Hello, everyone. Today I have a couple of questions concerning the Code of Hermes and the extent to which it should be applied.
First question: is there official legal precedent in Ars Magica for the Hermetic, secular, and canonical laws regarding territory disputes where regiones are concerned? From what I understand, regiones are effectively pocket dimensions. As such, if a covenant is founded within a regio whose previously unknown gate lies soundly within a noble's undisputed territory, does the noble have a secular or Hermetic claim to that covenant's territory? If a covenant builds within a previously unknown regio whose gate is located within St. Peter's Basilica, does the pope have a Hermetic or canonical claim on their lands? If a covenant builds within another covenant's regio, but on a higher level, does the second covenant have legal Hermetic claim on the first covenant's lands?
Second question: to what extent are magi allowed to legally defend themselves from the mundane nobility without being marched? To what extent does the clause "Nor will I interfere with the affairs of mundanes" permit noblemen to bully magi into compliance? The core rulebook states on page 15:
Few nobles are stupid enough to mount a direct assault on a covenant, and those who are tend to die, but equally any covenant that deliberately wiped out a noble rival would be hauled before Tribunal and Marched, post-haste.
This implies that if a noble were to invade a covenant, the magi would be marched for crushing the invaders in self-defense. This seems to put magi in a very precarious situation, where they must dance to the nobility's whims, and shrewd nobles knowledgeable in the Code of Hermes could weaponize the Code against magi. This could render the entire law self-defeating: "Do what I say, or I attack; and if you defend yourselves from my attack, you'll be marched." That just sounds like swearing an oath of fealty but with extra steps.
Third question: is brutal treatment of harmless faeries considered a violation of the "molesting the faeries" clause? A few of my players have floated the idea of finding, kidnapping, and enslaving brownie faeries to serve as a cheap workforce that needs not sleep, food, or shelter. Brownies have no recorded lore of summoning righteous fury upon ne'er-do-wells, and since that is not within their glamour's programming it is unlikely they will be seeing powerful faeries causing problems.
The troupe has also floated the idea of kidnapping whole communities of faeries in order to imprison them within wards and slowly siphon their vis. Since Might Score slowly regenerates, they figure that so long as they don't siphon the faeries to death or allow them to escape, they will have near infinite sources of vis with a large enough menagerie of faeries. In such a case, is the "molesting the faeries" clause only violated if one of the faeries escapes and wreaks havoc on their sodales? Or is the very act of imprisoning and siphoning them of vis the violation?