In our last game session, the PCs attempted to take the bones of a Mercurian Priest from a crypt underneath a house belonging to the Knights Templar; they initially contacted an obliging (i.e. blackmailed) Archdeacon in the hope that he would make an introduction for them and gain permission for them to take a look around the crypt, but then decided permission would probably not be forthcoming. So, they broke into the crypt, and when the Templars found out and tried to arrest them, they overcame a Brother Chaplain and two Brother Knights and took them back to the covenant, hoping to persuade them that it was all in a very good cause. The Chaplain turned out to be a descendant of the magi of House Diedne, who in my saga renounced their paganism (their old gods hadn't exactly done them any favours) sought refuge the Church and eventually managed to infiltrate many of its institutions quite thoroughly (another organized, hierarchical and ambitious priestly caste - what's not to like?), so he politely pointed out he had no interest at all in helping the covenant. At this point our PC Tremere magus stuck a dagger in his throat, although he'd surrendered quite readily and offered the magi no trouble or active resistance whatsoever. Prior to all this, the PC magi had made a bit of a name for themselves by vehemently arguing against revising the Code to allow more interference in mundane affairs. So while I do of course have a few ideas of my own about this, just how screwed do you think the PCs should be when all this gets found out?
If it all gets found out, they are in a lot a trouble. They did not just interfere with mundanes, they interfered with the Church ! And with its militant arm just to make matters as bad as they can be. Oh, excuse me, the interference in question was to steal some bones, which positively smacks of necromancy or diabolism...
The first consideration here is how much the Templars know or can find out about your characters. If they do not realize at all that they are magi, then they have no reason to go after the Order. With some quick damage control, your characters might still get the whole incident treated as a case of relic stealing by some mundane thieves, and deflect suspicion from the Order of Hermes. And if they can do that, they might still prevent the Order from learning about it. Even if the Order does learn about it, they will at least have a plausible defence : it's not interference if nobody notices. A little weak as a defence (they just got lucky this time, they still took an insane risk), but backed up with some politicking, probably enough to get them merely fined and not marched out of the Order.
If the Templars do find out that magi of the Order are responsible, your characters are toast. Literally, as soon as a Tribunal makes it official, which it will.
Depends on what suits your saga
THey have killed a renonced magus of the Order of Hermes, someone that they are at war with, so they migfht manage to convince the other templars about this and manage to get away with it. If you want that. OTOH they might need to kill the other 2 templars at cold blood (MAJOR Sin: hello Mr demon) and make sure that the other people that knew of the event, like servants of the templars in the manor, do not know about it or are expediently finished as well.
An alternative is to call Mr Perdo Mentem and erase the memories from everybody. THe templars are likely to be somwhat more complicated to deal with, since they witnessed a major crime, so the PeMe spell will need to be POWERFUL and probably replaced by other memories. The later might be dispelled, so there you have a story/trouble hook if you needed it in the future.
If you go and take The Massacre Route I would suggest burning down the manor as well. Not stealthy, but at least erases most trouble. Except that there is always that peasant out there that knows all the comings and goings of the magi, that is...
If you want, you can have war, nothing at all, adventures with demons, politics or a mix of them all.
Yes, well... the PCs were pretty open with the Archdeacon, who already had a fair idea who they were due to what were, up until this point, quite good relations with the local clergy. They pretty much told him what they wanted to do, but after making quite a good impression on him under the circumstances someone asked him whether he thought there could ever be such a thing as a priest who is a less than perfect servant of God and the Holy Church. This got a very frosty response, and he has attempted to contact the Templars about the PCs' request. He will of course learn that the Brother Knights at the manor have gone missing, and he will quite readily tell the rest of the Templars everything that he knows. Unfortunately the PCs didn't attend to this as they were in a hurry to get back to the covenant as quickly as possible.
Strictly speaking, no they haven't as the Chaplain was never a member of the Order - he might have had the Gift and knowledge of the Parma Magica, which does indeed give Hermetic magi reasonable grounds for killing him, but as far as the Templars are concerned he was never anything but an ordained priest serving as a Chaplain in their order, answerable only to his superiors and the Pope. Still, the Templars might be amenable to a bit of persuasion.
Templars = demon worshipping Frenchmen.
If the PCs can prove that fact pretty quickly and reveal it to both the order and a powerful clergymen they might well get away with it.
Of course this would not be 'proven' for quite a few years historically.
The whole house was renounced. There has never been a declaration to end the war against the diednes, so the diedne are still members of the order, regardless of the order or the form under which they are hiding. The magi just did what they are supposed to do: massacre every diedne out there. I guess that under your saga's parameters, the mass murder of the templars that will happen in the future might be a plot of the Order of Hermes instead of one of the king of France This can cause problems, for them, but with enough explanations from high officiaols of the order of hermes (read "Tremere autarch" here: this is what they are good at, spcecially if their underling did what needed to be done according to the house's philosophy) you can prevent a crusade against your covenant.
That if you cannot talk yourself out of trouble, that is. If you can't you might lose some face in front of your perrs, but the Order at large should stand behind you and support you here.
According to the official Order's doctrine, Diednes need to die. period.
They are well and truly screwed. After announcing their interest, they broke in and stole some item from the Church, thereby souring the relations. Forget interfering with mundanes, that is "endangering the Order through my actions", a far more difficult charge to defend against.
And that was before they killed the Templar. Quoting from the core rules, p15 : "Tribunals tend to treat interfering with the Church as a very serious crime, simply because the Church is the only organization with the potential to wipe out the Order... magi who launch attacks against the Church can be expected to be renounced and Marched before they can inspire a Crusade". Congratulations to your players, they just launched an attack against the Church. As for the Templar being a Diedne, that is really irrelevant when it comes to the Church. The Church has never condemned House Diedne, after all.
Unless they can somehow do some giganormous magical cleaning up before the matter comes to the attention of the Tribunal, they are toast (and if they could, they wouldn't have been caught in the first place, would they ?). As in the Creo Ignem version of toast. Their only other option might be to play up the Diedne threat for all they can, and try to convince the Order that not killing the Templar would have been worse somehow. Just possibly, in the general panic (the Diedne inflitrating the Church ? Run for your lives...) they might escape punishment. But that would take a true feat of diplomacy and political engineering (but they have already proven that this was not their forte either...)
At this point, I think you should ask your players how they feel about playing renegades, and advise them to run now. Or, if you really want to save them, arrange for a Tremere archmagus to discover this before the rest of the Order, take charge, do the cleaning up, continue on with your find developping Order vs Church/Diedne saga, and the players will spend the rest of their lives jumping whenever a Tremere says frog.
Firstly, let me state that I really like the idea of the Diedne hiding within the Church. That was a stroke of brilliance, sir.
As to the character's problem - that depends entirely on how they handle it. If only four Templars are aware of the issue and the Archdeacon can be persuaded to keep quiet then the Order is unlikely to hear about it and the Church likewise. The fact that the captured Templars were successfully spirited away to the covenant suggests that they managed a fairly clean break. They may need to take care about their current captives, but should be able to just keep them in an oubliette and use careful illusions and some other spells to hide their tracks. Some careful MutoTerram, a few gentle illusions and they should be able to have to have the deceased chaplain slain by two knights who've been turned to stone and who conveniently crumble to dust a week later. A few CrMe spells to generate distrust of the deceased and voila, problem solved, ethical issues aside.
If they are caught by the Order, they should be able to fabricate enough of a back story to imply that they broke in because of the Diedne and it went wrong, rather than the other way around, which should gain them a great deal of support in the Order. The potentially vast threat of a Church-backed Diedne reprisal should be enough to argue that precipitous action was necessary and the side effects, whilst unfortunate, should be forgiven. If they still have the Diedne's corpse then that could be turned over to Tremere (or other Tribunal) necromancers to discover more about the Diedne. Finally, the fact that they can prove the failure of the Burning Acorn Vexhillation should also allow them to shame the Tremere into supporting them if they're careful.
They are in rather a large bind.
They could take the Mary Poppins route: Find the nearest quaesitor, make a full confession, and beg for mercy. This isn't as bad an idea as it sounds. AM canon states that disciplinary actions are usually subjected to mitigating factors such as honesty and repentance. The magi will probably be punished harshly, and have a well-deserved low reputation for decades, but they might keep their skins and gifts intact.
Another idea: If the witnesses are ordained priests, the Magi can ask to confess their sins to the witnesses. A confessor is bound by his oath to never repeat what he learns in the confessional, under any circumstances. No gray areas. They can thus silence their witnesses by using the power of the Church against them.
Not repeating what they heard in confession sure enough. But that does not wipe from their memories what they themselves witnessed. They don't have to reveal the details of the confession to bear witness to something they saw with their own eyes. This kind of chicanery doesn't wash.
It's a moot point, because the other two Templars are just Brother Knights, not ordained priests like the Chaplain was.
I did think it was one of my better ideas, even if I do say so myself, so thanks very much for the compliment. 8) I agree entirely that much depends on how the PCs handle the situation, but they might find there are a few other magi who appreciate the position they were in - the Chaplain was descended from House Diedne, after all. Of course, other magi who want to send in the Hoplites will point out that he was also protected by Canon Law. So we'll see what happens.
Well I would imagine it is something that would HAVE to be dealt with at tribunal anyway now I have thought about i some more. They were clearly messing with the church - but to kill Diedne, that is something that seems a bit more debateable in my opinion. That, of course, doesn;t stop a few keen flambeau declaring a wizard war of course, but now I have had more time to consider the situation, it is probably not quite as bad as I first thought.
I suspect a great deal of difference will be made on how the church reacts. Killing clergy is not something it usually just allows to drop, and if the church's reaction is bad then the order's reaction is likely to be. If they somehow manage to stop the pope from going nuts or the Templars from crusading against the order of Hermes, then they would probably get away with a seriously strong reprimand.
Probably the smartest move for the PCs is to get the Tremere exarch involed immediately so the usual machinations of that house can get to work asap. It was, after all Tremere character that did the killing, and his exarch probably wouldnt be happy to find out about it third party, and it is not like he isnt going to find out one day no matter what the outcome.
I know this is meant as tongue in cheek, but it bothers me because I view the Templars as heroes. And me, I am an American and I do not worship demons. I am Christian. Yet I am a member of an organization that claims direct descendency from the templars (the Freemasons, and in one branch of our fraternity (the York rite), the apex degree is that of Knight Templar.
So, yeah, we are still out there, and being called a demon worshiping Frenchman is hurtful. Well, I am part French, but I am mostly Greek and my surname is Englisg .
Personally, I think the Templar connection is a spiritual/philosophic one rather than literally, but there is some interesting events and archeology to consider, and the old timers are stubborn in their conviction. And do note that it is a historic fact that the papacy had absolved the Templars of all accusations of wrongdoing
telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... mplar.html
Hmm interesting. I wonder, do you have any info on the outcome of that revelation? The article linked says what is going to happen... that was two years ago. Anything out there on what was actually revealed?
And yes, the comment was tongue in cheek - very much the propaganda of the time rather than an actual historical statement. No offense was intended.
The comment came from a friend of mine who painted all the banners of his medieval army with the cross of St. George believing that to be terribly English. Another friend pointed out that was not in use in this period by the English, but was the banner of the Knights Templar... who were in the eyes of the English 'demon worshipping Frenchmen'. It rather took the wind out of his sails, and his new army of which he was very proud (and doing battle with the French).
It is all good. I don't seriously believe the Masons are the actual Templars, the just like to use Templar motifs and use it as an allegory. But who knows? And they would be descended from English Templars, not the French (thogh many French did escape persecution by hiding out in England). Of all the Templars in England, only one was placed under House Arrest and no one was convicted of anything.
My family were pretty high ranking masons until my grandad died a few years ago. At least in Barcelona they are not descended from Templars, but guess what: massons They have iconography related to the massons, and a doctrine that is somewhat similar, but that is because they are another Christian sect, not because they have much of a claim when it comes to real Templar membership.
IMS we have a player that invariably plays characters that hate the Scottish and French. Even when he plays Scots or frenchie characters (he plays a Scot right now) or we play in Russia: it is one of the internal jokes of the gaming group. We also play heavily on the "everybody hates the jews" idea, even if one of our players is jew. Those are 2 common elements in our soap operas. Having the templars as devil worshipping frenchies would sound perfectly fine IMS
In Spain, the Templars were merged with the Hospitaliers, and also were not persecuted the way they were in France.
Spanish Masonry follows a different system than the US/UK. England has the UGLE (United Grand Lodge of England), and thogh the US has friendly relations, each US state has its own Grand Lodge. Sometimes two, as there are still a handful of state lodges that still refuse to recognize Prince Hall Masons (so they keep a separate GL). I think the same or a similar system applies to Canada and Australlia, but I am unsure. Most European Masons subscribe to the authority of a Grand Orient. The two branches do not recognize each other and do not communicate. They consider each other "clandestine", which is forbidden. There are outcast branches in the US as well.
Some unified world dominating organization we have, eh?
Just keep in mind that the DaVinchi Code is just a work of fiction. Some of my bretheren are Protestant, some are Catholic. Others are Jewish or even Moslem or Hindu. As long as you believe in a "supreme being", you are acceptable. None of the conspiracy theories hold any water. I know, I investigated this thing inside and out before I realized they are not the enemy, and once I figured out the truth I wanted to join them.
As are most Ars Magica sagas! So Templars can be heroes in one saga, demons in another, and both in a third.
Killing the Templar ought to bring down the wrath and full fury of the Templars. An action of this kind ought to have a consequence, and I don't see these guys accepting any explanation at all. The Templar might have been guilty, but the magus involved is a murderer. No organization can survive that does not look after and avenge its own.
On the other hand, the magi have many options. The covenant can hand over the murderer, hand over someone who looks like the murderer and whose mind has been altered so that he believes he is the murderer. The magi can fight the Templars, perhaps even plot with the king of France....
grin I always knew that I wasn't acceptable... unless a Taco Supreme counts.
But anyways, you know me. I hardly ever take offense to anything and I tend to forget contraversy in a matter of days. I just wanted to offer an alternate point of view