Scrying on grogs/companions

I know scrying on hermetic magi is breaking the code, and if you scry on someone else and accidentally scry on a hermetic magi, bad luck, you still broke the code.

I'm also confident most interpretations of the scrying rule would mean using mentem spells to extract info from a hermetic magi's brain would be breaking the code.

Would it be breaking the code using mentem spells on a companion or a grog to get information from them about the magi's actions?

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Highly, highly open to debate. Personally, I lean towards "no", since no magic is used on or at the magus, and it doesn't give you any information that you couldn't get from placing a mundane spy as a grog (which we know is allowed), but I could quite easily see a tribunal ruling that any use of magic to gain information about another magus constitutes scrying (and this is indeed consistent with "walking around their covenant invisible is scrying").

Better brush up on your Peripheral Code precedents and maybe hire a good advocate.

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It was used as an example of scrying used in the old (3rd edition) Wizard's Grimoire unless I'm much mistaken. So I would assume yes.
Of course, it might well depends on your specific tribunal and popularity therein.

Yes, it would break the code.

"However, any use of magic (not just Intellego spells) to
spy or aid spying into a magus’s legal affairs is considered
an offense."
HoH:TL p52

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Considering HoH:TL says

Questioning using Aura of Rightful Authority does count as scrying.

when talking about interrogating mundanes, I would think that would probably apply to many other Mentem spells as well.

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though scrying on mundanes to infer a mages actions from the mundane's action is legal. For example if I ascertain that a mundane is looking for Mercury, I'm well within my rights to deduce that the magus they work for is enchanting a muto effect into something that will contain the liquid in a sealed chamber- or be painted with mercury...

Not by the canon interpretation of the Code, it isn't.
Nearly any use of magic that is used to gather information about another mage or that mage's actions is illegal.

The Oath of Hermes says: "I will not use magic to scry upon members of the Order of Hermes, nor shall I use it to peer into their affairs.”
The second part of that includes most indirect ways of getting information about a magus through magic means.

It is worth noting though that purely mundane spying does not break the Code as such.

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In any case, the other Magi has to discover you've used such means, and present his case to Tribunal, or Quesitor.

Gaining information about a Grog's actions through scrying and infering something from that about a magus' action is different than gathering information about a magus and their actions.
I can scry the weather and infer what you should be planting, that does not men I am looking at your field. Similarly the grogs could be buying mercury for a item with a terram or aquam effect, or even for a painter who wants to blend their own red paint. The way the bonuses fall and the expense of mercury suggest the muto conclusion is most likely, but it is a long way from scrying on the magus.

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A little background on @Fishy 's situation in my game.

The PC's have a variation of Semita Errabunda as their Covenant, and at one point it connected into the Transylvanian Tribunal right where a couple of junior Tremere and their troops were dealing with the leftovers of a foreign incursion by a disgruntled mage from former Constantinople. Circumstances led them to think the PC's covenant in the regionne was an advance base for invasion. The two Tremere went in with shock and awe tactics when their scouting suggested they had the advantage of surprise. Things eventually de-escalated.
However, at one point the PC's tried to ascertain the validity of the ceasefire by using Mentum magics on the Captain of the Tremere troops. They thought they got away with it unnoticed.

The Tremere forces returned to Transylvania. Months later a letter came with the results of House Tremere's internal commission of investigation, which reported that the Tremere's actions were fully justified and properly restrained (apart from one of the Tremere mage's undignified actions which will be dealt with internally), while subtly suggesting the PC's were not entirely blameless, but House Tremere will be magnanimous and overlook youthful indiscretions and House Tremere is preapared to give guidance. (basically the same sort of answer most real life politicians/police forces give after an internal review)

However, at the end of the letter, almost as a side note was:

I should inform you that during the Commission's investigations, it was discovered that our dear taskforce Captain Gorky appears to have recently been under the influence of unauthorised Mentem magics. As a high-ranking servant of my Covenant, most Tribunals would only assume that some perfidious mage was using magic to Scry upon the affairs of another mage. The casting sigil of the offending mage has been recorded, and appropriate actions will be taken on formal identification of the perpetrator. Dreading the terrible consequences that would be delivered unto this mage who may have merely inadvertantly overstepped the boundaries of civilised behaviour, we have yet to transmit this recorded sigil to the Quaesitores. May none of your amicii and covenfolk have come under the sway of this miscreant.

Ah yes, “after a careful, internal inquiry where we interviewed none of you we have determined that our actions were justified but since you resisted we are now going to charge at least one of you with resisting.”

Good luck proving it was some form of scry magic, or that any magic in fact was cast at all. Unless they called in a Quaesitore to use the appropriate magics shortly after the incident, by the time the letter arrived it would have long since decayed past the point even the Quaesitores magic could detect.

If they did bring a charge of scrying with the only proof being their decleration "we detected Mentem magic on our grog!", they would be opening themselves up to a far more valid claim that they attacked their fellow Magi without provocation or declared wizards war.

They are the ones in the wrong, trying to use aggressive language and not so subtle threats to get the PCs not to make an issue of it. The PCs after all are perfectly in their rights to demand compensation. Since rather than offering some form of said compensation for their attack, they went right to threats, the Tremere in your game seem to at least partially be filling the role of the big bad. That would mean a charge against them before the Grand Tribunal would have a much better chance of success, since even when they are not the big bad most Magi dislike the Tremere.

Does it matter that the Tremere forces rounded up the "invading" covenfolk and put them under supervised detention, then sent a herald to the surrounded PC Magi demanding an explanation for their "invasion" of the Transylvanian Tribunal?
And after issues were "resolved" there was some compensation provided, alongside offers of friendship?

The commission of investigation occurred at an unspecified time (though likely immediately afterwards due to the tactical and strategic possibilities of the PC's covenant), and the letter took a while to reach the PCs.

This is Transylvania, they could easily do this. Also, traces aren’t unknown in the order and those guidelines do not require Quaesitorial training. Few are unlikely to have developed those spells outside of Quaesitors but they can create them and I would be unsurprised if House Tremere had a lineage that used them outside of the quaesitors from their house. The three houses I see as most likely to have those traces detection spells are Tremere, Bonisagus (for some very academic research goal), and Criamon (for some weird belief that the decay of magic tells them something about the enigma/spharios/cyclical alam/whatever).

I completely agree with this but since getting something brought to the Grand Tribunal requires the Tribunal to decide to bring it there is next to no chance of that happening, even less of a chance than the Tremere turning around and saying, “yeah, our bad here have this (whatever) as an apology.”

Actually the PCs Tribunal could bring the charge, since it was members of their Tribunal which were the victims of aggression. In events involving multi-Tribunal disputes that would actually be the norm, since no ones would expect the aggressor to bring a charge against themselves.

I know that the spell guidelines can be created and known outside of the Quaesitors. However the collection of the data by someone other than the Quaesitors is not useful in charges, since it becomes a "He Said, She Said" situation. You say there was a spell cast, I say there wasn't. No one can confirm it since too much time has past and it is not on an official Quaesitor record. You are saying I did something bad after engaging in an attack on me, so your reasons are suspect.

You’re forgetting testimony under oath with willing submission to the Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie.

They "imprisoned" the PC's Covenant. After going in with "shock and awe" tactics which would involve casting spells or using magical effects, which have a very high chance of having targeted the PC Magi (even if they did not affect them).

Also from your write up the incident did not actually happen in Transylvania, since in your own words "The Tremere forces returned to Transylvania." That would mean that the invasion was not into Transylvania, but a Transylvania invasion into the PCs Tribunal.

That would make the Tremere an invasion force from another Tribunal which launched an attack on the PC Covenant. Any magic they used in their defense at that point is justified. They could have killed all the Tremere and their forces, then legally (and justifiably) claimed self defense from an attack by criminal Magi.

This is not something that the Tremere can win if it goes to actual charges and votes.


Doesn't matter, see my above post. The Tremere were the aggressors attacking a Covenant in a different Tribunal. The spell was used in self defense against criminal activity. They should be happy that the worst they got is that spell, rather than being killed to the man for the attack or being wizard marched for attacking fellow Magi without a declared wizards war.

Also since the Tremere force traveled through a portal into a different Tribunal before the attack, there is nothing that the Transylvania Tribunal can do. They are not involved in any way. If the PCs charged the Magi who attacked them in their own Tribunal, a wizards march is a decent possibility.

Not a portal. A regionne entrance on a small island in the Danube River, well within Transylvanian Tribunal borders.
The shock and awe was a bunch of mundane troops galloping in at dawn, backed up with magical fog and a lot of Sight range versions Flash of Scarlet Flames and Jupiter's Resounding Blow to get and distract everyone's attention.

The Tremere took a lot of convincing that they were no longer in the Transylvanian Tribunal, but effectively connected to London in Stonehenge.

Portal or regionne, they still traveled outside of Transylvania and invaded Stonehenge, casting spells "at" the PC Magi and their covenfolk. That makes them the aggressors attacking other members of the Order without provocation. That they were confused and mistaken is not a valid legal defense.

In effect they were cops who not only illegally invaded a home, but illegally invaded a home outside of their jurisdiction and then threatened to charge the victims with crimes for their "legal self defense".

The way you are running them is why my entire group hates the Tremere. If it was our Covenant we would have killed them all, fed the remains to sharks, and claimed self defense.