Legality of Manipulating Another Covenant's Covenfolk

I forgot to mention but in terms of defending yourself against a court of your hermetic peers I would assume that a spell with a permanent duration is a lot harder to justify than one that is temporary.

Because the spell is designed to have a permanent effect its really hard to see this as anything less than an attempt to destroy the target covenant. If on the other hand the spell had been temporary it would be possible to argue that its just a stupid prank. Your Flambeau magus has not left that door open to himself.

A few more things to consider:

If he is caught casting the spell, the magi of the covenant could justify killing him in self-defense as he was clearly trying to cast some sort of ritual to affect the whole covenant - how were they supposed to know if he was casting forcelessly or not?

If this is treated as a prank, then it may become open season to prank him back - is there a rule against driving 1000 smelly pigs through a covenant? Is there a rule about using Imaginem magic to create temporary rude graffiti about the magus in question? Before you know it, your magus may have escalated the situation into people trying to see how far the Code can bend when pranking people.

The other covenant may well find out even if they never cast any InVi spells because they notice their covenfolk starting to speak well of an outsider they don't normally meet, which is strange for a Gifted person. However, what if the covenfolk start speaking of this to others, and confess to their priest that they developed a strange desire for this Flambeau? If word gets out, would this count as evidence that they breached "Nor will I interfere with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin on my sodales"?

1 Like

Just a quick note, Twilight Prone magi only need to roll when they roll a single botch, not a single warping point.

if it is cast as a permanent momentary, simply revealing that it was cast to the covenfolk will go a long ways towards undermining the outcome.
it sounds like pretty much exactly what could be expected in a verditius rivalry.
children born in a covenant would belong to that covenant, regardless of who the father is, to the degree that ownership applies.


Momentary Creo spells may be made permanent with rituals (and thus vis). We have assumed that would include Mentem effects such as creating emotions or memories, not only the boosting of mental characteristics. This would allow a spell of (Base 4 +1 Touch +4 Boundary), level 25 and thus not causing warping on the targets. It also means that while the feeling is permanent, it is not maintained by the magic and so can degrade naturally through the actions of the magus. There is a similar ritual in Covenants, p.41 that uses a year duration instead of momentary, which could be evidence that our interpretation of permanent CrMe rituals is wrong, but it seems to most of us that the year and momentary durations could both be valid options. The year duration would be better in some cases because it maintains the magic, keeping the covenant loyal even to the Blatant Gifted, reckless Flambaeu for the duration, no matter how many houses he "accidentally" sets on fire.

This is definitely a reasonable interpretation; I'm not 100% agreeing with it, since I feel Mentem is a bit wiggly with exactly how you affect the mind - might be answered in A&A, I don't know. As far as making it non-warping... well... The specific quote in the book says 'Anyone subjected to a powerful mystical effect gains a Warping Point... “Powerful effect” is subjective, but any Hermetic spell of sixth magnitude or higher counts' which means you can very easily have a 'powerful mystical effect' that is 5th magnitude or lower. You're making a permanent addition to their mind, generating a new personality trait 'Loyal to X'. I might very well argue that's going to count as powerful enough to warp a little.

The spell will be cast forcelessly, thus having a penetration of 0, which should prevent it from affecting any magi as well as apprentices covered by the master's Parma. This of course requires the ritual to be cast from inside the target's Aegis, so that it's own magic resistance is bypassed. This will require that the magus can cast the spell with a penalty equal to half the target's Aegis.

An apprentice who isn't next to their master would have no parma - if one of their apprentices is reading a book in the library, or downstairs getting their master's breakfast from the kitchens, no parma, you've mind controlled their apprentice. Extended parma only lasts while within sight.

This is interesting. Is casting spells that target other Magi illegal, even with 0 penetration? The books say that Intellego spells are often cast with 0 penetration to prevent accidentally scrying on Magi. However the target of an Intellego sense spell is usually the caster, not those being sensed, so a spell isn't being cast targeting other Magi. This spell IS targeting Magi, even if not specifically. Even with 0 penetration, would this then be a violation of the Code itself?

I like this. The magus doesn't attempt to gain any information from the covenfolk but one of them volunteers the information after being affected by the spell. Even if the Magus doesn't act on the information if another Magi learns that the covenfolk shared the information with the Mentem Magus, he could then be held liable, potentially years after the spell is cast. Seems like fun.

Yeah, scrying doesn't need to be intentional to be illegal. That's always one of the most 'fun' results. I really want to hear how this plays out. Thanks for sharing this story!

Some nice ideas here. The Blatant Gifted Flambeau isn't the proposed caster, but a member of the same covenant. I just brought him up to illustrate our reasoning why you might prefer a non-permanent but magically maintained duration over the permanent Creo momentary option.

We rule that minor personality flaws are generally worth a +3 personality trait which is what we've allowed for the Creo Mentem base 4 effect, though the spell in Covenants, p.41 gives a +4 loyal trait. I guess it would depend on how you adjudicate personality traits but I wouldn't think that a loyalty +3, trusting +3, etc. would be enough to cause the covenfolk to up and leave their established lives. If a modern person starts a business, all of his friends don't quit their jobs/move their family just to go work for him. I would say that a grog with Trusting [Magus] +3 would be enough to offset the -3 Gifted penalty, so he would trust him as much as any other stranger. In the case of our Mentem Magus, he is Gentle Gifted, so he would be received favorably, but I think it's important to remember that the trust isn't magically reinforced and so could be lost and it certainly isn't as potent as a Rego Mentem effect would be. At best it is like a minor personality flaw, but unlike the flaw it isn't part of the grog's essential nature and so can easily be reduced or removed.

On the other hand you have a great point about covenfolk who aren't affected for whatever reason thinking that the affected members are acting strangely. Depending on the relationship they have with the ruling Magi they could easily bring up the change and the Magi would be able to deduce what has happened, even if they lack direct proof. Of course the effect may go completely unnoticed until the caster has contact with the affected covenfolk. People don't usually go around saying how much they like someone they haven't interacted with.

This makes me consider another point. Would the spell have any effect on targets who have never met the caster? Other times he has used these effects they have always been normal spells with a duration, so even if the target first meets him after the casting the spell is still maintaining the effect. Personally would be inclined to say that it works like the inverse of the Gift, the target perceives the caster as having an honest face, it's love at first sight, he seems to be the kind of man who takes care of his vassals, etc., but I could be convinced otherwise. If anyone has any opinions on this I would love to hear them so that I can share them with the group.

Our understanding is that if the caster is inside the Aegis he will bypass the magic resistance but will suffer a penalty to casting equal to half the level of the Aegis.

If any spell is cast toward the Aegis (originating from outside it) by any magus who was not involved in the Aegis ritual, the Aegis resists the spell.

Certainly. He has a pretty effective way of concealing himself but everyone is in agreement that if he is discovered while casting the ritual the target covenant is certain to respond with (likely lethal) force. The other players can attempt to bring a suit against the target covenant if they want to.

Another interesting point, one that highlights how different groups interpret the setting. We've always assumed that there is a difference between covenfolk and the peasants that work the lands owned by the covenant. Many of the covenfolk proper usually have a reason for why they choose to live near and work for strange and dangerous masters (and that's for Gentle Gifted Magi; normal Magi are worse!). Pagans, heretics, criminals, etc. they often have a good reason to avoid secular and ecclesiastic authority, even simple priests. Our player covenant actually has a "tame" monk who handles the religious needs of the covenant and in return the Aegis suppresses his lycanthropy. A major theme of our saga is the Dominion and the effect it has on magi. We have rules for temporary Divine auras manifesting from performing the Sacraments - even a grog who receives Communion projects a small level 1 aura for a week.

Obviously this is very saga specific and certainly come covenfolk will still see real priests, on major holy days at the very least. If a local bishop got involved he could certainly cause problems for the target covenant and thus constitute interfering with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin on my sodales. The target is near the Archbishopric of Trier...

This is something we all agreed on, this being the drawback vs. being an ongoing duration. It would hinge on the effect of the spell being detected though, which outside of magical means would have to happen after the Magus interacts with the covenfolk, by my interpretation.

This is mostly what I would expect. What if a Magi wanted to claim an unGifted child as his apprentice. Hypothetically an Ex Misc Hedge Witch could take an unGifted child and teach them their supernatural abilities. I doubt this is covered officially, but what do you think would be a likely outcome. What if the witch took the child and then decided to release them from apprenticeship after taking them from the home covenant. Assuming the original covenant cared, would they have any legal grounds to claim the child back (outside of wizard's war of course)?

Oh nice catch! Though if an apprentice has at least Mentem 1, his Form resistance would still cover him correct? Might have to point this out to the SG running this, so that an apprentice with Mentem 0 might be inside the covenant.

Thanks for the interest! I'll try and report back this weekend.

keep in mind as well that if the magus is using magic to conceal themselves then that is a violation of the code, whether casting the spell to influence covenfolk is or not.

Oh, that's easy...if the child is released from the apprenticeship, they can be claimed as an apprentice in retaliation. :wink:

From our understanding of the discussion about scrying on True Lineages p.52 this is only somewhat true, mentioning the potential for an invisible/shapeshifted Magus to bring a suit against the covenant whose ground he is on, though saying that such a suit is unlikely to be successful. This would imply to most of us that simply being invisible/shapeshifted within another covenant is not enough to be illegal (though because Mentem Magus is casting a spell at the covenant it would probably be illegal here and, if not, I imagine most Magi at Tribunal would support the covenant using force to subdue him). Regardless, Mentem Magus is unconcerned about this because he is certain he won't be caught.

If done by a Hermetic Magi would this possibly be a low crime relating to not properly training an apprentice, since Hermetic Magi cannot train someone without the Gift? Of course it could still be ruled that the hedge witch also committed the crime since she didn't actually intend on training the child. Does the Order even recognize non-gifted apprentices as actual apprentices under the Oath (other than Redcaps, which may be precedent or exception)? True Lineages doesn't offer much help, with most of the clarification specifically saying Gifted child, thus excluding Redcap apprentices from much of the wording. Of course since Redcaps are from one house, the Order may very well ignore the rights and obligations of their apprentices until inducted into the order, leaving it as a house matter.

I don't foresee this being of any practical concern in our saga but it is fun to think about.

under the code an exmiscelania is not a hedge witch, they are a magus. There are no provisions for an ungifted apprentice because aside from verditius nobody expects anyone to take them - verditius could easily take craft apprentices who are not considered hermetic apprentices and aren't covered under the code. They would probably rely on this as a basis for any rulings, understanding that in the case of verditius if the mundane apprentice can aid their craft score for a lab onus they are a magical resource...

Sorry I used the wrong term; by an Ex Misc Hedge Witch I meant a full member of the Order, but one who uses the Folk Witch (not Hedge Witch) magical tradition from the Hedge Magic book. Non-Gifted people can be trained to use Folk Witch magic, though it's much more difficult and less effective for them.

As a side note, about using this massive Creo Mentem spell...
Considering it has instant/perm duration, it could be difficult to track accurately if InVi are not done quickly after the casting. However, since the spell create loyalty/love towards somebody, one could say, the target of the loyalty is likely to be the caster.

Now, what if the sneaky caster was making sure that the loyalty was towards another target, like for example an enemy mage from another covenant. :slight_smile:
... just saying...

Of course, the culprit will face serious charge because he is really stirring some serious sh*t.

Now, of course, if the power is demonically infused, then Intellego spell will fail. So what if the faerie trickster or an imp was aware of the mage intention and decide to spike the situation...

Just adding element to mess up the situation. It has so much potential to become a huge mess of finger pointing and politicking.

The case you are referring to specifically states that if you are a guest at a covenant and use magic to communicate out of the covenant that you are guesting then you are unlikely to be successful in pressing charges against your hosts if their anti-scrying device detects that fact that you are communicating, but not what you are communicating. Likewise the book says that if a magus is hanging around another covenant while "invisible" or shapeshifted and is detected by magic at the covenant then he has technically been scry'ed upon but he is unlikely to have a case.

True lineages also says:
However, any use of magic (not just Intellego spells) to
spy or aid spying into a magus’s legal affairs is considered
an offense. As always the penalty will depend on the harm
done or intended.


Magi are unlikely to bring a successful case for being
spotted while invisible or shapeshifted within another’s

Using this ruling to conclude that you can freely sneak around "invisibly" in another covenant is a not at all supported by the code of Hermes. In fact I would say that sneaking around another covenant while hidden by magic is as clear a break of the provision against scrying as you can get. Using magic to sneak around undetected in a covenant that is not your own is definitely not okay, but using magic to detect such sneaking around in your own covenant is fine.

In this case the harm done or intended is spellcasting on literally everyone in the covenant (or assuming that the caster can convince a tribunal that he cast forcelessly then everyone except the magi), the harm done or intended is pretty serious. In addition anything the magus overhears or otherwise learns of while being "invisible" while constitute a breach of the code regardless of whether he/she was trying to learn it. This is made pretty clear in the core rulebook, where it states "That simply walking around while invisible is magical scrying" and that
you just have to learn about a magus' activities. This might be as little as overhearing two covenfolk say something like "Have seen magus Balthazar? He is always in his lab these days, the explosions sound really dangerous" I know this might seem like a trivial thing to learn, but it is knowledge about the activities of the magus (he is working on a lab project that involves explosions) and the core book further states that "in general Tribunals have taken a very strict view of what constitutes magical scrying (all quotes from the core book are taken from page 14).

I used "invisible" in quotes here because I dont mean invisiblity in the strict sense of an Imaginem spell that destroys the species that you emit but any form of magic that make you hard to spot or forces people to overlook you, really any use of magic that makes it less likely that people will detect you.

Have a look at GotF (Guardians of the Forest) p.72 upper box Cr(Mu)Me 25 (Eye, Sun, Ind) My New Best Friend and MoH (Magi of Hermes) p.92 (Eye, Sun, Ind) My Old and Dear Friend. Both show the need to shape a target's memory to lay the ground of a friendly reaction, and in case of the former spell a Friendly to Caster +3 Personality Trait. If the Mutoed memory expires, the target can look through the deception.

Wouldn't suddenly becoming Friendly to Caster +3 without any reason be that unmotivated, that in a covenant the target should consider herself ensorcelled at once and look for help?

I think you are using the term "permanent" wrong there, and that "mundane, lasting the spell" terminology suits better, because "permanent" might be confused with a spell duration. When you have a spell duration going on, the spell just keeps happening, so for example if you have a ReMe spell with a duration to keep someone sleeping (or being loyal to your magus), they keep doing so and can't be awaken (or stop being loyal) for the duration, as opposed to spells with momentary duration which put people to sleep, where they can be naturally awaken afterwards.

You use ritual creo magic to create things that are actually mundane: you can use Conjure the Mystic Tower to create a tower, but it's not magic: if you hit your head against it Parma won't stop it, if you shake it with an earthquake it will crumble, and so on. You don's use ritual creo magic to cast actually permanent stuff: you can't use a ritual CrIg, CrAu or CrIm to create everlasting fires, storms or illusions, because the nature of fires is to burn out when they get out of fuel, of storms to go around for a while and then dissolve, and images are species that don't stand still in place. So I think no matter how much vis the magus invest on this spell: it will create a mundane loyalty to the magus, which will immediately start to fade off, probably quite fast as I assume most mundanes won't even know the casting magus they are supposed to be loyal to.

If he wants that loyalty to endure, he should put an actual duration to the spell, and the spell should last for that duration, and probably after that fade naturally. Anything else is a big can of worms.

1 Like

"Wouldn't suddenly becoming Friendly to Caster +3 without any reason be that unmotivated, that in a covenant the target should consider herself ensorcelled at once and look for help?"

I think it depends on context - if everyone else in the covenant expresses the feeling at the same time, then it won't seem unnatural to you and you may not think it's unusual. To anyone else (say a grog who was out collecting firewood or had gone to market when the ritual went off, and comes back later) it will be very obvious that something is up.

Would the magi notice - depends on their relationship with their covenfolk. Aloof lab rats or very arrogant magi might never notice, those with a close working relationship with grogs might figure it out immediately. A verditius who has forge assistants or a jerbiton who enjoys long chats with his stablehands and huntsmen could be tipped off within hours and start investigating.

If a spell is cast with zero penetration, then any legal hermetic apprentice will be unaffected by the spell, as their arts will have been opened, granting them a Mentem art score of 0. This gives them a Magic Resistance of 0, as well, which would require a penetration total of at least one to bypass.

Any "apprentice" affected by such an effect would not legally be anyone's apprentice.

You are correct; With a brief bit of reading... Suppressing one's Parma also suppresses your form bonuses, and that fact is what confused me.

If you can't think of a reason for that feeling it will appear unnatural to you, right? If all can't think of a reason it will appear even more unnatural. And if you all have no memories of the being you have these feelings about, it just stinks of being ensorcelled.

1 Like

Targeting covenfolk of another covenant or even other magi with Creo Mentem magic instilling positive emotions is not against the Code per se. However, if it makes any other result easier, and accomplishing that result through magic would be against the Code, then it is an act against the Code. For example, if those covenfolk reveal secrets under the influence of magic which they would have otherwise kept hidden, under most circumstances counts as scrying. Magically convincing a magus to part with magical treasure counts as depriving him of magical power. Magically convincing a magus to vote the way you want counts as failing to respect his vote. And ultimately, there's that vague, catchall "endangering the Order" clause.

Making a maga fall in love with you so that you can have a torrid night of passion together? Fair game (unless, you know, it angers the faerie lord who's her lover). Making the covenfolk of another covenant like you, so that you get good food, a nice clean warm bed and the like? Fair game. Making a redcap feel that he really really should be extra careful about keeping that letter of yours safe? Fair game. Of course being legal, and being tolerated, are two very different things. There's always Wizard's War.

1 Like