Setting: The Wake of the Schism

England 1013.
Every covenant in Mercia has fallen, and Eadric the Aeldorman has outlawed magic. Diedne's domus magna fell in 1012, but in Northumbria and Loch Leglean the war is still raging. The Order is seriously weakened by the war, and in all of its Western tribunals, it is struggling to survive In Wales, the Tremere of Blackthorn are rebuilding their covenant, aspiring to dominate the tribunal for the coming centuries. Somewhere in the ruins of the Stonehenge tribunal are the player characters, wondering what to do with their lives.

Note in the settings notes below, some events after 1013 are included. These are not set in stone, but are included because they are historical or canon. They are assumed to be known to players, but not characters.

Hermetic Situation

  • Almost no Mercere Portals. The links between Durenmar and the Domus Magna are probably intact, but otherwise there might be none.
  • Little trust and little trade among the magi
  • Many secrets which are well-known in 1220, are now known only in cults
  • PC magi have grown up under the war
    • focus on survival
    • no expectation to be able to settle as lab rats

Covenants 1013

  • Blackthorn (818-) in South Wales. Blackthorn, backed by House Tremere, has been able to replenish their numbers with new magi from Transylvania. Five resident magi, all of House Tremere.
  • Cad Gadu (815-) in Wales. Cad Gadu is large, with many members staying out of the politics of the Order. Even so, it is weakened, as other members have fallen in the War. Maybe eight members in 1011, all of House ex Miscellanea.
  • Ungulus (984-) in the Lake District. A Flambeau stronghold in the Schism War, they have suffered badly. However, they have also been reinforced by new arrivals, and is the primary base for the war effort in the North. Three resident magi of houses Flambeau and Tytalus in 1011.
  • Semitae (?-) - the wandering covenant. This mysterious covenant has stayed out of the war. They have typially been three magi throughout history.
  • Castrum Antiquum (851-1030/31) on Hadrian's Wall in the East. With 2-3 magi surviving, they barely survive. At least one Merinita.
  • Lux Draconis (915-1100) in the Pennines, close to the border between Northumbria and Mercia, With 2-3 magi surviving, they barely survive. At least one Merinita.

Stonehenge in 1013

For the purpose of describing the setting, we divide the area of Stonehenge into five regions.

  • Wales
  • Mercia
  • Wessex
  • East Anglia
  • Northumbria

Wales is home to two old and strong covenants, namely Cad Gadu and Blackthorn, in addition to the nameless covenant eradicated in 1011. The Diedne fled completely when the nameless covenant fell, and the region sees no further conflict during the Schism, and the Order is trying to rebuild.

England was unified about 100 years prior, from four older kingdoms. When Knut conquered England in 1016, he divided her into four earldoms, corresponding to these older kingdoms.

Northumbria is in the North, spanning from coast to coast. The Schism war still rages, with Diedne raiding from their powerbase in Loch Leglean. There are three Covenants which survive the Schism, including the Flambeau stronghold of Ungulus.

East Anglia on the East Coast (South of Northumbria) and Wessex on the South Coast (West of East Anglia) have always had little Hermetic activity. There was a covenant in Kent, called Roma Nova, but it fell in 1008.

Mercia is in the middle, bordering on all the other three fiefs as well as Wales. She has seen a lot of action in the Schism War, particularly in the early years, including the fall of Lumen already in 1003. Also the mundane population suffered greatly from the war, and when Eadric rose to power as Ealdorman from 1007, he outlawed magic and started prosecutions to the best of his ability. Hermetic magi gave up holding their covenants, and most fled the region.

Hermetic Customs

The dangerous times has taught the magi to be discreet. Unless travelling with the force of numbers, magi will disguise as mundane people. The cocern is not only the enemy in the Schism, but also the witch hunters of Eadric, and their likes of mind.

The old covenants would generally be known to men of power, and they rely on fortification and power to keep enemies away. New covenants would rely on subterfuge to go unnoticed.

More details


In Northumbria, covenants are under attack from Diedne wizards from Loch Leglean and their Giant allies.

Having won the War on the Continent, the Order sends reinforcements to Loch Leglean from 1013. This turns the War in Northumbria and Loch Leglean from 1014/15, and Diedne loose quickly.

By 1017, Diedne is no longer a threat, but Northumbria is devastated.


Eadric Streona became Ealdorman of Mercia in 1007 [wikipedia]. He was the first earl under Knut, but was killed by Knut in December 1017.

Eadric rose to the post of ealdorman following a number of devastating battles of the Schism War. He immediately started outlawed magic, in all its forms, and both Hermetic and hedge wizards were hunted down.

By 1013, Eadric's rule is stable and mundane society is starting to recover from the devastations of the War. People are optimistic. Magi keep a low profile.

Eadric was given the epithet "Streona" (translated as "The Acquisitive”) in Hemming's Cartulary because he appropriated church land and funds for himself. wikipedia This gives rise to an ongoing conflict with the Church and its allies.


Like East Anglia, and Wessex always had smaller Hermetic populations, and have not seen battles of the Schism for years.

Knut arrived first in Wessex in 1015, and took her under his direct rule at first.


In Wales the Order is strong. Cad Gadu saw little of the war. Blackthorn is rebuilding.


  • 1003- official start of the Schism War [HoH:TL:144]
  • 1003: Fall of Lumen in Mercia.
  • In the first years, there were many battles, mainly on individual covenants.
    • Diedne seemed to have the upper hand.
  • 1008: Fall of Roma Nova in Kent.
  • 1010: House Tremere declares Wizard's War on House Diedne
    • House Guernicus performs the Curse of Thoth ritual [HoH:TL:144]
    • After the Curse of Thoth, Diedne is start loosing major battles.
  • 1011: Emergency Grand Tribunal - House Diedne is renounced
    • Winter 1011: Fall of the Nameless Covenant [Stonehenge]
  • 1011: Tribunal, but it was not quorate
  • 1012: Fall of Branugurix in Britanny
    • This marks the beginning of the end
  • After 1012, Diedne's only strong position is in Loch Leglean.
    • The War is still raging in Scotland and in Northumbria.
  • 1015: Knut lands in Wessex [wikipedia]
  • 1016: Knut conquers England [wikipedia]
    • The last major battle of the Schism takes place in Northumbria [non-canon]
  • 1017: The last individual Diedne magi are hunted down.
    • -1017: official end of the Schism War [HoH:TL:144]
    • Eadric is killed in December 1217 by king Knut.
  • 1018: Tribunal
    • The War is declared over.
  • 1030: The Grand Tribunal

@temprobe is managing an annotated google map for the saga.

This map from 1033 is interesting: Stonehenge Tribunal Map | Ars Magica Wiki | Fandom
A couple of things must be modified for the saga:

  1. Tagelyn is canonically founded during the Schism War, and not founded in the saga AFAYK
  2. I do not think Schola Pythogoranis was founded until the late 12C in canon. It does not exist in the saga.
  3. Lux Draconis is a lot further South in the saga, in the Southern Pennines.
  4. Castruum Antiquum is missing.

Links to location descriptions