In your games, how old is your average Tremere when winning his sigil?
Less than 20 years out of his gauntlet
20-50 years out of his gauntlet
More than 50 years out of his gauntlet
The average Tremere never defeats his parens, only gaining his sigil upon the parens' demise
At first glance, it would appear that it is almost impossible for a Tremere to gain his sigil by certamen with his parens. After all, the parens does start with an often considerable advantage, and, in general, defense is slightly better off than offense in Certamen (since it's easier to have a decent "cover" of the techniques than the forms, which are twice as many), particularly in the case of Tremere magi (for which the weaker art gets doubled).
On the other hand, some thought experiments in our group seem to suggest that, despite a lot of variability, a Tremere dedicated to winning his sigil is likely to do so before he reaches half the hermetic age of his master (i.e. before he reaches his master's age at the time of his own gauntlet): e.g. a Tremere 50 years younger than his master is likely to hold his own sigil well before he himself is 50 years past his gauntlet. Thus, it would seem that the majority of Tremere magi, though not an overwhelming one, actually do manage to claim their own sigils.
I am curious about what the general consensus is, in particular if backed by "real" cases that have been played out in detail.
Hmm, right now the majority of the voters (5 in 8 ) is saying that in their games the typical Tremere wins his sigil between 20 and 50 years after gauntlet. I wonder, is this by Storyguide "fiat" (i.e. it kind of feels right, so Storyguides arrange it to happen in this way) or because of some more sophisticated analysis?
If my apprentice ain't gonna cut it by age 20-50, he will never make it on his own. If he shows potential and promise, I will arrange it so he has a contest he has a chance at. Wis "Tines" (his favorite combo) are perhaps different than mine, let him have the slight advantage. Not that I would pull punches, simply allowing him to have an even challenge. It is in the best interests of the House to have leaders in th eright places at the right time. The magi under 20 years, it is best that they do not have their sigils. A magus of 20 or 30, he can best serve his House as a councilarius.
yes, they are not the only options available. Still, you need to earn it somehow. Obtaining your sigil is more an issue of competence than anything in the new house structure. Much more sensible than in previous editions. Tremere were one of those houses that improved tenfold with their new house description.
Personally, I think with the house's focus on meritocracy, loyalty, and cohesiveness, I think it's much more likely for promotions to be staged than not. The house is much more likely to want to 'bestow trust' in a promotion than the potentially random act of certamen.
When the TL write up came out, I was struck by how much more playable the house is now. It used to be that they were an ideal house for casting villains. PC's tended to be pissed off jingoistic 'prove-myself' extroverts that didn't usually get along well with covenant-mates. Now they present a house with a much deeper understanding of loyalty and the merits of character than perhaps any other house as a whole. When describing the house to newbies, I sometimes describe them as marines, but not necessarily combat focused and emphasizing effectiveness more than honor,... although loyalty is still huge. Indeed, "Semper Fidelis" would be an appropo 'in-house' motto for them. With this world-view in mind,... it is striking how much trust is placed in the chain of command and the ethos of giving up authority to a "more deserving and effective" superior. In this way, 'earning promotion' is about much much more than just besting someone at certamen. While it's certainly encouraged for the lower ranks to develop their prowess and even make a point of showing the rest of the house how they have developed, judgment of a prospects character and abilities is still the primary consideration on what is or isn't earned. In this way, I see 'promotion by usurpation' (winning at certament) is probably much more the exception than the rule.
What strikes me as strange is that this was the way I had been playing the Tremere to begin with. I took my cue from 4th edition, they discovered the vampires in their house and moved swiftly to eliminate them. Now in fifth edition, there never were any vampire magi (though the way TF still has a vampire connection is sheer brilliance!). I had always thought of them as trying to rule the world because the seriously feel that is in the world's best interest to be ruled by them.
I slightly modify the 'rule the world' stance. They'd happily be ruled by others, providing that such rule is by the most effective people and producing the best outcome. They just happen to see themselves as currently occupying the top spot of those criteria... the most organized and effective house with the most meritorious leadership of one of Europe's most powerful organizations (the order). The fact that the order seems to be working OK is why they happen to be ok (to one degree or another) with being ruled as a group by it.