Silver Consensus & Grand Tribunal

As of right now, Stonehenge is the only Tribunal that has the rule restricting silver production. For the time being, the Silver Consensus isn't in effect yet because there hasn't been a Grand Tribunal yet, but is due to arrive in 1228. Would something like the Silver Consensus be retroactive, or would previously generated wealth essentially 'grandfather' in? How likely is it for someone to advocate increasing the limit to more than £2/yr (something like £5-10 or thereabouts)? Which canonical magus has the greatest likelihood of having both the rhetorical skill and political pull to be able to suggest that limit increase, thus giving the PCs an idea of who best to bribe?

Yes, I understand it's all politics. These questions are regarding likely responses and opinions.

I would expect the limit will be on spending created silver or gold. If you create it for use in a talisman for example, they probably won't care. When it was created will probably be irrelevant.

I think a lot of what you are asking is going to depend on a given saga that is going through Grand Tribunal in 1228. What one group (SG and players) decides is right for their saga may not be the same for anybody else. And remember that going through Tribunal gives each player the chance to speak their mind. Which may not mean much, but may help them to at least try to steer the discussion whichever way they want things to go.

Maybe. I could be entirely wrong on everything I just said.

The Silver Consensus includes more than just precious metals, but any economic output injected into the mundane economy directly or indirectly through magic; be it augmented crop growth, magically extracted sea salt, or wood processing and treating. So if you commanded a school of fish to jump out of the river and into your barrels to bring into the fish market and sold for £3 for just yourself, you would be in violation of the Silver Consensus; so one of those questions is whether doing that in 1226 grants you exemption from punishment for breaking the Silver Consensus.

Again, that was just an example. It could be more explicit, and theoretically more easily found out. And yes, I know it's all Saga dependent, but I'm wanting thoughts on most likely scenarios or even just implications from the books; especially on the NPC magus with political influence.

It states "No covenant shall put into circulation more than a reasonable amount of magically created silver each year" I'm not sure how you jump from that to crops and fishing...

Important to note that the Silver Consensus doesn't exist.

The 'full' version in Transforming Mythic Europe is an example of what it could be, not what it is.

The Stonehenge consensus specifically mentions silver; no other wealth generation mechanism is covered by the Stonehenge version.
The reason for the more complete version is because magi aren't idiots, and the more complete version is a pretty good example of what would probably be proposed at Grand Tribunal.

There is another couple of things to point out:

Some covenants are getting their wealth through magical means, and having the silver consensus come into play will deny them their wealth. This includes very well established covenants who are simply better at laundering their money than whomever the Stonehenge ruling was created for. These covenants are going to want to protect their income.

In addition, the Silver Consensus is self-policing in other tribunals even without a GT ruling. Enough magi are aware of what happened in Stonehenge, so they're going to want to avoid having the same hammer fall on them. Thus, any covenant that starts making silver or inordinate wealth via obviously magical means is going to get the more established covenants in the area taking steps to stop them. Wizard's War (or the threat thereof) on some junior covenants is far less bother than politics in Grand Tribunal.

Finally, the entire ruling as presented smacks of an isolationist order, which brings certain other political arguments to the fore. It's a move that is probably going to gain support by wilderists and traditionalists, but be fought by transitionalists and harmonists... and almost all of House Jerbiton and House Verditius. Ironically, House Tremere isn't going to be financially effected by the outcome either way, so they're going to be voting from ideals instead of survival.

So while the ruling as presented in Transforming Mythic Europe is certainly an example, I would say it is very much not a foregone conclusion that this is how it's going to play out, or that it is going to be a whitewash.

In fact, unless the group who are pushing for a GT-level ruling on the matter have been very politically active in gaining allies and preparing the field, I'd suspect such a motion won't carry. They might be better off trying to roll the ruling into neighbouring tribunals' peripheral code and worrying about GT in another 40 years.

It certainly wouldn't apply retroactively, but whether it is allowed to apply to existing income sources that already use magic is something that would have to be discussed. That's super contentious, because there's going to be some big Autumn covenants who would be hurt by that one.

The whole argument about generating income via magic makes me ask the following noob question: What exactly defines a magic-generating source of income? Obviously things like Touch of Midas come to mind. But what about things that are found by the use of magic but aren't necessarily magical themselves, such as using Probe for Pure Silver? Technically, the vein already exists; you are just using magic to find it.

This may have already been covered, but I'm curious and cannot find any answers searching. Unless my google-fu is failing me, which may be the case.

There is also the fact that the version proposed to the grand tribunal is predicated on economic theory that will not exist for another 400 years. In the time of mythic Europe it is assumed that things have intrinsic value. To jump from a single example of inflation to full blown free market economics and post-Keynsian models is a bit ludicrous.

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I get the impression that the canonical Grand Tribunal tries to avoid issuing sweeping Order-wide rules like this. I would say there are both in-character and out-of-character good reasons for this. Sweeping rules would impose a uniformity that would conflict with the ability to publish Tribunal books with very different styles of play (think Hibernia vs. Transylvania). In character, it would be very dangerous to try to impose rules on a Tribunal that is dead set against them. Nobody wants another Schism War.

On top of this, it's hard to see Archmagi getting excited over an economic issue that none of them understand in modern terms and that very few of them have probably even thought about very much.

The discussion does raise a question in my mind as to what Grand Tribunal actually does consider, since most issues of Peripheral Code seem determined at Tribunal level. Maybe we need a separate thread.

My understanding of GT is it is primarily a place for debating disputes between tribunals; either directly (borders) or indirectly (crimes committed across borders that can't be resolved between the tribunals individually).

Proposals for sweeping changes to the Code would also happen here, but I doubt they're something that comes up every time. Regional tribunals are better vehicles for those kind of changes, and codification at GT is unlikely to happen until a significant number of regional tribunals have already trialled whatever is being suggested.

On top of my head, I believe that each tribunals can only sponsor 3 topics to be discussed at the Grand Tribunal.
So before all, it needs to be considered one of the top three priorities for a tribunal to be presented.
Stonehenge tribunal would only support the Silver Consensus if it is suffering from it due to other tribunals affecting its own economy. Otherwise, what happen in other tribunal does not really matter.

Trying to support this kind of general rule over the whole Order would only be done for ulterior motives. For example, to undermine some covenants which are getting their money mostly through magical means - specifically by making gold/silver.
To be succesfull, it means that the minds behind this plan have already gathered enough support to make sure that their proposal won't be immediately swipe away, so it means being more or less sure that at least a third of the other tribunals would support it, and they consider that they have a good chance of convincing a few more to tilt the balance.

As a side note, there is a big difference between making silvers and fishing tons of fish with a spell.
Having large sum of silver allows to buy anything you want and incindentally, create inflation by flooding the market with lost of it: thus devaluation and since minting money is the privilege of a few, it is not appreciated by mundane authority.
You cannot buy castle with fishes, it is not a common currency :smiley: . You need to sell fish first. Tons of fish will push out of the market other fishermen who cannot compete with you, but you will never make more money than the market can absorb fish. You cannot create devaluation with fish. The fishermen that you pushed out of business won't be happy, but it is hardly a crime and much more difficult to prove than laudering magical silver.
In town relying on their fishing to make business, you can be in more troubles, and you might be suspected of witchery by jealous fishermen, which can attract unwanted attention.

Now, I am guessing that Autumn covenants, relying on magic to sustain themselves have several sources of income, none of them enough to upset the local guilds (when they are not controlled by a Jerbiton) and local business. Some spells allowing bountiful harvests, so minor enchanted tools to make good quality wine, dye wool, increase bee production/efficiency and such. They will only use "create iron/silver/whatever" spell and such for their own need, with little impact on the local economy, yet saving them loads of cash by not having to buy parchment, ink, tools and stuffs.
Of course, it all comes down to how bountiful virtus is and how do you handle craft magic - both topics without consensus in this forum.

First off: In the case of grain, grain is indeed currency - it's more widely-accepted than gold and silver, in fact. Monetization of the economy is really just starting in the 1200s, and most transactions are indeed by barter.

Second: In many places, "the fishermen you pushed out of business" will have some kind of rights regime about who is allowed to sell fish at what market, and prices might well be fixed. So yes, you might well be breaking a mundane law trading sorcerer's fish.

This, like most things in the Code of Hermes, is a gray area that will be filled in by your saga.

The thing with the Code of Hermes is that the law usually is not unambiguous. There's a lot of gray areas, and the result is decided by Tribunal vote, which is often influenced by whether the trick is actually causing an unacceptable disruption of the mundane economy, and more importantly, by the political ability and power of the covenants involved in the dispute.

As I've said before (and wish I had the original post on hand), if you have an enemy at Tribunal and get involved in an edge case like this, then they will find or make up some way in which you're violating the Code. Otherwise, you're probably fine.

Whether fishermen have specified rights is an issue that will vary greatly depending on where you are.

As for the grand tribunal, I suspect much of it is inter-tribunal disputes being settled- keep in mind 3 items every 30 some years...

.. secondly anyone outside of the assigned tribunals is likely to be the next issue as the tribunals attempt to absorb them.

I would expect that each tribunal Thebe expends most or all of its topics defending its unique approach to the code, which other tribunals may challenge- next tribunal I would expect Provencal, Rome and Normandy to be raising issues with Thebes while they are trying to establish charter houses in territory seized by the fourth crusade and trying to deal with the whole question of Theban "irregularities"

There may be some tribunals which push for sweeping change, possibly every grand tribunal, but my guess would be that such measures are routinely defeated, since most magi prefer to be tribunally autonomous.

Certainly puts a damper on the idea of appealing to the GT against your Tribunal's rulings, unless you can find an outside Tribunal willing to use up one of its three topics.

Each Tribunal and each House, I believe...

One can disrupt any and all mundane economies one likes, so long as it does not cause trouble for other magi in the Order. The clause is a compound clause, and both parts must be met to be actionable. What would get this to a Grand Tribunal (since Covenants indicates that many regional Tribunals have made similar rulings to Stonehenge) is doing it in one Tribunal while residing in a different Tribunal...

One historical note- in the best example of renaissance inflationary economics, Spain did not see prices jump drastically when it began importing gold from the new world, what it saw was an increase in imports from other countries. The catastrophe was when the new gold supply dried up Spain suddenly found itself without a new generation of skilled craftsmen and without the resources to continue importing. Which resulted in opportunities for foreigners with abilities willing to establish their shops in Spain... the medieval economic theory is much different than modern economic theories, and the medieval economy is in fact far different from a modern economy as well. the problem that the Stonehenge tribunal is "aware" of is in fact anachronistic.

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I think it's based on the 'silver inflation' problem experienced in southern england around 1200AD.
But I could well be wrong, I'm no historian.