Who are your friends and are they also murderers?

Okay, this is my side of the story :wink:
I’m a new magus traveling on my way to seek to join a new covenant. I am almost there, I am camping in the woods with my companion and two grogs. Then the cops come and hassle us for no reason :stuck_out_tongue:, two rangers/foresters/wardens/whatever, asking us if we are murderers and if the friends we are visiting are also murderers.

This how the order of events went down. They initiated the hostilities. I fast cast Wizard’s Leap to give myself some space and safety. One of them stabs at where I was with a spear, striking my one grog in the throat and killing him on the spot. We fight to defend ourselves. Simon, the companion traveling with me reacts with much wrath upon seeing his friend slain, so he responds by granting no quarter and no mercy. The other ranger fled in fear, suffering only a few minor injuries, and did not observe the outcome of the battle.

I made sure all the evidence was destroyed, and when the count came to the covenant to investigate, his own man admitted that they initiated the hostilities, and he ruled it an unfortunate incident (they had no idea I was there, they just sought the advice of the “scholars”).

So, situation satisfied, no problems there. However, there is one question that lingers in my mind. The only one home at the covenant was a very shrewd Mentem maga, and she managed to deal with the count and the investigation very effectively. Too effectively in fact.

After the matter was settled and I woke up from my nap, the maga whom I am hoping to be my new covenant mate comes to admonish me and accuses me of putting a “spin” on my side of the story and not giving her all of the facts. She tells me that the information she obtained from the minds of my minions revealed that I was not being fully forthright with her. I asked her who she believed more, a fellow magus or a mundane minion. She said she trusted the information she pulled directly from their minds. That’s twice she admits it :stuck_out_tongue:. I say that they remember things wrong, and the situation is settled so there is no more need for worry.

Now, my question is this. Was I scried upon? She admitted twice that she used magical means to obtain information about my personal affairs. I didn’t think of it right away, but reflecting upon it later, I think I have been violated! :laughing: I am not planning to bring up charges or anything, but I may use my forgiving nature to gain favor and influence. But if I did want to make a case, do I have one?

She had to deal with the Count. They were not your personal affairs anymore. Furthermore the scrying provision is interpreted to protect your magical secrets and your legal affairs. Here, you're skirting Interference with the Mundanes - you say you left no evidence, but, again, she had to deal with the Count. Finally, she scryed on your grogs, not on you. This doesn't necessarily give her an absolute defense, but it still further weakens your case. It could be argued that if your grogs are knowledgeable about your secrets, it is up to you to cover them with your Parma so that forceless scrying would not affect them.

As I see things, about the only thing you have on your side is that the scrying was indeed deliberate.

No doubt or question in my mind, she violated the code and used magic to peer into your affairs. If I were the Quaesitor hearing the matter, I would say have a case and a strong one. If she wanted to learn about your affairs, she was obligated under the Code to use non-magical means to do so. Instead, she used magic. I would put the matter before the Tribunal.

Now, if she feels she has a case against you for Interfering with Mundanes, she can certainly present it. By your version of the story, I would say that you did not.

Before answering, every new player should take careful note - this is not the standard. It's "scry upon... or peer into the affairs of". Just so everyone is clear, it's either or both.

Moreover, "against the Code" is a separate discussion from whether a Tribunal would find them "guilty of" the action - politics and other considerations come into play in the practical application of the Code - so we're strictly speaking "theoretically" here - lot's of differing opinion, lots of variables in practice.


Both what Fruny and Lucius say are true - on the one hand, scrying upon "your grogs" and discovering your secrets is against the Code. But, on the other, where do "your" affairs end and the Covenant's begin?

I would say that by bringing the Count (himself?!) to the Covenant, "your" actions became the affairs of the Covenant. You say that the maga had to "deal with the Count" - that also implies it was a covenant wide problem, that magi other than yourself were involved with these affairs.

Personally, I think you have a case - but I don't think it's open and shut. She has a strong defense - hardly perfect, but it's there. Me, I would not like to take a coin toss to Tribunal.

If he's applying, he should consider that, and not just what is "by the Code". By any measure, this should reflect on his application to the Covenant. If, before he's even a member, he's both bringing problems and threatening Tribunal actions, that's not the best recommendation.

However, in game terms, not many troupes would reject your character and make you create a new one - but they "should" if that's how they feel. Fair is fair.

I am not planning on making a case
Just hoping to win favor and influence through my generous and forgiving nature :stuck_out_tongue:
As far as the counts involvement, she could have simply said "I have no idea what you are talking about", and they would have gone away. They don't know who I am nor did they know I was there. They suspected some magic was at play here, and sought the advice of the "scholars". She gave away too much information, but made sure to mindwipe the count (which, as I understand, is something she has been doing with some frequency).
AND, this has nothing to do with my actions. I was attacked, I have the right to defend myself :smiley:

Well, you did choose to present your case to the Ars Forum Tribunal. :wink:

Now, we vote...

Off with your head! :stuck_out_tongue:

This is not tribunal, thank God!!!
It is that I didn't think about it until a few hours after the game session, and I wanted to consult with my peers and see if I am understanding 5th edition Code properly. AND the other maga in question was played by Lady Phoenix, who frequently consults these forums. I wanted to let her know I am wise to her shenanigans! :stuck_out_tongue:

More shrewd than discrete, apparently. :wink:

Which has zero bearing on the case, true or not.

Not everyone responds well to someone "forgiving" them for something they do not see as a breach of etiquette, much less of the law. Some would see a veiled threat there, unspoken blackmail, rather than anything truly "generous".

This sort of "debate" occurs often in troupes, and should be viewed as a reasonable spectrum of opinion, not something black and white that has one final "troupe interpretation". She should know that she's treading close to the edge, if not over it - and you should know that she is not guilty until a Tribunal finds her so, not even close.

If you, Marko, in Real Life, bent a vague law just a little, and someone walked up and "generously and forgivingly" told you they were not going to call the police, and btw they were your new neighbor - how would you respond? How would you respond if you could veto them moving in to your neighborhood?

It is obviously you do not know me too well :wink:
And I should probably keep you from knowing too much, for your own safety's sake :laughing:
My honest reaction would be something like "Thanks. We gotta stick together, and F%$# the police!" :smiley:

Let's add a little more grist to the situation.

MArko's character is a blatant gift mage that cultivates sinister appearance traveling with three bandit/outlaws (one companion, two grogs).

They tresspassed on the count's lands heading to covenant entering the lands in the dark and camping. The count's men were notably hostile (that blatant gift is a pain). When asked where he was going, he said to visit a friend and who was the friend, he didn't say (as opposed to saying he was on his way to village of the covenant). They basically wanted to take the foursome to the seneschal for questioning. On the mention of arrest and detention, MARKO initiaate the actual hostilities by wizard leaping away that the on edge and distrusting foresters took for offence and killed first of the bandits there (Marko's magic initiated the hostilities). They weren't swinging at him when he fast cast, they said they wanted to arrest him which he took at hostilities (being malicious and hateful sort) so fast cast to get distance and then started another fast cast (just wasn't early enough in init order for it to go off).

After first grog went down, Marko second fast cast went off (mastered multi-casted wounds that weep for 4 light wounds) that caused the forester so wounded to flee into the night and then Marko and company killed the remaining forester (took heavy wound from companion, then 8 light wounds from fast cast wound that weeps, then basically finished off the guy that had -13 from wound penalties.)

Marko did the wizard leap and was planning to fast cast the 4x wound that weeps only his init for second spell was too slow so he intended rather than be pulled in by the mundane authority for questioning. The forester did NOT actually attack until he vanished and struck down the grog to try to eliminate the warriors before trying to chase after the mage (esp since he had spear so he hit target next to him, his buddy had a bow to shoot the mage)

Now, the covenant with its village and the count with his lands are both in the forest, both have most of thier income from the foresters and trackers and Marko's character did nothing to hide the trail that he, his surviving grog and companion made in coming to the covenant.

Basically Count's forester was wounded by magic, 4 light wounds that just appeared magically so you have an interference with mundanes issue with the count coming to the covenant and saying that to him it was murder and that he would hang the offender for it and that he had trackers out to follow the men to their destination. This meant there was intereference wth mundanes, it was on the covenant's doorstep and there was death of magi wanted over it.

Yes, the mentem mage did use posing the silent question to the grog to find out what happened and used that information to elicit from the count when he came calling that his men struck the first blow (she managed get the teleport to distance to basically be overlooked as provocation). To erase from count's memory much of the initial discussion, bought the time she used to magically question the grog and then used that information to make count say it was self defense and his men initiated that violent attack and were at fault. She skirted the line but considering that marko's character was there to join the covenant. The grog he brought with was to join covenant turb (or so the implication). She called it fair game.

The count thankfully is a COMPANION character (with -2 intellegence). One whose life and fief was saved by covenant from a renegade order member and had witnessed a lot of magic and knew the covenant was mages and of the order (scholarly order he was told).

The covenant was built on what was HIS lands taking control of one of his villages and stealing his tax monies. He also had that village taken away from him and given to the covenant by his political superior shortly after that. This means it is a delicate balance.

Then again, Marko's character does have that little issue of

  1. No token for the Covenant aegis (the mentem maga is keeper of the tokens as she is caster of the aegis).
  2. Wanting good will of covenant to be allowed to join (sure he can have hospitality as it is tradition in the tribunal)
  3. Already earned a little ill will by misrepresenting the encounter initially and then basically saying "so can I have a hammer to put up a sanctum sigil on this guest room you let me stay in."

:laughing: Forgot about that bit :smiley:
But I do have my letter of reccomendation from Durenmar, and though I am unsure of your status, I do believe they are your liege covenant of sorts :wink:

It was a lot of fun flirting on the edge of mayhem. BUT, Valten didn't kill anyone. My companion, Simon, was very upset when his friend (the grog) was killed and was very wrathful in his response.

And yes, I do consider being arrested by someone who asks me "are they also murderers?" to be a form of agression :wink:

But anyways, my point is that you have my side of the story, and the methods and means of obtaining information above and beyond that was questionable.

It was a lot of fun though :smiley:

Yeah, of course the way the mentem maga works, getting the information and then making bulk of conversation forgotten to by time to investigate.

Shrewd, subtle nad manipulative. She doesn't worry too much of completely discrete with count as he knows they are mages and the trail was going to lead right ot covenant doorstep. Better to just make count admit it was his fault and hope -2 int Count (he really should not be loet out without a keeper) forgets about it before his 5 int scholarly sister who managed the estate gets home (well, she will be gone in another year, married to another count and only in occassional stories).

Ah, all those pesky little details that MM seems to have overlooked...

But if his casting spell on the Count's forester constitutes "interfering with Mundanes", then how should we interpret erasing the memory of the Count himself? (Just 3 quick words here: Pot, kettle, black. :wink: )

But let's ignore all that. Despite intents to the contrary, MM did not (overtly) ask us to rule on this specific situation as a whole, but on the larger question of Scrying...The Tribunal has ruled that it is illegal to scry on a non-magus, if by doing so you learn of the magus' activities... and that you can be punished for using Intellego magic on a magus even if you didn't know he was a magus..." (AM p 14)
To me, between those two it sounds like your maga crossed that line, almost to the letter.

The key point is 'legal affairs'. (True Lineages p 52)
Were these 'affairs' legal? Most likely not from an Hermetic point of view... and definitely not from a mundane point of view. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Hmmm - interesting distinction. And annoyingly vague - what are "legal affairs" if a mage is not involved directly with a legal case?

I don't have a copy of TL in front of me - could you quote that in full?)

In my judgement as Quaesitor, I would say that both parties have violated the code.

MM actions interfer with the affairs of mundanes in a way which could bring ruin upon his soldales. The last part of the clause is the key. By his actions he risked incuring the wrath of the mundanes upon his fellow magi. There are a number of ways he could he extricated from the sitution that would not have carried that risk.

The maga, however, clearly pryed into his affairs with magic. She does not even dispute it. There is no justification for those actions, even had MM been a member of her covenant. Again, other means which would not violate the code would have served.

There is an element of pot vs kettle for mundane interference except 1) I left no evidence. 2) I was undoing harm, he caused the harm.

The first is was it scrying on his magical affairs? THat is a no definately.

SO now the issue is legal affairs:

  1. what is legal affairs?
  2. is it the covenant's legal affairs as it was neighboring noble with trail leading from place of crime scene directly to us as much as it was him?
  3. Was there harm done or intended? (punishment is always dependant on harm done or intended)
  4. did he interfere with mundanes that he had forfeit immunity under the code?

Based on the facts, you had brought down wrath and concern of a mundane lord on the covenant. A lord that was looking for a wizard/sorcerer to hang for murder.

The major defense against hermetic charges of this sort is that the victim had forfeit immunity under the code. (p45 True lineages). A magus is under forfeit immunity while committing, preparing to commit or shortly after committing a crime. By his criminal act, his legal protection is forfeit.
While forfeit, other magi may act against him, but the response should be proportional.

In the queasitor investigation procedures area of true lineages: "the scrying prohibit was instituted to protect a magi's legitimate magical secretrs, not their crimes. Charges of magical scrying against queasitors investigating crimes (that they learn something not related to the crime) requires the one making the charge prove magical secrets were compromised. At the same time, Intelliego mentum of magi or their servants should not be used without permission.

Finally we get to the biggest trick. The three bandits working with you and guarding you were mostly independant agents that you had a cooperation pack with and did favors for. They were guarding you for their own advantage but were not servants, not privy to magical secrets and such. They could be considers party to crime as opposed to servants.

Yeah, you could probably get a minor fine at tribunal with probably one has high or stronger against you at same time. Meanwhile sabotague covenant's ability to get independant recognition.

Actually, there were not other means to get the details of what happened. The tales of what happened from the two sides was different. He told one side that was heavily biased with information lacking. The lord told a different one. The bandits were beligerant and of the sort "my friend was killed, I killed the guy and that is it." Thus the posing the silent question to get truth (touch vs eye thanks to flexible formulaic magic) which gave full story that was then used to elicit exact same testimony from the wounded forester before the Lord thus showing that the foresters drew first blood.

(though as players we know that was only because Marko failed to get init for getting off a second fast cast or four fast cast wound that weeps would have been first blood).

I mean we could have tried to stall and summon a queasitor but well by that that time, the Count would have known for certain we were sheltering the murderer vs resolving it that his folks were at fault before he even knew the guy was among us.

Then again, the mentem expert was the only magus at home (the other two covenant members were off in france) with no folk ken, no charm, no intrigue, no guile, just spells to twist emotions, cause forgetfulness and ask questions.

Also: Cuchulainshound, the charge of scrying directly on MArko's mage would not hold. It was on a bandit grog that was with him/witness. Of course with him having forfeit immunity, the mentem expert might be covered.

The fact that the mentem maga was incompetent to handle the issue in a legitimate fashion isn't really a valid excuse for doing all that nasty stuff to the local authorities.

If you read the discussion on "legal affairs" on page 52 of TL, its pretty clear that it does not mean "court cases", but rather it means "actions that are not illegal". Forfeit immunity applies to code breakers, but otherwise finding out any information about another magus or his affairs through magic is a breach of the Code. How severe it is considered is a Tribunal matter.

The Mentem maga's only defense is that MM's character had forfeited his immunity by breaching the Code (presumably the interference with mundanes part). If the Tribunal doesn't accept he was in a state of forfeit immunity, then the mentem maga is clearly scrying (ie peering into his affairs).

I tend to see things in a different ways than most people here, it seems.

I think it's way premature to talk about legal actions at this stage of the Story. The damages done on each side is very minimal.
The only important damage at the end, is that MM's character has earned a bad reputation from the local landlord of the Covenant he seeks to join. And he is 100% responsible for that (he could have killed everyone or no one, for exemple, etc).

As I currently play a Tytalus character, this influence my way of seeing things:

  1. Something similar happened in our saga, but a lot less heated, with no mens killed. We refused entrance to that maga.
    A sure thing, I would not accept that mage in my alliance if what you described happened. The meaning of the word "Covenant" forbid it.

  2. If those patrolling the forest where from my covenant, I would see this as an attack on the reputation of my covenant, and would surely want to banish that mage from my territory.
    I would reason that if we do not, then anyone could do as they want with our men and interests, with impunity. It needs to made clear that your covenant doesn't tolerate that sort of action.
    This is a show of force.

  3. If your covenant is new, maybe it would profit from having a worthy adversary in the person of that mage... :wink:

  4. I would ask MM's mage what damage where done to him, and immediatly give him some vis. If he refuse and pursue in tribunal, I would put all my political weight in it.

That's how my Tytalus would resolve the affair :smiling_imp: