How would you handle this?

An interesting situation has come up in our saga and I'm curious how other saga's would handle it.

A magus and two companions, while attending a wedding at a nearby abbey, stumbled into trouble (as PCs often do). They observed a person, disguised by magic, entering the rooms of a local baron and his family and discovered that the baron's meal had been "poisoned," again by magic (actually PrCo potions slipped into their food). They pursued and captured the person and hauled him before the earl, only to have the fellow declare that he was a magus Ex Misc and claim the rights and protections of the Order.

So, here we stand on the abbey grounds with the earl, the baron, the abbot and the magus, holding another magus as captive.

What would you do next?

(BTW, the PC magus is a Bonisagus elementalist only 2 years out of apprenticeship. The other is, in fact, an Ex Misc magus - a Perdo Corpus specialist with about 10 years of experience and very low morals. The companions, for what it's worth, are a Norman knight who is vassal of the baron and a half-fae Welsh bard.)

Well, I can see three options:

  1. The magus present can refuse to involve the order and let the Baron kill the would be assassin (total mundane justice). Just stand by and do nothing because nothing in the code requires you to defend or actively protect another magus from reaping rewards of their own action.
  2. Try to sway Baron to let the Order see to him though which could work either by trying to summon a quaesitor and such (hard to restrain him) or taking him away to a covenant
  3. Kill all the witnesses so that the interference with Mundanes is never known to be magic.

It would really depend on how much the Baron knew. The PC needs to avoid bringing the Order into disrepute before the mundanes, so saying "Hey, we caught this wizard trying to kill you with magic" would be right out. Does the Baron or the Abbot know the PC is a magus? How are they "proving" that the Ex Misc is the poisoner?

The Order doesn't have any "Rights and Protections" that apply in a mundane court. The only thing the Ex Misc guy has is that he could make a more or less spurious charge that the PCs angered mundanes against a fellow magus. But the Tribunal would need to be pretty annoyed at the PCs in general or the PCs would have had to bungle the whole scene with the Earl pretty badly for that kind of thing to hold up in a Tribunal. "Umm, Bob the Magus stirred up the Earl against me by catching me trying to murder one of the Earl's major vassals" is a pretty weak argument...

If the PCs can have the guy arrested and executed without involving the Order at all, that's what I'd do if I were them. If its not possible to keep the Order out of it, I'd try to make it look like the fellow is a renegade and everyone is happy the Earl is gonna off him and then go to the nearest friendly Quaesitor with a mea culpa.

If the Earl and Abbot don't know anything about the fellow yet and its possible to let things die down without leading to people thinking wizards were involved, then I might just turn the fellow over to the Quaesitors to be Marched. But that's only if the Earl and Abbot aren't already aware of the fellow. In no way would I make it seem like the Order's justice supercedes the Earl's or the Abbot's...

Does the Bonisagus has the ability Code of Hermes ?
If he hasn't you shouldn't help much.

In the games in which I play, this would be a worrying situation for the PC Magus. Some Tribunals and/or Quaesitori take a very literal approach to the Code: "Nor will I interfere in the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin on my sodalis." By placing himself in a situation where his direct actions led to the imprisonment and possible execution of a fellow Magus by a mundane lord, he has opened himself up to a charge that he is breach of his oath. I am sure that some Magi at Tribunal may be swayed by the (quite understandable) argument that the Magus Ex Miscellanea brought the trouble on himself in the first place, but others may believe that the Code means exactly what it says and no further interpretation is necessary. If it came to a legal case, perhaps the best argument would be that he interfered in the plans of a fellow Magus, not a mundane, so there is technically no breach.

To throw a little more into the pot and see how it boils.

The earl and the abbot are both aware that both magi are magi. The Bonisagus is also the son of a local Norman lord (it was his sister's wedding everyone was attending at the time) and his membership in the Order is generally know. The Ex Misc declared himself a magus in the presence of everyone.

The Ex Misc claims that the Bonisagus violated the Code by attacking him with magic during the course of his capture. (Perhaps technically true, the Bonisagus did throw several spells at him, though none of them were lethal and none penetrated his parma). Neither earl nor abbot are concerned with that.

The earl is quite willing to hold the Ex Misc, try him for attempted murder and hang him... but is concerned as to his practical ability to hold a magus. The Ex Misc is currently bound, gagged and under close guard, but once removed from the higher divine aura of the abbey (even to the lower divine aura of the earl's castle), he does have some spells he could cast even under those conditions.

Would be reasonable, does anyone think, for a fair minded earl (with the right to oversee high justice) to hold a trail on the spot, convict and hang the fellow then and there?

If the earl has the authority to do it, then I see no reason for him not to do it on the spot. By standing by and just watching, the Bonisagus will earn friendship of the order by showing it does not interfere with mundanes.

Nothing in the code gives the order the right to interfere in mundane justice and with the mundanes. The captured ex Misc interfered with mundanes using magic that could have brought ruin on the order. He gets to reap what he sowed.

Now, if the ex misc is not killed, then things get tricky. By spoiling the plot, the interference with mundanes was blocked. By capturing and turning over to the mundanes (esp using spells during capture), the Bonisagus can be accused of violating the code and a potential quaesitor could see it that way. Especially as the Bonisagus is the one that opened it up to the accusation. If the ex misc is killed, then Bonisagus can spin it to the quaesitor and perhaps avoid any real penalty.

It would have been smarter to block the attack but let the guy get away to deal with later. (no capture, no public declaration of magic, no information that order or magic was involved and then queasitors and tribunal could deal with it.

In our saga, unless said ex misc was a friend or an ally, we would let him take his licks. He interfered with mundanes and was caught. In our opinion it's an open and shut case.

If the Ex Misc somehow survived/escaped, then if it had repercussions for the PC magi, there would be no charges brought. However if there were any repercussions then charges would be brought under interfering with mundanes 'lest it bring ruin'.

If the Ex Misc threated to 'spill the beans' about the Order then pending on the players they may respond in ways from springing him to dispensing sumary justice.

Ditto. Ex miscs problem. He messe dit, he deals with the consequences.

A good way to introduce a long running antagonist, BTW. As said, make him scape and become a bitter enemy. Politically he might be more skilled than as an assassin :stuck_out_tongue:



Thank you all for your input.

I decided to have the earl execute the Ex Misc magus. Temping as it was to make him a long term antagonist, I'm instead making him a symbol of the ongoing conflict between "hedge wizards" and "Latin" magi like the Bonisagus.

Did you make him curse the magi for their inactivity and elitism, not defending a fellow OoH magus from mundanes because he was not Roman? That would be cool. 8) Maybe you can have the players accused of helping in the killing by some non roman magi at tribunal. Glad our suggestions helped :slight_smile:



How they caught the poisoner in the first place? Did they use magic? If that is the case aren't they magically scrying on another member of the Order?
I will let the ex-misc magus accusing them of this high crime unless he is set free :smiley:

I would rule like this:
The moment the hostile magus tried to poisen a nobleman, he committed a high crime. Any member of the order is obliged to renounce him and slay him on sight. So no matter which means were used to capture him the characters do not have to fear anything from tribunal as the magus no longer belonged to the order the moment he used that poisen!
In fact anybody can call for a march. No Quaesitor needed here! However, you have to respond to the Tribunal next time when marching another magus. But again: No retribution will fall upon you characters, as the case is clear.

So how to go on afterwards?
1.) One shot adventure: The culprit is killed, case closed.
2.) Reoccuring villain: The culprit manages to flee, will be renounced but is not captured. However, now and than he tries to pay back the characters for their deeds.
3.) Reoccuring villans: The magus was part of a secret society (maybe Diedne?!?) and others, whose names are never uncovered silently plot their revenge.
4.) Becoming Quaesitor/hoplite: The character is noticed by the tribunal's Quaesitor and offered the opportunety to help him, either as a hoplite or in investigations. This offers the opportunety to become a Quaesitor himself some day.

In that, I must disagree... otherwise there is nothing to keep a magus from accusing his enemies of high crimes and killing them with impunity. With no one to offer testimony against him, such a magus need only offer a Tribunal the barest "proofs" of his rivals crimes.

No, for my saga at least, a magus must be tried and convicted - of not by a full tribunal than at least by a council of no less than 3 wizards - before he can be renounced.

Poisoning a noble (or the Pope, in fact) is NOT a hermetic crime at all. UNLESS it brings ruin on your dsodales. Youc can massacre the whole population of France with impunity if that does not affect your sodales (it would, obviously). Those are MUNDANE crimes, not hermetic ones.

Quite a difference there.



That actually leads to a question that occured to me...

In your saga, are magi subject to civil/mundane law? Are they subject to canon law?

Usually depends on wether someone/something has the ability to enforce it on them.
Its usually a good thing to make sure that running around and breaking things, like peasants, small countries or contintents doesnt happen in a vacuum, people WILL notice if neighbours disappear, a country devastated WILL be a major warning to surrounding powerholders that whoever did it needs "fixing" etc..

In my saga mundane problems come from the law. Nothing puts magi over it, even if they can challenge that with their raw power.



Xavi is right. Though magi may think they are above the law, the local mundane authorities may take issue with that.

This is why you need a good mentem person to cover your breaches with the mundane law. Nothing works better than controlling the mind of a judge to get him to pronounce you innocent and then meddling with his memories so he doesn't realize what happened.