I didn't know where to put this, so I dropped it in the Peanut Gallery.
This is fairly gratuitous; it's a recap of the current situation in the Redcap Saga that I'm running at home. We've taken a few steps away from the canonical setting and perhaps the reader may be interested to see how we've mucked about with the Order. If not, ignore this thread and accept my apologies.
We started two years ago, when I was researching Art & Academe, and centered a saga on the magi flying to the moon. We developed a covenant named Saltus Venificorum set in a mythical province in southern France. The province was Averoigne, stolen directly from the Clark Aston Smith short stories and used in various Cthulhu: The Dark Ages supplements. I picked it because I didn't want to have the team trotting all over Mythic Europe, and wanted them to focus on themselves, their own covenant, and getting to the moon. They succeeded, the saga ended, and two of the players moved on.
The remaining members still wanted to play. Rather than continue the Salty Vulture saga, we started a new one. Since we'd poured so much detail into SV and portions of the Provencal Tribunal, we decided to stay there, advance the saga 20 years, and develop the same amount of depth for the tribunal as he had for the covenant. Being weirdoes, we experimented with a new theme of play. Rather than magi, we'd play Mythic Companions, each a Redcap or invented equivalent, which traipsed around the tribunal delivering messages and adventuring. Each player would run a game, in true troupe style, in which they would introduce us to a covenant they had made and entangle the PCs in some sort of adventure. Several adventures later, we had a fairly firm foundation for our tribunal. And then I threw a spanner into the works.
Our characters had built good reputations in the Provencal Tribunal by this time. Eterhea is a Greek-styled warrior woman who can run like the wind. Jacques is a mysterious, giant-blooded mercer Redcap keen on building the covenant's finances. Robert is a lawyer who yearns to become the first unGifted Queasitor. Sir Paragon is a faerie-blooded knight who is in chivalric love with Eterhea and constantly champions her, even against her wishes. The four have become good friends and undertaken several adventures together.
Early summer, 1241, and the four were lunching under a warm sun at their Mercer House covenant, located in the Pyrenees. A breathless messenger arrived from Harco, the domus magna of House Mercere, saying that the covenant is under siege from the imperial troops of Frederick II, King of Naples and the Holy Roman Empire. When asked why he hadn't used the Hermes Portal linking the Mercer House to Harco, the messenger explained that he tried, but it was broken. Upon investigation, this claim was verified. The heroes quickly assembled a plan. Eterhea and Jacques would head directly to Harco, while Sir Paragon would enlist an armed troop from the various faerie social contacts he has. Forsooth and away!
SG Interjection: Rather then spend time creating Harco, I used the material listed in the ArM3 supplement, "Tribunals of Hermes: Rome". I ejected the listed primus and moved everyone else up a step on the political ladder, making Harstein the primus. Aldero, another unGifted Redcap, is in charge of the covenant's defenses. Pipio is in charge of Harco's finances, and Tentare, Spica, and Iris are scribes. The only Gifted Mercere is Elegans, a master of Muto spells. Jacques apprenticed at Harco, and Spica is his mater.
Eterhea and Jacques speed through the rugged countryside and approached Harco from the north. Nestled atop a hill covered with trees, their entry was fairly easy. They encountered a few imperial pickets but easily managed to sneak past the sentries. Skulking about the hill, they saw a vast array of imperial troops to the south, along the single road to Harco and already occupying the covenant's village. Trebuchets had been set up to the east of Harco and visible scars in the covenant's wall indicated that the siege engines had already begun their bombardment. Jacque knew of a secret postern gate that would allow Eterhea to enter Harco and directed her to it. He decided to rush to Genoa and hire an army of mercenaries. If his timing was right, he would return with the Genoese at the same time Sir Paragon arrived with his faerie force. All Eterhea had to do was help Harco resist the siege.
Morale was low inside Harco's stonewalls. The system of Hermes Portals that the covenant relied upon were destroyed, the underground chamber they resided in inadvertently collapsed by the imperial army's miners. The villagers had managed to flee inside, with their herds of sheep, making the interior courtyard cramped, noisy, and dirty. Never a military instillation, Harco only had a few men-at-arms atop her walls, crossbow men armed with repeating crossbows manufactured by a Verditius magus. Interviewing Harstein, Eterhea discovered that the siege was in its fourth week. Harco hadn't suffered many casualties, but its spirit was nearly sapped by cramped conditions and scant provisions. The sole magus, Elegans, stood frozen outside the walls next to a tree turned into a huge icicle. Trying to cover the hurried flight of the villagers inside the covenant, he'd botched a magic spell and entered Temporary Twilight. Whatever he was trying to do, the result was a large pine turned to ice and him standing frozen nearby. Harstein could only guess when the elder magus would return from Temporary Twilight.
Taking stock of the situation, Eterhea asked, Why is Frederick's army attacking Harco?