This actually started as a technical exercise in writing I set myself. I’d never written a covenant write-up before and felt that this was something I should attempt if I was serious about becoming a line author. Given that the line was producing a Tribunal Book per year at the time and Tribunal books need covenants, it seemed like both a worthwhile and readily achievable task. It was originally published in Sub Rosa Issue #5.
A dedicated research covenant seemed a good place to start – the “Sinews of Knowledge” and “Shadows of the Moon” (cut in final draft, see Wayback Machine link) covenants from ArM4 Sanctuary of Ice provided a ready template. I was interested in working through the Hermetic Breakthrough rules and found the illustration by Jeff Mentges on page 117 of ArM5 Covenants of the large clockwork mechanism intriguing so, so I selected an astrological goal and did some research on ancient astrologers and astronomers.
Everything else followed easily – it seemed logical to utilize the 19 year long Metonic Year duration as Alex had already introduced this for his Hyperborean Hymnists. The clockwork orrery drew inspiration from the newly published “Mechanica of Heron” concepts in Ancient Magic, so I developed the surly clocksmith character and given the Iberian location his background seemed appropriate given the ancient Greek astrological treatises being translated from Arabic in Toledo at the time. I added a Tremere political overseer for good measure and as a further nod to Timothy’s work, I romantically linked the Metonist Torquetia with his chief Lunarian, Yrjo, although it’s pitched as one of those awkward unrequited affairs.
As a research covenant, I felt I needed a champion to keep the lab rats from harm. The concept of Muslim Flambeau was something I’d always wanted to develop to play on the Flambeau vs sahir rivalry but emphasize a non-religious conflict. The Banu’l Mash’al were thus born – their ancestor Cassius Niger may indeed share some similarity with Phillipus Niger of Durenmar, although I left this vague intentionally.
I think this article still holds up now some 4 years later and contains a lot of ideas that I’d like to see developed by any attempt to revise the Iberian Tribunal.
The full text can be found here.