Join or dont die

The code of hermes allows for a hermetic magus to extend an "offer" of "join or die" to a hedge wizard.

However is it possible to offer a hedge wizard to join the order without having to kill them if they refuse?

The core rulebook states that "the official policy [of the order of hermes] is still that all wizards must join the order".

does this mean that a magus extending an offer to join the order to a hedge wizards must then follow up a refusal to join with "die then"? The phrasing makes suggests to me that the policy of all wizards having to join is not vigorously enforced.

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Diplomacy is usually preferred. I recommend you read the insert "Join or Die" in HoH:S p8

Quite. Nobody ever defines what a "wizard" is.
Many - or most - hedge practitioners are seen as unworthy of joining the order. So magi can also phrase the offer to join as condescending as they wish: "That exploit of yours wasn't half bad. Just now I might offer to sponsor you as my filius in the order." - or such.

Well the thing is I am rather thinking that I want to invite a hedge wizard to join the order without having to follow up on the "... or die" part if they refuse.

So I am not trying for a "no" rather for a "yes or lets continue as before".

this is where my question comes in: Can a magus of the order give the offer to join to a hedge wizard and without the invitation being an ultimatum?

Didn't I just provide an example, how even a highly conceited Hermetic magus can do that? If he is more sociable, he can also make the offer sound more friendly.

First ask if they would be interested in joining. If the answer is yes, then you issue a formal invitation to join.
Problem solved.


This is in fact a brilliant and simple solution that I should have though of.

It does contain an implicit assumption that presenting an offer to join the order, would legally a require a response of "or die", whatever that may actually entail in practise, if the offer was turned down. Is this your opinion of how hermetic law is?

Not quite.
Technically you must either invite a wizard to join the Order, or kill them outright - including if they refuse to join.
In practice this is rarely enforced.

The official policy
is still that all wizards must join the Order, or
die. However, this is rarely enforced, particu-
larly if the wizard in question is weak, or a
member of the Church, or a noble."
Core rule book, p16

Historically, Hermetic magi offered
those hedge wizards who they encountered
the choice to “Join or Die.” However today,
unless a hedge wizard is very powerful a ma-
gus is unlikely to be chastised by a tribunal
for interacting with him more diplomatically
Hedge Magic: Revised Edition, p5


This sounds an awful lot like your reading of hermetic law is that a magus who offers a hedge wizard to join the order must follow up a decline of that offer with an attempt to kill the hedge wizard.

It is my reading too by the way.

It is nice to know that the law is not enforced very strictly. Knowing that the law is not enforced very much is not an argument against its existence.

From an older thread...

How "Powerful" or "Not Powerful" a hedge mage is, is specifically related to if they possess The Gift or not. Attempting to bring someone without the Gift into the Order is a sure way to crater someones reputation.

The Lineage of Pralix (HoH:S, p.126) is the most important entity in actually bringing a hedge mage into the Order. They are the specialist at it and recognized among the Order as such.

When a wizard seeks to join the Order of Hermes, he is usually directed towards a member of the Lineage of Pralix. Only those who possess The Gift are normally considered for membership. Those magi from other Houses who actively seek out hedge wizards (notably House Flambeau) are aware of the tradition, and recognize the service that they perform for the Order.

While it's not technically a solution within the Code, one of my players has used an alternative to both "join" and "die" in dealing with a hedge witch: "Marry" :grin:


Marriage has canon precedent, at the Lübeck Covenant. For most, I think, this is the only real alternative to ignoring the unGifted practitioners. They are not welcome in the Order, and killing them is a little like walking into a village and killing their blacksmith or something. Few magi would condone, and fewer still would actually do it.

It is the Gifted magi who should, by the ancient policy, be forced into the fold. Now they are few and far between, so it makes sense if most magi have forgotten that they exist.


This is true. It's also one aspect not covered is how the Order of Hermes interacts with entire rival Orders of Wizads, such as the Suhar of Solomon.

I think it's worth saying too that members of the Order typically go on the field without a quaesitores watching over their every action. If you're alone with the hedge wizard, and you offer them to join and they decline, nobody's going to report on you not killing the hedge wizard.


For rivals, the order is reversed: Die, or join.

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You mean, you try to kill them, and when they slay you, your sodales will let them join?

"We'd rather kill you, but if you act fast you can join."

@TimOB, got a source for that?

Not specifically, but I refer you to the history of House Flambeau.

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Fair enough!