Unidentified Magus

My searches have come up somewhat ambiguous, though it appears that many people seem to think that between the Redcaps and the Quaesitores, there is an easily accessible list of Magi registered as being members of the Order of Hermes.

I am just wondering how likely it is that some magi can slip through the cracks (Reclusive Flaw, Hedge wizard, etc), or have their official "paperwork" misplaced or lost?
And what happens if such a Magus shows up at Tribunal believing he is entitled to do so, but no other Magus recognises them?

Out of curiousity, what would happen in your saga if the following hypothetical occurred?
Somebody seems to be raiding a supernatural site that your Covenant has claim to, or other connection. Perhaps this young Magus has just stolen an egg from a nigh inaccessable dragon's nest, or something similar. You find him looking lost at a crossroads, calling out for "Master".
When you manage to interrogate him, he answers that he was completing his Apprentice's Gauntlet, all but but giving the token (eg the Dragon's egg) to his Master, who doesn't seem to be at the place he left him.
The Apprentice can quote the Hermetic Oath, but only speaks Latin of the Hermetic variety, knows no other name but "apprentice", and his parens he only knows as "master". He was expecting to be granted a "proper" name at the end of the Gauntlet. He knows Hermetic spells and magic. He was taught the Parma Magica just before the Gauntlet, and told if he failed he would be killed.
He doesn't know where he comes from. Intelligo magic will show a lot of recent and very powerful PeMe and MuMe traces, all with an unknown caster's sigil.
His master flew him to the crossroads by some enchanted device (eg broom, carpet, cauldren, etc). They started at night, and spent most of the time above clouds, so he can't describe any landmarks, and the route was circuitous.

What would be the status of this individual in your saga?

In your hypothetical case, there is no witness, record or proof, that the foundling wizard ever swore the Hermetic Oath. So there is a serious suspicion, that he obtained the Parma Magica before swearing the Oath, hence illegally, and his existence is thus already a breach of the Code.

In a lawful Tribunal this foundling wizard hence is an urgent problem for the Quaesitores, once they are informed. As he cannot be identified, does not claim membership in the Order and shows no registered voting sigil, they might put him through full HoH:TL p.64ff Endorsing Testimony with little ceremony, first analyzing and then dispelling all the magical effects on him they still can. Unless this proves, that he at least swore the Oath before witnesses, his 'Master', once identified, should be investigated for a High Crime.

This foundling would after that thorough investigation be treated like an apprentice, and - as his 'Master' has at least seriously failed to perform his duties - a magus from the Tribunal chosen to become his parens. If the foundling looks promising, a Bonisagus might volunteer, thereby getting a good apprentice for one or two years and completely erasing any rights 'Master' might claim later otherwise.


In my saga, the individual would prima facie appear a "lost apprentice". Assuming intensive magical scrutiny and consultation of existing records produces nothing, the tribunal would either:
a) hastily make the apprentice swear the Oath, thus welcoming him as a full member of House ex miscellanea, or
b) (more likely in my saga) assign him to some magus "to make sure his education is complete" for maybe 2-4 years, at the end of which he'd be given a proper gauntlet and sworn to the Oath. Said magus (a non-guernicus quaesitor would be perfect, as would any of the PCs if sufficiently "senior") would gain some seasons of service, but he'd have to keep a very sharp eye on the apprentice (who happens to know Parma, among other things), be on the lookout for the mysterious "master" and try to understand what happened.

Incidentally, in my saga there's a quaesitor who would immediately suspect foul play and start considering the possibility that
a) the apprentice is a supernatural creature in disguise, or some mystical "Trojan horse"
b) the apprentice is in fact either a renegade magus who's trying to "re-enter" the order, or a hedge wizard who surreptitiously learned the Hermetic Arts (perhaps by devouring the knowledge of a genuine magus) and has created an elaborate set-up to avoid trouble
c) the apprentice is in fact the product of some Tytalus who's looking for trouble.
d) ... something else happened, all fishy and foul.

Note that there is no provision in the Oath explicitly forbidding teaching the Parma to apprentices. The problem is that apprentices are vulnerable, and teaching them the Parma exposes the Order to unnecessary risk (thus triggering the "endangering the Order" clause). Despite what Apprentices, p.60 says, I believe that a magus who teaches the Parma to an apprentice immediately before the Gauntlet, and can show he took adequate precautions to ensure its secret was not leaked, might be frowned upon but would not be considered guilty of a High Crime: remember that High Crimes are only those that explicitly contravene the Oath. I think in this sense the thorough discussion in HoH:TL starting on p.45 should supercede the brief and somewhat casual statement in Apprentices, that lacks a lot of context.

Incidentally, this is not the case at hand, as the master obviously failed to keep "control" of the apprentice, thus endangering the Order.

Chained to a lab in a remote region, forced to extract vis until someone returns to claim him...

If you let your apprentice get lost, there's no telling what some unscrupulous types would do. If his master does show up, they will be handed the vis their apprentice extracted and handed a bill for room and board.

As for the point about an easily accessible list of Magi - if you want to receive post, you have to give the redcaps your address. If you want to vote at Tribunal, you have to let the Quaesitors know that you are resident in the Tribunal, and even if you're a peregrinator they'll probably want to know a few details. That said, a reclusive mage or one who travels a lot could slip between the cracks - this is why it says in HoH:TL p83 "House Mercere does not keep track of magi; instead, it keeps track of covenants." (The "Blacklisting" sidebar gives an idea of how you could be deliberately "lost" by redcap pressure). Also HoH:S p102 mentions Ebroin has called for a census of House Ex Miscellanea - clearly he is aware that members of his house are prone to disappearing from public knowledge.

That is a few more foul play options than I came up with. Thanks.
Though I was wondering if the gauntlet would not be over until he found his master and gave him, what did I suggest, dragon's egg. Perhaps the Master had simply not mentioned that he was going to, um, hide from the apprentice, which could imply it is a sneakier and crueller Tytalus gauntlet than usual.

I had actually said that the apprentice could speak the Hermetic Oath, trying to imply that he was effectively swearing the Oath to every magus he identified.
And also implied that he was aware that he was under the Join or Die condition when I suggested "He was taught the Parma Magica just before the Gauntlet, and told if he failed he would be killed."

I know I meant this as a hypothetical situation. But my fascination/annoyance at edge conditions is making this appeal to me more than it should.

My first thought would be that the unidentified master fled from one tribunal to another to avoid being marched and never registered with the new tribunal. If that is the case then the student would, I expect, have to take or re-take the oath and has one year to find a house to support them. The master is obviously going to get marched again for teaching the Parma before the gauntlet, and the apprentice will have a flaw for infamous master, even if nobody ever works out exactly who that was. Of course there would be an investigation to ensure that this was in fact what happened...

An abandoned apprentice has some small recourse to the Peripheral Code, as I recall. This one may have failed Gauntlet (depending on if the requirement was to steal the thing undetected) or not, but seems trained if poorly socialized. Even if he nominally passed, the Master is absent and the apprentice is abandoned.

I propose Apprentice enter a covenant. If the Master's right expires, he is to enter the service of a mage, who will train and test him to acceptable levels (which probably won't take long; he needs a couple of lores). This requires a certain level of kind charity and not a great deal of service demand. Once trained and tested, and a Gauntlet passed, Apprentice may enter Bonisagus, possibly a welcoming respectable Society House, or consigned to the low status of Ex Miscellanea, depending on local personalities.

The Master may be out of Order society, but it is not clear, and he may be from a Tribunal on the far side of wherever, so not a problem for local magi to pursue. If Master shows up and makes demands, deal with him then.

As for a Magus who shows up who no one knows, if such appears at Tribunal they may be questioned as to their proper attendance. How did they find out about this Tribunal? Who announced it to them? Do they meet the requirements of attendance? What is their lineage? If their lineage can be traced to a known magus, is that magus alive or can they be determined to be valid? If there is no record or memory or apparent validity to the magus, and no precedent, the magus may still be recognized as valid, so long as they can recite the Oath and there is no other obstacle, but may not be able to speak or vote, depending on the Tribunal's rules.

What the magi of the Tribunal will not do is become abusive. A possible magus, who has the right general knowledge and recites the Oath, may be very suspicious and may not be welcomed openly, but the general presumption should be that they are a magus with due rights and protections.

One point in this is that generally passing the gauntlet involves being given a representative sigil for voting, which means being registered with a tribunal for those purposes, and the name of their parens is often going to be recorded as well. Which means that somewhere there will be a record of the students parens, though not inherently one that will be tracked down easily...

Easily accessible list? No. This is the Middle Ages, centralized recordkeeping is barely a theoretical concept in most places. Also, it's only been a hundred years since the Schism War, and a lot of magi ended up going silent and deep.

For your general question, if I were the Quaesitor, I'd rule that a Gifted individual who shows proficiency in either the Hermetic Arts or another form of magic and can recite the Oath of Hermes is a magus unless I have good reason to think otherwise. I'd be suspicious if they have no references of any kind, but even in the worst-case scenario, I'd instruct Ex Miscellanea to admit them.

In your specific case, the individual is clearly an abandoned apprentice. An abandoned apprentice who knows the Parma is legally in very serious trouble, but most Quaesitores are not overly-legalistic jerks. Not knowing who his parens was, I'd put him through a Quaesitor's Gauntlet to qualify him for Ex Misc. Killing him would probably be legal, but also the wrong thing to do - and this might all be a Tytalus prank played on a full magus, which would make it illegal. I'd also pass a note to the Redcaps to ask Quaesitores in other Tribunals if they know that sigil, because while the apprentice is blameless, his erstwhile parens is facing a Wizard's March if he doesn't have a very good explanation for all this. Whether or not teaching the Parma to an apprentice is a High Crime, abandoning an apprentice who knows the Parma is absolutely endangering the Order.

My PC would take the apprentice using bonisagus right and then kill him.

I have concluded that my original hypothetical is rather far-fetched. I thought that if there was any fault, it would mainly be on the missing parens.

I had forgotten the Schism War. Not to mention Winter Covenants that are so self-focused that they barely bother to communicate with the greater Hermetic community.

Perhaps I should have used the hypothetical that went :-
During terrible weather a strange old mage with Apprentice shows up on your doorstep looking for a Quaesitor to witness his Apprentice speaking the oath. Claims to be last survivor of covenant Decreptous, which everyone thought failed years ago. Grogs/Companions overhear the old mage reminiscing to the apprentice about his swearing of the Oath all those years ago at Decreptous, and how he always meant to find a silver penny to pay a Redcap to deliver the news he was a sworn magus to Tribunal, because none of his witnesses, including the aged Quaesitor, had ever bothered to leave the covenant again.
While waiting for for the necessary witnesses to assemble, it is noticed that the stranger's Longevity Potion had failed during the trip, and he suffers a terrible Aging crisis and dies.
After mourning, the apprentice is amazed by the company of magi he meets. He mentions meeting only a few other magi when he was first apprenticed. The names he gives are magi known to have died or gone into Final Twilight.
There is no record of him becoming an Apprentice. There is no record that his parens was a magi. None of the names that the Apprentice or old Mage mentioned are still alive, and the main location of covenant Decreptous is known to have burnt down, leaving no documents.

It's been over 200 years - The Schism War ended in 1012.

I don't recall a Quasitor's Gauntlet, and I don't believe the quaesitors can instruct a House to do anything. I don't know that a Tribunal, even a Grand Tribunal, can require a House to perform.

Regarding the second scenario, there is surely case code where a master dies in the gap between successful gauntlet and inception of the Oath.

Here we have a master and apprentice apparently from a lost covenant (my players would promptly conclude they were located in a regio). The orphaned apprentice should be turned over to another member of the magus' house for assessment and admission.

That would be the just answer. However, in the Order of Hermes (Theban and Transylvanian Tribunals excepted), apprentices have no rights. It's perfectly legal for a magus to grab a Gifted child, apprentice him for fifteen years of lab work and then kill him. The parens, meanwhile, can't be killed off without a proper Wizard's March.

Bottom line, abandoned apprentices are in a very murky area of Hermetic law. Their parens has committed a crime by abandoning them, but they themselves have Hermetic magic without Hermetic rights. Meanwhile, apprentices of a dead magus are chattel to be disposed of by their Covenant, or if the magus was killed in Wizard's March, they belong to his slayer should he choose to claim them.

Mea culpa. I time-displaced it a century.

Noble's parma on the exact pages (it's in a couple of places), but if an apprentice fails the Gauntlet three times, then the Quaesitores step in to administer a Gauntlet instead of the parens. Usually such a Gauntlet is a check for basic competence and nothing more.

As for "instructing a House to do anything," it's indeed Peripheral Code in many Tribunals that magi are automatically considered Ex Miscellanea if they would otherwise be charged with vagrancy. But it's probably moot anyway - if the Quaesitor can't find an EM magus who'll sponsor the apprentice, then he's got bigger problems with his legitimacy than whether he can tell EM to do anything. :smiley:

I'd say it's unlikely that it ever makes it to Tribunal to be enshrined in Peripheral Code. It's the kind of thing that would, in most cases, be dealt with informally rather than taking it to a full Tribunal.

I would think the usual would be for someone who knew the parens to offer witness that the apprentice had passed their gauntlet and then the oath be administered as normal.

I set up the second hypothetical so that the deceased parens was also not known to the OoH at large, and that everyone who witnessed/knew of his Gauntlet and oath-taking are also deceased (or otherwise uncontactable).