The Hermetic Market for Gifted Children

A few more snippets of text:

So... I'd say that pretty firmly puts the child in the legal status of "whatever they were beforehand, that's what they are (legally), until they are apprenticed."

So the question then becomes, "can you claim loss of magical power not from what they ARE, but from what they WILL be?" Potential earnings, rather than Current Value, as it were. All claims of loss of magical power we see listed in the book (and we have seen them several places) have been from loosing an apprentice, a magical device, or a familiar. There were no examples of a Gifted servant. In this case, I would rule that the burden of proof is on the claimant who is trying to expand the franchise.

Again - I could easily see this as part of the Peripheral code, as Thebes seems to have done. But the Gernicus writeup makes no mention of it in the discussion of the Code as it relates to Apprentices. The Apprentices book makes no mention of it in the "before Apprenticeship" section, or in the "perils of delaying the Opening" section, and the Core Rulebook makes no mention of it in the Apprentices section.

More generally - Laws are restrictive: it is assumed that someone can do anything, except that which is expressly prohibited. I don't think anyone is saying that someone couldn't CLAIM a loss of magical power due to the loss of a Gifted servant - but in all the places where it would reasonably be discussed, it is never brought up as part of the process - again, from Apprentices:

So - here we learn that a Gifted servant can be considered magical power: in their ability to add to a lab total. But in the one section where the rules discusses the legal and social consequences of "what can a magus do when their Gifted servant is taken from them?" - nowhere does it say "sue them for loss of magical power." And it explicitly states that taking that Gifted lab assistant as an apprentice legally covers the new Paren from legal consequences of that "depriving the magus of magical power".

So we have established that a Gifted Lab assistant is, in fact, part of a magi's magical power, in that they are part of his Lab Total. So, if one magus were to steal a lab assistant, and use them only for a lab assistant (or simply kill the lab assistant in the process, or out of spite, or whatever), then yes: there is cause there for claiming a loss of magical power. However, the core rulebook states that keeping a Gifted child as only a lab assistant is one of the explicit REASONS that the Order allows for kidnapping and taking of apprentices - to prevent such activities from occurring.

And nowhere in that text does it say "oh, and the magi who rescued the Lab Assistant must pay for it".

I think if Cuchulainshound's point is that a claim is possible he is right. The fact that the argument doesn't show up in cannon just means it's likely that the character is breaking new ground in the attempt. Even if this argument has been tried in the past and failed the nature of Hermetic Jurisprudence means precedent is not an end all circumstance.

To be fair a ruling protecting a potential Apprentice from being stolen could even be an easy sell at tribunal. Who wouldn't want a few extra seasons to prepare an apprentice to be a useful assistant. I certainly wouldn't consider it beyond the scope of a politically savy PC in an "average" game.

An interesting and slightly relevant philosophical counterpoint to that. Because anyone can posses anything you can't own something unless taking it from you is prohibited. So the law against theft enables the act of ownership. (yeah I know their is a counter argument to that too)

Hm. I think in that last bit of research, I came to the realization that apprentices are considered "magical power" because they add to lab totals. Which is what the code is protecting the Paren/apprentice relationship for (as well as encouraging the survival of the Order). However, Gifted non-apprentices could be considered "magical power" for the same reason: they also add to lab totals, but they don't cost a season of instruction a year. So technically they're a better deal.

HOWEVER, the Code explicitly allows other magi to steal away Gifted non-apprentices. And if they make them apprentices, they are not considered to have stolen them, and thus protected under the law.

I think it's that last bit that makes Cuchulainshound's claim impossible: there actually is an explicit, positive statement of protection from retribution in Apprentices:

So, the Agent would have to make the legal argument that they aren't demanding that the apprentice be returned - but that wergild be paid for the apprentice instead. However, wergild implies wrongdoing on the part of the kidnapping magus - and the rules are explicitly set up to REWARD such behavior.

I'm pretty sure that concept doesn't fly in Germanic law. Which gets back to my "therefore, make sure that charging for apprentices is an OK thing to do BEFORE it becomes an issue at Tribunal; ie, be proactive about it, and show it as a positive good, rather than waiting for it to occur and challenging it in court.

Precedent is really important in Hermetic jurisprudence. The Rhine has magi holding multiple sigils of "retired" magi. Normandy has raiding of non-magical items. Hibernia has never ending Wizard Wars, and so on. These are all in existence because of precedent!

I don't think anyone has said that this can't happen. The point of contention seems to be that hound believes the Code affords him protection and he can just begin doing this, while you, KeveinSchulz and I believe he needs to do some work to have the Tribunal make some changes to the Peripheral Code protecting his rights, or at least enumerate them.

Didn't say Precedent wasn't important just that it's not an end all. All those things exist because of tradition. Legal cases in the order are decided by direct democracy, and democracy is a bit fickle. The voting members might have a preference for Stare Decisis but there is no concept of binding precedent like in a modern common law system.

Except the body politic of the Order of Hermes is decidedly older, and more likely conservative. Change would happen rarely in such an organization, as history has so ably demonstrated. Precedent may not be binding, but entrenched value systems and ways of doing things would be a strong factor against precedent being overturned. Even in modern legal systems precedent becomes eroded over time.

Even should this matter overcome the inertia and become part of a Tribunal's Peripheral Code, it is unlikely that any one individual will benefit, and as I've said before, others may engage in the same commercial activity...

Ok let's break this down:

In setting slavery is evil. Full stop. According to canon, slavery in ME is an infernal practice that runs contrary to the divine. If the Church condones it, that is the error of mortals within the Church. This is something that the line developer has decided is objectively evil. It's also why the summoning skill can be aligned with any realm - but forcibly binding spirits is infernal.

In Italy, the first apprenticeship contracts appear around 1160. These specified room and board, training and pay. Under an apprenticeship contract there is a obligation to teach. While some of the earliest contracts were entered into between master and apprentice, in later contracts parents obligated their children to a term of apprenticeship. Often, parents would agree to pay some sum for the training of their children.

Hermetic apprenticeship is somewhat different. A hermetic apprenticeship is based on the idea that a child should follow in the profession of their parents. Since the gift is (probably) not hereditary, imposes social penalty, and longevity potions end the ability of a magus to have children (and perhaps to have sex) an apprenticeship involves aspects of adoption. Notably, according to covenants, apprentices-like other covenant residents-receive a small cash stipend.

There are a couple of problems with buying an apprentice at a slave auction. First, every other magus in the region, likely, has the same idea. Secondly, slavery is evil. Participating in the slave trade opens the magus up to charges of dealing with demons (which he might end up doing in a very literal sense if he remains involved in the trade for any length of time). The only way to win is not to play. This means identifying the potential apprentice and freeing them other than by purchase (bonus, if done by magic this probably makes the apprentice very receptive to learning the arts).

Trying to sell the apprentice on runs into the problem that buying and selling thinking beings is, canonically, evil (certain very special exception might exist for faeries). If two magi had a contract for one to provide an apprentice to the other, and a third magus takes the apprentice, this might constitute deprivation of magical power. In this case the loss of the apprentice is not a loss of magical power. Until the arts are opened any magus may claim an apprentice. This is specifically aimed at preventing slavery. On the other hand, the procuring magus might have a claim for loss of magical power based upon a loss of payment. Most likely this would be a low crime with penalty consisting of payment of the given amount. Any magus bringing such a claim should be ready for the Quaesitores to investigate them-as the buying and selling of human beings is an infernal practice.

At best a magus might be able to hire somebody else to find him an apprentice-and pay for the service. This comes very close to the buying and selling of human beings. Finding an apprentice "on spec" would cross the line and be infernal. This makes operating a school for potential apprentices difficult. The order has only two operational schools. One is run by the Tremere and provides education for future members of the house. The other, in Thebes, operates in a tribunal where apprenticeship is recognized as an educational arrangement with the apprentice having defined legal rights and schooling is a recognized stage in that apprenticeship.

The farthest you could go would be to have a magus hire you to find the magus an apprentice then hire you to train the apprentice in mundane skills. That's a bit of a stretch, but if the apprentices arts are opened between finding and training it might count as finding a candidate for adoption (hermetic apprenticeship) and not selling a human being.

So to sum it all up, the biggest problem with this entire scheme isn't that a magus will come and take the apprentice being sold, it's that you'll get marched for dealing with demons.

Clarification: yeah, the whole thing here is that we're implicitly calling apprentiship slavery, even though legally there's a distinction. According tot he Code, Magi can kidnap, coerce, bribe, steal, or mindwipe a child into becoming an apprentice, even if they're not ACTUALLY their property. So there's little distinction being made here. Functionally they're slaves, even if we're calling it something else.

Can you cite your source on the whole "owning a slave is consorting with Demons" idea? Because according to GotF (pg. 102), it's frowned upon, but not by any means impossible. There's a Tremere in Prague who is actively involved in the slave trade, who ships off Gifted slaves to Transylvania. Which is part of how this discussion was started, I believe.

Also: Evil =/= consorting with Hell. Murder, for example - is evil. But you're not going to get marched if you off an uppity grog - only if it violates "interfering with mundanes" or "brings ruin on my sodales" or something. "Consorting with demons" is pretty specific: it means consorting with demons (actual Rego Vim summoning effects, actually signing contracts, etc.). Anything else? Nasty, but not a violation of the code. Otherwise, WAY more magi would be marched.

Also - from a theological standpoint, all of humanity is evil - it's called "existing in a state of sin". To take this to its logical conclusion, every magi that hasn't taken Communion or gone to confessional lately can potentially be Marched, if "evil" was the only criteria.

So, somehow, I doubt "purchasing a slave in order to instantaneously free them" would be considered a sin, as the slave is never actually in one's possession. "buying up all the slaves in the city in order to free them" was actually something done by a Frankish queen (who herself was a slave at one point, so she likely had sympathy for the whole thing); so, again - I doubt it would be an issue, from etiher a legal or Theological standpoint.

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First, please - that was not your point, and everyone knows it - stop changing position when it becomes untenable or merely awkward. You're becoming predictable at it.

Second, this new point is absurd - there are abundant cases in history where something new turned out to be pretty easy, yet no one had thought of it before then. The (arguable) fact that it's easy only means it would be surprising that no one had done it before, not proof that they must have. As if.

Third, the prev aside, assuming it is easy and recognized, that does not mean that anyone one has bothered to do it. All things considered, it is (imo) a rather base and questionable use of Hermetic Power, even if just a sideline (and more so if a full-time practice). After all, there are far more prestigious (and attractive) ways to make a few vis in The Order than being a pimp. 8)

At face value, I might be tempted to agree - however, as I don't have access to Apprentices, I have to wonder about the context of that excerpt.* If it's in reference to the value of the child, or specifically speaking to the recognized Hermetic status, then my position is damaged (to one extent or another) - but if discussing ownership and rights (as I suspect), this "clarification" is irrelevant to my case, which revolves around an entirely different part of the Code.

(* If it's a clear statement, cut and dried, that's one thing, but otherwise we have to interpret it - and context is all-important in interpretation, as important as the words themselves.)

Again, because that is considering only a different part of the Code. A mere lab-servant or even a candidatus has no pricetag hanging on them, no value immediately equatable in vis to the mage who merely has their hand on the child's shoulder. However, a child being sold certainly does - by definition, same as any other property.

Let's take another example. 2 grogs are for sale. One is just a grog, and a price of 100 copper pennies is agreed upon. This grog clearly falls into the above category of "servant/assistant/hanger-on", and stealing/killing that grog would certainly not be "loss of magical power". The second grog is, altho' unGifted, determined to be of the blood of King Arthur, and altho' not magical, a second magus interested in ancestry offers 100 vis for him, and a contract is drawn up. I submit that this changes this grog's status from mundane to magical in value. I find it hard how it would not.

In short, while these may be the closest reference extant, I don't believe they address - or have considered - the exact situation that we are talking about. My mage is not trying to maintain or contest possession of the child, they are not trying to keep them as their own apprentice nor use them as a Lab Assistant. They are trying to sell the child to advance their magical power, and are in the very process of doing so - and I believe that, materially, changes the entire dynamic.

The child-for-sale equals vis in the pocket of the seller, and that vis is being lost - that's the one and only issue, and I don't see any of the above addressing that issue, only the issue of whether a claiming another mage's candidatus is legal, and if that other mage has recourse because his candidatus was taken. But that is not this. I've said it before, I don't know how much more clearly I can say it - the Claiming has nothing to do with this, the loss of the property for sale is everything.

It may not be a slam dunk, but none of the above citations nor comments have come close to scratching my series of logical propositions that this is based on. I'm not (out-of character, ahem) saying the Tribunal must find in favor of my position, but I don't believe the Code "does not support it" as easily as some would claim.

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Oh, and I didn't say this, KevinSchulz did.

Which sums up most of what you've had to add to these conversations.

If the discussion is too dense for you, bow out. Otherwise, add something constructive. You know, like intelligent, civil people might.

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And you are being civil?
No, sir.
This isn't civil.

And I even managed to correctly use the quote function.

So you agree with me? Again didn't say Precedent wasn't important just that it's not an end all.

Yeah that would be the part where I talked about a preference for precedent. In fact I assume the majority will be older and very conservative. But also the majority will not be jurists, legal scholars or even professional legislators. In such an environment both sides will endeavor to make their position out to be the one supported by precedent and/or tradition.

Trust me I live in New England. Specifically in smalltown Maine most of my life. I've spent a lot of time at town meetings. I know how direct democracy plays out among an older mostly conservative population.

Yeah but it quickly degrades into a tautology. Binding precedent is changed all the time. There's a well laid out process for how to do it. That process is of course entirely based on Binding Precedent.

Why is that a bad thing? If I get a law to passed so that I may profit from it I'm going to assume others will do the same. In all likelihood that's how I enticed political allies. Competition is good and at the very least I'm going to have a jump on the market.

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Oh, it isn't a bad thing, not in the least. Fierce competition is a good thing.

Then what was your point in writing this?

How did it strengthen your stance or add to the conversation?

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He's proven repeatedly, and as much as admitted, that he really doesn't have one, or at least not one that isn't completely mutable.

If it weren't for the nagging obligation to correct his mis-statements and empty assertions, I'd just put him on /ignore, as I would any troll.

So, we interact with him so long as he's civil, and correct him when he misquotes the rules (as any, myself included, would wish to be done), but ignore him when he starts to babble and ignore the points we make, or just grow disruptive. As now. And by "we", I suggest the entire remainder of these boards. ymmv.

Yeah, see the citation in the OP (in bold) from Guardians of the Forest. According to that, the Order does not seem to see the same absolutes that you are seeing, at least not in some Tribunals.

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Buying slaves to free them is not the same as buying slaves for resale to someone who will free them. Owning slaves is not consorting with demons - but will probably get you investigated to see if you are consorting with demons. I believe slavery being infernal is in C&C. There is also the very real chance that somebody whom you are buying the slave from might actually be a demon. So yeah, slavery, along with making sacrificial offerings and a number of other things, will probably get a magus investigated. Nothing might come of it, but it is inviting trouble. Also, the offender is going to take aggro from divine beings. All together not worth it. The magus can either offer his or her services as an apprentice finder for hire or offer to teach others apprentices the basics for a fee (or both). Completely above board, no problems with unsold merchandise.

As for apprenticeship being like slavery - yes apprentices are a form of unfree labor. It's a form of debt bondage, not chattel slavery. How big a difference this is, is somewhat debatable (especially if you are talking about colonial North America). As for hermetic apprenticeship, it depends on tribunal. A magus in Normandy might be able to slay a unwanted apprentice. Try that in Thebes and you're going to get shards and become a prime candidate for being voted out of the tribunal (or in Scotland risk being brought up on interference charges for starting a blood feud with the dead apprentices clan).

Lets put it this way:
You buy up all the slaves in a city, free them, then turn around and sell apprenticeships for the younger ex-slaves. Certainly they don't have parents who can arrange an apprenticeship for them, and it is certainly a better life outlook than unskilled labor. And you are selling them as apprentices, not slaves.
Now just add magic...

I think the order of legality (if that's a phrase) is as follows:

  1. Buy Slave - immediately set them free.
  2. Oh, darn: child's parents are still slaves and/or dead and/or not around. Care to be adopted by me, completely free child? Certainly! I will be happy to take on that burden, as is my Christian duty.
  3. As your legal guardian, I will certainly make pains to educate you and ensure that you are set up in an apprenticeship that suits your abilities. Of course, I may be compensated for this by a grateful scholar, but that's just good business.

So that's it - and I would argue that gets around the whole "official slavery" issue: as long as they were treated as a child/servant/member of the household for as long as they were there, then it simply isn't slavery. Alternately, point 2 may not even be a question: the Agent could simply say "I AM adopting you, child-who-has-no-legal-ability-to-say-no" - depending on what the adoption laws are in Prague, of course.

See above - it really isn't slavery (in the legal sense): it's temporary adoption until a more suitable home is found: foster parenting for profit, basically. Also, DEO'ing everyone you come into any sort of form or contract with (or invite into the covenant, or talk with for more than 5 minutes, etc.) with is SOP in our saga. The Storyteller has already mined that trick, and reaped the consequences. It's the equivalent of a handshake.

Yes. That's what we're talking about, AFAIK - add in "buy them from slavery and temporarily adopt them until a suitable position can be found for them", and you've got pretty much what we're talking about here.

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