Ars Magica, Doomed From The Start
The Code of Hermes
The Code of Hermes is considered by most to be, along with Parma Magica, the reason why the Order can exist. It is a set of laws that if broken will result in punishment ranging from fines to death. The Code is not meant to weaken mages or to suppress growth, but simply to make sure that the issues of the past do not once again become common. The Codes of the order only apply to magi in the order, though it should be noted that the laws of the land can still be held over a magi’s head, and this does not give them a free pass to killing any mage they find who isn’t in the order. Tribunals sometimes have a history of changing or interpreting a certain law, but for the players you should assume that the Tribunal you are in follows the following unless expressly stated otherwise…getting the tribunal to change its mind about it would be quite a undertaking.
Depriving of Magical Power Depriving a magus of the resources he needs to study deprives them of the magical power they would otherwise enjoy. The core meaning of the clause is that magi must not try to damage each others Gift.
Wizard War A formal battle between wizards to temporarily settle their differences. One magus initiates a Wizard War by sending a declaration of war to the other. The message must arrive on the night of the next full moon. The war then begins on the rise of the following full moon and lasts until the rise of the next full moon after that. Unjust or constant use of Wizard War is discouraged by most of the order & those who abuse often find themselves under constant overpowering Wizard War from others.
Tribunals The rules for tribunals are far too in depth for a simple post, but needless to say the Code provides rights for them to exist & gives them both power and limits.
Interfering With Mundanes Though the in depth explanation of this clause is up for debate, the majority of people in the Order view the Code as Dealings with mundanes must not harm other magi, nor seem likely to cause such harm.
Bringing Ruin Upon The Order One of the many overarching codes is that each magi is responsible for their actions, and as a magi of the Order anything they do will be perceived as the Order being responsible for. That being the case magi will be held responsible for bringing ill will to the Order. The punishments & injunctions to this clause are perhaps the most heavily varied of all those in the Code.
Magical Creatures The Order believes mages should be able to use force to compel these things to join as well as to destroy. Excessive interference with powerful magical beings however can still fall under Bringing Ruin Upon The Order.
Scrying Another of the orders heavily enforced laws, it deals mostly with disallowing scrying on a magus, however there have been some very important decisions about this. It is illegal to scry on a non-magus if by so doing you learn about the magus’s activities, walking around invisible is considered magical scrying if in so doing you find out anything about another magus, you can be punished for using Intellego magic on a magus even if you did not know that he was a magus. There have been cases where the previous three examples were ruled against, but in general they are ruled strictly and this law is one of the most dangerous to try and bend.
Apprentices Probably the least enforced law in the Order, the initial Code required that magi train apprentices as an obligation, but threw out nearly the entire order it is considered a social expectation instead of a law. It is important to note however that Bonisagus still do have the legal right to take apprentices from other magi, though in doing so the Bonisagus are required by duty to share their work.
Dealing With Demons The Order hunts down and kills any member found dealing with demons. Even drawing attention to the Order by trying to destroy demons is frowned upon and often punished.
Molesting The Faeries Interpretation of this clause rests heavily on what counts as molestation. Most magi are willing to agree that charging into a faerie area spells blazing, stealing large amounts of faerie property, and retreating to your covenant does NOT count. This has made it rather difficult to say what is & isn’t and it often comes down to those enforcing the rules & the consequences of the action by the perpetrator to the Order as a whole. It should be of note that Faeries are one of the few things that magi are not restricted at all in dealing with on a friendly basis.