It all depends on the Peripheral Code of the Tribunal
How would you rule on the following situations where a Hermetic magus is accused of interfering with mundanes:
A Hermetic magus uses their Divination & Augury (Astrology) powers to aid a local mundane lord while posing as an astrologer. There is no other Hermetic magic involved and no other evidence that the individual is a Hermetic magus.
A Hermetic magus uses their considerable skill in Artes Liberales (Astronomy) and an Astrological Inception formulae (see Art & Academe, pages 72-74) to aid a mundane lord while posing as an astrologer. Again there is no Hermetic magic involved (as an explanation Astrological Inceptions are considered science and not magic under ArM5 paradigm - see Art & Academe) and no other evidence that the individual is a Hermetic magus.
In neither case does the aid involve scrying upon or limiting the magic of another Hermetic magus either directly or indirectly.
Has the magus violated the Code in either of these scenarios?
I'd appreciate it if you could comment on your vote and discuss whether you think there are any Tribunal specific variations.
"I will not endanger the Order through my actions. Nor will I interfere with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruins upon my sodales. "
Killing a King with a simple dagger is violating the code. It does not matter if you use magic or not, some other powers or even your muscles.
In both cases, since there is no evidence of what you have done, how could your action bring danger on the Order ? This is the real question. If no problems to a mage or the Order came from it, there is no case.
Notice that "working as a court wizard is a violation of the Code." p. 14.
So the aid needed to be given in a way it was clear it was not from an inferior to a superior.
I voted "Both scenarios violate the code", but it depends on the circumstances and Peripheral Code.
If, as noted, the action truly has no impact whatsoever on the Order then it is only in violation if the Peripheral Code will see it as a) working as a Court Wizard, or b) meddling in mundane affairs. I think the first is highly likely, as the astrologer certainly worked in subservience for the noble (if only briefly). The second is more iffy, depending on the political and economic ramifications - generally in most Tribunals I think as presented it won't be counted as interference.
I would note that it is virtually guaranteed that, in practice, the situation will get complicated, the magus will be identified as one, and in some way someone in the Order will be harmed by the whole affair.
[size=75]... such as trying to strangulate the king with one's own bare hands..?
Even if the king is still in his minority and his realm is governed by a triumvirate, bringing a fury-suffering apprentice into the presence of the king is not recommendable... especially if he's touchy when it comes to his obesity (ending in one kid trying to strangle the other while the maga tried to clean up the mess).[/size]
In terms of the thread at hand, I agree with Iudicium and Yair - regardless of the means used he is in danger of breaking the Code.
I voted that scenario 1 violates the code, but as YR7 said, its very tricky to say definetly.
You could also more or less avoid #1 violating the code by having a formal contract that for example says that the "astrologer" cant be ordered to do anything(ie he isnt subservient to anyone but CHOOSES when and how he gives anyone any assisstance).
Still edgy, and as noted, in the long run still likely to cause problems but might be enough to avoid directly breaking the rules..
Both scenarios violate the code, though only weakly, as they both fall under the heading of "Court Wizard"ly behaviour. Were the magus at all revealed to be a member of the Order, however, then they would be major violations of the code as they're both clearly interfering with the mundanes and putting the Order as subservient to temporal powers and involved in politics, thus endangering other covenants.
On the other hand, as long as the magus is careful and doesn't get caught, the use of Artes Liberales (or magic disguised as such) won't generate any bad press or be associated with the Order so it's unlikely to reach a tribunal unless the magus has interested enemies. The use of obviously magical means, however, might cause problems as any sufficiently powerful magic will be linked in the right minds to the Order, either as theirs or their enemy's.
For both scenarios I think the answer is "yes and no." The magus is clearly interfering in mundane affairs, which is prohibited by the Code even if there's no Hermetic magic involved. But in neither case does there appear to be any danger to the Order or other magi. So if the matter were to be brought before a Tribunal much would depend on how those present chose to interpret the mundanes clause in the Code, how much they liked the magus and what side of bed they'd all woken up on that morning.
I voted "it depends on the Peripheral code". I don't believe this is an explicit violation of the code, but it may be a "low crime" and I'd be surprised if several Tribunals didn't have rulings against Astrology to aid mundanes.
Of course, the real answer is, "it depends on how many friends the charged magus has."
Your typical mundane nobleman doesn't make the clear distinction between a natural philosopher and a Hermetic Magus that the Order does. To him they are all wizards. As such, both of the cases listed have the mage acting as a "court wizard."
This being the case, the peripheral code will determine whether or not the mage went too far.
If the mage had used a middleman (the information, therefore, not seeming to come from him), it would probably not be a problem unless some ramification of the information provided invoked the "ruin on my sodales" clause...
Thank you all for your replies and particularly your comments.
It's interesting the pattern of comments being pretty much all or nothing - most people seem to view the potential for the act violating the mundane interference clause, regardless of whether magic is used or not.
The reason I brought this up is I can envision that to many mundanes / the nobility, the method used to arrive at astrological advice (magical vs Artes Liberales based) is an immaterial detail. The possibility of a Hermetic magus advising a noble under cover as an "astrologer", not specifically a "court wizard" (I believe a distinction could be made by a persuasive Hermetic advocate in defense) would be an interesting source of Story ideas and may not be that uncommon in certain Tribunals in particular eras.
There are 2 Peripheral Code rulings from Lion & the Lily, page 26 that are worth considering here (excepted just the important bits):
"885... Maga Adela .... was accused of acting as a "court wizard' .... the accusation was brought by a magus with whom she had a long-standing feud, and there was no evidence to suggest any risk to the Order... The maga was acquitted"
and in regard to the use of a Perdo enchanted sword by a Flambeau magus to cut down mundane enemies:
"1116... The Tribunal ruled that, since there was no evidence to mundane eyes, that magic was involved, there was no charge to answer."
I think these are interesting in regard to my question above, particularly as these are rulings from the more central Normandy tribunal, rather than a more peripheral and supposedly lawless Tribunal.
Per the Normandy book, Fudarus doesn't join until after the Schism War and is actually part of the Brittanian Tribunal (which splits to form Hibernioa, Stonehenge and Loch Leglean IIRC).
Rhine and Greate Alps certainly wouldn't tolerate this.
Iberia on the other hand....
(I mean if Normandy can get away with this, somewhere like Iberia or the Levant where Astrology etc is more commonplace would certainly have faced this issue early on and potentially hand-waved it away or ignored this part of the Code completely)