Hermetic Rights after Eternal Twilight/Death

(Here we go again... or maybe not, we'll see...)

If a mage dies, or passes into Eternal Twilight (aka Final Twilight), are they (their ghost, their "essence", their corpse, whatever) still protected by the Code? Specifically, regarding castiing spells on them, and magical Scrying that "peers into the affairs" of the past mage? Would their corporeal remains be protected as well, or differently? Would Tribunals even care to hear it, and if they did who would bring the case, and who would be awarded damages?

Or would it be one of those "technical" situations, where enforcement is winked at unless there are extenuating circumstances that invite harsher review and judgement.

On one hand, there are precedents that magi have an "existence" after death/twilight; but, on the other hand... ah, come on, gimme a break - they're dead! :unamused: :laughing:

There are many canon adventures or suggested plot threads that revolve around contacting past magi, either to force them to reveal secrets, or simply to plead a case and ask for their wisdom/aid/knowledge.

Here, specifically, this is in regard to summoning the ghost of a Praeco, who was (is?) a member of the Covenant where the Caster now resides. The Praeco, if s/he could be contacted, knows secrets and history about the Covenant that would be helpful to all concerned (tho' the "why" of the casting should not technically matter?). Even if a Rego spell is not used to "coerce" anyone/anything, a basic InMe to simply send a message to the ghost/spirt/whatever, via Arcane Connection, would normally (i.e., if the Praeco were alive) clearly be a breech of the Code. So...

This may well be (and I expect it is) one of those questions that has no "canon" answer, but is all opinion and IMS. So I welcome philosophical discussion, and additional questions. Thoughts?

(Also important is the question- how do you tell the diff between long-term ("years") and eternal twilight?)

(Twilight is discussed in many places, but the central rules start on p. 88.)

There are a couple of particular cases where I can see that the rights of former magi would be strongly enforced.

The Rhine Tribunal affords its former magi (it uses the euphemism of "retired" magi) a great deal of respect. Hell, these magi are still allowed to vote! So any attempts to scry/violate here would probably be treated as harshly as if on a living magus. At least assuming there is someone who finds out and is sufficiently motivated to bring it to the attention of the Quaesitores...

IIRC, House Tremere has some specific burial practices (they go back to Coeris?). Thus I can see that Tremere magi would be VERY offended if anyone attempted to scry or violate the corpse or spirit of one of their housemates. Indeed, their burial practices probably prevent just such things from occurring.

Other Tribunals/Houses would probably be more lenient, but I still imagine most magi frowning on this sort of thing - if for no other reason than not being particularly enthused with the idea of THEIR corpse or spirit being abused when their time comes! It would seem reasonable to entrust any remains to the Hermetic next-of-kin. I wonder if it is usual for magi to leave a last will and testament?

Regarding telling the difference between long-term and Final Twilight, I imagine you can't, generally. There is of course more story potential that way anyway...

Explicitly, no, they are not. The Code protects magi of the Order, not magical creatures like ghosts.

Only insofar as by discovering their material you scry on current members of the Order.

IMC, magi have vis in them, and as such taking the body from a magus's heir is explictly depriving thedm of magical power and is forbidden by the Code.

House Tremere has a crack team of people who track down their dead specifically because their dead are not properly defended by the Code. This vexallation of trackers is, as always, supported by the military might of the House. The point being that if you do this to a Treme ghost, you'll be dead way before a Tribunal gets to even think about your situation. You'll be the example people quote to their apprentices when explaining why mucking about with a Tremere's ghost or corpse is a very, very bad idea.

It's one of those things that make the Tremere go "We don't care who your allies are. We don't care how much we suffer. Some things are important enough to us that such calculations do not matter." When the Tremere do that, other Houses tend to stand well back, because even if the Tremere can only go thouroughly nuclear on a goodly chunk of the Order once a decade, the observers would prefer it wasn't them and now.

So, no - the law doesn't protect ghosts in general. Their descendants, however, do.

House Criamon's offical position is that the ghosts of the House are servants of the magi, and because of their teaching role, destroying them is like burning a valuable Hermetic library, and as such they are directly protected as property in the Code. This has never actually gone to Tribunal, because to get one of these ghosts you'd need to break into CoTS and steal one of the ghosts. Adulterations are arguably a sort of partial ghost. They are not protected by the Code.

I would think that Tremere has house secrets that it would rather not see fall into the hands of others, and their practice avoids the whole question we are kicking around, a question they would rather never see raised in Tribunal. So, by any and every angle, they would discourage the practice.

A bit over-board perhaps, but a liberal-minded approach, certainly!

But just because, as you say (and I agree), there is no explicit protection, why then jump to assume there is no implicit one either? Further, why need there be an explicit one? Implicitly, a mage swears to the Code, and the Code protects them... forever, and mere barriers like "death" or "twilight" do not remove that aegis. (Note that it significantly never says "until death" or "as long as I am/they be a man" or any such clause, as is common in many such Oaths. That suggests, to me, that such phrases lose their significance in the Order.)

And a mage in twilight - that is not a ghost. On the contrary, they are quite explicitly "not-dead", by several yardsticks.

But even ghosts - you can talk to them, if they can interact with you, they can contribute to the Order, and maintain, even support the Code, so if they have not broken the code... one can "assume" there is a distinction, but isn't that based on rather mundane judgements and parameters?

I just feel that your premise is self-justifying, that if we first assume there's a difference, then, oddly enough, there is a difference.

My first question to final twilight is always: How do you know a magus has passed into final twilight? My troupe has had a magus of our covenant pass into twillight, and has been gone for 5 years now. Is he ever coming back? We don't know, so we don't touch his stuff just to be safe. How long should we let it gather dust? Was it wrong of my character to take his apprentice to train while he is gone? When/If he returns, could he declare wizards war on my character? :wink: Hmmm... back to the topic.

The same I would think could be held true to a ghost. If it looks like the magus, and acts like the magus, how do you discover that it is in fact a ghost?

This paragraph was given in reference to the Living Ghost Major Mystery where a magus binds his spirit to an area and ritually kills himself to 'live' forever as a ghost. I don't recall a mention of the Code and death anywhere else though.

So this makes me wonder; do magi that transform in other ways also loose the protection of the Code? The Great Elixir (Mysteries Rev. Ed.) allows a magi to become an immortal with magic might. The Becoming mystery that the Merinita have in the Mystery Cults Book changes a magus into a fairy with fairy might.

(It was perfectly legal - the mage failed to give the apprentice training, and so that deal is broken. As for Wiz' War, anyone can declare it at any time - whether the cause is seen as legit is another matter.)

Ooh, a citation! Cool!

Okay, so we assume it's addressed in the peripheral, that makes some sense. (Perhaps a bit disappointing, but...) :wink:

(The word "nominally" is significant - perhaps it's not absolute?)

If a mage becomes an undead Lich, but breaks no aspect of the Code, they'd sure make the Order uncomfortable, but that's not a crime (or half the magi in the Order would be guilty of it!)

When is a mage not a mage?... Hrmmm...

The rules as written have that it is so, and therefore it's not much of a leap?

It's not my premise: it's the current position in the rules as I understand them.

Going simply from the Code, that was not so obvious as otherwise. Fortunately, Skri' provided a citation above, which I addressed. (I'm guessing that is the "RAW" that you refer to? Or is there something additional yet to add?)

Also, if at least one Tribunal allows "dead" magi to vote, then I'm guessing it's not as cut and dried as it might be.

Why do I have a sneaking suspicion I know where this is headed...

With the case of Merinita Becoming - the magus doesn't die. Sure, they become a creature aligned with the Fae Realm, but they don't die. According to the quotation given above , all protections of the code end at death. So, said magus would still have all the protections of the Code, IMHO.

Anyway... Is final twilight death? There were examples in previous editions where the magus' body carries on after the spirit has left. The Rhine Tribunal has it's tradition of using 'retired' Magi's sigils to vote, so at least in one tribunal, it isn't considered death...


[cough, cough)

"Pay no attention to the magus behind the curtain!"... :laughing:

(What? It was an innocent question! I was curious! I didn't do it, and I wasn't the only one!) 8)

I'm sure more than one SG has been reminded of something in their own campaign, past, present or future.

I'm guessing that it could become one of those "borderline" cases, where, depending on exactly how it was approached and what the specifics were (and political climate!), it could be either trivial or pumped up to be a cause for outrage.

But the question of determing "Final" twilight remains. Btr, "7 years + stress die" can easily become double digits, and the corporeal body can disappear and reappear, or not.

(Anyone know if there is a canon comment re the longest survived twilight? Or an example of a very long one?)

(Note- RAW (p 89), a mage's body during Twilight is, apparently, completely indestructable, almost as if outside the physical reality of this world while remaining tangibly within it. In a less reverent saga, that could give rise to some really humorous uses for it...) :stuck_out_tongue:

(double post)

I'd argue that Criamon's is about 400 years and counting.

(I wonder how many generations of magi have had dibs on his labspace...)

Technically, yes - all immortal magi lose the protection of the Code.

Note, though, that annoying one of those beings is usually a fast way to become an ex-magus (or ex-anything else) ... they need to be seriously powerful magi in order to even attempt the transformation let alone succeed...

(Is that an opinion, or can you cite a book that states that?) : ?

I would say the opposite. Magi never lose the protection of the code; you can be prosecuted for assassination if you dispel a magus' ghost, for example. IMO this is why you need HEAVY justification to enter a lab of a magus, even if he is long gone.

What I would suppose is that the MAGUS gets the protection, but HIS STUFF does not. Yeah, I know that breaks the code, but allows magi to recover stuff from dead magi. Never really thought about it, but being beings likely to leave ghosts and stuff behind, magi would certainly look poorly on a code that did not protect their ghost after death.

I would say (that never entered play IMS) a magus is considered to be TOTALLY gone after 21 years in twilight (3*7, a multiplication of two numbers with strong magical significance). Or after 33 years. Or some other magical-ish number


Dons the robes of House Guernicus

Up here in Loch Leglean if a magi fails to present themselves to a member of house Mercere in the time between two Grand Tribunals then they are considered deceased and their property forfeit. If it turns out that they're not we then have another 33 years to prepare to defend our actions at the next grand tribunal...

Becoming an immortal means ceasing to be a human being, you become instead a being of one of the Realms.
The Code protects (human) magi, and implicitly excludes Realm beings (though some are covered in other ways: the Fae for example).

I'm not allowed to quote my sources on this, but you can bounce the question up to David Chart if you don't believe me.

(Hey, nice robes!)

The Code says nothing about only "human" magi, just as it doesn't define when Strong Faerie Blood stops in humans and "Strong Human Blood" starts in a Fae. If it's been defined (somehow) in the Peripheral, that makes some sense, accepted as given.

But it still seems counter-productive to tell the alchemist - "Oh, if you ever ~do~ find the secret of Immortality and become a being of Might, you're out of the Order. Good luck, tho'..."

I read nowhere that you need to be a human to be protected by the code....

As I said, magi being beings likely to leave ghopsts behind, I doubt that ghosts of magi (or other realm-aligned manifestations of the ex-living magi) would be treated like nonimportant beings