The Peripheral Code of the Greater Alps

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Each tribunal builds up, over the years, a body of law exclusive to, and specfic to, the way things are done in that region. Where rules are deemed to be broadly beneficial they may be adopted by other Tribunals, or ignored, but of such local ordnances are the bitterest, most pernickety feuds born.

There are three legal foibles of the Greater Alps that any magus seeking to live and thrive there must be aware of, and wise to, for they form much of the politics of the Tribunal.

Players of Quaesitori are advised to read the following in detail

The Law of Hermetic Vagrancy

* A covenant must be able to demonstrate it can support each magus who claims a Tribunal seat with resources - raw vis
* Failure to do so means some magi cannot sit or vote at session, and have a limited time to "acquire" the resources they need or find some other way to secure their attendance
* Continued fialure to do so means the magus will be expelled from the Tribunal, their life will be under threat, and it could mean their covenant is forcibly disbanded

The Alps have long recognised that peace comes from plenty, and plenty is assured by controlling the numbers of magi in the region with care. In the early days of the Order, the Alps attracted many powerful magi who saw to it their lifestyle would not be troubled by the young and noisy, and forced through local laws that, in other Tribunals would never have stood.

The essence of the Law of Hermetic Vagrancy is that, in order to take a seat at Tribunal, a magus' covenant must be able to demonstrate that they control a renewable, recurring source of raw vis equal to one Rook (ten pawns) in value per annum for that magus. This assures the covenants do not expand beyond their means to support their members, nor do they fall into hostilities with one another over resource. This, in and of itself, is not contentious, and is a responsibile requirement upon the covenants of the Alps.

The part of the Vagrancy Laws that often horrify those outside the Tribunal are the consequences of vagrancy.

  • At the beginning of a Tribunal meeting, the Notary Hermetic will issue a public tally of resources held by each covenant in the Tribunal, and will compare this to the declared attendance of the covenant.
  • The Notary will make a second tally at the beginning of the first sitting of the Tribunal as first order of business, and a further tally at the beginning of any subsequent sitting, as first order of business. If for any reason the Notary cannot make their announcement as first order of business, the previous tally stands.

  • A covenant in surplus has greater than one rook in excess of what it requires to secure seats for all attendees
  • A covenant in equity has sufficient vis to secure seats for all attendees
  • A covenant in deficit has less vis than it requires to secure all attendees.

A covenant in deficit has from the Notary's initial announcement until the formal start of Tribunal - normally around twenty four hours - to secure sufficient surety for the Tribunal. This could be from loans from covenants in surplus - usually in return for favours or commitments to vote in support - or by securing new sources and having the Notary recognise them, usually by means of desperate attacks on border vis sources held by other Tribunals. Any such agreements or claims must be witnessed and notarised by the Notary. Magi excluded from the first sitting due to vagrancy have been known to use portals to access sites of renewable vis and claim them; wise magi look for, and note, the Notary's absence from a session as a sign that there's dirty work afoot somewhere being witnessed.

If a covenant in deficit can move to being in equity before the opening rite of the Tribunal, all is well. If not... then the covenant faces two sanctions.

  • Firstly, the covenant can only take up a number of seats equal to those it can support, so at least some of its attendees will be excluded from the first session of Tribunal and denied the right to vote. They will be "Hermetically Vagrant" - a matter of catastrophic reputational damage in the Tribunal. Proud magi will move heaven and earth - including permanently abandoning their covenant for one in surplus - to avoid this fate. If a covenant moves from equity to deficit between sittings, then either it must unseat and make vagrant sufficient magi to bring it into equity or it must appeal to allied covenants in surplus to fund its seats for that session, to avoid vagrancy. This is where one discovers where ones friends are, and if they can be trusted.
  • Secondly, any covenant which has Hermetically vagrant members (i.e, attendees who cannot take their seats for whatever reason) must account for such poor behaviour in front of the Tribunal, and then must face a vote of discorporation. If the covenant survives the vote, it continues as a Greater Alpine covenant, but any vagrant members will suffer the consequences, and their former covnenat mates cannot help them. If it does not survive the vote, the covenant is dissolved and all members are deemed Hermetically vagrant. Historically, this has never occurred, and is unlikely as the resulting disruption would significantly disturb the peace of the Alps.

Hermetic Vagrants who cannot find a new, funded seat by the beginning of the next Tribunal Sitting after they are deemed vagrant are placed under Wizard March. All protective provisions of the Code are removed, until they leave the territory of the Greater Alps. The Tribunal employs two Hoplites specifically for the purpose of "escorting" such magi, willing or unwilling, to the Tribunal borders, and crushing any resistance to the ruling. Traditional courtesy allows such magi to leave with their lives, but their property and research is open to be taken by any who can. It is regarded as bad form, but legal, to slay a vagrant magus - who, equally, is entitled to defend themselves with as much vigour as they can muster. Pietro approaches such opportunities with delight; Nine Leaves with regret.

The Visitor's Aegis
The Praeco can override the Hermetic Vagrancy laws for visitors, allowing them to attend the pre-Tribunal gathering or the sittings themselves as an observer
The Praeco decides how long his aegis extends for.

One of the powers given to the Praeco is that of The Visitor's Aegis - granting to a magus not resident in Tribunal the right to attend the meeting and pre-Tribunal discussions, and in some cases to attend and observe the Tribunal sittings themselves.

The Praeco defines the terms of the Aegis - Simeon has, for instance, granted to Kobe van Rijn, primus Mercere, full rigths to attend and observe, but to the petitioner Covenant of Chateauneuf-du-Pape rights only to attend until the formal commencement of Tribunal. It is to be assumed they will make their case to join the Tribunal and Simeon will move it as an early vote, allowing them to then take their seats if the vote is successful.

In the case of the visiting Flambeau magi, the Aegis is extended to them only for as long as is required for them to vote on their new candidate for Primacy, after which it is expected they will leave the Greater Alps to its business and return from whence they came.

The Bavarian Common

* All vis sources in the Greater Alps which do not belong to a covenant belong to "The Bavarian Common"
* Carpocrates manages it, although Hawisia does the day to day asset management
* It is used to fund seats for magi who have roles in the Tribunal hierarchy, lessening the requirement for those covneants to fund their own seats

To prevent the Hermetic Vagrancy laws from causing all-out war between desperate magi in the run up to Tribunals, all vis sources not formally claimed by the covenants of the Tribunal which are known to the Tribunal are deemed to be part of The Bavarian Common. This is a fund of renewable vis sources which is used to fund some of the chairs at Tribunal, and is in the gift of the Notary Hermetic to disburse from as they see fit. Previous Notaries have used the Common to make up shortfalls and avoid vagrancy for magi or covenants in their good graces; Hawisia, a stickler for the rules, has seldom done so.

While Hawisia can, if inclined to do so, disburse from the Common surplus as a one-off gift, the formal ongoing administration of it is a matter of law and therefore a matter for the Quaesitori. The Common is administered by Archmage Carpocrates, and it is within his gift to transfer sources from the Common to other covenants permanently, or to add to the roster of seats funded by it if he so decrees. He can also, if a covenant is discorporated, claim its resources for the Common as a matter of law.

The seats currently funded by the Bavarian Common (and therefore, not from the post holder's covenant) are:

  • The Praeco (Icy North)
  • The Quaesitor of the Bavarian Common (Icy North)
  • The Notary Hermetic (Carthago in Montibus)
  • Two Hoplites to enforce the law (Icy North and Ends of the Earth)
  • The Quaesitor Maximus (Ends of the Earth)
  • Five Redcap Seats to fund the Mercere network (Three at Carthago in Montibus, two at Icy North)

There are also two external payments made into the Bavarian Common traditionally; from the covenant of Harco, Domus Magna Mercere, sufficient to fund the seat of the Mercurius (Carthago in Montibus); and a significant stipend from Durenmar the Domus Magna Bonisagus, which funded a seat at Valnastium and six seats at Shadow of the Moon. This latter stipend has, of course, not been paid since the fall of Durenmar, raising a significant question over the viability of Shadow of the Moon as a covenant.

The Law of Criamon Execution

* Some elderly magi desire to end their lives and become ghosts at the Cave of Twisting Shadows
* Part of the process of this requires the magi in question be killed by a Criamon magus in the Cave
* This exemption explicitly allows for this to occur within the Code

It is a known, if ill-understood fact, that the Criamon welcome magi who are approaching the end of their lives to the Cave of Twisting Shadows, where mnay choose to die and become ghosts, haunting parts of the Cave. Ghoulish though this practice may seem, it is part of the Criamon tradition, and magi from other Houses often seek to take advantage of it.

For the purposes of the Code of Hermes, a magus who, for the purposes of becoming a ghost of the Cave, and with their explicit permission, may be slain by a fellow magus with no consequence falling upon the slayer under the Code of Hermes. this is an explicit and specific exemption to the core code proscription against slaying a fellow magus; it applies only to Criamon magi, it applies only at the Cave of Twisting Shadows; it applies only where the slain magus has explicitly given their permission to be slain.

The Praeco's Powers During a Sitting Tribunal

The Praeco chairs the Tribunal sitting and has total control over the agenda, the length and the number of sittings
The Praeco can silence or exclude magi for unruly behaviour

During a sitting, a Praeco may:

  • demand any magus other than the Quaesitor Maximus be silent until the next vote is called - an unscrupulous use of this power is to silence all magi present to accelerate directly to a vote without debate.
  • demand any magus other than the Quaesitor Maximus leave the chamber until the next vote is called
  • In cases of extreme unruly behaviour or disrespect, demand any magus other than the Quaesitor Maximus leave the chamber until the next sitting, denying them the right to vote on further issues under discussion at that sitting.
  • If a magus refuses to adhere to the Praeco's instructions as above, the Praeco may call on the Hoplites to act as his arm, or may directly intervene himself to resore order if that is deemed insufficient.
  • In the case of a tied vote, the Praeco holds a casting vote; this is the only occassion a Praeco may vote, and tradition (but not law) dictates he votes in favour of the status quo in such circumstances.
  • The Praeco decides the length and number of sittings
  • The Praeco decides the order in which motions are raised in a sitting, and whether to combine multiple motions into a single debate.
  • Exceptionally and rarely a Praeco can "hold over" a motion, adding it to the agenda for the next sitting without requiring it to be resubmitted, especially if they feel it would benefit from discussion outside the chamber.
  • the Praeco chairs the sitting, calling on magi to speak, aided in this by the sharp eyes of the Mercurius and Quaesitori who bring those who ddesire to speak to the Praeco's attention
  • The Praeco decides if, and how, to accept exceptional motions from the floor.

The Raising of Motions for Tribunal

* Each magus can propose one, and second one motion during the whole meeting
* They must be submitted on defined papers, to the Mercurius, in good time ahead of the Tribunal sitting
* There is a defined hierarchical order for which chapterhouses can raise motions in which sitting

In each sitting of Tribunal, each Covenant of the Greater Alps may raise one motion. These motions must be submitted on the appropriate Motion Paper for that covenant and sitting, which can be obtained from the Mercurius. The motion papers must be submitted to the Mercurius (who will call for them) beforr they conduct the Rite of the Caduceus to open a sitting. If theya re not submitted on time it is in the Mercurius' gift to dsimiss the motion as out of order.

The motion must be proposed by a magus of the covenant, and seconded by any other magus, who need not be of the covenant. Each magus of the Greater Alps may propose once, and second once, during the whole Tribunal.

In the first sitting, motions from the oldest chapterhouses are accepted, so as follows:

  • Any - Ends of the Earth
  • Any - Shadow of the Moon
  • The Motherhouse of Icy North
  • The High Pass of Carthago in Montibus
  • The Caves of Glass and Crystal of the Cave of Twisting Shadows
  • The Primus' Coterie of Valnastium

At the second sitting:

  • Any - Ends of the Earth
  • Any - Shadow of the Moon
  • Juno's Spire of Icy North
  • The Itinerant Chapter of Carthago in Montibus
  • The Whispering Galleries of the Cave of Twisting Shadows
  • The Alchemist's Quarter of Valnastium

At the third sitting:

  • Any - Ends of the Earth
  • Any - Shadow of the Moon
  • Rorschach of Icy North
  • Chateau de Chillon of Carthago in Montibus
  • The Labyrinth of the Cave of Twisting Shadows
  • The Futurist Chapter of Valnastium

At the fourth sitting:

  • Any - Ends of the Earth
  • Any - Shadow of the Moon
  • The Tower of Ashes of Icy North
  • Any - Carthago in Montibus
  • The Great White Space of the Cave of Twisting Shadows
  • Any - Valnastium

An older chapterhouse may forgo its motion to allow a younger one to move up the rankings, but the older chapterhouse goes to the end of the list if it does so. Sittings have a fixed amount of time to discuss motions, so those that the Praeco places last in his order run the risk of being "talked out" - running out of time without coming to a vote, or being properly discussed.

Resubmission of Motions

To resubmit a "talked out" motion that is not held over, it has to be submitted as a motion by a lower chapterhouse (thereby denying them the right to raise their own) if the lower chapterhouse can be persuaded to do so. To be accepted, the motion's wording must have three substantive changes when resubmitted. Advice from Quaesitori is strongly desireed when undertaking thsi kind of game.

The Praeco usually looks favourably on resubmissions that meet the criteria and places them at the front of his order. Exceptionally, the Praeco can "hold over" a motion, pushing it to the next sitting without requirement for resubmission, if they deem it sufficiently important.

The tactic of "talking out" a motion by holding interminable speeches on the minutiae of earlier motions to run down the clock is a well known tactic of Tribunal etiquette, but it should be noted that Simeon's patience for rambling speakers has deteriorated steadily over the past few decades, and those trying this tactic without skill or finesse may find themselves abruptly silenced by a bored Praeco, and overlooked when it comes to be called to speak in future sessions.

Extraordinary Motions From the Floor

* Used very sparingly
* Normally to bring urgent new developments to the Tribunal's attention mid-sitting, or to make an accusation based on newly uncovered evidence, almost always of a breach of the code
* Resolved at the Praeco's will

Sometimes a situation will arise during a sitting where a magus in good standing uncovers information which causes them to wish to raise a motion. This is almost always where a magus wishes to raise an accusation of breach of the code against a fellow, or wishes to place information of great import before the Tribunal as a matter of urgency - often because news has arrived from outside the chamber which has been brought to them by Redcap.

To raise a motion from the floor, a magus signals their desire to speak once a vote has been taken and while the magi are collecting their voting sigils back, and asks "Permission to Approach" of the Tribunal officers, outlining in very brief, public terms the grounds for the approach.

If the praeco permits, the magus can then discuss with the Praeco, the Presiding Quaesitor and the Mercurius the matter on their mind. This should take no more than a few minutes while the other magi collect their voting sigils.

Based on their knowledge of the agenda and advice from the other officers, the Praeco can advise the magus their matter will be rolled into an existing motion, or can dismiss or grant their request for an extraordinary motion from the floor, or can hold over their extraordinary motion request to the next sitting.

Extraordinary motions are rare and usually cause of high drama. Use them sparingly. The Officers don't like their routine upset.

A Timeline of Events - The Houses in 1346 - The Greater Alps in 1346 - The Structure of the Tribunal Meeting of 1347 - The Peripheral Code of the Greater Alps

Introduction to Ars Magica - The Order in 1346 - A Who's Who of Attendees - How the Game is Played