Demon: The Fallen by Xand_Man
IntroductionOriginal SA post LET'S READ
I haven't seen much talk of this in FATAL and friends. It's a shame, since it's one of the better oWoD lines. It's an interesting hodge-podge of mechanics taken from other WoD lines, but a little more thought out. It was the last oWoD splat, so it incorporates the lessons learned (White Wolf lol) from the other lines.
It's also the sort of shit you can get away with when the RPG witch-hunts of the 80s are a distant memory.
Prologue: Stage Fright
Meet Melbogathra. He's backstage in a rinky-dinky theater and is very annoyed. He tries to spread his glorious, world-spanning wings but can't. Why? He's too busy being a actor named Max. Max/Melbogathra go get their make-up done and we discover that Max was in love with the make-up lady, Becky. So in love, in fact, that when she rejected him he quietly hung himself from the catwalks. As Max started to leave his body, Melbogathra came rushing in.
(Demon makes a big deal of the fact that while Demons colonize bodies with only weak connections to their souls, they don't wait for the body to die; they kick out the previous inhabitant. Max might have been on his way out, but he wasn't actually consigned to the afterlife until Melbogathra barged in.)
Now Malbogathra/Max stare at Becky as she applies his/their make-up. He studies all of her human frailties and imperfections, and marvels to himself that Max could have loved her. But he did, so that means Malbogathra does as well.
Demon The Fallen Core posted:
"I wish you wouldn't do that.", she says. I can hear the exasperation in her voice, but I'm too captivated by the bead of sweat racing down her lily-white neck, down past the lip of her loose tank top. I'm too enthralled by the stroke across my cheek [...] I reach out to touch her face, and I touch beauty. I don't remember anything as sublime as the warmth of flesh. Compared to being trapped in an abyss where your skin is jagged rage, this moment is ... heaven.
She stomps off while Malbogathra thinks about how his eyes scare her off because THEY ARE SO FUCKING INTENSE.
Then he gets his cue and pretty much goes ape-shit on stage. They are doing a religious play, he goes off-book and declares that we are all like Christ, suffering in our own unique ways and turning towards the heavens desperately hoping for an answer which will not come. He feels a little flicker of belief in the audience, and it sustains him. (Belief in what? That is some nihilistic bullshit right there.)
The theater company kicks him out, he gets a gig with a more improv-friendly troupe, and he hooks up with Becky. Because, you know, ladies love passion. Stalkerish, kinda-rapey passion.
Everything is coming up Melbogathra until he notices a shifty-looking character repeatedly coming to his performances. A week later he comes home to find Becky dead on the floor and this guy coming after him with a tire iron.
So Melbogathra goes on his ass and the stalker breaks down in tears. He hated Max, because Max made him believe in God again. When his wife got cancer he lost his faith in God and it was easier to believe that God didn't exist then that God exists and just doesn't care.
Melbogathra offers him a bargain: He will erase the man's memory and remove all memory of seeing a demon. In exchange, this man will stay far away from Max and those around him. The man gladly agrees. What Melbogathra doesn't mention is that this pact gives him an open line to the stalker's soul, and he can draw energy from it as much as he wants. Let's not be too nice here.
This is honestly a pretty generic piece of intro fiction. Ignoring the creepy bits, it's pretty bog-standard. You get how demons are made, an idea of what they can do, how they feed, etc. Pretty much by the numbers.
There are some nice bits in this book but this is not one of them. Fortunately, the next chapter is.