Who are the secret masters and Illuminati of 1220?

So, I was thinking - who are the secret masters of Europe in 1220? The equivalent of our modern day conspiracy theories of the Illuminati/Masons/Bilderburg Group/Trilateral Commission who make and break kings, set policy behind the scenes and run the world?

Then it struck me - its called the The Church.

But, putting the Church and its influence aside - are there any other groups in Mythic Europe which might fit the description - either in RL, or published in Mythic Europe - circles of Mentem Magi who mind control the courts of Europe or anything?



Augustan Brotherhood?

One thing I've often thought about is that a powerful magus specializing in Rego Mentem would not have too much trouble enslaving the minds of the rest of the Order. Particularly if said magus first enslaves his younger sodales, and then - with their aid - slowly takes over the more powerful ones. Parma is not a sufficiently strong defense to stop a surprise attack if the attacker is willing to pour resources (vis etc.) into it.

Not "The Church" but groups or factions within the Church. The Papal Court, or factions within, or Roman noble families that manage to control the Papacy. The Abbot of Cluny or of Citeaux. A secret group with Eastern wisdom associated with the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Or the old standby of the Templars or other religions knights.

You'll have to scale back the involvement of active Divine agents. You can't run this sort of game if an Archangel is liable to show up and smite you for seducing the Pope. I'd recommend dramatically reducing both the Divine and the Infernal and playing churchmen as real human beings instead.

Actually I was thinking of an Illuminati equivalent who would want to recruit a mentem specialist Hermetic magi....


The Templars. It always comes back to the Templars.

Goratrix: "Gee , Tremere , what do you want to do tonight?"
Tremere: "The same thing we do every night , Goratrix—try to take over the world!"

Davnalleus, the spider. Specially strong in the british isles, but can act across the continent as well.

The virgin mary. We all know she has a secret agenda.

Tremere tried to do exactly that when he found himself the last surviving Founder. Well, Mentem magic was not his only tool, he used threats, economic pressure, political patronage... Almost pulled it off, too. So now the Order is watching for that particular plot to make sure it does not happen again.

If you are looking for factions of the Church, remember that at the time all cardinals were Italians, and generally formed factions by cities. So you have the Florentines versus the Romans versus the Genoans... and a Mentem mage in one city could try to take control of that faction, and with them of the next Papal election (which he can easily call by killing the current Pope).

The Holy Roman Emperor has a lot of political power: what if he were a mage himself (not of the Order, of course) or under the control of one ?

Charcoal burners.

Hasn't it ever struck you as odd that there was an entire profession devoted to burning wood? "Hi sir, I just spent several days burning this wood so you can put it in the fireplace and burn it some more." That doesn't make any sense, why not just put the original lumber in your fireplace. And don't give me that "cooking the wood to prepare it" or "drying it out" bunk, that's what they want you to believe.

It's the perfect set up really. Who is going to notice charcoal burners? They're insignificant even among peasants, and if one is gone for days on end they're assumed to be in the woods making charcoal. No one is going to think it's odd that Baron Vyvyan was coincidentally killed when the charcoal burner was out in the woods.

Michael Scott, tone of the councilors of the holy roman emperor, was supposed to be a magician. At least according thre 4th edition canon. Several popes were accused of being the same thing.


The Order of Hermes. Duh. What do you think the Council of Archmagi is for, anyways?

Then there are those Russian dream-witches. I always liked their vibe. You try to stop an organization that only exists in dreams...

And then, of course, there is this little thing about the world being the devil's playground...

This makes me want to say House Tremere - at which point you can ask yourself how much of the Sundering actually happened and how much is just propaganda and what they want you to think. :smiling_imp:

The Tremere were the third edition answer. The Mercere were the fourth edition answer. For the fifth edition I like the idea of Tytalus cabals fighting over the political landscape of mythic Europe not for their own benefit but just to beat the other Tytalus cabals at the game.

I have to agree, the Tytalus cabals are a very interesting idea I used multiple times in my sagas. That's really too bad there are no lengthy defined one in the books, with members, short and long term plans and possible endings.