Tremere- the benevolent dictators the order needs?

I've been following a few discussion on min-maxing, apprentices, etc, and it got me thinking, Tremere would min - max. If I ever run a campaign, I could have Tremere trying to do a soft takeover by showing how they do things so much better, and their way should spread through the order.

I'm thinking the way would be to get in the ear of weaker covenants and magi just out of gauntlet, especially magi with "Weak Parens" and show how much better off they'd be with Tremere helping out. Point out how established magi hoard resources and this is a bad thing, to get younger magi on side, and set a good example.

Think how apprentices are taught. Most magi will have rubbish communication. The social penalty of the gift makes that logical. Normal magi, gets an apprentice, teaches the apprentice Latin, Artes Liberales, Magic Theory etc. 9 XP a season to begin with. It would be years before they are much help in the lab at all.

Tremere scour the universities for the best teachers out there. Magi, think long term. If there's not great teachers, they make them. Find the children of grogs and companions who are good communicators, put them through uni.

The min-max companion under 30 years old, when teaching a full class, gives 23 XP, 29 XP if it's one on one. Once older, in his 50s, he'd be giving 28 XP a season to a class, or 34 one on one. Give him a longevity potion when he hits 40, as it's worth the vis investment and you are set.

Assuming a communication 5, etc super teacher is a once in a generation thing, settling for a comm 3 with virtues of good teacher and affinity teaching, is still giving 19 XP to a full class when young. Also, as a teaching specialist, he will continue to get better and better at teaching.

The Primus tells Tremere magi, give us your apprentices for 2 seasons in their first 3 years. They will be taught Latin, Magic Theory, Artes Liberales, Philosophae and Code of Hermes by the best teachers in Europe.

Yes, those first 3 season, the Magi has his lab slave for 1 season less, however, he gets compensated by having a season to do what he wants, instead of train his apprentice the basics, and he gets a much better trainee. Tremere offer this assistance to any magi who wants to send their apprentice to the Tremere school. If the teacher adds a bit of Tremere indoctrination in those 3 years, so be it.

Season 3 apprentice has these skills. Latin 4, Magic Theory 4, Arts Liberales 2, Philosophae 2, Code of hermes 2. Make the last 3 skills 1s, if you have the young non-super teacher. How many people could have an apprentice with magic theory 4 after 3 seasons with normal teaching? The apprentice is much more useful in the lab.

I'm floating the idea of Tremere doing better resource sharing. Vis is clearly limited, however, books, less so. Same thing with the teacher. Get a brilliant scribe. Make copies of books, set up a proper indexed library. Tremere magi put out a request, the scribe copies the book, next season there's a copy delivered.

Back to the apprentice. For the last 12 years of the apprenticeship, the deal is the magi must give 1 season of one on one face to face training, or the apprentice gets 2 seasons of home study. With the better book access, he's reading the level 6 quality 21 summaes, and later on after putting in the book request the level 15 quality 15 summaes. He's got access to lots of books with spells. Same deal, yes, 1 season less of lab slave, but 1 less season of wasting time teaching an apprentice.

If the apprentice wants to learn something his magi can't teach, and there's no book, for example, lets say the Rego specialist has an apprentice who wants to be a Creo specialist, he puts out a request. The Tremere registry works out who's the best teacher in that field. A deal is made. The apprentice's Parens makes the teacher an item, agrees to teach him or his apprentice something, whatever. A season for a season.

The season exchange for teaching could be comprehensive. A Magi wants an item not in their technique and form area, they put out a request. Someone gets the request, makes the item, awesome.

Lets say a Tremere magi needed to be fireproof. He's never done Perdo or Ignem. He spends two seasons getting Perdo and Ignem to 6 each so he at least has some lab total, and then spends 2 or more seasons making the item. Instead a Perdo Igem specialist makes it for him in a season or 2, and in return, he makes that magi an item he wants in his specialist areas, also in a season or two. Or a season of teaching, whatever.

The apprentice I'm talking of could have over 500 XP after gauntlet, and that isn't assuming lots of cheap XP in a brace of level 6 techniques and forms, and easily the default 120 level worth of spells if not more.

A 30 year old wizard seeing a 20 year old Tremere throwing better and more complex spells than him, might want to find out what's going on. An established magi wondering why his Tremere covenant buddy keeps getting high quality books delivered, and has items that he couldn't possibly make himself, might want to know more.

The order hoards resources. "I put seasons of effort to make that summae, I better get a return on it." "Why should I help you teach your apprentice?" Tremere offering a better way seems compelling to younger magi.

Perhaps the Tremere have the power and resources to do what you claim they would do, perhaps they do not.

Would the rest of the order stand idly by or would they strike down such a blatant attempt at a coup? perhaps, perhaps not.

Perhaps the Tremere want to use their power to improve life for everyone equally or perhaps they would rather prefer to keep the ability to create powerful magi in their own hands so that they can lord over all the other magi of the order?

If you look to real world history, people who want to create a benevolent dictatorship always end up creating a normal dictatorship that only favors themselves. Personally I have a hard time believing that the Tremere are any different. Sure they might have lofty ideals about improving society and making everyone equal but if you look at what they do in Transylvania it sure seems like the Tremere are supposed to be a lot more equal than other magi.

I do at least agree with you on the point that the Tremere talk about creating a better and more fair order will tend to appeal to young and disenfranchised magi more than to more privileged young magi and to the older and more established magi. That is also generally the case for historical revolutionary movements.

Ultimately the answer to the question(s) you are posing comes down to whether or not you want them to be true in your saga.

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No question it's a coup with Tremere being on top, it's just dressed up differently.

Well really there are kind of two points you are getting at:

a) Why doesnt the order organize more since it would clearly be beneficial for the majority of magi in the future if the order did organize. Specifically in the form of better education for future generations of magi.


b) Why dont the Tremere instigate a coup since they clearly want to.

Neither of these have canonical answers so we can only speculate.

to address point a) the most likely answer is that it is actually quite hard to convince a group of people to labor hard in order to make life better or to prevent life from being worse for future generations. It is really straightforward to figure out why it would be good for a group to do so but individuals are motivated on the individual level and so it is hard to convince them to do things to benefit hypothetical future individuals who may or may not be their descendants. It is incredibly frustrating to know that it is almost impossible to motivate people to act in the best interests of the future but it is at present quite well documented to be the case. In case of giving future generations a better education you should keep in mind that you are essentially requesting that current magi make future generations comparatively more powerful which means that actually setting up a good education system for apprentices is disadvantageous to current magi in the long term.

as for point b) the most straightforward reason as to why the Tremere havent instigated a coup yet is that they can't.

or more euphamistically "the time is not yet right"
the answer to a) might well be, ironically, because they fear the Tremere.

There's also the issue that they tried an outright coup before and it went badly. They are trying to persuade the Order round to their way of thinking, but that's not a quick process.

This also assumes that the Tremere are benevolent. They are more like the mob, with the ones rising to the top by being best at their violence - stand in. Those who make it to the top of the pyramid scheme merely managed to bully those below them with certamen.

So while a more organized order could do more for training apprentices, I see no reason but desperation why anyone outside of house Tremere would enter into a deal with the hermetic mob.

Being a mage is one of the few ways of escaping the feudal system (depending on tribunals), so I really don't imagine magi queuing up to become effectively vassals of some other house (tithing a season /year to the elders of the house is a Form of servage).

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I don't feel that presentation is an accurate reflection of 5E Tremere (earlier editions possibly - I'm less familiar with them but I know they've changed significantly for the better in this edition).

They're more like an army than the mob - certamen is a way of gaining promotion, but the usual method is because you've progressed to the point where your superiors feel you're ready (HoH: TL pg 123). A lot of the goals of the Tremere are at least arguably benevolent:

"Tremere magi believe that a global government would make life less chaotic. Fewer tragedies would occur, and crises would swiftly dealt with. Great accomplishments would be easier if magi pooled their efforts...The Magi of Tremere support the Order because, with a handful of gross exceptions, it has maintained peace between, and prevented diabolism by, the most dangerous people in Europe for many centuries". (HoH: TL pg 116.)

Now, people can reasonably disagree with their methods (particularly the fact that they don't trust anyone else to be in charge, so think that them ruling the world would be a good step towards making it a better place), but their goals aren't just power and wealth for the sake of them and theirs.

They are like a military, yes, but a military that does not recognize any civil authority, AKA fascism.

This is essentially the origin story of almost every real-world dictatorship. It starts out as being well intended and about the improvement of the life of everyone. But as soon as the group actually attains power they kind of forget that the dictatorship was supposed to be a transition-state towards an egalitarian society and just keep power for themselves.

Besides it is pretty generous to say that the Tremere want to convince the rest of the order that they are benevolent. Sure it says in the books that they want this but is also says in the book that they want to create a temporary dictatorship with themselves in charge and once everyone has come round to their way of thinking then they want to hand over power again. (please also note that the conditions for the dissolution of the dictatorship are conveniently phrased in such a way that they are all but guaranteed to never come true). It is not really possible to reconcile the two wants that the canonical Tremere have: the desire to convince everyone to support their ideal society and the desire to establish a "benevolent" dictatorship. That is unless you consider it possible to convince everyone to accept a dictatorship, I personally dont.

It is also noteworthy that it is possible to support a global government without wanting a single group to wield ultimate authority over that government. If the Tremere really wanted a more organized order that is organized into a global magical government that works for everyone they would not be simultaneously planning to take control of that government.

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Personally I expect that the motives of individual Tremere vary between these two ideals, with those at the top being predominantly those that have convinced themselves that the two goals are not incompatible, but probably focus slightly more on establishing a Tremere dictatorship with the convincing everyone else as more of the tactics to how to establish a dictatorship...

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I'd consider the Grand Tribunal and local tribunals to be civil authority (although granted in the case of the Translyvanian Tribunal that's largely moot), and the Tremere to recognise them.

I agree that's a very common outcome of revolutions, if not quite ubiquitous. However, I think it's less common (although does still sometimes happen) with more peaceful transitions of power - if party X wins an election on some platform to do great and good things Y for the country, then they'll usually step down after losing a subsequent election. Neither scenario is an exact fit in this case (the Order is democratic-ish, but I don't see a future of "vote for the Tremere!" "No, vote for the Cult of Mercury!"), but I don't think "has grand aspirations of improving things" will always end badly, even if it's also unlikely to be 100% successful.

The fact that they don't currently trust other people to do the ruling is a worrying sign, although I think it's fairly common for rival polticial parties not to trust the other to do the ruling either. Basically, it could go badly, but it's not guaranteed to, and the counter argument to "if you know it could go badly, why risk it?" is "because things are far from perfect now, and this could also make things better".

It's not an argument that's going to convince everyone, and probably not even most people (magi tend to be an independantly minded bunch, and the memory of the Sundering doesn't help anything), but I don't think that it's ridiculous that it would convince some people - and that more people can be convinced to accept little bits of what the Tremere want.

Are you thinking of HoH pg 116?

Tremere's vision, a totalitarian empire, died in the Sundering. The magi Tremere had drawn into the Order never embraced it. His promises of consultation, thoguh the House Council, assured them that the House, and world government, would have a federal structure after a brief period of military rule. The modern House is less culturally heterogenous than in Tremere's time, but most of its members believe a federal givernment is practical. They know the Order will not accept the House doctrine, but can be convinced, with skilled evangelism, to adopt elements of it over time.

If so, I think that's saying that Tremere the Founder wanted to create a "temporary" dictatorship. I agree that the odds of him actually stepping down would have been...small, shall we say. The modern House would still quite like a federal government, but they're going about that by trying to persuade the Order to strengthen its institutions; for example, by advocating changes to the code that would give Tribunals more power over individuals, establishing taxation (HoH: pg 117) and trying to reform what (they see as) poor local Tribunal practice (Hibernia and Thebes). They're not trying to engineer a coup - the Totalitarian Empire plan has explicitly died.

I'm trying to work out if I agree that they're planning to take control of the government or not. They certainly want to be in charge, but Against the Dark (pg 24) gives me the impression that they'd accept a government that had been largely co-opted into doing what they consider to be "working for everyone". I'm not sure if that's a distinction that has a difference or not.

That I agree with. The Tremere also have the issue that when they go off the rails, it's probably going to be in the "authoritarian tyrant" direction more often that for other Houses. This may or may not be better than other House's default failure states, but "calling down an apocalypse" isn't really something you get much credit for doing better than.