From Project: Redcap
"Potentio super ipso potentia super allis."|
(Power of the self means power over others)
House Bjornaer is one of the twelve Houses in the Order of Hermes, a Mystery Cult house whose members follow the initiations and mystical teaching of their Founder, Bjornaer. Its magi are characterized by their ability to take the form of their Heartbeast, and their inability to bind a familiar. The House's Germanic roots and small size leads to a low status in most sagas. Its domus magna is Crintera, in the Rhine Tribunal.
The House is extensively detailed in the Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults supplement. Canonic Bjornaer magi revere animal anestors and abhor other shapeshifters. They are divided into six clans, each descending from one of the Founder's apprentices, and are further divided into septs. Beyond the Outer Mystery of the Heartbeast, the clans hold the key to Inner Mysteries. The chapter establishes a new and meaningful sense to Bjornaer twilight with its introduction of Great Beasts and the associated secret teachings.
Crintera, the domus magna of the House, is detailed in the Guardians of the Forest supplement. This description includes associations with mundane religions and a means of ascertaining one's heartbeast that do not seem to easily fit the canonic view presented in HoHMC. Note that the House's description implies none of Crintera's covenfolk would be Shapechangers, which is not the impression the raw text of GotF might give but is consistent with the covenant's depiction. The bulk of the description of the covenant and its ruling council conforms to and serves to add to the canonic House description.
Both sources emphasize the conflict between Harmonists and Wilderists in the House. The House is currently led by Falke, a Harmonist, but the former head and still active archmagus Urgen of Bjornaer remains a prominent figure and an active Wilderist. Because of the origins of it's founder and many of the early adherents, the language of the house's myserties is Gothic.
House leadership is vested in the Bjornaer Council. The primus always sits on the council, and acts as the spokesperson for the house with the rest of the Order, but sits as an equal on the council itself. Urgen of Bjornaer, a former Primus, is a member and still very influential.
Members of House Bjornaer
Magi of House Bjornaer mentioned in canon include:
- Eule, member of Fengheld in the Rhine Tribunal. See Guardians of the Forest, page 85.
- Falke is the current primus of the House in the official start date of 1220 A.D. As such, he is a member of Crintera in the Rhine Tribunal.
- Urgen, prior primus of the House, who stepped down because of his failure to prevent the conquest of Crintera's island. He still sits on the Bjornaer Council. He is an archmagus and member of Crintera in the Rhine Tribunal.
Famous Members (deceased)
- Birna, also known as Bjornaer the Founder
- Hérisson, a pacifist member of the House killed just before the Schism War and one of the subjects of Legends of Hermes.
Although it is non-Canonic, a common House Rule is to allow Bjornaer magi to initiate Inscription on the Soul (TMRE 69) as a House Mystery. This allows them to utilize a Talisman without needing to lug a physical magic item around.
- The core description of the House is in ArM5 11.
- The House is further described in HoHMC 7-43. This description was written by Mark Shirley.
- HoHMC 15 provides details on the Council's membership, roles, and the manner of its appointment.
Related fanzine articles and podcast episodes
Arcane Connection podcast
- Episode 13: The Bjornaer Saga (26 minutes): in this Arcane Connection podcastepisode, CJ and Lloyd Graney talk about playing a Bjornaer only saga.
Sub Rosa articles
- Florilegium of House Bjornaer on page 32 of Issue 1 (Sept 2007) is an article by Mark Shirley, the author for the House Bjornaer section in Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults. In it, he presents his thinking on how he presented House Bjornaer, its Founder and it's history.. This article also presents write ups on two "bits and pieces", as Mark puts it, that didn't make it into the book: Lost Cubs and Feral Magi.
Hermes' Portal articles
Articles from Hermes' Portal Fanzine, located here can be downloaded for free. All of the articles listed here were written for Fourth Edition, but can certainly provide ideas for any edition. That said, note that a key difference is that Bjornaer magi did shift into shapes other than their heartbeasts, and so were not so fervently against other shape shifters in general.
- Bjornaer Mysteries by Erik Dahl in issue 2 gave a full work up on what mysteries there would be beyond the heartbeast, as there were none in Fourth Edition.
- Why Don't Bjornaer Magi Bind Familiars? by Timothy Ferguson in issue 3 offers twenty reasons.
- House Traditions by J. Angus MacDonald in issue 3 looks at the houses in general and how, and whether or not, they might keep their traditions in campaigns of predominantly multi-house covenants.
- Germanic Shapechangers by Jarkman in issue 13 builds on Erik Dahl's article to present the mysteries of not just any German shape shifters, but the House's ancestral enemies.
The history of this page before August 6, 2010 is archived at Legacy:house_bjornaer