Diedne Magic and/or Sacrificial Magic rules?

Hi All,

Have any of the supplements or fanzines published more detailed rules for House Diedne magic? House mysteries, or anything along those lines?

How about pagan sacrificial magic? Any sort of ancient magic that drew on the magic of taking life to power magical rituals?


sub rosa #13 has many takes on House Diedne and its magic. Most of them have sacrifices as components of Diedne magic.


Sub Rosa #13 is mandatory, though there are also quite useful old threads in here if you google things like "diedne virtues and flaws site:atlas-games.com".

Take this one: [url]https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/the-magic-of-diedne/3128/6] and just with Wanderer's post you can define the mechanics of the whole House.

About sacrifices, finally it depends of the take you take of the House. Sacrifices could range from being the requisite of a virtue to boost spontaneous spell to produce ritual effects (which could mean Diedne still being good guys nobody understood: they just ocasionally killed something to do big stuff), to just being part of Chthonic Magic at work (which could mean just dim pagans or slightly into diabolism)... or being the boosting effects of Goetic Arts (which would mean that Diedne House was actually neck deep into diabolism).

Our saga's take, after long debate with our Diedne hiding into Merinita, is the second one. The guy knows Chthonic Magic and must do pagan chants and invoke old goods to use that, and thouh he works better when his hands are covered in fresh blood (special circunstamces virtue) and looks pretty dim (he have dark fae blood and have the Tainted with Evil flaw as an ordeal), he's not actually a bad guy, nor a diabolist (at least so far. He have some concerns he increases his House Diedne Lore and digs deeper into his heritage).

I've been taking a crack at an Infernal version of the Diedne recently.

In my approach, the druidic traditions of Gaul were driven fully extinct; weakened by Roman suppression of the druids, diluted in Gallo-Roman pagan syncretism and the decline of Gaulish Celtic in favor of Latin/French, pressured by Christianization, and finally extinguished in the barbarian invasions. By the time of the foundation of the Order, the hedge magic and remaining pagans of Gaul had nothing to do with druidism.

However, the insular Celts retained something more. As suggested by The Contested Isle, p.112, Hibernian druids and the Caledonian gruagachan (from Hedge Magic, p.55) were branches of the same tradition, a tradition that also had a (south) British branch. That last branch was weakened more than the other two because of the Roman conquest, but survived better than the one in Gaul into the post-Roman period. This tradition was more skilled in spontaneous magic (Cailleach Magic-equivalent, being derived from an earth goddess part of the tradition) than the Hibernian or (standard) Caeldonian branches.

Then, under the pressure of the Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain, when a number of the British fled Britain and settled in Brittany, the followers of the tradition went along. Here they wound up face-to-face with local Roman-derived traditions, which (unlike the gruagachan-like traditions) had powerful ritual magics available. The druids of Brittany accordingly felt a lack, and went to fill it -- based on the available Roman accounts of the druids.

So, whether the "real" pre-Roman druids did human sacrifice or if that was a Roman slander, the new Brittany druids thought they were supposed to, and did . . . and beings claiming to be Esus, Taranis, and Teutates answered and empowered them. These were demons, who taught the druids of Brittany something similar to a Mystery Initiation that gave, from RoP:The Infernal, the Favored abilities of (Infernal) Ceremony, Effusion, Incantation, and Malediction to people in addition to their existing abilities. The result was a "Misguided Tradition", where the Brittany druids thought they were practicing pagan rites, but were actually serving Hell.

Now, note RoP:Infernals has a specific section -- p.95 -- on how to empower Infernal abilities with sacrifices, in addition to the power that can be added by Ceremony.

So, when Diedne joined the Order, she brought along her tradition's secret "pagan rites" with her -- as seen when they stripped the Picts of their language with a level 55 Incantation/Effusion to give every speaker of Pictish on the island of Great Britain a -6 to their ability in that Living Language with the Forsaken duration (the event described in Hedge Magic, pp.72-73, using the guidelines on RoP:The Infernal, p.109). With the knowledge that the rites could be empowered by sacrifices, especially of humans. But while Diedne was merely misguided, her followers eventually delved deeper into these "mysteries", developing initiations into other Infernal abilities. By the Schism War, the House was led by those who had "completed the threefold initiation" by two more initiations to add Debauchery (useful in calling up storms and the like) and Diablerie.

And then, caught and warred upon, the inner circle fled far to the east, and hid among the Mengwu Shiwei. They've been building up their numbers in exile, creating their own apprentices through Diablerie to instill the False Gift as necessary . . . and now have begun an effort at world conquest with the Mengwu Shiwei -- or "Mongols" -- as their pawns.

In addition to all that's been said, Hermetic Sacrifice (TMRE, page. 117) is the hermetic-integrated version of sacrificial magic. Which is basically "you can use a physical sacrifice in place of pawns of vis in summoning rituals - make sure you get the right animal, though." It doesn't specifically state whether human sacrifice is valid, is (slightly) suggests that this is for animals only...although the virtue itself is all about finding a sacrifice pleasing to the spirit. As such, if the SPIRIT is into that sort of thing, I would personally allow it.

I have always liked the idea that the Diedne was not infernalists.

  1. The notion that Tremere & Tytalus made a lie believeble in order to destroy this headstrong pagan maga and her house like the GWD politics about WMD in Iraq is far more suiting to the internal bickering of the early days of the Order of Hermes, because it is rumoured that a some Diedne fled to Bornaer and Merenita and I strongly think that these two houses would accept infernalists in their midst if they were to take refugees. And I also find it exciting to think that the Tremere leadership knows about the fact that it was all a lie and try to cover up even now 400 years later in order to save their house's reputation.

  2. The fact that the Order of Hermes is ot perfect and they have this huge skeleton iin their closet is believeble, why else would all records be hidden away and Guernicus guards everything so hard, they did not do that with the Tytelan Demomhugging.

  3. Too much infernal stuff makes it just feel silly, much like WW ars magica supplememts where demons lurked around every pages of the books and too many big things in ARM5 is influenced by demons already, so maybe it is time to just put the blame of powerhungry magi with a good political plot

1a. I usually go with the grey option - that House Diedne was a (lightly) dark pagan tradition, but weren't explicitly devil-worshippers. However, their tendency to grab everyone within their territory and say "Congrats! You're house Diedne" likely meant that yeah, they probably picked up some nasty folks in the sweep. And if Tremere/Tytalus had some suspicions about the core/secretive Diedne, but could actually find direct evidence that at least one of the traditions in the larger group was diabolic? Well, they really should have screened their application process better.

1b. And if they weren't out-and-out baby sacrificers when they started, as the war went on they very well could have delved deeper and deeper into the "dark" part of being a dark pagan wizard. So by the end...yeah. Very well could have been. To me, this also seems like a classic demonic corruption story - a small thing (being a 'dim' pagan with secretive practices) which, due to a series of not talking, mistrust, and a few cleverly placed outright lies, causes an avalanche of events. And each time the Diedne need more power, they reach for that dimmer switch just a bit more, until finally they're outright selling their souls to Satan, and in return he does...nothing. And then they all die screaming.

  1. I would argue that they learned what happened from the Tytalus incident, which is why all the records were sealed: they didn't want to go through it again.

  2. Really? I totally concede the whole "demons in my shorts" issue with previous editions of Ars, but what about 5th ed? Usually when I read things, there's a discussion of what possible influences an event could have, but it's usually "hey, it could be demons...or faries...or just humans being jerks...or occasionally the Divine's mysterious plan! Not magic, though: Magic don't care.")

So, basically, I go with a bit of everything. Yeah, Tytalus&Tremere probably exaggerated what they knew - but they probably had core evidence that was legit, for at least some Diedne members. Yes, Diedne had dark pagan practices they weren't telling people about...but they weren't that dark. but The latter, combined with the former, combined with their secretive nature (for fear of people DISCOVERING the actual truth) made it look worse than it was. At which point it was Wizard's War, and thing got worse, to the point where they really DID start to do the things that Tremere&Co accused them of doing (mainly in retaliation for nasty things the Order did to them, but still...). And then everyone died.

Which is fine by me. The reason I'm working up a full-blown Infernalist version is there are no fewer than five non-infernalist versions of the Diedne in Sub Rosa #13 already.

Besides, I think that despite the House probably not being infernalist back in time, maybe some of the survivors could start thinking: why not embrace the accusation and dig into infernal powers? For any magi, diabolism is always a choice that carries the inconvenient that if anyone finds out what you are doing you can only expect to be marched, but Diedne magi already have that condition, so there wouldn't be much more new troubles for a sub-sect of post-schism diabolic Diedne.

In my saga the Diedne won't be infernal per se, but there will be a sub-sect of diabolist there for sure (so: Diedne diabolist are a Mistery Cult hiden inside a Diedne, a Mistery House hidden into houses Merinita & Ex-Misc. This hiding into hiding into hiding is turning a little bit fractal).