Dangerous Diedne Thread

It is the stated intention of the line editor and the authors to leave the question of Diedne guilt unanswered in the published material. I believe that they've done a fine job of it.

Yet the topic has generated a good deal of heat here. Specifically Boxer has provided a strong voice for painting the Tremere as vile evildoers. Also Tim among others has brought in powerful arguments demonstrating that the fifth edition texts do not provide a strong case that the accusations of human sacrifice and diablarie were false (watch the double negatives there, they were intentional).

A few statements, by Boxer notably:



Cry out for a counter argument.

So with the caveat that this is done in fun I present the argument from quotes that any objective observer would judge the Diedne to be guilty from provided text.

The first quotation is from the core book page 10

The important thing to note here is how the text makes note of how few magi trusted the Diedne without any similar note regarding the Tremere. The Tremere had at one point tried to conquer the order, The Diedne had not. Yet it is the Diedne who are not trusted. An observer would be justified to conclude that the behavior of the Diedne must have been exceptionally suspicious.

Also note that the Diedne are both pagan (not in itself an implication) and based primarily in the Normandy and in the British Tribunals (also not in itself an implication). Yet these two facts together are quire curious. None of the supposed heartland of the Diedne has been even remotely pagan for several hundred years. This necessitates that the House takes Christian, and Jewish children and alters their religion in some way. In the setting of Ars magica can this be seen as anything other than infernal? I'd like you to recall that this is a setting where faith provides magic resistance and miracles are well documented.

Further down on page 10 we have the following:

No one? The Diedne had been a part of the Order since the eighth century and now after over 200 years of association with the other houses no one will publicly come forward and side with them. The records of the schism war were destroyed but I believe the best explanation for this complete absence of support is overwhelming evidence.

From Houses of Hermes: True Lineages p 41

Clearly this was the time for the Diedne to present their evidence if they had it. There is no reason provided anywhere to indicate that the Diedne did not put their best evidence forward at this hearing, and yet they were still denounced. Here's another quote from true lineages, it's from page 57.

The Diedne had their day in court, in a court with more capability to discover the truth than any court that has existed in any non-fictional setting. They were found guilty.

from HoH P 113

These quotes serve to repudiacte any assertion that the Tremere saw this as a vehicle of personal gain. Also on this topic let us remember that at the time of the schism war the Tremere were even more tightly concentrated in the Transylvanian tribunal than they are presently. this means that they had little to gain in terms of vis and land from starting a conflict with the Diedne.

HoH:S P 102

The Diedne did not have only recent problems with the Latin houses. They had continuous problems with other groups throughout their history.Such behavior is entirely consistent with diabolic influence. "From before the founding of the order" is a heck of a long time to hold a grudge. i propose that exceptionally vile deed are the best hypothesis to explain such a strong reaction. Vile deeds are in general consistent with a pervasive diabolic influence.
HoH:S P 10

The Flambeau were so convinced of the of the guilt of House Diedne that they risked their own lives in wizard wars in order to bring evidence to light.

If the Diedne had nothing to hide they could have submitted to investigation. If there were sizable non-corrupt factions within House Diedne they could have used the Quaesitrs to purge their house of its demonic elements as the Tytalus did. Instead House Diedne was using its political might to block investigation of their house. You don't do that if you've nothing to hide.

The code they all swore said "Let us work together as one and grow hale and strong" the Diedne were the antithesis of this. The Diedne also swore "I will not deal with devils". All of the Diedne furthermore swore "I request that if I break this oath, I be cast out of the order. If I am cast out of the order I ask my sodales to find me a slay me that my life not continue in degradation and infamy". On the basis that the entire house had broken their oaths the the schism war was entirely justified.

I'm just learning to touch type and I needed the practice. This took forever.

Have at it! Construct me a counter argument.

I just wanted to add something else about the Diedne from canon (from Ancient Magic): As of 851AD, the Irish Diedne ceased participating in Hermetic Tribunals at all, and the Primus of the House declared that they would no longer protect their undeserving sodales from the enemy, but would respect the Code from within the safety of their secret mounds and hidden dales. I imagine that few magi interacted with the Diedne much after that, at least not until the Schism War.

My browser froze while sending something like this, so apologies if its a double.

Erik (T): Until I read this it never really sunk in, for me, that the Domus Magnus of Diedne is probably in Brittany. That is, it's a tiny distance from Fudarus, which was the centre of the Corruption.

Also, about material benefit from the war: L&L has the Tytalus and Flambeau almost come to blows over the division of spoils. I don't see any mention that Tremere got anything. Now, I'm not saying they didn't. Fengheld in the Rhine for example may have some ex-Diedne resources and Tremere magi may have traded large, Normandy, sources for smaller sources elsewhere if their current policy of "Don't live near Fudarus" was in place at that time. We know in a decanonised way that a big source in the Alps went to the Quaesitores, and the sources around the covenant in Savoy went into the Bavarian Common (the legal entitiy whic pays a stipend to Alpine magi.) but I doubt the Tremere see any of that, because Alpine magi wouldn't allow that.

Erik, off topic, is that your head in your thumbnail, or is it a movie reference?

It's my head, captured by CJ at Grand Tribunal 2007. :slight_smile:

What did you do that made this necessary? You always seem like such a mild mannered fellow.

I don't recall exactly... possibly something in Mercere or Merinita. It was clear I deserved it.

(breaks down)
It was awful! They threw dinner rolls at me! Dinner rolls!!

I'll take a stab at a few points :slight_smile:

For starters, we have to remember the mindset of the Order at this time, as it says in the core book, page 10:

Sounds to me like it wasn't just the Diedne who were becoming more secretive. Proof that it was more than House Diedne that was suffering from suspision; HoH: Mystery Cults, pg. 9, Bjornaer:

The Order was falling apart, and something had to be done to keep it together. I view the Schism War as it is mentioned in HoH: TL, pg. 9, Bonisagus:

I read that as they gave in to the destruction of House Diedne for the 'greater good' of saving the Order as a whole. If there really was irrifutable evidence that Diedne was in the wrong, I don't think it would be talked of as a 'sacrifice,' more of a 'necessary purge.' And I don't think the vote at the emergency tribunal would have been so close if it was clear cut wrongdoing; HoH: TL, pg. 41:

Obviously there were quite a few doubts about the decision at the tribunal. But not everyone was at the tribunal to vote, and perhaps it would have gone differently otherwise; HoH: TL, pg. 41:

Vexingly, I can find no mention anywhere as to what happened to the Mercere, just that he didn't make it. And it is unclear as to whether House Bjornaer made it to tribunal either; HoH:MC, pg. 9, Bjornaer:

Did House Bjornaer make it to the tribunal in 1011? I can't find a reference one way or the other. But it is rather suspicious that the two houses (or at least a good part of the houses) that would most likely vote for Diedne were (possibly) absent at the voting. Leaves room open for a conspiracy theorist to work wonders. And who would want House Diedne renounced the most? whispers Tremere. HoH: TL, pg. 113, Tremere, Why Did They Care? box:

This quote, along with the knowledge that House Tytalus lived through the diabolist dibacal but House Diedne didn't live through human sacrifice, makes me suspicious of House Tremere. As for no one standing up besides the Diedne, I think it would be almost suicide for anyone other than a Diedne to tackle Houses Tremere, Tytalus and Flambaeu together. With everyone of the day getting more paranoid, I don't think anyone would want to be 'next' on the annialation list. For example, some in House Verditius might have help the Diedne, until someone found out about it; HoH: MC, pg. 111, Verditius:

Sounds to me like nobody wanted to be grouped with the Diedne because they didn't want to die as well.

This quote just confused me, so I went back and read the whole section. I'm still not sure if it says many Diedne magi died before the founding of the Order, or during the Schism War. Either way, diabolic practices are not the only thing that make people hold a grudge. Diedne could just have a different religion than those in Ex Misc., or it could be something like a feud hundreds of years later; no one knows why they are fighting each other, they just are.

Hope that's enough for now. :wink:

I may be trying to put too much history chocolate in the mythic peanut butter cup, but I'd always figured that the Domus Magnus of Diedne would have been Anglesey, or Ynys Môn as it was called in welsh.

Maybe not. Maybe it never recovered after the romans sacked it just prior to Boudica's rebellion. Maybe it was felt to be too far from the rest of the Diedne community. Maybe it wasn't a Diedne site... I guess both Orleans and Autricum could possibly candidates as well, and they're certainly close to Fudares. I think it depends on whether or not the political center was either the educational or social one.

I don't know that it was ever really defined, and it wouldn't be the first time that a very important location wasn't the logical center of a group, but I thought it was a point worth contributing, given Timothy's suggestion.


See, I always thought that too, but if that's the case, why isn't there a stronger British presence in the Order before Pralix?

I see the Anglesey thing, really I do and I suppsoe mentally that's always where I've put it before, ebcause the last message to the Order was left there, wasn't it? My new idea, though is that it might have been in Brittany. How does that change things, I wonder?

Ahh, I love this thread! Thank you very much, Erik - both for digging out the quotes as well as for your touch typing! :wink:

Thank you also to Skidragon for making an equally comprehensive response.

I think at this point it is hard to hunt down more RAW quotes, so I'll just comment in general (it is easy to be lazy when others did such a great job at the legwork!).

Erik, I know you are making a fine case against the Diedne, but I most of all read it as a counter-case against a lingering take on the Tremere, as presented by BoXer. I'm less inclined to read into it a thorough condemnation of the Diedne.

I mainly think this collection of qoutes, by Erik and Skidragon, shows how splendid this line has handled the subject leaving it as an open-ended question. Kudos to the editor and the individual authors. At the same time I can't help but hink that the authors (and editor) might not have written the text with such a close scrutiny in mind, where even the slightest word is analysed over and over by fans as to judge what is true canon and what is not.

In this there's an essential characteristic in the approaches to the RAW. One extreme is fundamentalist in nature - in the sense of interpretating every word in the texts as literal truth. Infallibility of the text not only puts a superhuman awareness on the authors, it also missed the point that the books are an inspiration for something living: a role playing saga. I'm not saying that anyone is completely given to this extreme approach, but I see in the discussions that promted this thread, a variance in the debaters approach to the RAW on the Schism War as much as in their preference of what stories they'd want to tell should it become a theme in their specific saga.

Personally I read the parts in the RAW about the Order's history as I would other historical accounts - not as literal truth, but something that has to be approached with an open mind and with due consideration of the source. In that light almost any take on the Schism War is possible - both BoXer's condemnation of the Tremere as well as Erik's case against the Diedne. And that's the beauty of it! As long as we keep this about interpretation and preferences, rather than a bashing about who's "more" right than the next fella.

I really like the fact that 5th ed. has given us so much more about the history of the Order and about the specifics Houses of the Order, than we ever had before. I know, as in the flamefest on the Bezerkerlist, that to some this has been a grief - but expanding on the material at hand cant help but collide with both some written material as well as with some peoples personal prior filling-out-the-blanks. And again I cant help to observe a difference in how fundamentalistic people read the RAW and to what degree it almost seems more important than their own sagas... I really like the expansion of the material on the Order, but at the same time I think it's extremely savvy not to have given a fixed take on the Schism War, but left it so open. One one hand it makes for a fantastic backdrop for many plots and on the other it seems to compel a lot of us as an important turn of events in the Order. Maybe that lack of a clear account is what makes it soo mystical and alluring to us...?

... I really got to earmark this thread for future use in my saga!

What chapter is this quote from?

I'd like to thank Skidragon as well for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully.

I didn't examine the tribunal books and I purposely ignored the treatment of the schism war in the Merinita chapter. There's still some more out there.

Of course not. But let's not let that inconvenient fact spoil our fun.

Speaking as an author, maybe you're right. :wink:

However: what I want, and what I think Ars Magica achieves better than any other game, is for the players to worry not so much about what the author intended, as what the text means to them and how they can use (or modify) it to have a good game.

So, debating the Schism War taking everything in canon as the strict and literal factual truth is one way to interpret it. Debating the Schism War by taking the text in House and Tribunal books as representing the "spin" applied by those groups is another way.

It's your game; make of it what you wish. :slight_smile: I am just glad to see people having fun.

I would attribute this to the commentary before on various Ex Misc traditions harboring old grudges against the Diedne.... Doesn't Lion of the North mention how the Gruagachen are by far the most numerous in Scotland, though many are eremites? I think that until Pralix united them against the Spider, the various hedgies in Britain probably outnumbered the Diedne but were not sufficiently organized to oppose them... and the Diedne didn't really care about enforcing the "Join or die" clause; they just wanted to do their own thing and be left alone. (One might even think that they were a little deceptive in joining, perhaps simply to learn the Parma for the greater survival of their own organization, rather than any intent to build the Order.)

Well, I think it would put a social/political center of the druidic culture in Brittany, and therefore give a bit more possibility that the Diedne had been infiltrated with demons-- not unlike the Tytalus. In truth, they might have even been subverted prior to the Tytalus but their reclusive nature permitted them to remain hidden longer. It may have also taken a good deal longer to corrupt the whole organization, and it might have been done in such a way that they felt uncorrupted-- especially if they were maintaining a pagan religion and the demons had infiltrated it for a long period of time.

If you were dealing with an unknown infiltration, I can see Anglesey being the secluded, uncorrupt site of Diedne faith that then sends initiates back into Gaul only to have the infernal influence there taint the membership.


It's neither here nor there, but in ArM5, the gruagachan and some yet to be named Anglo-Saxon rune wizards actually joined Damhan-Allaidh to oppose the Order and fought against Pralix's forces. HoH: Societates, page 110. The Columbae and the Damhadh-Duidsan (an off-shoot of the Spider's tradition) are the only hedge traditions that I am aware of as being specifically mentioned in ArM5 as joining Pralix to fight The Spider.

Of course, this is the history presented in the Columbae section, and they may not be impartial observors and could have disliked the "fierce" Anglo-Saxon rune wizards and the "monstrous" grugachan. HoH: Soc, page 110.

The last one, Rune Magic. It's in the part about the history of the Anglo-Saxon rune wizards.

Also, according to Lion and the Lily (which I now have in my grubby hands and which I am quite enjoying), the Domus Magna of House Diedne is/was in Brittany, on Mount Dol. It's possible it moved there at some point from Anglesey, but since I recall from somewhere that Diedne herself was something of an outcast, perhaps her power base was split off from the rest of her tradition when she joined the Order?

That's wise. In my opinion, you can't take anything written in the House books as fact, because it's all tainted with a subjective take of the members of the House in 1220. For example, a lot of House Mercere venerates their Founder as a god. Personally, I think that's extremely unlikely, and in fact I quite like the idea that in actuality he never really accomplished much of anything. Maybe he never even had The Gift! But it's important to the members of the House that their Founder is special, as special as the other Founders, and so they've built up legends about him that have led to the history they present in the chapter.

I'll have to go and take another look at what I wrote for Merinita.

What was the final vote for Renunciation, I wonder? Mercere and Ex Misc didn't make it, Merinita voted against, and presumably Tremere and Guernicus voted for. What about the other Houses?

One thing that I saw when looking for quotes was repeated mentions of how eager the Jerbiton were to join in the fray.

I have the BEST reason for House Tremere to want to kill the Diedne...they were the most numerous house and....

I know I be a bit mad about that if I was a Tremere....

So how did they (Tremere) find out...?


Lets see....House Tytalus corrupted by Demons (obvious attempt at destroying the Order)...
House Tremere attempts to 'backdoor' the control of the Order (Attempt at corruption?)

Now using Envy and Greed as a weapon, the Infernal powers attempt to destroy the Largest House...they let the information leak to Tremere...slowly...

Obviously, Diedne WAS NOT corrupt, because Bonisagus was...familiar with her...He would have spotted that and any overt Human sacrifice...

House Diedne was destroyed by the Infernal powers to weaken the Order.