Maybe an accidental find of Heru while he was an apprentice. I will have to think deeper on this.

Basically though, I like the merchantile and messenger capacity of House Mercere for all that I dislike non-Gifted having equal power to the Gifted in the Order. So yeah I am making sure that Heru has nothing but a good relationship with House Mercere.


You are right though that there could be more poltiical mileage from out of such things. Honestly, one of the things I think I need to do is add more details on Heru's interactions with the greater Order.

Maybe you could find some interesting stories surrounding Heru's possible prejudice against non-Gifted magi, and how he reconciles that with an ongoing working relationship with House Mercere. If you're willing to delve into stories that explore prejudice, this might fuel some interesting story arcs.

Hmm. Interesting. I mean I am not sure how far I would want to go with that - considering with the Gift, and before the Parma he faced prejudice (I have the idea that his parents worked for a maga in a tower on a hill near a village but during the Final Twilight act of said maga when he was 7 his parents were turned to stone, and so was his unborn sister. Because of him being in the village with others that day he was taken in by an old woman who had raised children and grand children but was still healthy. Well, till he was about 10 when she died of old age surrounded by family. Her children told him he would have to leave, though only after the funeral and stuff as they didn't hate him. But thanks to the local priest and new headman Heru was treated poorly, leading to him and a bunch of his friends escaping the town to find the magi nearby)

Anyway, hehe, the point is thanks to both the Gift and who he wishes to love he knows prejudice a bit. So I am not sure I would want to go in that direction. Plus, Redaps are cool, its just when they act like they are magi he doesn't like, but as people he is totally open and accepting of them.

That said, hmm, instead of a problem with non-Gifted I might bring up some issues with Faerie. Which might lead him to issues with House Merinita, well at least the faerie part while he might come to support the wilderness nature part.

I have to think on that. hehe