Inter-Tribunal Politics and the Code

Question: What Hermetic legal recourse exists, if any, for a magus in the following situation?

Due to antagonistic Tribunal relations present in the Saga, Loch Leglean Tribunal decides to retaliate against the Stonehenge Tribunal by bringing up charges during a Loch Leglean Tribunal meeting against certain magi living in Stonehenge. The activities carried out by the Stonehenge magi took place in Loch Leglean, but are considered legal by the magi in question. Loch Leglean is using this as an excuse to punish these magi.

Loch Leglan holds trial whether or not the magi in question appear to defend themselves and declares them guilty. They issue a heavy punitive fine, loss of familiar, and loss of apprentice as the case may be. The magi from Stonehenge Tribunal contest the validity of the charges and the verdict from Loch Leglean. Grand Tribunal is 27 years away, and while appealing it then is always an option, that's too long to wait for a response.

Plot Twist: Due to historical reasons, the Stonehenge Tribunal is a year later. After a year of politicking, the magi in question put forth to vote: an order by the Stonehenge Tribunal for the affected magi to ignore the Loch Leglean verdicts and to neither pay the fine nor surrender their apprentices or familiars.

In short: Other than paying the penalty and using the time to appeal the case to Grand Tribunal, is there any legal recourse - short of Wizard's War - against this verdict from Loch Leglean? Ignoring it will simply be used as an excuse to Wizard's March the magi. What arguments are there about the validity of the Stonehenge Tribunal's order of having its magi simply ignore the verdicts of another Tribunal?

I'm curious to hear the thoughts of other SGs about legal arguments (for and against) in a backdrop where a cold war is heating up to a potential second Schism War, this time led by two Tribunals instead of Houses.

So the Quaesitores of the two Tribunals will have checked and ratified the decisions of the meetings, and know where the matter is heading, right? Did they attempt some mediation before? Or do they embrace the result of the two Tribunal meetings wholeheartedly?
After all, they did not veto their rulings, or invalidate any Tribunal meeting. And it were the Presiding Quaesitores who determined the punishments, which were not yet Marches.

If two Tribunals thus can't sort out their competencies and head towards Wizard's Marches over each other's borders, the Magvillus Council (HoH:TL p.44) should be called, to hear the reports of those Tribunals' Presiding Quaesitores, eventually hold them responsible, and decide on further actions. The council might e. g. intervene with Primi, big covenants and archmagi directly.
If all out war between two Tribunals appears possible, the Magvillus Council might even push for a Grand Tribunal out of sequence to prevent another Schism War.
But in any case, this kind of Magvillus Council already is a blow to the standing of the two Tribunals and their Quaesitores. The next Grand Tribunal will certainly scrutinize them closely.


Before a third party is called in, the Tribunals could try a mediation. The quaesitores of both Tribunals, and possibly magi Trianomae, and maybe Redcaps behind the scenes, may call for and attend a wizard's council to weigh the merits of the cases, investigate the situation, and generally try to extract the situation.

Perhaps such a council might call in disinterested quaesitores from a third or fourth Tribunal (although this would start to become unwieldy).

You'd think the Order would have a more developed way of dealing with inter-Tribunal conflicts.

Is Loch Leglean the correct Tribunal to bring the charges to, based on "Determining the Tribunal", page 56 HoH:TL?

@jason72: "A case is normally heard in the Tribunal where the actions that led to the charge took place." Yes, certain actions/activities took place in Loch Leglean by various Stonehenge magi. In this case, a multi-magus Wizard's War declaration of Stonehenge magi against magi in Loch Leglean three covenants who regularly raided south of Hadrian's Wall (the Tribunal border, at least in my Saga). The charges fall under "I will not endanger the Order through my actions," as an abuse of Wizard's War.

@One Shot: Regarding the Quaesitores in the two Tribunals. I am using material from the Lion of the North Tribunal book. There, Loch Leglean has a single Quaesitor who is firmly in the anti-Norman/Stonehenge camp and refuses to prosecute magi for 'punishing the usurpers' in England. She most certainly did not veto the Tribunal. Magvillus has been too busy arguing the Traditionalist/Transitionalist question, dealing with the Reconquista intra-Tribunal issues in Iberia, or this Lotharingian Tribunal nonsense that magi Normandy and the Rhine are up to, to deal with Loch Leglean's shenanigans. After all, the Quaesitor up there says she's got it under control.

As for the Stonehenge Tribunal, that has not yet taken place. However, the politics leading up to it may include such a proposal for Stonehenge magi to ignore the punishments pronounced on its magi from Loch Leglean. I figure the Quaesitores in Stonehenge may balk at such a proposal, but the Presiding Quaesitor from Blackthorn (who most certainly does not follow the tradition of cycling the office out to other senior Quaesitores - he's the eldest and will stay Presiding Quaesitor, by golly!) is both influential and influenceable figure in Stonehenge politics.

As for Primi, archmagi, and big covenants -- well, the big covenants are part of the conflicts in the two Tribunals, there are few archmagi of note, and the one Prima that's local (Immanola of Ex Miscellanea) has just returned from an extended Twilight episode and is pretty much ignored by everyone.

@TimOB: I had thought about "wizard's councils", as they were mentioned in Fourth Edition, though all mention of them in Fifth Edition has seemingly vanished. I'm guessing the the idea of ad hoc councils that could make decisions outside of the traditional House/Covenant/Tribunal/Grand Tribunal structure has largely been pushed aside, but I'm glad to be corrected on that. Good note about Trianomans and Redcaps attempting to hold things together.


So the Loch Leglean Quaesitor is wide open to censure by her sodales at Magvillus for even taking on the case without conferring with Stonehenge.

If Stonehenge has not yet made any dubious gestures itself, it can just have its Presiding Quaesitor inform Magvillus about the Loch Leglean Quaesitor overstepping the boundaries of her authority, and perhaps admonish her to wait for Magvillus' decision.

Of course, it is your saga: if Magvillus has decided not to care about Loch Leglean - Stonehenge squabbles, so be it.


I'd suggest that regional Tribunals only possess enforcement authority within their own territory. In this case, the Stonehenge magi would be safe unless they wander into Loch Leglean again or until Loch Leglean takes the case to Grand Tribunal.

You could use wizard's councils. If they work, the quaesitores are unlikely to fuss. I agree they've largely been pushed aside.

There are several different issues overlapping.

Can Loch Leglean judge a magus of another Tribunal for something done on Loch Leglean's ground? Absolutely, yes.

However, unless the case is clear-cut (and with magic, demons etc. it never is) the accused should be given a chance to defend himself. Were the Stonehenge magi asked to come to the Tribunal and explain their actions? This is not clear from the opening post. Note that this is not an Inter-Tribunal issue; most Tribunal meetings will have a number of absentees without legal representation (due to Twilight, unforeseen delays etc.), and the Quaesitores, as One Shot correctly points out, would take a dim view of a trial conducted in absentia without even trying to contact the alleged culprit before passing judgement. They would take a twice-as-dim view of one of their own who actually supported the whole thing for political reasons.

If it's in question whether Loch Leglean did conduct a fair trial (and it seems to be the case, since there's a whole other Tribunal denying it) then there's nothing to be done but wait for the next Grand Tribunal ... possibly asking the Quaesitores if they would look into the case beforehand, try to find a mediation etc. Of course, individual magi from Loch Leglean can still declare Wizard Wars on the alleged culprit...

Actually, even summoning the magi from Stonehenge to the trial in Loch Leglean requires coordination with Stonehenge.
As, if I understand Renimar right, the Stonehenge magi did pursue their Wizard's Wars in the border region, their case belongs to Stonehenge.

If the Stonehenge magi went deep into Loch Leglean for their Wizard's Wars, as a kind of punitive expedition, things are different. But even then Loch Leglean can not just send an uncoordinated posse for a Wizard's March back deep into Stonehenge territory, if the Stonehenge magi did not appear at the Loch Leglean Tribunal meeting. Rather, the Loch Leglean Quaesitor should have brought that issue before the Stonehenge Tribunal meeting a year later.

If there are no contacts between the Quaesitores of the two Tribunals on these Wizard's Wars, Magvillus should care about it. If it just abandons these Quaesitores and watches their Tribunals spiral into war disguised as law enforcement, it squanders its authority.


I always thought that Wizard's War transcend Tribunal's border: Mage A wants to fight Mage B (and not other reason that "I want to fight him" needs to be given), he send a Wizard's War declaration through the proper channel and at the next full moon, the hunt starts, regardless of the Tribunal. Thus the point of doing Wizard's War on one side or another of the border is largely irrelevant. War was declared: that's it, the location where it occured cannot be ground for legal prossecution... unless other point of the Code were broken, like directly endangering sodales (which were not part of the War) or indirectly (by attracting unwanted attention from the mundane typically), which seems to be the point taken here.

Obviously, abusive uses of Wizard's War will expose sooner or later the abuser for facing himself a Wizard's War, from the parens of one of the attacked magus for example (one was his favorite filius he was grooming to pick up his legacy/Breakthrough), or by a coalition of pissed off neighbours who find his behaviour highly disruptive (or because they feel they might be the next one on the list).

To escalate to this point, it implies - and you explained it well - a complicity or at least inefficiency of the Quaesitores from both side. Travel distances for magi is not a reason for late action: teleport, Mercere portals exist to deliver news very quickly.
Even if both tribunal's quaesitors are accomplice/deaf/mute/incapacitated, any mages or redcap witnessing the growing issue could bring it up to a Quaesitor of his House or in fact any Quaesitor if only for advice. At this stage, it should go beyond Loch Leglean/Stonehenge boundaries and people will notice, people would don't care about local bickering but care about Order stability.
For them not to take action would require strong political backing like probably only House Tremere would be able to pull off - and I am assuming it is not the case here.
The only other reasons no action would be taken to prevent what could degenerate in a full inter-Tribunal war would be more urgent matter to attend.

So I would be tempted to say that the people beyond this plot should have planned to have it resolved before "Big Power" comes into play: a kind of Blitzkrieg. So once the Big Power comes to look at it, the dust has settled and the most embarrassing proofs would have been cleaned, the balance of power has shifted, but is stable again. And very likely in this case, the Big Power would scolded the responsibles but to prevent creating more instability would let the situation in its new state of equilibrium. Mages will be willing to settle for existing peace instead of another war - especially if they are not living in these two Tribunals. "You have been naughty, don't do it again, now kiss each other and everybody is good friend again".
Both side will be under tight scrutiny for a couple of decade and any Wizard's War will be heavily scrutinized during this period of time - it might even be that declaring Wizard's War would be banned for a list of people who were deeply involved.

Of course, for the surviving loosing side, a strong feeling of resentment and inustice will remain and even grow and that's how feud starts and lasts. And considering the lifespan of mages, the revenge will come in 50 years and will be even more brutal.

So either the initiator of this situation is stupid and short-sighted (or possibly driven by demons), or he/they must have planned that at some stage it would be escalated beyond their influence. So they should have planned to clean the mess before it reaches this point. Maybe they have ways to delay the inevitable by a year or two (at most), but once the body counts starts to build up, they cannot sweep it under the rug.

Just to follow up on a point,

I was under the impression that the solution to "too much Wizard's War" is to have more people declare Wizard's War on the magi who are prosecuting the War itself. To me, then, this would be a red flag that tells every other Tribunal that something smells in Loch Legan, and it ain't the haggis.

Well not just the haggis

Looking up the old Lion of the North during breakfast, I find

So it takes just some sang froid by Stonehenge Presiding Quaesitor Iudicium from Blackthorn

to have Renimar's saga head straight to where Lion of the North considers Horsingas covenant to go.


My SG always laments the fact that there isn't a proper Tribunal book - how to run a tribunal from start to finish. There was one for previous versions, but he hasn't found anything similar for 5th Ed.

I haven't read HoH:S, so I don't know how much there is in the Guernicus section.

HoH:TL contains the Guernicus section, and pages 56-58 contain Tribunal procedures for legal cases and 64-66 about Tribunal duties for Quaesitors.
"How to run a tribunal from start to finish" is a tricky subject, as every Tribunal has different styles and procedures. Also, they vary colossally with play style - some people like to get straight into legal rulings and votes, some people want a very fast tribunal, others like to spend several sessions going over everything. The tournament to decide resource allocation in The Lion & The Lily probably sounded like a good idea, but having played through it once I'm not sure I want to be running six events every time you get to tribunal except in a very slow-paced saga.