Tribunal of the Borders - A Freeform Ars Magica Game [Edit]

This years Freeform will run from 11am to 2pm on the Saturday morning, and is by Mark Steedman. He will be GM'ing along with Neil Taylor.


Special Tribunal of the Borders 1221 [Edit]

The year is 1221 and a special Tribunal has been called in an attempt to resolve the large number of claims and counter claims between the covenants along the borders of the Loch Leglean and Stonehenge tribunals.

Magi from Horsingas, Garg Clack, Airgead Lon and Samhach Doire have come from Loch Leglean and some representatives from Eagleburn and Burnham in Stonehenge.

The principal business will be an attempt to resolve the claims and counter claims made between the covenants. To determine which are spurious and which the accused are truly guilty of. It is anticipated though that other matters will come up.

The Quaesitors present, Whitburn Frithowebba of Horsingas, Indicum of Eagleburn and Turtina of Burnham have agreed on the following rough order of business:

  • Preliminary gathering

A chance for magi to mingle and greet each other;

  • Session One

Each Covenant may raise one issue for debate and voting;

  • Break A chance to relax;
  • Session Two

Each Covenant may raise one issue for debate and voting;

  • Break A chance to relax;
  • Session Three

Each Covenant may raise one issue for debate and voting;
Quaesitorial business Quaesitors may bring any charges against individual magi not accused by one of the covenants present;

  • Wizards marches

Should they be required;

It has not been agreed who shall act as Praeco or Presiding Quaesitor at this gathering, for magi of two tribunals are present. A site on the tribunal border has been selected, and each covenant has claimed a camp site.

There is no guarantee that there will be time for three sessions before dawn. This schedule assumes each heading except the last is a slot of about half an hour with dawn and wizards marches after three and a half hours. With six covenants, that means, allowing for a collation of issues about four minutes an issue. However I will leave it up to the Praeco to run things and the third session simply won't happen, cutting instead to the quaesitors if we run out of time.

In session one two initial votes will be required, for presiding Quaesitor, and then Praeco. For conveniences sake these will be organised by a passing redcap who will then be on his way. After that the selected Praeco shall run proceedings. These initial votes shall be on the grounds:

Those that wish to stand step forward;

Votes for each candidate in turn. Candidate with the most votes wins. In the event of a tie remove all candidates that did not come joint first and vote again.

A few logistical matters: [Edit]

The main area is a temporary council chamber that has been erected. Each covenant also has a camp nearby and its own entrance to the central chamber. Magi may retire to their own covenant camps during the two break periods, and are assumed to be able to get refreshments from their own camp as required.

Mundanes are banned from the council chamber as a matter of course. Although some attendees may have prisoners at their camps, these will not nominally address the council, though they could be shown at entrances to verify identities if required. An item card stating it’s a grog belonging to such and such can be assumed to show the same to reasonable questioning or magic to confirm its identity unless the player with said card says otherwise.

I will be the ‘visiting redcap’ and run the two initial votes and inform magi of sunrise. The latter will happen when the events have run their course or about twenty minutes before magi are summoned to their camps for banquet (end of the slot) whichever happens first.

Otherwise though there are no NPC’s in the council chamber. Don’t rely on me playing captured grogs and the like you might have in your camps. I will if I have the time and it’s required but your average grog is not going to say a word faced with a council chamber full of magi, you are a bit intimidating...

Campaign notes: [Edit]

A number of the magi and covenants used are mentioned in either the Loch Leglean or Stonehenge Tribunal books. I have changed things where it suits this game so don’t rely on published material being accurate to this game. At least one Magus in Stonehenge has been moved to a different covenant!

Some of the other magi and covenants are completely my own creation.

Rules: [Edit]

The rules have been set to match a free-form environment. I have tried to match things passably to 5th edition Ars Magica but the primary objective has been simplicity and lack of actual mechanics.

Skills are descriptive rankings. You should be able to work out what beats what.
I have not required Vis match the technique and form of spells. That would have made acquisition of appropriate Vis a little too hard.

In the unlikely event someone gets hurt, except in a wizards march where the outcome is blatantly obvious, wounds are just a linear track like older editions. It means they can be tracked by a supply of tokens which is just so much easier...

I really don’t expect folks to cast all of the spells and use all the skills that I have handed out. Some of them are clearly not very appropriate to the game situation. But hopefully they give you more of an idea of what your characters can do and who they are.

The characters are listed here - characters.