(insulting) Magi Names

Magi seem to come with all sorts of names some self-assigned, others chosen for them. Normal names, descriptive names, adolecent boastful names, etc.
I guess some names could be insulting/demeaning to thebearer, or perhaps magi speaking that "name".

YMMV but in my saga, a Bonisnatched Tremere apprentice could not rejoin House Tremere after gauntletting in House Bonisagus.
Take the hypothetical example of a former Tremere apprentice who is now Fosterus of Bonisagus, but wishes to return to House Tremere (who is mother and father...)

Fosterus encounters a Tremere gatekeeper and challenges to Certamen to have his petition to rejoin House Tremere be favourably passed along. The Gatekeeper says Fosterus must put his name as a stake on the Certamen.

Hypothetically Fosterus loses, and must aceept renaming by the Gatekeeper.
Group think please - how demeaning can the new name be before some other mage might offer Wizard War to the gatekeeper for forcing a name that "is beneath the Dignity of Hermetic Magi, especially one from House Bonisagus".?

Mustn't magi on joining Tremere after gauntlet in another House surrender their voting sigil to House Tremere? Shouldn't that require a major ceremony involving a Quaesitor and bookkeeping at the Tribunal at least - where also their new name would be recorded? What would the magi of the current parens' House - and the current parens soon to be rejected - say about such a ceremony? Especially if this also changed the name of the mage switching House and voting sigil into a mockery?

I should think, that at that Tribunal after some politicking there would at least be a Certamen between House champions overriding the Gatekeepers' Certamen - if not a Tribunal decision about the changing of Houses proper. There may be even a veto by the Presiding Quaesitor, as voting sigils are involved in a potentially dangerous precedent caused by frivolous motives.

It may well be, that the Gatekeeper gets chastised by a functionary (Exarch?) of House Tremere for needlessly messing with the anyway delicate operation of surrendering the voting sigil to House Tremere.

Anyway. if the unfortunate mage's name was previously really "Fosterus", few could object to a name like "Reversus": the one who returned.
It is still pretty bad, though - especially among House Tremere.

I'm certain to have read that the transmission of the Sigil, while in-House important, doesn't actually hold much weight in the order itself.

Any Tremere magus, who is not already holding their own Sigil can, at any point, demand his Sigil back and refusing to hand it back would be very obviously a Crime. House Tremere is, of course, permitted to kick anyone out of the House who blatantly defies House tradition and would in most such cases absolutely do so.

The voluntary, reversible nature of this lending of the sigil is the only reason why Tremere could even establish this Tradition in the first place, it was met with charges at first, but the statements of his filii, that this is a voluntary arrangement, was the deciding factor to get the charges dropped.

Now, to the original topic:
We could brainstorm insulting names for magi all day, things related to being an upstart, fake, lesser Tremere, or someone who comes begging would all be appropriate, but the best names would likely relate to the magus in question. What is their name? Their old and new parens name and status? What was the (official) reason for the bonisnatching? What are distinguishing features of this magus?

Regarding Certamen.

Is there anything about refusing Certamen, apart from mild reputational damage of being too frightened to Certamen? I consider Certamen's intent is to give a resolution to disputes without involving Wizard War, and if both parties agree it's great, however, if there is a big power imbalance in the Certamen combatants, why doesn't someone just say no?

In the above example, I can see Fosterus not needing Certamen, as the gatekeeper would probably be happy to take actions to get a magi back in the Tremere fold, or at least report that's there's a loyal Tremere informant amongst the Bonisagus. If the GK is not interested, what is to stop the GK saying "The adults are speaking, be quiet and run along, pup. You aren't worth me wasting my time to put you in your place".

Refusing a certamen duel is for legal purposes equivalent to losing said duel.
So if you get challenged to certamen in order to resolve some dispute and refuse the challenge - then you have lost the dispute.

House Tremere is one of the True Lineages. There are no cut and dried ceremonies to join the House after Gauntlet - and there is little reason for the House to provide such. Check best HoH:TL p.123 for a Tremere Gauntlet:

Before the Gauntlet, a birchwood wand travels from the Primus to the tribunal's exarch, who gives it to the master. The parens gives it to the new magus, as their sigil. The yound magus then asks their parens to "hold my sigil and guide me in its prudent use". The parens accepts the birchwood wand ...

As the parens of "Fosterus" is a Bonisagus, "Fosterus" already holds his own sigil. The ceremony of the birchwood wand hence cannot be held. Whether his Bonisagus parens is happy to have the sigil she gave "Fosterus" passed along upwards the Tremere hierarchy is very doubtful. But as there is no Tremere parens available, that hierarchy is also undetermined.
So the complex, adapted operation involves both the Bonisagus parens and some Tremere magi including an eventual Exarch - and likely a Tribunal's Presiding Quaesitor as well, who needs to make sure, who is afterwards the parens whose Oath applies with regard to (ArM5 p.13 box The Hermetic Oath):

I shall be the first to strike them down and bring them to justice.

1 Like

One can't normally join a True Lineage post-Gauntlet. The point of True Lineage is that there is an unbroken line of apprenticeships going all the way back to the founder of the house.

:nerd_face: Yep. But @lvgreen wishes an example resolved on that basis - so it makes sense to explain the problems into which "Fosterus" will get himself.

Hmm. It may be interesting to also consider the name, which the Gatekeeper would impose on "Fosterus" if he had no intention at all to pass on "Fosterus"' request to the Tremere superiors. What about "Repulsus" - the rejected?

By insulting names I was imagining things like:
"Hedgehog" - oblique reference to a Hedge Wizard, one not worthy of proper Hermetic membership.
"Orbus" - aka orphan, which is a legal term for not belonging to a House.
"Vagrantus" - move along now
"Mud" or "Excrement"
"Patheticus Vermicelli" - pathetic little worm
"Grant Me Death"

and assorted worse stuff.

I would think orbus would not be allowed since it designates a legal status. Excrement would probably be going too far, and oathbreaker would definitely be an issue without some good reason to back it up, as breaking the Oath is grounds for marching, and most magi who meet the ex-Fostorius will assum he chose his own name.

How demeaning can the name be before other magi object enough that it becomes a Tribunal issue (or cause for Wizard War)?

Well, by attempting to leave Bonisagus for another true lineage, he's not earning himself any friends in house bonisagus. And while calling him Orbus ex Bonisagus probably is absurd, just calling him orbus because house Bonisagus doesn't want him anymore just might be appropriate. Either way, given how House Tremere is working, trying to join back after being adopted by House Bonisagus is probably something that will go up the chain up to the Primus before getting an answer anyway.

Given that baptismal names are safe from use as AC, i find it strange that the magi would take anything else as their name. A few particularly hubris burden magi might upon gaintlet choose some boqstful names, but Peters and Marias should be abundant in the order.

... which would lead to the universal introduction of nicknames in the Order. As nicknames are as potent as Hermetic names for Sympathetic - not Arcane - connections (ArM5 p.84), this doesn't give a reason to do away with the Order's current practice, right?
Going in the Order under one's baptismal name might also help curious sodales doing reseach of one's background before apprenticeship ... :nerd_face:

First of all, note that there is no right, or duty, to a specific name. A Welsh mage named "Myrddin", who gets that latinized into "Merdinus" by his snickering sodales, will be called that way even if he always introduces himself as "Merlinus". On the other hand, no one can really fault him for saying "I'm Merlinus, with an L".

Of course, there is magic in names, so going by one name or another might create issues of deprivation of magical power; just as it might provoke the fae, cause trouble with mundanes etc. Changing one's name, in particular surreptitiously, might also create generic trouble to the proper functioning of the Order ("Merdinus the Wild? Never heard of him. What, he ows you one queen of vis? Sorry to hear that, my name is Merlinus the Wise, yes, with an L"). Finally, individual Tribunals might have their own rules. So there's not complete freedom either.

As for the specific case at hand, I think an insulting name would reflect poorly on everyone involved, in particular on House Tremere. Also, the named party could simply change his name once more, there's nothing against that. And even if he agreed to carry the new name for, say, a hundred years... suppose he does not. Well, what recourse has the other party? What damages can be claimed? So, I think that the name would not be anything that the bearer would be ashamed of bearing.

Some names might be an insult in another language, or just have a different meaning.

For example, there's a Maga named Betula in one of the games on this forum. Sounds like a nice name by any standard, unless you're Jewish, because Betula in hebrew means virgin. In the same vein, Anas in arabic means friendly, so a Magi from Arab descent might take such a name, but it also means rapist in hebrew.

And I'm sure there are examples from other languages, so a creative magus that knows various languages, can play on that to create a name that sounds reasonable in one language, but has a different meaning in another.

1 Like

I would say so. The magi might accrue nicknames like Philippe "the black" but would push back against it, unless/until their ego gets the better of them.

... or their sodales just insist. Even "Plain Philippe" can become a nickname, if he pushes back enough. :nerd_face:


I can also imagine people declaring certamen or wizard's war overr nickname usage.

1 Like