Questions about 4E tribunal Books

Hey Guys,

I have a monthly RPG budget, and am currently filling out my ARS library. I am considering buying the Stonehenge and Tribunal of the Alps books, and was just curious how well they fair in use to the new Gold Standard: The Rhine Tribunal book. I like it, and my brother likes it so much he's now running a game about it. Is/Has anyone used either book for their 4E or 5E games? Any thoughts/Reviews on them?



I currently use the Iberia Sorcebook (from ArM3) for my fifth edition game. It takes a little work ecause stats don't direcly tanslate, but they can be used as a guide to recreate the characterfrom scratch (I have a revised version of Carles and his Familiar Noscur, as well as one for Metron the Flaming Shadow).

I also used the Stonehenge book for a short saga right when ArM5 came out. That book is really easy to use since there are no stats whatsoever.

If you're a fan of the Rhine book I recommend the Alps book - Sanctuary of Ice. It has a very nice magical feel that should go well with Guardians of the Forest. Heirs of Merlin is also good but much less magical in orientation than either of these.

We are currently using the Stonehenge book, though I have to admit that this is principally so that we have a nice consistent set of covenants we can all play against. I really must make use of the rest of the content in there...

And back in the day when we played a saga in Verona, we of course used the Roman Tribunal book (3rd edition) and I love it still to this day! Our guys made frequent visits across the border to the Greater Alps, so that book came in very handy. In fact... we still have a grog hiding out in the Covenant Where Journeys End, just waiting for the heat to cool down so that he can come back. At least, that's what we told him when we left him there.

And don't forget, there's Blood and Sand, a book I wish I'd made more use of at the time.

I just began a saga in the Great Alps and the book is good. There are some flaws.

  • the maps are just bad. They are very imprecise and bland. At least there should be the mountains and main passes/roads on it. A full page map would have been great, like those in the other tribunal books (such as stonehenge).
  • some maps for the 5 covenants would have been a plus. Especially Valnastium considering its importance.

the 4th ed characteristics seems roughly compatible with 5th ed (I never played 4ed or previous editions) at least for the arts and abilities, but there are caracteristics only for a 5-6 characters anyway.

What I really like is that there are names and backstories, even if sometimes short, for at least 50 mages in the 5 covenants of the tribunal. It spared me a very long and tedious preparation work to flesh out the tribunal before the first game sessions. There is a lot of potential stories just with the mages of the other covenants.
I also like the tribunal specificities and traditions, it is a very nice touch. Using inverse auction for trading magic items and vis is an example that I really like, as the wizard war declaration specificities.

I also found that the Duke of Savoie is really described in great details in "A medieval Tapestry" (4th edition also).

To me, both Alps and Stonehenge are good books.

Stonehenge pays more attention to mundane history whereas Alps is more about mage society (including a tribunal that specialises on longevity potions).

Heirs to Merlin is a bit light on the mythic elements but if you pick up The Black Monks of Glastonbury the two balance out since the latter is steeped in infernal, divine, and faerie elements. Few of the covenants are written about in great detail but the political culture as a whole gets a good treatment in my opinion.

SoI is the last Tribunal book written before people really came to grips with using the Internet for this whole research thing, and it shows. If I did a new version, it would be lot more precise...some of the mapping tools we are experimenting with now are just amazing.

It's precise though: I know because I hand drew the rough drafts over transparencies, and then scanned them and sent them to David. 8) See...very old school! Not very detailed, however: very true.

Roughly, yes, but:

Flambeau don't work the way they used to, so the lightning magi need more work to fit the setting.
Criamon magi are done in more detail in HoH:MC, in much the same fashion, so if you have the new version the old one's not as important.
Faerie magic works differently now, so the stats for Journeys End will need some work.
Don't worry about the lack of detail in Valnastium: its very similar in HoH:S. Perhaps too similar. The big difference is that in HoH:S, the Jerbitons are the Greek magi, and in SoI, Andru is a Greek, but Jerbiton was Italian. I'm not sure that made it to the final draft, actually.

I never realized when I was writing what I see now as steep criticisms that it would be read by the people that wrote the book (and answered in detail !) :slight_smile: If I knew, I would have been less blunt in my comments :

such as comparing SoI to the other tribunal books I have (most of those are more recent, of course) , I realize now that it was somewhat unfair, because as you point out, the tools available now are way better to achieve good maps... (and internet is an awesome tool to make reasearch)

When I said the maps were not precise, I should have said that what I really missed was that they are lacking political frontiers and roads (even if it not historicaly accurate). But it's not a huge flaw, I made my own map.

I think that the maps were my main grief, and overall I really enjoyed reading Sanctuary of Ice.

I'll keep that in mind when designing those magi if I need them.

From my point of view, House Criamon as a whole is detailed in HOH:MC, but the Criamon Magi of the cave of Twisting shadows are well detailed in SoI (but I used the Prima from HOH:MC). So I used both books to prep my saga. But as I don't have a Criamon in my players, I didn't need to work much on the Paths...

Point well noted

I don't know if it is important. I guess it could have consequences in the Theban tribunal and constantinople, but it shouldn't have any in my current saga.