Place to discuss the saga's setting and the covenant's development
So, I don't have a preference on where the player magi agree to setup shop. Do you want me to make the decision, or does anyone have any ideas?
A few suggestions on locale:
- Somewhere obscenely cold (suits my intended character), or at least darn cold. Might suit a justification for why the location isn't claimed already and has reasonable seclusion.
- built in local style,
- a good aura, if that's a problem perhaps we have a regio hiding the covenant proper?
- in terms of income a secondary production of some sort - ropes were a niche commodity , boats, oils, ice, furs all to other places perhaps back into Europe. (?)
-Ive no idea which country was what attributes but we need something a little in the pagan side to justify having the Order of Odin around rather than OoH.
Cold an full of[strike]Hea[/strike] Pagans? That would be up north. Finland, perhaps. We could set up a magical toy factory and sell the merchandise to a Christmas fairie.
As the token Finn I strongly approve of Pralix's suggestion. In case we go for that, here's a bit of inspiration concerning the christianization of Finland that might be interesting. In short, Finnish pagans' violent resistance may have contributed to a Swedish crusade that subjected (western) Finland right before we start playing. I see some interesting stories there.
"he was granted resignation by Pope Innocent IV on 21 February 1245. According to the Pope, Thomas had admitted committing several felonies, such as torturing a man to death, and forging a papal letter."
"Violent anti-church clashes in Tavastia, central Finland, mentioned in a letter by Pope Gregorius IX in 1237, have been attributed to Thomas' harsh methods of Christianization. - - The Pope had clearly not known where Tavastia exactly was, and eloquently urged the Archbishop to send in a crusade."
"The Second Swedish Crusade was a Swedish military expedition to areas in present-day Finland by Birger Jarl in the 13th century. As a result of the crusade, Swedish kingdom began to exert influence in western Finland."
Coast? Island? Inland?
I think it's safe to say that being up that far north will have plenty of cold. I'm from North Dakota in the US. I've experienced 40 below (same in both F and C scales). From my memory, I think Lapland has a climate that approximates that kind of cold. Lapland also has reindeer. And where there are reindeer...
May I make a sugestion - I wrote it in my background..but maybe Ösel? present day Saarema in Estonia. Now technically it would be Novgorod...but we could make a case for not wanting to follow through with Novgorods decision to kill all intruders, so we were left out in the cold. Ösel lies at the junction between Finland Sweden and Estonia (which was partly owned by Denmark), so there is a very strong Scandinavian spirit running through it. Or we could choose Ålandsøerne - the Åland Islands, which I believe at the time were swedish? but now part of Finland.
I find it difficult to see why the magi would choose to found their new covenant explicitly within a tribunal that is known to kill people who do not belong to it - which most of our magi would be. Considering that there's a whole lot of non-tribunal space to the north and west. They would probably at least need some special reason, which a good aura or anything like that would of course offer, so not a big deal.
I suppose it's an argument against the idea of a spring covenant and refugees, and not necessarily a recommendation that a spring covenant be formed in Novgorod. I don't have a dog in the hunt.
I think the refugee/spring covenant idea is a bit easier for me to do, and so ran with it a bit, but if the majority of players want something else, I can work with that premise, too.
An established covenant will require more extensive backstory for the covenant itself AND for the magi who are living there.
If we go with the Åland Islands (not trying to stuff it down anyone's throat), we could be sort of the bridge for the Scandinavian covenant's contact with rest of Europe.
Other possible locations are Gotland, which was traditionally a rich area of Sweden, so though an island, it would have regular trade, "major" cities - at least enough to get luxury items. Kiruna, the highest mountain in northern Sweden is another possibility, but that would very much be a Wilderness saga. Then there is going back to Denmark, and choosing, say Rold Forest, our largest forest, which even today has a witch living in it... or Bornholm, our Baltic Sea island filled with underground creatures. In Norway we could go with Nidaros, which was a viking trade market/town, so might have relics from that time, which are a source of income.
I tend to opt for the refugee and new spring covenant for the easier startup, plus I like the early pioneering building phase. If people have opinions on this, they should probably express them now, because this affects everyone's background story etc.
Exept with our resources it would more be a summer covenant I think But establishing a new covenant is fine with me.
Well, we should have a discussion of expectations and desires. There are some assumptions being made which have implication in the overall saga, and I've been working from a different set of assumptions.
I envisioned a refugee band of magi fleeing an Order that is not quite in Flames. Normandy and Roman Tribunals both have nearly open warfare in competition for their resources. That is having an impact on neighboring Tribunals, too, which is virtually all of them, except Novgorod. Magi are leaving to avoid the warfare and the malady both. I am also presuming that there aren't any formal, recognized covenants in the Order that are within Scandinavia that aren't already mentioned in canon/part of an existing Tribunal. Yours isn't the only group who has decided to flee up north, and some have fled south. But there's nothing established as far as Hermetic law and infrastructure in canon, nor do I think it's appropriate for the saga as it was laid out in the recruitment thread. Gothic and dark doesn't scream Hermetic politics to me.
I haven't pictured an existing covenant that the player magi are part of or will soon be joining, nor an existing political grouping of other covenants. I'm not saying that can't happen, but I want everyone to be on the same page, so someone doesn't get a surprise about the saga at a later date, and I get a question like, well, what about the other Scandinavian covenants? In my mind, right now, I don't see any formal Scandinavian covenants. And the informal ones, just like yours probably aren't wild about working with other magi. And then, I don't imagine anyone who leaves the Order wants to communicate with the Order, unless they absolutely have to do so. Will there even be a Grand Tribunal is a question that's already being asked. It's easier to adjust things now, then to retcon things later on.
Well, seasons are kind of meaningless with respect to covenants, right now, as they establish a pecking order within the Order. Now, with the total amount of build points in play right now, you're on the low side of Covenant's description of High power, but that chart is virtually meaningless in a normal saga, let alone this one.
I think the troupe need to decide if they will be an open Covenant or one that is hiding? I am guessing that it is hiding.
I do not mind Norway or Sweden. I am guessing that Denmark is out as it is too close to the Rhine Tribunal. I like Gotland. I think Småland in Sweden is interesting due to it being very sparingly populated but it might be too far south for the Ice Princess.
I do not mind Finland. Finland has it's own wizards ( wind wizards) and reindeer .
The Covenant would most likely have to have fishing or furs for any income. There is gold in Lapland. Iron and Timber in Sweden.
Natural resources does strike me as a very easy income, with, maybe, development for good craftsman items in the future. Wood is plentiful in Scandinavia, mining as well in Sweden, Norway. Self-sufficiency in basic provisions is pretty easily obtained, as well as if everyone brings an item or two for processing, gathering or enhancing produce.
Denmark IS far south in Scandinavia, just remember if we place our covenant in the southern parts of Sweden, it will still be in "Denmark", as Denmark at this time rules over southern Sweden. Finland is the country I know the least of among Scandinavian countries, but I reckon there were still castles and "medieval" life, at least along the coast/major cities?
My 2c - A covenant to survive, hide and grow. So a starting one.
My character background was a native of the north (tba) who was taken south to just within the Order when he was apprenticed in a very isolated covenant, and now that disaster is spreading, he is leaving to go back north to his childhood homeland. As it's the only other place he really knows something of.
How about a non-existing silver mine? We just CrTe lots of silver and then call home delivery, aka "The Hanse". Inflation won't be a problem out in Tavastia, because we import all we need from Lübeck. We'd need a sea-side location though, and write regular reports about the horrible conditions in the mine...
Thing is, this is not quite true. The (probably) first proper medieval stone castle in Finland is in my home town Turku, which was the major settlement for a long time. The castle was built around the 1280's. But we agreed not to be too fussy about historical detail, so this is all malleable, obviously.
I see the choice between Finland and Sweden/Norway as being between a less- and more "civilized" kind of game. Finland is less feudal, more tribal; less christian, more pagan; less city, more village; less history, more prehistory; less Divine, more Magic; less warm and comfy, more cold and inhospitable. It's still mostly in the Iron Age, basically. "Civilization", i.e. tall hierarchy and ideological domination, are being forcibly spread from the south-west, with the usual resistance, but it's present in most areas to some degree. Yet we don't need to stick to history.
I somehow find Finland an appealing change of pace from usual Ars Magica, but I can see why some might not. I also like the suggestions here, and would be happy playing any of them. The thing with islands is that the game then tends to focus on the island itself. This gives a very fungible "local" area that can be slowly fleshed out to ever greater detail, which is nice. And there will be naval trade.
Finland has a long coast, there is substantial trade, and many big ports lie along the Gulf of Bothnia/Baltic Sea/Gulf of Finland. So we will have access to materials if we build along a river or on the coast. The materials might be more costly. Furs are the most obvious export, but I think all of the alternatives presented earlier are feasible.
Maybe everyone should express a preference between a Finland and Sweden/Norway kind of game, and then Jonathan.Link could suggest a specific location based on his preference? Otherwise this will just drag on.
What is the thought of how the characters meet? Did we know each other? Chance meeting at a port? On the road?