What would it take to form a new house?

Brandon, Dylan, Korina, Phillippe and Sebastien please don't read further.

So, as a GM in a Saga, what would you require for PCs to help assist the creation of a new house?

Of course, as always, it's a bit late for me. I have this coming up as a possible plot line for the PCs, should they decide to bite on it further. See my previous Cult of Jupiter thread for some of the ideas that I've used. This is a Latin, Pre-Hermetic tradition that has survived in a Regio. What the PC's have found when they've broached the idea with senior Magi, the responses I have given are

1.) Such a new lineage should bring some kind of Hermetic Breakthrough to the Order, surpassing some kind of lesser Limit. All of the Founders (arguably some less than others) contributed to the Order.

2.) (and/or to the above) The lineage should already have a substantial number of members, likely 50+

3.) Having some Magi of the Order already willing to be members of this house.

One point on which I'm not sure, is, if a such a lineage first joins Ex Miscellenea, they would pretty much have an impossible time of trying to create their own separate house.

Any other ideas on this subject would be very cool. :slight_smile:

In an old saga that I used to play in (Like 10 years ago) that ran in the 4th edition, one player (a gifted Mecere) accidentally teleported herself into the magic plane and when she came back to her body she was so focused to learn more of this realm. An important thing about this Mecere was that it was a strict follower of Utrennyaya (Russian war Goddess of Dawn, among other things), and afterwards she began using all her time to learn Magic Theory, Intelligo, Creo, Rego and Vim to learn more about it.
Later she became initiated into Theurgy and as the saga continued, and managed to do a minor breakthrough in theurgy to make her faerie goddess into a magical goddess instead.
Then she decided that She would try to become an Archmage, and afer quite some study of the various Archmages of the order, she found one that she would challenge and despite her young age, (I think around 40-45 as a magi) it was accepted as she displayed a good knowledge of her abilities and there were enough rumors about her breakthrough to be taken seriously.

As the campaign ended, she began to form her house, and her fellow players decided to join it.

So that is in my eyes a good set of requirements:

  1. Make a serious contribution to the Order in the form of something novel.
  2. Be an Archmage
  3. Have a somewhat loyal following
  4. Have a new idea for a house that is beneficial to the Order
  5. Have enough political pull to make it happen

It's a great question and so much of it is going to be down to the kind of stories you want to tell. It sounds like your players are on the side of wanting the House to be formed, so you'll need to err on the side of supporting that story. You'll need to challenge it, but ultimately you need to support their aims.

So, what is it that means that the leadership of this cult/lineage/faction want to form their own House? Why is it not enough that they exist within their own Houses (assuming that they are in different Houses) and simply work as a cult? How far are they prepared to go in order to create this new, separate, self-governing House?

I think you need to have leaders with ambition and vision. Breaking away to form a new House is difficult from two perspectives; Firstly, you need to have the charisma to persuade your followers that what you're doing is in their best interests. If it sounds like crazy plan the you lose your followers. Secondly, you need to build support across the Tribunals and Houses. Just breaking away is a sure recipe for disaster. A new House is a break with the status quo. Most find that threatening. In pulling members into the new House, you are pulling them from somewhere. And once established, apprentices brought to the Order are now divided 13 ways, which could mean that each House gets fewer than it otherwise would, which sounds like a threat to existing House traditions.

So, this cult leadership needs to bring his own cultists on board. Any dissenters need to be brought in line - they might spill the beans before the plan is ready. The leadership need to build links with other cults, Houses, Tribunals, even individual covenants and magi. Then there needs to be some kind of public debate on the matter and that debate needs to go in the cult's favour. Do you pick a Tribunal and promise to found the Domus Magna there? That's one political incentive. Do you approach three or four Houses and offer them the Earth for their support? Looking at the numbers, you could do well in bringing House Mercere on-side, so pick a Tribunal where they are numerous and use that as your beachhead.

So for me, it's all about personality and politics. I think the breakthrough angle is something that could be used to justify the need for a different House, but there are plenty of cults using unusual magic and they operate quite well enough as part of the existing House structure. If you could demonstrate a novel type of magic or a distinct magical culture within the cult, then it is possible that certain factions within House Bonisagus could be persuaded to the cause.

Remember, the addition of a new House to the Order has happened just once. This is the same number of times that a House has been removed from the Order. That tells me that however it goes down, there's some trauma going to be involved.

Ultimately, having a House recognised is going to take a Grand Tribunal and the majority support of the other Houses (if you were telling the opposing story, you might need the vote to be unanimous), so there's a long way to go before you get to pin your House symbol on the front door of your new Domus Magna.

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Thanks for the suggestions Dunia and Mark. I've got something to think about and chew on above and beyond what I'd thought of already.

Mark's advice is very good, because it focuses story rather than "what makes sense," which often turns into a way of saying, "No, you can't do that cool thing because of canon."

A new House would not NEED to have a breakthrough or major new addition to Hermetic magic. After all, Pralix had no such contribution when Ex Miscellanea was founded. Though, sure, such a contribution would help.

Presumably such a thing would require a vote at Grand Tribunal to be recognized. That is your end goal, the finish line for the plot. After that, the story is not "Founding your House," it is "Keeping your fledgling House alive." So, what would you need for a vote at Grand Tribunal? The schedule of Grand Tribunals gives you a timeline and tells your players what to shoot for. You need to get on the schedule and you need regional tribunals to support you. That means you need the primus of House Bonisagus on your side, because he sets the schedule. Now, imagine a series of stories in which the players set out to win over various Tribunals, all while trying to count their votes.

Note that the quality of the issue is rather a moot point. A great House with well connected and powerful magi would have an easier time of accomplishing this, but in theory any handful of magi could TRY it.

Consider who has the most to lose if the House is created (what House would these magi belong to otherwise, what Tribunals will they be in, thereby leeching power and influence from the houses who already dominate those tribunals). Who has the most to gain if the House is defeated? (Perhaps a Bonisagus would prefer to see that breakthrough come from his own House, perhaps a vis-starved Tribunal would like to steal whatever resources this new House would bring). There are your adversaries.

Sounds fun. Good luck!

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The web ate my reply, but basically:

I think they need a geographic core.
They need to not have stuff people would be able to seize after a war.
A charismatic figure would help a lot.
Having people already in the Order, but many outside the Order, would worry a lot of people, because if you spill the Parma Magica to outsiders, then Everyone Must Join or Die, But Preferably Die. The Parma's the Order's equivalent of nuclear technology.

Timothy and Doctorcomics thanks for your thoughts.

The PC's parent covenant has offered to help "be a geographic" core.... Provided that the PCs can help supply them with lots and lots of vis to build a bigger covenant.

Yes, I was figuring that the PCs would have to get recognition at a grand tribunal, I could see no other way of it working.

Also, the PCs are in the Rhine Tribunal, in a magic Aura "Gargoyle Manor" in a very ahistorical Cologne, the Chapter House of a custom covenant. The parent covenant has been around since the early days of the Order, and has gone through several spring to winter cycles over the centuries. It's main point of pride is a fantastic library and insanely powerful defenses. Using the 1st Edition "Order of Hermes" supplement as a some inspiration, this was the covenant that didn't believe the Schism War was over until well into the 1080's, 60 some years after the fact.

The problem being that all of the defenses rely on the covenant being exactly the way it is right now. So it can only house 8 magi, as the inner keep has additional defenses above and beyond the outer shells. Hence the expansion of a single Chapter house. What they want the PCs to do is find them vis, lots and lots of vis. With such vis, they could properly expand the covenant and then quickly do the enchantments to maintain their rediculously paranoid defenses. It's actually not a bad location to be a Domus Magnus of such a new house.

I would think that if the perspective house didn't have a unique magical tradition or focus to differentiate itself then it should probably embody some manner of novel philosophical outlook in order to get the rest of the Order to take its attempt seriously. I think it would be very easy for traditionalists to dismiss such a notation with a handwave and an attitude of "isn't this kind of thing what Ex Miscellanea is for? What else is it if not a place to put all the misfits and oddballs?" And to be fair, that House with its hodgepodge of existing traditions, beliefs, paths, and foci would seem a natural place to send any non-comformists; what an entirely new house would need is some way to set itself apart as a justifiable new category of magi in some fashion. The earlier example of a house dedicated to exploring and investigating the Magic Realm seems like a good one, but I think it would only happen if a compelling reason, something to justify the potentially disruptive precedent a new house would create, were championed by a charismatic leader. Add in enough political clout and it might just be possible but I don't see it as an easy road even with those things in place.

House ex Miscellanea may resist the sudden influx of 50 members. It may be the one thing that unites the House in common purpose. The addition of that many new members to the House, all from the same tradition will have a huge effect on the politics of the House.

I agree the Ex Miscs might baulk at a dominant voting bloc being levered into their House by the other Houses.

This is why, IMO, if the Soqatrans ever join the Order, it will be as a new House. Otherwise on day 1, they can hold a vote and get the DM moved to Soqatra, which is a lot more convenient for them than England.

That's a very good point. It sounds like an important step for somebody attempting to found their own house would be to approach and secure the support of Ex Miscellanea and their impressive number of votes.

I suppose it would also influence thinking if it were an entirely external tradition attempting to join the Order as its own house as opposed to a group of Hermetic magi attempting to schism themselves off. (Now there's a loaded term!) In that latter case, it would probably also affect the process if it were a group of magi scattered across various houses attempting to form themselves into a unified political entity as opposed to a sizable portion of an existing house wishing to divorce themselves from the rest of their lineage. I think it would alarm people more strongly if they saw the proposed new house as a brand new player on the scene rather than the product of an existing power block undergoing some sort of political mitosis and becoming two weaker groups in the end.

We are in a campaign where there are 3 new tribunals, well 2 and a possible plan for more. The plan is to get a strong powerbase and follow the core rules, the politic the grand tribunal by way of muscling, bribing, blackmailing or just plain swaying the preacos and house leaders to accept them.

Lots of stories and shady dealing

I just read this interesting subject, and I have to disagree with all of you. :mrgreen:

A hedge tradition will never be able to join the order of hermes as a new house.

REASON: The impossibility for a hedgie to progress in the politic of the order. They'll be stucked forever at the bottom of this organization. When you have a dominant tradition/people/religion somewhere, its members will do everything, EVERYTHING, to avoid a loss of their power at the benefit of a minority. And all the rules of the order were made for, and only for the hermetic magi.

I] No power in a tribunal:

There's one thing in the Order's politic which is more important than one hundred hedge magi coming at once, an archmagus, a domus magnus or all votes of the Ex Miscellanea.

The certamen is the basis of the politic in the order. How can a new house defend itself without it ?

If a hedge tradition wants to create a new house, it should be after having adapted the certamen to their own magic. Without it, other houses would have the upper hand in the tribunals.

II] No power in the Grand Tribunal:

No hedgie can create a hermetic spell, so, of course, no hedgie can become a master, even less an archmagus.

No progress in the hierarchy, no power. No power, no new house, it's limpid.

What about the creation of a new order outside the order of Hermes ?

The only one possible result is WAR, with annihilation of the new order, and after this, of course, the benevolent and generous authorization of the masters of the order of Hermes to the pitiful losers which survived (and which are, of course, the weaker ones) to integrate the Ex Miscellanea house. Like this, soon or later, their descendants will be forced to learn the hermetic magic.

Too bad for the hedgies...

So, is it possible for a hedge tradition to form a new house in the order of hermes ?


Is it possible for a hermetic group to form a new house ?

Possible, but very difficult. You'll need a lot of political power, a lot of negociations and a lot of little presents to your "friends", of course... And I don't think they'll need to improve the hermetic magic. To form a new house is a political problem, not a magical one. You just need political power, that's all...

That's post-getting-into-the-Order. Plus if they are very large they might all swarm one tribunal and have bloc voting to control just about everything. The tribunal can just say the challenge was invalid, and in fact the Hermetic Magi was engaging a Certamen bullying. A crime!
They can also get advocates Redcap style. Pay someone to Certamen for them. Also even better if its one of those pesky "we don't care about the limit of energy" traditions they just need to convince a few to Hermetic Magi to help them out. Then they'll have the advantage with Certamen. Or one of those traditions that can hand out virtues like Transformed Humans and bypass fatigue loss entirely.

Do you need master/archmaster status to vote in those? Still that's post being in the Order, so... still doesn't matter.

There are already like five. Plus some of them can actually be fairly jerkish if they try. Controlling the whole of the sky and ocean, not putting up with the "limit of arcane connections" or generally wandering around in the magic realm (you did protect your vestige right?) can hurt. Also Infernal Might. That's a neat trick. Sure in a straight up fight where everyone meets on the field of battle the Order wins. Try to avoid those.

No. The quaesitori, helped by the other hermetic magi (outraged by this situation), could declare that this tradition is endangering the order. To endanger the Order is a high crime, to bully a magus is a low crime. Who would win such a case ?

Even a complete tradition in one tribunal would have no way to control a tribunal without some kind of retaliation from the rest of the Order.

Sure. The Tremere would LOVE to help a non hermetic tradition. Remember me, who are the masters of the certamen in the order ?

Since the Grand Tribunal has the power over the other tribunals. No, it matters. And I think that to establish a new house, it should be done at the Grand Tribunal.

Which are far away, with almost no kind of interaction with the Order. The only one which interacts is the Ordo Suleiman, and guess what's happening ?

To endanger the order, the Quaesitores would have to bring charges and try a case. But this is a political question, and not a legal one. I just don't see any standing for the Quaesitores to act. And even if they did, if the majority of primuses at the Grand Tribunal agreed, they could veto the verdict, and set the vote for admitting them into a new house.

Tremere changed a lot during the years since the Schism.

I agree, a new house can be formed only at a Grand Tribunal.

Easy. If a tradition blocks all votes, it means the tribunal can't solve the problems, and it would endanger the Order, of course...

In France, we're saying: "A dog can't give birth to a cat"... You know what I mean ? :smiling_imp:

So your argument is that the Hedge Tradition won't work because the rest of the Order would automatically declare war on it? A tribunal does have the right to declare Certamen challenge's invalid and it is considered a Crime to bully. Individual Tribunals have a lot of freedom. Sure the Order might decide to persecute Hedgies, but that isn't an issue of Certamen or laws. Plus by the time they've absorbed a Hedgie tradition its really too late to do anything about it, barring extreme actions by the Hedgies. If the Order was going to go to war, they would do it before giving the Hedgies Parma.

Anyone who doesn't need to give a damn about fatigue and can Certamen. In 1220 that includes People initiated in Becoming and having performed Transforming the Body. Tremere's specialized Certamen magi... don't quite cut it. Plus isn't Tremere outright responsible for that vampire hunter tradition in Translyvania? (I don't have the book only read a summary.) Plus I'm sure Tremere would have no problem supporting this new House if the House just helped out with voting.

You still haven't explained why they need masters and archmasters. Ex Misc has maybe one, and outside the Rhine masters don't even exist.

A few minor skirmishes while the Ordo Suleiman readies for an attack? The Order hasn't declared war, and the Ordo is still in intelligence gathering. Point is the Order isn't automatically going to war.

Regardless I think there is a point to be made. Absorbing a whole tradition of Hedgies may make a new house if Ex Misc throws a fit about getting all of them.

Erm bloc vote. Not block votes. No "k" in "bloc". There is a difference. Tremere was the group that pioneered bloc voting in the Order. ...

FWIW, this discussion shouldn't be as black and white. It is obviously a larger part or the total part of a a saga arc. This is ultimately abot story and isn't a function of the rules.

I understood very well, don't worry. And no difference at all. A tradition can block (with a k !) the vote of all other magi by using a lot of sigils.

At the Grand Tribunal, what can you expect if you have no political power at all ? Not even a master ? No work recognized ? No contribution to the Order ?

And anyways, it's not the real problem.

I think more than a new magic system, the Order of Hermes has developed a new civilization of magic, a central paradigm providing the necessary ideological bases to control Mythic Europe's magicians (but for the benefit of who or what is another matter ...).

Hermetic magic would be one of the pillars of this control. Anything that could jeopardize the hermetic ideology is refused and fought by its members (and whose brain is properly and thoroughly washed during 15 long years of learning). Therefore, any divergent system will be seen as an "existential" threat to the longer term for the Order.

The Magi of Hermes, knowingly or not, despise the non-hermetic mage, not only because he's weaker (and again, it all depends on what is meant by that), but because its existence (and claims for existence and coexistence) questions the validity of the creation of the Order.

The existence of these mages shows that they do not need the order to exist, they do not need the hermetic system, unlike the official creed which says that without the order, the mages would kill each other until the last one.

At the contrary, the Order is the source of the biggest war between magicians in the history.

So the Order of Hermes is not a necessity, and perhaps a threat for the magicians.

And that, it's unbearable for the supporters of the Order.

True, very true... After all, it depends on the SG, and how he sees the problem. :wink: