Unconventional Tribunal Dates

Has anyone ever tinkered with the dates for the Tribunals in their sagas? If so, how did it work out.

I'm toying with the idea of having different Tribunals having their meetings in different years. I can't find any canonical reason for why they're all in 1221 (except for Stonehenge) aside from "I'll tell you...I don't know! But it's a tradition!" And it makes sense to me that they would be in different dates (if nothing else, to make it easier for magi to tend to business in another tribunal if they've moved or are needed as witnesses or something.

I did find a date in Lion and the Lily for when many of the regional tribunals were founded...but when I started added seven to the date to get to where we are now, I find that the next Tribunal would actually be in 1222 and not 1221.

Anyway. I have two ideas that I'm toying with. One is to have the Tribunals meeting in different years during the seven year cycle – e.g. Rhine could meet in 1221, Stonehenge in 1222, Rome in 1223, and so on. Based on seven-year multipliers from when the Tribunal was founded. And, the years that the tribunal meets a year early because of Grand Tribunal, then it would be seven years from the new date and not the original date (so, 6-7-7 instead of 6-8-7)

The other (and the one I'm leaning to) is have it like parliamentary elections. The next Tribunal meeting must be held within seven years. But if a situation arises to where they need to call a Tribunal before that (oh, say, they find a nest of vampiric diabolists that need Marched), they'd call the meeting early and reset the seven-year clock from that.

Ideas? Arguments for or against to consider? Vague mutterings of discontent?

Oh I do like this idea!

I am not sure I would implement it, having pretty conservative gamers IMS, but the idea has merit. It would seem a very rational enterprise, with the major draw back being the conservative nature of the Magi who would want a very set planned schedule that would extend out for centuries so that they could plan accordingly.

Might be interesting as a story for a very politically active and savvy character to attempt to do this on the Tribunal scale, collecting the votes and convincing the leaders of it's utility.

Nice ideas

IIRC the reason for the same year for tribunals is that they were all founded at the same time. As such the 7 year cycle matches. But you already found that this is not consistent with current backwards reckoning! :laughing: so I see no reason not to change it. In 300 years a lot of stuff will have changed and extraordinary tribunals might have caused the "resetting of the clock" that you mentioned. However, I would tend to bunch them together in most cases, at least on a regional basis. Otherwise we are always in "election years", and that makes for a hype that IO do not see the order enjoying. Unless you plan a highly active political saga.


I would just point out that the Rhine occasionally, and explicitly, has its Tribunal shifted up to one year e.g. to accomodate the Grand Tribunal.

I tend to think that happens for every Tribunal (territory).

I think every timeline and every sourcebook I've seen so far mentions that...but then the next Tribunal after that is back to the original seven-year schedule. For example, the next Grand Tribunal is in 1228, so every Tribunal except Stonehenge moves their own Tribunal from 1228 to 1227. But then their next Tribunals are in 1235.

As an aside, does anybody know when (and maybe why) the New Slavonic Tribunal was renamed the Novgorod Tribunal?

And when the Tribunal of the Levant was recognized?

Blood and Sand from 4th Edition indicates Tribunal of the East was formed in 832.
The currently named Levant Tribunal was formed in 1129, as a result in some political changes in the Order, which aren't clearly described...

First, I assume that the regional Tribunals are scheduled around the Grand Tribunal, which is why they all sync up.

Tribunals that do not have pre-determined Tribunal Grounds would have a much harder time organizing emergancy votes. Location and travel times mean opportunities gained or lost for the politically motivated. Plus, you're talking about a communication network that takes months for question and response -- which is why Tribunal trials are more like court martials than modern litigation.

Also, consider that whoever votes first on a matter votes loudest. In modern American politics, Iowa votes on Primary Nominations a week before New Hampshire, and then it is nearly two weeks with no other presidential news before any other state gets their say. How many presidents do you think we've had that didn't win Iowa and New Hampshire?

On the other hand, the power in being the last vote is more obvious to the less politically inclined. So you're more likely to see Tribunals who want to vote the year before the Grand Tribunal than the ones who want to hold their own Tribunals right after the Grand.

In other words, if you start shifting the dates between the Tribunals, then positioning becomes another piece of political power.

In the Timeline in the back of The Lion and the Lily, there's a ruling from the Grand Tribunal of 832, that "Grand Tribunals will meet every 33 years, regional Tribunals every 7 years from 836 AD." So, plugging in 836 into my "Tribunal Dates" spreadsheet and doing x=y+7 in the field below, then for the Tribunals extant in 832 (Greater Alps, Iberia, Normandy, Provençal, Rhine, Rome, Thebes, and Transylvania, and maybe Stonehenge*), then I get the next Tribunal Date as 1221, which is pretty much canonical. Why they chose the next Regional Tribunal dates as being in four years instead of seven, I don't know. If the Tribunal of the East (est. 832) was later renamed the Levant, then it would jibe with this cycle.

But then you have to make a decision about the baby Tribunals – Hibernia, Loch Leglean, the Levant (if it was founded in 1129), and Novgorod. Are they going to be tied into the same seven year cycles, or are they going to be on their own seven-year cycle based on when they were organized?

What I'm doing with my saga is having the new Tribunals recognized (in 817 for the two that were split off from Britannia, 1008 for Novgorod, and maybe 1129 for the Levant as JL indicated above), giving the Tribunals a year to decide when and where to meet, and starting the seven-year cycle from there. With the Levant, it works out to be the same year either way, so the only ones that are out of synch would be Loch Leglean, Hibernia, and Novgorod.

Somewhere (can't remember where offhand), it says that a Tribunal has to have a year's notice, to give the Redcaps time to track everyone down and let them know. If there's only the regular seven-year Tribunal, that's no problem, But if something comes up that has to be decided by a Special Tribunal...hoo boy.

Each Tribunal can only bring up three items at the Grand Tribunal, so if all the Tribunals are at the same time, there's a lot less opportunity for them to coordinate who brings up what before the Grand Tribunal starts. For example, at the GT of 1228, which of the Tribunals is going to bring up restoring the Lotharingian Tribunal – someone from Rhine, Normandy, Greater Alps, maybe even Provençal? And will the Heorot dispute be brought up by Novgorod or Rhine? The Tribunals before Grand Tribunal I can see each one actually making a list of six or seven (or more) issues they want brought up, in case one of the other Tribunals brings up the issue before they do.

Interestingly, canonically, it's only the last and next Grand Tribunals that have affected the scheduling of the Regional Tribunals – the 1193 Tribunals were pushed back a year to prepare for Grand Tribunal, while the 1228 were pushed a year ahead.

*Stonehenge is a definite outlier, since Nigrasaxa was founded in 1201 and called for a Tribunal the same year, which wound up being the first quorate tribunal in decades. Stonehenge is then (canonically) a year behind everyone else, but the Grand Tribunal of 1228 is the first one since that happened. I can kinda see someone raising points of order from Stonehenge (probably from Blackthorn) to force Stonehenge back onto the same schedule as the other original Tribunals and/or have the last four Tribunals invalidated for not being properly convened (esp. the one of 1201, that doesn't seem to have had the one-year lead time).

It never occurred to me that it could be otherwise.

Right, and my comments earlier suggest that the decision about each of these Tribunals is that the cycle of their dates will be a commentary on the nature of the politicos in that Tribunal. Now, I really do not know much about these tribunals, but for example: if Hibernia consists of relatively brash, eager politicians who want to stomp on their foes, then they would chose to vote the year AFTER Stonehenge and the others, because that is the obvious grab for power. Novgorod, on the other hand, might lean towards more subtle machinations, and so they choose to have their Tribunal assembly occur two years before all the others -- thus ensuring that every covenant in the entire Order knows their position on every matter.

If you're going to select dates for their Tribunals based on historical records rather than political machinations, then you need to decide how they respond to the unexpected attention. More eyes will be watching their deliberations than their territory or power would merit on its own.

Sure, but that would be a year to put it together after they've decided where to hold it. Who gets to decide that anyway?

Imagine, in the Phoenix campaign, what would have happened if Phoenix covenant declared that the Praeco was dead and that Jaime was Praeco, and the next Tribunal meeting was to occur in 12 months at Phoenix. How long would it take someone to verify his claims? How long would it take before one of their political opponents challenged his authority? And how long before that got sorted out?

By which, you mean that only 3 items get an official vote during office hours. The rest have to be resolved off the books and under the tables. Didn't someone say something earlier in this thread about medieval law being more about the strength of smooth governance? If you can get the important folks to give you a pass, it's easier than bringing things to a vote.

The whole topic of the Grand Tribunal is really quite fascinating when you think about it. I hope they publish some material on it.

I would say for Rhine, one of the most traditional of the tribunals, every 7years. I would say for Theban especially the way that they have 14 year apprenticeships starting at a tribunal and ending at tribunal, every 7 years is locked in. For the rest, I see no reason they can't vary, especially the ones founded after the order first started or where events might have disrupted tribunal gatherings.

For example, I would have not had many tribunals DURING the schism war but once it ended, I could see one the year after the end and resetting the 7 year cycle from that year.