Legal Harassment

If a magus wants to harm/harass another, what kind of stuff can they do without breaking the Code or going straight to Wizard War?

Anything non magical that does not deprive them of magical power.
If they want to use magic it cannot result in direct harm or be scrying.
So kidnapping or killing a favorite grog, for example, is completely legitimate. You can even use magic as long as you don't read their mind.

And, if you've got friends, you might go with some gang-Certamen. Challenge, challenge, challenge, each time over trivial issues, but force him to defend himself repeatedly.

Or if you have a friendly Guernicus, have him repeatedly investigated for minor infractions...
or contract the real professionals when it comes to harassment- faeries.

Be aware, of course, that a campaign of harassment can be grounds for certamen and eventually Wizard's War, depending very much on circumstances.

Neither of which formally need 'grounds' or even an excuse, so yeah.

Sure, but what's he going to do with Certamen that a campaign of Certamen harassment isn't going to do anyway? And I can see some social advantages in being the defender in a Wizard's War... especially if you have allies who can say "He's being unjustly attacked!"

One doesn't need to have grounds for a Wizard's War.
I seem to remember reading something about repeatedly challenging Certamen being illegal.

A short list:

  1. Love or anger potions/items snuck into the grogs' chambers/food (for example, into the beer the grogs drink, but the magi don't) so it is regularly and randomly triggering unfortunate emotional states among the grogs.
  2. PeMe on grogs who leave the covenant; they suddenly forget what they are doing, or (more entertainingly) how to do it (this can be problematic if the farms are outside the Aegis).
  3. Have a group of traveling minstrels seduce away (possibly with magic, possibly just with charm) one of the more promising young shield grogs.
  4. A PeAn spell set in a watching ward on the road just outside the covenant. Unless there's a maga with Gentle Gift or Inoffensive to Animals, there's no probability that a maga is riding the horse or donkey this trap is meant to affect.
  5. Pay for a monastery to be built right outside the covenant's grounds, and endow it with as many relics as you can purchase. Extra credit for encouraging an Order Militant to set up shop. The growing Dominion aura will be plenty harassing, but it may be difficult to get rid of the religious.

Another question- is the magus in the same covenant? Because covenant politics can always be fun, and arranging for them to be kicked out (which could in theory be done from outside if you are willing to pay for the favors) would certainly put a damper on their current plans.

This one is dangerously like interfering with mundanes and thus bringing ruin onto ones' sodales.

Exactly what you can get away with varies from tribunal to tribunal. In Normandy, for example, you can do almost anything you want to their supply chain and you're in the clear.

IMO if you want to be a jackass to someone, declare wizard's war. You don't have to prosecute it to the death; it means you can do things like trash their lab or kill their familiar with impunity.

And finally, it depends on the target. Some targets won't report you for minor (or even not-so-minor) code infractions, and will instead just seek personal vendetta.

It begs the question: why does the other magus/covenant think it can get away with the harassment? If the harassing magus/covenant is a major political power, it might try to get away with things lesser entities could not.

Certamen is supposed to have a point.

Wizard's War should have a reason - without any justification at all you may as well announce that you're a bully and would like a number of archmagi to descend on you like a ton of feces.

Also, if you're a Bonisagus (or can pay for one to do it), snag away every single apprentice they try to train.

I have been assuming the harassment has a point as well...

Yes, it's purpose in the Order is to settle disputes.

While one should have some sort of reason, one never has to provide a reason to anyone, under the Code. And yes, it is possible for archmagi to decide that someone who operates this way is a bully and declare WW upon said bully, I see that as a very remote possibility. It's a good idea for a story or two involving archmagi and PCs who need their help against a bully. But, IMO, archmagi, unrelated to the Wizard's War and their parties, would need some good reasons to join a Wizard's War, other than "because he's a bully."

Sure, that's why you have a gang do it. Convention is that, once you've challenged someone to Certamen, you can't until they challenge you.

But nothing says that your friends can't challenge them. So I challenge you. Then Bob does. Then Will. Then Eric. Then Tommy. If you challenge any of us back, that opens us up to challenge you again.

Ok, just had a completely unrelated thought on this... a Bonisagus who makes a practice of taking people's apprentices just before they're ready to be graduated (serf's parma, can't recall the term), then puts them through a nearly full apprenticeship again... giving him a well-trained lab assistant for some years. How's that for an Infamous Pater flaw?

But I can see some getting involved in a War "because he's a bully"... Tremere and Trianoma followers might do it as a way to keep order (no pun intended), and Flambeau might because it means socially acceptable bullying. Tytalus followers as an excuse to test themselves against someone who is known to be strong.

After 14 years, there's a strong bond between Apprentice and the now former master. I can see the former Master petitioning the tribunal for a flagrant abuse of the spirit of the Code, and making a case of this and probably have enough support to get situations like this declared a low crime, at the very least. The traditional length of apprenticeship is 15 years, between one master and one apprentice. I can envision that more time might be necessary if there are are multiple masters involved, but someone swooping in during the 14th year and trying to get another 15 years is going to get smacked down pretty hard by the body politic.

Sure, but not every magus would do it. In addition to your description of the limited number of magi who might be interested in doing such a thing, there's also the limiting factor of hearing about such an abusive magus declaring Wizard's War. As no reason is required under the Code, there's probably not an official record of why a Wizard's War is declared, and all that might be known about a particular Wizard's War is rumor and conjecture. Involving oneself in someone else's War when one doesn't have all the facts is ill-advised.

I had not heard of the clock starting over when a bonisagus snags an apprentice, though I don't think there is any specifications in any of the books, so whether this would fly or not probably depends on the tribunal...