Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ars Magica, Rhine Tribunal 1221, Part 1

Good Afternoon All,

Well, here is the promised post regarding my Ars Magica 5th Edition game mentioned previously. Apologies on the delay for this bad boy as I have been SUPER busy with preparing the Tribunal meeting and have just been trying to get into the general habit of posting again. Anyways, all of that aside, let's get to it.

...there was the Tribunal.
So I have been running my Ars game for about a year now and the players started out as apprentices. Just little 5-8 year old kids really running around in a living fairy tale. My game is situated in the Rhine Tribunal, think Holy Roman Empire for history folks or Modern Germany with surrounding area for non history folks. Every 7 years the Rhine Tribunal holds a ..... well.... a Tribunal, or a gathering of Magi where decisions are made regarding the future of the Tribunal and inter-magus conflicts are resolved.

Now, with my characters just being children, I had no idea how I was going to portray this very important aspect of Magical life. On top of that, as a GM I hate, HATE, playing a ton of NPCs in a single setting. My group numbers all of 3 folks at this time meaning that I was going to have to play ALL of the adults. The prospect of this sent my brain into a tizzy and made me really grumpy about having to do this. Cue the most wonderful thing ever created by Atlas Games.

From the Atlas website,

This! Here was a piece of material written SPECIFICALLY for a Tribunal situation! WOW! Not only that but it was setup to run with multiple people playing the Magi of the Tribunal. This format would alleviate the need for me to run all of the NPCs! I quickly read through it and was fully impressed with the lay out and themes present within. Then, I jumped in the deep end and decided that I was going to run a full blown Rhine Tribunal where I invite all of my friends to come to my house and do the work of GM for me!

So, first thing's first. Who am I going to invite? Using the miracle of modern social media, this was solved pretty easily. I invited around 30 folks and within a few days 15 had decided that they were going to attend and play.

Then came the sudden and shocking realization that I needed to prep 15 characters for the Tribunal as well as create the Public Agenda and any private agendas that may need to be added to spice things up.

So this was me. Procrastinating and waiting. Napping and being grumpy that my fool proof plan had been fooled by none other than myself. But, it didn't matter. I couldn't get out of it. Not after I had gotten the 15 people that signed up excited enough to entrust a Sunday afternoon solely to me. That means that they believed in my abilities to run an entertaining game right? Either that or they are all just my really good friends.

Either way, I went to work. I pulled lots of info from the Fallen Fane introducing Ars Magica to those who didn't know anything about it. This basically set forth all of the story info needed about Magi, Tribunals, Covenants etc etc without getting into the system as it is going to be a system-less get together. This means no magic casting, no Certamen, nothing like that. Just all talk and wheeling and dealing.

In the middle of this, after I had managed to come up with what the Public Agenda was going to be, my lovely wife bought me this for Christmas:

Also from

And then this was my face:

This handy dandy book proceeded to provide me with all of the canon characters in the Rhine Tribunal, allowing me to pick and choose the 15 that I wanted to have represented at my game. Then, I assigned their opinions on the Public Agenda as well as any private dealings they wanted to resolve while there and sent them on their way to the players. That was today.

In order to facilitate the dealing side of the wheeling and dealing paradigm, I am going to create a supply list for each character representing the stock of mundane and magical goods and services they have to offer at this tribunal. This way my players can bribe each other for votes as needed.

Thus ends part 1 of this series. Part 2 will be posted after the Tribunal where we will cover the results of the meeting, general reactions and I will post a link to the materials used for those other brave GMs who decide they need to run a Tribunal as a full blown friends get together. In the mean time, take care and talk with you soon!