What steps would you take to give yourself the best shot at surviving being Marched? Obviously it starts with ensuring that nobody except maybe a trusted friend (if you have those) has access to an Arcane Connection to you, which itself probably warrants searching for a way into the Magic Realm pronto, but what else can you do to successfully survive and escape from the most powerful, versatile, and organized group of magi in Mythic Europe?
Take a vacation in the Twilight Realm or Arcadia. Seriously - no arcane connection can reach you there, and time tends to flow a bit differently.
Don't get caught at whatever it is you're doing that will get you Marched. Failing that, have a backup plan that puts the blame on some conveniently-dead-and-Christian-burial'd patsy.
Maintain an alternate identity as a different magi in the Order, so that you have someplace to fall back on. Then, make sure to "die" in a conveniently dramatic fashion, where the Quaseators can confirm that you snuffed it.
Y'know - standard evil overlord stuff.
Outside the Realms, Mecca is a powerful Dominion aura with the Calm temper, in a city that prohibits violence, outside the territorial remit of the Order of Hermes and inside the territory of a rival Order. And with the number of hajji in the world, not impossibly difficult to get AC so you can Leap of Homecoming nearby.
Is the mage in question planning his retreat in advance, or is this an ad hoc removal after crimes discovered and pinned?
I agree that leaving Mythic Europe and going somewhere else is likely the best bet. Within the Order's sphere of influence, they can scour Europe for gifted individuals who leave a bad taste in mortal's memories. Having an active parma magica is a great way to get discovered at some unlucky point. North Africa, the Middle East, Siberia, India, or Cathay would be the option to leave to.
If you've got sufficient power to do so, exiting Europe quickly is a good idea.
If you've been Marched, there's no coming back from that. It's you vs. The Order until one of you dies.
So if you still have interests in Europe, it makes sense to destroy the Order of Hermes.
There's any number of non-Hermetic groups who would love to get their hands on the secrets of the Parma Magica, and if you've been already Marched it's not like the Order can threaten you with anything worse than they've already done. Picking an appropriate group and teaching them is a good first step into giving the Order a serious kicking.
There are enemies of the Order who would be able to use the Parma Magica, but none of them are large. Don't be very reliant on the survival of that group - the Order's response to discovering an alien league of magi have the Parma Magica could be compared to nuclear war, Roman peace, or Mongol conquest.
... Which, I suppose, is a response that has innate potential for having a deeper plan hinged off of it. And for that matter, there might be a good reason not to leave Europe, or at least to come back to it later. What if the group you taught the Parma was the Augustan Brotherhood? They're already good and in with the nobles and clergymen, and while the Order may be willing to set aside its mundane interference ban entirely for the sake of removing the greater threat of another strong group with the Parma Magica, the Church won't be quite so willing to let the Order march in and do whatever they want...
Anyway, keep the ideas coming. I'm more searching for ways to avoid recapture aside from going to another Realm and not returning till your fellows die. (Not that that would be too terrible, either, especially if you manage to pick up Transformed (Being) or some other transformative means of low-Might immortality in the meantime.)
So what does that mean if the alien league of magi is the Mongol conquest?
I know you're asking Tim, but... Oh gosh, Mongols with the Parma... I don't think that ends well for anyone, no matter who actually wins.
I definitely agree that bailing to the Magic Realm followed by getting the heck out of Mythic Europe is a good idea, at least as a first step.
It may not be permanent, though. If you're outcast by a thin margin in a Tribunal that's already starting to fall apart, you may be able to get away with spending the next seven years hiding and striking from the shadows, wiping out local Tremere, Guernici and Trianomae (who have a strong interest in a strong, functional Order) and anyone who voted for your outcasting. If the next Tribunal is controlled by your allies, then while it's never happened yet, they may vote to readmit you to the Order, and the Grand Tribunal may just let sleeping dogs lie if the alternative is setting off another civil war.
Outside of a civil war, your best bet is probably to develop a spirit-summoning spell (just call up a minor ghost or something) and join the Suhhar Suleyman. The Order of Hermes doesn't have much influence in Baghdad, and the Parma Magica spreading through the Gifted ranks of the Suhhar will probably cause the Order to collectively need new pants.
Hey, it works out quite well for Novgorod (the mundane republic). The secret for dealing with Mongol invasion is to surrender before they have to attack and enjoy centuries of prosperity and peace.
I... don't think it should be that difficult. It's not like the entire Order is going to spend every waking moment trying to kill you. All you really need to do is escape a single Marching party that will assemble once you're renounced, and then the occasional would-be "hero" that comes trying to sniff out the known Enemy of the Order. Unless you make a nuisance of yourself - including killing high-status magi that are hunting you; that's an affront to the Order - the Order's top quaesitors, seers, and hoplites and so on probably aren't going to join the March, they have their own issues to worry about.
Your major vulnerability is arcane connections. But why would other magi have arcane connections to you? Unless there is some enemy that collected them years ago or something like that, I think it's most likely that there aren't any currently about. If there are, you might be able to simply remove them all before being renounced, or shortly after; and you could destroy your personal affects to make sure they aren't turned to ones. I would also allow mysteries such as the Bjornaer's Secret Name to remove any active arcane connections to you.
Now go to any place and use disguise (non-magical) to hide who you are, and you're done. It would be extremely difficult to locate you without an Arcane Connection using conventional Hermetic magic.
You would also want to develop Shroud Magic, and teleportation magic (to escape if someone does find your or runs into you), and protective magic, and high Parma, and avoid living in the same place or using the same tools so as not to leave any arcane connections in your wake, and also enchant a PeVi effect to constantly prevent the formation of new arcane connections from shed skin, excrement, and so on..... but those are all secondary.
So for the most part, I think renegade magi can quite plausibly escape into the background and not be discovered. They can even be very active, especially with some disguise & teleporation magic. There is also something of a precedent to this in canon, in the figure of Pendule - not really a renounced magus, but one unsuccessfully sought under Join or Die even by Flambeau himself.
If you really annoyed the Order, I'd think it would have a couple of tricks up its sleeve to stop you. The Queasitors might have a Fenicil Ritual that could reach you even without an arcane connection (Call for Justice summons Nemesis to do so). The Order's guardian angel would surely know where you are, and might be convinced to reveal your location. A sibyl might be able to prophesy your location.
Misdirection and misinformation.
One possibility is, as another post already hinted at, to fake your death. Let the party sent to march you find "you" and, after a suitable combat, kill you in a blaze of glory. Particularly if you are considered relatively weak, and you gave a fair fight, they'll consider the matter closed. You can then probably worm back your way into the Order by finding some weak ex-Miscellanea magus in some remote locale, and mind-controlling him into taking you as his "apprentice".
Another possibility is to take the opposite route, and make sure everyone thinks attempting to kill you will have dire consequences or is somehow impossible. This is far trickier, but depending on your reputation, it may be easier to pull off. Perhaps you can convince everyone that, in repentance of your mistakes, you have become a holy man, and angels came to your rescue the last time someone attempted to kill you and you turned the other cheek. Or, you can convince people you have ascended to Faerie god-hood: take a fairy and convince it that it will derive a lot of vitality by impersonating an ascended you.
A third possibility is to convince the Order that the entire trial that eventually saw you marched was a setup. Plant evidence of demonic influence, of a Diedne resurgence, or simply of corrupt magi blaming their own crimes on you as a scapegoat. Most magi will be very wary of involving themselves into a March that may be against the wrong magus, and may involve them, in turn, in a Hermetic crime or a diabolic plot. Sure, a few will keep going after you anyways, but one thing is to have a dozen magi as enemies, another to have the entire Order.
Well, the original poster asked for the "best shot". Maybe you can go to ground in Normandy and never be found, but Mecca is safer.
Don't know how much good that would do, given Incantation of Summoning the Dead. It's not like they'll let whatever remains you left behind get a Christian burial before they summon your ghost to verify your death. Are magi going to actually believe a Marched wizard was a saint?
Eliminating ACs doesn't help against Merinitas who can cast at range Symbol. Secret Q ritual not required. Of course, these are few and far between, and these folks don't advertise themselves.
Hmm, honestly, are in your games magi so paranoid as to cast a Ritual (spending the vis, risking the botch etc.) to summon the ghost of a relatively weak opponent they just assassinated and question him to make sure it was really him? If that's the case, consider the possibility of dying "Flambeau style": the person impersonating you, after being wounded to death and or proclaiming some defiant curse, explodes in a gigantic ball of fire that totally destroys his remains and, hopefully, eliminates many of his enemies. Or something like that. In any case, if your impersonator believed he was you, even summoning his ghost won't help!
House Tremere has spent hundreds of years of preparation for just this sort of event - a powerful magical enemy with powerful mundane allies, albeit without the enemy having Parma Magica (although the Mongols are more integrated). I imagine it would be a war that would wreck Eurasia, between the direct clash and the dominoes that fell afterward.
I do notice that wizard marches are strictly tribunal affairs- so can a magus marched in one tribunal seek refuge in another? What happens if a tribunal marches a mage who resides in another tribunal? Especially one who has important powerful friends in another tribunal? What were to happen if, for example someone got the Theban tribunal whipped into a frenzy and they decided to march the Primus of the Transylvanian tribunal?
Well, the Order survived something like that once: think of Dorostolon. Though someone had to dissuade Fenicil from sicking his assassins on the Primus of Tremere before. :mrgreen:
The point remains however, that depending on the situation, the best way to survive being marched may be to find another tribunal and either plead for sanctuary or change your name...