A Certamen/Code Problem

I am about to launch a plot line in my saga to reflect tensions in the Provencal Tribunal, and involve my covenant's quaesitor.

A mage of Tytalus, Obnitius Mulinus, leader of Pugnacio covenant, my creation, challenges Joia de Lua to certamen, demanding that she

  1. Turn out all Cathars in Jardin
  2. Never again give shelter to heretics of any kind
  3. Personally reject Cathar heresy, all heresy, and all other minions of Satan

This is intended to be rejected - he believes that it goes too far for her to accept, and even beyond the Code. Once that challenge is rejected, having made a public show of attempting to resolve differences he will declare Wizard's War on the 'protector of heretics and Infernal servants'. He has copied the three quaesitors of the Tribunal in this matter, including Domitiana, quaesitor in residence in my saga. This all part of a larger plan, but:

How might Joia react, contrary to Obnitius' expectations?

She might accept, for example, with an even more outrageous set of demands for him. She might declare Wizard's War on him, citing his challenge. She might negotiate, dithering and delaying for months or years. What else?

What might the other two quaesitores offer for legal advice?

They should argue that demanding a blanket ejection of covenant servants for mundane reasons is invalid, and that magi cannot be expected to put their covenant's resources up to a personal challenge, and that the demands are too numerous. Other thoughts?

It's Provencal - can the points of dispute be decided by Jardin unilaterally? If they include(d) clauses that allows member magi freedom of belief and discretion at who may shelter in their walls/be covenfolk in their notarized charter, that charter becomes part of the Peripheral Code in the Tribunal, doesn't it? As per HoH:TL page 55, certamen cannot force a magus to break the Code or defy a Tribunal judgement, so that might be an out?

I'll have to make sure the fairly detailed Jardin Charter summary in Through the Aegis is available to the player mage quaesitor for that, if she thinks of it.

I could see where a Charter revision would be a smart dodge out, unless a political fight develops. Such a fight seems unlikely - the other magi are secondarily menaced by this challenge.

...and if they do alter their Charter, it must be duly reviewed and noted by a quaesitor, possibly the PC mage.

If it were me I would file a complaint with the Tribunal, indicating that he has demanded a violation of the code as part of Certamen, which itself is against the code, and thereby ask that he be fined.
He can still declare wizard war, but he will have to pay the fine either way, or be marched.

Could you unpack that a bit?

I am not sure if you are assuming that there is already something in the Code he would be demanding violation of, or if Jardin's Charter will be altered.

If there is already something in the Code, what provision are you referring to?

If the Charter is altered, the impact would not be retroactive.

Or do you mean something else?

  1. they are insisting that the character, should they lose certamen, take actions which are interfering with mundanes
  2. "reject all heresies" could include mystery cults such as the Order of Mithras, and thus be depriving of magical power.
  3. "The allies of the order are my allies" (from the oath) by insisting that this magus, if they lose, betray his allies they are violating this part of the oath as well.

Much clearer. Thank you.

1 & 3: The mage should confine his demands to the maga and covenant servants. It's a point that Joia can use to reject or negotiate the duel - leading to Wizard's War.

2: That depends on how you are defining 'heresy.' Thinking of heresy broadly, Hermetic Magic might be one. He means a religious pursuit declared heretical by the Roman Catholic Western Church.

I'm pretty sure the RC church would consider the Cult of Mithras heretical if they were aware of it, along with the Celtic Monastic traditions, Judaism, and Islam. Even if not technically part of the code religious freedom is a large part of the culture of the Order, and many mystery cults are based on what Catholics would describe as heretical beliefs.

Attention to the term, if you wish to follow medieval Roman Catholic Church practice even a little. See newadvent.org/summa/3011.htm, especially

While there were many haphazard uses of the term in the middle ages, in general the 13th century Roman Catholic Church designated as heretics Christians deviating from established beliefs, not Jews, Muslims or Pagans.


By logic, yes. But at the same time Those found worshiping pagan deities after 1100 AD were generally charged with heracy rather than idolatry, so in practice my point stands.

Most of those found worshiping pagan deities in Europe after 1100 AD had been baptized and communed before, so the local bishops considered them their charges.
In 1220 AD, native Pagans are still found in Finland, in central Estonia, and perhaps in some isolated places around the Baltic. Otherwise, they are white ravens in standard Mythic Europe.
The Cuman/Kipchak on the Hungarian Plain (see also AtD p.79f) in 1227 AD start to convert from Tengrism to Christianity.

I don't know your "point" - but it might have been "the RC church would consider the Cult of Mithras heretical if they were aware of it". This may or may not be the case for baptized Mithraics, depending on how the TMRE p.119 "Christianized rites of Mithras" would be looked upon by the local bishop, if he only knew them. So this is highly campaign specific.


It's pretty self-evident that a covenant's servants are 'Allies of the Order'. Companions should be, particularly if they are ... oh, what's the term used in previous editions ... consortes? (There has to be some difference between "people we trust" and "hired occasionally".)

Refugees from the war, though, are simply being sheltered. A population of Cathars brought under protection from Crusaders should not, one can argue, be afforded protection from magi simply because they have exchanged menial service for shelter.

The Code has very little to say on mundanes, except the Allies and Enemies provision and the Interference Provision. The Tytalus mage may be better off asserting that offering protection is a form of interference, inviting ruin. He's already implied that sheltering heretics is dealing with devils, although that requires acceptance that heretics are 'minions of Satan.' Even if that's true, I don't think the provision extends to unknowingly dealing with servants of demons, except to the most ultra-conservative and paranoid thinker.

The point is that the scope of the "remedy" for the challenge is overly broad to the point of infringing on the code- it doesn't just require him to get rid of a few incidental Cathars, but to refrain from ever working with Cathars again, including potential allies of the order. It requires a change of belief (which arguably is not even possible) and to avoid a large set of beliefs which may prevent the magus from entering a mystery cult. As such it is entirely reasonable to ask the tribunal to level a fine on the challenging magus for bringing forth this challenge.

Let me just say, forcing people to conform to the rules of the church doesn't sound like a very Tytalus thing to do. Their whole shtick is that the rules of society are artificial and arbitrary, trying to force a position that everyone needs to follow sounds like something that would only be done ironically.

Both sides of certamen are supposed to have equal stakes involved. What does Obnitius Mulinus agree to do if he loses certamen?

He's looking to start a fight, or a lot of fights.

Joia calls him on that in her response, says that he's clearly looking for an excuse for a Wizard's War, and offers to await him in her Garden.

The player mage quaesitor's initial response to the exchange of letters (the Qs were copied), was "This mage has a strange idea of what you can do with certamen." Well, yes. Magi are as prone to poorly formed social and legal opinions as anyone; and the point was to start a fight.

Do you need an excuse for Wizards War?

But it looks better, and might stop other people from declaring on you pre-emptively.

In this situation, Joia should call the Tytalus on his antics and contact her allies, covenant sodales and anyone she knows has any support for the Cathars to counter-declare. The Tytalus' move is legal under the Code, but it's likely to look like transparent bullying.

The Quaesitores should realize that this is essentially politicking. The Tytalus is trying to create a casus belli that other magi will accept, and the concern of the Quaesitores should be "Is this trick going to endanger the Order?" If their judgment is no, they should say "your certamen demand is not going to fly if you push it at Tribunal" and leave it at that - it's not their job to sort out individual disputes. If they think that the declaration is going to set off another Schism War between pro- and anti-Cathar factions, then they should order the Tytalus to cease and desist on pain of Wizard's March for endangering the Order. (The latter is highly unlikely unless the Tribunal is already a silo waiting for a spark.)