Ars Magica - Nigrasaxa
The area of the Roman Tribunal is divided between three main powers: the Kingdoms of Italy and Sicily, both ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II; the Papal States of central Italy, ruled by Pope Honorius III; and the republic of Venice, nominally under the sovereignty of the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, but effectively an independent power. The Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor theoretically work hand in hand, but in reality in the past they have struggled for supremacy as they clashed over the appointment of imperial bishops and the extent of each other's authority. It remains to be seen whether Frederick II, once a ward of Honorius and newly crowned by the Pope, will work in harmony with the papacy.
The rich towns of Italy have been growing in power and independence, though their system of rulership by a council of merchants and nobles has been characterised by factional strife, leading many towns to experiment with a new office called the podesta – an outsider appointed to act as a theoretically impartial leader and keeper of the peace. In practice many of these podesta have proven unable to remain free of political entanglements or have tried to usurp more authority than they have been granted.
Order of Hermes affairs
Eight covenants are recognised in the Roman Tribunal, while two other covenants are divested from the Tribunal and remain independent. Strangely, they have not yet been marked for destruction by the Tribunal.
Roman Tribunal politics are dangerous at the best of times, and deadly at every other time. Magi fight constantly, sometimes over genuine concerns, otherwise just out of habit. Almost all of the covenants are involved in a bitter feud with one or more other covenants, and many of these disputes have been raging for years or even decades. The growing dominance of the Church has been extinguishing sources of vis or making them very difficult to access, as well as limiting possible locations for new covenants. There are numerous independent magi not associated with a covenant throughout Italy, many of them magi who were refused permission to found a new covenant.
Harco, domus magna of House Mercere, is in the hills of Piedmont. It is one of the wealthiest covenants in the entire Order, and provides services to both magi and mundanes.
As domus magna of House Guernicus, Magvillus plays an important role in the Order. Records of official investigations carried on by Quaesitores throughout the Order have been kept at Magvillus.
On the island of Sardinia lies Verdi, domus magna of House Verditius. Verdi is a great power in the Tribunal, and has had no qualms about flaunting that power, bullying other covenants, even destroying and vivisecting them in what seems to be a singular obsession with acquiring resources for magical inventions.