Need help understanding some of the ArM background

Having jumped into ArM in 5th Ed. I'm having a bit of trouble understanding some of the houses in ArM.

Flambeu: OK, they love ignem and destroying things. Thats it? To a noob, this seems a bit... shallow and out of place in the genral ArM scheme of things. What brings theese guys together as a house?

Tytalus: The two charicatures I pick up from these guys is either the compulsive backstabber, or the hermetic equivelint of the highschool jock. Bolth seem lik they would be incredibly disruptiveto other members of a covenant. How do they intereact with other magi in the order, and in there covenant?

Deidne: These guys just seem to get jumped outa nowhere. The entire house gets the chop, because they are pagan (wouldn't Criamon, Bjornair, and Mernita also be considered pagan?), while Tytalus, who actualy were diabolists, just gets weeded out? They say they were renounced in Tribunal, but only 3 of the 12 houses were actively against them. So where did they pick up the animosity to get completely thrown out of the order and get wiped out?

The old tribunal book on Iberia gave a bit more depth to Flambau, the founder. But yes, so far, that's it.

That gives shallow powergamers somewhere to fit in, and a


That would be the old Tremere.

Sounds more like Flambeaus. In my eyes, the Tytalus stereotype is more about stirring shit up for the sake of having something to do, while the Flambeaus just blow shit up when they have the occasion.


Good question. I defer to the experts.

Well, having a destroyed subgroup seemed to be a recurring White Wolf meme. Makes it easier to set them up as antagonists, I suppose. ("We'll be back!")

"Let's March non-Roman traditions out of the Order" is an often-mentioned possible saga theme.

Rationale is that this happened after the Schism War and that people were uneasy about having it happen all over again, so House Tytalus got off lightly. We'll probably know more when the book comes out.

Politics. Militant houses. One theory is that the Schism War drew attention away from the Duresca Scrolls and a potential dark agenda within House Guernicus.

Tytalus I see as Nietzschean, tempering themselves through conflict.



The Schism war (Diedne) happened after the others... His question is correct...its doesn't make sense.

Did it? Ah, yes. It did. My bad. :blush: I had convinced myself the Schism War had happened earlier. :unamused: sigh

Is any of the previous edition histories still "cannon", any recomended books for reading up on the theese houses or the schism war?

Flambeau are mages that typically love destruction, not in the Beavis and Butthead kind of way but in a more means-to-an-end kind of way. Most Flambeau IMS tend to be militant magi, the rest of the order tolerate them because a) who wants to mess with a warrior mage and b) it comes in useful having muscle to back you up when you need it.

Thats my thought on it exactly. They use conflict to test themselves continually in an effort to better themselves. Sometimes they go to far and fail and that is what led to the infernalist incident. The order tolerates them because like the flambeau, many of them are hard as nails and also they are one of the smallest houses (if not the smallest) and really don't cause that much in problems beyond annoyances. Except for the occasional terrible mistake.

The background to the schism war is actually quite deep. You must remember that Diedne were the biggest house in the order. They practiced druidic magic, which has a tendency to get a little dark at times (human sacrifice, etc). They were very secretive (definately a mystery cult) and they were also very localised, mainly in ex-celtic lands. I always saw them as being quite insular too, very few shared covenants, mostly Diedne covenants only. Also Diedne magic is sufficiently different to normal Hermetic magic to make it stand out as exotic.

Now on the other side, you have a particularly aggressive Tremere administration looking to increase their power and become the dominant house in the order. Best way to do it is to replace the current number one. The Flambeau are always spoiling for a fight and don't need much persuasion to be distrustful of those pagan weirdos. Tytalus would be on board in a second, what a fantastic opportunity to test themselves against the biggest, baddest house around.

After that you have the three militant aggresive houses at war with the biggest, most powerful house. Guernicus desperately trying to stop the fighting then finally throwing their weight behind the tri-house alliance. I always saw most of the other houses sitting the war out. Criamon are largely pacifists, Bjornaer stick to their wild lands, Merinitae retreat to the Fae forests and Bonisagus either don't notice or sit crying about the ruins of their dream order. None of the other houses want to get in the war because then they make themselves targets. And none of the alliance houses want to atack the other pagan/mystery cults because then they'd be fighting on two fronts.

There is a distinct possibilty that the war would have carried onto the other pagan/mystery houses after the Diedne fell, except that the Diedne inflicted such huge losses upon the alliance houses that realistically they were not ready for another war. The Tremere strategy had failed as their victory was largely a Pyric one. The Tytalus, having won their conflict move onto other things with nary a glance back and the Flambeau are so heavily decimated that they pose no threat to anyone for a while. In the time it takes these house to reebuild, the Quaesitors restore order and the other houses emerge from the woodwork to maintain that order. Shcoked by the carnage, Tremere abandon hopes of military conquest of the order and move onto more sensible ventures.

Not canon, no - 5e makes a clean break and liberates itself from the problems of compatibility baggage. :slight_smile:
8 of 12 Houses now detailed, I don't know how the other 4 will come out, but since that covers Ex Misc, Tytalus & Flambeau, expect changes from 3e HoH & 2e OoH books! (5e rewrites have made big changes - look at Bjornaer, Merinita, Criamon & Verditius now as Mystery Houses, and the rewritten histories of Tremere & Guernicus!)

On the other hand it's all basically the same game - so you can draw inspiration from the older versions of the as yet unrewritten portions.

Also it is just a game - something people forget sometimes - and it is your game, so it's what you make of it. You don't have to follow the new line, you don't have to accept changes! :wink:

(:idea: But if in a variant saga, it helps when posting to remind others that it is so - sometimes we see posts from people using 4e, or wild variants, who don't say so, and trigger pointless discussion as people try to "correct" them!)

From what I've seen of the historical accounts, the Pagan religion in question, only sacrificed convicted criminals....

(The Church did far worse than that)

There is also the stated history of the fact that House Diedne and Guernicus were plotting against Tremere...


The Flambeau are the magi who aspire to be heros (leaving aside the Mercere sub group with a similar but not identical theme). They are a societas, they aren't together for power or for knowlege they're together because they want to be the doers not the sitters. In their opinion research and esoteric mysteries are fine activities but their respect goes to the man in the arena. They're the wizards who rescue innocent dragons from savage princesses, the wizards who stike deals with faerie lords by fear and intimidation. They're the house that eschews philosophy in favor of activity (in itself a bit of a philosophy but don't them or their perdo your head off). Their symbol is an hourglass to some extent they respect the destructive power of time, I've always thought that there was a related hint about getting off of their rumps before their time was up.

"through conflict; growth" that was their old motto. The Tytalus seek challenges that would better themselves. It would (IMO) not be the tytalus way to pick a fight with an opponent significantly weaker than them what would they learn from it. A Tytalus woluld instead challenge opponents slightly less powerful to slightly more powerful than them selves. Tytalus value good oponents, they do not kill or disrespect the people/entities that they have chosen to be their teachers (unless it's part of the conflict).

The background of the schism war is the corruption of house Tytalus. The order had seen major demonic corruption and they feared it greatly.

The diedne were the most secretive, most powerful and least intigrated house in the order. The Diedne would not allow any investigation into their matters (they claimed that the other houses were after ther secrets).

The Diedne refused to abide by the decisions of tribunal in regard to the investigations for demonic corruption. Refusing to abide by the action of a tribunal is a marchable offense.

The Diedne were though to practice human sacrifice. The Tremere have and had a conspicuous distaste for human sacrifice as a result of their history. (ironic considering that an ancient Mercurian ritual involving human sacrifice is rumored to have been instrumental in their defeat)

The Diedne leadership acted with disrespect and scorn towards the Tremere and Flambeau leadership.

It was the time of greatest paranoia and distrust wthin the order violence was becomming commonplace and the order was on the verge of fracturing.

there are enough tidbits in the fifth edition books that "out of nowhere" is not really an appropriate criticism of the material. It is probably a valid criticism of earlier versions of the game.

Fifth edition paints the schism war as a human conflict full of pregidous and distrust, Second and third edition painted the destruction of the Diedne as a sort of "white man's burden" for the order, trying to create a feeling of collective guilt for the actions of the character's ancestors, ultimately I don't think that they did a poor job making the mistake of casting the schism war in too "allegory-esque" of a fasion, you never felt that there were two sides to the story each believing that they were the good guys.

Ultimately, I believe that David wants to have the Diedne available to storyguides to craft plots around casting them as misunderstood fluffy bunny tree hugging wizards, or demon worshiping depraved revenants or anything in between without forcing the storyguide to rewrite the in-game history of the order and by so doing tip off the players. (My guesses about David's desires are naturally pure speculation)

As a whole, fifth edition has reinterpreted all of the houses. If you're looking at older material (particularily thrid edition material) you will see differences in theme and mood.

A good deal of this I susspect is a result of having writers who are probably about ten years older than the writers used ten years ago (once again speculation on my part).

Well, that will presumably be the focus of the Flambeau chapter in an eventual book. All of hte houses are shallower in earlier editions. Flambeau is the house ofdeliberate shallowness for PCs interested primarily in comabt and herocis, in previous editions.

Just as you image. They make themselves better by continual strife, and if there isn't enoughh strife ot challenge them, they make it.

They are non-Roman. Thye are also practicing a sort of paganism that is secretive ,and might have been repulsive.

In the old edition, one of the ideas that almost got up, but not quite, is that the Tytalus of 1220 are descendants of the Tytalus who were hoplites, and thus on the side of the angels, during the Corruption.

They were secretive and seem to have practiced blood magic, and weren't Romans, and didn't shatter at the declaration. If one group of disaffected Diedne had sold out the others, there might still be a Diedne, but Diedne, unlike Tytalus, doesn't instictively split into warring factions during a crisis.

IMO, they gave up just conquering the Order after the Sundering. Conquering the Order with force just didn't work the first time. I don't see the Schism as then going "Time to try the same tired old thing again..."

Who did it sacrifice people to?

The Church had criminals killed, yes, but it didn't feed criminals to sppoky gods that eat souls, now, did it?

Burnging wicker men filled with people so that your god gets his annual equivalent of my morning cup of coffee? If that were happening on my planet, I'd be pretty unimpressed. I'm not saying the Diedne actually did this, but House Tremere firmly believed it was happening and Tremere magi used ot worship a God of the Dead, and they hate gods now with the passion of a slighted lover.

Where is this?

Editted: Already covered... :frowning:

I would love for this to be the theme of the Flambeau chapter of Societies. Flambeau is another house that I mostly ignore because they seem to be played as a one note joke, "Pyromania, whee!" This could make them interesting.

Wow, thanks for the information guys, this helps a lot.

Just to mention:

In 5th edition lots of the houses are being developed as in what pre hermetic cult they originated from:
Guernicus and Bonisagus being the most Mercurian, Verditus belonging to cultist of the god Haephietus (can't spell sorry), Tremere coming from cults of the dead. But all of the main Roman houses are now decended from Priestly cults of the Roman empire.
Flambeau - We will find out when the supplement comes out, but their natures as warrior magi, guardians and fire specialists could fit into quite a few backgrounds. Definately roman background as coming from spain is one of the main points. So maybe a cult of Mithras or Ares is possible.

Also one of the plot points in 4th edition Schism war (Can't remember how much is still canon) is that the Tremere were emerging as the most powerful house in the 900s as all the other founders died off, disappeared. And as Tremere was still alive and having the most organized aggressive house he was quietly taking control of the entire order. Until some mysterious group put out a curse assassinating the entire command level below Tremere himself and the Guerincus brought in a peace treaty where the Tremere promised not to investigate or try to take revenge. My usumption was always that the Schism was due to the Tremere breaking their word, finding out that the Diedne were behind it and taking revenge.

As for why the Tytilus did not get marched as a house, this is because not all of the Tytilus fell to demonic temptation. All that did were marched individually, the small numbers of the house are because they are still recovering. Wheras the Diedne were marched because of the beliefs of the entire house, so the entire house was fair game.
When anyone in the order is marched there is generally a rush as hoplites volunteer, this is because their possessions go to the successful hunter and for some marches there is a bounty placed on the target, raised by a tax at Tribunal. You won't just be hunted by your enemies but by any number of wizards who see a chance for gain for themselves.

There are a few references (4th edition Mysteries and the Divine) to Flambeau who are attracted to fire not for its destructive capacity but for its ability to shed light. The one group channelled this into becoming explorers and scholars (light drives away darkness/ignorance). The other group are holy magi that follow the light of the divine.

Also, if you combine the ideas of warmth, light, and hearth -- all of which are associated with fire -- you could make a very domestic Flambeau

Perhaps there is a Mystery Cult for Flambeau based on Hestia or Vesta.

Do you think they'd get along with the Merinita Vestals? :open_mouth: