Earning Tremere Sigil from Sigil-less Parens

I thought this would have been dealt with somewhere but I cannot find a ruling the source books or on the forums. If a Tremere's parens does not hold his own sigil then how does the Tremere win his own sigil back? Options:

  1. Tremere defeats his parens and gets his sigil while parens sigil is still held by the grand-parens. This seems to be the rule as written unless I have missed something.
  2. Tremere must defeat grand-parens to get his sigil back because that is who currently holds his sigil. This would thematically make more sense.
  3. Tremere cannot get his sigil back until his parens has won his sigil. This would be the worst case scenario.

I've always assumed scenario 2 was in effect.

I suppose there is an option 4

  1. Tremere must defeat parens to earn the right to then challenge grand-parens for sigil. This is how I would organize it, if I was running the House.
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If your parents is a weak link it should not impact the rise of new stars in the Tremere galaxy. So 1 works for me. Or 2 without having to beat the parens first.


Going by the core book, it's option one - you only have to defeat your Parens. You may have to travel to whomever is currently holding your sigil to get it, but you've made the qualifier, by beating your Parens. HoH:TL doesn't say anything differently.

Remember that your Parens will have at least 30 years on you - few magi take apprentices in their first few decades and it takes 15 years to train one - and knows your affinities and other virtues intimately. They're probably just as good at what you do as you are, and better than you in their own area of expertise, and the way Certamen is decided ensures they have a strong advantage. And this is the second best case scenario for a Tremere magus, having a parens with 'only' 30 years on you. The best scenario is being the filius of a VERY old Tremere who passes into Final Twilight or just dies and you get handed your sigil by default, probably at the same time as his other filius who've waited 100+ years for theirs.

RAW it's scenario 1, but nothing stops your parens' parens from being a dick.

He may well be a dick, but he cannot pull it through without the support of his house.

Remember, the assumption under the Code is that the Tremere freely appoint their parens as proxy. Tremere, in turn, have the right to expel magi who do not comply with this tradition. A single dick is not able to do that.

I would be a little surprised if there is no precedent, but it is obviously up to the saga to decide what the precedent is.

No, wait, I think I have read something, but it must have been 4ed.

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that this scenario was dealt with as well but it must have been an older edition like you say.

We have this phrase from 4ed HoH page 103

Thus a follower of Tremere has no voting power without first
besting his or her parens (provided the parens has
in turn bested his or her own parens, and so on).

Apparently we are in scenario 3.

In 3ed the virtue «No Sigil» states that your filii do not get their sigil until you hold your own, but it also says that you need to defeat the holder of your sigil, suggesting that you can challenge your grand-parens if need be.

So no luck, it seems you have to house rule whichever the edition.

Interestingly HoH 4ed says that 13 magi hold all the sigils. Clearly, besting one's parens is a rare occurrence. Waiting till he passes away may be more common ...

I have to ... cast my sigil :slight_smile: for option 1. A Tremere gains his sigil when defeating his parens (no matter whether the parents holds his own sigil), or when the parens dies. Remember that there were changes between editions, and material from previous editions is no longer "canonical".

Let me add that, in general, it's not quite so hard for a filius to defeat a parens within a few decades from his gauntlet if he really focuses on it. First of all, it takes only one victory to win the sigil (remember that the filius can challenge once, plus once/decade), so even just one chance out of four of winning any given duel is good odds. Second, and perhaps more importantly, certamen "builds" can be a little like a rock/paper/scissors game: if you grow your Arts with the specific intent of beating a specific magus, you can have better than even odds with less than half his experience.

Look at this example, considering the canonical "twines" Tremere (two strong techniques, two strong forms). Consider a Tremere master with a score of:
20 in his twines (say, In/Mu/Co/An) corresponding to 840xp,
5 in every other art (165xp) for an art total of 1005xp,
6 in every relevant ability (finesse, penetration etc.) at 105xp/ability

Now consider a Tremere student with a score of:
13 in his twines (364xp total),
5 in 7 other forms (105xp) for an art xp total of 469, less than half the master's, and
4 in every relevant ability, i.e. 50xp/ability, again less than half the master's.

The student seems strictly weaker, right? Well, not if his strong forms are the same as the master's (Co and An) and his strong techniques are weak techniques for the master (say, Cr and Re). Then, the student can challenge with one of his strong techniques, and if vetoed force the other. This means that, technique-wise, the student will have 13, and the master 5. The master then chooses the form. He can either choose a strong form, that will be strong for the student too (20-13), or a weak form, that will be weak for the student too (5-5, the student vetoes his 0 form). Remembering the Tremere focus that doubles the weaker art (I'll assume either one if they are equal),
a) in the first case, the student brings to the table a 26,13 art pair, the master a 20,10 pair.
b) in the second case, the student brings to the table a 13,10 pair, vs. the master's 10-5.
The second case is probably the best for the master, but the student still has 8 points of art advantage that more than make up for his 2-point deficit in the relevant abilties, giving him more than a 50% chance of winning the duel.

I have not considered fighting styles etc. here, but even with those the student's advantage remains.
It's even better if the student does not stick to "twines" and takes e.g. just one strong form matching the master, vetoing the other; but being Tremere is all about tradition, so...

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Sure, but the customs of the houses, the tribunals, and the Order are not written as a code of laws, but as a narrative account of traditions. The previous editions are part of the same tradition, and give insight in how the traditions have been thought.

Old editions may have been overridden, but they should not be neglected, and there is no evidence of their being overridden in this case.

What is 5ed canon, the entire reason why the Tremere way held up in tribunal, is that junior magi appoint their elders as proxy out of respect. Why does this respect not extend to the grand-parens? Yes, I may have bested my parens, but she was not herself an elder, so why should should I feel so cocky?

Tremere have changed substantially from cartoon evildoers to militaristic house. I think the previous editions are overridden in this specific case.

what I do not see is the "no sigil" thing being kept. If the house is so organized you wouldn't need sigil holding, just the Tremeres giving their sigils to the leader of the tibunal before the Tribunal starts, like everybody does.

It always was a militaristic house, and the sigil holding is part of that military hierarchy, so this is no change.

You are probably right about the cartoonism though. Everything has grown less cartoonish over the years/editions/whatever.

You have a point, but I think a justification can be found.

Possibly, the sigil management is a left-over from the first tribunal, when it made sense.
Why collect the sigils every time, when they have no use in between?

I reckon it has been kept because of tradition and as a symbolic token of rank, in spite of sacrificing voting power wherever the magus and his proxy reside in different tribunals. This is not an optimal strategic choice, but symbolism can be important, and even more so in medieval times than today.

Does everybody give their sigils to their leaders? I don't think so. Magi use proxies when they could not be bothered to attend, but canon explicitly says that many covenants/factions rarely block vote, so clearly many magi keep their sigils.