So, an "interesting" discussion has arisen, regarding those two aspects of Hermetic existance, "Certamen" vs "Covenant Charters".
Using the Arae Flaviae Charter as a base*, our intrepid group of magi set out to create our own Charter, and a Spring covenant.
(* The link will not autowrap, so to avoid breaking the thread it has been broken into two parts; cut and paste the entire URL into your browswer window)
220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:4QF ... -games.com
The following questions arose- can a mage use Certamen to force another mage to vote a certain way in Covenant Council Meetings? (At first glance, "yes") But then, can a Covenant Charter ban such activity, or at least discourage it?
The relevant arguements went like this:
Pro Certamen:o It's an inalienable right of all magi.
o It's supported by the Peripheral Code (PC)
o It is necessary and desirable in order to avoid escalated conflict.Pro Charter ban:o Covenant Charters expand on the Code and/or expand/limit the PC all the time.
o Allowing Certamen in Council votes could undermine a Covenant
o Tribunals support the PC, but also Covenant rights.There are two phrases in the AF Charter that seem to support the latter:
"...a full member of the covenant shall be entitled to the full rights of the covenant; to whit, the right to presence and a vote in the Council of Members, which he shall exercise dutifully with due prudence."
It could be argued that losing your vote in Certamen does not demonstrate "due prudence", nor are they, actually, excercising their vote. (This is no slam dunk, ymmv, hence this thread.) (It could also be argued that enacting Certamen breeches promises of Covenant support etc, but let's ignore that for now.)
"Conversely, the rulings of the council cannot be overturned by an individual."
So, this ~claims~ that a single individual, via certamen or any other method, could not cause all the voting magi to change their votes and overturn a ruling.
It was pointed out that if a mage, strong in Certamen, could do this, then what is to stop that mage from legally and personally challenging any aspect of a charter as they pleased?
Otoh, if a Covenant can ban Certamen under some instances, what is to prevent it from doing so otherwise?
Many Covenant Charters include clauses that could be interpreted as "depriving a mage of his magical power" (tithing of vis found, involuntary duty to the covenant, censure and loss of Sanctum) - are these then presumptuous (ie, "technically illegal") as well?
Now (wait, it gets better!), if a Covenant did ban Certamen in the Council Vote, and a mage did invoke his right to use it, then the Covenant Council could sanction him under the Charter within their power, but that mage, in turn, could then bring them to the Tribunal on Charges of violating his rights to Certamen under the Peripheral Code!
But!... (and here I start to feel like the Sicilian "Genius" in Princess Bride...) ...If the Tribunal supports this complaint, then, since the plaintiff voluntarily signed the Charter, what good is any oath subsequent to the Hermetic Oath, since any subsequent promise or agreement between magi can be sidestepped by simply claiming Certamen, and winning?
Essentially, as I see it, it comes down to this: which is more important- a magi's right to Certamen, or a Covenant's right to govern itself as it will?
Any insights or opinions are welcome, but, as always, those supported by canon citations are more valued.