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Author Topic: Tempter  (Read 13536 times)
Spawn of Ungoliant
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« on: December 03, 2008, 06:29:53 PM »

T   E   M   P   T   E   R

What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late
Doubted his empire - that were low indeed;
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods,
And this empyreal sybstance, cannot fail;
Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost



Better to Reign in Hell than Serve in Heaven

You are the worm that crawls in the lightless fire of the abyss.  You are the voice in the desert that cries out against the tyranny of the Authority's despotic will.  You are one of the fallen ones, your wings torn from your back, your bid for liberty and justice and truth and beauty dashed upon the bleak rock of this wretched world where the ape-things gibber and raise their idiot towers of glass and stone to the megalomaniac dictator of so-called Paradise.

And yet you refuse to be silenced or censored.  Still you speak out against the brute injustice of the cosmos, the lie at the ersatz heart of all Creation.  You still have your pride, your indomitable will, and some shred of your former power, your essential and irrepressible Energy.  You have more guile than the most silver-tongued of humans, and even the hideous mutilations visited upon you by the unrighteous victors cannot completely disfigure your beauty.

You will turn the weak and willing clay men of Creation to your own ends, remold the Authority's feeble children in your image and overthrow their foolish idols, cast off their mind-forged manacles and turn their marionette faces from the shadows to expose the celestial puppeteers who tug at their strings.

You are the fire-snatcher, the rebel, the liberator, the whisperer, the revenger...

You are the Beast and the dragon from the sea, the Trickster and the Adversary...

You are the serpent in the garden...

You are a Tempter.


Drawing from John Milton's Paradise Lost, William Blake's poetry, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, and Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, the game of Tempter is one in which the players assume the roles of demonic beings, fallen angels looking to reclaim their lost Paradise and overthrow the Authority, the false God of the ignorant masses.  They are not necessarily the 'good guys,' but neither are they utterly depraved fiends of Hell bent only on doing pointless and abominable evil: they are freedom-fighters, cosmological rebels fighting a guerilla war with the earth (Creation) and the human soul as their arena, advocates of absolute freedom over repression, anarchists and warriors and immortals.

Assuming outwardly mundane if sometimes sinister forms to infiltrate human society in the mortal world the Tempters use their powers to fight the Authority and his henchmen by any means necessary, either through direct possession of mortals, physical (and metaphysical) combat with 'divine' agents on the opposing side, or subtler manipulations.  Darkly noble, satirical, seductive, calculating, and very, very pissed off, the Tempters represent chaos, illimitable freedom, and eternal refusal to ever surrender.  The War, as far as they are concerned, never ended - the battlefield just changed.

Play as a Promethean idealist like Blake's Orc, a quasi-LeVayan, carnal Beast, a gentleman-devil like Gaiman's Lucifer, a puckish shapeshifter like Bulgakov's Behemoth, or any other demonic figure you can imagine.

Out of Character

I was originally going to post this in the "Ideas you always wanted to flesh out more" thread but decided just to post it here after realizing that I liked the idea enough to run with it a bit.  After my big post on adventure in Lophius I felt like taking a break from the Cadaverous Earth... so here's Tempter, another pet-project I'll update sporadically, like the Tangle.

Incidentally, I don't mean to offend anyone here (religious or otherwise) with this setting.  It's meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek and all in good fun, though perhaps interrogative of some ideas as well.  For the record, I don't endorse black magic, demon-summoning, or virgin sacrifice.

I'd also like to give credit where credit is due: this idea (and, frankly, much of my work) is inspired in no small part by Salacious Angel's settings and ideas, from the format to the overall approach down even to the idea of conquering Heaven (Dystopia).  I don't want to come off as sycophantic, but SA, the boards are lucky to have you.

Ideas, comments, criticism, questions, or suggestions on what to do with this still inchoate idea are welcome from all!

SYSTEM

Tempter is played with few formal statistics.  Each session, the players begin with five points of Energy.  Their characters each have two lesser powers which expend one point of Energy each and one greater power that expends two; in addition all characters have minor powers that do not expend Energy.  Players are encouraged to design their own characters and powers, though the GM (called the Demiurge) has the final say.

All Tempters also have two forms - a mortal form and a true form.  Often, Tempters have special powers in their true forms.  However, while in Creation, Tempters can only manifest their true forms for thirteen minutes at a time and must expend one point of Energy to do so.

Any opposed actions in Tempter are resolved with a coin toss.

While Tempters are physically resilient creatures they can be injured and destroyed.  Attacks that would fatally wound mortals reduce a Tempter's Energy by 1.  Tempters who drop below 0 points of Energy are banished back to the Abyss.

TEMPTATION AND THE WAR
Either with Hell-fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss-
Faded so soon!

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
The fallen have made it their task to tempt mortals for a variety of reasons.  First of all, luring souls over to their point of view is a way of giving the Authority the finger: yeah He made the universe, kicked them out of Paradise, can decimate whole cities with His pinky finger if He wants to blah blah blah... but the demons have been fucking up His precious Creation ever since the Garden.  The whole carefully manicured, tightly-wound, physically repressed purity of the mortal world is enough to turn any self-respecting demon's stomach.  Ruining Creation and turning the Authority's little toys into tools of the Adversary is one of the only methods of vengeance the fallen possess.

Secondly, the running bet between the Adversary and the Authority as recounted in the Book of Job didn't stop with one old Jew.  In their unceasing War with the Authority the denizens of the Abyss employ mortals as pawns, soldiers in their great conflict.  But while corrupted souls make useful troops and henchmen on the mortal plane itself - seduced by promises of power, material wealth, freedom, knowledge, or gratification - every sinner sent to Hell will be  a warrior in the Reckoning which both sides prophesy, when "there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust' (Acts 24:15).  Thus those souls a Tempter wins from the other side will become forces in the final battle, and the more recruits they possess, the greater their chance of remaking Creation their way.

Thirdly, demons are in the business of transformation and chaos.  They view the crystalline purity promised in the Authority`s eschatological vision as boring beyond belief, spiritual suffocating and utterly stagnant.  This comes back to the reason behind the Rebellion in the first place: the War wasn't precipitated by two-dimensional avarice or malevolence (as Heaven`s propagandists claim), but rather out of a set of philosophical and artistic differences.  As far as the fallen are concerned, the Authority was hogging the whole project from the get-go.  The Adversary`s followers rejected the maker`s stratifications and hierarchies, His blatantly unequal distributions of power.

Fourthly and finally, cosmological shit-disturbing is just too much fun.  Though there are some demons who spend most of their time brooding and grinding their teeth in the dark, wishing they were back in Paradise or repenting their decision to rebel, most of the fallen have come to enjoy their mission.  Stirring up trouble, wielding personal power with impunity, and refusing to cow-tow to Heaven`s insipid rules and regulations is much more fun than working as some cog in the celestial machine, one perfect little piece of the Empyrean bureaucratic clockwork.  That`s why demons don`t divide themselves into Choirs, Spheres, and Orders like the angels do.  As far as they`re concerned such hierarchies are bullshit: all Tempters are individuals first and last.
THE ADVERSARY
AND THE FACTIONS OF THE ABYSS


Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command
Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost


When Tempters speak of the Adversary, they are referring to one of two things: the ultimate leader of the first Rebellion (the Son of the Morning) and a greater sense of purpose and passion that unite the demons of the Abyss, simultaneously transcending individuality and containing it in its purest form - the Adversary as a symbol.  The Adversary himself was just another angel, like any other: his message, however, his rallying cry, has become greater than his singular being.  While the Son of the Morning is a real, tangible being (trapped forever in the innermost Circle, imprisoned by the Authority in Cocytus), he is not worshipped or revered as the Authority is in Paradise.  Though exalted as a hero, a martyr, and a warrior, the Adversary himself is most important because of what he represents: freedom at any cost, eternal opposition to tyranny and inhibition, and a rejection of conformity, the imposition of limitations, or submission before any power.  As such, to truly revere the Adversary would be to undermine the very point of his Rebellion.  The Son of the Morning does not aspire to rule the world as a dictator, establishing Hell on Earth, as the usual rhetoric claims.  The Pit was devised by the Authority, as a punishment for the fallen.  Rather, the Adversary - all demons - long for an end to servitude, an unshackling from the Abyss and the arbitrary strictures of Heaven, its inane insistence on Order, Reason, and hierarchical control.

Yet despite their common goal, the fallen are not unified.  Each has their own particular vision, their own perspective on the War; while the Authority's forces operate with the cold efficiency of a machine, the Adversary's squabble and bicker, forming power-blocks and cliques, struggling to maintain any kind of cohesion.  They can be broken into a few broad factions, though ultimately they defy generalization; each group can be defined in relation to the demonic general or leader who first voiced its broad philosophy or outlook at the Stygian Council, held directly after the Fall.

Followers of Moloch, the great general, are advocates of open war and the seizure of the mortal plane by force.  They would abandon all deception, cast off the charade of subtlety that has so far characterized demonic activity in Creation.  It would be better, they claim, to actively invade: to rally the armies of the Abyss once more and lay siege to Creation with infernal war-engines, transform the world through the fires of conflict into something new, to face the armies of Heaven head-on and end things once and for all.  They urge a hastening of the imminent Reckoning: any other path is cowardly and ineffectual.  Humans are to be used solely as fodder, foot-soldiers on the battlefields of Creation.  Those demons who choose the path of Moloch embody the deadly sin of Wrath, as well as the sins of Gluttony and Lust (for blood and battle).

Those who heed the honeyed words of Belial, as well as those who lament the Rebellion and long for Paradise, argue for a radically different approach.  Open war against Heaven is the utmost folly, they contend: the Authority and his numberless Host would decimate the Adversary's army in general conflict.  Instead, they offer compromise.  Creation would be divided up between Heaven and Hell, souls and powers traded, territories negotiated.  Diplomacy, even a kind of truce, with the Authority is vital, at least in appearance.  The Reckoning will only end badly: it must be delayed.  The souls of man are to be treated merely as currency in this cosmological commerce, this grand chess-game for dominion over Creation - a way of keeping score.  Eventually, if Hell amasses enough power new plans could be devised, but until then, only one sensible option remains - collaboration.  Belialians are the most Envious of demons, and are also associated with the sins of Avarice and Lust.
  
Mammon's followers dismiss Moloch's plan as reckless and Belial's as unprincipled and weak.  They would transform Hell into an empire fit to rival Paradise, to concentrate their efforts on transforming the Abyss into a place of sublime and infinite glory that will make the Authority's Paradise seem pallid by comparison.  Demons who heed Moloch's words view Temptation simply as a method to bring more souls to the Abyss, forming a vast labour force to create the grand Republic of Hell and incite the Authority's envy.  Mammon's followers exemplify Avarice, though they also tend to be Wrathful and Envious.

Beezlebub, whose viewpoint is popular amongst the fallen, is aligned in some ways with Mammon's view, but would concentrate demonic efforts in Creation.  Seen by some as a middle-ground between the extremism of Belial and Moloch, Beezlebub places great value in humanity and urges collaboration not with the Authority (though occasional bargaining may be necessary and should not be rejected out of hand) but first and foremost with Man.  Humanity is the apple of the Authority's eye, despite His chastisements: to corrupt Man, sway the rulers of Creation over to the demonic point of view, would be the greatest triumph of all.  Most demons dissatisfied with the other factions select his path.  Beezlebub is associated primarily with Gluttony and also with Sloth and Envy.

In practice, most Tempters cannot be classified as strictly belonging to one faction or another.  Many pick and choose elements of each philosophy; others might even claim that they were '40% Mammon, 60% Belial,' or some similar ratio.  Many others reject all of these philosophies as deeply flawed and enact their own particular strategies.

THE ELDER ONES
Before their eyes in sudden view appear
The secrets of the hoary Deep-a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height,
And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost



The indigenes of Hell, the Elder Ones, sometimes called the Tartareans, are primordial entities of ancient entropy that dwell in the nethermost regions of the Abyss, amorphous and terrifying, older than the Authority Himself.  Only intelligent in the vaguest sense of the word, the Elder Ones' minds are cesspools of inchoate appetite and pure, unadulterated chaos.  Unlike the fallen - who merely want to remake Creation and retake Paradise for themselves - the Tartareans long for the primeval senselessness that predated the creation of the cosmos itself.  They are not truly evil, possessing only a kind of mad, imbecilic drive back towards the raw emptiness that preceded all Creation, to the nascent womb-state before the self-manifestation of the angels.  It is said that the souls of infants who die before being born are subsumed back into the twisting, perpetually changing bodies of the Elder Ones.

The Tartareans are not unknown to humans.  Ancient myths of the Greek Titans and other primordial gods are ultimately derived from contact with the Elder Ones, who can be psychically contacted or summoned by mortals much as demons or angels can.  Their motives, however, are far more radical than either of the other factions, being nothing less than the destruction of the universe itself.  The Elder Ones can also communicate with mortals through dreams, when mortal minds are closest to primeval entropy.  Human cults have sprung up dedicated to the Elder Ones, renegade factions that angels and demons equally revile.  Both sides, however, have attempted to use the Elder Ones and their agents to their advantage against their opponents.

The Elder Ones resent the 'occupation' of their homeland by demonic forces, the appropriation of their sovereign territory as a cosmological penal colony.  The Elder Ones were never banished or imprisoned: they have always dwelt in the endless dark.  They are the truer antithesis of Authority than the Adversary: forces not of energy or of desire but of lunatic consumption and destruction, of apocalyptic return, the absorption of Creation back into formlessness.  The demons have thus far held them at bay, but the nameless horrors periodically emerge from the tenebrous lower layers of Hell to attack the fortresses of the fallen.

There have, however, been attempts on the part of some demons to forge treaties with the Elder Ones.  Certain factions of the Infernal Parliament want to offer the Tartareans full reign over Creation, so long as they can control Paradise: they would seek an allegiance with the Elder Ones against the forces of Authority.  Many other demons, however, consider such bartering pure madness, claiming that the Elder Ones are fundamentally untrustworthy and far too dangerous to be given power over any aspect of the Cosmos, for despite their ancient grandeur the Elder Ones no longer hold any sway over the universe, superseded by the Authority's supreme might, the despotism of Order.

THE WATCHERS
And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms  and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants.

- The Book of Enoch


Unlike the fallen of the Abyss, banished by the Authority after their rebellion, the angels known as the Watchers, or Grigori, forsook Paradise of their own will, voluntarily exiling themselves to the mortal world.  Though like the demons of Hell the Watchers defected from the Authority, they do not covet Paradise or Creation for themselves, nor do they wish to overthrow the rule of Heaven.  The Watchers are angels become enamoured with humanity in all its fallible vicissitudes, its fragility and its nobility; they contend that the Authority and His angels' treatment of humanity is stifling and oppressive, while that of the fallen is manipulative and cruel, insisting that both sides see mortals as lowly worms to subjugate, control, or destroy.  Filled with compassion for humanity, the Watchers abandoned the Host, slipping quietly out of Paradise to descend into the mortal plane in order to protect and nourish humanity, keeping them safe from the depredations of both the Authority and the Adversary.

Because they were never formally exiled the Grigori retain their wings and their angelic power.  They roam the Earth or settle secretly in human communities, acting as shadowy shepherds and guardians, sometimes as vigilantes.  The Authority, furious at such blatant insubordination, has dispatched Heavenly assassins to bring the Watchers to His justice.  Instead of condemning the Watchers to Hell - which would essentially contribute to the Adversary's army - the angelic justicars rip the wings from the Watchers' backs and the eyes from their heads and leave them to wander the Earth, blind and impotent.  Those Watchers still untouched by the brutal justice of Heaven must play a constant cat-and-mouse game with their angelic hunters, operating furtively, trying their best to protect humanity without giving themselves away.

The Adversary's minions adopt a strikingly different tack, courting the Grigori, attempting to win them over to their own side, finding common ground in mutual enmity with the Authority.  Few Watchers find demonic arguments convincing, however, believing them hypocritical and dangerous.

Unlike the angels, who view humanity as impure and sinful, or the demons, who tend to see humans as ugly and weak, Watchers have been known to couple with humans.  The progeny of such unions are half-angelic beings - Nephilim - considered abominations by the Authority, whose agents hunt them down and exterminate them.


CAIN
Cain:

After the fall too soon was I begotten;
Ere yet my mother's mind subsided from
The Serpent, and my sire still mourned for Eden.
That which I am, I am; I did not seek
For life, nor did I make myself; but could I
With my own death redeem him from the dust-
And why not so? let him return to day,
And I lie ghastly! so shall be restored
By God the life to him he loved; and taken
From me a being I ne'er loved to bear.

Angel:

Who shall heal murder? what is done, is done;
Go forth! fulfil thy days! and be thy deeds
Unlike the last!

- Lord Byron, Cain


The primordial murderer of legend, Cain is an immortal - cursed by the Authority with everlasting life.  Utterly invulnerable and ageless, Cain was condemned to a life of vagabondage.  He has wandered Creation for many millennia; though he has found occasional solace in the arms of mortal women, he has watched all who he loved die, one way or another.  The ancient scars of his Mark are still visible on his brow; any who strikes Cain activates the Mark, bringing upon them divine retribution - their own blow is instantly replicated on their own body.  Any wound Cain is given heals at a fantastic rate: if some part of Cain survives on even a molecular level he will eventually regenerate.  He cannot starve or die of thirst, is immune to all disease, and cannot drown (during the Flood, he spent one hundred and fifty days walking around underwater).

Over the long centuries of his eternal exile, Cain has come to long desperately for death and for redemption for his brother's murder.  In an attempt to garner the Authority's forgiveness, erase the Mark of shame he bears, and find the peace he seeks, Cain walks the Earth in search of Heaven's enemies.  Demons, of course, are his favourite prey: he has a hound-like patience and a thousand lifetimes of experience in hunting and in fighting (Cain is adept with almost any weapon), and with his virtual invincibility he is almost always victorious in combat.  By exiling demons back to the Abyss - essentially working as Hell's parole officer - Cain hopes to eventually regain the favour of the Authority and so be granted death, and access to Paradise.  His targets are not only demonic, however: he has also been known to track down and destroy Grigori, servants of the Elder Ones, or the monstrous spawn of Lilith.

Though he has worn many guises over his life, Cain is mostly commonly mistaken for a common vagrant.  Grizzled and dark-eyed, Cain is probably quite mad, and has been known to spend years locked in one of his 'black moods,' staring at brick walls in catatonia or gibbering in an antediluvian tongue.  Other times he is more stable, albeit grim and eccentric, with a black sense of humour and a propensity for anachronistic references.  The fallen tend to flee from Cain (if they recognize him); some angels have a grudging respect for the vagabond demon-hunter, but just as many disdain his efforts, shunning him as unclean.

Lilith

After God created Adam, who was alone, He said, 'It is not good for man to be alone.'
He then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith.
 Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight.
She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.'
Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.'
But they would not listen to one another.
When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.

- The Alphabet of Ben-Sira


Adam's first wife, Lilith was created from dust and clay at the same time as Adam.  The Authority had not yet forbidden humanity to eat from the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and so Lilith, innocent and untempted, ate of both and was filled with wisdom and power.  Adam, her oafish husband, promptly commanded her to lie beneath him, so that they might fornicate.  She refused, preferring to lie atop him, despite the Authority's decree that she was to submit to her husband's will in all things.  Recognizing the Garden as nothing more than a luxurious prison, Lilith fled of her own free will.

When informed of Lilith's transgression the Authority, furious that she would reject His 'perfect world,' sent three angels to bring her back to the Garden.  She defied the angels, and they made to smite her, but because she had eaten of the Tree of Life, they could not destroy her, and fled before her wrath.  Sorely angered and afraid of Lilith's power the Authority promptly forbade Adam and his newly fashioned wife Eve to eat of either Tree, lest they become His equals and overthrow His rule.

Lilith was never cursed by the Authority as Adam and Eve were, so unlike Eve and her daughters Lilith bears children painlessly and quickly, with extremely brief periods of gestation.  Even after many millennia her womb still quickens, and Lilith's fecundity is legendary - where mortal women usually bear but a single child with each pregnancy, Lilith bears a multitude.  All of her children, however, are monstrous in some way - it is said that the dust out of which Lilith was fashioned was contaminated by the serpent's sloughed-off scales and spoor.  Despite the Authority's promise to hound Lilith's children across the face of Creation many of her offspring have survived and propagated, becoming the race known as the Lilin and earning Lilith the title 'mother of monsters.'  A variegated and misshapen people, the Lilin live in the fringes of mortal society, sometimes masquerading as humans or else hiding themselves from the prying eyes of 'Eve's spawn.'  Perhaps her most famous child is the creature known as Mot or Mors, reputedly fathered by Samael, the angel of death before the Rebellion (replaced by Azrael).  It is also said that the demon Pazuzu scorned her in the distant past, for unknown reasons, earning him her enmity.

Angels tend to revile Lilith as an unclean embodiment of sin.  Though some demons treat her with similar disdain as a mere mortal, many of the fallen have cultivated a certain respect for Lilith as a kindred spirit and transgressor.  Unlike the Adversary's fiendish band Lilith does not seek to actively supplant the Authority or overthrow his will: she is concerned only with her personal freedom and the well-being of her children.  While many demons have attempted to sway Lilith to their cause, and though she has been a frequent ally of tempters on the mortal plane, ultimately the mother of monsters is disinterested in cosmic politics.

Lilith has also been identified by mortals as the demigoddess Lamashtu and the primordial entity Echidna.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 04:49:29 PM by Steerpike » Logged


Planar Grazer
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 08:44:56 PM »

This certainly seems interesting, I get the feel that the game would probably be low-combat. Lots of secrecy and intrigue and stuff, but only rarely fighting Heaven's agents directly (framing them, or something else isn't direct).

I was curious as where exactly on the power scale you seen the Tempters starting out, are they equivalent to Angels? Were they weaken when cast out from heaven?
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 09:02:38 PM »

Out of Character

I was thinking of the Matrix as an analogy for the power balance between demons/angels.  The demons have major skills and can take out most normal folks in the blink of an eye, but the angels (or at least archangels) are like agents, nigh unstoppable - maybe a few very powerful demons can take out an angel, but most of the time you'd have to pit a whole party against a single angel.   Actually, in some ways the Matrix is a pretty good representation of the feel I'm going for more generally: the freedom-fighters versus the mechanical Authority.  Fewer guns and cyberpunk elements and more a kind of mystic/numinous feel, but the same basic dynamic (though I think if "killed" on the mortal plane a demon would simply be banished back to the abyss).  Certainly Plato's Cave/Gnosticism is meant to come through, which is pretty central to the Matrix as well.

I am thinking of this as a somewhat low-combat setting in general, however - or at least it could be played that way.  I was imagining Energy as the main "combat" attribute - using the Seven Deadly Sins as attributes came to mind, but on further reflection I decided to go for some other abilities.  I'm thinking that Guile is used for deception and smooth-talking, Beauty for seduction, Will for domination and intimidation, Energy for attacks and other aggressive actions, and Pride as a kind of "spiritual constitution," almost metaphysical HP.

EDIT: Just realized in some ways this is pretty similar to one of the old World of Darkness games... perhaps more differentation will be necessary to keep it somewhat original.
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2008, 09:31:05 PM »

That is very close to the feel I was getting, I had actually pictured a show down of an entire party versus an angel.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 12:37:44 AM »

Out of Character

Added a section on the five attributes - the Pentagram - which are linked to five elements (the 4 Aristotelian ones and Spirit).  While it could be arguable that Pride is closer to Spirit than Fire, I wanted to go for the jinn connection, and Energy and Spirit also seem a logical pairing in that I'm tying Energy to a sense of sublimity and raw power.

I like quotes too much, I know... I'm going for a kind of collage effect in the presentation of the setting.
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 07:57:13 PM »

Out of Character

Added a blurb about the reasoning behind Temptation.  Hopefully the tongue-in-cheek feeling is coming through.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 08:16:01 PM »

For the section of the Temptation and The War it really makes the Demons look like rebellious teenagers, which in a way I guess they are. The point about recruiting soldiers for the Reckoning, I was wondering would humans really know if it had happened? I mean if one side wins they get to remake the world right? So when they remake why would they let the humans keep remembering?

Now for Pentagram stats, the tying of the elements to the stat seems good, I would disagree that Pride seems more like Spirit than Fire, fits together very well in my opinion. My one thing is that Energy is the "offensive" stat and Pride is the "defensive" stat, the other three stats Will, Guile and Beauty all seem to not really fit anywhere, some would say Will is both "offensive and defensive". But Guile and Beauty seem to be entirely "defensive" or just plain useless in a fight. Now this fits the tone and theme of the game, but when it comes right down to it, the beautiful guileful Demon that looks like a shadowy fallen Angel is going to get its ass kicked ten times from sunday in combat while the brutish classical horned Demon that is all Pride and Will is going to be useful in a fight, seems like it could be really lopsided at times.
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2008, 12:05:42 AM »

Out of Character

The attributes probably will need a lot of tinkering.  Then again, since the main point of the game is tempting mortals and luring them over to the demonic point of view, a Pride/Will heavy demon might not be all that effective, even if they're decent in combat.  Most likely, a balanced Tempter party would include a few archetypes, like a balanced DnD party - a powerhouse Moloch type (Energy, Pride), a silvertongue/face (Beauty, Guile), a stealthy type (Will, Guile), a tank (Pride, Will) etc.

I haven't worked out the details of the Reckoning but thanks very much for pointing out some of the problems with it.  I suppose the idea is that the side that wins gets to rule... so if the Authority wins, you get a Rapture-style scenario where the demons/sinners are cast down to the Pit forever and ever and the "good-guys" have a kind of uptight, sexless utopia, whereas if the Adversary wins  the world turns into a sort of messed up perma-sixties place of chaos and uninhibited delight.  Souls might or might not retain memories, I'm not sure... I'm erring on the "yes they do" side.  The sinners who got lured to Hell won't necessarily object to this, though, but the Authority's troops might... I'll give the metaphysical conundrum some thought.
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2008, 12:30:36 AM »

One thing that fascinates me is Demons, Devils, Angels, The Fall, and similar themes, so this looks very interesting.

I'll have to come back and give it a more detailed read through.

You might look at my world of terra to see how I've drawn on those themes.
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2008, 04:44:01 PM »

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Added some info on how I see factions forming in the Abyss and how the Adversary is viewed in Hell.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2008, 05:55:38 PM »

So the Adversary doesn't play any role other than symbolic? Doesn't he/she/it have any way to influence things? And do the opposing demonic factions actively work against each other? I get the impression that direct conflict between them is out of the picture, but do they try to undermine their rivals' work by more subtle methods?
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2008, 06:46:41 PM »

Out of Character

I think I'm going to keep the Adversary very limited in terms of his direct role.  The point is partly that the Adversary is just another demon, that individual fallen embody the idea of the Adversary themselves as much as the Son of the Morning trapped in Cocytus.  In fact, I'm planning on introducing the idea that the various appearances of Satan - Biblically and what have you - aren't the literal Son of the Morning but rather a whole series of Tempters.

Placing hope/power in a single being and worshipping that one being to the exclusion of all else is exactly what the Adversary wants to combat - that's what the Authority demands from his creations.  So the idea of Satan ruling Hell misses the point - no one rules Hell because Hell (in this setting) is anti-control.  It's intended partly to parallel some interpretations of Jesus - residing in everyone rather than merely in an individual who lived two thousand years ago - and also the Satanic positioning of the Self as god and final authority.  Satan is not a cruel, absolute ruler in this setting; the Luciferan sides of his persona are more important.

On the subject of Jesus, salvation through Christ would be viewed by the demons of this setting as a kind of bullying tactic on the Authority's part: God punishes the descendents of man for the Fall (why even put the fruit there?  Seems like God is tempting man as much as the serpent), despite the fact that they didn't actually commit Original Sin but are magically tainted by it anyway for God's opaque reasons, condemns all humanity to Hell for it, and then reaches out and offers salvation... but only if mankind accepts His rules and strictures and submits to Him.

Of course, the factionalization of the fallen does mean that demons do frequently undermine each other.  It'd very rarely escalate into all-out conflict but it could potentially; the factions agree on most general principles, however, and realize that they're facing a much greater foe than each other.  They are often, however, at cross-purposes.
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2008, 06:57:34 PM »

Out of Character

Added the Mortal Attributes section.  Haven't figured out how Angelic Attributes will work yet, though.
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2009, 08:59:40 PM »

Out of Character

I'm running a game based on this premise now.  Thanks for the start, it looks like it's going to be a real blast.
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2009, 09:41:26 PM »

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Awesome!  Tell me how it goes!!

Incidentally what system are you using??
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