We have just started a new covenant in Loch Leglean, with the canon date of 1220. This puts the new magi (and rusty, if not new, players) a year away from Tribunal. The players/magi are keen on attending (especially with a Quasitor and Mercere), so I need some simple stories that will take one or two sessions. I have the usual gain allies to get approval to execute the rights of a covenant as opposed to the vast majority of magi who are solos in Loch Leglean based on a soft threat has already been made by the Quasitor of Horsengis to the new Quasitor assigned to Scotland (and the covenant) that allies will be needed. Any other ideas?
(Sorry, completely lost the thread of that existing plot - you lost me at "I have the usual gain allies to get approval"... execute soft threat needed allies... huh?
Regardless, there are some classic bits that can foreshadow future complications, or not, to fit as needed...
o A neighboring covenant or mage is seeking votes for "their case" - maybe they're wrongly accused, maybe rightly so, but the accuser doesn't have an iron-clad case, so it'll be a close vote. If the Players vote with, there could be reward (promised, if not delivered, ahem); if the Players vote against, there most probably will be bad blood. Meanwhile, just as the Players reach a reasonable and workable decision, they become aware of larger political considerations - the (rumoured? suspected? falsely?) reputation of the accused or accuser, or the line in the sand that they are about to cross, that with their vote they declare themselves to be on one political side or the other. And if they stay neutral, maybe both sides then mistrust and resent them... certainly the losing one will, and the winning will hold no warmth in their heart...
Whether this "crime" is against the Tribunal or one mage alone, whether rightly or wrongly accused, whether the accused has a good or bad rep, all are up to you. (Maybe a wrongly accused mage who is being framed, but has a long history of bad deeds gone unpunished - the PC's find convincing and hard evidence of his innocence in this case, but are made painfully aware of his deserved reputation and list of unpunished crimes... do they choose the law or justice? And if the latter, do then they risk being blackmailed... or are they being lied to and set up?... ach, these kinder magi...)
o There are contests to enter - debate, certamen (for minor wagers, but a considerable prize for the overall winner), a Verditius contest, Beonisagi presentations, a Flambeau challenge to combat, etc etc.
o Alone (for whatever reason), the Players stumble across mundane thieves trying to make off with the chest of a mage lodging near them (the next room, the next inn, whatever). Perhaps the thieves are magically enhanced, which raises its own questions. Perhaps they mysteriously die when captured, and then their bodies given a quick Christian burial that night (generously but anonymously funded) while they're not looking, making questioning the spirits impossible... who is behind it, who was the victim, what is in the chest, was that the target? Hope the Players don't do any Scrying that might reveal the wrong thing at the wrong time...
Sorry about the word jumple. I meant the sentence to read:
"I have the usual gain-allies-to-get-approval-of-the-covenat storyline that was foreshadowed by a soft threat by the Quasitor of Horsengis to the new Quasitor assigned to Scotland (and the covenant) that allies for this approval will be needed."
Your idea of helping out another covenant is a good idea and could be a means to gain the needed allies or make more enemies. Thanks. The theft is also a good idea.
Cuchulainshound, welcome back. I was wondering what happened as your experience (and long posts) were a regular staple of this site.
Ah! got it!
My blessing and my curse.
Random other ideas
- Straightforward power struggle. Two covenants or two lone magi want the same resource (vis source, gifted child, ???) and are trying to get a tribunal decision in their favor. Bribes and backstabbing to get the PCs on their side.
- As part of an archmagus challenge, the candidate must accept all challengers in some test. Either something the candidate isn't terribly good at so players can compete directly, something the players can work as a group at, or make the players part of a vital side part of the test (maybe designate the PCs to watch for signs of cheating at a non-magical test)
- A quest! A magical beast appears at the tribunal and seems to want to lead people somewhere. Play this as either a chase, with the victor getting the beast or a prize. Or play as the beast leads you to where something needs done: damsel rescuing, river flood, what have you. See King Arthur stories.
- A local clan (I think this is the right area for that) somehow found out about the tribunal, thought it must have lots of treasure, and is staging a raid. Help drive them off, but for some reason the Quaesitores will object if there's too much destruction.