How these cases would be debated at a Tribunal?

In our Saga, events turned at the wrong corner and the following cases are to be presented at the Tribunal.

Baroness of Skipton has arrived to Cad Gadu asking for a chance to speak with anyone who would call herself Filii Pralicis. Asking for sanctuary and a chance to join the Order.
Upon closer inspection the Baroness clearly showed knowledge of the Hermetic Order, the Code and in general the history of Order in the Stonehenge Tribunal.

Confirmed truths, through simple InMe silent questions...

  • she knows about the Order, the Code and the history from a book, written by a Hermetic Maga for his apprentice.
  • this book and all others in her library is 'rescued' from a fallen covenant (Natura Antiqua)
  • she has the gentle gift and already part of some kind of hedge mage/witch circle
  • these hedge mages are all the family's female members (her mother, her daughter and her younger sister) all of them possesses the gentle gift
  • this line of daughters with gentle gift has existed for at least 5 generations (3 generations still living included)

Upon discussing her situation she has shared with Einion of House Ex Miscellanea, filii Parlicis, that a covenant of Hermes Magi has entered Castle of Skipton, tunnelled to the castle's hidden part and sacked her private quarters.
She does understand by the Code she is not protected unless she joins the Order and she is ready to embrace the Order in her heart and mind.

Confirmed truths, through simple InMe silent questions...

  • she is quite convinced any Hermetic maga would have ransacked her Vis sources, books (casting tablets) and would have stolen her magical apparatuses she has collected through the years
  • this confrontation was sparked by her misjudgement. She has instructed the mages to leave her alone and never to come back or there will be bad blood, which only sparked the mages' interest. She was able to fight back and even capture two of mages when she caught them defenceless, although later both of them escaped and after gathering the rest of the mages, returned to sack her storages. When she realized she cannot hold back the combined force of four mages, she run to Cad Gadu to defeat them not with force (by sending all soldiers in her lands to destroy the mages covenant, which she well knows here it is), but by joining the Order and gaining immunity and if the pesky mages bother her again ask the Order to punish them.
  • she was able to keep a really potent wizard staff as a spoil from this confrontation, she can only trigger one spell from the staff: a ReMe effect making someone your obedient follower/servant for a month

Einion Ex Miscellanea, intrigued by the heritage how the gentle gift has passed along the generations, accepted the task and officially became the Baroness' parens. As it is generally required, Aethelstan from the House Guernicus has joined them to uncover any foul plays.

The problems and the conflicts in this case are numerous and as Aethelstan, I would ask for your opinion if I get this right.

Case 1) The magical goods, and whatever was stolen from the Baroness was not protected by Code.So it is to remain with the covenant, who raided her vaults.
(We are talking about 40+ vis, and about two dozens of books: lab texts, books on arts and abilities)

Case 2) The Wizard's staff, originally belonged to a deceased Verditius, inherited by the current covenant's magi.
Based on the Code the staff belongs now to Einion Ex Miscellanea. Magi from the raiding covenant can ask politely, but they have no grounds to get it back.
(Staff is well known for it's miraculous effects, even exaggerated to have at least half a dozen different effects locked in there, while the staff has it's own magic resistance making all normal InVi investigations almost impossible.)
This staff is definitely an extremely expensive magical item and could be a cause for a Wizard War.

Case 3) The Baroness owns Skipton, the Baron is only Baron... because he is wedded to her. Their only living child (a daughter with gentle gift) will inherit the title, castle and land.
Clearly a direct violation as it is interfering with the mundane. It is also clear that in the last hundred years this gentle gifted line of witches ruled behind the scene.
With the examples like Cad Gadu, where a mage owns the land and the castle or with Burnham where their immunity allows them to keep the castle, the Baroness and her daughter will be able to keep their current status.

These cases will be brought up either by the player's covenant, Aethelstan & Einion or the player's covenant's political enemies, especially Case 2).. just to rub salt to their wound.
I would like to use all your great thoughts as part of the debate during the Tribunal. :mrgreen:

Seems fairly straightforward - all the conflict occurred before the baroness joined the order. Everything that was seized is not protected by the Code. The staff and the vis MAY be returned or exchanged, if everyone involved is feeling generous and/or wish to let bygones be bygones and/or don't want to set up a possible political rival. I could very well see others in Tribunal "encouraging" all the magi involved to return the spoils of war, but I don't see it as required. (Option: some of the other magi in the Tribunal may simply give the new covenant a gift of the Roots and Branches, "as befitting an ancient line, and as a welcoming gift", or some such - that would likely act as a partial replacement for what was stolen from them. Also, the original group of magi may be requested to "share their knowledge", by giving copies of the books and lab texts that they stole to the Tribunal.)

Alternately, the magi and the witch trade items in a season or two...after the magi have made copies of everything. Combine that with the gift of the Roots and Branches (assuming some of the witches in question can have their Arts Opened), and I'd say it's a fair trade.

The castle was owned by (as you say) a Baron/Baroness, which could be considered an "interference with mundane" issue. However, most issues of the code are judged via utilitarianism: how much harm ACTUALLY occurred, as opposed to how much harm COULD have occurred. In this case, the practical consequence of attacking the mundane castle was the discovery of an entire line of gentle-gifted, politically-powerful witches and, all of whom are now planning on joining the Order. In that case: at worst, the accused gets a slap on the wrists, while congratulated behind closed doors, and may jokingly be granted the title of "Flambeau's Heir".

I don't see anything worse coming from that.

  1. Stuff taken before she was sworn in she will have no standing to. However, depending on the Code the raiders might not either. This will be a Peripheral Code issue, it might for example belong to the Tribunal, or the nearest covenant.
  2. I'm not sure I understand the question. I'm not sure why anyone would have Presumably it still belongs to whoever inherited the staff. The peripheral code might say something else. Arguing it will be dependent on that. If the Code is clear, the code is clear.
  3. "Clearly a direct violation as it is interfering with the mundane." I disagree. Magi are allowed to rule. This would likely be no different than the noble magi of Transylvania. The Peripheral Code might have different requirements and she may have certain duties that conflict directly with the Code which could be a problem. Furthermore any attack on the Baroness and co. is also excluded. She is not a mundane, nor are her servants. Again Peripheral Code may differ.

Finally, she is not immune from Wizard's Wars, however House Bonisagus, Tremere, Jerbiton and Mercere will be extremely interested in her little reliable Gentle Gift trickery. For different reasons, but I'm sure they all want to get themselves some of that. House Misc will of course be very upset if to see a newly recruit Hedge Wizard bullied.

In summary, everything seems in good order, although there may be some exchanging hands of her stuff. SHE probably won't get her stuff back unless people are feeling generous. However, she is basically the new best friend of four Houses who want her lines secret.

I'm not sure, why under the Code the staff belongs to Einion. I don't think that's at all clear, but I can understand the theory that all of the apprentice's property is the master's property. Certainly in a standard hermetic apprenticeship this makes sense, but in one of these apprenticeships of a Gifted hedge magus joining, I don't think that kind of approach would be agreeable to the "apprentice". So, we'll call it a technicality that the staff belongs to Einion and move on. What we have here is at best a claim by the previous owners of the staff that Einion keeping it is depriving them of their magical power. That test fails it, because at the time that Einion acquired the staff, it was not in their possession and had been lost in their attack upon the Baronness. He is not depriving them of anything that they had at the moment he took her as an apprentice, at the time of her becoming Einion's apprentice it was her property, not theirs.

The baroness is prohibited from entering into any feudal obligations. Those may need to be transferred to her husband and the wording of her position changed so it falls to the man married to the female descendant.

As to the rest it won't be resolved in a tribunal. Sure they will give a ruling, but someone won't be happy, and may declare a wizard war so they can attempt to take back what they consider theirs... in short there will be many more stories from this situation. The real question is whether you want the players to trying to right what they see as an injustice and possibly investigating wild rumors of corruption or whether you want them to be defending property someone else considers stolen.

The Hermetic Oath doesn't actually preclude one from swearing an Oath of Fealty, the Code does say interfere with mundanes, which she might not be guilty of doing, since she is already a Baroness. If anything, by attacking her, as a baroness, the attackers have possibly interfered with mundanes, since the alternative choice for her might have been to call upon her liege for assistance and teach these magi of the Order a lesson...

I think the issue is that she was not a member of the Order at the time the attack occurred, but was instead a baroness of the local regime; the fact that she was ALSO a witch doesn't negate the fact that attacking her in her own castle could be construed an attack on the local power structure. Thus, the raid could be considered "Interference with Mundane Society", if not, strictly speaking, "interfering with a mundane". In the same way that, during a Wizard's War, attacking an entire covenant instead of the single Wizard you are at war with is considered a violation of the code. The code discourages splash damage.

But, as you say, "magi are allowed to rule" - so I would argue that the attack itself needs to be judged on the actual consequences and impact the raid had on both Hermetic and mundane society. And I think the result is "Interesting tradition absorbed into the order, and little to no impact on mundane society." The attacking magi win this round, IMO.

EDIT - as Jonothan.Link mentions the whole additional political angle. Although that does bring up an interesting political defense: if a magus who is also a baron is killed in a Wizard's War, is that considered "interfering with mundanes", as his/her liege will become involved? Or is it simply defended (in mundane society) as the equivalent of dueling with a peer? What if the liege lord demands compensation?

In the insert on p. 207 of the Core Rules "Because Magi are required by the Code to avoid swearing fealty to any mundane lord, ..."

But the Code, as written in full, in the insert on page 13 says no such thing.
The closet to it is,

She could, argue that renouncing her oath of fealty, or passing it to her husband might actually bring ruin on her sodales.

Edit: also, that insert says that they are required to avoid (emphasis mine) swearing fealty to any mundane lord, it doesn't say that they cannot swear fealty, only that they must avoid doing so. If their circumstance is unavoidable, and given my previous demonstration doesn't say what the texts sometimes suggest (examples of such both on page 207 and on the Oath of Fealty flaw, I'm sure others can be found in other books), and it can be demonstrated not swearing fealty would be even worse for the Order, there's nothing can be done.

The section on the code also mentions the peripheral code which may have many clauses not listed, and given the consistency with which the statement about not swearing an oath of fealty is mentioned and treated consistently, it would seem to be a pretty established rule. Nothing forbids magi from ruling, only from swearing fealty to a mundane lord.

The Peripheral Code is individual to the Tribunal. Edit: And an exercise for the Troupe and the SG.

The code does not prevent swearing fealty. It prevents swearing fealty and in so doing bringing ruin upon his sodales. If just one magus is injured, then that's ruin. Until then, magi in the Tribunal can run round and round, but until they can prove that there is injury...?

Well, even if a magus may not swear fealty, she wasn't a magus when the oath was given. Thus, the issue isn't in swearing the oath: it's becoming a magus AFTER the oath has been sworn.

That being said, this is unlikely to be the first time this has ever come up. So, yeah - it's probably in the Peripheral Code somewhere, whereby a Gifted noble has already sworn fealty, but is discovered and becomes an apprentice and/or is induced into the Order.

More generally, doesn't EVERYONE technically swear an oath of fealty in a feudal society, to their liege, at least? I thought that was kind of the point. So this is hardly an uncommon occurrence, as even a peasant has technically sworn an oath of fealty to the owner of the land upon which they were born. (Or does that occur later on in life? ie, after they come of age, or the like?) I imagine that when an apprentice is normally taken, these sorts of things are dealt with, usually via monetary compensation to the liege lord. But yeah - what if it's done later on in life, and/or to someone who is high up in the social strata? Again, this is unlikely to be a unique circumstance, so it's probably written down in the Peripheral Code.

Some things are well written into the Peripheral Code, despite what a literal reading of the Oath of Hermes says.
For example: Wizard's Wars. What do they allow you to do again, according to the Code? Slaying of other magi. That's it. Scrying is not permitted. Deprivation of Magical Power is not permitted. The ONLY exception a Wizard's War provides in the Code is slaying.
Another one: Dealing with Devils, and various rules on infernalism. Some books are banned. See the Black Library. Per the main Code infernalism, is totally a-okay as long as you stay away from devils.
Or Molesting Fae: Somehow its got written in/generally assumed that there actually needs to be harm befalling other magi, despite the fact that it uses the same language as the "dealing with devils" clause which requires no such proof.
The clause on apprentices is blatantly ignored. Both on the requirement to train them, and the need to bring them to justice.
The clause on the punishment for breaking the Code is blatantly ignored most of the time. The Code says, if someone breaks the Code, even a little bit, even accidentally or due to lack of ability, even to discover infernalism or to keep from being killed themselves YOU KILL THEM. No exceptions.

This. What you do before joining the Order doesn't count. Its why a Tytalus apprentice who murders their master becomes a magus, instead of being executed.

That's another point to be made. Point is, all of these are stories, and individual to the troupe. If the troupe wants these stories, I don't see anything wrong with it. There is tons of gray area around the Code, and it means what the troupe wants it to mean to further those stories. Each Tribunal can extend the Code of Hermes into the Peripheral Code to its Tribunal. Decisions of the Grand Tribunal would be part of the equation, true, but there's nothing that I can recall that says

Even still, the section that discusses the Peripheral Code says nothing about swearing an oath of fealty.

And the fact is there are a lot of established ways around the swearing of fealty- like having a soldaus swear an oath of fealty and be the titular lord even though the magi hold the real power. Which is why I figured the tribunal would order a change in the way inheritance works so at least future generations of magae will not be swearing oaths of fealty.

They certainly won't want future magae swearing oaths. (Actually you CAN swear oaths no non-mundanes. So if you can instal a Faerie King without getting caught you'll be in the clear.) However depending on mundane laws it may not be needed. Also a massive "fuck you" to the local lawful authorities may be permitted depending on the Peripheral Code, and the baroness may simply be allowed to hold her lands. The Tribunal may not recognize mundane authorities rights to evict magi. Regardless of the legality of her actions in regards to continuing to rule I suspect most magi will try and convince her to give up her title. Magi already rule mundanes, have more power, and have a higher standard of living. Why would she keep a silly title?

Or decide she swore before becoming a member of the order and only require that it change for future generations (which is an out the Jerbiton might find interesting- get you fealty swearing in as an apprentice..)

Couple of great thoughts I would like to answer to in one post.

To Lamech

  • The nearest covenant is the player's (the raider's) covenant.

To Jonathan.Link

  • It is going to be only a technicality as the parens owns the staff, not the apprentice.
    Baroness is only aware of one of the powers and will not be able to deduct any further powers. She has to many supernatural virtues and Einion won't be able to open her gift for the arts (same applies to all mature women in the family). Baroness will take the Hermetic Oath, will learn Parma, but she will remain a gifted witch. To avoid any Wizard Wars, the Baroness will gift the staff to Einion at the Tribunal for accepting her family to the Order and Einion will gift the Baroness with a lesser enchantment item, which is only capable for the ReMe servitude effect.

To silveroak

  • The safest verdict and addition to the Peripheral Code would be that swearing fealty is only accepted as a non-breach if it is done before the apprentice is claimed. As the parens is responsible for the apprentice's all actions, swearing fealty to any Lord by an apprentice would be deemed as interfering with the mundane by the parens.

This will allow me to twist the story in an :smiling_imp: way.
The family's sole heir, her daughter (gifted), will not start apprenticeship until she has sworn fealty, on which very day another mage (Jerbiton / Tremere / or a Bonisagus) will claim the daughter, as clearly her family is neglecting her training. I intend to complicate my player's feelings towards the whole situation similar to the HoH:TL, p:53 Blood Rights.


Something I didn't see written about, is how this is seen from the Baron's (husbands) point of view. He might still love her, in which case from his point of view his beloved wife, whose magical powers aided him, has disappeared after conflict with the covenant, of whom she was afraid and part of his castle has been attacked and robbed. Obviously they kidnapped or murdered her and hid the body.

Which would allow for in the middle of the Tribunal debate a messenger bursts in warning the players that a small army backed by the local Bishop has arrived at their covenant and demanded entry to arrest all the magi. The messenger believes that the grogs were preparing to fight off the attackers but please, please come back and sort this out before it gets out of hand.

The players would probably be willing to accept any terms the Baroness was willing to name at that point to come back and calm her husband down.

It is not by chance only daughters are born in the family. The next Baron, husband to the heiress, is always carefully selected. Third son without any land or titles to his name, but a capable stallion. :wink: The current Baron is also well aware of this situation and currently the ReMe servitude effect is constantly used in him. 'Yes dear. As you say my beloved.' In a couple of years warping will take it's hold, but even if he dies the nobility will be curios only to know who will be the next Baron. In the coming years everyone will realize who wears the pants at home.