30 Tribunal Cases for November

So, this is my first 30 Days project. I'm already starting a day late, but hope I am able to finish it on the proper timeframe.
I'd appreciate if you can bring comments or questions to this topic.

I intend to post 30 Tribunal Cases of pure hermetic legalese. At the end of each case I will post a pool so that this forum can act as the Tribunal and vote on the legal merit of each case. The cases will be presented roughly as follows:

Case #0 Title

Clause of the code the case falls under ( mention to peripheral code ruling if applicable)

Short summary (Magus A accuses magus B of X)

Context is given, first from the prosecution POV, then from the defendant. When applicable, witnesses testimony or supporting evidence will also be presented. The chief quaesitor may also present his view of the issue.

Pool : Case #0

In favor of A
In favor of B

With the pool I expect that the percentage of votes won’t be based just on my personal opinion, but on the collective understanding of this Forum. If you think there is no clear answer to the case, or that your vote might go one way or another depending on how exactly each side makes their defense, or on what you’d stand to gain from siding with one or another, I ask that you vote neutral.

My intent will be to provide all the information available about the case, with as little bias as possible. If you feel any extra information is required before voting please request it on this other topic: I will answer and append the information to the relevant case. But remember, at the end of the day this isn’t supposed to be an investigation.

Suggestions on how to use these cases

  1. As backdrop for your Tribunals
  2. Present them to your quaesitor players as cases for mediation/settlement before they reach the Tribunal.
  3. Present a summary of cases to the players a few months before Tribunal (the cases are published at most 1 season before Tribunal proper) and let them intervene on a few if they want (tamper with witnesses, buy votes, hire advocates, become advocates themselves...)
  4. Make it so that your players become prosecutors or advocates (or even defendants themselves).

The percentages will be useful if a player acts as an advocate (or prosecution) and you decide to use the debate rules on HoH:S. An Intrigue roll prior to the Tribunal might reveal to an interested player the likely outcome of a few cases.

Feel free to skew, change or completely overrule the results to suit your game (eg. if in a certain case you make magus A an archmagus and give magus B the infamous flaw, you might want to skew the votes heavily in favor of magus A).

While I’ll probably focus more on cases, I do intend to bring a few proposals for clarification, addition or alteration to the peripheral code.


[Placeholder table of contents]

Case #1 – Exageratus vs. Ridiculatus

Theft of Pie – Deprivation
Summary: Exageratus accuses Ridiculatus of stealing his pie, depriving him of his magical power.

Exageratus and Ridiculatus are both magi from the covenant of Hipoteticus. Exageratus reports that he left a pie on the table (the pie had ben baked for him) and left to deal with urgent matters. Upon returning, he discovered the pie eaten. The cook told him that even after being warned the pie had been baked for Exageratus, Ridiculatus went and ate it all the same. The theft and consumption of the pie left Exageratus on a profound state of depression, which interfered with his magical research (he claims he lost seasons of work due to that). Therefore he wants Ridiculatus marched, on grounds of deprivation.

Ridiculatus does not deny eating the pie. On contrary, he admits and even brags about it. He says that after it leaves the baker’s hands the pie has no owner. It’s as free as any naturally grown wild-pie (the presiding quaesitor clarifies to the Tribunal that the covenant of Hipoteticus has a magical pie-tree, which grows delicious pies of many flavors). If Exageratus wanted the pie he should have eaten it earlier, or taken it to his sanctum. The fact that he did neither means that the pie was up for grabbing, and therefore the charges of deprivation are ridiculous.

Since neither side will settle, the Tribunal needs to vote. The presiding quaesitor clarifies that this is hardly reason for marching (eating someone's pie is not a high crime, and there is hardly enough evidence to support a claim of deprivation), but that if found guilty Ridiculatus will be fined. He also advises all magi to solve similar cases on the confines of their covenants in the future and mentions that the Tribunal will impose a fine upon Exageratus to disincourage other magi from bringing up petty cases.
(The exact values of both fines are left for the SG to adjudicate.)

Case #1 – Exageratus vs. Ridiculatus
  • In favor of Exageratus: the pie was his and Ridiculatus is a thief who deserves to die!!!
  • In favor of Ridiculatus: first come, first serve.
  • Neutral: I do not feel like siding with any of these two fools right now (or, I would vote in favor of whomever offered me a slice of the pie).
0 voters

Note: if this case seems too petty for you, remember that magi are human, and humans are petty.


Case #2 – Eodan of Bonisagus vs. Bridgit of Jerbiton

Death of apprentice – Failure to Respect the Rights of Bonisagus

Summary: Eodan of Bonisagus accuses Bridgit of Jerbiton of Failing to Respect the Rights of Bonisagus.

One day, while visiting Bridgit's covenant, Eodan noticed a particular talent of her apprentice, Carmen, and claimed her under the rights of Bonisagus. Bridgit claimed to be in the midst of a delicate experiment to which her apprentice was essential and requested two seasons, after which she would send Carmen to Eodan. To that, out of generosity, Eodan acquiesced. However, Carmen died in a laboratory experiment on the next season.

As Eodan puts forward Bridgit has failed to deliver the apprentice after requested. Worse, she killed his apprentice, since Carmen was his once his request was made. As a punishment, he demands that Bridgit work for him for 12 seasons as an assistant (on the grounds that Carmen still had another 4 years before gauntlet and would have worked under his direction 3 seasons each year).

Bridgit argues that since she agreed with Eodan's request and was willing to comply, this can't be counted as failure to uphold Bonisagus rights. Furthermore, at the time of the accident Carmen still wasn’t an apprentice to Eodan since the two seasons had been granted. Thus, Eodan lost nothing. Bridgit, on the other hand, lost an apprentice, and is already sad enough without all of this trouble.

Eodan answers that Carmen was his apprentice from the moment he requested, and he could have departed with the apprentice on the same night. The two seasons granted were more like a loan, or something of sorts. She should have ensured the apprentice's safety if she intended to uphold his rights.

Bridgit brings forth Alferris ex Misc, a magus from her covenant who was present at the discussion where Eodan first requested Carmen. Alferris testifies that Eodan never mentioned "a loan or something of sorts", and that his understanding from the conversation is that Carmen would formally become Eodan's apprentice only after the two seasons. He also claims that Bridgit is an good member of the Tribunal, and to his knowledge she had no intention to deny Eodan of his rights. He asks for quaesitorial endorsment and after a short time he and two quaesitors return from private chambers - his testimony rings true.

Eodan counters that Alferris must be quite dumb to have exited the meeting with that understanding, and that his poor grasp on how the rights of Bonisagus work should not be taken as evidence that Bridgit is innocent. The character of Bridgit is also irrelevant, for good magi also make mistakes. He requests that the Tribunal makes justice.

The presiding quaesitor points out that the Rights of Bonisagus cannot be invalidated by any personal agreement between Eodan and Bridgit, and that even if she had full intention to comply with his request, she did not. The eventual punishment, however, is not for Eodan to decide, and will be defined if Bridgit is convicted.

Case #2 - Eodan of Bonisagus vs. Bridgit of Jerbiton - Failure to Respect the Rights of Bonisagus
  • In favor of Eodan: Bridgit failed to uphold his rights.
  • In favor of Bridgit: the apprentice was still hers for the next two seasons, there was no failure to uphold the rights of Bonisagus.
  • Neutral: Both sides seem reasonable, and I might be convinced to vote either way.
0 voters
1 Like

Case #3 – Adelman ex Tytyalus

Founding a Covenant – Alteration of Peripheral Code
Tribunal: Rhine

Summary: Adelman ex Tytalus proposes that the conditions for founding a new covenant on Rhine be changed, arguing that the current conditions are in violation of the Oath.

Sodales, I thank you for your time. I’ll make my case briefly. Each Tribunal has authority to define the prerequisites for founding a new covenant. In Rhine, this requires a sponsor from each covenant. Quoting from the law: “Any prospective covenant is therefore required to obtain a sponsor from each and every existing covenant, who shall publicly proclaim their petition worthy”.

Now, we know that this provision was added to our peripheral code to avoid unnecessary strife within the Tribunal. I’m all in favor of avoiding strife. However, can the Peripheral Code be above the Hermetic Oath? For the Code says: “I will have one vote at Tribunal and I will use it prudently. I will respect as equal the votes of all others at Tribunal.”

By requiring only the approval of one magus from each covenant, our Peripheral Code effectively puts the votes of a handful of magi, no more than 1/10 of our Tribunal, above all the others. Consider a case where 50 magi of this Tribunal are against the foundation of a certain covenant, with only 9 are in favor, one from each of the currently established covenants. Does it seem fair for you, esteemed friends, for the will of 9 to prevail over 50? What if all where against the Tribunal joining, except for said 9? Is it fair for the will of nine to prevail over 90?
I ask thus for an alteration to the Peripheral Code. But I do recognize the wisdom of the past magi, and I wouldn’t dram of invalidating it. I propose that the conditions for establishing a new covenant should be:

  1. Any prospective covenant is therefore required to obtain a sponsor from each and every existing covenant, who shall publicly proclaim their petition worthy.
  2. Besides one sponsor from each covenant, the petition for joining must receive the approval of simple majority on the Tribunal.

Several magi from the audience present points against Adelman’s proposal. A few of them are listed below (but feel free to suggest additional counterpoints on this topic).

  • Sponsorship of a new covenant is not a vote in the strict sense, so it does not violate the code.
  • Requesting simple majority is not practiced in any Tribunal, and will impose unnecessary difficulty over prospective covenants.
  • The system has worked well so far. It’s foolish to solve a problem that does not exist.
  • The example proposed (more than half of the Tribunal against a certain covenant joining) is unlikely to ever come true, unless Rhine is already in a state of deep intracovenant strife.

After the subject has been extensively debated, the Presiding Quaesitor makes a point about preserving Rhine's traditions and the Praeco calls for a vote.

Case #3 – Adelman ex Tytalus - Alteration of Peripheral Code
  • In favor of Adelman: the peripheral code must be changed (even if not exactly to what he wants)
  • Against Adelman: no alteration is necessary to the code.
  • Neutral: I might support Adelman's motion or vote against him depending on how exactly the discussion goes on (or depending on any deals made before the vote).
0 voters

Case #4 – Iohannes against Marcus

Inheritance – Deprivation
Summary: Iohannes accuses Marcus of denying him his part of the inheritance after the passing of their pater.

In my childhood I was taken as an apprentice by Aeon. However, 5 years into my apprenticeship Aeon went into a prolonged Twilight, which lasted seven years. During this time I was instructed by Thaddeus, Aeon’s close friend, as known by all in this Tribunal. Thaddeus mentioned several times that if Aeon never returned he would gladly have me be his second fillius (Marcus being his first one).
((Iohannes calls forth two trustworthy witnesses, who confirm Thaddeus really said that and that he treated Iohannes as his own fillius.))

But Aeon, as you know, returned from his Twilight and took me back, not without thanking Thaddeus. The three of us remained close. Thaddeus came to my Gauntlet, and while Aeon administered the challenge, Thaddus, not Aeon, presented me with my voting sigil after I succeeded. The presiding Quaesitor was present at that time and can attest to the veracity of this fact. That should be enough to demonstrate that both Aeon and Thaddeus considered themselves equals in regards to me. (The presiding Quaesitor confirms that Aeon administered the gauntlet but the voting sigil was given by Thaddeus.)

Ever since my gauntlet I have maintained my filial duties both towards Aeon and Thaddeus, since Thaddeus was in all aspects a father to me, as much as Aeon. And I was to him his fillius, much more than Marcus.
Two years ago, Thaddeus passed due to a lab accident. However, Marcus denies me my part of the inheritance, arguing that I have no claim to it. I suspect he does so purely out of jealousy, but his real motives do not matter. I request the Tribunal to make justice.

A father can have two sons, but can a son have two fathers? Even if my pater treated Iohannes cordially, he had no legal obligation towards him, nor Iohannes to my pater. Am I to believe that if I start to cater to any of my sodales I will have claims over their belongings when they depart?

Iohannes claims I was a bad filius, which is a lie, as can be attested.
(Marcus produces a witness that confirm that he did visit Thaddeus (even if not as often as Iohannes), and two witnessess (Redcaps) who can atest that he corresponded with Thaddeus often.)

But even if it was true, so what? Is it now a low crime, to be a bad son? To not visit often? Is it enough to deprive me of part of my inheritance? If my pater really wanted Iohannes to inherit despite the lack of master-apprenticeship relation he would have left a will behind, which he did not.

Furthermore, Iohannes own pater, Aeon, went into final Twilight 10 years ago, and Iohannes fully inherited from his pater. I was also close to Aeon, but I was not shameless to the point of requesting part of his estate. Why now does he want what is mine? I request the Tribunal to not let this greedy buffon steal what belonged to my pater.

Sodales, if Marcus shared with Aeon the same relationship I shared with Thaddeus, I would not object to him inheriting. I'd have offered it myself even had h not raised the question, just as I once expected him to do in this case. Alas, he wasn't as close to Aeon. I was, however, close to Thaddeus.

It’s not greed that drives me, but the desire to do what my second pater would want to see done. If he left behind no will, it’s only because he did not expect to pass away suddenly, nor for my hermetic brother to be so clearly obnoxious in regards to this matter.

I was a friend to Iohannes until now, but not anymore. Please, put yourself in my place, sodales. Am I in the wrong? I trust you will reach the conclusion that I'm not. Please, make justice today.

Presiding Quaesitor:
Officially, Marcus is the sole inheritor to Thaddeus. Marcus had his Arts opened by Thaddeus, and Iohannes by Aeon. This is clear. However, an apprentice passing on from one magus to another is not unheard of, and there seemed to exist a tacit agreement between Thaddeus and Aeon to foster each other’s apprentice in case of need.
While Iohannes finished his apprenticeship under Aeon, his original master, he was Thaddeus' apprentice for seven years, half of his apprenticeship. Testimony has shown that Thaddeus had parental affection towards Iohannes... but it’s true there was not a standard master-apprentice relation between them.
Thaddeus left behind no will regarding what to do with his estate, so now it falls upon us to decide how to dispose of what belonged to him.

Case #4 – Iohannes against Marcus – Deprivation
  • In favor of Iohannes: he is to be considered fillius and inherit a fair share of the inheritance.
  • In favor of Marcus: Iohannes cannot be considered Thaddeus fillius, and he has no right to inherit.
  • Neutral: I do not think this has a clear answer. I might be convinced (or bribed) to vote either way.
0 voters

SG Notes:

  • Neither of the four magi involved in this story belongs to house Bonisagus (no Bonisagus rights to muddle the waters)
  • Quesitorial investigation was conducted, and Thaddeus indeed passed away due to an unfortunate accident (both Iohannes and Marcus get really offended if any magus suggests that they might have engineered the death).
  • The size of the inheritance is irrelevant. If you want to make your players more interested on this make it something fabulous (eg. the only surviving copy of Conjuring the Mystic Tower written in Bonisagus own hand). If you want to emphasize the human side of magi, make it about two hens, a cupboard and a single pawn of Vim vis.

Case #5 – Tribunal Against Corvus ex Bonisagus

Rain of tractatus – Endangering the Order

Summary: Archimagus Corvus ex Bonisagus brought several texts to this Tribunal, containing his research over the last years, and threw them to the air during the Tribunal. On the ensuing chaos to grab his research, several magi got hurt. Corvus laughed during the whole ordeal.

Castor ex Guernicus:
Sodales, this happened just yesterday, and many of you still bear the injuries after what happened. I don’t think a reminder is needed regarding the facts, but proper procedure demands I present one.
Archimagus Corvus of Bonisagus has withheld his magical research over the last decades. On the last Tribunal he was accused of failing to comply with Bonisagus duties, and convicted. Instead of sending his work to Durenmar, as traditional, he delayed his responsibility till yesterday, when he brought copies of his texts to this Tribunal and openly cast them to the air, shouting “first come first serve!”.

The texts were or enough quantity, quality and diversity to entice several magi of the Tribunal, and several of them ran towards the "rain of tractati" and ended up fighting each other trying to grab the falling sheets. On the ensuing chaos, many people got hurt. It seems, however, that no one grabbed a complete text – the Tribunal is still evaluating if this means he failed to properly share his research.

The reason I’m here is to bring forward the accusations of endangerment that several magi have made. Corvus has deliberately cast his texts in a way to cause turbulence. Enmities might have developed over the contest for his research. At least three magi got severely hurt. I can’t even think what would have happened if not for the Aegis suppressing most of the magi.

Furthermore, to add insult to injury - quite literally on this case - witnesses have reported how Corvus laughed seeing the mess he enginered, to the point of dropping to the ground, gasping for air.

Corvus is, therefore, accused of purposefully endangering the Order, conspiring for his sodales to fight over his research.

Pollux ex Guernicus:
While Corvus has graciously abstained from making comments, trusting on the decision of the Tribunal, duty requires that I interject for him.

Sodales, I will not deny endangerment, no. But Corvus action, while reckless, is not to be blamed. What endangered the Order is the greed of the magi who jumped to grab the items, stopping at nothing! There is nothing that justifies, in the midst of a Tribunal, full fledged magi throwing punches at each other to the point that several get hurt and three end up unconscious. Did Corvus per chance cast a spell on them so that they behave like that, or incited them with words? No!

Corvus goaded them? Who is to say with certainty? He himself refuses to say another word on the subject, and we cannot blame him. After all, many of the magi here present do not want the truth, but care only for his magical research and for punishing him for their own greed.

He has laughed? For sure! Facing such tragedy, of magi dropping all pretenses and showing their true faces, one can only laugh or cry. And who between us does not laugh when remembering how Fistus ex Misc sucker-punched Castor’s face – the reason for his broken nose? Was it not a sight to behold?

But that’s beside the point. What we can say, that I will tell you: it’s an absurd to trial a Bonisagus for upholding his sacred duty, only because the means through which the duty was upheld do not conform to the expectations of a few magi.

Presiding Quaesitor:
Aham… As Castor said, the Tribunal is still analysing if Corvus has properly upheld his duties or not, but that has no relation with this trial.

Corvus was not directly responsible for any of the injuries to his sodales, but he was the one to provide the situation in which it happened. Surely, the magi of this Tribunal wouldn’t have engaged on a free-for-all brawl if not for him… Yet, I cannot help but admonish (once more, I must say) all the magi who have participated for the degree to which they have let things slip. It’s clear that if they had conducted themselves with the proper decorum nothing would have happened either.

Case #5 – Tribunal vs. Corvus ex Bonisagus
  • Corvus is guilty: he deliberately endangered the Order of Hermes with his actions.
  • Corvus is innocent: even if he presented his research in an argubly wrong way, the magi hurt themselves, and Corvus can't be considered responsible for their actions.
  • Neutral: I'd vote for whomever made the most compeling argument... Or maybe someone managed to get a complete tractatus and will give me a copy in exchange for my vote?
0 voters

SG Notes: surely in a case as such, most magi who participated on the scuffle for the texts would vote guilty. I'm not setting the exact amount of magi who joined on the fight, so decide that (and let it guide your vote) as you heart see fit.

1 Like

Case #6 – Micellia ex Merinita vs Creteu ex Tremere

Slaying of the Golden Boar of the Forest – Molesting the Fay

Summary: Micellia accuses Creteu of slaying the Golden Boar of the Forest, which almost led to a fight between two faerie factions.

Micellia reports that every year a golden boar is born on the forest. The faerie lords who live in the forest hunt the boar as part of a not-so-friendly competition between their factions, and that's a pretty huge event for them. However, this year the boar was killed a few days before the competition begun, and each lord accused the other of foul play. Things were becoming nasty. Micellia was called to mediate between them, and it took her considerable effort to deescalate the situation. She reports that failure would have implicated her and her sodales safety and well being, since they depend on the forest for several things.

Fortunately she was able to settle things, but when mediating the issue she ended up discovering that the boar had been slain by a magus, Creteu of Tremere. As she understands his actions could have led her and her sodales to ruin, and thus she would like to see him punished. She does not ask for much as a punishment - after all, thanks to her efforts nothing came to pass. Still, only because of her efforts nothing came to pass. At the very least, she had to go out of her way (expending time and effort) to ensure no damage was caused by the faerie dispute. Creteu should be properly punished for the trouble he caused.

Creteu argues that the golden boar was exiting the forest and jeopardizing his covenant. The beast was slain in a legitimate act to avoid damages to the covenant's property.

Micellia refutes, saying that Creteu knew the boar was an object of competition between the faerie lords, and that his action could lead to harm in other ways. She says he should have captured the boar without killing it, or used magic to keep it away, or at least tried to talk with her, her covenant, and/or the faerie lords about the trouble the boar was causing before taking action.
She adds that he did not kill the boar when it was roaming outside the forest, but instead, entered it and sought the boar with his servants, so this is clearly beyond self-defense. He chose to kill it in the forest, in clear disregard for the faeries and the trouble he would cause them.

Creteu points out that Micellia has no say on how he uses his magic or servants, nor in how he protects his belongings. Nor can she mandate that he requests permission before acting in his self-defense. The beast was already a threat, and seeking it out inside the forest instead of waiting for it to appear again was the safest choice for him.

The presiding quaesitor points out that Creteu indeed has the right to protect himself. Still, if he knew his actions could implicate the safety of his sodales, he should have acted with that in mind, and his actions where a bit reckless. At the same time, the faeries were not directly injured or harmed, only midly annoyed (in his view). He frames the situation as a possible low crime instead ("mildly annoying the fay") and the praeco calls for a vote.

Case #6 – Micellia ex Merinita vs. Creteu ex Tremere
  • In favor of Micellia: Creteu was reckless, and some degree of punishment is proper
  • In favor of Creteu: his actions configure legitimate self-defense.
  • Neutral: Both sides make sense. More information or a good lawyer could change my vote to one or another.
0 voters

Note: How much Creteu did knew about the trouble his actions would cause to the faerie political scenario? Was it reasonable to expect him to use other means (ReAn perhaps) to capture the boar or keep it away? How much risk were Micellia and her sodales actually subjected to? If you think the answer to those might change your vote one way or another, this indicates (IMO) a Neutral position. If all these questions seem irrelevant to you and to you the legal merit of each side is clear, then you already have your vote. ; ]