I was reading an older thread where they where discussion the population of Wizards in the order of Hermes. I guess the general number intimated in the current setting is around 1200. That got me thinking 1200 is actually a pretty small number of people. I'm not saying that the order should be more populous or anything. But thinking about that number did lead me to some weird thoughts about the setting. I mean my home town had population of about 5,000 people. Now when I think back growing up there didn't seem to be a person in my home town that my mother didn't know or at least know of. She was a bit of a gossip and worked in the town drug store so it's understandable.
First consider this for it's time the Order of Hermes is a surprisingly well organized and interconnected organization. It had a reliable internal mail and news organization: the Redcaps. Uniform laws and social expectations with at least semi professional police. In Latin it had single uniform language practiced through out by a literate population with an interest in correspondence. The order has regular meetings in the form of the tribunals and grand tribunals as well as fairs and other gatherings. A brisk trade in resources, knowledge and favors where conducted across the order. It's members where usually wealthy by medieval standards, magically powerful, and spectacularly long-lived.
I guess what I'm getting at is that the Order of Hermes would be a pretty easy community to keep abreast of even considering the scattered nature of medieval Europe. It wouldn't be hard for a member of the order particularly a Redcap to keep track of news about all the prominent figures and even have a rough Idea of even fairly obscure members. And I'm talking the order as a whole. Individual tribunals would be even easier to keep track of. Why I would imagine a prominent Redcap or Quesitor would probably know almost every Magus in their native tribunal if not on site then by description and reputation.
Most traditions would be even more connected then the order in general.
Sure, it makes sense.
ANd when you start detailing the magi in a tribunal you have to comu up with lineage trees too, so it mostly come down to 1-3 different lineages for a small presence, 4-7 for a medium presence and a bit more for a bigger presence (such as the Tremere in Transylvania).
At 100 magi per tribunal (on average), it surely makes sense that any individual magi should have at least heard of all of them, and met more than half, by his second Tribunal or so.
We usually play that if you've bothered to interact with other magi, you probably know (more or less) everyone in your tribunal by sight and name.
Lab rats that never leave the lab? Most if not all magi have heard of them, fewer met them.
New-commers (either newly arrieved or newly gauntleted), less well know.
The way we play it is that a character needs an Intelligence + Organization Lore (Order of Hermes) roll to know of any magus of the Order (unless the story suggests otherwise). If your (modified) roll is very high (in particular, if it is 24+) the Troupe must come up with a good explanation about why the character knows so much about the magus - perhaps the character read his diary or was haunted by his ghost, or perhaps the character's parens was the magus' lover (and a gossip!) or a mortal enemy of the magus (and had the character research everything that was known in preparation for a wizard's war). On a botch, false information is acquired.
9+ You've heard of the magus. You know House, Tribunal(s), major reputation(s), and have a rough idea of hermetic age (young/middle aged/old if still living, otherwise in which centuries he was active).
12+ You know the magus. You know his magical (and possibly mundane) interests, e.g. a Longevity specialist, or a meddler in the the Norman conquest of Britain. You also have a rough idea of his lineage, and of any noteworthy deeds.
15+ You know the magus fairly well. You know the most noteworthy books he's authored; any unusual spells or magical items; his rough political stance (e.g. Transitionalist, Wilderist); his strongest personality trait(s); some apprentices he trained (if any); and the rough whereabouts (e.g. Britain, the far East, Twilight) in any given decade.
18+ You know the magus very well. You know the magus's sigil, his personality traits, his political stance on most matters of some import, his familiar's name, his most noteworthy enemies and allies, and any Hermetic crimes he's been charged with. You have a good idea of his whereabouts within any span of a few years (e.g. Pomerania, Venice etc.).
21+ You know the magus extremely well - basically, anything of some note that is not a well-kept secret. This includes his exact whereabouts in any given year.
24+ You know the most minute details of the magus' life that were not well-kept secrets, including his dietary habits, the position of his lab in his covenant(s), and the identity of his shield grogs. You may also know a few of the magus' secrets.
27+ You know anything anyone else has ever known about the magus (and had a chance to pass on) and probably several of the magus secrets.
30+ You probably know the magus as well as he ever knew himself, if not better.
Modifiers (add all that apply):
+3 if in the same Tribunal
+3 if in the same House
+3 in the same magical lineage and/or mystery cult.
- Reputation (whether good or bad)
- 2 for each century that the target has been dead, lost to twilight etc.
-1 to -3 reclusive: lab rat or living at the fringes of the Order.
-1 young magus (no Grand Tribunal after his gauntlet and before his disappearance - if any)
-1 newly gauntleted magus (no Tribunal after his gauntlet and before his disappearance - if any)
-6 apprentice, never made it to full magus-hood.