Houses membership and free virtues

It just came to my mind: any magi must belong to one House by law (True Lineages, in the Vagrancy box, explicitly says so: "by a First Tribunal ruling, magi are legally required to have a House")... but can they belong to more?

I know magi sometimes change houses. The most usual change is when you clash with your own House customs and you get a free ticket to join House Ex Miscellanea, and at least in our games House Flambeau is known to have adopted excepcionally skilled good warrior magi, not to talk that if you ask a Merinita magi about his stuff she'll probably agree to teach you Faerie Magic, which will make you a member of House Merinita, and Societates mentions that my beloved tytali sometimes even proclaim other magi from other houses members of Tytalus, agreeing or not. So (except for the first example, which obviously does) do all these changes remove the magus from his former House, as he gets into his new one?

And how much emphasis should be put in the free house virtues of new magi then? Imagine a real Tytalus magi that switchs houses just for the fun of it and ends up being an Ex-Miscellanea magus. And then he trains an Apprentice, but knowing that the way he was trained is the good way to go, tortures the poor apprentice for 15 years. Even when he's going to be an Ex Miscellanea, shouldn't he just have the Self-Confident virtue, instead of getting the Ex Miscellanea virtues & flaw combo appearing from thin air? Or what if a Verditius happens to have a quite clever apprentice that gets taken by a Bonisagus after getting initiated into the Outer Misteries of Verditius and gaining the virtue Verditius Magic? Would you allow such a character to get Verditius Magic even if he gets the Bonisagus' Puissant Magic Theory?

I believe the Ex Miscellanea chapter of the Societas House of Hermes book mentions Orbis magi as passing on their original House Virtue, unless they get they arrange to have their apprentice trained significantly by a "proper" Ex Misc mage.

Mystery cults are a special case - the "virtue" (which comes with the casting tools drawback for Verditius, and the increased likelihood of going into Twilight for Criamon) arises when you are initiated into the Outer Mystery, so it can be the moment your Arts are opened (for a Verditius), at the next Gathering of Twelve Years (Bjornaer), to the end of training (for Criamon) or anywhere inbetween (Merinita, Ex Miscellanea traditions that are more like a mystery).

For everyone else, it's assumed in Apprentices that ten years of exposure to your master's style gives you the free Virtue they had. If you move houses - it's up to you how much of your apprentices training you do, and how much you get other magi to give, as long as your apprentice gets one season per year. Apprentices provides some guidance, but if you're really blending concepts (Gorgiastic Criamon who joined Tytalus but had to join Ex Miscellanea) it's really up to your troupe.

If I don't remember wrong the Praeco (oldest living magi in the tribunal) is a member of House Quaesitor as well as their own house. They become a member of House Quaesitor when they become Praeco. But this may be considered a exception to any other normal rule. And it might also be more of a honorary member. Nor super sure.

I think the bigger question is if a second house would be willing to emit a magi that already belongs to a house. And what do the "first" house think of that.

I think your memory is betraying you on this issue.

The Praeco is discussed on page 15 of the core book. He or she does not need to be house Gurnicus, in fact a house Gurnicus Praeco sort of messes things up as I imagine it wouldn't be proper to have the same person be both Praeco and presiding quaesitor, so some uncommon arrangements would need to be made.

so... kinda?

Serfs Parma - I'm sure there was something in the HOH:S book in the tytalus section about house tytalus being the only one that might have a member who also belongs to another house as a Tytalus will call someone else a Tytalus mage if they have earned their respect and proved themselves worthy of being called a member of house Tytalus.

I think it also says that the other houses will only allow a person to belong to one other house - which means many magi get annoyed if Tytalus magi give them the 'respect' of calling them a member of their house

Yes I read that but it was not that I was referring to. If you look at Houses of Hermes - True Lineages page 39; "Although no magus can enter House Guernicus unless apprenticed to a Guernicus master, other magi can become Quaesitors.". I got this mixed up, being a Quaesitor and House Quaesitore.

And in Ars Magica 4th edition page 20 you find: "Although House Guernicus trains and inducts their own apprentices, other magi can also join their ranks. One of the highest honors in the Order is to be invited by the elders of House Guernicus to become a quaesitor. Such magi usually retain membership in their original house."

This one was what I original remembered to have read, but could not find immediately. The other I found on redcap ( I would argue that the Ars 4 wording is a little vague, but my interpretation is you become a member, and usually have a double membership. =)

Consider this:

One of those 11 Houses that does not permit dual membership is House Guernicas, according to canon. The real key is to remember that there is no such thing as House Quaesitor. There are two different things: House Guernicas and the Quaesitores. If you are in House Guernicas, you can become a Quaesitor; but that conditional statement does not imply its converse. Getting away from the logic, check the following:

Read HoH:TL p.38's "The Quaesitores," and you'll see it keeps referring to the non-Guernicas Houses of non-Guernicas Quaesitores.

I suspect the strongest evidence is this, though:

What could be a problem is that a apprentice already considered as full Bjornaer once the Heartbeast is opened even if this was done during his first year but a Bonisagus could still take away this "apprentice" because its only the Bjornaer consider him as mage at this point.
The right to take away a apprentice always have the problem that the house secret was already thought to the apprentice while the apprentice time was not official ended and so the apprentice even though (s)he is a Bonisagus the old house still won't give up its claim that this is one of their own member.

Also there not to few who as full mage left their house to join a other, sure they official will called with their new house but he previous house will depending on the fame still hold some claims toward the betrayer.

Well, a Bonisagus labrat pissing off a bunch of Bjornaers would be something fun to see.

Thanks everyone, it seems that I spent so much time among Tytali, and took their view as a potential canon.

Buit the numbers are the numbers: only House Tytalus allows it. And maybe these odd Merinita magi who happens to have the Diedne Magic virtue and are pretty good spontaneus casters.

House Diedne legally doesn't exist as of 1220. (I houserule away the idea that Diedne Magic comes with an automatic Dark Secret, but that's another tale for another time.)

Back to the original question: You get one Free Virtue. If you want to play an apprentice with a complicated lineage, or a Guernicus non-Quaesitor, or another Apprentice who wouldn't have the House Virtue, talk to your troupe (as darkwing said).

Of course House Diedne doesn't exists, legally or otherwise! wink wink wink

That's what I thought, to lessen the strenght of the free virtue, moving it from a mandatory virtue to another one which seems fitting for the whole troupe. After all magi usually end with a few minor virtues and picking which one among them is given for free doesn't really matter, specially if the virtue fits the concept. Societates seems to go that direction when it allows Flambeau magi specialized in hand to hand combat to be given Warrior as the Free Virtue.

There is a huge difference between designing an player-character magus from scratch, and having an apprentice be trained by a player character magus during play.

When creating a character you can define your Parens to have been whatever is needed to get the character you want to play...within reason. There is (as I often believe and mention) an issue of balance. Some things are known and done by some Houses, with an explanation of limitations and drawbacks. You can't just pick-and-mix all the cool elements without the drawbacks. Look at the Ex Misc traditions, they come with some (more or less) cool Hermetic virtues, but in a package deal with something Major and -non-Hermetic, plus a Hermetic Flaw. Taking just toen oen cool element might upset the balance, or simply feel "wrong" in the troupe and saga. Or designing a magus with several of the cool Ex Misc things...this was not meant to be, since they are different traditions. In one of my sagas a player was looking at combining some of these, but another player felt it was wrong and shoudl be impossible for a single magus to learn all that. The troupe overall decided it was best to avoid.

When a player character magus trains an apprentice, the apprentice must pick up something the Parens could plausibly teach. Otherwise you need a very good explanation - like fostering out the apprentice to another. But if the Parens had previously switched from adifferent House both eh and the filius could be known as odd balls.

As for the Mystery Cults, new members should need to learn the Mystery. And members leaving may suffer the consequences and their cults may want to preserve their secrets.