EDIT: SPOILERS! My players shouldn't read. Other should be fine.
Last week's session included the 1223 Provencal regional tribunal meeting. One player expressed an interest in making discrete attempts to contact any Order of the Green Cockerel members that might be present. I deferred the request so I could read up on them more (tM:RE).
They look like a good fit for this magus, a Bonisagus lab rat with inventive genius, etc. He can post impressive lab totals in his specialties, but he's only 2 years out of Gauntlet, which seems a little young to be joining a Mystery Cult.
Question: What age do you usually allow your Magi to be initiated? What should this (or any) Mystery Cult be looking for in a prospective initiate?
This week, he happens to be the only player, so I figured I'd give him a quest. This could turn out to be part of his initiation, or just a step on the road to proving his worthiness.
Here's what I've told the player so far:
A few months after the Tribunal concludes, you receive a letter from a Sodale in Tolouse. He describes a Magus, one Alexander of Jerbiton (source: Magi of Hermes), approx 30 years out of Gauntlet, a famed explorer of North Africa. It is rumored that Alexander has recovered a copy of an ancient astrological text (or alchemical text, or something else; I haven't decided on the specifics of the McGruffin). The writer would like to convince Alexander to part with this text, or at least allow a copy to be made.
There are two problems: First, Alexander is difficult to locate, only occasionally visiting his home covenant of Cairo (or some other city in North Africa). He hasn't been seen since the 1222 Levant Tribunal meeting, where he announced the findings of his last expedition, and his plans for a new expedition to Kush, in the upper Nile above Egypt, in search of the land of Punt, mentioned in the bible (or somewhere else interesting and exotic).
Second, he is not friendly to the Greens, as he has disputes with them over various matters related to the recent crusades in Egypt, and is under the mistaken impression that the writer is a member.
Now it just so happens that the PC covenant's shifting regio is shifting towards Egypt, something the correspondant hints at awareness of. And as a non-initiate, the PC may be able to convince Alexander to share his discoveries, where others have failed.
His sodale doesn't suggest any payment in his letters, focusing instead on this discovery, which he assumes to be of mutual interest, and stresses the benifit he believes the Order, non-gifted scholars, and even Mythic Europe as a whole would gain from the wider dissimination of this knowledge, which the writer feels that he and certain unamed sodales (the Greens?) would be able to bring about.
The PC has agreed to undertake this quest. He is bringing 4 covenant grogs: a knight, a hunter/scout, an arabic speaking french scribe, and an arab or jew or crusader with some knowledge of north africa (he's working up that grog now, details tbd). He plans to first visit Alexander's covenant in Cairo to learn more about him, then travel up the Nile by boat to the general area where Alexander is said to be, then travel overland in search of him.
If you've read this far, here's where you come in: help me expand this story seed into a full session's adventure! The players have asked for a high fantasy saga, and this will be on the edge of the known world, so feel free to get creative. I want this to feel a bit like something (lofty ambitions) out of the Arabian Nights although its ok (probable reality) if it comes out more like a Robert Howard story.
The one thing I'd like to avoid is regios. The home covenant is based in one and they've been prominent features in recent adventures.
What is Alexander's covenant like? Are they friendly, hostile, secretive, etc? How openly do they operate, and how are they able to avoid conflict with the order of suliman?
Where is Alexander? What is he looking for? Has he found it?
Does Alexander have the item the PC wants? If so, under what conditions, if any, would he be willing to part with it?
What interesting entities of the various realms could the PC interract with during his travels in cairo, on the nile, or in the desert?
What is the nature of Alexander's dispute with the Order of the Green Cockerel?