Would you want a Tremere in your covenant?

"House Tremere would like to rule the world. This attitude alienates many of thier sodales." - True Liniages, pg. 116, Reverence for Order

I don't personally have a problem with Tremere, but thier constant readiness for war and desire to accmulate political and economical power (TL, pg 116, Military Ethos) can be intimidating. It reminds me of arms races, except who are they racing against? Tremere tried to take over the Order once, and conspratoralists could say they took out Diedne to increase thier own power.

"House Tremere dominates the Transylvania Tribunal absolutely. ...Another 20 magi and redcaps live in Transylvania as guests of the House. These are usually specialists, paid to create items and preform research." - TL, pg. 116, Extent

This knowledge doesn't give me a warm fuzzy.

On a side note on the comparison of Tremere and Mercere:

"A younger [Tremere] magus generally loses a season per year to the work of the House, less if he completes his duties early." -TL, pg 118, The Role of Young Magi

In the end, a Tremere magus would only go to a multi-house spring covenant if he was ordered to by his house. Makes me wonder as a PC of the covenant; why are the Tremere interested in this covenant? And there should be a reason, if only known by the SG. Tremere characters can also be removed from the covenant, if the House so wishes. Personally, I'm sitting on the fence for now about Tremere.

In fact my original character concept was for a Tremere who was too similar to some of the other characters. This character would have come to the covenant because it suited the house to have an expert on the hedge mages of the area we live in . As a result they the character would have worked hard to make the covenant as success as their mission from the house would have required it as well as their best interests. In fact this would have increased their loyalty as they started off with a heavy investment in the covenants success as it would be a black mark agaisnt them if the covenant failed . They would have called on the Houses support as much as possible to aid the house.
Now perhaps if the covenant and the House/Orders interests had come into direct conflict this would have been an issue, however this is not a requirement of any saga. It would be no more likely than any other character who had interests and belief's outside the covenant turning on the covenant. In fact I tend to think that the Tremere who encourage loyalty would be less likely to betray his sodali's over minor matters.

I think much of the low opinion of the Tremere comes from earlier editions when I would have had little to do with them. I disliked the Tremere prior to 5th edition.
As others have said any character can be a liability to the covenant as their personal interests come before the covenants. Any of the 4 mystery houses could well be more loyal to house/ideal than covenant, any mage who is a member of a mystery cult could likewise have external loyalties

(oops - And the lesson for today is: Don't have multiple windows open when posting!)

I think Erik makes a good point. We can pick at it but it's a good point.

I also think the game could have more nuanced mechanics available for wizards to help each other.

(ArM5, p 12, "House Tremere")"Members of House Tremere emphasize the importance of judgement, strategy, and detailed planning. They believe in the respect of superiors and asserting authority over minions..."...and hugs and bunnies.

"Familial"? What sort of family are you used to? (Don't answer, I don't want to know.)

Except for the printed material Skri just quoted.

Judgment, strategy, planning , respect..
I don't see engulf and devour on that list. It's generalization that isn't supported by the text.

If you would have read the rest of the paragraph that skidragon posted from, you would have found the quotes that I brought up on the last page. I'll repost them in hopes that you'll look at them seriously this time.

What I get from the section is that the Tremere want to rule the world in the same way that my friend Rob wants to have a billion dollars and my niece wants a pony. They think it would be nice. They think that they could do a better job for all humanity then the present regimes. It's arrogance, not a statement that no Tremere can have any other goals than ruling the world. A statement that "The world would be better off if we ran it" is ugly, but it isn't the same as a statement saying that all Tremere are bent on achieving world domination for their house to the exclusion of all else. In fact the the section specifically excludes that possibility.

Your opinion ("The only goal of a Tremere is Tremere") is not supported by the text.

With the support they give members of their house would you really want to turn down a request to join and risk making ALL of the house an enemy?

Well that all depends whether you read only the surface message or make a practice of reading the deeper underlying principles espoused in any given thesis. There is always more than one way to an end and any propagandist worth his salt would tell you the best way to mitigate as much critical scrutiny as possible is to dress one's ideological intent in as ambiguous and innocuous a terminology as one can manage.

In this case:

Judgement: As a House it seeks (as it has historically sought) to judge any and all threats - both and within and without the Order - to its incremental manipulative agenda of eventual control and authoritative preeminence.

Strategy: Following a more covert path of selective intermediate goals and victories in response to the historic failure of their previous overt attempt to preeminence. Diedne was too big and cohesive a barrier to House Tremere's ambitions and thus had to be eliminated, Oath to the Code be damned (or in modern Neo-con terms, "it's just a piece of paper").

Planning: Orderly (however apparently random) and deniable supervised action undertaken without question and without need to know why from those at the heart of the House who do the have the chess game and its ultimate aim mapped out.

Respect: Unquestioned obedience by a well programmed and indoctrinated following.

Frankly, these guys ARE the medieval equivalent of modern day Neo-cons and smell as villainously rank.

Tremere's vision, a totalitarian empire, died in the Sundering. The magi Tremere had drawn into the Order never embraced it. His promises of consultation, through the House Council, assured them that the House, and world government, would have a federal structure after a brief period of military rule.

My interpretation of this is that Tremere will still rule the world, just not in the way the founder originally envisioned. The difference between the Tremere and Rob is that Rob doesn't have 90 completely obedient, powerful magi to back him up. (At least I hope Rob doesn't. :open_mouth: )

A Tremere's actions when their home covenant is in contest with an all Tremere covenant would vary very much depending on the nature of the conflict, and of course the relative status of the Tremere involved.

Remember that competition and asserting one's self/rights is encouraged in the House. So, really, unless there were powerful reasons to back down... a typical competition say over Vis sources with an all Tremere covenant would not cause your home Tremere to cede the Certamen as it were. Heck. It might even make them more eager to go out and beat their House-mates in the duel and get the prestige of so doing for themselves.

The only things that over-ride lesser loyalties/oaths are such things as outright betraying their House or it's Doctrine and/or strategic goals.

This does -not- mean that they fold any time anyone from their House has a conflicting interest with the covenant. That would have to be a very serious conflict of interest to make that the only viable option. Ideally a Tremere would not be placed in a covenant situated so as to be in that sort of conflict with their fellows. If it did occur... rather than one side or the other simply folding I'd imagine they would both take the case up to the exarch for mediation. Even then, bear in mind that both sides of such a conflict have a purpose and value to the house... including the mixed-house covenant.

No personal bias there I'm sure. :wink:

Please... Can we keep the RL politics out of our Ars Magica discussions? I'd be grateful.

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I think a covenant would do very well to have a Tremere.

AM5 Tremere have been changed from the secretive, pyramid-scheme conspirators of yore. They are valuable, reliable magi, worth having in any covenant.

A covenant that has a Tremere--

  • Will win certamen against their Tremereless rivals

  • Can call on a powerful House in time of need. This may incur a further obligation, but sometimes it takes an army.

  • The objectives and attitudes of House Tremere are well-known. This cannot be said of eccentric Bonisagi and Verditii, secretive Bjornaer, wacky Criamon, fay Merinita....

  • Might find themselves called upon by House Tremere but will likely be rewarded well for it.

Note that alignment with House Tremere might not sit well will fans of House Diedne!


  • Diedne Magic isn't a very good virtue
  • There are a lot more Tremere than Diedne
  • Diedne lost; Tremere won
  • Your covenant is a lot more likely to thrive with a Tremere at the covenant than a Diedne
  • The Tremere already have as much control over the Order as they need; in a sense, they already have what they want.



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Just a few miscellaneous thoughts.

One important distinction between Tremere and the other sources of dissent within the OoH (mystery cults etc) is that House Tremere is a monolithic, centralized organization (they even have a house doctrine for pete's sake!). If I recall correctly, even having their members join mixed-house covenants was part of a plan so that the other houses would trust them (making future betrayal that much easier?). Regardless of Tremere's intentions, many magi of other houses are probably painfully aware that House Tremere is currently the single greatest threat to the Order's existence.

This is not to say, of course, that every Tremere is a catspaw for the Primus, but every member of the Order knows of house Tremere's totalitarian aspirations and I'm sure many are equally aware of that they are actively stockpiling weapons and developing their military infrastructure. Thus many magi would be reluctant to invite a Tremere to join their covenant, but what is not clear is whether this would prove to be any more prevalent than discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
It is also questionable whether this, admittedly feasible fear would be enough to override negative stereotypes associated with other mystical traditions - The demon worshipping Tytali, or the Mundane-Hugging Jerbiton; or even just personal distaste - "A Merinita moving into OUR covenant? Eeeew!"

I disagree, and here is why. :wink:

This quote pretty much echoes my personal view/internal consensus on how the Order at large views House Tremere. Now of course it is noted that House Tremere is, as has been beaten to death already, is a rather aggressive/assertive political entity with it's own interests and agenda. That doesn't mean that people think they are out to dominate the Order at current.

I mostly agree. It is mostly daydreaming when it comes to 'world domination' or 'Ruling the Order' etc etc. The difference between the Tremere and daydreaming about a better life and tomorrow etc... is that they actively, every day, organize and work towards making their vision a reality. But their vision isn't really 'dominance' for the sake of dominance.

The Tremere are, perhaps, the Magi most keenly aware of the fact that even groups of Magi -can- come out on the losing side of any given conflict despite any individual or even collective magic. They have felt such stings before, and are very aware that they still could have more such welts in their future.

Tremere, the individual mage, wanted dominance for the sake of dominance. Tremere the House, in it's current state and evolution of doctrine, doesn't. It wants to be as ready as it can for any 'lean years' that might come, shape the situation as it stands to avoid that and any other problems they can see coming, and shove a fistfull of hurt down the throat of any problems that aren't avoidable. i.e. as people have said... Judgement, Planning, and Strategy.

I see them as the only House with a 'big picture' and 'team player' mindset, and that being their core cultural feature to make them distinct. I think a lot of people innately see that structure and mindset and view it as outflowing from a very negatively viewed aggression. I see it as outflowing more from experience and pragmatic teamwork... which is something the Tremere find lacking in other Houses, and one of the reasons they think the Order would be better off with them (or at least some elements of their doctrine) playing more of a leadership role.

Judging from a medieval viewpoint are they so very morally flawed? Compare this kind of thinking to the Monarchy type governments of the day... not to the modern desire not to have anyone tell you what to do. This I'd be very curious to hear, from those who really can converse on it?

Love the discussion. Great topic!

I'd like to share a few different perspectives.

  1. I would go on the assumption that no magi have the comprehensive, big-picture knowledge of the machinations of House Tremere that players who read True Lineages have. Not even the members of House Tremere themselves. They have the insider's view, with all the attendant biases.

  2. Sociologists will tell you there is far more variation within groups than there is between groups. I would apply this as such... If you ask ten Tremeres about their house's philosophy, you'll get two versions of the answer: the one their Parens insisted they memorize; and then later, after a few beers, their own personal view. All ten personal views will be different.

  3. Here's an analogy that might be relevant - the modern corporation.

You start off as an entry level worker. You have to do the bidding of a whole series of "higher ups". You can see how many levels you are below the CEO on the Organization Chart. You have no say in setting policy or strategy - you just do what you're told. You know that if you work hard and show loyalty, you'll be rewarded with promotions (more income, more influence, other nice benefits). The better you are, the higher up the pyramid you go. You are entrusted with more "confidential" corporate plans and goals. You are given more responsibility, and the power and resources to implement those plans, goals, strategy and policies. The best from around the whole world get promoted to the corporate office.

How many millions of people fit this profile? You probably know dozens, at various levels in their respective companies.

Now ask yourself, how many of those people are so brainwashed by their employer that their only thoughts and loyalties are to the corporate goals that they discuss in their meetings, reinforced by emails, memos and annual reports?

Their devotion to their employer overrides loyalty to family, friends, hobbies, social organizations, and other aspects of non-working life.

Isn't that just a little too implausible?

Dave Cheng
Former & Future Corporate Suit

May I note that if they were all "completely obedient" there would not be a detailled section on how to remove the Primus by force? I believe Tremere's the only House that officially sanctions your personal desire to overthrow the Primus and steal her job, if you are hard enough and have enough support from the rest of the House.

I don't find the comparison really that accurate. Here you are comparing loyalty to your professional group/employer etc. to loyalty to family/friends etc. as conflicting issues.

When discussing Tremere those concepts are things that go back as reinforcing reasons as to why they are loyal to the House. Because the House is -all- of those things. Family? Your Pater, your lineage, your brothers and sisters, and your own children (apprentices) following after you and many if not most of your friends will all be Tremere as well.

Employment? Most Magi don't really have that. They exist and further their own ends, self driven. Is there another House which really provides 'Employment' to their members?

'Non-working Life'? The House, and then the Order, consists of all the people Magi consider 'society'. Everything and everyone that Magi value is in the Order, in the House.

The perception, by modern standards, of skewed priorities and 'brainwashing' is... out of context. I'd ask the opposite question. What could be more important than one's House and lineage?

Ok, my thoughts for this excellent discussion.

  1. there are only 90 Tremere. Thus most Tremere would know each other and are almost certain to know of each other, even in seperate tribunals. The house is close, regularly communicates and has a command structure. Tremere may end up doing chores for other Tremere in distant lands and this will strengthen inter-house ties.

  2. Tremere are practical. The younger Tremere happily (mostly) do their chores since they know that they will be rewarded and, when push comes to shove, they know that they have the much bigger resources of the house to draw on. They also know that Tremere stick together so they can expect good welcomes, casual support and information from other Tremere as a matter of course.

  3. Tremere are stable. Their command structure and system of service and repayment means that the house is a prepared and dependable institution. The rest of the Order knows that if something REALLY bad happened, it'd be the Tremere that would have the strength and resources to pull the Orders fat out of the fryer. The other houses, while recognising the authoritarian tendencies of the house, realise that this preparedness is a good thing and they appreciate the Tremere for it.

  4. Tremere are daft. At least not recently. Since the sundering/schism war, the Tremere have been sensible, conservative and steadfast. They don't advocate rash ideas, they don't engage in huge projects likely to draw the attention of the mundanes/church and they don't deliberately create turmoil i the order. In fact they do their best to minimise turmoil and strengthen the order.

Thus if you were starting up a spring covenant and you got an offer from a younger tremere to join, thoughts likely to go throught head might be

  1. As he gets older and trains apprentices, he gets far more useful since, assuming he wins his sigil, he'll keep their sigils too.
  2. If we get in a bit of bother, there is a possibility that his house might bail us out.
  3. He isn't going to advocate any daft ideas and will likely be a sensible chap who will bring a level of planning and practicality to a covenant filled with oddballs who lack these traits (Merinita, Criamon, Flambeau, Tytalus, etc).
  4. Due to his houses culture of mutual aid, and preparedness, he is likely to strengthen our defences and assist us when we need help, rather than shrug and return to his lab. Better to have an ally and owe a favour than have no allies at all.
  5. Due to his houses close contacts, there is a possibility that he will be better informed about the rest of the tribunal and order than we are, even if it is only on a casual level. That can only be a good thing.

Personally, i'd love a Tremere in our covenant. Gods know we could use some of that practical/sensible approach.

Also how would a Tremere in the covenant be worse than a Tytalus? Or a Criamon (weirdos), Merinitae (really weirdos), Mercere (usefull but hardly ever around), Guernicus (we have one of these in our covenant and we have to hide our quasi legal dealings from him), etc.

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Yes, you can 'overthrow' the primus, though using that term usually conjures up more violent and bloody scenes than a certamen does. I don't think that the desire to 'overthrow' the primus would stop a magi from following the primus' orders. "Obedience is of the highest benefit."

I think this discussion points out exactly how other magi view Tremere. Some find them good allies, others fear they are going to take over the Order and then the world.


Exceptions abound...
Recently had a 130ish year old Tremere challenge our Bonisagus (what? Half his age?) to Certamen...They mopped up his pieces from the floor...
No certainty there...The Bonisagus then apologized and sat down...


Not True. EVERY Magus has his/her own agenda. Tremere are just as 'Whacky' if you think about it...Tremere though have to answer to the fella up the chain ...

Indeed. They should be.

We have one in our covenant and he can spont Level 35 spells...Perhaps you should rethink that...

Reread the history...The Tremere were getting buried by the Diedne until the Flambeau and the Tytalus joined in (and others).
As for thriving...WE seem to be doing okay..(shrug)