Marching of Magi

Is there any indication, or guideline, as to on average how often a Magus gets Marched in the Order?

Would you expect to hear on the Redcap news network that Magus so-and-so has had Wizard's March declared on them at over-there Tribunal for the crime of such-and-such?

Would you typically expect hear this once a year, once a Grand Tribunal, or once in a lifetime?

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Really it depends on the individual Saga. In most I have played in of the time frames you listed it would be somewhere between once a Grand Tribunal and once a lifetime.

You have to remember that each individual Magi is nearly 0.1% of the Order's total population. Once per year would get rather extreme and would result in marching over 8% of the entire Order every 100 years. I did not say killed because while of course the Marched Magi generally ends up dead, often times they might manage to take one or more of the marchers with them on their trip to the shadow lands. Such a rate is completely unsustainable.

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That's just the rate I would suggest too.

I don't quite agree that a higher rate necessarily be unsustainable - that depends on the rate of recruitment and thus on the availability of Gifted children - but it may be. It would certainly make the Order a very turbulent environment.

For me it is more about medieval justice focusing more on the restoration of equity than penalties. The march is used as a last resort when all else fails.

This seems to be something that source material has a lot of implied inconsistancy about. There is a reference to 6 people being marched at a single grand Tribunal, which would average about 1 every 5.5 years, not counting marches declared at the individual tribunal level. As noted each magi is by RAW .1% of the overall population, and furthermore natural lifespans are likely between one and a half and 2 centuries if we define natural to include longevity rituals and preclude violence and misadventure. If we use 175 years for convenience that would mean nearly 32% of magi would have been marched during the lifespan of a magus. On the other hand the amount of resources put into hoplites and magi who concentrate on hunting marched magi imply that marches are in fact far more common events.
Which would certainly go a long ways towards explaining why the order doesn't seem to grow much larger.
Another way to look at it is that in principle every member of the order should be recruiting and training one apprentice about once every 20 years on average, which means a 5% growth rate per year, yet death by old age would only reduce the population by about 0.5 to 0.6% a year, so the growth before violence and misadventure would be about 4.5% per year, which for a population of 1,000 magi would be 45 magi per year. If 44 magi get marched (order wide) each year that would result in a growth rate of .1% per year, or 10% per century. Obviously, this could be lower if there are significant deaths by misadventure and violence.

Was that six people in one case, or six cases?

BTW. There is a record of about two hundred magi being marched in a single tribunal. That was Diedne of course, but we do not know if your case of six magi is representative of the population either.

It was an entire covenant in one case, but the key being that it is one of the few data points we have about how often magi are marched. The fact that it did not draw comment for being excessive in the number of magi being marched and was agreed to by the community at large at least indicates something even if what in indicates is subject to speculation. By contrast the marching of Diedne most definitely did draw comment and criticism.

Having marched a House, why would anyone quibble about the marching of a mere covenant?


One game I'm in has had an average of 2-3 marches per Tribunal period for Transylvania. Mind you, it has somewhat more magi in the Tribunal than a canon one.

That is always another solution, one I in fact prefer, but the wobbly math of the game allows for a lot of options. Which ironically I do like from the perspective that wobbly math is very period.

Just recalled, one way to be Marched is to be Magus Orbis for a year.

Factoring in Orbis Magi is difficult. How often do magi get tossed out of their Houses? How many de-housed magi can find a receptive House/sponsor? Which may require swallowing pride to approach Ex Miscellanea

As I said, it is based on the Saga you want to play. There are not really any hard numbers for how many marches there are or how many Magus Orbis and what percent of them find a new House.

You want a fairly peaceful and stable Order (at least internally) then you have a low rate of marches and such. You want the Order to be in a state of turmoil and near internal war then you crank up the amount of marches, wizards wars, and such. And of course how stable the Order is internally has little effect on any external threats.

Heck if you don't want to involve Order politics at all you can play a remote Covenant which has little interaction with the Order in general.

I don't think marching a magus every year, on average, is too much.

First, as pointed out, this is only 0.1% of the order each year.

Second, you could march someone one year and go decades without marching anyone from that tribunal again. Indeed, with a marching rate of 1/year that would be about 1 every two tribunals. If this still seem too much, remember that this number is just an average. You march three magi for diabolism today, next time you march someone from this tribunal again is 50 years from now.

Third, marching is indeed a last resort thing... but magi are not exactly reasonable. Even if we discard 3rd ed. "demons everywhere" approach, we are still going to have a few couple magi every century dealing with devils, won't we? And a couple more killing other magi in cold blood? And then a Jerbiton messing up with the Pope? Etc, etc...

I'm not directly advocating for a 1/year rate of marching. Just pointing out that to me it doesn't sound that hard to justify. The books sure make it seem as if at least a few hundreds of magi were marched since the beginning of the Order... but another one might read as only a few dozen, of course. As pointed by silveroak, the math used is wobbly.

Another approach to this is how many apprentices die before taking their Oath?

Seen that way, Marching a few young Gauntlet+15 magi is not that far from removing apprentices. It comes down to how many full fledged magi do you get per apprentice, and how many years a pater must lose to insure his legacy.

Once. :smile:


Some Tytallus:

Hold my mead!


Can a Wizard's March be rescinded?
Or hasn't it been brought up before?

I imagine the duration of a March is reasonably short, if the accused is at the sentencing Tribunal. But now I a recalling the Buck Godot: Gallimaufry comic....

EDIT though an actual March would be more like the Psmith story

This is a good question. IMO yes, and in my game this would be the case even if there is a rule in canon that says otherwise.

However there is another possibility. Usually, we imagine a March as a death sentence - and it is, but one that must be carried out at a later date by a crowd of whoever wants to join, with the sentenced person being free to go about their business for a whole month from the passing of the sentence to the execution. I imagine that most Marched magi dont spend that month idly, and probably a good number of them manage to put sufficient distance between themselves and their former tribunal that they are never found. At least canonically the inter-tribunal communication is not all that good and it is probably possible to set up shop in a distant tribunal for at least a fraction of the Marched magi, where they can in turn be marched again. Some also probably leave the territory of the order alltogether and settle down in far away places.

This generally holds for Wizard's War.

A Tribunal declaring Wizard's March waives any legal protection of the marched magus. Many Tribunals hold the grounds of their meeting sacred and violence universally forbidden there, thus still giving a magus present and declared to be marched a chance for a last word and an attempt to flee. But generally such a flight better be well planned and prepared in advance.

See HoH:TL p.60 Wizard's March for the bloody details.

All it takes is a charged item with Leap of Homecoming, and most magi who have had time to earn enough enemies to be marched, would have had time to reach the required lab total, and with indictments announced in advance - which I think is required - there should be time to make such an item.

I imagine most magi marched would be mature magi with considerable resources. I am sure some hoplites would literally chase the magus to the end of the world if the prize is great. Marching a young magus of little means, in contrast, is unrewarding, and nobody is likely to care, except possibly the most zealous Tremere on a matter of principle. What happens to the property the fleeing magus cannot bring? Will it pass to legal heirs? Will it be open to loot for whoever comes first? Or will the Quaesitores hold it in custody as a prize for whoever makes the kill? This has massive bearing on the available hoplite power.

I cannot really see a marched magus building up a legal presence in another tribunal. Magi have legal names and even proofs of identity in their sigils, and even if there are no regular mail service and no Mercere portals, redcaps do cross borders and rumours travel fast. Building a new hermitage covenant in Novgorod OTOH. Or beyond existing tribunal borders. But how likely is it that you managed to destroy every possible arcane connection?

And finally, how worried would the Order be the secret of Parma Magica. A runaway magus could potentially create a competing Order of hedge wizards, teaching them Parma Magica. Given a century, that could make a serious threat. Maybe the Quaesitoris have to set up a prize to hunt down runaways when the loot does not suffice as a reward. Or maybe Tremere does the job as self-appointed law enforcement force.

Quite. This is the elementary part of the planning.

That's why we have (HoH:TL p.60):

Magi that are a clear danger to the Order, like diabolists, are slain beforehand, with the Tribunal later endorsing the action.

There may also be less drastic means to handle less dangerous magi at tribunal, whose marching a dominant fraction feels assured of. Collecting short time ACs at the tribunal to such magi might not even be noticed before they are used.