I'm the SG/GM of this saga. Yesss... The one with Dracien of Bonisagus. Nice to meet all of you.
Just to let you know, I can change a lot of things in my saga. And I can make a lot of change when a player is inventive and intelligent.
The same, of course, for a stupid and prideful player.
But before, I need to explain how I'm playing demons and angels.
All of you are right. We're not in D&D, warhammer, or stormbringer. We're in ars magica (and I'm not a novice for this game, I'm playing at this game since 1995, already 14 years).
And I completely disagree with the way the authors treated the RoP Infernal.
There's no demon. No visible at least. There is magical, faeric or divine beings (and I even introduced some creatures which origin is completely outside of the four realms), yes, I agree.
But no demons.
The devil is the Ennemy, the great threat. He's the one whispering to the ears of the humans. No need for this to be real, to be visible. So, no demons you can beat with a good sortilege, no demon you can kick out with an aegis, no demon you can fight with a sword. No Balrogs, no Arioch, nothing at all.
But they're everywhere, you can be sure of it.
So, when Dracien came with his crazy ritual (and I was surprised !) I let him do it. I helped him to make his ritual, and I change some of the rules to adapt this ritual, so it can be possible... I was the devil.
The SG is the one playing the devil. And he whispered crazy promises to Dracien of Bonisagus (and all of them were true, depending of the point of view: he said to Dracien: You will be recognized within the whole order (as a fool !); Your name will be on the lips of all magicians for the eternity... etc, etc...).
BUT, at the same time, God (so, the SG) is behind, to say to Dracien:
-Are you sure you verificate all the components ?
-Are you sure you're not wrong ?
-Why no one before ever tried this ritual ?
God gave a lot of ways to escape for Dracien:
-A gruagach gave him some informations about the future of the order, and some of the effect of the ritual.
-I gave to him the possibility to explain his ritual at the grand tribunal, and he lied to the whole order by saying "It will affect specifically the demon (a creature they were not sure it was infernal) trapped in the Rhine gorge" !!! (yes the saga was situated in this place, and the players get the mission from the order to solve this problem).
-I told him numerous times that it wasn't possible to distinguish between magical/faeric auras and infernal auras...
-I even told him, twice, that his ritual would affect magical creatures !!! (I told him that it could affect a dragon the first time, or a Kosmokrator the second time). No comments !
And at the time of the spellcasting, I asked him:
No regrets ?
And, without paying attention to the warnings of the other players, he casted his spell.
I think I was fair, really.
Dracien was about to be a great bonisagus, he was a brilliant character, and the most powerful of the covenant. He was the head of the covenant, and their representant to the tribunal.
He was about to create his cult, to access to high position within his house, and the fraternity of samos...
He fell... and from a very high position.
Why ? Because of four cardinal sins:
-Gluttony: he wanted to destroy ALL the demons
-Envy: he wanted to take the place of Murion of Bonisagus (yes !).
-Sloth: Instead to research informations on the creature trapped, he tried to destroy all. Easier and faster, he said !
-PRIDE: When I asked him "why no one tried this before ?", his answer was: because no one was able to perform this ritual before..." More or less, he was sure to be more powerful than the founders or all the archmagi of the order. And he was sure with this to be accepted by the fraternity of samos as the new candidate for the final secret of this fraternity: to get his place among the old gods...
I agree with those who said that the SG is not an adversary, but is helping his players to enjoy a good story.
And it was a good story, the fell of a powerful magus, by the infernal manipulation of his sloth, gluttony, envy and pride.
To finish, the order is not destroyed, but considerably weakened now, and an anathema was decreted on all of the accomplices of dracien the fool (reputation 10 within the order).
But before, I gave a chance to all players (yes, even to Dracien !!!). A NPC named Otsihpem, presented (by himself) as a very very old egyptian priest, gave them the possibility to flee to the south of the sun, behind the fire ring.
Some accepted the offer. Dracien of Bonisagus, not.
So I showed to the players the end of Dracien and his death by the hands of his sodales from the order.
He heard an angry roar from nowhere, and finally:
"You are in a white, immense hall. You can see a creature with multicolor wings, and a sad and gentle smile on its face.
Welcome to the purgatory, Dracien."
Really, I think it was a good story, and a good lesson for this player (always complaining, even here, always ruling the game for other players in place of his SG, reading the supplements of ars magica, when I told him not to read them, always annoying other players with his pride: I'm the most powerful, the most influent, I can destroy a dragon with my little finger... etc...).
But I liked the end of Dracien, so I offered to the player a bonus of 200 xp to create his new PC.
In conclusion to this long post (not the one I wanted to send to present myself, I'm sorry ), I can say:
We're playing a (very) high level saga. But for good players, a lot of possibilities.
I told them at the beginning: You can do WHAT YOU WANT. But, if you're doing something stupid, no complaints. Ok ?
And, a lot of times, they were in some unexpected and very twisted situations. But each time, they get fantastic rewards (good library and so an easy progression, very good and powerful magical artefacts, very good vis income, a lot of magical creatures to help them, powerful allies...) and of course a very high difficulty with the ennemies and a lot of risks, of course.
So what ?
Dracien is free to leave this saga if he's not agree. But he's the only one to disagree. All other players smiled, when they saw this catastrophic event. I think all other players were happy to see this, and indeed, they told me they were !
And yes, it was time to begin a new season to this saga, with new and young characters, but not like this, not like this !!!
Now I can't even use the new supplement about the mythical places !!!
PS: for the hard core gamers, fanatics of rules...
I won't bother to explain the details. I used the basis of the ritual, and change a little the others rules. Hey, the devil can do what it wants !
But the central diamond of this ritual was :
A circle to destroy the might. No specification in the guidelines about what this might can be. If you want to differentiate between the different mights, you need an intellego complement.
But the intellego art can't differentiate the infernal.
That's all. I ignored the others details, and let the player create (very carefully, you can be sure) the ritual.
One last word:
He's complaining now, but he could have asked here before to create the ritual. But nooo... He was sooo sure...
Too much pride, too much pride...