In Ars Magica, magicians have final tests for their apprentices. The fire magi drop them in a dangerous place with no gear, and wait for them to come back. The mystics have vision quests. The House most interested in mundanes has a written test, which I imagine was based on the Confucian tests in the real world. The problem with that is, as a game device, it doesn’t work. The player can’t share the story with others. In that House book I reworked it with the Itinerarium, which is based on the British tradition of the Grand Tour. This predated the pilgrimage rules, which might be an even better way to model the experience.
The Grand Tour was a basically a seventeenth-century English thing. Rich young men, and occasionally women, were led around certain improving sites in Europe by a tour guide. These guides were called “bear leaders” sometimes because of a supposed similarity to carnival performers with dancing bears. There is a sort of meta-pun there: a Bjornaer magus with bear heartshape, or a werebear, could run the thing, or keep an inn in a prominent place, but it seems to be pushing the characters hard for a single joke. Some later writers call the leaders of groups “Cicerones”. This presumably relates to Marcus Tulius Cicero, but I’m not clear on the link. Although it is a later term, I like it, and would use it in setting.
I’m not sure where the Itinerarium should go in 1220. I had ideas back when I wrote this, but in hindsight, perhaps it would look like this.
I’m guessing it starts in Paris. Formally, I mean. In the English version, your parents would drop you at a port town on the Channel. I’m guessing young magi are taken, by their parentes, through some significant local towns, but they meet their Cicerone somewhere near Paris.
From there, I suggest it needs to go to Valnastium (Domus Magnus of Jerbiton), Rome, Palermo (court of the Holy Roman Emperor, a safe place to meet Arabic scholars), and somewhere Greek. Constantinple still seems the obvious choice, despite the sack of the Fourth Crusade. Presumably they stop at Athens on the way, because it’s under Latin control and is full of interesting art. Later, once the city-states become more prominent, the route might change, or at least slow on the Valnastium to Rome leg. I also wonder if the Paris leg should head on east to Durenmar before heading south.
I’d assume not. There were some people on the English Grand Tour who went back the way they came. The Alps, having few passes, acted as a sort of choke point for travel. A few more daring souls, though, found their way back through Germany. We might suggest the same thing. There’s a Tremere-controlled spa in Pannonia that your character might visit. Young magi might be allowed to various Tremere sites, to influence their opinions. The Tremere habit of holding a Tribunal meeting every year, with accompanying fair, makes the detour through Hungary obvious, and easy. That puts Durenmar on the return leg, a sort of final point on the Great Tour.
I wonder what souvenirs people bring home from the Itinerarium. On the Grand Tour, Parmesan cheese was an especially prized souvenir, apparently.