How do you view the Diedne and the Schism War in your Saga?

Like it says in the title, I'm curious how people view the Diedne and the Schism War.

My take, to start us off, actually starts with the Infernal. Hell . . . recruits. Some faeries - generally malevolent - have been drawn over the line between Realms. (For that matter, there's probably at least one demon who uses a Faerie regio to provide "visits to Hell" for diabolists.)

Then we get to House Tremere. They are probably aware that some of the entities their tradition used to deal with have become aligned with the Infernal. Perhaps the corruption of House Tytalus got started because someone called on a spirit that had transitioned.

Now we get to House Diedne. Diedne essentially brought in an entire order of magician-priests. They were the largest house by far, they stayed aloof, and just about every magic tradition at least dabbles in theurgy, if only to ward away hostile influences. Also, House Diedne was determinedly non-Abrahamic.

Hell recruits. What if some of their pantheon ended up aligning with the Infernal? Would they even notice? Noticing, would they care? The spirits in question had been theirs to call on since time immemorial.

Under this idea, Tremere was probably the first to notice that Diedne was "dealing with demons". Given their own institutional experience, they probably guessed how it happened, and pointed it out to the leaders of Diedne so that they could clean house internally. At this point, Diedne would have rebuffed Tremere for trying to shove Christian sensibilities down their throats and get rid of their time-honored gods and spirits. (In my view, "aloof" easily evolves into "insular, provincial, small-minded, and narrow-minded" when it comes to whatever you're aloof from.)

And at that point, Tremere internal logic would say, "Doesn't matter if they're too corrupt or just too proud/stupid to listen now, they're going to be corrupt and a massive threat to the Order Real Soon Now. If they won't take good counsel and prevent their self-inflicted disaster, we have to make sure it doesn't spread."

Whether Tremere or Diedne bears more blame for the disaster that followed would depend on saga-specific circumstances - how high-handed or condescending were the Tremere when giving the Diedne the heads-up? How often were the Diedne-specific Infernals being called on? How long did it take the Diedne to reject Tremere counsel? Had any Diedne moved on to calling upon demons that weren't from their culture? Etc.


<--Casts Ward against Heat and Flame, raises Parma, and dons asbestos suit.

My take? The Schism War was a colossal failure of politics. Most Houses have secrets, they just don't make a big deal of them. I mean, look at the Verditius. Everyone knows that they can do stuff with devices that others can't. But they don't know how they do it and they don't know whether they know the extent of their abilities.

But House Diedne, for me, took things to a new level. They might have been consorting with Infernal powers. They might not have done. Whether they were or not is besides the point. And when someone came asking about something that someone had told them that someone thinks they saw..? The House clams up: "Sure, ask your questions. But I'm not answering. And I have fifty other Diedne magi here who agree with me."

If you have a House standing so resolutely together, refusing to engage, and you have House Tremere that has taken appointed themselves protectors of the Order, and House Flambeau that's looking for an outlet, and House Guernicus that's looking for an opportunity to prove its value... there's going to be trouble.

The Schism War is First Blood. Yes, I'm comparing the Schism War to a Stallone film. If the House had just answered the man's questions, had his finger prints taken, and got processed by the judge in the morning then it would all have been over and dealt with. But no. House Diedne pushed back and people died.

So it doesn't matter to me about the Infernal thing. Maybe one among them had been corrupted and they wanted to deal with it themselves in their own way. Maybe they had all be turned. Maybe none of them. But the reason it went the way it did is because the House responded to interest by closing ranks and shutting down.

As a mindset, that makes a lot more sense to me than an entire House being in league with the Infernal. I think that's something that would be culturally hard to sustain. Not impossible (after all the Verditius are able to carry out the secrets of their own mysteries in full view) but hard.

And I'm afraid I don't buy House Diedne as being a non-Christian House. Look how early Christianity swept through Europe. You then had three or four-hundred years of Christian culture built upon that. Were there pagan influences? Sure. The core rulebook still makes provision for it and it is (if memory serves) still found across eastern Europe in 1220. But that's not where House Diedne was strong. They were strong in Christian lands. So why would they refuse the evidence of their own study combined with their own culture? Sure, they'd use particular spirits for their power, their wisdom, their willingness to intercede when asked. Is that enough to be considered "pagan"?

So in summary:

Not pagan
Almost certainly not Infernal
Definitely damned by secrecy

My take...

Following the revelation of and destruction of the Infernal influences in House Tytalus, the Order fragmented. Magi became more paranoid and suspcious of each other, fearing that their neighbors or even their own covenant mates might be corrupted. The Order was on the brink of collapse.

A skrimish started between magi of House Tremere and House Diedne. It might have been a personal matter, or a larger fued, but suddenly members of the two most organized Houses were engaged in open conflict. The Tremere called upon allies to assist them. The prevealing fear of Infernal taint was fuel to the fire, and the Diedne were accused of Infernalism by their enemies.

Here, the Quaesitors made a choice. They backed the Tremere and their allies. House Diedne was Renouced as a whole for Infernalism. The fear and paranoia of the fragmented Order was given a target.

When the smoke cleared, the Diedne were destroyed and the Quaesitors were able to restore stability to the Order.

Were the Diedne dealing with demons? As an institution, no. Some individuals may have been, but no moreso then any other House.

I'd be tempted to paint a more cynical picture, that the Tremere and Quaesitors deliberately used the Diedne as scape-goats in a fabricated conflict to unite the Order under their control... However, on due consideration, I favor the escalating conflict model above.

Some of these Christian lands are less commited than it might appear. England, say, was pagan under the Romans for several hundred years, then Christian under the Romans a couple of hundred years, then invaded by pagans, who were eventually (after several hundred years) then converted again to Christian, and then there are invasions (and settlement) by pagan vikings. So, at the time of the Schism War, parts of England, are (relatively) recent converts to Christianity.

So, there is certainly an undercurrent of paganism in many places that the Diedne were strong. Even today (in RL), there are memories of paganism buried in the culture; what do words like "Wednesday" actually mean? And there is evidence in the landscape, what is "Stonehenge"? In Mythic Europe, (especially at the time of the Schism War) it certainly seems plausible that as well as this real, kind of cultural memory of paganism, there are small, hidden, atavistic pagan cults --- not mainstream, but certainly plausible as an Hermetic Mystery.

My version has a minority of Diedne magi actually being infernalists, being the cause but with the ending being more like when "other" houses have become infested with such. Except on a much larger scale.
So, the war is maybe halfway as bad as by RAW, house Diedne gets severely reduced in size and is under constant suspicion of infernalism(something i´ve strengthened by giving their magic the ability to draw extra power from Infernal without actually making it "infernalism" BUT also greatly raising the risk of characters using it gaining infernal taint(which in turn very likely will make people become infernalists)) and becomes more withdrawn due to the treachery of so many of the order, while the Tremere takes a severe hit of mistrust for trying to engineer the total destruction of Diedne, breaking the very reason for the order to exist at all...

So, i end up with the two formerly largest houses reduced in size a good bit, both loosing far more still influence and both being under suspicion of one thing or another, infernalism and "evil" scheming mostly.
In my opinion, much better than RAW. :wink:
And apparently im a dreadful pagan for thinking so.

Pagans, obviously. Perhaps the reason christianity hasnt conquered everywhere even where the church rules.
Infernal, no. But with a raised risk of becoming it for anyone who uses one of their "house specials".

Why would their pantheon change alignment all of a sudden? That wouldnt make sense at all.
And whats to say that their pantheon is any the less divine than the Abrahamic religions god?

With the dislike, even hatred of Diedne by Tremere, i find that course of action highly unlikely.
And i question that reasoning as well. If they tell Diedne about it, it will most likely be as part of a scheme to gain power one way or another.

House Tremere in the role of the selfless good guys? Thats totally against their nature.

Yeah, just about all of Europe except the south has plenty enough non-christians around, more or less and more or less openly, but certainly not gone by 13th century.

My take on Diedne is most definitely a pagan one. They’re always described as descending from Druids and I don’t see them as abandoning their beliefs and still keeping the magic. Before Bonisagus’s normalization of magical traditions and development of Parma, the way orders of magicians stayed together was through shared secrets and beliefs. Since the whole Gallic Druid thing is admittedly anachronistic, I like to go with the flow and see them as Frazier and the 19th century people did, with ties to Hermeticism, Egyptian star cults, and other cool stuff. Hermetic Fertility magic is a great way to grow Sacred Kings and Cthonic Magic explains the homage to dark powers and use of human sacrifice, which might have always existed among the Diedne or may have been a desperate act during the Schism war.

I view the early Order of Hermes as centered in Carolingian lands and playing a closer role in mundane society than in later years. The mostly Christian Latin Houses would have been involved in the “Carolingian Renaissance”. Off to the side, I see the Diedne keeping to themselves and slowly seething at the growth of the Dominion around them. By the 10th century, the Carolingian realms are falling apart and pagan Vikings and Magyars are swarming. It’s no coincidence – the Diedne are involved and want to overthrow the existing order. Naturally this leads to conflict with the Latin Houses. By the time it’s all over the Diedne are gone, the Dominion is growing again, and the Order of Hermes has become fanatical about staying out of mortal conflicts, feeling that they’re the path to splitting the Order itself again and starting another terrible civil war.

Not having a long and well established campaign , i find no great need to define the Diedne.

Me too. No need to define in detail, even though we have a fairly long-running saga.

For our saga (as far as I know, as a player), Diedne is dead and buried. It's part of legal history, and it is source of paranoia...but Diedne are not likely to actually appear (if they still exist at all). Which, of course, doesn't stop the characters either speculating about Diedne or occasionally thinking that some shadows are evidence of Diedne.

To make a long explanation short, we have done both extremes and a lot of stuff in the middle.... but 99% of the time it is simply left undefined. One of the great things about the infernal is that they try to mess up with you, just because it is funny in our saga :slight_smile: so a lot of the cases where we see a "hah! so they were infernal!" is just demons messing with us. Been there, done that (and been fooled myuself a few times).

In our current saga they do not play much of a role, even if we are in the British Isles. If forced, I would say that in our current saga they were simply whipped out because they were not Roman, not because they were much of an infernal ally. In other sagas they had been full minions of hell and martyrs that were so holy that they would make Jesus look bad. We have tended to make them darker as time passes and out teenage good-bad division gets shades of gray.


shrug Because canon Ars 5thica likes to make polytheistic religions about the worship of powerful Fae.

As to why they might change - most wouldn't. But the Infernal seems tied to the spread of the Dominion, and either RoP:Faerie or RoP:Infernal talks about demons recruiting darker faeries to collect souls for them, and the faeries in question possibly switching over. And there are ancient magical entities who have become associated with the Infernal as well, according to RoP:Infernal

I'm not trying to say that the whole pantheon would have gleefully jumped into the arms of Hell or anything. Just one or two with a "doesn't like humans" attitude, after centuries of courting.

Yes. And a slam-dunk from their point of view - Diedne has to respond, and the most "aloof, nose-in-the-air, stuck-up-DnD-Forgotten-Realms-elf" House in the Order suddenly owes Tremere a massive favor. The idea is (please forgive me) competent Slytherin.

Very few people are villains in their own minds. Tremere sees themselves as pragmatic realists, cynical-yet-wise protectors of a bunch of overpowered eggheads who mistake scholarly nitpicking for wisdom.

Granted, that take on Tremere is new to 5th edition, but, hey, they got out of the vampire business before anyone realized just how much demand there is for emo stalkers that sparkle, and it's too late to go back.


My PoV? The Diedne were baby eating pagans that deserved everything that happened to them. In fact, I think they deserved worse and they got off light.
War is a harsh circumstance, but sometimes necessary.
The Diedne were like a cancer, they needed to be cut out and the process caused some pain, but on the whole the Order is healthier because of it.

But did you save any of the recipes? :astonished:

I've wanted to run it with the present order being full of doubt regarding whether or not the Diedne were really as bad as the schism war era magi believed. I'd like many of the characters to believe, crediably, that the Diedne were the victims of prejudice and paranoia. I'd like the avaiable evidence to be ambiguous but then as the campain progresses show that the Diedne were corrrupted by greed and jealosy and entirely villainous, just because an entirely corrupt and evil villain is so unexpected in my games, I can't remeber a time when the antagonists weren't at least a bit sympathetic.

As I understand current canon, the Diedne were accused not of diabolism but of human sacrifice, which was against the Code as liable to bring down the wrath of the mundanes upon the Order. (And a particular hot button for the Tremere for reasons detailed in their background.)

I assume that the Diedne did indeed practice human sacrifice: the lower ranks in the House were told this was always voluntary. That may even have been true: an involuntary sacrifice might be regarded as invalid and unpleasing to the gods. Perhaps dying under the sacrificial knife was regarded as a good end for the elderly Magi of the House. Certainly better to go to the Gods than be lost forever in Twilight. Or perhaps a certain number died in the initiation ceremonies to the inner mysteries.

The collapse came about not from any particular Infernal meddling but from human nature (something which saves the demons a whole lot of work) and the conflicting culture backgrounds of the two Houses.

The Diedne would not bend and would not permit outsiders to inspect their most sacred mysteries. Let alone to criticise them. That is Pride.

Once the Diedne repulsed the initial enquiries the Tremere assumed the worst, because they always do (and aren't they right most times?) and went full onto the attack. That is Wrath.

And being Tremere they saw no shame in fixing the political process. The ambushing of the Ex Misc Primus was the worst example of this but probably not the only one. "Blessed are the Peacemakers," but what should we say of those who claim to be defending Christian values but choose to slay the peacemaker on his way to make peace?

All in all, a sad story and one begging to be used to drop player characters into some very nifty moral dilemmas.

The Diedne all deserved to die. There is no way to paint a "nice" face on human sacrifice.
And the Peacemaker who tries to get you to make amends with Satan is the servant of Satan.
Would it have been a "good" think to make peace with the Nazi's and let them exterminate the German Jews while we Americans sat peacefully over on our side of the pond avoiding bloodshed? Would a peacemaker be "blessed" if he got the North to accept the Confederacy as separate nation that permitted the sale and exploitation of other human beings? Or would it have been more noble for the Rebellion to allow the Empire to rule the galaxy instead of fighting a war and blowing up the Deathstar?

Some times war is the only "good" option available.

And the victors get to rewrite history to justify genocide.
Lets not forget all those Holocaust deniers , some who even claim to be historians.
As the years lengthen and those who experienced events first hand die ,
succeeding generations become more concerned with immediate events ,
rather than worrying about "oh that war , does it really matter anymore?"

OMG, first application of Godwin's Law I see here. :open_mouth:

BTW, USA did not declare war until Pearl Harbor, so it was a good thing that Japan didn't let you sit peacefully.

Tremere refused to exhaust other avenues and wanted to go straight to war. Whether he was right, deluded or evil depends on how you view him and Diedne. Which is the question asked here. My opinion is that Tremere let evil delude him, maybe Diedne could not be reformed, still.

What can one expect from someone like MM , who has the Blatant Gift after all. :wink:

The Aztecs performed a lot more human sacrifice than the Deiede ever had a chance to even try but the idea that they "all deserved to die" is not a very palatable one. Nor does that fact make Cortez a particularly pleasant human being.