Would you want a Tremere or a Criamon in your covenant?

In fact, there's even a Path (Walking Backwards) that initiaties its followers into the Gentle Gift and the ability to communicate ineffable truths with art through enigmatic wisdom!

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Four simple comments.

  • First, one really has to distinguish between being wanted by the troupe and by the saga characters. There are some PCs who are literally a curse to the covenant, but if the saga revolves around that curse, they are the fountainhead of the troupe's enjoyment.
  • Second, I agree with Fishy, that while the House can "colour" a magus, the individual intra-house variability probably has more impact. This is particularly true for troupes who already have seen one or two sagas before, and who then generally like to try something "from a different angle". I have seen in play a Tremere who hated his House and secretly worked against it, for example; and another that was judged well-meaning but so incompetent that the House decided to keep her essentially with no chores (but no support either!) where she was least likely to cause embarassing blunders -- the PC covenant in a quiet, sleepy, boring farmland region.
  • Third, I do not think Criamons are necessarily "weirdos", any more than Bonisagus obsessed researchers are weirdos, or animalistic Bjornaer are weirdoes, or conflict-for-conflict-sake Tytalus are weirdos, etc. You can make very pragmatic, down-to-earth Criamons. I remember one aborted saga where someone had designed a Criamon on the Path of True Reason -- basically with a world vision reflecting modern scientific understanding (incorrect in the ArM5 cosmology, but the Path provided the powers to support it).
  • Fourth, in many ways having one Tremere in the covenant means having House Tremere in the covenant. This can be good or bad or for a PC depending on how well House Tremere's goals match those of the PC -- noting that even though the House operates on a global scale, its goals can be very different from locale to locale, and in fact sometimes diametrically opposed (e.g. they might try to push for more hermetic involvement in mundane politics in some areas, and for less involvement in others).

Thank you for all of your thoughts. This has been a really neat read, with no crazy like the original thread that inspired me to start a new one, :mask:

Ah, those Callicleans are giving such a bad reputation to the rest of the House.

This would almost have to be an NPC: A Tytalus with a twilight scar of a split personality can literally be his own worst enemy- in plots that involve the entire kingdom.

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I currently play a Tytalus and I'd love a Tremere simply to have more people to bounce off! However, my covenant is mostly Ex Misc and Verditius.

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In universe, a Tremere is likely to be a highly desirable covenant mate. The Tremere are the backbone of the order, and any Tremere worth his salt is going to be interested in preperation, defence and planning for the worst. Sure, they might be pushy and you can assume that what he knows, his house knows. But the house aren't blabbing to anyone else, and damn if he hasn't whipped your lazy turb into order. Also, he fixed that breach in the walls that you've been putting off fixing for years and he has drawn up a complete list of the all the local nobility to help keep them on side.
No, the house you really don't want in your covenant is a Tytalus. Selfish, self centred, egotistical, argumentative and untrustworthy. You can't give them responsibility because you have no idea whether they'd actually do what they are supposed to or just blow it off because working hard for the benefit of others conflicts with their true nature.

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It depends very much on the indvidual Tytalus magus if you want them in your covenant or not.
Some will just be trouble, no doubt about that. Some however will be very useful to have around.

There is for example one Tytalus mage over in the Transylvanian Tribunal whose self-imposed challenge is to identify all the plots of his fellow Tytalus magi, and warn House Tremere about them.

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In universe, a Tremere is likely to be a highly undesirable covenant mate. The Tremere are the a-hole facist of the order, and any Tremere worth his salt is going to be interested in pushing his houses domination of the Order "for the good of all its members". They should all be treated the same as a member of the SS, who will winnow out every little secret to be used to go along with their House desires. While he might direct the repairs of the walls and training of the turb, it puts every security strength and weakness of the covenant in the hands of his house and pulls as much of the loyalty of the grogs to himself as possible.

The Tremere are one of the most disliked and distrusted Houses in the Order. No amount of shilling for them will change that. Sorry if they are your favored house, but there is a reason they are mostly only found in all Tremere covenants.

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Short vrsion, in modern parlence- how important is it to you that the trains run on time?

Something stuck with me from playing a couple of Tytalus and this might be affecting my judgment. Which is bring them both! The Tremere might be an useful, nice dude. Or even better he can be of the scheming and plotting kind, so can be used as a tool to play with his house, play misinformation games and all that fun stuff.

But on the other hand it is always easier to know what is the local Quaesitor into when you can ask him politely during dinner than trying to figure out what happens at his covenant hundreds of miles away. It is also better if you try to learn how he thinks and works and what's his blindspot and how to get into it, which you definetively should if you are planning to break the Code. Also getting ACs becomes easier, and not having to break into a foreign Aegis is also nice.

I think this is a very uncharitable reading of 5e house Tremere imo (it's closer to the mark for previous versions of the house).

The 5e version of Tremere are 100% behind the Order of Hermes and they mainly work within the code to reform the order to something they see as "better". A magus might disagree with that goal, or be annoyed by how little the Tremere trust the rest of the order sometimes, but at the same time a lot of more reformist magi will find themselves agreeing with the Tremere quite often.

Just look at the description of the standard 1220 Tremere view in HoH:TL:

"...most of its members believe a federal world government is practicable. They know the Order will not accept the House Doctrine, but can be convinced, with skilled evangelism, to adopt elements of it over time ... they don’t think that its insular, manorial culture is the best way for magi to live or govern themselves, but other magi acquiesce to the Order, and it can be improved, however slowly."

"Convince people to adopt elements of our philosophy through discourse and enact gradual reforms towards a democratic federal world government." is not exactly fascist (although it's certainly not something everyone would agree with either!). They do have a militarist streak though and are a bit authoritarian, at least in terms of internal politics. But that doesn't make them evil fascists...

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The fact that their idea one world government is federal in nature does not make it democratic or non-fascist. In fact it is a step more centralized than the tribunal system and certainly more than the current (Medieval) political structure of Europe.

The Transylvanian Apartheid regime is certainly fascist, but that does not make them Evil. But neither really matters.

If you want to make Tremere unplayable in your saga, you can emphasise

  1. Their authoritarian nature, in contrast to anarchist and/or manorial magi in the troupe.
  2. Their history, with the Sundering, and general distrust for them in the rest of the Order.
  3. Their canon endeavour to build a logistic network across the Order, under their control, which give them a solid edge in any future conflict. This is a just cause for concern.

If you want to make the Tremere playable, you can emphasise,

  1. Their support for young members to build their power, and the resources which is likely to leak on their covenant mates as a result.
  2. Their generally peaceful demeanour for the last couple of centuries.
  3. Their consistent and systematic effort to make the Order stronger (in addition to making their House stronger).
  4. Their respect for law and justice in disputes.

Each of these elements can be played up to be a major boon/problem, or played down to relative insignificance. It really is a troupe decision. Do we want to make Tremere playable as PCs? Or do we want to play them as antagonists?

(In addition to the IC concerns above, there are some players who would never want to see Tremere around because they disapprove of their authoritarian ideology to a point where they only accept them as antagonist. This also has to be considered when the troupe decides.)

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Keep in mind as well that people do not have a choice as to what house they are apprenticed into. A resistance movement within the Tremere is a distinct possibility.

I agree with Silveroak. I can see young Tremeres seeing the benefits of some elements of their House (resource distribution, logistics network, block voting) and yet disagreeing with others, bidding their time until they control their sigil and are in a position of responsibility within their House to use that block voting feature to support a slightly more liberal agenda while still supporting some features of the House they see as positive for the Order. There's no reason all Tremeres controlling their voting sigil should all agree with one another, after all.

That post was a direct counter to someone overly shilling for House Tremere. It was supposed to be over the top and uncharitable since it took the opposite extreme view of the house from the post it was countering, line by line and point by point. If you missed it, it was two post above it.

Tremere are very much fascist, though whether they are evil or not is very much a saga specific thing. Their centralized authoritarian nature does put them at philosophical odds with much of the rest of the Order. There is an overall distrust of them based on past actions. Because of the difference in philosophy they will grind and crash with other Houses. How bad that friction is, is very saga dependent.

You could always work an individual Tremere into a game as a character. However in some groups, that Tremere will be such an outsider to his House that he is Tremere in name only.

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House Tremere is not really fascist - fascism is a particular political ideology that doesn't match the philosophy of House Tremere all that well.

House Tremere is certainly authoritarian though. This is probably inevitable considering that to a large extent they think of themself as the military branch of the order, and organize themselves accordingly.
This is what mainly distinguishes them from the rest of the Order since, with a few exceptions here and there, most other magi of the Order are essentially civilians - although in many cases civilians with a lot of firepower.

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From Wikipedia:

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy

Now obviously something from before 1200 AD will not be a perfect match for something from the 20th century, and certainly the part about ultranationalism is not really directly applicable, except by substituting the Tremere ideal state for an actual one, but the rest remains a fairly accurate description. The only thing which is truly questionable- and I would argue it remains questionable to most other magi, is whether the Tremere wish to impose their military style regimenting of society on the rest of the order or reserve it for their own house. these policies are restricted to their own house, making them more of a military culture within the order, but if they seek to impose them throughout then they are most definitely fascists. If they are fascists they are not good since the definition of a good fascist is a dead fascist.

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And if you keep on reading that very page, you will find that some typical components of fascism are - nationalism; racism; charismatic leadership; promotion of strength, masculinity, and youth. Often combined with talk about how society has degenerated and the nation needs to be made great again.
But a very central part of it is the nationalism - without nationalism it isn't fascism.