Over in the Magical Money Issue thread, I got into a "spirited discussion" with Xavi, Fhtagn, The Restless Kaiser, Cuchulainshound, Direworlf75, and others. I'm splitting this off into its own thread so as not to continue to pollute Vrylakos's excellent story-oriented thread with what is turning into a lengthy and probably pointless debate.
The question I have for the community is: did the Code of Hermes change radically and extremely from 4th edition to 5th and I didn't notice? Because I have a whole chorus of people saying things like:
What this is all getting at is that the whole concept of "mundane interference" as a High Crime is ... gone. My imagination. At the very least, an irrelevant memory from the 15 years I played Ars Magica before 5th Edition came out.
What I am asking is simply: is this really the current and prevailing mainstream view!? Did 5th edition totally eviscerate the clause, "Nor will I interfere with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin upon my sodales" to the point where it might as well not even be there? (There is still the "I will not endanger the Order through my actions" clause immediately preceding it, which holds.) And if this is indeed the mainstream view, where the heck did it come from? 'Cause I sure missed something that these other guys saw.
Here's what I've found:
ArM5 page 14: "As long as dealings with mundanes do not harm other magi, nor seem likely to cause such harm (emphasis added), they are permitted. Many precedents, however, have established that working as a court wizard is violation of the Code." That is a country mile away from Fthgan's assertion that a magus can provide a sword to be used in a regicide and the Order can't lift a finger to punish him.
Houses of Hermes, True Lineages page 51: "In particular magi need to avoid supporting one faction of mundanes against another." Later on the same page, "Conflict may arise between a magus and a particular noble or clergyman. As long as the magus does not form an alliance with his enemy's rivals he will not be in breach of this provision" Again, a country mile away from saying you can go out attack nobles and clergymen without provocation just 'cause you feel like it.
Then I seem to remember something in Covenants that normal commercial dealings don't violate the Code.
What I don't see is anything to justify what in my mind is a radical 180-degree shift in the Code between 4th edition and 5th, that redefines the Code to say "you can play kingmaker or assassinate nobles till the cows come home and the Order won't bat an eye unless there is direct and substantial harm to another magus." Where on earth did that idea come from?
EDIT: Fixed a couple of typos