I personally see House Diedne as an innocent victim of paranoia and prejudice, but I wonder how you would go about reinstating the house into the order.
This is something of a tangent to a very old thread - creating a new one would have been better.
The quick answer is that I probably wouldn't - too much bad feeling on both sides. That's not a terribly useful answer to you, though, so supposing I was going to do it anyway:
The key accusations against the Diedne were human sacrifice and diabolism, compounded by the fact that they used their political power to block any investigations into said accusations. If they're going to be accepted back into the Order, either the Order needs to decide it doesn't care about these things (unlikely without a major upturning of the standard setting and the neutralisation of the Tremere), or the Order needs to be convinced they're false. Proving a negative is often fun (proving that if it had been true it would have led to a situation that obviously hadn't occurred might be possible, but I can't see any immediate way to do it), but the following would probably help:
- Allowing complete quaesitorial scrutiny of all of their rites, probably including surprise inspections (and/or a concession it was legal for quaesitors to scry on them), in a way that minimises the odds of infernal deception
- Evidence that the original accusations/proof were false.
In addition to that, there were a lot of other reasons various people didn't like the Diedne: their paganism, their tendency to try to destroy rival pagan traditions (e.g. the Gruagachan and the Irish druids) if they wouldn't assimilate into the House, their turning their backs on the rest of the Hibernian tribunal in a crisis, being a non-Latinate house...Some of those are minor enough that they're only going to be local issues (not many magi care about a bunch of scottish hedgies), but there are a lot of people who won't be minded to do the Diedne any favours without a very good reason.
There's also the question of why the Diedne would want to rejoin the Order, after it made its best effort at eliminating it. Just survivalism? Do they have another motive?
Cliche as it is, I'd probably go down the route of there being some major threat to both the Order and the Diedne, which requires their combined effort to eliminate. That might be enough to get some people to stick their neck out and suggest that reintegrating the Diedne would be a good idea (maybe even some non-Tytali), subject to them being demonstrated not to be a threat that requires elimination themselves.
Well, here's the thing. Earlier editions made it clear that House Diedne had resisted attempts by the quaesitores to investigate them following the corruption of House Tytalus, claiming it was a Tremere ploy to steal their magical secrets, and this was one of the main reasons for the quaesitores to sanction House Tremere's declaration of Wizards' War. The Grand Tribunal might have voted to renounce the Diedne out of paranoia and prejudice, but... if they were indeed innocent of diabolism or pagan sacrifices, well, after the Schism War there was nothing to stop the victors from ransacking the Diedne covenants and getting the evidence to prove it.
Presumably that's what they did and then some pretty incriminating stuff turned up, or else Houses Flambeau, Guernicus and Tremere found nothing and have been lying about it. If the latter is the case and it is somehow revealed that there were no proper grounds for wiping out House Diedne a case could maybe be made for reinstating them.
I split the topic. I hope everyone is ok with that. We didn't really need to have Sphynx and Ravenscroft bickering with one another from 13 years in the past.
I think that an innocent victim house Diedne is a fine way to run a game. I find the "much much more evil than even their contemporaries thought" house Diedne to be my favorite version to play. Start with the Diedne appearing as innocent victims of prejudice that's a story that rings true to our modern ear, but then pull the rug out from underneath the player's expectations.
Poor innocent tree-hugging Diedne victims are fine but boring. And so very 1992.
Even "the Diedne are exactly as evil as the Tremere say they are" is more interesting than that.
I prefer the Diedne and the Schism War being different from what is presented to us, with that 'information' being the distortion of what remains of 200 year old propaganda, which really doesn't hold that well together upon inspection. (So yes, I like the letter describing how the Diedne never really existed.)
More evil? Sure. Differently evil? Sure. Not evil at all but deadly enemies to the Order? Sure.
Rather than Diedne Magic being their primary House Virtue, I prefer something related to metempsychosis: The Diedne can be back, and they be reborn as anyone. And the Order doesn't know, because House Diedne kept its secrets.
I would not advise to rehabilitate officially the renouced Diedne magi of old (and destroyed during schism war) house Diedne.
Why ? Because the case has been judged, sentence executed and two centuries have elapsed. Added to this legal point, you no longer have material proof, witnesses, and so on.
But perhaps you could create a "new Diedne" house with magi proud of their Diedne lineage.
Those magi could claim that they didn't commit any hermetic crimes and if the entire Diedne house has been renounced, it could only mean that the Diedne magi of the time were renounced, not the house itself (the Code does not provide for renouncing a house, but only magi). Or as an alternative, they could found a "new Diedne", claiming that they aren't in the old house Diedne but in a new one that has nothing to do with the renounced house, barring its name and the tradition inherited form its famous founder. They could argue that the founder's heritage has been corrupted by Llewellyn and others, but the Founder Diedne had always been clean. So, any magus could (in their eyes) claim to be a member of the Diedne house. Let's call them the "true Diedne" or the "Diedne authentic lineage" for instance.
Of course, if they manage to refound house Diedne (and it should not be easy), the Diedne magic virtue could come with a bad reputation (like diabolic lineage) instead of the dark secret. After all, if Diedne was clean, being a Diedne means that the lineage of the "true Diedne" has been corrupted somewhere in the past... and you could seek revenge from the schism war.
And the twist is that those new Diedne magi could become the most zealous enemies of the "Diedne rebels" who could stay hidden in the woods (or in the Tremere's nightmares).
If I was running a saga where I wanted to bring Diedne back, my approach would be a little different.
Sure, they were tree-huggers. Sure, they were innocent victims. But 90% of them were wiped out in a massacre created by the Order for political purposes. If they didn't want to destroy the Order back then, they sure as hell would NOW. Consider. They've had 300 years to nurture their vengeance. They have had 300 years to look for allies -- and in Mythic Europe, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone the Order has pissed off, they would have no shortage of allies. AND, they hold the secret to Parma Magica that they can teach those allies. And they've had 300 years to meticulously plan their strike.
When the Diedne come out of the woods, the Order's worst nightmare would seem like a pleasant daydream by comparison.
Why make them innocent tree-huggers? Yeah, you're right, it's kind of 1992... but I really want to see my players' eyes when they realize they are not, in fact, on the side of the angels.
Cunningrat 1, In your set up, you've got a group of wizards who've nurtured a grudge in secret for 300 years and rather than finding a way to make peace they're instead decided to take revenge on a group of people who while part of the same organization for the most part never even met the people who were trained by the people who did the Diedne wrong.
How do the PC's come out as not on the side of the angels in this scenario?
That's a common way to interpret the setting, but it isn't the only way. (OK, any organization that has power will have detractors and the OoH has lots of power so it will have enemies, but there different levels of "you can't swing a cat" available.)
"Grudge" better describes how one might feel when your best friend 'steals' your boyfriend than when you and yours are killed to the last man, with an ongoing order to kill any survivors or their descendants, should any exist.
Probably because there are entire Houses, upon hearing that "there's a Diedne who would like to make peace with the Order," will stop listening after "there's a Diedne" and start attacking.
If the canonical story about House Guernicus's betrayal and human sacrifice is true, you simply cannot trust these people or anyone corrupted by their teachings.
Besides, the conversation assumes that if the Diedne were corrupt, their annihilation would be justified. Similarly, an innocent version of House Diedne have good reason to believe that the Order was and remains at least as evil as the Order's lies about Diedne. There's no possibility of making peace with that kind of Order, or even of determining the truth when they protest their good intentions.
Liars and hypocrites all, and those who seem to be telling the truth probably have Infernal gifts of deceit and subterfuge.
Maybe not on the side of the angels, but sending the corrupt Order to Hell where they belong seems a reasonable step in the right direction.
Partially that's 'cause I misspoke. That's what I get for posting in a hurry.
What I was trying to say is that -- in my experience -- players tend to pigeonhole situations into "good guys" and "bad guys". My players in particular tend to try and be on the side of the "good guys" -- maybe it's just my gaming group, I don't know. So if I encourage that perception and then show them that the true situation is a whole lot more ethically complex than that... their reaction would be interesting.
And partially because "grudge" is a terribly, terribly weak term for 9/10ths of your family (mundane as well as hermetic, because IIRC the Diedne were very lineage-based) being brutally slaughtered for something they didn't do. And magi live a long time: 300 years is "it happened to my grandpa". These people brutally attacked my family because of a lie, and would brutally attack me if they knew who I was -- and I am to try and make peace with them??
That's a fair enough interpretation. However there were magi in other Houses who were sympathetic to House Diedne and some still say they were not the monsters that they were made out to be. The motion to cast them out only passed at the emergency Grand Tribunal by a very narrow margin, even though it does not appear that they were ever exactly tree huggers. I recall source material from 1992 or thenabouts portraying House Diedne as not especially evil but certainly highly organised, secretive and generally disdainful of other magi. How Diedne the Founder dealt with the native Irish druids does not sound like a tree hugger at all. The quaesitores wanted to investigate the other Houses for evidence of further infernal corruption, House Diedne refused to co-operate. There are grounds right there for getting a tribunal for voting to order them to comply, and ignoring a tribunal vote is a violation of the Code. So regardless of how innocent or guilty the Diedne were of the original charges of paganism, diabolism and human sacrifice they certainly didn't do themselves any favours.
Anyway, if House Diedne was just wiped out for political purposes I think there would need to be a fairly large conspiracy to keep that fact secret and to get the rest of the Order to keep on accepting that there were in fact better reasons for it. I feel this is where the matter of evidence comes in, and no sourcebook has ever indicated what turned up in the Diede covenants that the Flambeau and Tremere were presumably able to take over, although Heirs to Merlin drops intriguing hints that the quaesitores found things they don't want anyone else knowing about. Plenty of story material in dangerous truths being supressed, I think.
Here's a relevant old thread: https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/dangerous-diedne-thread/2373/1
I'd suggest reinstating the House Ancient-Magic style. Have the PCs discover ancient Diedne magic, interrogate Diedne ghosts, and so on. It would perhaps start with the PCs investigating the ruins of an ancient Schism-War ruins and finding a McGuffin / acquiring a Sign / whatever that in turn opens up more Diedne-themed secrets and locales. During the adventure arc the characters get to learn and incorporate Diedne mysteries and effectively recreate their mystery cult, and along the way learn that they were innocent. They also come into conflict with Tremere etc, leading to political machinations and building an Order-wide "True Diedne" mystery cult. Eventually, the political machinations boil to the surface and culminate in the House being reinstated to the Order, with the PCs as its leaders.
Another option is to start as a Revenge of the Diedne style surprise attack on the Order, and engage in an all-out and lengthy war during which it's slowly revealed to the Order/PCs that the original accusations were false and the Diedne are innocents on the one hand, and to the members of House Diedne that their revenge is foolish and destructive on the other. The PCs should eventually team up with Diedne anti-war factions to oppose the militants both in the Order and in Diedne to re-introduce the House into the Order in a peace agreement that will end the long rekindled war. I like this scenario less, as playing through a long war is taxing and will divert attention from other story arcs, and as playing out the turn-towards-peace can be difficult to manage.
An interesting concept would be for a magus who is about to be declared houseless (ORbus? Orbis? anyways...) decides to declare they are house Diedne, that while all members in the past were marched that doesn't actually get rid of the house, etc. and perhaps while nobody else wants the person in their own house they don't really want to march them either...
I suspect that any reintroduction of House Diedne will be more difficult than declaring and having accepted a new House without any baggage.
But how might you go about it? Spread the word. "Discover" documents proving corruption and that the corruption was localized. That the deaths of Diedne magi are to be blamed on those who led them astray. That there are scattered remnants or descendants even now lost and with no knowledge of the once-noble heritage they could return to embrace. Imagine the magic that could be rediscovered and shared with the Order. See it as the duty of the Order to return the lost to their rightful home.
And how do you do that? Well... One of the supplements (Transforming Mythic Europe, I recall) has rules for writing books that can then be shared with the Order with the aim of persuading them to an argument. It's designed to support and work with the Tribunal debate rules so that, if your books are good enough, you can weight the debate in your favour.
So... There's a combination of getting your approach right, roleplaying to gain some kind of support, patronage, protection, etc. and then using the rules provided to model what you're trying to do.
I've usually ruled that Diedne Magic doesn't come with a Dark Secret. Having Diedne magic in your ancestry is not a Hermetic crime; there are canonical Diedne lineages in Ex Miscellanea that got out before the Renunciation, and apprentice-trading, Bonisnatching, moving House and Orbi are almost certainly a thing, unless the Diedne operated like the Bjornaer and organized mass Wizard's War against anyone who left (which doesn't seem likely, considering the prior statement). So having the appropriate magic and ancestry is only a problem if you're too loud about it and attract unwanted attention from the Tremere. That said, declaring yourself a member of House Diedne is declaring yourself a member of a House that was collectively Wizard's Marched, and therefore it would be a dangerous move at best.
So essentially, what you need to do is either get Grand Tribunal to reverse the Wizard's March against Diedne and allow the surviving Diedne to gather back into their own House, or to get Grand Tribunal to approve the creation of a new House Diedne from descendants of the old (vetted for non-infernalism) without reversing the old March. Either task would not only require the neutralization of the Tremere, but to get the Primi to collectively agree to accept a new Primus, something which even Ex Miscellanea and Merinita would likely balk at. If you could come up with at least 50 magi with the appropriate ancestry who wanted to restore the Diedne, that's be a first step, but then you'd have to overcome the resistance of the existing powers that be, who either believe in the guilt of the Diedne or really don't want to tear open old wounds, and who don't really want to establish a new House.
Incidentally, here's another option for the Diedne's guilt: They were innocent of infernalism, but not of human sacrifice. While the latter isn't a Hermetic crime so long as it's done to your own covenfolk or peasants, the Tremere and Flambeau still felt morally justified in squashing them - and the Tremere have always been somewhat contemptuous of Hermetic law when it gets in the way of getting stuff done. The failure of the Quaesitores to come up with anything about the Diedne led to open civil war.
Indeed, such Diedne descendants may not be guilty of any crimes but the way I see it they can expect continual Wizard War declarations from enraged Flambeau and Tremere magi if anyone finds out about their ancestry, which I think justifies the Dark Secret Flaw. They're in appalling danger if they don't keep quiet.
Well, it was made very clear in 4th Edition Houses of Hermes that the Diedne simply refused to let the Quaesitores investigate them, and when the Quaesitores got tired of this they basically sanctioned the Tremeres' mass Wizards' War. That's not so explicit in 5th Edition, but I think it's a better explanation for how the Grand Tribunal could contemplate voting to renounce an entire House, i.e. they would be fair game if they had ignored a tribunal ruling ordering them to comply with the Quaesitores. I think the Tremere could also make a case that human sacrifice would endanger the Order, with the Church getting ever more organised, militant and powerful.