spring covenant idea on Crete - question it or support it

spring covenant idea on Crete - question it or support it
Hello folks,

I'm brand new to these forums, also new to Ars Magica 5th edition. I am familiar with Ars 4th, so I have the love for Ars... My game gang is in the process of planning a new campaign. Next Saturday we will be building our covenant and planning Magi and other characters. I'd like to "vet" some of the very basic idea for our campaign plan.
I'd love to have you folks (more familiar with Ars or the real world history) ask questions, poke holes, or support with neat new ideas my short notes for our idea. Here's the idea:

It was in the years following the 4th Crusade that she was lost to me. She was my last love, the daughter of my wife, the muse of my magics. I am of House Mercere and Ordinem ministramus et sustinemus, but in this I serve myself. It is my greatest ambition, my greatest desire, and my greatest wrathful pride. But I must. By all the dormant magics in me - for the gift I was given in our daughter I will see her death avenged. It was [insert Roman family/crusader] that fell her, I am most sure. My muse was found slaughtered by my fellows with her caravan, along the roads outside the Constantinople region, returning from her first Redcap duty taking up my journeyman position among my brother's societas ... the Followers of Belin. Though she must have fought with her gifts as strongly as her men fought with arms, based on the investigations of my fellows... They report that she was alone in death, her camp murdered by those that hail from the Roman magi, masters and merchants issued forth by Innocent III, with an intention of invading the so called 'Holy Lands' through the sands and lands of the Nile. Though the Roman killers may not have known this would wake such a monster. In fact, it could be guessed they did not even know my daughter was of the Order - I donot doubt the chance my investigations of their directed strike could be misplaced. But I, I donot care. I have made judgment as they did. I will lurk from the shadow to form a beast, unlike their Greek forefathers ever knew. A new form of Hydra with more heads and power than they can imagine. It was through my House that I spread the word in these early months. It was at Tribunal in which I garnered support to form a beachhead against the tyrannical might of Rome. Though this will not be overt, those with mind and mettle to heed my Redcap's call are coming from far and wide to assemble a new Covenant at the remains a lost family's holdings on the Isle of Crete, which I have secured with a good portion of my own formidable contacts and wealth. The old Venetian holding will bare the fruits of spring. And with the support bolstered through the tragedy of such a senseless slaughter of Mercere messengers, whether anonymous or backed in name... through coin or collections... through angst or ire, against the Roman values, mercantile or for the sheer fact of their bullying nature - the call has gone out and they are coming. The first will form the core and in time reach out to draw others. And I will live longer and stronger using all my wealth and wit to fund and fulfill anyone's wish to see the old empire become a footnote. Death will be avenged. And all that is wrong of Rome will be cut as a tumor from the heart of the Order. For we serve the Order and keep it alive.

(need a great name, family, etc... for this father... any ideas??)


The simple bullet idea:

  • Roman crusaders (need a good family connected to the Roman Tribunal/Covenants) killed a daughter of a Redcap of House Mercere.
  • The Redcap father is a rich merchant, having turned his position over to his daughter who was one of the few that had the gift.
  • it's unknown (to the father or PCs) if the Roman crusaders slaughtered the Redcap group unknowingly or for some nefarious Tribunal/House/Covenant reason (any ideas??!!)
  • When this is learned the father gets mad and seeks to strike back at the entirety of the Roman Tribunal (he probably has other reason from his past, ANY ideas??) but this set him off... he uses the vast messenger traditions of the Redcaps to spread the horror story of this slaughter, keeping it lower profile as to who/how exactly they will strike, but making it clear to anyone wishing to strike against Rome that this is a new way.
  • the new way... the power of commerce, fighting the Roman Tribunal and Crusaders states through forming a beachhead (a new Covenant) on the Isle of Crete.
  • The father uses his political powers and nearly all his wealth to buy/secure a small holding on Crete (even though it's now under Venetian purview, and at the most recent Thebian Tribunal has the idea pitched to form a new covenant pushed through (again with his political ties and favors)
  • through dozens of anonymous donations (from coin, favors, surplus of supplies - such as random books, vis, etc...) many secret supporters pledge aid and begin arranging plans to have those supplies sent to Crete or available to retrieve (any ideas for anonymous supporters or the supplies they give??)

Overall... the idea and themese of the entire campaign is literally:
BEACHHEAD, CONFEDERACY, and active plotting by any young magi to form a strategy against Roman influence... with the support of this father who built a "rally cry" for anyone wishing the fall of Roman power in the Order and in world power and wealth.

I need help!
Shoot holes. Ask questions. and most importantly - if you give reasons why it might NOT work or make sense in areas.... PLEASE Give ideas to support or add to this core idea.

Thank you!

While a bit of an odd(narrow perhaps i should say) reason for creating a covenant, i think the idea is quite fine.

You might risk dragging the Roman Tribunal of the order into war, thats not a risk to take easily.
Not to mention the risk of getting the divine, especially the pope involved against you.

Want the Roman area lose power? Steal their trade first of all.
Build superior or even directly magical or magically assisted ships to start moving across the Mediterranean, use magic to greatly improve ports NOT in the Roman area, make the ports deeper with clear sailing channels, wavebreakers, piers, quays and lighthouses, improve the roads leading to these ports, figure out a way to load and unload more easily(preferably one that only can be done with the help of the magi), help improve open sea navigation(that will really hurt the Roman area trade by allowing it to move from the Levant and Egypt to France, Spain and through Gibraltar directly), provide easy access to ice(either real frozen water or Month duration Creo) in the ports you favour to allow cold storage, this can also be an excellent source of money(the "iceman business" didnt historically become realised until just a century or two ago, but it was quite popular where it worked well, and magi can provide infinite and easy access to ice around the year)... You could set up chapter houses in a handful of ports you want to favour for this reason, and it will also allow you to gain more solid influence there.

A magi who can play with weather is totally wanted, as is one that can affect Terram in big chunks.
If you want to build ships, a magi good with Herbam is nice(MuHe wood to become a thick liquid and you can basically mold it as you please, allowing you to make ships stronger, lighter and far better shaped(ie considerably faster) than anyone else not doing the same). Of course, then you can add active magic to "your" ships as well.

The other target to strike against would be the highend craft guilds that exists in several cities in the area, though that isnt as easy as striking at the trade, although hurting the trade will hurt the craftsmen as well and indirectly the cities.

Supporting active piracy that just happens to focus their activities against whatever targets you prefer is a useful but dangerous tool(if the wrong power traces the attacks back to you, you could be in big trouble).
A couple of magi playing pirates with a crew who has had their bravery and loyalty discretely bolstered by Mentem spells can be hugely effective.

The tie between the crusaders and the Roman Tribunal need to be carefully considered. It can't be just an example of a some random soldiers killing the daughter: the father would then arrange to have them meet a grisly end, and that would be that. So they need, or the crusade need, to have some obvious connection with Roman Tribunal politics. Possibly some magi slipped a word in the right (that is, wrong) ears regarding the existence of vis and how much a crusader who brought some back as plunder could expect to sell it for ?

On the other hand, the link must not be too direct, or we would have a clear example of a member of the Order causing the death of another member, which would get said first member quickly Marched with no need for an extensive vendetta.

I expect the Jerbiton would be quite anxious to help the new covenant, since they have their own problems with crusaders stealing or even destroying all this beautiful art they love.

A couple of thoughts:

The fonder of this covenant strikes me as mad with grief. He is a non-gifted redcap so he is and his daughter was blood kin to most of house Mercere and she was gifted and working as a redcap. If there was anything like a provable link between her death and any magi of Rome (or indeed any identifiable party) there would have been enough vengeance to leave a big crater. Maybe there has been. And yet he is not satisfied, he blames the whole of the the Rome tribunal and their catspaw the Pope! He rants against them, driving away the sympathy of his house with implicit accusation that they have not done enough. And he determines to wage economic warfare on the whole Italian peninsula - it's the sort of crazy of which epics are made.
However, if he wants to recruit any magi he'd best soften his rhetoric "I'm interested in founding a Cretan covenant with a strong interest in the shipping trade and if anyone in Rome objects, well, f**K 'em." is enough to let the prospective members know if it's their sort of gig without them backing away from the crazy man or anyone in Rome feeling they have to squash him at the outset.

The trading empires of the Italian states were based on their combat naval power. Once he starts cutting into their monopolies the triremes will turn up and there will be actual war. Likewise if he causes Crete to break with Venice (which is likely since it hardly serves his purpose if the profits of his operation flow into Venetian coffers) then the Bride of the Sea will get nasty. Crete doesn't have the hinterland or the forests to become a sustainable naval power - he'll need mainland backing. And one spring covenant is not stronger than multiple covenants that have grown rich over decades of playing merchant prince - he'll need allies from Thebes or the Levant, and preferably to play Venice and Genoa against each other to the point where they go to war with Magi involved.

It sounds like a great campaign but while the IC plan may be for scheming and trade I'd have the PCs find they are riding an increasingly frenzied tiger and plan for it ending with a bang.

Stockpile some creo and herbam vis = who said crete had no forests? Prime wood for shipbuilding! :mrgreen:

I like Noliar's approach. Venice will not accept his colony being taken away, though. However, Venice is the weirdest city in Italy. They have been aloof of the gelf-gibeline conflict for most of their medieval history and see themselves as diffeent from the other italians. So, you could even ALLY with Venice against the other mainland powers. Has happened before.


Any additional thoughts folks?