Installing a magus as king

The "interfering with mundanes" clause has various interpretations across the Tribunals. But many of them do allow manipulating mortals if it can't be blamed on magic and The Order.

As a hypothetical case, say I have a Tytalus mage who is obviously marked as a Merovingian, with a genealogy showing him to be the rightful Merovingian heir, as well as related to the current nobility, how would he go about getting crowned as the rightful King of the Franks?

I presume that among other things, he would have to convince the current Pope, that the earlier Pope's declaration that the Carolingians had superseded the Merovingians as the rightful kings be overturned.

How should he go about contacting, then convincing the Pope?

In 1220 there is no king of the Franks...

Slight correction.
his genealogy declares him the rightful heir of the Merovingian Frankish kingdom, now known as France in the 13th century.

Would probably list himself as rightful King of the Franks as part of his claim to the throne of France.

I think you're quite right most of the precedent points in the direction of being allowed some interference with the mundanes provided there's no fallout on your sodales, etc. That being said, I think if a Tytalus tried to make a serious bid for the throne of France, even if he used no spell in his political campaign, he would get marched. If he doesn't get marched for interfering because he's clever about the way he does things, I think someone would bring a case of endangering the Order against him at some point. The last thing the Order wants is a magi with a longevity potion on the throne of a major christian country capable of bringing his sodales to heel by the sheer weight of the number of soldiers and vassals he can call to cause no end of troubles for everyone. The reputation of the House won't help his case either.

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In addition there is no way you are going to convince the pope to acknowledge your claim over that of Phillip II, or Louis the Saint. You might have a short window of opportunity but hardly enough time to build a successful campaign against Blanche of Castille.

Being descended from the Merovingians is unlikely to convince anyone that he has a valid claim to the throne.
The Merovingian dynasty were deposed and in the process lost any claims to the throne. Being the rightful heir of the Merovingians would not make him the rightful heir to the throne of France.

A sizable mundane army, and/or powerful mundane allies might make people pay heed to his claim, but otherwise that genealogy by itself won't get him far.

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My Tytalus hypothetical is only meant to be a single step in the plan to be king. To whit, gain legitimacy via a historical claim.

If the Pope backs his claim and doesn't excommunicate him, then holding onto the throne should be easier once he manages to take it.

Or is this a long term, danger fraught, overly complicated plan, that pushes the boundaries of Hermetic Law, that a Tytalus mage would avoid?

No Tytalus would ever avoid "a long term, danger fraught, overly complicated plan, that pushes the boundaries of Hermetic Law". Quite the opposite!

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A common way is to first contact someone who might become Pope, then convince him, and finally ensure he actually becomes Pope.

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my excitement is papabile!

Or of course contact one of the pope's advisors or functionaries.

So, this is, of course, very illegal. That's unlikely to stop a Tytalus, but should be noted.

The thing about doing crimes in the order is that you can get a way with a lot if you're popular, powerful or people are apathetic to your crimes. Other magi can decide to just not hold you to a crime if they don't feel like it.

However, creating some wiggle room in legality will always help- even a very powerful and connected magus will find it hard to get away with a really blatant violation of the code. People tend to dislike that, since the code is designed to stop things from becoming problems for all hermetic magi.

Being a Tytalus, they might lay some groundwork by arguing for the most permissive possible interpretation of the "Mundane Interference" clause of the code that they possibly can, whenever they can. Be at every tribunal meeting, speak in favor of every time it happens- hell, arrange sympathetic cases if you can.

While doing this, try to make friends with other magi and arrange for them to be placed in useful positions- many tribunals have problems insuring that all magi show up to meetings, so if you know and are friends with the magi of each covenant who tend to show up then you have a tremendous advantage.

You are going to want to destroy the power of the houses Tremere and Guernicus in the tribunal- those two will always push for the strongest enforcement of the code on people in house Tytalus and generally oppose things that make big waves.

If you manage to pull all of this off, namely:

  • You have eroded strict interpretations of Mundane Interference to the point that it will be hard to really justify stopping you from doing more overt things.
  • You have successfully become popular, connected or (through blackmail, certaman or murder) removed those active magi who would oppose your actions.
  • You have removed several powerful or active members of the houses that like law and order.

Then that doesn't assure you'll get to do what you want, but it makes it more likely to work. You should also strive to get some appearance of support from things that the order doesn't like to upset, like the Church or God (or powerful magical spirits or faeries). Your goal is to make opposing you seem difficult, annoying or counterproductive, while making your advancement seem harmless or beneficial to the order.

Oh, you could also try to arrange for the current king to be really dangerous or hostile to the order, or some industry the order relies on. Otherwise, interfering with them in some way that makes them seem unstable or cursed can help bolster good will from other magi- no one likes political instability where they live. Between 1223 and 1226, two French kings will die, ultimately leaving a twelve year old as the king of France. You should exploit that before he manages to become a very popular and pious king. Later in life, he sometimes punished blasphemers by mutilating their tongues or lips. If that happens to a Magus, this could inspire a lot of fear and anger in the Order.

Ultimately, your biggest problem is going to be other Magi. Mundane authorities are going to bend quite easily beneath your magic, despite their best efforts. Capture the support of religious authorities with political means and the support of the common people by miraculously solving their problems with discrete magic (or just rule as a wizard-king who can casually heal the sick or banish ghosts and demons). Other Magi are your rare equals in power, and convincing them to not stop you is your most difficult goal.

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Of course if the death of Louis VIII can be arranged prior to 1214 that will go a long ways in helping to legitimize your claims. Perhaps during the Albigensian crusade...

There's a little mention in The Lion & The Lily about Arthur of Brittany going missing in the early 1200s, and if he had been taken by magi and apprenticed he would be newly gauntleted around 1220. I tried playing this (he had Puissant Leadership as his Jerbiton virtue, and the spells designed to alter his memories have left him with the Delusion he is "Arthur, leader of the Britons" rather than Arthur, Duke of the Bretons) but sadly the saga stopped when everyone got incredibly bored playing Calebais.

We've also had Eleanor of Aquitaine be Gifted in a saga, and then wondering if any of her descendents in the English or French royal dynasties are Gifted. Massive potential for mundane politics while dancing around the subject of "well, they're doing what they're supposed to, does it count as interfering with mundanes?"

Remember that high ranking clergy and kings get some level of MR, and that this is going to involve a lot of casting in the Dominion.

Unless the Magus has the gentle gift this is a flat non-starter.

Gentle Gift shouldn't affect casting in the Dominion, merely people's attitudes.
Also, I was under the impression that your mage could be Inoffensive to People, or at least use magic to be more personable.

I think he was saying that a magus king would have to have the gentle Gift.
The other thought is what happens if a magus is the heir to a throne which does not require an oath of fealty- given the number of monarchs through the middle ages it has to have happened, and the simple fact that someone is both has got to mess with the rules on mundane interference.

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The options for the "Inoffensive to..." virtues are mundane animals, magical beings and faeries. Meanwhile, the options for "Offensive to..." are mundane humans, divine beings or infernal beings. I assume this is at least partially a balance thing, as if being Inoffensive to mundane humans was available for 1 virtue point then it would be a very attractive option.

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