Exceptional tribunal / grand tribunal


  1. I'm sure it's written somewhere, but i can't find where:

Can Tribunal or Grand Tribunal be exceptionnaly hold in the non common 7 or 33 years of time?

1200 tribunal / grand tribunal
Can i "put" some tribunal (or grand tribunal) in 1204 if there is some big affair to listen?

And 2) for "abide to tribunal decision". There is some kind of remark in HOHTL p46 : "One directly made against the magus."
But... imagine there was a GT ruling saying "this thing is forbidden". And PCs do the forbidden thing. The decision wasn't against the PC magi, but against ALL the magi of the Order... Does it justify some kind of punishment if the PC magi have done what they can not?

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Tribunals are held strictly according to schedule. Magi plan on them years in advance, so they are not (as described) held in "off" years. I suppose it's theoretically possible, but it would have to be truly dire, something that threatens the entire Order, not just "Oh, this issue is getting really annoying!"

Houses can hold their own meetings on shorter notice, and several often do. Flambeau has a yearly meeting, and Tytalus has random "moots" that more or less of the members attend. In extremis, several influential Houses could hold simultaneous meetings and just be large and take charge, similar to what led to the purge of House Diedne and the Schism War - that certainly didn't wait 33 years to happen. :wink:

If a ruling is made against a general action (rather than a specific instance) - for example, if it were decided one year that, oh... "Raising the ghosts of dead magi is now against the Peripheral Code" (it's not afaik, but as a theoretical example) - then that's that. Specific cases would then have to be tried, each individually and on their own merits if the Tribunal wanted to punish magi. There is no "after the fact" clause - having committed the act before it was declared illegal is not an automatic excuse or exception - altho' it could be viewed as one if the Tribunal was in a forgiving mood.

Remember - there is no comment about "And Justice for All" in the Code. If a Tribunal decides what you did last year is illegal, then they can bring charges if they want to today, even if it wasn't illegal when you did it.

There is no reason why Tribunals cannot be held in off-years. After all, there's a clear definition of what constitutes a Tribunal: 12 magi from 4 different covenants. There are canonical references to Tribunals being held to deal with crises, like the Schism War. Of course, you'd probably also need the Praeco and the Presiding Quaesitor on your side, but these aren't, strictly speaking, necessary. At least, they're not required by the Peripheral Code -- you'll just suffer regular old political retribution (or Wizard's Wars) if you try to leave out the established players.

Grand Tribunals are a little more iffy about how they're constituted. Certainly earlier on, the Founders held them whenever they needed something resolved, but as the Order grew and became more formalized, it seemed to get stuck with the 'every 33 years' thing. (To the best of my knowledge, at any rate. I can't think of any source where the Grand Tribunal's membership is formally defined.)

In the Novgorod saga in which I am a player, there have been 2 "emergency" tribunals called by the Praeco. One was called to deal with a rogue covenant, and one was called to deal with the imminent threat of Mongol invasion. The out-of-the-ordinary nature of these tribunals increased the drama of the situation, and made for great stories.

In short, it's your saga, do what you want, especially if it tells a good story.

In my old Normandy tribunal saga, there was a major story event where some magi arranged a emergency tribunal, for no other reason than to assume power. Well, perhaps they were also sympathetic to certain magi who were or would be prosecuted as code breakers, and some honest magi were set up and would be doomed in absentia. They made sure only their political allies got an invitation, but arranges for a lot of strange things with the other invitations, among others by having easily corruptable redcaps help. Major Quaesitors and the Praeco were present, as were most magi from the most powerful covenant.
The Player magi found out something was amiss, one was an honest redcap who suddenly had no jobs for a while and could find few other colleagues of his.

In the end the Player magi alterted a law abiding senior maga and crashed the meeting, stalling for time til other could arrive. The newcomers had enough votes to have the tribunal be taken from the top, and in the end the political peace was retained, the major plots foiled and many major magi ended up Marched because of previous crimes they had hoped they could get away with.
In the end, the power structure of the Tribunal changed a lot. The senior maga the Players ran to became the new Praeco, the redcaps came under serious supervision, the top man among the Quaesitors was shy of conflict and the ideal puppet, and the Hoplites ended up with lots of power. But that was ok, since they were in fact the most honest magi and were fighting those trying to bring the Order in ruin. The covenant which before this was the most important was reduced to a lesser position. Their power had been their library, but the Player magi's covenant had worked hard to compete, and suddenly becaue the new stars in the tribunal. They had all arts covered in good primers and beyond plus some exceptional works. The new Praeco's covenant becase the new poer centre, and was close to the Players' so they were close to the inenr circle. Following this they managed to bring a subject to the following Grand Tribunal. Great story. Mind you, this was 4th ed and some things - politically and organisatorial - might be different nowadays.

But where can I find a list of the official years for Tribunals? In the Guernicus chapter?

I think in the annex of HOH TL for Grand tribunal.

Grand Tribunals: 1228, 1261, 1294

Regional Tribunals: 1221,1227, 1235, 1242, 1249, 1256, 1263, 1270, 1277, 1284, 1291, 1298

The Tribunal that should be held in 1228 moves back one year in order to prepare for the Grand Tribunal of 1228. Additionally, there are two extra Tribunals, in 1260 and 1293, in preparation for the Grand Tribunals of 1261 and 1294.

(Unless, of course, the dates have changed since 2nd edition.)

These are the years we use, but I too thought it might have changed from earlier editions.

I can't remember if this is still canon, but in 4e Wizards Grimoire (or whatever it was called), it said that Wizards Councils were legal meetings, whose decisions could only be overturned by a meeting of a greater number of wizards - with Tribunals and Grand Tribunals standing supreme over all of them.

Thus, in the case of an emergency, a group of Hermetic magi could meet and make lawful decisions, such as appropriate goods and direct magical efforts against an enemy, or declare wizards war, or expel a magi from the Order, and that decision would stand until the next Tribunal, or unless a larger group of magi met to overturn the decision.

Presumably, if a group wanted to get a lot of legitimacy, they'd get House Guernicus, Bonisagus and Tremere (and FLambeau) to provide a lot of sigils, whether present or in proxy, and try to get a cross section of tribunals. They could even get the Praeco and head Quaesitor involved and call it an "extraordinary tribunal meeting" (although technically it wouldn't be).


As a related question (and rather than start a new thread) - What are the canon years for the Tribunal meetings of the various local Tribunals (centering around 1220)? is there a consolidated timeline for these? Are all defined/any undefined?

Regular tribunals and grand tribunals.

Grand tribunals: 1195, 1228, 1294
Tribunals: 1186, 1193, 1200, 1207, 1214, 1221, 1228, 1235, 1242, 1249

In Stonehenge they are held one year later than in other tribunals for several reasopns, mainly most of them having been jerks for a while and not having managed to get quorate meetings (Blackthorn domination). It blew in their faces and had to hold a special tribunal one year later than the rest of the tribunals. They count since then and their tribunals are one year later.


the years are canonical (see Gotf, timeline at the end)
the years for Stonehenge are 4th ed.

But of course, in YOUR saga, Murion can be from MARS.