Quoted for truth. Explaining the Enigma ruined it for my troupe too, so we decided upon not using it at all, as well as some of the excessive rules for the other houses yes.
In topic though, Tremere is better than it has ever been before and I found it to be one of the best written houses for 5th, with ethos and modus operandi (not thoroughly detailed, but well hinted at). Organized soldiers, always planning for the worse.
Indeed! tremeres are a vast improvement over previous versions! Passed from "plain and uninteresting baddies for the saga" to something we highly considered to use on a grand scale, building a tremere covenant ourselves. It didn't prosper, but it is still an idea....
Tytalus can be incredible enemies. They are agents of strife and decension. Through struggle comes growth. Imagine an enemy who's only agenda is to beat you because in beating you they gain strength.
Imagine an enemy who will pick an arena to challange you in and then exploit every loophole in and out of the arena to give themselves the edge.
Wizard Wars vs weaker covenant members and the willingness to take any external interference as endangerment.
Kidnapping mundane covenant members
Try to Harm/Murder the Magi through 3rd parties.
Essentially, imagine someone who will exploit the letter of the law as well as disregard it for their own ends knowing full well that cases are tried on their own merits, not the merits of the person bringing them (so long as they haven't been marched).
If they did that on a regular basis, the house would have been marched lonmg ago. Magi do not like being disturbed, remember. Besides, that marks them as total morons to me, not as growth through strife".
I'd just chime in to say I really liked both Tytalus and Criamon houses' extended treatment. I found the philosophical discussion and outlook in the treatment of Tytalus interesting and full of depth, and the suggested Enigma as an interesting and original take and much preferred it to just leaving things vague (I generally don't like vague things).
I think how the Houses are presented in any given campaign will colour how they are envisioned on this board.
For my taste, I love the new envisioning of Flambeau, Bjornaer, and Merinita. I am neutral on Bonisagus, Guernicus, Mercere, Tremere, Verditius, Tytalus, and Ex Miscellanea. I do not care for the write-ups on Jerbiton and Criamon -- these two are being significantly rewritten for my own campaign.
For me, Tytalus and Tremere the mirrors of each other, due to their background. Tytalus is all about struggle for its own sake, about stirring the gaderobe to see what comes up and deal with the chaos; Tremere is all about trying to provide order (under their own vision of what that should be, of course) and recreating the Roman Empire, as viewed through a rather romantic lens.
But what of the ones I don't care for? Well, Jerbiton cannot decide what it's focus is: is it a group of craftsmen (artists, in a pre-Renaissance sense), are they the nobles of the order, are they 19th century aesthetes, or are they playing a rather silly game? It is very hard to tell. As for Criamon ... well, instead of bringing many philosophies together, they all concentrate on a strange misreading of a single philosophy on such an extent that they have created a world vision which, if it were true, would utterly undercut Dominion, which cannot be true according to the core rules of the game.
I suppose that points out how peoples tastes may differ vastly. I myself do not like the new Flambeau at all, but I think new House Tytalus is awesome. The new Tremere are also an excellent revisioning. As for Criamon, I really admire the work and think it looks really cool, but I understand why some others are dissatisfied. Defining the Enigma sort of takes the mystery out of it. It is supposed to be vague. I dunno. I suppose that, to my way of thinking, the optimum is when they combine the best of old and new. I suppose that is why I liked Tytalus. Every scrap of Tytalean lore and the new concepts and ideas were combined to form the best of both worlds.
Mmmm. What I liked about the old Criamon was that they didn't know what they were looking for, just that knowledge (or perhaps more properly gnosis or enlightenment) could be found through magic. From the outside, it made them seem weird and varied, but the common core of seeking new things in a mystical manner made them cool. So, for me at least, the the Engima is and always will be "an aspect of universal truth discovered through magic which cannot be taught, only sought and experienced." I liked pretty much everything in the revision (the Paths are cool, for instance) except the time thing because, well, it feels naff.
On the other hand, I really like the new Tytalus, Tremere and Flambeau. They've all become much more fleshed out. I know that Marko, you have specific issues with Flambeau because they're your favourite house (Mine's Criamon, go figure) but I do think they they've preserved the older aspects, albeit with some tweaks to the history, whilst opening up a lot of depth.
IMHO, the older versions of Tytalus and Criamon suffered because they were defined symptomatically. Tytali were jerks and Criamon were wierdos. I really like that House Tytalus now has some sort of actual philosophy and ideology rather than "being a jerk is the awesome!". And the Criamon are more than "if its weird and nonsensical, go for it".
The Criamon mainly suffer from a discrepancy between player knowledge and character knowledge. I suspect that most Criamon do not fully hold that their philosophy is "True" any more than any other group of philosophers and mystics full adopt the teachings of their instructor. Mysticism in particular is ineffable. As discussed in another thread, mysteries are about acquiring knowledge that changes the individual. They know what Criamon thought the Answer would be. That doesn't mean they all accept that answer. It does mean, however, that a player Criamon has some idea of what he is supposed to be about other than "be wierd". Its important to note that half or less of the "paths" are defined, so you can easily add more to suit players' interests. Or just have them be on the 'wandering path'.
I agree. The new House description concentrates on intra-House games, for precisely the reason mentioned above in this thread. If Tytali magi existed solely to mess with other non-Tytali magi, they would have been marched long ago. If they want to play their childish games with one another, that's a different story.
I liked the old Tytalus better myself, because it was poorly defined, you had more leeway to do what you want. My Tytali magi were more about testing themselves through struggle rather than messing with others to test them.
Oh, I do agree the new write up plays a lot with intra-house play. Not only for Tytalus, but for all houses, what with Septs, Clutches, Militia and Confraternities, to name a few. It seems to emphasize intra-house dealings much more than extra as one goes through the three books, in my opinion.