Does a Tytalus magus have to raise Tytalus aprentices?

So, Tytalus have this whole complex process of treating apprentices like crap to turn them into Tytalus. There is this whole social expectation that Tytalus will abuse their apprentices to communicate the ideas of the order. That being said, a Tytalus being forced to follow a social expectation is not really their thing. What happens when a Tytalus takes an apprentice and instead of treating him like crap, treats him really well. He spends the obligated season teaching him and the other seasons he has him study from books. Presumably the apprentice doesn't get the house virtue, but what exactly happens at the end of 15 years? His arts and abilities are equal to any freshly guantleted magus of another house, but he is not really ready to become a Tytalus guantlet. Assuming the Tytalus parens is agreeable, is there a way to guantlet directly into another house?

They don't just flount social expectations for the fun of it, however. They characterise Sophist philosophy as saying that there no need to follow rules if you don't want to, and if you can get away with it. However there is no imperative to break a rule merely because it exists.

The question to ask is why would they do this? What is the master's motivation for this action? What would happen would depend entirely on that. Sure, the apprentice could probably find a home in one of the other societates, but how would that benefit the master?


Can't remember who, but a few weeks ago someone posted this definition of a Tytalus that makes sense and does not put them in the "they are simply teenage jerks" image that most of us have. or not necessarily.

Paraphrasing: "A Tytalus is a player character that is pushing his own agenda".

PCs flout social convention and expectations of proper behaviour all the time to achieve their goals. A tytalus is just the same, just that it is 1. proactive (some players have more reactive characters, that just act when the SG forces them to) and 2. can be a NPC.

Apart from that, they just act as PCs. Most PCs out there should be welcomed as kindred spirits by the tytalus. The movers of the order that will flout whatever is necessary to achieve their goals.

I liked that resume. it also makes sense in terms of the hyppian/normal difference: the hippies are all about facing challenges external to human society. The other tytalus like humankind. In a sense it is the division between the true merinitas and the traitorous turncoats of Quendalon, just that the 2 traditions coexist with no problems because they are less in conflict between them.

This also means that being a tytalus requires a certain frame of mind. If you treat your apprentice well you are unlikely to get a "PC spirited" magus. You might get a really fine magus, but not one eager to go against anything and everything to reach his goals. Since tytalus are basically a philosophical school I would expect those kind spirits to be invited to leave the house and find their place in one of the more sedated houses. Or be the ones targeted for indoctrination by more proactive members of the house. The later would make sense, since the tytalus attacking people outside the house "just because" is one of the worst things in their house definition. However, having those targets for practice INSIDE the house is a different matter :smiling_imp: Maybe the invitation to leave the house for the tytalian apprentices is even done halfway though a normal tytalian apprenticeship, and the result is that only those that refuse and try to earn back their place among the tytalus are welcomed back as apprentices.


I’m not entirely inclined to only agree with you Xavi, the philosophies regarding the Callicleans and the Hippians serve as a how they go about achieving their goals, but don’t necessarily delve into the why or what. Warning, lots of words to follow.

Every Tytalus is a competitor in the game we call life.

The essence of house Tytalus is about finding that one thing which makes your blood boil, your reason for existing on planet Earth, and going out and doing it, to prove that you are better than you were yesterday. The Tytalians are the kind of person who will say “today, I ran 50 kilometers before passing out from exhaustion. Tomorrow I’ll do 60.”. They aim to test their mettle, to prove their worth, not because it makes them better than others (although that does give them a certain amount of satisfaction). To them the result is less worthy than the journey itself, if you don’t win by the skin of your teeth, then that victory was not worth having. The internal conflict does not necessarily have to do with strength of arms, or a battle of wits, the Tytalian who spends his days in the laboratory to break hermetic theory is arguably more motivated than a Bonisagus, as the latter does research out of a sense of obligation and the expectation that he should accomplish something grand. Whereas the former does so because this is what makes his life worth living, and to him it is the proof he needs to say he’s a better person.

The Tytalian benchmark

Obviously in order to struggle, there has to be something for you struggle against. Sometimes the struggle can be completely internalized, but more often than not, the struggle takes the form of something or someone to struggle against, an avatar of their conflict: a Tytalian would be equally valid as a mountaineer or a sailor, climbing increasingly steep slopes, with increasingly less equipment, or sailing unto the high seas, chasing deadly storms. Other times, the avatar is a person, this is where the beloved rival comes in: instead of simply competing with himself or with something as faceless as mother nature, the Tytalian chooses an obvious antagonist, who they can fight to get stronger.

The Physis and the Nomos

As I mentioned in the beginning of what is turning out to be rather a lot of words, the Calliclean and Hippian philosophies revolve around the individual Tytalian’s approach to how they go for their goals: the Callicleans believe that that drive is the only thing that matters, and that nothing should stand in your way when it comes to fulfilling this burning desire. Laws and morals are simply constructs, to protect those who cannot protect themselves, from those who would fulfill their inner desires at the cost of those around them. This is, at least in the philosophically minded Tytalus, another reason as to why the Callicleans break laws on a whim, it’s to make others realize that concepts like justice, morality and other such things are figments of the imagination, and only serve to hamper an individual.

The Hippians on the other hand, believe that some laws and morals are universal, and to violate these internal laws, is to render our personal struggles invalid. That isn’t to say that all Hippians play fair, they too recognize that not all that is considered laws and morals are “true”.

Tytalians as the “teenage jerk”

While I haven’t been playing Ars Magica for very long, as with Xavi’s example, there apparently is a number of examples using the Tytalus as the amoral individual for the sake of being amoral (and I’ve seen one or two around as well), being a jerk “just because”. It is a valid representation of a part of House Tytalus, not everyone is a philosopher and so some might merely have taken heed of the “fight” part, without actually getting as far as the “why”. But, in my eyes, a good Calliclean Tytalian is like the Comedian from Watchmen, who sees the inequities of society and chooses to embody them as a mockery of the system itself, saying “see how unfair life truly is? Don't let tread on you, for the only thing you'll get is the taste of mud and blood. Fight it, with every ounce of your being, because it’s the only way you are going to be free.”

As to the nature of not being trained to become a Tytalus by your master: It possible, although not probable. To not bring your apprentice through some kind of grueling hell, which would give them the spirit of Tytalus, is probably one of the few things I can see that would see you exiled from House Tytalus. It communicates a fundamental resignation from the “To Struggle is to Strive” philosophy, after all, if you did not think that it was important enough to teach to your apprentice, why are you still a part of the House?

Alright now Xavi you gotta stop talking about the Tytalus like that... do I mention endlessly how Flambeau are little more than 11 year olds with magic powers? :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

((just kidding, but that definition is horrible to those of us educated in the fine art of playing Tytalus)) :smiling_imp:

Eh! We are fully TWELVE year olds, you bully :laughing:

@Snowman: Disagree as much as you want. :slight_smile: Tytalus did not make much of an impact on me when I read their 5th edition chapter (and some of the things that I remember more vividly were the ones I disliked the most, not the ones I liked), so my impression on them is still probably wrong. That sentence I paraphrased is there because it is what has made me reconsider them somewhat, since they look more interesting to me under that light than the impression I got after reading HOH:S a few years ago (haven't cracked their chapter again since then). 2 hippies have featured prominently in our recently ended saga (Maris from MoH and Severin from TOME; Severin was a PC) buyt the whole tytalus thing was not our kind of game.

I do not see your long (well, not that long, really :slight_smile:) post as contradicting the tytalus acting like my troupe, really. Or the mentality seen in a lot of posters in this forum when they try to exploit the system, either the setting or the mechanics. That is what a tytalus would do.

The beloved rival concept I still do not buy outside the house in any case. I think it is something that killed it for me and marked house tytalus for a "Diedne shock treatment".


Any magus can have an apprentice gaunteled into almost any other house if, during the apprenticeship, they share their apprentice with another magus of that house who is the one who conducts the final Guantlet. There's no reason two magi could not each give a season of tuition to one apprentice, or why the person who opens the Arts has to be the one to Gauntlet them.

After all, an apprentice is the magus' property - to gift or not as they see fit.

As for Tytalus raising a non-Tytalus apprentice, as Arcane Snowman says: why would you do this? There are valid reasons, perhaps as some form of social experiment, but in so doing you're not being kind to your apprentice, you're treating them as a piece of a research puzzle.

The harsh apprenticeship of a Tytalus can be done out of love. Watching the pupil struggle and fail may well break the heart of the Tytalean master, but they know that without it they're bringing someone into the Order who cannot effectively stand on their own. Parents often want their children to exceed their own accomplishments; failure to instill their understanding of how the world works is hampering them.

I like Arcane Snowman's summary. Not everone will get on board. Not everyone will like House Tytalus. There's probably some really interesting psychological data about Tytalean philosophy and the mindset of the kind of geek that plays Ars Magica, and how often the two intersect.

Tytalean magi don't have to be bullies. Many, in fact, probably aren't without invalidating their Tytalean stance.

As for beloved rivals, I can't see that really working between a Tytalus magus and a non-Tytalus magus. However, I can see a senior Tytalus magus pushing and challenging a group of younger magi so that when a real, credible threat comes their way they aren't crushed by it.

It wasn't meant as a "this is why a Tytalian would never do this" it was meant as "it is not the only representation of Tytalian that exists, given their philosophy". In the end, it's your game so you get to play them as you like and there's nothing wrong with that.

I can see it working like any other rivalry, the two try to outdo each other at every turn. The only difference is in the attitude of the Tytalus, instead of spitting curses, he spouts words of affection to his rival (which is likely to make them even angrier). It's literally meant as a "this guy is mine, stay the hell away from him" to other Tytalians.

The part that I kind of managed to leave out from that (I wrote that post rather late last night) was that sometimes a Tytalian takes the position as antagonist to teach someone something, in order to strengthen them, it doesn't always have to be for personal growth that they act.

Or they might be higher exactly because of how the parens trained him, ie well.

Probably. Or rather, yes there is but it may be conditional in some cases.

Personally i think that´s unrealistic and a bad way to oversimplify them. It´s also terribly selfdestructive. The house just wouldn´t survive if all apprentices are treated like crap(they would run away, suicide, snap mentally or simply kill their parens, eventually whittling away on house numbers until it´s zero).
Contest, challenge and competition or conflict does not automatically equate mistreatment or even poor treatment.

Huh. When I first saw this question I thought it was entirely different: What if a Tytalus has membership in two houses? What then?

Flambeau magi are amongst the most sophisticated, responsible, introspective, & enlightened magi of the Order.
We are often seen as immature & violent. This suits us just fine, because our enemies then underestimate us. And we can be rather Flamboyant. Image is half the battle.
Put HoH: Societates on the back burner. Read the original Houses of Hermes from Woc, and the ToH: Iberia book from WW. I know, the Phoenix Lady won't let you use any pre 5th edition materials in games she is in, even if you are the SG :laughing: . But it gives you perspective.
I once again invite you to join my game, come visit us in Andorra, and we will prove all of your presumptions wrong. Or see if you can get into the Bibracte saga where I play Roberto of Flambeau, who is the man above all others :mrgreen:

I also use Pietro of Flambeau from Sanctuary of Ice. He was originally Tytalus, but earned his place amongst the magi of light by defeating seven champions in magical contest (the old fashioned way from 4th edition). I make use of him in Andorra, and the way I play him is that he has forsaken his former House because he thinks the old man (Tytalus himself) was a total nutjob and his former bretheren are simply abusive with clever rhetoric to condone their abusive behavior.
But it still affects him. Young Tytalus magi laud him as a hero for his defiance and the way he snuck into House Flambeau. Elders think he is faking, or has achieved an eppiphany he does not understand. Some Flambeau magi admire him for his prowess and tenacity. Others resent him and plot against him. Now an archmagus, he has achieved the rank of Antares, leader of the archmagus war council. And he insists that the Tytalus magi are nuts.
But he has his own personally annotated copy of the Analects, with many of his thoughts and opinions crowding marginal footnotes.
He is a Tytalus who is so anti-Tytalus that he is the epitome of Tytalus :laughing:

Once a Tytalus, always a Tytalus

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :slight_smile:

No offense to Mr. Shirley, of course, but my first thoughts while reading the Tytalus chapter of HoH: Societates was that the house's treatment of its apprentices would mostly result in failed apprentices with the "Low Self-Esteem" and "Weak Parens" flaws not at all what the house is looking for... shrugs

See, I think that's missing the point. I have no doubt there are Tytali who act like that, but it's not really the meaning of the flaw.

Loving someone (to me, at least) means wanting to see them grow, improve, and develop, even if the process of growth is unpleasant. I encouraged my wife to go back to college -- it was hard for her, she was challenged at every step, but she did it and (she says) she's a much better person for it.

"Beloved Rival" is that concept, married to the Tytalan belief that growth comes only through conflict... and married to a good dose of hubris as well. Declaring a Beloved Rival is saying "I know this person well. I know their strengths, their weaknesses, and the areas in which they must improve, and I know those things better than the person themselves does. I know this person SO well, in fact, that I am the ONLY one who can challenge them to grow in the ways they need to. Everyone else, bugger off and don't jog my elbow."

"Beloved Rival" can be played as an expression of love to the point of abnegation: devoting all of one's thoughts and efforts to helping the other person grow and improve. Or it can be played as an expression of "love as ownership", a Pygmalion-Galatea relationship, where the Tytalus sees themselves as an artisan, sculpting the other person's growth. Or it could be played in a dozen other ways... but saying "It's just like any other rivalry" is missing the true roleplaying potential of the Flaw.

All of this is, of course, IMO, IMNHSO, YMMV, some restrictions apply, offer not valid in Alaska and Missouri, etcetera.

Technically I suppose you could get yourself tossed out of the house - but exactly what sort of behaviour would get you tossed out of House Tytalus but not Marched sorta beggars the imagination. Well, mine anyway.

Me neither.

Pretty much...

They just don't make it out of apprenticeship (alive).

Or perhaps they get traded to another Magus.

Shush. Just shush now. :smiley:

Horrible abuse, contrary to popular belief, does not result in high self-confidence. It results in all sorts of mental issues. The apprentices would be awful wrecks. That's what actually bugs me most about them. Their methods shouldn't work on anyone with anything approaching human psychology.