Character Creation Discussions (OOC)

My take was a slightly strange one, but it is stuck in my head:

The Tremere think of themselves as the military of the order. They are soldiers . But they are also a latin house and learned men and women. Under those circumstances, it makes sense to me that they would have learned the lessons of the Roman legions: that discipline is more important than bravery, drill wins more battles than skill and logistics wins wars.

So, to me it makes sense that the Tremere know that house Flambeau, for example, are great champions of personal combat and not expect to fight one successfully one on one. But the Tremere don't fight a threat with a single Tremere when ten could do the job with no risk and greater certainty. Other houses have hoplites in times of crisis, but in my head, I can see the Tremere deploying phalanxes. After all, it is annoying to have to take a few days out of your learning to be magically flown to a trouble spot, crush the trouble, and be flown back, but it brings the comfort of knowing when you break then enchanted object that allows you to send a message up the chain of command for support, that the cavalry is definitely coming.

The way a military wins wars is by having well-ordered, well-equipped, and fed men in the right place, used to working together and under a known leadership who can be wielded to win the conflict. House Tremer takes this to mean it should be able to gather its members at short notice, inform them of difficulty, and have them already know their place in the functioning maching of Tremere efficiency.

But all of that logistics is expensive. They need to have some people who are supplying all the means to bring the house into a terrifying juggernaut of conflict. So there must logically be Tremere whose job it is to set up waystations, places to heal the sick and make enchanted items. Places to teach those who need new skills and muster troops before the big push. Places for those on a campaign to fall back to in an emergency and find a possibly short-lived but mighty line of defense to reorganise in. To be an army means having a support corps. I was going to pitch one of those Tremere who has been sent on a long term mission to build the covenant up full of resources and useful things, both to prove the superiority of the Tremere way (tm) and if another sundering crisis came up to be a forward operating base for the main thrust of the fight.

He would have had enough magic to be useful in a fight if not a dedicated fighter (I as looking at a mastered PeCo spell, with some penetration skill, fast cast, and penetration masteries) but that is mostly because everyone should be able to fight in a difficult circumstance. Other than that he was here to build a flourishing supply base for house Tremere, by building a flourishing covenant that could be converted at short notice in a crisis.

I am aware this is a slightly non-standard reading, but it is one that makes sense in my head of a Tremere who are trying to be the army of the order by emulating the glory that was Rome, and hence being more like a legion than a modern feudal army.

We totally agree. There are two implications of your analysis that are so important for game play that they are worth reiterating.

Firstly, there are many roles to an effective army. Hence the Tremere soldier is not necessarily the combat mage who can multi-cast high-penetration pila of fire. There are combat engineers, logistics officers, signalling corps, medical support, et cetera.

Secondly, a Tremere soldier on his own is nothing. The role he assumes and the actions he makes all depend on the House's interest and capabilities. Hence, to play a Tremere, one has to design his immediate superiors and other soldiers in the vicinity. They act with co-ordination. Of course, the magus may be on his own in the story, but the ends of the story fits into a greater picture, which has to be painted to make a Tremere story, lest it be just a story about a random wizard, and we could all play Flambeaux.

A big question is also how a Tremere magus would fit into this covenant. It is, after all, founded upon the legacy of a Jerbiton magus and headed by one whose primary interest is art. Furthermore, the location of the covenant -- at the confluence of three Tribunals -- is loaded with potential political conflict, which is something that House Tremere tries to avoid because it is bad for the unity of the Order.

So building up the covenant as a Tremere waystation would probably face both internal and external resistance. Is it worth it for the House to spend the political and magical capital to establish a strong presence here, when less controversial ways would be much easier and efficient?

That being said, the House would certainly be interested in establishing a presence at this potentially troublesome covenant, if only to steer it away from actions that would damage the unity of the Order too much, as well as an intelligence-gathering station for the region (for example). In short, make the covenant a minor station in the Tremere network, rather than a supply depot with heavy support infrastructure.

At the end of the day, it is the other magi who have to decide that. So far none have spoken, and certainly not the Jerbiton.

As I see it, building up a waystation need not be the goal. The Tremere could take a very subtle role, being only the eyes and ears of the House. If the House has a stance on the Lotharingian tribunal, they might inject a diplomat, who could be very useful for the covenant as well, if their positions align. There seems to be an Ambassador vacant, and I could tune the Tremere concept to fit into that. An important point is that House Tremere plays the long game. They may place a pawn without an immediate expectation for concrete deliverables.

If the Jerbiton says that two Flambeaux and a Tytalus are enough, now we need more peaceful concepts, then I am happy to drop the Tremere idea.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. You do realize that I'm the one playing the Jerbiton? :wink:

As for the rest of your message, it isn't so much a question of peaceful vs non-peaceful concept. Only about how big a place the covenant would play in House Tremere's overall plans. A minor or supporting plac works fine, but a big role would mean many big stories involving House Tremere's plans. If the other players are in favour of that, I'm fine with it. We (as a troupe) just need enough beta SGs to be willing to run those stories and build the background for those (npcs, enemies, etc.)

No, I didn't. And your wording sounded like the general concerns of the SG and not the particular concerns of a real Jerbiton in a real covenant ...

I think it is the beta-SG-s who will have to decide how much Tremere plot is weaved into the story. I have no need to play more stories centred on my magus than on any other magus in the game. The House having an agenda does not mean that we should tell more stories about the Tremere magus, but that the House, more often than not, should be present in those stories that are told.

Anyway, I have made a proposal suggesting how the Tremere could fit into the stories. We do not get progress before the other beta-SGs speak.

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At any rate, I thought I was now slated to play the verditious so there would only be one Tremere. I just wanted to answer plot device asking what my take was.

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I just created a new list for the storyguiding commitments. It can be edited by everyone to add their own interests and commitments.

We haven't started any stories yet, but the old crop of players was just ready to do so. Since it can take a little while for new magi to be designed and possibly advanced a few years before they join the covenant, we may very well start a few stories before the new crop of magi is ready for play.

Edit: I added the list of story flaws in the same post.

Re Tremere, it's really up to the Jerbiton and the heirs and whether he'd invite them, or they would send one for some reason. It's not a coincidence that the person with the real authority over the covenant (first among equals) is played by the main SG.

I also agree with your guys' takes; but I was thinking more about the internal house motivations. There's a range of self-interest and nefariousness that can all be canon, depending on how the SG wants it to be. They can be an honest stalwart "Army of the Order", or be so caught up in the idea that their way is the best that they have an ongoing campaign to undermine opposition and guide the Order the way they want it to go.

I think Tremere (house and characters) run at the dark end of that spectrum is what puts people off them as fellow PCs.

I break down the stories into:

1- Defend the order
2- Expand House power and undermine enemies

And I think there are more opportunities for 1 on the frontier, in the center of Europe it's going to be all about 2.

I may be being a little too reductive, but I'm trying to get to a simpler set of themes. If I'm overlooking something please tell me. But I got the sense that @StephenFleetwood and @loke 's first choices were both Tremere (despite Stephen changing to Verditius) so I'm looking at it from the aspect of someone else being able to run those stories for both.

Let me point out that when I put Tremere first, it was mainly because Tremere is controversial enough that one rarely finds the right troupe to play one. As far as choice goes, it is only my first choice if the troupe is suitably compatible.

So far, we do not know if this is the case or not.

In a disputed internal border region, there are plenty of opportunities for 1, I think. Is the Lotharingian tribunal an attempt to destabilise the Order, which we need to defend against? Or is it actually defence against a much more serious threat?

Then there is of course the highly compatible expand house and expand order objectives, which is appropriate when the old/hedge magic storyline is on the table. Some beta-SG had proposed that.

Who are the enemies that need undermining BTW? In my view, that will usually be the loose canons that threaten to destabilise the Order or make enemies, that is magi who would be a threat to all the sodales and not just the Tremere. Of course, there are the odd cases of an exarch with a grudge to someone, but there are limits to far the exarch can push that.

But, at the end of the day, there is always a senior NPC who can say that thou shalt or shalt not do this or that, so if it gets out of hand, it is down to the SG in charge for the occasion.

I don't see any particular reason why a Tremere would be incompatible with the covenant for my part, although it depends a lot on what kind of character gets put together. It seems like the larger issue is having someone who is willing to run stories involving House Tremere for the character.

I don't see a Tremere as a problem for the saga. And not every story involving that magus needs to be about his House's goals. The individual's concept and makeup will be important, but that is true for every character in any saga.

We were ready to have a necromancer in the saga, so it will probably work out fine for a Tremere. :sunglasses:

Well it's a border between tribunals, not a border shared with the wild, and/or other traditions. So the disputes are political, not military. What I meant was, for instance, mobilizing against the Amazons or the Order of Suleiman. Or taming Hibernia.

By undermining I just mean that many magi don't "toe the line" of unity and putting the Order first, from the Tremere point of view, and depending on how the House is interpreted, those may or may not automatically be enemies.

Re the Lotharingian Tribunal, not that you were asking me, but I have no idea. The only point seems to be to make a new tribunal for political magi to advance their ambitions? Or is it to combine two tribunals that are under siege by the Divine?

As it happens, a Bonisagus necromancer would be my first choice for a neutral and generic character not dependent on tailor made stories ...

That sounds fun! Go for it!

So, am I okay to start making a verditious weaver? Don't want to spend the time making a character for the concept to be changed suddenly :slight_smile:

Also, I love to tell stories, being my home group's forever gm, but do you want a specific area of responsibility or can I just pitch stories for people to jump on some times?

I must say, I did have an idea for a Tremere, but I have long learned not to play a character whose initial reaction is skepticism from the GM, it is a path to less fun than you could have had.

For me, the power fantasy is in making things. Items, institutions, books, whatever. I love ars magica partly because it lets me have projects to make lasting things in the shared world of the game. My idea for a tremere would have been someone who set up say a school for magi, or paid a quesitor to write a book on the cod of hermes and then sent a copy to every covenant with a note that it was a friendly gift from house tremere. My vision of Tremere is that they will do the expensive benefits-the-house-as-a-whole projects so they give an excuse for my big ideas.

I am a bit wierd. A verditious lets me make things as well, which is a thing I enjoy.

I am happy to develop some plots within House Verditius around the mystery cult, mystagogues, and whatever else. I think, though, that @Arthur wanted two committed beta-SGs before a concept is approved.

I have none for either the Tremere or any of the other ideas, so I hold back for that reason.

A Verditius weaver can certainly have its place at the covenant.

As for areas of responsibility vs independent stories, both work for me and the saga. Simply let us know what tickles you.

For example, Houlio has staked a claim on the Telsberg family, which are the mundane nobles that "own" the valley.

There are several other locations and themes that anyone can stake a claim on. A reading of the covenants Boons and Hooks is a good place to start. There is also a map of the valley here, which has several sites identified which could provide areas of interest (two abbeys and several villages). There is of course Basel with its redcap inn. Plus any covenant in the three Tribunals that are close enough to take an interest in Tugurium (that's the name of our covenant). Finally, there are several vis sources ideas in this Notes and Claims post. That list is not even complete yet, so if you have additional ideas, add them to the list! :smiley:

It wasn't the Tremere that was making me skeptical, it was the part about developping the covenant to make it an important post for the House. That would be met with resistance.

Neither of us proposed that as a part of the character concept. It was mentioned only as one out of many possible duties for some Tremere.