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How to represent the Houses of Hermes in DA:Mage?

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  • How to represent the Houses of Hermes in DA:Mage?

    I'm searching for a set of house rules reguarding the representation of the Houses of Hermes in DA: Mage.
    Theat game presents several proto-traditions. Among them the Horder of Hermes but all hermetics are treated the same, while in fact the Order is made of several Houses with different magical specializations. What I'm searching for are suggestions about how to represent those House-specilizations at character creation.
    I have some ideas but I'd like to hear what others think as well.

  • #2
    In the revised Order of Hermes book there is a list of Houses that were around at the creation of the order during the Dark ages

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    • #3
      Do you mean in terms of character creation - abilities, backgrounds, pillars, etc. - or special rules for each house, or each having their own foundation/pillars, or something else?


      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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      • #4
        I think the Grimoire goes into more detail for the Houses. For flavor you can look at Ars Magicka.
        IIRC, House Tytalus focused more on Anima and Corona than the other 2, Bonisagius focused more on Primus and scholarly stats and Flambeau focused on Vires and combat stats naturally.

        Edit: Also, the Grimoire contains a writeup for the Craftmasons, a former Hermetic House and their signature Pillar of Ars Materia (Matter magick). It also mentions that Ars Materia is quite common among House Verditus.
        Last edited by Cadmiumcadamium; 04-15-2019, 05:23 AM.





        English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

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        • #5
          wrong hread
          Last edited by Lian; 04-15-2019, 06:20 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
            Do you mean in terms of character creation - abilities, backgrounds, pillars, etc. - or special rules for each house, or each having their own foundation/pillars, or something else?
            In terms of special house rules to differentiate each house at character creation. I'm planning a chronicle of DA:Mage and the only tradition avaiable will be Order of Hermes, therefore I need to make houses a bit different between themselves.
            My idea is something along these lines:
            -Flambeau → Speciality in Fire based spells (Vires), and 1 less quitessence needed when casting such spells OR 1 extra dot in Athletics or Dodge and 1 extra dot in Melee or Archery
            -Jerbiton → Speciality in Mind based spells used to persuade (Corona), and 1 less quintessence needed when casting such spells OR 1 extra dot in Seneschal or Politics and 1 extra dot in Emphaty or Etiquette

            This way some houses are easier to do and keep ballanced than others though...

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            • #7
              Hmm... Three freebie points of Background, Ability and/or Merit given to members of each House?


              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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              • #8
                This is from Ars magica

                Bonsagius, Mercere and Guerinicus are True Lineages. They should have bonuses for being tried and true to the Order. Yes Bonsagius is about inovation but its core innovation not incorporating outside theories.

                Criamon, Meitia and Bjorner are Mystery cults. Each of them is built around an intrinsic mystery. Criamon its their prophesies. Meritia its the Fae and Bjorner its their shapeshifting.

                Jerbiton, Tytalus, Flambeau- are social orders. They are built around a social construct. Flambeau are wizard Knights for example.

                Ex Misc-is people in the order who barely fit. They might not use any of the standard pillars for example. My last Ars Ex Misc for example WOULD probably be easier to transfer as a Spirit talker than a Hermetic.

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                • #9
                  If you want to differentiate the Houses a bit, one option is to adjust their Foundation a bit so that each of them is slightly different.

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                  • #10
                    This may be a helpful starting place:

                    Bjornaer - Heartbeast, the totem animal that inherently represents the character's true nature; tied to the character's [Dark Ages' term for Avatar]; when taking the form of her Heartbeast via Anima, the character is never in danger of losing herself to the identity of the animal form and difficulty on rolls to change shape is 2 less.

                    Bonisagus - Follower of Bonisagus, devoted to the path of scholarship, research and expanding the frontiers of the Art; two free dots in Academics, or
                    - ​Follower of Trianoma, devoted to politics within the Order of Hermes, working to keep it unified; two free dots in Politics

                    Criamon - The Enigma, the quest to understand the ultimate nature of reality, and a preternatural awareness of signs and omens; Whenever the ST feels the character is in a position to see a sign or portent (of the past, present or future), she makes a Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty determined by ST), and if successful makes an Intelligence + Enigmas roll to interpret what she's seen (difficulty based on complexity of sign), and difficulty on all magic divination rolls [using Corona or Primus?] is 2 less

                    Ex Miscellanea - Pick one of the following:
                    - Rusticiani, one of the rural folk magicians who've found a place in the Order; use Foundation and Pillars of the Old Faith
                    - Spirit Summoner, one of the more esoteric shaman-mediums who've made a home in the Order; use Foundation and Pillars of the Spirit-Talkers
                    - Sahir, one of the Islamic wizards of Iberia that has decided to join the Order; use Foundation and Pillars of the Ahl-i-Batin
                    - Karaites, heretical Jewish magi that may have joined the Order in small numbers; use Foundation and Pillars of the Messianic Voices

                    Flambeau - Master of Fire, Fire is the symbol of Truth that the Art seeks, and the House is devoted to it above all else; 3 extra dice to all Stamina rolls to resist damage caused by fire, and can Soak fire damage normally; also a one die bonus on all magic rolls to create, destroy or manipulate fire

                    Guernicus - Quaesitorus, charged with upholding the laws and integrity of the Order, two free dots in Investigation

                    Jerbiton - The Gentle Gift, unlike most Hermetics, members of the House take an interest in the mundane world, especially that of art, scholarship and politics; three free Background dots to be spent on Allies, Contacts, Influence, or Resources

                    Mercere - Redcap, as the House founder actually lost his ability to work the Art, he devoted himself and his followers to serving the Order as a whole, recruiting even those unable to master the Hermetic Arts; the character is effectively an Acolyte, unable to use Foundation or Pillars, but may possesses some levels of Sorcery/Hedge Magic or other unique abilities, or
                    - Gatekeeper, one of the fully Gifted members of the House, able to use Foundation and Pillars, you are also entrusted with the secrets of the Mercere Portal network, a hidden series of magic gates connecting Hermetic chantries, Tribunals and other locations (basically the ST decides the scope of the network, with the character knowing where to go to find the gate that will take him to the location he seeks; each Portal only connects two locations, so figuring out how to best use the network is an exercise in planning and logistics)

                    Merinita - Faerie Affinity, trained in the subtleties and dangers of the Fair Folk, the difficulty on rolls to summon, compel, coax or bargain with Faerie beings is 2 less (this includes both Magic and Social), or
                    - Cloak of Seasons, one of the keepers of the House's true origin in nature magic, you are magically protected from the negative effects of weather and the natural environment; you are perfectly comfortable in heat and cold weather, and are not effected by sunstroke, hypothermia or other forms of exposure, nor are you bitten by insects and other vermin

                    Tremere - Master Duelist, as the inventors of Certamen, members of the House are expected to be better than others at it; [I don't have the Grimoire, so I'm unfamiliar with the rules for Certamen in DA:M, so someone else will have to figure this one.]

                    Tytalus - He Who Dares Wins, believing in growth through conflict, they excel at risk and danger; when taking a significantly risky action (generally speaking, a difficulty of at least 8, and the potential to inflict three or more levels of lethal or aggravated damage), the character can roll three extra dice and ignore one 1 on the roll.

                    Verditius - Artificer, master craftsmen who focus their Art through amazing wonders and enchanted devices, they use Materia (from the Grimoire) in place of either Anima or Corona. They also get either two free dots in Craft or three free dots in Wonder.


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                      Ex Miscellanea - Pick one of the following:
                      - Rusticiani, one of the rural folk magicians who've found a place in the Order; use Foundation and Pillars of the Old Faith
                      - Spirit Summoner, one of the more esoteric shaman-mediums who've made a home in the Order; use Foundation and Pillars of the Spirit-Talkers
                      - Sahir, one of the Islamic wizards of Iberia that has decided to join the Order; use Foundation and Pillars of the Ahl-i-Batin
                      - Karaites, heretical Jewish magi that may have joined the Order in small numbers; use Foundation and Pillars of the Messianic Voices
                      I would specify "use any of the Foundation or Pillars of x", rather than using all of one or the other. That is, I would let the player choose which of which Fellowship the character learns.

                      After all, though they are converts from their own mystical disciplines, all Ex Misc mages are instructed in the basics of Hermetic praxis, as a rule. In essence, Ex Misc characters have a certain degree of cross-Focus instruction, the one adapted to the other as the mage sees fit or can manage. Ergo, you might find a Rusticiani who uses Anima instead of one of the Old Faith Pillars. Or a Sahir who adopted the Hermetic Foundation.

                      Would this make such a mage's Practice conceptually weird? Yes. But then again, that's just how Ex Misc rolls. How were they ever expected to reconcile their beliefs and practices, were this any other system besides Foundation-Pillar?


                      Mercere - Redcap, as the House founder actually lost his ability to work the Art, he devoted himself and his followers to serving the Order as a whole, recruiting even those unable to master the Hermetic Arts; the character is effectively an Acolyte, unable to use Foundation or Pillars, but may possesses some levels of Sorcery/Hedge Magic or other unique abilities, or
                      - Gatekeeper, one of the fully Gifted members of the House, able to use Foundation and Pillars, you are also entrusted with the secrets of the Mercere Portal network, a hidden series of magic gates connecting Hermetic chantries, Tribunals and other locations (basically the ST decides the scope of the network, with the character knowing where to go to find the gate that will take him to the location he seeks; each Portal only connects two locations, so figuring out how to best use the network is an exercise in planning and logistics)
                      The first option sort of implies that playing a Sorcerer isn't an option in other Houses. Something I disagree with. If a player wants to play a Sorcerer/hedge wizard in other Houses, I say let them. Even if it means they play someone less capable compared to other Awakened PCs.

                      Of course, the obvious answer would have been to create a separate master list on Hermetic Sorcerers, organized by House, that shows what Paths each sort would take. Not that I'm demanding one be made, of course.[/QUOTE]


                      Tremere - Master Duelist, as the inventors of Certamen, members of the House are expected to be better than others at it; [I don't have the Grimoire, so I'm unfamiliar with the rules for Certamen in DA:M, so someone else will have to figure this one.]
                      By the Dark Ages, of course, the Tremere at large already broke ways with the Order. But it's nice to have the option for completeness sake. Or if a player wanted to run one of the surviving human Tremere (that probably hang out in Ex Misc anyway, and only avoid falling under that Foundation by virtue of having been their own thing).

                      The issue with figuring out what House Tremere, at large, is good at is we don't know a lot about what made their magick different from other Hermetics before the Massasa War. Save for their propensity for Certamen, obviously. And I question how much that would still be true, post-Massasa War. How many of the few Tremere in the Order left are truly eager to start picking fights (even formal duels) with their fellow wizards? After all that their House put the Order through, I'd imagine surviving Tremere would be interested in keeping a low profile. Lest they acquire the ire of those with long memories and deep grudges.

                      Then again, when you're as politically weak in the Order as the Tremere are, getting their way by Certamen might be the only avenue left...


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                      • #12
                        One other thing about redcaps from Mercere - they also are messengers. There are merits in a couple places (not just mage - I think the first Strider tribebook bas one too) that represent similar benefits, but the short version is that as long as you are on a delivery mission and don't do something TOO outrageous, you have a certain amount of guaranteed protection while travelling. No Order member will fire first, most enemy factions will think twice, and even mortals know that messing with redcaps is a bad idea.

                        I also like the idea of Ex Miscellanea getting pillars from outside. I would recommend a different approach than "all of both" or "one or the other" - allow them to trade up to two from the Order Pillar list to start. This let's you mix and match, but also reflects that you have received some standardized training.

                        Another overall option might be to mine the books of other splats for merit options. The pc still has to choose to buy them, but creating a small list for each House that is exclusive to them can go a long way. For instance, give Meridina access to Second Sight from the Fianna Revised, or possibly an option to purchase Honored Birthright for a given Kith as a five-point merit (granted, they hadn't settled into their Kiths just yet, but legends exist already and this could represent this mythic heritage).

                        Also, if you can get your hands on a copy, an Ars Magica corebook could be helpful. I have a copy of the 4th edition (I think), and though the system is different, the virtues (their versions of merits) can be quite interesting and give you some ideas. Probably not worth a nee copy, but if you see a used one or a friend has one it may be worth flipping through.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                          The first option sort of implies that playing a Sorcerer isn't an option in other Houses. Something I disagree with. If a player wants to play a Sorcerer/hedge wizard in other Houses, I say let them. Even if it means they play someone less capable compared to other Awakened PCs.

                          I include it mainly because in Ars Magica, the inclusion of non-"True Magick" (I forget what term ArsM uses for it) users as full members is one of their primary hooks.

                          Also, I had no idea if the game was going to be set before or after the outing of the Tremere, so they're there if they're needed.

                          The bulk of them are 3 or 4 freebie points of abilities, backgrounds, or a merit.


                          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post


                            I include it mainly because in Ars Magica, the inclusion of non-"True Magick" (I forget what term ArsM uses for it) users as full members is one of their primary hooks.

                            Also, I had no idea if the game was going to be set before or after the outing of the Tremere, so they're there if they're needed.

                            The bulk of them are 3 or 4 freebie points of abilities, backgrounds, or a merit.
                            The Gift in Ars has some similarities to being Awakened(and was clearly the inspiration for such) but ALSO has many profound differences as Ars and Mage have a very different position for what mages are.

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