The Grand Tribunal of 1227!!! Ideas, your experiences, etc!

Well, come the new year, we'll be looking at hitting the Grand Tribunal of 1227.

I'm worried it will not feel 'BIG' enough. The plots or events being tended are:

  1. An invasion by the Mongols threatens the order, assisted by Minae Magnus, the villain of the saga. Though noted in the background of events as a distant issue thus far, this will become clearly a pressing matter when Caliana goes to help an Eastern Rhine Tribunal new covenant with their Aegis of the Hearth in the year after the Grand Tribunal.

  2. A fake 'Order of Odin' threat divides the Order's attention.

  3. A large Certamen contest.

  4. Renaldo, on a travelling quest to 'find himself' and remove his flawed magic, will be reunited with his covenant mates, after being voted out of the office of Imperator in 1226.

Now, those are just things I have to keep in mind.

What have YOU done with Grand Tribunals. I am worried it will not feel grand enough!!! If you have and ideas for small plots within the Tribunal, please throw them out there!

Thanks in advance!


An assassination might get their attention...

A trial...perhaps a diabolist...maybe he is killed on the spot..maybe he is released..the group can join the hunt...

Someone of high rank, retiring...

A powerful faerie visits to negotiate with the Order...

I am behind in updating my Saga, but the local tribunal did indeed feature a body-swap between Minae Magnus and Imanitas Mendax (Dark Mendax option) which resulted in Minae Magnus being found out by the players, and Mendax, stuck in Renaldo's master's body, being hunted and caught as a diabolist.

Assassinations, though... a murder mystery? Hm, hard to do in AM, but surely it's possible!


"Epic" for me means something that has lasting effects, though I'm not sure I'd do something that major for the first Grand Tribunal.

I like the idea about the Order of Odin, and I'd have the Magi from the affected tribunals be few and far between, because of the need to protect the border. I'd also have some magi demanding the Order mobilize to help them, and some demanding parlay with the Odinites.

If you're going to use Faeries, I'd have it be something Order shaking, too, like that dozens show up to the Tribunal and demand to be let into the Order, or that a large area of Europe no longer has Faeries, and all their Vis has dried up.

As a sidenote this thread and the other recent thread on Tribunal dates got me a bit confused on the dates. Especially since our saga is at the fall of 1226 and the regional Tribunal was planned for next year - and it is instrumental to the plot that a session is made on it. Thus I had a look around - and as best I could find 5th ed. seems to set the Grand Tribunal's official date at 1228 (HoH:TL p. 143), but anyway not that big a change since this only underlines the fact that the Order doesn't calculate years in terms of AD but in terms of the astrological and seasonal AA.

Grand Tribunal is, for example, the right place to try to bring about large changes to the peripheral code. Say, declaring dragons friends of the order and not to be harmed. Or, on an smaller scale, forbidding redcaps from carrying messages for mundanes - reinforcing the non-interference clause and inconveniencing any player redcaps (due to some stinking scandal) ...

Officially announcing the change of Primus of a house. (Many will know, of course, if it happened ten years previously)

Two tribunals' representatives squabbling over a slippery covenant on the border, said covenant having some rather influental friends at the grand tribunal.

Often a group desiring change (to their advantage) will orchestrate a "suprise voting block", doing all their politicking in advance before attempting to change something in a Tribunal, or the Order. Those unaware of this imminent threat to the status quo are caught off-guard, and at a disadvantage.

Whether the Players know it or not, there is a coalition that sees them, or something they possess, or something they take for granted, as a threat, or a desired prize. And at the tribunal, a "motion" is put up for a vote that would subtly but significantly work to their detriment, depriving them of this right/resource/ally whatever. A frantic political scramble for votes and allies, perhaps leading to strange bedfellows if the most likely "ally" were a group they intended to oppose in another vote (or had in the past?).

If you're considering a false Order of Odin threat, you could tie it in with a debate over the apportionment of the Isle of Man to one of the British Isles Tribunals-- that's a matter that can only be effectively decided at Grand Tribunal. Two covenants, perhaps one of Stonehenge, one of Hiberia, both established at about the same time and still surviving, would create a difficult situation that might allow for a lot of political jockeying-- creating allies, enemies, opportunities for profit or loss, and since the Isle has a strong Norse background, it might be argued that it is the best opportunity for a foothold against the (nonexistant IYS) Order of Odin-- which could in turn result in a demand for a dedicated covenant, which would require members and resources and the chance for greedy magi to go grubbing for such in exchange for hunting down the Order of Odin on Man for the OoH... :slight_smile:

Just a thought.


One idea I've decided to go with:

The Grand Tribunal is much like a convention or conference for the wizards of Mythic Europe. Its one of the few places people can get together and talk shop.

To that end, a series of seminars/symposium-type offerings will be put forth with a schedule.

These workshops, dialogues, and brainstorming sessions are overseen and taught by the finest wizards alive, and add greatly to Hermetic reputation.

In game terms, there is one major and one minor symposium. One gives 8 experience points in a selection of arts/abilities, the other 5 (these numbers I just came up with, but I very much want the Grand Tribunal to be a special event).

The catch is, you might not get what you THINK you're getting out of the Tribunal's symposium series.

A seminar advertised in the schedule as "Tytalean War Magic", might really be a bunch of older Tytali who get together year after year to drink and talk about old war stories. You might get points in Tribunal Lore, and a few points in penetration. Others might increase your reputation and prestige, but not really give out as much in the skill department.

Some will be dead on. Others will require some quick research and appropriate rolls to determine if the presenter of a seminar is REALLY worthwhile.

On another level, the attendance of symposiums, seminars, and workshops will be a political game among the higher ranking wizards. If no one attends your program, perhaps you will be frowned upon. Wizards may try to snub their rivals and dissuade younger mages from attending their seminars. Indeed, how voting may go may be roughly gauged by who among two rivals attracts the greatest attendance to their seminar.

And the solitary magus who is the only person to attend a workshop with a snubbed mage may receive something they didn't expect: a copied spell, a pawn or two of vis, in the hopes that word will spread of their generosity to their temporary students and attendance will increase next time.

THAT said: As I love to brainstorm with the folks on this forum, I thought anyone who might want to propose a mage-teacher, the name of a seminar/dialogue/workshop/symposium, and some possible allocations of experience points or other rewards that might be gained from attendance.

I'm also planning on working these seminars into a larger, over-arching plotline... but as yet details are forthcoming.

SO... add any ideas you like to the Grand Tribunal Symposium Schedule! I'll post a few of my own...


"As a sidenote this thread and the other recent thread on Tribunal dates got me a bit confused on the dates. "

Without going to check my notes, this issue has come up many times in the various games I habve run, mostly becausxe we almost always start the game on the suggested dates in the book.

The "Next" Tribunal in the cycle for an Ars game to happen on the suggested starting date is ALWAYS a Grand Tribunal... 6 years away I believe.

The Order somewhere had a "Ruling" concerning the rare event that when the Two Tribunal types would coincide in the same year. all regular Tribunals would be shunted forward one year ahead of the Grand Tribunal. [If I recall correctly Tribunals occur every 7 years, and Grand Tribunal;s every 33 years]

So the theory is that should you choose to start the game on the recommended year [I believe that would be 1221?}, the local Tribunal would be early by a given year [1226].

Covenants low on vis might need to sell of some magical items... And who knows who might turn up to claim them.

One thing I'd imagine too is that rumors of the lost house of Deidne has resurfaced would always be rampant. It has been made a staple of tribunals we have played around here. First time it came up at a tribunal the troupe went more or less berserk with fear. (Their covenant being a mostly Tremere one and close to the area of the rumors.) Second time they went cautious, third they where a bit more suspicious... on the fourth they acted all Jaded...

grins Guess it IS time to return a single Deidne magus somewhere and make sure everyone thinks he is a fore-runner of a magical version of the reconquest... Maybe have him dragged into the Tribunal in chains or something and judged? True Diabolist or not? Out to cleanse his name ... or not? Maybe an Envoy for something else entirely...

Or offer them something at the Tribunal in a desperate bid from some old winter covenant to gain their cooperation.. something which might hook them for ages to come and make them remember it. Perhaps the broken blade of Excalibur or something else equally powerful. (Most likely a false one at that.... )

Or have it be the true one, but it turns out that the reality of the legend isn't as colorful a picture. Or as tragic: mayhap Arthur was simply a good king who lived well, but the bits of magic that were in his kingdom and the fae wanted to make the story more magnificent for their own reasons.

Or even (most amusing this one) old stone tablets rumored to have belonged to... say Merlin.

"Anyone here speak Arameic? Old Swahili? LOTS of old Languages? Seems the old coot wrote them in seven languages just to be on the safe side... "

I love the idea of having different guest-speakers like on a modern con though... BUT what if a Diabolist managed to sneak into one of those? Teaching not only an aspect of magic.. but sharing in his own infernal taint, making sure that whatever demon he has dealt with will have other victims to choose from when it is time to collect?

Or even worse... Someone with PROOF that someone earlier condemned was innocent. Will the Magi help burry the truth or act for a cleansing of the allready executed criminals honor? What it it'd be something TRULY huge in scope... Putting the guilt of the whole or parts of house Deidne in question? And do this side-shaded by one of the grogs in town getting whipped for touching a noble's wife... accused justly or unjustly the turb is not going to want to take this ill treatment of one of their members.

Lots of good ideas here. I'd just like to add, though, that you shouldn't feel that because it's a Grand tribunal that the plot elements need to be similarly "Grand"! Indeed, I suspect many plotters would be likely to keep their machinations under wraps at Grand Tribunals and watch their Ps & Qs, given the number of archmagi and similar notables strolling around!

To me, the Grand Tribunal really only has three main purposes:

  1. To update the peripheral code, re-affirm the Order's philosophy to the other 'powers' and act as a check on the administration of each local tribunal.

  2. To share major news across other Tribunals and Houses

  3. To respond to Order-wide threats

I should imagine that a lot of what goes on is socialising, bragging, with a bit of rubber stamping in between. Only occasionally do things really get interesting. The risk of raising political issues at Grand Tribunal is that unless you've already got the backing of several other tribunals, you risk creating a whole load of opponents in one go. As such, any major political movement will almost certainly have been raised simultaneously across multiple tribunals across Europe over the previous few years either by house or similar collusion. So no-one should be surprised by the issue, although the fact that it has suddenly gained such prominence across the order in a short space of time might well turn heads.