Merinita with Diedne Magic vs Diedne with Faerie Magic

Hello everyone.

I have a concept problem with a player of a Saga we are trying to pull out from the freezer, where it went after some of got busy getting married, having kids and such (lab work distractions). One player is designing a new character based on the hermetic history fact that after the Schism War some Diedne apprentices were adopted by Merinita magi. So he wants to play a descendant of these magi, which officially would be a Merinita magi with pretty impressive spontaneous magic skills, and to suspect eyes a Diedne in disguise. So the problem is that when he had to take Virtues & Flaws, he asked why should he gain Farie Magic as his free House Virtue and then buy Diedne Magic, which is a major virtue and thus forbids him for getting other marvels like Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic, instead of getting Diedne Magic as his free House Virtue, and then buy Farie Magic (and LLSM as well, after some negotiation about if it should be initiated later by other Diedne in disguise or negotiated through some house ruling about the Major Hermetic Virtues limit when you get one for free, probably forcing him to pick other Flaws a la Ex Miscellanea) as ordinary virtues, understanding the "and thus you are part of House Merinita" on the virtue description as being ok as his cover.

At first the rest of the troupe frowned upon that, but the player argued that after all these Diedne apprentices became merinita magi and probably gained Faerie Magic through their new House initiations, if only just because a Merinita without Faerie Magic would probably look pretty suspicious (I can hear other magi saying 'hey look, a Meinita! Do something fairy! What, you can't? What kind of Merinita you said you are?', and that wouldn't end well), and that if even if only one of them got a parens merciful enough to initiate him, given time he probably would spread the virtue among other former Diedne apprentices, as range: road and durations: fire and until looks something any spontaneous spellcaster would bite to have. And that also in Order of Hermes: Mistery Cult it says that foreign magi can join Bjornaer and gain the Heartbeast virtue through initiation, so Mistery House virtues shouldn't couldn't be so exclusive, specially in such a crazy House like Merinita.

So what do you think, would that be overpowered? Or would such a character Would you force him to be a Merinita with Diedne magic instead of a Diedne magi with Faerie Magic and namely a Merinita? What would you do when the day comes when he asks to be initiated into Glamour, which obviously he is going to love? And did anybody wrote anything before about the faerie Diedne?

(On a sidenote we have a Tytalus that heard all that discussion and asked if he could buy that virtue too, and got a plain no. But he shrugged, looked at his Persona virtue, his Muto Corpus spells and his and said that there was no problem, that how hard could it be to pretend to be a young child with the Gift in front of the nose of a clueless Merinita for 15 years).

My wife's character in my saga is rather similar to this. Her character (Gretel) was trained, initially, by a Diedne mage-in-hiding and then dropped into House Merinita as a "cover" (with the assistance of a Merinita collaborator).

So, in terms of how her training happened, Diedne Magic would be her 'free' house virtue, followed by acquiring Faerie Magic later. However, as a beginner to running AM, I didn't want to be messing with the rules too much so, mechanically, her character got Faerie Magic for free and bought Diedne Magic with the normal virtue points.

Undoubtedly, we have broken a rule somewhere or bent "the way the world works" in a fashion that is non-canon but the finished character is one that isn't too overpowered and is in a position to start building the story that my wife wants to explore (she couldn't care less about the power-level of her character).

Perhaps you could treat this sort of character as a sort of House Ex Miscellanea character that is officially in House Merinita.
A free Hermetic minor virtue - Faerie Magic
A free non-Hermetic major virtue - Diedne Magic (no legal Hermetic should have this)
And a Compulsory Major Hermetic Flaw - perhaps Unstructured Caster

I personally rule that Diedne Magic is a minor Supernatural/Story flaw - that is, it's a major Story flaw, but it's got an associated benefit to it, in the same way that Visions works. The actual Diedne Magic virtue kinda sucks IMO - it's certainly not worth the 6 implicit points that the associated flaw makes it out to be.

And if you don't want to spend your story flaw on Diedne shenanigans, I'm actually fine with just calling it the equivalent of "Major Magical Focus: Spontaneous Magic", with slightly different game mechanics. You might get some odd looks from the tremere, but beyond that I don't bother with actually poking the backstory beyond that.

But yeah - outside that, I'd go with the Ex Mis option, as described above.

MorganN, your wife's Diedne sounds great. But I think we should empower our Diedne for two reasons: first, he will live door to door with the typical flambeau with a magical focus in flames and a affinity & puissant Creo & Ignem. And second, giving him power will force the player to downplay his magic in order to avoid drawing curious eyes on his particular skills.

So we will take the Ex-Miscellanea path, and call it Supernatural / Mistery virtue, but I feel that we should keep it a Major one. The problem would be leveling down these 6 implicit flaws points Kevin talks about, but I think we could solve that if we allow or Diedne to take any suiting Major Flaw, not requiring it to be Hermetic (after all if we remove the Heremic-ish side of his virtue why keeping it on the flaw?). Oath of Fealty, Driven or Pagan sounds like reasonable choices, for example.

So now my problem is that if we consider Diedne Magic as a Mistery Virtue, that would make our Diedne a Mistery Cult (and obviously the most secretive one) inside a Mistery House, with 200 years of history to develop initiations and thrive. What if the parens our Tytalus, which doesn't know many Merinita magi, decides to fool is our Diedne's parens and just jumps into that network of misteries? At best that would make his little 15 years prank in order to learn Faerie Magic quite more interesting and dangerous. At worst... we could end with a Tytalus magus infiltrated into House Diedne.

I think I just got a central story arc of our Saga.

This bit of your saga is like a weird mirror image to mine :slight_smile: I have Tytalus meddling too. Obviously one of us is playing in the evil parallel universe!

How "active" are the Diedne in your background? Are they still a coherent force? If not, you have every excuse for not detailing all of the mystery cult information as much of it will have been lost (but, perhaps, remains to be found at a suitable point). That's sort of the direction that I'm going.

That's something yet to be defined (and soon).

I had been making some numbers. According to the HOH figures there are supossed to be around 68 Merinita magi out there. Our Saga is centered in the isle of Man, so around there we have Hibernia, Stonehenge and Loch Leglean, and after doing some numbers with something TimOB posted a while ago (here) I estimate 13 Merinita in Hibernia, 7 in Loch Leglean and 6 in Stonehenge, so we have 26 Merinita around and of course not all of them will secretly be Diedne. So I guess I could estimate the % of Diedne of between 10% and 50% of these magi. Taking a 20%, would mean that there are 5-6 diedne magi scattered over these 3 Tribunals (plus maybe other handful of Diedne who are actually infiltrated into Ex-Miscellanea, hiding into Regios and such). Taking a higher percentage would probably end in another Schism War scnenario against Merinita House, so they can't be very active if only because they have very small ranks... They probably are coherent because of their shared hidden lineage, but not very powerful, so the lost Mistery Cult/House information seems the most logical, and all these old Diedne covenants abandoned to be found or in ruins would be the 'remain to be found' part.

So it seems to me that the story would go in two directions. Our Actual Diedne will probably try to regain some of that lost knowledge, while the Tytalus, well, tries to earn a name in Hermetic History Books one way (like let's say exposing the remaining Diedne to the Order wrath) or another (like messing around to increase Diedne's House power and play political plots to gather hermetic, faerie and magic allies in order to start Schism War II).

Well my wife plays a young Maga who had a Merinita parens. That parens was a hidden Diedne druid and taught her Diedne magic instead of faerie one. Are all wifes playing like that ?

As it is my first saga I ruled her character like a simple Merinita maga, BUT her House Virtue is Diedne instead of Faerie magic. I don't bother about munchkin effect, neither is my group of players. Having to hide her legacy is hard enough and spontaneous magic is not that powerful. Especially if you're fighting Faerie plotters.

By the way we play without RoP books - main rulebook only.

Also note that historically (if I'm not confusing theory for actual published data here), the Diedne were (in)famous for inducting hedge wizards into their own house, and essentially saying "here's your sigil. Meetings are every seven years. You're not required to attend. Bye!" As such, a vast majority of House Diedne weren't likely to have the Diedne magic virtue, or even actually be involved in the House at all.

Thus, when they got Marched, I would imagine that lots of "Diedne" magi escaped simply by throwing away their sigils, not showing up to the battles, and returning to whatever they were doing before the Diedne co-opted them. Or alternately immediately jumping ship at the easiest opportunity to join a different house, as they had no particular loyalty to the True Diedne. So, the fact that 50% of house Merinitia (in a given area) may be of Diedne descent isn't necessarily important, as most of those could very well be not related to the core group. The question would be how many were of the core lineage, and maintained that tradition.

But then again, I may be mistaking forum speculation for canon, here. If so, feel free to ignore me. :slight_smile:

HoH:Societates p102 says of Ex Misc "Before its formation, hedge wizards were recruited either into the Mystery Houses (if their ideology was appropriate) or the Societates (often House Flambeau). House Diedne was a common recipient of hedge wizards, and since the demise of that House during the Schism War, House Ex Miscellanea has inherited its stereotype of having naturalistic, primitive wizards with little classical education and poorly developed Hermetic magic."

It's up to you whether Diedne trained the newly inducted Hedge mages in its magical ways, or whether they principally recruited magi who favoured spontaneous effects, or whether Diedne was Ex Misc for naturalistic wizards.