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How could the Tremere manage to "win" the First Massasa War?

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  • How could the Tremere manage to "win" the First Massasa War?

    They made many powerful enemies among kindred.

    They were vastly outnumbered.

    They were "new" in their undead status.

    Their thaumaturgy was in its infancy.

    They stood alone against the single most powerful supernatural organization on the world, which accumulated thousands of years worth of power and knowledge. Which supposedly could take every other supernatural on its own term. If do you wish to know how mighty and glorious high medieval era OoH, see Ars Magica.

    And they massacred their former brethren. In literal thousands. At the end of the First Massasa War, there were less than 100 Awakened population among entire Order.

    How this feat was possible? Just another Tremere wank? Another insult on injury to the Order?

  • #2
    Because it's a lot easier to turn a human into a vampire then it is to awaken one into a mage.....

    Also reference this thread
    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...to-the-tremere

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    • #3
      I think the short answer would be:

      The kindred of the time didn't really know how to handle them.
      They had powers no one had ever seen before and were actually likely preparing for the war before anyone knew what the hell was going on.
      They could make for up the numbers difference much better than mages and, using gargoyles, better than most vampire groups.
      According to a thorough reading of the texts and some extrapolation, Thaumaturgy was well developed (up to 5 dots) by the time they could make gargoyles.
      And by the look of it, they had a century to plan for the war and likely specifically planned against the Order of Hermes as their primary enemy.

      I'd say it's a bit like asking how the heck Japan conquered China and most of the pacific in WW2. They were primarily using medieval weapons and flint lock rifles not so long ago and didn't seem to know what they were doing before that time. Or how did any tiny state or group defeat any much larger, apparently better armed force. It's not a common occurrence but it does happen.

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      • #4
        Possibly it's just my misunderstanding of canon, but I never got the impression that the Tremere "won" the Massasa War so much as they ended up in kind of a stalemate before getting distracted by other concerns (i.e. the Order of Reason and the Anarch War).

        The Order of Hermes was very powerful at the time, but they were also always very divided, with as much fighting between houses as directed outward. There's a lot of scheming and backstabbing. Tremere, on the other hand, was a single House banded together. The Tremere knew the weak points of the Order as a full body, and had a lot of time to prepare how they would attack.

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        • #5
          I don't think anyone really won that war in a definitive sense. I expect that's why the word "win" up there is in quotation marks.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Spacecat View Post
            I don't think anyone really won that war in a definitive sense. I expect that's why the word "win" up there is in quotation marks.
            Indeed. According to revised OoH book, while Order's Awakened number was reduced to below 100, Tremere and its allies suffered similar casualties. However, as vampires, Tremere was able to recover much faster than its former brethren. If not Anarch war and other catastrophic events, Tremere could eradicate the Order from face of the Earth, as Order themselves acknowledge.

            So, in a sense, Tremere won against a vastly superior opponent dwarfing the clan in every measurable way.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you look at the typical vampire stats for Tremere in the book about the war (forget the name), they have absolutely insane stats. Like, 5s in most spheres and zero paradox.

              In essence, in "Canon", Vampires are far stronger then mages. If youre playing vampire, you give Mages thaumaturgy with none of the vampiric benifits, if youre playing Mage, you give vampires spheres and vampire traits.

              If played system vs system, then yeah, Mages woulda won. But its played Story vs Story, and in Whitewolf's vision, vampires are stronger then mages. (Which is bs but whatevs)

              Comment


              • #8
                If vampires are that strong, why they have not already dominated supernatural world, crushed every obstacle, exterminated all enemies and ruled the earth and its "kine" as immortal overlord-leeches? After all, vampires are not only the strongest, but also the most numerous among supernatural denizens.

                During medieval, at the very apogee of the vampiric power and glory, even in Eastern Europe, in Transylvania, vampires lived in fear of lupines. They also feared the human mage as much as werebeasts, ghosts, fairies and demons.
                Last edited by Posthumanity; 04-13-2017, 09:55 AM.

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                • #9
                  I'm not sure how close this is to canon, but this is my interpretation: in 1197, the rest of the Order of Hermes discovers that most of the Tremere have been turned into vampires. The Tremere are expelled from the Order of Hermes, with the few non-vampiric magi of House Tremere joining other houses, primarily House Tytalus. A brief war follows, which ends in a stalemate, and the Hermetics and the Tremere basically agree to leave each other alone after that. This is the situation which exists at the start of the Second Massasa War detailed in Blood Treachery.

                  I'm curious now; please let me know how well my version accords with White Wolf/Onyx Path canon. Thanks!


                  Our society is held together by the thinnest of threads: that exquisitely refined sense of tribal order.
                  Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

                  I am a huge fan of both the Trinity Universe and the classic World of Darkness.

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                  • #10
                    Sounds about right.

                    I think the main factor regarding how the Tremere did as well as they did is really how well prepared they were for it, pretty much having well over a century to figure out what to do when they are finally found out. They probably tried to think up everything the Order could throw at them and develop countermeasures for these. The OoH book mentions the use of firestorms, living-stone monsters (gargoyles), ghouls, castle demolition, and dragons. The Order didn't really understand what it was up against and the Tremere knew exactly what they were up against.
                    Last edited by Spacecat; 04-13-2017, 11:49 AM.

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                    • #11
                      You gotta figure that even the most well-attended Wizard March only mobilizes like 20% of the Order of Hermes, really. I still think the Tremere's survival is pretty miraculous given how many people they're supposed to have pissed off, but I'd say that antagonizing the Tzimisce in the seat of their power is far more threatening that torquing off the (relatively widely-distributed and non-cooperative) Order of Hermes. The Order may have some people in it that can annihilate whole chantries with meteors from space, but it's composed of the sort of people that wouldn't bother to do so just out of loyalty to the organization. The latter medieval period is supposed to be a decadent era for the Hermetics - they're magically powerful, sure, but they're also at one of their most dysfunctional points as a fellowship.

                      (I think the "less than 100" number in the Revised OoH book should probably just be ignored, in any case: It's always a bad idea for WoD stuff to list numbers.)


                      I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Posthumanity
                        If do you wish to know how mighty and glorious high medieval era OoH, see Ars Magica.
                        It's interesting to note that, in Ars Magica, the Tremere seem to have lost the war as their House still stands with mortal magi after the Massa War (and not in ExMiscelanea).

                        Originally posted by Posthumanity
                        And they massacred their former brethren. In literal thousands. At the end of the First Massasa War, there were less than 100 Awakened population among entire Order.

                        How this feat was possible? Just another Tremere wank? Another insult on injury to the Order?
                        The 100 Awakened population deserves no more atention that the normal given to those "censes". Mages are always hit with the "rare" stick (to the point of saying that in modern days there are 1 per 1.000.000 people, which would put the OoH arround 333-400 members between all Houses) so I don't know if "100" it's 5% of what the Order had before the war, 20%, or 75%, especially if you count the House Tremere as part of the looses.
                        Since you get to play with the OoH in DA: Mage, which despite the recent looses, it's still one of the most powerful mage groups arround 1230 (after the Massa War had cooled down) I would say that they weren't as crippled as the Tradition book seems to imply.

                        I think it's worth to note that the War lasted until 1230 not because the OoH was dying, but because the Church started their Inquisiton. It seems that Hermetics weren't hiding their black robes and pointy hats at the moment, because they were hit *hard* by it. Supposedly Goroatrix wasn't above infiltrating the Inquisition to send them after mages, so that helped (this may have backfired after a time. Goroatrix was accused of calling attention to vampires because of his "careless manipulations". Maybe the Church doesn't need a century to figure out they're being dupped by vampires, or maybe it was just that, for Etrius, Goroatrix it's the excuse of anything bad that happens under the moon).

                        Any case, as per Players Guide of the Low Clans, p. 62. the Church (and the Messianic Voices?) was thought to be a"good deal more immediately threatening to the Order than the Tremere". Perhaps because the Tremere didn't want to fight against their former brethren for sentimental reasons. I want to note that the book states that, while the Tremere didn't try to stamp out their former brethren, it would have been "probably futile" (which seem to imply that the OoH could have survived the effort). It seems that Vampire has less interest to add "insult on injury to the Order" than Mage, as the factoid of having to fight other enemies isn't included in the OoH Tradition book, in the section where they comment how the Tremere massacred them, nearly killing them all.

                        Originally posted by Spellfire22
                        I'm not sure how close this is to canon, but this is my interpretation: in 1197, the rest of the Order of Hermes discovers that most of the Tremere have been turned into vampires. The Tremere are expelled from the Order of Hermes, with the few non-vampiric magi of House Tremere joining other houses, primarily House Tytalus. A brief war follows, which ends in a stalemate, and the Hermetics and the Tremere basically agree to leave each other alone after that. This is the situation which exists at the start of the Second Massasa War detailed in Blood Treachery.
                        Sounds right to me. Some books say it was more apocaliptic than that for the OoH, but I preffer the "stalemate version", which it's also supported.
                        Last edited by Aleph; 04-13-2017, 02:37 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I admit, I've always read the individual Tradition Books as being mostly IC propaganda. If there's a contradiction between the material, or something doesn't make sense to me, I usually just assume the Tradition Book is representing what the Masters are teaching their Acolytes, and may not be intended as actual fact.

                          In this case, as prideful as the Hermetics are, I can imagine them trying to warn their students away from directly engaging with vampires when there is so much else going on. By exaggerating their losses in the First Massasa War, they discourage students from trying for a third, and get to celebrate an inspiring rise from the ashes story to boot.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've touched upon it briefly in the thread Having a Hard Time buying into the Tremere but there are a few things I've found while looking into the history of the Tremere.
                            • In 1003 Tremere convinces House Flambeau and House Tytalus to launch a Wizard's March against the Druidic House Diedne with accusations of diabolism.
                              • 1012 House Diedne is destroyed outside of rumors that some may have survived. Who knows how many Mages Flambeau and Tytalus, the two Houses best for the front line against the Tremere, lost in the war. As well the eventual revelation that the whole reasoning was false might convince more than a few Mages to sit out the next Wizard's March.
                                • How many mages were lost in the fighting especially since attrition is likely to be higher among newer mages. These same lost mages who will no longer be available as masters two centuries from now when the Massasa War begins.
                            • The original Tremere founders performed their ritual in 1022 while the Order of Hermes did not find out about the issue and launch their Wizard's March starting the First Massasa War until 1202. In the meanwhile.
                              • During this time Tremere and others of his clan have access to the great Hermetic libraries which they are going through voraciously looking for knowledge and lore to adapt into Thaumaturgy.
                                • This has the added benefit of meaning that at the war's start the Tremere are relatively up to date on the magical research of the Order since they were specifically looking for powers and rituals to adapt.
                              • 1121 Goratrix and Virstania create the first Gargoyles, providing proof that Thaumaturgy 5 must have been developed at that point.
                                • Not only are Gargoyles useful shock troops against the Tzimisce but their Fortitude means they have a defense against the likeliest effects the Order will make use of making them effective against the Order as well.
                              • 1133 Tremere finds the resting place of and diablerizes Saulot in the Anatolian desert thus giving the Tremere a 3rd Generation Cainite. This also began their destruction of the Salubri clan which would have offered the opportunity for many Tremere to diablerize lower Generation Salubri giving the young clan a considerable boost in power.
                              • 1197 Multiple statted Tremere in House of Tremere (who are weaker than Tremere, Goratrix, and Etrius) have achieved Thaumaturgy 6 which could mean other Tremere have other Disciplines at 6+ by that point especially the original founders. Considering his diablerie of Saulot 64 years prior its possible Tremere could have developed level 10 in Thaumaturgy and possibly other Disciplines (especially Auspex or Dominate) if not his mastery is likely between 8-10.
                            • The Tremere realized that at some point the Order would find out about what they did and were actively doing and would move against them. As such they had been preparing for that eventuality for nearly 200 years. The Massasa War itself would last for 80 years according to House of Tremere which would put the end year 1282.
                              • Having been a former Hermetic House they had a great deal of knowledge about exactly what was available and what could be brought to bear against them. As such they could work to counter them.
                                • Not all members of House Tremere had yet been converted so they still had some awakened members to aid them in the fight.
                                • The Thaumaturgical Path Perdo Magica was specifically designed to counter magical effects especially Hermetic ones.
                                • The Hermetic Order has much less information on vampires, especially since they are now going to war with the House that would have been most informed. So the Order is moving with little knowledge against a foe that has intimate knowledge and nearly two centuries of preparation.
                                • They had been part of a Wizard's March themselves and so had a solid grasp of exactly how the Order would go about another one even beyond their knowledge of normal Order functions.
                            • The Blood Bond is effective against Mages and they may not realize what has occurred before it is too late. Dominate can also be effective especially against those who do not have mystical mental defenses.
                              • Suborn a few of the Mages and the Tremere can begin getting information on planned attacks and troop movements of the Order allowing them to move to ambush and counter them.
                              • The Tremere are already on a war footing with siege mentality because of the Tzimisce thus they already have agents watching for movements among mortal groups that could signal an offensive from their foes. So even without gaining access to Order plans they can still be forewarned of what's coming.
                            • As mentioned above Order losses are going to be felt far more acutely than Tremere ones. The Tremere can embrace more mortals to aid their cause whereas the Order has no control over awakenings and a newly made vampire is going to be more effective than a mundane mortal recruited by the Order.
                              • On the topic of embrace remember that it removes the magic the Mage once had. How terrifying of a prospect is that once the Order realizes that especially if they draw the obvious parallels to Gilgul. Some of the Masters who are supposed to be leading the conflict may shy away from the possibility not only of their death but the desecration of their Avatar.
                                • Additionally every Mage embrace is going to give the Tremere more information on what the Order's current moves are against them as well as information on any magical discoveries that are being disseminated among the soldiers.
                            • Also the loss of reliability of magical effects that drove the Tremere to seek out alternative immortality is going to affect the Order members now fighting them.
                              • Imagine the blow to morale when something along these lines happen. A Gargoyle is bearing down on a Mage who goes to throw a fireball to incinerate the creature. He goes to cast the effect which had cast so many times before without issue and... It. Does. Not. Work. The Mages around him see this stone beast crash into the Mage and either start guzzling the Mage's blood or smashing his fleshly frame.
                                • As time goes on more and more of these stories of staple effects failing when the Mages needed them most are going to spread. Every time a Mage goes into battle the thought is going to be there in the back of their mind 'is this the battle where my powers fail'. What kind of drain on the willingness to fight will that be?
                            • Lastly as mentioned above the Tremere didn't really win and the Order didn't really lose the Massasa War. Both sides instead stepped away from the conflict to focus on more pressing issues: The Tremere facing the beginnings of the Anarch Revolt and the Order of Hermes facing the rise of the Order of Reason and the Ascension War. They realized continuing to throw more resources at the other was a lost cause.
                              • One thing to consider is that while vampires function more on an eternal scale much of the support structure of the Order is built around mortals. 80 years means that the bulk of the structure that was alive at the start of the war would now be dead from natural causes even without the conflict. In the same way those who awoke and survived the early nights of the war are now making use of effects to extend their lifespan or looking at a rapidly approaching death. They are going to be less willing to risk themselves.
                                • On the upper end of the scale the newer archmasters are going to find that the ongoing conflict no longer draws their attention as it once did since they are now concerned with a new echelon of powers and issues.
                              • The proponents of the war on the Order side are going to have a harder and harder time explaining their lack of gains or progress against the Tremere. Many more peace minded or less martially minded Mages are going to look at the mounting losses and hold them as proof of the monumental waste of the conflict. Not only are they continually suffering casualties their foe grows and thrives in comparison because of continually embracing new vampires.
                                • This argument is even more potent if the Order comes to understand how vampirism affects the Avatar because each Mage lost to Tremere embrace is an Avatar with Order memories that cannot reincarnate.
                                • You'll also have those who will argue that the Tremere weren't a problem until the Order launched their Wizard's March against them. Before that the Order members didn't have to worry about vampires or becoming them you didn't have constant casualties coming through Eastern Europe.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                              The 100 Awakened population deserves no more atention that the normal given to those "censes". Mages are always hit with the "rare" stick (to the point of saying that in modern days there are 1 per 1.000.000 people, which would put the OoH arround 333-400 members between all Houses) so I don't know if "100" it's 5% of what the Order had before the war, 20%, or 75%, especially if you count the House Tremere as part of the looses.
                              Since you get to play with the OoH in DA: Mage, which despite the recent looses, it's still one of the most powerful mage groups arround 1230 (after the Massa War had cooled down) I would say that they weren't as crippled as the Tradition book seems to imply.

                              I think it's worth to note that the War lasted until 1230 not because the OoH was dying, but because the Church started their Inquisiton. It seems that Hermetics weren't hiding their black robes and pointy hats at the moment, because they were hit *hard* by it. Supposedly Goroatrix wasn't above infiltrating the Inquisition to send them after mages, so that helped (this may have backfired after a time. Goroatrix was accused of calling attention to vampires because of his "careless manipulations". Maybe the Church doesn't need a century to figure out they're being dupped by vampires, or maybe it was just that, for Etrius, Goroatrix it's the excuse of anything bad that happens under the moon).

                              Any case, as per Players Guide of the Low Clans, p. 62. the Church (and the Messianic Voices?) was thought to be a"good deal more immediately threatening to the Order than the Tremere". Perhaps because the Tremere didn't want to fight against their former brethren for sentimental reasons. I want to note that the book states that, while the Tremere didn't try to stamp out their former brethren, it would have been "probably futile" (which seem to imply that the OoH could have survived the effort). It seems that Vampire has less interest to add "insult on injury to the Order" than Mage, as the factoid of having to fight other enemies isn't included in the OoH Tradition book, in the section where they comment how the Tremere massacred them, nearly killing them all.
                              No. Medieval OoH had more than a thousand members at the very least, both in MtA and Ars Magica.

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