Project: Redcap; the crossroads of the Order


Theban Tribunal

From Project: Redcap

The Theban Tribunal (also called the Tribunal of Thebes or the Thebes Tribunal) is the regional Tribunal that includes the Greek peninsula and Asia Minor. In 1220, all of the Theban Tribunal is part of the mundane Byzantine Empire. The Theban Tribunal is unusual in that Greek, rather than Latin, is the language magi use for their Hermetic business and magical writings (tSE page 29).

The Theban Tribunal is a borderland of the Order; it is bordered on the north and west by the Transylvanian Tribunal but the territory to the east and southeast belongs to the Seljuk Turks and is considered to be outside the Order of Hermes altogether. The Theban Tribunal communicates by sea with the Levant Tribunal and could be considered its nearest neighbor. See the Map of Mythic Europe.

Current Edition Resources[edit]

The Fifth Edition sourcebook, The Sundered Eagle: the Theban Tribunal describes the Theban Tribunal in detail. A Theban Tribunal timeline by CJ Romer is available on the Atlas Games site: Theban Tribunal Timeline.

The Cradle and the Crescent is a sourcebook for the neighboring lands of the Middle East. Against the Dark deals with the House Tremere dominated tribunal to the north, historically part of the Theban Tribunal 865-964.

Distinguishing Features[edit]

The Tribunal of Thebes is presented as vis rich. Magi operate in an environment where vis is less like a currency -- because it is so plentiful -- and more like food. That is, vis is necessary to the Tribunal's continued operation, but not especially valuable or worth fighting over. Generosity with vis is customary; magi who are stingy or who hoard vis earn poor reputations.

Classical Greek has replaced Latin as the language of magic in Thebes. Tribunal meetings are conducted in Greek, spells are cast in Greek, and books written by Theban magi are written in Greek. This creates tension with traditional Houses like Tremere, and impedes communication and cooperation with non-Theban magi.

A system of merits and demerits, known as Tokens and Shards respectively, has replaced vis as the currency of Theban magi. Magi earn tokens for performing work beneficial to the polity (the community of magi as a whole) and earn shards for antisocial or harmful activities. For example, bringing a legal case against another magi earns a Token if it results in conviction -- since the rooting out of criminals and diabolists benefits the community -- but a Shard if the trial results in acquittal, since the accusation wasted the time and energy of all involved.

Finally, the idea of the polity has widespread ramifications which include the fact that offices of the tribunal are elected by vote or by lot rather than by seniority, that apprentices choose their master rather than the other way around, that a free Longevity potion is awarded once a year to a deserving magus, and many other examples of cooperation and amity not seen in other tribunals. The roles include the Archai, magistrates elected by lot, the Polemarch tasked with conducting Wizards' Marches and capturing and securing prisoners for trial, and the Logothete who leads Thebes complex Redcap hierarchy.

Contradicting Material[edit]

The 2006 Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults indicates that the Verditius Inner Mystery Bind Magical Creatures developed in the Theban Tribunal because vis is rare there and magical animals plentiful. However, the 2010 source book for the tribunal, The Sundered Eagle: the Theban Tribunal indicates that the tribunal is "blessed with a relatively plentiful supplies of vis" in a sidebar describing a tribunal custom of gifting vis. Errata do not address the issue, but it may be that the reference in HHMC was meant to reference the Rome Tribunal, which in previous editions was described as being vis poor because of the great extent of mundane presence and development throughout that tribunal.

Current Edition Covenants[edit]

According to the peripheral code of Thebes, all covenants within the tribunal must have a "specific role or purpose" and a patron (a being with magic, divine, or faerie might) which willingly cooperates with the covenant. Sundered Eagle describes the following covenants:

  • Aegea, dominated by Merinita and Bjornaer and located on the ocean floor. Their patron is Triton and they claim that the covenant itself is built in the palace of the god Poseidon.
  • Alexandria, the headquarters for House Mercere in the Tribunal. Alexandria has a very high aura and is a retirement home for aging and warped redcaps. Their patron is Fides, a spirit of emotion associated with Alexander the Great.
  • Didyma A collection of mostly Ex Miscellanea magi, serving as Oracles on behalf of their patron Apollo.
  • Epidauros, dedicated to healing and the creation of Longevity potions for Tribunal magi. Their patron is Asklepios, Greek god of healing and medicine.
  • Erebos, first mentioned in Ancient Magic[1], containing several Perdo specialists and located near an ancient sanctuary of the Cult of Hecate in the Cambunian Mountains. They are in conflict with the Daughters of Erichto. It is a large House Covenant of Ex Miscellanea; their patron is the ghost of their founder, Cyra Ex Miscellanea.
  • Favonius is a covenant made up of four magical round ships and many smaller vessels which sail constantly. Their patron is Dryops, formerly a spirit of a grove of oak trees whose wood now makes up the enchanted ships.
  • Gigas, a Tremere House Covenant in Bulgaria. Out of protest, they use the familiar of the Covenant's leader as patron. Presumably Gigas is the large Tremere covenant of the Theban tribunal alluded to in Houses of Hermes: True Lineages[2].
  • Hedyosmos, made up of Guernicus and Tytalus magi and located in an underground shrine to the dead. Their patron is Minthe, the first lover of Hades.
  • Ingasia, a Verditius House Covenant and home to its current primus. Its patron spirit is Mosychlos, genius loci to the volcano of the same name, where the covenant is located.
  • Oikos tou Eleous, a covenant of four holy magae based in the city of Thessaloniki. Their patron is Saint Demetrius.
  • Michael's Tabula, founded in the wake of the Fall of Constantinople by survivors of that battle. It opposes the Crusaders and is located in an underground mithraeum within the city. Its patron is Fylakas, apparently an elemental earth spirit.
  • Moero's Garden, inhabited by Jerbiton refugees from the Sack of Constantinople and based in Nicea. Their current patron is the ghost of Hipparchus, in whose home the covenant is now established.
  • Polyagios, a covenant of fighting magi located on an island in the Cyclades. Their patron is a faerie giant named Varazes.
  • Xylinites, formerly a robust Jerbiton covenant in Constantinople but now, since the Sack, transformed into a Clutch of Criamon following the Path of the Body. Their patron is St. Loukian of Berytus, a magical spirit trapped within an icon.

Past Edition Resources[edit]

The Theban Tribunal received less attention than most other Tribunals until Sundered Eagle was published; therefore there are few resources for Fourth Edition and earlier.

Order of Hermes mentioned there were eight covenants in the Tribunal[3] (though this information is outdated in Fifth Edition canon) but did not name any of them. Most of its brief text on the Tribunal is devoted to the grandeur and importance of Constantinople. It does mention that the Thebes Tribunal is a magnet for Seekers and for magi of Houses Jerbiton and Bjornaer.

The Sorcerer's Slave is an ArM2 scenario that takes characters to Constantinople and the Black Sea.

Non-Canon Resources[edit]

A thorough examination of the Hermetic population in the Theban Tribunal can be found in Sub Rosa #7 pages 6-7. Written by Yan Prado, it includes a spreadsheet listing every magus in the Tribunal and noting House, age, citizenship, covenant, and League membership.

Sub Rosa #4 (pages 22-26) details the covenant of Seuthopolis, built in the ruins of a Roman town located in Mythic Bulgaria on the border of the Byzantine empire, within the boundaries of the Tribunal. Author Ben McFarland includes maps of the site and pictorial reference. Since publication Against the Dark has placed Seuthopolis in the Transylvanian Tribunal and that book places a House Tremere oppida in that location.

Theban Sagas[edit]

The following saga websites are set in, or otherwise related to, the Thebes Tribunal. Feel free to add your own site to the list; please insert it in alphabetical order.

A Measure of Sand
El Águila Hendida (in spanish)
A current Saga taking place in the Theban Tribunal, and more specifically in Constantinople (in spanish).
The Crippled Man
A current tabletop game played by four to seven players set on a island of the Nicaean coast.
A current tabletop game set in Crete and played with a simplified version of ArM5.
Purification Through Fire
A completed Saga that was played online through Yahoo! Groups.


  1. "Erebos," Ancient Magic page 52
  2. "Coeris" (inset), Houses of Hermes: True Lineages page 115
  3. "Tribunal of Thebes", Order of Hermes page 51

External Links[edit]

Byzantium 1200
A non-profit historical project to create computer models of the monuments of medieval Constantinople; includes maps and real history

Legacy Page[edit]

The history of this page before February 20, 2012 can be found at Legacy:thebes_tribunal.

Based on material © Copyright David Chart 1997-2000. Used with permission.