Before the Schism War


I was thinking about before the Schism War for a saga taking place in the late 9th century, after the Foundation of the Order but before the Schism War.

We know that every house has a "free" virtue offer for new members (Guernicus, hermetic prestige, Flambeau depending on school, Bonisagus puissant intrigue of MT...).

What would you think was the bonus virtue for the Diedne house?


I thought about this house quite a bit (IMS we are just after the Schism war)

Why not Diedne Magic as the house free virtue ?

It is a major virtue but IMO it is not so great anyway.

Or make Diedne Magic major virtue a mystery of the house, and give something else to the Diedne, like a magic focus with spirits or something else.

There are 2 articles on the web about this house, but I am not completly ok with everything :

I am working with my own mystery cult version of House Diedne, with different cults to the ancient gods of the celts/gauls, offering diferent advancements.

I am intrigued, and wish to subscribe to your developments.

Wow. Lots of possibilities.

How about something like letting them add thier Magic Lore score to their spontaneous magic or material bonuses for different natural materials to all thier spontaneous magic casting totals? Another idea would be minor potent magic in an area that is thematically appropritate to the character.


I’ld like to put another vote in for Deidna magic as the virtue. Mostly because I’ve always pictured the Deidna as pretty bad ass. I mean they did actually hold there own against the rest of the order for a while. You could balance it out a little with an automatic mistrusted reputation as the trinomae work against them. The negative story trait inherent to Deidna magic is replaced by a doomed trait as the schism war is not far off.

thank you for the interest, I may be posting the results of my work later but at the moment it is not finished, and not even in english either.

seconded - do you have a newsletter?


House Diedne might be like Ex Misc, in being 14/13 rather than 11/10.

Since Diedne Magic is not an astoundingly powerful virtue, it doesn't really represent the power of that House, if you want them powerful.

Also note that the Diedne lost. They may be more powerful than any single other House, and powerful enough to last a decade or two in a defensive war that everyone is trying to wage out of sight of mundanes, but canon records no Diedne notable victories. So there is no real need to make them too uber. Good, yes

At the very least, I'd give Diedne a total Immunity to anything that might cause them to reveal a House secret, even if they want to. A Diedne is proof against magic, persuasion, torture.... Otherwise, canon makes no sense, since Hermetic Magic makes rendition trivial. It takes only one senior Diedne prisoner and someone with good Intellego... like the gathered Guernicus magi holding their Diedne representative prisoner at Magvillus? This isn't much of a virtue, though, unless other benefits are added.



If i follow you, you're saying that because the records are from the winner, the losers haven't had their time of winning? not sure.

For the virtue, you have a good point. Maybe some kind of "powerful parma against mentem" (puissant parma magica for free virtue?) or some kind of "invisibility to magic" (from HOHTL) only for intellego mentem spells?

I think htat Life Boost Magic could be a very good Free Virtue before of get better with their secret. O maybe should be Diedne Magic with some Major Hermetical Flaw, posibly realted to Formulaic Magic or a condition, make recitations of gods names or similar.


Even when the records are from the winner, the victories of the loser are usually remembered. The Schism War, as described, doesn't really give the Diedne much space. Magi from the whole of Europe converged on its northwest corner and took heavy casualties and wiped em out. There's no hint of Diedne at the gates of a Durenmar...

It also has to work against mundane torture, persuasion and even trickery, all of which would have been employed over 20 years.

Something like

Major Mystery Virtue: The Perfected Mind

Through ancient and hallowed Druidic rites, your mind has been tempered and perfected into a vessel fit to hold the lore and trust of the people you serve. You have total and perfect recall of every slightest thing you experience from the moment you initiate this mystery, and no power can affect this. You may not--and cannot--divulge a secret entrusted to you, and no power can affect this. You have sworn an oath to your House, and nothing can break this, though the Infernal can corrupt your oath and House into something loathsome. Neither persuasion, personal passion, nor supernatural power can blunt this mystery. Even negligence cannot keep you from acting with prudence to safeguard your oaths, because your untarnished memory always keeps you aware of what you know and what matters, so negligence is not possible.



Ovarwa, I think you are adding things to the system you don't need to. Instead of a new virtue, use an existing flaw, Major Malediction (Cannot break Oaths). Seems much closer to what you want, and what happened in canon.

"took heavy casualties" seems like an excellent start to look for victories. And "no hint...", that doesnt say anything at ALL about lack of victories.
As described(granted its long time since i read it), gives plenty of room for victories, and why would the Diedne be desribed as so very darn dangerous and IIRC being called a serious threat among other things if they had not actually shown themselves to be such.

You wont be calling something an extreme threat TO YOU if they never kick your ass.

I have to agree, I don't remember well where it came from but half of House Tremere died during the Schism War. House Guernicus had to used very questionnable means to end the war (True Lineage).

Sorry, not such thing. I will update this thread as soon as I have something I can show.

Yeah and that reminded me, doesnt it say somewhere that Tremere was loosing badly as long as it was mostly them vs Diedne?
Something like that i think, but i dont recall exactly...


In a saga i'm running now, i'm using House Diedne as the center major plot. So to have "diedne magi" i had to develop a "house virtue".
I had a long time thinking about what it could be, but find nothing :

  • making them "dangerous" (in a Anti Diedne POV)
  • totally unique to them
  • not totally hermetic

inside the published books, so i have been going with this minor virtue i invented : diedne sacrifice... allowing them to have access to vis in sacrifying beasts or so, depending on a DIedne lore ability. The vis is used in casting spell or studying/lab activity

The "balance" is not a problem because Diedne are NPC but i was quite happy with this virtue, making them really special, dangerous but not powerful, etceterae.

Also, i loved the idea i read here with the survivor Diedne magi going to the church to hide, but i have had another one, which i don't pretend better ^^ but more satisfying with the saga i run. in few words, Diedne are now rebuilding their house behind other "traditions".

So i'm here posting for others to post what they have done with Diedne if that plot occured... and waiting for Abrusio work :wink:

In our saga, one of the PCs is a Diedne. (Long list of stories there, that we don't have time for..). The mage in question has been rediscovering the traditions and magic of his house.
To do this we set up the Diedne as a Mystery Cult. This sets up the Diedne to fill their historic role properly. They are secretive, and someone with Int/Men (as mentioned earlier in this post) can not 'steal' their knowledge. This also explains why they were so secretive: protecting the magical sites where they performed their Initiations.
To give them the full range of abilities they 'historically' had, we used the mysteries presented in the book. If the Mystery in question was 'too much' or did not fit right, we modified the mystery (cutting out the parts not needed), and lowered the initiation ritual. We used two different routes (paths) for each member, so as to provide the Magic that fit the 'Historical' Magi, and the path that fit the Historical actions the Diedne performed. Eventually both paths reunite, but usually only with advanced members (Primi and such).
This has provided us with many stories, and the player/Magi in question many hours of hair pulling, as he battles/sneaks/schemes/negotiates his ways through Magical, Infernal, Faerie, and Divine agents, trying to unlock all the Mysteries of his house...
His most defining quote:
"I suppose I should add the Flaw: "Enemies/Tormented by: Divine, Infernal, Faerie, Magical creatures... Or maybe just Everyone... "

Such is the life of a Tytalus from House Diedne.

Here is a summary of my thoughts on House Diedne (if one of my player from the "Alliance de la Vouivre" read this, please stop here) :

Base Hypothesis :

  • Diedne are from a druidic legacy (that is pretty much everything we know about their house)
  • they were strong in Britany ?, and surely mostly concentrated in the following tribunals : Loch Leagan, Stonehenge, Hibernia and Normandy
  • according to the major virtue named after them, they were strong in "Spontaneous magic"

I am no specialist in celt and gaul history but here is what I understood from reading different books, and made some decisions for the Diedne :

Diednes are the heirs of the priests of celtic culture. Because celtic people were integrated by the romans from 50BC to 400AD, and then they were persecuted by the christians, their followers dwindled from -50BC (vicotory of Cesar on the Gauls and then the Bretons) to 767 AD (foundation of the OOH)

I suppose that because they used mostly oral transmission of their knowledge, the ogham only appearing in the III° century, they lose much during these 8 centuries.

Before 767 I picture them to be a scattered and dwindling tradition, living like hermits in the deep forests and mountains of the gaelic lands. Once Diedne sweared the oath of Hermes, they grew rapidly in numbers and in power, still staying isolated from the mundanes and the Dominion. I figure that they would try to recover their lost legacy from the ancient celts, looking for ancients places of power, lost rites to please the gods of their ancesters, lost artifacts...

There were dozens, if not hundreds of celtic gods. Some even think that the gaul god "Teutates" (god of the tribe) was a local god specific for each location, each tribe. Also, I think that because of their pagan legacy, Diednes should be more like pagan priests than scholars.

After initiation (the 15 or more years of apprentiship) the young Diedne Magi has to choose a "path", meaning that he has to become the priest of one of the celtic gods.

From what I read in Realm of Power : Magic and Faerie, gods are sometimes magical creatures, but more often faerie entities. It would be logical that celtic gods be faerie powers because their craving for sacrifices and worship. My decision was to make some of their gods, faerie, and some other more ancient and powerful, magic powers. This was to not overlap too much with House Merinita.

House Diedne is looking for the roots of her legacy : the very foundation of their beliefs. For them, faerie and magic powers are the same, some are related (parent to children or husband to wife relation) and other are not. In the end, their purpose is to create and strengthen the bond between their magi and these ancient gods. Thus, after choosing a god from the core belief of the celtic panthon, a Diedne Magi can create a personnal bond with a lesser "god".

Celtic main Pantheon :

(here is my main trouble : to find clear attributes for each of the main gods, that can be used in game for magic focus or potent magic)

  • Lug : light, summer, polytechnician?
  • Dagda/Sucellos : (scholar?), fertility, forest, agriculture
  • Morrigan : war, death
  • Cernunnos : spirits, necromancy, renewal, horned animals
  • Belenos : healing, sun(light), beauty

This first initiation grants a major potent magic with one of the god attribute.

Celtic lesser gods

(some examples from the Tuatha Dé Danann):

* Boann
* Banba
* Brigid
* Creidhne
* Danu
* Dian Cecht
* Donn
* Ériu
* Étaín
* Fódla
* Macha
* Nechtan
* Aes Sídhe
* Bean Sídhe

The Diedne magi has to find and bind the lesser god much as in the theurgic spirit familiar would do (the mechanism and calculations are the same)

History of House Diedne

52 BC : Julius Caesar victory over the Gauls. The Roman empire, encouraged by the roman cults (cult of Mercury..) begin to integrate the celtic religion into their own (lug is associated with mercury, Belenos with Appolo...) Most Druids flee to Hibernia and Great britain.

-50BC to 767AD : weakening of the celtic religion from the roman empire and after 300AD, also from the christian religion
There may be some rare text about the celtic rites and mythology in roman or greek

IV° century :astonished:gham alphabet

V° century : conversion of Hibernia with the arrival of St Patrick

The last druids are like some hedge magic tradition : isolated, weak in numbers, opposed by the Church.

767 AD Diedne take the Oath of Hermes with the other founders

807 Tytalus disappear, some say that he tried to free the magic pagan gods emprisonned by the faeric pagan gods during the titanomachy and gigantomachy

851 : Tribunal of Britany : the Primus Diedne, Obregon decide and announce that the Hibernian Diedne will respect the Oath of Hermes but will do so from their Covenants and not interact anymore with the other mage from the Order (especially in Hibernia)

961 Corruption of House Tytalus

961> : Primus Diedne Ailean insult Primus Tremere Cercistum in public
House Tremere declare war on House Diedne with accusation of diabolism and human sacrifice

House flambeau join House Tremere in the war

1000? The Order renounce House Diedne

I like the idea of sacrifice exposed here (sacrifice humans of animals to gain some vis to power rituals or enchantments). I'll think about integrating it into my work.
I would be glad to discuss any point I exposed here, as I am not entirely happy with some points (like the main gods attributes)

From my own research about Diedne story in Ars^^

  • it's not the primus but an archmagus diedne who insulted the Tremere primus
  • Schism War: 1004-1017
  • by the times Diedne met Bonisagus/trianoma, she was one of the rare who accepted to talk to these "foreign" magicians. When she joigned the order with some followers, the majority of her druidic lineage banished her.
  • (druidic?) Diedne was for always enemy to Gruagachans. Here, i'm not sure, but we can say, ofwell gruagach are druidics of another tradition (celtic vs gaul tradition by example) ofwel, we can extend the previous statement and say Gruagach are the "true" druids and Diedne are the "renegates", and from this druidic schism comes the adversity between the 2. I'd go with the second idea.
  • Tremere house had 2 reasons to declare Wizard's War against the whole house, and it's only by the addition of each that they have done the first foot in war:
  1. Diedne (as house or maga) were powerful magician, Tremere (as magus) have had for centuries a reputation of being the worst of the founder (still has for some ^^) and Tremere house needed an enemy to restart their growth of power by union inside the house
  2. Diedne whorshipped gods (gaul? i go for Taranis and co) and Tremere ancestors had been whorshipping such "gods" (Aita, Pluto and Mercury) for centuries, being each time abandoned.
    They saw the Diedne whorshipping (as themselves before) but seeming to have benefits from it (in their POV) (powerful magic), so decided to start there. (The "non christian" aspect of the Diedne house was not a problem, because house Tremere is christian in majority only because God allows humans to kill him [HOHTL p102 do i think, box: "why did they care"]

For what it is:

  • vis sacrifice was an idea i abandoned because: 1. i don't buy, really, the "magical" aspect of the diedne sacrifice. I could accept the idea of Diedne's sacrifice, but i see them as non related to their magic
  • ritual casting spontaneous magic is a good thing but nothing seems to acknowledge this idea in what i read

So i have been thinking, for now, in the free virtue "energy magic" (HMRE) which gives access to new guidelines related to fatigue (resplenish [ritual for permanent, duration otherwise]).
This + their powerful sponteanous magic make them truly strong opponents [EG: 10 diedne, 9 casting spells in war, the 10th casting ritual spell to resplenish fatigue of the others; sun duration fatigue resplenishing during a day of war, sleeping well the night, having cast perhaps 10 or 15 fatigue spontaneous spell during the fight + formulaics]
But i must admit i'm thinking about allowing choice between the 2 last free virtue, as "paths" in the house (idea i take from your text :slight_smile:).


PS: il reste du français dans le texte que tu as mis...

The gruagachan being druids is something I do not fully buy. They seem to have been based more around an individualistic magic system. In fact, the current gruagach cannot cast collective spells at all. That goes against what the druids are supposed to have been able to do, casting spells in a collective way. I have always imagined the druids being weak in individual magic but powerful in ritual magic (and maybe lab activities).

Still, I like your idea. :slight_smile: I would say go for it. Maybe you will need to increase the power of the gruagachan if you want them to be a threat. Their current power is grounded in their influence in the mundane world (on a local basis), but are not much of a magical opponent to medium magi.* The form of the ancestors give them some hitting power wielding tree trunks and boulders (unresisted), but nothing that an imaginative magician cannot overcome.


*Unless you determine that Touch spells are not resisted by parma, of course, in which case a gruagach transformed into a bear can be a real treat if he goes for the quick and dirty assault on the unwary magus.