Case 10: When Wizards' Wars Went Wrong

I see it differently, Gorax conducted a Wizard's War indiscriminately. Yes, he killed Antonius, but in the process he created a mess. The three magi were under no requirement to politely inquire Gorax as to his further intentions. You're saying that this is an act of retribution. I'm saying this is an act of self-defense, a castle doctrine issue, if you will.

"Gorax should have declared Wizard's War 'gainst the entire Covenant, for that is what his actions were." opines Alexei Von Kroitsau ex Flambeau. "He attacked the entirety of the tower, not only was it not marked as his enemy's sanctum, but due to their long standing grudge it is logical that he knew the entire tower was not his alone. Thus when he attacked the tower, he knowingly attacked the tower entire, thus declaring his hostility to the Covenant, and forfeiting his immunity, both to the deceased Magus by way of Wizard's War, and his Covenmates by attacking their property. If he had made his hostility known to the Covenant we would not be discussing it now as a legal matter."

"Having said that, a facet of the law or perhaps the Charters of one's Covenant should wisely include provisions for this. If one is beligerant to another Magus and situates their Sanctum in such a place as to make it unassailable without attacking the Covenant, then they, the Covenant and its members, invite this kind of attack. While their Covenmates become embroiled in this, they should take steps according to the means within their Charter to mitigate their antagonistic Covenmate. Were I to harass another to the point of Wizard's War, I should endeavor to meet them more openly, as my Founder always intended. Some may scoff at such antiquities, but it would prevent just this kind of case. In this case it seems to me that the deceased in his tower knowingly put the tower; the Covenant's property at risk, and yet thought nothing of engaging in this war."

The grogs concerned were the three grogs not on duty that night. Antonius grog was with him in his sanctum, but was miraculously thrown clear in the collapse. Two other grogs were by the gate, and one other grog (with a crossbow) was stationed on the roof of the second tower, but took no action at all for fear of becoming involved unlawfully in the Wizard's War.

My apologies - it was Valeria. My mistake. Sorry for the confusion!

They don't :slight_smile: They have no way as far as I know to distinguish between the two combinations. I could be wrong, but I do not believe that which is the form and which si the requisite can be told apart by the standard test to identify a Hermetic Formulaic spell. Great point oneshot!

cj x

So Gorax attacked and - i presume - killed grogs not personally assigned to Antonius, but to other magi or the covenant in general. I further presume that these grogs had no chance to act before the tower collapsed upon them: so no argument can be made, that Gorax was endangered by their actions. This all still needs to be verified carefully, of course - but provides serious arguments that Gorax indeed did not show the necessary discrimination when waging Wizard's War in another covenant.

The next issue to ascertain is now, whether there was any communication between Gorax, Clara, Valeria and Heironymous during the attack on the tower, or immediately afterwards, and if so, how it went.


And in medieval times, proof was pretty much established by testimony, not material facts. So if the three defendants all testify that they believed that Gorax was continuing his attack, that is proof by the standards of the time.

If one of the three defendants (Clara perhaps?) gave a clean testimony endorsed by a Quaesitor, that should indeed settle it. Without an endorsement, there is the strong suspicion of coordinated statements.


She's not required to give "clean" testimony. She gives testimony, she can lie if she chooses, and she's not required to be under the inspection of any Intellego Mentem spells. She can be cross-examined, too. Magi who do give testimony under Intellego Mentem effects, such as Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie might sway those who aren't sure, such as yourself. But she may never be compelled to do so by a Quaesitor.

Out of curiosity, who initially reported that Gorax was killed and the circumstances of his death?

And, cj.23, do you really think this is still a relatively straightforward case? :smiley:

That's utterly trivial. And we had it already. My point was quite another, responding to:

Deciding a Tribunal trial in the case of the death of a magus by testimony of defendants alone, without questioning grogs, documenting the site and gathering evidence there, and without solid isolated cross-examination of the defendant magi (nothing of which has been done so far), would require endorsed testimony - or would strongly smell of kangaroo court.


A particularly crotchety old Flambeau magus stands up and says, "Self-defense is not evident to me. They survived the attack without engaging defensive magics and while the collateral damage from the attack wounded them and should have been compensated for (perhaps including Gorax's life) it should have been decided by this body and not on thier own. The counter-attack, while laudably efficient, came after the War was legally prosecuted and revenge VIA Wizard's War is perfectly acceptable to my way of thinking, they did not even think to explore this option. Had they done so, or brought a case here, I assure you that I would have been on thier side and not the other."

As he is talking, he glows redder and redder. Little flames start sprouting all over his robe and the staff he is holding has grown in temperature so much that the air around it is shimmering.

"As it stands, Gorax's lack of precision was awful and demonstrates lack of maturity. I would have voted the maximum compensation and likely for March if it vcame to that. But these young louts make a mockery of Wizard's War and I'm worried that the law will follow them if we are not careful. The inability to seek revenge inside the law will lead to seeking revenge outside it. The law should be a sheild for the just and the weak, not a redoubt for cowards. I say we vote they have violated thier oath and then discuss appropriate punishment."

When he finishes, a large cracking sound is heard as the granite flagstone he is standing on snaps due to heat stresses. Some hear him mumble, "Sorry about the stone. Send me the chamberlain so I pay for the damage."

We already clarified, as a matter of fact, that the building destroyed was not the sanctum of Antonius. His sanctum was contained therein. I/Sophronia don't/doesn't care about the lab. The building though, is property of another magus (magi) damaged in the course of a Wizard's War. Are the three magi required to inquire politely as to Gorax's further intentions, when he has demonstrated that he is incapable of prosecuting a Wizard's War with precision?
If cj.23's opening description is accurate, it certainly suggests that Gorax destroyed the building to destroy the sanctum and magus therein.
If you're going to come into a covenant guns blazing, and try and be a BAMF and take out a building, expect a response with deadly force. The last message Sophronia wants to send in this tribunal is that you can come in, destroy a building and then say, "Oh, excuse me, I didn't mean to do that, I'm sorry, can we move this to Tribunal so I can be tried for my crimes?" That's just a really bad precedent. :smiley:

Alexei scowls at the vulgar, but perhaps inadvertant display, as well as the conclusion of the old Flambeau.

"I were this to happen on your Covenant's grounds, affecting a building that had valuables, perhaps people in it that were callously targeted by a wizard to get at one of your wouldn't respond immediately?

"For while Gorax did follow law of Wizard's War in the prosecution, he went too far when he targeted the entire tower. And the slain magus lacked common sense and endangered his Covenmates by remaining in a sanctum that made its assault an assault on the Covenant. And the three magi being charged should have taken steps before that night to protect their property. But the slain magus and the three being charged, did not commit a crime! The one who committed the crime was Gorax with his assault that affected more than the sanctum of his enemy. The other magi could reasonably believe the attack was going to continue or get worse and so since Gorax forfeited his immunity, they were within their rights to stop him, including killing him. I feel that all 5 of the magi were not displaying proper wisdom during a Wizard's War, but only one actually committed a crime, that being Gorax. This talk of questioning the Grogs or even the deceased Grogs seems to me unnecessary. The only way I would see that this killing was revenge based would be if an appreciable amount of time had passed. If done at the heat of the moment as it was, it seems clearly self-defense. Could the three have done otherwise? Perhaps waited, spoken with Gorax? Yes they could have. But they were not required to, and their response does not seem to me a crime.

"You speak of law, as do I, but also wisdom. If the assaulted Covenant had provisions that those in Wizard's War must conduct it away from the Covenant proper, but perhaps still within the Aegis, this wouldn't have happened. If the two magi in the war had decided to meet and complete this war with honour in open duel, this would have likely been avoided also, and the winner would enjoy the glory and prize for his victory."

OOC--glad people are picking up on this

The old Flambeau grins slightly and the heat abates somewhat. "This is precisely my point. I agree Gorax was wrong and that is not in dispute. What I am bringing to question is the judgment of these young pups in, if you will pardon the expression, the heat of the monent. They're judgement was, on mature reflection, poor lacked sufficient defensive-mindedness in that they did not think to remove themselves from harm so they could either strike after tactical review should the "covenant attack scenario" be bourne out or call in the Queasitors and Hoplites should Gorax have been, as I believe, simply crude and careless."

What is particularly disturbing to me, though, is the possibility that they deliberately kept themselves close to the target of a Wizard's War in the hopes of providing him with sheiding via thethier (in my estimation) misunderstanding of the COde. FOrming a de facto defensive pact against a Wizard's War violates the spirit of the Oath." And if they did not, why weret they so stupid as to stand next to him against an appearently accomplished Terram magus. But then, I suppose, idiocy is not a crime according to the Oath..." This last he directs at the accused...

Well, others might call that a well run Tribunal. Like the Quaesitor who states: "The Tribunal will weigh up any claim of forfeit immunity in the light of the actions of both parties." :sunglasses: Which of course requires particular care if a magus was killed.

Yes, even rambunctious Normandy Tribunal prohibits raiders from damaging "the physical buildings of the covenant itself." But destroying buildings and killing grogs is at best a Low Crime, while killing a magus outside of Wizards' March or War is a High Crime, unless it can be shown that either his immunity under Hermetic Law was forfeit to the highest degree, or an accident occurred that nobody was responsible for.

I do expect that the defendants in our case would like to convince the Tribunal of the latter.

Totally, OOC, as Sophronia already stated this in character...

Open and shut, IMO. Again, the duty is on the magus conducting the Wizard's War to conduct that war with all due care.
Woe be unto him should he leave himself an opening through which he might legally be slain. The accused are under no compulsion to prove what their intent was, when the fact is that Gorax destroyed their property held in common.

Of course,

And further up on the page...

I don't dispute that others might not see it as justified. But the facts of the case tend to favor the defendants. Their intent is not a question of fact for the jury. They responded to an illegal attack on their property, and they are under no responsibility, under the Code, to inquire "Mr. Gorax, excuse us, bur are you quite finished with your attack?"
Wizard's War is a choice. So, I guess the last mater of fact that this line leads me to is this: who declared the War?
And even then, it is more likely that if Gorax declared the War, that the majority of the Tribunal would favor the defendants. If Antonious decalred the Wizard's War, it's unlikely to sway opinion one way or another...

Of course - as "a matter of degree".

This would IMO be a very bad defense for them, as they would have responded to a serious Low Crime with the ultimate High Crime, by killing a magus.
Fortunately it is not their defense. Instead they claim that Gorax was accidentally drowned by a spell used to extinguish the fire he had caused on the library roof, when other defendants tried to restrain him. if that is proven - and the ways to prove it have been discussed - they can be acquitted completely, or fined by the Tribunal according to their part of responsibility for that accident. And given the lack of consideration Gorax has shown by collapsing the tower under Antonius's lab, their responsibility may be judged small or negligible.

OOC -- Ah, well the problem for me is that the SG has embargoed the HoH:TL book for our saga so I did not get the reference. Kind of fun to play it out, though, or rehash it if we say that it was only applicable in one Tribunal. Anyway, if no one wants to play that through, then I withdaw. Thanks for playing!

It's certainly possible that, much like Normandy allows hermetic banditry against covenants, so long as it doesn't include vis, or other items directly used in the practice of magic, other Tribunals have extremely strict interpretations and bizarre understanding of what constitutes a legal response.
It may very well be that, the magi of this Tribunal must inquire as to whether or not he's done attacking. And then he must assist and be prosecuted as he may. I think that borders on silly. I'm the rather rare liberal democrat who owns a gun, and if you invade my house, my first inquiry will not be with words, but with lead. I would expect to interrogated by police afterward, and perhaps a DA to determine whether I need to be prosecuted, but more than likely that charge for homicide would not be filed. My entire premise is based on that. Castle doctrine is pretty well established, and I would expect it to be even expected in the middle ages.

No, but quite simply, a magus who just collapsed a tower in an attempt to kill a magus with whom he is engaged in a Wizard's War. He's still casting spells. What steps do you want them to take, that are reasonable to take? Wait for his spell (that was possibly the same spell that brought down Antonius's tower) to finish being cast, or act to stop him?

Ah, I don't think most magi have the knowledge of the Code that reading HOH:TL would give one. So not having access to that book in no way invalidates ones opinions: the Presiding Quaesitor after all, not the strict wording of the Code, is the final authority on the interpretation of the Code unless the case is referred to Grand Tribunal. I can see this one going all the way to Grand Tribunal though! Keep arguing your case Verticius! :slight_smile: It was intended to be ambiguous - the facts are not really in dispute, the guilt of Gorax's killers is...

cj x