"Rogue" Quaesitor?

I'm curious what others' take is on my current magus' ongoing problem. Briefly, our magi took over a covenant whose former members were banished elsewhere due to the actions of 1 of its members. When we arrived we found 1/2 our spell library missing, and we suspected an elder Bonisagus we had all crossed paths with on our way in. Our quaesitor assured us we had the right to confront him, and he assured us he had the right to search the man's wagon. This wizard refused when we confronted him, yelled at the quaesitor "To hell with the Code, to hell with the quaesitors!" and stood his ground.

My Flambeau, knowing full well I couldn't penetrate the old man's parma, tossed a BoAF at one of his grogs, inadvertently lighting the wagon as well (the stupid grog SURVIVED, stressed his Soak). We recovered our spells but out of nowhere the quaesitor (my sodali!) accused me of violating the Code and condemned me, ordered me to pay 10 pawns of vis for "inconveniencing" the thief!

I've refused and am waiting for the Tribunal to decide, but now we're at odds. Any views?

well the only part of the code that can relate is depriving of magical power. If the Magically important objects on the cart were your books then there isn't much of a case. If the Bonisagus had his own magic items and books on his wagon then there might be reason to punish you.

Inconveniencing? that's not a crime under to code, there might be a peripheral code ruling in your tribunal but you could try and show that that almost anything any one does will inconvenience another party and raise the specter that all future tribunal meetings will devolve into petty bickering about who inconvenienced whom. Just have them look at the Tytali and ask them "do you want those ladies and gentlemen to have this precedent? Inconvenience equals vis?"

You are obligated to submit to the rulings of a tribunal, not to the demands of any Quaesitor who happens to speak.

Quaesitors aren't judges or police. They are investigators and prosecutors. While the Quaesitor character can bring charges against your character at the Tribunal, Hermetic justice mostly is just, rather than unjust. Your character could ignore the Quaesitor and contest the charge at the Tribunal. Furthermore, your character could bring up charges against the Bonisagus magus, especially if he said "to hell with the code". There's probably a lot of other Guernicus, Tremere and Flambeau mages (and Trianoman Bonisagus magi) who would vote to keep the peace.

Several important facts need to be etablished.

If the Bonisagus took away items from a covenant he was banished from, the people coming to take it over can use appropriate sanctions and force to retrieve what is rightfully theirs. Hopw far they could go would be open to interpretation. Had they outright killed him, before asking him to surrender the items, that might have been a bit much. Or it might be ok, depending on lots of things.

One major point is how this troiupe and saga interprets hermetic justice. I've experienced some who play with the justice being quite fair and rational. And others who feel that the code is more of a guideline, and sure you might be charged, but political clout or pure force can get you out of it. I assume the system is mostly fair, but some political intrigue and pressure exists.

Depriving the Bonisagus of magic would IMHO only fly, if this wagon on fire actually destroyed or damaged something worthwile of his. A dead grog is a mundane resource. Actually, the Bonisagus is guilty if Depriving the newcomer magi, since they were to take over the covenant along with the library. If the library material he stole was damaged, there might even be a (further) case against him, because his crime and his refusal to surrender the stolen goods forced the PC magi into taking drastic measures, which in turn damaged the goods. A bit cheeky to do this, but a common legal tactic is to keep piling on accusations, as long as they are even mildly propable. Some of then ought to stick.

But a magus yelling "to hell with the code" does seem very unfortunate. If he doesn't want to obey the code, he can't be protected by it either. Forfeit immunity! Perhaps it was said in the heat of an argument, and he should get a second chance to decide whether he sticks to that opinion. But it was said before witnesses. And had he been a magus known to be dangerous with combat magic, saying this could IMHO easily justify a pre-emtive strike. Rather than wait for him to actually kill one of the nearby magi, before striking at him.

Vis fine for a mere inconvenience is too thin. I doubt any peripheral code rulings have fined someone this much vis for so little a problem. If it does exist, it would have been controversial back then. But it still might have happened. The future implications of this does suggest many squabbles over little matters, so I think a lot of magi would support ruling against this. And a lot of other magi, wanting this chaos, strife and easily exploitable situation, would support it. Not to mention any specific House, so as to not generalize and offend anyone. But Ixnay on the Ytalus-Tay.

But even if a Quaesitor rules this fine to be paid, the situation could and should be taken up at the following Tribunal.

Thank you all for responding. I was very brief and omitted details due to computer problems (since circumvented) and time pressures, but I find myself in agreement with all of your views.

The Bonisagus mage in question had transcribed the spells himself (they were in his hand, he claimed, and we had no reason to doubt him) but they had been donated to the covenant library and we all felt they were therefore covenant property. The reason the elder magi were banished was due to the gross and flagrant violations of a different magus (not the Bonisagus in question), and his argument was that "It's not my fault!" Nevertheless, the mandate we received from the Rhine Tribunal and its chief Quaesitor, who was in charge of resolving the matter, specifically stated the new magi (us) were to take over the covenant "and all of its resources and responsibilities."

When we confronted him and he responded with his tirade my magus (a Flambeau with aspirations of becoming a Hoplite) felt that an attack was imminent--"To hell with the Code,etc." sound like fighting words to him. Attacking his grog, although technically the "first blow", I thought to be a gamble: I was betting that the Bonisagus was feeling mistreated and cheated, but not in fact a cold-blooded killer; I turned out to be correct, because he fled although he probably could have mopped the floor with me. So Imolatus (my mage) felt pretty good about the whole affair. The fire didn't damage any of the cart's contents, nor did having it dropped into a Pit of the Gaping Earth cast by my comrade; the Bonisagus was injured in the fall, but we all felt he had it coming.

The problem, I think, is more with the player. He has a long history of using extremist characters to disrupt stories, whether he's a grog, companion or magus. His quaesitor character is a Traditionalist (you still have those?) and has some Flaws regarding his strict interpretation of law (mundane as well as Hermetic), but it seemed like he simply turned on me and the other mage who actually participated in the fight (he is apparently on trial for his life, but that's another story!).

We have always played Hermetic justice as being fairly harsh and brutal by today's standards, but far more enlightened than the rest of Europe enjoyed at the time. So far the SG has played along with him but I feel pretty confident that at Tribunal I will see justice, and make him look like a fool.

It all comes down to how your group wants to play it, but in any normal saga I think you'd be well within your rights, and that the Bonisagus in question just got himself into deep trouble by dissing the Code - too many magi value it - and by effectively putting himself in a position where he acted against the verdict of the chief quaesitor of the Tribunal.

But, it seems like the real problem is the quaesitor's player. And that's a far harder problem to solve. Ultimately, I found that playing with such players just isn't fun, and they should be dropped, fast. But that's up to your group, and your group dynamics.

I agree completely. I was starting to think I was off my rocker since our SG is playing along with this quaesitor, though I've recently learned he's quite peeved at the player (as well as the rest of us). It could be a case of giving him enough rope to hang himself.

That's the crux of the problem, he's not some guy, he's a friend. Don't want to hurt his feelings, just want him to "get it."


Arf... If it is a player'sz problem, you have little ressources, save the GM being fair, which may pose more problems if the player doesn't accept it :frowning:

But I concurr with my sodales, "inconvenience" has no place at tribunal, and a quaesitor is not a judge and can't force you to pay something.

Bwahahahahaha!! Thank you everyone for your moral support, but the problem of the Whacked-Out Quaesitor has been solved. After three years (game time) of suffering insults and aspersions on his honor, Imolatus (my Flambeau) was given a Golden Ticket. Our SG presented his new magus to the covenant as he prepared to sit back and let the rest of us run some stories, and the quaesitor went on a tirade against him. Because he's Ex Misc this Q crawled up his posterior and did the whole "I don't trust you, I'm watching your every move" thing--very tactless, IMO, but only the latest in a long string of tactless errors.

THEN he gets me alone and offers to retract his accusation against me (which I always found absurd anyway) and protect me if I would assassinate the Ex Miscellanea! So next day I reveal this to the council, demand he leave and never return, and when he refused I declared Wizards' War against him. At that point he wisely chose to relocate. So we'll get a new magus soon, and see what that one's like. I hope he's a little more of a team player.

Thanks for your input y'all!

Any Quasitor caught acting like that is a dead man, he is going to have senior Quasitors and Hoplites from all over the tribunal and beyond declaring wizards war as he is an embarssment to their house. Complete idiot

Agreed! Apparently our SG tried to set him straight to no avail. Now that that quaesitor is an NPC, and I'm still seeking to become a Hoplite myself, I hope to be in the vanguard of the March that takes him down. Semper fidelis!

What exactly gave your characters the right to the covenant and all it's property? If the quaesitore was that awful he might have been wrong about your rights to it. Was it given to you by the tribunal or what?

Personally I feel worst for the npc former covenant members. One of them misbehaves and is caught and all of them are banished from their homes and their property is taken away from them? That is beyond harsh as a judgement.

Indeed so. Was the ruling made at Tribunal? If not I think those magi would be well within their rights to appeal it, and make a counter-claim that it is breaking the Code by depriving them of their magical power. Personally I think that they would only be liable for any sort of punishment if they had known about their fellow's transgressions and could have stopped them but didn't, but even then I think it would be far less severe than this.

It's true the former members got a very raw deal which added to the "stickiness" of our situation. But it was the senior membership of the Rhine Tribunal and its presiding quaesitor who intervened in this affair in order to mitigate a potential disaster. The covenant was in a delicate balance with the locals, namely the local baron (who rather liked the magi) and the local bishop (who does not), and this former member threw a skunk in the room via casting some magic on the bishop's representative (I believe he turned his head into some animal head, or something). The Tribunal felt that drastic action was needed to preserve the situation (we also sit on a valuable vis source coveted by the more powerful covenants) and they basically decided to replace the magi with young, weak fledglings that would toe the line better. That's Us.

They very well could argue that, and the next Tribunal is in 3 yrs. Understand they weren't deprived of any personal property, only the covenant library remained with the covenant, which they are no longer members of. And it wasn't our idea, it was "God's". It's a unique situation for any of the covenants we've played in. My magus is paranoid and constantly worries about them returning...

Presumably the vis sources also remained the property of the covenant? Taking away shared resources that the magi could all use to learn and progress is probably worse than taking away any personal property the magi might have, as benefitting from each other's knowledge and wisdom is one of the fundamental reasons for establishing covenants in the first place. It's certainly worse in this case because the magi are also losing the advantages that could be gained by controlling a vis source that lots of other covenants want access to. And all this is because some idiot unwisely gave a clerical flunkey an animal head? As punishments go that's just way out of line. Don't be surprised if these NPC magi spend the next three years gathering support in the Tribunal in order to get this ruling over-turned and the people responsible for it punished, because I think this case establishes a precedent that a lot of magi are NOT going to like - if the Tribunal reserves the right to expel whole covenants from their sites because of the transgressions of individuals, then no magus is safe.

House Diedne was marched as a house, so collect punishment has a precedent. Not one many magi would invoke of course...

The Chief Quaesitor may have supported the collective charge (wtf?), but the Tribunal voted it through - the majority of the Tribunal agreed that all the members of a covenent were guilty for the crime of one. Scary idea. Wouldn't happen in a Saga of mine...

That was different in that the a tribunal ordered them to allow investigators in to their secret rituals and gatherings and there's no evidence that any of the diedne ever made any effort to see this carried out. So the group as a whole is guilty of not abiding by the decisions of a tribunal. Rather than the whole group being punished due to the actions of a a single individual it's the whole group being punished for the actions of the group as a whole.

Was it passed through tribunal though, Bash seemed to be saying they were between tribunals (the next in 3 years) and that some members might bring charges then.

If it was passed by tribunal, then it was a major political hoiking of the old magi, and could only be brought up further in the Grand Tribunal if the magi's houses think it was a ridiculous punishment for the crime. It was imposed by "God" as Bash says but "God" might want a plot of the covenant resources being contested for a few decades if it is the rich resource node he implies.

If it had just been imposed by the Senior Quaesitor who expelled magi from their own covenant, leaving the covenant resources which would include library, vis sources, and lab equipment then the ruling would certainly be disputed at Tribunal and might very well be reversed with punishment on the quaesitor and the characters for depriving magi of their resources.

Either way, what exactly kept the old members of the covenant from dividing up the library saying that each book was personal property of a magi. The Tribunal would hardly have a list of the covenants property to check against, and they couldn't have allowed the magi to take away their own stuff without allowing them access to the shared portable resources that they could carry away. The former covenant member who was carrying away the books need only claim that it was personal property to be in the right and the attack on his cart and resources to be in the wrong.

All were marched for the actions of a few. A collective punishment.

Perhaps if magi knew they might suffer for the crimes of their covenant mates, they would act to rein them in more. Perhaps they would expell them more readily. I can see how some sagas might rule along these lines.

Not exactly in the Diedne case. All of the Diedne were required to comply with the decisions of a tribunal. None of them did. They all broke the code.