The Hermetic Order is one of four Secret Societies in Civilization VI, exclusive to the Secret Societies game mode, introduced in the Ethiopia Pack. They are comprised of unorthodox scientists and alchemists. Their work focuses on Science, Great People, and resources.
A wandering mystic appears at your palace. His body is covered in writing of a kind that you have never seen before; the symbols even seem to shine of their own accord. He begins to lecture your courtiers about the hidden alchemical properties of matter: about how mercury can be induced to flow towards the sound of birdsong, how elemental sulfur can be rendered out of sacred texts, and about the hidden resonance of certain stones in moonlight. He asks you, "do you, too, seek to know the true nature of things?"
Much that was hidden to you is now revealed. Matter is vibrant: metal and stone thrum with secret influences, starlight can be focused to illuminate essential fluids, and the earth itself pulses with energy and light. An entire wing of the palace is a bustle of alchemical activity, and you have learned to live with the occasional explosion.
Similar to the other Secret Societies, Hermetic Order membership lasts the entire game. Once joined, players will unlock a new Governor with four unique titles. This Governor operates on an international scale, thus granting bonuses to the entire empire without being assigned to a city.
Hermetic Order membership reveals Ley Line, a new map resource. They give major adjacency bonuses to District and grant bonus yields whenever a Great Person is earned. Members can also build the Alchemical Society, a University replacement that has all of the base University effects, plus extra Great Merchant points, Great Engineer points, increased Production, and Gold.
The Hermetic Order's base chance of sending an invitation after you discover a Natural Wonder is 100%. However, as with other societies, this chance will get slightly smaller with every other civilization that joins this society (meaning "popular" societies will be less likely to send you an invitation).
|Promotion Title||Unlocked by||Effect|
|Neophyte||Discover a Natural Wonder (100% chance).||Reveals the Ley Line resource on the map.
Ley Lines give a major adjacency bonus to all specialty districts.
|Adept||Reach the Medieval Era.||Allows you to construct the Alchemical Society, a powerful replacement of the University.|
|Magus||Reach the Industrial Era.||For every Great Person earned, Ley Lines receive +1 yield equal to that Great Person's district type. Great Admirals and Great Generals earn +1 Science.|
|Aiwass||Reach the Atomic Era||Unlocks Occult Research, a city project that provides Gold while active. When completed, it grants Great People points, and Science for every Ley Line in the city.|
The Hermetic Order is, by far, the most unreliable society of the four. After the buffs to Ley Lines and changes to their spawn locations, the society becomes a lot better, but the issue with reliability remains. Their bonuses kick in and peak much later into the game compared to the other three societies, and they revolve heavily around Ley Line, a new resource that only their members can see. The glaring issue with Ley Line is that you have no idea where they are or how many of them are available near your location until after you accept the invitation to join. In a single-player game, you can reload a save game if the Ley Line spawn is not favorable, but in a multiplayer game, there is no going back. Furthermore, for four eras straight, Ley Line are little more than dead tiles that take up space in your empire, have no yields, and cannot be improved. They do provide a major adjacency bonus to every district built nearby, but that is hardly a justification for picking the Hermetic Order when you consider what the Initiation bonuses for the other three societies are. When the Industrial Era comes, Ley Line are now more beneficial, since they can grant a lot of yields based on how many Great People you have earned. However, if you really earn so many Great People that each Ley Line is overflowing with yields, you are most likely winning the game by such a large margin that the number of Ley Line in your territory is irrelevant. It is more of a classic case of a "win-more" factor: if you're winning, it helps you win faster, but it is definitely not an impactful enough factor to turn a losing game around. And that doesn't even take into account how many Ley Line you own, which is entirely dependent on map generation!
The Alchemical Society, compared to the Old God Obelisk and the Gilded Vault, is also the least impactful of the three. It has two main selling points over a standard University: it grants Gold based on its Campus adjacency bonus, and it grants 1 Great Engineer point and 1 Great Merchant point. Compared to the Gilded Vault's Culture bonus, the Gold bonus is quite a bit worse. Ignoring the fact that generally 1 Culture is worth more than 1 Gold, even if you play as Korea, a civilization whose replacement for the Campus has a consistent +4 adjacency bonus, that extra 4 Gold is only enough to pay off the maintenance cost of the district, the Library, and the Alchemical Society itself, so there will not be any left over to invest in anything else, and the majority of civilizations will have a much harder time getting a +4 on all of their Campuses. The extra Great Engineer point and Great Merchant point can be helpful, but these still pale in comparison to all the bonuses other societies reward their members with the Ritual title.
Without Great People, Ley Lines are dead tiles that you want to avoid more than use as a leverage for your empire. Any civilizations/leaders which have abilities to generate a lot of Great People, or a unique, cheap district which they want to put down in every city to earn Great People points, can work decently well with the Hermetic Order. They are, most notably, Kristina and Sweden, Pedro II, Scotland, Russia, and Greece. Colonialist and naval civilizations such as England and Phoenicia (and to a lesser extent, Australia, Indonesia, and Spain) can also work well with the Hermetic Order, since they have a lot of cities (which translates into a lot of Great People) and they can seek out Ley Lines far from their core territories to put down cities without fear of Loyalty pressure. As mentioned above, however, the Hermetic Order's unreliable bonuses and clear inferiority to other societies mean that almost all of these leaders/civilizations can work at least as well with another society: for example, England under Eleanor of Aquitaine should definitely pick the Voidsingers, Victoria and Philip II (Spain) can go for the Sanguine Pact for a domination game, diplomatic Kristina can choose Owls of Minerva, and Indonesia can choose the Voidsingers to bolster their religious strength.
Especially in times of great social change, when new knowledge and new ways of being show great potential to change the way that we live, societies often arise based around the cultivation and protection of this secret, world-transforming knowledge. While they might at first look like scientific societies, these orders were different in that they focused on the collection of secret knowledge, not its application. We can see examples of such societies in medieval Europe, Southeast Asia (especially as concerns tantric Buddhism), and East Asia; from ancient times to the present day. Here, the Hermetic Order seeks to model a late medieval alchemical society, as well as mystical/religious organizations that grew up in the later 19th century.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was an English group concerned with cultivating esoteric knowledge around the early 20th century. For inspiration, the Order drew upon a variety of sources: medieval European (“hermetic”) magic, Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), Egyptian and Greek myth, and individual revelation. Devotees – most famously the English occultist Aleister Crowley - focused on expanding their mystical knowledge via astral travel, clairvoyance, and other magical practices, and the movement attracted a body of individuals seeking a greater truth that they felt was lacking in an increasingly rational and disenchanted society. The Order drew in a wide body of influential people, including Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), the English horror author Algernon Blackwood, the Irish author Bram Stoker (creator of Dracula), and others. Chapters of the Order exist today, and the Order’s practices have been influential on the development of many New Age religions, as people still seek a greater truth.
|Civilization VI Secret Societies |
|Hermetic Order||Neophyte • Adept • Magus • Aiwass||Alchemical Society • Ley Line • Occult Research|
|Owls of Minerva||Initiation • Ritual • Indoctrination • Master Plan||Gilded Vault|
|Sanguine Pact||Taste • Rising Hunger • Voivode • Endless Night||Vampire • Vampire Castle|
|Voidsingers||Melody • Chorus • Canticle • Symphony||Cultist • Dark Summoning • Old God Obelisk|