HoH Societas: first impressions - Tytalus

Interesting on a quick skim. Like the Titanoi concept.

Good to see Bleoved Rival makes a reappearance.

Don't have a chance to read it fully.

Just a thought: as written, the background implies that Tytalus and Tremere did not know the secret of Parma Magica when they slew Guorna as it was their mistress, not the brothers, that accompanied Trianoma to Bonisagus's cave in the Black Forest. I guess it's always been indirectly implied before, but it's an interesting scenario none the less.

Any clarification/confrmation on that?



Oh yes.
It has been expicitly stated that Guorna went to the Forest with Triamora.
Tytalus and Co ambushed her at her return and had wiped out her
Lineage in Naples.
After slaying her. he, Tremere and Prallix (!) marched on Durenma !

Yes, Guorna the fetid is responsible for three Houses !
and Ex-Misc..........

This is primarily an expansion from HoH:TL: House Tremere. Trianoma was interested in collecting powerful wizards who could benefit the nascent Hermetic Magic, and Guorna sure had a lot to offer.

What should be clear is that Guorna was killed before she joined the Order. The 'party line' (such that it exists) is probably that she never intended to join the Order, just wanted to rape its secrets.

Pralix had to have started her training, really. It is a only four decades before she is leading an army against a powerful magical threat, so she really needs to have a jump start on the magic!

It is never stated which of the three Guorna intended to transfer her soul into. Tytalus had the most raw power, but Tremere had more potential, and would probably be easier to overcome. Pralix would have had the least resistance (and was the same sex), so she was probably the prime candidate. However, I'd always seen this doubt as the sole reason that Tytalus and Tremere worked together. If, say, Tremere had been the clear target, Tytalus would have probably left him to his fate, same with Pralix. They had to work together because they didn't know Guorna's plan; and needed help in case they themselves were her intended victim.


Thanks for the clarification Mark.

I like the way the odd triumvirate of apprentices from Guorna's line has been fleshed out - did you have a hand in the Line of Pralix in Ex Misc BTW?



Yup, that was me. I also wrote the generic Ex Misc section and the Hermetic Sahirs. To be honest, a lot of the sections were interleaved - Erik's Columbae and Damhadh-Duisan (in RoP:tI) impacts on the history of the house and the line of Pralix, and Andrew's Flambeau impacts on the Hermetic Sahirs, and some of the Tytalus history (the bit where the two Houses almost go to war). It is a very integrated book!


Hey Mark.

I wanted to ask a few questions of you on Tytalus.

First, I was wondering about the leper thing. As I understand it, Tytalus and Hariste being lepers is "new". I can understand Guorna being a leper, but I thought leprosy was a Divine curse with very specific causes. What was the motivating idea behind allowing a Magical tradition/mystery to induce or otherwise cause a Divine curse? I suppose it could be explained as a Magical curse that looks and acts very much like leprosy but isn't, but that stikes me as a bit fast and loose.

Secondly, but related to the first, why wouldn't the vis generated by the leper magus virtue not be Divine as leprosy is a Divine curse. The pain induced in generating the vis seems appropriate to the theme of Divine punishment, but wouldn't that be Divine vis instead of Magical?

Note, this isn't criticism. I'm just missing the bridging thoughts between my understanding of previously published material and what I've read in the Tytalus chapter and I would like your help.

Thanks much,


Which I think make it great.

Ah, that's something you've maybe misunderstood . The curse is most definitely Divine - the lineage (not mystery) of leper magi do not induce or cause the curse. The quote from Exodus perhaps explains the first four magi of the lineage - cursed to the fourth generation - but subsequently, the magi are recruited from those few Gifted lepers. They already suffer the curse, for whatever reason. This is clearly indicated in the insert titled 'The Curse of Leprosy'

Oh and yes, it is a new thing. Tytalus believes that Guorna passed the disease to him for his matricide, but this has different interpretations. Magically, Guorna could have inflicted on herself a lethal wound and used all that vis in a powerful ritual curse (of course, her version of the Leper Magus Virtue would have been different). Alternatively, it could be that the sin of matricide actually induced the disease, and Guorna had nothing to do with it.

What Hariste and Epimethius did to contract the curse goes unsaid, but it could have been a lingering Divine curse (a la Exodus) due to Guorna's acts. Sophists were commonly accused of atheism in Ancient Greece; that in itself could be enough.

The Flaw is Divine, but the Virtue is Hermetic. Note also that Leprosy is a General Flaw, not a Supernatural one; while the cause of the curse is supernatural, the effects are not. The magi aegroti have found a way to get power from their disease, as an extension of the Life Boost Virtue. I don't see them as tapping into the source of the curse itself, but rather the effect that the curse has on their bodies (like an upside of Painful Magic).

There is the fact that these cursed people use their magics to benefit the lot of mankind. In effect, they are doing penance for whatever caused them to develop leprosy in the first place, I don't see why God would punish them for their contrition (since He knows that Divine vis is a penalty to Hermetic magi). It might be that a particularly wicked magus aegrotus might suddenly produce Divinely-tainted vis, to punish him further. Alternatively, a leper magus might be perfectly placed to adopt Holy Magic - they have the right temperament for this. I certainly imagine that the Susceptibility to the Divine Flaw is not uncommon!

That was my thinking, although much of this was 'behind the scenes'. Of course, there is the added coolness of a leprous magus - the physically gross and socially anathemised Tytali are probably the most altruistic members of their House! - the irony has a certain appeal (to me, anyway)!This is ably assisted by the fantastic artwork of the Tytalus chapter.

Hope this helps,


My first impression on reading this was that Guorna, being a pre-Hermetic Mercurian Magus in terms of magical tradition (at least partly given she is implied to have some, but perhaps not all Goetic Arts - see other reply) may have pre- cast a variant of a [i]Watching Ward[i] linked spell on her body that inflicted a Major Flaw on her killer, triggered by her death. As a Mercurian Ritual based curse it could have an odd Duration or Effect such as D:If(Slain) and/or D:Special (for 3 generations). It's a very "Tytalus" thing to do IMO - the conditional "venegeance spell" - and a concept that comes down from earlier editions. It would make sense to have originated from Guorna in a way...

In this case the Major Flaw she chose to be inflicted was Leprosy and her killer (ultimately one individual must ahve striuck the final blow, although you impy all 3 apprentices were involved) was Tytalus. For poetic justice/effect it would make sense for her to use vis gained through her use of the Leper Magus Virtue, if she did indeed posess this.

You seem to imply that Guorna's version of the Leper Magus would have been different. How so?

Alternatively, a powerfully worded Hex (either a major (eg. inflict a a debilitating illness) or critical effect per RoP:I, p92) may have been sufficient to allow Guorna to inflict Leprosy upon her matricidal elder apprentice, although this probably wouldn't be sufficient to transmit the disease through to Hariste and later Epimetheus. I'd see the Supernatural Ability Hex in keeping with Guorna's depiction so far.

Note that none of Guorna's apprentices would have learnt the Parma Magica at the time of their betrayal - it's possible that Bonisagus/Trianoma did not trust the archnecromantrix enough to teach her the Parma at their first correspondence. They would thus be more vulnerable to a retaliatory curse than might first be assumed from their later reputations and membership of the fledgling Order.

I like the idea that Guorna could have cast a curse that afflicted three generations of her descendants - Tytalus, Hariste, Epimethius. Perhaps her original intention was to target her three apprentices, but Tytalus managed to subvert/alter the curse to affect only himself and two magi of his direct lineage instead. An oddly charitable act - perhaps Guorna merely botched and the intent of the curse was subverted?

Perhaps Hariste's crime was simply to love Tytalus, and Epimethius's sin was to merely that of comforting his afflicted mater? After that, the Leper Magus lineage took to seeking out those Gifted individuals already afflicted with their curse in order to prevent contagion through the House - Epimethius as Primus may have declared or been forced to relinquish the right to train an unafflicted apprentice.

As to where Guorna obtained her original Curse - her Leprosy would make an ideal candidate for the first Major Flaw gained when she hit a Warping score of 6 (see ArM5 corebook) - in the days before the Order, before Cramon's gift of Twilight. This is another explanation for Tytalus, but it would seem odd for him to have such a high Warping score early in his career and then presumably he gains the benefit of Twilight from Criamon.

Alternatively, Guorna could have been cursed by her parens, a demon/spirit, or one of the leaders of the other necromancer cults she squashed, after all the Biblical quote says 4 generations...



Which is another interesting point. The character of Guorna has always fascinated me and I've enjoyed the way you (and to a lesser extent, Timothy, in HoH:TL Tremere) have developed her background.

You imply that the Guorna, Tytalus and in particular Tsagillia had access to the Ars Goetia (HoH:S, p96), although later day Titanoi claim they only preserve the Spirit Mastery Hermetic practices of their forebear.

If this is the case, it seems odd that Guorna would wish to transfer her soul into one of her apprentices as both Ablation and Binding allow a form of Longevity that is potentially superior to this, albeit at a heavy price.

Did she not possess these Arts or did she choose not to use them?

Was she truly Infernal or just despicable? (A fine distinction to be sure).

Interested in your conception of this.



Well, if you wanted to be immortal, which body would you prefer? A young and healthy one, or a frail, old and, well, fetid one?

Transfering her soul was maybe just the first step.

An ablation bonus can only be as large as the largest spirit you've ablated so even a might 40 spirit will "only" give you +8, and that's if your ablation total is 88. The ablation total is ablation+stress die +realm lore + aura + penetration. Ablation bonuses for aging are not cumulative they have to come from one event.

A bound spirit inside of one can speak thoughts into the person's mind, can still use their powers against the person when they wish to and they'll see and hear everything that the target sees and hears. Furthermore the person will suffer warping and can age from the effects of vituperation.

These drawbacks of Binding are sufficient that the hypothesis that Gurna knew a method of prolonging her life by transferring her spirit to a younger body and found this option preferable to the use of Binding is pretty reasonable.

The use of ablation does not preclude the need for a better longevity method and I imagine that after transferring her spirit into a new body that Gurna would wish to use ablation to keep the new body functioning s well.

I just noticed a funny point about tytalus magi: Their way of thinking is very similar to some satanists teachings. I don't know if this is intentionnal, but, if it is, I like the irony.

Entirely accidental, as I know next-to-nothing about satanism (I presume you mean modern satanism rather than "Old-School" devil worship). I based them mainly on Sophism - a slightly mischievous 'philosophy' (if you can call it that) which was universally reviled by traditional philosophers, since it taught you how to win arguments. It favoured results over method - Sophists were not required to be consistent or fair, just successful. Interestingly enough, the Ancient Greek word for 'cleverness' has the same etymological roots as their word for 'terrible' - that was my guiding inspiration!

I'd be interested to know where you see Tytalism and satanism converging.


Well, I'm not an expert on modern satanism, but, AFAK, it places a great emphasis on the self (in fact, you should be your own god), the idea that might is right, and the notion that people aren't equal.
Nature is also preponderant over nurture (you are born satanist, or not), humans being just another bunch of animals, and you should reveal in it instead of being constrained by society's artificial rules (which were made by the weak to constrain the strong).