Hermetic Fashion

I'm certain that for the most part, magi dress in clothing appropriate to the cultural region; so most will be dressed as scholars. Do they have customary outfits for Order-only occasions? How unified is House Jerbiton in their public image 'uniform'? What kind of fashion does Durenmar follow, since they're culturally isolated from the mundanes?


Magi dress as they want to dress. I have one maga who always dresses in green, another who always dresses in comfortable traveling clothes and a magus who dresses as a scholar, because he teaches at University...
Other magi I've had dress as they wish, too.

Interesting point... I am sure than Bjornaer aren't on fur, only if that is magically created... or naturally part of the bearer...

One Covenant with more of one Hermetic clothier: Verditius and Jerbiton, for example. debating about sense and other things...

The Tremere section of HoH:TL mentions formal robes and how they're dyed under "Uniform Robes" on p 112.

Clothing was traditionally used to denote different social and political groups. There must have also been regional variations as a result of different access to materials, propagation of weaving/tailoring techniques, and climate. I could actually see the magi of particular covenants dressing similarly because they're all dressed by the same tailor and for the same climate. It's also possible that House and tradition affects clothing style.

I think that, given that clothing denotes social status in many cases, that how a magus dresses is going to depend largely on his interaction with mundanes and society in general.

There will always be someone who bucks the trend because the Order of Hermes has its fair share of idiosyncratic characters and associated hipsters. Possibly more than its fair share, but hey.

So at the end of the day, it comes down to pragmatism as much as personality. If a magus dresses like a peasant he's going to be treated as one; possibly even by the covenfolk if the covenant is large enough that not everyone knows everyone else.

I expect most magi dress as either scholars or nobles, depending on their wealth and the image they're trying to convey. They might adopt Jerbiton ideals to better convey their status, but there's no guarantees there.

From what I can tell, even Tremere magi don't dress uniformly all the time. They certainly have their dress robes for council meetings and tribunal. Would they wear their dress robes when they're mucking about in the garden or battling a dragon? I'd say it varies by individual.

I favor playing Flambeau magi, who wear "adventuring gear" most often. One magus wears a studded leather hauberk most of the time, heavier armor if he expects trouble, and light leathers when lounging. There is a running bit about him wearing the same tattered red cape for years and years now.
Another maga, the schtick is that she wears male clothing that looks anything but male the way she wears is, sort of like an anachronistic 1980's heavy metal chick wearing a pseudo middle ages outfit (leather pants, silk shirt, bustier).
An idea I have adopted from White Wolf (gasp!) is based on a fan created modern Flambeau "path" for the NWoD mage. Cerimonial robes for formal functions, either red with gold embroidery, or black with silver for the Apromorian style, with various arcane symbols worked in.

Considering that a good chunck of magi are lacking in the social skill department (okay, I am over-generalising), they might not be aware of social grace, etiquette and fashion.
That being said, I am sure several Houses have a different take on that:

  • Verditius and their Hubris should use their clothing to display their skill and mastery (and protect themselves from Vendetta)
  • Bonisagus being the most hermetic scholar and their in-house Prestige must also have some form of code
  • Tremere and their strong hierarchical structure might have some discret form (or not so discret) to indicate their rank and if they belong to a project (I forgot the specific name they use)
  • Jerbiton, definitely. And probably the one "importing" mundane fashion into the Order.
  • Criamon... err... Diogenes'clothing style :smiley: to better show their tattoos
  • Flambeau, functionnal, with a sense of class/status, especially in Normandy tribunal
  • Bjornaer, more because of functionality, the cloth's fabric should match their magic (or the magical item used to) if it transform with them. So very likely, it will be all animal (fur, wool, skin, button made of bones & ivory) or all plants (linen, cotton, woods, straw).
  • Ex Miscellanea... oh boy... why bother...
  • Guernicus, when they are on official duty, without trying to discreetly investigate, I would expect a very formal attire, with large symbol of their house, if only to force respect and make sure that magus think twice before doing something silly.
  • Mercere, well they have their RedCap. I am sure that between themself, they use symbol to indicate where they have been, how far, how long, what danger's they faced
  • Merinita, I am not sure they really bother about that.
  • Tytalus, definitely not, or their contrary. They have their persona, so that's enough.

Of course, important characters like Archmagus, Primus and such are more aware of their status and might want to have something more imposing/respectable.

Cults members might wear a discreet sign to identify themself in public meeting (a brooch of an animal, a ring with a given stone, small symbol embroided on their sleeves). But during cult meeting and ceremony, I am sure they each have a specific "uniform".

Jerbiton wear blue with starswhen they want to be seen as wizards by mundanes. Should be in Lords of Men somewhere.

To be fair on House Ex Misc, it's not a bunch of unwashed hedgies, but a house that more realistically consists of dozens of tiny lineages/houses. The diversity here is going to be as great or greater than that of the other houses.

A beastmaster, a rusticani and a learned magician who are all members of the Order would all belong to Ex Misc. Each would dress very differently.

Social grace, etiquette and fashion all matter in any social engagement; magi are still people. How you dress is going to impact what other magi think of you at Tribunal; I suspect more than a few magi spend at least a moment or two contemplating their appearance. Certainly the successful politicians would.

Yeah. I could see them resembling knights/aristocratic warriors in their dressing habits. Aristocrats back then used to spend a much larger proportion of their income on clothes than most people do now. It appeals to me to imagine that the Flambeau are the most flamboyantly fashionable house, as a result of competitive pride and fear of death.

Maybe jewelry that exhibits vis?

That seems incredibly gauche. I can see it being very popular in certain circles, and frowned upon as indecency in others.

Medieval folks tended to be big on display, especially nobles and the like. Whether wizards are or aren't is entirely up to the game I suspect. You dress to your wealth levels; to do otherwise would be seen as being greedy or just strange.

But I would assume that wizards grew up in the rich, vibrant (and to modern sensibilities, somewhat gauche) world of 1200's, not after the protestant phase came in quite a few centuries later.

That was explicitly mentioned (as popular) in earlier editions.

Remember that the puritanical movement doesn't come around until after 1550 or so. The Cathars have some of the same ideas, but are supressed as heretics.
Certain italian merchant families also had the idea that they were "so rich there was no need to flaunt it" and are mentioned negatively by their comteporaries as I recall.
Ofcourse, they were likely consigned to Hell anyway, as they lend money to other christians at an interest :wink:

Agreed. Wasn't it City and Giuld which had a story seed about medieval sensibilities and "spending = good, saving up = bad"?

Indeed! On page 39, to be specific. A story that makes me twitch, because the part of me that remembers that I'm reading a book for a fantasy game is saying "ha, sorry, this stretches my suspension of disbelief too far, there's no way people would actually support such ridiculous practices," while the part of me that remembers what Mythic Europe is is punching the other part and saying "hey, dude, this is actually what people used to believe! This is the real part!"

On another note, I might be a bad person, or I might be suffering from the side effects of good writing on the game designers' part. I just noticed while typing the above that I've basically admitted to being more uncomfortable with medieval spending habits than any of the things they did that were morally, rather than financially, reprehensible. Maybe it's because I'm able to use Ars Magica's existence to justify categorizing 1200s morality as "interesting setting details."

I don't believe in medieval Europe any more. I hope you're proud of yourselves, Atlas Games.

Actually, I'm pretty sure magi keep vis near them in jewelry and such containers as a practical measure and warning to others. I'm too lazy to look at the page numbers, but in the section on using vis in the core rulebook, it mentions that some keep vis near them basically to say "hey, I have a way to boost my casting total on my person and I'm not afraid to use it to punch a hole in you, so don't mess with me." Though that means that it'd probably also be taken as a sign of wariness, meaning it'd be less common at highly civil or legal gatherings, like Tribunals or especially the Grand Tribunal, but it'd be really common if a group of associates with any new members were having a meeting... Or, actually, in higher-vis sagas, it might be common as a part of everyday dress.

I think it is easy to draw the equivalent of attending a social gathering with a non-apparat sword, or for more modern setting, walking around with a gun in a holster, or even a shotgun on a shoulder.
Depending on the setting and time, it would be perfectly acceptable or utterly unacceptable/offensive.

The main difference with weapons is that weapon will always be before all a weapon, even if it has some defensive value. Whereas vis is much more versatile, some magi might be less surprised by somebody carrying some vis during a Tribunal that carrying a crossbow at the same event. Even if they can probably do more damage with the virtus than with the crossbow (but it bypasses Parma :smiley: ).

If nothing else you might e carrying vis for trade at a tribunal, since in addition to being able to boost spells in combat it can be used for healing, making objects, and as currency.

Sure, but you don't need to display it or have it very handy. It could be stoved in a pack or carried around by a servant. Vis I have convenient for immediate use for an emergency wouldn't be the vis I intend to trade or use for lab activities.

healing or conjuring a tool would not be lab activities. The point is it does not have to be for combat just because t is on your person. It's more like a knife- it can be a utility knife, or a weapon. Ignem vis would be pretty much open for hostilities, aquum or corpus would be seen less suspiciously, creo wuld probably not be given a second glance, if for some reason (spell or otherwise) it was clear what kind of vis it was...