Bonisagus Apprentice Appropriation

While working on my campaign, I postulated that some particularly intrigue-desirous Bonisagus magi, working in concert, might be able to tactically denude a rival covenant of apprentices.

What is a meaningful recourse for the covenant that loses the apprentices? Is it possible to put some sort of "poison pill" PeMe spell with a watching ward and still avoid a breach of the Code if the apprentice agrees?

Wizards war. No sane or well connected covenant would stand for this.

Agreed, in principal if not in detail.

In theory, no Boni' would do this just out of spite, or for mere political advantage. It would have to be a "higher purpose", something that would either prevent a political disaster or a Hermetic catastrophe. In theory.

In practice, humans are less than perfect, and susceptible to the 7 deadly sins, esp (here) things like envy, pride, or wrath, among the others.

If the victimized magi/covenant wanted justice, they would have to "prove" that the Boni's acted beyond the bounds of their discretion - and since that is not defined by The Code, that would be a tough row to hoe.

As far as a putting a magical dead-man switch on an apprentice, no need for their agreement - they're the property of the Parens, soul and body. Perhaps a Waiting Spell, with a huge PeVi attatched, to erase The Gift? (There are more subtle options, that might result in the return of the apprentice. MuMe with a duration? ReVi? Many options, many avenues to consider...)

But then, the Boni's have legal recourse, as the previous Parens could be charged with not living up to their part of the Oath - to respect the Boni's right to an apprentice should their needs require them.

And there lies the rub - can the Bonisagus show that they had just cause to co-opt this apprentice - or do they even need to? One would hope that this house is above mere political maneuvering and petty sniping, but...

A good enemy is a gift to any Saga.

In one supplement, I think it was Truel Lineages, there was a case of a Boni that had taken something like 7 apprentices from other magi in 10 years or so. They all died after a short time. The ex-parens complained to tribunal and the bonisagus defended saying that it was due to the highly dangerous research he was conducting. The tribunal declared the Bonisagus kosher from an Oath point of view

Next new moon he found 7 wizard war declarations on his doorstep.

If tribunal does no justice for you, there is a BIG recourse to take justice on your own hands in the code. In that sense the Order is quite a Far West kind of organization



Is wizard's war the only (or most effective) way to duke this out? Because if the Bonisagus magi are relatively powerful (or, in this case, might have some other advantages, being Aquam specialists and the covenant they're victimizing gets most of its supplies by sea trade), the magi just have to take it.

You do not need to even go to the covenant to kick the bonisagus' butt.

You might be surprised how fast the other magi of the covenant of the bonisagus start to look at him in distaste when you make it clear to them (by official redcap letter) that the sinking of the third ship of theirs (and the 2 previous ones) is only caused because they are sheltering the moron that is the bonisagus and that if they expell the magus from the covenant you will have no qualms with them. They might tretailate but you havge a stronger ground here.

Talking with them so that they allow you to smack the bonisagus tends to work well. No sane magus of a covenant wants HIS work disrupted because the bonisagus in his covenant is a total jerk.



Other way around. The Bonisagi are relatively powerful and not a singular unpopular mage, so they can cause significant trouble should a Wizard's War be declared.

If the victimized covenant is less powerful, then their next recourse would likely be to go get their bigger, meaner older brother. If there are any Tremere in the victimized covenant, this would likely take the form of a very strongly worded letter from Coeris, followed by Wizards War if it's ignored. If there are any Flambeau, the "meaner older brother" could be a squad of hoplites who need some good off-time. Even if they really have no other friends, the victemized covenant could blow all of their Vis reserves hiring a professional duelist.

I don't know if your question is truly hypothetical or if this is a problem you are encountering in your saga. In any event, there is rarely an in-game problem that cannot be solved through some ingenuity. To do otherwise is just bad game design. Players encounter enough unsolvable, intractable problems in real life, they shouldn't have them in the game. In a well-designed game, there should never be a bad guy without an Achilles' heel. Finding that heel might be the subject of the entire saga, but there should always be something.

If you really and truly cannot touch the guy, I'd go with the local Flambeau and hire him for all your vis for ten years to take this guy out. It's not a very satisfying solution, but it gets the job done. I'm sure there is something that the PCs can do to counter this if nothing other than recruiting their own Bonisagus to be the nominal parens of all the apprentices in the covenant thereby insulating them from the Vultur Bonisagi.

My interest is more than hypothetical, but it's not the player covenant that would have the problem.

As my signature shows, I'm involved in a ridiculously ambitious Roman Tribunal saga. The saga includes a hefty, hefty dose of Tribunal politics.

Part of that ridiculous ambitiousness is planning future conflicts between non-player covenants game decades in advance so they can suck in the player covenant no later than the time they get to Tribunal. To that end, I'm looking at what would reasonably happen within the fourteen years from the end of one dissatisfying tribunal to the third tribunal when it's possible open Wizard's War has broken out and is imperiling other unrelated covenants.

Why not locking the apprentice away in your sanctum? If he mentions the apprentice, get him for scrying!

Why withold apprentices from the Bonisagi? It is for the good of the Order, is it not? Besides, apprentices are like children. They are a constant pain and a drain on resources until they grow up, and then they move on without graditude. I say you are better off with the Bonisagus magi taking the little buggers off of your hands.

In the opinion of the B's, yes, but whether others would agree is a diff matter. And TP's premise was not purely selfless...

"...some particularly intrigue-desirous Bonisagus magi, working in concert, might be able to tactically denude a rival covenant of apprentices."

So, in a very tangible sense, they are conducting their own Wiz's War against this Covenant, only using the Oath as a shield to do so.

Respect for that, your effort alone should make the saga most enjoyable.

So... in politics, when a small, helpless body is being bullied by a larger, more powerful body, and there is no justice, what are the options? The sad alternative is... terrorism. Or at least "unconventional warfare", in some form or another.

Do they have a town/specialists they are in charge of, and/or rely on? Start whittling away at that, and see how they do when their mundane support is gone.

You say these clowns are popular? They have allies, formal or no? Not if everywhere they go they bring mayhem in the form of a feud. Use the above tactic on others townsfolk whenever these Boni's come to visit. Use propoganda to undermine their reputation. They will not be popular for long, and we are talking a 7-year strategy here, two actually.

And all the while, maintain an outward, public face of calm and appeasement, never show anger to the Order.

The apprentices are all being claimed? Overload them - the victimized covenant develops a plan to start claiming sub-standard apprentices and keeping their lack-of-talent secret - and the more, the merrier. Somewhere in there, perhaps, a real apprentice is hidden, but the Boni's end up with more than they want, and they are bound, by their Oath, to train them all.

Meanwhile, this is led with an old-fashioned propaganda campaign among the academic community, that any mundane who helps these magi will meet a horrible end - maybe even true. The Boni's find it harder and harder to meet their obligations, and NO one, especially not "intrigue-desirous" magi, are so popular that they do not have some jealous rival, someone whose toes have been stepped on.

And/or, use Mao's famous wisdom - "When the enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue."

Find out what interests they have. Create diversions that will isolate one for a season and announce a Wizards War against only one of them at a time, hopefully when they are away from the others and "home". Constant WW's will wear them down, and if they can actually pick one off, legally, the others may seek a compromise.

If a 3rd party, such as a Flambeau, does the deed and claims the loot, their options at retaliation are more limited.

Find a Boni' with an apprentice, one outside this clique, and bring them in to the covenant. I may be wrong, but I don't believe B's can claim from each other, that's not how the Oath is read.

Or, just hire the Flambeau - that works too.

  1. No more lab assistant - the extra bonuses can really add up...
  2. No more friend/family/confidant - other than the familar, a magus really doesn't have anybody to call family. Unless the magi has Gentle Gift, their birth-family probably doesn't want anything to do with them. My understanding is that magi usually don't marry...
  3. No one to carry on your legacy - once the magus starts taking Longevity Rituals they become sterile, so no sons (or daughters) to carry on your life's work after you're gone.
  4. Your apprentice is your property - this amounts to legalized theft. Kinda like Emminent Domain in the US... only in this case the Bonisagus magus doesn't have to give fair compensation.

Hmm... that sound like a good house-rule: The Bonisagus Magi may take anyone's apprentice but they have to give him fair compensation (usually in pawns of Vis)

That will keep quasitores up all night. The fair amount is harder to specify then nothing at all...

1 pawn per season of training the apprentice has undergone would settle the issue easily.

I like the "flood them with incompwetents" idea. It is wicked :smiling_imp: