You know, we all have our little pet peeves that we can't shake when it comes to moving from the mind of player to the mind of character (or from real life to fantasy roleplay) and this will naturally colour to some extent how we view the nature of the world presented to us in the Ars milieu.
Now I'm sure anyone who has played the game for any length of time has the major events of the Order fairly well etched in their minds, but how many here have ever felt that the history of the order has been little more than a glorified reflection of the cesspool of lies, deceit, vanity and outright acts of evil/betrayal which is the mundane world (to which, btw, many if not most magi in the Order consider themselves, their Houses and the Order itself superior)?
Maybe I'm just regurgitating a train of thought that has been explored before but I must say when I think about the definitive event we know as the Schism War, it makes me seethe with indignation over the way in which it has robbed the milieu of a (quite likely) deep and rich magical tradition (Diedne) on nothing more than sheer presumption, ego, religious (term used lightly) intolerance, and an equally evil and corrupt will to power on the parts of Houses Tremere and Flambeau.
If we were to find ourselves transported to Mythic Europe with our present mindsets intact, I am curious how many here would, like me declare "J'Accuse!" at the Houses of the Order (at say a Grand Tribunal) and seek to delineate the shame born by the Order as a whole which must never be swept under a carpet or allowed to be forgotten (much as the world has reacted to the Holocaust for example)?
I mean, look at the very vague description of the context in which House Tremere was simply allowed to commit a direct violation of its Oath without any concrete proof by even so much as declaring Wizard's War on a fellow founding tradition which had made no attack on it. On top of that, we can point the finger at Flambeau which also eagerly disregarded its VOW to uphold the Code in its psychotic desire to kill and destroy.
Then we can point to Jerbiton who, beyond also proving their sworn oath to be of no value, betrayed their own House claim to being lovers of beauty by siding not with the falsely accused in the interest of true justice and the integrity of the founding principles of the Order, but with the base animalistic and murderous passions of perhaps the two most egomaniacal Houses in the Order.
And of course we can then turn to Guernicus and Bonisagus who respectively claim to represent Fair Justice and Learned Wisdom and shame them for their completely gutless abandoning of both in favour of corrupt political expedience. Why was there no attempt by both these Houses to fulfill their obligation to the Oath, which they are the first to hang over the heads of everyone else these 2 centuries later?
Why did they not censure both Tremere and Flambeau or at least warn them that if they acted against another House without concrete proof of wrongdoing, they would be banished from the Order and themselves hunted down and slain?
No, instead they apparently just joined in and later tried to paper over their own criminality with the lame, and all too typical, excuse of "Everyone else was doing it".
Where were the voices of Mercere, Criamon, Verditius, Bjornaer, Merinita (especially the latter two)? Did they think themselves immune to the possibility that such unproven accusations could ever be levelled against them by either the same two antoganistic traditions or any other with an axe to grind in time?
On the one hand Tytalus' ready participation comes as no surprise as they too have a tradition of spoiling for a fight and their own shame at attempting to corrupt the Order. Then again, given their claims and practices in challenging authority, one might raise an eyebrow at how willingly they just "went along with the loudest voices".
As a player it saddens me that such an all too mundane imperialistic mindset was allowed any purchase in the Order, especially given the Oath. Because of it Tremere remains as intrusive and arrogant a House as it ever was and so does Flambeau to a less cohesive extent whilst Guernicus appears to be little more than a political tool to be used as a proxy by Tremere against whomever it decides to dislike.
The end result of all this being that we are robbed of a potentially vibrant, culturally rich and magically powerful lineage because the Order refuses to openly acknowledge its own hypocrisy and guilt (which in turn allows the maintenance of the effective death sentence on any Diedne who might resurface) and absolve House Diedne.
Thanks for listening, needed to get that off my chest.
"I will not tolerate such despicable words to be spoken in this most honorable Tribunal without challenge !
If at least you had the respect of not defiling this grounds by pronuncing that forsaken name...
How dare you disregard all the foul dealings of those devil workshipers ?
How can you only think of advocating in favor of such a miserable band of vow-breaker ?
It is you that should bring proofs : but these are the lies of a mad man and there can be no proof of something we all know is false.
I urge you to renounce all the lies that was spilled out from your mouth at once, or else I'll call this Tribunal to end this futile debate and your life without delay!"
Of course this was the words of my character, not me ^^
I do not wish anything ill...
But it's how I would answer you if you were to have such a discourse in our Alliance.
The way I see it, the history of the Order is not very well defined in the books (I may be very wrong here, as I don't have all the books, i'm not Erik Tyrell ^^)
This is a good thing for those who likes to do what they want with their games, as the history can have a great impact on how a game will be played.
The whole Diedne thing (yes! I dare mention them by name) sets a bacjdrop of tragedy and corruption, works with me. Things aren't fair and just! Ars has the grittiness and edge I like, otherwise I'd make a "happy little elves" campaign.
In my previous saga, a beta.Sg started out on a theme of rising conflict between the mundanes/dominion and the magical community (also faeries). We got caught in the middle, because nobody wants villages and churchbells encroaching on your doorstep, and ruining the vis. But who on earth wants to antagonize the church?
So in a series of escalating events, we tried to keep a lid on things, at the same time avoiding overt conflict, we worked behind the scenes. Some magi - whose motives and plans never became clear - helped the mundanes, in what WE thought was an attempt to provoke conflict Eventually some angry faeries wiped out this village, and the place was later known as "the cursed ruins of..." .And everytime something bad og eerie happened, this place was searched, and more than half the time, the source or culprits were found here. Later on some surviving Diedne magi were found to be egging faeries on to war against all Hermetic magi. Narrowly avoiding the loss of almost all Bjornaer, traitors in the Order were flushed out, but the ring leaders still at large.
Now came the task of proving this, and after several years, this case reached Grand Tribunal, and was taken seriously. Sadly the saga ended soon after that.
But our new saga now features the return of Diedne, but little is known about them or has happened (the sage is still in the upstart phase). Are the same people fighting the order AND sowing mistrust and infighting? Are they the same who are fighting the mundanes, and is this just a ploy to provoke all out fight between the Curch and a fragmented and incoherent Order? And will Diedne thens strike, or are they just poised for a hostile takeover of the smoldering remains?
This theme has an edge, and I like it!
However! I'm also immensely curious about Diedne, how and what was their tradition and magics, what were they like in pre-hermetic terms, what would their magics be as a Hermetic House?
Since I'm the main PC involved in this Diedne thing, I'll not be running it. Sadly the beta-SG who started this thing out, is not in the new saga, but I hope I can "wipe it off" on some other player, we do have a veteran ArM player with us.
But IMHO the DIedne thing is a tragedy, a mystery and perhaps a footnote in an early edition, which took on a life of its own. Either way, I'll never stop talking or thinkign about it.
The order needed a large target that they could band together to fight. the church was right out since they had no chance of winning. A small cult of diabolist? they were/are common place to find and wipe out. Mundanes? dont want to upset the church. All thats really left is to sacrifice a house. most likely warning the upper levels so they can preserve their tradition within other houses, or just hide off in the wilds. Afterwards their was dirt on every one, but the most on the more militant houses, so they could be semi-controlled with exposing how wrong they were. A generation or 2 passes where the houses are forced to work together and now they're not being forced but doing so by habit.
Well, that's what you want to see, so that's what you see.
I'd point out in the current edition, House Diedne may well have been demon worshippers. We really don't know if the Tremere belief that the Diedne were diabolists is true. We do know that the Tremere belief was sincere. We similarly know that the Flambeau were sincere. We don't, however, know, if they were right. We do know that the second edition assumed that the Diedne were fluffy bunnies, that the third edition assumed that everything and everyone was corrupt, and the Fourth Edition stayed mum on the issue, as does this one. If you want to choose a side, great, but you can't then say "In the setting X." because X is only one of the available options. The setting never says X, or anything else for that matter.
The Schism War was 400 years ago, and there is no proof that the Tremere were not 100% right about the demon thing. You can say "J'accuse" all you like, and the magi in this time travel fantasy can read your mind and say "Ah, you are" and here, BoXer, I have no idea, but let's say "American" for the sake of argument and go "so how can you sleep at night given the Iraq War? Your government claims it sincerely believed there were weapons of mass destruction as their casus belli, and they were wrong, and many thousands of civilians have died. Do you immediately want to march to your Capitol and say "J'acusse! All of this is a sham!""
Actually, given the 400 year distance, they can ask you how you sleep at night over the Indian Wars and the colonisation of the Phillipines. If you aren't an American, I'm sure you can find something similar since 1600 in your nation's history. Pretty much all of us have them.
Now, I didn't say this to provoke Americans: my government is one of the last members of the Coalition of the Willing, and we are a democracy too, so I'm in the same boat Americans are in terms of culpability for the Iraq War. My point is that you are asking people in setting to feel personal culpability for something that was done by their great-great-grandparents, while not actually having any evidence that there were no demon worshippers. I imagine you'd say "J'accuse!" and they would say "A third of our house died so that fools like you could believe the lies of the satanists. It's because of our dead, whose memory you spit on, that your heart has not been cut out and offered to a fiery spirit." and you would not have any evidence that they are wrong.
This is a popular view, from earlier editions.
I'd point out that before the formal declaration by House Tremere, Mythic Europe was engaged in a ceaseless round of brushfire wars which the Tremere believed were being deliberately provoked by House Diedne. Sure, the demon-worshippers, from the Tremere perspective, didn't do the decent thing and formally declare war, but corrupting conspiracies rarely do. The charactrers you are accusing would think your opinion insupportable. Are you suggesting that, given their view that Diedne are diabolists causing the widespread anarachy in the service of their dark masters, that they should just sit around and wait for the demons to send them a formal declaration of war on humanity? See, your read still only works if you assume that the Tremere are the pantomime villains of 3rd edition.
...which was written out in the new edition.
Two points: House Jerbiton doesn't consider the Order beautiful. Its members lack a single opinion, but most see it as merely a useful compromise with their sodales, many of whom are frankly disgusting.
You say "falsely accused", but the Jerbitions didn't see it that way. They saw that there were these pagan guys in the woods who refused to let others watch their rituals and check them for demonic influence. Why all the secrets? Why not just be honest and open with your sodales? Why not let the Tremere, who are bastards, and the Diedne, who are at best ripe for corruption, just destroy each other?
Lack of sheer idiocy? Again, you only pose this question because oyu assume the Tremere were not sincere in their belifs that led to the war.
First, the realpolitik question, precisely -who- is going ot do this hunting down and this slaying? When the Guernicus and Bonisagus say "The Order will hunt down and kill oathbreakers!" they do it in the comfortable knowledge that it will never actually be them facing a Satanic Archmage and his retinue. When the villains and oathbreakers don't respond to strongly-worded letters, its's the military houses whose members die to make the law work.
Secondly, you are coming from the assumption that the Flambeau and the Tremere knew they were in the wrong, and so they could be bargained out of their position. In the setting, this is not the case: they believed that the Diedne were corrupt. In that circumstance, all that the leaders of House Guernicus or Bonisagus would do by saying "You will be cast out of the Order." is have the two military houses say "We don't actually have a choice here. We are in a war for our lives and souls, and so we accept any necessary price, including this.
Strange they haven't done this since, eh? Again, this isn't in the RAW. You are welcome to read it in, for your own games.
Just to be clear, where exactly is the Tremere Empire set up after their victory in the Schism War? After the Schism War, House Tremere went back to Eastern Europe, where there were never large numbers of Diedne, and kept to itself for centuries. Generally, imperialistic powers gobble up the resources of their conquered foes, and expand their territory, don't they?
Then its really strange that after winning the war, House Tremere never used this weapon on anyone else.
If you want to play the game that way, then, sure, you can. It's not the setting as written, though, so I feel no real sympathy for your position. You've created this rod, keep hitting yourself with it, and now you are demanding to know why the rod doesn't bother other people.
Firstly, hadn't they already had two such major targets to provide this impetus for banding together?
The whole purpose of the Order was to put an end to the backbiting and ego-driven infighting between magi and their respective traditions. What you and Iudicium (in the true form of a self-justifying criminal) have said only reinforces my consternation over the fact that sworn Oaths to a clear and unambiguous Code are worth absolutely nothing.
What was done to Diedne was done WITHOUT a shred of proof and as such, to my mind, warrants a proper reexamination of that event and a necessary mandate that the tenets of the Code are immutable without ABSOLUTE proof that a magus (or especially entire lineage) has foresworn their Oath to it. After all, if Diedne was wiped out on nothing more than arrogant intolerance (very UnChristian for those claiming to adhere to Christian principles I might add), then why is there still a House Tytalus? The latter were PROVEN to be involved in diabolism up to the Prima herself yet they were not all wiped out.
The "Rule of Law" is a rule for ALL or it is no rule whatsoever.
Again, where is the proof that Diedne had any diabolist practices? None was ever shown. The mosst that could be said was that they followed a pagan religious tradition, and so what? So too do portions of Flambeau, large parts of Bjornaer and most of Merinita. As long as they honour the Code the Order has no business making judgments based on mundane concepts of religious legitimacy.
The only truly demonstrably guilty parties here are those who waged war based on false accusation (thus abrogating their own Vows to the Order) and those who went along with them (including Guernicus and Bonisagus). Considering that the majority of Houses claim to be of Christian allegiance, they would do well to review their 10 commandments (Thou shalt not bear false witness).
That would be fine if such a self examination was ever conducted by the Order as a whole, but it never was. The whole matter was simply swept under the carpet, thus leaving Tremere and Flambeau unadmonished and the Code all the more lacking in integrity.
I wouldn't say that they are working together so much as biding time until all memory of former betrayals has passed, whereupon the same villainous mindset would likely repeat its former wrongdoing against the next scapegoat. As such the Order must face its wrongs and set the record straight or prove itself as corrupt and dishonourable as the Church itself.
Has the Order and its administrators no conscience?
Actually, the Code doesn't require absolute proof for anything. In essence, it requires a majority of magi to agree that a thing is so, on the balance of probabilities. That's all.
If it required absolute proof, then the code wouldn't reference the existence of the Divine, because some magi don't believe the Dominion is caused by it, and there's no way to prove them wrong, in setting.
Tolerance of human sacrifice has never been a widely held Christian principle.
A handful volunteered to be assessed by the Guernicus and were found to not be diabolists. Strange that the Diedne did not agree to the same procedure. Same thing happened with the Shadow Flambeau.
See, here you assume "false witness". That's not in the setting. In your own game, sure...do whatever you like,. but don't criticise the setting for stuff you've added yourself.
I don't imagine the history of the schism war to be so black, black, black and white as Boxer's portrayal. I believe that human nature ensures that the substantial majority of folk believe that they are doing the right thing in any circumstance regardless of what they are doing. If the entirety of house Diedne was guilty of diabolism then the entire house should have been marched.
The sketchy material in the fifth edition books tells that the corruption of house Tytalus had recently shown the order that diabolism was entirely possible. It also tells us that house Diedne was given the opportunity to submit to an investigation to clear their name.
That the investigation was seen as an attempt to steal house secrets is an excellent bit material that goes far in giving the schism war story enough solidity to suspend disbelief. I think that conflict grows out of fear and mistrust, portraying both side of the conflict as having excess quantities of these qualities is necessary and I think that the fifth edition books have accomplished this task.
I think that the fact that the present order doesn't know for certain whether the Diedne were guilty or not and doesn't know for certain whether the other houses were after Diedne secrets or not adds a good deal of verisimilitude to the setting.
I the portrayal of the schism war as it was presented in the second and third edition books struck me to be a simplistic and thinly veiled allusion to "white man's burden" which might have seemed deep and meaningful to a fellow in their late teens or early 20's during the late 80's and early 1990's but it finds little resonance within me now (and indeed I found the idea lacking then).
The premise that people continue to bear the guilt of their forbearers is morally bankrupt. We won't throw Agnar in jail if it turns out that his dissertation adviser was pushing LSD in the 1960's, we don't have any right to jail the children of Nazi war criminals because of the actions of their parents, and there is no moral standing to hold the individuals of the present order accountable for misdeeds committed by the parens of their parens.
Since you have written two lengthy rebuttals I will respond by touching upon your major points rather than responding to each separately...
Firstly, this is not a matter of "seeing what I want to see but of very logical and basic humanitarian reading of the history as presented in THIS edition.
Now THERE is the history as presented in THIS ARM milieu and as such anyone who cares about the value of sworn oaths, the "rule of law", due process and possibly even true "Christian" behaviour (as mandated by the Christ such claim to follow) can see several things:
All magi were protective of their secrecy, not only only Diedne. Why were not all Houses then labelled demoniacs for refusing to fling open their doors to intrusive scrutiny?
Prior to the war itself their were already illegal attacks being perpetrated against magi and covenants. Whilst it does not say specifically, the full scope of the historical account can lead to some fairly likely culprits of such criminal aggressions as those Houses who most readily sought war without proof and who have to the present (1220) maintained a reverance for militaristic and violent principles.
The impetus for Tremere's act is presented as NOT based on any acts on the part of Diedne against it (all the more unlikely since Diedne was based at the closest in Northwest Europe on the other side of the Continent from Tremere) but rather on the basis of sheer religio-political brutality of a domineering imperial ethos over a minority ethos(wholly unChristian as previously mentioned) Such divisive intents and actions are themselves, in biblical terms, a demonstration of diabolic leanings if ever there was any.
According to what is clearly stated this was hardly what one could call "sincere". It was I would argue clearly a limited recurrence of Tremere's previous designs to raise itself in prominence in the Order (if not, as it were, a means of dominating the Order entirely).
Whether you maintain that it was sincere or not, though, is immaterial to the clear betrayal of Tremere's VOW to uphold the Code. They were sworn to protect their fellow magi of the Order irrespective of religious differences (these being well known when the 12 founders established the Code) but forswore themselves instead.
You cannot use a lack of evidence that they were not right as a valid argument in jurisprudence. It is incumbent on those who MAKE the accusation to PROVE their assertion. Tremere did NOT prove their case, they merely accused and attacked, making them criminals under the clear and unambiguous tenets of the Code to which they swore fealty. Otherwise the Code isn't worth the parchment its wirtten upon.
As for your analogy to modern circumstances pertaining to the US government I will only acknowledge that as an American I DO bear a degree of shame and disgust for the spineless acquiescence of the majority of my countrymen in allowing the criminal cabal running the country to break countless international laws and Articles of the US Constitution in pursuing its crimes against humanity, but i do not bear guilt for their actions as I have labored long and spoken out vociferously against them since prior to 911 itself (which I also hold to be the greatest act of treason and mass murder ever perpetrated against the American people, but thats a wholly different debate).
I'm sure they would say that, in keeping with all militarily indocrtinated mindsets which refuse to apply the slightest self examination or even the most basic critical analysis as to why their loved ones died. The simple fact is those deaths were the direct consequence of THEIR OWN choice to pursue aggression. They were not sitting at home defending against attacks by Diedne magi, they actively left their covenants, crossed Europe and the channel and initiated the aggression. What did they expect but that those who they came to kill should rightfully fight back in self defence. They would have done no less if Diedne had marched on them in Romania.
They have only themselves to blame for their dead as much as they did (and do) for the clear spirit of hate (again wholly unChristian) that prompted them to wage war on the basis of mere rumor in the first place.
It would not be for the one crying "J'Accuse" post-facto to prove Tremere was wrong. Their betrayal of their vow to the Code, their slaughter of fellow magi of the Order without themselves having shown proof of wrongdoing stands as witness against them (and all those who participated in the fratricide). This should be self-evident.
I see nowhere in the record that House Diedne was any more worthy of being so accused by Tremere or any other House THAN any other House in the Order. They were ALL protective of their secrets and rightly so. Where in the Code was it mandated that mystery cults should divulge their secrets to the rest of the Order to be deemed trustworthy? Did Tremere then (or do they now) open the doors of Coeris and freely let any and all scrutinize their House rites and secrets? No? Oh i guess they must be diabolists then! After all, they do have that portal to hell itself located in their covenant!
What Tremere thought was, by what the record declares, merely a pretext for a will to power over a tradition it simply refused to tolerate. That is insufficient justification if the "rule of law" and the Code have any integrity whatsoever.
By the same token I could say that the characters you seem to be defending have demonstrated that they presume the right to launch attacks on anyone they see fit regardless of proof of their assertions. There goes the point of the Order right out the window then and highlights why many Hedge traditions are right not to trust it. This is not what the Founders intended I am sure, certainly not Bonisagus and Trianoma at any rate. I suspect they have rolled several times in their graves (or in Twilight) in the centuries since their passing.
(regarding my comment about Flambeau)
I beg to differ based on the excerpt of the printed history from ARM5:CR quoted above.
Two response: I used the term "beautiful" not in the aesthetic sense, but rather as the antithesis to that of base animal impulses to lash out and destroy.
The Jerbitons obviously didnt give much consideration at all beyond the similar corrupt will to power evinced by the Church in its mundane worldly lust for power and influence at the expense of justice. Why all the secrets? ALL Houses protected their secrets as was their right. This is no proof of wrongdoing else even THEY must be destroyed for refusing to divulge all their House activities to all and sundry. Why not just let Diedne and Tremer destroy each other? Well, the integrity of the Code for one thing. Second the fact that it was not Diedne who attacked Tremere but vice versa and thirdly even if they could have done that, they didnt, they jumped in too and attacked Diedne without any due process or proof of said diabolism.
You continue to use this term "sincere" in a wholly inappropriate manner, IMO. Sincereity is a positive trait for actions which are well meaning. There is nothing "well meaning" about actions or intents to kill and destroy, especially those conducted without proof that those one wishes to attack have done any harm. I see arrogance, presumption, conceit and many other such hate-based qualities as the inspiration for the events that ensued, but not sincereity, by definition.
No, I am actually coming from what should be a self evident fact that both Houses swore an Oath to protect their fellow magi of the Order and then proceeded to prove their vows worthless in the grandest display of unproven accusation and fratricide the Order has witnessed to date. And still in the centuries that followed, those msot responsible for upholding the integrity of the Code have done nothing more than sweep the whole affair under the carpet. No attempt to call the Houses to account so that such might never happen again.
This is the argument of smug momentary contentment and blissful ignorance. Insofar as it has not happened yet, is no assurance that this aggressivist mindset left unadmonished and uncondemned is not scheming to resurface once again when the time is right.
Only by acknowledging wrongdoing can successive generations come to value the maintenance of vigilance against its repetition.
Using a material argument to counter an argument of principle is a Sophistry. I very clearly said "mindset" and as such one's actions can be evocative of an imperialistic mindset - that is aggressive intent to dominate and destroy another for personal gain of any kind - without requiring the institution of a material empire. Given Tremere's total focus on militarism one can certainly wonder as to their long-term aims and who might be next in their long march to ascendency. Certainly the House itself (as presented in the RAW) has never lost its aspirations to dominate the Order or all of Europe if it can.
Not really. Just hasn't considered it the right moment YET.
I'm not hitting myself with anything actually, merely exploring if and how many others here might have similar sesnsitivity to a quite glaring case of hypocrisy and injustice with apparent impunity within the Ars milieu.
None of the other houses were nearly as insular or secretive as the Diedne. It has been pointed out that the Tytalus did in fact fling open their doors.
So you're reading your interpretation into the history with this one.
So the Tremere had reason to suspect that they were diabolists (intense secrecy, human sacrifice). Protecting yourself and your soul against this threat of hell does not necessarily fall under the umbrella of "sheer religio-political brutality of a domineering imperial ethos over a minority ethos"
Furthermore unification rather than divisiveness was the goal of the order prior to the schism war. Their order was falling apart and they wished to see this division stopped. Which house was the least open and arguably the least willing to heal the divisions within the order? The Diedne.
Tremere himself was long dead and Tremre's attempts to control the order are looked upon by his house as a great mistake. I think that you're reading your view into the published material
They also vowed the enemies of the order are my enemies; the friends of the order are my friends.
Furthermore all of the Diedne vowed that they would not resort to diabolism. The Diedne also vowed that if they broke the code they would appreciate it if their sodalies killed them so that their lives not continue in degradation and infamy.
If the Diedne were diabolists, then the rest of the order was following the code when the schism war was joined.
The Diedne were given an opportunity to defend themselves and they chose not to take it. The Diedne had vowed to abide by the decisions of a tribunal and they refused to do so.
The absence of absolute proof in the face law of the infernal is hardly surprising. If the Diedne were guilty, how long should the rest of the order delayed waiting for better evidence? The order was already falling apart.
Yet, as my comments have attempted to show, their actions can be interpreted as entirely within both the letter and the spirit of the code.
From the dictionary on my desk - Sincere: 1 "free from deceit hypocrisy or falseness" 2 "genuine unfeigned"
If the Tremere truly believed that the Diedne were diabolists trying to corrupt the order, house Tremere included, then their desire to destroy the Diedne could certainly be considered to be genuine, unfeigned and free from hypocrisy or falseness".
Alternately they swore to protect the order and were willing to go to war in the order to fulfill their vow.
The war wasn't in spite of the code it was in defense of it.
Are you sure you've got the evidence to back up that accusation?
But we don't have clear evidence of wrong doing in this circumstance
There's a great deal more wiggle room in the presented material than youâ€™re perceiving. There are more ways to interpret the printed information. The case is less glaring than you make it out to be. I think that David and the authors have done a better job on this issue than you give them credit for.
[snip your quote of one version of Hermetic history from this edition.]
One version of it, yes, but what you have below does not follow from it.
The Diedne swore an oath to have no traffic with demons, as I recall. You do not mention this, because you have chosen one side in something that has been deliberately left undefined.
Ah, so if I do not agree with you, I am not a person who values sworn oaths or due process? Such sophistry is unnecessary, hyperbolic and unhelpful.
Because all of them did allow some level of scrutiny. House Diedne's secrecy was exceptional. Of the other Mystery Houses, Verditus magi share their products and boast of their skills, Criamon magi evangelise their beliefs and the beliefs of the Merinita became public knowledge during the civil war in that House. Even the Bjornaer ceremonies are understood, on a basic level, by other magi.
So, your argument here is, given that we have no idea who was starting the conflict then, it seems likely to you that it was started by the people you don't like. This is not an argument: it is simply an assertion. There is deliberately nothing in the core setting that supports this idea.
First, you are assuming Tremere are Christians. I note that they aren't. They are, mostly, secular in their view. Second, you say that the impetus is not presented as being based on the acts of the Diedne, but page 114 of True Lineages says exactly the opposite. Members of House Tremere believe, and believed, that the anarchy in Europe was being caused by the Diedne, and that the Diedne were practicisng human sacrifice. So, you can say all you like that it is "NOT presented" as such and such, but it actually is. I'm sorry that you need to barrack for a team in this, but the setting is deliberately et up so that you can't know if the Diedne were innocent or guilty in the vanilla setting. In your game, you will do as you like...
I point you again to HoH:TL, where it states definitively that the Tremere were sincere in their beliefs. It is there in black and white. I'm sorry that you want them to be cartoon characters, but they aren't.
Ah, you haven't read TL. Again, definitively, the Tremere sincerely belive it was not.
The Tremere were not aware, at the original swearing of the Code, that the Diedgne were enganging in human sacrifice. At the swearing of the Code, the Diedne were not formenting magical war. Both of these are High Crimes.
In your system, though, the Tremere cannot win. They did present a case to an emergency Tribunal, which found in their favor. You, then, say that this is because House Guernicus is corrupt, don't you? So, House Tremere did get a Tribunal ruling indicating the justness of their War, which is the legal way to do things in the Order. Yopu don't like that, so then you attack the umpires.
There is no way of knowing who initiated the agression that led to the Schism War. There are, for example, Tytalus magi who claim it was them. You have a thing about military mindsets, and so you want the Tremere to be the villains of the piece. For your game, that's great, but it isn't in the core setting.
I still point out to you that you have no way, in the core setting, of telling if the Diedne were ripping the hearts out of people and burning them in wicker men. The Tremere sincerely believed they were (TL, page 113-4). At this point, the Diedne have breached the Code in a fundamental way. Now, this doesn't suit your prefered style of storytelling, but you are reading all of this in.
Why do you keep going on about this Christian thing, BoXer? I can see its something that is really and important point to you. I can see that hypocritical Christians really works for you as a plot element and really stokes your jets. The point I'd make in counter is that Tremere are not, generally, Christians. Many are, but generally Tremere refuse to worship anything. They think gods are bascially conmen. (TL, 113 again).
They demonstrated wrongdoing at the emergency Tribunal, but for you that doesn't count, does it? The Guernicus simply caved in, because it suits your version of events?
And yet you choose to blame a particular one.
This is just argument by assertion. It has no weight.
Actually, under Hermetic law, they -do- have the right to attack whoever they see fit. You don't need to justify or give reasons for Wizard's War, in most cases.
I think you should recheck the concept of wizard's war, there BoXer.
Have you read Societates?
Ah, then you are using it in a way that is personal to you, and so does not communicate any real meaning to me, or, I suggest, the general reader.
BoXer, the Code allows magi to murder each other. It is not a bill of human rights.
I can guarantee you, 100%, that there is no Ars book that actually says this for the 5th edition.
No, they didn't. Please stop this foolishness. Please quote a single reference to the Jerbitions attacking -anyone- during this period please? Just one line in -any- book for ArM5 that says this.
It's all in your head, BoXer. As I say, if you want it for your game, great, but don't tell me that it's in the default setting, because it isn't, and I know it isn't.
Yes: the actions of the Tremere were well-meaning. THey believe they were fighting Evil.
That's because you don't believe that the Diedne were diabolists. The Tremere did. As such, they believe that half of their house died saving the world. Their actions are, in that sense, sincere.
So, diabolists can't be hurt, because of the Code? Yes, yes, you don't see any "proof" they were diabolists. The Tremere thought they had sufficent proof to act, and a Tribunal found afterward that they had the right to act, and then destroyed the corrupted records of the Diedne. That's not enough for you, is it? You'd like the authors to say, definitively, one way or the other, who has the white hats and who has the black. We won't. I think it wil always be up to you to choose a side, and a degree of grayness. I know that's hard for you: that you prefer "Diedne were vcitims of a genocide!" and for your game, that's a perfectly valid way to play. When you turn up on the forum though, and demand that your personal interpretation is the only correct one, then you have to take it as read that some people are going to point out to you that your discomfort with the ambiguity of the setting is not the fault of the setting.
It might happen again. Actually, it did with the Shadow Flambeau.
I admit to having no idea what this means. I'm not entirely sure how I can be "blissfully ignorant" of the true intentions of the Tremere, given that they are fictional characters and I designed the current version of them. I'm not clear how they could be deceiving me. Are you writing from an in-character pose?
Interesting rant, but it fails at axiom. You assume that Diedne were snow-white victims of the evil Tremere. That's not supported by the setting, which deliberately makes no comment on if the Diedne were really diabolists.
You said they had an imperialist mindset. I asked for the location of the empire that their imperialst mindset has produced.
OK, then, give me a list of the -personal gain of any kind- that the Tremere got from the war. Stop trying to weasel out of defending your points.
That's true. House Tremere is perfectly willing to tell you that they'd prefer a world government that followed their philosophy. This does not, of itself, demonstrate that they had any particular personal gain from the Schism War. I would like you to list the gains they made due to the war, please, to demonstrate the imperial mindset you say they have.
I don't because it isn't there. Your axiom, that the Diedne were innocent victims, does not appear in the setting.
Please do provide any other versions wince you seem to indicate more than what is set forth in the RAW.
I have yet to see you demonstrate that without resorting to rpeat assertions which are, as I again contend, nothing more than unproven assertions, not FACTS.
Here again you resort to an assertion as if it was FACT, it was not unless proven so. Tremere never proved they had traffic with demons so their aggression remains the only clear act of betrayal to the Code which can be called FACT.
Actually I would call that sort of response Sophistry since it seeks to make the argument about me rather than the principles enumerated which themselves were disregarded by House Tremere and Flambeau EAGERLY in pursuit of wanton bloodshed.
I have not attacked you personally, please avoid doing so to me, it was not and is not the point of this topic.
Where do you see that explicitly stated in the passages on the Schism War? This is not what the history says.
Again, an assumption not supported by the text. The only thing about Diedne that might be called exceptional was the near totality of its House adherence to pagan druidic beliefs, nothing more.
Verditius share their products but not their methods, these could be anything including diabolistic as far as other houses know. Criamon englise their view of time and the need to escape it, yes, but do not expound the secrets of the various mysteries of their House as these would be unintelligible to non-Criamon. Unintelligible could mean they have some unGodly aspect to them following your argument. Merinita and Bjornaer are pagan, known or otherwise, they are no more Christian than was Diedne which is the crux of Tremere's entire assertion of guilt.
A tree is known by its fruit. Was it Diedne attacking and killing people? Which Houses have routinely employed the "join or DIE" ultimatum? Whether I would like them or not, again the issue isnt about ME, its about the milieu and the nature of an Order which was founded on principles of mutual protection which some Houses apparently honour only so long as expedience or their political whims dictate.
Funny though that even though I nowhere stated it was FACT that Tremere and Flambeau started the descent into anarchy you now jump to the claim that it is mere assertion (which in fact is all it is based on evidence of both Houses' actions and driving philosophies) whilst repeatedly implying your ASSERTION about Diedne (Human sacrifice, Demon worship) as being Fact.
Actually no, I am reading directly from the text of the Schism War history which applied the term (wrongly in my view) "Chrisitan" to the bulk of the Order as opposed to the paganism of Diedne. If anything I would whilly agree that Tremere's actions demonstrate they are as far from Christianity as is the Church that claims to be its representative.
That is the difference between an objective rendering of the History of an event and one written by one of the parties to it to justify their actions. This is not a sufficient rebuttal according to the evidentiary principles of jusrisprudence. Saying "we believed they were performing human sacrifice" is not proof and insufficient grounds to justify wholesale murder.
This all falls under the same case of neutral historical account versus one participant's attempt to justify their wrongful actions.
So If a Nazi says he sincerely believed the Jews were evil and had to be destroyed you would argue that such sincerity was any kind of argument? I highly doubt it.
Actually I have read TL and I again point you to my comment above.
Here you go again calling an unproven assertion by Tremere a FACT. Please provide me any proof to substantiate the claim of human sacrifice such that the Order was justified to disregard the Code and slaughter one of its founding Houses.
Neither were they formenting war at the time of Schism save in the minds of Tremere who had no proof to support that belief making them the only one who demonstrably not only formented it but perpetrated it. If you believe this to be a high crime (and it is, I agree) then why do you so vociferously defend the perpetrators rather than the victims?
The text of the neutral history strongly suggests that this Tribunal was called not to examine any evidence but simply to sanction a foregone conclusion of political expedience at the expense of the integrity of the Code and of true Justice.
At this point I realise now it was a mistake to suggest this topic of discussion. The concept of self-examination by the Order as a means to ultimate reconciliation has been utterly lost amidst misinterpretations of my intentions to the point that I fear any further discussion is doomed to descent into ad hominem attacks. I want no part of that and regret that this seems to be the way it has gone.
I do agree with much of what you say, though to some extent the fact that members of the Order of Hermes are shown to be cheap, bickering, two-faced, untrustworthy, dishonourable, oath-breaking scumbags just makes them seem all the more plausible ...
A couple of points, though:
I would take any background coming from the 3rd edition books with a hefty pinch of salt. That edition was influenced too much by the notion of combining the ArM background with that of White Wolf's other game systems -- an experiment that didn't feel comfortable even at the time -- and should be seen as a passing aberration.
All this politicking within the order seems rather surprising, given the essential nature of magi. These guys are all a couple of cherries short of a fruitcake to start with, and are obsessed above all else with boosting their own personal power and knowledge of their Arts ... I just don't see them getting excited enough about what other magi are doing to start fighting them unless those other magi pose a real and immediate threat. OK, Flambeau are maniacs who will destroy anything to watch the pieces burn and Tremere are scheming psychopaths who will undermine anything just to see it fall ... but most magi just want to be infinitely rich and powerful and to live for ever.
All of this raises an interesting point, though. In this discussion we've heard about Tremere being based in Romania and Diedne based in North-West Europe, and of houses acting with one voice to condemn the members of house Diedne for their (presumed, unproven) actions. There seems to be an implication that members of a House worked -- and perhaps lived -- very much more with their own kind than with members of other houses.
Does anyone actually play a covenant that is predominantly, or entirely, composed of magi from a single order? It's not something I've come across.
I think there are a few things we can say are left very ambigious within the setting on purpose:
Diedne may or may not have been Diabolists engaged in human sacrifice.
Tremere, while they honestly believed the Diedne guilty (TL, pg 113-114, if I have Timothy's reference correct) may or may not have possessed concrete proof and may or may not have used the incident as an opportunity to expand their power within the Order.
The rest of the Order may have either condoned the action, simply been complicit or failed to act for fear of association with Diedne. They may or may not have even architected the situation so that Tremere acted for them or discovered whatever atrocities were desired.
That's the beauty of the setting-- it's left open to interpretation so that you can do the tailoring you want in your saga. Our saga, nearly four years old at this point, hasn't ever really dug into the guilt of the Diedne or the motives of the Tremere-- it hasn't been important, and we play in Stonehenge, Cumbria to be precise. I think we all think that both might be true-- the Diedne did sacrifice people but the Tremere probably did try to use it to further themselves in the Order, but that it turned out to be a pyrrhic victory. Mostly though, we don't think about it too much at all, because it really has little impact on our storylines right now.
I'm not seeing the personal attack or invective BoXer notes. I think, as the creator of their current incarnation, Timothy's passionate about the Tremere's portrayal. I'd have to say, at this point, though, Timothy's argument has been more persuasive. I don't think the setting has laid out the events quite as BoXer has illustrated them, and I find quoted text far more convincing than vague reference. If I'm wrong, please, BoXer, show us the quotations that reinforce the argument with book and page number. That would reduce the level of emotion in the discussion and allow us to debate the history as it's been provided in the current setting.
(Side note on a personal point of unnecessary pedantic commentary: The RAW [rules-as-written] refers to the ruleset-- guidelines for spells, how to make aging rolls, what is involved in penetrating Might. The canon details the history for the setting, the passage of events, the personages and their actions. These are two very different things. The RAW don't say anything on this debate. The canon, on the other hand, allows us to draw interpretations. Confusing the terms drives me crazy. Stupid vocabulary nitpick finished.)
I'd like to reiterate what Erik said. Don't use Third Edition history as canon. Criamon were a Zen Buddhist joke. Tremere were basically the medieval Borg. And Flambeau were Mythic Klingons. These Houses have been re-written to make them more playable and increase the verisimilitude of the setting in general.
The history of the Schism War should intentionally be left vague. I donâ€™t think you will find anything in 5th Edition canon that definitively says the Tremere were right or wrong. Likewise, youâ€™ll not find anything definitive in ArM5 that states the Diedne were Satanists or not. Defining the in-game truth doesnâ€™t increase the number or kinds of stories people can play. It only limits them. If Tremere were definitively anti-Pagan bigots, then I canâ€™t play a game where they are upstanding Defenders of the Order and the Satan worshipping Diedne are the boogeymen used to frighten apprentices. If Diedne were definitively Satanists, then I canâ€™t play a game where Tremere are scheming, close-minded, underhanded jerks that wrongly persecuted a fine Pagan tradition. Both, and many more permutations on these themes, are legitimate options in a saga.
This message to be read at grand tribunal after my passing.
I feel obligated as a member of house Tytalus to come clean... We initiated the entire Schism War. It was one of our finest achievments that plunged the entire order into conflict so that it could grow stronger. The extra vis sources that became available were also a nice bonus. I have no regrets.
Agnar ex Tytalus
P.S. I have strong suspicions that, as alluded to earlier, my parens did use and supply mind altering substances.
Nonetheless, have you seen "The Omen" (Or "The Omen 666")? It is about a father who truly beleives his adopted son is in fact the son of satan. And there's a moment when neither we nor him don't know if he's right or wrong. He must act fast, as every moment potentially increases the eventually demonic child supposed strength.
If he's right and kills the boy, he'll save the world. And if he's wrong, he'll have commited an heinous crime.
This could very well give you an idea about what timothy and others are trying to tell you, and maybe this was also the mindset of the order.
Is it worth pointing out that, what ever your sources, and what ever your opinions, Ars Magica IS FICTION.
It does not have the historical and factual basis of the concentration camps used by the British in the Boer War, or the the bombing of Dresden.
In the case of Dresden, a town was firebombed and virtually obliterated. Bomber Harris has been described and identified as being responsible for an atrocity, however, I have also heard said that Dresden was a major transport hub, and the bombing had great military logistical significance. I don't know the facts of the matter, or the rights and wrongs, but that was just over 60 years ago (two generations). History develops perspective.
I am aware of other examples, but they are not the point.
If you choose to take a particular slant in your game, be it Deidne were Evil Diabolists and direct descendants of Satan, or Diedne were happy fluffy bunnies and brutalised by the evil House Tremere, bear in mind that you are choosing the world you play in.
We have heavily used the Diedne in my saga. I'm very much in favour of the did they/didn't them feel of the diedne/schism war writing in 5th edition. Its got great background coupled with enough ambiguity to let a GM do what he likes with it.
IMS the Diedne were a bloodthirsty pagan cult fond of sacrificing people. They were NOT diabolists, just bloodthirsty. The Tremere, who being of necromancer stock originally, don't give two figs how bloodthirsty your magic is, led the attack because they believed the Diedne were corrupted by the infernal.
Ironically IMS, after the slaughter of a great many Diedne, the few remaining magi, being hunted to ground by Flambeau/Tytalus and Tremere warriors, turned to the infernal to preserve their lives. In one bargain they got immortality (in the not aging/warping sense) and were hidden by demonic arts.
The militant houses cast their scryings and the answers they got told them that they had killed the last of the Diedne.
These few remaining Diedne-infernalists found themselves bound to remain on a demon haunted island for the rest of their lives as their bodies slowly rotted (demons intended for them to eventually take their own lives, thus damning them). All but one killed themselves out of madness, the one remaining used his magic to lure gifted children to his island and these he trained in his dark arts.
A few hundred years later and my players come across a Diedne-infernalist who has very little to do with the original diedne.
It sparked off a whole big story and was rather fun. Eventually, with a little tremere aid, the heroes tracked down and killed the diedne infernalists. Only one survived the purge and she was the shiftiest of all. I'm very much looking forward to her returning to plague the characters in the future.
My point in telling you this is that the Diedne story and that of the schism war is really what you want to make it. I think a chronicle based on redemption for the houses militant would be excellent. As would a character intent on making sure such a think never happened again (good idea for a trianoma Bonisagus). Whether the Diedne were tree hugging hippies with flowers in their hair, or bloodthirsty infernalists, or anywhere in between is down to yourselves. Likewise with the Tremere, arrogant war mongers, expansionist conquerors or stalwart defenders of the order? the choice is yours.