Error 404: Mage Not Found

Recently one of our magi, returning to his home covenant, stopped at the covenant of his pater, and discovered that the pater was missing. He'd up and left, quite suddenly, without explanation and apparently with few supplies and no grogs. The filius mage found this odd, asserted a familial obligation, and set out to find his pater.

One of the other players found that response strange, saying that magi do odd things, the old mage was clearly powerful and apparently going about his business, was not apparently mad or demented, and in a different covenant.

It brings up the question, if a mage goes missing, who is likely to take action and what action?

I am aware of a few things;

In House Tremere, a mage is likely to be sought by or by order of his superior.

Some Houses would not consider a mage picking up and leaving very noteworthy (Merinita, Bjornaer).

There would have to be little suspicion of a Twilight vanishing.

Ignoring exotic cases, under what circumstances are vanished magi sought?

(I am running the plot in the above example; I think the filius response is appropriate; I just thought it made an interesting topic.)


So the filius did exactly what they would expect from a magus, didn't he?


A quaesitor suddenly disappearing is bound to raise suspicion - were they disappeared because they were on the trail of something that someone else did not want to be found? Some other quaesitor is likely to investigate.

Gifted Mercere are rare enough that the rest of the house will want to find out what happened if one just disappears.

It would depend on the Magi in question, and how long ago he disappeared. If it's been a few days, or a couple of weeks... Probably not. But if it's been a season or more, his covenant mates or filius or pater might.
But yes, Mercere and Tremere would probably act faster, while Bjornaer and Merinita slower

It also depends on 2 things: the relationship between the magi, and the disappearing magi usual behaviour.

If both are close, or and least on good terms, they'll worry, just like any other human being. This is evident, but it bears pointing out before we focus on houses: Magi are humans first.

Secondly, it's quite different if the disappearing magus is prone to packing up and leaving, or at least going on adventures, or if she's a lab rat.

All that being said, if the pater disappeared "with few supplies and no grogs", it's strange, IMO, and going stranger the longer he's been gone.
That's the crux of the mater, I'd say.


Exactly this.
If they are close and it is out of character for the pater, then it makes sense to investigate. If they are from a mystery cult house, they might just be away on some mystagogue-induced business.

Congrats, you'll spend the next year as an animal/baking bread from spider webs, go! go! go!

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I'd say it depends on how close the parens was, as well as the general social cohesiveness of the house, and how long he's been gone.

Plus, if the parens just ups a leaves, did they empty their sanctum, did they take down their sanctum marker?

And of course, is there a wizard's war about to be declared?


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I agree that it depends on all the elements mentioned.
However, my initial post was not just a joke. Some filii (-us?) will simply act because they are curious or adventurous or had nothing better to do. Doing odd thinks like their parens. The Tytalus could simply take it as a challenge. The Verditius could do it just to show off. That's not saying that these houses are more likely to act, but that certain reasons are more likely with them.

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Honestly I suspect that much of the time a magus would only be missed by their fellow magi if they miss a covenant meeting or something of the sort, where covenfolk are far more likely to notice that the room doesn't need to be cleaned.
Another aspect of the question is what the mage does say before they disapear. If they say they are leaving (even if they say nothing else) it will be noted what they take with them (again, by the covenfolk) which will suggest something about how long they expect to be gone. If they are gone too long someone might investigate or (depending on tribunal and situation) possibly request a Guernicus look into the disappearance.

When considering a magi dissapearing without a trace, there are two things to consider.
the challenge of leaving a message and;
Why the magi would consider leaving notice of the duration of absence.

1.The challenge of leaving a message.

I get it. It's olde time Europe. Ghengis hasn't set up the Yam. The Roman messenger service is long gone. One doesn't pick up a phone etc. However, it's Mythic Europe not medieval Europe. There is the redcap network. Mercere portals. All the magi are literate. It's not hard to write something down.

2.Why leave a message?

I've never comprehended the magi are stand-offish and secretive. To the rest of the world, due to the gift, being stand-offish.... it's a given. However, humans are social creatures. If a magi knows less than 1% of people don't have an innate hatred of magi, most sane magi would want to stay in touch with that small proportion of people who don't hate him, and have more in common with him than anyone else.

In an era where due to disease and misadventure many people die before they are 40, many magi live decades past 100. The extremely long life span suggests a degree of caution.

A simple letter left with anyone in the covenant advising to expect them back in 3 months. Literally takes less than 10 minutes. Who wouldn't do that?

Sure, if our quaesitor vanished, we'd call out all hands.

On the other side, Redcaps have vanished in our Tribunal with little beyond mild concern by the Redcaps, somewhat disturbingly to our Redcap player.

If you talk about magi in general I certainly agree. Most magi are not sociapaths either, nor do they have autism spectrum disorders.

But some do.

Magi were just the other day likened with modern day university professors. Most of them aren't particularly secretive nor dysfunctional either, but the tropes are common enough. They do not work as generalisations, but they work as plausible story.

Some are secretive about there next big invention. Some are competitive and proud, and the quest for fame creates a back-stabbing culture. Some are simply socially dysfunctional, candidates for one diagnosis or another.

It isn't the rule, but it is plausible.

Would I have written a message if I were a 13C magus? Probably not. But I probably would have left a word with the covenant autocrat, man-at-arms at the gate, refectory mistress, or a random sodales who was there for breakfast. Would I send a letter if I were held up on a journey? If I had the chance, sure, but (1) I could be held up a little too far away from a redcap to leave word with, (2) I would not expect the letter to arrive home in less than six months at best.

There is a canon anecdote of a magus who went AWOL for many years, just to return and claim his share of vis for every year in absence. He got his share by tribunal ruling, according to the charter of that covenant.

Exactly. However, I think it would be remarkable. "Secretus never tells anyone where he is going. Don't bother about him." I don't think there'd be many Secretuss about.

The gang of peasants hunting down magic users is a well known trope. Most magi, considering the likely 100+ lifespan would leave some details of when they expect to return, for the exact reason of wanting someone to try to find them if things went bad.

Most would, but there are also those who fit the "absent-minded professor" trope who might simpy forget to tell anyone where they are going.

In one saga I played in, the alpha storyguide's character had "Difficult underlings" as a he got bricked in to his lab, and had to devise spells to get out. If he went missing, we assumed it was because the grogs had deliberately got him lost, and we left it some time so as not to annoy the covenfolk.

In my latest saga, I play a tytalus with a tormenting master - if my parens goes missing (which he frequently does), we know there's about to be another attack on my character. We also had another mage disappear to Novgorod to avoid charges at Tribunal - only a decade later it turned out they hadn't gone to Novgorod, they'd just sent their filius to Novgorod to start a new career, and were in fact hiding in Wookey Hole trying to discover the secrets of fertility magic.

I must admit, my experience with university professors would indicate that they will go to quite some lengths to put their knowledge into your head :wink: