The Structure of the Tribunal Meeting of 1347

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The Tribunal meetings of the Greater Alps follow a formal and set structure, with many idiosyncratic rules and traditions. Set out below is the expected structure of the 1347 meeting.

Friday Evening

Magi will arrive at the Ends of the Earth over the course of the afternoon and evening, gathering to socialise, discuss their concerns and meet old friends. Some magi may hold soirees or parties; others may conduct business informally with one another. Canvassing for support for motions and inter-covenant politicking about the order of, and wording of, motions and when to raise them occupies much time. The Quaesitori circulate, offering legal advice and familiarising themselves with what to expect during the sittings.

The Notary's Address

Hawisia ex Mercere, Notary Hermetic, will make her statement of assessment of the position of each of the six Covenants of the Greater Alps.

The Rite of Janus Who Stands in the Gateway

Archmage Ovid and Mary ex Mercere conduct the first of the religious rites of the Tribunal, enacting a ritual to unlock the Hermes Portal at the Tribunal Hall and enable it for general use for the duration of the proceedings. Covenants in deficit may take this opportuntity to attempt to rectify their situation.

The College of Archmagi Convenes

Usually late in the evening, the College will have its first meeting in camera, and make any deliberations it requires ahead of further changes.

Saturday Day to 2pm

The Election to Primacy for House Bonisagus

Seen as a priority matter as it will determine the holder of the title First Magus and notional figurehead of the entire Order of Hermes. The House's election is expected to run hustings over the morning and vote sometime around lunch.

The Election to Primacy for House Flambeau

It's expected much of the horse-trading for this will be done over the previous evening, and any pyrotechnics or demonstrations of power between undecided challengers will be settled by this point and hopefully, the announcement can be made at the same time as that of the First Magus.

Submission of Motion Papers

The six motion papers to be put forward for the first sitting must be worded, supported and submitted to the Mercurius before 1pm. Each covenant is permitted to submit one motion per sitting of Tribunal, and where a covenant has multiple chapterhouses this is done in descending order of seniority of chapterhouse. The Mercurius holds dedicated order papers on which motions must be submitted, which they issue ahead of each sitting.

If a motion drops off the agenda for time, it may only be resubmitted for the following sesion if three subtantive changes are made to the text of the motion, and (if applicable) if the next senior Chapterhouse grants permission for its slot to be so used - otherwise it may only be resubmitted after all other chapterhouses have made their own motions. This creates considerable politics inside covenants baout the order of submissions, who raises what, and what blandishments might be offered to convince the Praeco to prioritise a motion early in the agenda to increase the chance it will be discussed.

A Motion for Tribunal must be proposed by a magus of the relevant chanpterhouse and covenant, and seconded by another magus, who may be from anywhere in the Tribunal.

Each magus of the Tribunl has the right, but not the obligation, to raise one motion if possible, and to second one motion if they desire.

Saturday, 2pm Onwards

The Rite of the Caduceus

The Mercurius conducts a rite in the name of Mercury, formally opening the doors of the Tribunal Hall and inviting the Praeco and officers to take their seats. From this point onwards, The Praeco's Powers are in force until he closes the sitting.

Praeco's Council Convenes

The Praco, the Mercurius, the Notary Hermetic and the Quaesitor Maximus and his team convene in camera to discuss the motions and seek any legal advice on them; the Praeco indicates his intentions regarding length of sitting and order of papers to his advisors. He may listen to their counsel but the final decisions on order are on the Praeco's shoulders.

The Tribunal Sits

Simeon, as Praeco, tends to favour multiple shorter sittings rather than longer ones; it is rare for a sitting to last more than two hours and often this means motions drop off the end of the paper. See below, for rules on resubmissions and the politics around them. It should be expected that Saturday will see between two and three sittings, with pauses of an hour to an hour and a half between them for discussion, submission of new motions, and time for reflection.

The Praeco first of all declares the sitting open, and calls on the Notary Hermetic to confirm each covenant's position.

  • The Notary moves to the doors and calls the tally to the assembled magi. Wise magi watch for the Notary's movements, as that will often mean vis sources are changing hands outside the chamber.
  • As a covenant is declared to be in surplus or equity, it's magi enter the Tribunal Hall and take their seats.
  • If a covenant is declared still in deficit at this point, they must decide which of their magi take the seats they can afford. The rest are excluded from the session and must work to correct the matter, or covenants in surplus can choose this point to offer to fund the covenant in deficit's seats and should so indicate to the Notary, either from their seats or while still outside waitng to be seated.

Once all funded magi take their seats, the Praeco declares the chamber closed, and the sitting can begin. Only the Notary and the Redcaps of House Mercere may move back and forth between the sitting and the outside during a session.

  • The Praeco calls the order of the motions to be considered in this sitting, and a summary of their context.
  • If there is a requirement for a covenant to be subject to a Vote of Disestablishment, the Praeco decides where in the order this vote occurs.
  • As each motion is raised, if it is a contended motion, a Quaesitor will be assigned to each side to advise and if necessary, advocate under law.
  • The Praeco will call the submitter of the motion to make a statement, and then at his discretion will allow further speakers until the Praeco feels the matter has been explored to his satisfaction.
  • The Praeco calls for a vote. This is traditionally by submission of voting sigil into a bag carried by one of the two Counting Quaestori, traditionally Mater Suspirorum for no, and Camelliard for yes.
  • The vote result is announced, with any legal ramifications announced by the Quaesitor Maximus; magi come forward and reclaim their voting sigils.

This process is repeated until all six motions are discussed, or the sitting is closed for time by the Praeco, and the Praeco announces the time of the next sitting and releases the delegates.

The Tribunal Delegates Disperse Until the Next Sitting is Called

The delegates take stock of the outcomes of the votes, reconnect with any excluded magi, take steps to resolve vagrancy and attend to their own business. The next wave of motion papers are prepared and seek seconders. This continues until the Mercurius calls the Rite of the Caduceus to commence the next sitting.

Late Evening; The College of Archmagi Convenes If Required

If the members so desire, the College of Archmagi may reconvene to welcome new members and discuss matters arising during the day. Such meetings usually, but are not obligated to, occur in camera, and follow usual Tribunal rules with the Dean of the College acting as informal Praeco.


Sunday may have two sittings, or may only have one if the matters remaining are contentious and will require extended debate, and Saturday had three sittings; as ever, this is at the Praeco's discretion. In any case the final sitting mus conclude with all votes settled no later than 2pm Sunday.

2pm Sunday - The Vote of Procedure

The last act of the Tribunal is the Vote of Procedure. All magi who have been excluded or become vagrant over the course of the Tribunal are invited into the chamber, and a show of hands of all magi present is asked for, asking if they approve of the balance of decisions made by this Tribunal and are content for it to pass into law. The Praeco may not silence or exclude any for this vote, and does not vote; nor do the Quaesitori. If more than two-thirds of the magi present vote "no", the entire Tribunal is struck from the record, all rulings are null and void, and the Tribunal must be re-held, udner a different Praeco, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Failed votes of procedure are incredibly rare, and are usually seen as a check on a Praeco's power; the most famour recent instance was the Grand Tribunal of 1318, the so-called Devil's Tribunal that renounced House Guernicus and refused to send aid to House Bjornaer, where a political movement led by Archmage Carpocrates came within two votes of overthrowing the Grand Tribunal. Under the leadership of the former Praeco of the Greater Alps, Archmage Nauvi ex Tytalus, failed Votes of Procedure were common. No Tribunal Simeon has overseen has been overthrown.

The Rite of Mercury In Flight

The Mercurius declares the Tribunal at an end. Farewells are said, and magi disperse to their homes.

A Timeline of Events - The Houses in 1346 - The Greater Alps in 1346 - 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