Players in the Via Umbrae game, stay out or ruin the game for yourself...
So, I've long had in mind the shadowy bad guys behind a lot of the stuff in my saga. Over time, they've gelled more and more in response to the development of my players and their wizards. Now they're firming up, and I need some input.
I started thinking about what other SGs have done with respect to Big Bads in their sagas, the great antagonist that the wizards eventually face off against at some point. I'm treading a bit lightly as the Quaesitor of the group has hit Intellego 20.
The bad guys this time around are a layered group. There's a Mystery Cult within the Order itself that is their hermetic front. Then there's a large regio off the coast of Spain that the real menace exists within - an exotic tradition of magician-priests living on an island combining elements of classical Roman, Greek, and Phoenician civilization. Their goal is to establish a magical kingship in France, using a Merovingian monarch raised according to their principles, and through such a symbolic marriage of Merovingian king and the land, increase the power of the Magical Realm. On a social engineering scale, they plan to establish wizards as the new nobility and undermine the church and divine nature of kingship.
They use a form of the Goetic Arts to deal with ancestor spirits, the ghosts of prior mage-priests who provide magic resistance as well as a form of immortality as long as they are bound to a living mage-priest. They appear as youths until the bond between spirit and priest is destroyed, at which point they age in an eyeblink. To an extent, this will also factor into baffling attempts to gain information from captured agents of the priesthood, as Mentem magic will instead read off of the spirit's thoughts and memories, not those of the bonded priest. Thus an Intellego person like the Quaesitor will get information from such efforts, but not the information they necessarily expected when they first encounter these agents (who become apprentices to Twilight addled mages as a cover to operate within the Order), and it will invite a lot of speculation. I'm trying to reward the Intellego specialist with information, while still allowing this plotline to brew overtime depending on how the wizards proceed and react. The scale of the mystery cult and its conspiracy are meant to be discovered bit by bit, and connect disparate threads into a larger whole, if I pull this off correctly.
THAT SAID... I'm worried. Wizards can do a whole lot, and I want to present fun and enigmatic opponents yet I fear my players, a smart bunch, will cast a spell and cut right to the chase in a heartbeat. Such is the issue when running games for wizards, I suppose.
What have others done when doing long term planning for the omni-capable character group such as a Covenant?