Wrapping my mind around the game

This really deserves a new thread :smiley:

Oh, I usually let the players drive the saga. If that's what they want, I gladly serve it up. I have to find a common ground between my perception of the game world and theirs. As it is, I do have a mix of players, a lot who have been around for a few editions, a few that started with 5th. The idea you speak of, a Tremere wanting to join Bonisagus, that or a similar situation has yet to occur. I do have one guy who plays a Tremere Quaesitore, which makes for a really cool character. But in any case, I figure that somewhere out there you may have one or a few magi that have managed to join Bonisagus from the outside through the ages. It happens, it is just very rare.

I think that was an awesome book myself :smiley:

:laughing:, see, I am the guy who quotes that material. I have used the "charcoaled fairies" comment many-many times :smiley:. I like to attribute the quote to Vanacastium. The generic opinions sidebar was the general style of those authors back in that day. All the old WW-WoD games had them too. IMO, House categories are a different variation on the same concept.

:smiley: I am prone to knee-jerk comments and bold statements. Perhaps if I put it another way. The House Categories, as far as I can figure, were invented as a way for new players to easily understand the concepts of the different houses. This is an admirable goal, and I suppose it accomplishes that. But it is a bit of a simplification that slightly "monotones" the magi of each House. Just slightly though. The later Houses of Hermes books and other materials reopened the vast selection and variety found within these Houses. Thus, even in fifth edition, the House categories are generalizations and not absolutes.


In my mind, every House has a True Lineage somewhere within it, every House participates in Societates, and every House has members that pursue Mysteries. And originally, I think it was only House Tremere and House Verditius that were exclusive. No one had ever defeated a Tremere Champion in Certamen, and the Verditius Magic Flaw (-1) was required for House Verditius. All magi had Enigmatic Wisdom in 4t & earlier editions, and Faerie Magic was readily exported to magi outside of House Merinita.

I generally don't discard anything. I use it, perhaps mutate it, or even ignore it and stick it in the background. No need to resolve things that never come up. And we threw this whole thing off topic. What is more appropriate for me to say is that the House categories are best used as generic general ideas, not thought of as an essential core concept of the game. It was a feature added latter, not a Jenga peg that will cause the whole setting to collapse if you jiggle it.

The Criamon thing did come up IMS though. Rather, it was Enigmatic Wisdom. The debate was if you needed to be a member of the Criamon cult in order to have Enigmatic Wisdom or not. One character had gained it from Magic Realm vis, just as the example in RoP-Magic. I mentioned that the Gorgiastics have Enigmatic Wisdom but are not Criamon magi nor do they believe in cyclical time. The Enigma has a different meaning for non-Criamon magi who have it (though like the Gorgiastics, they cannot have an EW score higher than 4).

I've got to disagree with you there - I feel that by and large it strengthens them. Take House Bonisagus - you can be a great researcher, and win huge respect, but if you can't trace your lineage back to Bonisagus himself then, well, you're just not up to scratch. In the real world, for instance, Oxford and Cambridge do not acknowledge the existence of any other degrees as valid unless resubmitted to them for approval. House Tremere might ally themselves with other magi, and make them trusted companions, but a member? Never! If you've not grown up in the house and its structure, how can you ever truly understand or appreciate it? The mystery cults can and do accept people who are interested in their magic or philosophy, as do the societates - the difference is that you cannot leave a mystery cult without great trouble. A societate will be miffed that you don't feel strongly enough to support them, and generaly have an huff, but most mystery cults will want to ensure that you don't spill their secrets. Leaving one offends people, leaving the other creates enemies. House Criamon are the exception there, in that they regard everyone who has Engimatic Wisdom as a member, whether or not they themselves do. This gives you all sorts of lovely story hooks.

If there is anything I'd quibble, it's making House Guernicus a True Lineage rather than Societate, given the existence of non-Guernicus Quaesitores, and insisting on a four:four:four split. I agree that every House will have a lineage (with the possibly exception of House Merinita, since I can't imagine Quendalon didn't institute a purge) traced back to the founder, and every house will have people involved in mysteries, as well as people who sympathise with them. The difference between the three categories with capital letters then is all about their attitudes. If you want to join House Bonisagus, you'd better be willing to accept a second apprenticeship. House Tremere will never accept anyone else's leavings; they've already proven themselves to be inconstant and thus untrustworthy. House Criamon accept anyone as long as they try, whilst House Flambeau will doubtless test applications with challenges and ceremony. This adds wealth to the houses in terms of the relationships between them and also their histories.

What happens to a Tremere magus who gets cast into Twilight by a faerie and comes back with some of the abilities normally associated with House Merinita? After all, you're only allowed to belong to one House and you're certain to make enemies on both sides that way. A good Dark Secret for a Bonisagus might be that he was coopted by a Bonisagus magus quite late in his apprenticeship and set to work on lab projects and as such, really doesn't have any aptitude for the House traditions at all - he's little better than an hedge mage stealing the respect and privilege due to true Magi of House Bonisagus. The stories practically write themselves.