Redcap Mages

What would happen in the order if a large number of redcaps became initiates to hedge magic mysteries? Four of the six traditions in Hedge Magic Revised can initiate ungifted individuals. So what would happen if one or more redcaps became initiates then started initiating and training all their apprentices into a hedge magic tradition?

Easy answer: whatever you want to have happen!

eg they all have to join house ex misc; or they start voting in tribunal meetings; or they get kicked out by the magi of house mercere for getting uppity; or...

In my saga, they would a) have some sort of cool ability; b) be regarded as less trust-worthy by Mercere magi, unless they are actually initiated by a Mercere in the first place; c) some would join ex misc and be counted as full magi.

If the Hedge tradition in question was not part of house ex misc at the time, then they would probably be Marched. And they'd know this, so they would have to either keep it secret or make sure that a full Mercere magus was their sponsor to make it official.


Why would they need to join house exmiscellanea? They are already members of the OoH after all :slight_smile:

It wouldn't be much of a problem. As long as they did still consider themselves to be second class mages and did not vote in most issues at tribunal I would see not much of a problem here. They would still be forced to perform their service to the OoH, though, so these new abilities will not be allowed to interfere with their role as messengers or they would lose their redcap status.

What might change is that they might stop receiving so many magic items. But that is more an internal Mercere house thing than an ooH issue.


Some would join ex misc (in my saga). Why? So they could enjoy higher status (still not as high as a 'proper' mage). Most wouldn't.
I see a bigger problem being whether the Order could still trust them if it became known that they had joined an outside group with unknown agendas.


Are you sure you can LEAVE your house? You can be EXPELLED from it, but I am not sure you can leave it and move to another house voluntarily.

Isn't that the point of the Societias... groups of like minded magi.

(best crochety old guy voice) I remember the old days... when you could change from House to House by passing a given House's Gauntlet and some older magi would "retire" into House Jerbiton.

OtoH, according to Societates, you can now be a member of more than one house (eg. Tytalus and whatever..)

you always can leave your house and you have one year to get in another one, and if houses like bonisagus, tremere, guernicus and mercere won't take you, most other will accept you in their house.

In special cases you even can get in two houses : house tytalus can consider someone of their house even if that person is still in another house.

House Criamon is happy to take someone from another house and house Verditius has a way to give you verditius magic.
House Bjornaer can accept you if you have a heartbeast, etc.

Anyway, I don't see why a Mercere would be expelled because he knows some hedge magic

Well, no part of the Code insist that your magic has to be Hermetic.

Many of the founders (actually by defnition all of them) were reared on rather different magics. IIRC, Verditius never cast a spell in his life.

Quite possibly the OoH would now simply have 2 recognized magical traditions - and a horde of bonisagi wanting to integrate the 2 systems!

I see 2 main problems:
1)How would House Mercere react? If it was widely available within the House and not in a center of opposition to the OoH, why would House Mercere as a whole care? If however only a few were to be initiated, I can see jealousy breeding.
2)How would the Order as whole react? Why would they care?
Some would wish to study it - integrate it into Corpus Hermeticus. Others (read: House Guernicus) would probably want to check in on it every once in a while to ascertain that the Code in not broken. But the Code actually protects your rights to secrecy and unusual magics, though the house of Bonisagus might be pissed off about being denied the right to study it.

But as long as the redcaps stay loyal to the OoH, where's the real problem?

EDIT: mind you, once they start inducting Gifted children, I can see a lot of fights starting :smiley:


Try early in the core book, where it first describes The Houses of Hermes..."...Four... are Mystery Cults, and magi can join these by being initiated into the cult. The last four... (Societatus)... are gatherings of magi with common interests. It is relatively easy to join these Houses after training, and magi who feel they do not fit into their old Houses often do..." (AM p. 11)
Hermetic magi pick up "magic" from all over, and the Order only blinks if diabolism comes into question. A Bonisagus learns from a witch living in a cave, and publishes the findings to great acclaim. A Guernicus pours over the writings of a renegade, and learns secrets of penetrating Parma, and is thanked for his efforts. A Flambeau learns secrets from the writings of a vanquished Vitkir, and his companions slap him on the back at the new trick he demonstrates.

Magi rub elbows with "hedge mage" all the time. So long as this doesn't affect their Oath or overall conduct, it's nothing to raise an eyebrow.

I think that House Mercere investing ultimately in things like Inceptions/Reagents may be a way forward for them, but there is nothing to stop them actually going into a heavy recruitment drive from the ranks of hedgees.

Will there be prejudice? Damn skippy! Will there be backlash? Oh hell yeah! But I think the idea of House Mercere trying to improve it's lot in life by creating a line of hedgees in the house, is not one without merit.

There is the cult of heroes and other groups. But a redcap may decide to try to earn his right to vote and show himself the equal of his gifted sodalis and justify using his vote to the betterment of the house. He may just want to use the magic to the betterment of the house or even just learn something the Order can't do to teach the high and mighty gifted a lesson or two in humility.


I've never really played Redcaps as second class mages. IMO Redcap is a fairly prestigious and powerful position. House Mercere has a huge influence in the order. So huge that they probably choose not to vote (remeber it is a choice) partly to conceal some of that influence. If anything an unGifted Mercere who spends to much time studying or practicing hedge magic is going to be seen as slacking on his real job of being a Redcap by his house.

Redcaps have 2 free seasons IIRC, so he might be able to do his hedgie stuff even when acomplishing everything his house wants from him, though.

And what Tribunal would complain if a Redcap were able to use their own magic to perform their duties better/faster?

The Idea that Redcaps can have a little bit of some extra ability makes their dependancy magically on other houses less. This means that the could be more potent a force.

A few young redcaps with some extra abilities makes them better redcaps, and more trusted and capable of delivering messages without external interference.


The big question for me is "When do they get competent enough to learn Parma?"......

Well, only when they somehow manifest the gift.

But this would make them a lot more trusted as messengers since people will have a much harder time, subtly mind-reaming them.


I believe that all they need is: a) someone to teach them parma (or a bootleg copy of a book about about it); and b) some sort of supernatural ability...
If they need a full gift, then there are (probably) a lot of ex misc magi running aorund without any parma! Which is possible, depending on your saga. I have quite a few members of ex misc who don't have a full gift, but I...

I've just checked the actual rulebook! (Shock, horror). To learn parma, The Gift IS required. Oh well, you learn something every day...

Bothering to post this because others might find it a surprise too.

Yep, I for one remember the templates in 4th ed Houses of Hermes (or was it Order of Hermes? The one for 4th ed!) that unGifted Redcaps also had Parma Magica. Those were good times, where traveling messengers unable to defend themselves otherwise actually had some sort of protection.

But back on topic, remember that mercere is a True Lineage house. If the leaders or majority seemed to think those unGifted Redcaps were initiating some useful and dignified hedge magic they might be accepted and form a new subgroup of the house. If enough of them came along they could take over the house.
Would they start voting? Perhaps, depends on the agressiveness of those starting the trend, or if the rest of the Order discriminated against them. Would or could they leave the house? They could, I don't see anything against leaving a house in any binding rules, although they'd need to join a new one. Would they run to Ex Misc? IMHO only if they couldn't stay in Mercere, I believe they woud have some manner of pride as to their lineage.

But more importantly, would they still bother to run errands once they learned some magic? Quite possibly not.

And was this my last retorical question? Probably, for now. :wink:

Magical redcaps may make the decision to do less for the house as messengers, but can be of more use to the house.

The wonderful thing is, that this is an incredible story arc for an ST or a plot arc for a Redcap Magus or ungifted Redcap or even a hedge magus.