A Really Advanced Order...

Hello, this is my attempt to rewrite the ArM setting on the assumption that Hermetic research succeeded, and managed to integrate several aspects of ancient and modern exotic magic as Minor/Major Breakthroughs.

Various researchers of House Bonisagus, with the support of some Merinita and Ex Miscellanea magi, have successfully managed to integrate several insights from non-Hermetic traditions (Defixio magic, Fertility magic, Hyperborean magic, Vitkir magic, Folk Witch magic, and Gruagach magic) into Hermetic Magic Theory. Event Duration, 19 Years Duration, Flexible Formulaic Magic as a Spell Mastery Ability, and Subtle Opening of Hermetic Arts have all been developed as Minor Breakthroughs and have spread extensively throughout the Order. Likewise, Fertility Ritual Magic, Figurine Magic, Hermetic Rune Magic, Ritual Items, Cailleach Magic, and Unaging have all been developed as Major Breakthroughs. The Initiation scripts for these Virtues are widely available in House Bonisagus, and Bonisagi readily Initiate other mages into them for a proper fee as part of their duty to spread their discoveries.

Rumors suggest that some Bonisagus researchers are also busy exploring other insights from those non-Hermetic traditions to find ways and break the limits of Arcane Connection, Creation, and Energy (possible future Hermetic Breakthroughs of Unlimited Range, Vis-less Permanent Spells, Energy Magic, Improved Voice Range, and Ritual Effect Enchantment), but in all likelihood, any such great discoveries, if at all pursued, are still many years in the making.

House Tytalus and House Flambeau have transformed into Mystery Houses.

House Tytalus has rediscovered the secrets of the Titanoi Mystery Cult in its midst, and has embraced its theurgic insights. House Tytalus teaches Hermetic Theurgy to its members (although they still develop the Self Confident Virtue as an effect of their harsh apprenticeship), and may Initiate the following Virtues: Names of Power, Invocation Magic, Theurgic Spirit Familiar, Inscription on the Soul, Inoffensive to Spirits, Hermetic Synthemata, Synthemata Magia, Major Magical Focus (Spirits) or Potent Magic (Spirits), Consummate Talisman, Persona, Shapeshifting. Tytalus magi may also learn the Goetic Arts of (Spirit) Summoning and Commanding. Some magi of the House, who want to avoid the Infernal taint of goetic magic, instead learn the Sihr Supernatural Ability, which they have learned from the Hermetic Sahirs of House Ex Miscellanea. Others learn the (Theurgical) Elementalist Arts of (Elemental) Summoning, Controlling, and the Elementalist Forms, which they have gained by contact with a society of hedge elementalists known as the Apostles of Apollonius. Some other magi instead learn the faerie hedge magic Art of (Faerie) Summoning, which they have learned from the exotic practitioners of Ars Fabulosa known as Borrowers. However, with the spread of Subtle Opening in the Order, many magi that are interested in various types of summoning arts simply learn them as Supernatural Abilities instead of Initiating them.

House Flambeau developed its Mystery Lore, as a fusion of the mystical insights of the cult of Mithras, lore from Greek-Roman elementalist societies, the systematization of discoveries from its various schools of magical combat. Flambeau mystagogues teach Major Magical Focus (Damage) to the members of their House, and may Initiate the following Virtues: Puissant Creo, Puissant Perdo, Puissant Finesse, Strong-Willed, Harnessed Magic, Enduring Constitution, Cyclic Magic (positive), Life Boost, Self Confident, Method Caster, Withstand Casting, Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic or Flawless Magic, Elemental Magic or Potent Magic (Flames). When House Flambeau became a Mystery House, and insights from the various schools of magical combat were combined into a unified generalist body of lore, the old Ignem focus was largely redefined into a broader affinity for offensive applications of Creo and Perdo or elemental magic. Therefore Flambeau apprentices typically pick either Puissant Creo or Puissant Perdo (and often Initiate the other at a later time). However, the old insights into fire magic have not been entirely lost and have been redefined as Potent Magic (Flames), which some members Initiate. Many Flambeau, however, forsake a narrow focus into fire magic and may Initiate Elemental Magic instead. Some may further the development of elemental magic in learning the (Philosophical) Elementalist Arts of (Elemental) Summoning, Controlling, and the Elementalist Forms. The House Initiation Scripts for Major Magical Focus (Damage) typically remove any other Magical Focus the mage may have had previously as an optional Ordeal.

House Merinita has managed to fully reintegrate the body of natural lore which the Founder had developed before Quendalon took over, and to expand their knowledge about integration of faerie powers and human magic. Research about familiar bonding with non-corporeal faeries and the relationship between faerie charms and human creativity also proved fruitful. As a result, Initiation scripts for Nature Mysteries, Faerie-Raised Magic, Spell Improvisation, Spirit Familiar, Inscription on the Soul, and Performance Magic (Music) are now widely available among Merinita Mystagogues. Apprentices of the House now pick either Nature Lore or Spell Improvisation in addition to being Initiated into Faerie Magic. Researchers of House Merinita are currently investigating ways to integrate further aspects of faerie magic into Hermetic theory, including faerie healing (Hermetic integration of Weal) and non-ritual faerie spells that last until a given condition is fulfilled (creation of a non-Ritual Until Duration).

House Verditius was sorely disappointed when the integration of Hermetic Rune Magic was accomplished by Bonisagus magi and they failed to make it a Verditius secret, which would have naturally complemented their own Mystery insights into rune magic (Verditius Elder Runes). Despite this, the discovery still spurred the House to research new ways and expand their own mastery of craft magic. As a result, some alchemical, astrological, and spirit-binding insights that prove useful for enchanted item crafting have been added to the Verditius body of lore. Initiation scripts for Vulgar Alchemy, Hermetic Alchemy, Spell Binding, Hermetic Empowerment, and Planetary Magic are now widely known to Verditius Mystagogues. Some Verditius magi have also mastered ancient techniques by Heron’s Mechanicians to craft sentient magical devices (Awaken Device) and are busy researching the way to make them compatible with the automata-creating methods of the House (Automata). There are also rumors that they might also have discovered a way to craft devices with a mutable nature (Craft Mutable Device), but they hide or suppress the discovery, and that the same tradition may also reveal a method of producing items with less vis.

House Flambeau, House Tytalus, and House Merinita may provide Initiation, for a proper fee, in their respective Outer Mysteries (Major Magical Focus (Damage), Hermetic Theurgy, and Faerie Magic) to mages of other Houses . Sometimes, they might do so when a magus from another House manages to impress them with raw potential or established ability in appropriate magic and dedication to philosophies and lifestyles affine to their own. More often, a non-member may instead trade Initiation in the Outer Mystery for a boon (plus adequate compensation for the Mystagogue) owed to the House, callable by its Primus (treat as the Favors Flaw). Members of House Merinita are the most likely to do so, as they wish to spread the affinity with the fae and faerie things in the Order. House Verditius has also adopted the policy, since they wished for the increased influence and power in the Order that such a policy has provided to other Mystery Houses. However the hubris-ridden Verditius were loathe to share any of their craft-magic secrets with non-members, and few mages were willing to cripple their own formulaic magic abilities by gaining Verditius Magic anyway. As a result, they have instituted a policy of providing Initiation into Hermetic Alchemy to non-members (and apprentices) in exchange for a fee and a proper boon. In all cases, magi who receive such Initiations are not necessarily assumed to seek official membership in the House (unless they wish for Initiation into any of the Inner Mysteries), but they are expected to show some degree of respect and support for its mindset and policies. Recipients who show themselves unworthy may suffer the enmity of the Mystery House, up to repeated Wizards' War.

As result of the integration of Gruagach magic into Hermetic theory, some Mystery Cults that pursue paths to immortality have also developed Initiation scripts for External Soul. Likewise, study of the physiology of supernatural creatures caused the discovery of a new Supernatural Virtue: Supernatural Life (see below). It allows magi to eschew aging and basic bodily needs as long as they reside within supernatural Auras that are beneficial to them. However, this transformation also makes them physically and magically dependent on spiritual nourishment from aligned realms. Several Mystery Cults developed scripts for this Virtue, therefore it is fairly known to exist in the Order.

These various magical discoveries have had several significant consequences for the Order. Fairly large numbers of Gruagach, Folk Witches, and Vitkir have been admitted into House Ex Miscellanea.

The membership of the Order has swelled massively, doubling over the last decades, since Fertility Rituals may breed Gifted apprentices from covenant members. Nowadays, up to one-half of all apprentices may be “bred” into Covenants, even if many mages may still search candidates for apprenticeship in the mundane population for various reasons (e.g. they lack adequate proficiency in Fertility Magic, they do not bother to pay the fee for a Fertility Ritual from a specialist, or they find a “natural-born” apprentice more appropriate to their mindset).

The expanded population of magi, with an increasing number born and raised in a covenant, has made the Order as a whole more alienated from mundane culture and much less tolerant about mundane impairment of magical resources. Arguments for aggressive protection of magical and faerie sites and sources of vis now carry much more weight in the Order, while the voices who counsel avoidance of the Dominion and strict non-interference or friendly coexistence with the mundane population often find limited support. As a rule, currently there is a large degree of support for magi which ruthlessly protect wild areas near their covenants against the encroachment of civilization, threatening both vis sources and auras with the power of the Dominion. They often bring the argument that on a local level, decisive and swift action may prevent mundane presence from taking root, and the Dominion from being strongly established, even if the Order does not yet dare to unleash a large-scale attack against mundane society that might trigger a Divine reprisal. Factions that would prefer to minimize confrontation instead remark how new magical and faerie sites may sometimes spring up spontaneously as a result of human activities, and that regiones might effectively shield mages from mundane society. Therefore they eagerly support research into breakthroughs to create and improve magical and faerie auras and regiones at will, which would allow retreat into remote wilderness with undiminished magical resources, or the creation of comfortable havens in the midst of the Dominion.

As the result of a large number of wizards with abilities developed from exotic sources, the old diffidence and scorn, if not paranoid fear, against these types of magic has largely disappeared. Mages descended from House Diedne, theurgists, and users of rune magic can practice their abilities more openly without fear of persecution. Many young magi typically learn a set of exotic Supernatural Abilities to supplement their Hermetic Arts. Houses Bonisagus, Tytalus, and Flambeau in particular have become rather less bound to the ancient Mercurian roots of the Order, growing more sympathetic to non-Latin traditions, and more close in outlook to Houses like Merinita, Ex Miscellanea, and the defunct Diedne.

Nowadays, mundane encroachment upon magical resources and the plots of the Infernal realms are regarded as the main real threats against the Order of Hermes, and the suspicion against supposed rival organizations of exotic mages (now mostly recognized to be much less organized and powerful than the Order of Hermes) has largely vanished. Likewise, the opinion of the Order as a whole about the extinct House Diedne has grown to be much less negative. Nowadays many magi regret the Schism War as an honest but tragic mistake born out of paranoia and political chaos at the turn of the millennium, and regard the Diedne as too secretive for their own good but innocent of any real Hermetic crime. Several even deem House Tremere as the true malefactor, having plunged the Order in a destructive senseless conflict to fuel their prejudices and prop their aggrandizement.

Thanks to their discoveries, the spread of exotic-derived practices, and the “open Initiation” policy, nowadays the Houses of Bonisagus, Ex Miscellanea, Tytalus, Flambeau, Merinita, and Verditius have become the most numerous, popular, and influential within the Order, and have been able to redirect the policy of the Order as a whole on several issues.

Many of the newly dominant Houses stroke an alliance with the Transitionalist faction of House Guernicus, which was on the rise to prevalence among the Quaesitors thanks to heightened concern about mundane encroachment, in order to pass a successful revision of the Code of Hermes at the Grand Tribunal. The revised Code of Hermes (see below) provides for more extensive investigation Quaesitorial powers (albeit with safeguards such as an absolute prohibition of mind-scrying), and endorses vigorous protection of magical and faerie sites against mundane spoilage. For this purpose, it also relaxes the prohibition against interference in mundane affairs, while making an explicit forbiddance of servitude to mundane authorities. Some developments of the Peripheral Code (such as certamen and sancta) have also got explicit coverage in the Code, as well as a more extensive definition of responsibilities about one’s apprentices and a more nuanced protection for different types of magical resources.

The reformers were also concerned about the ease by which innocent yielders of exotic magic were charged of diabolism in the past, most blatantly during the Schism War. Therefore they managed to add a provision to the Code, by which malicious false accusation of a High Crime is a criminal offense, and a ruling to the Peripheral Code, by which no one can be convicted of diabolism without strong evidence that the magus knowingly made an agreement with an infernal entity or purposefully acquired Infernal powers.

As a result of those rulings, old convictions against House Diedne and some of the Titanoi Tytalus mages charged with diabolism (albeit not Tasgillia herself) have been quashed, over the vociferous objections of House Tremere and Traditionalist Guernicus. Previously frowned-upon magical abilities, such as Spontaneous-focused, chthonic, theurgic, and summoning practices are much more readily accepted nowadays, as long as the practitioner can show that they are exclusively dealing with Magic and Faerie powers and creatures.

In the changing social landscape of the Order, just as certain Houses became more influential and at ease with their sodales, others have found themselves seriously alienated or out of favor nowadays. If a new Schism War was to explode tomorrow, many magi would expect it to involve one of these Houses.

House Tremere, with its history of stubborn persecution of non-Latin mages, is currently regarded as rather dangerous and hostile by many mages of other Houses, who suspect it of having main responsibility in the genesis of the Schism War, out of culpable indulgence in their own prejudices or even a purposeful attempt to grab resources in the chaos of the conflict. As a matter of fact, some mages even mouth that the wrong House was cast out during the Schism War, because the Tremere have been purposefully seeking to seize dominion over the Order since its foundation. For their part, many Tremere are alarmed and upset about the spreading of questionable exotic practices in the Order and the criticism of their role since the Schism War, and are vociferously opposing the “betrayal” of the proper Latin foundations of the Order. Some suggest exploiting the House military cohesion and proficiency in Certamen to reaffirm the Tremere’s social supremacy on the Order with a careful campaign of targeted Certamen and Wizard War assassinations. Others fear that such a militant course would only lead to a new Schism War and counsel withdrawal of the House in the Transylvanian Tribunal where they hold local hegemony.

House Jerbiton, with its fascination for mundane people and institutions, has become suspect in the eyes of the rest of the Order, when the main concern of many magi nowadays is the protection of magical resources against mundane encroachment and spoilage, by whatever means necessary. Some Jerbiton, however, try to lay low, be quiet about their unpopular sympathies, and subtly pursue their dealings with mundane society through the relaxed non-interference provisions of the revised Code. They eagerly research reliable ways to develop Magical and Faerie auras in urban areas, in order to create comfortable places of livelihood in cities, where most others mages would not bother them. This line of research has saw some promise, and it is rumored that some Jerbiton have mastered the secrets of Hermetic Architecture. Others fear that other mages, if left unchecked, would rise up and unleash a massive campaign of destruction against mundane society, which would spell the ruin of much beauty the Jerbiton hold dear. These mages would rather use persuasion if possible, force if necessary, to protect the mundanes from Hermetic reprisals. Their more peaceful fellows are afraid that purposeful opposition of House Jerbiton to the rest of the Order to protect the despised mundanes would only invite retribution against the House itself, and possibly invite a new Schism War.

House Bjornaer has failed to express a unified answer to the changes in the Order: many members of the Harmonist faction have retreated to Bjornaer strongholds, alienated by the widespread diffusion of shapeshifter hedge magic and faerie magic among their sodales, which run counter to the House’s own prejudices. However, he newfound militancy in the Order at large about the protection of magical wilderness finds the wholehearted approval of the Wilderist faction of the House, and this common interest has bridged the social rift between the Wilderists and the rest of the Order to some degree.

House Mercere and Criamon, for their part, albeit not among the newly dominant houses, have weathered the changes in the Order better than others. The number of Gifted members in House Mercere is steadily growing, since Gifted members can use Fertility Rituals to breed similarly-endowed apprentices, and there is talk about a long-term project to breed a large number of mages with aptitude for Mutantum magic. However, this is somewhat controversial in the House, as many fear the traditional role of the un-Gifted Redcaps might be threatened. As it concerns the Criamon, they seem to have faced the changes in the Order with the usual aloof serenity. They do not approve the rise in militancy against mundane institutions, but they do not preach against it, either.

House Verditius has also seen its prestige and influence swell significantly within the Order, due to some of the recent discoveries, which have improved the power and usefulness of enchanted items, and also thanks to its own policy of allowing outsiders to gain some alchemical proficiency. Politically they strive to ekpp a middle ground between the reformer and the conservative Houses. They readily see the value of an open mind about exotic magic, their abilities as crafters of magic having been substantially enhanced by some of the recent progresses; at the same time, they greatly value the Greco-Roman roots of the Order, thanks to the own origin in the cult of Vulcan, and are not entirely at ease with the degree that the influence of exotic magic advancements have largely marginalized the Mercurian roots of the Order.

Appendix A
Supernatural Life (Major Supernatural Virtue)

The character's life force is sustained by the power of supernatural auras. This Virtue requires The Gift or a Major Supernatural Virtue as a prerequisite, and grants all the benefits of the Unaging Virtue. You do not make an Aging roll for each year you spend in a supernatural aura that grants a bonus to the powers of the realms which you are aligned to (e.g. to a character with The Gift or Strong Faerie Blood, this means Magic and Faerie auras). You instead gain one Warping point per year. You also do not need to eat, drink, or breathe while in a mystically nourishing aura, although you may do such things if you wish. This does allow moving from one aura to another, as long as the two auras are not too distanced. Characters with Supernatural Life become instinctually aware if they are about to enter or leave a mystically nourishing area, much like normal humans may sense the presence of breathable air. Roll a simple die + Perception + Awareness, or (Realm) Lore, whichever is higher, vs. an ease factor equal to 9 – aura level, only for auras that grant you a bonus. However, this affinity makes you more susceptible to supernatural effects: subtract the sum of realms that grant you a bonus from all magic resistance rolls you make. This form of aura sensitivity does not allow you to detect objects or creatures, nor to see into regiones.

Characters with Supernatural Life become physically and magically dependent on spiritual nourishment from aligned realms; and prolonged disconnection causes them to suffer mystical starvation. After a week of separation from nourishing auras, the character begins to suffer deprivation and must make Stamina deprivation rolls every 3 days, starting at an ease factor of 3, which increases by +1 for every time period that passes. When the character fails a check, he loses the equivalent of a Fatigue level in mystical starvation. This reduces all the character’s actions (rolls and totals, including magical resistance) by the appropriate Fatigue penalty, which is cumulative with any from actual fatigue or injuries. The first failed check also brings back the need to eat, drink, and breathe. After all the equivalent fatigue levels have been lost, the next failed check results in the equivalent of a Light Wound (even if the character does not suffer any physical damage from mystical starvation, only the equivalent penalties). He also begins to age again. This “starvation wound” gets one step worse for every subsequent failed check. Beyond Incapacitated, the character falls into a deep slumber, a kind of supernatural hibernation. Supernatural starvation levels recover just like Long-Term Fatigue levels, once the character is exposed to a nourishing aura. If the character's powers or nature are aligned to more than one supernatural realm, it doubles the safe period he can spend in mundane areas (but not unaligned supernatural auras) before suffering supernatural starvation, as well as the time period between deprivation checks. Moreover, the character can venture in mundane areas and get sufficient supernatural nourishment by consuming a pawn of a Vis type fit for a Longevity Ritual, every week.

This Virtue may sometimes be the result of a supernatural blessing or heritage, but it is most often initiated by mystae that include a quest for immortality in their practices. Drawing nourishment from the Dominion or Infernal auras requires to affirm one's allegiance to that realm: in Infernal areas, one has to remain in a state of mortal sin, and perform some kind of major sin every Moon duration, whereas in the Dominion the character has to avoid mortal sin, follow the basic behavior prescriptions of his religion, pray daily, and do appropriate Divine worship at least once a week.

Supernatural Life does not protect from aging effects that are caused by Warping or botches of one’s supernatural abilities; Aging or Decrepitude from other mystical sources inflict one additional Warping point. Aging rolls that are caused by overtaxing of one's body and mind (such as from unusual lab routines) generally convert into extra botch dice. A character who ages, for every length of time, during a year must make an Aging roll at the end of that year, even if the Unaging effects of the Virtue work in any case. Normal Longevity Rituals lose their effectiveness on characters with Supernatural Life. However, one may temporarily regain the protective effects of Longevity Rituals in the year when he must suffer an Aging roll from mystical starvation, by using a modified dose of his Longevity Ritual. This only works for that year, and causes one additional Warping Point. Any mage with Supernatural Life knows how to prepare the modified formula.

Appendix B
Revised Code of Hermes

"I hereby swear my everlasting loyalty to the Order of Hermes and its members.
I will not harm nor attempt to harm the magical abilities of any member of the Order. I will not slay nor attempt to slay any member of the Order, except in justly executed and formally declared Wizard War. I hereby understand that Wizard War is an open conflict between two magi, who may slay each other without breaking this oath, and that should I be slain in a Wizard War no retribution shall fall on the magus who slays me. I will abide by the results of a just certamen in settling disputes with my sodales. I will not harm the places where magic flourishes and its might is reaped, nor shall I hamper their protection, and thereby weaken the Order with their loss.
I will abide by the decisions made by fair vote at Tribunal. I will have one vote at Tribunal and I will use it prudently. I will respect as equal the votes of all others at Tribunal.
I will not endanger the Order through my actions. Nor I will meddle with the affairs of mundanes and thereby harm the peace or dignity of my sodales, or degrade myself by entering into their service. I will not deal with devils, lest I imperil my soul and the souls of my sodales as well. I will not molest faeries or magical creatures nor provoke the Divine and thereby bring their wrath upon my sodales.
I will not scry upon members of the Order nor shall I use magic to pry into their affairs. Nor will I intrude into their sanctuaries or dispossess them of the tools of their Arts.
I will train apprentices who will swear to this Code and be competent members of the Order, and should any of them turn against the Order and my sodales I will strike them with all my heart. No apprentice of mine shall be called magus until he or she first swears to uphold this Code, nor shall I reveal the secrets of our Arts to anyone except an apprentice or a member of the Order.
I understand that should I break my Oath, this Code will not shield my crimes, and members of the Order shall inquire into my affairs and deliver their judgment. I will not presume to be inquisitor or judge of my sodales without the blessing of Tribunal, nor shall I invade their mind, or knowingly make false accusations against them, lest I turn justice into tyranny. I request that should I break this Oath, I be cast out of the Order. If I am cast out, I ask my sodales to find me and slay me that my life may not continue in degradation and infamy.
The enemies of the Order are my enemies. The friends of the Order are my friends. The allies of the Order are my allies. Let us work as one and grow strong.
This I hereby swear on...Woe to they who try to tempt me to break this Oath, and woe to me if I succumb to this temptation."


Interesting ideas. I don't like the idea of Flambeau as a Mystery Cult though. The V&F picks for mysteries are cool. But I hate the Legion of Mithras. If anything, Flambeau should go towards the Cult of Mercury (after all, Flambeau's mentor Delendar was a Mercurian wizard). And I like for more diversity in that House than a cult allows for.

As for Tytalus, cult elements are also interesting, but to make it the sole focus would dilute the diversity and core philosophy of that house.

The other ideas are cool.

Sorry, as a Diedne and spont magic fan, I happen to hate Mercurian magic and its focus on Ritual magic with a vengeance :imp: :angry: , even more than you do the Mithraists :wink: . No way that Mercurians are ever going to get anything like a good break under my watch or in stuff I write :stuck_out_tongue:.

Anyway, the main inspiration and source of lore for the mystery is a systematization of the insights from the various schools of magical combat. The Mithraists mainly provided the skeleton framework the rest of House Flambeau Mystery Lore was built upon. There are also insights from elementalist lore to contribute. It doesn't seem to me that the mystery, as written, would make the House any really stricter, they are still the same warrior-wizard guys. These new Mystery Houses are meant to be as tolerant and laid-back in their outlook towards their fellows as the Merinitas (as indicated that they give away the Outer Mystery for a price to deserving "honorary members"), they are not anything like those stuck-up paranoid Bjornaer.

I'm aware of the problem, but theurgic spirit-summoning was already present as a mini-mystery cult in the midst of the Tytali, and I really wanted to create a theurgic Mystery House for the Order. And the other spy or debating stuff that Tytali focus on does not provide so readily or good a theme to build a mystery cult upon, as theurgy or spirit-summoning. I made a nod towards that direction by mentioning Persona and Summoning in the available Mystery Virtues, and I welcome additional suggestions to that effect.

I don't care for the rewrite either, but I despise Mysteries so there's some potential bias.

Honestly, it strains by sense of disbelief that there are enough magi in the Order willing to cripple themselves with Ordeals and lost study time for any mysteries to become widely known to Hermetic Magi as a whole.

I'm interested in learning more about the politics and history of your revised setting though.

Fair enough. I think that the Diedne deserved what they got, and I dislike spontaneous magic. I am a spell mastery fan :smiley:. Perhaps it is your pro-Diedne bias that inspires your desire to sully the Flambeau with the Cult of Mithras more than they already have been?

I doubt than it is possible for you to dislike the Mercurians as much as I dislike the Mithraics. I really and severly dislike them, ever since 4th edition. Then the way they stained the revision of that House caused my dislike to turn to loathing. I mean, I wound up tainting myself with infamy because of my heated over reaction and flame wars on the Berklist. I have written a Sub Rosa article and started a PbP saga in an effort to try and reverse common perception. A year and a half has gone by, and the issue still keeps me up at night writhing in angst.

Possibly, but to me the Mithraists were mostly a means to an end. I really wished to redo the Flambeau as a war-wizard mystery cult house, and the Mithraists only seemed to me as the best option to give a barely decent mystic framework to build the Flambeau Cult Lore and the smattering of "war magic" Virtues I meant to give them something that was as pure from the Mercurian taint (reeking sounds) as possible. If an alternative solution had been available, I had used it: as far as I see things, the Flambeau MC is essentially the various ideas from the schools of magical combat further developed and systematized into a unitary body of lore. Therefore, it's not all about Mithas, by any means. Here, I made a mention about elementalist lore being another inspiration for Flambeau cult lore. Do you think possible, and would it make you more confortable, if make that the main inspiration for the cult lore ?

As it concerns the Diedne, sorry, this Diedne rabid fanboy :stuck_out_tongue: won't brook any sullying :smiling_imp: of their glorious heritage. In my setting they were 100% misunderstood heroes, the tragic innocent victims of rabid religious and ideological prejudice by a band of power-mad genocidal Mercurian supremacists. Of course, in my new setting, what goes around comes around, and the new found intrest and open-mindedness of the other Houses about non-Latin magic has prodded a radical turnabout of the collective judgement about the Diedne, the Tremere, and the Schism War. Nowadays, the average magus who has integrated a couple exotic breakthroughs in his magic regards the Mercurian-supremacist antics of the Tremere with much fear, anger, and suspicion, posthumously identifying with the plight of the Diedne. Bloody Tremere are getting the Nazi-like public image they totally deserve, and if they don't step very carefully, they shall be the targets of the next Schism War. Either them, or the Jerbiton. When the current main concern of the Order is to keep magical resources safe from the Dominion by any means necessary, and the Order fashionable community service is to hunt down mundanes who clear out magical forests with extreme prejudice, a bunch of useless pro-mundies sell-outs that wax poetic about the beauty of Church art is only slightly less despised.


Sounds like fun. A detailed backstory is key to a good saga, as it allows you to improvise and freeform. I dout I would like your game and I doubt you would enjoy mine. However, that is completly irellevant. My spelling sucks. Anyway, full out enjoy yourself and do not worry about my preferences. I don't think Mystery Cukts would be the future of Flambeau or Tytalus, unless the Oder as a whole was remade into a giant mystery cult (which could be interesting).

My main issue is nostalgia. ToH-Iberia clearly indicates Flambeau's master Delendar was a Visgothic Mercurian. Cult of Mithras was an addition mid 4th edition. Linking the two together is a 5th edition convention that I detest. I am trying to roll things back whereas you are trying to embrace Mithraism. There is no way for us to compromise here. Elementalism? Meh. Again, it does not fit my concept. Think of the Spartans, a cult of Ares/Mars, Visgothic artificers using Mercurian methods. To me, that is the origin of flambeau. Modern House Flambeau has influences the world over (well, ME anyway). To limit them to a single cult, philosophy, or lineage would dilte them down and make them generic.

I feel the same way about your Tytalus idea, but I don't play Tytalean magi so I am not as passionate.

Your ideas are good for you though. A rich background makes for a rich game. Enjoy :smiley:

And visit Light of Andorra if you think you can handle the challenges :wink:

In our common setting, Diedne never got wiped out, just got a bit of a "discredited lineage" problem similar but a bit worse as Tytali had for a while.

Well, if you really want a house specifically "built" then i suggest you also consider adding houses, since you´re already rewriting things, why not? Im actually not sure the exact number of houses we play with in the common setting, but a few additions made lots of sense.
Ill list the additions(hopefully without forgetting any) in case it gives you any ideas:

House Myanar(or "true Merinita", while old Merinita gets nicknamed "Quendalon" or "False Merinita", based on the simple idea that Myanar didnt go all out suicide attack with supporters, but instead turned to politics when force wasnt enough). Nature magic and extreme skill with familiars, gets a bonus as if they had a focus whenever working with their own familiar and can bind familiars for others. Can also have more than one familiar.

House Trianoma got its own house, the "neutral" house whose mages are honorbound to only cast votes for the good of the order, and the existence of which is part of what saved Diedne from genocidal warfare.
If the Guernicus are the police, the Trianomae instead vary between being the politicians telling the police what to do, the court of appeals, the diplomats and mediators, the neutral watchman who solves a problem before the "police" needs to be called in or the wise one giving advice you dont like but is still likely to be both good and for either your own best or for the best of all involved.
No special magic focus or common interest because magic is often the secondary interest. Except for Puissant and Affinity with Parma Magica. :smiling_imp:

House Lyasa(name snatched from a nice 2ndary character out of a book, a nice and friendly chaos maga), focused on Vis manipulation, creation and control, hermetic alchemy and raw magic power, combines lesser research interests with a common skill in Creo, Vim or Ignem(the basics of these people is that anything can either be solved by applying Vim magic of some sort or Creo Ignem, including using very specialised CrIg spells for healing(by destroying anything bad)) or all sometimes rivalling Flambeau for flair with fire.

House Trisana(another name from a book maga) focuses in Weather magic, scrying, air, ice, water, can rival Bonisagi in research, commonly lots of education and powerful in Parma and Penetration; gains a bunch of bonuses from their "Weather Magic" ability and as the source of the name, can learn to take a "piece of weather" out of the sky and store it on their person for future controlled release. Helpful at times. :smiling_imp:
Blatant gift can be taken as part of the house.

House Kyriakos(name snatched from a rather unrelated source and modified a bit), has their own "evolved" version of magic, basically the founder of this house took Bonisagus attempt of making sense of and putting all magic in a clear structure one big step further, sacrificing versatility to gain ease of casting.
Instead of adding a dieroll when casting, they add a flat +5 to spont(before divide) and formulaic and +10 to ritual spells and only roll a die to see if they botch, but reduce all botch die by 3 and must always have a casting total higher than the spell cast; they never get any bonuses from Auras while penalties are halved; Spontaneous magic takes 1+Magnitudes # rounds to cast; their "Academic Magic" ability is added everywhere in casting and lab totals, while any use of Magic Theory, Alchemy and Spell Theory have their score doubled. XP from studying Vis halved. Cant boost their magic by using Vis.
(they can still loose fatigue from casting but i dont have the text with me so forgot how).

House Althena(name from same source as above originated, but name unchanged and quite logical in a twisted way, cookie as a bonus to anyone that figures out the connection and source), the house concerned with life and death, healers and necromancers in a merry mix, focus in Corpus and Mentem with Fertility magic and Longevity ritual specialists...

And the House that has had a number of names, none really sticking, with focus on "expressive" or "external" magic, performance magic , spellsingers, spelldancers as well as extra skill with Planetary magic, Hermetic architecture, Magic in art(also accepts craft mages that doesnt like Verditi ideas)...

The "house of many names" as well as Althena, Trisana and Lyasa all cover areas the original houses cover very poorly, while Kyriakos adds a very different twist, with magi often far more skilled at creating spells than at casting them, with low risk to botch but at the same time very restricted in the use of magic...
Trianomae, Diedne and Myanar meanwhile are nice additions, each taking care of a neglected area.

Oh and while i wont use your setting as a whole, i might borrow from it. :wink:
And its nice to see a well worked and considered alternative/evolved setting.

As I was reading Wanderer's original post, in the back of my head was the thought: "He's restricting himself by trying to stay within the structure of the twelve existing houses."

And then I got to the end, and Mr Direwolf's post, and saw he beat me to the punch.

Yeah, I think with all this extra knowledge, you would see new houses springing up. Especially in Merinta, where there is already a natural schism. Give each side enough extra goodies to where they can fully stand on their own as a house and it seems obvious they'll go their separate ways.


DC, if you have any ideas for additional houses, please POST them! Id love to pick up more of them.

And since it will likely take lots of time before we can get another AM game going, and me being behind most additions (or greater parts of them) like above, i probably have plenty of time to work in another house or three with the rest(and it would be really nice if someone came up with another totally "new kind of magic", as the "Academic magi" ended up pretty nice and even decently balanced from what it seems(players use them, but dont pick them ahead of others or because they can powerplay them)) . :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I have tentative ideas about that, too, with the Children of Hermes being so successful that they take over the Order and make their all-inclusive approach to Mysteries the next iteration of Bonisagus' unification of magic theory. I had not yet thought out the full implications of the idea for this setting, but it is a definite possiblity.

I understand your nostalgia. Unfortunately, I can share none of it, since I am totally enthused with the improvements 5h Ed. brought to ArM and I find very, very little to miss in 3rd-4th Ed. Also, I despise Mercurians and their horribly rigid approach to magic with a rabid passion (IMO freeform is the hallmark of improvement in a magic system), so anything that minimizes theri influence on Hermetic magic has my entusiastic blessing.

Again, the way I see it, my revision of the Flambeau is not so much about embracing Mithraism, which it remains an influence among many, rather than marginalizing despised Mercurianism (die, die, DIE) and changing them from fire freaks to flexible generalist war-wizards. Therefore, most of the influences you menetion, such as the Spartans and Ares, may remain and have a significant influence. Flambeau MC keeps a complex mystical/philosophical background, but sorry Mercurians have to go.

Anyway, I am puzzled that you reading so much dominant Mithraist influence in my new Flambeau, when that was not my intent.

You guys have certainly provided me several interesting ideas to expand a setting with all kinds of new Houses. Some of your ideas are not entirely portable in my setting, since it is based on an evolution from canon setting in the game-present to mine in some unspecified future, not on an alternate time line (otherwise, I would have simply reversed the outcome of the Schism War, and have the Tremere Marched).

Creating a brand-new Theurgic House is certainly a nifty idea. Would a split from the Tytalus still be a reasonable origin for this, or would you favor another origin (maybe an esoteric Mystery Cult growing to House dimensions and getting official recognition) ? How woudl you name such a house ?

Which other esoteric Mystery Cult would you see good to become Houses ?

Which outcome do you deem better for the Children of Hermes ? To become its own House, or to reshape the Order entirely, integrating its own inclusive approach to mysteries in Hermetic theory ?

I am still persuaded that my approach to Flambeau, them turning into a generalist war-wizard Mystery Cult, works better than those and the traditionalist Societas splitting in separate Hosues, since the latter would be the inferior copy of the former.

I'm not so convinced that the splitting of Merinita into "fae" and "nature" Houses woudl work so good, despite the obvious ideological divide, since the corpus of Mystery Virtues that Myanar may offer is not so impressive. How you you beef it up ?

About new House concepts to add to the Order, I think that a "weather" Houses (hmm, maybe a split of the Flambeau ??), and a "performance" house (maybe a split of the Jerbiton, or a mystery cult; I remember there is one with this concept), and a healer House may be worthy additions. I would also add an alchemist House as a split of the Verditius, or the Green Cockerel growing to House dimension.

About specific suggestions, I think "house of many names" and Tisana are nifty. I'm not so convinced about the specific concepts of House Altena (b/c I tend to regard necromancy as one of the most boring and useless magical specializations ever, regardless of game system), Lyasa (I don't get the point of this House) and Kyriakos (ditto).

Recheck the basic rules i gave and think about it again...
Myanar magi can have multiple familliars and they always gets a focus working with familliars, without having to sacrifice taking a focus virtue(which could potentially be one for familliars again).

Lets see, say a Myanar has a 75 total for binding with familliars, and uses that to bind 5 familliars each with a strength of 15 and uses that to set each cord at a score of 1...
Means a maga that gets +5 to all familliar cord bonuses ( to get this with a single familliar would require a lab total of 225 ), and means she can have 5 familliars as assistants in the lab, aside from any other assistants. Go munchkin and bind 15 familliars at strength 5 and just make a single cord a score 1 and a +15 bonus for one kind of cord.

We have also experimented with allowing one familliar per Te/Fo combination, meaning a max of 5(ie each Te or Fo can only be used once) but also opening up some other possibilities.
IIRC we ran the latter variant last time, but its still not a hard rule.

Added Ability "Nature Magic" for Myanar is also used, but i cant really translate and write it up, far too much.
In short, it basically adds as a bonus to any magic or lab total involving nature(including "natural" weather(ie it wont add to casting an unnaturally occuring lightning bolt, but drawing a lightning bolt from a storm it would add to)).

Trust me in this, Myanar as we use it is probably more powerful than "postsplit" Merinita.

And thats despite beefing up them a bit as well(they too gain an Ability, "Faerie Magic" which adds to all magic and lab total as long as the activities are "faerie (tainted) enough" but also allows adding the strength of a faerie aura to current casting or lab total if there is one close enough, limited by the Ability score(IIRC Ability score+1 squared*100m, meaning a score 10 allows the magi to draw the strenght from an extra aura anywhere within 12km of current location)

Yup, quite possible. Might want to consider that it doesnt have to be a "split" from a specific house, or a house "closely associated" with it, might have split from another because it was too different from the rest of that house(or as a direct competitor to the house it is closest to in concept), or maybe it was the result of a group of magi coming up with a "new philosophy"... etc etc... Point being not to limit yourself(except where you want of course) when making changes.

Yeah, thats one of the things really obviously lacking in RAW.

Mmm, that might be an idea as well yes although already somewhat covered.

Well since it will often mean specialisation in Co/Me, adding necromancy and ghosts becomes an interesting twist, as a secondary effect from what its primary interest is.
And the "life&death" theme is really due to the name, Althena, the mother figure and caretaker for assasin(s). :wink:

Vim specialisation, with the additional/altered Virtues/Abilities we have, members of this house are extremely good at extracting Vis from auras and even separate sources, including Form specific Vis from auras. This is one house whose members tends to make their covenants RICH. This house more or less also covers your idea for a house focused on alchemy.
They´re the Vis suppliers of the order. Often deficient in Arts dealing with the living but easily making up for it with their advantages.

Its the idea of a "cover-all" magic theory taken to the extreme, loosing flexibility and variability in the process but instead gaining a much safer and nonrandom magic and makes formulaic spells much easier to invent, while adding power to spontaneous magic at the same time as making it slow to cast(they always have to figure out the proper "formula" for casting it instead of "just" going on intuition).

But this is what we have come up with, use what you want, change what you want and scrap the rest. Didnt mean you had to use it as i wrote it, just something to give you some inspiration.

Nothing saying that what we use or ideas from it cant be part of the future timeline of the order, beyond RAW. So if you want it included anyway you can have the creation of a new house as part of your story.
Consider what is written about the creation of Ex Miscellanea for example, its unlikely that any new house within the order would happen easily or without friction.
Plenty of storymaterial there. :wink:

Thats possible certainly. I would say either an orderwide cult becoming a house, or a split from Jerbiton, Flambeau or Tytalus IF you want the split to be from a related house.
Could set it as a split from a house where it really doesnt belong or even directly clashes with, like Bjornaer, Merinita or Criamon. That might be preferable even, as otherwise its quite possible that it would merely become another "room" in an already established house.
If it comes from a house differing wildly from it, the reason for a split will be more obvious.

Your imagination and skill with language is the only limit here.
Althena and Kyriakos(originally the name "Kirika" and the inspiration being her flawless almost mechanical perfection in using guns) is from the anime series "Noir"; Lyasa is a semi-major secondary character in two of LE Modesitts books in the "Recluce" series("The White Order" and "The Colours of Chaos"); Trisana is taken from another fantasy book series, "The Circle of Magic" by Tamora Pierce where she is a weather wizard in becoming and certainly a case of "Warped magic" showing in how whenever she gets annoyed, winds have a tendency to appear, including indoors, and if she gets really angry, lightning bolts and hailstorms tend to happen nearby, hehe...
The others, Trianoma, Myanar and Diedne are simply taken from RAW and used differently.
So, if you find a character you like or has something you feel is special in some way in RAW material, let him or her be the person who manufactures the split/creation into/of a new house and name it after them.

Whatever works for your saga. Like I said, you don't have to worry about my preferences. Just offering opinions. I like the mechanical improvments to 5th, but I am not keen on the revision of some of the background. I also have different ideas of magic than you do. I like the Mercurians, I dislike the Mithrites, but I despise the Diedne. Ifernalists and Baby Eaters. The deserved death, and any remnants of their lineage should be extinguished. I also don't care for spontaneous or "freeform" magic. I like Formulaic spells. Sponts are merely a way for the less competant wizards to still cast spells. Spont magic is weak and ineffective, and you cannot Master them (I am a spell Mastery fiend, and I think mastery is essential to a good Flambeau magus).

Because you even mentioned their foul name :laughing:
I, the one known as that Flambeau guy, consider the Mercurian tradition the core of Flambeau, the fons et origio of that house. Eliminate the Mercurians, and you pretty much gut the Flambeau. Might as well just eliminate that House from your game and invent a new one to replace them. And the term "fire freaks" is distasteful. I like fire magic, and none of my magi are "freaks".

Again though, your game, do what you like. It does not have universal appeal, but it doesn't need to. Don't worry abbout my opinions so much. I will keep on with what I am doing, and expect you shall do the same. As long as we each enjoy our respective games, it is all good.

But, if for some strange reason I happen to join your game one day, the only character I like making is a fire-freak Mercurian Flambeau who would seek to exterminate any and all Diedne remnants he comes accross (though it would not be an immediate concern, as he thinks they are all already dead).

Diedne, Threat or Menace? They deserved everything the got. The other Druids kicked them out, that's why they joined the Order :slight_smile:

Y'know, I really strongly advocate totally ignoring the background revisions and not attaching too much importance to them, especially the material in sourcebooks that presents a totally different view of a House from previous interpretations. In this sense I think the Flambeau revisions were fairly minor - I mean, look what happened to House Mercere. There was no indication in the main rulebook that the Gifted magi were all descended from the Founder, and if I'd been running a saga in which none of them were related to each other there's no way I'd change anything after HoH: TL came out. Still, I know how it feels when you have very clear views about something and then the publishers produce an "official" version that's totally different.

I like both systems equally, and I can't really agree that there's such a thing as a less competent wizard, at least not a PC, as all characters get the same amount of Characteristics points, Virtues, Flaws and xp. You're right about spontaneous magic being generally weak and ineffective, but there are Virtues to make it more useful, just as there are for ritual magic. It also becomes more useful as a magus's Art scores get higher. Two sides to the same coin, and all that.

Anyway, while it's intriguing to speculate as to the effects of various breakthroughs on the Order, I think it's highly unlikely that all of these innovations will actually occur. I mean, original research has pretty much been set up so that the chances of a breakthrough are slim, and according to the official background there have only been two in 400 years (the Parma Magica and Aegis of the Hearth). It's stretching credibility a bit to assume that all these other magical secrets get integrated into Hermetic magic over the course of another century or so, although of course it's a totally different matter if you junk the canon timeline and rule that a lot of these breakthroughs have already occurred.

To be quite honest, I don't see any reason or need for any breakthroughs to lead to the creation of new Houses. I think the twelve (or thirteen!) already provided are plenty, and that adding more would clutter up the background unecessarily. I also think that due to the philosophies of the Founders becoming quite entrenched in their Houses, there would be a lot of in character resistance to the creation of new Houses. I can't imagine them getting much respect. For instance, why would Magi Trianomae want to strike off by themselves? Trianoma herself had no wish to set up a House of her own, and her followers get to share the prestige of being Bonisagus's descendants, not to mention a good chance of being first to know about innovations that Magi Bonisagi have come up with. Of course it's good to have magi who are especially good at weather magic, alchemy, performance magic, healing, necromancy, but unless their philosophy is radically different from those of the Founders I think they'd work equally well as esoteric lines within the original Houses, or else they'd end up joining Ex Miscellenea.

I don't know why House Tremere should bear so much of the blame here. House Diedne were asking for trouble. They were pagans in a predominantly Christian Order, they were stalling the quaesitores' investigations into their magical practices at a time when paranoia was rampant, and magi of other Houses distrusted them as well. House Flambeau was very quick to join forces with House Tremere, House Jerbiton had no time for House Diedne and it's stated in sourcebooks that Magi Trianomae and Magi Ex Miscellenea also disliked them. Furthermore, House Tremere only declared Wizards' War against House Diedne, so many Diedne magi would doubtless have survived and been able to stay as members of the Order ("if I am slain in a Wizard's War, no retribution shall fall on the magus who slays me"). What really finished them off was the emergency Grand Tribunal that Renounced the whole House, and other magi played just a big a part in that as the Tremere, especially the quaesitores.