We've decided to go for an untraditional route when it comes to covenant in our new campaign. There are two options, and they're both quite unusual. What I'd like to ask is if these are doable, especially when it comes to Hermetic law and such? I might be overlooking something, but I'm not sure.
Well, the choices are:
A seaborne covenant. Each magi commands his own ship, and they travel around Northern Europe to trade and look for magical resources. They are not bound by tribunal borders. How will this work? Can a "moveable" covenant move about freely? How about aura? Can a magical aura itself be movable, perhaps linked to an object, like some Divine auras?
The other alternative is a covenant which is spread over a larger area. Each magi has his own place, with sanctum and lab. They have a council hall in a nearby city, most likely Paris, where they also have their store of vis and silver. Also in this council hall, which is a lacunae, lives the leader of the covenant, an experience Jerbiton. Can a covenant be divided up like this, among several smaller auras? We were thinking that each magi would live within a days walk of each other.
Well, these are the alternatives. Any comments? Things that's downright dumb to do? Ideas?
One problem that I see with either of these covenant scenarios is that the Redcaps need a registered address where they can deliver your mail, and you aren't considered a covenant for the purpose of declaring a valid Tribunal without it. I think a single house in a port of call would suit your purposes, though, and there's nothing that says that everyone who belongs to the covenant has to live there. As long as the ships check in periodically or the central house has a way of getting in touch with the magi, I think you're fine.
Moving Covenant: The covenant might be officially recognized in some Tribunal, or not. At any rate trials will be conducted against it in the Tribunal where the crime was made (allegedly). Without a home tribunal, however, they would likely have no covenant-wide vote - each magus would still be capable of voting only at his home Tribunal. House Mercere will probably know where to deliver letters in pre-agreed places and times, perhaps leaving them in Mercer-Houses for the magi to pick up when they arrive there.
Wide Covenant: Look up the habit of Chapter Houses (in Guardians of the Forest, Fengheld Covenant). The covenant will officially reside in one place, which will be where the Redcaps will come to and where the Treasury/Library/Shared Property will be; the other places will be Chapter Houses, belonging to the Covenant, or Sanctums.
BTW, any other weird covenant ideas? My craziest one was Gormenghast, "The City That Is A Dream". In its final incarnation was a covenant you could only enter via a regio, and that contained only rooms. You navigated between the rooms not based on geography, but rather on mystical associations (Enigmatic Wisdom, IIRC) - each room led to random rooms, really, you needed to keep following the right "leads". Each room was really a separate Regio, and there were actually an inifinite amount of them. The covenant contained hundreds of magi, but most were PROBABLY dead, and only a few (different each time) reached any given council session. The whole thing was really just the mad dream of a magus lost to Twilight, with the different NPC magi playing different aspects of his psyche. Never really got much actual play, unfortunately.
"How this works" can create all kinds of interesting stories, as Tribunals decide what to do, and the players sail into uncharted waters of Hermetic Law. What if the players declare each ship a covenant, and then create the "Baltic Sea Tribunal?" All kinds of other what ifs.
Aura? Maybe it is generated by an object. Maybe the ships have the covenant quality of being much bigger on the inside than the outside (like Davey Jones' ship in PotC2+3), being itself a place no matter where it is. Maybe the magi themselves are cursed/blessed, and bring their Aura with them....
It's your Tribunal!
I don't think it's dumb at all. Every now and then, when I toy with the idea of running my own AM PBeM (now that's downright dumb, yet I still think about it) I contemplate having each player be his own covenant. One magus, one covenant. Maybe two magi in a covenant. And then have that be the norm for the Tribunal, even the Order. Communication between magi happens at specific times, for specific purposes, or via Redcap. Magi might still adventure together... or not.
I was even considering "Magi of the Caribbean," set in the 1600s with magi aboard ships, sort of what you describe but really in the Caribbean.....
It makes a lot of sense for some sagas, and might be fun in others.
I once tinkered with the idea of Sanctum Magi back in 4th ed. That's when I was trying to recruit old school gamer bbuddies of mine, who could not get past ye old one-character-per-player concept, and they each wanted their own space to build in. That did not last long, but it did spark more interest in the core magic system and led to a whole new saga.
#2 Shouldnt be a problem at all. Isnt there already a previously published one that is at least vaugley similar?
Could handle it as the central point being the offical place covenant with the home location of each magi being a chapter house. Gets a bit messy if you want to be strict with the covenant creation rules(chapter houses counts as hooks IIRC) but any GM should fluff past that as required.
#1 Mobile magic auras, VERY unlikely as rules sofar looks like, but as above, if you can do it without breaking the system apart completely( a little doesnt matter ) fluff it as needed.
Let it be "the real thing" rather than just a dream, and let them try to interact with the real world... That could be fun.
-Who are you?
-Pelleth the magnificent!
-Never heard of you, part of the covenant?
-For over a hundred years! Eh, i think, what year is it now?
-Last week i asked one of the peasants outside it was 1201.
-Really? I joined the covenant in 1215... Damned, i just KNEW i should taken the left door in that hallway after the stairway and not the right one! Ok, so who else is around now then?
Well, It seems to me it must have some plausibility within the scope of the canon if not fully developed in terms of the mechanics of the system, given that the official example covenant of Semita Errabunda is an "unfixed" if not precisely "travelling" covenant, complete with more than one aura (albeit various levels of regio) if I recall rightly.
One could modify the individual ship/aura idea in at least a couple ways that I can think of offhand:
The actual main house (or what have you) of the covenant could be on an island (or BE the island itself) with each of the ships being the individual sanctums. Have the ships constructed from a particular species of magical tree only found on this island and you have your justification for each ships inherent aura.
Have one ship using the idea of the inside bigger than the outside as already expressed above and each magus could in fact never be quite sure if he/she were the only one onboard or even that he/she were on board a ship at all.
As someone said above (sorry too tired to hunt for the aknowledgment) it's your saga, make it as hairbrained as you wish as long as people have fun playing it. The Ars milieu and rules are sufficiently flexible IMO to accommodate just about anything. It's just SGs and their stories which often cannot tolerate too many flights of fancy (from their players that is )
Just experiment, that's half the fun of it!
[edited to add: I just thought of another fun idea. Perhaps the "island" sits atop the shell of a monstrous sea turtle of legend and said sea turtle migrates regularly from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea to the Atlantic to the Med and back remaining in each for one season apiece. If the covenant is in fact a Mercere covenant, what wonderful facility for covering the various tribunals.]
As for moving auras: Check GotF in the chapter about Oculus Septemtrionalis it is stated that they posses three stones created by Verditius himself which fill any given room with a magical aura of three. It is mentioned that this is beyond hermetic knowledge now.
On the other hand in MC the mystery of Hermetic Architecture does allow you to generate new auras.
You posses less stones than magi so time to use them is regulated and used as the primarily "currency" in your saga.
Another magus affixed an aura to your main ship via Hermetic Architecture for some service or some service in the future (story hook). So while individal magi have to do lab work without an aura, lab work for the convent itself can be done in the main ship in a lab owned by the convent. Vis extraction can only be done in the main ship and has to be bought from the convent by a pawn of vis.
I played in a game where the Covenant was a ship. It was interesting .
The large Covenant would have problems because of the lack of vis resources. They would have a hard time defending claiming a large area. If you look at how the Normandy Tribunal works with a lot of contested vis sources. Now if they had other ways of collecting vis like payment for services it would work.
I didn't say it did move, thus my disclaimer - "if not precisely "travelling"". The point was more one of "for all intents and purposes from the perspective of the magi of SE and those they may interact with throughout Europe, they aren't exactly rooted to a fixed geographical location, if you catch my drift.
Yes the regio exists in one place, completely outside the regular world (as with any regio of course) but since it can open to anywhere, regardless of distance, it suggests that the fundamental principle of a moving aura is not wholly and categorically beyond the scope of the RAW nor the canon. It just may require some handwaving and bit of clever rule lawyership to develop a set of concrete mechanics by which it could avoid breaking the system or the saga.
Hope that clarifies the intent of my previous post.
I think seperating the magi too much is a mistake. It's not really a Covenant without there being some community. Otherwise, you've just got a bunch of seperate magi who have nothing to do with each other.
Has anyone looked into the Architecture Mysteries? As read it looks like you could make a structure like a ship have it's own aura. Mind you this would be an expensive undertaking. You could also, if a player is looking into the mysteries, make it a story to find said ships.
As to other strange covenants idea that we had in a saga, building one under the ocean. Lots story potential.