Since it seems that many of you have played/run Rhine gorge sagas, I am very curious about what you did with Drachenfels, as I am right now at a crossroad and need to decide what to do with it.
Spoiler warning, whether you know who Babel, Falkus and Ivan are or not:
For short, I am torn whether to make it a Covenant location or a recurring Dungeon to "grind".
In favour of making it a Covenant:
My view of it that it replaces Rudaria as the 4th option for a Covenant location for the players.
On one hand I think it is an interesting location because it is the most "magic realm" of the possible ones outlines in the book:
Waldheim is faerie aligned them or putting them at war with the Winter court early on.
Trier force them to deal with the Mundane and Divine.
Pfaltz island with Mundane and Infernal thanks to the bastard's doings, and is so close to Rudaria that having them invited to clear out the mess that was walled up under the Brömserburg.
As written in the book, it has the highest aura in the area (although I am not bound to follow that), which in and of itself is a big draw, on top of the connection to the Nibelung saga.
Securing it, in my view, requires the most mundane/divine connections, more so than Pfalz island's faerie/mundane quest. I have given thought as to who are the most important people to convince to secure the location as a covenant (either of them would do imho).
Both of them are smart men with a lot of experience, who would welcome magical help in reducing/increasing the power gap between them.
The Burggraf: I see him as a successful ambitious, old man who has successfully fought in wars and climbed the social pyramid, and has managed to stave off aging thanks to a deal with the denizens of the cavern. He might think that the magi can help him weasel out of his half of the bargain with the thing below and/or see them as allies to strengthen his position should a conflict with the archbishop arise.
The Archbishop: is also a successful military commander with direct imperial connections. He might be worried that the key city of Bonn has to rely on the Burggraf for its defence, about the loyalty of a man who was closer to one of his predecessors than to him. By forcing him to accept mages under his nose he would see a chance to demonstrate his authority, generate a conflict for his vassal to divert his attention away from more important goals and to have spying eyes on him. As an archbishop, he'd know more about the order than the graf.
Regardless of which of the two they chose to woo, I imagine that they would need to do it mostly through social means, and possibly cap it off with fighting some kind of draconid based on Varkos or Arkliss of the RoP:M, to make it of comparable difficulty to Pfalz island or Waldheim. Also, with the old Graf historically dying in 1225, the death of the draconid could be the end of the pact that gave him such longevity (although considering that many of his successors were long lived or one could prefer to think that the pact might have been more of a bloodline type than a personal one).
A covenant based there gives me the plot hook to throw dwarf or draconic problems at them, whether it's a grog disappearing in the deep, finding dwarven artefact etc Plus one of my players really wants to mine (which admittedly would work just as well in Waldheim, they don't know it but there is historic mining activity in the Ems area, less than a day away.)
Problems with making it a Covenant
For the ST:
As a Covenant, it makes more work for the ST. Placing the heart of the campaign in the lower Rhine rather than Middle Rhine means that most of the NPCs and their conflicts outlined in the book risk becoming out of scope. They will be naturally be drawn to meddling with internal Kölsch affairs rather than the competing barons and counts of the middle Rhine where the competing suzerainty would come into play. From a most pragmatic perspective, I would need to research a whole bunch of noble(house)s and Guilds to populate the Bonn area rather than rely on the information already in the relevant chapter.
For the character:
Fengheld and its Chapter house might not want to have a new Covenant founded so close to Cologne where they'd be stepping on each others' toes, being merely a day's walk away from each other after all. This would probably force them to either join the Rheingasse Chapter, become a Fengheld chapter house or to make enemies of the above.
In favour of making it a Dungeon:
It can be the prototypical dungeon crawl with a dragon and treasure at the end. I like the idea of a recurring dungeon in ArM, since the players can do part of it, get some loot, and then stop when they hit a "wall" go back to the lab for a few years o prepare better, and come do the next section etc
Against making it a Dungeon:
I am not sure how to run an interesting dungeon for ArM. This is not D&D with encounter levels and the expectation of just clearing room by room an underground location to get treasure. My party has a terram mage, they could make Gruyère out of the tunnel complex.
So what do you think? What did you do with it?