The Census ex Miscellanea

One of the players in my saga is running an ex Misc. The player has expressed in interest in the upcoming ex Miscellanea census.

Has anyone out there done anything with this little (what feels almost like) throwaway bit of flavour text in their saga? Such as how was the census performed, who took the census, what kind of results did you get?

I've got a couple of ideas on how it's done (one would involve summoning every ex Misc in the world to Cad Gadu, much as the Bjornaer flock to Crintera every so often), one involving a handful of ex Misc scouring the countryside counting their housemates, and one would involve somehow getting the Redcaps to help (if not do the heavy lifting themselves). But for some reason, none of them feel quite "right."

The other question is what kind of results did the Census come up with? Canonically, the current "best guess" number of ex Misc is 180 but the number is suspected to be much higher. In the sagas that at least mentioned a census, was the number higher, lower, or more or less spot on. And if it was off, was it a significant number? (Like, instead of 180, it's more like 500 or 120 or something.)

And the other other question is when would the census be done? Over a period of between-tribunal years (e.g. between 1221 and 1228), or would it be done to coincide with Grand Tribunal, or some other portentous date?

I have not looked into this myself, but I have a few thoughts.
Based on my understanding of House ex Miscellanea, the House is historically so dis-organised that a significant portion of the membership would not know that Cad Gadu is their Domus Magnus, let alone where it could be roughly found.

In order to call everybody to Cad Gadu, you will need to send out messages to every member of the House, probably via the redcaps. But the Redcaps probably only directly deliver messages when they have been given a name and a last known address. So you would need a complete census to know all the names and addresses in order to complete a census. Unless you sent messages to all ex Miscellanea members you know of, stating they are to repeat these messages to all ex Miscellanea that they know and so on, and hope evenually the entire House membership is contacted. But that way leaves duplicate messages, and a lot of busy (and thus well-paid) Redcaps. So long as all members in the links can afford to send on messages to their contacts, or are willing (say they don't think it interferes with their magical studies, or the privacy of their contacts).
How much would House Mercere charge to let you look at their master directory listing?
Has the Primus managed to yet alert all his House membership that he is the current Primus?

But could the Primus get trusted House members to scour the wilds for other House members? Would they know where to go, without Redcap guides. Especially beyond the Stonehenge Tribunal where languages and customs differ. How long would these trusted ex Miscellana messengers be prepared to stay away from their own magical studies?
Would House Mercere sit idly by when a competing message service starts up?
Would foreign covenants allow travelling ex Miscellanea to visit as if they were Redcaps, or treat them as trespassers?

This sounds like it could get to be a ridiculously difficult and/or expensive undertaking, with so much Story potential.
I might appropriate this somehow.

If anything, it is likely higher rather than lower.

IMS ex miscellanea has been on the 250-300 population. Maybe higher, but most exmiscellanea are so local and reclusive that they will not interact with another hermetic magus during their whole life, let alone a Roman tradition. They swear the code to be left alone, and that is it. they will not vote, not care about tribunals and certainly not give a damn about where cad gadu is or who is supposed to be a member of their own house. They just recite a nonsensical (for them) litany that allows them to be able to learn that parma thing and be left alone.


A problem with any form of census is that although apprentices coming up through training must perform a gauntlet and swear the oath there doesn't seem to be any requirement in the rules about when this oath is given. In all games I have played in the oath is symbolically taken at the next Tribunal meeting after the gauntlet is passed, but that seems only to be house ruling rather than Canon. There doesn't seem to be any actual requirement for newly gauntleted mages or their parens to notify anyone as if the parens is satisfied then they administer the oath and the Quaesitores only become involved after 3 failed gauntlets of apprentices they actually know about.

Add to that that the text from HoH:TL states clearly that non hermetics taking the oath to join are assumed to be automatically members of Ex Misc in some tribunals and you have a census nightmare as a Flambeau on a join or die rampage could theoretically take the oaths of 30 or 40 hedgies without telling anyone else before he ends up being killed. Are those hedge mages members of the Order and of House Ex Miscellania? I'd say yes, and depending on how much the Flambeau told them they might not even know where to find other magi or how to attend a tribunal. Who knows about the hedgy members? Only themselves and some of the others recruited on the same rampage.

One of my players (an ex-misc wanna-be hoplite with secret infernal powers) is interested in getting in on this census thing too. I have some concerns as to her motivations (being a secret infernalist character and a machavellian player), but want to pursue the story anyway.

I'm just now digging into HoH:S myself, so I don't have any specific suggestions on how to handle it, but if the plot develops in that direction, I'll let you know what I come up with and how it goes.

Oddly enough, I was a local office supervisor for the United States 2010 census.

As a habitual player of Ex Misc (or merinita), I thought the census is one of the more interesting points of canon "current house politics."

In my current game with CJ23 as alpha SG, the census is something we keep being threatened with - my character (an ex misc from a tiny, doomed, but powerful tradition native to Britain) and another character (skilled with Herbam magic, forests, and either has a spell for everything or is strangely good at spontaneous magic) are very resistant to having outsiders poke their noses into our little traditions, which we are trying to pass on to the next generation. In fact, we're suspicious that someone would try and use the information to cull our lineages at a later date. As such, and as the other Ex Misc has become a quaesitor and has somehow found a staff suspiciously like Pralix's, we are working the politics and trying to lay the foundations for a coup, with me pretending to be fiercely loyal to the current primus.

In the game I'm playing on the boards here with Peregrine Bjornaer, my character is a Pralixian who's met a quaesitor obsessed with punishing everyone. As such, he would find a list of different Ex Misc magi and any information on their magical specialities a treasure trove to help him meet wizards with new kinds of magic, and registering magi would be a great way of protecting them from quaesitorial suspicion, so he is keen to support the census.

As to how to do the census - the quaesitors are pushing for it, in order to stop rogue magi and magi orbi from claiming "but I'm an ex miscellanea". I would use the quaesitorial support to help push it. Send messages via the redcaps to every Ex Misc that you're aware of, and ask them to register their magi and those they've trained and pass the message on. Meanwhile, get the quaesitors to announce at each Tribunal that all Ex Misc magi in the tribunal should send their names in for registration, and if they can't pass the message on to Cad gaddu they can always give the information to House Guernicus in strictest confidence. Use the quaesitors to encourage people forward. Of course, magi from covenants that don't send representatives to Tribunal, who aren't known to other Ex Misc magi in the tribunal, and don't regularly correspond via the redcap network may end up missed out. Such magi should make the best of their miniscule presence, because if their actions attract the attention of quaesitors they could be in trouble. Of course, not being in regular contact with Tribunal decisions means they could be at risk of ignoring legal decisions that affect their behaviour anyway, such as not realising a limit on magically created wealth has become part of the peripheral code in their area.

How big is Ex Misc? I usually assume bigger. There's always some tiny tradition someone's forgot to count, or Mythic Companions who aren't gifted but have been offered membership in the Order as part of Ex Misc. More importantly, there's probably someone who's being deliberately missed out - whether a Mystery Cult so mysterious they insist on not being mentioned, or people whose powers are so awesomely freaky no-one wants to let on what secret weapon their covenant has in reserve.

Canonically, the Redcaps have a register of covenants.

So, it is possible to get the Redcaps to deliver a "census" form to every covenant --- which is not actually that many, so that is practical.

That should capture most Ex Misc., so it is then a matter of tracking down the few Ex Misc., who are playing silly buggers by either declining to reply, or whom are not living in recognised covenants and are therefore outside the Redcap network.

I would have thought part of the process of becoming a Hermetic magus would be recognition of such status by notifying the Quaesitores of the new magus's Hermetic name and voting sigil so they would be recognized at tribunals. Otherwise you have to use Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie or something similar repeatedly at tribunals just to identify new magi and their sigils, and considering the size of tribunals (~100 magi), their average lifespan (~100 years), the frequency of tribunals (1/7 years locally), an attendance rates (let's say 50%) that would be an average of three or four magi being questioned at every tribunal. But what if a magus brings a new sigil to vote for someone else, then even that spell will only reveal if the carrier believes the other to be a Hermetic magus. So I would think the Quaesitores would hold a record of every magus and their voting sigil.


Arg, tried replying twice and lost the answer each time! :imp:

Simply put, most magi in the order will be registered immediately upon gauntlet either because their gauntlet requires the presence of a quaesitor (Guernici and Tremere), or because they live in a covenant or took their gauntlet in a covenant where a quaesitor lives. For the rest of the magi in the order the communication of redcaps bringing letters reporting the gauntlet results from new parens, or just the redcaps taking it on themselves to pass on word would take care of the problem.

The issue is with hermits (known in Roman tribunal as independants, in Loch Leglean as Aonaranan) who the redcaps have no known address to visit, or in the rare occasion where a whole covenant has been blacklisted and no longer passes messages along. In this case the parens must take it upon themselves to travel if they want to register their filius, and lets face it, these are the type of magi who are hermits for a reason and might not bother attending tribunal, and are unlikely to see the need to inform anyone of the gauntlet.

It's up to each group to work out how many of these antisocial loners there are, your game your rules.

If I remember right, as far as House Mercere is concerned, even the hermitic magi comprise a covenant, albeit a covenant of one. So they should (theoretically) be able to get messages to every magus in the Order, whether they're part of a Covenant or are an eremite.

As to what happens when an aonaran relocates and doesn't bother to tell the Redcaps, I'm guessing that after the first or second time the Redcap makes his rounds and finds a big ol' Vacancy sign where the magus used to be, he probably just has whatever messages he had returned to the sender stamped "Moved – no forwarding address" or the Hermetic equivalent. I suspect that Ebroin has figured a little bump in the numbers to account for the unfindables.

I'd have thought the Redcap would discharge his duty and just leave the mail next to the vacancy sign. It's not like the reclusive magus is likely to get that much mail - being a recluse and all.

Yes, I think that the Recap's register of covenants will probably list what the Redcaps consider to be a "covenant" which is likely more (but potentially less) inclusive than the mainstream Tribunal's ideas.

"Hermits" who are maintaining contact with the Redcaps will thus be easily contactable. The issue is hermits who are so reclusive that they are outside the Redcap network.

I think that realistically most of Ex Misc. will be trivially contactable, given sufficient time, via the Redcap network (although, of course, not all Ex Misc will choose to reply). Then there will be a very small number who are practically impossible to contact. But such ultra-reclusive hermits are barely members of the Order anyway.

p102 of HoH:S states that "many of the traditions of House Ex Misc have roots that are every bit as noble and sophisticated as those of the founders....however...there are a large number of magi Ex Miscellanea who are uninterested in the Order as a political body - their membership is purely to prevent harassment from the other Houses, so that they may pursue their own goals in peace."

Why would a census be necessary if this is the composition of the house? The more organized house-like groups would probably have a membership "roster" in some form. The "joined the order to be left alone" types would need to publicise their membership; its does no good to be "under the protection of the code" if no one knows that you are a Hermetic Magus. Similarly, there are Magi Orbi, who began their career in another house and were exiled or left, and joined Ex Misc to avoid being marched. Similarly I would think they would want to publicise their membership.

So why would a census be necessary? Drawing from my real-world experience, simply because these things change over time. More or less everyone who joined the house at some point in the past would have publicised their joining, but over time, some covenants and individual magi might have become boycotted by redcaps, moved and not publicised the fact, taken on apprentices that they didn't tell anyone about, not informed anyone when someone passed into final twilight, etc. These people were once not so secretive or they wouldn't have joined the order, but over time, they could have become more hermit-like, more secretive, more hostile to authority, etc, without actually breaking with the order entirely.

The ex Miscellanea census is (HoH:S p. 102) a census by Ebroin, the Primus ex Miscellanea - not by the Mercere, not by the Quaesitores, not by any Tribunal, and not by the Order.

And there is no a priori certainty that any of these would help Ebroin with it.

Mercere typically use their close network e. g. for vis banking (HoH:TL p.84ff), registration of vis sites, occasional politicking by delaying messages, etc. - so they have very little motivation to share the information it is built on.

Quaesitores register and acknowledge - but if they have any archives of their own, they appear to be very reticent about them (meaning, that I at least have not found any hint about them in the books so far).

The Tribunals will try to preserve the proceedings of Tribunal meetings and their decisions, and the lists of "magi in good standing" - with Order, Tribunal or both. But it appears that updating these lists of magi and verifying voting sigils is part of the procedure of many Tribunal meetings. (As an aside: while voting sigils play a big role in GotF, HoH:TL p.48f and p. 123f, TMK in ArM5 basic rules they only appear in passing remarks on p. 12 and p. 86, and have no index entry. Anyway they exist for all Hermetic magi, and represent their voting rights within the Order - so there needs to be a method working everywhere in the Order to verify their authenticity. And this is unlikely to rely on archives.)

If there is a separate archive kept on behalf of the Order e. g. in Durenmar, it will not help very much with Ebroin's census.


I must admit that I find Ex Miscellanea one of the knottiest puzzles in the Order of Hermes; a census might be interesting, but probably difficult to conduct. The House itself is has many subgroups within it.

The first group of magi is the one that most other magi are familiar with -- Hermetically-trained magi who follow sub-traditions going back probably multiple generations. To learn more about these, simply look at HoH: S. Essentially they are standard magi with small quirks and traditions of their own.

The second group seems to be primarily from the past but are still found -- non-Hermetically-trained spellcasters who have joined the Order of Hermes for one reason or another, whether it be "Join or Die!" or "Gee, you guys seem nice; can I be in the club?" The question here is how these semi-magi eventually train apprentices that would be acceptable to the Order (especially if they want to stay true to their own specific traditions).

The third group are suggested in a couple of supplements -- full Hermetic magi who have left (or been renounced by) their original House and still need to be somewhere; House Ex Miscellanea is a very accepting House primarily because they have few if any traditions of their own. Some of these magi are evolving a vision of where they belong, some are angry with their original House, some have transgressed an internal tradition of their original House and have been shunned, and some merely want to be left alone and follow their own vision without a "House Label" being attached to them; this group is necessarily diverse, and that within a diverse House.

The fourth group is, again, suggested in a couple of supplements -- magi who have passed their Gauntlet, but only after multiple attempts. Some of these are had overly-demanding parentes, but some of them are the dregs of the Order, those who are rather marginally qualified at best. They have passed the Gauntlet, but barely.

There may be other types within this House, but I think these are decent groups to look at to begin with; House Ex Miscellanea is not a single, simple concept, but rather the ultimate dumping ground and accepting inclusiveness of the Order. Not only do I believe that the House is larger than is currently suggested, but I believe it is ultimately the future of the Order, with each magus following his own personal path.

You are right that the Mercere would be unlikely to reveal the information they hold, but they will deliver messages to "all covenants" and will return any replies. So, they are a tool that can be used by Ebroin to conduct a census.

Redcaps can blacklist covenants (HoH:TL p. 83 Insert), refusing to recognize them. They can also delay messages in less extreme situations. So I would expect House Mercere (perhaps the Prima Insatella directly) to negotiate with any Primus, just how such a bulk mail "to all covenants" would be handled. Main point of this negotiation would likely be, how and to which purpose ex Miscellanea's census data can and will be used when strengthening communication among the ex Miscellanea magi.
House Mercere is only obliged (HoH:TL p. 82f, but see again the Insert on p. 83) to distribute invitations to the Tribunal gathering to "all magi in the region" - so getting the Praecones to cooperate with the census and to address the topic in the invitations might be worthwhile for Ebroin.