[size=85](Rather than derail another thread, one that I'm enjoying, I'm posting this comment as a separate tangent.)[/size]
size=150Characterization of House Tytalus[/size][list]or, subtitledWhy every covenant really wants a Tytalus as a sodalis[/list:u]
And this is just one Player's opinion - hardly definitive, hardly the last word. But a word I feel needs to be said, or at least discussed. And in the spirit (and the spirit of House T), alternate opinions are not only welcome, they are requested...
I find myself compelled to comment on this stereotype of Tytali as chaotic-stupid assholes, bent on random mayhem, preying on anyone who is not fortified to the teeth, creating destructive conflict simply because there was none before and they saw a soft target. Once upon a time (in earlier editions) they might have been this, but not so much in 5th ed.
In short - Tytalus don't much care if others learn from conflict, they want to learn and grow from it. If both do, great, but House philosophy is not one of zen guerrilla teaching, a life of slapping unsuspecting folk to teach them the sound of one hand clapping.
The motto of House T is "From conflict, growth" - not "conflict for conflict's sake" or "conflict uber alles". That is, as a rule of thumb, one would expect a Tytalus to embrace conflict where she finds it rather than to create it (which is comparatively lazy). And rarely without a good reason.
So House Tytalus can be all about conflict, yes, but with an end goal of self-challenge and through that self-betterment! So it is conflict as self-challenge and self-improvement, not "I'm going to burn the barn down to prove that I can when you aren't paying attention to the barn. Ha ha!" Conflict where the Tytalus neither improves nor learns nor is particularly challenged is a waste of time and effort and thus goes directly against Tytalean principles.* Creating conflict where the Tytalus neither is challenged nor grows but the opposing party may do so is hardly better.
(* Just as there can be self-serving Bonisagus or corrupt Guernicus or cowardly Flambeaux, there can be exceptions here, Tytaloi who are, indeed, nothing but petty troublemakers, bellicose undesirables and opportunistic predators. But they are the exception - not the rule.)
A Tytlus mage thrives on rivalry, to show they have the stronger will than a rival who is trying to do the same to them. The philosophy here is that of Physis* - the self, of following natural laws in order to improve, correct or (yes) ignore man's laws. Unjust action is validated if it betters the self, not if it merely beats a weaker target down to prove it can be done - there is no challenge or growth there. (It would be rare (and inexplicable?) that they would be selfless teachers, handing out hard lessons without desire for self-improvement. Occasionally, but not as a policy.)
(* Some T's have an entirely different philosophy, one of nomos, that some rules are good as things to bind one's lesser impulses. We aren't talking about them here, but they are even less likely to do the above.)
As cited in HoH:Soc (p 77, col iii, bottom), breaking a rule or finding a loophole - or picking on someone unprepared - merely makes them change; struggling against a rival causes both to grow - and thus the House motto is fulfilled (for the T, at least).
In the example quoted above, no one grows, no one learns anything they did not already know - ambush is a strong tool, there are predatory magi, covenants are never as strongly defended as one would wish, no one is safe from a concerted and well-planned attack. Film at 11.
Now, all that said, could Tytaloi perpetrate the plothook suggested above with just cause? Not if they are stronger than the other magi (as suggested by the assumption of of victory in the last line quoted above, "...allow them to learn from the defeat."). If they are merely following their own nature and preying on the weak, then they should neither be merciful nor care if the others learn anything - the weak are not their concern. But that sort of thing could be done by an unscrupulous mage from any House - house T hardly has a monopoly on those, and almost any other House jumps to mind just as easily.
For House T, the above would be attractive if 1) they were weaker than the magi they targeted, and won by deception and hoodwinking them (some of which is suggested above), or b) if the targets were notably arrogant about their security, or iii) if there were some real challenge to it, such as if they wanted to make these magi rivals for the long-term. Or, rarely, if the Tytaloi were just chaotic-stupid assholes, shortsighted and equally short on understanding in the House philosophy - that too, sadly.