(Mystery Cult) Lore for House Tremere

From what I can read in the HoH:TL section on House Tremere, as well as AtD, House Tremere has a very secular view of magic and little tolerance for mystery cults within their ranks.

Does that mean Tremere magi never gain virtues through initiation, even for some of the specialty virtues1 or Curious Common Magics (TMRE) like Potent Magic?

Is it more likely that the House uses Organization Lore: House Tremere2 for such "mystery" initiations?

Or are these virtues only taught to their apprentices by those who possess them?

1 Leadworker, Harenarius, Nyktophylax and Minor Magical Affinity (Certamen).
2 For example, Monica Ierne (AtD p.30) has that Lore.

Except for the Mystery Houses, apprentices rarely learn any virtues by initiation. And in the Mystery Houses, apprentices are normall only initiated into the Outer Mystery, and no others.
Initiations are for Mystery Cults, and outside the Mystery Houses, most magi are not members of any cult.

That being said, I see nothing in the description of House Tremere to indicate that they won't tolerate Mystery Cults, and if they don't, membership in a Mystery Cult is usually secret so the House leadership wouldn't know if a Tremere mage joined a Mystery Cult. They distrust any gods that demand sacrifice, but that doesn't mean all mystery cults are distruested.

Organization Lore: House Tremere is just an ordinary Organization Lore. Not a Mystery Cult Lore. House Tremere is, after all, not a Mystery House and thus any lore about the House won't include knowledge of any initations and the like.

By this, I meant normally, not through an initiation.

Potent Magic is so often mentioned as an alternative to a Magical Focus that it would make sense for it to be a rather common avenue of specialization within House Tremere.

So, in your view Verditius Cult Lore does not cover knowledge of House Verditius as an Organization Lore would? And a Verditius magis would need to have both lores?

Or do you consider that Verditius Cult Lore covers both areas of knowledge?

I am not sure, but I think House Verditius Lore would cover both areas.
The big difference between this and House Tremere Lore is of course that House Verditius is a mystery cult, and House Tremere isn't.

Coming back to this part, the problem of a Tremere wouldn't so much that his House's philosophy would prevent it, but that mystery cults wouldn't accept a Tremere candidate because they don't trust the Tremere!

Which would leaves very few possibilities for a Tremere with Minor Potent Magic to upgrade it to Major Potent Magic. :frowning:

At which point he is at the same position as a whole lot of other magi. Really not a problem.

Despite discussions here on the forums sometimes seeming to assume every PC magus has at least half-a-dozen initiations and can get more whenever they want, that is not how it is for NPC magi, nor do I believe it is intended to be quite that easy for PCs either.

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I agree that joining a mystery cult seems too easy in most sagas. Or rather, gaining knowledge that a specific cult even exists (and what it does) is too easy because of player knowledge.

But I disagree that a Tremere would be in a same situation as any other magus. Ever since 4e edition, most sagas seem to overplay a general distrust of the Tremere. Which makes joining a mystery cult much harder for a Tremere, unless it exists within the House.

After all, "everyone knows" that you cannot trust a Tremere with your secrets, right? (Dripping sarcasm)

I think it would depend on the mystery cult. The Green Cockrel, for example probably wouldn't have any problem with a Tremere initiate. Or at least no more than an 18th century protestant mason would have with a Catholic mason...

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The impact and stereotypes of the houses, while the game puts up a framework, it's up to the Story Guide to choose how much they hold on to the stereotypes.

A Tremere magi may be deeply loyal and be infiltrating the mystery cult. However, think how many people with strict parents or cult upbringings (which a stereotypical Tremere or for that matter Tytalus is similar to) kick back.

Barring misadventure, the magi will be amongst the top 1% of people in regards to power and comfort. Getting other allies to help them get out from under the thumb of the tiny amount of people who can effectively oppress them is a reasonable motivation. I would not blanche at a Tremere joining a mystery cult.

I've always seen Tremere as a pyramid scheme kind of set up. Being the top of the pyramid is awesome. The power the top tier of Tremere wield would put them in the top 1% of the top 1%. Many of the grunts holding up the pyramid dream of being at the top some day, however, as with any pyramid scheme, some people realise their chance of ascending the pyramid is tiny and want out.

I imagine the Tremere would happily make use an artificial "cult" like the one Fortunata of Jerbiton invented, using her Principles Lore skill. They might even create their own Lore whole cloth, rather than accept imagery and values different than theirs. The House leaders could carefully curate the lore and symbologism used to reflect the history and values of the House, to result in an appropriately secular system. Initiation of virtues is simply too useful for the House to ignore, if they can accomplish it on their own terms.

Being Tremere, a dedicated working group would be created to investigate the matter---perhaps the Vexillation of the Shackled King---and write the Lore, acquire extant initiation scripts, and convert them to the new system. The artificial nature of the cult would probably keep the sympathetic bonuses low, but the systematic House could offset that with resources dedicated to creating a small cadre of skilled Mystagogues and CrMe rituals to raise Presence. Simply being able to reliably initiate "Unaffected by the Gift" minor virtue would immediately remove the primary barrier to an Academy for apprentices, which be a massive advantage for the House who mastered it.

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About as soon as masonic societies appeared in the 18th century, they were banned by the Catholic Church.

The basic summary is here:

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Neculai from the Transsylvanian Tribunal (AtD p.103) is a fine example for the relations between House Tremere and a House being a Mystery Cult.
The official position of House Tremere here is, "that House Tremere has nothing to hide and House Bjornaer has nothing to fear."
Similarly, well known and respected Mystery Cults - like the Legion of Mithras and the Mystic Fraternity of Samos - might be officially endorsed by Tremere, while contact with the wilder fringes - like the Children of Hermes - will likely be very strongly discouraged.

The fact that a lot of players ignore the changes made to House Tremere between 4e and 5e is their problem, not a problem with Tremere.


I am not convinced there are two separate areas of knowledge.

(Mystery Cult) Lore is the (Organization) Lore of a particular cult. It provides knowledge of the legends, history, structure, operation, and goals of the Mystery Cult in question. It includes knowledge of the magics, rites, and secret passwords and symbolism of the cult, how to covertly signal membership, and how to assess another magus’s membership or non-membership in the cult. [TMRE:11]

It may not be possible to separate an understanding of the organisation of the cult from the teachings of the cult, and hence every mystery cult lore is just the organisation lore of said cult.

Taking Tremere Lore as a mystery cult lore, and let the house provide initiations does not seem categorically wrong. I just did not have the impression that that would be how the house operates. Inventing a Tremere Cult Lore would be no less misplaced.

Of course, if the saga is overly liberal in the availability of cult membership and initiation, and exaggerates the antagonism against Tremere, you are right that something has to be done to level the playing field. Personally, I would make cults rare (most canon cults do not exist), and members have to ask themselves what they can do for the cult, rather than what the cult can do for them. TANSTAFL

If you find that Tremere is disadvantaged and you have no other way to mitigate, making a Tremere Cult may very well be a lesser evil. However, you could consider their having a bargain with a faerie queen able to bestow certain virtues. That is probably the same thing, though, with some narrative sugar on top.

Actually, it easily becomes a challenge for the entire troupe and the SG in particular, not just the deluded players.

Maybe they should invent an unbreakable vow spell!?

Anyway, why would you be concerned about a Tremere? Of all the houses, they are the least likely to break a vow. And if no vow is involved, the cult is probably not that secret anyway.

A Mystery Cult should be concerned about knowledge leaking out from all members, regardless of House. At least until those members prove themselves, which is why there are several ranks of Initiations.

I think, if I was worried about secrecy, I would worry a lot more about a Bonisagus joining with, you know, their oath to share their arcane discoveries and all that jazz.

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They probably are.
but passing knowledge along in the house? Isn't that recruitment?

So true.

Has anyone played out the Big Bonisagus Cabal in a Saga yet?

I can see where Tremere mysteries would likely revolve around the wolf pack, select Roman military practices, and a lot of hierarchical structure.

(Trying to avoid A Word.)