A magus is offered a settlement of 30 years indentured service to House Mercere for getting a Redcap killed.

Excessive? Light?

There is no demand of a vis fine, and the magus has neither a familiar nor an apprentice, and is essentially itinerant.

My first reaction is that is extremely excessive. Just march the wizard, saves 30 years of keeping an eye on them, and removes any revenge.

In my saga we usually value a season of an inexperienced magus at about 3vis per season. So in my mind this is a charge of 360 pawns vis, excessive.

30 years is more than a typical american life sentence with good behavior, excessive.

how did he get him killed and why? This could range anywhere to sending a message to somewhere hazardous to murder, and what the penalty should be would depend on where in there the offense lies.

Page 59 of HoH:TL says "Damages, fines or services should normally be paid or completed in full by the next Tribunal." Given the mentioned punishment will require 5 Tribunals to pass before the sentence is finished, assuming non-stop seasons of service, it seems excessive. It could be even be construed as 'deprivation of magical power', if punishments were allowed to be considered as such (HoH:TL page 48).

There is room for negotiation according to HoH:TL and potential appeal to the Magvillus council, although it rarely gets that far?

While not a formal punishment, Blacklisting (as per the box on page 83 of HoH:TL) might be something House Mercere considers an option in this case.


Without further information, I think it is either excessive or light, not proportionate. Of course, PCs and NPCs are allowed to make disproportionate offers!

Redcaps count as magi, so if the magus is really guilty, this should go to Tribunal, as when any magus kills another without proper Wizard War declaration.

If the magus was sufficiently negligent, a Tribunal might easily consider it murder anyway, and perhaps offer some lesser punishment if there were some mitigating circumstances.

But if the magus was not really negligent, and the magus is just being blamed (the Redcap was not forced into combat, he was not mind-controlled into accepting a dangerous mission, the magus did not botch his spell, etc) House Mercere really has no legitimate complaint. If the magus is not liked, they can get away with all kinds of shenanigans; otherwise, most magi will probably not like the precedent of House Mercere blackmailing a magus just because a Redcap died in the line of duty.



She took actions which led to faeries dropping wrath on him, rather than her. It's quite a chain of events, difficult to summarize, but basically she panicked and cast blame elsewhere, and the blame fell on the Redcap. Years later, he passed through their territory again, and they mistakenly extracted vengeance.

(To which, my response is DEATH!, but that is not how things have turned out.)

To be more explicit, a quaesitor PC has proposed this punishment as corrective, and I think it's off base. As I am in the position of a more senior, presiding, quaesitor in a private hearing, I believe I will return a series of opinions that the proposed punishment:

Lacks a fine (fines are how the quaesitores collect fees).

Is extremely restrictive and demeaning to the maga, and may constitute Deprivation of Power.

Does not correct the maga in the traditional time frame or a reasonable extension of a time frame.

Possibly the presiding quaesitor will propose that the maga provide 28 seasons of service and the necessary vis to perform those season of service, as well as pay a fine.

(The maga will also be ejected by her House, for several reasons, but that's another matter.)


Oh, this is a full-on violation of the Code, in the most literal sense: I will not molest the faeries, lest their vengeance...

A totally different (and worse) matter from merely getting a Redcap killed.

A capital offense, if convicted at Tribunal, and the case should certainly be presented. There's no statute of limitations either. But the Empire has been known to be merciful, from time to time.... (yes, I'm merging C3P0 quotes)



Not worse. Slaying a member of the order is in there as it's own clause. So of course it is a violation of the code...
Ya, death would probably be the most probable and reasonable sentence.
Mercer should almost certainly black list him.
Execution of a familiar or destruction of a talisman is always a good sentence.


He didn't actually slay a member of the Order. Someone else did that. Technically, there is no violation.

But he did molest the faeries, and their vengeance did kill a member of the Order.



My point was that molesting faeries is not inherently worse than anything really. He would still be on trial so long as someone could prove his actions led to the redcap's death.
If the had hired the faeries rather than 'molesting' them it would fall to the slaying clause.


Last try:

When I say 'worse' in this context, I mean to imply nothing about morality, but about the applicability of the Hermetic Code.

The Code is explicit about molesting the faeries lest their vengeance catch your sodalis: Thou shalt not. The character in question did molest a faerie and their vengeance did catch his soladis. A rarity among rarities, he has precisely fulfilled this prohibition of the Code. There was molestation, there was vengeance, and that vengeance killed a member of the Order. He has violated the Code as surely and severely as if he swore allegiance to Satan in person and sealed the deal by killing all the puppies.

If a Tribunal let this kind of thing lapse, I'd not expect House Mercere to blacklist the magus, but to reconsider how it deals with the entire Tribunal, which does not seem to take the Code seriously when it comes to Redcaps. Heck, it might make a great story and be rather appropriate for them to break precedent and vote.

Conversely, the character did not directly deprive anyone of magical power, did not slay anyone, did not traffic with demons. One can perhaps make a case that he came close to one of these things, but he technically did not violate any of these provisions. He might be guilty of violating the Peripheral Code of a Tribunal, but is otherwise innocent.



keep in mind that both Mercere and Merinita are going to be out for blood on this one. Unless there are other ameliorating circumstances he should be marched, and the votes will certainly be there (especially if Mercere breaks tradition and votes, which they likely will). Considering how hard it is to get faeries in a mood that is vengeful enough to kill to begin with, I do wonder what happened that they did this. Only reasonable defense I can see is "I didn't mess with the faeries, they messed with me."


slow grin This must be true, since you and I so often disagree on these forums! :slight_smile:/2

(Except for the "hard it is to get faeries in a mood that is vengeful enough to kill to begin with" part. Because canonically, faeries will act vengefully at the drop of a hat if that's what makes a story from which they can extract vitality... and vengeance stories are always easy and always popular.)



faeries will act vengefully at the drop of a hat, sure, but rarely fatally. Given that people they interact with are the source of their vitality most faeries would rather force you to kill them (temporarily) than kill a person they have a strong sense of engagement with. Not that they will hesitate to kill a human if that draws someone else more interesting into the story, but where lethal vengeance is about bringing things to an end, faeries prefer to have long running feuds.

I seem to have been a little misleading, through an effort to not sidetrack. It is the plot of another SG in our group. He has a different grasp of faeries than I, but I'm not going to argue with him.

The faeries were attacked by mortals.

The maga had convinced the faeries to aid in an attack by mortals on these mercenaries (this is in Provencal). An allied band later took vengeance, including burning the village and destroying a faerie site. This band was in fact being guided from one place to another by a Redcap (whose motivation was mainly to get them to where they should be, not stomping around where they shouldn't - this did not work). The second band was protected by iron and relics.

The faeries confronted the maga, demanding to know who had 'led' the second band there. The maga, responsible for the uprising, cast blame on the Redcap. She claims she thought the faeries would respect the protected status of Redcaps, which goes to show what an idiot she is.

Later, the Redcap (who had no idea about the faeries) was killed when passing through the area again.

Another Redcap investigated the death, and uncovered it.

Now, as the lead SG in this group, I can justify this as a cautionary tale on how not to deal with faeries, not to interfere in mortal issues, and understanding Redcaps and consequences. Tales of the horrible death of the Redcap can be spread. That's all manageable.

There are also other complications, including powerful allies and shadowy deals, intertwined plots and cards concealed.

The proposed punishment is still outside the usual context of the Code and I am in the position of having a nominally fair and neutral quaesitor offer an opinion on the punishment.

I'm having trouble following the who is who of that.
Faeries, band A and band B with different redcap guides.
The accused convinced the faeries to attack a group of mercenaries (group c?or band a?) and band B attacked the faeries, destroying their site, etc. the faeries then address the maga and ask who led band B, and they reply with the name of a different redcap- leader of band A? or unrelated? The faeries then kill the second redcap.
I don't understand what the magus relation was to band B or why they would be acting to protect them, why they convinced the faeries to attack band A, or really much of anything here...


Ok, this is rather different from what I expected.

The Redcap was leading the second band. The first magus did not molest any faeries. If the magus was interfering with mundanes, so was the Redcap. If the magus was an idiot, so was the Redcap. And it might even be construed that the Redcap is involved with molesting the faeries, because he was leading the second band: If a magus lost control of a bunch of grogs or mundanes under his purview, would a Tribunal hold him utterly blameless?

So there's a lot of blame to go around. Yet there's no obvious breach of anything, just bad judgment all around. A Tribunal might reasonably acquit the magus, but might also reasonably find all kinds of minor crimes. It's probably best for the reputations of the magus, the Redcap, the Tribunal and House Mercere that formal proceedings do not occur.

One thing is for sure: The faeries killed a Redcap. That sort of thing cannot go unanswered. Clearly, then, it ought to fall upon the magus to avenge the Redcap in spectacular fashion, say, by next Tribunal. Other magi might choose to assist, if they choose, but the Tribunal will not dedicate any resources to this.

Blaming the Faeries and having the possibly-guilty magus undertake the appropriate vengeance (or die trying) leaves everyone looking good, and feels like good medieval justice that ought to leave no hard feelings.

Just me.



The Dead Redcap was guiding a mercenary band. The mercenary band had been misdirected by local mortals up the road and were bullying around. The Redcap was put to guiding them by A) sword and B) a desire to get them out of random locals yard. B is the only reason I can think of the Redcap would not just lead them partway and then quietly escape.

Dead Redcap (which sounds much like an Ars Magica rock band) was ID'd as having "led" the mortals. This was deceptive - the maga was aware that the band was there because of her actions (she had instigated the original uprising the band was responding to - so, yes, that's a separate crime).

The second Redcap was investigating the disappearance of the first. He was not guiding anyone.