So I am continuing my personal campaign/adventure/setting/story of the Magus Heru as he travels around Mythic Europe doing interesting and adventurous things. (Mostly because its fun.) Its currently 1218 and he has gotten to the point where he is about to explore and adventure and find a base of operations in the Transylvania Tribunal. The thing is this means dealing with House Tremere.
Now, I own Against the Dark, its a good book, with a lot of interesting thing. Which means I very much figure I will find a story seed or two or more that jumps out at me as interesting. Which is cool.
Buuut I need to take into consideration House Tremere and the situation they have established in their tribunal. Now, honestly, I am not a fan of House Tremere and so I haven't done much research and reading about their details, even as I own House book they are in.
I should note, by the way, that in my personal campaign my magus has worked with House Mercere to set up a Mercere Portal in every covenant and base in every tribunal he has access to. This might seem a bit high powered, and maybe so for some, but I totally love it as it means that at the end of an adventure in a tribunal he can jump right too his base while beforehand he has to travel the long way.
But yeah, Heru has bases or allied covenants (with him either serving as the official leader or having permanent resident rights) in every tribunal, which are also linked to his main covenant in the Roman Tribunal by Mercere Portal.
All the above leads me to my question - What are potential story seeds that might involve House Tremere approaching my magus or make him being able to establish a base in Translyvania.
Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions, or help on this would very much be appreciated.
PS. Oh, so I was thinking of using Legend of Hermes - The Sunken Laboratory of Hermanus adventure, and I still might, though I do not have any plans on letting Tremere modify the memory of my magus.
Well, Shrouded Bay is the house oppida for Mercere. The big cultural difference is that the Tremere accept a lot more people as redcaps than Harco does.
This means the handful of official redcaps are surrounded by family members, wives, and kids who Tremere treat as full but non voting members of the Order. There are probably more of these redcaps than the rest of the official house, in one way or another.
This is part of their "right things for wrong reasons" spin.
Soo quick question. Travelers. Is there any issues with Heru basically entering the tribunal and saying he wants to explore, adventure, visit and such. I figure he would have to go to a site and 'introduce' himself but is there any restrictions or limitations on him traveling about. On him visiting the various oppida in the tribunal.
Hmm. Interesting. So on one hand this location could be a perfect opening spot for him to make contact but on the other hand the fact that these Mercere aren't exactly in good relationship with the core Mercere, who Heru is basically allied with, would cause him problems.
Still, its a very nice start.
Hmm, on the whole 'New England' element. How very intriguing. The location on that island, which I need to look up as its a nifty location, is an interesting one. Its situated in such a place that having a base their with a portal could benefit him and maybe even Mercere to if he gets them to set up a Mercere House there.
... Oh wait, the Crimean Penninsula, the 'island' I wrote of above, is part of the Novgorod Tribunal and thus a place he already has a, well, place in.
Soooo I went through the Transylvania Book and while there are a number of potential interesting stuff I don't really see anything that I could use for my story. I mean Heru, a Bonisagus, is an outsider traveling in the area with no interest in subordinating himself to the Tremere.
I mean I always do have the option of him finding a dragon in some area, talking to said dragon and making peace with him (he is really good with Magical beings, gets a bonus to interactions and everything), and using said dragon cave or mountain as a secret base. That said I doubt House Mercere would be willing to so blatantly flaunt Tribunal rules and set up a portal there secretly.
I guess I could go back to the whole idea of Legends of Hermes plot, though again I am limited in that Heru would never, ever, ever, agree to letting his memory be effected. But at the same time he has no wish to make an enemy of the Tremere.
Honestly, the idea that the Order of Hermes allows for tribunals to restrict the ability of their magi to simply travel is really ridiculous to me. I really hope that this isn't true, that while the Tremere can stop outsiders from establishing actual covenants they can't simply say "no travel for you."
I really think anything that makes telling stories beyond one type pretty close to impossible is bad design. Especially in a game where there is so much freedom in what the characters can do.
I honestly thought I would have trouble in Novgorod but in the end between having a small group of local apprentices just turned magi who had been given permission to settle and the idea of a river spirit causing flooding I easily did that. Now its Transylvania where I find myself at a block in term of telling a good and fun adventure story.
Hmmm. Yeah, okay, gonna have to say I am not really interested in that. I can see submitting to such an agreement when you want to settle within the tribunal but to visit, nah, not going to fly.
Which means this is going to be a very interesting tribunal for me to come up with an event for my character. I mean the others were interesting as well but at least they were fun, this seems more frustrating then enjoyable.
That said, thanks for the info. Like I said, while I own the books where its talked about as I don't like the Tremere I didn't really dig that deep into them, or the lore of the tribunal they basically own.
Could you give me a quote for where you're getting that from? The closest I can find on a quick look relates to residency, which is a significantly bigger thing than visitation (albeit still a problem for Heru Kane's magus).
For example, pg 15 of AtD: "In Translvanian [sic], the Praeco, as representative of the Tribunal, enters a written agreement with each resident magus, whuch grants him his place in Translyvanian society."
There is the statement on the same page that "The Tribunal has made a series of binding rulings concerning oppida. Every maga must, in some sense, belong to one." But I'd take that as a maga who is resident Tribunal, not everyone who crosses the border briefly.
It also strikes me as unlikely that the Tremere would want to be that restrictive (and that they'd escalate straight to a March if such a restriction was broken - in the vast majority of cases it seems vastly disproportionate). The Tremere want to show outsiders how well their way of life works - not letting them come and view it would be counterproductive. It would also greatly reduce flexibility in times of emergencies if they couldn't get specialists in to do specific jobs without firstly negotiating a residency agreement.
That said, there are some restrictions around visitors. For example, Foederati are required to seek permission before "Inviting other magi to visit the Tribunal" (for example to copy books or trade)", and Colonaie may not "Invite other magi to visit the Tribunal, excepting Quaesitores, Redcaps, and hoplites". There are no similar restrictions listed for Cives, Socii or Hospites, though, so any of those could invite him to visit. All of those restrictions apply to the magus giving the invitation, although it wouldn't be unreasonable to infer a requirement for a visiting magus to have an invitation from someone allowed to give one. That's a significant step-down from "enter into a contract with the Tribunal forfeiting certain rights", though.
There is still the issue that to be the leader/ have residency rights of the newly developed "covenant", he's going to need to make an agreement with the Tremere (/Tribunal, but in most cases the two are equivalent). Probably several agreements.
As far as Heru Kane's magus' plan goes; part of the ease of it is going to depend on how wedded he is to forming a covenant, rather than the practical Translyvanian equivalent of an oppidum. There is a Grand Tribunal ruling which restricts Translyvania to having 5 named covenants; overturning this is probably technically possible, but likely to be hard (the Tremere aren't pushing for it because they've developed a practical workaround, and reopening it is likely to bring up memories of Tremere's attempt to dominate the Order).
Assuming he's content to form an oppidum, the magi in it will probably belong to at least two of the Transylvanian covenants, as there's a Peripheral Code requirement for every oppidum to have at least one Cives (usually, but not quite always, a Tremere), and at least two different Houses (which as all the Tremere are Cives is likely to mean a non-Cives).
As far as potential story seeds go:
The Coloniae are young magi settling underdeveloped areas of the Tribunal. If your magus' group has particular skills they're able to bring to bear (which the Tremere aren't - noting that just basic "co-operation of multiple magi across different covenants" is pretty much their own area of expertise, albeit their resources aren't limitless) which fit a particular problem, they might bring them in for that.
You'll need to have a Cives, which means the House needs to assign you one. This will almost certainly be a Tremere, and they'll probably be the one extending invitations to the magi of your other Tribunals to visit Translyvania through the portals. Depending on quite how how much your other magi have given House Tremere reason to dislike / distrust them, this could cause problems. In theory your character could seek to become a Cives himself; this would be a sign of considerable esteem from the House if granted.
The Socii are Hermetic allies (usually Quaesitores, Merceres and hoplites). You could seek to become one of these; however, it would come with duties he was expected to fulfill.
*Hospites are basically contracters here to do a specific job. This probably isn't a good long-term role for magi of your oppidum, although it could be the basis on which magi from your other covenants transfer on a temporary basis.
The Foederati are usually covenants from neighbouring tribunal borders which have requested to join the Tribunal. Members of this covenant can retain odd customs if they're negotiated into the agreement at the time of admission. This is probably the most obvious path for the bulk of the new Oppidum's members to take - you'd need to negotiate privileges which would preserve the key features of your project, whilst establishing what duties you have in return.
The magus just wants a secured base of operations (which is often a covenant but could be a base) that he can wrap in an Aegis and have Mercere build a portal to. He would prefer not to make the people around him hate him, but he is okay with normal hermetic violence. Example, in Hibernia the Cursewood Covenant he established there is constantly being raided by the nearby magical folk, for all that many magi have no issue with him.
My goal basically is two part. One, to have the magus explore Translyvania and two, for him to have a base of operations somewhere within it. He doesn't necessary need, nor want, to get into House Tremere politics. Which, interestingly enough, is the one House (plus Ex Misc as well) that no members of any of his covenants are aligned with. (An act done less due to my 'dislike' of them and more due to how focused they are in this one tribunal, I mean when I did the covenant design for each tribunal location I looked up which houses were prevalent, and any tremere seemd an outliner unlikely enough to have an apprentice that would have joined with others when they approached Heru.)
Basically, as a point, Heru could easily accept having his location be a secured and accepted regio containing only a sanctum and a portal, aligned with a oppidum. He would do that if it gives him what he wanted.
On concepts. Beyond just generally being really powerful by this point, I mean he adventurers every year in addition to sanctum work, so as a PC magus he has a higher power level. This is ignoring some of his minor breakthroughs (for example, he went through the Conciatta quest and so has magic that effects auras and he lives in the Forgotten Temple of Mercury regio and so has some Mercurian magics, he has rebuilt the Waterwheel of Bargabal in Provance, etc) also boosting him up. Oh, and he has the Comprehended Magic supernatural ability, a background ability that could make him useful in seeing and modifying magic.
As a side note, since i didn't mention this before, he has also summoned a Wolf Daemon (the White Wolf) and got its approval in the creation of a Cult of Lupercai which he uses basically as some of his specialized covenant folk. hehe
(Amusingly enough his familiar is a cat while his agents are wolves, he often laughs at the irony, and his bodyguard is a bull-man found in the ruins of the temple)
Your story seed ideas are interesting to me.
One thing did give a thought, I could go back (since the nature of this project means I can edit past events, hehe) and add say him communicating with a Tremere on some project or another. Which I could then use as a stepping stone for said Tremere inviting Heru to the tribunal for something. Which then could lead into whatever events I go with.
So yeah, thanks for the info and thoughts, its been very interesting and helpful. Its also pushing my thoughts forward which is fun as it means I might come up with the solution to my issue on having an adventure in this tribunal.
Okay, I probably overstated the case, but the Transyvanian tribunal is still not a place you would go for a casual vacation. even trying to set up a chapter house here is certain to get you in trouble (likely involving the tribunal seizing the assets of said chapter house), and even visiting without an invitation likely to. I tend to see the entire tribunal as being the hermetic equivalent to a military base, except for the allowing of mundanes to go about their business unmolested...
Thank you very much for commenting because what you say is quite interesting.
Buuuut, lets us say, for the sake of the argument, your players are playing magi from another tribunal and they want some sort of adventure in Transylvania. What sort of quests and stories would you maybe think to tell. Or would you go, "sorry, can't the set up is not there."
I mean, I am not rolling things out, but I am trying to tell a sort of fun story and such and so that means it shouldn't be this near impossible to come up with a story to be set in a part of Mythic Europe.
Depends on the story type being sought... The magi could seek correspondence with someone in the Transylvanian tribunal who might invite them (there is no restrictions on letters), or even write the governing body of the tribunal itself. Any endeavor is likely to encounter issues with bureaucracy of the Tremere/Transylvanian tribunal, and the first thing they will want to know is what you plan to contribute to the tribunal.
"Ask not what House Tremere can do for you, but what can you do for House Tremere."?
Flip it around and have House Tremere invite Heru into the Transylvanian Tribunal as a Hospes hired to provide a service for which he has a Reputation for? They do have a wolf fetish, or might need an item in Tablinum investigated or maybe a storm wizard issue? A renegade fectore with hermetic magus as a foe art Comprehend Magic can help with? Specialized knowledge needed at the Scholomance?
If you ignore the Tribunal's requirements for "covenant" foundation, it's likely you'll get into trouble when you get caught, yes. Why would you take that approach, though? I don't see why trying to set up a covenant-equivalent through the proper channels would get you into trouble unless you went about it particularly badly, even if you weren't successful.
The Translyvanian Tribunal is far from the only Tribunal to set restrictions on creating a new "covenant". It is towards the more restrictive end, but probably less so than the Rhine (have to get permission from every existing covenant rather than just from a central body) or the Greater Alps (where the vis income requirements mean there haven't been any new covenants in several hundred years). Those two do both have Chapter Houses as a workaround, which probably more or less do what Heru Kane needs, but come with their own disadvantages (such as...making a deal with another entity which probably involves taking up certain duties / giving up certain rights, albeit with a bit more choice as to who you're making the deal with).
Thinking about it further, trying to found a base in Translyvania is going to bring to a head the question "what do the Tremere think about your magus' covenant foundation project?" The answer to this is probably going to depend on the details of exactly how your set-up works - is it a noble effort to spread cross-Order co-operation, or a power grab by an ambitious magus? Do the Tremere know without doing further research? Perhaps they want to settle one of their magi at one of your existing covenants to get a first hand view before coming to a decision.
It's worth noting that, depending on exactly how the project is working, it could actually be quite "Tremere" - after all, co-operation and sharing of resources is a significant part of their "thing", even if this particular project doesn't have the same level of military service involved. They also have a House policy of encouraging other Houses to emulate them (AtD pg 24), whic could easily cover this. There is therefore the potential to make a significant ally of them - if you're willing to be an ally to them, and don't set off significant alarm bells (is being personally in control of a dozen covenants a sensible power structure, or the beginnings of an emulation of Tremere-the-Founder?).
How would he feel about giving the Tremere access to the portal network for deployment purposes?
I honestly love this. And yes. I totally think I am going to have to go this route. I will have to go through the book once again (both the tribunal and the house book) to see potential plots that the Tremere could basically call on Heru to help aid solve.
His ability to easily work with Magical beings, his Comprehend Magic ability, and his ability to interact with auras could all be useful. So can his ability to communicate with multiple people from multiple tribunals and such.
So yeah, seeing what they might want to call him for could come in handy.
I solved the Greater Alps issue by having him be trained there. So while he doesn't have a covenant site in said tribunal he did his apprenticeship in the Lumen Montis covenant (made it up, one of the two blank slots in Sancutary of Ice) and a fosterage in the chapterhouse site in Baden. Thanks to his great work in the second and his connections to a mighty archmagus in the first, he has a portal to both sites. So he counts it. hehe
In Rhine I literally used the Rhine Gorge plot and so had a bunch of magi right out of Gauntlet discover him and approach him. Because he was a bit more potent then them he was able to switch the conversation from him helping them to them helping him, which really consdiering his potent abilities suited everyone.
Roman its the Lost Temple of Mercury. Provance its Barbagal and a covenant with the Coenobium. Iberia its Zaragoza and Conciatta's Tower, Stonehenge its Calebais. Loch Leglean its a secret mountain cave with 'werewolves', though I probably might add a covenant there. Hibernia its the Cursewood. Normandy its the Brick Tower regio in Tours plus some land there he helped to rebuild after a fire. In Novogrod its a river guardian regio near Smolensk.
I didn't write it yet but Thebes will be in Crete with Talos as the patron.
Hmm. You know, this is really a good question. Honestly the answer is I think I am going to have to go through my writings to see what actions he can keep secret and what has become known to first his House (Bonsiagus) and then to the related Tribunals and then to the Order at large. I don't know off the top of my head yet how much of his antics, hehe, are well known.
Like at this point he found and repaired a Magical Bath in Baden that Magi can use to surpress the negatives of the Gift for a week's time per bathing, and worked with Mercere to be a portal there. He also was able to create a script to allow for those with Magical Familiars to gain a set of similar benefits to the one Faerie Familiar virture with the modified Cords, which has since been released in Folio meaning others might be able to get it. He has did the Conciatta quest and so knows magic that can reduce the negative peanlty of casting in foreign auras, and can also reduce the Divine or Infernal in order to access Magic regios.
Basically, some of that is known and others not so much. Though even with what is known he has become somewhat known.
I should note minus the Tremere and Ex Misc all other Houses have people in his covenants, including Crimon which has one magus but still. He has good relations with Bonisagus, his house, Mercere, thanks to the portals and also him willing to support the construction of Redcap based Mercere Houses, and also Verbiton due to the craftworks in Tours.
Up till this point he really hasn't interacted with the Tremere since most of the places he has gone they haven't.
By the way the answer to "Is it a noble effort to spread cross-Order co-operation" and "or is a power grab by an ambitious magus?" is probably a little bit of both. hehe
Oooh. I haven't thought of this. This might be an interesting plot point. I might have to consider what he would do when a Tremere comes asking for membership somewhere. hmmm
Oh, who am I kidding, of course he would say yes. He would have no reason not to. Especially if upon reading the resume of said magus it reads like someone who would fit in. (And oyu know it would, the Tremere would not send someone who would raise red flags.)
Sooo many good questions here. Thanks.
Honestly, I don't know the answer to most of them yet but I love thinking about it and so I am totally going to cover the point.
Him being like Tremere-the-Founder, even unintentionally is sooooo very amusing to me by the way.
A Tremere that is a member of the covenant would have every right to use them to transport themselves, and their companions, around the network as needed. This is a right that he has put into the covenant charters- - members can use them as a sign of good faith.
As for the Tremere as a House, hmm, now that is different. At this point no organization not under his control has even attempted to use them. So he would have to think on that.
Honestly @Salutor thank you for this. I really appreciate the ideas.
Worth noting that you were responding only to my section about setting up a chapter house, which would mean having a non-tremere non-Transyvanian covenant have ownership of covenant like resources in the translvanian tribunal. A lot of places this is used to extend power across tribunal borders, it won't fly with the Tremere. the rest of my post was about ways you could set up to be in or establish an appropriate opidum(sp), but the part you quoted was about how one particular approach would not work.