Would you want a Tremere in your covenant?

I bought True Lineages and I have been browsing through it. It looks good: useful and interesting to read. Congratulations to all involved, as I know some of them use the forum.

I was reading a bit of the Tremere section and I see that they have been separated from the "semi-evil", conspirative stereotype, which is mostly a good thing. Previously, it was clear that the Tremere had a strong internal discipline, but apart from the sigil issue and elder magi being able to boss younger magi around it was not that clear how it worked. Now it is much clearer and it makes sense, but I still have this problem: why would magi accept a Tremere magus in their covenant? IMS, when we create a covenant, particularly a spring one, we want magi to be loyal and devoted to it, and it's clear that a Tremere is always going to be loyal to his house first, and to his covenant second. In fact, if the house asks a young Tremere magus to join a mixed covenant it's because they have a reason to do so: they want him to do something, which may not be in the covenant's best interest.

How do you deal with this in your sagas? Have you had problems of trust or loyalty between Tremere player characters and the other magi?

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Political weight.

Maybe the young tremere can give you just that. Not him directly (he cannot even vote at tribunal, so he is a weakling there) but because he can itnercede on behalf of your covenant in front of the powerful tremere aropund that does have weight at tribunal.

Strill, the answer to your question is "as lonjg as he dioes not step over the rest of the covenant, it is ok for him to join if he can bring some political weight to back him up. This is because he does not have a sigil himself, so he is a zero in tribunal politics himself. Or if he can provide something else that the other covenant mates lack, like resources". Tremeres are good at getting resources back from the storehouses/services depots of their house.


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Personally, no. I retain the position that they are conniving underhanded miscreants who should have been the ones marched and not Diedne, but I speak for myself.

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"The devil you know is better than the one you don't"?

"Keep your friends close, your enemies closer"?

"Deal with the devil, or the devil will deal with you"?

I don't buy it.

There are many "types" of magi that I can't imagine anyone sane wanting as a sodalis. Tremere are towards the top of that list.

The rationalization would be thin, at best. The magi are all politically naive to a brutal extant. The magi all trust the Tremere when he says "trust me". The magi are really in need of someone, and the T is the only one applying. The Praeco decides to judge by actions, not reputations.

Yeah, hokay. :unamused:

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In fact, the CONCEPT of a covenant is quite difficult to stomach if you do not take it for granted. My actual covenant is formed by a shaman-like uncommunicative and rude guy, a sociopath, a guy obsessed with discovering if stones have a soul and a guy that thinks that the only worthy people to talk to are high nobility or beings with 60+ in magic/fae/divine pool.

Quite a normal ArM group.

No way those would be REMOTELY working together in a "realistic" saga

Accepting a manipulative bastard there is no problem IMO. Most official covenants require a massive suspension of disbelief to stomach them. Let alone player covenants.


From what I can see the Tremere are now (and always have been) a standing army within the Order and an army that answers to itself before the order.

On one hand you want them in places where the order's main enemies; the Mongols, the Order of Odin and others, are threatening On the other hand they are conniving underhanded two faced, but certainly not vampiric, SoB's who nobody with sense would want within arm's length.

Wouldn't it be odd if groups like the Order of Odin were fabrications of Tremere, just like the accusations of human sacrifice within Diedne. No not really.

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I don't see that supported by the fifth edition material.

Perhaps I overstated :blush: Let's try again:

"They're an army of politicians*, but thankfully they're not vampires."

I am sooo glad that they're not vampires.

If we hadn't already decided to have minimal politics in our saga I'd happily play a Tremere now. Actually I might recommend the house to the rest of the Troupe when we next meet.

*By my definition all politicians are conniving, underhanded and two-faced SoB's

To argue by way of analogy - Why on Earth would someone hire an employee who had children. It is certain that they put the needs of the children above the needs of their corporation.

Would you rather have a Tremere magus who's house will stand behind him, provide him with the resources that he needs and back him up in a tight spot. A magus who's house has has consciously chosen to put thier resources towards the success of your new covenant? Or would you prefer to have an ExMiscellania who's house mate's don't give a damn about the young mage's success unless he happen's to be in their personal little clique. Perhaps a Tytalus who's house will actually try to destroy your covenant.

Would you prefer the pragmatic Tremere mindset applied to the success and well being of your coveant or the less practical mindsets of houses Jerbiton or Flambeau.

A Tremere who's studies benefit all of the magi or a Mystery cult magus who will spend a great edeal of effort advancing a magic that you can't use?

Do you think that the obligations of the Tremere are anywhere near as onerous as the obligations of a Mercere?

Judging by house alone. You can hardly do better than to accept a Tremere who has the backing and support of the most organized house of the order.

What's the downside? That they're capable of showing loyalty to something greater than themselves, isn't that what you want them to do for your covenant?

The real question is why would anyone want a Tytalus, a hubris ridden secretive Verditious, or a Mercere burdened by the obligations of his redcap responsibilities. Tremere are easy.

Or to put it another way. Any magus may do something against the covenant's interest. the Tremere aren't unique.

[/devil's advocate]

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Not a very apt analogy, imo.

Perhaps better: "Why on Earth would someone hire an employee who was already contracted for life for a much larger corporation, one called Engulf & Devour Inc.?"

Or... "Why on Earth would someone expect primary loyalty from someone who already had a family?"

Or... "Why on Earth would one army enlist a soldier who was a confirmed member of another army?"

Those are apt analogies. :wink:

Obligations? No one is talking "obligations". We're talking "loyalties" and "priorities". We're talking life goals. And the only goal of a Tremere is... Tremere.

And all the backing of House Tremere goes to... who, again? NOT the covenant, except perhaps by accident of convenience. To that one mage. If ("IF") the covenant's needs coincide with that mage's, well, perhaps the helpful House can squeeze some extra benefit out of the situation, since they're going to do the favour anyway...

All the potential in the world does you no good if that "helpful" entity does not share your priorities, your goals. And Tremere's, rarely, fall into the samaritan/philanthropy category.

It's a tough sell, Erik.

Now, there are reasons I ~can~ think of. 1st would be that the Tremere is the one founding the covenant. "We have a great site, great resources, if you want to join, come right ahead." 2nd would be an outright bribe - the newly-gauntleted T comes with a huge donation to the library, or labs, or whatever. 3 would be political pressure - do it or else. 4 would be sheer arrogance - a bunch of older magi deciding they weren't afraid of a little Tremere.

Those work.

Well, ideally, I would want someone who has energy and ambition to succeed (succeed through the covenant's success, I mean). Suppose the covenant gets in trouble and disrepute: will the Tremere house support the covenant or will they simply order their magus to leave and find a more convenient covenant?

It depends on the kind of game you want to play, but I would say that Jerbiton and Flambeau are extremely practical for a covenant. Whom should we send when we need to deal with those pesky mundanes? The Jerbiton, of course (OK, maybe the Flambeau, if they are really pesky :smiling_imp: ). And whom would you like to have by your side in a fight? A Flambeau, of course. Yes, a Tremere army would be even better, but they are unlikely to mobilize to fight your covenant's fights.

But, for me, it's more a matter of commitment. OK, so you can't use the Mystery cult magic... but your sodalis can, and he is stronger because of that, and that's good for you too, as long as he is committed to the covenant. On the other hand, if the Mystery cult magus is only interested in his cult, I would agree with you. Why doesn't he go to live with his chums, anyway? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, the obligations of a Mercere are certainly onerous, but then I don't see many players choosing one as their magus character, and ungifted merceres would take a "companion slot" in my saga. Besides, they don't require a lab and they certainly are an asset to the covenant in terms of information and contacts. In fact, as storyteller I probably would not allow a redcap in a Spring covenant unless there's a good reason for him to live there (maybe the covenant's placement is somehow strategic).

Yes, I agree. But then my question is: why would a covenant accept an uncooperative, unmotivated magus? My problem with the Tremere is that I can't see one of them caring about the covenant. Would they make sacrifices or even risk their lives for it?

A group of magi like the one Xavi described can be fun to roleplay (maybe they ended up together because no one else wanted them). However, if your covenant's growth is one of the themes of the saga, I would like sodales more capable of cooperation. In the sagas I have played the magi were cooperative (maybe with one or two black sheep), but why would a blatantly uncooperative magus be accepted in a covenant, unless all the other magi are like him?

Any magi can be uncooperative and/or unsuitable for your covenant, the problem is that I can't see any Tremere regarding the covenant as a real priority.

Those are not apt analogies. The Tremere magus has loyalty to his house not loyalty to another covenant.
"Engulf and devour Inc." is not a fair description of the Tremere Philosophy. The house is more familial than corporate.

Under the heading Reverence for Order RoP: TL p.116 are the most damming quotes but also:

Is it skilled evangelism that the other magi so deeply fear? This seems no different in seriousness to a pragmatic person who believes strongly that his religious beliefs are correct and thinks that mankind would be better off if they believed as he does, yet he entertains no thoughts of devoting himself to converting others because he knows that telling other folks that their beliefs are wrong doesn't typically end well.

The only goal of a Tremere is Tremere!?!? Were precisely did you find this description? It's silly and it is not supported by the printed material. You presume than owing loyalty to a house precludes owing loyalty to a covenant. They are different entities in the same way that owing loyalty to a political party, a church, a family, and a circle of friends. Certainly they can come in conflict with each other but realistic characters do owe loyalty to multiple entities. Do your covenants consist entirely of characters who owe nothing else loyalty aside from their group of fellow magi. That's incredibly dull and I don't believe that you're advocating it.

Do your magi often have goals that conflict with the goals of their covenant? If your covenant is a strong supporter of the order then I'd think that your ExMiscellainia and Tytalus, magi will have goals in conflict with the covenant more frequently than the Tremere. If your covenant isn't then your Gurnicus, Merinita, and Trianome magi will have goals in conflict with the covenant more frequently than the Tremere.

House Tremere is a staunch supporter of the order, they have a stronger culture of self sacrifice for the sake of others than any other house in the order. There is no reason that the actions of Tremere shouldn't fall into the samaritan/philanthropy category as frequently or more frequently than any other house (with the exceptions of Bonisagus, Mercere, and Gurnicus).

Oh, just to point out that the group of weirdos I described are making their covenant grow and cooperating in it. What happens is that they do not tend to cooperate between themselves a lot :wink: We play adventures with 1 mage, most of the time so that is not really a problem. However, the seeker bony comes well along the sociopath for dealing with nasty creatures and monsters and with the wolfie guy (my mage) to find stuff in deep forests. The sociopath goes well with the haughtly noble to go and deal with pesly nobles, and the pesky noble needs a dog (wolf mage) to raise his stags to hunt, after all. :wink:

They like having a nice base of operations, and it happens that this is the same for all, even if different parts for each:

  • the deep caves under the covenant for one
  • the hall for an other
  • the walls and parapets for the third one
  • and the hunting grounds of the covenant for the 3rd.

All want their areas to expand and progress :slight_smile:

Just FYI :wink:



PS: the pesky vs really pesky dilemma has happened IMS before. We used to have a covenant of combative jerbiton and flambeau nobles at the time, so it was no biggie.

I'm a old, longstanding, until the grave Tremere fan... contrary to what seems to a current of anti-home-team sentiment here. So all that follows is in line with said personal bias. :wink:

Please flavor all further discourse with a reminder that in canon the Tremere, while honestly viewed as rather aggressive in their interests, are still viewed by the rest of the order as one of it's pillars. i.e. All know that they will answer the call immediately and mobilize if the order needs them. So a greater level of mutual IC trust I think is warranted, unless there is an IC reason to warrant otherwise.

In my mindsent Tremere 'should' be very commited to their covenants, if in keeping with house teachings. Commited to House, Order, Tribunal, Covenant, Sodales, etc etc... Now while the ordering of priorities may be different than for what others are accustomed to yet I would say that still needs to be taken into context.

With a Tremere, yes the House is always first. But if you are on the list at all you aren't a forgotten footnote. You are still a priority, which is something they take very seriously. Unless some political manuevering above his head -forces- him to change allegiances (which I would say better have some good reasoning behind it on the part of the SG) he is going to be behind the covenant completely. It is as much the home of the Tremere in question as anyone else's.

And personally I find the blend of cultures, both social and magical, part of the interesting flavor of the order.

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Our convent lacks a Tremere but I could think of some good reasons to accept one:

  1. Certamen: If the convent was challenged for Certamen, we would not do very well... Maybe the Tremere would not be the real champion as well but anybody might give it a second thought before challenging a convent with a Tremere resident This could become very useful as we are constantly struggling with our neighbouring convent in Lubeck.
  2. Retaliation: If someone would bully the spring convent too much, maybe those Tremere who sent the character might intervene. And again, it is a threat to any aggressive mage to bully us too much as there is this archmage who has an interest in at least one of the residents. Does he protect his investment? For this very reason we accepted a mage as he was under protection of Filipus Niger, archmage of House Flambeau.
  3. By the way all other inhabitants were sent to this new convent by their superiors (Primi, leaders of a guild, another powerful archmage) for some reason. So, the Tremere would be no exception.
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Why not?

People have died for their country, or something they beleived for, while also loving their families, and being able to die for them.

Why should the fact that the tremere is loyal to his house make him any less caring about his covenant? Or do you think militaries don't care about their families?

Of course they could make sacrifices or risk their lives for it.

Hell, stronger covenants mean a stronger order, which is something the tremere house would value.
Also, a stronger covenant means more ressources for the magus, thus more utility for him to his house.
Even if he didn't care about the covenant, things like this would drive him to develop it as well as he could, much more so than another magus.

I utterly fail to see why you perceive the Tremere as being evidently uncooperative and such.

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The tremere do protect their own. All of the Tremere roles beyond " young magus" have mercenary troops listed as a form of available support. And as far as the personal prowess of the individual magi goes. Both Houses encourage martial prowess. The Tremere consciously focus on working with groups. The Flambeau have a culture that rewards individual prowess (through the tournament). I wouldn't necessarily always choose to have the Flambeau on my side regardless of how much support he Tremere gets from his house.

I haven't seen anything in text that supports that view that Tremere are less likely to care about their covenant than other magi.

The Tremere come from a culture that stresses mutal aid more than any other house. If the Tremere is at a covenant on the orders of his house than I can't imagine too many situations where the Tremere want one of their own to fail, so I'd imagine that it is frequently the case that the Tremere not only wants his covenant to succeed in the same manner as any other magus but he also wants ti to succeed because his exarch is lighting a fire under his but to make sure that his covenant doesn't fail.

Can you see if you can locate any passages in the text that gave you this impression? Would you be willing to construct an argument as to why they wouldn't that can be discussed?

On the contrary, I absolutely would like a young Tremere in my spring covenant. Simply because that means we have access to good allies at tribunal or in various crises, as long as we can return or repay the favors.

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I'm sure there aren't any passages explictly saying that Tremeres don't care for their (mixed house) covenants. It's just an impression we have in my gaming group, which might be just a silly prejudice reinforced because the only Tremere PC we have had was an utter bastard and also because of the not very flattering depiction in older editions (implying that Tremeres were extremely secretive and power-hungry, to say nothing about vampiric Tremeres). The fact that Tremeres always vote in blocks also make them seem vaguely threatening (particularly with their history of trying to control the Order, though I know that True Lineages has made that concern obsolete). I am just interested in knowing how other people see this issue.

The argument would be that Tremeres have a very strong intra-house discipline, for them the most important goal is to help their house and make progress within it and they only join mixed covenants when ordered to do so by their house, with a specific goal in mind (in fact, most young magi who join mixed covenants come from Transylvania and therefore do not even know their new covenant mates). So, would you really want a magus in your covenant if you know that the covenant is going to be low in the list of priorities for him? Won't they just leave or be ordered to leave when it seems convenient?

As I said, I'm not trying to claim that my vision is canonic. In fact, I would actually like to be disabused of that notion. I want to be able to play Tremere magi, just like magi from any other house. Hearing people with a different vision (like Vortigern, Fixer and others) helps. So a Tremere's first loyalty will always be to their house, but that doesn't mean they can't take their duty or loyalty to their covenant very seriously. That sounds right to me. What happens if there's a disagreement between the players' covenant and a Tremere covenant, though? That should be a nice source of conflict for evil storytellers :smiling_imp:

Do you people have Tremere magi as player character in your sagas? If so, why were they ordered by their house to join the covenant? Do they have a specific goal to accomplish?

Why should this be?

A tremere may be assigned to a mixed house covenant in a troubled region (like the levant) in order to make it an outpost of the order should problems arise. Thus, he will do more than his share of work to ensure the covenant grows strong.

He may be on a mission to learn something about a mystical site the covenant is near of, or guard it. Then again, a strong covenant is an asset, and he'll be driven to build it.

He may be assigned to develop spells usefull to the house, or do original research, in which case he'll need as good a library as your average bonisagus, and strive for it.

He may be on a mission of diplomacy or spying with hedge magicians, much like the Ad Fons saga with the witches and werewolves of pomenaria (In fact, a tremere is better suited for this than most of our characters), which in no way opposes him helping build up a strong covenant, from which he'll benefit, and make his house benefit.

And the list goes on.
Compare this to, say, a tytalus wanting to promote conflict with the local hedgies in order to prove his worth.
Or a flambeau wanting to eradicate every muslim sorcerer.
Or a bonisagus who cares only about his research.
Are they anymore dedicated to the covenant's wellfare?

Well, either the PC is the senior tremere, and the others shut up, or he's the junior, and he shuts up :wink: But his sodales can do as they please.
=> On average, a winner situation for the covenant with a Tremere magus: Either they can bully a tremere covenant (Ok, I'm slightly exagerating :wink:), or they can defend themselves against it with just one member short.