Inter-tribunal justice

I am thinking about something for my upcomming sage: a mage convicted for demonist flee to hide in an other Tribunal. I have few questions :

  • Can a group of avenging mage follow him there to do justice? Or are there rules/practices it's became the responsability of the Tribunal he has moved to. (the new mages won't know the dynamic of the tribunal and the agreements with mortals and will be a source of trouble)
  • Should the avenging mages ask an autorisation to etablish a "base of operation" or as long as they stay away from other covenants it's ok?
  • Can a quesitor investigate in an other Tribunal or does he need the senior quesitor approval first?

The basics for this come from HoH:TL p.56 Determining the Tribunal. I assume, that the convicted demonist is from the Tribunal of the avenging magi. So he remains convicted if he flees to another Tribunal.

It would be decent and polite to address the Praeco or Presiding Quaesitor of that Tribunal, or whoever receives communications for them, before the avenging magi begin involving other magi of that Tribunal. More civilised Tribunals might expect a certified copy of the verdict. But if this is impossible, the avengers might as well communicate their purpose to a Quaesitor in good standing in the area where their quarry appears to be hiding.

As long as that quarry without doubt is from the Tribunal of the avengers, they can "do justice" to him also in the other Tribunal. They mustn't do damage or commit crimes there, of course.

The situation gets really tricky and dangerous, if there was any contention about the Tribunal entitled to judge the demonist.


The crimes part gets especially tricky if the convicted magus seeks and gains shelter with an established magus of the other tribunal. Since it is very difficult to both force an unwilling magus to give up sheltering the convicted demonist without committing a crime.

There could be any number of other ways the convicted demonist can exploit the tribunal where he hides to play the law against his pursuers. Good on them for fleeing to another other tribunal.

One question is what was the outcome of the conviction. If the demonist (not demonologist?) is marched, then giving shelter is itself a high crime. If he has been fined then why are the PC hunting him? Did they declare wizards war? If so was it with a method that both tribunals recognize?

Also worth noting- in theory someone who declares wizard war on a Tremere could find that Tremere is visiting the Transylvanian tribunal during that period, and that the Transylvanian council declines to allow them access to the tribunal. If the Tremere in question has also gotten some arcane connection to the person who declared wizard war, things could go badly...

Yeah, I would have a similar interpretation. Being an Infernalist is one of the few things that are explicitly and unambiguously forbidden by the Oath of Hermes and would result in expulsion from the Order.

Right. But it is his Tribunal to expel the one sheltering the already convicted demonist, and a Quaesitor in good stading of his Tribunal to march him preemptively. That is a good reason for the avengers to at least contact a local Quaesitor before involving other magi.

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As @oneshot pointed out above it is really tricky if there was contention about the Tribunal or vote that found the demonist guilty.

It is a good strategy for those innocently judged to flee to a different tribunal and seek shelter while they try to sort things out. For that reason anyone giving shelter is in a really dangerous position, since if they are sheltering someone who really is guilty they are committing a high crime. On the other hand if host of the demonist hands over an innocent magus to someone who managed to force an unfair vote at tribunal or worse got a quaesitor to preemptively declare a march then they would be assisting someone in committing a high crime too.

If it happened to me that a bunch of people showed up demanding that I hand over a magus I was sheltering because of an alleged crime then I would demand to see some proof that the accused had been sentenced at tribunal or some evidence that a preemptive march had been declared. In the case of a preemptive march I would be tempted to hold the accused magus prisoner until they could be handed over to a tribunal for proper sentencing. At the very least there would have to be some sort of negotiation with the hunters. It is ill-fated to give up someone that you have offered hospitality without making sure that they took your hospitality in bad faith first.

Of course all my reasoning is based on the idea that the demonist in question is hiding out at someones covenant. If they are hiding in the wilderness (i.e. not in place where I would have to violate something that is protected under the code, such as another magus' property) it is much easier to flush the demonist out.

I think that I agree with you, but I also think that you are missing a verb.

The 'it is' does double duty and refers to both 'his Tribunal to expel ...' and 'a Quaesitor in good standing of his Tribunal to march ...'.

Thanks all!

The PCs are not the avenging mages: the idea is, a group of over-enthusiastic and unsubtle foreign NPC mages are very determined to find a criminal hidding in the PCs' Tribunal (nobody knows where exactly).
Their investigation will messes with the life and the political balance of the tribunal : they suspect local covenants to harbor the fugitive and are very vindicative and arrogant in general, including bullying vulgar (to persuade them to help or to interrogate them), including grog

My ideas so far:

  • The demonologist (thanks @silveroak you're right) is really guilty of studying demon, but didn't do anything morally wrong, and is otherwise not corrupted. Because he was actually a well respected mage, some are reluctant to put any effort into finding him (even if very few disagree with the judgement)
  • Unlike him, the avenging mages are very unlikeable : they are his political ennemies and very happy to hunt him down (or want to inherit part of his possession as slayer of a marched mage). They suspect everyone to help the fugitive and they are really agressive but they are also definitely right in the eyes of the law
  • The foreign mages will probably commit infractions (probably interfering with mortals, unknowingly taking vis in the wilderness without bothering to chech if it belongs to a covenant, maybe even spying on mage). But they claim investigation immunity and that their acts are minor comparing to demon corruption
  • The demonologist may seek help from local hedge wizards
  • The demonologist, cornered and desperate, might actually resign himself to make a deal with a demon. Corrupted, he will probably use his knowledge to create dissension in the tribunal (framing the avenging mages as torturers/murderers, manipulating them by placing evidence of his presence in a local covenant etc) and to corrupt the ones hidding him (hedge wizards or a NPC covenant)
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This is an interesting situation because it sounds a lot like many of the above reservations are fulfilled.

Since the demonologist only studies demons it is not IMO entirely clear that what he does is illegal rather than simply frowned upon. Which means that there is good reason to help him and try to get his conviction overturned.

It is also highly likely to become possible for magi in the PC's tribunal to essentially shut the investigation down by refusing to cooperate.

For example you are more than within your rights to ask visitors to leave your territory, by force if necessary if they harvest your Vis, kill your magical allies or cause trouble with the mundanes. Whether or not those investigators are hunting a marched magus is immaterial so long as they have no proof that you are harboring the fugitive. Generally it would reflect poorly on someone if they refused to provide housing to a magus or group of magi who are hunting a demonologist if the hunting magi are well behaved.
You are also not really obligated to continue to help the investigators if they behave themselves poorly. In fact if the investigators commit more than a few such small crimes like stealing vis, incautiously spying and causing trouble then they are likely to be charged with those crimes and possibly banished from the tribunal. If the investigators cause enough trouble in the tribunal that they visit it is even possible that the magi of the tribunal could call an emergency tribunal to deal with the problem.

If the investigators get really unpopular they can probably be legally killed. Say if they steal vis from one covenant and generally cause trouble, are forced to leave and move on to the next covenant after word has spread that they are a band of thieves and troublemakers. Especially if they are stupid enough to be interrupted in the committing of a second crime as they can then freely be attacked under a claim of forfeit immunity.

Also please not that there is no such thing as investigation immunity. At least not in the sense they you can become immune to being investigated. There is only forfeit immunity which means that you can claim that a certain action does not violate the code even if it normally would. Forfeit immunity applies when you catch someone in the act of committing a crime or investigate something that relates to a crime and should be proportional to a degree. This means that if someone breaks into your lab but leaves behind an arcane connection you can legally use that arcane connection to determine who it is a connection to, even though it would normally be spying. You can also attack someone if you catch them in the act of committing a crime but only until your attacks have successfully stopped them from committing the crime and posing a threat to you.

Forfeit immunity clearly does not apply in a situation where you are hunting a marched magus and commit a crime against some third party even if committing said crime does help you hunt the marched magus.

That's a cool plot-line.
You know your players better than us, but are you ready for them to side with the hunters for some reason?

Rude as the hunters (somehow I either see them as either a Tremere squad or Flambeau sworn band) might be, it is possible for someone to pounce on the "infernalist" business or even see ending the hunt as both the easiest way to get rid of the hunters and getting something out of the March.

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I hope the PCs will feel sorry for the mage and hate the avenging magi but I really wish to avoid obvious good/bad side:

The demonologist is likeable, is/was respected and had good intentions but he is not innocent and went against one of the strongest prohibition of the Order (he may have even trapped a demon to study him, no proof but a strong suspicion)
Likewise the avenging mages are unlikeable hot-headed arrogant maverick vigilants but legally justified (even if we know demonologist wasn't corrupted, there is no way in game to be sure).

I don't want the avenging mages acting obviously against the code: if the PC want them out, they will have to work for it. Hunting the demonologist or helping him to leave the tribunal, contesting the judgment, join the hunt, proving a serious offence from the hunters to force the tribunal to ban them, or simply using diplomacy to unite local covenants against them

For investigation immunity, I remember that is a thing for quesitor and even for a mage who conduct an legitimate investigation (I believe I read that in House of Hermes: True Ligneage)

@Jank thanks and good guess, the hunters will be a flambeau et tremere!

actually no, they would e helping them commit a moral outrage, but not a high crime. What you describe is, for some tribunals, politics as usual. At least aside from the assumption that it is demonologists who are controlling the tribunal. If that is the case the next grand tribunal is going to be a nightmare...

as for immunity, there is a certain limited immunity for guernicus investigating a crime when it comes to scrying, but that does not extend to those hunting a marched magus. There may well be others in the new tribunal who take up the hunt on their own, but the original hunters can also be caught in committing a crime and killed independent of their mission. In fact since marching is irreversible the demonologist will probably have to leave the new tribunal since they have no legal protection and potential hunters have some awareness of their potential location.

  • Can a group of avenging mage follow him there to do justice? Or are there rules/practices it's became the responsability of the Tribunal he has moved to. (the new mages won't know the dynamic of the tribunal and the agreements with mortals and will be a source of trouble)

A marched mage might be followed into any Tribunal by a hunting mage. Even Transylvania Tribunal, which has a closed border policy, would have a hard time denying a mage hunting a convicted Infernalist.

It is the obligation of every mage to oppose a wanted criminal, although many won't actively pursue one.

  • Should the avenging mages ask an autorisation to etablish a "base of operation" or as long as they stay away from other covenants it's ok?

Well, they should announce their presence to nearby covenants, unless they think the convict is sheltering there.

  • Can a quesitor investigate in an other Tribunal or does he need the senior quesitor approval first?

A quaesitor in a foreign Tribunal should not make rulings based on local Peripheral Code, but they can investigate High Crimes and hunt for convicted criminals. It's best practice to inform the local senior quaesitor.

I would think that if a magus were convicted and escaped, their name, description, and crimes would be widely circulated throughout the Order, although this would take time.

Of course it would be highly unusual for there not to be Tremere hoplite involved in hunting a marched magus to begin with. On the other hand "we are hunting a marched mage" doesn't become an all access pass without means of verification either. For a magus to be marched and be hunted by a group of undisciplined mages would be unusual to the point that the tribunal being entered might well wonder if the marched magus was really in the tribunal at all, or if this was just an excuse. Also note that for a tribunal such as Thebes they will likely tolerate the presence (to a point) of the hunting magi but won't be granting them citizenship.
Of course it also brings up any number of issues I have had before about inter-tribunal politics, and where guernicus mages need to check the validity of teh marching and the question of how they do so (generally by conferring with other guernicus of the tribunal the mage was marched in)