Is this a infraction of the Code?

This discussion began at a TT game and although I was sorely outmatched in the wisdom department of Ars lore I also am not convinced of my flaw in logic so here goes.

So a mage, wishing to remain in keeping with the Code of not becoming a "court wizard" and interfering with mundanes, decides to create a proxi and false screen with which to work behind. He enlists, enslaves, endebts... whichever, a servant to go before a authority figure (or simply allow himself to become known) and this servant presents himself as a wizard of power. Now the servant is completely mundan, but the mage intends to perform magic or not perform as he chooses through this servant.

The servant wears the robes and is a good actor, ect. The Duke or Prince or what have you requests a service of his "wizard" the mage decides if and how he wishes to do the magic and then performs as though the servant is actually doing the task.

My question would be... how soon would the Order catch on? Is there an actual infraction? And could the mage simply disappear and allow his servant to take the wrap?

My logic says that I am wrong in thinking I could get away with it. However my natural proclivity toward skating along the edge of rules and then trying to "rationlize" and debate myself out of trouble simply overwhelms me at times. Funny thing... talking yourself out of trouble works about half the time, it's the other half where they decide to march you that causes all the problems.

I'm prolly not the best person to reply to this but I will reply anyway....

I'd say you are asking for trouble. I bet the order would be all over a wizard of power in a high court in a New York minute....esp if they were not, say, actually IN the Order of Hermes. Now how much would you be investigated/litigated against after they heard about it depends, I suppose, on how much spell casting was done, if any, and how much trouble you put anyone thru. It really seems like the Code is only enforced half the time usually by the strongest political factions against thier political rivals/foes.

The court wizard is outlawed because if they are useful all of the nobility will want one and the magi will have to spend a great deal of time telling the nobility no I don't want to work for you.

In my opinion there are some court wizards in Mythic Europe, but they're hedgies like the Natural Magicians from Hedge magic revised. Unless the stand in starts performing his duties with OoH level competence or nearly OoH level competence then I think it will slide.

If it does arouse the curiosity of the order the jig will be up fast. Look at Posing the Silent Question, and Peering into the Mortal Mind, the Order has easy access to just about the most impressive mind reading magic that's ever been put in a game.



If the cutout doesn't know that he is being run by magus, but believes, say, that he consults with a Guardian Spirit, or even a Guardian Angel, or perhaps sometimes has ideas pop into his head, curious magi might have to get very curious before realizing that a magus is behind all this. Mentem and Imaginem magics work nicely for the conspiring magus too!



Even if the Order doesn't immediately realize the 'court wizard' is a proxy (and a fake as well), they're going to take some kind of action. If he's posing as a mage, and he hasn't joined the Order, they will pressure him to do so. If he agrees, they'll explain to him that the Oath he's about to take will require him to discontinue his 'court wizard' activities. If he refuses to join, well then....

Of course, once they realize he's a mundane posing as a wizard, all bets are off.


My interpretation of the setting differs in that I think that if the court wizard doesn't show ant real competence then the Order will leave him be,


If he's a mundane posing as a hedge wizard with some holy powers, the Order is likely to leave him well alone. Especially if he believes that his greater powers are derived from prayer, faith and what-have-you. A hedge wizard with a powerful faerie ally (who happens to be a Merinita) could work too.



I'll echo the others saying that you're asking for trouble. But not for court wizarding - no oath of fealty and no explicit relationship would make that very hard to prove. Instead, I think you would face prosecution for interfering with the mundanes, having clearly set out to advantage one faction of the nobility via magic (which, while it may no thave caused any harm to your sodales yet, clearly has a very strong potential to do so, which should be good enough for most Tribunals).

As for penalty, that depends on the extent of your interference. But at the least, being told to stop, and having the Quaesitores all over you like flies on shit to make sure you do.

I'd say that "playing it by proxy" would not constitute being a court wizard. However, there's a very real risk of it falling under "interference with mundanes". It's a very, very grey area and strongly depends on how subtle the wizard and the proxy are.

Advice and "divination"? Perhaps the occasional "accidental" death of one of the noble's rivals? A "healing potion" or a "love filter"? Nobody's going to notice, nor probably care, unless the wizard has already made some powerful enemies in the Order who are itching for an excuse to cause him trouble. Rains of fire, flying castles and unquiet dead turning the tide of a war ... that's a completely different story, and is a clear breach of the Oath.

Even in these cases, I would say it's not a matter of how subtle the magus is that is important. It's a matter of whether or not another magus is affected and whether or not that magus can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Tribunal that a Hermetic magus was responsible...which given the possibility of discovering incriminating sigils might not be too tricky. You don't get extra points for disguising your Hermetic crimes well --- if anything it should make it worse when/if they are discovered.

I am not sure that I agree. I mean, you are a magus of the Order. A local noble has just gained a hedgewizard* as a court wizard. The hedge wizard does not know Parma. He cannot perform anything impressive. He probably does not even have the Gift! Leave him be, unless he is causing you trouble. If he is causing you trouble, unless you already know or suspect him to be a pawn of another devious member of the Order, you simply approach the hedge wizard and tell him "Join or Die!". If he joins (most likely Ex Miscellanea), he can no longer be a court wizard. Problem solved. If he does not join, you discreetly kill him, mystically brainwash him, or find one of a hundred more devious means to neutralize him. Problem solved.

Of course, its all very context dependent, but I'm not sure why a magus would come to the conclusion that that the noble's court wizard is just a "hedge wizard". I agree, that if the apparent court wizard isn't causing you any problems you might not bother investigating further, unless you are some kind of nosey Quaesitor (or a PC).

But, if the court wizard is causing you problems (or you suspect he might be), surely the first thing that you would do is to use InVi magic to find out whether his apparent magical effects are hermetic, hedge, faerie, or whatever. As this "hedge wizard" is really just a pawn for a Hermetic magus, your InVi investigation will immediately reveal that your source of annoyance is Hermetic magic. Unless, of course the real magus behind the court wizard is somehow capable of disguising what his magic is.

Hmmm... I don't think you could change the apparent realm of a spell, as that would violate the Limit of Essential nature. But you could make a variation on Shroud Magic to disguise it as no longer being Hermetic. It would be a total change, as it effectively changes technique and form, so it would be difficult - but not impossible. And while it will not fool a careful Quaesitor, who double-checks hedge magic traces for shrouds?

Alternatively, there's always infernalism...

Shroud of the Hedge Wizard
R: Touch D: Mom T: Ind

This spell allows a magus to suppress the trace left by a spell that is being cast or which has been cast but is still active to disguise its Hermetic nature. In the process, the sigil of the spell is also changed. The type of magic an effect is disguised as must be determined when the spell is invented, and if the magus wishes adopt the guise of a specific form of Hedge Magic they must have some familiarity with it. The spell to be shrouded can be of up to half the level of the Shroud. (Base, +1 touch)

Maybe, but why can't you make your magic appear to be, say, Faerie through some kind of shroud variant?

It would still dispel as Hermetic, because that's what it is.


That's actually a really good plot hook...

In any case, there are risks the 'puppet master' magus runs by acting as court wizard by proxy, if an 'interference with mundanes' case can be brought.

However, another magus - on a personal level - could easily just kill off this mundane actor. It's not any kind of magical resource, that's like killing a grog. And only in dire cases IMHO could the 'puppet master' magus get a case out of this. Perhaps get a small reparation. But he really couldn't get a ' depriving of magic' case to stand up. After all, if the actor was a part of some grand, magical scheme, it would certainly be 'interference with mundanes'.

As said, love potions, the occasional death and some info on what the stars tel you about the convenience of starting the war (or some overheard conversation by a magpie that was lurking nearby) are things that hedge magicians can do. I doubt the Order would minbd. Otherwise they would be doing that all day long. IMO most (if not all) the big guys in Europe have one or 2 hedge wizards of that power level at their service. Some barons (and certainly quite a few earl-level dudes might as well. Those are not really that dangerous: they are part of the political game in a Mythic Europe, even if they are not in real europe.

Now, if you go around and see that a 2k strong army just died unexpectedly for no apparent reason, quite a few questions might arise about that court wizard out there.... It is a matter of intensity of involvement and its consequences, not a matter of you being hermetic or a folk witch when you create a lovwe filter. An hermetic creating love filters would be sneered at. One killing armies or deposing the Earl of Warwick would be marched.

So in the case stated in the first post, it depends on what you do there. Casting pila of fire is not a good idea. Giving the guy a sword enchanted with edge of the razor is acceptable. Careful though, sicne those Quaesitors are quite edgy.


I would say that that's verging on a violation, but quite there yet. The most important part of the Oath is, "and thereby bring ruin on my Sodales." The Order as a whole does not care what you do unless it threatens them. Thus they have no problem with Hedgies as court wizards - and if Mythic Europe is even half as magical as historical Europe, most major courts will have one - as long as the Hedges are not associated with the Order. The Nobility are in general aware that the Order exists, after all, and also aware that it's basicly insular and noninterventionist. What will get you brought up before Tribunal is threatening that perception, causing mundanes to either perceive you as a threat or demand services from you.

In the case where you have an even mostly ignorant front, I suspect that Tribunal would let you be since otherwise the precedent would directly threaten the Verditious and Mercere, amonst others, who profit by selling minor magical items to mundanes through mundane intermediaries.

I don't think that's really relevant. Certainly, this is the sort of stuff that maybe others wouldn't notice. In which case you are fine. But dealing with the infernal is fine too, if no-one else notices.

The critical point is that this is not really a hedge wizard. It is a Hermetic magus acting as a court wizard, and attempting to obfuscate this fact by using a mundane proxy. So, if another magus takes the slightest interest, for whatever reason, in what this hedge wizard is doing, then the Hermetic magus will be caught almost straight away. The very first thing most magi will do (well, after casting pilum of flame, of course) will be to use some kind of Invi magic to work out what sort of supernatural problem they are dealing with --- which unless he invents some kind of spell like Shroud of the Hedge Wizard will reveal that the caster of the hedge wizard's effects is really a Hermetic magus.

So, certainly using a mundane proxy is a good strategy for minimizing the chances of being caught acting as a court wizard. If you use only low intensity, hedge wizard plausible effects, that don't bother other magi, then no-one is likely to notice that the hedge wizard is actually using Hermetic effects. However, it doesn't provide you a legal defense if someone does actually bother investigating the hedge wizard.

This is a nice little bag of cats. I agree with just about every response so far since a lot hinges on whether the court wizard stirs any notice. I think the arguments about how much is too much to attract notice are all valid, and make for interesting potboilers of a story, but I do have an issue with the "rationalize it later" idea. I think that the Quaesitors are less interested in "lawyering" semantics and more interested in holding a solid line against certain activities. In short, I believe your hope of arguing that "it wasn't me, it was the puppet, therefore I am not a court wizard" is a dim one. Most quaesitors would wave aside such an argument as irrelevant wordplay.

I'm not saying don't do it (I think it's a delicious scheme, personally), just be careful.