Confess Your Crimes: Ideas for Hermetic Legal Cases

Trying to come up with a list of legal cases that might be heard at tribunal.

Interfering with Mundanes
Valarious of Verditus: Valarious, a Gently Gifted Magus, used a magic broach to alter his form. While deceiving the tribunal with his altered form, he used his arts to create an alternative identity for his true form. With this identity Valarious took holy orders. Upon appointment to a benefices Valarious created a number of items to increase the earnings of his office. With these funds Valarious both lobbied and bribed his way to higher office. In holding these offices Valarious used his arts to create a number of false relics in order to increase his income. Further, Valarious engaged in a campaign of scrying on his ecclesiastical enemies. These action resulted in his rise from Bishop to Archbishop to Cardinal. In order to secure greater hermetic wealth, Valarious then had members of a monastic house trained in Magic Theory then set them to copying hermetic books-including books on the Parma Magica. Having a falling out with the pope Valarious declared Vendetta. In return for a longevity potion supplied by Valarious, a fellow prelate arranged for the poisoning of the pontiff. Carrying with him items of virtue enchanted to increase his persuasive ability in the resulting conclave, Valarious attempted to be named pope. Failing this he swung his support behind the current pontiff and is now a member of the papal curia.

Defense: Valarious contends that he comes from an established Venetian family. Formal training in both Canon Law and Theology and the University of Paris provide adequate mundane credentials for his office. Use of magic items to increase income is common among covenants. Further, the Parma Magica is only operable by a gifted individual. Where is an individuals with the Gift less likely to be found than in a high Dominion Aura? What possible mundane scribe is less likely to steal a tome than a monk with vows of silence, poverty and obedience? The assassination of the Pope was simply an outgrowth of Church politics, this is not the first Pope to meet his end by a human hand. Further, these accusations understate the prevalence of enchanted items among members of the high clergy. Valarious was not the only member of the conclave with items of virtue. Given his position, a march would be more likely to endanger the order than leaving Valarious in his current position.

Outcome: Marched for Interfering with Mundanes. Valarious escaped immediate execution in apparently died in the shipwreck taking a large selection of texts, as well as a substantial amount of vis and silver with him. A reward has been offered to anyone who can confirm his death.

Murder of a Magus
Sarah of Flambeau: The Hoplite Sarah of Flambeau (using baptismal name of Sarah) is accused of murdering Abraxas of Tytalus by multiple applications of a Pilum of Fire as he undertook his research.

Defense: Sarah contains that she was notified of a magus murdering children in the woods near her covenant. Investigating she found a number of children either dead or dying as a result of Perdo Aquam effects used to remove the watery humors from their bodies. Concluding that this evidenced infernal involvement, the hoplite then killed the offending Magus.

Outcome: Removed from Hoplite status and fined one rook of vis.[b]

Nonpayment of Vis[/b]
Sarah of Flambeau: Is accused by Abrasax filius Abraxas of Tytalus of not paying one rook of vis owed him as a result of successfully prosecuting her for the murder of his parens.
Defense: "I am not paying anything to that [expletive]."
Outcome: Fine annulled. Ordered to make amends by assisting the Tribunals Hoplites.

Diedne Magic
The Archmaga Sarah of Flambeau: Abrasax of Tytalus avows that Sarah's grandparens was an apprentice to a Diedne magus awarded to a member of House Flambeau in a legal action prior to the Schism. Further, the archmaga is accused by Abrasax of Tytalus of forming a mystery cult known as the Knights of the Red Branch. This cult initiates the the mysteries of Diedne magic while at the same time altering the essential nature of it's members so that they may not tell of the groups crimes (initiate Essential Virtue: Knight of the Red Branch +3).

Defense: It is true that the Knights of the Red Branch exist. The oath sworn by all knights is public and clearly states that diabolism is not covered the groups oath of secrecy. The knights are not diabolists nor is she. Sarah asserts that, without commenting upon the groups mysteries, that an inexperience magus might well mistake certain combat magics – such as fast cast formulaic spells – for use of the Diedne arts. While her oath prohibit her from describing the groups mysteries she is able to state that the group sees the Red Branch as the Pilum of Fire. Diedne seem unlikely to agree with this interpretation.

Counterclaim: Abrasax scryed on the Archmaga Sarah of Flambeau in order to steal the secret of a mystery cult.

Outcome: Abrasax ordered to pay one rook of vis to Sarah of Flambeau.

Hiding from Wizards War
Abrasax of Tytalus: Has gone into hiding so as not to be served by a declaration of War by the Archmega Sarah of Flambeau.

Defense: Defendant absent.

Outcome: Appointment of a Quaesitor to take service for Abrasax of Tytalus.

Collateral Damage During War
The Archmaga Sarah of Flambeau, The Archmagus Ignitio of Flambeau (in extended twilight, probably not final), The Archmagus Vermilius of Tremere (deceased), the Archmagus Pericles of Tremere, Johnathan of Flambeau (deceased), Salamandarius of Flambeau, Abrasax of Tytalus, Berigion of Tytalus (deceased):

In response to the declaration of war by the archmaga Sarah of Flambeau, a noted Creo Magus, Abrasax of Tytalus sought help from the other listed magi. War commenced on the stated purpose of “purging the Diedne taint from house Flambeau.” The sodalis of Abrasax suffered warping, and in some instances twilight, as a result of a group targeted version of The Enigma's Gift. Further damage was suffered by the covenant in the subsequent fighting.

Defense: It is unclear what magi caused what damage.

Outcome: The Archmaga Sarah of Flambeau and Abrasax of Tytalus are hereby banished from the tribunal not to return under pain of death. Sarah was then summoned to appear before the Primus of her house to explain her actions at the next tournament. Upon her arrival the Primus wished her luck avoiding becoming the next Primus and resigned.

Very entertaining!

Only one small suggestion: are there possibly too many archmagi involved in the actual wizards' war?

For tribunal meetings, if the saga is going to be a lengthy one, I'd suggest a few minor disagreements being raised between two or three factions eg over a vis source; or a faerie regio. Then, at each subsequent meeting, make the disagreements more important eg over raids on mundane allies; accusations (without any proof as yet) of scrying. Eventually, the PCs might have to take sides and then either assist in chastising a guilty covenant or be part of a pre-emptive strike, etc.

Giving the PCs an opportunity to vote over events that they think are minor and then become more wide-spread as time goes by and they become more important as magi seems like a nice side-plot.

Don't touch my family!
Par Renatus of Verditius: Par Renatus, another gentle gifted magus of house Verditius (we do exist) stands accused of interference with mundanes. His brother by blood, Renard of Comminges (Par Renatus also being a minor noble with minimal contact with his blood family beyond his brothers) was kidnapped by another nobleman, seeking ransom. Given that said nobleman also employed hedge wizards, and fearing his brother could be used as at minimum a sympathetic connection to him (and frankly, actually liking his brother), Par Renatus promptly gathered his equipment, a suit of armour with appropriate defensive enchantments, a gauntlet with a 10 uses a day build for Pilum of Fire at 0 penitration, and a steel crossbow, and lead a group of grogs to rescue his brother. In doing so, he upset the course of a mundane siege, allowing another nobleman (also distantly related, but frankly that's the nobility for you) to break the siege and turn the course of a war.

Defense: Par Renatus maintains that he felt threatened by the fact his brother is at least a sympathetic connection to him, and that he did not actively use any blatant magic (confirmed by quaisitors. No uses of Pilum of Fire were noted in the aftermath). He also ventures that the code specifies "To the detriment of my sodales" and that his actions have made it clear to hedge wizards that attempting to use blood relatives of magi to gain a connection to them will be retaliated to by force.

Outcome: As yet, unknown (Anyone want to weigh in?)

You may find some inspiration here.

It occurs to me that with the tribunal meeting every 7 years, the Saga of Sara of Flambeau would have taken 35 years to unfold. Unless special tribunals are called to deal with legal issues like this...

I think special tribunals should probably relatively common to decide these things, where the 7 year full tribunal merely ratifies the results.
Praeco: Do we have a motion to ratify the decisions of the Tribunal of 1215?
Magus A: So moved.
Magus B: Seconded.
Praeco: Please signal your vote, aye to ratify, nay to not ratify...
And on it goes for each of the preceeding 6 special annual tribunals.

Tribunals are legal so long as at least 12 magi from 4 different covenants attend... It's a way to make your saga more invested in Hermetic politics, if that's what you want to play. :smiling_imp:

He probably has several defenses:

  1. Claim the noble is not mundane. Just as covenfolk do not get protection since they are not mundane, neither does the lord since he deals with Hedge Wizards. Indeed, one of the fears is that nobles will look for court wizards and make demands of the Order! Killing a noble with court wizards is a service to the order.
  2. Legit Self Defense: The noble was trying to extract a Verdi's property via ransom and has already stolen his brother! If a limited, but blatant magical response is justified by a cask of beer certainly this was justified many times over. Besides nobles shouldn't be harassing the covenfolk anyway and need a firm rebuke when they try.
  3. No harm: As wizardry was not overtly used this cannot come back to haunt the Order. Also note, that if any Hedge Wizard artifacts or texts were taken (or better yet a wizard captured!) these can be used for insights and integration. Surely acquiring these resources is essential to the Order.
  4. Elimination of Enemies of the Order: Assuming Hedge Wizards were slain this can be construed as an attack on the Orders enemies. As they have not joined they must die. We cannot set a precedent that attacking an Enemy of the Order results in punishment because he happened to be in a castle. No one would fight for the Order!

That said... politics. Not all jurists in the Order may care about the law, but instead use their votes selfishly. Voting Blocs could seriously distort the process as well.

Well, that makes me feel somewhat happier about the Order's regard for blood connections :stuck_out_tongue:

It's not a fully formed case if someone hasn't been harmed. Has another magus been harmed as a result of the actions of Par Renatus?

Have his actions endangered the Order, or harmed one of his sodales? Were I the player of Par Renatus, I would be seeking out who was harmed by my actions and then begin digging into their affairs to discredit them. If they were harmed, it is likely that they too were interfering. Yes, it's a case of two wrongs, but in a court of public opinion that sometimes matters...

Interesting reading!

Here's one:

8 years ago, Violetta of Tytalus feuded with Necronius of Bonisagus. He declared wizard's war upon her, and the two sparred magically over the month inconclusively. On the night before the full moon right at the end of the war Neconius explodes in a shower of bloody gore-bits in his lab, to the horror and surprise of his apprentice.

A day later, Violetta arrived at the covenant demanding the possessions of Necronius be turned over to her as her spoils of victory in war, including his lab texts and his apprentice.

Fast-forward to last year. Necronius has reappeared from an extended twilight, discovered his stuff is missing and is now prosecuting Violetta for deprivation of magical power, as she took his possessions from him after the wizard's war had ended.

Another wizard's war case:

Greywing of Bjornaer declared War on Marcus of Merinita, who fled from her. He successfully remained hidden until the last day of the War, until Greywing found him on board a ship in the North Sea (why he had gone to sea when Greywing had a reputation as a formidable auram maga remains unclear to the tribunal, Marcus being in no position to provide an answer). Greywing conjured a storm, and attacked him, but he successfully used illusion magic to make Greywing believe she had killed him when she in fact had not. Greywing departed, and the War's term ended but the storm endured and caused the wreck of the ship and the loss of most of its people, including Marcus.

Marcus' sodalis Aloysius argues that because the wreck occurred after the end of the war, due to a storm Greywing caused, she is guilty of slaying another wizard outside a wizard's war, and that further, given the storm's duration, she had to know that was a possible outcome of her actions. Greywing's defence is that her action to cause his death took place at a time when it was legal for her to do so.

She used the magic at a time when it was legal. The duration was rather naughty, but the actual attack occurred before the war expired

This is an interesting case. If they vote that it is when the action was taken that matters, you could set spells, or enchanted items to trigger after the war ends. Hell, I could compel my apprentice to attack the other magi, say a dozen days after the war and then if he defends himself bring a case for murdering my apprentice! She killed the other magi after the Wizards' War was over. It was not a death IN a Wizards' War. He was not slain in the war. Kill her.

I'd rule that one against you there. Your apprentice is your property, and thus, if your apprentice attacks someone, it is akin to you doing so :stuck_out_tongue:

My own inclination in Greywing's case is that the tribunal would probably impose at least some sanction to deter subsequent wizards deliberately going for variations of the post war booby trap idea, but that it might not be a full march given that it seems to be carelessness rather than intentional. Probably something still fairly severe like the loss of a talisman (or a familiar if she wasn't a Bjornaer). Politics is going to play a big part in the resolution, though.

A sanction, yes, a full march, no.

Raised in another thread- A magus is found going through hairs and other potential Arcane Connections found in public areas of a covenant, and casting scrying to check who they are from, refuses to state who he is looking for an Arcane Connection to, is brought up on charges of multiple counts of scrying against his fellow magi.

I said than all depened upon on the spell and if he maintain that materials afte he find to who have Connection. And the effect or spell than he is using too.

I think for this case the following facts could be inferred:

The actual "violation" is using the Arcane Connection to cast an Inco divination against his fellow magi
the spell cast was in fact to identify which person the Arcane Connection attached to as part of his search
It will be alleged that they have no way of knowing which connections he may have kept, as he refuses to divulge whom he is targeting
it is also clear that they are bringing what might otherwise be seen as a charge to small to prosecute out of concerns of larger issues they do not feel bringing as charges at this time due to lack of information or evidence, in order to stop him before he obtains an arcane connection to his intended victim through this "sift and search" method.

So are spells. If you break someone's Aegis you can be damn sure you will be charged with deprivation of magical power.

The only reason I could see a lack of a March is if it hadn't been set up clearly before hand. If it is there would be some sort of punishment to make it clear that you can't do anything of the sort in the future.