Heremtic code opinion discussion

is interfering with a court wizard interfering with mundanes?
I expect the real answer is that it will depend on the tribunal etc. but am interested in what arguments you would bring up for a generic case regarding this.

Interfering with a court wizard means, by extension, interfering with the court.
So yes, it is interfering with mundanes.
Similar with all other cases of interfering with hedge wizards that are integrated in mundane society.

Is it a Hermetic crime, and will anyone be convicted of it? That, as expected, depends on many things:
Did the interference cause any harm to any member of the Order of Hermes or is it likely to do so?
Did the interference prevent some harm to a member of the Order?
Can anyone trace the interference back to you, or to the Order?
What Tribunal are you in?
Does anyone want to bring forth a charge against you?

There is no such thing as a generic case. Every case is special. What kind of interference? What trouble did the interference cause to the Order or other members? What trouble did the court wizard cause without interference?

The most obvious argument to prosecute the interference would be that the directly interferes with the court and its lord, and makes a direct enemy to the Order. Clearly a violation.

Against prosecution, well there is not any good argument. Sufficiently low-key, the interference causes no trouble and therefore is allowed, just as covenants and magi may get involved in trade and other mundane businesses.

Then there is the argument of necessity of course. Was the court wizard a threat to the Order?

What kind of interference do you have in mind, @silveroak?

This is also a topic for the Traditionalist/Transitionalist controvery within House Guernicus (HoH:TL p.41f and p.51).
If a Tribunal meeting takes the decision to pursue a court wizard because she is flaunting the code, this persecution is of course not breaking the code any further.

the obvious argument would be "the court wizard was acting hostile against the defendant". Acting against mundanes is allowed in self defence. but like most of the other criteria this requires that there is something to back the assertion up.

Absolutely. My phrasing was sloppy. I meant to say «against a case of interference». Interference may be justified, e.g. by self-defence, but that does not make it not interference.

However, I do not agree that `self defence' is the significant element, nor «acting against». The Oath is to avoid bringing ruin on the sodales through interference with the mundanes. Making yourselves enemies which leads to a need for self-defence is a clear violation. Acting against mundanes is generally ok, as long as it does not get other magi into trouble.

But there is a principle of necessity which reaches a little farther than just self-defence. A Gifted court wizard is easily construed as an enemy of the Order¹, and thus may require action. Bringing the case to the tribunal is likely to mandate action, depending of course on the powers and the actions of said court wizard. Acting on one's own initiative may well be justified. The main risk is to select a cure which is worse than the disease.

¹ Assuming, of course, that we stay out of Hibernia.

Is the court wizard also a member of the Order? I would assume not, which makes them fair game for "Join or Die".
As with everything, the chances of this being a crime come down really to the fall out against the Hermetic Order. If the court wizard was a pain in the side of the Order and the court don't mind his death (especially if it didn't look like murder) then no hamr no foul. On the other hand, if it riled the court up and now they are looking for wizards to punish in retaliation, then yeah, expect the tribunal to take a dim look of it. I'd expect marching is probably more reserved for persistent trouble makers. More likely is an instruction to Make This Right! coupled with a punitive fine. But if they then fail to tidy up the error, expect the tribunal to increase the severity of its response.

The real question isn't about what will happen for x violation- yes there are cases where interference with mundanes is justified. However consider as well that any Gifted hedge wizard can be legally approached with "join or die" while the average peasant cannot be approached with "serve our covenant or die".
By definition if a court wizard joins the order they are required to give up their position, so "join or die" deprives the court of their wizard in either case.

It is not clear to me what your real question is. Would you cear to elaborate?

Does it? I cannot read «join or die» into the Oath, which would make it, at best, second to the requirement not to interfere in mundane affairs.

Either way. Under the right (or wrong) circumstances, this is a true dilemma. A powerful non-member wizard is a problem. The enmity of the court and the lord would be a problem. How do you solve both problems at the same time? The tribunal is likely to endorse clever interference, but if your actions causes more pain than it removes, you are in trouble.

The question here is not "what would happen if X" the question is "what is your opinion about how the code tends to view a non-mundane (aka Gifted) wizard who is a court wizard regarding interference with mundanes.As noted, the code or culture treats a normal hedge wizard with far less respect and deference than they would a typical peasant- whether join or die, or competing for vis sources, a wizard is, by definition, not mundane. On the other hand the people he is working for represent not merely mundanes but mundane authorities, which presumably holds more weight in not interfering with mundanes than living with a peasant family.
One possible understanding, for example might be that it is okay to interfere with the wizard so long as you don't interfere with his duties as a court wizard... though even that will have shades of grey since depriving him of resources (vis, ancient tomes, etc.) could be described as being in either category. On the other hand undermining the noble's faith in that particular wizard is likely not to be seen as interfering with mundanes either... I'm looking for discussion, not an up or down answer.

Thanks for the clarification. My answer to that question is easily summarised in one word: Dilemma.
The Order seeks to maintain a neutral relationship with mundane lords, and at the same time they do not want Gifted non-members to exist (except in Hibernia), and certainly not let Gifted wizards create any precedence for wizards in service.

Thus the possible understanding you mention is one that I share.

My take here is that it is a problem for the Order that said wizard even exists as a court wizard. The Order will want to have him join or die, in either case giving up his position at the court as a necessary consequence. The question, if put to the tribunal, is how to do this with minimal damage. An individual member (without prior and explicit mandate from the tribunal) is going to get away with anything which does not seriously backfire. (In Hibernia I guess a duly declared Wizard's War will suffice, any response from the lord notwithstanding.)

Is it really? The Order forbids its members from becoming court wizards for two reasons.
The first being that they consider it demeaning for a mage to take orders from a mundane lord.
The second and more important is that if one lord gets a Hermetic mage as a court wizard, all his friends and rivals will also want one. This will typically end up in either the Order being seen as supporting one particular lord - thus making enemies of the rest. Or it will put members of the Order in conflict with each other if the lords they serve come in conflict. Either way, everyone in the Order will get dragged into mundane politics whether they want or not.

Note that all this is about members of the Order of Hermes serving as court wizards. I really don't think the Order cares much if some minor hedge wizard (one too weak to get invited to the Order) serves as court wizard somewhere.

Not necessarily, but that's my take on it. However, I think all the reasons you list for the Order not allowing members to serve as a court wizard also applies in this case with a hedge wizard. Other people do not necessarily know the difference between Hermetic and non-Hermetic wizards, and the Order may easily be associated with the court wizard's line with the resulting stigma and expectations.

I note that you assume a «minor hedge wizard», while Silveroak specifically assumed a Gifted one. I certainly agree that if the hedge wizard is sufficiently insignificant, the Order may not care, and the exact threshold of significance can be debated at tribunal. I don't care to debate it here. It suffices to say that the hedge wizard can be made significant, insignificant, or debatable, depending on the story you want to tell. It is possible that any disagreement is merely in the assumptions about the hedge wizard. I assumed a very significant one.

We have Michael Scot there, who generally is considered the court wizard of Frederick II in Mythic Europe.

If the Order does get associated with the hedge wizard in question, well that does change things.
In that case they may well want to get rid of him - not because he is a court wizard, but because he (directly or indirectly) causes trouble for the Order.

Regarding minor vs significant hedge wizards, I would assume that the more powerful ones would come under the "Join or Die" policy of the order anyway, court wizard or not.

Well, if they become associated, the Order will regret not having acted earlier. Once they are associated, they have already got the publicity they don't want, and when they act, they will get even more of it. There is a good case for acting preemptively.

Possibly, in theory, but join or die is not such a leading policy as it was in the first century of the Order's history. A high profile hedge wizard, such as one holding a public office, may make a good candidate for join or die, even if the tribunal does not care about anonymous hedge wizards of similar magical power. YSMV.

keep in mind as well that mundane power can lead to magical power as readily as the converse- access to more lands, more vis sources, possibly more magical entities, funds for research, etc.

Antagonists deals with this kind of scenario. The sidebar on p. 19 seems to say there is at least a strong case that interfering with a court wizard isn't interfering with the mundanes, but that, as with all things involving the hermetic code, there are ambiguities which could result in a case at least being tried.

A very strong argument is the Join or Die clause, and some tribunals go so far as to make slaying hedge wizards a duty, or even reward slaying hedge wizards (e.g. Thebes), while in other places they are tolerated (e.g. a certain tradition in Ireland I can't remember the name of). But overall, I think, the interfering clause of the oath varies widly from tribunal to tribunal in its enforcement, so I'm not sure you can find a general answer, except to say that slaying a hedge wizard is likely to be an argument in the magi's favor, so as to either throw out the case against interfering, or to reduce the gravity of the crime.