Do Larta magi vote?

I think it's not so much "imposter" as "honorary" - a person can be given an honorary degree from, say, Oxford, and that is an honour and they are respected for it and given rights that others may not have on campus and within the population, and yet no one is confused for a moment that they actually went thru the curriculum, are an actual Oxford alum, or are expected to be an "Oxford man" (or woman) in the larger (arguably elitist) sense.

Larta are "honorary magi", and as such don't pretend they are actual magi - they don't vote, they don't get (too) involved in politics, they don't press things too much on any front. They know, they know everyone else knows, everyone else knows they know, no one is trying to fool anyone or being fooled - it's not a problem.

So they are a sub-set of Larta, or "Larta, for lack of a better term", or something along those lines - and by so saying, you were saying nothing (intentionally) about "Larta" as they were defined in earlier editions.

You need to re-read the section. I'm not talking about allowing Red Caps to switch Houses. Once a magus, always a magus. I'm fine with that. I'm talking about recruiting artists as members of the Order. I don't buy it. I don't see other Houses allowing it, and if Mercere or Jerbiton tried to use them, real magi would kill them.

The paragraph doesn't say that all Larta are former members of House Mercere. It says House Mercere recruits artists, develops their skills, and sends them to House Jerbiton. These people aren't real Red Caps. They've never delivered a message in their lives. I don't see the other members of the Order allowing that to happen. Red Caps have a special place in the Order because of their service. The paragraph then goes on to state that "Not all [Larta Magi] pass through House Mercere, but it is less contraversial than Houses adopting unGifted followers directly." So according to this one sentence, in the House Mercere chapter, House Jerbiton gets around the contraversy of bringing in non-Gifted member by passing them through House Mercere. It states that there are other non-Mercere "Larta Magi" in House Jerbiton. It also implies that other Houses adopt unGifted members too, but there is some contraversy around it.

These non-Mercere, unGifted members of the Order are the ones that I don't see ever existing. Any old timer knows what "Larta Magi" were under old editions. I'm sure there was a reason Timonthy didn't include them in the Jerbiton chapter, one of those reasons I would imagine is that making someone who is not Gifted a member of the Order and doesn't serve as a Red Cap wouldn't fly. I'm clearly not going to convince you, and David can errata it or not, but I think one sentence introducing unGifted members into House Jerbiton, and potentially all other Houses, is way over the line and shouldn't have made it into the book.

John, I still don't understand what you're upset about. Do you want other Houses to control what sort of men and women Redcaps may take as apprentices, or set standards for exactly what they can teach them to do? As I see it, whether or not a Redcap delivers the mail is part of the internal workings of House Mercere. If a Redcap won't do that, he's ultimately going to have to leave the House, and some of the Redcaps have figured this out and prepared for it. When are other Houses going to step in exactly?

If you're saying they should watch House Mercere like hawks and declare Wizards' War against Redcaps who don't seem to be doing their jobs or who try to switch Houses, I think that's a cool thing. It creates suspicion and fodder for political stories. I would imagine these guys take considerable interest in House Ex Miscellanea in the same way, to make sure all the hedge wizards deemed "magus" are actually worthy of the title, right?

Hey now, I didn't state there are other non-Mercere "Larta magi" in House Jerbiton, I just implied it. I also didn't imply that other Houses adopt unGifted members in this way, I said it may be possible that they could. As I said before, the circumstances I was envisioning for Larta magi who don't pass through House Mercere was when a Redcap who has joined another House trains an apprentice. I'm not sure what happens there, so again I thought it best to leave it vague. :slight_smile:

Maybe, maybe not. I don't remember if it came up while we were all working on Societates. I worry I'm not supposed to talk about it, though, because it's kind of like talking about the playtest, isn't it? As authors, aren't we supposed to limit ourselves to discussing what is actually in the book?

Why do you want David to issue errata for this? It's clearly not an error. I'm also a bit offended that you would publicly accuse me of going over a line by writing that. What the heck? It's an idea for a legal circumstance that hearkens back to old game lore (Houses of Hermes) and a recent book that had just come out like a year before I wrote it (Sanctuary of Ice). And both Timothy and David were involved with True Lineages. Come on, cut me a little slack, huh?

Erik, I'm sorry if I offended you, but you really re-read the paragraph. It very clearly states that there are non-Mercere Larta Magi in House Jerbiton. If that's not what you meant, then errata should clear it up. If it's what you meant, then it's wrong. There are no Larta Magi in House Jerbiton. See the Chapter on House Jerbiton. If they existed, they would be in there. That's why I think the Larta Magi reference should be striken. If they exist as a subset of magi in House Jerbiton, they should have been in the Jerbiton chapter, not the Mercere chapter.

Correction, he does not have the credentials. Sometimes those will be the same thing, but much of the time its not.
The peasant needs to find someone considered to have the right to do so, to give him those credentials(usually land and rights in return for obligations and/or service).
"Knightly skills" dont really matter at all to wether they are recognised as noblemen or knights(though it might help).

Personally, I'm not sure how anyone would know if a "magus" was Gifted or not. Afterall, at least two important magi (Verditius and Handri) were unable or unwilling to cast spells and IIRC Guernicus gave up using magic in his later years too. I doubt these were the only examples either, many run-of-the-mill magi probably prefer to spend their seasons extracting Vis to be used in bartering room and board from their covenants.

In short, I think any meddlers with nothing better than snoop around trying to determine whether a particular house is harboring false magi is going to have his hands full at least until he finds himself marched or subject to multiple Wizard Wars from the magi he's antagonized (or simply object to his actions in principle).

I've got it right in front of me, and it's been quoted in this thread. It doesn't state that there are non-Mercere Larta in House Jerbiton, clearly or otherwise. It says:

These two sentences are talking about Redcaps. Redcaps are invited to join House Jerbiton, encouraged to practice their art, and called "Larta magi." Not all of these Redcaps necessarily pass through House Mercere-- making allowances for those that might be apprenticed to other former Redcaps that do not belong to that House any longer-- and it may be possible for them to join other Houses as well.

So, if you want there to be Larta magi in House Jerbiton for some reason, like say you're running a saga set in the Greater Alps and you want to use Sanctuary of Ice to describe what Valnastium looks like, you can still say that Larta was a Jerbiton who somehow got named a maga without actually possessing The Gift. If you don't want any Larta magi in your game, you can say that these Redcaps are an unusual circumstance that hasn't exploded yet for political reasons. Or you can just ignore that paragraph entirely. If you don't want to explore the idea of Redcaps joining another House in your game, that's totally okay, and I don't think you lose anything by saying that this just doesn't happen.

The Mercere chapter of True Lineages discusses Redcaps the same way that the Guernicus chapter discusses the Code of Hermes. That is, there are some issues that cross into other Houses. I felt that a discussion of Redcaps who join other Houses was a good thing to touch upon there. I still don't understand what you think issuing errata would do. It feels like you want me to get slapped on the wrist for mentioning Larta magi in a Fifth Edition book. :slight_smile: I know they're unpopular, but still...

Sure, it might be tricky to definitely establish that a particular individual is Gifted (without scrying). But that doesn't change the fact that you are meant to have the Gift to be a "proper" magus.

A good way to try to check for the Gift (without scrying) is to see what the character does in Certamen challenges. You need to have the Gift to participate in Certamen. So, a character who never participates in Certamen (always either conceding, or relying on champions) is behaving "suspiciously".

Another good way (without scrying), is to see whether the character participates in the co-operative casting of things like the Aegis using Wizard's Communion.

I see it that unGifted Redcaps are tolerated out of tradition and because they provide a valuable service -- a very valuable service. UnGifted guys in other houses don't have either, so a quick Wizards War with near-uniform backing from the Tribunal will put a quick and to any "upstarts". And House Mercere will actually support that, as any unGifted guys not in their House weaken their position.

You cannot become a member of the ORder without magical knowledge, except as a Redcap. So it's essentially impossible to become a non-Mercere unGifted magus, ex-Mercere (who switched Houses) are possible, of course. But they need to be accepted by the new House, and House Mercere will have an incentive to get rid of the "traitor": the mere existence of him shows the other magi that Redcaps are not as trustworthy as they always claim to be, weakening one of the two bases of Mercere tolerance.

Well, I can't recall, honestly. Partially it would be that SoI came out slightly before, and given how similar Jerbiton was, I didn't want to make it even more similar by repeating bits. Also, I wouldn't wanto to pre-write Ex Misc by claiming traditions for Jerbiton, or take possible mystery cults for them, but I don't really remember the decisive bit.

When this thread came up I went back to the Jerbiton chapter to look for them, because I knew they were in in some shape, but couldn't place it, myself.

If doing Larta magi from scratch I'd...actually I probably shouldn't mention this because it's really rather good...I'd tie them into muses, and make Larta magi people who are not magicians, but have the capacity to make lesser magicians truly great through their presence and support. Then I'd say that Miriam, the wife of Jerbiton, wasn't a mystical baker as everyone thought, oir was, and made cakes which made you more magical. The order allows them, because they are a sort of odd Vim magician.

Oh, yes, we are. My bad. I don't recall us discussing it during Societates, which wasn't one of those "authors in each others pockets" books, but, as I say, it's very long ago, now, and I'm not sure I'd recall even if we had.

Except in Iberia, where a knight is anyone who does what a knight does. They have ancestral noblemen who may be knights, and noble knights of this type have higher status, but during the Reconquista if you turn up on a horse with the full kit, no-one tells you you aren't a real knight and you should go home, peasant. They point you toward the Muslims and wish you luck, Sir Deadmeat.

Ah, the equalising powers of genuine need. :wink:

Well, I actually quite like the concept of Larta magi...

<ducks multiple BoAF from various directions with fast cast Wizard's Sidestep>

The again I think non-Hermetic magi in ArM5 are the best thing that has happened to Ars Magica since the gruagach were introduced in ArM3.

[quote="John Post"] These non-Mercere, unGifted members of the Order are the ones that I don't see ever existing. [/quote] Really? What about Mythic Companions of exotic traditions in Ex-Miscellanea, particularly at the start of the Ordo Miscellanea and Pralix? Sure, their descendants would probably be Gifted (because of all the advantages of learning proper Hermetic magic) and they couldn't learn Parma but this idea has been around since ArM5 Hedge Magic. Those weird traditions and Mystery Cults with their non-Hermetic effects have to start somewhere. In HoH: MC, the scinnfolk are an example of Gifted Companions who do not really have any Hermetic magi but have still been adopted into the Order. Interestingly they can learn Parma Magica (as Gifted) but can't engage in Certamen as they lack Hermetic Forms and can't really do anything really magical when compared to Mythic Companions (Summoners, Holy Companions etc at that time), some of which if using the Hedge Magic rules or the Faerie Magic rules that were developed later can be reasonably powerful.

The Gift works in mysterious ways, eh?

I think SoI and HoH:Societas complement each other, although not all the SoI material holds up in ArM5 obviously.

There not in there. I looked several times to be honest.

I wrote up some ideas after reading HoH: TL but then shelved them when I heard Timothy was doing Jerbiton till I'd read the official line.

I was faintly disappointed. :frowning:

That's an interesting idea. Sort of a living metamagic buff but something more than a familiar?

It's a bit like the catalysts from the Darksword trilogy by Weis & Hickman (

I'd always considered that Larta in ArM5 would have to have magical powers - the mundane artist thing alone just didn't seem to fly and my reading of it was that their art was always such that they actually did produce minor magical effects (ala Legendary Artists see later). I'd always interpreted Erik's paragraph in the Mercere chapter as intending for a way for other houses to adopt Mythic Companion Redcaps (note: not just Companion level Redcaps) as "honorary magi", particularly those with Mythic Blood / Heroic Virtues etc from the Cult of Heroes although the paragraph does not specifically limit this process to Mythic Companion. Straight unGifted Larta into Jerbiton - probably not, although figures such as Michael Psellos or John Italus if created as Mythic Companions with some Supernatural Abilities could be justified. There's nothing really to stop Redcaps learning non-Hermetic magic (Learned Magician / Mythic Alchemy, Goetic Arts etc) with their 15 years of apprenticeship if they have the right exposure and Virtues so he distinction gets a bit blurred. It would make sense for House Mercere to have a few specialised "Redcaps" that knew Mythic Alchemy or could create the Learned Magician charms for their completely non-magical Redcap brethren given that they have so few Gifted Mercere magi (who barely have time to study in between breeding etc). I mean if I'm a Mercere magus am I really going to want to spend all my time making trinkets?

Non-Gifted magi in other Houses - very tricky. Probably not directly, at least in the modern Order of 1220. "Adopt a Recap" - perhaps for Ex-Misc (bards, poets that don't fit with Jerbiton / alchemists etc, Merinitia and maybe Tytalus if they were summoners - surely the Tytali have tried this or supported this - what a great scheme...

I'd come up with a concept for a "warmaster" of House Jerbiton - an ex-Redcap mercenary with Blood of Heroes (Achilles) adopted into House Jerbiton after being raised from the dead by a miracle and given a new chance at life, albeit with a few opposing magi as potential adversaries to his status. He had a few Heroes Birthright related Personal Powers involving swords. He wouldn't vote and couldn't engage in certamen but could nominate a champion IIRC. I think he had lots of story potential - you can build quite an interesting character with up to 21V/10F even without Parma you just have quite different stories. Somebody was experimenting with a non-magi / all Mythic Companion saga a while back which explored similar ideas. OK, he was based on Kelanen, Prince of Swords, one of the old Gygaxian quasi-dieties but I thought he was an interesting idea. Effectively he would have a Flaw equivalent to Lone Redcap except that it would be renamed Larta Magi.

I'd see the original Larta as perhaps a Legendary Artist, capable of producing minor but impressive magical effects through Art. To many magi this would seem very similar to a Verditius or Rusticari magus with a Gentle Gift and unless the Gauntlet actually involved Certamen they could potentially pass. If they always voted by proxy and never personally attended Tribunals and the Quaesitors were induced to look the other way this ruse could be kept up for years. Many magi don't attend tribunal, try not to engage in Certamen, have the Gentle Gift and have severe restrictions on their magic in certain circumstances or can only produce magical items etc. I thought that's what the Legendary Artist rules were hinting at to be honest, particularly if combined with Muse and Blood of Heroes etc - a sort of ex-Misc lineage within Jerbiton of adopted hedge wizards that seemed to fit the concept of the House. Adopting them via the Redcap route is just a political necessity but seemed reasonable enough to me.



Using the term "Larta magi" as an option to still include in the order those with such limited abilities, scope or power of magic that calling them "magi" is just silly, is overall a pretty decent idea.

Voting though, well if used as above i would be inclined to let them have a normal vote, but if used in such way that effectively anyone CAN be brought in as a member regardless of magic ability, then no.

Perhaps, but I don't see that perception as the point. As "Legendary Artists" (for lack of a better term), I think House Jerbiton sees them more along the lines of national treasures, who need to be protected. Since the Order makes no official consideration for such, and re-writing the Code would be insurmountable, they get them in the back door this way.

They don't. As suggested before, it's an "honorary" position, similar but not identical to ungifted RedCaps.

By your logic, why suffer ungifted Redcaps to be equal members? They're just servants, right? Mere functionaries by their own self-defined role, even if traditional ones. And they are not "equal" - they don't vote, but are granted the same protection - and perhaps not the same respect - and that alone. Artistic Larta would be parallel to this, and far more rare.

It's like when a politician or celebrity or (for amateur/uni sports) a wealthy donor is given a football jersey and made "a member of (his favorite) team" - they're not an athlete, have nothing that equates to the same level, yet their contribution to the team is seen as valuable enough in the eyes of some. And the rest of the league shrug and shake their heads, and are free to badmouth them in private, and don't worry about it beyond that.

What this does is put those rare few on a different footing in the eyes of Hermetic magi, separates them from just any "troubador, singer, painter, etc" - and, one would expect, they in turn would have an appropriately higher level of conduct and sensibility, or they would not have been admitted in the first place.

As for why the Order/Quasitores/Tribunals would allow it, the phrase "rider" jumps to mind - that if Jerbiton truly wanted something, they could form a House block and get quid-pro-quo on some other hot issue, and get the backing they needed. It's inarguable that Hermetic politics can be, in every sense of the word, arcane. :wink: