Dark Age: Mage
Order of Hermes
Mages of Order of Hermes are formalized sorcerers, alchemists, and mystics drawing from classical occult practices. They are masters of the foundation of Modus.
The Tradition traces its roots to the Sumer and ancient Egypt of 5000 years ago around the time when the first writing systems were developed. Before written language, names were thought to be inherent to the objects they designated as reflections of their true natures. With writing as an ability to catch and manipulate names, the scribe was able to imprison the object and manipulate its very nature. The catching of names was considered a magical act in ancient societies so the ability to write was reserved for the clergy under the direct influence of gods of wisdom and magic such as Thoth.
Letters provided useful metaphors for abstract concepts, so for the first time in history thinkers were able to ascend from the physical world into whole new realms of ideas. First, Plato formed the theory of realism that allowed a secular paradigm for controlling every element of reality. Mystics then equated ideals with divinity developing manicheic, gnostic, neoplatonic and other dualistic theories around 2nd century AD. But the great intellectual upsurge of the 2nd century was soon squashed by the rapid expansion of Christianity which strove for orthodoxy in the Mediterranean region. Soon Rome fell and Western civilization fell onto Dark Times. Hermetic scholars fragmented, the sharing of ideas halted and wizards secluded themselves in their towers for protection and to study free of the Church’s inquiry.
From the summonings of Babylonian priests to Egyptian priests divining the Nile’s flooding from stars to Solomon’s seals, which gave him control over world, it was the time of the greatest mages of Western tradition. It was also the time when the greatest grimoires and talismans were created. However, apart from Solomon we don’t know their names and so the body of knowledge consisting of theurgia, goetia, astrology and alchemy was known as the work of a single Ascended being called Hermes Trismegistus.
It wasn’t until 767 AD that the situation changed. Two mages, Bonisagus and Trianoma, gathered together eleven great magi and persuaded them to form an alliance. Thus, the Order of Hermes was born.
The Order is sometimes thought to be a group of old wizards who cloister themselves in dusty libraries and hold old arcane lore as their bread and butter. However this is only what they want others to believe.
The Tremere clan was founded by Order of Hermes mages, who transformed themselves into vampires. They and the Tzimitze are some of the Order’s greatest enemies.