Muscle Demons

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide

We open up with some incredibly boring fiction about Nicole, the angel from the core book, and her continuing life problems. We then get a short lecture from Lucifer on how God imposed unnatural light on the natural darkness of the universe, which he wants to return to, and that God wants everyone to obey arbitrary rules. After this, though, we get the fun stuff - Hell's side of the story of creation.

So, the Rebellion is known as the Celestial Revolution to Hell. It aimed to remake Heaven as a meritocracy, with power given to the capable. Lucifer took a third of the Host with him in revolting - the other angels were too brainwashed by eons of praising a God that didn't even really exist. Lucifer and his loyalists uprooted themselves painfully, becoming self-sufficient. They found a place of their own, called Hell. But what began it? Well, the Eden Experiment. Lucifer had challenged God to test humanity by creating a perfect environment and seeing how they'd behave. In the end, the experiment failed due to the angel Ophis, who meddled at the orders of Baal. God refused to acknowledge this defeat. Some say that Lucifer tried to reason with God for eons after, only to realize there was nothing there - that he should make his own rules. Others argue that God does in fact truly exist as a personality, and some even hold that He and Lucifer agreed that the demons should be free as part of an even grander experiment, to give Lucifer the chance to prove, once and for all, that humans are unworthy. Others say that no, God really did force the dissident angels to flee or die.

whatever happened, Hell was soon full of a large population of free and potent celestials. To protect themselves, the Fallen made a hierarchy to organize themselves. Though some demons wanted and had been promised total autonomy, most acknowledged that they could not rest that way until the angels were defeated. Lucifer made it clear that, though Michael beat him, he was the strongest of the Fallen by far. The battles of early Hell are only spoken of todayi n whispers. But once he proved supremacy, he announced that he had no desire to rule actively - rather, he would name the strongest and fiercest as Princes, given them Words and parts of Hell to rule. Lucifer would have no specific strategy for fighting Heaven, for any one strategy could be predicted. There would be countless strategies, even contradictory ones, to befuddle Heaven. Lucifer would let the Princes do as they would, even work against each other, for in the big picture they would all be working to destroy the Host and humanity. He reserved for himself an advisory role to the Princes and the power to hand out Words and the Princely crowns. The Princes would have the power to make new demons, use any Tethers they happened to find, and rule their Principalities as they pleased.

Despite this, there was order in Lucifer's choices, carefully positioned to face Heaven. Andrealphus, once Archangel of Love, was named Prince of Lust and charged with perverting the efforts of Eli. Asmodeus, once an angel of Judgment, was made Prince of the Game and given power over all other demons, that he might counteract Dominic. Baal was named Prince of the War and charged to develop the military might of Hell and thwart Michael. It is said that, had Baal not been busy fighting David in the Rebellion, Michael would have lost and Heaven would have been defeated. Now, though, legend has it that Michael and Baal will only fight, and to the death, come Armageddon. Beleth was named Princess of Nightmares and set to defeat her old lover, Blandine. Belial was named Prince of Fire, and the demons believe that his old Archangel, Gabriel, was driven mad by the sharing of the Word. No single Prince that Lucifer could command could match Raphael, one of the eldest of the host, so he set Gebbeleth, Prince of Secrets, and Mariel, former Angel of Memory and now Princess of Oblivion, to both work against her. Malphas, Prince of Factions, was set to face David. Genubath, Prince of Rapine, was set to oppose Novalis, to fight what she would keep peace in and to take what she would have given.

Lucifer sought out Lilith, the first woman made for Eden, and offered her the Word of Freedom, to oppose Marc...though, in truth, the two later found common ground, as Lilith proved more honorable and Marc more flexible than either of their allies would like. Still, Lilith proved able to create the Lilim, to set against the un-Falling Malakim. Meserach, a former angel of the Wind, was named Prince of Sloth and set against his old master, Janus. Vephar, once the patron of sailors, was named Prince of the Oceans and set against Oannes. Jordi was not beneath Lucifer's plotting, but he knew of Jordi's distance from the other Archangels and felt that humanity itself, driven by Hell, would do a fine enough job at frustrating Jordi and turning him against Heaven. Yves, however, was the biggest problem. Lucifer could find no direct answer, and as a stopgap, he named Kobal, former Angel of Laughter, as Prince of Dark Humor and set him to fight Destiny. Lucifer remains proud of how well his Princes slowed Heaven's work and pushed back against them...but it has not been without losses.

Eventually, the demons began to act openly on Earth, at first careful to avoid Disturbance. The Grigori debacle entertained them greatly. Each Prince kept their own domain. Gebbeleth vanished, and few noticed or cared. It would be millenia before Hell realized for sure that Gebbeleth must have trapped himself badly and a new Prince of Secrets was named. Oannes, meanwhile, had always out matched Vephar, who was too proud to ask for help and not liked by other Princes. Vephar was trapped and destroyed, the first great loss of either side since the Fall. It showed the Princes that they must cooperate better or be destroyed in detail by the superior individual power of the Archangels. Lucifer called a council of war, and Baal offered forth a plan. Hell mustered as though readying for Armageddon, and demons walked Earth openly. Baal himself was seen preparing for battle. And yet, all of it was a ruse. Distracted, the angels did not react quickly enough when Belial struck directly at the still-weakened Oannes. The volcano Thera exploded, and the Minoan civilization died in fire and floods. The score of Superior deaths was now tied.

Michael and Baal's troops battled, and the pride of the angels of War drew the attention of Dominic. Demons still think it is grossly unfair that God spared Michael. He stepped down, and Uriel took over command. Michael roamed the Earth with his angels, inspiring humans to overthrow tyrants. In Hell, a new force emerged - the demon Saminga, who mastered the art of creating mummies and undead. His power grew until he was made Prince of Death. He was a simpleton, not seen as a threat to the other Princes, and he was welcomed warmly - the first and last time a Prince would be. Inspired by the success of the undead, Lucifer continued to make weaker demons in great number, beginning to even out the imbalance between Heaven and Hell. The angels were forced to reconsider their plans.

Hell rejoiced when David's most potent angel, Magog, Angel of Fortitude, Fell and took a small army with him. Lucifer came to Magog in is underground citadel and hastily named him Prince of Cruelty...but the tables were turned when the next morning came, and David, with help from Purity's Khalid, pinned Magog in his lair and sealed it up. Hell's aid arrived too late, unable to break the divine masonry sealing away Magog. Lucifer appeared to Khalid privately, praising him as a foe, and planting the seed of arrogance. Centuries later, when Laurence took Uriel's place, Khalid refused to accept it. He was named Archangel, but chose to leave Heaven and become patron of Islam. The demons claim he did it just to spite Laurence and Christianity. Several lesser princes rose and fell - some remain, like Mammon, Prince of Greed. Others do not. The demon Valefor presented Lucifer with a book by a mna named Nostradamus, which claimed to predict the future. Its accuracy doesn't matter - the important thing is it wouldn't be written for centuries. Valefor claimed to have stolen it from Yves' own library. What happened next can only be guessed, but it is agreed that Valefor somehow stole Genubath's Word, and was named Prince of Theft for it. Genubath has not been seen since.

Lucifer removed himself from the society of Hell for a time, roaming the Earth in search of a solution to the problem of Destiny. He eventually found the solution in Kronos, Prince of Fate, but Kronos' origins are a mystery. Some say he has always existed, just as Yves has. He is the darkness of Fate, a necessary balance to Destiny. Eventually, he presented himself to Lucifer and was made second in command of Hell. Others deny that Kronos even exists - he is just Lucifer in disguise, or Lucifer's mindless puppet. Either way, Kronos is the most potent of Princes now, hated and feared by most of the Fallen.

Eventually, there was a Shedite named Legion, a selfish demon who could not forget the joy of possessing many bodies at once. After luring a former angelic friend into a traop, Legion summoned Saminga, his master, and asked for help with an experiment. Saminga is stupid, but he is curious and enjoys experiments that involve death. The two Shedim vivisected the Kyriotate, and Saminga attached the loose Forces to Legion's soul while Legion jumped back and forth between several willing hosts. At some point, Legion regained the power to possess two at once, then three. Legion rapidly added more Forces, somehow drawing them from his hosts or those they killed, growing in power. He was named Prince of Corruption, and Lucifer waited for more Shedim with the trick, but Legion never shared it. None of Saminga's efforts to reproduce the experiment have ever succeeded.

Before long, Legion could possess an entire village. He began to go mad, referring to himself in the plural, and refused to work with other Princes. He rebelled against Hell, and while he didn ot threaten Hell itself, it was clear he had the power to destroy Earth. For the first time ever, Archangels and Pricnes worked together to defeat Legion, who was growing more potent and more insane by the day. He threw several Princes to Hell before he was destroyed, and in doing so, he utterly destroyed Raphael, Archangel of Knowledge. The lessons of Legio nare many, and depend who tells the story. Heaven mourned Raphael, and in the aftermath of Legion, the Princes began to work togther even more. There's a reason it was called the Dark Ages, after all. Haagenti, a demon who'd made a name for himself against Legion, was adopted as Kobal's 'brother' and eventually became the demon of Gluttony. He grew immensely in mere months, tearing through Meserach's forces and eventually consuming the Prince of Sloth himself, soon after being named Prince of Gluttony.

This disturbed Hell greatly, especially when Haagenti kept going and didn't stop until he'd eaten Mariel, Princess of Oblivion. He promsied to end his fury at that point, winning Hell's respect with his work on Earth. Lucifer accepted the loss, but felt short-handed. He found the solution in Vapula, Demon of Technology. As the Industrial Revolution flourished, Vapula was named Prince. He rocked no boats, focusing instead on taking Mariel's old territory and building. Now, instead of destroying the knowledge that Jean guarded, it would be perverted to selfish ends. The final new Prince to be named was Nybbas, Prince of the MEdia, who has only recently had his first century with the crown. Even his foes concede he is potent, and still growing.

Besides Nybbas, no Princes of true power have been made in a long time. More often, Lucifer crowns lesser Princes - Fleurity, Prince of Drugs, Alaemon, Prince of Secrets and the new Furfur, Prince of Hardcore. The older Princes fear Lucifer spreads the power too thinly. He's achieved a stalemate, sure, but that was never the goal. And what about Armageddon? If the angels win, the demons claim, then all celestials will abandon Earth forever. If the demons win, celestials will be able to act as they please. Do the demons think they have a chance? Well, some do. Some don't. But all agree, it's not here yet.

Angels can and od do terrible things. But that doesn't make the demons. Demons can act with kidnness and mercy, but it doesn't make them angels. Demons are different, intrinsically so, and that is what makes them damned. It's all about the nature of self. Most angels will sacrifice themselves if it's for a greater good. They know they're part of something greater. Demons do not sacrifice themselves. They are part of a rebel army. Angels don't look for a reward because they believe God transcends all. Demons know their only shot at a reward is if they win, so they're desperate to make it to the end alive so they can claim it. At heart, angels are selfless and demons are selfish. There's more to it, of course. Demons have a strange, tyrannical mindset that accepts cruelty as necessary. Demons are not mindless agents of evil, either.

Self-preservation and self-deception are the biggest parts of a demon's mind. Self-preservation draws from one fact: demons are trying to change the world. God is in charge, God is the status quo. Demons have made a desperate gamble, and they win only if they can usurp Heaven. They have a strong drive to gain power, and with it comes freedom and better odds of surviving. See, demons have to win the War to see any actual reward. So, they want to survive. Every demon places their own survival over everything, even Lucifer himself. Sure, Lucifer's powerful, but he's in the same boat - if he doesn't win in the end, he has nothing.

Unlike angels, who acknowledge a power greater than themselves, demons deceive themselves about their place in the world. They will believe in anything they must to survive. This power of self-deception is born of the need to forget that they're the underdogs, that without victory they lose it all. It is also, however, due to the presence of Lucifer. It's one thing to be an angel, with a God who is never seen and only dimly understood, yet who is accepted by all. It is another to be a demon, with a leader who is known primarily for skill at lying and who has as much to lose as you do. Lucifer's personhood makes him a powerful leader, but his shared vulnerability with Hell makes him appear weak. The power struggles of the Princes suggest, subconsciously, that Lucifer could be overthrown like any other. That he's just one of the guys, not a cosmic principle. That's...well, not very comforting. And that's why demons are so good at deceiving themselves. On a cosmic scale, they are foot soldiers in an uphill battle, following an unproven leader. That'd be hobbling, if they weren't so good at lying to themselves. Now, most demons maintain that Lucifer has a cosmic mandate, that the universe needs him, that he will rule the universe. And if they win, well, they were right. But they have to win first This basic insecurity over the cause and the chance at victory is why demons need self-deception.

Four main traits rise from these basic motivations: superiority, aggression, manipulation and competiton. Demons believe they are better than humans in all ways. This is direct from Lucifer, who was jealous of God favoring humans. In their dealings, demons always believe they have the upper hand. They are egotists who have nothing but scorn for others, and they will never accept that a human can beat them - any setback is purely temporary and the fault of angels. Demons like to think they're better than angels, but don't really believe it. They usually see angels as worthy foes crippled by adherence to God's plan and their limiting behavioral doctrine. It is the side they chose that makes angels inferior, and any angel can Fall. Superiority, in terms of self-preservation, is about the need to be toughter than the next guy. A strong demon survives, and must believe in their own superiority so that they have the will to win, not just fight. In terms of self-deception, superiority fulfills the need for demons to build themselves up in their own minds. God made humans to be most of the Symphony, and since demons want to rule the Symphony, they must believe they are superior to it.

Most demons want to hurt humans because they are taught that this is strength. Those who inflict pai nare strong, those that accept it are weak. They are bullies, satisfied only when hurting others. The most pure example of this aggression is Saminga, who hurts others for the sake of hurting. Other demons are more refined, but even so, most enjoy a good fight. Demons also like hurting angels and even other demons. It's satisfying to hurt an angel because it's like hurting God. It's satisfying to hurt demons, because it makes them afraid, and fear is obedience. Aggression is the primal expression of self-preservation. If you hurt someone, you won. You survived to fight again. Sufficient aggressive posturing can stave off challenges, too. Making an underling fear you means you're safe from them betraying or challenging you, to some extent. In terms of self-deception, aggression is another way to convince themselves that demons will win. They equate aggression with success - the guy with the biggest stick is the one to bet on. That's why Lucifer characterizes the struggle as a War. Militarism is a good way to fire up the hordes.

Next time: Hell's fury

Hell To Pay

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Hell To Pay

So, manipulation - demons like control. They like to have human tools, and even more, they like to control unwitting humans, who should know better and yet cannot resist. That's the real fun. It is gratifying to hurt humans aggressively, but doubly so to get them to hurt each other. Turning humans against each other is an obvious step to winning the War - there's more humans than demons, after all, so it just makes sense to get them to do your work for you. Manipulating angels and other demons can be fun, but it's riskier and usually saved for specific and immediate goals. Manipulating humans, that you do for kicks. In terms of self-preservation, manipulation is key to survival. Not all challenges can be handled by naked aggression. Manipulation is more subtle and leaves less room for retaliation. You can file the numbers off a manipulation effort, causing chaos without it being tracked back to you. Lucifer is the master manipulator, and see how he's done! For self-deception, manipulation boosts the ego. The more humans you control, the more power you have. It makes it harder to manipulate you...or so demons tell themselves. They tend to think they are invulnerable if they get good at manipulation.

So, competition. Demons like to win. They're competing with angels in the War, and they have to be the best. They also have to keep up with the humans, who keep finding new ways to hurt each other. Demons have to stay ahead of the curve. They keep score, tallying themselves against their foes to determine how successful they are and how their opponents are doing. Within the ranks, competition is even more fierce than with angels, since the playing field is in theory level. Competition is how you get status and thus power. Lucifer set things up that way, seeing the best way to preserve his own position as setting his underlings against each other. If you compete well enough, you can even become a Prince. For self-preservation, competition is evolutionary. When two demons compete and one wins, the winner is obviously more useful. Constant competition keeps them sharp, defines who has power and ensures none can rest easy. For self-deception, it reinforces the validity of the War. Each small success feels like progress. That can be dangerous, since the possibility exists that constant competition with other demons can distract Hell from the real battles. Still, healthy competition is good, nurturing a belief in triumph. It gives a taste for victory and a desire for more.

Demons are born in evil and live in it their whole lives. They can transcend it and become angels, but it's rare. Evil is hard to escape. The root of demonic evil is selfishness, which meshes with the traits discussed previous. The inner turmoil of self-preservation and self-deception makes demons malevolent. They are inherently tortured and unstable, so they lash out at the world. They wrap themselves in so many lies that they can't help it. The nature of the conflict forces them to hurt others and to lie. They oppose the entire cosmos, and they don't know if they'll win. They have to be stronger and smarter than God, and therefore they must define themselves as God's antithesis. It's not easy and it's not fun, no matter how smooth and confident demons pretend to be. Pain is their life. Creating pain for others makes them feel good. Their hearts are full of pain, making them alienated and miserable. Associating with other demons makes them feel less alone, helps them believe their pain is universal and natural. If everyone felt pain, the work would be done.

The nature of demonic evil and the demonic mind come from Lucifer. It was Lucifer who first committed the sin of selfishness, and it was his example that inspired the rebel angels. Selfishness is a form of comfort, elevating the individual over the surroundings and making them feel less vulnerable. When Lucifer and the rebels Fell, they no longer had God's will or the rules of Heaven to mark their place in the world. In Hell, their selfishness grew unchecked. Their insecurity and shame bolstered it, locking them into the doctrine of evil they had made. This was the birth of the demonic mind. Today, the demons serving Lucifer still suffer it. They cloak themselves in pain as armor, fighting because it makes them feel alive. If they did not fight, they would be ignored, and that is what made Lucifer rise up in the first place. Fighting makes them feel important. Fallen from God's grace, which is all that truly matters in the world, their only reprive comes in opposing God's grace. If they did not oppose the most important thing, they would have no importance at all. Fighting the War is a way for demons to claim significance to the universe. And they must fight, because if they do not, Lucifer was wrong, they were wrong, and they've all made the biggest mistake there has ever been, and are on the wrong side of the only issue there ever was. Being a demon is terrible . In a word, it is Hellish.

Lucifer, of course, does not ask for perfection. Perfection is stagnation and conformity. Demons instead embody chaos, entropy and individuality. Each demon has their own personal symphony, in which they encompass every note, and they are proud of that. Still, they cannot deny that certain groups have similarities in their symphonies: Bands. Bands are all those demons who possess similar abilities and personal symphonies. Hell likes survival of the fittest, and while there are countless possible Bands, only seven are outstandingly successful: the major seven Bands. Despite the demonic urge to be unique, the nature of one's Band influences their personality. It gives them a filter through which to perceive the world, a mindset to establish a place within it. The resonance is part of this - if all you see are nails, you want a hammer. The point of being demonic, of course, is to be true to yourself, above all other things. Sometimes that can be hard, but striving is the point of life. Accepting that another's perspective might solve your problem is just one of the harder lessons.

A Band defines general trends, but individuals can always deviate from it. Demons may not be as complex as humans, but they're not carbon copies. Of course, Shedim are rarely compassionate and Impudites rarely violent. However, every demon has their own individual nature, even if they hew in most ways to stereotype.

Balseraphs are the vilest creatures of all Hell. Angels hate the Fallen Seraphim, and demons see them as arrogant. Everyone assumes anything they say will be a lie. The only ones wo really understand them are other Balseraphs, and they trust each other least of all. Humans lie often and entangle themselves in their own webs. Balseraphs understand th need to defend your lie vehemently so much that you believe it is true. They are accompliushed liars, and they believe their own lies with all their hearts - and make everyone else believe, too. Baal and Lucifer are both Balseraphs, and Kronos is classified as one, though he isn't one. Some say Hell is still operating under the influence of Lucifer's first and greatest lie. Kronos and Baal each believe fervently in the cause, for their own reasons. Their view has remained unshaken since the Fall, testament either to how entrenched they become in their own symphonies or to the fact that even Balseraphs can be right, depending on who you ask. Other famous Balseraphs include Gebbeleth, the first Prince of Secrets, Hatiphas, Demon of Socery, Kakabel, Demon of Astrology, Kasbeel, Demon of Broken Promises, Mammon, Prince of Greed, Mastema, chief prosecutor of the Game, Ophis, servant of Baal that ruined the Eden experiment, Semyaza, Demon of Heresy, and Tchort, Demon of Atheism.

Balseraphs claim they focus on the big picture. Other demons might be distracted by petty desire or spite, but Balseraphs are always looking for the greater evil. They won't use petty vice if they see a chance for something more, and it's why they are often put in charge on Earth. They will, however, always need another demon to act as a check on their tendency to distort. Balseraphs excel at organizational corruption, causing even more permanent harm than most Shedim. They can ruin careers and lives with a few words. They also do excellently in PR and spin control. Humans rarely consciously choose evil, so Balseraphs present it in a way they find palatable. Every Prince wants their Word to be accepted and embraced by humanity, and so they have Balseraphs play with the meanings of words - selfishness as self-reliance, insensitivity as candor, greed as motivation, etiquette as hypocrisy, honesty as naivete, opposing prejudice as political correctness. Balseraphs are also cleaners. Both sides want to avoid open displays of power, but don't always manage it. If the War remains mostly secret, it is largely due to Balseraph damage control. Sometimes they even discredit genuine miracles. And, of course, Balseraphs are excellent spies...if you don't rely on them to tell the truth. They assume everyone else is as deceitful and untrustworthy as themselves, and frequently report on their coworkers and any other celestials they meet. They are highly diligent and their information is often good...if you can filter out the truth.

Balseraphs like to believe they're infernal nobility. The truth is, they don't get nearly the respect Seraphim due and are seen as snobs and liars. The Princes are the only true royalty of Hell. They often serve, instead, as middle management, to assuage their egos but keep them out of trouble. They tend to have grandiose titles, but relatively little actual authority with anyone they can't convince to listen. In Hell as on Earth, Balseraphs serve as informants. Princes listen to them, but always independently verify. Balseraphs, however, keep everyone else honest - since everyone knows a Balseraph will set you up if they get a chance, demons are careful to avoid giving them muich to use. It makes it hard for those truly plotting treachery. Balseraphs who prove capable may even be given planning positions, as they can be brilliantly wicked. It's a stressful but rewarding job if you can handle the competition.

Balseraphs are excellent at managing Roles and may even have more than one. They like Roles with influence and many victims. They especially love law and politics, and often enjoy high-Status Roles. Some have even risen high in governments! Balseraphs love current human society, which is full of false realities. They take credit for all of it, ignoring the fact that they benefit as much from human nature as their own hard work. If they have one weakness, it's that they believe their own press. They believe society is, in fact, entirely dishonest, corrupt and irredeemable. They believe everyhting is a lie. They wouldn't recognize an honest man, because they don't believe they exist. They often underestimate mortals, and a single mortal with the determination and strength to see past their lies has undone many Balseraphic plans. Some are convinced they already own the world, that the fall of man is inevitable, that they're just playing and mopping up. The truth is, humans wouldn't succum so easily if they didn't want to be deceived. The smarter Balseraphs capitalize on this, while the rest just pat themselves on the back for being so charming and manipulative.

Balseraphs do not think of themselves as liars. They see a Symphony that can be changed, and see that truth is no more absolute than your ability to change it. They believe reality is what they say it is. When they lie, they fervently believe it is true. They use two kinsd of deception to make their lies more convincing: self-deception and artifice. Self-deception is what they love most in humans, the willingness to believe what you want to be true. If a Balseraph can find what a human wishes were true, the victim gets a penalty to their Will roll to resist the Balseraph's resonance if the Balseraph says that thing is true. The penalty is up to the GM, based on how badly the target wants it, the plausibility of the lie and any evidence. Any Discord that reinforces the mindset also penalizes Will. Artifice is making a false but lasting reality. A Balseraph's resonance normally lasts only (CD) minutes. However, if a Balseraph can produce tangible evidence of their lie, the CD is multiplied by their Ethereal Forces. Further, lies that are supported by other lies gain an even greater bonus. Each supporting lie mulitplies the CD of the lies that follow. This allows a series of lies to become quite long-lasting. The only limit is that no one can remain under their sway for more than (Celestial Forces) days.

Balseraphs never lie, in the sense that most people understand it, however. They create a false symphony with their reosnance, and in that symphony, everything they say is true. As a result, their lies cannot be detected by the Detect Lies skill, even if their resonance is resisted...unless their resonance roll fails. And even then, the Balseraph will still believe they're telling the truth. However, on a failed resonance roll, the Balseraph cannot tell the same lie to the same victim for (CD) hours. They can, however, tell a different lie, except on a CD 6, which immunizes the target to their resonance for 6 hours. Also, when not using their resonance, Balseraphs never lie. They do not ever engage in what they believe at the time to be falsehood. Because of this, Seraphim usually can't expose their lies...except on a CD 6. However, if a Seraph knows a statement is false and the speaker should know it's false, but doesn't, it's pretty clear evidence that a Balseraph is involved somewhere. Seraphic resonance also works normally if a Balseraph's resonance orll fails. ...of course, this all assumes the Seraph resists the resonance. If they don't, they will believe the Balseraph regardless of what their own resonance says.

A Balseraph's self-image is wrapped around their personal symphony. If their lies are exposed, that symphony is fractured. The only way to fix this is to convince themselves that it never happened, 'fixing' the truth and assuaging their egos. The usual method, when a victim resists a Balseraph's lie, is to apply the resonance again. Once the victim succumbs, the dissonance goes away...but a strong-willed person can resist a second time, and then you're stuck with it. There is a solution: make the lie true! If the Balseraph can actually change the real truth to reflect their lie and convince the victim they weren't ever lying, the dissonance fades. A Balseraph can also generate dissonance by contradicting themselves, but generally another lie will cover it up. Sometimes, however, it won't. In these cases, Balseraphs can lie to themselves. If a Balseraph can convince themself that they never lied in the first place, dissonance from contradiction will fade. This takes three things: a successful resonance roll, a failed Will roll and no concrete evidence to contradict the lie the Balseraph tells themself. This may seem easy, but remember, most Balseraphs have a high Will, so it's easy for them to resist themselves...and they can cause more dissonance by resisting with a CD 6.

A Balseraph's existence is made of lies. Exposure hurts, and Balseraphs do not cope well with being proven liars. The easiest way to avoid it is to be careful with who you resonate. Thus, Balseraphs don't use their resonance constantly, any more than Seraphim do. They especially avoid using it on the strong-willed, like other demons and especially other Balseraphs.

Common Balseraphic Discords include Burning Lies, a Celestial Discord that causes Disturbance whenever the Balseraph uses their resonance, due to Symphonic feedback on their lies. This can easily drive them mad. Forked Tongue is a Corporeal Discord related to the Discord of the same name that strikes Seraphim. A Balseraph must make A will roll minus the Discord's level whenever they use their resonance, or else they physically manifest evidence of a lie in some obvious and unnatural way. Your tongue might fork, your skin might turn red, your nose might grow. This lasts for (CD) minutes...and if you do it again before it fades, the CD is not overwritten, but cumulative. Truthfullness is an Ethereal Discord. Whenever they speak, they must roll Will minus the Discord's level. Failure means they must tell the truth. Further, CD 6 on the failed roll causes dissonance, and the Discord adds to the TN of dissonance rolls.

Stereotypes posted:

For this one, normal text is what Balseraphs say, italics is what they think when not using their resonance.
Seraphim : I'm quite hurt! Would I be foolish enough to lie to you? ( Bastards! A Seraph can ruin all your plans in an instant. As if knowing the "truth" makes them special... )
Cherubim : I admire greatly your steadfast loyalty; you are the most caring and attentive creatures in Creation. Of course I wouldn't dream of trying ot get past your guard. ( Cretins! We are all alone in this universe. Latching onto something like a baby clutching a bottle just makes you that much more pathetic. )
Ofanim : Your grace astounds me - I'm sure I'm not alone in envying you. ( Easily distracted, easily manipulated. It's such fun sending them on wild goose chases. )
Elohim : Objectivity is truly divine. Other angels should listen to you more. ( Help them understand that they're lying to themselves, that they really do care...Hell can always use another Habbalite. )
Malakim : I surrender! No, I won't move an inch. You know, I've grown weary of serving hte Dark Side; is there any way you could help me? ( We hate, hate, hate them! They can sniff us out, and there's no reasoning with them. Unless you're capable of taking one out yourself, stay away and let others deal with them. )
Kyriotate : Your unique gift proves you have a special place in God's plan. ( Be careful with them, they're hard to understand and harder to see coming. But they're as gullible as anyone else. )
Mercurians : You are everyone's best friend, suave, witty, charming, stylish... ( ...shallow, vain, credulous...they're practically human. )
Djinn : I know just how much you are underappreciated. How can anyone else understand the lonely vigil you maintain? ( Good doggy. Here, have a nice human to play with. )
Calabim : You the man! You do that thing you do so well, just let me get out of the way. ( Very good to have on your side...make sure it's on your terms. )
Lilim : I've seen many of Lilith's daughters in my time, but you are surely her most perfect creation! ( Pretty to look at, fun to play with, but do not accept their "gifts." )
Shedim : You have mastered the art of corruption. I love to watch you work. ( Keep them on a tight leash...they've got all the subtlety of a chainsaw murderer. )
Impudites : You are everyone's best friend, and understand humans so well. Maybe you can give me some advice. ( Let them play with their humans. These leeches don't really understand manipulation. )

Next time: Banding together

Hell 2 You

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Hell 2 You

The Djinn are relenetless, determined, handling important jobs...and yet they are often the last devoted to the cause. They rarely rebel, of course, as that would take too much effort. However, neither loyalty nor laziness accounts for why they are such favored servants - it's that they have no better options. They can be belligerent, whiny, dogged or apathetic. Beneath the uncaring exterior, however, each of them has the needy heart of a Cherub...but one purged of love and devotion, and left with nothing but their personal symphony to fill the voids. They no longer risk caring, or their instinct for devotion becomes an uncontrollable, humiliating and hurtful obsession. Asmodeus and Beleth represent Djinns among the Princes. Asmodeus obsesses over strategies and the Game, while Beleth has rid herself of all but hate and focused her obsession on humanity. Other famous Djinn include Azazel, Lucifer's personal secretary, Beelzebub, late Prince of Corruption, Charon, Kronos' ferryman, Iblis, Baal's standard-bearer, Nergal, Asmodeus' chief Renegade-hunter, Meserach, late Prince of Sloth, Nygon, Demon of Strangulation, and Tamiel, Demon of the Deeps.

Djinn are the Hellhounds, trackers and guards. They watch over people and places, sometimes protecting them...but not often. They're rarely good at it, as getting too involved risks dissonance. They make excellent hunters, however, as they can lead others to their attuned and then sit by as the attuned is beaten to death. Djinn also work in information networks, as their laziness makes them excellent watchers - many enjoy just sitting there and observing. Most of these are washouts, who serve as listening posts because they're not good at anything else. More reliable Djinn often have more responsibility, if not more action. They often camp out in angelic territory, silently watching. On a team, they serve as scouts and observers, sneaking ahead and attuning to things they want to track later. They also make good backup, as they make sure no one goes unnoticed - including their allies fleeing. Djinn have a lot of pent-up aggression, as well, so they like to fight against those they aren't attuned to, and they can be very tough and relentless, even if they're slow to anger. In Hell, their duties are roughly similar - managing gateways, watching things, and so on. They are notorious busybodies, following other demons around to keep an eye on them. Some Princes like to keep them prowling just to remind people that their acts might not be secret. It's hard to avoid contact in the hordes of Hell, and if a Djinn has ever touched you, they might have attuned. If a Prince has reason to suspect you, there is almost certainly a Djinn watching you and your Heart - perhaps openly and perhaps secretly.

Djinn often require a Role that allows frequent travel and access. Paparazzi is common, but any journalist or photographer will do. They're bad at deadlines, so they're usually freelancers. Some work as PIs or even bodyguards, possibly trying to pass themselves off as Cherubim if revealed as celestial. Djinn also gravitate to Roles that allow abuse of power - cops or IRS agents, say. They don't get good performance reviews, but they rarely care. Those that don't have to move much usually take dead-end jobs - busboys, janitors, clerks. They are surly, though they aren't always bad at the job. Djinn need not have jobs at all, however. Many like the Role of unemployed couch potato, collecting welfare or unemployment and spending it on video games. (They needn't eat, after all.) Those who truly don't care may even be homeless, where they are likely to clash with Shedim.

Djinn don't like other demons and they really don't like humans. Celestially, they are glowering, disdainful beasts. On Earth, they're fairly similar. They are afraid of getting close to others and avoid social gatherings when they can. Some have operated on Earth for a very long time without ever learning much about humanity. If they choose to interact, it's generally only superficially - large, anonymous gatherings. They rarely engage in Earthly pleasure. When not working, they tend to brood alone in the dark. Some call this a hobby. Others watch TV a lot, surrounded by filth. They like game shows, football and soap operas most. They also enjoy home shopping networks, and often order weird appliances or phony programs. They don't really care - it's not like the money was important. When they socialize, they are often unpleasant. They either don't care about appearances or are compulsive about them. They are the most cynical of Bands, and can always find something about humans to complain about. Others tend to avoid them, which suits them.

Djinn must normally touch something to attune to it, and then touch it again in (CD) days to maintain the attunement, rolling again to get a new CD to see when they have to touch it again. CD 6 means the same as it would on an initial resonance roll, but otherwise the only possible consequence is an Intervention. Some Djinn, however, find this inconvenient for long-term attunements, while others want shorter attunements for many different objects. While CD 6 lets them maintain an attunement indefinitely, it also makes it risky to sever. Djinn can attempt to modify the duration of any attunement by taking a penalty to their resonance roll. Each -2 to the TN alters the check digit by 1, either up ro down, chosen before rolling. CD cannot be reduced below 1 or above 6. However, the modifier always adds to the CD of a failed roll. If a Djinn cannot touch someone physically, they can attempt to make contact celestially, 'touching' them while in celestial form. However, this allows the target to resist with Will, adding Celestial Forces to the TN, even if they aren't aware of the Djinn. If they succeed with a higher CD than the resonance roll, it's treated as a failed resonance, and the subject automatically perceives the Djinn's celestial form.

Like Cherubim, Djinn sometimes have to find their targets before attuning. They're very good at it, even before they touch. Most are rather stealthy, to avoid being noticed, because their attentions are rarely desirable. They tend to be skilled at shadowing and very familiar with stalking laws. Their resonance is completely reliable while it lasts, and Djinn can triangulate with it just as Cherubim can.

Djinn gain dissonance in two ways. First, by harming their attuned, and second, by becoming too attached. There's just enough Cherub left to make hurting their attuned remind them of their original purpose, though they can let others do it. The greater risk is to become attached like a Cherub, when they try to de-attune and fail. Dissonance generated by harming an attuned can be removed by undoing all the harm that was caused. Physical harm is easy enough, but emotional harm is usually beyond a Djinn's means to heal. Dissonance from failed removal fades when the attunement does...but any dissonance gained in the meantime from allowing the attuned to be harmed will not. The Djinn may erase that dissonance in the same way Cherubim can, by undoing any damage the attuned suffers, as long as they're still attuned when they fix it. Djinn can also remove either type of dissonance by complete abstinence from any attachments. If a Djinn severs all attunements and loses themselves completely in their own symphony, they can enter a state of brooding complacency. For each week attuned to nothing at all, they lose one dissonance. It's easy, if they have no job, but most Princes won't allow them to be idle that long.

Djinn can't hurt their attuned, so they shouldn't attune to those that might attack or provoke them. Usually that's easy to avoid - just run and let your friends handle it. It can be a problem, however, when tracking an angel, Renegade or other threat. Generally, Djinn prefer to keep their attunement secret. It's harder, though, when they become obsessed. Then, they must protect their attuned, putting the attunned before their own interests. If they can do so in secret, that's fine, but they aren't good at that. They're not great guardians, and they hate themselves for allowing it, and hate their attuned for forcing it on them. The best way to avoid problems is just to be very careful about attunements - treat each as a posible hazard.

Common Djinn Discords include Apathy, an Ethereal Discord that requires a Will roll at a penalty equal to the level to take interesti n anything that isn't an immediate threat to your well-being, though fortunately your boss's direct orders count as a threat. Distracting Attunements is a Celestial Discord that makes it hard to concentrate when you have too many attunements. Subtract the level from your Celestial Forces, to a minimum of zero. You can attune to that many objects without penalty, but get -1 per additional attunement to all TNs. Obsessive-Compulsive is an Etheral Discord that is identical to the Cherubic Ritualized Responsibilities.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim : Annoyung, judgmental and so holier-than-thou it gives us a headache.
Cherubim : Their devotion is pathetic; it makes them vulnerable. It's only appropriate that humans portray them as fat children wearing diapers.
Ofanim : They're fast, but can't run forever. If we really want to catch one, we will.
Elohim : They just pretend not to care; we really don't. Is that why we live in Hell?
Malakim : Trouble. Get them before they get you.
Kyriotates : They're more annoying than the Shedim, but only half as ugly.
Mercurians : A baseball bat, some steel-toed boots and a Mercurian alone in a dark that's a fun evening.
Balseraphs : Just assume everything they say is a lie. Let them play their games, but don't get sucked into them.
Calabim : They never relax. If they look relaxed, they're probably about to smash something. Great to hang around with when angels come by, not so great if you just want to watch the tube.
Habbalah : They can make you feel things - mess with humans, stay away from us.
Lilim : They'll try to cheer you up, and then charge you for it. Sometimes you can get a free favor by helping them find some poor schmuck who owes 'em, though.
Shedim : Creepy, sneaky bastards. And pathetically ugly. See how smug they are when you catch them in celestial form...
Impudites : If we could suck Essence out of people, maybe we'd pretend to like them, too.

Calabim are simple. They break things, and they're good at it. They like doing it. They are useful and loyal - they tend to be happy as long as they get to break things regularly. Morale is not a problem for them, and they are reckless and violent, serving not out of resentment for God or some dark vision, but just because they like hurting people. They embody entropy, and they only cause problems when you expect them to be patient, subtle or restrained. They are not inherently stupid, however. They can appear mindlessly brutal, and many aren't very clever, but they are as perceptive as any Band. They are quite capable of ambition and intellect, and the smartest know that letting others see them as thugs can be advantageous. Belial and Haagenti are Calabite Princes not known for great thinking, but they've both survived many plots against them, and Valefor is known to be subtle and clever, with few realizing how much damage he truly causes. Other famous Calabim include Demogorgon, late Demon of Destruction, who might have become the most powerful Calabite in history if Belial had not destroyed him when he tried to become a Prince, Eurynomos, Demon of Cannibalism, Forneus, Demon of Drowning, Furfur, new Prince of Hardcore, Murmur, commander of the damned souls in Hades, Sammael, Demon of Poison, Vephar, the late Prince of the Oceans, Xaphan, Demon of Arson, and Zimimar, Demon of Blizzards.

Calabim exist to break things andh urt people. They are sent only when at least the threat of violence is required. They can obey orders and even plan, but they don't handle tedium well for long. Most are kept in Hell until needed or given Roles that let them use their pent-up aggression between jobs...or allow them to wander around doing random acts of violence. They tend to be used as assassins, fighters or saboteurs. Assassination is rare- they're not very subtle killers, after all - but they're good at handling other celestials or causing headline murders. Combat is more common - Calabim are muscle, and good at it. And sometimes, well, you just need something destroyed or a breach made in defenses, or certain items dismantled. Calabim are very, very good at it, and their mere presence contributes to deterioration even if not ordered. They like minor acts of destruction, after all. In Hell, they have little to do besides fight and cause chaos, but they're too dangerous to send to Earth en masse, so each Principality has at least one spot known for roving Calabite gangs. They make poor sentries, but excellent combat guards when an alarm is sounded. They also work as demolition of old structures and builders of new ones. They are good ati t, and some Princes keep these projects going just to keep them busy. They're also good torturers, and they tend to enjoy torturing the damned for Essence, at least for a while...but if left to their own devices too long, they can start stripping souls of Forces, which is not usually intended.

Calabim rarely need Roles or want them. When they do have one, it tends to be one that requires little sociability, neatness or stability. Some act as musicians in rock bands, though they often need new instruments. Others are construction workers or demolitions experts. They also like Roles as pizza delivery or taxi drivers, as well as garbage men or organized crime muscle. They tend to think very little aobut human society. They understand Hell, but humanity is just a set of toys to break. Very little either pleases or bothers them. They like rock music, sports events, stock car racing, demolition derbies and tractor pulls, mostly because things break and people get hurt. The more violent, the better. Some enjoy mindless action and horror movies. Calabim hate rules and etiquette, though, particularly laws. The only rules they respect are those of Lucifer, Asmodeus and their Prince, and then only because they must. Some Calabim do appreciate the finer things in life, however. They like the satisfaction of destroying precious objects more than cheap ones...and they especially like breaking things that belong to others. Calabim do not need to act psychotic, however. Calabim can be quite calm...but even if they aren't actively destroying things, they're thinking about it, and they can kill you as easily as they'd drink a glass of water.

Calabite resonance is not subtle, but it's very potent. They also have a knack for all kinds of destruction. Any time a Calabite uses mundane methods to break something, a resonance roll will shorten the time or increase their efficiency, with CD reflecting degree of success. If an object has a specific weakness, including any Vulnerability, Calabim can make a Perception-based resonance roll at -2 to discover it, requiring a turn of concentration in which they cannot Dodge or take any actions. They also can't find weaknesses if they don't exist, and most people and objects do not have them. By concentrating for a turn and making a resonance roll at -4, a Calabite can destroy things more subtly. They do noramly damage, but the CD determines the subtlety. CD 1 is not immediately visible damage, but will be noticed quickly - a person will cough up blood and know they're hurt, an object will crack or warp soundlessly. CD 2 is not immediately visible and will become apparent only when examined closely. The living will have no symptoms beyond pain. Inanimate objects will subtly crack or deform if they aren't totally destroyed. CD 3 is hard to detect. People feel pain, but it requires a Medicine roll to confirm any damage, and even then, the origin is impossible to find. Objects appear unharmed unless examined closely. CD 4 means the target will feel pain, but only a thorough medical examination will reveal systemic shock - what most doctors would call a heart attack. They will be unaware of any damage. Inanimate objects appear fine if not destroyed, unless examined very closely, in which case there may be hairline fractures or erosion. CD 5 means the target feels a faint twinge with a Perception roll but has no visible injury to any examination, and is unware of any damage. Inanimate objects appear unharmed unless damaged enough to impair their function, in which case any malfunction will have no apparent cause. CD 6 means the target is entirely unaware of any injury unless outright killed, even at negative HP. Inanimate objects appear entirely undamaged even if destroyed, though they may fall apart at a tap.

The visible effects of normal resonance are up to the GM, but normally they manifest as general damage with no clear source. A Calabite's resonance field is invisble. Objects crack and crumble, people bleed and their bones break. The damage might reflect their Prince's Word if appropriate - Calabim of Fire, for exmaple, might cause burns. The victim is always aware that the Calabite is the one hurting them unless they use a more subtle resonance, however. All Calabim also have Discord, and they tend to not be bothered by it at all. They do get CP for their starting Discord, and it does not automatically go up or down if their Forces change, but any Discords they gain are often just more of what they had. Angry and Berserk are the most common, but other Calabim have Stigmata, Ugly or other Corporeal Discords. Few besides Crippled or Vulnerability actually bother them. Celestial Discords are rare among most Calabim, save for Gluttons, who get Gluttony often, and Lusties, who get Lustfulness often.

Calabim tend to deal with dissonance by just getting more Discord. They don't mind so much, unless it gets in the way of their job. Normally, Calabim only become dissonant if someone resists their resonance and they choose to absorb rather than redirect it. Most Calabim will only do so if there's nothing nearby that they dare to harm, which is why they tend to hate Roles. Human society, after all, can put them in situations where breaking everything isn't acceptable. They can self-resonate, however, and harm themselves - a viable option, if you can heal it and aren't about to fight. There is one way to get rid of dissonance, as well: a destructive spree. You must use your resonance repeatedly for (Corporeal ForceS) hours. Each use must have another follow it up within (CD) minutes, or immediately after it's possible to do so on a failed roll. If anyone resists during this time, obviously you must redirect and not absorb. There is no limit to how long you can continue the spree, except for how many things are around to break. Each (Corporeal Forces) hours removes one dissonance.

Any situation where a Calabite can't freely break shit is dangerous. Maintaining a Role, for example, is hard when shit falls apart all around you, especially when angels are nearby. They tend to avoid using their resonance at all in these situations...but they don't enjoy it. Calabim like breaking things when they want to, and restraint bothers them and makes them irritable. It gets worse the longer they have to be restrained. They are never used as diplomats save for intimidation value, and those who value their goods and servants tend to avoid Calabim socially. Fortunately, everyone is aware that this is how things are, so if you don't remember, you deserve what you get.

Common Calabite Discords include Aura of Entropy, a CElestial Discord that exacerbate's a Calabite's normal entropic radiation. Anything they touch takes (Discord Level) damage every minute - clothing, concrete on the ground, cars, whatever. Only celestial artifacts are immune. Good luck using any kind of electronics, too. Indiscriminate is a Celestial Discord that makes it hard to control your resonance, giving a penalty to the TN of resonance rolls equal to the Discord's level. If the roll fails, but only due to this penalty, the resonance still happens...but against a random target chosen by the GM. Pain is a Corporeal Discord that causes constant pain for the Calabite, reducing their Agility and Precision by the Discord's level and reducing the TN of any action requiring concentration.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim : Arrogant, pious jerks. You know where I'd like to shove their halos...
Cherubim : Stubborn creeps, they get in the way. They cry like babies when you destroy what they're protecting, though...that's fun.
Ofanim : Let me help you slow down. All the way down.
Elohim : I've seen what happens when they let go, and I like them better that way.
Malakim : They hate us. That's fine. You ain't earned your hooves until you've gone mano-a-mano with a Malakite.
Kyriotates : They just take a little longer to weed out. Start targeting their hosts and watch them get all panicky.
Mercurians : What a waste of skin. You want a sense of style? Personally, I like the color red...
Balseraphs : They talk too much, and they think they're special. If you let them think they're in charge, though, they'll usually stay out of your way.
Djinn : They're good at fetching things. Thye can't kill their victims, but they like to watch us do it. Go figure.
Habbalah : Angels? Whatever...we're all twisted freaks, but we admit it.
Lilim : They're cute. Their vessels are fun to play with, and fun to take apart. Watch your back, though - they can call in favors from all kinds of places, and sometimes their "mommy" gets involved...
Shedim : What they lack in skill, they make up in enthusiasm, and you can always tell where they've been. Hail Satan.
Impudites : Marginally less annoying than Mercurians. They're still too soft.

Next time: Whips and chains

Highway to Hell

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Highway to Hell

Habbalah are whirlwinds of painful emotion, maintaining stability with a network of lies that let them believe they remain angels and serving God. When they were Elohim, they could understand themselves. Now, they maintain their own stability only by fracturing others to convince themselves they are strong. They must convince themselves that they serve God, that their Prince (knowingly or not) serves God, and wrap themselves tightly in self-delusion. Vapula is the only major Habbalite Prince. Other famous Habbalah inclaud Caimael, the first Habbalite, Ben-Japheth, Demon of Student Discipline, Nurbis, Demon of Mummification, Vathek, Demon of Jealousy, Kame, Demon of Fast Food, and Izkriath, Demon of Blame.

Habbalah are obsessed with punishing those they see ask weak. The Princes capitalize on this nature, assigning them to individuals or groups. Those on Earth are typically charged with 'testing' someone to destruction, capitalizing on their emotional and psychological weaknesses to destroy their minds and lives. Because the Habbalah believe they serve God, the more careful Princes use careful misdirection to help them justify their works to themselves. The less devious ones allow them to produce their own justifications - it's hardly as though the Habbalah have trouble doing so. They justify their lives by destorying others, and enjoy little more than watching victims tear themselves apart and destroy all they hold dear. They see it as culling the weak, telling themselves that the truly strong or worthy would have survived. Of course, this is simply a lie, and everyone knows it. In Hell, Habbalah work as intelligence gatherers and torturers. They use their resonance to get other demons to tell them things. Where an Impudite can befriend others, Habbalah can rule over the emotional extremes, fracturing a mind with love and hatred and confusion. They also take joy in punishing the weak and pitiful emotionally and physically, and while it's not necessarily common, some Habbalah love physical torture to aid in their emotional breakage, using physical pain to weaken the mind's defenses.

Habbalah work well in any Role that deals in emotions or psychology, and they often change Roles to adapt to their assignments, so rarely hold them at high levels. They are often found as counselors, entertainers, funeral directors, prostitutes, psychiatrists, psychologists, strippers, maids or secretaries. They understand human society well, and know that all of it is quite fragile. Humans are emotionally weak, and with the right wrench in the right place, it all comes tumbling down. As it should, if it is not strong. The Habbalah enjoy a lot of Earthly society, particularly emotionally charged places like nightclubs, sporting events, legislative centers and strip clubs. They are often friendly in conversation and overtly sexual, but they are always searching for weaknesses to exploit. They disdain other demons, and often need to be ordered not to use their powers on allies, for their own safety. Even so, Habbalah get killed by other demons fairly often. They, unlike most demons, are rather displeased by the social degradation of the 20th century. They like societal taboos, which encourage repressed feelings and guilt.

The Habbalah resonance allows them to unleash a maelstrom of emotion. They may also attempt to use the resonance to sense the emotions of others, but they are handicapped at doing so. They can make a Perception-based resonance roll, identical ot the Elohim resonance...but they must name the highest possible check digit they can possibly get on the roll, taking it as a penalty to the TN. Habbalah may also enhance existing emotions rather than inflicting new ones, but they won't necessarily know what emotions they've boosted until after. They do this with a resonance roll at a penalty equal to the target's Ethereal Forces, but the target's Will to resist is penalized by the Habbalite's Celestial Forces. The GM decides the exact effects, and they last for (Total Forces) hours, fading slowly over time. The resonance is otherwise normal, reducing the demon's choice of Intelligence or Precision by their Ethereal Forces, and backlash will enhance the Habbalite's current emotions if they are resisted.

The ability of the Habbalah to use a hobbled version of their old Elohite resonance provides some justification to their delusions. However, when doing so, they can never sense the reasons for the emotions of others, and can never use the more sophisticated resonance tricks of the Elohim. Still, their knowledge can make them dangerous even when not inflicting emotions on others, especially when they pair it with their resonance to take advantage of a target's real feelings. They hardly need to use it to inflict emotions, but it's handy for telling how a target might react to a certain emotion.

Habbalah gain dissonance when they absorb a resisted resonance without suffering backlash - often because it'd risk their cover or control. They may remove a note of dissonance by returning and affecting the original target with the intended emotion, but this is not always possible. They may also remove dissonance by spending an entire week affecting the emotions of everyone they get in close contact with, either via their resonance or simple psychology.

One of the big problems Habbalah have is knowing that they are Hell, surrounded by demons who call them demons. The frequent urge to punish other demons must be resisted, for survival. Demons often complain about their arrogance, delusion and bad habit of stress-testing everyone nearby. Wiser Habbalah, those who survive the first few years, learn to 'understand' that God clearly intended them to be in Hell, and that demons are part of the punishment of the weak. They learn to tolerate other demons and work with them, punishing others when assigned to work with a team. In general, they enjoy the company of other Habbalah most, as they understand and do not mock each other.

Common Habbalah Discords include Mutilation, a Corporeal Discord that causes their celestial scarring and tattoos to manifest on their vessels, at first as faint and concealable marks, and later as obvious, garish and painful-looking. The Discord reduces all reaction rolls by its level and makes it easy to identify them. Pity is an Ethereal Discord that causes sympathy for others, subtracting its level from all resonance attempts, or double when the resonance would actively cause pain or trouble for the target. Unshielded is a Celestial Discord that makes the Habbalah feel the emotions of others, including those they inflict. Whenever around someone feeling a strong emotion, they must make a Will roll, minus the Discord's level, to avoid sensing the other's feelings and manifesting the same emotion, as if their resonance had backlashed. If dealing with a crowd, they roll for each person they come in contact with, individually and concurrently.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim : They believe that they hold the monopoly on truth - they delude themselves, as they do not realize how necessary we are.
Cherubim : Their protection of the weak impedes our duty. They need to be enlightened, or removed.
Ofanim : Their haste can frequently be fanned into some useful emotion. Failing that, avoid them - they condemn us with their customary lack of thought.
Elohim : Stop deluding yourselves. Let me show you the true way, the true path in service to the holiest of the holy. You blinker yourself and do not understand .
Malakim : They are strong, and act in accordance with their honor: I can appreciate this, and will test them all the more for it. Perhaps they are worthy.
Kyriotates : They lose themselves among their hosts, and become as weak as they. They shall be tested in their hosts, and stand or fall with them.
Mercurians : They spend their time living among and catering to the weak, and displaying their own weakness. They shall be punished like the mortals they mimic.
Balseraphs : They dare to call us liars, when they are tangled neck-deep in their own lies. If I had pity, I might pity them.
Djinn : They do not care for the weak and for their victims. I applaud this.
Calabim : Calabim are the destruction which follows punishment; their entropy shall tear apart all that is unworthy of survival.
Lilim : They believe themselves perceptive because they can offer a being his wishes. We go deeper, and touch the heart. Tolerate their folly where necessary.
Shedim : The Corrupters are also necessary, as they bring out the evil that lurks in the souls of many, and show they deserve their punishment.
Impudites : Petty, mortal-loving fools no better than the Mercurians. They encourage weakness, but we scourge it.[/b]

Lilim are the least numerous major Band, but disproportionately represented on Earth. Lilith likes quality - every Lilim is made with 9 Forces, and so the Lilim rival Balseraphs and Habbalah for arrogance, though they are better at hiding it. They are made Free, with the choice of either serving a Prince or owing Lilith. She'll happily trade the Geases immediately, of course, or use Forces given by a Prince to try to make a Lilim that wants to serve them. If a Lilim chooses to bind themself immediately, the Prince usually pays Lilith, but the Lilim owes her nothing. Those that start Free and change their mind later still owe her, however. Lilith also tries to get small Geases on all Lilim. Free Lilim look down on the bound, but envy their security. Bound Lilim smother their mixed feelings with claims that they freely chose their allegiance and that even Lilith choose partisan safety over suicidal neutrality. Asmodeus sees the Free as loose cannons, and even the Game doesn't know all they do. Famous Lilim include Ephesus, the first Lilim to Redeem, Shiza, the first Free Lilim to Redeem (who died fighting Legion), Staciel, Demon of Intrigue, I'm Going to Hell, Demon of Gambling Debts and prize racehorse, and Ashley, the most recent Renegade to try and work with the ethereal gods, who got caught and killed live for all of Hell to see.

Lilim are tempters, not fighters. They work as spies, corrupters and diplomats, and often serve as peacemakers in their demonic social circles. They prefer covert power, leaving 'leadership' to more overt demons. OFten, they are 'bought' for periods of work, Geased to serve a Prince for a time. Lilith expects them not to be used as cannon fodder or easily abandoned. If they die corporeally in the course of service, their temp Prince is expected to replace their vessel when they emerge from Limbo or send them Essence while they're there, as long as they didn't fuck up. While a Lilim bound this way isn't bound by dissonance conditions, they will gain dissonance from the Geas to act as a servitor of that Prince if they go too contrary to their temporary master's Word. Some Princes fudge on vessel replacement, but most don't, for fear of the Lilim going on strike. Lilim are a scarce resource, and so rarely seen in Hell, given their value on Earth. They tend to be executive assistants, hostesses and entertainers there, or favor-brokers, either for themselves or for Princes. They are also used as internal security, detecting the Needs of other demons. The Need to be hidden as a Renegade is pretty damning, after all.

Lilim have many possible Roles. They like to be nurses, cooks, prostitutes, lawyers, teachers, cops and neighbors. They prefer to be attractive and tend to be the center of attention. They like Roles thatl et them 'help' people, building large Geas-webs, but will take on other Roles if they must. They do not like Roles that enslave others unfairly, except their own Geases. They are nearly as human as Impudites and Mercurians, enjoying corporeal pleasures. They like 'fun' humans, and understand most human motivations, if in terms of enlightened self-interest. To them, friendship is an association of mutual benefit, families are there so parents are cared for in old age, and so on. They appreciate the value of keeping bargains, and while they don't expect it in others, it does impress them when it happens. They also understand the desire for freedom. What they don't get is altruism, or putting principle over comfort. They get motives of revenge or making a point, but 'the right thing to do' escapes them entirely.

Lilim can use the Celestial Song of Affinity to track those whom they have Geases on, though they rarely do it for anyone but themselves. Anyone with the ability to spend Essence consciously may also, if they wish, promise an unspecified favor to a Lilim. They need only exert their will, no roll needed, and the Geas will manifest. A Lilim may also take a penalty to their resonance roll to detect specific classes of needs - sexual, monetary, or whatever - or to confirm an obvious need. (It's really annoying to know someone has to be rescued from kidnappers but be unable to detect it by resonance.) For obvious needs, it's -2 to the TN, and the Geas's level remains locked to the check digit, but the need will always be detected on success. For a class of needs, it's -1 for a large class ('something physical') to -3 for a more specific ('something Discord-related) or even -6 for a specific, non-obvious Need. If the modified roll fails, it's the same as a normal failure. If the roll succeeds but no such Need actually exists, the Lilim gets nothing but can try again immediately.

Lilim are all very selfish, and to them, 'freedom' means 'I will do anything to stay free, so fuck you.' They keep track of who owes what to whom, even unofficially, and are constantly aware of all their debts and potential debts. They expect other Lilim to reciprocate even unofficial favors, though not other demons. They know people well, and while they can't trade Geases the way Lilith does, they can pledge to invoke Geases for the benefit of others, allowing for long webs of favors. They're very happy to do the same for humans, taking advantage of mortal influence to find the power brokers and get their help.

Lilim gain dissonance when they try to get a return favor and fail. This imbalance disrupts their personal symphonies. The typical fix is to get a Geas later, or, if that fails, do another favor and get a Geas for that. That erases the dissonance. If this fails, however, Lilim can also try to rebalance by gaining favors from others without fulfilling their Needs or pledging their own service. If you get something for nothing, and the level of the Geas you could have gotten before is matched, you lose the dissonance - either in one big favor or several smaller ones that add up. Dissonance gained by resisting a Geas is lost when you finally fulfill the Geas, even if it's in a way the Geas-holder did not intend.

The best way for Lilim to avoid dissonance is to be careful with targets - don't pick those who have strong wills and can resist. Your other main problem, then, is when conflicting Geases are called in at once. You can get another Lilim to bind herself to save one of your Geases for a favor, to avoid that dissonance. Alternatively, convince the person you owe to reword or cancel their Geas. Abusing Geases to deliberately cause dissonance is rare, as Lilith gets angry when she learns about it.

Common Lilim Discords include Generous, an Ethereal Discord that requires the Lilim to attempt to fulfill any Need they discover as if Geased to do so unless they make a Will roll with a penalty equal to the Discords level, every (Discord's level) days, with each failure causing an additional note of dissonance on top of any from not obeying the Geas it mposes. If the Geased Need is fulfilled, the Geas gained in return is normal. Chained Geases is a Corporeal Discord that causes all Geases equal to or less than the Discord's level to manifest physically as unbreakable chains on the Lilim's corporeal form. They don't hinder movement and can be hidden...but they look like slave-bracelets or slave-collars, and they can't be removed ntil the Geases are fulfilled. Plus, cleestials can recognize them as if they were relics. Deteriorating Geases is a Celestial Discord that causes all Geases owed by the Lilim to decay in value over time, according to the Geas interval chart at the Discord's level.

Stereotypes posted:

"Okay, Mother doesn't tell us that much, but a girl picks things up. Pay attention - if I have to repat this, you'll owe me. First time's practically a freebie, 'cause we're sisters."
Balseraphs : "Aside from their lies, they're okay to work with, if you can ignore their little delusion that they're nobility when Hell's just full of 'em."
Djinn : "These guys are the best - they hate Shedim almost as much as we do, and they all have an intense hidden desire to be cuddled and cared about."
Calabim : "Depends on the Calabite; some are nicer than others. Hand them something to tear up, and they're happy. But don't get too close in a fight, or let them dump out your purse."
Habbalah : "Annoying lunatics. They'll try to upstage a girl anytime they can - in looks, clothes, cars, lovers...and claim they're angels ! They're as snooty as Balseraphs, and just as plentiful!"
Shedim : " No one has Needs as vile as Shedim! Never try your resonance on one, or you'll want to wash your head out with a flamethrower. But we all check one anyway. You'll be sorry. I sure was."
Impudites : "Almost as easy to deal with as humans, but sometimes they get a little casual with your Essence."
Seraphim : "More snooty than Balseraphs. They'll mess with our deal-making, too, telling everybody all the truth and more. Remember, when around a Seraph, don't lie."
Cherubim : "Their greatest Need is to protect the object of their attunement. Look for it carefully - they get overprotective if they think you're targeting them or their fixation."
Ofanim : "It's hard to make eye contact with 'em! They're always hyped! Weird, though - they've gotta be free to move around, even more than Free Daughters do."
Elohim : "They're slippery - even if you catch a Need, they can refuse when you try to give it to them. At least that won't backlash us. But they're the most likely to just talk to you. All that 'objectivity.' Spooky."
Malakim : "They're beautiful, but they want us dead, like any other Hell-born. Run away fast, and hope they're the kind that can't hit first or shoot you in the back."
Kyriotates : "It's no surprise they Fall into Shedim. Taking over people's bodies - is that any way for angels to behave?"
Mercurians : "The hardest to spot via their Needs, since they're so like humans. Fun at parties, but don't forget - you're not human, so they can hurt you."

Next time: Corruption

Hell's Angels

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Hell's Angels

Shedim are monsters, twisted creatures that find pleasure in reducing everyone else to being like them. When they take a host, they lead them down a path of sin, abandoning them when they have nothing left. They can only have one host, able to understand only their own point of view. Saminga and Malphas represent them among major princeses. Other famous Shedim include Legion, the late Prince of Corruption, Masheth, Demon of Mutiny, Porris, Demon of Looting and Cremnian, Demon of Orgies.

Shedim are corruptors - that's about all they do. Either they carefully nurture evil or spread wild chaos. They are infamously effective at this - if you need a human's life wrecked, a Shedite can handle it. If you need virtue corroded, they can do it. They are very good at destroying a human life and everything it touches. When not directly ordered, they wander about, degrading the human population at large, spreading chaos and doing their bit to damn everyone they meet. The experienced Shedim are often set loose to just do as they will, as their natural tendencies advance Hell's cause fairly well if they are at least minimally cautious. Younger or more reckless Shedim are usually given specific jobs, as their careless corruption is, while useful, possibly dangerous due to the attention they draw. Shedim, in Hell, tend to have little to do except serve as guards and envoys intended to unnerve other demons. They are terrifying in appearance and cannot be swayed by mercy or virtue. They are sadists, vicious and cruel.

Shedim don't do Roles, but instead adopt the lives of their hosts. They're very good at it, and so often know ow to do all kinds of mortal jobs, drawn from the memories of their hosts. They love Satanic imagery and wrongness. They also enjoy strip clubs, rock music, drugs, alcohol, live sacrifice, orgies, porn, fights, car crashes, vandalism, rape, murder, burglary and really any kind of malice or excess. They like it because it lets them be what they are and corrupt their hosts. They really enjoy modern society, which has made sin easy to indulge and embrace. They also like communities of the virtuous and places that try to maintain ethical standards, however. These provide the longest-lasting hosts, who can be slowly degraded, and are the most enjoyable to defile. In conversation, Shedim usually adopt the mannerisms of their host unless they see a chance to corrupt someone. If danger or necessity threatens, however, they communicate as they would in Hell, which is often drastically unusual and unsettling from a mortal form. Their natural motions are more sinuous, their accent inhuman.

Shedim resonance allows them inhabit a host and slowly corrupt them. They may also try to alter or implant memories in the host, making them easier to corrupt. This takes hours equal to the highest possible check digit the Shedite hopes to achieve on a resonance roll. A CD of 1 can alter something like a license plate number or distant relative's name, while CD 6 can alter the details of a relationship with an old friend. If you achieve the required CD, you get +1 to all TNs for corrupting the host as long as they involve that memory. If you fail, nothing changes. If you succeed but don't hit the CD needed, the memory is changed but gives no bonus. Shedim may also use their resonance to silently pass between hosts. Normally, they must assume celestial form and cause Disturbance...but if they can cause physical contact between their host and their prospective new host, they can 'ooze' into the new host without exposure. This requires concentration and cannot be done while doing anything else, even grappling with the potential host. The new host must not break contact, either. The resonance roll is made normally, and the process requires (total Forces) seconds, no roll made until after that. If the roll fails or is resisted, the Shedite is left hostless and causes normal Disturbance as they assume celestial form. If contact is broken before the transfer is complete, the Shedite remains in their current host.

Enthusiastic Shedim will have a number of hosts, hopping between them regularly. The mechanics of moving between them can be awkward, as it takes either time and contact or Disturbance. Because of this, Shedim often try to find some ways to make crossings less obvious, by inhabiting a family group or some club or people that have an excuse to touch others, like physiotherapists, nurses or people with long handshakes. Some also stay on the outskirts, where Disturbance might be missed. They can also make transfers in Tethers, where their Disturbance can be hidden in the cacophony, but that's not easy.

Shedim gain dissonance when they fail to get their host to do one or more acts of self-corruption each day, or when their hosts dies with them inside. They can rid themselves of dissonance via what is known as the Long Ride: pick a virtually pristine host and ride them to the depths of depravity, ending only when they die, either by their own hand or another's. This act of dedicated corruption of the pure removes one dissonance.

Why avoid corruption? Most often, it is to avoid breaking cover and spoiling a bigger plan, or because someone is watching for them. Hosts can also attempt suicide when the Shedite is in them, or might just get killed. You can try to persuade them away from suicide, but if they do die, you risk being drawn backto Hell. Avoid this by any means necessary. It is sensible to stay in close range of low-Will potential hosts, and jails are a good option.

Common Shedite Discords include Oozing, a Corporeal Discord that causes their celestial form to show through faintly in their hosts, making them move in unnatural and wrong ways, subtracing the Discord's level from the TN of all rolls involving social interaction, and also the CDs of these rolls. Cold-Blooded is an Ethereal Discord that deadens Shedite empathy even further than normal, subtracing the Discord's level from the TN of all rolls involving empathy or understanding of human feelings. Driven is a Celestial Discord that makes the Shedite eager to use their resonance and corrupt others. They add the Discord's level to the number of corruptions they must cause each day to avoid dissonance.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: So proud, so pure - it would be a pleasant thing to lead them down into corruption and let them recognize that truth.
Cherubim: They cannot hurt those they guard - which makes it that much sweeter when you guide their little pets into hurting them.
Ofanim: Run as fast as you like, I can stay one step in front of you.
Elohim: I'm perfectly objective. Objectively evil. Taste my emotions and see how much I love it.
Malakim: When I have finished with the games I play around them, there's none of their precious honor left.
Kyriotates: All talk, no focus - their knack for multiplicity is their weakness. They lack direction.
Mercurians: I enjoy using human hands to kill them, and watching them unable to strike back.
Balseraphs: They lie to the ears; wel ie to the soul: it comes out the same in the end. We just get there a little faster.
Djinn: Give me one good reason why you should know where I am. I thought as much.
Calabim: Effective, in a brutish and destructive way; as useful in the physical field as we are in the mental.
Lilim: Mmmm. So sweet, so pretty...and they hate us so. Pleasant to see how far you can push them - and then take it a little further.
Habbalah: Follow after me by all means, and punish the corruption that I raise up.
Impudites: Petty, playful, obsessed with humanity. They can be useful in educating one's host in certain vices.[/b]

Impudites really enjoy people. Most Bands despise humanity, but not them. They like talking and working with people, and many have intimate relationships with humans. They love humanity, in the same way that a human loves a good steak. Many are genuinely fond of those they drain, of course, but not all. Some see humans as cattle, while others have limited empathy, but all of them are far more concerned with their own gratification than their victims' well-being. Among major Princes, they are represented by Andrealphus, Nybbas and Kobal. Other famous Impudites include Alaemon, Prince of Secrets, Alastor, a Gamester who claims to have been the first lawyer, Carniel, the first and long-dead Demon of Gluttony, Marou, a Lust demon who was both the Biblical Delilah and Salome, Moloch, Demon of Blood Sacrifices, Saleos, Demon of Fecundity (who inspired succubus and incubus legends), and Vaphoron, one of the few former angels of Purity in Hell, who Fell after being Outcast for befriending ethereals.

Impudites generally have jobs directly working with human society. They are moles, assigned to places for years before they are strictly needed. They make friends, insinuate themselves into communities and often hope they'll never be called on to do a real mission - they usually quite enjoy their 'lives' in deep cover. They are, however, expected to corrupt society in the manner of their Prince's Word. The understand humans better than any other Band, so they often have to teach other demons how to deal with them. Few enjoy this job, but they reason that well-socialized demons cause fewer deaths of their 'friends.' They also provide material aid to other demons, as they tend to have more material goods. They are also much better seducers than Lilim - they don't have to find what someone wants or even do much beyond smiling and resonating. They are used when a mortal must be enthralled but oblivious and still free-willed. They are also the demmons most likely to interact with angels, though they rarely enjoy doing so. They avoid Hell whenever possible, finding it dismal, nasty and full of boring damned souls. The ones in Hell tend to be of very low rank, usually teaching other demons about Earth or interrogating new damned souls. Some do hold important diplomatic posts, however, or envoys to Heaven. The only real prized job for them in Hell, however, is to advise a Prince on human psychology. Not every Prince listens to them, but those that do are often the most successful. Even lesser Wordbound have been known to use Impudite consultants for this purpose.

Impudites prefer Roles that let them meet and befriend many people. Doctors, nurses, teachers, nannies, clergy - any job with comfort, respctability and access. Prostitute is also common, if less respectable, and many Impudites like to use sex as a disguise for draining humans of their Essence and energy. Others prefer to be husbands or housewives, draining their adopted families. They don't need intimate Roles, however - anyone who works with the public can drain Essence and go unnoticed if they're careful. They don't like cops for the risk of having to kill, but they can be bus drivers, ushers or even just drifters. They like human society, but not very strongly. They value humans for their Essence. They might enjoy the arts, technology or fine dining, but they can be equally happy in squalor as long as they're safe and full. They develop preferences, sure, but they don't care that deeply about them. Impudites are shallow. Transience is a modern trend they do love, however - it used to be that people would notice when someone seemed to make people tired or unhealthy, but in modern society, people rarely even know their neighbors or notice when they get tired and downtrodden. Modern society is also deeply selfish, pushing instant gratification. Impudites like that. People take what they need and then discard others. Impudites are quite proud of how human they've ended up being.

Impudites can easily use their resonance to manipulate people. They can enslave a human's will, and to do so, they must charm their victim at least once a day for a number of days equal to (victim's Ethereal + Celestial Forces). During this time, no resonance roll on the victim may fail or be resisted, either to charm or drain, or else you have to start over. The victim must also maintain a positive attitude toward the victim, without fights or breach of trust. Once this is done, the Impudite gets +1 to the TN of all uses of their resonance on the victim, invluding draining. This lasts as long as they remain in daily contact, even if a resonance roll fails, unless a Divine Intervention is rolled. This bonus can be earned cumulatively to a maximum of (victim's Ethereal + Celestial Forces). The bonus vanishes if the victim becomes hostile to the Impudite, and drops by 1 every full day they are apart after the first. There is no limit to how many victims can be charmed this way, however.

the Impudite resonace is often underestimated. It can be tricky, but they rarely have much trouble with humans. They like to pick big, strong people - a human with many Corporeal Forces probably has few of the other kinds. Their charm isn't mind control, either - just trust. Sure, the charmed might be willing to lend a lot of money or break the law...but only if they'd do that for any friend they trusted deeply. Humans won't abandon their real loved ones for the Impudites or forsake their convictions, though conflcts of loyalty will distress them. Impudites in a good situation also have a nearly infinite supply of Essence, though they can only hold as much as their Forces at any one time. They love relics and reliquaries as banks of saved Essence. While random people won't have much at any time, the people an Impudite knows are usually predictable. They have routines, and an Impudite will learn what time is best to drain them, what they tend to spend Essence on and so on. However, too much casual drain does risk a resonance backfire - though even then, there's no Disturbance, at least. Impudites cannot use their resonance on animals or the undead...except for those of Death, who can drain even animated corpses.

Impudites gain dissonance by killing humans or letting humans die. If the Impudite had no control over the situation at all, then deaths won't cause dissonance, but they can't stand by and let a human die when they have a chance to save them. Impudites also despise Discord, especially those that make them look unattractive or make it hard to deal with humans. They will almost always try to get rid of dissonance by some other means. However, it's not easy - you can't un-kill someone. However, they can rid themselves of dissonance by spending Essence. A lot of it. It requires twice their Forces in Essence, spent solely to remove dissonance within the same 24-hour period between sunsets. This means you fill up and drain yourself entirely, twice, using only Essence gained from your resonance and Rites. (Any Essence gained from other means doesn't count.)

Impudites in general prefer to avoid violence. They avoid violent people because they might be forced to kill in self-defense, and avoid violent demons if they can. They aren't pacifists, though. They can hurt humans. They just can't kill them. As long as a situation is under control and no one will be killed, Impudites can be violent if they want to. Some are even very abusive to their victims. Most, however, find violence of any sort wasteful and risky.

Common Impudite Discords include Infatuation, an Ethereal Discord that makes an Impudite's charm able to backfire much as their drain can. When they try to charm someone and fail or get resisted, they must roll Will with a penalty of the Discord's level or become charmed by the victim. Reduced Essence Capacity is a Corporeal Discord that...well, does that. Subtract the Discord's level from your Forces to determine how much Essence you can hold. Tainted Essence is a Celestial Discord that limits when an Impudite can drain Essence, with the level of the Discord determining the criteria. Level 1 might require you to touch your victim, 3 might require you to fuck them or only drain at night, 6 might require you drain only those in comas or only those in an infernal Tether.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: We didn't like them much as Mercurians, and they're absolutely insufferable now.
Cherubim: Dull. And when they're not dull, they're violent. Don't mess with their charges, unless you like getting your teeth kicked in.
Ofanim: Spastic idiots! Keep out of their wy and they usually won't even notice you. It's really a pity, all that energy going to waste.
Elohim: They put up a good front, but there's an awful lot of passion brewing under the surface, if the Habbalah are any indication.
Malakim: One word: run.
Kyriotates: Can't stand them. One moment you're sweet-talking a little Essence out of someone, the next, that little old lady is hitting you over the head with a tire iron.
Mercurians: If they only knew what they're missing...
Balseraphs: For would-be "royalty," they have zero class. They're all talk, and none of it true.
Djinn: How depressing. They should get out and live a little...there's a whole wide world to exploit!
Calabim: Let them bust heads with angels, but keep them away from people.
Habbalah: How can you trust a demon who thinks he's an angel? They're almost as good as we are at manipulating people, though.
Lilim: They think they're so crafty. They have to give something to get something...we just take.
Shedim: Brrrrrr! These creeps are no fun, no fun at all.

Next time: Masters of Evil

Hell For Leather

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Hell For Leather

Before a demon's first trip to Earth, they get an audience iwth their Prince. For some, this will be their first time meeting their Prince. Even if not, this is the interview where oyu get your orders, maybe a favor or two, maybe get to ask a question, and then you get told what happens if you fail. The threat of punishment is always implicit every time you meet a Prince. Some say it, but others just expect you to know. After your mission starts, you hope you won't see oyur Prince again soon. Every Prince has many servants, and while they can manifest in multiple locations at once, they are just as busy as the Archangels and don't have time to waste on you. If they show up too often, it means you're worrying them. Your next mistake could be your last. Infrequent visits are best. Of course, if something brings you to a Prince's attnetion, they're more likely to show up. Being noticed is usually bad if you don't have important and preferably good news. Princes vary in temperament, but all are selfish and malevolent, and most can change moods very quickly. It's best to go unnoticed and be adequate.

For most demons, Earth missions are a reward. Angels see the corporeal plane as a place of imperfection, but demons love it - they escape the tension and misery of Hell, have more chance ot advance and can exert their will on weak mortals. It usually takes years of miserable toil in Hell to get sent to Earth. However, for every Earthbound dmeon, there will eventually be a recknoning. You have to earn your keep, and whether you do depends on a lot of factors.

Princes don't care quite so much as Archangels about what you spend your time doing. They care if you're rebellious or betraying them, but as long as you do your job, they don't give a shit what the rest of your time is spent on. Demons often have more freedom on Earth than angels, and may have very loose assignments, like 'stir up trouble in this city.' They may operatei ndependently for years without a Prince showing up. Others are more watchful - Baal, for example, doesn't like to givem uch autonomy. Saminga, on the other hand, may very well forget he put you somewhere. Either way, though, no matter how laissez-faire a Prince is, you have a boss. Your immediate superior is rarely the Prince themself - most are instead assigned to an intermediary demon, often Wordbound. Sometimes you'll change bosses regularly, sometimes not. Some bosses will watch you closely, being intrusive control freaks, and most demons get one of those at some point. You might work to discredit them - but then, that can be risky. There's not much worse than trying to screw over your boss and failing. Other demons are more friendly with their bosses, but Princes worry about that - they don't want you getting more loyal to your boss than your Prince.

The Princes are very busy, and you can go an entire campaign without meeting your Prince much. However, eventually, someone's going to get their attention or invoke them. Princes can send intermediaries or project themselves with Songs, but they can also show up to surprise you. They most often appear by invocation, though rarely unsubtly. Sometimes they might show up to give orders...but most demons don't get that. When it happens, it means the orders are big. Most Princes also don't do debriefings personally unless the job was very important...but you might not realize a job was important beforehand. Sometimes, a Prince will drop in unexpectedly, mostly to keep their demons honest and afraid. And, like an Archangel, you can seek audience with them. There's not a lot of reason to, however. Typically, if they want to see you, they summon you, not the other way around. It usually means either high honors or horrific punishment. Otherwise, you're only going to see them when your vessel dies and you get shoved back to your Heart, in which case they'll be aware...but even then, they tend to let lesser servants handle things.

Audiences with a Prince are dangerous. If they have a bad day going on, they may easily take it out on you. Smart demons learn how to survive. Step one: be discreet. Demons are paranoid, and Princes aren't an exception. Anything a Prince says in private is private. Do not even think of treating it as otherwise. Reveal their secrets and you will be punished severely if they ever find out. Second, be brief and patient. Princes hate having their time wasted, but they are more than happy to waste your time if they feel like it and expect you to nod and ecstatically agree with them - just don't take up their time, let them take yours. Third, don't take too much credit and don't take any blame. It's a very important skill. You always want to make yourself look good, but don't over-boast. Superiors see ambition and competence as a dangerous combination. Be competent, but not too competent. Rapid advancement is rare in Hell, and if you fall, the people on the way down aren't going to be nice. Patience is a survival trait. And never, ever take blame. It's someone else's fault if something goes wrong. Pick people who can't give their own side of the story - especially dead people, or other Princes. However, remember that Princes are not, barring Saminga, actually stupid. They can spot lies and will notice a snow job. They also like to shoot the messenger. On the other hand, the messenger is the one who gets to blame someone first.

Fourth, when dealing with a Prince, never ask for too much or too little. You need to know how much you can ask for. Ask for nothing, you get nothing. But if you ask too much...well, most Princes don't like greed. (Mammon does, but he's not generous.) Demons are an investment, and they need to pay off. Know what you can afford to ask for. When a Prince offers you a boon, try to figure out what they're willing to give. Then ask for just a tiny bit more - a little bit of audacity can get an extra favor, but too much will get an extremely bad response. Fifth, when you're in doubt, suck up. When you're in trouble, grovel. Princes actually do like flattery. They recognize it, but they like it. Going overboard's dangerous, since no one likes sarcasm, but most Princes enjoy a bit of sycophancy. If they're mad...well, you might live if you beg for mercy. Maybe. If your record's good. It's not a guarantee, but bootlicking can placate their wrath.

Also, remember: you are expendable. You sometimes might get sent on a suicide mission - either out of strategy or because you're irritating. If a Prince wants you dead, they usually try to benefit from it as much as they can. Since this is rarely permanently lethal for a celestial, it's a good way to punish a demon. It might also be a loyalty test, to see how you react. And, of course, it may just be petty. Demon Princes can be petty if they want to.

Andrealphus runs his organization exceptionally casually, and he's one of the easiest Princes to talk to. He wants you to enjoy your work. However, he doesn't like it when called on to show up anywhere that isn't fun and full of sex.
Asmodeus runs his organization with an iron fist, and it has a strict chain of command. He keeps dossiers on all of his demons and accepts no dissent, ever. He will visit you at least once a month, and could be watching at any time.
Baal is likewise authoritarian, but rarely announces his visits - and rarely performs them, but has many spies. His organization has a military chain of command, and disobedience is punishable by death...unless you succeed. Baal is strict about being a meritocrat.
Beleth spends most of her time in her Tower or in dreams. She is polite at best to her demons, and while she is fair about rewards, her punishments are terrible. She organizes her demons in small groups serving her Wordbound, spreading out into increasingly specialized branches, but they have a lot of freedom.
Belial has no organization at all, really. He barely cares if his demons are dissonant or even on the verge of Redemption, mostly because he barely notices. When he does, he'll kill them, but he usually won't notice. He doesn't listen to thinks he doesn't want to hear, and when he's angry, people burn.
Haagenti has a loose management style, assigning demons together based on the needs of the moment, but he isn't as careless as he seems. He dislikes prolonged conversation, and he is very, very sensitive to disrespect.
Kobal allows backtalk and even insults, if they're funny, but he always has the last laugh. He doesn't allow actual disobedience, but he rewards creativity and wit. His demons are supervised by a chain of command, but Kobal frowns on excessive interference.
Kronos runs a deeply efficient and loyal organization, organized in a bureaucracy that takes each demon to their level of competence and no more. The hierarchy is absolute, and ambition is often stifled, but for those with Kronos' favor, there is a lot of power and freedom. Kronos monitors the top much more than the bottom of the hierarchy.
Lilith has no permanent organization, just temp workers.
Malphas has split his organization into many factions - really, each demon is a faction of one. He always listens to his demons and lets them all believe they are his favorites. He doesn't mind betrayal so much because of how isolated he keeps each demon.
Nybbas is always busy, and he groups demons by project. Heads of projects are generally Wordbound. Nybbas rewards creativity and initiative, but lack of performance will get punished quickly.
Saminga assumes all demons are totally loyal, never question, never disagree and never backtalk. Anyone who is otherwise is tortured and maimed. His subordinates are often similar. However, he usually just turns his demons loose on Earth rather than try to organize them much.
Valefor's organization isn't. He might team his demons up, but he otherwise leaves them free to make their own rules unless they have orders. No one has a permaent supervisor, though they may have informal bosses.
Vapula's demons have supervisors, and it is the supervisor's job to keep Vapula from being disturbed. Thus, he tends not to be called on without good reason...though he does expect to be called if there is a good reason, and will punish those who don't.

Infernal Interventions are essnetially identical to Divine Intervention, except more malicious towards foes and with Lucifer instead of God taking a hand. Moving on. Demons! Hell is full of young demons. Most Princes prefer numbers to quality. Some grow more than others - Saminga prefers undead to demons, so he has relatively few compared to, say, Shal-Mari's Princes. 'Young,' for demons, can mean anywhere less than a few centuries old. However, demons grow up fast. Any demon that survives long enough to hit 9 Forces is usually seen as fully mature, while those with less are basically teenagers, unless they had 9 Forces at some point. The youngest true demons have only 7 Forces, either made that way or grown from imps or gremlins. 8 Forces is still young, but not quite fresh. Young demons are often shoirt on skills and roles, and rarely have servants or artifacts. Instead, they tend to have a few Songs, a handful of skills and an attunement or two. Lilim are the exception. (Lilim are always the exception.) All Lilim are made with 9 Forces, and no Lilim is born from anything but Lilith making them.

While celestials are made fully aware and functional, they do still have to learn. Young demons are likely to make social blunders and mistakes in the same way as young angels, and that's why they never get to Earth without supervision. There is a difference, however, between those who were born demons and those born as infernal spirits. The latter tend to be more experienced, though not more powerful. What little young demons know of Earth, however, is mostly propaganda and lies, and what they know of Heaven is even moreso. The most crucial point to understanding young demons is this, however: they never Fell. Hellborn have no memory of Heaven. They literally cannot conceive of what it is like to be an angel. They have only the word of their Prince and their elders for what Heaven and Earth are like, and they are indoctrinated in the demonic perspective on history.

Young demons believe absolutely that Heaven is a stagnant tyranny, as regimented and totalitarian as Hell but with fewer chances to advance. They believe that the Divine plan involves removing all individuality. They also have exposure only to the damned, when it comes to humans, and the damned are pretty pathetic. They see only the worst of humanity, and believe them to represent the entire race. It's no wonder most have no sympathy for humans. Many demons never manage to realize that demons are the bad guys. Young demons have a sort of malicious naivete, an almost Habbalah-esque belief that they're doing mankind a favor by tormenting them but allowing them to be free, rather than protected but devoid of choices. Most angels are more potent than most demons, and in Hell, they are seen as terrible instruments of Divine wrath. Most young demons are terrified of them, and many demons never totally lose that fear. It takes them al ong time to realize that not all angels are killers, and that some can even be pleasant. Like young angels, they often have distorted views on human behavior, but in the opposite direction. They assume every human is a lying, self-cetnered hypocrite, and they don't believe in love and altruism. Hell, they believe, isn ot only the natural state, but the only sensible model for behavior. It's unpleasant, but it makes sense. The strong thrive, and the weak serve, and the foolish die. This makes much more sense than 'goodness.'

Princes rarely send young demons to Earth - they'll be outgunned by every angel, and easy targets for other demons. Most Princes instead use infernal spirits for minor Earthly chores and keep young demons home until they're big enough to handle themselves. However, a former infernal spirit will be more familiar than most demons with Earth, and so often gets an Earthbound job when they fledge. Any young dmeon will have an older supervisor who will usually monitor them closely and mentor them...though often the first conflict a young demon faces is when their supervisor says one thing and does another. Demons brought up to dread dissonance almost as much as they fear angels will have a rude shock when they see how easily it's gained on Earth.

Older demons are rarer than older angels, largely because demons die more often, both to the other side and to their own. Demons that survive a while are those that avoid the worst conflicts and seem unremarkable to their bosses. Thus, they often aren't much more powerful than young demons. They often have wider skillsets, however. They come in a few types, generally. The Bumbler is a useful idiot. They fuck up a lot, but manage to succeed just enough that their Prince remains patient for now. Most Princes don't have much tolerance for fuckups, but some manage to persist in unimportant jobs, annoying everyone nearby for years but somehow avoiding the one fatal mistake that'd get them killed. Their biggest desire is usually to prove themselves and get that promotion they are certain they deserved all along. The Drudge is the demon whose job is to handle menial tasks that keep Hell going. They are unambitius, useful and require little maintenance. Not all of them work in Hell, but most do. They sometimes grow discontent after years in the same job, and they can often persuade their Prince to give them a chance to prove themselves. The Casualties used to be major players, rising stars...but then, well, they got into trouble iwth angels. Their Forces were removed by battle. They were once far stronger than they are...and now they're not, either because of angels or because they pissed off their Prince but not enough to be killed. Some veteran demons have grown and fallen multiple times over the years.

M<ost new demons are made by Princes. However, quite rarely, a pair of demons can choose to have a child. They'll need a Prince's help, and most aren't very helpful. Saminga will never help prospective parents, and Malphas and Asmodeus are almost as tough - they both hate to see demons care so much for each other to want to be parents. It shows a lack of selfishness. Kobal is unpredictable. Sometimes heh elps, sometimes he turns it into a sick joke. Andrealphus and Vapula have a reputaiton for being approachable in this matter, though Andrealphus usually demons a few weeks of fucking him first. Vapula, on theo hter hand, will just add 'improvements' - at least one level of unremovable Discord. All Princes will insist that the newborn serve them, except Lilith, who will instead demand a level 6 Geas from the child and each parent. Once the Prince's help is secured, the demons join their celestial forms in union, with each parent giving up at least one Force and at most one of each type. The Prince binds them together and makes a new demon.

The new demon is of the Band of whichever parent gave the most Forces. If equal, the Prince chooses which parent the child takes after. These demons are born fully functional, if naive, and need a fast education to survive. They typically get assigned to safe duties until they can handle Earth missions. They are at least supposed to be tainted by evil from birth, buit it sometimes happens that they realize what they are and the corruption around them, and they become almost angelic. It's one of the reasons Hell is so terible for the young - being surrounded by pain and crtuelty teaches selfishness and darkness. Occasionally, however, a new demon can resist it but not show that they are. If they can get to Earth and meet angels, they are often likely candidates for Redemption, which is very embarrassing for a Prince and so often fatal for any parents and trainers involved. There's also stories of spontaneous Redemption of young demons somehow made with little to no evil, but these rumors are fatal to repeat in Hell.

Next time: Words

Raising Hell

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Raising Hell

It's rare for demons to fall in love, especially with angels. But they can! And it's just as easy for a Prince to help them make a child. Only Saminga and Asmodeus will refuse to help this way, but all Princes will exact a terrible price from the angel involved. And we know how mating with humans goes. There are some notes - when demons attempt to use the Song of Fruition, they halve their Celestial Forces to find the TN for the Song, and Calabim add 2 to the CD to see if the child is a Nephilim. Aside from the practical difficulties here, most demons have no interest in mortal offspring - they're an easy target and take a lot of commitment. There's also a much more convenient method for having children with humans. Any demon who either has both a male and a female Vessel or who knows the Corporeal Song of Form may perform the 'succubus trick'. They have sex with a human male in female form, and then, within a few hours of that, assume male form and impregnant a human woman with the man's sperm. It's basically artificial insemination. Calabim, however, can't do it - their entropic aura renders the stored sperm sterile. Children conceived this way are fully human children of the sperm donor and the mother, but only the demon knows this. This has occasionally been used to trick would-be Brides of Satan into believing their child is the Antichrist.

We get the standard mixed party advice, skipping over that. Let's talk about growth. Demons care a lot about advancement and growth, far more than angels do. The first step up for a demonling is imp or grelin status, just useful enough to serve and earn Forces. Some, like Haagenti, serve as familiars for a time, expendable and abused. They're really on their way when they hit 7 Forces and become a full demon with a Heart. They now serve their Prince, sure, but they outrank humans and minor demonlings. The standard 9-Force PC is favored by management and above the rank and file, but they are also visible targets. Further advancement means earning distinctions and seeking a Word, though the best Words go to those that bide their time. The highest a demon can expect to get is Prince, but that never stops the Princes from scheming to increase their own power and ultimately displace Lucifer. The clever, however, recognize that Hell has lost several Princes and Lucifer's still there. Hell is a rigid hierarchy, with a few simple rules: suck up to your boss, beat your competition, try to look useful, cover your ass and don't get caught.

Most demons have one or more intermediate superiors between them and their Prince. Usually these demons have distinctions, Words or both. Unlike Heaven's more stable hierarchy, the complex politics of Hell result in frequent reorgs and changes of boss. Demons in the rank and file will change superiors regularly. Bypassing this entirely are those demons who are assigned work directly by their Prince. While any demon can call on their Prince, they need a very, very good reason to do so - when a Prince claims their door is always open, they never really mean it. Within the hierarchy, rank is based on power, and usually that's reflected in the chain of command. Power includes the aiblity to command others, after all. The more potent you are, the more minions you get, with their loyalty based on fear, reward, mutual advantage or even admiration. A Prince's special agents rarely have minions, but may have distinctions, Words or other indicators of rank so they can call on demons to help them. Most regular demons will cooperate, as these agents have the Prince's ear. Rank rarely carries between Principalities, however, though most demons will grudgingly help the powerful out of self-preservation. When helping a demon of a hostile Word, you'd better be advancing your own Prince's goals, too, though. And most demons will cooperate with the Game - it's not a survival trait to antagonize them too much.

Within the normal hierarchy, promotion usually means being given more minions - initially human souls, Soldiers, imps and gremlins. As you advance, though, it will include lesser dmeons. At the higher levels, a powerful Wordbound can even have lesser Wordbound serving. For special agents, promotion is more usually reflected in distinctions, attunements, artifacts, information access and permission to use potent relics, as well as the right to invoke their Prince without getting into trouble.

Fuck up, or get blamed for a fuckup, and you will be punished. Princes rarely tolerate failure and can be very creative about showing their displeasure. Minor failures are often punished by Discord, minor soul damage, confiscation of artifacts or shitty mission assignments. Those blamed for major failure, however, can lose Forces, distinctions or attunements, get set on hopeless suicide missions or even be slowly tortured and killed. Even mere demotion can be dangerous, if you get given to serve under someone who used to work for you.

All demons seek power, and the only true route to real power in Hell is a Word - preferably a Word with a wide scope. The most ambitious seek Princedom, while the more cautious settle for enough power to keep rivals at bay but not challenge their Prince. Of course, sometimes you have to ensure the Word you want is available. Because all Words are given by Lucifer, there's no sure route to getting one, or any guarantee that Lucifer gives you the one you asked for. Trying to second-guess him is dangerous - he's unpredictable and it's not even easy to guess at what might please him rather than anger him. There are, however, three main ways to get a Word in Hell. First, you can perform some grand feat that draws Lucifer's attention. Second, you convince your Prince to petition on your behalf. Third, Lucifer just decides on a whim to hit you with a Word.

The fastest way to get a Word is to do something very clever that advances Hell in a big way. There's three main problems. First, oyu need to do something really impressive, and stealing credit rarely works. Second, Lucifer has to notice. Third, you have to survive Lucifer's notice. This is the best way to get a really big Word - but your Prince may not appreciate this ambition, so it can be dangeorus. Nybbas is the shining example here. He went from a mere demon to Prince of the Media in one shot, thanks to his sense of style and the usefulness of television. Many demons have gone for the gold, but so far, no one else has succeeded so spectacularly. Many schemes have broken against Lucifer's superior understanding, leaving the demons involved a laughingstock at best, too.

The safest route to a Word is to get your Prince's favor and have them petition Lucifer for you. This takes a careful walk between ambition and safety. You want a potent Word, but not one so potent it triggers paranoia. Many Princes will also indefinitely use the promise of a Word petition to encourage loyalty without actually doing it, too. Any open Word under your Prince will likely have rival seekers, and many Princes will court more than one candidate for a useful Word, as competition is a good motivator. Each Prince has their own way of picking an ultimate candidate, and any offered must pass Lucifer's scrutiny, or the Prince loses standing. Inter-Prince politics can also get involved, as many Words fit under two or more Princes, and if another Prince learns of the request, they may oppose it or even support it but then ask for control of the new Wordbound. A smart demon tries to subtly befriend other Princes, though paranoia and jealousy makes this dangerus. Lucifer personally interviews all candidates, and may require some kind of competition.

Sometimes, Lucifer just hands out a Word by surprise. Lauren, the current Demon of Strippers, got her Word on his whim, for example. These are often a mixed blessing - often the demon aspired to something different and more potent, or might be completely unsuited to the Word. Lucifer advances his own goals with these gifts, even if they aren't apparent, and no one refuses him.

No matter how you got the Word, however, the granting is done by Lucifer. He asserts his will on your Forces, realigning them to resonate with the Word. Any ceremony is entirely at his whim, but he always makes new Wordbound aware of the change. At least one Word-related Rite is always granted and often there will be a special attunement. The demon will be instinctively aware of these as their personal symphony resonates to their Word's meaning.

Unlike angels, who typically keep the same Archangel forever, Demons can swap Princes several times. Some want to, out of ambition or fear, but mostly it's just that Princes trade demons around like objects. When a demon is traded permenantly, they are usually stripped of any Band attunements, though distinctions or Servitor attunements may be left, depending on the Prince's mood and feelings towards the other Prince. Rites are usually kept, however, unless rmeoved by the new Prince. The transferred demon usually gets the appropriate Band attunement and Rites, and may get more if the other Prince feels like it.

Hell does not especially care what you want out of a trade. Sometimes a Prince just trades away an incompetent or annoying demon rather than trying to fix things. If you want to change Princes, you have to be careful. Most are reluctant to trade away a good demon unless there's something in it for them. There's three main options - get your Prince to give you away, get your desired Prince to buy you or just flee and hope for the best. One way to get traded, if not safely, is to fuck up for a bit. Causing trouble or screwing up is good cause to be traded...but the main problem is avoiding punishment and being traded to someone worse. Your Prince isn't likely to ask your opinion, after all. Alternatively, get your Prince to see advantage in trading you, such as volunteering to spy for them. Or convince your new Prince to buy you...but that has to be worth their while. Either you have unique talents they can't get at otherwise, or you have information or artifacts of value. Most Princes do not appreciate being pushed by their demons, so getting traded favorably takes a lot of work and planning. In extreme cases, you might just run away, essentially going Renegade until you join your new Prince...and you'd better hope they agree to it. Wordbound demons are rarely traded, as they are more strongly tied to their master's Word, but it is still possible if a Word fits under different Princes. Usually this means a swap of Wordbound for Wordbound and never happens between hostile Princes.

Sometimes, rather than being traded permanently, demons are just loaned, indefinitely or not. They are still considered to serve their original Prince and owe primary loyalty there, but take orders from their new Prince until recalled. Free Lilim under general Geas to a Pricne are also of this category. Since this is not a permanent transfer, the loaned demon usually keeps all abilities. However, they rarely get given new ones by their temp Prince, except for the most exemplary service or for political reasons. Instead, they mostly get taught Songs or Rites or given artifacts.

Renegades often seek out new Princes to serve, especially with the Game on their tails. They normally need to have something of value to pay for the new Heart - possibly just information, sometimes more, or service. They enter the new service with anything they still had from their old Prince that the new one doesn't particularly feel like removing. A Renegade that kept their Heart will not even lose their Rites, though the new Prince might strip them away if they serve a hostile Word.

Moles are those who secretly serve a Prince other than their official one. They might be planted via trade or recruited in secret. It's dangerous, but potentially rewarding. Moles normally only have the powers granted by their nominal master, as someone might notice otherwise. However, those who are low-ranking enough not to meet their nominal Prince might get given powers by their new master, as few demons below Prince level will notice their existence unless they witness their use. Typically, however, a secret Prince iwl lreward with untraceable benefits like Essence, Songs, skills or artifacts.

Orphans occur when a Prince dies. They serve no one, and may or may not be absorbed by antoher Prince. That's how Valefor got most of his early demons - he supplanted the Prince of Rapine and took his servants. They can also become instant Renegades, by declaration of their new Prince...or they might be traded away. When a Prince dies from causes other than another Prince, things get more chaotic. Anyone holding any boon from the dying Prince will feel the change, as the Word reels and the Rites stop working. Some will run to a Prince they think will take them, others take the opportunity to go Renegade and hope the Game assumes they're dead. Powerful Wordbound may fight for the Prince's crown, or other Princes may seek to annex the Principality and its demons. Orphans are usually permitted to keep any attunements or distinctions by a new Prince. In fact, any truly unique and valuable powers of the dead Prince will be hihgly valued, since they can't be earned any more.

Next time: Infernal spirits

Go To Hell

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Go To Hell

Hell likes quantity over quality, and so infernal spirits are favorite tools. Two or three can be made for the 'price' in Forces of a single demon, and the successful can grow to be demons on their own. Thus, gremlins and imps outnumber true demons by a large margin. Princes keep some in Hell to do repetitive tasks, but many are sent to Earth to do things that need little skill or initiative. They are never operating independently - either they have one specific task, like harassing a single mortal or randomly inserting viruses into the software made by a specific company, or they are given to demons, Soldiersr or sorcerers as servants. Most Tethers have a large staff of familiars, gremlins and imps, doing everything from monitoring (and stealing from) visitors to housekeeping. They are useful because they can do things mortals and the undead cannot. They can go anywhere, practically undetected, and they can learn Songs and attunements. However, they cause Disturbance like anyone, and an angel can easily take them down. They use and regain Essence like any demon and heal at the same rate, but cannot invoke Superiors or ascend to Hell. They can remain in celestial form on Earth indefinitely, however, and only familiars tend to be given vessels. Those with vessels may swap between them and their celestial form for 2 Essence, causing (Total Forces) Disturbance. They may also take on celestial form the same way anyone can. If their vessel is killed, they go to Limbo. They return to Hell if they cannot fulfill whatever purpose they were sent to Earth for, such as if they are captured or kept from their job, or if the subject of their assignment is kiled or destroyed.

Infernal spirits have as much personality as their limited intellect allows. They have free will, but rarely use it. Most would never even comprehend the idea of Redemption, but they can like or (more often) hate their masters, which affects how well they serve. They can gain Forces with experience, and eventually, they will become demons. They come in two types, both of which can become familiars. Fremlins are the more likely of the pair to have vessels. They are vandals, breaking machines, spoiling food, defacing art and hurting animals. They are typically assigned to places rather than people, and their work usually furthers their Prince's Word in the area. They often learn the Songs of Entropy, Motion, Thunder or Numinous Corpus, and can learn any Song that allows them to affect the physical. They may become Balseraphs, Calabim or Habbalah.

Imps work more closely with humans. They are usually assigned to spy on, protect or harass individuals, though rarely to cause actual physical harm. They get to know their victims deeply, and some humans learn to spot them, though they usually believe the imp is a poltergeist or some other creature. Rarely, an imp may even reveal itself to a human. Sometimes, they are assgined to children, becoming demons as the child becomes an adult, already groomed. Or they may be placed simply as a marker, so other servants can be brought up to date on the target the imp has been watching. Imps often known the Songs of Dreams, Form, Light, Motion or Possession, and can learn any Song that lets them torment or manipulate humans. They can become Djinn, Shedim or Impudites.

Either way, a familiar is just a gremlin or imp specifically bound into a vessel, usually an animal, and given to another person as a Servant. They have some advantages and disadvantages that other infernal spirits with Vessels do not have. If they are killed, they still go to Limbo, but their master will probably send them Essence to help them get out. They can still become demons, though many masters will strip their Forces if they get close, to prevent it. If they do reach 7 Forces, however, they fledge as any spirit of their type would and are no longer a Servant.

Now, Hell was born in mutiny. It is a land of rebels, ruled by the first rebel. And yet, the Princes made sure none would ever rebel agianst them. Lucifer claims that in Hell, everyone is free - including free to dominate and exploit others. You can go as far as your strength, will and cunning will let you. Demons can get a Principality just by being strong enough to claim one. And yet, despite this, Hell has remained nearly as static as Heaven for millenia. For every Nybbas and Haagenti, there are millions of demons who have never advanced at all in centuries. Princes destroy anything that might alter the status quo in a way they don't like, and they kill their best and brightest for fear of threats. Hell, to put it lightly, is a hotbed of discontent. Some believe that if Lucifer ever declared Hell truly open for any to come and go as they like, most demons would leave. Others say that's only the malcontents, and that most of the hordes are quite content, or at least sure there's nothing better in Heaven for them. The discontent is obvious and pervasive, however.

It's not easy to go Renegade, though. However, every Prince has Renegadeso n Earth, more than any would like to admit. Asmodeus hunts them constantly, and Nybbas sometimes broadcasts their capture or execution. The deterrent doesn't prevent a steady stream of Renegades. Even in Hell, some just won't serve. Demons refer to it as 'going Renegade' rather than 'becoming a Renegade' because it's fundamentally different from an angel becoming an Outcast. Demons don't just spontaneously become Renegade after too much dissonance. Most choose it, or are declared so by their Prince or Asmodeus. There is no metaphysical change in their status, no tangible difference, as there is for an Outcast. They just stop obeying orders and leave. Of course, that's a capital crime. Your Prince will kill you if they can, as will Asmodeus. A demon is never randomly a Renegade - it's always someone's decision...just not necessarily their own.

For those who choose Renegade status, however, there's one problem: the Heart. As long as your Prince has your Heart, they can find you and send demons after you. They can strip you of your Rites through your Heart. They can even shatter your Heart themself - they lose the power to track if they do, but you instantly gain three levels of Discord. The only real way to strike out on your own is to steal or destroy your Heart first. Most Princes keep their demons' Hearts locked up, but semi-accessible so that demons have a place to materialize. Usually, it's possible to steal your Heart...but getting out with it won't be easy. And you need to make a Will roll to destroy it. But if you do, it's time to run, because your Prince will know what you've done instantly. Get to Earth and fast. Thus, some demons want to go Renegade but lack the skills or power necessary to do it. They may also be under too much scrutiny - and though anyone might be clever enough to steal a Heart, it's impossible for anoyne but a Superior or the Heart's owner to destroy one. In those cases, Lilith is probably your only option.

When a Renegade shatters their Heart, they retain everything they had before. If your Prince has your Heart and removes your Rites, you do lose your Word-dissonance condition, at least. If your Heart is intact and you ahve it, you can keep the Rites...but any time you use them, your Prince is aware you are alive, and perhaps more than that. Plus, you retain the dissonance condition. If someone other than your Prince gave you Rites, they might not remove them ,depending on who they are, who you are and if you'll reveal their help. Most Princes will immediately strip Renegades of their Rites, even if the Renegade served an enemy Prince. Asmodeus makes it too dangerous to overtly aid a Renegade, after all. Renegades cannot invoke their former Prince, nor return to Hell on their own, though they can follow others. (Don't.) Renegades also are less obvious than Outcasts, as demons are more casual about Discord than angels. However, they do share a problem: death. Like an Outcast, a Renegade who enters Trauma goes to Limbo. In fact, some kill themselves and hide there rather than be captured by Asmodeus. Having an extra vessel makes it easier to get out...but only if you have a Body Bag to store one in. Renegade Shedim have even more problems - they can't go to Hell, so like an Outcast Kyriotate, they make a Will roll every (10*Celestial Forces) minutes they go without a host. Success gains 1 dissonance. Failure gives that and (CD+Celestial Forces) soul damage. This continues indefinitely until death or you find a host. Shedim cannot enter Limbo by any means.

So, why go Renegade? The Fugitive didn't choose it, probably. They fucked up and had to run. The reason isn't important - they're Renegade now. However, they have a small chance of gaining refuge with another Prince, if they can prove their value and survive Asmodeus' anger. The Rebel has decided they know better htan their Prince and don't want to take orders. They still serve the cause of evil, but believe they can do it better. It takes a lot of arrogance and guts, but a few Renegades have proven so effective independently that Lucifer grants them amnesty and a Word. This is the dream, and infernal propaganda claims it proves that Lucifer really does value independent thought and initiative in the worthy. A Renegade too independent to even accept Lucifer's recognition will, of course, get destroyed by Lucifer. The Burn-Out has second thoughts. They aren't ready to join the angels, but they don't want to fight a losing battle. They believe they're locked in a stalemate and aren't about to risk their lives for nothing. A few are even disgusted by what they've been made to do. These are the ones that Asmodeus hunts most, for they might become penitent, given some encouragement. The Penitent is the rarest and most hunted Renegade - a demon that wants to change sides. Maybe they finally feel guilty for their sins. Maybe they realize there's no future for them in Hell. Maybe they just want to be on the winning side and think Hell's losing. Heaven has little use for that kind, of course. Penitents try to avoid demons while looking for merciful angels. Malakim tend not to ask questions or show mercy, though, so until a Renegade finds refuge, they're still on the run from both sides.

Unlike Outcasts, whom some angels ignore or even tolerate, Renegades are all marked for death by the Game. Demons of Asmodeus are obligated to destroy them on sight or drag them back to Hell. Your former Prince also probably wants you dead or captured before the Game gets to you. Other demons might ignore you, might turn you in...but none of them will help you. And to angels, you're still a demon. Only Renegades are so hated that sometimes Asmodeus and Dominic will cooperate to hunt them down. Ther are exceptions, but most Renegades don't want to take sides any more. Most have abandoned Hell and few want to join Heaven. They fight to survive, follow their selfish instincts and care for no one else. They usually go underground, hiding from all celestials. Some band together in small gangs for protection, but these groups rarely last. Demons are too mistrustful and uncooperative, and any group that gets too big and powerful will attract attention. There are rumors of networks of Renegades and Outcasts helping others, though. And there's also rumors that some Princes will employ expendable, untraceable Renegades for jobs that are really, really illegal. They'll be hired through intermediaries, of course, and generally paid in cash or artifacts or even Essence. Only when a Prine is willing to reveal their involvement will Songs or Rites be taught, and a freelance Renegade might really impress a Prince, enough to be offered service...but it's far more likely the Prince just kills the freelancers afterwards. Wordbound demons may also hire Renegades, and some seek aid from the ethereal gods of the Far Marches.

It's not common for Wordbound to go Renegade - they've been screened by Lucifer already. However, even they can suffer burnout or fall out with their Prince, and no demon is safe from Asmodeus' wrath. Wordbound hold their Words at Lucifer's pleasure. Sometimes he will strip the Word of a Renegade, but that's rare. The reason is because Lucifer is allegedly fond of rebels. He never pursues Renegades personally, and will most often let them run as far as they can. If a Renegade can maintain their Word even as a fugitive, it increases the odds of Lucifer recognizing them as worthy, making it up to the Renegade's Prince and Asmodeus to prove they don't deserve another chance. Wordbound Renegades retain all powers of their Word, including Rites. They can still grant those to others, as well. Not that any sane demon but a Renegade would take such favors.

Andrealphus allows relatively easy Heart access, so it's not too hard to go Renegade from Lust. Not many do, however. Andrealphus rarely chases them, figuring Asmodeus will make their lives miserable anyway, and he'll even hire Renegades if he really needs something nasty done.
Asmodeus makes it very hard to go Renegade from his service. Hearts are locked in cells, guarded by a small army of Djinn, at least one of whom is attuned to each Heart, which makes stealing them hard.
Baal stores all of his demons' Hearts in bunkers across Gehenna, near his armories. Getting a Heart out means going through a foot of concrete with no hiding spots. Baal hates deserters, and while he'll ignore Renegades of other Words, he will hunt down any from his own. He is unlikely to employ Renegades.
Beleth keeps her Hearts in nooks in the basement of her Tower. Anyone can take them, but she is attuned to all of them and will know immediately. Still, it's not too hard to smash one and long as you never sleep again. She occasionally hires Renegades, but always secretly, and will actively harass them afterwards.
Belial keeps his Hearts in flaming pits or the Lake of Fire. Any demon immune to heat can get them...but Belial has made it so any demon in contact with their own Heart instantly loses any immunity to heat and fire. This makes getting your Heart out a challenge. Belial always assigns hits squads for his Renegades, and will kill the hit squad if they don't catch the Renegade quickly. This means a lot of his demons go Renegade, but few of those survive. Belial rarely hires Renegades, and always kills them after.
Haagenti stores all of his Hearts in a vault under Shal-Mari. The only way out is past a giant demon able to swallow lesser demons whole. He offers large rewards for killing his Renegades, and larger for bringing them back alive to be eaten. He might, however, hire Renegades in secret.
Kobal enjoys making his Renegades suffer but rarely kills them. He just wants them to keep running. Many turn themselves into the Game rather than suffer his cruelty further. However, a few turn the tables, and if you can impress him, he will call off pursuit. He locks his Hearts in steel cages and assigns stupid demons to guard them. He hires Renegades that amuse him.
Kronos keeps his Hearts in steel drawers in the lowest levels of the Archives. Breaking into a cabinet isn't hard...but there's always other demons around, moving things. Kronos spends little effort hunting Renegades, though. He will employ them, but it never ends well.
Lilith doesn't have Renegades - Geases remain binding everywhere. She is even known to be somewhat sympathetic towards Lilim Renegades.
Malphas locks his Hearts in tunnels under Stygia, assigning demons tow atch over them. If a demon of Malphas seems discontent, one of their friends will be assigned as guard to their Heart. Malphas doesn't really mind Renegades, and has been very successful in ensuring other Princes have more than he does. He is happy to hire and use Renegades.
Nybbas stores his Hearts in lockers watched by cameras 24/7, manned by demons with nothing else to do. It becomes a media event when one of them goes Renegade, with film crews sent to cover the hunt, capture and torture or execution. He doesn't like to work with Renegades, but will if he must.
Saminga believes his demons fear him too much to go Renegade, but stores their Hearts with undead minions in crypts under his citadel, just in case. He will come instantly if his guardians raise an alarm, and he assigns Djinn to chase Renegades. If the hunter dies, he sends another, and another, forever, until the Renegade is caught or killed. He may hire Renegades, through intermediaries, but always kills them after.
Valefor locks his Hearts in boxes in a large safe in a large cage in a vault. He changes up the guards and alarms constantly. He figures anyone that can get in and get out as a Renegade deserves freedom, so he doesn't chase them. He's open about hiring Renegades as distractions, and doesn't mind his demons doing it, either.
Vapula often just locks up his Hearts, but occasionally incorporates them into experiments or experimental defenses...or just leave them scattered around as paperweights. Your Heart's location is a constant variable in Tartarus. Vapula dislikes Renegades, and has fulltime Renegade hunters on staff. His only use for other Renegades is as experimental subjects.

Demons are not incapable of affection, respect or even love. Many were once angels, and even the Hellborn were made to that pattern. Being able to feel these things is part of free will. Most demons hate this. Depending on others is a good way to get betrayed in Hell. It's a weakness. So they put up walls and tell themselves kindness is a lie. Their loneliness exists, but it's buried under layers of ambition, betrayal and self-image. Dissonance can shatter these barriers, letting the pain out. It jangles a demon's personal symphony, even allowing the true notes to enter their mind. Usually, this twists them even further from the divine, creating Discord eventually, but sometimes, it erodes the core of their nature, their sense of self and isolation from others. They gain the Selfless Discord.

Some demons rarely find redemption by other means, but most become dissonant first, unable to defend themselves from doubt. Most often, they get this way via Word-Dissonance...but only for selfless reasons. Those who betray their Prince for selfish reasons are rarely on the path to Heaven. Demons who become dissonant by using their resonance are rarely moved to selflessness. Still, this is why the Game hunts Renegades so much. Asmodeus knows dissonance isn't just bad luck or poor planning - it's a crack in your will that the Host can exploit. As your defenses break down and you begin to question your self-image, encouraged by the Symphony informing you that you're broken, your personality can change. Often this is based on how you got your dissonance.

Some demons ignore the dissonance, pretending nothing is wrong. This is very common in Balseraphs and Djinn. They avoid their Prince to avoid questions, and often convert their dissonance into Word-related Discords - Gluttonous Gluttons, Lustful Lusties, etc. Others blame their Prince for their own failings, especially among more potent demons, Habbalah and Calabim. This kind of dissonance often leads to Paranoia, Anger or Berserk, or to Discords antithetical to the Word you serve. Sometimes, demons under stress from dissonance will display the symptoms of Discord without actually having any, which usually evolves into the Discord being 'mimicked.'

Demons suffering from resonance backlash often concentrate on the stability of their Prince's Word, becoming fanatically loyal to it over their own nature. They may avoid using resonance at all. They often gain Word-related Discords as a result, much like demons in denial. Others gain Discords that oppose their Band nature, or the Cowardly Discord. Yet more demons overcompensate based on their own nature. Balseraphs construct their own universes, Calabim break things indiscriminately, Impudites charm everyone they meet. They tend to gain Discords that exaggerate their Band nature.

Next time: More dissonance

Hell's Fury

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Infernal Player's Guide: Hell's Fury

For the Game, dissonance is an early warning sign of deviance. Until the confusion resolves itself by removal of dissonance or conversion into Discord, a demon is a time bomb. It can mark breaking with your nature or frequently disobeying your prince - and it can mean you're hiding problems from your Prince by not converting dissonance to the more obvious Discord. Chronic malcontents and fuckups are likely to go Renegade. The Game cares about any dissonance, but one or two notes isn't a big problem. These demons are just watched and even given a chance to bribe a Gamester to not be reported. (They'll be reported anyway, of course.) With more than that, however, it becomes a serious issue. The demon is probably avoiding their Prince and in danger of going Renegade - or worse. Most Gamesters will drag these wretches to Hades for interrogation, which may involve vessel-killing. If they are suspected of wider conspiracy, however, they may be watched for a time to get bigger prey. Renegades, however, are hunted down and killed. In Hell, they are captured and often destroyed on live Hell-based TV. They may or may not be dissonant - not all Renegades are. Many Gamesters consider the Redeemed to be within their jurisdiction, and may attempt to capture and drag an ex-demon back to Hell for execution. Demons can cut deals, but usually they'll need a Prince's help to do it, and something of great value to offer.

Discord is less of an issue for the Game. For demons, Discord isn't necessarily a problem of behavior - it can just be bad luck, as long as it's 'harmless' to Hell's goals. Some Discords are concerning, though. Selfless, of course, and Merciful. Besides these, those that enhance dissonance in Bands are considered dangerous, as they increase the odds of other dangerous Discords. While some Discords can make a demon cripplingly ineffective, the Game does not consider this their remit.

Andrealphus' dissonant demons tend to focus on the coarser manifestations of Lust, to avoid caring about their victims. Andre rarely cares much about dissonance as a result...but Asmodeus is quite uptight about it, and Eli's angels can take advantage. Still, Andrealphus is happy to give his demons a chance to fix things, or to just punish them via torture or rape.
Asmodeus does not give his demons a chance to become dissonant long. While dissonance remains, they tend to become fanatical in seeking it out in others. The very dissonant are destroyed, of course. Asmodeus does not tolerate the unreliable. He gives valued servants a chance to fix things...but only once.
Baal's dissonant demons pick fights, sometimes suicidally. Baal doesn't appreciate this. Sometimes he'll give the dissonant a chance to die fighting. Sometimes, he does not.
Beleth's dissonant demons ease their terror and pain by causing it in their victims. They rarely leave the Marches. Beleth cares more about performance than dissonance, so she'll only get involved if your work suffers.
Belial's demons get ever more grandiose with dissonance, but often get burned worse and worse as they try to carry their plans out. When Belial notices, he tends to kill them.
Haagenti's demons tend to go overboard when dissonant - even more than usual. Haagenti doesn't seem to care.
Kobal's demons start clowning themselves into trouble in the hopes of amusing him. Kobal finds this mildly entertaining, and generally makes sure these pratfalls end at Asmodeus' feet, for the perfect punchline.
Kronos' demons tend to get creative when dissonant, actively inventing worse fates for people to reach. Kronos tends to ignore this - demons have fates, too. He will demonstrate this on those who are no longer useful.
Lilith has no permanent servants, but her temps or free Lilim who become dissonant tend to obsess over freedom and anarchy. She doesn't care unless the dissonance comes from her conditions, in which case she might have a little chat with you.
Malphas' dissonant demons often take many contrary positions or even develop split personalities. Malphas doesn't care unless you seek redemption.
Nybbas' dissonant tend to obsess over all media, devouring asm uch as possible at once. They churn out trivial content constantly. Nybbas makes it clear: produce or get downsized. He's not going to help anyone that can't pull their weight.
Saminga's dissonant demons tend to start death cults and get overenthusiastic about necromancy. They aren't subtle about it. Some even try to smash pet rocks. Saminga doesn't care one way or another. Dissonant's dead, dead's good.
Valefor's demons tend to go kleptomaniac when dissonant - moreso than normal, that is. Valefor only cares if you get caught.
Vapula's dissonant servants become obsessed with gadgetry and carry as much as they can. The worst off even volunteer for beta testing. Vapula finds volunteering useful, so he sees dissonance as a self-correcting problem.

Demons will often notice dissonance in their friends before anyone else. What they do depends a lot on circumstances. As a friend gets more dissonant, other demons start to watch them carefully to figure them out. They're usually not worried about the dissonant turning traitor - just being a threat to them. They may report the friend, if they get something out of it. If things get worse, direct action may be needed. They'll try to collect on any debts and borrow as much as they can - and then sell them out to the Game. Or help them lose dissonance, in exchange for future favors. If the friend goes Renegade...well, then your friends aren't your friends. The Game believes in guilt by association, so they're going to try to take you down so they don't get blamed.

Balseraphs are often the first to claim they've noticed no change - and the first to lead the hunting parties. Djinn often don't notice at all - or care. Calabim, used to their own Discord, also don't often notice...but will happily help in a Renegade hunt. Habbalah notice dissonance when it becomes a useful tool to them - they enjoy how demonic minds fracture under it, and will often take advantage. Lilim, of course, will happily help you...for a Geas. They're good at spotting those Needs, too. Shedim rarely notice and even more rarely care. Impudites can sympathize, if you're useful. Pay them, and they'll even help.

Dissonant demons, of course, are also interesting to angels...if they can spot the symptoms. Some see it as a chance to destroy a weakened foe. Others, like Elohim and the more peaceful angels, tend to see a chance to push towards Redemption. It's the kindest option, after all. Most Archangels iwll take converts, as long as it's not wasting their time. It's not easy work, however. Redeemed often have the best insight, and can often tell if a demon has truly strayed from selfishness. The first goal is to ensure the target goes Renegade and gets away from the bad influence of other demons. Clever angels will manipulate demons into more dissonance, forcing them to avoid others for fear of the Game as well as confusing them further. This will only work for a while, however, unless the demon goes full Renegade. After that, the angels are in a position to offer protection and a sympathetic ear. Elohim are often especially good at this, manipulating their victim into self-loathing enough to consider alternatives to Hell but keeping them hopeful enough to avoid suicide. Most demons, used to the less subtle Habbalah, underestimate them.

Should the demon try to return to Hell's favor, angels will usually destroy them. They did what they could. If they seek Redemption, however, the demon will be taken to the nearest Tether or safehouse to find an appropriate Archangel to serve. Naturally, each will be trying to match the demon to their own Word. These sales pitches come with encouragement of love and affection, which Hell usually refers to as brainwashing. Redemptions undertaken for selfish reasons always fail, so bribes are never promised. All demons are assured - they have to start from the bottom and work for any rewards. In Hell, demons are told that Redemption never works, so angels often have to counter the propaganda and convince the demon that they will survive and be happier after. The goal is to make the demon want the purity of the Symphony more than they fear the danger.

The true Symphony sneaks into the fractures of dissonance, telling demons of what they could be. Some are strong-willed enough to resist and return to Hell. Others dream of higher things. However, unlike a Fall, Redemption takes serious effort. Divine Intervention or an Archangel are all that can hold a demon together in the perfect light of Heaven, returning them into an angelic configuration after the warped parts are purged by the Symphony. It is not done lightly - it's a lot of work. And it hurts. When you have spent your entire existence in darkness and silence, the light and sound of Heaven overwhelms. When an Archangel focuses all that glory into you, shining light in every corner of your being, changing your nature itself - well, it takes a brave or desperate demon to try.

Most are desperate. They suffer Discord, have demons hunting them and have nowhere left to go. However, Redemption isn't just swearing fealty to an Archangel. You have to give up all that you are and place yourself in the hands of the Symphony, accepting whatever it will do. If you can't do that, you will die whether the Archangel involved wants that or not. Many Redeemed come out with fewer Forces than they started with. (PCs, of course, always survive...but the GM and player will decide if they are damaged by the process and if the Archangel repairs that damage.) Redemption is rare, but it happens enough that Archangels have a few tricks. If a demon has been coached into selfless thought, they survive more often. If they truly trust the Archangel, they probably will make it, if weakened. IT's also easier to realign a demon whose Word is close to your own - so Michael often Redeems demons of the War successfully, for example. There's many ways to approach Redemption. Some Archangels are gentler than others, like Blandine or Novalis, while DAvid, Michael, Laurence and Gabriel are notoriously rough. REgardless of method, however, all surviving Redeemed pseak of the experience reverentially. Hellborn experience the true Symphony for the first time, while the Fallen are returning home. It's a fresh start, though you must cope with your darkness past, both internally and in the treatment of others.

The Redeemed must also learn how to be angels. Their nature gives them good instincts, but they have many habits to unlearn, and many 'friends' in Hell who are happy to be bad examples. Some try to talk other demons into Redemption and end up Falling again, betrayed by old habits. Your old Prince can also try to get you back by bribes, intimidation or manipulation. Between that and the occasional ringer, well, it's no surprise that Heaven is not totally trusting until you learn how to act. The Redeemed become the divine analogue of their old Band, except for Lilim. They lose their old resonance and all infernal attunements and Distinctions, but gain their new resonance. They also lose all Celestial Discord and regenerate Essence at dawn, as well as gaining the Rites of their new Archangel and a new Heart. They are never given rewards for Redeeming - that would tain the process, which can be fatal. If their reports are complete and helpful, they get a pat on the back...and often, that's enough. Once they prove trustworthy and dedicated, their Archangel will often remove any remaining Discords and replace any lost Forces. Once the Archangel is satisfied, they give out the appropriate Choir attunement and have passed the first stage of rehab. When the new angel earns a servitor attunement, it will often be awarded publically and with ceremony, as the angel is formally declared to be truly Redeemed, praised for their noteworthy actions in service to Heaven and celebrated. It's a way to show others that they are worthy of trust, and it's good for morale. Of course, some Archangels are much more casual, particularly Eli.

A new angel typically serves whichever Archangel Redeemed them, unless other arrangements are made. Lauyrence, however, has recently declared that he will be requesting all Redeemed for service, at least temporarily. He doesn't always get his way, however - the Council will rarely enforce a loan if an Archangel and ex-demon are happy with each other. They do, however, support Laurence's requests to debrief all new angels. This is often the first direct experience a new angel will have with the Inquisition.

Angels are kinder to outsiders than demons, but that doesn't always make it easy to fit in. After all, most newly Redeemed sitll have some Discord and have old dmeonic habits. Servitors of the same Archangel are rarely openly dismissive, however - they won't question the boss in public. The demon survived, so that's something in their favor. However, they will be very strict in private, lecturing over any failures. Most angels will remain distant until their respect is earned. Other Archangels' servants can be abusive and rude, though it is best to remember that fighting in Heaven causes dissonance. Warlike angels are more likely to be rude and hateful than peaceful ones. Cherubim, Ofanim and Kyriotates are often the worst, as their resonances can't judge character. Mercurians judge by your friends, and Seraphim can tell if you lie. Malakim are only rude if circumstances warrant, and will always show restraint if their resonance claims you have honor...but will come down hard if you slip. Elohim will always be polite unless they believe mockery will help fix your behavior.

Those who helped you seek Redemption are often the most friendly and can even seem almost parental. They got you this far, you lived, and they're going to help you. This aid is rarely mocked or stopped by their Archangels. As with humans, your reaction to the harassment will determine how long it lasts. If you can keep your temper, repress bad habits and serve loyally, you will earn respect even from hostile angels. It takes time, but it happens. MAny angels will even come to admire you for putting up with it all. At the ceremony that marks you as a full angel, even your worst foes might toast you and apologize for their cruelty.

And now, the biggest 'except Lilim' in the game. Lilim are all made by Lilith. They aren't Fallen angels. Even those that are Redeemed are still Lilim - Bright Lilim. They are exceptionally rare, and there's not very many of them - some say fewer than a dozen. Like other demons, Lilim must deny their weaknesses to survive in Hell and shut away the true Symphony. Dissonance can allow that in as much as any. They can go Renegade even easier than most, turning to Freedom as a motive. Lilim find it easy to cut and run, and can manage it better than most. However, this makes it difficult for angels to get to them. Yes, they're fed up with Hell, but have no desire to serve an Archangel. They often want to know if Free Brights exist, which confuses most angels, who accept service willingly. Still, some become curious about the Bright Lilim. Surviving Fallen Brights exist only when Asmodeus decides he wants to make an especially cruel example, so there's no one but angels to tell them about Heaven. They know Lilith sometimes deals with the Host, after all.

If the angels that a Renegade Lilim contacts are lucky, she's either curious or desperate enough to want to know what they can offer. (If they're unlucky, she's trying to snare them.) Still, Lilim have to fit selflessness into their worldview, which isn't easy. Even Brights will say that nothing is free - the price of loving someone is loving someone. Angels of Trade are often the best at explaining this in terms they understand. If Lilim survive Redemption, they do change...but with so few examples, they're hard to predict. Most Archangels will assign a Cherub to watch over them and encourage their angelic mentors to keep up the good work. Dominic will always send a triad around to investigate and attune to Bright Lilim, which can be routine or not depending on the Archangels involved. Laurence, of course, wants all of them to serve him, and will always request this from the Council. Unfortunately, most Bright Lilim are just not able to handle his insistence on obedience. Hell makes a big deal of this - they want Renegade Lilim more than they want Brights - and will swear that Laurence always gets his way. This is entirely untrue - the Council knows that an unhappy Bright is asking to Fall. If they don't want to serve Laurence, the Council will not make them do it. The discussions can drag on for weeks, however, and involve a whole lot of angels nad even Archangels as they decide who should get a Bright's service, however. Often, but not always, it's the one that Redeemed the Lilim.

Few Lilim are entirely free of Geases - and as far as anyone knows, none of those are Free. Lilith rarely spends her last Geas. Geases are hard to remove - and the more Geases a demon has, the harder it is to find someone willing to try to Redeem them. Sometimes, angels will help you out by forcing the Geases into use or destroying those that hold them. Sometimes a Lilim is patient enough to wait it out and work them off. But there is another option - a hard one. Geases are Discord, and can be removed by an Archangel. However, their structure makes this very dangerous, especially to Lilim. The Archangel must, essentialyl, dismantle them to component forces, unravel each Geas, and then put it all back together, without destroying the individual involved. This is very hard, and a few Forces are usually lost in the process. Oh, and it hurts terribly. Worse even than Redemption, which at least ends positively. Geas-stripping is a scarring experience. Princes don't do it because it's difficult and annoys Lilith to no good end. Archangels don't like doing it, but most will offer the option, either during Redemption or afterward. The fewer Geases involved, the better. The Council forbids any Bright Lilim to pledge future favors to demons or ethereals, though any that survived Geas-stripping hardly needs the reminder. Lilim are especially forbidden to promise unspecified favors to anyone, ever. Even angels can Fall. This doesn't always prevent it, however. Some demons trip them up, and others ambush them and force them to promise a Geas or be destroyed. Some Bright Lilim favor the second option.

Redeemed Lilim no longer appear to be green humans, celestially. Rather, they gain an aura of a color matching their personality and their Archangel, and a pair of shimmering and translucent wings. Their horns and green skin are lost. They are sometimes known as the Gifters, as they often prefer to give things to others without asking for a Geas. MAny angels find them unrelenting cheerful and awestruck, and they rarely notice insults from others. When they do, they usually either cry or offer a favor to the hostile angel. Eventually, they will begin to act more normally and less annoying. They never lose their deal-making talents or their love of Freedom, though they interpret that more positively. They remain sympathetic, warm and sensual, but now none of it is a lie. They care deeply for humans, almost as much as Mercurians do. Malakim tend to get nervous around them - they know Lilim are considered their 'opposite' Band, demons that bind others versus angels that bind themselves with oaths, demons who were never angels versus angels that can't Fall. Seeing Redeemed Lilim implies uncomfortable things about symmetry, even if it's just a superstition. Besides, Lilim are creations of a human Princess, twice removed from God, and so they are not to be trusted. You never know what they might be capable of. Individual Malaki mcan overcome this unease, especially around a Bright that serves the same Archangel, but most remain wary. Despite this, Bright Lilim tend to view them with wonder and joy, admiring their beauty without being klilled for it. Some Malakim claim the quickest way to get Laurence to stop asking for all the Brights would be to give them to him and let him deal with a dozen Lilim following him around and sighing raptly for a few weeks.

Some ex-demons just can't cut it as angels, though. Their habits are too strong, they get tripped up. Somehow, they Fall. Demons call them yo-yos - down and up and down again. They are welcomed viciously. While most Fallen are prizes, yo-yos are traitors, and they'll be lucky if they can avoid the Game's tender mercies. Asmodeus despises traitors, and only a Prince's protection can keep them safe. Their tortures can last months before they die. Kobal likes to send tapes to angelic Tethers. IT's whispered that there is one way to avoid this fate: swear fealty to Asmodeus immediately. Then, well, you might survive after a few decades of torture. Falling hits a Redeemed harder than most angels. They've known lies and Truth, and it's hard for them to ignore Truth. They've grown accustomed to thinking of their old demonic nature as broken, ugly and twisted. Even Habbalah suffer doubts when they Fall a second time. Lilim take the worst of it. They lose their wings, their status, all sense of being valued. They often feel betrayed by their Archangel, whom they trusted their very existence to. They usually hate themselves, their Archangels, their old friends, and Hell...and Lilith is often none too happy with them. Asmodeus hates traitor Free Lilim even more than most traitors - every time one happens, there seems to be a rash of them, whom he can't deal with without compelling evidence, lest Lilith cause problems. But a yo-yo...that he can make an example of without Lilith doing a damn thing. Fallen Brights can look forward to Asmodeus' personal attention for a very, very long time.

The End

Next up - Ethereal Player's Guide, Liber Canticorum or Revelations 1?