Order of Hermes: Sa & Mi’las

Mi’as – Quicksand or Hermetic Politics

Hermetics claim to possess the one true (or at least reliable) path to Ascension, and their purpose is to not only achieve this, but lead others along the path. Hermetics reach perfection through challenge, and politics is no exception. To the Order, political might is both measurement personal advancement and the ability to use their power wisely to achieve results. That is what it represents ideally, anyway.

Order politics can be described as mercenary, and all dealings save between mentor and student, or the closest of friends are strictly quid pro quo. Anyone who engages in the Order long enough has some contact with the elaborate, and frankly, convoluted system of horse trading, bargaining, bartering, favor exchange, pact making, debits and credit (financial or otherwise), mystic pedigrees, and influence brokering (mundane or Awakened) that makes up the Order’s legalistic political structure. The system  favor trading is so sprawling and intricate, and favor trading so robust that it is not uncommon for a debt to be called in a decades later by some strange wizard from a covenant three Tribunals away.

Only emancipated Practicus, precocious Initiates, and Initiate Exemptus or above are subject to Hermetic politics. While all magi may technically engage in favor trading it is considered bad form to trade favors with those who cannot do so with informed consent. Hermetics consider the uninitiated to effectively be children, and it is bad faith to take advantage of them. Experienced Consors and Grogs may engage freely in Hermetic politics, but must do so carefully as it can put the magi (and themselves) they are sworn to protect at risk. Consors in particular are known to be canny at maneuvering within Hermetic politics.

Systems: There are no set system for political maneuvering, but the following are suggested guidelines for engaging in Hermetic politics:

Roll/Difficulty/ Action Type (Standard/Resisted/Evasion)

  •   Legal Tribunal
    • Adjudicate – Manipulation + Law/Difficulty: 6-8/Extended
    • Prosecute or Defense
    • Manipulation + Expression or Intimidation/Difficulty: Defenses Intelligence + Law/Resisted
  •   Blackmail
    • Manipulation + Intimidation/Difficulty/4-8 (depending on what you’ve got)/Standard
  • Call/Officiate Tribunal
    • Charisma + Law/Difficulty: 7/Extended
  • Craft Strategy
    • Intelligence + Politics/Difficulty: 6/Standard
  • Craft Policy
    • Intelligence + Politics/Difficulty: 7/Extended
  • Deception
    • Manipulation + Subterfuge/Difficulty: Target’s Wits + Subterfuge/Resisted
  • Detecting Deception
    • Perception + Empathy/Difficulty: Target’s Manipulation + Subterfuge/Resisted
  • Detecting Desires/Agendas
    • Perception + Empathy/Difficulty: 7/Standard or Resisted
  • Discerning Ideology
    • Intelligence + Politics/Difficulty: 7/Standard
  • Eloquence
    • Charisma + Expression/Difficulty: 7/Standard
  • Enciphering/Deciphering
    • Intelligence + Enigmas/Difficulty: Encipher’s Intelligence + Enigmas/Extended
  • Facedown
    • Appearance + Intimidation/Difficulty: 8/Resisted, Target’s Willpower
  • Fast Talk
    • Manipulation + Subterfuge/Difficulty: Target’s Wits + Enigmas/Resisted
  •  Gossip
    • Manipulation + Subterfuge/Difficulty: 7/Standard
  • Haggling
    • Manipulation + Streetwise/Difficulty: Target’s Manipulation + Streetwise/Resisted
  • Impressing
    • Charisma + Etiquette, Streetwise, or Leadership (depending on circumstance)/Difficulty: 7/Standard
  • Interpret Law
    • Intelligence + Law/Difficulty: 8/Standard or Extended
  • Mobilize Political Factions
    • Charisma + Leadership/Difficulty: 8/Extended
  • Opposition Research
    • Perception + Research or Investigation or Streetwise/Difficulty: 4-8 (depending on how well the target hid their tracks)/Extended
  • Oration
    • Charisma + Leadership or Expression/Difficulty: 7/Standard or Extended
  • Plea
    • Charisma or Appearance + Expression/Difficulty: 7/Extended
  • Negotiation/Horse or Favor Trading
    • Manipulation + Politics/Difficulty: Target’s Manipulation + Politics/Resisted
  • Seduction
    • Manipulation + Subterfuge/Difficulty: Target’s Wits + Subterfuge/Resisted, Target’s Willpower
  • Troll
    • Manipulation + Expression or Performance/Difficulty: 7/Extended
  • Whip Votes
    • Manipulation + Intimidation/Difficulty: 7/Resisted, Target’s Willpower

 

Sa – The Juice of Would be Gods

Note: These rules are still in beta.

These exchanges, whether they are a vote, a favor, or the lending of money or a Talisman, is referred to as Sa. Sa is an ancient Egyptian word that refers to the mystical fluid given to humanity by the gods. Sa is fungible and can be exchanged like currency so it is no surprise that loans taken out by one magus are traded, and then called in by an entirely unrelated magus years later. Hermetics are bound by the Code to uphold sapors held by non-Hermetics, but the reverse i not true. For example, a Verbena can use a sapor sold to her to pull the strings of the wizard who holds the debt, but she may not be indebted in the same manner.

Sa are considered to have roughly six values, but the value of any given favor is highly subjective. Numerous factors play into the value of a given debt from political strength, blackmail, debt to wealth ratio, obscure Hermetic legal documents, emotional or psychological weight, trends within the order, or even spite. Haggling and negotiation is an expected part of the culture. Examples given below are loose guidelines as value is highly subjective.

 

  1.   Denarius – A trivial favor involving very little risk
    •   Examples:
      •   A neutral introduction to a master’s apprentice;
      •   a pawn of Tass;
      •   or information on a minor Wonder.
      •   Laureate – A minor, very low risk favor.
      •   Examples:
      •   Casual lunch with a master’s secretary;
      •   several pawns of Tass;
      •   a few hours in a Hermetic laboratory or Library;
      •   a kind word about an idea or theory in a salon;
      •   teaching of common Rote;
      •   teaching of commonly known Lore;
      •   use of a minor Wonder;
      •   or a vote on a trivial issue at a Tribunal.
  2.   Radiate – A modest, but low risk favors
    • Examples;
    •   An introduction to a master’s favored fili;
    •   10 pawns of Tass of the right Resonance;
    •   teaching of a new Art or Art level up to 2;
    •   teaching of rare Rote, the deeper nuances of Lore, or Abilities at 3+
    •   a reference to an idea or theory in a mundane publication;
    •   day’s access to a Laboratory or Library;
    •   use of another mage’s Consor or Grog;
    •   Purchase an apprentice;
    •   use of an useful Wonder;
    •   or a vote  in your favor on a minor issue at a Tribunal).
  1.   Nummus – A moderate favor that may involve some risk
    •   Examples;
      •   A favorable mention of you to an important master;
      •   15 pawns of Tass;
      •   teaching of a new Art or Art level up to 4;
      •   teaching of proprietary Rote or the inner most secrets of Lore;
      •   moderate support of an idea or theory in a mundane publication or a reference to it in a Hermetic publication;
      •   a week’s access to a Laboratory or Library;
      •   use of another mage’s Consor or Grog on a dangerous task;
      •   Purchase a promising apprentice’
      •   use of a powerful Wonder;
      •   or a vote on an important but not controversial issue at a Tribunal.
  2.   Argentus – A major favor that may involve great risk
    •   Examples:
      •     An introduction or letter of reference to an important master;
      •   15 pawns of Tass of the right Resonance, teaching of a new Art or Art level up to 5;
      •   teaching of proprietary a Rote or the inner most secrets of Lore;
      •   full support of an idea or theory in a Hermetic publication;
      •   a months’s access to a Laboratory or Library;
      •   asking another’s Consor or Grog to risk their lives;
      •   Purchase a gifted apprentice;
      •   use of a legendary Wonder;
      •   or a vote on a consequential or  controversial issue at a Tribunal.
  3.   Solidus – A monumental favor that may involve substantial risk.
    •   Examples:
      •   Pleading of your case to an important master;
      •   a chest full of Tass of the right Resonance;
      •   teaching of a new Art or Art level up to 6;
      •   teaching of rare proprietary Rote or extremely rare secrets of Lore;
      •   evangelism of an idea or theory in on all levels of the Order;
      •   a year’s access to a Laboratory or Library;
      •   asking another’s Consor or Grog to risk their lives;
      •   use of a legendary Wonder;
      •   or a vote on a highly consequential or very controversial issue at a Tribunal.

 

Sapor

Sa is recorded on a simple written document called a sapor (taste). Sapor can come in any form from formal parchment to a cocktail napkin. Only the value and the sigils of the parties involved are are noted. The reason for the favor is rarely noted so as that knowledge is often privileged. If a sapor is exchanged then the owed party simply strikes out their sigial, signs the sapor over to the new owner, and they affix their seal in its place. Particularly old or trafficked sapor are tattered, dog eared, and a mess of tangled signatures and sigils making it difficult to trace the origins of a given favor. When there are doubts the Quaesitori are called in to authenticate the document. Those caught forging sapor is Low Crime, and is punished with significant debt to both the Quaesitori and the wronged party. A frequent occurrence is when forgers are caught is to engage in an “impoverishment”. Those whom the forger owes favors call them all in at once seizing the property, Tass, talismans, money, property, sanctums, apprentices, even clothes and jewelry, or other objects of value. This strips the forger of their wealth in the most humiliating way possible thereby discouraging forgery (or at least sloppy forgery).

To document a debt open a +request and have the character indebted added to the job. If the debt is sold then request the job be transferred. If the debt is completed then have staff resolve it.