Need help understanding some of the ArM background

Being rather sourcebook deprived currently ,
along with having to wait for a reprint of Mystery Cults , i don't know. :cry:

This is entirely outwith the Ars Magica canon, and thus can, and probably should be ignored. There is the suggestion of another motive in White Wolf's old Clanbook: Tremere for Vampire 2nd Edition. This states that the House Tremere's overiding objective in the Schism War was to steal some sort of holy druidic talisman called the Staff of Life or somesuch (I don't have the book handy for reference) from the Diedne. This supposedly had immortality-granting properties and played some part in the ritual which tranformed Tremere (still alive in the 11th century in White Wolf's chronology) and chums (Etrius, Goratrix et al) into vampires.

Whilst largely irrelevant to ArM 5's, since the vampiric Tremere have (probably for the best) been excised from the game's background, it has potential as a plot idea for a Termere saga or one interested in the events of the Schism War. Perhaps the leadership of house Tremere belived (rightly or wrongly) that the Diedne, through the staff, possessed powers which might have granted them immortality or allowed them to resurrect Tremere (presuming they'd have wanted to do that, anyway).

Perhaps the stolen staff is key (symbolically or magically) to preventing the Diedne from returning, and it's mouldering in a vault in Coeris (WW: Ceoris), or lost at some subsequent time, just waiting for the right magus (one of Diedne heritage, perhaps) to find it.

For a rather more extereme idea, one which cribs more extensively from WW, the players could discover that Tremere is indeed alive, sustained by the staff's powers. The staff might contain the life-stuff of the fallen Diedne, or the Celtic gods, which could be tapped in a sort of metaphorical vampirism... It might amuse players familiar with the old World of Darkness setting, anyway.

It's just a thought...

Sacrifice? Try Murder. Just about everyone who they didn't like. Anyone with healing abilities was suspect and burned. Anyone who didn't follow "the book" to a tee, yep, burned. Anyone they wanted something, land etc...yep.
Oh, that Nonbeliever...ah, you can hang him...burn him, eh, whatever.
How about the wonderful crusades? Yeah we will send everyone kids over there...they won't kill them.... :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:
Oh yeah..lets burn all those French people...they dont follow the rules...who cares about the woman and children..the're Heretics.

I'm sure Berenger could give you the dates and such...but don't say the church didn't do worse..I've read too much on it (I belong to it after all).


If you've read so much on it, why is it that you don't seem to know the first thing about what you are talking about, Urien?

I have my books and knew of this version of the plot, but even though the term Staff of Life somewhat has a familiar ring, the closet I could get to it in the clanbook, was that it might have been a "sacred tree" taken by the tremere.

What I wanted to add is that you don't have to look to World of Darkness for this kind of interpretation - in the old ars supplement Houses of Hermes it is said that the Tremere might have taken some important ancient secrets from the smoldering remains of the last Diedne covenant and that these secrets might be turned on the Order - so basically yet another Tremere-paranoia.... Other places, still pinning the Schism War on the Tremere, it is said that it was simply caused by the Diedne primus causing a blemish on the Tremere Primus' dignity at a Grand Tribunal and that this led to their demise.. All of this leans on the "old Tremere" (evil mastermindish) prior to HoH:TL so in many sagas this might be very hard to implement.

All in all there are soo many possible takes on the Schism War - and for now I actually see it as one of the beauties of it - that so many possible interpretations are completely open. And face it - different or even conflicting interpretations are a fact of war (and of life in generel), so it isn't that strange at all.

I surely have mine take on it (which I'm still not partial to reveal here, as it is a major meta-theme of our saga and because this is an open forum frequented by my troupe.. 8) ) - but nevertheless I'm looking very much forward to upcoming publishing. With the splendid present rate of great books from Atlas I'm in no doubt that this is a subject they'll have to touch sooner or later...

I've done my share of reading too (but I after all do not belong to it :unamused: ) and I have to say that I find you characterisation rather unduely and unfittingly grim.

And when it comes to the stereotype but actually rather seldom burning, the medieval church was by far outdone by some of the latecoming Protestant creeds.

This in no way a charge/defense against other ancient cultures practicing human sacrifice - it is off course always despicable - but I also do see your point of comparing pagan sacrifice with christian "cleansing" (in lack of a better term) no matter our dispute on the level of it. Both are done out of blind loss of humanity and simply just cruel to the ones victimizeded by it.

I would like to apologise to the participants of the board for the heatedness of my recent reply to Urien. I see that I should have addressed his points in a less combatative way.

Having checked, I'm not sure why I recall the name "Staff of Life" either. Maybe it was something to do with the Verbena in Mage. I have been suddenly struck by the fear that it might be connected with the awful Samuel Haight stories.

So it does, I'd quite forgotten that bit. In any case, I wouldn't want anyone to think that they should have to look to the World of Darkness for anything.

lol - I had the very same thought, so locked in my Samuel Haight paraphernalia at once when I saw you initial post. But the glove doesn't seem to fit there either... (had btw forgotten how sick a puppy that man is!) But since the "staff of Life"-term also seemed familiar to me I'm not so sure that it isn't some kind of thing used in WoD anyhows. I even looked in the Blood Treachery supplement describing a modern resurgence of hostilities between the vampiric Tremere and the Mage-version Order of Hermes.

Well - these setting do share a common background even if much water has flowed under the bridge since then - and some of it much better than then - so no reason to fanatical ignoring it. I for one enjoyes keeping my players on their toes, especially the seasoned White Wolfers, on whether there is any vampire scare or not withing the Tremere. But one of these days I might have to reveal the truth to them...

Ah memories... I actually ran a Mage chronicle based on Blood Treachery back in the day, and it remains one of the best games I've ever run. I've always fancied the idea of using the masassa war for an Ars Magica saga. One day...

Oh yes, there's lots of fun to be had from dropping the odd White Wolf reference on one's players, particularly when it's done to scare or cast suspicion upon the Tremere. I recall the one in my group got a nasty shock when, having petitioned the House for the loan of some books, they were given a Summa on Rego written by Goratrix. I also greatly appreciated the throwaway WW references in HoH: True Lineages.

The game of "which religion is more bloody, murderous, whatever" is a bad game to play, and tends to be invoke misinformation and lies.


Oh dear.

This kind of debate - because of its a-historical, skewed perspective - unfortunately tends to embarrass everybody who gets involved with it. Of course the Roman Catholic Church called for the crusades, and obliged the secular rulers to perform them. Gregorius VII and Urbanus II (Council of Clermont 1095) got the crusades rolling. Federico II had to promise his crusade to get the support of the Pope for his election. And so on.
As for the life of a common repentant heretic: everybody can look it up, Jeanne d'Arc preferred death in the end.
The childrens' crusade, on the other hand, came about because the French bishops did not act against the preaching of Stephen the shepherd boy in time: he started preaching in Paris, after all. Pope Innocent III did what he could to stop the nonsense, and sent home those children assembling in Rome: he could not organize or pay their journeys back, of course - so most remained in Italy, disheartened by their failure.

I fully agree with Alex here. Inquisitory fervor or gratuitous indignation are very bad motivations for discussions about history. And now let's stop this mess.

Kind regards,


This has been quite an interesting thread to read.

It occurs to me that having several versions of 'canon' history, as well as several minor variants, is actually a strength for a game like Ars Magica. The 13th century after all was not an age in which information flowed freely or accurately, even among magi, and the line between history and myth was rather blurred. Why even 786 years later, in this very thread, there have been accusations of misinformation! Just image what it must have been like at a Grand Tribunal where the ego's of those involved were that much greater.

I would suggest that as a player, you can justify your characters subscription to almost any history of the Order... leave it to your Storyguide to sort out the 'truth'.