Question on The Peripheral Code- Join or Die...

Gifted inidivual learned Parma Magica, has a few supernatural abilities, is in their 20's..

Covenant finds out, says "join or die", he says "I'll join of course!"

What are the provisions for inducting new members into the order, the individual has no spellcasting ability at the moment but has a few supernatural abilities. Can someone join the order, yet remain a non-magi? or must he be opened up and become a Magi? Are there any peripheral code rulings regarding this topic, etc?

If anyone has some thoughts or can tell me which book discusses such things, I would appreciate it. Thanks

Your question ("Can someone join the order, yet remian a non-magi") has a simple answer: no, not really, unless you're a redcap.

But it raises a more pressing question: HOW could a non-magi learn Parma? It's one of the most protected secrets of the order, it's the LAST thing an apprentice is taugh (after Magic Theory, after opening arts even), so my take has always been: the only way to learn parma was from a Hermetic mage. Sure, it's possible an Order member went rogue, taught this character, and then was hunted down in a Wizard's War, but I'd imagine the parma-schooled freak would probably be killed himself.

If you've got a good story worked up for it, I suppose it's possible he could talk his way into the order, but I'd imagine he'd be trained as a normal apprentice, expected to learn Hermetic styles from now on, and watched just a little more closly than most.

AFAIK there is nowhere any requirement in the Hermetic code that somebody joining the Order of Hermes must practice Hermetic magic afterwards. Larta magi and non-gifted Redcaps are by the code full members of the Order after all.
Also in earlier editions with a more developed hedge magic than in current ArM5 many ex Miscellanea magi exclusively practiced non-hermetic magic.
AFAICS this should carry over to ArM5, though we will still have to wait a year or three for the 5th edition Hedge Magic supplement.

Kind regards,


I also support the view that he need not practice Hermetic magic to be a member of the Order. Of course, without Hermetic magic probably only Ex Misc will accept him. He'll be a true hedge wizard, yet another Ex Misc "magus" soiling the grandour of our great order.... ehem... yes, well, as I was saying...

I third the motion. A magus is not required to know the Hermetic tradition in order to apart of the Order.

I also agree that the last thing taught in the Hermetic tradition is Parma Magica and it is taught after one passes their gauntlet. Therefore Parm Magica is an ability possessed only by Hermetic Magi.

One could argue that a rouge taught Parma Magica to someone, but I would incorporate this into the characters personal history likely as a flaw of somekind. Basically he would be held suspicious by other Hermetic Magi and not trusted for fear that he would (like his master) break the code and pass on the great secret to magi outside the Order.

Mostly likely source of such knowledge, would be from a book on the subject. There have been written a considerable number of such books, and considering the number of lost covenants, I wouldn't be suprised to find a non-hermetic in possesion of one...

I doubt many magi IMS (including NPCs) will even bother to state yhe join or die sentence. they will blast the freak to oblivion, and dispose with the corpse.

Parma is a secret of the order and one of its main strengths. So I suppose an overuse of force to preserve it would be seen as the best course of action. No join or die option: you simply die. Period. It is a way to warn all the other wannabe freaks out there: "You get parma WITHOUT having joined the order? You die, and there is no discussion about that. have a nice day".

However, that is saga dependent, so if you have a cool idea about this character, go and use him! :smiley: the fun factor is the most important thing of all the setting after all :slight_smile:



I agree with you in the part most magi does not bother with this clause anymore - unless he can see that the new magus could give something into the order. This is esspecially true, if the hedge wizard is under protection of a noble or Church.

Your description fits only for Ash Gilders (and their sycophants), whom love to see all Hedgies burn (or die some other horrible death).

If the magus likes Hedge Traditions, he would propably befriend with the hedge wizard and try to persuade him to join. No teaching of Parma before hedgie has joined Order. Hedgielowers know that Ex Miscallanea will take the hedge wizard.

Tremere would befriend with the hedgie and study his hedge tradition, before choosing to give him opportunity to join Order. According to HoH:TL, Tremere is actively searching hedge traditions usable by Order

Neutral magi does not bother to make any trouble with hedgies. There's nothing to gain - except possible Quaesitorial Investigation.

A non-Hermetic magus with Parma? He will not be killed. He will be interrogated to root out where did he learn it. And then he will killed. Or he can opt to give away his teacher and join order (if the magus noticing him is not hedgiehater).

After all description of The Gift says that a character without Gift outside Order gains "Free" Major Story Flaw: Dark Secret (Enemy of Order of Hermes). He will propably be killed after interrogation, unless he has very good luck =)

Yours Kautsu

I am playing in the same game as the original poster.

In this game, a non-magus had learned parma ... was told to join the order or die, and (of course) joined. All of the comments about whether this would be possible, and the likely actions of magus are not helpful. It is irrelevant but ... the events of the game have already occurred ... there was a very good story behind the non-magus learning parma ... it lead to an adventure to find out where he had learned parma ... and was quite well done.

I think the questions asked are

  1. Will someone who has no intentions of being a hermetic wizard be allowed to join a house.

It seems to me that the answer is yes ... at least house ex-miscellanus will

  1. While house ex-miscellania will admit "hedge wizards" ... is there
    a minimum requirement. Would they admitt someone with the gift who
    knows no magic? If not, what would they be expected to have? Is a couple of supernatural virtues enough? Would it make a difference if he had no intention of practicing magic? Normally I would think house ex-miscellania would be happy to train someone like this, and then admit him, but in this case (because the guy knows parma), he had to join the order right away ... and has a year to join a house. In our game, we are trying to decide if the character would probably be admitted as is, or if he would spend the next year trying to cram as much knowledge into himself to improve his chances of admission.

I dug up True Lineages, let me post what it says that's relevant:

and also

The key, I think, is to stop thinking in terms of a monolithic House and statr thinking in terms of individual Ex Misc magi. You need to find one Ex Misc magus who will sponsor you (unless you live in a Tribunal where it is de facto assumed). Whether you will or not is entirely saga dependant as these are magi specific to the saga, not some House policy.
IMS, obtaining membership won't be automatic but wouldn't be hard. Most magi aren't philantropic and won't go out of their way to sponsor someone without thinking he is a reasonable fellow that won't get them in trouble (such as being cast out of the Order thus obligating the spnsor to go out and kill him, or even worse - doing this after collecting debt). This, I reckon, will require between one to four seasons of the aspirant helping the sponsor out, during which he will make sure to probe his reliability and temperament and teach him some OoH Lore and Law.
Most magi will not be willing to sponsor anyone that doesn't display magical powers on par with powers they expect one of their apprentices to wield at gauntlet - different, perhaps, but on the same power level. They may be Ex Misc, but they are still part of a magical lineage and often proud of it. Ex Misc magi will tend to accept people of varying powers and traditions, as part of their House legacy is that this is how their lineage managed to survive the "Join or Die" dictum, but will not accept unGifted or incompetent practitioners as they are still proud to be magi. The unGifted would be referred to Mercere or Jerbiton, the weak will be perhaps offered an apprenticship (preferably with someone else!).

And that, ladies and gfentlemen, is EXACTLY what my usual gaming mates are :wink::stuck_out_tongue: Your game buddies influence the way you see "normal" stuff, I guess.

SNIPPED the rest, since we are both basically repeating this central idea.

My point is that the order will never allow Parma Magica to be outside of the order. It is one of their corner stones. If you allow the secret to move outside the order, you have a real problem.

Torturing the guy, intruding into his mind to know where he learned the secrets, .... all that is good to know where he learned the parma in order to act due action. However, I would think the order was quite lenient if they did not destroy the guy, most of his friend, his hous and muerdered his family after having they raped by ugly grogs.

Why? Becauser they want to strike AWESOME FEAR into any POTENTIAL learner of the parma outside the order. The signal is "you learn our secrets, we make all the people you love and all that you love miserable: Do not mess with the Order".

One thing is non interference. The other allowing your potential enemies to gain an edge over you. that weill not be allowed at any rate.

The issue about practicing magic, he can join and not cast a single spell, hermetic or otherwise in his whole life. Magic has no provision AT ALL in the code of hermes.

Actually, as long asd you could make it sign it, a newt could become a member of the order.



From ArM4 'Hedge Magic' p.33 it follows that to be sponsored into the Order by an ex Miscellanea magus a hedge wizard has to be rather good in what he does: main ability at 8 or above. He also has to fit culturally into the Order: Speak Latin 4 and Scribe Latin 3.
Given that learning has changed in ArM5 substantially, Scribe skill has changed meaning, and there are no equivalent ArM5 hedge magic rules for now, I suggest that the SG decides whether the hedge wizard is held worthy to join or not. After all, also in ArM4 acceptance depends on an ex Miscellanea acting as a sponsor for the wannabe.

Kind regards,


And sponsors can be bullied if archmages think that the guy should not join. Ah the great thing of a bully system like the OoH....



Thanks, that is helpfull. I don't have the 4th edition hedge magic book.
By main ability at 8 or above, do you mean something that is raised like an ability (say magic theory), or like an art (say creo). If you were to take your best guess at transferring the number from 4th edition (the ability at 8 or above), what do you think the number would be in 5th edition (the ability at x or above, where x is the ability score in 5th).

In ArM4 atl weast, no hedge tradition used anything similar to arts. They did, but they raised it through normal XP: they were abilities. More like the gruagach abilities to work magic than arts, in case you have LotN. You have examples of that in Ultima Thule as well.

In fact I think it should be the way to go for arts, but that is me :slight_smile:



To summon up this thread and put a spin on it...

"What if you taught an apprentice the Parma before his gauntlet? Are there consequences? What's the precedent?"

Why would a magus do this? Well, in our saga, there's a conflict brewing. The enemy has demonstrated a definite level of sophisticated intelligence regarding the magi. The magus in question wants his apprentice (moderately?) protected without also weakening his own Parma, so, you'd teach the Parma early....

Wouldn't you?


I think I saw the answer (serf's Parma) in Houses of Hermes: Societates - under Ex Miscellanea.

[EDIT ]Hmm, now I see that all but the last post are over two years old. Argh! Please, do not summon That Which Should Be Left to Rest.

Can anyone confirm that?-- about HoH:S?

As far as summoning things...well, I thought it applicable to this discussion, why not call up the previous points? :slight_smile:

Regardless, in the absence of HoH:S, what are the opinions?


Note that I meant an answer to the original poster's question - I believe there are Gifted individuals who join Ex-Miscellanea without ever learning the Hermetic Arts (perhaps the Scinfolk are one such tradition? Can't really remember). I think the text also says that are some experience hedge wizards who join without ever bothering to learn the Arts (and note that it's very hard to open the Arts of someone with highish scores in several supernatural abilities). Also note that without the Arts, you have no access to Certamen, the recognized way to settle disputes in the Order.

As far as the parma and apprentice question, I think it would be highly, highly frowned upon ... but don't think it's really a crime per se, or at least a high crime.

That's really the question I'm interested in answering...