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Order of Hermes Tradition Book

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Written by: Allen Varney (Introduction, Chapter 1), Nicky Rea (Chapter 2), Beth Fischi (Chapter 3), Jackie Cassada (Chapter 4), Mary Denning and Steve Long (Appendix).
Additional Appendix material by: Phil Brucato
Developed by: Phil Brucato, with Allen Varney
Edited by: Ronni Radner
Art Director: Aileen E. Miles
Layout and Typesetting by: Aileen E. Miles
Art: David Leri, Mark Jackson, Eric Lacombe, Heather J. McKinney, Paul Phillips
Front Cover Art: Michael William Kaluta
Front and Back Cover Design: Aileen E. Miles
Sad Special Thanks To: Mike "Mignola" Chaney, for winning the war with Saddam but losing it to Hitler;
Ronni "Taskmistress" Radner for finding a better way to pay the bills;
Larry "Spin Doctor" Freidman, for filling dark nights with song;
Pauly "Babewatch" LePree, for taking Pamela to warmer halls;
Laura "Personal Assistant" Perkinson, for impressing ol' Harlan;
Staley "Not Interested" Krause, for having more integrity than God;
Christian "Caw! Caw!" Naberhause, for flying the coop with style;
Elizabeth "Outspoken" McKee, for falling in battle;
Rusty "Comin' Through" Gunter, for his fleeting, quiet shadow;
Cymon "Clean-Cut" Haight, for leaving us to do our own dirty work;
Trace "Three Strikes" o'Connor, for a bad-luck streak that ended the hard way;
Scott "Midnight Rambler" Cohen, for keeping the ladies happy;
Tim "Spy@White Wolf" Byrd, for wearing out Ken's carpet;
Emory "Huh?" Hester, for being the most puzzling fatality in the bunch;
Kathleen "Club Ninja" Ryan, who'll be missed more than she could know;
... and Oh Soon Shropshire, who's gone through such hell that I can't bring myself to attempt a joke about it. God, I wish you a better year this time around.
Take care, folks.
Credit Where It's Due: The authors thank Stephen Edred Flowers and Don Webb for permission to quote from their works.
Many of the concepts in this book (including the Houses of Hermes themselves) originated in the game Ars Magica, now available through Atlas Games, or in Chapter One of The Book of Chantries, by Steven Brown, Phil Brucato and Robert Hatch. The original Ars Magica background was created by Jonathan Tweet, with contributions from Shannon Appel, Ken Cliffe, Geoff Grabowski, Nicole Landross Frein, Peter Hentages, Marc Phillips, Mark Rein•Hagen, Naomi Rivkis and Lisa Stevens. Houses Fortunae, Janissary, Shaea and Thig were created by Steven Brown, Phil Brucato, Beth Fischi and Allen Varney. The modern state and membership of the Order comes from the work of the latter authors.
Publisher: White Wolf Publishing, Inc.
Imprint: White Wolf Game Studio
Published: 1997
Pages: 72
Year: 1997
Publication #: WW 04064
Reference #: ISBN 1-56504-416-9
Price: $10.00

The Order of Hermes Tradition Book is the ninth and final volume in the original series of Tradition Books. This book covers the history and houses of the Order of Hermes, from Mythic Europe of the Dark Ages into the present day.


From the White Wolf catalog:

"In Caligine Abditus"
Despised mysteries by outsiders, the magi of Hermes Trismegistus have perfected their Arts for nearly a thousand years. Through wars with mortals, vampires, Technocrats and their own companions, these mighty wizards have prevailed.
"In Darkness Hidden"
These wizards are nothing if not determined. Though the covenants may be thrown down, though the winds of unbelief might blow across the globe, these hardy masters keep the faith. To them, power is the only fact — and it's a fact they know well.
"Hail, O Seven Fates of Heaven!"
The secret lore of the Hermetic Tradition comes to light in this, the final Council of Traditions book. Order of Hermes includes:


A communique between a Master and Disciple of the Order, discussing the education of Apprentices and the lore of the Order. This section concludes with a glossary of Hermetic terms, including Latin terminology for standard Mage concepts.

Footnote 1: Chronological Precis (History)Edit

A timeline of Hermetic magic and the Order of Hermes. This chapter is broken down into three sections:

  • Preamble: The first proto-Hermetic mages comes together in ancient Egypt under the leadership of Djhowetey and Sesheta. Later, others such as King Solomon of Israel and Pythagoras of Greece practice magic in the Hermetic vein. The Cult of Mercury arises in Rome, but collapses with the decay of the Roman Empire.
  • Pax Hermetica: The mage Trianoma has a vision of the collapse of the Hermetic Arts. She meets with the mage Bonisagus, who has developed the parma magica, a protective shield that allows mages to meet and share ideas without having to fear their fellows' magics. They gather eleven other mages at Durenmar to form a coalition of willworkers; these thirteen, the Founders, become the first Primi of the twelve founding Houses of the Order of Hermes. Pralix bani Tytalus founds the thirteen House, House Ex Miscellanea, not long after. The Order is tested with the Schism War that eradicates House Diedne, and again with the corruption and expulsion of House Tremere in the Massasa War. Ex-Hermetics band together with the Craftmasons to form the Order of Reason, which fires the first shots in the Ascension War when it levels the Covenant of Mistridge. The War forces the Order to join with other mages at the Grand Convocation, where the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions is formed. The nascent Traditions are quickly tested when the First Cabal is betrayed by Heylel Teomim; his Tradition, the Solificati, collapses.
  • The Dwindling: Magic and mages are tested all over Europe as the Order of Reason tightens its grip over the world of academia. Paradox becomes a permanent aspect of magic. Occultism arises in the 19th century, breathing new life into Hermeticism. At the dawn of the 20th century, the Order of Reason transforms into the Technocracy. The Ahl-i-Batin quit the Traditions, and their Masters vanish. Over the last half of the century, secret societies and mysticism are fostered among Sleepers, in part through the Order's influence. Now, the Order must adapt to the changes in society and technology without losing sight of the fundamental mysteries.

Footnote 2: Conjunctiones Domesticae (Internal Relations)Edit

Life in the Order, from Apprenticeship to Mastery. This chapter touches on major concepts such as initiation, familiars, Sancta, Certámen, and Twilight (Quiet). A section on Hermetic Law features the Code of Hermes and the Order's internal regulations and punishments, from censure to Gilgul, as well as the roles of Hermetic offices such as the Tribune, Quaesitor and Primus.

Footnote 3: Hermetic HousesEdit

Profiles of the Houses of Hermes circa 1997: House Bonisagus, House Ex Miscellanea, House Flambeau, House Fortunae, House Janissary, House Quaesitor, House Shaea, House Thig, and House Tytalus.

Footnote 4: Conjunctiones Externae (External Relations)Edit

Hermetic views on the other Traditions; Umbrood; Nephandi and Marauders; the undead and undying; Changing Breeds and the Fair Folk; the Technocratic Union; other groups (the Arcanum and the Society of Leopold); and the Sleepers.

Appendix: Ars Magicae et MiscellaneaEdit

A collection of rules and systems for Hermetic characters and chronicles. This chapter covers the Hermetic paradigm, degrees of initiation into the Order, the role of names in Hermeticism, the Enochian language, protocols for dealing with Umbrood, archetypal Hermetic character concepts, overviews of the Spheres and foci of Hermetic magic, a library of new rotes (including iconic spells like the Parma Magica), a suggested reading list, and an expanded character sheet.

Background InformationEdit

One of the more interesting aspects of this book was the "Phoenix Prophecy" (not to be confused with WTA's Prophecy of the Phoenix). Oddly enough, it wasn't in the original outline, and neither the developer nor any of the authors wrote it. It was added by Aileen E. Miles as she was doing the layout and typeface portion of the book.

The Prophecy of the Phoenix is written in an alchemy dingbat font in three parts: on page 6, on page 17, and on page 27. Using a simple substitution, it can be translated:

  • Page 6: BE AWARE / THAT THE TIME / FOR THE / UNVEILING / OF THE TENTH / SPHERE IS NEAR / THE AHLIBATIN / HOLD THE KEY. This is some of the earliest Reckoning material for Mage, and is fairly true given the events of MTAs: Ascension (book) Bullet-pdf Bullet-nip. It's notable that at this point in Mage, the Batini aren't even known for sure to still exist. It's understandable in hindsight why the "Phoenix" knows of their role, however, given her real identity.
  • Page 27: THE TIME OF / THE PHOENIX / IS UPON US AS / IT RISES / FROM THE ASHES / SO SHALL WE / EMERGE FROM / THE SHADOW OF / SCIENCE. This certainly becomes true as the Revised edition introduces many more groups within the Traditions which happily use modern technology for their own ends.

Large portions of the history and structure of the Order up through 1197 are taken directly from White Wolf-published Ars Magica supplements, notably the Order of Hermes sourcebook. Other background material on the Order is adapted from the Mage sourcebook The Book of Chantries, and some material is borrowed from the original Clanbook: Tremere for Vampire: The Masquerade.

Memorable QuotesEdit



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