Minimum requirement for Order membership

I am looking for a canonical answer to a question: What are the minimum requirements to become a member, and remain a member, of the Order of Hermes?

One thing for sure: you have to swear the Oath. But who do you have to swear the oath to, what witnesses need to be there, and does membership need to be verified or approved by any external authority?

Given that unGifted Redcaps are members, possessing the Gift can't be a universal requirement, but maybe it is a requirement for all outside House Mercere? Nor can training in Hermetic magic be a requirement given that hedge wizards have joined the Order without, presumably, having to go through a 15 year apprenticeship first.

Does a member of the Order of Hermes also have to be a member of a House? Do they also have to be a member of a regional tribunal? (I think I read in Faith and Flame that a member of the Provencal Tribunal has to attend one tribunal meeting in three to retain membership, so there may be some magi who drift out of membership of any tribunal.)

The reason for asking is that in my saga, the ExMisc tradition of Hermetic Sahirs were ousted from Iberia about 50 years ago, following a series of Wizard's Wars (and some illegal attacks) waged against them, mainly by members of House Flambeau from Iberia and Provencal. Some Sahirs died, others fled to Africa, where they also did not fare well. But some who have survived hope to return, and in the meantime they have trained some apprentices, who have sworn oaths to their parens and are known to other Hermetic Sahirs but are unknown to the Order as a whole. Would the elder magi, who have not attended a tribunal meeting in 50 years nor had any other contact with the Order in Europe, still be considered members of the Order? And what of their newly gauntletted apprentices?


Rather than being accepted as a member of the Order, you are (with some caveats, see below) accepted as a member of a particular House, and only by extension as a member of the Order at large. The Primus decides if you can be part of it, and can cast you out at any time, for any reason. The Primus obviously can delegate authority on this issue, and typically does in the case of apprentices - to the magus or group of magi responsible for administering the gauntlet.

HMRE is very clear on this regard that the Gift is not "explicitly" necessary, and that in some cases some Houses might accept unGifted members (particularly Ex Miscellanea) - though there would be social pressure for them to refrain from voting, like the Redcaps do. HoH:TL presents, if I recall correctly, a hypothetical scenario in which House Bjornaer might see its numbers swell because of a large number of unGifted-but-HeartBeasted newcomers, and makes the case that it's ultimately up to the Bjornaer Primus to decide whether to break with tradition and accept them. HoH:TL also brings back "Larta Magi", basically exceptional unGifted artists, that are gauntleted in House Mercere and from there potentially "transfered" to other Houses like Jerbiton.

Almost. If your (last) House casts you out (declares you "orbus") you have one year to find another or you are considered expelled from the Order.

Membership in a Tribunal is a privilege granting (shared) authority over the lands in that Tribunal, not a right or a duty.
In principle, you can be member of no Tribunal (in particular if your covenant/sanctum lies outside Hermetic lands).
Some Tribunals might restrict your "rights" in their lands if you are not a member, compared to the rights of a member (see e.g. Thebes).

They would, I believe; though a) they would have to prove they are those selfsame wizards and b) obviously Wizard War can be waged again on them and c) no Tribunal has the duty to accept them on Tribunal lands.

An interesting situation. I'm not sure what the canonical answer is, but here are a few points to consider.

I think magi are members in perpetuity, regardless of whether they appeared in a Tribunal for a long time or not. One indication of this is in Guardian of the Forests, where magi still vote with "proxy" votes of their ancestors. While this is a legal compromise and Rhine Tribunal tradition, I think it signals that magi do not ever cease to be members of the Order. This also fits with Final Twilight, that can take magi out of Hermetic society of years on end.

Now, regional tribunals can have regional customs on who they consider member of the regional tribunal. I can certainly see active engagement - directly or by proxy - in the past three regional Tribunals as being required in several tribunals, although I'm not familiar with other instances of this rule. There are also indications of Quaesitors (presumably ratified by regional Tribunals) deciding that a magus has passed to Final Twilight, and of House Tremere having clear protocols on finding and treating dead members.

I don't think it's legally enough to swear the Code to your master, even tough it initially probably was. I think a Quaesitor witness is needed, at least, and a Redcap notification of the tribunal. And a magus has to be a member of a House, so possibly the Primus needs to approve? I don't know. So I don't think those apprentices would be considered full magi. But given that their masters are magi, they would be considered apprentices. Although again, without official notification I believe regional tribunals would be inclined to be very lenient towards any magus that attacked such an "apprentice". Especially is this regional tribunal happens to be Iberia, and the apprentices in question the filli of these hated infidel witches.

The big thing the Quaesitors would be worried about would be that there is now a faction of wizards wielding the Parma Magica that are not, at least de facto, members of the Order. They would seek to bring them into the fold, or eradicate them.

So - I don't have definitive answers. But that's my 2c.

The minimum requirement, in principle, is to swear the Oath to your parens. So my ruling as a Quaesitor would be that these sahirs and their apprentices are legally magi - the term for a magus who doesn't participate in his Tribunal or any covenant is called an eremite. Most (but not all) Tribunals leave eremites more or less alone so long as they don't challenge anyone else's vis sources. There's also no law against setting up shop outside the boundaries of the Order. As for the House, unless Cad Gadu gets involved in this, that's a non issue - in many Tribunals, Hermetic vagrancy isn't a thing because the Peripheral Code just declares you Ex Miscellanea. And even if the Miscellanea Primus does reject the Hermetic sahirs, they can ask House Criamon for sanctuary and expect to get it.

However, I definitely agree that de facto, they're in trouble. They don't have the political power to do anything, many cannot prove their pre-existing ties to the Order, and the Flambeau want them dead and aren't likely to face much retribution for slaying them (particularly if the slaying is done either in Africa, Iberia or Provence - the Code is almost certain to be subverted by democracy there). They're not in legal trouble unless they face an unjustified March and House Guernicus doesn't protect them, however.

I think that if it became known to House Guernicus, Bilera (the current Prima) would be more likely to send a Traditionalist Quaesitor to go talk to these guys and make sure that they're aware of the Oath and the idea of the Code, and check to see that they're not threatening any Order interests or planning on visiting the Levant to join up with the Suhhar against the Crusader magi (nobody wants that kind of headache). She won't prosecute a March against them, though Iberia or Provence might.

This isn't particularly canonical, as I'm not giving you references.

Minimum requirements: Swear the Oath. If you can recite the Oath, you are a member. Even if no witnesses or records can be found to your having sworn, if you can recite the Oath and have the Gift, and know the Parma Magica, you're a mage.

You can recite the Oath, don't have the Gift, but do have magic powers of some kind? You are a Magus Ex Miscellanea.

You don't know anything about that House? Probably your line lost its history of contact with the House. You and the quaesitor should contact Cad Gadu to sort this out. (And maybe they will respond.)

You have the Gift, don't have the Parma Magica, but you can recite the Oath and have a convincing tale of your decent from a known House? You poor creature. We may be able to help you re-contact your House and/or tradition.

Unless there's some compelling reason to doubt the magus, if they have the Oath, they should taken as a member. If some bloodthirsty hedge-hunting Flambeau confronts a hated Sahir, and the Sahir says, "I, Akbar, swore everlasting loyalty..." that Flambeau has cause to pause.

Maintenance is everlasting, or at least until expulsion. Says so right in the Oath.

If, however, you cannot establish that you are a legitimate member of a House, and that House does not recognize you, you are an Orbus, and you have one year from the date of the ruling to join a House or die. House Ex Miscellanea might take decades to respond; they might simply assume you are a member if you say you are, but other Houses would be more thorough. The Lineages require a full accounting of your parentage; the Cults generally require Cultic knowledge; the Societies are more welcoming, but adherence to their philosophy is expected.

Now, an unGifted non-magical person who can recite the Oath but has no demonstrable descent? This person has a problem...

no problem, they have knowledge of the code of hermes and can assist as a grog in that capacity. If they can recite the oath and claim to be a member... can they prove they are of the lineage of Mercere?

House Mercere can prove it, one way or the other.