I just discovered Ars Magica a few month ago, and now that i've got some of the books, i'm going to start a sage here in France. I will probably have some question really soon.
Here is my fisrt.
I have 10 players interested in joining my game, and among them, one is interested by Criamon House. I read the House of Hermes : Mystery Cult chapter dedicated to this House, but i'm far from understanding what might the initiation of a Criamon Apprentice look like. Can someone help me ?
PS : Sorry for my english level. I understand better than i speak.
Generally they are given a riddle, amd allowed to go on an adventure or otherwise collect life experience to find an answer to that riddle, which they then present to more senior Criamon, who assess its value as an answer.
Ok. So an apprentice is given a riddle, then walk around and solve it, and then he is given another riddle an so on.
Now, what about the Enigma ? It is written that Criamon is wrong. So Criamon magi are trying to get in Twilight just for fun, is that so ? If it is, i'm a little disapointed, because i was waiting something more... concrete.
It's not the destination that matters: if you were to get there your character would effectively retire regardless.
Its what they do on the way that matters.
Criamon is wrong, in the basic setting, but not necessarily in your home game, about the idea that time is a circle. His people have, nonetheless, done and seen and learned some fantastically cool things, and you play with those.
In my opinion, the first and most important rule of Ars Magica is "Do what works for your Saga." It may be written that House Criamon is wrong, but if you prefer they should be correct instead, then you can make that the truth in your game. You are not obligated to follow what is written.
The reason it is written that way is that the game designers feel the need for a consistent universe for the game, and the Criamon understanding of the Enigma is different from that consistent universe. It is very academic and not very important in my opinion.
In fact you do not even have to decide whether they are right or wrong at this time. Let the player explore the Enigma, and if after a long time of playing he gets to the point of finding out the Truth, you can play that however you want.
One of my player is interested in playing a Bjornaer magus. He is interested in the Animal Companion Virtue. I haven't see anything which could forbiden him for playing this, but i know Bjornaer can't bind a familier, so I'm not sure. Can he choose this virtue ?
There is some information in the old 3rd edition scenario A Midsumer nights dream
Available from warehouse23.com/item.html?id=AG0500
and the old covenant sourcebook mistridge was set in that tribunal , both are for 3rd edition and may be of limited use. I ran Midsummer nights dream as a basis for my first saga and it worked ok.
It is set before the normal 5th ed start of 1220 and features the Albignesian crusade
The Lion and the Lilly is definitely about Normandy, though - not the area R. is after (though it does contain some useful information about French dialects etc.).
From my travels through the ArM canon, I kind of get the feeling that the Provencal Tribunal was where 'vanilla' Ars Magica sagas took place. Certainly a lot of the published adventures (e.g. The Ghoul of St. Lazare and Festival of the Damned) seem to assume the PCs covenant is somewhere in the south of France.
I've also seen references to covenants such as Doissetep in material from 4th ed. - it's possible that there's some more detail in the core book for ArM4 (available as a free download here). If not, then a supplement from ArM3 called Mythic Europe might have what you're after.
Failing that... wikipedia and a confident smile can get you past most players who aren't medieval historians.
I did not find Mythic Europe terribly useful Wikipedia is a better source , and it covered each area very spasely .
Doissetep and 3 other covenants are mentioned in a few pages of detail in the 2nd edition covenants book which is not AFAIK available in PDF but has a link on the Atlas website atlas-games.com/product_tables/AG1010.php
I already got the Normandy Tribunal, and I've seen that Limoges is in. But, as Limoges is in the really south of this Tribunal, I tought that interaction between the Normandy and the Provencal Tribunal could make great story seed.
EDIT : I have not been really precise about it, but even a website is a good starting point for me, so if you know one...