With the changes to the Sentinel Gate, is this still required?
I believe so for the battles - IIRC its something to do with the egregores opening the portal for major conjunctions.
Which changes in particular?
From my reading “Major Conjunctions” i.e big battles still require you to go with your nation unless you have the Mercenary Banner.
So the way the Sentinel gate works is roughly as follows.
A conjunction is an opportunity to go through the sentinel gate. They are at appointed times, cannot be influenced by any IC means, and come in two flavours: normal/minor and major.
A normal conjunction is a quest. It will have a size limit on number of people, but characters from any nation can go up to that limit*. The use of a mercenary banner is not required. Anyone can open the sentinel gate for a normal conjunction, by casting the spell ‘operate portal’.
A major conjunction is a battle or skirmish. These have a limit on numbers of nations, generally, and which nations go may or may not be an IC choice which can be made. The use of a mercenary banner is required for characters of other nations which wish to accompany people on one of these. Opening the sentinel gate for a major conjunction requires drawing on the egregore’s bond to the nation.
This is a summary, not a canonical set of rulings, and you should always trust the wiki over me.
*Note this limit may be quite large. Some quests ran last event for 40 characters or more as the size limit. Despite that, and the fact a quest’s plot may be targeted mostly at a specific nation, they are not ‘skirmishes’, and do not have an official national link.
Well the reason for asking this is the fluff of the text states only those of the same nation can pass through … The rules don’t
Read the section on Major Conjunctions. When a major conjunction occurs, the egregores may use their bond to the nation to allow a nation to pass through as a single entity. That’s why you need a mercenary banner if you want to accompany the Brass Coast (for example) on a Skirmish - because the conjunction is only technically for one entity, and that entity slot has been taken up by the Brass Coast.
Edit: Also, if you read the design page, you’ll note that the main text of the rules is about quests, and that things are still (deliberately) a little vague on Major Conjunctions.