Why Was the Schism War So Difficult?

While the magi of Diedne certainly had their versatility thanks to their natural talent with Spontaneous Magic, in terms of usage in total war, Formulaic and Ritual Spells would be king since the higher-level defensive and building spells and better Penetration in attack spells would be paramount. House Diedne would certainly have stability advantages and probably have somewhat quicker reactions, as they don't need to take the time inventing or learning most of their lower-level effects for repairing infrastructure and stuff, but that advantage is somewhat limited, not even accounting for its comparison to the rest of the Order's potential advantages.

So the main battle comes down to a group of magi with no special unifying advantage(s) Formulaically or Ritually going against another group something like 10 times its size, with several unified forces bringing specific group advantages to the table. And of course, the remaining Order also had way more resources and presumably controlled a lot more land. More magi also equals more exotic specialists (infiltration to retrieve Arcane Connections, anyone?) and more, probably stronger groups for performing powerful rituals to basically break the Diedne and prevent their own breakage.

I just can't imagine how the Order didn't utterly steamroll the renounced Diedne magi with only moderate trouble. It doesn't seem like it would be the long, horrifyingly bloody war it's made out to be. Can someone fill me in on the part I'm missing?

Good point.
Although that History was written by the Order. The real events? Real battles? Real crimes? Who really knows.
In all the material I like the presentation of Diedne as so much is left to us as players.
Perhaps even after defeat was inevitable the D started to kill bystanders? Or they went underground and rejoined as an exmisc tradition later?

A couple of things spring to mind,

First, I always got the impression that Diedre was a bigger than average house, maybe around 25% of the Order of Hermes at that point.

Other than the Tremere, I am not sure how organized the rest of the Order was in the fight against the Diedre. Let us look at it house by house

Bjornær: Hid in Crintera

Bonisagus: Not prepared for the war when it happened. It is always good to have the smart researchers who make the great warrior tech, but as the Bonisagus had to share everything, it is not like they had anything unique to bring to the table

Criamon Yeah, right.

Ex Miscellanea Some of them helped the Order, some of them helped the Diedre, some of them would of helped the Order if they were trused by the Tremere, most kept their heads down.

Flambeau They were committed

Guernicus Some combattants

Jerbiton: While they were in favor of the idea of destroying the Diedre, I am not sure how many of them would consider themselves suitable to fight personally.

Mercere: Not a lot of magi anyway,

Merinita: The Prima never wanted to Renounce Diedre anyway.

Tremere They are in,

Tytalus If you trust the Flambeau to have a more accurate description of what happened, they just sat around and waited for the battle to be over, not involving themselves. At best, they just didn't coordinate their actions with the Tremere.

Verditius: It is always good to have the people who make weapons on your side, but since the Verditius were supplying Diedre until the war started, it would take time for such an advantage to be felt.

So, if you figure that the Mystery Cult kept Diedre fairly coordinated whereas other than the Tremere, everyone was doing their own thing, it is perfectly reasonable that things took a long time to sort themselves out.
Artificers and enchanters who cannot perform magic without tools. They craft great items, putting a little of themselves into their finest creations. Pride in their creations is often their downfall, making these Magi prone to the most deadly sin. The domus magna is Verdi in the Roman Tribunal.

Try reading Timothy's Miarion and you may well find out... :slight_smile:



As far as House Flambeau and House Tremere being committed, I imagine they more got in each others' way, because they certainly didn't work well together. At least in Provence, House Flambeau had been on a wartime footing for most of its existence, and was itself divided against itself when the Schism War broke out. So they charged in, each desperate to be the one to eliminate this new threat before the others, and ran right into the teeth of the well-prepared magi who had been expecting this for some time. I imagine House Flambeau fought the beginning of the war, and House Tremere fought the end of it.

(Uh-oh, I'm treading awfully close to stuff from Faith & Flame... hope we're actually free to talk about it... :slight_smile: )

Ah, yes. I'm not up to date on that. Good reminder.

That's actually pretty close to how I've always seen the War.

I see it as a near death struggle for the Order.

The following houses played almost no role
Ex Miscellanea (probably on both sides)

Which leaves on one side
House Diedne

and on the other

Obviously individual magi from all houses could well have been drawn in on either side.

Diedne had an advantage in that they were highly concentrated in the regions they occupied, they had many single house covenants, they had a home ground advantage (since they were largely fighting in defence) and their house was unified with a single philosophy and cause, even before the war.

Flambeau make great warriors but had little effective strategy, the Tytalus are likely to be as much of a danger to their allies as their enemies and generally be operating with an eye on increasing their own power, rather than defeating the enemy. Tremere and Guernicus would have made up the reliable backbone of the anti-diedne forces.

Diedne, according to what we know, were secretive and insular, a mystery cult and from the sounds of it paranoid (rightly so as it turned out). We should thus expect at least some kind of preparation for war, in the manner of the current house Tremere.

They would not have been a pushover. In fact you can imagine that during the early stages of the war, the Diedne would have curbstomped the local enemies such as multi house covenants within the regions they were strong in. Only after the Tremere war machine geared up to full strength would the counter offensive have been effective.

I do agree that in the long term, the Diedne were simply not going to win. The odds were against them, but early on, I suspect they had a very good chance of striking some decisive blows and then calling a grand tribunal and negotiating peace.

I got the impression from Hibernia and societates that the Ex Miscelania had significantly more of their sub groups on the anti Diedne side of the issue. Some of them with enough dislike to commit to the war significantly.

One big deal is that the Diedne were fighting for their lives while, outside of Normandy and the British tribunals, the rest of the order was fighting for a rapidly disintegrating coalition of wizards against a foe that was far far away.

5ed Diedne are not the cuddly nature lovers of bygone editions. These guys are aggressive, engaging in a series of offensive campaigns against all kinds of hedge traditions right up until House Tremere turned the tables.

Demons? Sacrifices? Maybe, maybe not. More likely someone in the Tremere leadership pounded the council table in Coeris and said, "If we don't get to rule the roost, I'll be damned if anyone else gets to."

I don't see the Flambeau as being just a bunch of non-strategist types that weren't effective. That isn't their legacy IMO, though it is a reputation that may have been picked up just on the actions of a few. They are glory hounds, no doubt, and they tend to act more on their own rather than in small battle groups of Magi. But acting alone would still likely mean a custo and several combat ready grogs, backing up a Magus who is not a lab rat, not an army grunt told what to do. This is a magus who is focused on optimal killing power, who likely has honed his power with and against others in his House, and wants to kill the enemy even if it means his own life. This is a magus who has been waiting his whole career to do the things his Founder did, namely kill enemy wizards. The hottest of the Flambeau hot heads pursued the Schism War, but I don't think they did it stupidly or ineffectively; they racked up their kill count too.

One Flambeau likely did serious damage, but may not have hit the most high priority targets in a pursuit of personal glory. They were champions and heroes, not an army. But I don't think that meant they weren't effective. I'd bet the Diedne, in the aftermath of a Flambeau attack, were saying. "Jeez! And that was just one of the Flambeau!"

Well, it is the legacy of the House. It is the introduction of the Miles, those who understand and can comply with hierarchical command structures that might change the House. But, with the exception of the Miles, Flambeau are a house of generals, used to commanding their grogs, but not used to being led by other members of their House.

The Diedne were probably quite cooperative and lured many of these magi lead attack squads to their doom, which is what lead to the Miles. At least this is the way HoH:Societates presents it.

My reading in this fight is this. You have the Diedne, the biggest House (by far from what it seems) and covering some of the most territory. They pursue Mysteries and most don't know what those are beyond being effective at Spontaneous; and even effective at Spontaneous does not mean it stacks up well against someone who is effective with Formulaic.

The Flambeau were lone operatives, but we're talking highly trained types, the action movie hero. The Diedne no doubt set traps, but I believe either the Flambeau were smart enough to avoid some of them or (maybe more likely) good enough to fight through them. Now, as effective as I'm putting this, the lesson that both the Diedne and the Tremere show is that organization and unity can be still more effective. The proof is Garus and the Milites; they wouldn't make this group if they thought it was overall inferior.

But there seems to be a general attitude that the Flambeau were idiots and bumblers as well as gloryhounds in this fight, and I just don't think it was so (well, they are gloryhounds). I think in the end all of the major groups on both sides were saying "Just think of what that House would be like if they could get more unified. Alone they were terrifying, but together..."

I don't think that the Flambeau were idiots or bumblers. I do think that they were individually lured into situations where the combined strength if several Diedne working in concert could over come the Flambeau and his coterie of grogs.

Agree that the Flambeau are neither idiots nor bumblers. But they weren't used to open warfare between large groups of co-ordinated wizards. The strength of the flambeau lies in personal deadliness. But personal deadliness only gets you so far. And it relies on directly confronting your foes. After a few cases of diedne immolation, you can bet that the house would have been seeking to avoid directly confronting the Flambeau and instead using their weaknesses, their independence, against them. I see the flambeau in this war as high casualty types, killing in large numbers and doing the bulk of the dying on the anti-diedne side too. After all, thinking as a Diedne, you can't afford to let these guys wander around your turf, they are too dangerous. You need to kill them now. So its observe their camp via animal servants, dig up their latrines when they have moved on and use that (stinky, gross) arcane connection to direct long range kill spells at them via wizards communion rituals. THAT'S how you beat a flambeau. What you absolutely do not do is meet him on the field of battle, that's when you get beaten by the flambeau.


This, very much this.

The answer is simple. The Diedne were in league with Satan and that gave them an edge :mrgreen:

And then the prideful Flambeau took apprentices from among the Diedne, not knowing that even the youngest of apprentices had been so well indoctrinated. After a few years they became the Shadow Flambeau (or whatever they were called).

But they were easily defeated because they were too busy crafting dirty toys ( :unamused: ), the real threat were the Tremere vampires who manipulated all of this!

It was all a Guernicus plot to achieve hegemony over the Order.

And all the while, no one ever suspects the Criamon. It's spelled in black and white in the Fedosa book!