Why no love for the Tremere?

After extensively lurking on the forum, I am wondering why so few people like the Tremere. They seem like a nice enough house, organized, efficient, and reliable. Mechanically they can make just as good a magus as anyone else (with perhaps a houserule changing their magical focus to puissant certamen, or something similiar). Storywise, wouldn't it be interesting to run a character who is militant and methodic? I just haven't really seen anyone who seemed in favour of the Tremere. Prove me wrong, this house seems cool.

I'd say that it might be that it has somthing to due with the fact that it's house first then covenant. I know other houses are like this too sometimes but you don't really get the same feeling than with the Tremere. They (your parens) hold your sigil until you can beat them in certemen...which isn't gonna happen anytime soon and then I get the feeling that your vote still could be wrangled from you by a higher ranking tremere...for the house of course.


Why no love for the Tremere?

  1. Historical Baggage. In previous editions of the game, the Tremere were written unsympathetically, IMO, as though they were demons with Hierarchy scores. The current edition is different, yet history remains.

  2. Diedne Loving Tree Huggers. Among the politically correct, trees are good! Nature is good! Druids are all about nature because the Players Handbook said so, so they are good too! They were suppressed by the evil Roman patriarchy, so they must have been very good. And they're not Christian or monotheistic, which makes them good. Diedne, being a druid (and a woman! Notice how all the nature type founders in AM are female, because men are unnatural?) is surely good, especially since her tree-loving followers who adhere to a persecuted natural and native tradition is being oppressed by violent, intolerant and insecure men (but I triply repeat myself) of less enlightened houses, led by the especially nasty Tremere.

  3. Hierarchy. Players tend not to like having someone in charge of their characters. As Tremere, they don't even get Flaw points for it! (Strong Parens makes a good house virtue I think.) And they are probably right to suspect that if they don't take any virtues or flaws to compensate, their SG is more likely to play up the "your masters want your time and energy, and oh, by the way, go on this hazardous mission for us" part of being a Tremere than the "your masters have just advised your enemy to surrender the vis to you or face simultaneous wizard's war against three Tremere archmagi."




Because they´re the fascists in the setting?
Because they´re megalomaniacs conspiring to take over the order?
Because they set up the probably biggest massmurder in the order ever, breaking their oaths thoroughly in the meantime, by getting the whole order to attack house Diedne, when they realised that they were too weak too do it on their own?

Well that probably doesnt help. But really, i dont like them much because they´re rigid and all rules (except rules dont count for THEM of course, backstabbing hypocrit traitors) but frankly, they´re actually boring to play.
Even though im not one of the "characters must have focus" fanatics, the certamen focus really sucks bigtime. And the strict house hierarchy far too often gets in the way of playing.

Its difficult to make a "nice to play" Tremere character, because far too often they end up as tools of their superiors.
Even SGs tend to dislike having them around as PCs, because either the player doesnt get much choice or has to spend lots of time wriggling away from the house, or the house becomes bland and "not present".

Would a megalomaniac belong to a house where the emphasis was not on the individual, but the group? Tremere magi could be portrayed as self-sacrificing (as opposed to baby-sacrificing) and responsible, putting aside their own needs for the greater good of the Order. On the "genocide" side of things, the magi of Tremere honestly believed it was for the best to get rid of the Diedne, and cemented the stability of the Order as a whole in the process.

All for one and one to rule.

Interesting, I hadn't. But perhaps it stems from the idea that nature traditions are often associated with the earth mother, the basic myth from primitive agrarian societies, as opposed to male dominant herders?

Then again, Trianoma was a woman, and although a Thessalonian witch, I don't think any in the order would accuse her of being non-traditional or non-roman.

Constraints :angry: for characters = stories :smiley: for players. I can see a storyguide using service to House Tremere to generate all kinds of adventures, each requiring a different kind of approach (raw magic, politics, stealth, intellect) to succeed; the House is an automatic structure to justify all these different stories.

Maybe there's a spectrum among players: on one end, there are players who want to be in complete control of the stories their characters are involved in; on the other, there are players who abdicate the story-choosing responsibility 100% to their storyguide(s); and of course there's everything in between. Playing a Tremere character might be more towards the latter end of the spectrum (though not absolutely so). As with all things, different choices suit different players.

Now on the topic of Tremere-hate, I think Ovarwa was head on, as clearly shown by DIREWOLF75's rather strong opinion of them, particularly in reference to Ovarwa's 1st point.

It doesn't help that the Tremere are also associated with World of Darkness, since people tend to either love or hate it - and people who play Ars Magica are usually happy to be counted in the latter, to my knowledge.

I for one never cared much for the Tremere up until 5th Edition, but merely because I thought they rather flavourless when compared to other houses - even Tytalus, go figure. But their current incarnation is very well written and lends itself to great storytelling possibilities, in my opinion.

They are 'closer' to the cycle of life. Those that are Virgins or Crones are considered even more powerful for being outside the reproductive cycle.

Problem is 1 person in a troupe has some story... and no one else does.

I must admit my image of them is tainted from the world of darkness... where Tremere are always the enemy. "Only good Tremere is one that brightens sunsets." ie is dust. But that's a different game.

I really like the Tremere
I really like World of Darkness
I often play military type characters

I will admit that my liking of Tremere came about with 5th ed, before that they were a little too dark for me.

I enjoy having a structure behind to play my character off, eithering calling in favors or performing duties. I ejoy the aspect of furthering the order towards greater coperation. And I enjoy the challange of plotting on how to earn my sigil back (favors, other noteworhty deeds that may presude my paren to 'throw' the match etc...or even assassination if I'm playing a darker character)

I really like how they are presented in True Lineages, and how the 'favors' things work, a nice contrast to other house's mystical support.



I admit this is a challenge for a troupe to overcome ... but the same is true for any single-character driven story seed (being in a Mystery Cult immediately comes to mind). Most Story Flaws, for that matter, only affect one character on the face of it.

Whenever people bring up fascism, I'd like to suggest that:

  • they look at the real Richard I and see if, perhaps, the Tremere are just the house that actually do medievalism like medieval people. Richard kills people for saying nasty things about him. He kills people for touching him. The realm is a mere extension of his massive ego. Knighthood is not all tea and sandwiches in the Middle Ages. And he was a -good- king. His brother John once made a woman eat her own son's decaying flesh for suggesting he was a murderer. People with power in the Middle Ages are rather worse than the Tremere.
  • I note that the Tremere don't have the persecution complex which seems to lie at the core of fascism. THey don't, for example, talk of the International Druid Conspiracy.
  • They aren't scared of communists. If anything their peasants live better than those in surrounding states, because they are freemen. (All of the Saxons in Translyvania are freemen. This is profoundly unusual at the time.)

As Orwell notes: the word "fascist" is so overused that it no longer has any genunine meaning in conversation, beyond an expression of intense dislike.


Uh... I fail to see what the Lionheart and his brother have to do with fascism? Perhaps when people want to bring up fascism they should make sure they look at ... fascism?

Seems to you, perhaps... That is absolutely not the general consensus, however. [EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION: I mean that it's not the general consensus that a persecution complex seems to lie at the core of fascism].

It seems to me that's almost exactly what they did before the Schism war; and they still probably do in 1220, but in the past tense ("We eradicated that evil, corrupted house with all their dark secret cult rituals - we are the saviors of the Roman traditions of the Order.").

Uh? What's the connection between the first and the second sentence?
Incidentally, let's not forget that (pre-World War II) fascism improved the living conditions of peasants in Italy, with a number of important health reforms and increased access to basic education. After all Fascism, just like Nazism, has its roots in socialism.

That is quite correct. Yet Direwolf's seemed to actually really nail it down much better, in my opinion, than this "cautionary" post I am quoting. Fascism (just like Nazism, which it inspired) in a nutshell springs from the union of militaristic nationalism with socialism. The basic idea is that one's loyalty should be, above all, to one's "nation" (identified in terms of common ethnicity, culture, religion etc.). The state and its cultural and economic elite should then take good care of the masses, because their own identity is inextricably linked to that of those masses. Of course, individuals within those masses that "corrupt" that identity, betray their nation etc. should be "rooted out" as a weed from the grain fields: freedom and independence are a danger - especially to the weak - not a right. And of course, the influence of that nation should be aggressively expanded, because hey, you have to fight for the right cause and if that fight weeds out the weak and strengthens the survivors (as well as the links that bind them together), that's only an added bonus. All told, I think Direwolf's analogy is brilliant, and accurate not only in the fundamental premises, but also in a host of minor details, from mistrust of religion to low acceptance of the crippled. The Tremere are the fascists of the setting.

Don't forget that Timothy wrote the ArM5 Tremere. If he says that they don't have a persecution complex, then you can be pretty confident that the canon Tremere don't, and that if your Tremere do, then you are adding things to your house version to make them more fascistic.

Which is fine, but house rules.


I find the ArM5 Tremere to be more interesting that the previous versions ( for reasons stated above). Because their House is so militaristic in their organization, I think it makes them tougher to play with one Tremere in a Covenant. The certemen thingie can get out of hand quickly if a player wants to push it which also would cause tension.

This is the best quote for why they become difficult to play outside of a All Tremere Covenant.

That being said I would consider playing a 5th ed Tremere and Tylaus (sp?) if I can get a good concept. Something I would not have done in earlier editions of the game.

I think there's been a misunderstanding: I meant that it's not the general consensus that apersecutioncomplexliesatthecoreof*fascism, not that the Tremere have a persecution complex. Note that my sentence ties to the "which seems" of Timothy. Still, I have added a (clearly marked) clarification to my post to make sure others are not misled.

Please reread O'Brien speeches in 1984 to see how megalomania can be channeled through fanatical adherence to a collective.

But all the genocidal actors think so: typically they are always honestly persauded to a degree that the world can be made a better place by ridding it of Jews/Tutsi/city-dwellers/intellectuals/upper & middle classes/etc. True, self-serving political ambition or material greed also always enter the picture to a degree as motivations, but it also was so for the Tremere, who wanted to expand their power in the Order and steal the Diedne's magic.

About the persecution complex, we may play with words, but it is very difficult to describe the motivation of the Tremere as anything else than the typical murderous paranoia complex that motivates totalitarian genocides. Don't want to call it fascists, fine, call it the Hermetic-Roman version of the Inquisition, whatever the name they remain a bunch of hypocrite, lying, power-greedy, mass-murderous, treacherous SoBs.

Yes thats usually how it is, but the Tremere structure seems to break that norm.

And you didnt get how sarcastic i was at all?
In case you missed it completely i was turning Ovarwas argumentation back on himself. He takes an extreme view on Diedne, so why shouldnt i then be allowed to take extreme view elsewhere?

The only REAL reason i dont like playing Tremere is what i said, they are very hard to keep from getting boring. As noted above, constraints usually mean opportunity for stories, but this often doesnt work with Tremere. If using the "think outside the box" saying as a basis, the Tremere is the box itself.

I specifically said "in the setting" because i meant comparatively. Among other things especially, compared to the other houses.

According to the Ovarwa and Marko interpretation of facts, yes they do. Which i know very well isnt the same as what IS written as facts(or even rumours, as much is left openended).

Nothing at all, which is why i didnt care to comment on it.

Ah, not with socialism exactly.
You´re mixing up the ideologies with the claimed implementation of ideology.
Fascism isnt so much a development from socialism as it is a reaction to it. Which is why its usually considered the extreme right.
So while they are related, they are not "of the same branch" so to speak. Fascism, the elite is supposed to rule all, in socialism there isnt supposed to be any ruling at at all.

Apart from that you got it about as right as anyone probably could.

Lovely, then its now official that Ovarwa and Marko are wrong with their anti-Diedne complex.