Tribunal Permission when founding a new Covenant?

What sort of protection are you thinking of?

I was considering more in the case of a Covenant recognized by the Tribunal ,
if they claimed anything like Vis sources belonging to you.
If you attacked them , you have no defense of being deprived of your magical power ,
but would be considered to have forfeit immunity if the rival covenant attacked with lethal force.

HoH:TL p.49: "Most Tribunals impose some formal residency requirements, sometimes in an attempt to restrict the Hermetic population.
These are often linked to membership of a covenant recognized by the Tribunal."
From the appearance of Semitae in 1151 we can conclude that then the Stonehenge Tribunal did not have 'formal residency requirements'.

Kind regards,


In "Heirs to Merlin" it states that "The Ungifted Redcaps are not attached to any particular covenant".

I've loaned out my copy of HoH: True Lineages, but I seem to recall something about Redcaps only having to attend Magi who belong to recognized Covenants, implying that some don't.

I've taken this to heart in our saga, set in Stonehenge, and there are at least two lone magi the PCs run afoul on occasion.

I agree with that take on it and it will be how I'll run it in Stonehenge. As a sidenote being reckognized (not in any legal sense) might still be of importance in terms of future agendas.

Well, they all live at the Tribunals Mercer House.

Yes and no. The Redcaps keep a listing of all covenants. This list is not shared and those relaying their location to the Recaps (even singular magi and not only covenants) can rely on their secrecy. The Redcaps are only required to deliver news of the Tribunal gathering, but if treated in accordance with propper etiquette they would most often deliver any letter to the magi and covenants on their list.

The Redcaps also keep another list on claimed Vis sources - they might be secret to the tribunal, but the Redcaps know the so as to be used as witnesses if ever contested

I strongly disagree. No one forfeits immunity by not living in a covenant reckognized by a Tribunal. You only forfeit immunity be breaking the Oath.

They might however not be able to attend the Tribunals or rely on mutual support versus outside opponents.

Which, by elimination, means that the Mercer House isn't a Covenant.


If a Covenant sets up without seeking Tribunal permission ,
then the local Tribunal need not enforce The Code in relation to these Magi.
This is the province of whichever Tribunal you are registered with.
A rival (and recognized) local covenant simply claims the area that your unregistered covenant has set up.
The local Tribunal agrees that your unregistered Covenant is depriving these fine upstanding Magi of their magical power.
They direct you to vacate immediately (via Redcap) and to report to the local Tribunal without delay.
If you refuse to follow a direct request of the local Tribunal , you are guilty of a High Crime and have forfeit immunity.

I still disagree with you Ravenscroft, although a little less then before. It is important to distinguish between formal and applied law and you mix them up. Especially in the former post. A covenant not reckognised by the regional Tribunal might easily become victim of biased rulings in their disfavour, simply because they do not have a pull at the meetings, but there's still the basic rights of the Oath which apply in their favour nonetheless and protect them formally regardless of reckognition.

Yes and no. The Tribunal might choose never to raise a case involving the covenant in question, but in formal terms the magi of said covenant do not enjoy less protection from the Oath. Breaking the Oath against them is no less a crime than against mage of other reckognised covenants. Choosing not to enforce the Code is a case of applied law, and not a formal legality, and doing so would not only require a majority of votes, it would also require the Praeco and espescially the presiding quaesitor to back it, and for the quaesitor this surely puts his reputation as such and with the House at stake.

Ownership of ressources are registered with the Redcaps and it does not depend on Tribunal reckognition. This system is there to ensure that in such a case a magus (or covenant) can be testified to own a ressource even if not reckognised. A tribunal might make biased decisions - but then it is not a case of formal rights, but an abuse of the application of said rights.

True. Refusing to follow a Tribunal decision especially on you is a High Crime and is thus under pains of losing your life. That is true however biased or illegal that decision is. But the point is that the covenant is now a legitimate target because of a specific process at the tribunal concerning them, not as a defualt of not being reckognised.

Defending yourself from attack does not forfeit your immunity, no matter the legality of the attack, and on the other attacking someone you forfeit your immunity towards them. Forfeit immunity is all about who can legally attack who and nothing about who can defend themselves from attacks on themselves.

Finally forfeit immunity is only a term used in media res or at Tribunal in retrospect, for example when judging whether some action against some other magus was justified, when it comes to judging crimes and setting punishment the transgressor ultimaly is cast out and Marched - thus actually loosing their status as members of the Order and thereby loosing their immunity for good. You only forfeit your immunity temporary, and even then the response and use of force against you should be proportionate, but you loose it permanently if Marched.

Using the claim that "I registered my Vis Sources with the Redcaps first"
does not give a Covenant legitimacy under the Code , afaics.
The local Tribunal is still deprived of those resources ,
regardless of whether they previously knew of their existence.

Curious it is then that HoH:TL say of registering your vis with the Redcap thusly (p. 83): "This allows covenants to legally protect their resources without necessarily making them public".... :slight_smile:

It may well say that , but you are still in another Tribunal and the original ownership of those resources is under dispute.
You may have found them and claimed them and say
"I legally found them and registered them , so they are mine , you bastards." :stuck_out_tongue:
but if the local Tribunal disputes your residency ,
and claims that all resources in their purview are legally theirs ,
or legally belong to any sanctioned covenant to claim as and when they choose to do so ,
you have committed a crime by stealing/"claiming" them first.
Just because they did not know about any Vis sources and chose not to exploit them , does not mean that they can't claim them after the fact.

It is certainly not a crime or stealing in itself to claim a vis source unclaimed by others, and no one could attack them on sight claiming they forfeit their immunity by doing so. That would simply be against the Code and no regional Tribunal can rule against the Code.
If however the regional Tribunal makes a ruling on this matter against said covenant, and they refused to follow such a ruling, only then would they become a legitimate target. But then we are back at applied hermetic law, gathering consesus vs the covenant, rather than formal law.

From page 45 , True Lineages

Again , my point is , that the unsanctioned Covenant in the local Tribunal deprived a sanctioned Covenant of those Vis sources.
Just because you found them and claimed them first ,
does not mean you have not committed a High Crime by so doing.

That is a complete distortion of the Code; That using unclaimed vis is a High Crime; That you could deprive someone of something that they have not know about, much less claimed or have had registered at the Mercere.

A silver tongue and strategist might make such a case and win it at Tribunal, but it is contrary to the Code, and thus in the realm of applied law, and not formally within hermetic law.

Which returns to my point, that there is amble opportunity for discriminating an unreckognised covenant, you might even within the regional Peripheral Code make it possible to make terms so untolerabel to the unreckognised that they will in the end either leave or transgress enough to make them legitimate targets. But you cannot make it legal to attack them outright or, as you argued earlier, disallow them to defend themselves from such an attack.

I never claimed that using unclaimed Vis was a High Crime.
My assertion was that by your unsanctioned Covenant moving in and claiming it ,
you are depriving a sanctioned Covenant of its magical resources.
That it does not matter under the Code that it was undiscovered previously.
Afaik , there is no provision in the code for Terra Nullius.
Another link for Terra Nullius

Does the Code make provision for any Hermetic Magus to move into any area ,
and so long as no-one has previously claimed (via the Redcaps) any magical resources in the area ,
they are free for the taking?

(Btw , i hope you don't think i am arguing because i think you are wrong or anything)

Actually you did.

It is the same thing. Disputes of vis sources are handled at tribunal. That alone might very well hamstring the unreckognised covenant, but the register of the Mercere is used as legitimate claim - if you haven't registered it with the Mercere your case will be quite difficult and most will loose it. But in any instance this is not proportionate to allowing or justifying random attacks.

Using an unused vis source in a tribunal is not depriving anyone of their power.

No there is no notion of Terra Nullius in the Code. Nor am I claiming that. Moreso since it is an inappropriate term in the context, used in another time to justify other acts.

Yes - or rather the Code makes no provision against it. A regional Tribunal might in its Peripheral Code make provisions against it or make it more difficult. But there would still be stretch from there to making it a High Crime of the sort justifying attacking without due proces.

I don't really see the concept of Terra Nullius as totally inappropriate in this context.
The local Tribunal has for whatever reason not fully exploited the area it claims jurisdiction over.
Therefore any Magus or group thereof can move in to any Tribunal and "stake a claim" ,
fully protected by The Code in their right to do so.

Without anything added in the Peripheral Code individuals and covenants claim vis sources, tribunals do not.

My confusion about Tribunals , is that i am seeing them as a collection of Covenants ,
not as a body like the UN.
That the voting residents who claim membership or residency in a local Tribunal ,
do not have a vested interest in protecting their investment seems odd.