Wizard War

Apologize if this has been posted before but having trouble finding the answer -

When can a Wizard War be declared?

  1. Whenever a mage feels like it for whatever purpose (other mage looks funny, is insulted, is a rival, have a dispute)?
  2. If certamen challenge is refused or loser refuses to abide by outcome?
  3. Only a tribunal meetings?

What is the frequency of said declarations?

  1. Against the same opponent could a magi have consecutive wars or separate such wars by an interval?
  2. Coul a war be decalre sequentially against different magi, first A, then B, then C...

For the recipient of such Wizard War what recousre does the "defendant have?

  1. Could he get the war decalre illegal/invalid? What would be the timing of such an appeal? Are there unjust wizard wars?
  2. Could he get the intervention of a Quesitor to judge the case?
  3. Is recourse limited to self-defense only (hiding or fighting)?

Is there anything in the various AM canon books that discusses wizard wars that I have missed limiting the ability to declare?

My problem is this: An aggressive group of magi could declare repeated wars to control various resources and effectively bully their way into prominance. This seems to run counter to the Guernican ideal of an orderly group of magi where more powerful members cannot exploit lesser members of the order through magical violence. The only limitation would seem to be not to endanger the order.

Wizards War would seem to make more sense in the context of having an adjudicative body resolve or allow for this type of conflict. That way, the worst proponents of such tactics are limited. A more stable tribunal or legalistic may seek to have extremely limited wizard war - (Translyvania w the Tremere). As fundamentally law derives from the greatest source of power (whether your political philosophy is dervied from Locke or Hobbes or another source), the most powerful entities in a tribunal could set tribunal law to limit or better regulate wizard wars.

There are no formal restrictions on what constitutes grounds for a wizard's war but the purpose of the Wizard's war should be to resolve a grievance that can be resolved in no other way (that's why it was put in the oath).

There is a peripheral code ruling against a magus who used wizard's wars indiscriminately to intimidate and destroy his/her enemies, the guilty party was renounced and marched. I believe that this is included in HoH: true lineages in the Guernicus section.

In the 5th Ed Core book, it states on Page 14, under "The Peripheral Code: Wizard War": the code allows for a conflict between two magi to escalate to open conflice in certain conditions. When those conditions are met, the two magi involved may step outside the bounds of the Code temporarily to settle the differences.

The Hermetic Oath says Wizards' War must be justly executed.

I don't own "True Lineages", but the old "Order of Hermes" book from 1990 includes some quotes from the Peripheral Code, including this interesting tidbit: "1,070th year of Ares: The magus Hernis, Filis of Dorin, follower of Tytalus, was Renounced for having declared three Wizard's Wars withing the space of 14 months. On careful investigation, the Trubunal at Durenmar found that his causes were not sufficient to warrant Wizard's Wars. The voting sodalis agreed that if Hernis had cooperated with the Tribunal, he would have been punished but not Renounced. His stubborn refusal to cooperate, to heed earlier warnings, or to admit his errors forced the voting members to Renounce him. He was subsequently executed by Fax Ignis of House Flambeau. Such abuse of the traditions of the Order shall not again be tolerated."

These things seem to indicate to me that there are certain, so far unspecified, provisions that have to be met in order to declare Wizard's War. I suspect that these are probally sort of a delaying tatic to get the magi to have time to cool down. Maybe a Quaesitor has to sign off, or at least a Redcap. I also get the feeling that the requirements for a War are probally slight, as they are supposed to be a valve to allow magus to have an outlet for their anger without pushing them outside the Order (probally a more real threat when the Order was young). It's the second War in memory that probally makes things look suspicious. The third? I'd say the declaring Wizard is in trouble. There's nothing to say that the target of a Wizard War has to answer it, either. They could hide in their Covenant for the duration, or take a trip. All other Mages in a Covenant are still covered by the Code, and could make things very difficult for the invading Magus.

Your Specific questions:

When can a Wizard War be declared:

I'd say whenever the mage feels like it (it still takes a month or more to become legal).

What is the frequency of said declarations:

There has to be a minimum of a month between Wars. 2 a year seems to be too much, and maybe 2 inbetween Tribunals is too much. The more tightly controlled the Tribunal, the more likely a Mage would be in trouble for declaring the War too often. Same thing for declaring concurrent Wars against multiple Mages. In a loose Tribunal, maybe, but such a thing would certainly be risky.

What recourse does the defendant have:

I think there are unjust Wizard Wars, but by the time you get to an appeal it might not matter. Wars are deeply imbedded in the Code, and I'm not sure anything outside of a Trubunal can overturn one. There could be some Perepheral Code that deals with Quesitor's power to declare one invalid, but until we see one in print it's up to each Storyguide to decide what they can do. (Again, this might be covered in True Lineages).

Just my 2 pawns,


From the core book page 14 " One magus initiates a wizard's war by sending a declaration of war to the other. The message must arrive on the next night of the full moon. The war then begins on the rise of the following full moon, and lasts until the next full moon after that."

From True Lineages page 47 "For a fee a Redcap can ensure the declaration of war is delivered within the appropriate time he then reports back the successful delivery to the sender. This Redcap also acts as a legal witness to the declaration. This means that hostile magi do not meet each other beforehand and ensures there is no dispute over the legality of the declaration. This procedure is not considered a core interpretation of the code and so some tribunals may have more elaborate provisions"

The story of Henris is also told in True Lineages the story is changed somewhat casting Henris as one who tried to gain political power through terror and who refused to cooperate with the tribunal that found him guilty and was renounced and marched for failing to abide by the decisions of a tribunal.

True Lineages also provides a second case study that points out that one of the reasons Wizard's war is ncluded in the code was to enable the founder Flambeau to exact vengeance (without this provision he would not have joined the order) as a result, vengeance is a valid justification for wizard's war..

I concur with Erik's posts above, but would just like to add that it is important to stress that a magus needs no justification what so ever to declare a Wizard's War - and there is no issue of these declaration being just or unjust in the term of the Code/Oath/Hermetic Law. No matter your motives the right to declare Wars are unconditionally granted you. Thus a Quaesitor cannot, as suggested, declare a Wizard's War invalid, but only call punishment on those that do not abide the rules of the War. E.g. by attacking outside the moon during which the war takes place or by attacking magi not declared against.

Other magi might well on a personal or community level find it unjust (in sentiment and not law)which might lead to political disfavor or even Wizard's Wars declared against the magus felt to overly or unjustly declaring War or Wars. In the end this might be as dangerous to you as a punishment metered out based on Hermetic Law.

5th edition, with the mentioned bit in HoH:TL, stresses this right. And the story of Henris there emphazises not that his right to declaring Wizard's War was anulled or declared invalid, but that he was judged to be Endangering the Order; which in turn was bc he used Wizard's War to completely dominate the local tribunal, but the operational here isn't the means but the goal of his Wars - his right to these means wasn't questioned. This ruling only resulted in his death - not because of the initial judgement - because he refused to aknowledge and follow the ruling of the Tribunal, which in itself is a crime. Thus he was hunted down and killed.

I think this is an important point to the setting in generel and to Hermetic Law in particular - the Code doesnt aim to be democratic in a modern protective or just sense. It is a way to ensure an equilibrium between very powerful individuals and to make it possible for them to coexist, maybe even prosper together. But basically the Code works to keep the peace rather than to create justice. It doesn't particularly favor the protection of the weak - someone stronger could lawfully declare Wizard's War and kill you.

Of course people's notion of what justice is varies greatly - and the keeping of peace and the Wizard's Wars ensuring of the magi's (the strongest) right to kill, might alone for some be what justice is - just be carefull not to try to make the Code seem just in modern terms. That would be quite anachronistic. Well, anachronistic isn't really the proper term, since Mythic Europe is a fictional setting and not a historic era (although we draw heavily on one), but lack of sleep prevents me to think of a better.

Well, no justification officially is needed. If you don't want PCs running around willy-nilly declaring Wizard War on your antagonist NPCs , feel free to assume that while a Mage needs little justification to declare a War, that doing it too often will bring the wrath of the Tribunal on him.

This is one of those things that can ruin a saga; letting unknown quanities dictate your play enviroment. You decide that you want to play a covenant in England because you like the idea of tying into Authurian myth, but find out later that its Tribunal is very weak, and that Wizard Wars are an ongoing concern. If that's not the type of game you want, make it hard to do.

"Endangering the Order" sounds like one of those catch-all charges, basically meaning "we the powerful and many don't approve of you the one".

And there's still that thing in the Code about declaring War under "certain conditions" and it being "justly executed". Make that as little or greatly important as your saga needs to.

First of all; I fully concur with YMMV, so of course you can give anything as little or great important or even give it an complete makeover.

Secondly - I would never prefer nor condone my saga to become a rampage of Wizard's Wars. I actually even play in Stonehenge and we haven't had a single War yet and I don't know if it will ever happen. And if I ever had players who wanted to play the bully part I think I would seriously had botched my presaga aligning af expectations. Some might enjoy it - In most cases I wouldn't personally. I also only believe the setting is able to ruin a saga if you let it - in other words, that's if the troupe isn't cohesive.

Thus I certainly didn't speak in favor of the right of might in itself - I just argueed the question of the essence of the Code and Hermetic Law, something I found that some of the former posts had lost sight of. This isn't the same as advocating rampant use of Wizard's War but rather to stress that the use of Wizard's War is regulated not by law but by the political realities - being that this alone would make most sane magi think twice before declaring a War. And I do believe that even though weak tribunals might make it easier I would still make rampant War's an improbability. Not because of law but because of realities.

"Endangering the Order" is actually an explicit High Crime which, whether catch-all or not, I don't believe is used this way that often - especially if you look past the obvious kind of endangerment by interfering with mundane affairs. And in the context of excesive use of Wizard's War (the one time it was used in this regard in the TMRE cited as an exeptional case) I find the "we the powerful and many don't approve of you the one"-formulation might more appropriately be rephrases "we who are powerful because we are many don't approve of you because you as the one is far more powerful than we".

The citation of "certain conditions" from the Peripheral Code only relates to the processual conditions mentioned in the same paragraph; namely the process of how to proper declare the War. This is in the Periphal Code seen as the conditions to let you step outside of the boundaries of the Hermetic Oath and actually sanction the killing af another magus. These condition are nowhere, to my knowledge, portrayed as "conditions" of fairness or just cause. One Tribunal actually, on advice from Flambeau himself, acknowledged this and acquitted a magus of "wrongfully", or for inadequate reasons, declaring a Wizard's War. This is the only other Tribunal ruling cited on the matter in HoH:TL's expansive Guernicus chapter on hermetic law. I believe the same goes for the Code's phrase of "justly executed" - that the operational term isn't about the reason but the way you conduct a Wizard's War. The way you declare it, and that collateral damage isn't allowed. Which of course has to be completely by the book as you would otherwise not enjoy the counterparts forfeited immunity from the protection normally granted by the Oath. In other words that you are up for Quaesitorial trial on murder if you do not.

To conclude: I think this issue is important in understanding the legal frame of the Order. As a balancing equilibrum and not as just. But I'll also reiterate that I'm not making a case of gunslinger mayhem. My point is just that the mechanism holding people back from overdoing Wizard's Wars is the caps presented by political realities, community sentiment and the discouragement of more level-headed magi quite possibly returning the favor on the "wanna-be-bullies". I think there's plenty of cause to discourage players from going on a rampage by enforcing that the NPC magi are independent and nuanced individuals that will, whether alone or in unison, react to the players choices and actions and if needed be, whether backed by hermetic law or not, sanction them. Either by political moves or by using their own claim on declaring Wizard's War.

This is my prefered take on the issue - and I do believe this is close to the published line but do correct me if I'm ignorant or pigheaded - this however doesn't change my strong adherence to YMMV and these are my preferences only. Whatever makes you tick makes me glad on your behalf! :smiley:

If your players go around declaring Wizard Wars, they shall not complain when they get their collective arses kicked. It's a tacit authorization for the storyguide to play dirty. Unless their target is a complete pansy, anyone actively involved who's not covered by a Parma should expect to die. Painfully.

They'd better not underestimate their victim, who may very well have a Rod of Smiting The Hermetic Magus, possibly borrowed from a Covenant mate. They'd also better not piss of anyone, lest they end up being served with a declaration of Wizard War. Possibly by several magi at once. Without even bothering to bring charges of "Endangering the Order" at Tribunal. Flambeaus may be easier to persuade to take actions than Quaesitores.

Finally, they'd better make sure they take into account their Tribunal's rulings. There might be something to trip them up... how many of them actually have a score in Code of Hermes?

I agree with Fruny...

If your players are "going rampant" with WW, then simply make that "Whimpy" magus over there a "Wolf in Sheep's clothing". It is kind of a let down for players to attack that poor Verditius, until they find out he isn't very combustable, but his Rego Corpus/Mentem spells/items work fine...right before he cuts their throat....

Basically the whole thing revolves around resonableness. If you declare WW on one Magus...the two of you had a problem...now it's resolved.
If you have WW with another Magus..well, that can happen too....
When you start to have problems with more than that (and you haven't been killed yet), then either you are trying to control the Order, or you are a social misfit (among misfits), and your constant killings are eliminating the Order one Magus at a time...You have to go in either case...

My two Pawns of Herbam

I cannot remember which edition it was but wasn't there a time where a wizards war is only legal if a scroll declaring wizard's war, witnessed by a quaesitor is delivered to the target.

If you use this version then wizard's war cannot be declared without permission from the quaesitor. If the storyteller doesn't want to give permission then he doesn't have to. A perfect way of regulating the use in your game.

Thanks for the input on this troubling matter.

I imagine that a wizard war would be relatively limited in that, like a declared feud between clans, families, Hatfields and McCoys once a single declaration is made between wizard A against wizard Z, wizard Z will have "kin" and could rapidly escalate beyond the control of A. As one can declare a war for vegence's sake, and Z could hide in covenant and if A damages the covenant the U,X,Y of the covenant could get pissed and extract vegeance.

From a game theory approach to the problem, it would seem that A is only going to declare a war if: 1) makes a gross error in judgement, 2) has "kin" to back him up when the McCoy's come back on against the Hatfield A, 3) when A is really powerful and believes himself immune to retribution or 4) when Z is friendless. So, there is a self-enforcement mechanism in response to an overly agressive magus, vengeance that serves as a nonlegal mechanism to balancing the variety of interests within the order.

Although... I still like the idea of a quaestor giving a check-off or recordation of the event.

The HoH:TL states that the Redcap delivering the declaration of the Wizard's War is the legal witness of the declaration, but that some tribunals might have more elaborate procedures - so a quaesitorial witness might be a likely local custom. The role of the Redcap also gives them their usual possible role of being able to tweak things by "delaying" the message a bit in order to buy time for one or more of the parties involved.

I still wouldn't advocate giving the Quaesitors the power to regulate or deny Wizard's War. They might - granted you have a tribunal that have a local custom of the quaesitor giving witness to the declaration - haul the process but not entirely stop it. Otherwise the Quaesitors only power is to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.

As another testiment to the fact that declaring Wizard's War is a legal right no matter the motives or reasons, and thus cannot be denied by the Quaesitors, can be found i HoH:TL (p. 57) under the headline "Lawful Tyranny". This paragraph is about the trouble with magi under charge of a crime declaring Wizard's War against the "prosecuting principle" - the magus who is going to lead the case against them - and thus undermining hermetic law! Here, again, the problem with Wizard's Wars is not solved by law or quaesitorial control but by ensuring that such an approach would be very unattractive by either transferring the case to a more powerful magus that might not be bested in a War, preparing to hide the targeted prosecuting principle, or by using Guernici advocates defended by Hoplites.

Just remember that while two warring magi have forfeit immunity it is only against each other - thus third parties can only legally become directly involved if they themselves declare a Wizard's War or if a part in the War does something to forfeit their immunity versus said third party.

I totally agree. And at the same time a legal mechanism, namely the possibility of Wizard's War, serves to balance certain other interests, namely more warlike magi that might otherwise leave the Order, undermine or even war it (Flambeau...).

YMMV and even though this is how the 5th edition HoH:TL present hermetic law it also emphazised that this is traditional hermetic law and that there's plenty of room for changing and adapting this to one's own saga. These differences, and that the published line also supports it explicitly, is IMO one of the strengths of Ars Magica. I prefer to run a traditionalist approach to hermetic law and thus Wizard's War is an "inalienable" right, and the tab on its use is the powerbalance within the Order stressing that in spite of Trianoma and Bonisagus (the Parma) efforts the Order is still a bit frail. Or maybe that's exactly why their efforts are so worth celebrating. I prefer to run a traditionalist hermetic law - even if I don't personally find it endearing - but not as a fixed absolute, especially since I have plans of plots contesting it and am also planning a character who's a transitionalist Guernici advocate - the blind Jew from Prague mentioned in an earlier thread

Within my Saga and interpretation of hermetic law there is no legal restraint on wizards war the contol is social. If an older magus is putting pressure on younger mages by threatening them with wizards war it is likely that an older or more combative magus will threaten him with wizards war as he has made himslef fair game (Live by the Sword , die by the sword) .
Likewise if a mage seems to have no reason for waging wizards war then his victim may well be championed by an older magi from house Guernicus or his own house in the interests of justice or by a freind.
If on the other hand people think the wizards war is a result of the behaviour of the target then they are likely to shrug and leve them to it , maybe cheering on the more popular of the mages.
I am currently seeing if some of my pc's can be persuaded to resort to wizards war by having an NPC magus with particularly unpleasent habits annoy them but without said magus actually breaking the code

This passage is causing me no ends of headaches, as it seems entirely contradictory to the code as writen, and interpreted in the paragraphs before it.

This seems to implicitly state that you CANNOT declare wizards war for the purposes of seeking vengence against the winner.

This also seems to support the case that vengence for another Wizard War is infact, illeagal.

And, for sake of clarity, the case in question:

Things that are especialy confusing:

  1. "Dominicus of House Jerbiton was charged with seeking retribution after an amicus of his was slain in a Wizards war, by declaring Wizard war on the victor." Does this not specificly contradict "should I be slain in a Wizard War no retribution shall fall on the magus who slayed me." and "It also forbids other magi from persecuting the victor for the slaying."?

  2. "Dominicus claimed the charge was invalid, as it sought retribution for his own Wizard War and the code protected him from such charges." How is this his wizard war? Aparantly the war was between his slain amicus and the wizard who slayed him.

  3. "Flambou proposed this provision of the Code for the express purpose of seeking vengence, therefore the defense wqas sound. " The text, as Flambou specificly wanted, as writen, says you CAN"T do this...?

I suspect the Code is a living document, subject to various interpretations over the centuries.

I totally agree that these two things are contradictory, but sometimes politics does that. What's the true story? Only the Storyguide in your saga knows for sure. Maybe the Quesidoris at the particular Tribunal hated Dominicus, or owed House Flambeau a debt.

Here is my take on the matter...

  1. The initial magus declared Wizard War on the amicus of Dominicus. This was a valid declaration of Wizard War and within the rights of the magus.

  2. Dominicus declared Wizard War on the magus that slew his amicus. Though he did it to avenge his slain friend, it is his right to declare a Wizard War and this is a valid and legal declaration.

  3. Bringing charges against Dominicus for the Wizard War HE declared (not the initial Wizard War that resulted in the death of the amius) violates the Code, as that is seeking retribution for a legally declared and executed Wizard War.

I think the key here is that Wizard War is a trump card in the Code... and "vengeance" and "retribution" are not necessarily the same thing. Legally, you can declare Wizard War for any reason, and be completely within your rights. But that doesn't mean someone else can't declare Wizard War against you (or even a tribunal declare Wizard March)... as that is perfectly within their rights.

A Tribunal, however, cannot punish you for declaring and executing legal Wizard War by, say, fining you vis, or killing your familiar, or any of the other common punishments, as this would be retribution.

I see this interesting thread has been revived - and it revives me as well!

Actually the problem, as I see it is that the Code isn't a living document - the is exactly why the Transitionalists are so ardent about wanting a change - it is a crystalisation of the power structures at the time of its making. And I can't help to add that such is a very common historical phenomenon (for a modern equivalent just look at the UN Security Council). In line with your post it is a political document. This also underlines the theme I've stubbornly been promoting in this thread - that the Code and the equilibrum of the Order isn't an ideological concept of fairness, though there are inklings of such, it is a compromise to ensure the mechanisms allowing the Order to exist in some what peace. It stresses the volatile and potential volient equilibrum. The Code exists as a peacekeeper and vent for power that might otherwise bring down the Order.

The Code is only a living document - not because it leaves much room for huge deviations - when local tribunal power structures are mobilised enough to bend them..

degamer, I understand your headaches - I had them with that passage as well. The key to the paragraphs in the Code and the example from the specific ruling in the case of Dominicus is that the term retribution carries a significance beyond just revenge - it is revenge seen as authorities punishment of someone convicted. Thus when the Code speaks of immunity towards retribution it is simply saying that it is not lawfully wrong to kill someone during Wizard's War so you can't "prosecute" the killer on grounds of breaking the code. In other words your opponent had forfeit immunity and thus you yourself are immune to the letter of the law (that you may not kill another magus). The sames go for the word persecuting. The problem is that these words have become readily used substitutes for revenge - but in the letter of the Code they are in their original sense: juridical terms of what "authorities" might do. In this case the magi using the Code to slay a magus. You might ask why these paragraphs are there - some would find these statements self-evident (which I guess is a reason that it is so easy to interpret it differntly) - they are mainly there for two reasons: I) Many of the Founders would never have joined the Order if it entailed giving it certain rights - and thus giving up some of their on freedoms; II) Hermetic Law actually grants any gathering of magi the right to exercise the law (judging AND carrying out the sentence) except only that they might be refuted and overruled by a bigger gathering of magi (namely the tribunals and Grand Tribunal) under the pains of being punished themselves. With this in mind it is rather important that the Code explicitly states that retribution - in the sense of a legal action - isn't allowed.

This however doesn't include the "universal" right of declaring Wizard's War. A right so universal that it is even you right to declare it against someone, even a Quaesitor, about to prosecute you within the Code for real breaches of the Code! Fittingly the HoH:TL nominates this as Lawfull Tyrany (p. 57).

But just, as is my habit, to reiterate: YMMV! Even though this discussion naturally rests on the text of the published Ars material - and that we are arguing the interpretation of those - anything goes in all our respective sagas. These variation are just the better the more informed we are of the original text - and to achieve that the forum is eminent.

On a different and much more general note I think it would also be interesting to discuss what kind of Hermetic Law people prefer in their sagas? Most often we seem to get bugged down in the interpretation of what is and painstakingly trying to apply these preferences to this interpretations instead of simply stating what one prefers.

After reading the posts, I'll put up what happened in our saga...it was interesting in that it didn't get out of hand

One of our Magi was actively traveling about looking to trade a large quantity of Vis. She was attacked after leaving another Covenant. During the fight she went into Twighlight (oops?). The attacking magus fled because this could be seen from the Covenant....
After recovering from her fight, the Maga in question set about finding her attacker. She located what she thought was her attacker, and spoke with a visiting Quaesitor, who took it from there.
He went to the Covenant in question and questioned the Magus in question. The general concensious was that he would be charged with attempting to murder a member of the order at the forthcoming Tribunal.
The next full moon a politely worded Wizard War declaration arrived. Several weeks later, while the Covenant was casting its Aegis, he attacked. (We won't discuss some of the help the Maga got during the fight from others :wink: ). The battle soon found its way into the Maga's sanctum (she chased him in there) where a vicious battle ensued. (In another thread I asked about the fact that spells that do little damage can't kill someone, only do light wounds.. :laughing: ) After the fight, the Magus left, and the visiting Quaesitor confirmed the death of the Maga in question.
The night of next moon, a declaration of Wizards War arrived at the Magus' door, courtesty of the Tytalus from our covenant. The Tytalus killed him about a week later.
No further Wizards war have been announce yet...
The Quaesitor has closed his books on the matter because both the parties involved in the orginal attack have been slain, so no charges can be filed or filed against..
Of course there have been other ramifications..but no Wars....yet.

Quite interesting. Why did one PC delcare Wizard War on the other after the first was dead?

I mentioned that the Hermetic Code is a living document earlier because as I see it, it can be added to with the Peripheral Code in order to cover things that wern't thought of during its creation and to change those things in it which fall out of favor.

As for the type of Hermetic Law I prefer, I like the idea that there is this rigid structure that compels the PCs to act in a predictable way to certain situations, and that leads them to the same expectations of the NPCs. But I also like them knowing that there are ways around it if you are bold enough, and that in reality the situation is like the Old American West, where they're on their own till they can get a Sheriff in town. Oh and that all Sheriff's aren't entirely trustworthy.

Thanks for the input - I vividly remember you posts on those "silly-moments" when the mighty magi fought!

I agree mostly with you second tought - the one of falling out of favor - but I reckon it would more be along the lines of ammendments than true change.. I think the Founders might have thought of a lot of things but I still prefer in my saga to present it as a political result more than a utilitarian. An interesting question is if, and if so how, the Code itself might be changed? Surely some fraction - such as the Transitionalist - might be interested in such changed. See the issue with the Peripheral Code is that it can only offer interpretations or additions to the Code - I doesn't seem to be apparent that it could actually change the original wording, which in several cases makes somethings rather impossible to change by using the Peripheral alone?

I really like your wording! For my saga - and especially because some metaplots of my saga are deeply rooted in the Schims War and especially how the Order tackled it (and the PC now started to inquire into things better left in the past...) - I stress the Code as an uneasy compromise. A way to keep the mighty egos of the mighty magi sufficiently in check to ward of a collapse of a somewhat potentially unstable Order. This almost happened during the Schism War. So certainly yeah: the Sheriff might not be entirely thrustworthy... But he might have many agendas - and not necessary only agendas of personal power. One agenda might simply being willing to pay the price - even sacrificing justice - to keep the peace...