Provenecal Regional Tribunal Details?

I am running a saga starting in 1220. My players and I are experienced role-players, but new to ArM. I started them with grogs who had a meet-up prequel and then joined the covenant, located in southern Gascony in the foothills of the Pyranees. Next they created and played apprentices who passed their gauntlet by "proving themselves" on an expedition to Calebais. Now they will be junior magi passing into the daily life of a wizard - setting up their labs, reading books, etc.

For the purposes of my story, I would like for them to attend their first regional tribunal in two years, rather than next year in 1221. This will allow them more time to learn about and become involved in hermetic politics first.

Initially I figured, my players know little of, and are even less attached to, the canonical details of the standard setting. So there is no reason I can't just say that the 7 year cycle means a tribunal in 1222 or 1223 rather than 1221.

But whenever it works for us, this saga is sticking with published canon, as that helps all us newbs, to not mess with what we're still learning. So I'd prefer to keep the canonical regional tribunal meetings in 1221 as the expected event.

There seems to be very little published info about this region. I've browsed my local shops, explored online shops selling older material, and even delved into dark corners of the net in search of information, but found little. If anyone can point me to sources, however obscure, I'd be grateful.

Where is the regional tribunal customarily held? What is the tirbunal meeting like? The only tribunal book I own is tSE (and C&C), and that's not a very good example of a "typical" tribunal.

With no info to draw from, and a desire to stick to published canon, yet do what works best for my story within that framework, my idea is that a tribunal WAS planned for 1221, but the ongoing anti-cathar crusade has disrupted plans, causing an unprecedented pushing back of the tribunal to 1222 or 1223.


If I had a rough idea of where the tribunal is supposed to be held, I imagine I could browse wikipedia and other sources for historical events in the 1215-1221 period in the area, and come up with some related mythic history that would explain the disruption.

There's nothing terribly 'magical' about 1221, but there's nothing terribly magical about starting in 1220 either.
If you need 2 years and your players haven't interacted with the world too much/been working seasonal activities much, isn't it just as easy to move the saga back a year or 2?

Perhaps explain that you'd like a liiiiiiiiiiitle bit more time to prepare before the tribunal and would anyone mind?

When I ran my game set in Toulouse (I was using the Albigensian crusade very heavily), we ran with the idea that the Tribunal was held in one or another covenant, Normandy-style. It worked as a good way to introduce the characters to interesting NPCs.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's much published material concerning Provence. Or, more accurately, since it was considered the "default" tribunal in previous editions of the game, anything no specifically referenced as part of another tribunal is assumed to apply to Provence...

There is some material in the old Mistridge and Covenants (old! Not fifth edition!) supplements. I believe they can be downloaded from e23. This material is not part of the Fifth Edition canon, and often contradicts it. There is no Firth Edition canon on the tribunal, really. I suggest you feel free to invent your own, as there won't be one for at least a year or so (until the tribunal book comes out). You can draw on the old material, but it's partial and not really up to Fifth Edition ideas and standards; I'd recommend thinking about adapting material from the Normandy or Rhine tribunals, which are more "normal".


The only canon details I can remember are from the house Flambeau domus magna details in HoH:S.

Val Negra is mentioned as being the old domus magna, but in an unsuitable position as headquarters of the house during the schism war.

  • In the old editions (old covenants) this was a ruined moorish castle in a deep magical regio in the pyrenees mountains where time ran slower than normal and could only be reached if you knew the route into the regio, the covenfolk were deformed by warping. But that is all outdated info so you can keep/change what you like.

Castra Solis is the new Domus Magna and is several leagues south of bordeaux in the tribunal. It is a highly enchanted defense wise manor house, built over a cave system that used to be used by the Roman Cult of Mithras. It has a nearby village where visitors for the house meeting spill over to.

  • It would be a good choice for tribunal meeting place as the head of the house is likely to also be head of the tribunal if you wanted that.

Sure. I just started the saga in the spring of 1220 because I saw no reason not to at the time. New (to ArM) SG, new (to ArM) players, so I deviate from canon only when my gaming experience tells me there's a good reason to, and stick to "everything as written" otherwise. As a college mentor once told me "don't deconstruct something unless you're sure you can put it back together."

So at this time I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, to prove my ability to generate my own house-rules system and setting (my players already know what I'm capable of). I'm trying to teach my players the canon and RAW first, to lay the groundwork for a long saga (and hopefully more) where we will eventually become very inventive - I intend for my pc's, or more likely their descendents, to someday "discover" the Americas.

Not at this point. They have eached created a grog and a newly gauntled magus (everything but the parma magica), creating backstories for these characters. Most of these backstories aren't too date specific; they're not really tied to any real-world historical events or can details, so they don't present a big problem for retconing the start date.

But they have played through 2 adventures involving the grogs and 1 involving the graduating apprentices, 3 seasons of game-time. For these, one character has been keeping an campaign-journal in ink-notebook format, detailing names, dates, and locations of key events. I don't want to confuse everyone and make him change his notes.

I don't think my players will care how I handle this. They trust me to tell a good story, and when necessary for that purpose, we make retcon changes fairly frequently in any game we play.

"Guys, last week I said it was 100 miles from Paris to Tolouse. Turns out I was wrong, so your trip took 1 month, not 1 week."

"Last session Bob chose a mount for his character. Upon further consideration, he has decided that, however funny it seemed at the time, Dire Sloth just isn't a good choice. Instead he has a Dire Panther."

We meta-discuss this, outside of game, as being like the shifts in plotlines, characters, and actors, between seasons of a TV show. And my players know my "angry face" well enough to not attempt to abuse this privilige for munchkin purposes.

Thanks. I think I'll go with that. It gives me the flexibility to send them wherever I want within the region, or even bring the regional tribunal to them. If it was scheduled to be held in 1221 at some covenant, it could be delayed 1-2 years, even possibly being shifted to a different covenant, possibly the PC's home.
My players are hoping to be fairly insular in their covenant's regio. Two want to avoid politics, both hermetic and mundane, the third is more interested, particularly in the ex-misc census. He's ex-misc, a secret diabolist, and a wanna-be-hoplite. Odd mix I know, but the player had an interesting backstory idea.

Thanks, just bought that book, will check it out. Would give me one possible detailed location. The PC's are in a covenant led by Darius of Flambeau, so there would be some natural hooks if I set it there.

Good to know. Older books are less important to me, as I'm trying to teach my players ArM5 but are still useful to me as idea mines. I plan on avoiding/ignoring regio with slower/faster time. I know my players and how they would abuse that option if it existed. I ran a super-hero space/time-travel game once; the ideas they came up with were deviously brilliant.

Sounds like I've got a few good published detailed covenants I could set the tribunal in.

Thanks. As I said, with next to nothing published so far, I was willing to look at older material. What can't be used as-written can still be idea mines. I have read about some of the rules, setting, and thematic changes made over time, so I'm not totally lost when I look at an older book.

The Normandy book is high on my purchase list, but I don't have it yet (15+ books so far, another 12 more to go...sigh)

The Provencal Tribunal, as others indicated, is the default setting for 2nd and 3rd edition. So, if you want to use that stuff, there is tons of information out there including a timeline of events in the Tribunal. The Mistridge book can be found on Amazon for $3.00 and is phenomenal. Full of incredible amount of information. ... =mistridge

Tribunal is held at Doissetep which is a large and old Tribunal set in the Pyrenee Mountains below and east of Bayonne. They're traditional Roman magi who uphold the old rituals. Very hidebound and power-hungry. Lariander is a new Tribunal around Lyon. There is a Jerbiton house near Toulouse called Bellaquin.

Ahh... just look at this Google Map. It's in French but has all of the covenants (plus some non-canon ones) laid out. ... 708c&msa=0

Per 2nd-3rd edition... Bellaquin, Mistridge, Doissetep, Lariander, Val-Negra, and Windgraven are all canon.

I do understand that this older info can have a different "feel" than 5th edition, in addition to the rule changes. Still useful as idea mines sometimes.

Where can this timeline be found? Is it in Mistridge? That would be hugely helpful.

Will look into it. Thanks.

Funny. That's roughly where I set the saga's home covenant, a modified Semita Errabunda.

Hmm. That link doesn't work for me. It got broken somehow, and I'm not sure how to merge it back together properly..

SPOILERS Warning: my troupe members (Max, Heather, Scraigon, this means you) should read no further, if you've gotten this far.

Here is what I want to have happen, and why I wanted some basic skeleton of the tribunal to hang my story on:

Regional Tribunal is scheduled as normal for 1221. In the year leading up to the Tribunal, the area around the hosting covenant becomes a focal point for anti-cathar crusades. These forces are not directed against the OoH, but gathering a large number of Magi in the area seems unwise and subtle attempts to divert or diffuse tensions are ineffective.

The leader of the Tribunal makes the unprecedented (?) decision to delay the tribunal by one year, and the perhaps equally unprecedented decision to hold the Tribunal in an alternate, more secure and remote location.

Note: This is why I was curious if the tribunal is held in a fixed location or rotates. Doesn't negate my plot either way, but does subtle change if.

By the time the tribunal is held in 1222, the tribunal leader's competence and thus authority is being subtly questioned.

QUESTION: What is the leader of the tribunal's title? How is the leader chosen? Who is it, and where do they reside?

Ordinarily, the next regional tribunal should be held 7 years after the last. The date of the next regional tribunal was to be moved up a year to 1227 (also unprecendented?) so it wouldn't conflict with the next Grand Tribunal in 1228. Now it will only be 5 years until 1227. Should a Regional Tribunal be held then or should it be moved to 1229, after the Grand Tribunal, making it the proper 7 years between regional tribunals?

Two choices, two factions. This simple matter of calendars could be latched onto or hijacked by any number of groups. I would like for it to evolve over time into a schism, not in the entire Order, but within the tribunal, with two rival claimants to the leadership of the Tribunal holding competing tribunals, competing for legitimacy, similar to the rivalries within Christiandom for supremecy, between East and West as well as rival popes (Avignon, etc). This could eventually develop into civil war, but is a more subtle bureaucratic power struggle for some time. Quasitors, Mercere, Trianoma-types, etc would all get involved in their manner and choose sides or pursue reconciliation.

Other threads of my saga's plot, such as the Ex Misc Census, will factor into this plot.


Usual usage is that the tribunal is held at the home covenant of the Praeco 'leader of the tribunal', who is the oldest magi in the tribunal who doesn't refuse the job. But there are exceptions like in Rhine Tribunal the gathering is always held in Durenmar, and in Thebes, Rome and Loch Leglean there is a neutral meeting site, not a covenant.

So the easiest way to move a tribunal for your plot purposes is to have the previous Praeco die between Tribunal meetings, have the next senior magi be in a covenant in a dangerous location where many magi refuse to go. Instead there is a call sent out via redcaps for the meeting to be held in the safe location of the covenant that the old Praeco lived in. In 3rd edition games this would have been Diossetep, and they are seen as such a bunch of power hungry $%#^^$^ that many of the magi who hear their call to keep using their home would see it as an attempt to keep the power that comes with hosting the Tribunal (you have a large advantage in negotiations if you control housing and feeding the guests, and can cause trouble placing rivals next to each other to keep them distracted).


Alternatively you could just take a look at the pdf - A Midsummer Night's Dream 3rd edition adventure which starts with the Tribunal meeting in 1207 to decide how magi should handle the upcoming crusage before it really starts. It is really my favourite of the 3rd edition adventures (no infernal plot at all :smiley:).

I forgot Midsummer Night's Dream also has good information. There is also a fairly excellent description of the Tribunal and its workings in it.

Yes, Mistridge has the timeline. It's not year to year though, jumps a decade at a time.

Just search Amazon for "Mistridge"

The way I like to handle new sagas and tribunals is as follows:

Start in spring 1220, first tribunal in summer 1221.

I use the first tribunal as the introduction to hermetic politics and the tribunal at large. So for ~5 seasons, the story focuses on the covenant and the local goings on. The group get an invitation to attend tribunal somewhere in that period, and maybe a bit of tentative politicking.

However, I've always preferred that first tribunal to be primarily about introducing hermetic politics to the players. Let them meet the key figures - praeco, head redcap, their redcap, head quaesitor, etc. - and be introduced to any hermetic allies or enemies you intend to use in the saga. Don't worry about complex court cases, etc. - save those for the next round. Instead, the first tribunal can be used for:

  • market fair and introducing the concept of trading books, etc.
  • market fair and some fun games and challenges where magi can earn vis
  • competitions for things like certamen or similar - either tribunal-wide or arranged by a subset of magi (introduce Certamen)
  • friendly / hostile overtures by covenants you want to play a major role in your saga

Unless you have a particular set of cases you really want to deal with, just gloss over the actual vote-y part. I prefer to have such tribunal voting and intrigue happen over the seasons leading up to tribunal, and for the first one the new convenat is (probably) so new that the usual intrigue-monkeys haven't factored it in to their plans. If you really want, you could present some simple moral choices - such as accepting a vis bribe in exchange for voting for something obviously distasteful.