Theban Tribunal Patron Interference


So I'm reading through the Theban Tribunal book for the upteenth time and I had a thought that I wanted to share. So basically in that tribunal to found a covenant one must get a patron, normally a magical being but sometimes faerie or divine. The thing about this is that the being that serves as a guardian patron is a completely independent supernatural being with his or her own wants, needs, beliefs, and requirements. They might be friendly to the covenant, allied to the covenant, and in some way beholden to the covenant, but they are not restrained in their own activity.

Examples of this is Saint Demetrius from Thessalloki basically destroying enemy forces or Talos from Candia who hates enemies of Crete.

My question would be what do people think of situations when a magus, or magi, or an entire covenant get involved in some supernatural or mundane affair because they were dragged into it because of their patron.

Though I wouldn't cut off story potentials, I totally could see the Theban Tribunal declaring that magi are not held responsible for the actions of their covenant patron. Which of course lets for all sorts of interesting supernatural and mundane situations - the covenant on Canida hasn't supported the rebels against their Venice based overlords, its totally Talos that is going about giving the rebels the magical arms and armor that the covenant gave to him as part of their friendship. Or its not the covenant that is acting as court wizards its the patron who speaks to the king as a custom of the land. Or whatever.

But yeah, what your thoughts on this. :slight_smile:

Spirits are not bound by the Code of Hermes, so if they act on their own they aren't punishable, but they are protected by it to a limited extent, in that attacking a covenant's patron is probably going to fall under "depriving magi of their magical power" (and Thebes is an unusually organized Tribunal, so they definitely have precedents in place for this). However, if the patron starts getting involved in mundane affairs, and it tries to drag the covenant into them, then the Covenant has to be careful not to provide any assistance to their patron that can be construed as Interference; the example you suggested about the patron delivering magical arms and armor would absolutely count as interference. (Though it's kinda hard to prosecute Interference in Thebes because the Tribunal is lousy with Jerbitons.)

In short, this is an area where the answer may boil down to politics.

Oh, politics, how fun you can be. I think its interesting that the ways and means of interference and stuff like that varies based on the political situation of the tribunal in question. And since Thebes has both its orgnaization and its cultural standards I figure the way it deals with it is somewhat different from some others. Honestly, I don't really give a care about the interference (I want Hermetic Court Wizards, I think its cool and its sad that such a thing is 'restricted' in terms of fluff) but the hiding element of it can also be fun.

I will say I noticed that it mentions in the Thebes book that a bunch of magi supported various noble courts and kings in the region and I don';t think anything politically negative was mentioned about them.

While I do not want a whole book on Periphery Code ruilings, I wouldn't have minded there being some general story seed ideas on this and the other topics that might make Theban Tribunal different.

Well then. Say that in your saga, the current Peripheral Code in Thebes works similarly to Normandy's, in that interference is permitted unless actual harm to one's sodales can be proven, and the main obligation is to clean up any messes you make.

There are two things to keep in mind in this kind of saga. One, the traditional image of the "court wizard" is of a wizard who serves the king/emperor/despot. Leaving aside the requirements of the Code, a Hermetic magus who does something like this is going to look like a half-penny prostitute. If a Hermetic magus is going to be involving himself in mundane politics at all, he should be using tame nobles as his catspaws, and to the extent that he's supporting one side or another, it's because of his ideals, religion and objectives. Don't expect your players to just bend over for someone who they could reduce to ash with a single spell.

Second, and probably more relevantly, part of the reason to avoid interference with mundanes is because pretty soon you get magi backing different factions, and while this is a story seed in itself, remember that as soon as the 4Xing disputes between magi start crossing someone's vis supply or endangering the lives of magi or the covenant spirits, you have a Hermetic crime. Just how far this goes is going to create wonderful story fodder, especially once some magi get so invested in their political agendas (that your average magus will snort at in contempt) that they start killing each other, the Tribunal tears itself asunder and the Grand Tribunal of 1261 has to go in and clean up their mess...

Just my random thoughts.