[YOU are the QUAESITOR] Legal Questions in My Saga

I am absolutely loving my current saga. A great group of players. Right now, King Philippe II of France has died, the Angevin Empire seeks to place a successor of their choice on the throne, and the Holy Oil to anoint the new king is missing.

In interesting times, interesting questions appear.

  1. Noble Marriage.

Lady Pellegrina married a crusader. She knew him less than a week before he left on crusade, the marriage arranged by her Venetian family.

The crusader is a minor knight of distinguished lineage. Though his family as a whole has some power, he himself has only a small estate. The estate is on a powerful magical aura, and so attracted the interest of local Hermetic mages. One Jerbiton mage recognized the Gift in the young Lady Pellegrina, and chose to take her as apprentice.

This seems like a shady area of the Code. With the mysterious return of a man who seems to be her husband some 17 years later, and the sudden death of the King of France, Pellegrina is wondering what she needs to do to avoid running afoul of the Code as a lesser noblewoman who is not commonly known to be a mage. She is currently being framed by unknown parties as a spy for the Angevins and must tread carefully.

Is Pellegrina in danger of falling foul of charges of divided loyalties?

  1. My Brother's Keeper.

Renoir, Terram Master of House Flambeau SHOULD have been the Viscomte de Terrene, but decided to turn his back on his lineage and become a mage. He still styles himself as something of a knight, though he in truth has no ties to knighthood or the nobility.

His brother, Raymond, became viscomte and has ruled suspiciously well, turning his back on his distant neighbors in the south of France and participating in the Albigensian Crusade.

One day, Raymond's newest castle is beset upon by vengeful southern lords and Cathars, who attack him with some amount of trickery to gain entry into the castle due to the small size of their force.

During this attack, Renoir happened to be about, and singlehandedly blocked the entry to the castle with a conjured wall before the attacker's cavalry could enter the castle's immobilized gate, put out a distracting fire with conjured sand, overcame two crossbowmen who were causing havoc from the battlements, and rescued his wounded brother who had been taken to the keep by a small advanced force of disguised southern knights.

Unfortunately, Renoir was observed doing all of this by a member of a rival covenant, who Renoir initially thought was behind the attack. It seems, however, that he was merely a guest of the viscomte. The rival mage threatens Renoir with charges if he does not agree to give up a contested resource.

Does Renoir have a leg to stand on? He is meddling in the affairs of mundanes, and supporting a noble kinsman. Can the Order take exception to this?

  1. She has not yet done anything, so long as she does not use magic noticable to the mundanes to intefere with events she is fine. However she can probably get away with using magic to find out who is faming her and resolve that problem as she is minimising the problems for the order, she could even try approaching a quasitor for advice to cover her if she does so something.
    As long as she does not intervene in politics she should be ok as he can prove under truth spell she is innocent.

  2. He has broken the code. He took sides ina mundane battle in a blatant manner. Presumably the enemies of his brother noticed it and are likely to be annoyed with the order and this may bring down the wrath of the mundanes upon his sodali's. He would likely be convicted by tribunal but unless the consequences are very bad would be unlikely to be marched.
    He could try the defense that by acting agaisnt Heretics and rebels he is helping the repuation of the order with the rightful authorities but that would not get very far with me.
    He shoudl either have used subtle magic or killed all the witnesses

The clause with interfering with mundanes doesn't really consern itself with using magic or not, but rather if your interferance causes trouble for other magi.

  1. As long as mundanes doesn't realize that she's a maga, she can get away with a lot. Easiest method for her is probably to use the Tytalus trick of alter egos. As a noblewoman she should not be known to be a maga...

  2. He'll probably end up with a fine. Mind you the other magus might get sentanced too, as it could be argued that he put the Viscomte up to this - Arguing before the tribunal could go both ways. (Remember why the rule exists - it is simply there to prevent mundane nobles from trying to make hermetic magi become court wizards (which would do bad things to your study time)).

  1. Lady Pellegrina is in an interesting grey area. Technically, one might argue that she has swore herself to their service of a mundane lord... her husband. However, as a fairly liberal quaesitor, I would not rule her marriage vows to be, in themselves, a violation of her Oath, especially when they preceded her apprenticeship. However, I would advise her to promptly remove herself from her husbands household and enter a proper hermetic covenant. As long as she lives a respectable life of magical scholarship and avoids entangling herself in mundane politics as a consequence of her family ties, she is on the right side of the Code.

  2. I must disagree with my learned colleague somewhat. While Renoir has interfered in mundane affairs, I would accept a plea of self defense on his part... certainly, if he was threatened by the attackers and acted to defend himself and his mundane ally, he is no more culpable than if he had fought off a band of brigands to protect a local peddler.

That probably isnt a preferable idea for her due to:
The estate is on a powerful magical aura
It would mean her breaking one of her vows as well being "deprived of magical power"...

1.) She already has divided loyalties. And the marriage wovs obviously came before those to the order, and the order must be aware of this, as she was still allowed to become part of the order, this effectively means her previous loyalties has been accepted as valid. Otherwise she would have been forced to quit the marriage before being accepted as a maga. She should instantly try to persuade one or more quaesitors to her point of view or at least enough neutrality to gain some leeway.
Such leeway would probably be based on, as suggested already, that she keep her ties to the order and others clearly separated and unknown as far as possible outside the order.

A player of ours used a similar situation( a previous pledge to the father, bigshot nobleman) to accept a position of mundane power as a basis for a new covenant. With a 5-way civil war looming in the previous covenant, that helped alot to persuade queasitors however. It would help to find something here as well that would be severely negative for the order if she didnt act in both her roles.

2.) Self defense should hold fairly well. Its not guaranteed to be enough though, far from it. But it should be enough that unless he has strong enemies in tribunal he should get away with a small fine or even just a "be more careful in the future" admonishment. He might try to place the blame on the other mage as being instigator of the incident, but even if true this could be chancy. If Renoir has strong support and the other mage has little or no support it should work regardless.

Hm, an interesting view. I can see that approach being expanded in scale, however, to allow almost any taking of sides in a mundane conflict. "I was in Paris when the Angevins attacked. I had to burn their army to cinders, despite the fact I warded myself against metal and fire."

I would agree self defense if he had no other option, however a competent Terram specialist could easily have protected himself without such blatant magic as walls appearing in front of people. He could have for instance walled himself in a small room which would not have been noticed.
If the Quasitor PC I played suspected that he had deliberatly abused the self defense approach she would have tried very hard to have him marched.
In general Self defense does not over ride one's duty to protect your sodali by avoiding bringing the wrath of the mundanes upon them , the level of magic used could probably be justified in defense of the covenant not a mundane ally. If you want to rig mundane battles develop powerful mentam effects or similar invisible spells to rout the enemy.

In fact we had a similar situation in our campaign where due to the mundane political ties of our covenant we where attacked and besieged by a mundane army . After much discussion we felt that we could not use our magic to defend the covenant without breaching the code, we made some subtle use of magic in making sure we where fully provisioned for a siege and used magic to evacuate our library and key none combatants. Given the politics of the situation we felt that even subtle use of magic would risk our covenant being found in breachof the code.
However I believe at least one or two of the magi where quite prepared to use magic if we lost the mundane battle and take their chances in tribunal

By way of Explanation:

  1. Pellegrina's Situation: By the time she took the hermetic oath, her crusader husband had been gone 15 or so years, with no letters received. Though her family refused to give up hope, there was much talk of him being dead.

The recently returned husband is, in fact, an imposter. Pellegrina knows this, and knows from a horrific chest scar that he is in some way connected to the Boar King who lives nearby. Without the return of her 'husband' she was in danger of having Renoir's influential brother use his influence with the church to have her marriage declared null and void, and perhaps be pressured into marrying Renoir's brother. The arrival of her 'husband' solved this problem, while opening up the can of worms of her marriage vows vs. the Hermetic Oath.

As Yet Undiscovered Issue: her imposter husband is actually her hermetic master. Except... he's also an imposter in that respect too. He's not a member of House Jerbiton - he just borrowed that identity as well. In truth, his scar results from being pinned to a tree by the Boar King, where the mighty fae lord's powers caused him to not age. He's was first speared to a tree at the end of the Schism War by House Diedne's fae ally, the Boar King.

SO, right now to avoid pressure from the nobility to marry, she is accepting this imposter husband. In truth, she's acting as a married lady with someone thought to be a hermetic wizard. Except... well, if his true lineage gets out, it will be Very Bad for Pellegrina, and she may wish she just stayed a noblewoman. How she will defend her various choices in the face of this tangled web will be an interesting situation for her to face, if it comes to that.

  1. Renoir: To me, the claim of self-defense seems tenuous. He could easily have protected himself from harm without sealing the gate and then chasing down the people who were besieging the inner keep. He was not attacked directly until after he sealed the sabotaged castle gates. Saying he was acting to protect his own welfare seems incongruous with a few details I did not bother to expand upon:
  • He rallied the flagging knights of the Castle once the Viscomte had been wounded.
  • Once the Viscomte, his brother, had been taken captive by the disguised attackers, he pursued those who took his hostage. Facing these men, he warded Raymond from harm by metal, and then managed to destroy the attacker's weapons and armor with magic. He then again rallied the guardsmen and knights who were about to lay down arms in the face of the Viscomte's captive status, and with these men chased the attackers to the Viscomte's bedroom, where one intruder was slain, and the other captured.

To the men of the castle, he is a hero.
The relationship with his brother is improved after being strained over the Pellegrina issue.
BUT, this was all seen by Etienne, master of Imaginem.

It is, but may be enough to swing a tribunal to at least not give him harsh punishment.

I would say that Etienne does not have any leverage against Renoir at least. Either Etienne saw this by being onsite and potentially involved as well, or through scrying, which means being guilty of something as well(from a 3rd party´s viewpoint).
Blackmail will only work if Renoir is lacking faith in himself.

That doesnt change anything actually. Her marriage vow was first, her vow to the order came later, it doesnt matter if the husband is alive or dead. If he´s dead, her vow still does not disappear, but is then to the "family" or to the position as her husbands widow rather than to her husband.

Ah yes, i thought i recalled this from earlier...
Declaring the marriage void wouldnt be easy but might work, but this would also remove any claims she or any future husband would have on her current posessions gained through the marriage, so i would expect that any attempts here would rather be about trying to get her husband proclaimed dead and her as widowed.
And forcing her to marry against her will wouldnt work. At least not as long as noone can come up with a way to get her to agree, regardless objections. And as a maga, she should be able to counter most such attempts quite effectively even without resorting to visible use of magic.

Ah... Now this isnt a bad way for a story to go... :stuck_out_tongue:

Both oaths are binding and both must be upheld, BUT if they conflict, the one first taken takes precedence.


Why? If he was attacked by a Diedne ally, he isnt Diedne, so what other lineage would be so dreadful?

It will certainly, and im sure it will come to that. :smiling_imp:
(and when(if) it does, please post how things went)

A difference that ultimately arrives from playing in different Mythic Europes, I think.

In my Mythic Europe, the Order is open about its existence and magi make no particular effort to conceal their power. There is no legal expectation of subtlety. Wanton displays for power are considered rather juvenile, but not considered threatening to the well-being of the Order.

That said, I am also much more liberal about the whole "not interfering with mundanes" clause to begin with and, as an experiment in my current saga, have waived the proscription on court wizards.

Hm, interesting! I hope you let everyone know how that goes!

Probably. The Order has expressed some concern over Renoir's noble blood and relationship with his brother, which is usually strained. More than once his sodales have heard him say "Things would be different if I ruled this land!"

Indeed, this might be the case. Etienne, for what it is worth, blatantly (ie. waiting for Renoir to see him) turned himself invisible after he walked out of the castle's kitchen with a chicken leg and discovered the chaos of the siege and fire. He later (when Renoir confronted the men who had his brother at knifepoint, while invisible, offered to turn Renoir invisible if he would lower his Parma - an offer which Renoir declined.

As to why Etienne is there: his covenant is providing magically created gold to Raymond, to allow him to continue prosecuting the Albigensian Crusade. Etienne's covenant believes that if the Crusade ends, the Dominicans may turn their attention to other potentially heretical folk, such as mages. The secret shipments of gold is something no one yet knows, though they all wonder why they've seen Etienne at or around Raymond's castle more than once, despite the fact that Etienne is known to dislike nobles.


I was not clear...

In the final days of the Diedne, a lot of revered Diedne went down. One such individual was beloved of the Boar King in a vaguely "Beauty and the Beast" fashion. Another Diedne mage also loved this powerful woman. when she died, he decided he had nothing left to live for, and prepared to attack the Flambeau mages who had slain her in one final suicidal assault. The Boar King, not really prone to talking allies out of foolish endeavors, instead pinned him to a tree until he calmed down.

A few hundred years later, and he is back, and working to bring some shred of his love's spirit back to the mortal world. After Pellegrina experienced a Twilight that gave her a partial enigmatic vision of these last days of the Schism war, both the Boar King and the Diedne mage see a means to possibly bring back this lost maga, at least in part.

Ah ok...

Good story. :bulb:

Okay. I won't comment on the lady getting herself into the mess but revealing her fake husband as a fake basically frees her from all issues. THe key is how to prove it. The fact that it is he is pretending to be her husband means he violated the code as he has taken up the husband's fuedal obligations to fight and such (something a widow wouldn't have to do only men at arms serving her).

The terram expert is another matter entirely.

The steady supply of gold to persue a crusade is interference with mundanes on a grand scale. (both creation of all that gold and how that gold is being used).

Second, it is that direct interference in creating that gold and crusade that brought that attack that endangered another order member (self defense could be argued but he wouldn't have been in danger without the interference of the other).

Third, if all the attackers died, then all it would take is a good mentem expert to clean up the memories and such of how the victory was achieved. If it is cleaned up quickly, then there is no issue. The mage that was meddling with the gold should be wanting to help badly. In fact he is probably making interference with mundanes charge to try to shift attention away from his breeches of the code that prompted that attack endangering a magi.

four, if this is Normandy, then vis sources all belong to the tribunal and the tournement and are distributed by tourney and such. this means that the demand to give up the vis source is trying to get vis bypassing tribunal procedure. More over an individual mage can't decide that, only covenant can.

Just to clarify my muddled sentence:

Etienne's business at the castle is to do with delivering magically created gold.

Renoir does not know this, but I anticipate he will start wondering why Etienne is often found around the castle.


Can a maga marry a nobleman AFTER swearing the Hermetic Oath?

With great difficulty i expect. Can, yes. Question is wether she can keep the order from getting "annoyed" with it.
Would certainly make for an interesting lifestyle, although possibly quite short, as she would have to act in the orders interest first, which will probably mean making lots mundane enemies both for herself and her husband. And acting first on mundane interests, well that would mean breaking the oath to the order which could mean being deal with very quickly.

If she can show an extremely good reason, good for the order that is, to get into such a marriage, she might gain enough "leniency" from the order to make it work, but still very hard.
Problem is that being a nobles wife means being in the spotlight, she simply must find a way to handle that without stepping on her hermetic oath...

In short, if you´re going to be a magi, make sure you do any noble marriages first. :stuck_out_tongue:

and cover the fact that she is not aging. This means faking her death eventually.

This is an issue I am pondering for quite some time, evolving into an entire campaign around the last days of the House of Hohenstaufen.
However, my interpretation of the code is this:
Once a maga is married to a noble man there is little chance of any of the order to interfere with it. Marching her or makin WW on her could as well be interpreted as endangering the order as a noble women is targeted which will result in worseing the relations with mundane society resulting in endangerment of ofther mages. Forcing her to break the holy scrament of the marriage is interfereing with the divine.... (However, if her actions are endangering the order, Tribunal might march her anyway, who will charge an entire Tribunal...)
I remember a case ruling included in 4th edition grimoire about a Flameau who went on crusade claiming this to be his obligation as a good christian. The ruling was that this cannot be denied to him and as long as he did not display magical powers did not endanger the order.
Thus, I would rule that any marriage cannot be objected by the order. Mundane power might be used by the maga in question as long as she uses only her temporal influence on mundane politics and no magic at all. However, she is treating a narrow path and leaving it a little bit might result in a cathastrophe and she may find herself in front of Tribunal. The whole situation is highly promising from a SG point's of view as I can see stoy seeds uncounted.... :smiley:

Another interesting approach. I love Ars Magica's legal complications and varieties of arguments that can be posited to deal with them.

Charge Etienne with scrying on a fellow magus