Questions look for answer

Have a couple of characters looking to take flaw of outsider - Mercere Milvi of Coptic parentage faithful to Coptic Church living in Venetian controled Greece. Outsider? Son of Frank sergeant and Saracen mother, raised in Cyprus as Roman Christian, now Verditius magus living on Venetian controled island? Outsider? Probably not to the order, maybe not the Church (depends), but treated as outsider in the area?

What would it take to be an outsider in the Eastern Mediterraen of 1220? When could a character take this major flaw? The obvious would seem to be Frank living in Arabic lands, Arab living in lands of the Franks (or Byzantines), Jews in either land. But what about a child or adult of mixed parentage? The Franks took Saracen wives (or whathaveyous) and had children. The Saracens or Turks probably had wives (or whathaveyous) of Europeon origin. Would the offspring of those unions be outsiders? Would a mixed Saracen/Frank Christian in the Latin Empire, Tyre, Cyprus or elsewhere be considered an outsider. How about the same that is under the rule of the Saracens? How about the Coptic peoples - in their "own lands" under Arab rule in Egypt or in Greek?

Religious outsiders seem to be part and parcel to the time. Jews and Christians under Islam would be outsiders (please correct me if there is records or arguments to the contrary). Jews under Christian or Islamic rule would be outisders and Jews and follows of Islam would be outsiders in Christian lands (again corrects with explanation would be most welcome).

I guess the ultimate question is what is the level of outsiderness related to "race"? Would a person of mixed blood be considered an outsider just because of the blood or would the status be based on religion?

A secondary question is to what extent does intrafaith religious differences play a role in outsider status. Would a Coptic of the same Christian church be an outsider under the Greek Church, the Roman Church...?

When can this major flaw we taken? Also it would seem that Outsider status could have two levels - Jewish just about anywhere would seem to be a major flaw and Saracen or Frank in the others lands would be outsiders? Would mixed parentage carry the same status is one practiced the religion of the majority of the community? Would Coptics, Nestorians and such be considered to be outsiders to a lesser extent? Any scholarship or ideas to this point?

It's more about discrimination, and inablitity to hide - Throughout europe Jews were/are discriminated against, and often legally had to wear clothing distinguishing them. Moors and Arabs would be instantly recognizable in northern europe as being foreigners, but not in spain, italy or outremer. For more subtle causes of discrimination would be unable to speak the langauge or a strong accent.

As for your two players I didn't know that worshippers of the coptic religion were frowned on by Greek orthodox, but whether they are or not if no one knows in play and there is no obvious way to tell then he isn't an outsider.
As for the character of mixed origin, then I think he would be more frowned on if it was thought he was a bastard (reputation more than ousider flaw) as the differences in colouration would be slight between him and either arabs or latin/greeks, he could probably pass for either.
If either of your players only gets discrimination for their heritage after having made an issue of telling people then it probably is more a reputation issue - as in he only suffers where he is known.

By the rules as written none of these can take the Outsider Flaw - simply because both already have the Social Status Hermetic Magus, Outsider is another Social Status, and compatibility of both is not explicitly stated. ArM5 p.37: "All characters must take one Social Status, and may only take more than one if the description of the Virtues or Flaws explicitly note that they are compatible."
Social Status Flaws are in general not fitting Flaws for magi, because the social life of magi is already limited by the Gift and their upbringing in the Order of Hermes, and because their mundane standing and wealth already are determined by the Covenant setup.

A 'poulain' could be a Christian noble, and the son of a Christian slave mother brought up as a Muslim by his father would in general not face discrimination for that in Muslim countries - so these would clearly not have an ArM5 Outsider Flaw.

I would allow Outsider Status for Copt grogs and companions, because both in Greece and in Egypt a Copt would be from a well known and easily identiifed religious minority distrusted by the authorities and the general populace.

Kind regards,


Not really, no. Copts are in communion with the Eastern Orthoxo, and even in Venetian controlled Greece, the Orthodoxy is the dominant Church.

I thought magi couldn't have "Outsider". Isn't it a background flaw?

IMC, unless they had bought the Gentel Gift, this is a flaw without much effect.

You've chosen too big an area.

This matters rather less than which religion you are. Most Spaniards have a bit of each side of the Reconquista in their ancestry, and in much the same way the people of Asia Minor have a bit of everything in them.


No, I don't think so.

Certainly no.

Again, I doubt it.

There are. There were large Christian and Jewish communities under Arabic rule and they were arguably nicer to the Peoples of the Book than the Christians were.

It depends which land, but the Sepharadic Jewish tradition flowered under Arabic rule.

Race based on "blood" is not strongly found in period works: this is a concern of later centuries.

With the Roman Church he'd need to accept certain matters of doctrine, but other than that, he's OK.

In areas where persecution is -likely-.

I don't agree with this, you know.


The Eastern Empire is a lot better at ruling diverse people than the western states. It comes from having odd Emporers from half the near east at one point or another.

When it comes to the Levant - and Jerusalem in particualary it's difficult to speak of outsiders. One thing being the aforementioned Muslim tradition of tolerance of the other peoples of the book - but moreso the many different people, cultures and faiths present here. Beside the ones already mentioned there were also established groups of Armenian orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox (often mistaken as Coptic) - which might have seemed even more "foreign" then many of the other groups already mentioned.

(amongst the last their king-to-be actually lived in exhile in Jerusalem in the 13th century before returing home to build in Ethiopia an amazing copy of Jerusalem carved into the mountains)

I guess this flaw isn't so different from the modern day variables in xenophobia (disregarding education being a major influence) - the farther the people or culture exist from ones everyday the greater the risk of xenophobia. And in spite of the Levant being stage of many a war - and especially the movement of the crusades underlining religious conflict - the people there is still much more acustomed with each other and living together - whereas a Robin Hoodish Arab in England would surely be an outsider.

The Jews being a bit of a special case - not only being seen as foreingers in parts of Europe there were also a lot of other reasons for them staying "outsiders" - they had a very strong sense of their own history and culture, which set them apart from local population, second they had a vulnerable position as scapegoats when being amongst the few who did loaning of money, thirdly they were often victimized be slander not only based on their, in some eyes, responsibility in the cruxification but also on horrendeous rumors of Jews being poisoners and babe-eaters.

Whopsidaisy - I hadn't remembered this explicitly in the rules but the same thoughts had already dawned on me. I guess my side project of a Bohemian Jewish Guernici might have to look for another flaw in its place...

All: Thank you for the comments -

I missed page 37 entirely - I need to read the social status flaws closer. Strangely enough in ROP:D on 137, there is a flaw of Outsider (minor). The section indicates that this flaw is appropriate for grogs, but companions and magi should take the major flaw instead? Does this imply that the Hermetic is not the exclusive social status of a magus?

In any event, in the "cosmoploitan" east the general conclusion is that outsider, at least as a major flaw, it probably not appropriate, particularly in much of the Levant (both Saracen and Frank held). The major flaw of outsider would apply only to those areas where: 1) the character would be radically distinguishable in practice from the rest of the community or 2) in areas of significant danger and repression to the minority population. One of mixed blood lines is probably not going to face the level of discrimination significant enough to take this as a flaw.

Following on from this discussion, though there is an "Excommunicate" flaw in RoP: The Divine, shouldn't there be a "Heretic" flaw, either major or minor depending upon the time and place, somewhere to cover heterodox beliefs that, at least initially, fall short of outright excommunication? That would give a mechanic to cover the Cathars and other historical heresies of the high middle ages like those of the Bogomils and Waldensians. For a saga which goes on long enough, it could even aply to historical proto-Protestant groups like the Lollards or the Hussites, should the storyteller wish to involve them. Heresy, after all, is fun, and makes good story material.

I find it hard to believe there isn't already such a flaw somewhere, but I'm damned if I can find it.

no - it just implies that Grogs take Minor Flaws (and no Major ones!), and that among the many Grogs in a covenant, an Outsider would fit in "well" becuase they'd be driven to place which are more tolerant of the "weird".

Companions can have the Minor Status Flaw Outsider, too, or Major, depending on the hassle they actually face. (Living primarily in a Covenant you do not live with everyday intolerance, unless you irritate the specific types in a Covenant.)(Companions quite commonly have a life outside the Covenant.)

Magi cannot, ever, because they always have the Hermetic Status Virtue "Heretic Magus". The clear "one Status V/F only" rule overrides any side interpretations and hopeful extensions of flavour text.

definitely - you have to judge the actual level of hassle and discrimination the character will actively face, in the life they live.
A Major Flaw should always be significant and unavoidable - something to base stories round regularly. If you can work ropund it and avoid it, then it's not valid for that character.

Outsider is only available to Companions seeing that:

  1. Magi already have a social status

  2. Grogs are not allowed to have major flaws (serfs parma on this one)

And Outsider should be visible on sight.

For Christians/Jews in Islamic countries there is a minor flaw in the divine that applies.

Like i wrote in the past, I think culd be possible to have two or more social status.
Think of the Tremere who live as merchant, or of an Oustsider merchant (a moorish merchant in venice...)

[size=75]Come ho scritto in passato, penso sia possibile avere due o più status sociali.
Pensa al Tremere mercante o lo straniero mercante (un mercante moro a Venezia...)

Well therea re a couple of Social statuses that can be taken together; like Magister in Artibus with Priest, and Knight with Landed Noble... So with a good enough reason, I can't see why not.

While on that subject, under the Mercenary Captain Virtue it says that "you are much like a knight-errant, only without the prestige." Does this mean that Mercenary Captain can be taken with Knight to have a Knight Errant class? Or is it just a left-over from some other piece of writing?