Diedne: What were the Inner Mysteries?

Thinking about the Schism War leads me to wonder about the details of the background of Diedne.

Now clearly, the House was what the modern Order would call a Mystery Cult. It offered initiation which fundamentally altered an aspect of the recipient's Gift. The Outer Mystery would be the facility with Spontaneous Magic (at the cost of worsened access to Ritual) that remains available to the few surviving descendants.

But what were the Inner Mysteries?

Given what happened in THE TEMPEST and what we know about Druidism (not a lot...) I would suggest that the focus of the Inner Mysteries could have been a religious one centered on life, death and rebirth.

The Diedne who return in THE TEMPEST have clearly learned some mystery that allows them to return from bodily death or perhaps to suspend themselves between life and death.

Perhaps other foci might involve reincarnation: perhaps some Diedne are being re-born in the current 'now' of the Order and starting to remember their previous lives....

Any other suggestions?

This is one of the best questions I've seen here in ages.

You are perfectly right, the druids were a mystery religion i real life as far as we know, so in Ars they really must be a msytery cult.

Maybe tying it in somehow with the native people of Britain would make sense, after all, the druids weren't seperate from the people, they were very much a part of life. I haven't read the Mabinogion in a while, is there anything juicy in there that would serve?

Except they were celtic, and so should have been scattered across Eire, Stonehenge, Loch Leglean, Normandy, Provence, and Rhine Tribunals...probably a generous smattering in Iberia.

But the Mystery Cult thing? I'd concur with that.


For a saga I am about to begin, centered on exploring the covenant of Branugurix, I have been tentatively trying to write down some ideas for what they might have of Inner Mysteries (Not come very far with the project yet...)

So far I have: Fertility, Lunar Cycles/Stars, Blood, Herbs and Divinations.

All the above are somehow linked with the Druids (IMHO), and it makes sense that Diedne would have had practitioners of these mysteries through their history. I have not written anything up yet, but I reckon that Fertility and Divinations can be used from the books as they are.

  • Sacrifices (animal and for more power humans) as a (partial) replacement to vis to power ritual spells, and/or to replace the Fatigue loss. Bonus points if it is a willing sacrifice.

  • A way to cast ritual spells spontaneously (without having to learn them first).

  • A way to cast spontaneous spells as a group.

Only problem here is that all other house outer mysteries are minor virtue - Diedne magic is major :-/

EDIT: forgot half my sentence didn't I

Mercurian Magic begs to differ mate! :smiley:

apologies, outer mysteries, I shall correct right away.

A main part of what i made and used for Diedne is a Major Virtue interchangeable(ie choose which you start with) with the regular Diedne magic virtue(slightly improved(Inhereent flaw is Discredited Lineage and the bonus is also used with normal non-fatigueing Spontaneous spells)).

Diedne Spontaneous Mastery:
You get an Ability whose score adds to Final Casting Total(ie after dividing) of all Spontaneous magic.
Diedne considers it a free lunch, it´s not. It´s based on stealing power from the Infernal, using it is not an infernal act or makes the user aligned to the infernal in any way, but any time someone that has it is at risk of being affected by the infernal in some way, the Ability score is used as a penalty against avoiding it(ie if you roll a die in a situation where you need a 4 or better to avoid being affected by a demon trying to sweet talk you and you have an Ability score of 3, now you instead need a 7 or better). And if you gain Infernal warping, 1/5 of this score is added.

Essentially, this makes for supergood capability of spontaneous casting, if you go over the top with it(like get it to 20 ), a Diedne can potentially have zero in all Arts and still do nonfatigueing PoF spontaneously(penetration will utterly suck, but thats another issue, PM didn´t exist when this style was created anyway).

It´s also my little way of making them be Infernal except they´re not. Meaning both sides in the schism war can be completely correct.

Actually, i tend to treat them as an excessively secretive societates(with generally and internally, openly shared "mystery" initiations) because of how inclusive and extensive their recruiting seemed to be and their general outlook. I first did play them as a mystery cult but it just didn´t fit well with the descriptions of them.

I have an error in the earlier post: the Diedne don't seem to have a problem with Ritual in the 5th Ed rules. The Mercurians do have a problem with spont but the Diedne aren't their mirror image.

Which leads to the question: did Diedne 'back in the day' have a different required flaw to compensate for the Dark Secret their descendants now have?

I take the point about them perhaps being a Societas but the fact that Diedne style magic did not spread beyond their House during the time they were part of the Order seems to indicate that some sort of iniiation was needed.

I'd agree about sacrifice being one of their Inner Mysteries: I'm thinking that they were in fact guilty of what the Tremere accused them of on rare occasions.

I'd still insist that THE TEMPEST indicates that there must be a mystery involving death and its survival.

I must admit I see them very strongly as a mystery cult and did start working on them as a such some years ago.
Only Direwulf seems to disagree so far.

I seriously think this needs to be looked at a read over a couple of times. I like this post entirely without even adding or subtracting to it. It's just about perfect in concept and execution for mysteries within a Diende cult. Awesome. :smiley:

I think tying the Diedne in any way to the Infernal is a Flambeau cliche. I have no problem with the mechanics of their magic having something dark or chaotic happening, but I have problems with them actually being Infernal at all. I totally understand the idea and the story feel of it, and it's cool if that is how you would go about it, but for me it seems inaccurate to what the Diedne were.

On second thought though and a second or third reading, I think I do like what you are doing with them a bit more Dire... I am so easily swayed by my fantasy-mind.

  • Cast normal spells as rituals.
  • Cannot cast normal rituals
  • Can cast ritual spells spontaneously, each diedne addingo their TeFo to the combo. Can become quite a high casting total, but you need several of them contributing to the spell /diedne only ability)

There you go. Cabals of diednes doing their diedne stuff in enclosed groups that do not admit strangers. :slight_smile:


I concur that they sound most plausible as a Mystery Cult. They know something nobody else does and they are very secretive about it. Were!

That their House Virtue is major is less of a problem, like Ex Misc it could be accompanied by a flaw.

That their Outer (House) Myetry is Major - as the only cult at all - is more of a pickle. But nobody says the Outer Mystery needs to be minor, eh?
It's just more difficult to Initiate, which -viola - exlains the extra "house flaw". Now whetehr this flaw should be universal or left open is another matter.

Since the Druids were of Celtic origin and the Celts were spread out a lot it would be plausible to have regional varieties of them, right? Who says they unite under a 100% common system? This would require them to have some common leader and a lot of communication. So the flaws that accomnapy their initiation could vary from place to place.
Would they even have used the same language?

I really like the idea of Sacrifices. Giving higher bonus for higher orders of sacrifice (with human/other intelligent giving the most) and for willing sacrifices (compelled by magic doesn't count). It doesn't (necessarily) tie in to the Infernal, but will look that way to an unfriendly observer.

Some sort of longevity/death mystery should probably be involved as well. I like the Reincarnation idea, but a "linger behind as an advisor" mystery could work as well. Maybe a mystery that confers Unaging at the "cost" of binding your ghost to your remains? Giving us old and wise Diedne that finally crumble and stay behind to help (or command and control) the younger generations? It would also tie nicely into some sort of ancestor worship.

Chtonic magic gives all the bonuses for sacrifices you will ever need here :slight_smile: No need for new ruiles when you can construct a very un-hermetic tradition with the existing tools at hand


I think the basic flaw that replaces Dark Secret pre-schism is the Pagan Major Flaw (i.e. does not get along with other religions) - the Diedne magic is especially tied to a strict "pantheon" that makes the Bjornaer ancestor cult look like laid-back hippies.

Pre-schism, their religion demanded secrecy beyond what other Cults would consider reasonable. Post-schism, the theology has adapted to stealth... but only to a degree (Pagan becomes Dark Secret).

For a Cult, I recommend several "Paths", as with the other Cults - perhaps tied to the lunar circle or other natural cycles - give them a cool name. Example : Songs of Ages-

THE SONG OF SPRING : Dedicated to healing and growth. Not entirely "gentle" - Spring also a time of storms....

EXAMPLE MYSTERIES: Minor Purifying Touch, Mythic Herbalism, Fertility, Whistle Up the Wind (Affinity Creo, Life-Linked Spontaneous, Unaging)// Defficient Perdo, Vow, Necessary Condition : Plants, Incompatible PeCo, PeHe, PeVi, PeAn, Animal Companion, Compassionate, Duty-bound, Weakness : Children, Sacrifice (physical body part etc.), Deleterious Circumstance : Have harmed another in the past day, Major Malediction : Cannot eat meat. etc), Hatred, etc.

THE SONG OF SUMMER : The time of plenty which allows for great projects, collective effort and introspection - the fruits of labour of the other seasons. This path are the seers and moral guides of the Cult.

EXAMPLE MYSTERIES: Mystic Correography, Divination, Communal Ritual (cast Spont magic collectively as ritual), Theurgic magic, Dream Magic. (Special Circumstances : Other Diedne, Cautious Sorcerer, Piercing Gaze, Affinity (Cult) Lore) etc.// Optimistic, Dutybound, Proud, Overconfident, Defficient Muto, Incompatible PeIg, Weak Magic Resistance : Cold, deleterious circumstances : No sunlight, Restriction : No fire or sunlight, Vow, Temperate, Pious etc.)

THE SONG OF AUTUMN: The time of change, of harvest and of preparation for the dark times. Associated with change and action - a very physical path.

EXAMPLE MYSTERIES : Shapeshifter, Nature Lore, Enchanting Music, Sorcerous Music, Whistle Up the WInd (Cautious Sorcerer, Life Boost, Affinity Muto)// Short Ranged Magic, Chaotic Magic, Supernatural Nuissance, negative side-effect, Twilight Prone, Reckless, Poor Memory, Lustful etc.

THE SONG OF WINTER: The dark time- one for watchfulness and survival at any cost. A time to come face to face with the darker things in the world...

EXAMPLE MYSTERIES : Faerie Sight (Second Sight and see in darkness), Magic Sensitivity, Sihir, spirit familiar, Spirit Magic or, for a darker view, the Goetic Arts (Puissant Perdo, Special Circumstances : Bleeding, Death Prophesy) // Defficient Creo, Dark Fate, Painful Magic, Plagued by Supernatural Entity, Enemies, Blatant Gift, social handicap-distant, Sacrifice a Hand, Necessary Condition : Bleeding etc, Mute etc., Proud, Higher Purpose, Weak Magic Resistance : Human Contact...)

As a rule, variety is better and makes for more interesting internal dynamics, more interesting characters and more interesting sagas.

Never claimed it was a big deal, merely that it was the only problem I saw. It can be handwaved away for all I care.


Some form of celtic, yes.

I like the suggestion about Pagan being the flaw for historical Diedne but wonder where I might find it defined. (If it is.)

I like the idea of the seasonal basis for the paths of initiation... I should probably do some research into the little that's known about the historical Druids too.

But I still think we need to define more clearly whatever it was allowed the Diedne in THE TEMPEST to come back from death: it's pretty much hand-waved in the text ISTR.

Pagan can be found in HMRE. However, I would only apply it if it is important. Druids were part of an established religion themselves, so they might not be seen in a bad light (at all) if they are in their home ground. An alternative could be infamous among hermetics and church officials, but not among the general populace.