Tribunal stories

My saga is slowly inching its way towards a tribunal meeting, and we are all very much looking forward to it. I am surprised to find very little in the published material on the organisation of tribunal meetings. There is a detailed account of procedures for criminal cases in Houses of Hermes: True Lineages (which is very useful) and also a scenario based in a tribunal in Sub Rosa #5 which has a helpful timeline, but I can't find anything else.

By the way, the forthcoming tribunal in my saga is Provencal 1207AD which takes place in Aedes Mercurii - so I am planning on going heavy with the Mercurian rites!

There are two main areas I am unclear about:

Tribunals normally take place in covenants (at least that seems to be the practice in Provencal according to Faith and Flame). In which case do participating magi normally receive Aegis tokens? Surely many would want to bring their familiars, in which case would the familiars get Aegis tokens so they can also enter the covenant? If magi are not given Aegis tokens, can they still perform their Parma within a hostile Aegis? It would seem very inhospitable to expect your guests to go beyond the bounds of the Aegis to perform their Parma every morning and night.

Does a tribunal run for a set period after which it is brought to a close even if some matters remain undecided? Is there a set order of proceedings - e.g. criminal cases first, then proposed changes to the peripheral code, with a general discussion to end, perhaps 2-3 days for each section?


Aegis tokens: I don't remember seeing any hard rules on this, so it's up to the individual tribunal. In Normandy, where the Tribunal is also a Hermetic contest, every magus needs one so will get one.

Schedule: The corebook says the Praeco has the power to choose the order of business (ArM5 p14). I think it's up to the Praeco when to call things to a halt. If things are undecided, tough - the most that can happen is that the Presiding Quaesitor declares the whole thing invalid.
In terms of traditional order - the Rhine always introduces new magi and distributes voting sigils first. Thebes has an elaborate procedure and schedule all of its own. I looked at Faith & Flame, and it doesn't say anything about the order, so it seems it's entirely up to the Praeco what the running order is.

HoH: TL (page 60) suggests that "some" tribunals cast an Aegis over the grounds with only the Quaesitors, Praeco and hoplites participating, and then magi getting tokens for specific requirements (like Certamen duels).

Aedis Mercurii is a large covenant, and may have space, but a more modest covenant would be pressed to provide room for a large influx of magi. The rooms probably go to the senior magi. Absent a reason, it seems inhospitable to refuse tokens, and politically/socially dangerous, but some covenants probably would decline to make them available.

The rest of the magi presumably camp, probably outside the Aegis.

I don't know of a ruling on PM vs. Aegis. PM isn't a spell. Offhand, I don't see why it would be impacted by an Aegis.

Whilst I'm not aware of anything in the books, there was this on the forum:

Thanks so much for the responses! This is all very helpful.


For the Provencal Tribunal of 1221 at Glanum I ran a multi-day event with a camp / market / convention in the day and business at night.

For some days before the start of Tribunal, magi arrived, socialized, put up wards, conducted some trade, presented some lectures, held meetings, competed, and so on. This gave plenty of room to introduce characters from around the Tribunal and various plot threads. Our covenant has a quaesitor, and she contributed to pre-tribunal hearings.

The first night of the actual Tribunal was a ceremonial invocation, with Dama calling on the Great Powers, who arrived in masked person - the various high priests and priestesses, and then the various officers; Dama asserted that she was Praeco, and called on the Messenger - Alzais - and the Judge - who did not answer and after three calls the Priest of Hades asserted that he had passed beyond; his replacement asserted herself and was affirmed. Since none of the officers are high priests (of public cults), this worked out. The Powers departed at the end of the invocation and business began. New covenants were recognized, motions introduced, Code disputes dealt with, some minor political fights dealt with, and that was pretty much it. Fairly businesslike, but not hurried. It took a few days of game time.