We had one of the first uses of certamen between to PC's in a session last week.
Since we don't use certamen that often we all consulted the rules and found thatif you refuse certamen you are considered to have lost (forfeited).
Fair enough. However, it then goes on to say that the two magi must agree terms on what happens when when of them loses/wins.
It strikes me that this allows a get out.
Lets say Magi A has found a staff that belonged to the parens of Magi B. Magus B wants it for himself and challenges Magus A for it via Certamen.
"You cad, that staff was the talisman of my parens, my dear old master, he promised it to me when he died, I challenge you to certamen for it".
Now if Magus A refuses, he loses by default. So thats a bad idea. However he doesn't fancy his chances in certamen against the stronger magus B so he says
"Alright, since the staff is already mine i propose the following. If i win i get your staff, and if you win, you get mine".
Magus B, now faced with the prospect of losing his own talisman, rethinks his hasty challenge and withdraws.
This is similar to the situation we had, one PC had a vial of another PC's blood. Her parens (also a PC) challenge the magus for the vial. Now as far the the first magus was concerned, the blood was already in his possession, he wins nothing is he wins, and loses the vial if he loses. Not a good deal. In the end he got the other magus to stump up some vim vis as his part of the "kitty". But if he had REALLY wanted to not lose the blood he could have said
"If you win, i give you the blood, if i win, i get to take your talisman, your familiar and tower."
Obviously the protective parens would be crazy to accept these terms (especially since as it turned out the parens lost the certamen).
Has anyone else encountered this loophole in the certamen rules and if so, how did you get around it. As it stands it seems to me that a weak magus could avoid certamen challenges but accepting the challenge then insisting upon outrageous terms.