A Tremere question - certamen for control of sigils

Yeah leap of homecoming works if you have the arcane connections to where the Exarch is based, but part of the Exarch's role is travelling, so there is every chance he might not be home and would have to be found to be asked. Take the example of the Exarch for Transylvania, Alps and Novgorod tribunals, who might be wandering anywhere from the Swiss mountains to the urals, that's around 2000 miles or so that a message might have to chase him. He can't travel all of that with Leaps, as not every covenant he needs to travel to would give him a connection, nor would every tremere messenger have the connections either. That leaves flight as the basis, and the auram flight speed gives us a basis of 40mph, which would take 50 hours of travel to travel 2000 miles, and that would take almost a week. Of course if the messenger is multiskilled in corpus and auram or animal he would leap some of that distance first so probably never have to fly more than 500 miles tracking the Exarch, but that's still a couple of days flight.

All weak arguments I know.

I just think having one individual carrying around all the sigils for the Tremere in a Tribunal on a permanent basis is a vulnerability, it gives their enemies only 1 target to nobble to prevent them from voting in a key meeting during. Especially if the Tribune disappears with the sigils completely, how soon after the exarch goes missing do the magi have a right to make new sigils? Wheras if their sigils were all spread around and came in just before each Tribunal for the vote then there is more chance of a few not arriving on time each meeting, but less chance of a disasterous outmaneauver.

And they would think the same thing. So they wouldn't do it.

What, you think some flunky, or even the House Archon, wanders around with them in a satchel on his hip? Break out a few to use as paperweights because nothing else was handy at the time? Kept in a large beerstein on the top shelf of the library? They'd be treated as anything else of high value, kept in a (very!) secure area until needed, and then moved with utmost security.

This is House Tremere you're talking about - this isn't their first barbeque. :confused:

Heh, I got carried away writing there. Yeah I don't think the house Tribune keeps them all in his pocket all the time, but even storing them in a secure vault, even moving them in utmost security is it really likely that their opponents in a Tribunal would be incapable of breaching a vault or intercepting or diverting the shipment to tribunal?

Can you give an example of what you think moving in utmost security involves.


"Luke, I'm sending you to the Dagobah system...."

InIm and CrIm work nicely at a distance too. Why send someone when a Tremere Communications Officer safe in the bowels of Coeris can use an AC to the Exarch or any other Tremere to coordinate things?



I tend to discount InIm for communication as it verges on scrying.

As for Haunt of the Living Ghost, I'm probably wrong but I thought would work along the same lines as a Leap, but is less useful as you're unlikely to attract attention unless you are casting through the aegis of the covenant you are trying to reach, and that makes the arts level involved in the spell much higher. Take a level 70 aegis around Coeris and you would need a casting total of 105 to successfully send the image through.

It also only works if the Exarch you're looking for is at the place you have an arcane connection from, there's a good chance he won't be, or was willing to give you an arcane connection for himself. Somehow I keep having the idea that most magi are generally unwilling to give out arcane connections to themselves, but most covenants wouldn't mind a connection being taken to somewhere outside their aegis, which would be useful for teleporting to.

You're other comment of using Coeris as a communication hub is a great idea, as they would probably have a collection of all sorts of connections in safe storage, and after all the Prima can give authorization instead of the Exarch who is officially responsible. But it involves the probably weaker magi in the remote Tribunal first contacting them, which is easy enough with a Leap, but flight would be out of the question considering the distances.

There's also the point that the Tremere are not uniformly powerful in all Tribunals and there are probably some where the other magi who's Tribune has gone missing are too weak in corpus to manage Leaps.


It's not scrying if you agree and I agree to set up periodic phone conferences.

Not if you have the right token, or not if the guy at Coeris is doing the reaching--and he's gonna Penetrate.

Um, the AC is to the Exarch?

slow grin So, I contend this is easy enough for the Tremere to deal with, to create a simple and robust communication system, that not only stands up when a weak Tremere goes missing, but that actually helps deal with it. I challenge you to, rather than think about how it cannot be done, to walk through the exercise of developing this for your saga's Tremere. The dividends will be a greater understanding of the magic system... and probably some cool and unexpected ideas along the way.

(It's strange how often in various sagas that the Tremere are played like oafish Keystone Kop bureaucratic bumblers, rather than the logistical sophisticates they can be--and in canonical AM5, are.)



Would covenants, even the Domus magnus, give out so many tokens to their aegis? Would Exarch's hand out AC to themselves to all local members of two or three tribunals they control so they can be contacted?

A very valid point, but it is also about the vision of the game, and in my games there tend to be very few archmages who are capable of everything and those keep mostly to themselves, most wizards are of the 40-80 year old range and are good in just one or two fields. It's because the games I get involved in are almost always for young magi, and the order they are in has a corresponding low level of magic. Kind of emphasizing the Dark Ages aspect of the game rather than the fantastic.


Trying again: So, I contend this is easy enough for the Tremere to deal with, to create a simple and robust communication system, that not only stands up when a weak Tremere goes missing, but that actually helps deal with it. I challenge you to, rather than think about how it cannot be done, to walk through the exercise of developing this for your saga's Tremere. The dividends will be a greater understanding of the magic system... and probably some cool and unexpected ideas along the way.

Your saying "I don't want them to," is quite different from your saying "It doesn't make sense that they can."



Yes it is.

What I'm saying is that in most games I have run or played in, the general magi of house Tremere have been too weak for the possibilities I consider viable for the communication system you suggest. The only solution I can see involves mass production of magical items by the senior hierarchy for the weaker membership combined with a trend away from multi-house covenants towards Tremere only covenants due to the security issues involved.

Probably there are plenty of schemes you can think of that I've missed, but so it goes.

The Tremere communications system can be like the system used by the Miles, as described in HoH:Soc, Flambeau chapter. A low level, high penetration effect cast on registred uses of the system (by them giving ACs to themselves) to alert them to incoming message or teleportation out of there. Followed by said effect, which is high level and most likely suckingly low penetration. But by then the users will have suppressed Parma Magica. Bang! As easy as that. Sure, there is the issue of the Aegis where those users are to be solved. Often enough, the initial alert effect is enough to penetrate. Should some members live in a horribly high Aegis, those magi would have to find alternatives, like below.

Alternatively, the system involved a method of the members checking in at regular intervals. They won't get instantaneous, but can limit the waiting time to get messages. In times of peace this is not too often. But if the message network alerts the users to a threat, the check-in interval is reduced to daily or even more often. This method requires the users to research specific spells or devices. This can be solved by young magi being loaned such things, to be passed on to the new generations once they're skilled enough to make their own. Plus the circulation of lab texts.

It's trivial to create paired devices that communicate with each other, one-to-one, no penetration necessary, and very difficult to intercept or fake such transmissions.

And do you think that's a comment on the games/players/SG's you've encountered, or the archmagi of House Tremere in canon? :confused:

"incapable"? Of course not. (Why even ask?)

But "Information" would be the lynchpin - knowing where they are kept, how they are defended and when they are being moved would only be the first step, but would be the hardest and most critical. And getting that information without tipping House Tremere that someone is nosing about at that level, and who they are. Once you have that, the rest is easy. (Let me know when these "opponents" have all that covered.) 8)

Not such as would be impossible to defeat, no. (Altho' a simple ReTe spell, range Arcane strikes me as a good start.)

Any suggestion I give you can give a counter-example - pffft. There is no bank vault that cannot be robbed. Dull.

However, the question is not if it can be done, but how one would know to - the steps necessary to achieve that information in the first place are formidable, and what would be necessary here puts those "opponents" squarely into both High-Crime and Wizard's War territory. Intense magical scrying on an entire House, Depriving an entire House of Magical Power, probably arcane or personal invasion of multiple Sanctums - I want this brought to Tribunal, right after I survive every* member of House Tremere declaring Wizards War on me and my co-conspirators. kk bb.

(* Actually, they're smart enough to only have half declare war - and the other half the next moon after that, alternating endlessly.)

More, stealing the sigils doesn't stop the voting power, and it certainly doesn't give it to the thieves, it just means that those magi have to personally show up at Tribunal. (And declaim anyone trying to use their sigil to vote.) So what's the point?

Where they're headed, your "opponents" might as well ignore the sigils and just kill the key members of House Tremere and save everyone the headache of the inevitable.

No, because Tremre magi aren't idiots. You're mistaking the model for the mechanism. It's like saying "But, what happens if the Chief Whip of the government gets shot on the way to the office!" The answer is they appoint a new chief whip, pro-temp, and get on with things. If the mechanism fails in an unexpected way, people don't suddenly become robots which fail to act because the program has exceeded a parameter.

What happens if the guy who was going to be Tribune can't make it because he's nobbled? Well:

  • the Tremere get put a new guy in place, or
  • the Tremere ask for a stay of the Tribunal to allow the matter to be investigated, or
  • or the Tremere demand an emergency Tribunal, which precludes the standard Tribunal. or
  • the Tremere muster for March in the Tribunal affected, and point out that democracy only exists with an army to defend it, and every sensible person in the region decides they don't want to be on the other side.

That is, whatever the nobbler hopes to accomplish, finding out the Tribune and nobbling him isn't a great way of winning. And the reason for this is that the Tribunal system exists to stop decision by force - and the Tremere have an awful lot of force, and the Quaesitores know this.

As to your question about how long it takes ot make a new sigil: you can just make one whenever you like. I can call whatever I like my sigil. It's a purely symbolic object. A person holding a bag of sigils can't stop the people who own them from voting, because they can just pick up a rock and say "For the next little while, this is my sigil."

Definately one of the methods I considered, but in the case that someone goes missing in times of peace and the check in period is once a week or so then someone can go missing for that time before the alert sets in. The communication thereafter is speeded up but that's by providing weaker members with devices to allow them to communicate faster to coordinate the search for the missing member to find out whats going on while a new Tribune could be appointed. That seems to be far less than Overwa was challenging me to come up with, and longer delays than everyone else think the Tremere need to take.

Yeah I know, but mass production of communication devices is pretty much what I thought was an option. They don't help actually finding the magi gone missing who isn't communicating either, but could speed up the search for him by weeks.

It's a comment on the games I've played in of course.

I seem to be giving more credit to mundane spies in each others covenants than you do. I probably haven't made clear enough, but I'm not seriously talking about Coeris being robbed, but take the example of the canon Rhine Tribunal, the Archmage Stentorius in the covenant of Fengheld would be holding several sigils, in a covenant full of magi of other Houses and other political Gilds, where there are hundreds of mundane staff who could be corrupted. I don't see information about his movements to be hard for his opponents to acquire. Mundane spying isn't a crime so that allows it to be continuously used in preparation without any legal case being permitted.

I'm not suggesting the ones interfering would vote with the sigils, but if the one with the proxy and the sigils goes missing, the Tremere who gave their sigil and proxy to him can't really vote without them can they. Thus my earlier question about how long does the Tribune with the sigils have to be missing before a magi can craft a new sigil as the old one was missing. If any magi can at any time craft a new sigil and say the old one doesn't count then to me that throws the proxy system into a farce.

Saying 'Stentorius should be here with my sigil to vote, I gave him my proxy. He hasn't turned up on time so my old sigil should be considered lost and I will make a new one, I recind my proxy.' would be a true but weak statement as without finding Stentorius to find out why he hasn't turned up you cannot exclude it wasn't his own choice as something more important came up. More importantly it means finding and dragging each magi whose proxy he held into the Tribunal as the Tremere 2nd in command in the region couldn't be allowed to manufacture other peoples new sigils and say he 's voting with them.

The value of mundane spies doesn't impress me. They're perfectly legal, and perfectly defenseless.

If a mage is in a position of power, and especially if they are predictably subject to "intrigue" of any sort, and they aren't straining the brains of every mundane within earshot through a Mentem cheesecloth on a regular basis, they aren't worthy of the trust given them.

For some information, mundane spies are perfect, and fairly secure. But a stableworker or local teamster or trusted glass merchant isn't going to know anything about the goings on in a sanctum - or if they do, we get back to the cheesecloth. One servant for cleaning, one for serving food, at most, and they have to suck up the warping. Anyone starts asking them questions, that shows up on the radar, and it's game over - literally and figuratively.

Um... why not?!

Think about it - I'm sure you know what the term "proxy" means, that if that voter is absent, they have given authority for their vote to another. But if they show up, the whole concept of "proxy" is moot.

And I don't believe that if the mage has lost their sigil, they've lost their vote. I just can't. :confused:

Now, whether or not they know what the party line is, whether they know how to vote on a given issue, that's another question. But if they're present, then so is their vote, physical dingus or no.

(I agree that the whole idea of needing an oversized sealing wax stamp to vote is a bit... something. Let's say "under explained" and call it good. I just accept it as given and don't ask too many questions. One of the few suspensions of disbelief that I wink at.)

There we differ, I see mind invasion of servants happening in sagas very, very rarely and only usually when provoked by a specific suspiscion, not on the basis of 'Oh it's tuesday, time to perform the loyalty check!'

Yeah, okay I'll go with if the magi physically turns up he could probably vote anyway, if not completely legal but because it is reasonable and the Tribunal as a whole would probably back him, but that requires every magi whose sigil is missing to turn up.. :slight_smile:

I do find the discussion interesting so i'll go on anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:

In the Rhine Tribunal it brings up the question of the other sigil, the sigil of the 'Passed on' magi on whose behalf they get to vote if they are master or above. Not their own sigil but one held by them in trust to vote on behalf of the dead magi. Do they get to vote that extra sigil just by turning up if it has been lost?

For a more interesting question on the complexities of creating new sigils, and the proxy vote:

Covenant Oculus Septentrionalis has 7 magi of whom 3 are masters, so 10 sigils total. They all discuss at council what votes they want to support and as not many of them want to go entrust all 10 sigils to the magi Imanitos Mendax (the dodgiest member of the council) with verbal instructions only, but made absolutely clear that they want to support their allies in Fengheld in a dispute Fengheld has with Crintera as promised to Fengheld years earlier.

Word reaches the covenant hours before the voting starts at Tribunal that Mendax has no intention of following their instructions, that he will claim circumstances changed and other political necessities forced him to vote against Fengheld. The magi of the covenant quickly create new sigils (before the actual voting starts) and send Henri de Tours to vote with these new 8 sigils. Henri arrives after 3 votes have taken place and disputes the legality of those votes demanding they be held again as the magi whose votes had been cast by Mendax created new sigils before he had voted with them. The fact that Mendax believed perfectly he had their proxy when he voted is undisputed, and they had not yet got to a vote in which he had contravened their verbal instructions, but the magi there don't fully trust Mendax so they were willing to believe the unconfirmed warning of his bad intentions. Neither magi carries a written instruction both had free proxy.

Who has legal right to vote there:
Mendax with all 10 sigils which were clearly proxied to him in good faith, and whose verbal instructions he has not yet broken.
Mendax with 9 sigils, as all 10 he holds are legal but Henri is there in person so his physical presence overrides it.
Mendax with 8 sigils, ie all those except those legally held by Henri who is there is person with his 2 newly created sigils including one of the held in trust ones (or mendax returns the held in trust as it legally belongs to Henri).
Mendax with 4 sigils, as only those newly created sigils of the magi themselves count, the ones held in trust cannot be duplicated by the magi, that requires permission from the tribunal.
Mendax with 2 sigils, which are all that he legally owns, and all the newly created sigils count legally.

Do the already held votes get to be rerun, or is it too late for those?