Hermetic Demographics: Where are all the Quaesitores?

Following suggestions from those in this forum, I've acquired and am now reading "Houses of Hermes: True Lineages". There are a number of details concerning it that are worth mentioning, but one thing in particular leapt out at me when I read the section on House Guernicus.

Where are all the Quaesitores cited in the work? According to "True Lineages", there are 98 Guernicus Magi, 80 or so of whom are active Quaesitores, plus another 41 Quaesitores from other Houses. That's one-TENTH of the Order. This is a dramatic change from all previously published works in which the Quaesitores are a small, overworked force, and Guernicus is itself a small House.

I went back through my sourcebooks and came up with the following demographic breakdown. Note that when I cite "known" Magi I refer to those whose Houses are known, including in a few cases Apprentices. The number of named Magi compose most of the total. The TOTAL number of Magi in the Tribunals are much higher; these are just the ones who are referenced in the books. For the first three Tribunals, the figures are from the 1194/5 census (i.e. 3rd Ed.).

PROVENCAL TRIBUNAL: 59 known Magi, only 2 of whom are Guernicus and Quaesitoris (1 at Doissetep, 1 roving). If the forward to the Rome Tribunal book is counted, there are another 2 at large (Jaranes and Tamgron). Quaesitores are 1/30th or 1/15th of all known Magi. Sources: original 2nd Ed. "Covenants" and "Mistridge".

IBERIAN TRIBUNAL: 29 known Magi (73 in total census), 7 of whom are Guernicus Quaesitores at Duresca. Quaesitores are 1/4 of all known and 1/10th or so of all censused Magi. Source: "Tribunals of Hermes: Iberia"

ROME TRIBUNAL: 81 known Magi, 10 of whom are Guernicus Quaesitores at Magvillus. Quaesitores are 1/8th of all census Magi, though there are a great many more unknown Independents in the Tribunal. Sources: "Tribunal of Hermes: Rome" and "The Mythic Seas" (Insula Magna).

LOCH LEGLEAN TRIBUNAL: 100+ Magi and only 1 Guernicus Quaesitor at Horsigas according to the canon. Quaesitor is 1% of the Tribunal population. Source: "Lion of the North".

NOVGOROD TRIBUNAL: 50 known Magi, 2 of them Guernicus Quaesitores at Three Lakes. Quaesitores are 1/25th of the Tribunal population. Sources: "The Dragon and the Bear" and "Mythic Seas" (Sinus Wodinis).

STONEHENGE TRIBUNA: 55 known Magi, 3 of them Guernicus Quaesitores, 1 each at Blackthorn, Burnham, and Schola Pythagoranas. Quaesitores are roughly 1/18th of the Tribunal population. Source: "Heirs of Merlin"

LEVANT TRIBUNAL: 50 known Magi, 2 Guernicus Quaesitois (1 roving, 1 at Domus Pacis), 1 Jerbiton Quaesitor at the Hermetic Embassy. Quaesitores are 1/17th of the known Tribunal population. Source: "Blood and Sand".

GREATER ALPS: 63 known Magi, 2 Guernicus Quaesitoris, 1 Tytalus Quaesitor, 1 Ex Misc Quaesitor, all at the Motherhouse of the Covenant of the Icy North. Quaesitores are 1/16th of the Tribunal's known population. Source: "Sanctuary of Ice".

RHINE TRIBUNAL: 79 known Magi, 2 Guernicus Quaesitoris (1 roving, 1 at Durenmar), and 1 Bonisagus Quaesitor (Durenmar). Quaesitores are 1/26th of the Tribunal's known population, though there are at least another 17-25 present. Source: "Guardians of the Forest".

As you can see, in almost every Tribunal except Iberia and Rome--both 3rd Ed., with smaller total populations of Magi (1220 counts a third again as members of the Order as 1194)--Quaesitores are a very distinct minority. So where are the ones referenced in "True Lineages"? Instead of averaging 10-12 Quaesitores for each Tribunal, the official numbers are more like 3 known on average, with another 1-2 presumptive unique to each Saga.

I have learned to edit myself!!!!

The order is also larger in 5th edition than in 4th. ArM4 had around 1200 magi in 1220, and ArM5 places the number closer to 1500.

If you are like me, and want to reconcile the best of both worlds, simply add 2 to 4 Quaesitores per tribunal. Not all of them are Gurnicus either. And stick as close to old history as possible. You are not isolated and alone in that. My praise goes to you for your efforts :smiley:

Nice breakdown from the old sources Arawn!

Also, not all Guernicus are Quaesitors in ArM5 which may go some way to explaining this - refer back to the later paragraphs of David Wood's chapter in HoH:TL p66-68 for further ideas. The stereotype of Guernicus = Quaesitor has been loosened in ArM5 which IMO is a good thing.

Guernicus magi can also be:

  • politicians

  • legal advocates
    (Hermetic criminal defense lawyers)

  • hoplites
    (Quaesitor guards/bounty hunters)

  • magical investigation specialists

(think Obi Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones)

  • Terrae magi

(see some of my imperfect ideas on non-Quaesitor Guernicus here: geocities.com/sanctumhr/Spec ... intro.html)

  • Mercurian magi
    (see the rituals at the end of th chapter)

They may be part-time Quaesitors, primarily fulfilling another role within the house.

Lots more options in ArM5!

I'll admit that neither the increased numbers of magi in ArM5 or these options fully redress this discrepancy unfortunately and it doesn't seem to be borne out in the 2 Tribunal books so far, but sadly David Woods no longer writes for the line.

The Normandy Tribunal book does have a Quaesitor controlled covenant - Confluensis, with at least 4 Guernicus quaesitors and a small vassal covenant consisting of another quaesitor and a hoplite (probably both Guernici). That makes possibly at least 6 in Normandy "canonically".



Well, that was how things worked in the previous edition: House Guernicus is bigger in the new edition, also please note that several ofthe Tribunal books have "spaces". That is, there are two covenants in the Alps that are not detailled at all, bringing the population of the Alps to the 100 originally laid down by ArM2's "Order of Hermes". Similarly there are undetailled covenants is many of the other books, which throw the proportions out.

SoI was meant to be a Quaesitor -heavy- Tribunal: it's the first one where we see the detail of the private army of hoplites. That being said, it's too small for ArM5: it should be at least double this size. Confluensis in Normandy is bigger, and you can argue that's because the Tytalus magi make more trouble that the Jerbitons and Criamons in the Alps, but yes, it's too small for ArM5.

Actually, Arawn's found me out.
I have them. I've been collecting Quaesitors. I have them all neatly pinned to a board categorized by hair style. :slight_smile:

Kidding & demographics aside, the question"Where are all the Quaesitores" makes an excellent story seed. What if a handful of Quaesitors just up and vanish from several locations around the same time? Where did they go? Are they victims of, or maybe part of, some sort of conspiracy?

Bill Filios

Regardless of continuity (which I don't care about), having the Quasitors be 10% of the Order seems rather excessive to me. I think having a few Quaesitors per Tribunal is more conductive to a fun game, allowing a game where the law is more loose more easily (if that's the way the troupe wants to play it).

The best IC logic I can devise to explain the much larger Order and the greater number of Quaesitores--as well as the radically different depiction of House Guernicus--is to posit that the Order has undergone a period of dramatic expansion over the past quarter century.

If Bilera were to have instructed all Guernicus capable of taking Apprentices to do so immediately after she became Prima, the House could have doubled within the interim (this allows for those Apprentices who were close to Gauntleting before the directive was put in place). The extra Quaesitores in the other Houses were a result of a similar directive to expand the number outside of House Guernicus. Thus, one can have an increased number of Quaesitores, but most of them will not be experienced.

Similarly, the rearrangement to House Guernicus procedures could be an attempt on Bilera's part to revive practices that were supposed to have been in effect, but which had lapsed over the centuries. There would be a great deal of uncertainty and confusion as people became used to them.

Whenever possible, contintuiny should and must be preserved, or else, as I've stated previously, what is the point? The expansion of the Order's size is one of the easiest adjustments. I'm still trying to figure out the severe error in the description of the Prima of House Mercere. Insatella is 170 years old, not 80, in 1220 A.D., and she is most certainly Gifted. One of the things I liked best about 5th Ed. was that it seemed to recognise prior continuity in the historical overview. "Guardians of the Forest", for instance, appeared very careful in acknowledging most previously printed descriptions and canon (though Durenmar doesn't have any of the weird time-flow zones mentioned in the 2nd Ed. "Covenants" book).

Where did they "kill" Doissetep? Provencal hasn't been covered in 5th Ed., has it? If they simply chose not to mention it, that's not quite the same thing as attempting to redact Hermetic history to eliminate one of THE most influential Covenants.

Just to be clear, do you mean continuity all the way back to ArM2's "Order of Hermes" or something more recent? Or something older?

My problem with this, if you are even going back to ArM4, is that you are basically limiting the author pool. It's already an awful lot of homework to get up to the point where you can write for the line. I sometimes feel I'm not quite on top of everything in in ArM5, and the playtesters save me from making mistakes with their thoroughness. I'd hate for a new author to not only have to know ArM5, which is a reasonable request, but to also have to hunt down obscure and OOP stuff from older editions.

Say you are new to the game, and you have all of ArM5: why should you need to pay for hundreds of dollars of out of date and useless product just to write for the line? Do you really need to know "Mythic Seas" for example?

The story needs to reset from time to time, simply because there's no way to get people to volunteer to write if, when they ask to, you smack them on the nose with a demand like "must be conversant with everything published for Ars in the last ten years.", IMO.

Arawn wrote:
Whenever possible, contintuiny should and must be preserved, or else, as I've stated previously, what is the point?

Actually, I think the point should be the quality of the game. Isn't that one of the reasons for new editions. Sometimes it's important to loose bad ideas. For example; take the period when the editors at White Wolf had demons in their paints. Everything they touched became infested. A lot of what was authored at that time was good material, but I shouldn't will not feel obligated to accept the endless demons the editors peppered the released material with.

My point is we can use as much or as little as we like and needn't be too upset if definitions of the Ars Magic paradigm change a bit between editions. After all that is one of the "rules" in the book; see page 220 in the 5th edition, when it talks about "The pure fantasy saga" it pretty well makes this point. "include the Order of Hermes, or create your own"

The question as to what is the size of House Guernicus, and how many Quaesitores is a good one. It's just that it's a question that needs to be saga based. Like YR7's point about how his sage prefers a smaller number of Quaesitors.

The point is to have the best game possible. In this edition. Having the option of hunting down old supplements, or using your old ones, adds to the quaity and bredth of the Ars Magica game, so continuity should not be abandoned needlessly. But the point is to have the best current edition, not to artificially preserve stuff from old editions - and as Timothy said, this entails not forcing the writers to be fluent in past canon, which results in some "unnecessary" deviations from past canon.

An important point to remember is no Quaesitor is a full time investigator.

All Quaesitors are mages. They spend a lot of time in their labs, doing their own research, following their own interests.

I would be amazed if even one third of the total number of Quaesitors was available to do investigative/Code enforcement work at any time.

Looked at this way, the old numbers that have been quoted just represent active Quaesitors, those actually out in the field at any given time.

So, the answer to "where are all the Quaesitors?" is "in their labs, of course." :wink:

Sit vis vobiscum,

They did? What happened to it? Or are you referring to the fact that the House Flambeau background was changed so that it isn't, and indeed never was, the domus magna?

"Doissetep" is a trademark of White Wolf Inc used under license by Atlas Games. Insofar as I'm aware there are two others "Order of Hermes" and "Tremere". I'm honestly suprised that David didn't get rid of all three. Each of the others is easy to remove, IMO.

Arwan, I agree with you fully and entirely. However, we are either in the minority or, what I truly suspect, you and I are the only ones that won't back off as all the rabid fandomaniacs try and shout us down.

Continuity is important because I have been a long time loyal fan, I have spend hundreds of dollars on these sourcebooks, and I want them to retain some relevance to the game. Loyal fans, such as Arwan and myself, deserve some kind of consideration don't we?

And don't give me the new author excuse. It is the same old argument again and you know I don't buy it. And ironically, the biggest cannon changes come from authors that do not have that excuse, the iggest changes have come from long time followers of the game that do have all these books.

I don't want to get dragged into this again. It makes me a very unpopular person.

Ech, I agree with you most of the time. Continuity and the ability to pull together the whole history of the order is very important in Ars Magica - we were only last session lamenting a lack of peripheral code rules (with Tribunal specific examples), as in the Wizards' Grimoire, because it meant we has less prior law to draw upon when arguing our case. Likewise, having a history of an House or Tribunal allows you to explain all sorts of things in setting.

That said, I hold it more important that there be continuity within an edition than between them. Each edition has has different overall goals and they will inevitably clash in places. I'm not overly concerned with changes so much as unjustified, major changes. Changing the Domus Magnus of a house is fine as long as there's a reason such as bringing it more in line with the rest of the setting (or to avoid the wrath of WW). Increasing the number of Quaestitores (and making Magi Guernici less one-trick ponies) isn't really a huge change, especially since they're divided down the middle about policy and so the overall numbers on any given issue probably haven't changed. It just opens up stories.

That said, I really don't buy the "can't expect writers to read it all" argument. Firstly, not all books are necessary background for any given topic and I'd expect someone writing on (to pick an example entirely lacking in random interference) House Criamon to have read extensively on House Criamon even if all that does is allow them to make educated choices about what to axe. I'd not expect them to look at Mythic Seas, for instance. Secondly, the Line Editor has to approve proposals and read the final products to edit them into line with the rest of the books. As such, large changes should either be justified or caught.

They are. This comes down to a difference of opinion over what should not be changed.

I suspect we can all agree that the game should not canonically say that there were Jesuits in 1220, despite the existence of a second edition supplement that includes them. Similarly, there is a great deal of agreement that the aura of Reason (a whole realm) was a good thing to cut. There is little objection to the existence of the Houses of Hermes, even though they were a fabrication between editions.

I don't, in short, think that anyone actually wants me to preserve everything from past editions unchanged. The problem is that there are bits I have decided not to preserve that some people wanted kept. That's not a policy problem, and you can't argue it on the general "past canon should be preserved" level. You have to make the much more specific argument that it is damaging to the game as a whole to change that particular fact.

Let's take Flambeau. Why is it a good thing to drop demons-demons-everywhere and Craft Sex Toys (Painful Ones) from ToH: Iberia, but a dreadful undermining of past canon to drop the history of Flambeau from the same book?

And that's what I mean, more or less. Would it be possible to have something like a .pdf of design notes or decisions about a product released with it? I know asking people to justify their work grates, but given the nature of the game and the rather passionate feelings about it, knowing why things have changed does help. And is interesting even when it doesn't. Even if it's nothing more formal than a paragraph or two of the author's intent or your own "please take it in this direction" original comments, it'd make for a good (and hopefully useful) read.

Why do you choose to characterize this as an error? You must recognize that the author changed some of the details about Insatella previously established in earlier editions. Why do you think he did this? What are you still trying to figure out, exactly?

They had to make those disclaimers in previous editions as well. Anyway, the key phrase is "used under license." If Atlas didn't want to mention Doissetep at all in any of the new books, would they need to add that disclaimer? I've seen nothing to suggest that such a well-established covenant in the ArM background has been erased from the continuity, it just hasn't been mentioned yet (to the best of my knowledge).

If we don't include it and slip, that's a serious problem, while as an additional bit in the disclaimer it's not so serious.

We are just not mentioning Doissetep. If we do Provence and Iberia Tribunal books we will continue not to mention it, at which point it will be definitely absent, but for now it's just being played down.