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Chapter One

Introduction
Welcome to Antagonists. This supple- whelmed by an antagonist, the saga could and its resources. The gathering of hedge
ment for Ars Magica Fifth Edition con- continue with a new set of player charac- wizards and the baron’s continued quest
tains ten characters who can take the role ters responding to the devastation of the for more magic will make it impossible for
of antagonist in your saga. original covenant. You might also like to the covenant to ignore him forever.
The antagonist characters provoke re-use an antagonist in an unconnected
conflict to which the magi of your saga second saga; how might another group of
must respond. Antagonists draw the magi characters respond?
of your saga into stories. Some of the an-
tagonists might directly attack your cov-
enant. Other antagonists create political
The antagonists themselves have a va-
riety of motivations. Some are supernatu-
ral creatures, other are mundane nobles
Baron Giraud
turmoil that threaten your magi, your cov-
enant, or even the entire Order of Hermes.
and churchmen. Some antagonists are
not really aware of the Order of Hermes,
Le Cornu
Each antagonist character is a recur- and their actions only incidentally impact
ring opponent whose influence will take upon the magi. Other antagonists are all Baron Giraud Le Cornu holds a manor
several stories to resolve. Some antago- too aware of the Order, and deliberately adjacent to the covenant’s land. He looks
nists will be active for a number of years or provoke the magi. The following summa- on the magi with deep suspicion: they
decades, so you might like to intersperse ries describe the basic idea of each antago- have men-at-arms and perhaps a castle,
the antagonist’s stories with other stories nist and can be safely read by the whole but they refuse to swear fealty to any
(or even the stories of another antagonist). troupe when discussing how the antago- noble. Their strange powers make them
However, you probably will not want to nists might be used in your saga. an object of fear. He sees their self-pro-
use all the antagonist characters from this claimed autonomy as a rebellion against
book in a single saga. You could consider proper authority and a threat to the social
each antagonist to be a comprehensive order of Mythic Europe.
example of a Covenant Hook, although
the stories of some antagonists could in-
volve many covenants. Of course, it is not
Baron Geoffroi As an antagonist, the baron shows
how the Order of Hermes doesn’t really
fit well into medieval society. He can steer
a problem if your troupe does manage to
satisfactorily resolve an antagonist’s con-
D’Arques the covenant toward a more stable rela-
tionship with mundane nobles, but at the
flict with a single story. cost of upsetting the Order’s entrenched
Most of the details of the antagonist Baron Geoffroi D’Arques is a wealthy attitudes about mundane relations. He
characters are intended to be initially ob- noble, initially concerned with little more also shows how much trouble mundane
scure to the player characters. Thus, it is than the success of his lands and provid- intrigue can cause for a covenant.
recommended — once you have chosen ing for his family. But his interest in the
to introduce an antagonist character to supernatural is suddenly piqued, and he
your saga — that the troupe allocates a starts upon a journey that makes him by
single player to be the story-guide for that
antagonist’s stories, with the other players
refraining from reading the details. This
turns ally and enemy to the covenant. He
starts to attract conjurers, charlatans, and
all manner of hedge wizards to his court,
Father Joseph
strategy will also help to keep the moti-
vations and actions of the antagonist con-
eager to learn about magic and turn it to
the betterment of his lands. Geoffroi’s
of Napoli
sistent among stories. On the other hand, activities are rarely directed toward the
the antagonists are still usable even if the covenant, but as he opens his court to oth- Father Joseph is a papal legate sent on
players are well-versed in the details. For ers practiced in magic, the complications a mission to the Order of Hermes. He pro-
example, if the player characters are over- make themselves felt upon the covenant poses that the Order of Hermes reinvent

6
Antagonists
itself as a true religious order: headed by
a Grand Master, endorsed by the pope,
becomes clouded. He believes it is better
to risk punishing the innocent than to al- The Divine
Abbot
and established as an appendage of the low the guilty escape.
church. Obviously, there are potential Galerius’ zealous pursuit of Hermetic
problems aligning this proposal with the justice means that he may be a threat to
traditional Oath of Hermes. On the other even very legally conservative covenants.
hand, the legate’s proposal might be met The smallest hint of indiscretion will be After an act of great courage, the ab-
with approval by many Christian magi. enough to provoke a thorough intrusion bot of a local monastery has been replaced
Your characters can either support or op- into the covenant’s affairs. Of course, if by a creature of the Divine. It desires to
pose Father Joseph. there is actually anything for him to find… strengthen the Divine aura of the land by
As an antagonist, Father Joseph repre- bettering the living conditions of the gen-
sents the church meddling with the Order eral population, increasing their faith, and
of Hermes. He does not directly attack giving greater glory to the power of God.
magi or covenants. He provokes politi-
cal stories that may spiral into violence or
even a new Schism War. The father is a
The Infatuated A more potent Divine aura means weaker
Magic and Faerie auras, diminishing vis
sources and conflicts as other mythic crea-
threat because he creates conflict within
the Order.
Diabolist tures suffer the loss of habitat. The magi
are certainly threatened, but can a Divine
abbot really be an enemy?
Lust can take many forms, and lust for
power and lust for a player character com-

Bishop Orris bine to drive this antagonist to seek power


for the darkest of all sources. In madness,
the cost of one’s soul can seem a small The Queen of
Bishop Orris is a man convinced that price to pay.
magic is evil. He has heard the theologi-
cal and philosophical arguments against
This antagonist demonstrates the perils
of diabolic antagonists, but also their weak-
Gold and Glass
this viewpoint, but the fact remains he can nesses. They can be exceptionally strong
smell the filthy stench of pure wickedness with sufficient preparation, but have none The Queen of Gold and Glass is a po-
whenever he is close to magic. To make of the immediate firepower of a Hermetic tent faerie who challenges magi with a se-
matters worse, his diocese contains the magus. The diabolist must therefore care- ries of tests. She does not care if they fail
characters’ covenant, and eventually he will fully plot the ensnaring of the reluctant or succeed, and may aid them to survive
be exposed to them and their “evil” ways. lover, and plan the character’s eventual the attacks of other enemies. The Queen
As an antagonist, Bishop Orris poses a downfall when the attentions of a devil- is playing a deeper game, and one which,
dilemma. He has the potential to make life worshiper are, inevitably, spurned. if she is left undefeated, will have alarming
particularly difficult for player characters, consequences for the player characters.
and yet all his actions are for the sake of
the best interests of those he has a duty to
protect. His intentions are pure, even if his
actions are misguided. A Demonically The Waimie
Inspired Cult The Waimie is a magical serpent who

Galerius of A single powerful demon is a terrible


foe, but when two begin similar schemes,
craves vis. She sends out her numerous brood
to gather it for her, and has recently learned
that magi can be a potent source. Not only
House Guernicus and one draws the other into his service,
the seeds of an epidemic are sown. When
do they hoard it, but they make regular for-
ays to collect it from jealously guarded sites.
more demons are drawn to the misery the All she needs to do is have her children fol-
Galerius is a Quaesitor who sees it as first two have caused, corrupting the peo- low them whenever they leave home.
his personal crusade to punish magi who ple who attempt to mitigate the plague, all The Waimie is a relatively direct an-
do anything that potentially endangers of Mythic Europe may be shaken. Can the tagonist; it is less suited to a major saga
the Order of Hermes. His idea of what player characters defend themselves, as theme, and more to a set of interlinked
endangers the Order is extraordinarily the schemes of several demons intertwine, stories occurring close together. The
broad, and he gets so personally invested pouring death, madness, and diabolism Waimie’s brood start small, but they get
in his cases that his judgment sometimes along the roads of Mythic Europe? bigger and more challenging.