In a world where things really do work like this, ie the canon gameworld, it is pretty much inevitable that the people living in that world WILL understand these mechanisms, if very probably not perfectly, but they will be aware of them for sure, in that i totally agree with your player. I dont agree on the "no theological debates" though, no logic is needed there anyway.
The simple basic standard is that we cant assume that people are stupid. Because they´re no more stupid than we are.
Oh yeah. And with all groups knowing for certain that "god is with us", it falls to pieces one way or another.
Why would you assume that every one knows about these infernal auras? If you are a random pesant you probably know very little about magic or it's mechanics. Same with the church for the most part. Not every one is a hermetic mage so most people have no way of measuring auras. I would assume that to most an aura is more like a feeling than any thing mechanical, a safe feeling in a church, a wierd feeling in a faerie forest, ect.
Further more even magi as far as i know can only detect the predominating aura in an area. so if you were to run experiments on production of infernal auras via certain proposed sinful actions you would get exceptions and wierd results because even if an aura is produced it might be covered by the magic aura if he does it in his lab or divine aura if he does it where people are.
So ya i'm pretty sure theres plenty of theological debate in mythic europe regaurdless of your "difinitive proof". christ theres people today that deny the existence of Australia
As others have already mentioned, just because a magus can tell that an infernal aura springs from a particular sinful act doesn’t mean that most people have that direct empirical evidence. I don’t think that is the most relevant issue though. I think the key thing is that most theological disputes are not about things which cause infernal auras. Things which cause infernal auras are things which there is not any debate about. The debate between the Roman and Orthodox Church regarding using leavened or unleavened bread for communion doesn’t cause an infernal aura. The question of whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son is not going to cause an infernal aura. Murder, torture of innocents, deliberate blasphemy, committing sin in Gods name, all those things cause infernal auras, but everyone knows they are wrong. The person committing the sinful act might be deluded about whether they are wrong or not, but that is because they are deluded that they are the exception rather than thinking there is no rule against what they are doing.
The point, is that in-character, the characters don't perceive what happens to them as a story or a saga or a game (unless they are mad). The players do. The players make decisions about the characters on that basis. Not on the basis that they really are the characters. The game doesn't work at all if the players think they really are the characters. We play one step removed.
Think about when something funny happened in your saga recently. The chances are good that whatever happened was funny only for the players. It was probably a tragedy for the characters. Likewise, think about a satisfying gaming experience --- say, the characters overcame some great peril in the Dark Forest. This was likely only satisfying for the players. For the characters it was probably a week of screaming terror, pain, not enough food, and poor sleeping conditions.
The reverse applies too. What is satisfying for the characters is probably something like: "having a good meal and getting to sleep in a warm place next to the people I love". This is not likely to be a particularly satisfying saga for the players.
Two big differences though.
a) The player picks the flaws of the character such that the character has flaws that interest the player(s). In-character, the character does not (usually) pick his flaws. And he doesn't know he has a certain amount and doesn't know that he has compensating virtues. And he doesn't know that the flaws of Albert the grog are less important than the flaws of Merdactus the Magnificant. And he doesn't know that sometime in the next few years (or however long the saga lasts) this particular Dark Secret (or whatever) will be revealed. For a character there is (not usually) a direct cause and effect relationship between the fact that he has a Missing Hand and Temporal Influence.
b) The other big difference is that if the character has a flaw (he is conscious of) he will (if sane) try to either overcome or limit the impact of the flaw. The player on the other hand actively conspires to create in-character circumstances in which the character's flaws do cause problems for the character. The player acts against the best in-character interests of the character. This is the way that the game works.
I don't fully understand where you get this from. My magus certainly doesn't go shooting his mouth off about his Dark Secret to every passing stranger. And if you're talking about things like inattentive or what ever, you "conspires to create in-character circumstances" because thats what your character would do, not because you want to necessarily.
It's pretty clear our disconnect comes from differing RP styles.
Well, I think this difference stems from the fact that Ars Magica is a much more character/player driven game than most rpgs. Story and personality flaws are deliberately chosen by players because they represents the kind of adventures he wants that character to have. Therefore, while the character doesn't "go shooting his mouth off about his Dark Secret," the player should be cooperating with the GM to set up situtations where said Dark Secret is in danger of being revealed, thereby generating stories around the story flaw they have chosen.
I realize this but as a player you don't try to make your story flaws cause problems, your story guid does. Most of the stories involving flaws should be like you said are about a "danger" of them being revealed, not somthing a player can control. Your magus would obviously try to cover up his demonic heritage if it was going to be revealed (or try to come to terms with it). I don't see how that is anything but trying
Just because your character is ignorant to the Virtue/Flaw relationship doesn't change the fact that he knows about his story flaws and knows that eventually he might have to deal with them over the course of his rather long life.
We are talking about a very different play style then. In my sagas, the metagame elements of things like story flaws are a lot more participatory. There is a less firm distinction between the storyguide and player. While the player-as-character may try to avoid or limit their flaws, the player-as-player actively participates with the storyguide in generating situations where those flaws come into the game.
I can agree with that, but your character shouldn't knowingly do somthing that would aggrevate one of his flaws.
A player can talk to the SG and be like "hey i'd like my Dark secret to com into play some time soonish" and every thing will be sweet. But your magus WANTS to sit peacefully in his tower gaining magical power(or so is generally assumed). They don't want the church banging down their door because their parents were diabolists, or trying to drive them out of town because they are a Jew. But these things do happen.
There are a few exceptions, such as Pious, or Visions. My magus character has had two adventures since I joined the game. The first had to do with our covenant having a monk attempt to frame us for murdering the abbot of his monastary. The abbot is the feudal lord of the tame noble of our covenant. The second was a divine being who had fallen from grace and had to go to Rome to seek absolution from the pope. If those stories don't trigger a vision, what sort of story will trigger a vision?
Absolutely that is true. But we are talking about what the player does and what the player knows. The player sometimes directs that his character does something that the player knows will aggravate a Flaw, which if it is something that the character should know would aggrevate his Flaw is rationalised to the other players as the character "making a mistake".
For example, sticking with Dark Secret: the character might confess his Dark Secret to a priest. Now, the player knows that this creates an opening for the character's Dark Secret to be discovered and acted upon by other characters. The character too, probably, knows this is a risk, but the character makes a mistake and trusts the priest. Whereas the player knows all along that the priest is untrustworthy (or that the security of the confession is compromised). The player creates the opportunity for his character's Flaw to come into play.
This sort of thing is what makes the game work. This relies on the players knowing about, and having their characters act upon, details of the in-character world that the characters do not know (and sometimes the exact opposite of what the characters would do, if they did know).
But were you classify this as playin gwith player knowlege i classify it as the opposite. You didn't confess because you thought the priest would start something. You did it because you're a good catholic. Arguably your character might have done that even if he did know depending on how pious he is.
I'm not super familiar with the visions mechanics but does your character even have control over that? If they are "triggered" I wouldn't think he does.
If he is aware that he can have Visions by having them in the past or what ever and he knows about what triggers them. He could be worried about why they haven't triggered. May be the lack of visions would inspire him to do new research into why he was having visions and vision induction. (if you want to drop you SG a not so subtle hint)
Just to be clear, I am talking about a character who has the flaw, Weakness, Loose Women, not someone who is a Loose Woman. The Weakness flaw means that the person is especially prone to temptation from something, in this case, loose women. The Lion and the Lily has a character with such a flaw on p76. I am not sure why Lecherous didn't work just as well, but that was how they wrote him up.
There may be in-character rationals, yes. The example still works if he confesses to somebody other than a priest (for example, his parens, his mystagoge, his friend, his sodales), and there will be any number of other in-character rationals for confessing to those characters.
But the players had that character act in that way because it brings his Flaw into play, which is something that the players want and the character does not.
But as long as the character has a rational for it you're really playing contrary to player knowlege which is what you want.
I geuss my instinct with player knowlege is to keep my character out of trouble. Where yours is to get him into it. My thinking is "heres a situation, how would i react to this, OOC consequences be damned." Where you think "The consequences of this action would be this, how can i justify acting that way." Completely backwards from each other but still very interesting.