Grand Tribunal UK co-coordinator Sheila Thomas sent us this report on the convention, which I thought Ars Magica fans might enjoy. Our thanks to both Sheila and Neil Taylor for all their work putting the con together!
Magi from across Mythic Europe began to gather at Murray Edwards College during the Friday afternoon. We joined the main Opening Ceremony for Constitution at 6pm and retreated to our own chamber for a brief "meet and greet" session before heading a short distance to a local establishment for a feast of delicious foods prepared in a way developed beyond the south eastern boundaries of Mythic Europe, maintaining a tradition established in Cheltenham during the two previous UK Grand Tribunal conventions. Sixteen people participated.
Saturday morning began with a discussion session, covering any and all aspects of writing material for Ars Magica, from stuff destined for publication to details for a particular gaming session. The gathering was opened by the reading of a short epistle from the Line Editor, who was prevented from attending by an unfortunate lack of vis. Over a dozen gamers, including two members of the line's author team and numerous story guides, found the discussion interesting enough to extend it for twice the scheduled time, and still leave more to talk about another time.
The afternoon began with the raffle, which this year was in aid of Practical Action (http://www.practicalaction.org/). Some very interesting and appropriate prizes had been donated and tickets sold well. The final result was 139 pounds for the charity and several happy gamers.
Then followed a choice. Neil ran the tabletop game "Twilight's Inheritance" while Mark ran an interactive game "Invitation to Dinner". The latter involved 17 players taking the parts of a Lord and part of his household who had invited magi from two covenants to dine with him, plus a range of other characters with interesting, initially secret, attributes who also attended the meal. Many players had costumes so it looked impressive as well as being a lot of fun.
During Saturday evening, there was a choice of two table top games, "Ill-Fated Meeting" from Neil and "Unquiet Grave" from Leif. Both had lots of keen players and the games were much enjoyed.
Leif then took over for the "graveyard shift" from midnight 'til 4... appropriately enough for re-running "The Unquiet Grave". A favourite moment was Hakon's shouting, "I'm not going to fondle the Virgin Mary", just as a group of people passed on their way to bed at 3.00 am. Remarkably, all the players from the graveyard shift looked bright and alert next morning.
Sunday started with the second freeform game of the weekend, Andrew's "Second Tribunal", in which fifteen players took the roles of the Founders and a couple of extra trouble-makers and debated matters governing the rules and organisation of the Order and resolved a few disputes round the meeting table and enjoyed many private negotiations involving threats, mysteries and deals away from the table between agenda items.
A table top game from Neil, "Memory of Ruin" entertained players on Sunday afternoon, and although this brought the Ars Magica gaming to a close, discussion continued in the bar. Then Neil took the few people who were staying on overnight on a brief tour of central Cambridge, to show them several medieval buildings of interest to the Order of Hermes, particularly the School of Pythagoras and Templar Church.
At the Closing Ceremony for Constitution, Neil & Sheila announced that they'll be doing it all again in 2011.