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Campaign Creation => Homebrews => Topic started by: Steerpike on December 03, 2008, 06:29:53 PM



Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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


(http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/4382/thewarinheavenlr2.jpg)

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
(http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/5125/06dorebible052db1.jpg)
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

(http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/8373/paradiselost3.jpg)

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

(http://img686.imageshack.us/img686/8819/paradiselost7.jpg)


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

(http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/3237/paradiselost14.jpg)

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

(http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/7153/deathofabel.jpg)

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

(http://img532.imageshack.us/img532/6762/paradiselost16.jpg)

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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Llum 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?


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Llum 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Llum 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: khyron1144 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 06, 2008, 04:44:01 PM

Out of Character

Added some info on how I see factions forming in the Abyss and how the Adversary is viewed in Hell.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman 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?


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Numinous 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.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on January 26, 2009, 09:41:26 PM

Out of Character

Awesome!  Tell me how it goes!!

Incidentally what system are you using??


Title: Tempter
Post by: Numinous on January 26, 2009, 09:54:12 PM

Out of Character

So far, I butchered the mythology of the world into a dark comedy.  The world is a battleground between the forces of Richard (born from a diagram of God=Dick) and Lucy (Lucifer as a feminist).  One player is determined to play Jack the Ripper and another is interested in playing a Vampire, and the the third a top-hat wearing elephant (Ever read "The Elephant Tower" by Robert E. Howard?).  I see the game playing out as an attempt to create Armageddon by tapping into the hidden supernatural resources and beings who were stuck on the mortal world after the war in heaven left said world isolated.

Mind you, I made liberal adjustments to the source material in order to make the game work.  I'm currently hacking out a system using the stats you mentioned, a magic channeling system based on Sacrifice and deriving benefits from acting against The Authority.  I'm also looking to tie M:tG's system of mana into the stat system because the 5 color pie idea seems similar and practical.  Not a literal translation of the colors of course, but utilizing the principles of connected attributes.  Mostly though, it's d20+mods vs. DC for now.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Matt Larkin (author) on January 26, 2009, 10:00:25 PM
Wow, didn't see this first time around--traveling abroad then--but it sure looks cool.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on January 28, 2009, 01:42:56 AM

Out of Character

That sounds really really cool, Rose!  I like your interpretation of the mythology a lot, and your players sound really into it.  Dark comedy is definitely one of the playing styles I was thinking of when I wrote this intially.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LordVreeg on January 28, 2009, 09:25:17 AM
Hm.
I've read through this on three different nights.  Still need a lot more data to like it or not, though the basics are VERY attractive.

1) I'd change the focus of the game to include playing mortals and agants of the authority.  I think that may move the game from the status of 'amusing distraction game to play once in between games' to 'possible campaign' status.  You always seem to have a good grasp of the slippery logic of factions, I'd use it.

2)Since this is a game based on a version of earth, with the main foundation built on jeudo-christian mythos, you will need to explain the place of all the other religions of the world.  DO they have power, or not?  Distractions or old fights between the Authority and the Adversary, or are there other forces at work?

3) 'Souls as currency'.  This term brings up a whole host (pun intended) of issues.  What place do the souls of the pure have?  Can the souls of the dead be used?  Can an agent of the Adversary call on the soul of Sargent, to teach a mortal artsist to hone his craft?  Do the souls of the good and pure (and do we need to get into what really makes a soul pure?  Probably) ascend to heaven?  I see this as a real problem as you have spent much of the description calling the Authority's published view one sided and you have (rightfully, for game design) put the focus on more morala ambiguity.  SO I am going to have to reccomend creating a reality that avoids, "Good souls go to heaven, bad and corrupted souls go to hell", and continue to focus on more of the chaos vs order thing.

4) DO you plan to have character ability/potency increases as time goes on?

5) Gellman's Book "Angler" makes more sense now. I will probably spend the rest of today looking at politics through this lens.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on January 28, 2009, 09:50:00 PM

Out of Character

[blockquote=Vreeg]1) I'd change the focus of the game to include playing mortals and agants of the authority. I think that may move the game from the status of 'amusing distraction game to play once in between games' to 'possible campaign' status. You always seem to have a good grasp of the slippery logic of factions, I'd use it.[/blockquote]I like the idea of angelic characters who might be demonic sympathizers or something similar.  I can see major mortal NPCs as well, or perhaps superhumans of some variety (Nephilim or uber-powerful spellcasters for example) but not standard mortalsas Pcs - they wouldn't be powerful enough to fit with what I have in mind. [blockquote=ibid]2)Since this is a game based on a version of earth, with the main foundation built on jeudo-christian mythos, you will need to explain the place of all the other religions of the world. DO they have power, or not? Distractions or old fights between the Authority and the Adversary, or are there other forces at work?[/blockquote]This is a really, really good point and one I hadn't considered.  I suppose I could go the Sandman/American Gods pan-cosmological route and incorporate other genuine supernatural entities, but I think more likely will be that all of the major religions have things wrong, its just that the Judeo-Christian theology is closest, or something like that. [blockquote=ibid]3) 'Souls as currency'. This term brings up a whole host (pun intended) of issues. What place do the souls of the pure have? Can the souls of the dead be used? Can an agent of the Adversary call on the soul of Sargent, to teach a mortal artsist to hone his craft? Do the souls of the good and pure (and do we need to get into what really makes a soul pure? Probably) ascend to heaven? I see this as a real problem as you have spent much of the description calling the Authority's published view one sided and you have (rightfully, for game design) put the focus on more morala ambiguity. SO I am going to have to reccomend creating a reality that avoids, "Good souls go to heaven, bad and corrupted souls go to hell", and continue to focus on more of the chaos vs order thing.[/blockquote]The idea is that only the souls of the dead really count because while someone's alive they can still achieve "redemption".  Whether someone goes to Paradise or the Abyss will be a function not of a straightforward morality system but much more a chaos/order thing, very gray. Good and evil aren't moral attributes per se, but certain behaviors will be approved of by the bullying but powerful Authority who decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.  Things like blind faith, zealotry, complacency, self-abjection, and submission will be "rewarded" whereas the pursuit of personal pleasure, self-development, and transgressions against the Authority's dogmatic system of tenets would "corrupt" a mortal soul.  Note the quotation marks.[blockquote=ibid]4) DO you plan to have character ability/potency increases as time goes on?[/blockquote]Yes.  I was thinking of using the FATE system and customizing it as I went.  Basically, attributes would improve over time, and perhaps I could incorporate a system of special abilities/spells or something.  Honesty, though, I'm more interested in Rose of Montague's system and how that works out.  If it works out well, perhaps he'll let me know the details :)


Title: Tempter
Post by: Numinous on January 28, 2009, 09:56:11 PM

Out of Character

I wasn't actually planning on building in a character advancement system.  The system would work in a similar way to D&D in that advancement is gear-based, but less to the extent of the armory carrying warrior.  Each character is a force to be reckoned with, and the gathering of ancient artifacts or the blessings of Heathen gods would grant boons to an already valid threat.  The campaign won't go more than three semesters if all goes well, and I don't see the lack of advancement being a problem since the campaign will center on the negotiations between Richard and Lucy's forces than actual battle on the part of the Players.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on January 29, 2009, 02:08:22 PM

Out of Character

Steerpike, it sounds to me like your system for determining the fate of souls might be better labeled as allegiance or fidelity than morality. OTOH it may not be well to pick a word that implies conscious preference toward the Authority or the Adversary. After all, human beings are very good at convincing themselves that their actions and thoughts are in accordance with what ever ideals they believe in, even when they are twisting their interpretations to justify convenient but questionable acts.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on January 29, 2009, 02:12:48 PM

Out of Character

Very good point Ghostman... it definitely doesn't do to simply pay lip service to one side or the other.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LordVreeg on January 31, 2009, 09:01:40 AM
Yeah, after me spending years trashing alignments on most threads as a crutch and as given to less mature games, you DID manage to come up with a premise that will require a GM to spend a lot of time with an alignment/allegiance system.  Nice Job.  
I'm still ruminating over the type of system, but since one of the cornerstones of this game is that souls are real and that they can be judged, suddenly the scale on which that is done has some weight, in terms of a game mechanic.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on January 31, 2009, 01:16:13 PM

Out of Character

I guess the way I'm interpreting it is that the whole point is that the "alignment" distinctions are unjust impositions and can be interrogated; there are two "teams" or sides rather than genuine ethical absolutes.  I think I actually mentioned Tempter in one of my alignment-bashing rants.

Souls are real and can be judged but they aren't necessarily judged justly.  The central conflict is all about a punishment usually considered just that I'm spinning as unjust for the purposes of the campaign; or, put another way, the "good" decided upon by the reigning power is being hotly contested.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LordVreeg on February 18, 2009, 08:30:18 AM

Steerpike


Out of Character

I guess the way I'm interpreting it is that the whole point is that the "alignment" distinctions are unjust impositions and can be interrogated; there are two "teams" or sides rather than genuine ethical absolutes.  I think I actually mentioned Tempter in one of my alignment-bashing rants.

Souls are real and can be judged but they aren't necessarily judged justly.  The central conflict is all about a punishment usually considered just that I'm spinning as unjust for the purposes of the campaign; or, put another way, the "good" decided upon by the reigning power is being hotly contested.


So the 'scales' are rigged by the winners of the older battle.  Such is how history is written.
Souls are real, but the scales are fixed...interesting.

You know this DOES kind of go together with an old setting I wrote, "Lord of the Morning"....



Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on February 22, 2009, 01:30:20 AM

Out of Character

Lord of the Morning, eh?  Sounds cool, care to elaborate?


Title: Tempter
Post by: LordVreeg on February 22, 2009, 11:16:03 AM
Eldo and I were going over some of the particulars last night.

The main idea centers around the winners being able to write the history books.  This is the case in the Angel Wars, only the history that hs been written is masked in the trappings of religion.

Lucifer was actually God's first son, his most cherished creation.  And as many children are wont to do, he rebelled.  He told his father he could do a better job ennobling mortalkind.  ANd so God, in his great wisdom, created a fortress for Lucifer, and allowed him to try.  And in various and sundry cultures, he did try, sometimes doing better than the estasblishment of heaven, most of the time, going too far and ending up being called Hades or something.  But the give and take actually brought mankind along out of savagery quickly.

But while Lucifer and his father played their game of chess, the Archangels, the leaders of the hosts of Heaven, rebelled and cast God down into imprisonment.  They dissaproved of God's amicable contest with his son, and before Lucifer could help his father, the coup had succeeded, and Lucifer was only spared by locking himself and his few allies behind the walls of the fortress his father had created for him.  The Archangels, though not evil, had no agenda to raise mankind up, but instead wanted to keep them under supervision and bring them along in a very controlled pace.

So the Archangels and the new aristocracy of heaven had access to the mortal world, but Lucifer and his had to secretly, quietly make thier own visitations.  And the powers of heaven were in a position to have great religious tracts written, in which they perjured Lucifer and the contest that he had had with his father.  The secretly eged on one religion then another, keping mortals fighting each other in the name of 'God'.  Lucifer's attempts to battle them, to try to save mankind from their overly structured ways, are normally fruitless.  He is Mithras, and Loki, and countless others in the works that mortals write in their attempts to understand the angelic conflicts.

During one particular pyhrric victory, God's other son, Jesus, escapes down to earth but loses much of his memory.  Lucifer expends much of his remaining resources fighting his former tutors for the soul of his brother, who they try to set up as the King of the World.  Lucifer's brother allows himself to be slain instead, and though the Archangels take his soul, the story of redemption is written.  
However, that victory is short lived, as the heavenly bureaocracy interferes with all the writings, creating a new church that will combat progress.  Lucifer has lost his father and his brother, and only the defection of the Archangel Uriel to his side keeps him from absolute despair.

The current story starts with the Lord of the Morning trying to end the Dark Ages and stop the Crusades that Heaven is spurring on from both sides.  Gabriel fears that the Muslims are learning too much, too fast, and is afraid that the Lord of the Morning is helping them (and he is right), so Gabriel has taken a direct hand and has been sending dreams to the Pope and agents in the christian church.  
Lucifer is a tragic, tragic figure in this, vilified and with traces of his old arrogance (from the days when he thought he knew better than his father) still present.  Can the Lord of the Morning end the long night of ignorance?  
also wrote some old notes about doing this in the Age of Enlightenment and in the Industrial Revolution.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 01, 2009, 05:10:46 PM

Out of Character

Added a section on "The Elder Ones," manifestations of raw primordial chaos, the indigenous inhabitants of Hell.  They don't like the demons (who they view as colonists) or the angels, either; they want to unmake the cosmos and force Creation to revert back to its primeval formlessness.  They have mortal cults that want the same thing, and both angels and demons will put aside their differences to stop the Elder Ones from enacting their plans.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on December 02, 2009, 09:53:45 AM

Steerpike


both angels and demons will put aside their differences to stop the Elder Ones from enacting their plans.

Not quite sure what to think about that :-|

Somehow it would seem more appropriate and underlining the fundamentalist nature of the schism that even such a common threat would fail to break the enmity.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 02, 2009, 01:03:18 PM

Out of Character

Hmm, I guess I see your point.  The idea is that the Elder Ones threaten to wreck the whole game, and they really can't be negotiated with.  On the other hand, I can imagine each side still trying to use the Elder Ones to their own advantage... I think I'll add something in about that.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Mason on December 02, 2009, 02:00:23 PM
Wow. This is pretty bad-ass SP. Great Job.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LordVreeg on December 02, 2009, 03:08:52 PM
So we have worked our way into a triangle.  Still trying to wrap my head around a thrid major player, though it tickles my Lovecraftian side.

Somehow, i'd find it more pleasing if the angelic side was holding back the Primordials.    


Title: Tempter
Post by: sparkletwist on December 02, 2009, 03:11:55 PM
I second Ghostman.

The Marines and the Chaos Marines didn't stop fighting just because the Tyranids showed up. ;)


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 02, 2009, 04:39:30 PM

Out of Character

The idea isn't that they stop fighting, but that when, say, cultists of the Elder Ones threaten to dissolve Creation back into primordial chaos (perhaps by unleashing the Elder Ones on the mortal plane, for example) both angels and demons start paying attention, to the point where they might put aside formerly iron-clad enmities for the time being.  I'm imagining a kind of Watchmen-like scenario: if aliens were invading the earth during the Cold War, America and Russia might have temporarily put aside their rivalry to combat a foe who threatens both sides simultaneously.  That doesn't mean that they stop having their own agendas or ideologies or that they stop hating one another's guts, though.

You're right, Vreeg - the Lovecraftian thing is definitely present in the Elder Ones.  They're also sort of channeling Chaos, Night, and some of the other primordial things from Paradise Lost which even Satan seems to be wary of:

"...thither he plyes,
Undaunted to meet there what ever power
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the neerest coast of darkness lyes
Bordering on light; when strait behold the Throne
Of Chaos, and his dark Pavilion spread
Wide on the wasteful Deep; with him Enthron'd
Sat Sable-vested Night, eldest of things...

...T' whom Satan turning boldly, thus. Ye Powers
And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no Spy,
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your Realm, but by constraint
Wandring this darksome Desart, as my way
Lies through your spacious Empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek
What readiest path leads where your gloomie bounds
Confine with Heav'n; or if som other place
From your Dominion won, th' Ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound, direct my course..."

Here Satan is a bit more chummy with Chaos & Night than I'm imagining the demons to be, but I'm thinking of adding more about them... perhaps the fallen have tried to enact some treaties with the Tartareans - for example, letting them rule over Creation if the demons are allowed to keep Paradise for themselves.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 04, 2009, 11:27:51 AM

Out of Character

Added The Watchers and switched some images.


Title: Tempter
Post by: sparkletwist on December 05, 2009, 03:36:52 PM
I'd like to also suggest you incorporate some way for the players to play old pagan gods as demons, as this provides a great deal of inspiration and character concepts. It goes along with Judeo-Christian theology anyway, which took a lot of the pagan gods from the surrounding region and made them demons. (Baal, Ishtar/Astarte, etc.)

The Authority casting all beings who would dare call themselves gods (and thus set themselves up as rivals) down into Hell along with the rebellious angels would certainly make sense. :) It also helps to draw in some other cosmologies and add depth to your conflict.

With the introduction of the Elder Ones, I see you're definitely trying to expand it past just a pure "Abrahamic" mythology. I like that approach. So I'd also like to suggest some place in this expanding cosmology for Eastern religion, like Hinduism or Buddhism, as a lot of "Angel and Demon" stuff completely ignores it-- and that's no fun, and kind of leaves out a rather large portion of human souls they might be interested in fighting for. Reincarnation doesn't really fit into your cosmology, I think-- so maybe they're just lying about that. Or maybe it's tied into the concept of Purgatory, which I also don't know if you have or not. But, in both cases, there is some way for souls to escape their fate, at least for a short time.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on December 05, 2009, 03:58:21 PM
I like the Watchers, they look like they could be even more fun and interesting characters than the demons. Do the Nephilim have obviously angelic forms or do they resemble humans? How long do they live if not slain? Do demons try to court them as they do the Watchers?


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 05, 2009, 04:13:09 PM
[blockquote=sparkletwist]I'd like to also suggest you incorporate some way for the players to play old pagan gods as demons, as this provides a great deal of inspiration and character concepts. It goes along with Judeo-Christian theology anyway, which took a lot of the pagan gods from the surrounding region and made them demons. (Baal, Ishtar/Astarte, etc.)

The Authority casting all beings who would dare call themselves gods (and thus set themselves up as rivals) down into Hell along with the rebellious angels would certainly make sense. It also helps to draw in some other cosmologies and add depth to your conflict.[/blockquote]I think the way I'm going to handle "pagan" deities is that they're actually mostly "demons" who've accrued their own religions.  This fits well since the demons view themselves as gods, whereas its only the Authority (and his subjects) who enforce hierarchies.

That said I might have some non angelic/demonic presences abroad in the world.  I'll have to think about that one more. [blockquote=Ghostman]I like the Watchers, they look like they could be even more fun and interesting characters than the demons. Do the Nephilim have obviously angelic forms or do they resemble humans? How long do they live if not slain? Do demons try to court them as they do the Watchers?[/blockquote]The Nephilim probably look like humans with subtle angelic attributes - think aasimar.  The demons would try to court them, but since they're not nearly as powerful as their parents they wouldn't be sought after quite as urgently.  They'd probably be treated more like mortal sorcerers and the like - mortals who've accrued a scrap of power.  Worthy of more consideration than you're average human, but still a weak, petty creature.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on December 18, 2009, 06:35:50 AM
If a Watcher was to give in to temptation and fall into the Abyss, would it lose or keep it's wings? If the latter is the case, would other Demons attack it out of jealousy?


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on December 18, 2009, 03:54:14 PM

Out of Character

Hmn, I hadn't thought of that.  The way I'd generally imagined it was that an angel's wings have to be deliberately confiscated/removed, though during the Fall itself they were all incinerated... I'd say that if a Watcher who still had its wings died (and therefore went to Hell - no way the Authority is letting any stripe of rebel back into Paradise) they'd retain their wings in the Underworld.  I think the demonic reaction would vary wildly, but I can imagine jealous demons trying to stal the wings for themselves somehow... bizarre but excellent idea!


Title: Tempter
Post by: Scribble on February 16, 2010, 10:47:48 AM
I love the idea personally, but I was wondering; what are the different factions of Angels, or are there any such factions at all? My occult knowledge in the matter is a bit limited, but if the Tempter setting follows the traditional interpretation of angelology, then the hosts of the Authority could range from the numerous Angels to the inhuman and senses-shattering Seraphim. Might different hosts have their own ideas of how to deal with the Adversary or, as in the Abyss, might particularly powerful or influencal Angels attract their own groups of supporters; I could see the Archangel Michael constantly begging the Authority to allow him to lay seige to the gates of the Abyss, while Zerachiel might prefer the gather of their own mortal army to combat Hell's own.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on February 17, 2010, 02:14:57 PM

Out of Character

That's a very interesting question, and one I hadn't thought as much about.  The problem with the factions of Heaven is that as portrayed so far, Heaven is a dictatorship, in contrast with the anarchic parliament of Hell; the big man upstairs would pretty much quash dissent on the spot.

That said, I've been reading a lot of Lucifer and Preacher recently, and in both of those works God is a trickier figure... in the former His commands have to be interpreted (and He only speaks sporadically) whereas in the latter He's abandoned Heaven altogether.  His Dark Materials had another great option: make God senile.  Something like that might really work in this setting (this might form the focus of a campaign - discovering that God isn't what He used to be).

Anyone have any ideas for reconciling the idea of an authoritarian God with dissent in Heaven?


Title: Tempter
Post by: Nomadic on February 17, 2010, 02:49:44 PM

Steerpike


Out of Character

That's a very interesting question, and one I hadn't thought as much about.  The problem with the factions of Heaven is that as portrayed so far, Heaven is a dictatorship, in contrast with the anarchic parliament of Hell; the big man upstairs would pretty much quash dissent on the spot.

That said, I've been reading a lot of Lucifer and Preacher recently, and in both of those works God is a trickier figure... in the former His commands have to be interpreted (and He only speaks sporadically) whereas in the latter He's abandoned Heaven altogether.  His Dark Materials had another great option: make God senile.  Something like that might really work in this setting (this might form the focus of a campaign - discovering that God isn't what He used to be).

Anyone have any ideas for reconciling the idea of an authoritarian God with dissent in Heaven?



Well he obviously gave angels free will in the first place or you wouldn't have demons. I'd say that as long as the angels are still following his commands he would have no problem with them voicing their own opinions on how best to carry those commands out.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on February 17, 2010, 02:57:52 PM

Out of Character

Oh they definitely have free will - I just can't imagine many disagreeing to the Authority's face, so to speak.  If they nominally accept Him as all-knowing and all-powerful, it seems problematic to contest His opinions.

(It should be noted that way I'm interpreting the Authority definitely isn't the kind, loving God of contemporary, moderate Christianity/Judaism/Islam so much as the ruthless, jealous, vengeful mass-murderer that arises from a strict, literal reading of Abrahamic religious lit, much more like the Gnostic Demiurge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demiurge) or Blake's Urizen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urizen) than the forgiving and benevolent deity many worship today)


Title: Tempter
Post by: Llum on February 17, 2010, 03:02:38 PM

Steerpike

Out of Character

That said, I've been reading a lot of Lucifer and Preacher recently, and in both of those works God is a trickier figure... in the former His commands have to be interpreted (and He only speaks sporadically) whereas in the latter He's abandoned Heaven altogether.  His Dark Materials had another great option: make God senile.  Something like that might really work in this setting (this might form the focus of a campaign - discovering that God isn't what He used to be).

Anyone have any ideas for reconciling the idea of an authoritarian God with dissent in Heaven?


I'd argue against the God as senile model. It doesn't fit the, inspiration? source material? that this all sprang from. Also, that would swing quite a bit towards the God = Elder One, or basically the same thing, something else I'm not fond of.

Abandoning Heaven seems to negate the whole "dictatorship" going on, unless you want to add in deceit. The Thrones and Seraphim trying to keep the other orders of angels from finding out about their abandonement. Deceit in itself opens up a whole host of things too, although it goes against the concept of "angelic ideals".

The interpreting thing gives you factions very easily, but again breaks down on the dictatorship bit.

All in all, I'm not too fond of any of these options. None of them seem to mesh well with what has been established.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on February 17, 2010, 03:44:19 PM

Out of Character

Perhaps the Authority, rather than going senile, has just gone mad with power, to the point where many of the loyalist angels now recognize His tyranny, even if they're still too afraid to rebel.  Some angelic factions might clandestinely being trying to usurp His rule, while others might be trying to uphold it for their own purposes; Metatron or some other figure could subtly be planning a coup or sycophantically manipulating the Authority.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Nomadic on February 17, 2010, 04:06:36 PM
Llum does bring up an interesting point. What if the authority did abandon heaven and the head angelic orders are hiding it from everyone.

Or alternatively the authority doesn't issue commands but rarely. So outside the set laws the angels are generally free to have their own thoughts on matters. If he steps in they obey, but in general they are as divided at times as the demons, they just all answer to the authority and for that reason can present a united front.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LordVreeg on February 17, 2010, 05:10:17 PM
The idea I liked the most that was similar was that the ArchAngels actually cast God down and were acting as if he was still i charge giving orders...


Title: Tempter
Post by: LD on April 12, 2010, 12:14:44 AM
I don't know if anyone else mentioned this before (a search did not find a mention of this in the thread.)

But have you heard of in Nomine-

See Link---> HERE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Nomine_%28role-playing_game%29)

It tracks some of the ideas you use here:

"In Nomine is a role-playing game ... published in 1997 ... Players typically assume the role of angels and demons in a setting that draws heavily on the traditional Christian mythos.[2]  In Nomine won the Origins Award for Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1997.[3]"


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 13, 2010, 08:16:48 AM

Out of Character

Added Cain... kind of like Wolverine meets Cogliostro.

Thanks for the link, Light Dragon!  Cool looking game (very similar to this).


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on April 13, 2010, 01:48:58 PM
Nice foreshadowing. Now I'm dying to know more about Lilith and her spawn !


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 14, 2010, 01:00:26 PM

Out of Character

A bit about Lilith is up!


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on April 14, 2010, 02:57:06 PM
Ah, very nice. The Lilin presumably do not always share their mother's disinterest in the Adversary's rebellion? Are they mostly fathered by mortals, or angels/demons? How powerful are they?

Steerpike


Lilith has also been identified by mortals as the demigoddess Lamashtu and the primordial entity Echinda.

Just a little correction, if you're refering to the mythical being, the name should be spelled Echidna.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 14, 2010, 04:45:09 PM

Out of Character

Thanks for the correction!

I imagined the Lilin to have a very diverse range of powers and motives... some would be disinterested, others more easily wooed.  Angels would probably scorn Lilith's bed but Grigori might be seduced; demons are more amenable (with notable exceptions).  Mortals would be the most common and least powerful.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Nomadic on April 14, 2010, 05:24:23 PM
How powerful is the son of the morning, could he take on an angel by himself? Are there other demons of such power levels?


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 14, 2010, 07:28:15 PM

Out of Character

I hadn't really given it a lot of thought, but I think the Son of the Morning is probably on par or more powerful than most angels but lesser in raw power than the upper-level archangels (Michael cast him down).  He was the Authority's right hand man, after all - greatest in esteem before all the other angels of the host.  Other demons would be of considerably lesser power, as a result.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Nomadic on April 15, 2010, 03:47:54 AM

Steerpike


Out of Character

I hadn't really given it a lot of thought, but I think the Son of the Morning is probably on par or more powerful than most angels but lesser in raw power than the upper-level archangels (Michael cast him down).  He was the Authority's right hand man, after all - greatest in esteem before all the other angels of the host.  Other demons would be of considerably lesser power, as a result.



Cool, I actually would like to hear a bit more about him. His views and such in regards to the authority and humanity (and other demons). Also what is the history behind and geography of cocytus and the other circles, and how is he imprisoned (frozen in a block of ice?)


Title: Tempter
Post by: LD on April 15, 2010, 10:02:29 AM
>>(during the Flood, he spent one hundred and fifty days walking around underwater).

Amusing. Cain sort of reminds me of Constantine from the movie of the same name.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 21, 2010, 07:22:52 PM
I updated the main thread a bit - I have dropped the five points of the pentagram idea since no stats theatre has proved successful as a "system."  The different factions no longer have the points of the pentagram associated with them; instead each faction has three of the seven deadly sins associated with it (all demons are Proud, so no particular faction has Pride as a sin).  This doesn't have a mechanical effect (at least, I can't think of an appropriate one).

Also, because it was an excellent way to procrastinate while I was writing term papers, I wrote up some more characters.  All of the characters invented so far are as follows.  The Meanest Guest invented Pazuzu and Light Dragon invented Lemure, so credit to them for those two excellent characters!

Namaah

A sensual, guileful demon of Belialian affiliation, Namaah revels in entrapping mortals through seduction and deception.  Appearing as an androgynous human usually garbed in an immaculate white suit, with porcelain-white skin and large violet eyes, Namaah can switch its sex at will, emphasizing either female or male characteristics while always maintaining an edge of sexual ambiguity.  Sophisticated and ruthless, Namaah is a calculating creature with a capacity for subtleties.  In its true demonic form Namaah is a grotesque hermaphrodite with exaggeratedly prominent genitals and other sexual characteristics, including a long, serpentine beard and massive, pendulous breasts, a hybrid of fertility goddess and tumescent satyr.  Famously, Namaah seduced Noah and gave birth to the half-demon Ham.

Powers

Namaah can change its sex at will without Energy expenditure.  Namaah can also always predict the result of a die roll or discern the suite and number of a card without seeing it.

Soulsuck: Namaah can drain a mortal's Essence through coitus, and severely weaken them (to the point of unconsciousness) through a mere kiss.  Protective talismans can safeguard against this ability.  This ability uses one point of Energy.

Caress: If Namaah can touch a mortal's skin it can charm that mortal supernaturally, enthralling it and captivating it.  While a mortal thus charmed is not an automaton they are instantly sympathetic to Namaah's suggestions.  Protective talismans can safeguard against Namaah's caress.  This ability uses one point of Energy.

Deadly Beauty: Namaah can enhance its allure to induce violent ecstasy in all that view it.  It can moderate this effect to produce physical pain or even death, as its victims' hearts pump too quickly.  Protective talismans or eyewear can safeguard against this attack.  This ability uses two points of Energy.

Samael

A moody, brooding demon, Samael was once the Authority's Angel of Death, a role now belonging to the Archangel Azrael, for whom Samael reserves an intense, simmering hatred.  Samael generally appears as a tall, pale, sinewy youth with long, white-blonde hair, dressed in black jeans and hoodie, his eyes concealed by opaque, totally reflective black sunglasses (behind which his eyes are black voids).  When required to 'dress up' he wears a black suit and tie with a heavy leather coat.  In his true form he is a faceless, cadaverous figure swathed in a tattered black robe.  Now a soldier of Hell, Samael's politics can be most closely aligned with Moloch's, though in general he prefers to follow orders rather than to lead.  In battle he wields a numinous weapon called the Scythe, which can assume the form of any weapon - in modern times, often a gun of some variety.

Powers

Samael's Scythe can become any weapon wieldable by an individual warrior (i.e. it can become a sword or pistol, but not a nuclear bomb, a bazooka but not a tank).  If the Scythe becomes a firearm it has infinite ammunition, though its bullets can still be deflected by sufficiently heavy armour or similar protection; Samael can, however, execute incredibly intricate trick shots.  Samael is also a master of every conceivable mortal weapon, from a katana to a rocket-propelled grenade to a boomerang.

Gaze: Samael can kill with a mere glance if he wishes.  By removing his glasses and making eye contact he can instantly slay any mortal.  Protective talismans or eyewear may guard against the Gaze.  This ability uses one point of Energy.

Speak with Dead: Samael can temporarily bring a soul back to its body, though only if the soul went to Hell.  This ability uses one point of Energy, but cannot be used on any corpse on which Last Rites have been said.

Reanimate: Samael can infuse a corpse with a measure of his Energy to create an undead Revenant that obeys all of his instructions.  The Revenant is very difficult to destroy; even decapitating it will not stop it.  This ability uses two points of Energy, but cannot be used on any corpse on which Last Rites have been said.

Cagnazzo

Taking the form of a small, deceptively adorable French Bulldog with a gleam of sinister intelligence in his eyes, Cagnazzo is diminutive but vicious, a sly, sometimes cantankerous demon skilled in the arts of deception and infiltration.  With a penchant for fine cigars, cognac, and explosives, Cagnazzo is far more dextrous than most canines and can grip objects (such as pistols or keys) in his paws, and can talk.  He also professes a taste for canine females, regularly making lascivious comments on seeing one.  In general he is a sardonic, wise-cracking curmudgeon, a stalwart Beezlebubian known for his caustic wit and his predilection for obscenity.  In his true form Cagnazzo appears much as the mythical Cerberus - a slavering, three-headed monstrosity of gigantic size, with glowing red eyes and massive fangs.

Powers

Cagnazzo's small size allows him access to certain areas other fallen might find inaccessible.  He can urinate and defecate at will, and can also conjure a cigar or a mickey of cognac without expending Energy.

Blasphemy: Calling on the fell powers, Cagnazzo can bark a dreadful blasphemy that temporarily stuns and permanently deafens any mortals who hear it.  Protective talismans or ear-wear can safeguard against this effect.  Blasphemy uses one point of Energy.

Safe-cracker: Cagnazzo can expend one point of Energy to discover the combination to any safe or any electronic password.

Hellfire: If Cagnazzo drinks the entirety of a mickey of cognac he can let out a massive belch of sulphurous Hellfire, incinerating any mortals and flammable materials in a broad and potentially knocking down walls or blowing open doors as well.  Protective talismans or wards, or flameproof clothing, may guard against Hellfire.  While in his true form all three of Cagnazzo's heads breathe Hellfire.  This ability expends two points of Energy.

Abyzou

Preferring the guise of an enfant terrible culled from Japanese horror movies - scraggly black pigtails, pinafore dress, an obscene giggle, and sunken, flashing eyes - Abyzou is a demonic mischief-maker and trickster who thinks of mortals only as playthings (or snacks), delighting in violent and usually gory pranks.  Other demons tend to consider her something of a loose cannonball, even a liability; she is more or less apolitical, preferring simply to run amok on the mortal plane than to debate in the Infernal Parliament.  In her true form, Abyzou resembles a statuesque woman with writhing black tendrils for hair and clawed hands.

Powers

Abyzou can commune telepathically at a distance of up to one hundred feet (note that this does not allow her to read minds, only communicate psychically, though those she contacts can speak back mentally).  Protective talismans cannot block Abyzou out, though they may protect against her Mental Violation ability.  Abyzou's size may allow her access to areas others find too small to enter.

Mental Violation: Abyzou can project disturbing hallucinations into mortal minds, potentially driving them into fits of madness, depending on the creativity and imagery of the illusion.  The mortal must be in range of her telepathy.  Protective talismans can safeguard against this effect.  Mental Violation uses one point of Energy.

Psychokinesis: By focusing on an object Abyzou can move it with her mind; she must be able to see the object to manipulate it.  While this ability can be used as a weapon or to levitate team-mates Abyzou cannot pick herself up using it.  Protective talismans or wards may safeguard against this ability.  Psychokinesis uses one point of Energy.

Cannibalism: Abyzou can devour a mortal enemy whole, distending her jaw horrifically like a serpent.  By doing so she gains access to the memories of anyone she eats.  Protective talismans do not safeguard against this ability - though they do give Abyzou a case of wicked heartburn.  Cannibalism expends two points of Energy.

Pazuzu

A slick, animated storm-demon, Pazuzu appears as an unusually tall man, almost stretched seeming, with storm grey eyes and somewhat tanned skin.  He is commonly dressed in a black pin-striped suit and a matching fedora. Pazuzu ascribes to a Beezlebubian philosophy. He is quick to compromise when he sees that it is to his benefit, but will react with frenzied wrath when all other options have been exhausted. His true form is that of a massive, obsidian gargoyle about which lightning and obscuring shadows play.

Powers

Pazuzu can cause any electrical device to malfunction or otherwise behave unusually at will. In addition, he can exert control over any nearby live electrical current.

Eldritch Thunder: By harnessing his innate power, Pazuzu can create a burst of intense light and noise that permanently blinds and temporarily deafens nearby mortals. Protective talismans and ear or eye-wear can safeguard against this effect. This ability uses one point of Energy.

Enshroud: Through the expenditure of one Energy point Pazuzu can call up an unnatural, viscous, concealing fog that seems to move as of its own will. Pazuzu has a vague sense of all that occurs within the confines of the fog. Protective talismans can burn off the fog in a localized area.

Demoniac Lightning: Pazuzu can let fly an arcing stream of powerful demoniac lightning from his outstretched arms, charring flesh and halting neural activity. This lightning can jump across multiple targets, unless it encounters a protective talisman in which case the lightning dissipates. This ability requires two Energy points to use.

Legion

Erratic and unpredictable, Legion is regarded by other demons with nearly as much suspicion as Abyzou.  Driven insane by the Fall and subsequent aeons of exile in Hell, Legion has developed multiple personality disorder and refers to itself as 'we.'  In its mortal form Legion generally appears as a slightly pudgy, balding man (prone to whistling through his teeth) with thick horn-rimmed glasses, whose eyes dart to and fro frenetically.  Beneath its husk's flesh, Legion's true form - an amorphously shaped swarm of locusts - squirms and eructates, betraying the demonic presence within to a careful observer.  Broadly speaking, Legion is actually Belialian in political affiliation, in that it longs painfully for lost Paradise, but in practice its warped mind lacks the subtlety and sophistication of most followers of Belial.  It does possess a certain twisted, predatory cunning, however.

Powers

Wherever Legion moves, plants rapidly wither and die; this effect cannot be repressed.  While in its true form Legion can inveigle its way through any space big enough for a locust by changing the shape of its 'body.'

Fission: Legion can expend one point of Energy to split itself into two identical halves which can act independently and communicate telepathically.  These duplicates can later use the same ability again if they wish, though this expends another point of Energy: Legion and its duplicates share a common Energy pool.  Multiple iterations of Legion can remerge without Energy expenditure.

Blight: By touching a mortal's bare skin Legion can cause accelerated decomposition: the victim's flesh withers, putrefies, and atrophies, killing them if the contact is prolonged.  This ability expends one point of Energy.

Possession: Legion can spend two points of Energy to spit forth a small swarm of locusts from its mouth.  These locusts can then force their way into a mortal's body, assuming control of them; Legion can send the possessed individual irresistible telepathic commands.  Protective talismans (or facial protection, such as a gasmask) can protect against possession, and possessed individuals can be exorcised.

Nyx

Hard-hearted and coldly beautiful, the demoness Nyx was worshipped by a few remote Greek cults as a primordial goddess centuries ago.  Appearing as an elegant ebony-skinned woman with flowing midnight hair, she is typically clothed in a sumptuous velvet dress.  Nyx prefers to remain in her Palace of Darkness in the Abyss, but does occasionally venture forth into Creation.  She possesses typical Mammonian politics: disdainful of mortals and their pallid world and unwaveringly dedicated to the Infernal project, Nyx would prefer to build the Republic of Hell into a realm fit to rival Paradise, rather than attempting to storm the gates of Creation.  In times of need, however - or when more mortal souls are needed for labour - Nyx manifests on the mortal plane on certain moonless nights.  In her true form she appears to be a regal, shadowy figure with massive tenebrous wings and the lower body of a serpent.

Powers

Nyx can instantly dim or extinguish any light source she can see, electrical or natural, or summon a black cloud to obscure the moon.  She can blend into darkness perfectly, becoming effectively invisible so long as she does not move; in her true form she can move invisibly in darkness, as well.  She can also see perfectly even in complete darkness.  However, none of Nyx's powers function in daylight, and she is trapped in her mortal form while the sun shines.

Eyes of Night: By looking into a mortal's eyes Nyx can peer into their soul, uncovering what the mortal believes to be their deepest and darkest secret.  Protective eyewear or talismans can block this ability, which uses one point of Energy.

Animate Shadow: Nyx can invest a humanoid shadow with uncanny life, freeing it from the shackles of its owner.  The shadow becomes a quasi-corporeal wraith, able to fight and kill; weapons, however, pass harmlessly through it.  Any powerful light source, such as an electric torch, or direct sunlight, dispels the wraith.  This ability uses one point of Energy.

Slumber: By murmuring a word of blasphemous power Nyx puts mortals to sleep.  Any who hear the word fall instantly into a potent eldritch slumber until dawn.  Protective ear-wear or talismans can safeguard against this ability, which expends two points of Energy.

Lemure

Apolitical, with a weathered, world-weary, and cynical attitude. 'Leo' the Lemure could be described as emo, or the Eyeore of the demons. He once rode with Moloch on the waves of Hell's first battles. Then he gazed into the abyss and foresaw that the struggle would never be won - his side was flawed and they could never dare stand against or reconcile with the Authority.

Leo became absorbed with hedonistic nihilism, and abandoned battles, slinking into the sewers of France for a hundred years. When he emerged, he was seen in Colombia, in slaughterhouse work, beating the life from calves and sucking blood from their sinews. Years later, he migrated to America and became a janitor at a State University. And therein he has dwelled, pushing his mop about.

If pressed, Leo might express some fondness for Moloch due to his past association, but he's more Belial in character - the war is over, there is no way to win - it's best to coexist. He thinks Mammon is foolish at best and dangerously insane at worst and generally preaches a far too-involved creed. Followers of Beezlebub depress him since frankly his political alignment should probably be Beezlebubian due to his close co-existence with humanity... but like objects repel as Leo despises what he has become. Although he has been too lazy to tempt, neither does he much respect the humans at his side - he takes many chances to criticize the Beezlebubians' 'going native' as he calls it and ensures that others remember his once mighty deeds in the service of Moloch during the War in Heaven.

A fat man, round and short. Leo slides around slowly, coughing and smoking alternately.

When alone, he dines on doritos, cheetos, greasy hamburgers, and all matter of disgusting, slimy creepy crawlies, from snails to worms, to jellyfish, and centipedes. His preferred method of cleaning messes in bathrooms is absorbing the watery substances, and draining the toilets of the muck - becoming one with the waste.

Powers

Slime slicks behind Leo at will as he compresses the world's atoms into muck. Already-existing molds and slimes pulse and grow in his presence.

Leo can eat almost anything.

Most human beings find it impossible to be in the same room as Leo for very long. Humans are usually overcome with disgust at his presence.

Stench: Overcome mortals with uncontrollable nausea for one point of Energy. Nostril-plugs and talismans can protect against this ability.

Melts: In his true form, Leo can squeeze himself into a sticky slime that can slip under or through any passage - and can be immune to permanent harm from most damage other than flame. Shrink, reshape, flexible self for one Energy point.

Flames: Flaming liquid and any-color smoke comes out of any chosen orifice of any target for two Energy points.

Nergal

The chief of Hell's secret police, the fiery demon Nergal is a vicious Molochian known for his brutal methods, merciless demeanour, and single-minded dedication.  He never suffers fools, considers humans largely weak and wretched, and always elects for a direct approach, though he is capable of considerable cunning and subtlety when required.  Preferring the form of a powerfully muscled, immaculately dressed man with red muttonchop whiskers, a mane of livid, flame-coloured hair, and shimmering, crimson-irised eyes, Nergal is fond of slaughter and brawling, particularly enjoying crushing the skulls of mortals in his massive fists (he typically wears several rings set with rubies and bloodstones).In his true form, Nergal appears as an anthropomorphic lion with a flaming mane and long, razor-sharp claws.  He typically carries a telescopic truncheon - usually concealed in his inside jacket pocket - which becomes a gargantuan black iron mace when Nergal in his true form.  He shares a fondness for cigars with Cagnazzo and carries a huge gold-plated lighter.

Powers

Whenever Nergal enters a room it becomes several degrees hotter.  He can cause any open flames to expand or diminish at will, causing a few embers to become a roaring bonfire or vice versa.  No Earthly fire can burn Nergal.

Combustion: By expending a point of Energy Nergal can cause flammable objects to burst into flames just by looking at them.  Since this ability typically targets clothing rather than individuals, protective talismans are rarely effective when Nergal uses Combustion as an attack.

Roar: Nergal can utter a leonine roar (in either form) for one point of Energy that causes all mortals who hear it to flee or cower in uncontrollable terror.  Protective earwear and talismans can guard against the Roar.

Eyes of the Sun: By expending two points of Energy Nergal can cause his eyes to blaze with blinding white light; any mortal who meets his gaze is instantly incinerated.  Protective eyewear or talismans can guard against this ability.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Llum on April 21, 2010, 07:24:28 PM
Your post seems to be too long so it isn't showing up.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 21, 2010, 07:24:37 PM

Out of Character

Ha I noticed, yeah!  I split it into two.  here are the rest of the characters so far.


Morbus

Known as the Prince of Pestilence, Morbus is a demon skilled in the creation and inculcation of disease, spending many of his hours in his ghoulish laboratories in the Abyss concocting new phages, poxes, and fluxes with maniacal glee.  A jovial, fast-talking, rather snarky demon with a love of dead baby jokes, Morbus is considered repellent by the more sophisticated of Hell's denizens, particularly many Belialians, who consider him coarse and unwholesome, though he gets along well enough with most demons and even mortals, his repulsiveness tempered greatly by his amicability and energetic disposition.  While on the mortal plane he assumes the guise of a gaunt, sallow-skinned man, somehow ill-looking and emaciated, with jaundiced eyes and a persistent cough.  He typically wears a stained lab coat and round spectacles, and often introduces himself as 'Doctor M,' though when required he trades in this unwholesome garb for more appropriate attire.  In his true form, Morbus appears as a grotesque, cyclopean, shambolic horror like a walking corpse, riddled with every possible disease, his sickly, maggot-ridden skin inflamed and covered in boils and sores, a cloud of flies buzzing about his head.  Morbus is most closely aligned with Mammon, preferring the comforts of his diabolical workshop, though he might also be aligned with the darker aspects of Beezlebub given his predilections for corrupting humanity.

Powers

By touching a dead substance, Morbus can speed decomposition (for example, he could reduce a corpse to a skeleton in moments, or cause a wooden door to decay to the point of flimsiness).  He can also spoil food or stagnate water simply by glaring at it with his bulbous yellow eye.

Miasma: By expending one point of Energy Morbus can exude a thick, toxic miasma which incapacitates and sickens mortals if inhaled, as well as providing limited cover.  Facial protection (i.e. gasmasks) or talismans can guard against the sickening effect.

Contagion: With a simple touch Morbus can spread a foul Contagion of his choosing, with effects ranging from a simple incapacitating stomach flu or postulant rash to a flesh-eating rot.  The Contagion is virulent and can be spread between mortals through touch, though protective talismans can guard against it.  Contagion expends one point of Energy.

Putrefaction: Morbus can expend two points of Energy to vomit forth a stream of putrid, foul-smelling ichor that rapidly putrefies anything it touches, slowly and painfully killing any mortals it touches.  Protective talismans can ward against this effect


Astoreth

Sometimes known as Astarte or Ishtar, the demoness Astoreth was commonly worshipped as a war goddess in Mesopotamia in one form or another.  A cruel, sensual creature filled with a bloodthirsty passion for violence, Astoreth is essentially Molochian in temperament: while in the throes of battle she tends to sigh with a satisfaction bordering the sexual, intoxicated with the gory glory of combat.  In her mortal form, however, Astoreth cultivates a certain composure, preferring the guise of a classic femme fatale of film noir with long crimson hair, pale skin, voluptuous contours, and a blood-red dress, sometimes with a long overcoat.  In her true form she appears as a pale, muscular woman with two enormous, curving horns set in her brow and cloven hoofs instead of feet.  She wields an enormous khopesh, called the Sickle, which manifests when she sloughs off her mortal guise (appearing as a cruel, curved knife kept between her breasts while in her mortal form).

Powers

Astoreth can smell blood and so can sense other creatures nearby without seeing them.  She perceives the after-effects of violence as a heady perfume, even days after it has been committed.  She can also transmute any liquid to blood (in moderate quantities).

Bloodlust: With a glance Astoreth can fill a mortal with uncontrollable bloodlust, causing them to strike out against the nearest living creature; the effect lasts until they kill another being or are themselves killed.  Protective eyewear or talismans can guard against this effect.  Bloodlust expends one point of Energy

Bloodboil: By touching bare flesh Astoreth can make someone's blood boil, causing them incredible agony and killing them if the contact is prolonged.  This ability expends one point of Energy (talismans can guard against the effect).

Bloodchill: By imbuing her cold, terrible laugh with two points of Energy, Astoreth can freeze the blood of any mortals who hear her, though protective earwear and talismans can guard against Bloodchill; those whose blood is frozen are paralyzed and quickly die.


Megaera

Hell's senior torturer and inquisitor, the Mammonian demon Megaera spends most of her time in Pandemonium but is occasionally dispatched to the mortal plane when her particular talents are needed.  A gruesomely business-like and chillingly efficient being, Megaera goes about her work with detachment and dispassion, though occasionally a glimmer of sadistic glee can be seen in her eyes.  Her talents lie principally in interrogation, in the extraction of truth and the creation of pain.  She prefers the guise of a dominatrix while on the mortal plane, though for obvious reasons she sometimes adopts more understated costume.  In her true form she appears as an imposing female figure with leathery wings, a mouth full of sharp fangs, and a body wrapped in barbed chains; she also has a barbed, envenomed tail.  Megaera always carries a wide selection of torture implements with her.

Powers

Megaera can sense lies and truth without expending Energy.  She has an extremely thorough knowledge of human anatomy, including key pressure points, and is preternaturally skilled at causing pain.

Compulsion: By expending a point of Energy Megaera can force an unprotected mortal to answer a question completely truthfully.

Flay: With a fluid gesture Megaera magically flays the skin from a living body.  Talismans can protect against this ability.  Flay uses one point of Energy.

Agony: Uttering a word of blasphemous power, Megaera cripples any mortals who hear her with excruciating pain, though protective earwear or talismans can neutralize this ability, which expends two points of Energy.  Megaera can dispel Agony with a counter-word.


Azazel

One of the more idealistic of Hell's denizens, Azazel was once one of the Grigori but was hunted down by the Archangel Raphael who banished him to the Abyss, believing the demons would malign and torture the fallen angel, since Azazel fought against the Adversary's band during the War in Heaven.  However, the first-fallen quickly accepted Azazel, who joined their struggle against the Authority: since then the Authority's minions have been ordered only to maim rather than kill the Watchers, lest they simply add to Hell's ranks.  Because of his respect and affection for humanity, Azazel is of Beezlebubian affiliation, and sees the war as a means of securing humanity's freedom as much as the demons'.  Due to this compassion he often butts heads with other Tempters, who tend to see humans as little more than pawns in a cosmic chess-game at best, and fleshly toys at worst.  In his mortal guise Azazel appears as a tall, hairless, brooding man with sunken eyes, typically attired as a preacher.  In his true form Azazel retains most of his angelic characteristics, though his wings are raven-black, his eyes are dark rather than golden, and his chest is scarred where Raphael's spear entered his breast.

Powers

Azazel can see the true forms of any immortals (perceiving them as translucent shades superimposed over their mortal forms) without expending Energy.

Shield: By expending a point of Energy Azazel erects a protective shield of force around himself or another individual (up to two individuals close together can share a shield).  The shield absorbs any mundane or magical attack until it dissipates, though Azazel can burn more Energy to sustain it.

Heal: By touching another creature and expending a point of Energy Azazel heals their injuries.

Dispel: Azazel speaks a word of power and shatters a protective talisman or removes an eldritch effect.  This ability expends two points of Energy.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LD on April 21, 2010, 09:21:33 PM
Oh, lots of new demons. I should probably tighten-up Leo's concept. I notice that his description is far more rambling than the "official" entries. Here is a revision of the powers section.

Quote

Slime slicks behind Leo at will as he compresses the world's atoms into muck. Already-existing molds and slimes pulse and grow in his presence.

Leo can eat almost anything.

Most human beings find it impossible to be in the same room as Leo for very long. Humans are usually overcome with disgust at his presence.

Stench: Overcome mortals with uncontrollable nausea for one point of Energy. Nostril-plugs and talismans can protect against this ability.

Melts: In his true form, Leo can squeeze himself into a sticky slime that can slip under or through any passage '“ and can be immune to permanent harm from most damage other than flame. Shrink, reshape, flexible self for one Energy point.

Flames: Flaming liquid and any-color smoke comes out of any chosen orifice of any target for two Energy points.


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 21, 2010, 09:54:52 PM

Out of Character

I love the detail on Leo's background.  I have a really good feel for the character, and his personality and political affiliations gel really well.


Title: Tempter
Post by: LD on April 21, 2010, 11:04:44 PM
Oh, thank you.

Astoreth sounds highly useful, and Megaera is a bit disgusting; Azazel sounds very interesting.

====
I was working a bit on some tallies.
I see you have created a list of a very unlucky 13 demons :D

I like how you balanced the factions. Each faction seems to also have a sadist and a more diplomatic option.

Moloch - War, seize (Gluttony, Lust, Wrath)
Samael
Nergal
Astoreth

Mammon -Empire, Glory. Transform the Abyss (Avarice, Wrath, Envy)
Nyx
Morbus (some Beezlebub)
Megaera

Beezlebub -Collaborate with Man, Transform Creation (Sloth, Envy, Gluttony)
Cagnazzo
Pazuzu
Azazel (watcher)

Belial - Compromise, Diplomacy (Envy, Avarice, Lust)
Namaah
Legion (erratic)

Unaffiliated
Abyzou (erratic)
Leo (Moloch/Belial/Beezlebub) (Sloth, Gluttony) (apathetic and internally conflicted)


Title: Tempter
Post by: Nomadic on April 22, 2010, 01:50:45 AM
I just realized I have played Aby through two whole sessions and haven't caused a single miscarriage/female sterilization... this won't do...


Title: Tempter
Post by: Ghostman on April 22, 2010, 06:21:42 AM
Morbus is awesome. Why doesn't he have ability to detect/diagnose disease or other medical conditions though? Regarding the Contagion, does it require skin contact to spread?

A few typos I spotted:
Nergal
* "the fiery demon of Nergal"
* "capable of considerably cunning and subtlety when required"
Morbus
* "skilled in the creation and inculcation if disease"

Oh and in case you need ideas/inspiration for new demons, here's something along the lines of which I'd love to see:

A "porcine" demon of gluttony and cannibalism. Mortal form would be a middle-aged, grotesquely obese man, completely bald with greasy skin and small eyes. True form could be a gross hybrid with the upper body of a human but the hips and hind legs of a boar; a bulky mass of lard, naked but for a blood-stained leather apron. He carries an oversized meat cleaver. Politically he'd be most in tune with Beezlebub I guess, though his appetite for human flesh might make this problematic. Powers could include:
* able to instill in a mortal an uncontrollable urge to eat (anything?)
* able to cause the body fat of a mortal to swell rapidly until they burst
* after eating of the flesh of several mortals, he can vomit out their souls, now under his control and given tangible forms as animated blobs of stomach acid - he has to do this before the souls are digested though

:axe:


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on April 22, 2010, 09:50:36 AM

Out of Character

Thanks for spotting the typos.

Holy crap that is a disturbing demon... I will see if I can find a name for him.

Looking at Light Dragon's list, I should draw up another Belialian and another erratic/apolitical demon as well...


Title: Tempter
Post by: Nomadic on April 22, 2010, 11:37:36 AM
How about Kabandha


Title: Tempter
Post by: Steerpike on May 04, 2010, 07:19:26 PM
There's no more room in the first post so more udpates will go down here...

Here are Light Dragon's Cult of the Authority - I think they fit in very well with the setting.  If I was to tweak anything I might decrease the number of demons who are actually members, but that's a pretty minor fix.

I like the look of Kabandha - I'll write him up at some point.

Cult of the Authority

Although they are part of the fallen, the demons who belong to the Cult of the Authority still worship and pay homage to the Authority. Some gather together in secret, hiding in the catacombs where they burn their incense candles and say their prayers. Others are more independent, hiding Bibles, crosses, and holy saintly artifacts under their clothing and their skin. The independent ones are, however, looked down on by more orthodox cultists who belong to larger groups.

The leader of the most prominent Cult of the Authority is, like many of its members, a Beezelbubian. His name is Aten. His Cult runs on a highly regimented basis with lots of pomp and cirumstance and dire punishment for those who do not bend their knees to his and the Authority's Authority.

Aten speaks with crisp, short phrases in a militant manner and he makes certain that everyone repeats the holy mantras. He believes that by repeating the Psalms and the Proverbs, and reciting the Acts and re-enacting the Sutras, the demons under him are granted some of the glimmer of God.

The other Tempters look on Aten and his coterie with caution, concern, and revulsion. Attempts to destroy Aten and his followers have, however, met with pain and failure. Somehow, Aten managed to acquire the Blood of Cain and infuse it into his soul, and into a wine that his followers drink. After drinking the blood of the deathless cursed one, who like they was exiled from paradise and cursed to walk the lands without entering paradise, Aten's followers become untouchable-- but only so long as they do not Tempt. A Tempter who has drunk the cursed Blood and who attempts to tempt, will grow grossly ill, and then lose the benefits of the Blood's restorative powers.

Some say that Aten has spoken with the Authority and for a time he even represented himself as the Authority while in Egypt; but after he struck down the first born of Egypt and tempted the Israelites with a golden calf in his image, he sickened and he was exiled to the Abyss after the Grigori (Watchers) overthrew him for his hubris and Temptation.

Cult members believe that Aten is working hard at redemption, and they latch on to him for a way to get to Paradise. They struggle against their natures, and struggle not to Tempt, but all too frequently Cult-members lapse and must go to confession and do penance. Their struggle is not a lonely one, but it is a long and painful one-- shunned by other demons, and shunned by paradise, these Cultists struggle to do the will of the Authority and some even attempt to serve the Authority's creation-- humanity-- frail and flawed creatures-- in an attempt to win the Authority's favor, but of these goals they often fall short.

Composition: Beezelbub 40%, Belial 30%, Mammon 20%, Unaligned 10%, Moloch 0%
% of the Factions Who are Cultists: Unaligned 25%, Beezlebub 7%, Belial 3%, Mammon 1%, Moloch 0%