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Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.

Cythereal posted:

Until they find out that heaven and hell really aren't much like what their holy books say, much less how factionalized they both are. Novalis alone would make many hardcore conservative Jews, Christians, and Muslims poo poo a brick. And finding out that Blandine and Beleth were once the heavenly epitome of romantic love, two female-presenting archangels (originally)?

As for my notes on using In Nomine, I think I'll eliminate Jordi, fold his portfolio in with Novalis, and replace him with the Archangel of the Sea/the Waters I've been mucking with.

In fairness to the game, In Nomine is very 90s so of course there's an ecoterrorist archangel.

I mean, I was just running off the notion that angels exist. I haven't been reading the in nomine. I'm sure they're great, but the game isn't my thing. So, I was being general.

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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

If I were running In Nomine, I'd run Jordi as having been completely disinterested in The War and humanity right up until the extinction of the Passenger Pidgeon, and he's been desperately trying to play catch-up ever since. He's totally in over his head and relies heavily on his Mercurian advisors in any situation other than stuff to maintain and manage the animal population of Earth.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Superiors 4: Rogues to Riches



This book focuses on Alaemon, Price of Secrets, Fleurity, Prince of Drugs, Mammon, Prince of Greed, Valefor, Prince of Theft and Vapula, Prince of Technology. And you've not heard of those first three because they are minor Princes. They are still Superiors, but less active in politics, and generlaly speaking weaker in some way. They may have fewer servants, more reclusive natures or Words on decline.



Alaemon, Prince of Secrets knows that secrecy makes something precious, and precious things are worth killing for. He and his demons know more, have more and are more than they ever reveal. If they reveal something, it's because at that moment, that secret had its most power as a weapon. They always have something going. Alaemon is not a Hellborn Prince, but is a young one. He was once a Mercurian serving the minor Archangel of Revelation, Litheroy. At some point in the Middle Ages, he fell in love with the hunt for secrets, then disguise, and at last with lies and secrets themselves. He Fell, and it took him more than 500 years to claw his way up from the bottom to become a Prince, circa 1800. Most Princes attribute his success to Lucifer's appreciation of the irony of his asking for the Word of Secrets. His demons, true to that Word, hide in the cracks, on Hell and Earth. They gather secrets and hoard them until they can be used to get more power and more secrets. Lucifer has tasked Alaemon to increase human paranoia, insecurity and self-loathing. They must not only take secrets, but make humans need secrets more. Alaemon is a madly paranoid demon, obsessed with his personal war against Litheroy and determined to be the Moriarty to Litheroy's Holmes. He trusts only 30% of his demons on any given day - and which 30% changes daily. He keeps them busy plotting and working on missions of no clear importance, convicned that if they are busy, he is safe. He prefers the company of humans, particularly his Soldiers, and works to build cults - though they are never openly devoted to Alaemon. Layers of secrecy hide their nature, and he controls some of the world's largest and most dangerous conspiracies.

Alaemon holds that secrecy is power. It is dissonant for demons of Secrets to give a direct answer to a direct question or to respond to any question without holding something back. It is also dissonant for them to go a full day without hiding something of value in some way - hiding an object, hiding evidence, hiding the identity of a criminal, whatever.

Balseraphs of Secrets, when they use their resonance to keep something secret, measure the duration in days, not minutes.
Djinn of Secrets can, at a touch, attune themselves to the private thing a human they touch ares about most. This will always be something physical, and they won't know what it is without tracking it down.
Calabim of Secrets can, when they choose to, destroy with subtlety. The damage is determined as normal, but the target breaks only in small ways. A door would not dissolve, but the lock would break. A human would be killed by some minor, hard-to-detect rputure of an artery. It sitl causes Disturbance, but any Disturbance emanates from the target, not the demon. (Calabim can do this normally, as described in the Infernal Player's Guide, but normally take a penalty to do so. Calabim of Secrets do not.)
Habbalah of Secrets can inspire longterm Paranoia, as per the Discord, without risk of backlash. This lasts for (CD) hours, during which the victim is convinced all friends are using them and all strangers are foes. At the end of the duration, they must make a Will roll or else be paranoid for another duration, repeating until they finally resist.
Lilim of Secrets may use their resonance to detect secrets rather than needs. The CD of their roll indicates how important the secret is to the subject, with 1 being trivial and a bit embarrassing and 6 being something to kill over. If the victim has no secrets that important, you get the most important secret they do have. The Lilim may also gain a Geas by extortion, making a demand while threatening to reveasl the secret. There is no Will roll - if the victim accepts the demand, they implicitly accept a Geas of level equal to the secret. If they refuse, no Geas is invoked. If a Geas is placed on them, however, it will vanish if the secret is revealed.
Shedim of secrets gain a point of Essence whenever their possessed victim successfully gets away with something sinister, and that day does not add to the victim's cumulative Perception bonus to shake them off. If the puppet is ever caught and dealt with in some way by the authorities, no matter how, the Shedim gains a note of dissonance.
Impudites of Secrets cannot be resisted by those who harbor a secret out of fear, either against their Charm or Essence theft, provided the Impudite keeps promising to help them. 'Currently harboring a secret' means that they must be thinking aobut the secret at that time - and a real-time crisis, like physically fleeing something, definitely qualifies.
Chall Outline is a Servitor attunement that lets you trace any corpse with a chalk outline. The corpse vanishes entirely, and when the outline is cleaned up or fades, all that is left behind is a tiny bloodstain.
Locksmithing allows you to spend 1 Essence when confronted by any locked container, altering the lock to fit any one key you have in your possession. This is permanent - the old key will no longer work. This also works on keyless locks, but does not work on locked doors of any kind or vehicles - you can open a car trunk, but not a car door.
Lucifer's Document Shredder lets you wipe information storage media. You erase (Ethereal Forces) megabytes of data for 1 Essence - about 88,000 words or 350 pages per MB. The information cannot be recovered by any means. And yes, you can use this to wipe print media, too.
Seal of the Confessional allows you to spend 2 Essence to reveal a secret and seal it in someone's mind. They can resist with a Will roll, but if they fail, then for (CD) days, they cannot reveal the secret to anyone, by any means, direct or indirect. This won't stop a Seraph's resonance from discovering the truth from their non-answers, though. At the end of the period, the victim makes another Will roll. If they fail again, the seal remains in place for (CD) years. At the end of that time, they get a third Will roll. Failure on that one means they can never reveal the secret. Only two things may remove the seal. First, if the secret is revealed by someone else. Second, if the victim enters Heaven by any means.
Knights of Hidden Doors may have any Numinous Corpus Song they use be entirely invisible. (Note: invisible weapons attached to a visible combatant are Dodged at a -2.)
Captains of Private Chambers, when trying to hide something or someone (including themselves) from any single known searcher, intuitively know of any available places where that person will never think to look.
Barons of the Vault leave false trails. Any clue they inadvertantly leave behind instead diverts attention from the truth. Their blood type changes when they leave bloodstains, the name tags on their clothing change names, and so on. These are not illusions - they are permanent physical changes.
Alaemon does offer higher Distinctions, primarily to his Wordbound. However, despite what the holders believe, these are not honors. They mark you as a prominent leader in Secrets...which oif course means you're a smokescreen. Your cover is blown - you are a distraction, far from the real action. The true elite are the masters of Alaemon's secret societies, who tend to be plotting against him. He encourages that - he knows they're traitors, so he doesn't have to wonder.
Alaemon loves secret Songs, but never teaches any except for the Songs of Deception and Oblivion.

Alaemon has no allies, but is associated with Asmodeus, Beleth, Malphas, Valefor and Vapula. Beleth, Kobal, Malphas, Valefor and Vapula consider themselves associated with him. Alaemon is hostile to Saminga and Belial, and Baal and Belial are hostile to Alaemon.

Basic Rites:
1. For 3 Essence, cause any kind of death to an angel of Revelation.
2. Possess a secret worth at least 5 thousand dollars, or any secret worth injuring or killing over. This can be performed twice a day.

Expanded Rites:
1. Destroy the only evidence of a crime, or the only evidence of someone's guilt or innocence.
2. Collect evidence of an indiscretion for later use against someone.

Alaemon has a base TN of 0 to invoke, +1 if you have a concealed weapon, +2 for a private drug stash, +3 for a murder victim whose corpse has remained hidden for at least a week, +4 for documents vital to a nation's security, +5 for a lost work by a great artist kept in a private collection and +6 for a statue proving Lemuria or any mythical civilization existed.

Alaemon has a thousand names and appearances. His Impudite vanity makes him appear beautiful or handsome when he can afford it, but his driving need is to be inconspicuous. He makes a habit of never appearing the same way to someone twice, though he may send a demon in his stead in an older guise. The closest he has to a default form is a handsome, dark-haired man with impeccable taste in clothes, often resembling a Bond character. He is easygoing and cheerful one moment, and paranoid the next. He has no outward consistency. This is all a pose, of course, to manipulate his demons, and to keep them unbalanced, afraid and faithful.

Alaemon's Word is his life. He is paranoid, driven by the fear of discovery. There are many theories about why, but no matter the truth, the fear is real. Secrets are more than ways to hide, however. They are power. Just hoarding information is Greed - that's useless. If you use or misuse the secrets the right way, however, that's power. Let the right truth or half-truth go and you can destroy even an Archangel. It's all in the timing. The tricky part is learning everyone's secrets and never allowing your own to be discovered.

So little is known about Alaemon's past that even his former demonic Superior is conjectured. Most believe he worked for Asmodeus, but some say Kronos or Malphas. Certainly he held no great rank. It is known he received the Word of Secrets 200 years ago, though none sponsored him for it. It is also known that a Mercurian of Revelation named Alaemon Fell 700 years ago, possibly by miuses of the Dagger of Blithnya. It is accepted that this is the same Alaemon, whose hatred of Litheroy would explain his desire to poppose him, and most assume Lucifer liked the irony. However, none of this is necessarily fact. In truth, practically nothing is definitively known about Alaemon or why he's a Prince. Some of the theories may be planted by Alaemon, in fact, and probably none are more than half-right.

Some say that Alaemon was one of Litheroy's best, understanding the human mind deeply. He learned to love searching out their secrets and why they might do it. This was dangerous, as a follower of Litheroy. The dissonance of secrecy burned him, but not enough to alter his love of puzzles and hiding secrets behind them. He became an expert both at unraveling and making puzzles, though the latter was dissonant. Whgen he Fell, he was enraged. He Fell because he wanted to understand humanity, after all. His rage at Litheroy's hypocrisy grew, and he threw himself into the art of deception. For centuries, he worked, hating Litheroy and loving secrets. His only solace was in making puzzles, uncaring if any solved them - he liked them for the aesthetic quality of a good enigma.

Lucifer arrived 500 years later and looked over the puzzles, speaking with Alaemon. He offered the demon a boon. If Alaemon was cheeky enough to ask for a Word...well, might as well go for the brass ring. It is said he asked for the Word of the Labyrinth, using Litheroy's own metaphor against him. Lucifer instead gave him Secrets - a more potent Word, incorporating and exceeding Labyrinths. With it came a Princedom - a great prize, but beyond Alaemon's means. And then Lucifer left. Alaemon had no idea why, and was too smart to think it was out of kindness or being impressed. Thus came the greatest puzzle of Alaemon's life: why? And what would he do about the other Princes, to say nothing of the old demons of his predecessor in the Word, Gebbeleth. All would hate and resent him, and Litheroy was now the greatest threat to him, for Revelation would destroy Secrets if it could. Perhaps, he wondered, Lucifer wanted him destroyed, or to use him as a pawn against Litheroy. It didn't matter. Alaemon would not die, and none would learn his secrets or who he really was. He would become the puzzle master.

And perhaps all Lucifer wanted was to kill Alaemon's simple joy in puzzlemaking. It doesn't really matter what he intended - he did all of it. He destroyed joy, made a useful tool, made opposition to an Archangel and destabilized Princely politics. Whatever the reason really was, Lucifer won't say. And he is, after all, first and greatest of liars.



Next time: Contradictory History

Tsilkani
Jul 28, 2013

Just realized a Kyriotate of Destiny is pretty much Sense8 the TV series, with the sharing of knowledge between the different hosts. That'd be kind of neat to play.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
I'd be interesting in playing a Malakim of Destiny, probably taking some inspiration from the real life tradition of prison preachers. Always have one hand reached out in trust and hope, but have the other clenched in a fist.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not sure if cultivating human appetites is that great in and of itself. Nothing about Nybbas indicates that he wants to foster good television.

But he GETS that everything is image and POV. That reality is how you spin it. And even bad television still feeds a human need. It's not some abstract ideal based on notions from centuries ago.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."
I regret that there's no writeup for Marc, who's both very modern and very sophisticated and definitely one of the cooler Archangels.

Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.
Is this going to tell us if Valefor and Janus are the same dude? I feel like it's a lock given that one of them is literally called Janus.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

Tsilkani posted:

Just realized a Kyriotate of Destiny is pretty much Sense8 the TV series, with the sharing of knowledge between the different hosts. That'd be kind of neat to play.

I had the same thought!
I kinda default to Angels being the worse side due to growing up reading all the Vertigo comics In Nomine is based on, plus Catholic school. The default is kinda 'the Angels are bad, did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?' and In Nomine seems to come from that tradition.

Plus, as the noted theologian William Joel notes, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints [3]. The sinners [4] are much more fun."

Why is there an angel of trade/capitalism? Was that part of the satire?

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 02:30 on Feb 1, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Superiors 4: Secret of Success

Some say that there was a Balseraph - maybe Factions, maybe the Game - who was assigned to retrieve an Impudite. That Impudite had gone Renegade, and his name was Alaemon, formerly of Revelation. He had valuable information and had to be dragged back to Hell. He got captured, but something went wrong. Alaemon's vessel was killed and he was sent to Limbo. When the Game arrived, demanding Alaemon, the Balseraph used his resonance to claim to be the Impudite. And it worked. He believed it so thoroughly that he's never sotpped. Some say Lucifer intervened, amused by the idea of a Balseraph believing themselves to be a Fallen Mercurian becoming the Prince of Secrets.

Now, the Prince who calls himself Alaemon buries himself deeper and deeper in secrets to hide the truth he won't let himself remember. He knows he's an Impudite and acts the part, but as a Balseraph he masks himself constantly, believing each in their own way. Over two centuries he has built his power and disguise as completely as he can. He should be safe. But eventually, the real Alaemon will emerge from Limbo, even if the Pricnes does not remember. Sooner or later, evidence that can't be denied will appear. It'll all be revealed. No wonder the Prince is so frightened.

Some, meanwhile, say there was an angel. It's hard, after all, to serve Litheroy. It's not enough to love Heaven or Truth - you have to forgo all deception. Even a Role. Alaemon couldn't live with it - he loved humans, wnated to be among them, and he became dissonant. A Warrior Cherub who was his friend decided to help, invoking Michael, who listened to Alaemon's story. Alaemon clearly loved Heaven, but how mu ch did it mean to him? Did it mean enough to risk his life to be a spy in Hell itself? Would he Fall for Heaven's needs? Hell would take him in, and once he got established, he could pass on information back.

Alaemon took the offer. It was hideous, it took five centuries for him to work his way back up, and he hated every second. He became a true demon, selfish to the core, by the time he met his ld contacts...but he started to pass information on anyway. It was dangerous. He started to bury himself in lies while rooting out the truth. He passed some things on, kept others, built a web to hide in. Eventually, Lucifer came to him. It would be unthinkable to hide his lies unless Lucifer was distracted...so he went for the golden ring as a blind. It might mean death for hubris, but better that then exposure as Heaven's agent. He asked for a Word. To his shock, he was made the Prince of Secrets. Now, his whole organization hides and conceals, and agents within it pass information on to Heaven without realizing. Michael must assume his intel is flawed at best - Alaemon's been a demon much longer than he was ever an angel, now, and he's quite powerful. But it's better than nothing. Alaemon plays at a dangerous game, opposing anyone that might discover the truth, for so long as he can keep that secret.

Whatever Alaemon's true reasons or origins, he is paranoid and untrusting. He is lonely, but his understanding of people lets him know how treacherous they can be. He has been inspired by Litheroy's favored Labyrinth metphor. Everything about him is twists in the maze, each turn takes you down another path, and there are a hundred blind alleys hiding the real route. When Alaemon meets someone, he is charming, ingratiating, and soaks up whatever information he can.

Alaemon's Conspiracy has three goals: discover all secrets, use information for power and confuse and terrify everyone else. Everything Alaemon does serves one of those goals. However, he hides his intentions behind lies, trickery and deceit, so they're hard ot track. Sometimes major operations costing demonic lives are merely smokescreens for one demon to learn one secret. While Alaemon is having an impact on the War, he prefers to let others take the blame or credit. Alaemon is interested in the War. For as long as it goes on, Heaven and Hell will each prize secrets. Humans, of course, keep secretso n their own, but while the War persists, both sides decieve and hide from humans every day, putting Alaemon in a position of strength. He likes things that intensify the War without ending it.

Alaemon's relations are all of convenience. His associates are those he finds useful most often. He has secrets on all of the Princes and implicates all of them in his schemes. He'll work with anyone if he must. He's too paranoid to ally for long, and he hides behind anyone he can, using others' motifs in his projects to throw off the scent...though he's never been able to imitate Kobal very well. Alaemon is petty and insecure, but the other Princes give him slack - no one can blackmail quite the way he does. While he has no real friends, he works well with those that spread fear and paranoia. He supports Beleth when he can, as she fuels the fear that makes secrets happen. He thus has some access to human dreams - a great place to hunt for information. Malphas is also a frequent tool, as factions cause more people to hide things from each other. He also hangs around Valefor, who likes to find the hidden and hide the found, both of which aid Secrets. He trades well with Vapula, who will give espionage tech in exchange for hints about divine technology or human development. Asmodeus...well, Asmodeus plays the Game that Alaemon lives in. Alaemon finds Asmodeus predictable enough to work with easily, and Asmodeus finds Alaemon useful to manipulate. Each thinks they control the other when working together, and both may be right. Alaemon does not like either Belial or Saminga and would love to see them dead. Belial was a strong ally of Gebbeleth who resents Alaemon, and fires destroy secrets. Saminga...well, the dead tell no tales, and that's just not helpful. For now, Alaemon gathers information, waiting for the chance to tear them down. Most of the other Princes see Alaemon as a poor substitute for Gebbeleth, who was a major Prince in his day....except Kobal. Gebbeleth, after all, was a known quantity, which is why the other Princes thought him effective. Kobal sees the irony - the less they know about Alaemon, the stronger his Word. Stronger, perhaps, than Gebbeleth ever was.



Superior Opinions posted:

Andrealphus: Mm - half the fun is keeping things secret. The dodging around, the spice of the forbidden. Secrets make the affairs and assignations lively. Alaemon's barely a child, though - and cold. What a strange Impudite.
People say things after sex. They think they're in love. They think the whole world is at peace. They reveal their innermost selves and call it pillow talk. It's a beautiful time to learn things.
Asmodeus: Two-faced, which should come as no surprise. He's helpful - he wants to stay on my good side. He tells me things - who knows for what agenda? But it's always as much lie as truth. He holds back a lot more than he says. I have my eyes on him. He plays the Game too well.
Without Asmodeus we couldn't exist. Don't ever forget that. We need the Game. It keeps people scared. Keeps them hiding. We need that desperately. But don't ever let your guard down. They'd destroy me if they could, and you'd die with me. Don't ever forget that.
Baal: Worthless. Dishonorable. Weak. Gebbeleth was strong - and he understood the War. Someday I'll destroy Alaemon and save us all some grief. Until then, ignore him.
Easy to infiltrate. Baal is a beautiful contradiction - a predictable Balseraph. But don't let him accelerate the War from Cold to Hot.
Beleth: He's good for fear, I'll give him that. Too busy chasing his own dark nightmares down hallways to ever be very important, of course. But he helps more than he hinders.
Beleth is so very useful to us. She buries hope and trust into a maze of nightmares and paranoia. The more frightened they are, the more they hide.
Belial: I liked Gebbeleth. He learned things and hid things. He appreciated a good fire, too. Alaemon's pathetic. He's cold and wet. I hate him.
Such a simple soul. Such a dangerous opponent. Belial destroys the things we seek. If he'd work with us - but of course he won't. We can't ever trust him.
Fleurity: You can't make a deal if your users can't find you, but you can't hand your prime goods over to just anyone, either. You have to keep your deals out of the hands of the narcs. Alaemon has his place in the scheme of things.
Drugs are hidden. You hide them from your parents, from your friends, from the law. You sit back in a dark corner and hide them from everyone. You hide them from the judgment of others. You hide them from yourself. Few things promote Secrets like them. And addicts are so easy to blackmail...
Haagenti: I asked him what the eleven herbs and spices were. He told me! Other than that he's useless.
Haagenti doesn't care about secrets, but he's convenient if you need to destroy evidence. Shred the document and bake it into lasagna - he'll never know.
Kobal: Heh. The others don't get it. Big surprise, right? They don't get the joke. You ask them, and they'll tell you what great Prince Gebbeleth was and how Alaemon hasn't amounted to a hill of beans. Morons - Gebbeleth wasn't half the Prince of Secrets Alaemon is. We knew what Gebbeleth was up to, after all. Alaemon gets it, but convinced everyone he doesn't. Now that's funny.
It's hard to blame things on Kobal. He's got a sense of style that's hard to duplicate. That's a pity - he'd make a perfect scapegoat otherwise.
Kronos: Alaemon has embraced his fate more completely than most. He revels in it. However, his fear makes him weak. He is not significant.
Kronos scares me. Don't fight him. Just leave him alone. There's something not right about him. Some secret I haven't ferreted out yet.
Lilith: Little Alaemon, little Prince. Not the threat that Gebbeleth was, for certain. And he does know a thing or two - but tries to hide behind clouds and sunglasses, and he's more than willing to hold small indiscretions over you.
Lilith is intriguing. She knows so much, and hides so much. Her Lilim are very useful, but her prices are too high. So I recruit from the Frees where I can. Occasionally I learn something she wants to hide, and then we can do business.
Malphas: Ah, Alaemon. I hope he keeps up the good work. I help him out where I can, of course...
Rival factions fear and hate one another. They make plans and strategies and hide them. They eavesdrop and spy on each other. Malphas helps keep me whole.
Mammon: Alaemon knows how to create a demand where there was none before - by keeping information scarce, and making it valuable. And he hungers for more, always more, and hoards what he has.
Where would Mammon be without Secrets? He's always looking for inside information...and selling it as well. We can do business together.
Nybbas: Secret...Agent Man! Secret...Agent Man! They've given you a number - and taken away your name! Seriously, Alaemon doesn't track on the ratings, so what good is he? Though a good expose never hurts...
Nybbas is a powerful tool. A small secret reported on the news becomes a big scandal. But don't let his cameras find you.
Saminga: I know how to keep a man's mouth shut. Shut forever.
That idiot destroys without thought. Think of all the knowledge lost by his indiscriminate murder! Death has its place, but Saminga misses the point and should be removed.
Valefor: Alaemon? Not really a player, but a lot of fun on the wekeends. He loves to slip me a map or security setup. And I tell him things - why not? They're safe with him. Besides, it's fun to break into his Domain and lift a few things now and again. Fun and...educational.
Valefor is an associate, though never to be trusted. He's perfectly amoral, and he learns things on his travels. He's willing to trade, and that is useful...
Vapula: We have a working relationship. He discovers things I can use, and I give him the technology to learn more. He respects science and the holy quest for knowledge.
Very useful. He has devices that will peel the secrets out of a room like layers off an onion. And he doesn't pry, so long as what you do say interests him.
Blandine: Secrets should be precious, not shameful. The hidden hopes and joys inside a person are the keystone of their dreams. This...Taker twists these around and drags dreamers into Nightmares.
Let her comfort humans and make their dreams more pleasant. Does she think we don't have spies on her side of the Marches? We can learn as much from a dream as from a nightmare.
David: Secrets are cracks in the foundation, letting corruption seep in. There is no good reason for them. Still, Alaemon is far less effective than Gebbeleth was.
There are many hidden things buried under the mountain. David keeps things close to his chest while arguing against Secrets. Hypocrites fuel my Word.
Dominic: A Fallen traitor who tries desperately to strike down the Archangel who created him. Destroying Alaemon would be a kindness - and Secrets obfuscate Judgment. Do not let him grow into his role.
Without Dominic, angels would have no need for secrets. May he judge for a very long time indeed.
Eli: Alaemon who?
I have a good number of agents tracing Eli's movements. I don't know what he's up to. I hate not knowing what he's up to.
Gabriel: A mewling little Impudite with delusions of competence. The Holy Fire of Heavenly Revelation consumed Gebbeleth, and he was powerful. Alaemon cannot hide forever.
I hate Belial's destruction of Secrets. I really hate Gabriel's illumination of them. Fire is our enemy, whether infernal or divine. Fuel the paranoia the two have over each other - keep them away from us.
Janus: Do you know what's great about secrets? You can reveal them, and watch the chaos begin.
I've heard hte rumors and the theories about Janus and Valefor. In all the ways I work with Valefor, I find Janus impossible. Still, chaos buries things as well as uncovering them, and Janus keeps secrets of his own.
Jean: Perhaps the most dangerous of Lucifer's little Princelings. His agents stalk our operatives, and whatever they learn goes straight to Vapula. Alaemon must be dealt with, sooner rather than later.
Jean is the greatest hoarder of secrets in God's Creation. The loathsome Litheroy hates him. I want to learn what he knows - all of it - but more importantly I don't want anyone else to learn it. We should work together.
Jordi: Should I care about Alaemon? His Word and his existence mean nothing to me. My world has no need for secrets.
I have a great appreciation of the Trap Door Spider. Jordi is no priority, though.
Laurence: Gebbeleth disappeared before my creation. It was easier while the Word of Secrets was vacant. Alaemon strengthens Hell by sowing distrust between companions and soldiers. It is a mistake to underestimate him.
Uriel was gone before my creation. I have a different perspective of Laurence than others. He has always been effective, and straightforward. The combination is deadly.
Marc: Are you familiar with insider trading? Misusing the knowledge you have for your own profit while shafting others? That's Alaemon in a nutshell. I think we need to deal with him, though there's more pressing business first.
Marc fuels the most venal drive to keep things confidential. Without Marc, there would be no industrial espionage, no private top secret documents, no classified strategies. He's so very useful.
Michael: I had a certain respect for Gebbeleth. Oh, I hated him and what he stood for, but I could respect him as a chessmaster. Even Mariel had her strengths, though I don't mourn her. Their successor is a pathetic little crying worm. We cleave through his shadows long enough, and we will cut to the heart of Alaemon.
Never, ever forget Michael is more than the Archangel of War or the first angel. Michael is a Seraph! Perhaps the purest of that breed. He actively hates us. Stay away form him.
Novalis: I talked to Alaemon once, before his Fall. He was so bright, so beautiful. His smile was ready. He loved the human mind - we'd talk about its twists and turns. He took joy in humanity's infinite variety. I considered asking him to join me then. I wish I had. It's so very sad to see him now.
Novalis has nothing I want. She's too open, too trusting. No matter how many times she's burnt, she keeps coming back. She never gives up hope. She must be torn apart by the truth of the world before she becomes even more of a threat.
Yves: Alaemon's fate is a cold and lonely one. He hides so totally, I wonder if he realizes he's hiding from himself?
Yves has the golden prize - all the knowledge of the world is at his fingertips. And he hoards it and keeps it secret, even if it means Heaven burns. I am Yves, ultimately, only more honest.
Ethereals: The images of the past hold some of its lore close. Remember that when you meet them. Learn what they know. Learn what they aren't saying. Draw them into the Conspiracy, and let them think they're fighting to improve their sorry lot. If you play them right, they will offer what you could never take.
Mortals: Ahh, the teeming masses of humanity. How much I love them. Deceit comes more naturally to them then any other creatures. They were the genesis of Secrets itself. All of them - all of them - keep secrets. No matter how much they trust, they keep their true faces hidden. So long as they exist, so do I.
Hellsworn: Recruit carefully. Add these fortunates to your organization of moles and informants. They can go places and learn things you cannot. But be careful. Be very careful. The only way to create a Soldier involves telling them true things, and that is always dangerous.
Sorcerers: Eternal seekers of knowledge no sane man would want to know. Sorcerers arem ore useful than most Hellsworn, if the right disinformation leavens their arcane knowledge.
Soldiers of God: These are such prizes. When we can identify them, we must exploit them. They learn things about Heaven, without the skills and experience of the angels to help protect them. Get close to them. Learn what they know. Convince them to join our service - done right, they'll never realize they're double agents for Hell.

Alaemon's Principality is, in theory, Stygia. The Houses of Secrets there were home to Gebbeleth's ancient court, and even today, that is the public face of the Conspiracy. Still, there are hidden boltholes throughout Hell, connected by strange and hidden passages that would startle more potent Princes. Cells of Secrets meet beneath Hades, in back rooms of Shal-Mari, in the observation posts in Gehenna. All of these are Alaemon's Principality. Still, Stygia is the heart of it all, if not necessarily where the priamry resources might be - Alaemon plays his cards close.

In a velley of Stygia is the Monastery of Masks, a cold echo of Litheroy's Abbey in Heaven, but dark and twisting, with passages to nowhere. This is the public face of the Labyrinth, full of mazes and hedges and gardens, with hidden entrances and ancient marks showing paths that may or may not be true. Each room is full of masks of all kinds. The demons of Secrets within all go masked in he Monastery, and refuse to allow any other demons to do so. It is said that those visitors that break this rule become lost forever. If you can find an entrance and make your way in, you might be allowed to meet Alaemon, masked on his throne, seen only by reflection in mirrors. Of course, who knows if that's the real Alaemon?

The Conspirators are paranoid as their master. They are all members of two or three secret societies at once, and know that they might be punished for betrayal at any moment. Alaemon is their only friend - and he is no one's friend. It is never clear if your society is a front, or if the society you've infiltrated is playing you for a fool. You betray someone every day and hope not to get caught...and everyone around is just like you. Knowledge is power, but you can never know if you know everything. The Conspiracy is chaotic, hard to define. Sure, there are Distinctions, but that's the surface, the least important and significant level, useful only for interacting with outsiders. The Conspiracy is built of dozens of secret societies of all kinds. Sometimes a potent Wordbound Duke will report to a mere demon without distinctions, and take orders humbly. These societies are the meat of Alaemon's Conspiracy, and each believes they truly control or rebel against the Principality. Alaemon is at the heart of them all. One secret society is in charge of it all...for a while. That society may rule for an hour or ay ear, depending on Alaemon's fears and needs, but it always changes eventually, with the fringes becoming the new power players. Wordbound are carefully spread out so no society feels worthless...or secure. This also keeps them from organizing directly against Alaemon. Of course, they all know there are other, false cabals working to control the Conspiracy. To fight these threats, they infiltrate and report on each other as much as the enemies of Secrets. At any time, a demon of Secrets may be part of many societies beyond the one they believe is true. The more experience they have, the more they belong to as double or triple agents. Even the masters of the society may be low level figures in a second, or leaders in a third feeding false information from the first two, while their own masters suspect them.

Rewards depend on who gets your work. A secret society may, at best, teach a new Song or thank you. Alaemon can reward more heavily. A demon that truly advances Secrets will be rewarded, as soon as Alaemon can meet them privately, but they will almost always suffer some setback soon after. It might be other Conspirators trying to make them look bad or Alaemon ensuring you're not working against him, but you can't be comfortable. The reason these demons stay is htat they distrust other Princes even more.

Still, sometimes a Conspirator can't take it any more. They reach out to find another Prince. It's not easy - first, you have to ifnd someone willing to annoy Alaemon. Then you need to find a trustworthy demon to contact. Then you need to make deals. And hey, let's assume you succeed and your new Prince doesn't sell you back to Alaemon thanks to blackmail. After a few weeks, maybe a month, maybe a decade, a demon of Alaemon will arrive. They'll have a thousand little tidbits of betrayal and a few real big ones from your past, and some from after you defected. Enough to get you destroyed by the Game or your new Prince...unless, you know, you'll give up a few minor secrets. Nothing much. Welcome home.

Alaemon and his demons compete heavily for the Fallen, to learn anything they might know. They especially love Fallen angels of Lightning and their technological secrets. Once a Fallen betrays all the secrets of Heaven they have, their ignorance of Hellish politics makes it easy to get blackmail on them. They are among Alaemon's favorite servants, but he doesn't even begin to trust them.

Balseraphs of Secrets are used to clean up or destabilize situations. By the time their resonance wears off, it's usually far too late for a victim to change their testimony without losing credibility.

Next time: Other Bands

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Each to their own. I wouldn't play it that way and don't agree with the entire premise of doing so, but eh.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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In Nomine's default position is that while Heaven's not perfect, Hell is much worse. The GM's guide talks about running In Nomine Backwards, which is 'Hell is the good guys,' and low-contrast In Nomine, which is 'both sides are roughly equal, morally speaking.'

And if you thought any book was going to come out and canonically say Janus and Valefor were the same person, ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

Mors Rattus posted:

In Nomine's default position is that while Heaven's not perfect, Hell is much worse. The GM's guide talks about running In Nomine Backwards, which is 'Hell is the good guys,' and low-contrast In Nomine, which is 'both sides are roughly equal, morally speaking.'

And if you thought any book was going to come out and canonically say Janus and Valefor were the same person, ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

It just feels like they need to try to make Hell evil by inserting things like Haaganti's cannibalism, and they're easy to remove. It's the same problem that dates back to Dante and Milton - Hell just feels more interesting and more ALIVE. But hey, any game that gets you debating theology has to be good.
How is it actually played? Like GvsE or Good Omens where street level Angels and Demons meet and plot? Alemon sounds fun.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Count Chocula posted:

It just feels like they need to try to make Hell evil by inserting things like Haaganti's cannibalism, and they're easy to remove.

Haagenti is Gluttony. You really thought he wouldn't be evil? It's hell.

To me, only a few of the demon princes have been interesting so far: Nybbas, Kronos, and Asmodeus.

On the other hand, I've found heaven in In Nomine very interesting with the exceptions of Jordi and Khalid, and the latter is salvageable. They're the custodians and guardians of the world created by God, and that's an incredibly difficult job.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Tone varies a lot - the game wants to accommodate street level and mythic.

I am a fan of Haagenti and Alaemon, because both are guys that clawed up from the bottom. Also Nybbas. Haagenti and Alaemon are both really underestimated, though.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

Cythereal posted:

Haagenti is Gluttony. You really thought he wouldn't be evil? It's hell.

Sins are only sins if you buy into the theology that says they're sinful.
Like I said, there's a long tradition of Hell not being evil. Or writers trying to make Hell evil and horrific but failing - way more people have read Dante's Inferno than his Paradiso and Purgatorio, and Milton hated how everyone lionized his Lucifer.

quote:

To me, only a few of the demon princes have been interesting so far: Nybbas, Kronos, and Asmodeus.

On the other hand, I've found heaven in In Nomine very interesting with the exceptions of Jordi and Khalid, and the latter is salvageable. They're the custodians and guardians of the world created by God, and that's an incredibly difficult job.

But with a few exceptions, they don't seem to actually LIKE or even care for humanity, except in some disinterested, paternal way. Heaven's goal is to drag humanity into some stupid war. Heaven wants us to eat and gently caress and pose and burn and die, and loves when we do those things we'd do anything. It's telling that Heaven doesn't have anyone watching over death, the most natural process (though I guess it was only supposed to come into being with The Fall?).

Besides, Hell has a sense of humor and fun, and every Prince seems to spawn a bunch of potential plots - the last one lets you run Demonic Paranoia. Where's the cheeky counterpart to the Hellish Media?

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."
Note: Hell is full of damned souls being eternally harvested for the Essence they produce.

Tsilkani
Jul 28, 2013

Media is already full of 'edgy' premises where 'maybe Hell is the good guys after all ' or 'both sides are dicks'. I like the actual straightforwardness of In Nomine.

And part of the buy-in to the setting as written is that yes, sins are sinful, and Hell is evil. You can certainly play with that, but as-written there is a clear good and evil.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.



Rand Brittain posted:

Note: Hell is full of damned souls being eternally harvested for the Essence they produce.
On the other hand, gently caress you, Dad.

Wouldn't it actually make sense, in the In Nomine setting, for Nybbas to be behind the rehabilitation of the image of demons in pop culture?

Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.

Mors Rattus posted:

In Nomine's default position is that while Heaven's not perfect, Hell is much worse. The GM's guide talks about running In Nomine Backwards, which is 'Hell is the good guys,' and low-contrast In Nomine, which is 'both sides are roughly equal, morally speaking.'

And if you thought any book was going to come out and canonically say Janus and Valefor were the same person, ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Doesn't In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas actually say exactly that?

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

Mors Rattus posted:

The GM's guide talks about running In Nomine Backwards, which is 'Hell is the good guys,' and low-contrast In Nomine, which is 'both sides are roughly equal, morally speaking.'

Another setting variant that was popular on the mailing list when I read it back in high school was playing the game upside down- with all of the Superiors on the other side, so you end up with Andreaphalus, Archangel of Love, opposing Novalis, Demon Princess of Thorns. Of course, you need to come up with a whole new list of attunements for this...

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Cthulhu Dreams posted:

Doesn't In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas actually say exactly that?

Maybe, but that's in French and not the same game line technically.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Count Chocula posted:

I had the same thought!
I kinda default to Angels being the worse side due to growing up reading all the Vertigo comics In Nomine is based on, plus Catholic school. The default is kinda 'the Angels are bad, did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?' and In Nomine seems to come from that tradition.

Plus, as the noted theologian William Joel notes, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints [3]. The sinners [4] are much more fun."

Why is there an angel of trade/capitalism? Was that part of the satire?

I remember there being an Angel of Teen Suicide in some fluff attached to one of the adventures, and an adventure in Pyramid (?) revolving around some kind of cloak and dagger battle for the Word of Flowers. I always figured that in the case of apparently irredeemable or innocent Words, claiming one was a strategic move to deny the Enemy its potency.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

Bieeardo posted:

I remember there being an Angel of Teen Suicide in some fluff attached to one of the adventures, and an adventure in Pyramid (?) revolving around some kind of cloak and dagger battle for the Word of Flowers. I always figured that in the case of apparently irredeemable or innocent Words, claiming one was a strategic move to deny the Enemy its potency.

Flowers is the most powerful word, if you're playing Nobilis.
Holy poo poo.
Nobilis.
Novilis.

Also The Angel of Teen Suicide makes sense if you listen to a ton of 50s teen ballads: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KG_VIcoiCFA

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 05:06 on Feb 1, 2016

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Count Chocula posted:

Flowers is the most powerful word, if you're playing Nobilis.
Holy poo poo.
Nobilis.
Novilis.

Yeah, but Nobilis is 90% bizarre wiccan nonsense

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

wiegieman posted:

Yeah, but Nobilis is 90% bizarre wiccan nonsense

No way, I have no interest in Wicca and Nobilis is wonderful. It's one of those games that just sparks creativity - I remember doodling character ideas in my college notebooks based on whatever I was studying that day. It's kinda the purest expression of the narrative and symbolism based RPGs I like. This poo poo makes way more sense to me then the 'math' that governs most games.

Lupercalcalcal
Jan 28, 2016

Suck a dick, dumb shits

wiegieman posted:

Yeah, but Nobilis is 90% bizarre wiccan nonsense

:dogout:

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Count Chocula posted:

But with a few exceptions, they don't seem to actually LIKE or even care for humanity, except in some disinterested, paternal way. Heaven's goal is to drag humanity into some stupid war. Heaven wants us to eat and gently caress and pose and burn and die, and loves when we do those things we'd do anything. It's telling that Heaven doesn't have anyone watching over death, the most natural process (though I guess it was only supposed to come into being with The Fall?).

Besides, Hell has a sense of humor and fun, and every Prince seems to spawn a bunch of potential plots - the last one lets you run Demonic Paranoia. Where's the cheeky counterpart to the Hellish Media?

Hell also wants to drag you into exactly the same war, incidentally, for exactly the same reasons. To demons, humanity is nothing but cattle. They care about you the same way you care about prime beef.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Superiors 4: Secret Santa



Djinn of Secrets aren't trusted to guard things. Instead, they are hunters - they hunt down blackmail and valuables rather than guarding secrets. Sure, they can't harm the secrets, but they can easily harm those that want them or hold them, and they are experts at trap and ambush.

Calabim of Secrets are useful assassins, causing death with no apparent supernatural cause and creating Disturbance that doesn't track back to them. It's quite useful, and one of the few non-information commodities Alaemon can offer to his allies.

Habbalah of Secrets sow paranoia almost at random, building up distrust and encouraging secrets in those around them. They see themselves as the crucibles of trust, punishing those too weak to keep faith in their loved ones. Of course, no one is strong enough for them.

Lilim of Secrets are generally not liked by other Lilim. Their attunement lets them collect Geases without actually doing anything for their victims, and their Geases are insidious - a victim who does not explicitly refuse their silence can't resist. Lilim at least publically revere equity, and these Geases are obviously unfair. These Lilim are often sent on undercover work, to learn secrets and not use the hooks - after all, they have to keep the secret hidden to use the hook, but reporting the secret to Alaemon can up their rank. During this time, they often pretend to be Free Lilim, even accepting or pretending to have Lilith's dissonance conditions.

Shedim of Secrets aren't used to learn secrets, though they're good at it, but rather to make them. They particularly love to work on those that Lilim can't get a hook on out of innocence, forcing them to sinister acts which allow the Lilim to get their hooks. So long as noo ne finds out who the source of the blackmail is, no dissonance for the Shedim! Of course, the Lilim get leverage on the Shedim as well as the victims, so they'll generally insist the Geas be invoked immediately or refuse the job.

Impudites of Secrets prefer to work in repressive countries, where they can help people skirt the edge of law and easily drink up their Essence. The colder the social atmosphere, the more opportunities they have.



Almost all of Alaemon's work boils down to variations on the same jobs. First, learn all you can. Second, confuse the truth for everyone else via lies and misinformation. Third, encourage paranoia. There's really not a ton of difference in Hell work and Earth work for the Conspirators. Ethereal work is mostly looting dreamscapes for secrets or planting lies.

The Order of the Rose, or Rosettes, are a militant order of demon monks, swearing loyalty and fealty, and organized into feudal and military ranks. When at secret meetings of the Order, the Rosettes wear simple robes and rank insignia. Their goal is information and power, blackmailing other demons in order to gain power among the rest of Hell. Once they get enough, the Knight Lord Commander Alaemon can make a strike that will put him on top of infernal society and undercut his peers. The Rosettes meet in caverns and monasteries, never in great numbers, and their meetings are as regimented as Baal's. They often infiltrate demons of the War as a result, as their surface emphasis on honor appeals to Baalites until they're in too deep to realize the truth.

The Lodge of Gebbeleth, or the Gebbelites, draw on the legend of Gebbeleth. He vanished in 1600 BC, but it was centuries until even his Dukes realized he wouldn't return. They made an organization on the illusion of Gebbeleth's activity, staging his appearances and so on. With time, even most of his oldest demons lost where the truth ended and the lies began. When Alaemon was named to replace Gebbeleth, the demons of Gebbeleth were shocked, angry and afraid. Alaemon used that, infiltrating their organization, and within 50 years, he was at the core of the Lodge of Gebbeleth, encouraging their delusions and eliminating those that knew the truth. Today, the Lodge is organized along Masonic lines, and some say the Masons are a front for the Lodge, with their degrees and ranks. The deeper one gets, the closer they get to 'Gebbeleth' himself. They hoard relics and secret Songs, learning ancient lore whenever they can, and work themselves into places of power in Earth and Hell, waiting for Gebbeleth's rise. They flourish in Perdition and Shal-Mari especially. The Lodge Master encourages patience and a snide superiority over the loyal of Alaemon. Of course, the Lodge Master is, in fact, Alaemon, but no true Gebbelite would ever believe it.

The Cabal of Night is a cult, recruiting from among the damned, demons and mortals alike. Each circle of the Cabal has their own secret name for their Master and rituals to be done in the Master's name. They dance around hidden fires, anonymous even to each other, and share the secrets they learn, preparing for the purges that will eliminate the false Princes, the angels and those traitors that do not follow the true path of Alaemon. On Earth, they seek out or train sorcerers, encouraging them to recruit others and establish secret power. Typically, the Cabal's demons on Earth are Shedim or demons with the Song of Possession, and they get their orders from Hell, with ever-narrowing circles of the faithful, led around the core: Alaemon. They flourish most easily among the fearful and paranoid. They specialize in the difficult task of infiltrating Nightmares, and form most of Alaemon's ethereal operatives. They also work to set up infiltration of Belial and Saminga's organizations. As for who they worship...each circle has a different answer, but the truth is probably Alaemon.



The Revolution was born of the Cold War and the 20th century's rejection of more spiritual and mystic secret orders. They are drawn from the 20th century coalition of moles. They organize in cells of four, each serving one leader. Each member leads a subordinate cell down the line, so no one member ever knows more than their four immediate subordinates, their two peers and their one superior. They pass information up and down the chain, and their goals are almost painfully simple compared to other societies. They infiltrate, listen, understand and wait. They do this on Earth and in Hell, working among the Media, Fate, Factions and even the Game. Some say they exist to fight Gebbeleth's forces, some say they seek to claim Stygia for Secrets alone. Some say they want to overthrow Lucifer himself. Only Alaemon knows for sure.

The Black Crescent is half open, half secret. They are Alaemon's internal security, and rather than infiltrate mortals or demons directly, they infiltrate Alaemon's own secret societies. They are paragons of loyalty, working as any member might...but they also use dead drops and codes to report on the society's activities and members. These filter through to build cases on traitors to Alaemon and making or gathering evidence to present to the Game. Even Alaemon can't be certain they don't serve anyone else. They are very patient, taking years to build a case without making any move until they're ready. There's a rumor that one of the 'ineffectual' Dukes of Secrets is actually Alaemon's lieutenant and leader of the Black Crescent, but that's unlikely with Alaemon's paranoia.

Outsiders, of course, are never trusted. They're never told that they're going to be betrayed or that they're never allies, but it's how they're viewed. Of course, you can never be sure that the people around you are actual outsiders - what if they're deep cover Conspirators? Trust no one. The Game, in particular, is both an ally and an enemy. The Conspirators will betray each other to the Game at the drop of a hat to save themselves, though as a whole they try to implicate other Words when possible. Several Conspirators are devoted to finding bribes and corruption within the Game, in case they need to blackmail a demon that can't be distracted.





Next time: Drugs

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


CITIES, PART 3

The next section is four sample cities - quick and dirty writeups for Bucharest, London and Tunis, then one low and slow writeup for Marseille. With no further ado!

Bucharest
Capital of Romania, formerly known as the Paris of the Balkans before it was devastated in WWII and brutalized by the Communist regime. Population: 1.9 million - a bit larger than Philhadelphia.

Conflict
Bucharest has seen a long series of riots and protests for everything from power cutoffs to disputed elections to football matches to LGBT rights.

Backdrops
  • Curtea Veche: The "Old Court" where the ruins of Vlad Tepes's palace from 1459 can be found. Urban Legend claims the whole district is lined with underground dungeons and hidden passages.
  • Palace of the Parliament: Second-largest building in the world, after the Pentagon (Wikipedia tells me this isn't true - the Palace is 830,000m², the Pentagon is 610,000m², and the new Century Global Center in Chengdu clocks in at 1,760,000m². Neither of them even makes the top ten). It was left unfinished after the Revolution, and underneath it is a nuclear survival bunker.
  • University Square: A remnant of the 19th century glory days. Bucharest National Theatre, Museum of Bucharest, Coltea Hospital. Intellectual heart of the city.

Three Hooks
  • Five earthquakes have hit the Vrancea district since 1802 - one in 1940 damaged Vlad Tepes's grave. Are vampires behind them somehow?
  • Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were buried in pseudonymous graves after the 1989 revolution - their graves were identified in 1990. 20 years later, the bodies were exhumed for DNA tests - what happened to the test results?
  • 250 kilos over nuclear material have been confiscated by the Romanian security police since 1989, including 32 kg of "red mercury", desired by nuclear terrorists, techno-alchemists and vampires. The agents are fed a lead on the red mercury's current whereabouts - by who? Why?

London
Captital of England, dominated by the Thames River. The West End is where the elite have gathered for centuries. Population: 8 million - similar to New York City.

Conflict
One of the espionage capitals of the world - Aleksander Litvinenko was poisoned here in 2006. Massive protest movements, anti-police brutality marches, terrorism. Most dramatic recent terror plot on the city was the 7/7 bombings of 2005.

Backdrops
  • 30 St. Mary Axe: 40-story weird-shaped skyscraper visible from most of East End. Primarily occupied by insurance firm Swiss Re.
  • British Museum: Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles, 140 different mummies. Over 3 km of galleries.
  • London Eye: 135-meter Ferris wheel above the south bank of the Thames at Lambeth.

Three Hooks
  • April 16, 1922: Threee men on Coventry Street reported being attacked by an invisible vampire. Related to the vampire haunting reported in Highgate Cemetery? Most sightings between 1963 and 1974, but there was also one in 2007.
  • Stoker wrote that Dracula purchased an estate in Purfleet, east of London. Real-estate records from the 1880s have surfaced, but those who handle it die in mysterious circumstances. A modern vampire riding the story, or is there a nugget of fact in Stoker's novel?
  • Tabloits report weresolf sightnings on Underground lines near Hyde Park. Plotting reports on the map, the center is the Russian Embassy - is the creature shadowing or serving a Russian diplomat?

Tunis
Capital of Tunisia, connected by causeway to the Mediterranean. Population: 728,000 - same size as Charlotte, North Carolina.

Conflict
In 2010, protest movements unseated the dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Elections in 2011 installed an Islamist government, but supporters of the old regime are still waiting, keeping a low profile.

Backdrops
  • Bardo Museum: Housed in a former royal palace. Specializes in Roman mosaics and Carthaginian idols. Galleries open and close unexpectedly (why?).
  • Carthage: Ruins of an ancient city northeast of Tunis, interspersed with hotels and luxury housing. 20,000 infant sacrifices Moloch lie in a mass grave.
  • The Medina: Medieval center of Tunis, home to 15,000 people. Mazes of crooked alleys, dominated by Zitouna Mosque and the National Library.

Three Hooks
  • In the Bardo Museum, there are funerary masks the Carthaginians used to repel predatory spirits from the dead. Do they also work on vampires? Possible connection to Alien Stones.
  • The Palestine Liberation Organization was based in Tulis from 1982 to 1991. Leads the agents investigate from here could lead to modern Palestine and Israel, or to Soviet support for terror networks.
  • Tunisia's State Security Devision, Mukhabarat, sell government secrets in exchange for ptoection while foreign agencies try to get their own pawns into the Interior Ministry. It's the turmoil after a revolution - a prime space for secrets about vampiric conspiracies to surface unexpectedly.

Marseille: Low and Slow
Time for a more in-depth city outline! Marseille was chosen for two reasons: 1971 American crime thriller The French Connection, and obscure 1974 Michael Caine thriller The Destructors. It's a city with legendary gangs and a massive smuggling port, and we're gonna turn it into a hub of vampire chaos.

The writeup here assumes Linea Dracula for the vampiric conspiracy, but could be easily tweaked.



Lay of the Land
Third-largest city in France, about the size of San Francisco. Oldest city in France, founded by the Greeks in 600 BC as a trading post in Gaul. A quarter of Marseille's population is Muslim, largely North African immigrants. The north party of the city leans industrial or Muslim, the south leans commercial or French, but there's plenty of overlap between the two.

Gateways
The main route into Marseille is the Gare Saint-Charles train station, linking to Paris in three hours - this is the most likely entrance for vampires, symbolically, since they originate from deeper in Europe. Strangers and other influences come from across the sea - a ferry connects Marseille to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria and Tunisia through the Gare Maritime. The original port is now for fishing traffic and tourists, the new post-war port expanded north into a modern shipyard and container port.

Markets
The tourist crowds are the Old Port are cover for agents and food for vampires. The nightclubs attract predators and pray, German techno and Moroccan rai flodding the streets at night. The city shops at the Centre Bourse, or on the less high-class Canebière ("Hemp Street"), although in recent times the hemp traffic has moved out to Clos le Rose, where hashis and cannabis gangs engage in turf wars. Everything else is sold in the Cours Julien street market. Information can be found at gang watering hole La Mistral, neutral tur ffor Corsican and Italian mafia.

The Vampires
The guy running things in Marseille is a Linea Dracula vampire named Radu the Bloody. His main muscle is the Dagestany Bratva, mostly Russians from the Caucasian enclave of Dagestan. His consigliere Enzo Corvino is loyal to John Dracula's line, his bookkeeper Shimon Kurusets is loyal to Vlad's line, Radu charts an uneven course between the two factions. Mafiya warehouses in the city store feral vampires. Radu's four brigadiers, all Renfields, run his criminal operations for him. Kurusets controls the local Georgian mafiya, run by Tanel Onyani, handling human trafficking and heroin trade.

Radu's plan is to kill or take over the Marseille underworld power structure. Turn troublesome outsiders over to French law enforcers he controls to build credibility. Then, direct Dracula capital into unions and port facilities, until he controls the main port between Europe and the Mediterranean. In the meantime, he has to keep Vlad and John off his neck, while Corvina and Kurusets constantly plot to destroy each other's networks. A war is brewing.

The Lamia
In ancient times, a Persephone cult thrived in Marseille. When the Catholics took over, Persephone became St. Mary Magdalene. Marseille's oldest church, the Basilica of St. Victor, venerates the mysterious Black Madonna on Candlemas. All of these are actually touching on the same ancient Lamia living in Marseille - the North Africans call her Aisha Qandesha.

Aisha took root in La Panier, north of the Old Port. Napoleon's General Jean-Baptiste Kléber was assassinated in 1800, but Aisha resurrected him as her warden. Her other chief servitor is a Renfield archivist named Marco Sfalgi, who knows about every supernatural deal that goes down in the city. Aisha keeps him immortal as payment for his services.

What Aisha wants is to get Radu out of Marseille, but also to restore Marseille to its former glory. Kléber wants power, Sfalgi just wants to be in the winning side.

The Spies
L’Entreprise des Travaux Ruraux ("Rural Work Enterprise"), a.k.a TR Group, is a secret French intelligence apparat that rounds up agents of both Britain and Germany, as well as Communists and Resistance fighters. During World War II, TR Group worked with Nazis for their own purposes. After the war, TR Group worked with the terrorist OAS until the de Gaulle coup in 1958. During the Cold War, it cultivated allies on all sides, including Italy's P2 Lodge of Masonic conspirators. P2's man in marseille is Lorca Vitale, who attempted to take over the city through the Camorra and Genoese mafia in the 90s.The Italians were knocked out by the Russians and French, and now Vitale relies on TR Group support.

The TR Group wants to learn more about occult secrets, and use those connections to gain power in France, and also in wider Europe and North Africa.

The Terrorists
Al-Quaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) thought this was going to be an easy one - the city almost voted in the xenophobic and quasi-facist Front Nationale, and the Muslim immigrants are poorer and more radicalized than the rest of the population. But Marseille is a bomb that refuses to explode - it had no rioting outbreak in 2005, the Gaullist mayor remains committed to pro-immigration policies, and the Muslim leaders denounced the burning of the Or Aviv synagogue in 2002. On the other hand, the hashish flow will fund al-Quaeda operations in France once AQIM takes it away from the Georgian mob.

AQIM's goal is to carry out spectacular of terror and awaken a jihad in France. More immediately, their sights are set on the hashish trade, which will open up financing and new recruiting streams.



Seeds
  • Poet Arthur Rimbaud was unstable, brilliantly creative from a young age, neglected his family, and died early from an unknown disease. He gave up poetry to move to Ethiopia and run guns, then died in Marseille in 1891. Was he involved with Lamia? Was he seeking a cure for their attention in Ethiopia in the form of the Ark of the Covenant?
  • 16th-century Marseille is where we got modern Tarot. Legendary Marseille ganster Jacke "The Fool" Imbert was shot 22 times and survived in 1977 on Candlemas, then rose to become Marseille's godfather until his 2004 arrest.
  • René d’Anjou, 15th-century Count of Provence, may have been chief of the Prieuré de Sion. How is Marseille connected to the Holy Grail?
  • Chateau d'If, the prison that fictionally held the Count of Monte Cristo and factually held centuries of political prisoners, is a kilometer off the Marseille shoreline.
  • Kléber was only one of many mummies hiding in the Basilica of St. Victor crypts. As recently of the 17th century, women and female animals were barred from the crypt for fear of being blinded by it.
  • Marseille's Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne includes many Egyptian mummies, a mummified crocodile, and a mysterious Celto-Ligurian idol depicting a two-faced god.
  • The French national anthem, "Lar Marseillaise", includes a verse calling for struggle against sang impur - "impure blood."
  • October 9, 1934: Macedonian terrorist Vlado Chernozemski assassinates King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in his motorcade in Marseille. The first assassination ever captured on film - but then again, vampires don't appear on camera, do they?
  • The Great Plague of 1720 killed 100,000 people in Marseille and the surrounding countryside. Herald of the arrival of a pestilent vampire?

Next: GM Section.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 13e: Nile magic agic agic agic

The Nile Empire (and, to a lesser extent, Terra) is a world where both magic and technology more-or-less coexist. It's common knowledge in the Empire that priests and engineers can produce miraculous effects, but unfortunately this is Torg which means we have to have a ton of new rules to cover them, because in case you haven't noticed Torg does not know how to model tone.

As a result, the Nile Empire has two new types of magic: mathematics and engineering. Both of these types of magic also share a subsystem based on astrology, and all three of these new magic bits is a separate skill you need to take on top of the normal magic skills. In fact, to be a magician from the Empire you have to take either the mathematics or engineering skill in order to cast spells, and you need astronomy to cast spells or perform miracles.

On top of that, the Terra sourcebook has pulp sorcery, which works completely differently from normal Torg magic and Nile Empire magic.

While you bear all that in mind, you might want to go re-read how magic works and how miracles work, because Nile characters actually require more skills and mechanics.

First off, we learn about Astronomy and how it applies to magic.

quote:

Magic and miracles in Mobius' reality rely upon the positions of various heavenly bodies for spell casting. Accomplished astronomers, the ancient Egyptians of Terra were so proficient in the art of astronomy that they had mathematically proven the existence of all nine planets in the solar system thousands of years before many of the planets were officially "discovered." They also charted the profound influence the planets had on magic and miracles.
Unsurprisingly, this type of astrology is all Egyptian-themed.

Every spell and miracle in the Empire has two astronomical parts: which planets directly influence the spell, and the minimum number of planets from that list that must be taken into account when casting the spell.

The planets are all named for the Egyptian gods, and in an amazing coincidence the Core Earth solar system and gods correspond to Terra's. What were the odds?

quote:

Mercury = Ra (god of the sun)
Venus = Isis (patron of magic and children)
Earth = Osiris (god of earth)
Mars = Horus (god of life)
Jupiter = Nut (god of the sky)
Saturn = Nepthys (patron of women)
Uranus = Ptah (god of craftsmen)
Neptune = Anubis (god ofthe underworld)
Pluto = Set (god of evil)
Yes, the sun is not represented by Ra. I know.

Anyway, the way it works is that you start by determining how many planets you want to bring into the spell, and which planets you're going to use. You then use the Planet Chart to get the highest difficulty of the selected planets.


Because if there's one thing Torg doesn't have enough of, it's tables.

This number becomes the difficulty of the astronomy roll. You then take the result of the roll and look it up on the One-On-Many chart to see how many planets you "hit", starting from the innermost and working out. For each planet you've successfully configured into the spell this way past the minimum, you get the planet's listed bonus to your actual spellcasting roll. On the plus side, Egyptian magic doesn't have to worry about backlash.

For example, the Rot spell (which causes inanimate objects to decay) requires one planet and is influenced by Ra, Nut, Anubis, and Set. I want to cast it and I have an astronomyskill of 15. I bring in two planets: Ra and Anubis. The highest difficulty of these planets is 18, so I need a +3, which means I need to roll a 16+ to get both planets. Assuming I did, then I'd get a +7 to my actual spellcasting roll.

What happens if/when you fail the astronomy roll? No idea. The book doesn't say. I guess the spell doesn't go off if it required a planet?

In case that's not enough unnecessary mechanics for you, there's an optional rule for Planetary Cycles, where you have to (and I am not making this up) track the overall positions of the planets.

You see that "Cycle" column on the planet chart? That's the number of days that planet becomes "naturally" aligned, and will automatically self-configure into spells, and thus you don't have to roll for it.

quote:

As gamemaster, you have to keep a record of the days which have passed in your campaign in order to use the cycles. Each time Mobius invades a cosm, the calendar starts again with Day One. The events written about in this sourcebook go up to Day 65 of the Pharaoh's invasion. Begin your campaign calendar with Day 65, and mark off one day for each day of game time which you and your players spend in the game world.

Divide the campaign day by the cycle of a planet; the remainder is called the position of the planet. If the position of a planet is zero, the planet naturally configures on this day.

We recommend you calculate the zero positions of planets out of game time, and for a substantial period of time (say, one year). Writing it down in calendar form and check off the campaign days as you run through them. That way, you will know what planets are influencing spells for the current day of play.
:what:

I honestly want to know how many people bothered doing this, mainly because I'd guessing it's a number pretty close to zero.

So let's pretend that last part didn't happen and move on to Mathematics. And before we can actually learn how to do this, we apparently need close to a page about the organization of mystic mathematicians in the Nile Empire.

quote:

Most practicing mathematicians on Terra and in the Nile belong to an organization known as the College of Mathematicians. The college serves as both a forum where mathematicians can gather and share any new secrets they may have discovered, and a support organization for the training and guidance of young apprentice mathematicians. In the Nile, the College also serves as an official arn of the Imperial Government. In this capacity, it is one of the resources that Mobius frequently exercises. In fact, practicing mathematics in the Empire without being a recognized member of the College is a crime.

There is a very rigid and formal hierarchy within the College. At its head is Rama-Tet, the Royal Vizier and personal adviser to Mobius. Beneath Rama are 10 Grand Deans (mathematics and one magic skill at values 18 to 25, the other magics at values from 17 to 22), one for each of the Overgovemorships. Beneath each Grand Dean are three Lesser Deans (mathematics at values of 16 to 20, magic skills at values of 13 to 19). Beneath the Lesser Deans are a varying number of Initiates and Apprentices. Initiates are low-level mathematicians waiting for an opening in the ranks so they can ascend to the rank of Dean. Apprentices are young mathematicians in training.


Pictured: not an apprentice

When Mobius has a service he would like the mathematicians to perform, he takes it to Rama-Tet, who then assigns it to a Greater Dean, who will in tum either assign the project to a Lesser Dean (if it is relatively simple or unimportant) or perform it himself. The Overgovemors follow a similar procedure, beginning with the local Greater Dean and possilly ending with an Initiate.
Why the hell do I need to know all this? Can't they just say "The College of Mathematicians maintains a very rigid structure, with requests for services tending to trickle down the management pyramid until they land on someone who can't hand the job off to someone else" or something? Who could possibly care?

Oh, and you can't just have the mathematics skill, either. You can't increase your skill without a teacher (until you get 3 adds), and learning your first rank costs double the normal cost.

So when you cast a spell, in addition to the astrology bullshit above, you also have to roll your mathematics skill. If you succeed, you finally get to try and cast the spell. Failure means the spell doesn't happen and you have to roll on the Mathematics Backfire Chart).

So this is how you cast a spell as a Nile Empire character.
  • Determine which planets (if any) you will configure into the spell.
  • Roll your astrology skill to see how many of the planets you actually configure. This takes a round.
  • Assuming you hit the minimum number of planets, make a mathematics roll.
  • If the mathematics roll fails (there's no difficulty, so I'm assuming you just need to get a positive total), then you roll on the Mathematics Backfire Chart and that's what happens to you.
  • If you succeeded at the mathematics roll, then you can finally roll the spell's appropriate magic skill (alteration magic, apporation magic, conjuration magic, or divination magic), plus the astrology bonus, against the spell's difficulty to actually cast the drat spell.

As near as I can tell, the mathematics skill adds nothing to the process apart from making you roll an extra time and take an extra round. Well, you don't have to worry about the arcane knowledges, but that's not a huge benefit compared to adding another two potential failure points to the process.

So given how much more difficult it is to cast mathemagic spells, they must be pretty awesome, right?

Ha.

There are 17 mathemagic spells in the Nile Empire book, and they're a mixed bag. Some highlights:

Animate Mummy does what it says on the label, only requires one planet, and has a difficulty of 15 so it'd be pretty easy to pull off.

Calculate Weakness is difficulty 10, requires one planet, and gives one person a +3 to their next attempt at a task. So that's three skill rolls and a round to give someone a +3.

Commune with Crckets is a very specific version of "speak with animals" that's one point easier than animating a mummy.

Death Shout is an attack spell that does magic total+5 damage. Given that the difficulty is 20, that's about as powerful as a heavy pistol.

Gemwork doubles the value of a single gem. This is one point easier than talking to crickets, and therefore two points easier than animating a mummy.

Prepare Mummy is a fairly easy spell that mummifies a body. Given that Animate Mummy doesn't require the use of this spell, it begs the question of why it's a spell in the first place.

Sundew only requires one planet from Ra, Osiris, Horus, and Nut, and will "heal the wounds" of everyone within 50 feet of the caster who shares his Inclination. The thing is, it doesn't say what "heals the wounds" means in a mechanical context; does that mean that the spell heals all a person's wounds? If so then this spell is ridiculously powerful, even at difficulty 20 and a one-round spinup time.

Wing of the Hawk lets you fly at speed value 11, or about 40 mph, for three hours. Note that even with all the rolls this is objectively cheaper than the Flight pulp power.

So that's one type of magic down. Now we get to the most useless magic type: engineering.

quote:

Exactly how the ancient Egyptians of Earth built their huge pyramids and sculptures remains a mystery. The Egyptians of Terra built their monuments using a magical discipline known as engineering. Engineers have the ability to design fantastic structures and monuments, as wellas abilities that facilitate the construction of these monuments.

In Torg, such engineering is governed by the use of the engineering, and the four Torg magic skills.
Like the College of Mathematics, there's an official government body dealing with magical engineering: The Society of Engineers. Headed by Maub the Royal Builder, it has a similar structure of X guys at Y skill above Z dudes and who cares.


He may be an insane megalomaniac dictator, but Mobius still makes sure everyone gets a lunch break.

Engineering uses some metaphysics wonkery to get around the normal Torg magic restriction of the Principle of Definition, the short form of which is that it's possible to cast more than one spell on a building. Because that's the point of Engineering Magic: enchanting an entire building with temporary or permanent effects.

Engineers have access to exactly five spells:
  • Detect Traps locates every trap within 125 feet of the caster, assuming the roll of the spell beats the trap's stealth value, and the trap is Tech Axiom 21 or less.
  • Find A Path will let you sense what's on the other side of a door, navigate a maze (which requires you to cast the spell at every intersection), or to detect secret doors.
  • Lift creates a magically enhanced block-and-tackle system that lets someone substitute the caster's final spell value for their Strength to lift things with said pulley system. Note that you have to build the block-and-tackle system; the spell doesn't create one.
  • Imbude with Mystic Energy gives a building a Possibility pool and (depending on how well you rolled) a few points in said pool. Yes, this means the building is now P-rated.
  • Neutralize Trap can deactivate traps you know are there.
Now, I know you're all thinking that that's a pretty lame list. And you're right. But don't worry; they get some other side benefits as well. For example, they can...search for traps without casting the spell, using their engineering skill. Except that it's just basic searching and not just knowing where all the traps are in 125 feet.

The main strength of engineers is that they can construct buildings with inbuilt devices, spells, miracles, or pulp powers. That's why they have that Imbude with Mystic Energy spell.

Installing something into a building requires the creation of a maat matrix. A matrix is a magical construct that takes a week to make, and can have pretty much any spell, miracle, skill, gizmo, power, or mundane device bound to it. If successful, then the maat matrix will power the ability from the building's Possibility pool. It only costs one Possibility per year to power the matrix, and bound devices will never decay over time, but will still use any materials needed to operate. So if you have an automatic machine gun mounted on a wall, it won't rust but someone will still have to reload it.

That said, most things will require some sort of activation device: a tripwire, a pressure plate, IR sensor, and so on. Each of these is considered a separate device and therefore needs its own matrix.

The building can use any ability bound to its matrices at the cost of one Possibility per use This means that a tripwire/fireball spell combo will require two Possibilities to work; one for the sensor and one for the spell. Once activated, though, inbuilt devices will remain active for about 24 hours.

Oh, and it's worth pointing out that if the structure is a pyramid, then you don't need the Imbude with Mystic Energy spell. It'll generate Possibilities on its own.

...I don't understand what the point of the engineering stuff is.

I mean, is this supposed to be something PCs are expected to do? I mean, I suppose characters could make a base of operations, but unless they put it in the Nile Empire they're going to have to deal with disconnection issues, and Torg is supposed to be a game of globetrotting adventure. And if it's not something PCs are going to do, why is it there? Is the GM expected to roll all the NPC skills and track this stuff? (spoiler: of course he is.)

The final new type of "magic" I'm going to cover is Pulp Sorcery. This was added in the Terra sourcebook, so it's pretty much a GM call if it's allowed for Nile Empire characters. On the plus side, pulp sorcery doesn't cause a contradiction if used in the Empire.

Sorcery is considered a pulp power, and costs one Possibility during character creation. Its function is to allow you to mimic other pulp powers through the use of mystic rituals. Sorcery has a base adventure cost of 6, so it's expensive out of the gate, but you also have to pay Possibilities for any rituals you use. Ritual cost is the duplicated power's normal adventure cost, minus two, minimum of one Possibility. You only need to pay the cost for rituals you actually use during the adventure.

So if I have a pulp sorcerer and I used rituals for mind reading, fire blast, and telekinesis, that would cost me 6 for sorcery, 5-2=3 for mind reading, 5-2=3 for fire blasting, and 4-2=2 for TKing. That's a grand total of 6+3+3+2=14 Possibilities I'd have to pay at the end of the adventure. If I only used mind reading and fire blast, then the final cost would be 12; I wouldn't have to pay for the ability I didn't use.

You need a separate ritual for every power you want to duplicate. Rituals cost one Possibility each at character creation and you can only start with three tops, but you can learn more later by finding a teacher/mystic item/what have you and paying the adventure cost of the new ritual between adventures.

Unfortunately, the powers you build rituals around can't have flaws attached to them, meaning that you can't reduce the cost beyond the two-point reduction for being a ritual.


Do you have a minute to talk about our lord Skeletor?

Using a sorcery ritual involves looking up the copied power's "ritual difficulty" on yet another chart. You then have to roll your pulp power: sorcery skill against that difficulty. That said, most of the difficulties are in the 20's or 30's.

quote:

The difficulty numbers deliberately run high so as to encourage the use of the modifiers to flavor spellcasting (multiple modifiers can be placed on the same ritual). Try to imagine Hadji (from the cartoon show Johnny Quest) without his trademark "Sim sim Salabim!" command and you get the idea of what spells without modifiers are like.
Will I?

Modifiers are things you can require on your rituals to reduce the difficulty number. They all have associated charts but they boil down to a few categories, three of which are the old vocal/somatic/material bits from AD&D that nobody ever used. You can also increase the casting time (requiring more rounds to use the ritual), take fatigue, or perform a sacrifice. No matter what you add, the modifiers are permanent; if you can't meet one of the ritual's requirements then you can't use the power.

--
It's amazing how hard they try to be "thematic" with pulp magic, and then drop the ball so completely. Pulp wasn't about fiddly details, it was about action and lots of it.

What's more, mathematics and engineering add nothing to the game beyond more rolling. Mathematics is bad, but there's absolutely no reason to learn engineering because all it does is let you make a location you probably won't be spending a lot of time at.

And again, the pulp powers aren't so overpowered that you need even more checks and balances in place. A pulp sorcerer needs to pay like 8 Possibilities just to use one power, but unless you have a lot of powers it's not cost-effective at all. And again, you're really not gaining any benefit in terms of usability or cost because you still need to buy all the powers in advance.

For as popular as the realm was, the Nile Empire really does make itself hard to use.

NEXT TIME: Realm-wide roll call!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Superiors 4: Drugs Are My Anti-Drug



Fleurity, Prince of Drugs is the latest in a long line of Demons of Drugs, and not one of the nice ones. He's a Habbalite that projects the image of a party demon, and the more people that get hurt, the better the party is. He got his Word working to promote opium under the British in China in the late 1800s, but what got him a Principality was promoting crack cocaine. Fleurity sees Drugs as a tool for freedom - the freedom to alter your personality and your reality. Drugs aren't just heroin or cocaine, either - he's lord of Prozac and Valium, too. He's found many ways to make Drugs serve Hell. The users get degraded and selfish, and they tempt others into overreaction. Sure, he loves the Colombian cartels, but the War on Drugs is his, too. Fleurity is a rising star, and while he's still a minor Prince, other Princes are careful with him. He's probably not going to skyrocket like ?Nybbas, but he also won't be losing power any time soon. In a mere two centuries, he's made drugs both universally condemned and desired - a conscious choice for humans to want something they think is evil. Lucifer is quite pleased. Few Demons of Drugs in the past ever got near Princedom. Meserach, the Prince of Sloth, once had command of the Word of Drugs, and he tended to destroy the demons that held it as they got powerful. Haagenti, who inherited control, never cared to restrain his minions. Even now, Haagenti and Fleurity got along swimmingly, even though Fleurity is an ally of Saminga. On Earth, Fleurity takes the form of a muscular Arabic man with a shaved head, a trimmed goatee and bright eyes. He assigns his demons to specific cities, and doesn't change that up until their vessels are destroyed.

Demons of Drugs earn dissonance if they discourage drug use, and if they don't actively promote it at least once a day, unless they are assigned to the War on Drugs. They are not required to do drugs themselves, but doing so is a common and effective way to get others to follow the example.

Balseraphs of Drugs may impose a temporary Addiction Discord via their resonance, with level of (CD). It may be an Addiction to anything normally ingesitble to a human, and lasts (Ethereal Forces) hours. If the victim gets hooked in the course of obtaining a fix, the Addiction becomes permanent.
Djinn of Drugs may attune themselves to any significant amount of drugs of any kind with a touch, and may use their resonance to track the drugs' distribution. It will lead him to users within 24 hours of their taking the drug, as wel. Each batch counts as only one attunement, no matter how many ways it's split up.
Calabim of Drugs may imbue anything consumable with their resonance, so long as it is a single item or single container - one bag of coke or a hamburger, not a truckload of pot. The substance becomes toxic for (Ethereal Forces) days, and anyone ingesting it takes (Corporea Forces*CD of resonance roll) physical damage. This damage can be taken only once per day, no matter how times the victim ingests, and it is resisted by a Strength roll. Alternatively, you can use the poison rules from the Corporeal Player's Guide if you want, with Strength of CD and Speed of 2. The damage causes no Disturbance, either way.
Habbalah of Drugs may ingest any drug to a level blow that needed to OD and use their resonance to project the effects, including any addiction, on a victim. The subject can resist normally, and if they do, the demon suffers the effects as normal but gains no dissonance for it. Traces of the drug may be found in the victim's bloodstream, and they likely won't recognize addiction or withdrawal symptons if they've never taken the drug themselves. Drug effects are listed in the Corporeal Player's Guide.
Lilim of Drugs are quite rare, and all of them are given the Knight distinction as well. If they supply a Need for drugs, the victim's Will is penalized by the level of their Addiction to resist the Geas.
Shedim of Drugs reduce a hosts Will by (Ethereal Forces) when making them take drugs, but this does not apply if the host is unaccustomed to the drug - non-smokers can still resist smoking as strongly as normal, for example. Pills are usually safe for anyone, though.
Impudites of Drugs need not charm drugged victims to steal their Essence, where 'drugged' means 'anyone over the legal limit of intoxication.'
Acid Flashback costs 1 Essence and can be resisted by Will. The victim suffers an intense hallucination of being in another, surreal world that merges indistinguishably with reality. The illusions affect all senses, and even if you realize they're false, it's nearly impossible to interact with what's real. The hallucinations last (10*CD) minutes.
Bad Trip copsts 2 Essence, sending the victim into 'junkie time,' a state of illogic and muddled thought. Effects vary, sometimes causing time dilation or obsession over certain sensations, and specifics are up to the GM, but the net effect is that unless they make a Will roll they are completely disoriented and unable to properly react to outside stimuli for (CD) hours.
First Time can only be used on someone taking a drug they have used before. It causes them to feel exactly as good or exactly as bad as the first time they used that drug.
OD can cause anyone who is taking drugs of their own will (that is, without any outside celestial interference) to consume to the point of overdose. The target must be currently using the drug and the demon must win a contest of Will. The outcome depends on the drug and how much is available, but heroin and cocaine are usually fatal, alcohol might be passing out for a day or two or death depending on what they were drinking, and cigarettes will just make them sick.
Score may be invoked up to (Ethereal Forces) times per day. It tells you the fastest and cheapest way to get any specific drug you want, and you can define a focus on quantity, quality or accessibility.
Knights of Addicts can instantly tell the addictions of anyone they see, as well as any substances the target has consumed recently, and how much.
Captains of Chemistry can alter the active component of any drug they touch, anywhere from neutralizing it to doubling its strength.
Barons of Good Trips can ensure that the first ever use of a drug goes perfectly, with no side effects, hangover or ill effects. Any other use of that drug will never make the user feel as good.
Fleurity has no real higher titles or powers yet - he's quite young. He can, however, teach the Songs of Poison.

Fleurity is a former servant of Haagenti, but he's aligned himself with the easily manipulated Saminga, whom he has convinced that Drugs serves Death. In truth, he uses Saminga to protect himself from other Princes as he forges alliances. It has earned him the hatred of Andrealphus, who dislikes both Haagenti and Saminga, and who sees Drugs as a threat to Lust. Despite her distaste for Fleurity's addictive chains, Lilith outwardly treats Drugs neutrally,though Fleurity has instructed his demons to be on their guard around her servants. Fleurity considers himself Allied to Saminga, though Saminga doesn't share the view. He is associated with Haagenti, Kronos, Lilith and Nybbas, though Lilith is not Associated with him (and Saminga is). Asmodeus is mutually hostile with Fleurity, and Andrealphus is his enemy.

Basic Rites:
1. Provide drugs, even cigarettes or alcohol, to at least 15 people who aren't yet hooked, and see them used.
2. For 3 Essence, Smuggle at least a pound of some illegal or taxed drug into a country and give it away afterwards.

Expanded Rites:
1. Provide drugs to children on a playground.
2. For 3 Essence, get a new drug classified as illegal.

Fleurity has a base invocation TN of 1, +1 for any amount of an illegal drug, +2 for a well-used bong, +3 for a personalized syringe kit, +4 for a drug in the hands of a child, +5 for a person shooting up for the first time and +6 for at least 25 people out of control on drugs.

Addiction, fundamentally, is about the first use. Drugs are never as good as that first time. That time, all your problems went away, you got what you needed. Maybe, sometimes, you can come close to that, but then you spend another month chasing the feeling again. You put all of your time and effort into matching the first high, and it will kill you. But even with that, drugs are cool. They're dangerous, and that's cool. Those that sell them know that, giving them nasty-sounding nicknames and logos for name recognition. That cavalier attitude towards death brings in a certain kind of risk-seeking customer. But still, drugs fill a need. They relieve hopelessness, they answer longing, they fill the void of anxiety. People are always in a hurry, and feel lost. Drugs give them something to be found by, to build their world around. Fleurity sometimes says he feels sorry for humanity and just wants to relieve their suffering. It's a lie. He considers it their punishment for daring to think themselves worthy of self-determination. The gift of free will is far too precious for humans, and drugs reduce them to the senseless beasts they were meant to be. It numbs and pacifies them, staggering blissfully on to Hell, where they belong.

It wasn't exactly hard to get the British to bring opium to China even if it was illegal. Between the corrupt bureaucrats and greedy merchants, Fleurity made himself a niche as a young and ambitious demon of Gluttony. For ten years, he coached the British smugglers and frustrated the Chinese government. At last, in 1839, the Qing seized 20,000 chests of opium and detained the entire British community. The British retaliated with the Opium Wars, defeating China and beginning the unequal treaties. The fact that this made a Tether ot Fate in the Canton customs house means that Fleurity wasn't quite as pervasive as he claims, but the subtle nature of drug addiction certainly muddied the water. For his efforts, he was named Demon of Drugs in 1864. The track record of the past holders of the Word made him unsure if it was reward or punishment, but he made the best of it.

After China, Fleurity decided to focus exclusively on the Americas, leaving Europe and Asia to his lieutenants. He looked to promote his Word quickly, knowing that focusing on one region left him vulnerable, but without the resources for a strong worldwide campaign. In the Bible Belt, he sold Doc Smith's Oil, Good For What Ails You, not telling the housewives that it was 50% morphine by volume. It caught on, and he began to sell it over the counter at pharmacies, quickly imitated by humans, or at least seeing them independenly evolve the idea. The government stopped it with the Pure Food and Drug Act, requiring full ingredient disclosure. Fleurity moved to plan B.



Fleurity moved from peddling home remedies with narcotics to selling perscription drugs and alcohol directly. The government, however, passed the Harrison Narcotic Act, which made posessions of these substances taxable for a thousand dollars. Fleurity began to suspect that someone was out to get him. Prohibtion was enacted in 1919, one of the largest organized efforts against Gluttony, and Fleurity made a critical mistake: he gave up trying to control the Word of Alcohol, and he missed the boat on Prohibition by a longshot. Bootlegging and speakeasies passed him by, and he began to lose grip of his own Word. He was almost ready to head back to Asia, when something beautiful happened. Thanks to a web of lies, deceit and abuses of power that he had nothing to do with, the US passed an act on the belief that marijuana caused insanity and death. This was the first federal law ever passed not on the basis of danger, but alleged 'other effects,' including the idea of a gateway drug. The entire debate lasted a minute and a half, and the transcript would later require a crowbar to remove from the shelves it had been caught between. Kronos congratulated Fleurity on the entire thing.

At first, Fleurity didn't realize it, but he was on the road to Princedom. The Marijuana Tax Act put drug use in the media and world consciousness. Europe treated it as a disease, but America treated it as a crime, making the penalties worse and worse. The Word of Drugs began to grow as it was associated with the ills of society, and the young wanted it more and more. During hte Red Scare, drugs were a way for communists to get at our youth! By 1956, marijuana possession had worse penalties than rape or murder under federal law. Fleurity began to wonder if, perhaps, he was being helped. The kicker came when the Dangerous Substances Act illegalized all durgs but alcohol and nicotine. Drugs become a dirty, mysterious, forbidden adventure. The government couldn't stem the flow, and crack started flooding the streets in the 80s. Fleurity was made a Prince. The War on Drugs was formally declared. Never before had Drugs gotten so much publicity, and never before had so many wanted what was forbidden. Fleurity's influence exploded when crack hit the inner cities.

Today, however, Fleurity has a problem. He left too much of the world to his lieutenants, it'd been a scramble to try and get the drug trade under demonic control rather than human control. The Colombians are his, but far too many opium dens of the Far East are not. He controls Prozac and Valium but none of the hash bars of Amsterdam...and worst of all, alcohol and nicotine are firmly Haagenti's, not his. He has control over inner city drugs, but not much else. It's been a hard climb, and it's not over yet.



Fleurity likes to be seen as a party demon, but the truth is, he's a businessman. He runs his Principality like a corporate environment, with his demons as employees and his wares as the medium to spread his Word. The world is supply and demand, and he must control both sides of it - make the addiction, supply the need. It doesn't matter if drugs hurt or harm - someone just needs to abuse them. He never touches it himself, of course. That would be weakness. Only the weak need drugs, which is why he pushes them so - everyone is weak except him. Each new addict reinforces this view. Those who have yet to succumb just need the right drug. Like most Habbalah, he treats his Word as both test and punishment of humanity. Any who can get by their lives without chemical assistance might be worthy...but how can that be known if they are untested? Thus, drugs must be freely available to all, and all must partake. Even other demons need better living through pharmaceuticals. Fleurity knows his servants are weak, but as long as they serve his Word, they can live. Even by Habbalah standards, he is cold. Others are just possible users. Even the Princes closest to him are kept distant. All relationships are business. Corporeally and celestially, he maintains that businesslike appearance. His head is clean-shaven, his piercings kept to a minimum and his tattoos only where they won't distract. He never wears anything but suits.

Fleurity has one priority: all humans must need. His stock must be in every home, wanted by everyone. He wants acid in schoolyards, blow in script rooms. Infiltrate everything. He knows that drugs grease the wheels of politics in Hell, whether the other Princes like it or not. He wants this to continue. Media record deals are sealed with cocaine, Kobal's pranks found in peyote highs, Malphan politics driven by the edge of ketamine, Andrealphan rape done via Rohypnol. He may not have many friends, but his Word is becoming ubiquitous in Hell. Fleurity wants to medicate everyone, even the angels. Why stop with illegal drugs when legal ones work, too?

Fleurity was never an angel and has no interest in becoming an Elohite. As far as he's concerned, he is a unique and special angel on a mission from God, without need for Heaven. His job is to test humans via drugs and destroy those who fail - that is, everyone. Without humans, there would be no testing, so no Drugs. Thus, he needs humans just as much as he detests them. He doesn't care about the fighting, about good or evil - they don't matter. All that matters is the mission. He knows he's got enemies in the Host, but he thinks them ineffectual. He's pissed off Eli, but Eli's wandered away and seems to have stopped active opposition. He's annoyed Novalis, but her sermons mean nothing to him. He's bothered Christopher, minor Archangel of Children, but that just means more laws, and that means Drugs get more appealing, which helps Fleurity. Sometimes, it seems like Heaven is interested in helping him - to Fleurity, anyway - so that's just proof that God is on his side.

Next time: First hit's free.

Impermanent
Apr 1, 2010






This guy may have the least subtle demons in the book. They're the only dealers in the world interested in letting you try something for free.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.
Yeah, Fleurity feels like the villain played by Joe Pesci in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker video. He's the kind of dealer you only see in DARE commercials from the 80s.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

Also: Prozac? Seriously?

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Hello, yes! Is being very good day for posting, no?
I kinda like Fleurity. Maybe more as like, an independent duke than a prince, but as a character I like him. Honestly, while I can definitely understand In Nomine having terrible mechanics, the fluff has been a fun read--there's some bad points like Andrealphas (who, while his domain isn't something I ever want to approach in a game, has some decent characterization)or Khalid (where there's a decent idea or two, but does need a rewrite), it does a good job of making the Archangels be clearly good, with some issues, and the Princes bad with some sympathetic traits (I initially didn't like Nybbas, but his writeup sold me on him super hard).

Jordi sucks, though.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Superiors 4: I Live For Drugs

Like Nybbas and Vapula, Fleurity is one of the young princes. He tends to focus on local politics, and while he's made a few friends in Haagenti and Saminga, he's also made some bitter foes. Lilith thinks him disgusting and Andrealphus wants him dead. It's not an easy path for an up and coming Prince. The Archangels are more abstract to him. They may be on another side, but to him, they all support God's will. Most of the Archangels find him annoying and vile, and some think him even worse.

Superior Opinions posted:

Alaemon: Drugs are hidden. You hide them from your parents, from your friends, from the law. You sit back in a dakr corner and hide them from everyone. You hide them from the judgment of others. You hide them from yourself. Few things promote Secrets like them. And addicts are so easy to blackmail...
You can't make a deal if your users can't find you, but you can't hand your prime goods over to just anyone, either. You have to keep your deals out of the hands of the narcs. Alaemon has his place in the scheme of things.
Andrealphus: He is a loathsome being who hides beind Saminga's "skirts" for protection. He's a cockroach, peddling his dirty needles and capsules in the cracks in the walls. The two of them with their sick "heroin chic" - exchanging sex for favors to sex for drugs, to drugs instead of sex. He should be eradicated, and sooner or later, he will be.
Lust is a malleable word, and it can be turned toward the Lust for a high, for benefit. Little does Andrealphus understand that humans lust for death as much as they lust for sex...and I simply provide.
Asmodeus: Probably our most expendable Prince. He's an annoying insect, crawling in human refuse. His Habbalite delusions are to be expected, but drugs are to be tolerated only inasmuch as they are a useful tool for snaring humans. Fleurity thinks he can peddle his wares freely, wherever and whenever he likes, and that's where he's wrong.
The more he writes the rules, them ore the humans will be drawn to the forbidden fruit. Asmodeus can't possibly watch every darkened alleyway, and where his iron claws cannot reach, I will be supplying.
Baal: Drugs weaken the mind and the spirit, crippling the enemy's troops. Used carefully and in moderation, his Word could be extremely helpful in making a conquered populace acceptably passive. If his offerings are distributed without checks, however, Fleurity will have to be dealt with extreme prejudice.
[i[Even Baal's troops feel the need to imbibe once in a while. They need cigarettes, alcohol - and sometimes a little more.[/i]
Beleth: He is a purveyor of bad trips and nightmarish realities. The lysergic acid builds up in the body. It activates whenever it pleases, you see, sending its perpetual prisoner into hallucinatory horrors and monstrous dreams. But too much medication can numb their fragile little minds...we don't want them too stoned to be scared. We shall keep him - for now.
The Lady of Horrors understands the attraction that the night brings to mankind - the forbidden, the evil, the creeping nightmares. But you don't have to go out to find these things. With the right chemicals, they can be experienced in the privacy of one's own home.
Belial: There was this guy screwed up on crystal meth and he had the...the crazies. He walked into an emergency room filled with all these hurt and dying people, right? This addict, he'd been up for thirteen days straight, he had the shakes, and he had gotten his hands on quite an arsenal. He put hot lead right into old Mrs. Jenkin's left thigh! Now that's cool.
Drugs are whatever they need to be for whomever they need to be. They can be a relaxing trip, or a catalyst for fiery destruction, burning both the soul and the mind.
Haagenti: Mounds of blow! Mounds of blow! There's nothing like drugs to fuel excess! A baggie of pot? Great! $5,00 a week smack habit? Even better! Fleurity has grown up from that little God-obsessed Habbalite I remember - just a little demonling - to a big God-obsessed Habbalite! And his Word still feeds mine. I'm so proud.
Haagenti, my maker, my once-liege lord. You fought to the top and won, and I have followed in your footsteps. Together, we forge a rare alliance in this small corner of Hell.
Kobal: In 1968, the Weathermen, a convenient anarchist group who happened to be on hand, were going through the Democratic National Convention, squirting people in the face with acid-laced water. I'm not sure what was funnier, Adlai Stevenson or that the National Guard had to be called out.
Two words: John Belushi. Two more words: Len Bias. Even Kobal helps to glorify the Word of Drugs.
Kronos: Drugs take away time, eat away at time, consume the loose edges of time. What is the drug user doing today? Drugs. What is the drug user doing tomorrow? Drugs. When the user is on drugs, there is no time for destiny, no time for Heaven. There is only time for drugs. The promising young athlete brought low by steroids, the young writer destroyed by drink, the young executive murdered by cocaine. I'm keeping my eye on this young Prince.
Drugs and Fate are intertwined. Drugs can bring humans to their righteous fate, and their fate is to come to drugs and the ending that God planned for them. It is a vicious, yet beautiful cycle.
Lilith: Addiction is a shackle on free will, a shackle I do not own. Freedom from the self? I think not. He's a blight on Shal-Mari, an obnoxious upstart who should be put in his place.
Lilith was human too, once, and she also has needs that can grow and grow and grow. A little bit of just the right powder and she, too, will come to my way of thinking.
Malphas: He's more focused than his predecessors, and like them, his Word brings me amusement. Humans insist on arguing over drugs, even killing over them. I like his enthusiasm. But then again, I'll like the enthusiasm of the Demon of Drugs who comes after him, too. Haagenti's Servitor, the Demon of Alcoholism, might be interested...
He may believe I'm disposable, but now that drugs have become a permanent part of mankind's consciousness, I will be harder to be rid of than he thinks.
Mammon: Many dealers are my servants, if he only knew. Fleurity has the sense to keep the supply restricted and the profit margin high.
A petty relic of a bygone era, but he's too useful to ignore.
Nybbas: The wonderful glory of drugs! If I could get this stuff shipped to my people by the truckload, I would. Fleurity is amenable to working out long-term contracts with some of the talent. I just had several kilos of cocaine brought up for that new bubblegum rock band - they're going to be such a sensation with the kids, I guarantee they'll need it.
Drugs are the oil which make record deals flow, the glue between producers in a back room, and the common bond between performers behind the curtain. I make the Media go. Without me, Nybbas would have a much harder time keeping his organization in line.
Saminga: Death in a capsule. Death in a powder. Death in a vial. Death in a liquid, solid and gas. Drugs are another form of death. A slow death. A certain death. He has brought more death than wars, than plagues, than disasters. He needs to spread, spread and bring death with him on angel's wings.
Saminga understands well the human drive to kill themselves in a self-destructive frenzy. The consequences of addiction are graphically depicted, and yet the humans still come with their hands out. "We are bored," they say, "so give us death." And I do.
Valefor: This new Prince has brought the rate of theft to dizzying heights. If drugs were easy to obtain, they'd hardly be worth having, let alone stealing. You'd be surprised what someone will go through to lay their hands on something they're just going to consume ten minutes later.
Promoting Valefor is merely a side effect. Many of my customers can afford those wares, but those who are desperate, well, they have to resort to other measures. When the prices are high and the quantities are even higher, humans will do anything to pay for it.
Vapula: Fascinating advances are coming out of the labs these days. I heard something about a new date-rape drug, and a narcotic being peddled as an "herbal supplement." I need to make a note to have a few volunteers report to the laboratory for complete testing and analysis. Maybe they can be combined with this luscious new strain of anthrax I've just developed. With Fleurity, these interesting new pharmaceuticals just keep coming out faster and faster.
New drugs dodge the even newer legislation to counter them. They get into the hands of children and are promoted as completely harmless. I am forced to give my nod to the role of progress in keeping the business alive.
Blandine: He is a destroyer of dreams. With his drugs and his promise of an easy answer to life's problems, he takes away more than he will ever give, and replaces it with hollow nightmares. He's an evil that must be stopped to ensure the right to dreams for all.
Blandine does not understand mankind sometimes needs a little medical help for what ails them. They cannot be expected to rely on dreams alone.
David: He peddles deception and dependence. Drugs purport to bring people together socially, but they are actually a means to separate people from one another. His victims become islands in a sea of humanity, cut off from anything outside of the drug. Isolation is weak.
David has never seen the strength of a man under the influence of PCP - the feats he can accomplish, the sheer mass he can lift. Sure, it doesn't last, but in that time he has the strength and insanity of ten.
Dominic: We legislate, and he falls through the cracks. We target his smuggling rings, and he opens others. We close down his opium dens, and others spring their place like maggots on a corpse. But he should know this: there are more angels and guns on our side than he has Servitors, and sooner or later, there will be a reckoning.
Every law the angels of Judgment encourage humans to pass encourages more humans to desire a taste of forbidden fruit. Even Judgment cannot stop basic human nature.
Eli: There was a time, before the white man came, when the Navajo and the Hopi would venture down to Monument Valley in Utah, smoke their peyote, and discover the color of their inner souls. Man and nature, nature and Creation...but that time is gone, like so many other things - and peyote is just another hallucinogen that the kids use in search of a new thrill. Most of 'em throw it all up before the trip kicks in.
I've taken Eli's precious drugs and spread them throughout Creation. He should be thanking me. What used to be confined to a few isolated groups looking for God, I've taken and given to entire nations. We're both doing God's work, and he just doesn't realize it yet.
Gabriel: He interchanges the true fiery passions of the flesh with the false needs of addiction. He substitutes the need to feel with medicated euphoria and the want to do with the drive to get another "fix." He would cloud the prophecies of God with shadows and delusions. Hem ust burn with the rest of the rubbish in Hell.
I give humans a deep, burning desire for something they yearn. That burn gives them focus. It gives them something to work their entire lives around. Why can't Gabriel see that Ig ive them the same burning desires she does?
Janus: Addiction just slows you down. It keeps you moving around and around in that one spot, and you never seem to get anywhere. Life is all about movement! You've got to keep moving to keep living. As long as my people steer clear of what this guy's got, we'll all be okay.
Doesn't Janus see the marvelous smuggling rings we have set up to distribute drugs across the planet? We keep the supply always moving, from Bangkok to Hong Kong to Miami, and into the hands of the children who dream about it. We're always on the move, never sitting still.
Jean: He displays a poor grasp of the proper use of technology. Distributing processed chemicals to human beings for pure recreational use is abusive and inefficient. Not that I expect better of a Demon Prince, but Fleurity has put a diabolical taint on an entire scientific field.
We need innovation to advance the drug trade. There's a demand for newer and newer drugs to keep the kids interested. Not all of them will stay with the old standby of alcohol, and it's my job to make sure they get exactly what they want.
Jordi: [snort] Animals, the true and the free, have no use for his trash.
Drug abuse is a distinctly human phenomenon. Jordi and I almost never cross paths...although there are some fine testing facilities in the medical laboratories. Apparently, he hasn't paid much attention to the uses of Rhesus monkeys.
Laurence: He peddles nothing more than godless filth unto the disenfranchised and the children. He stands for impurity, and pushes it into the bloodstream of the greedy and the weak. He does nothing but fulfill weak needs, needs which should be supplanted with piety before the eyes of God.
Laurence and I will never see eye to eye. He's self-righteous enough to get off on a purely spiritual high, but most people can't do that. He does his work for God, and I do mine.
Marc: Dealers create monopolies of business. How can free trade happen when one gang or one drug lord is controlling all the goods in the area, and literally killing the competition? And addicts are not in a position to seek out a fair deal.
My dealers sell drugs because, in the inner city, there's nothing else to do! With no money, there aren o jobs. And with no jobs, there is no recreation. Marc should see that I'm doing the community a favor.
Michael: Drugs are insidious. Fleurity's dealers can be dealt with like any other demons, but once they've gotten their hooks into a man's soul, it takes more than force of arms to overpower them. So make sure you hit them before that happens.
I give Michael's warriors what they want - alcohol, cigarettes, the occasional bud or two. I help the army of God relax after a hard day's war against the enemy. He should be thanking me for a service rendered.
Novalis: He's a corrupter. He destroys everything he touches. If it grows, he finds some way to shoot it up. If it can be made, he finds some way to snort it. The medicinal uses for many herbs are lost in the frenzy to get as high as possible. So many good and natural cures have been lost. Only education and the demonstration of the good and right way to use drugs can ever bring them back into mankind's graces - and it's a long, hard road.
I am eternally grateful to Novalis. After all, she gave me my start. If it wasn't for her herbal remedies, I would never be where I am today.
Yves: Some roads to Hell are easier than others, and this one can be so subtle that the victims may not see it at all. A little bit here or a little bit htere "can't possibly hurt," they think, but every time someone engages in his Word, they move a little closer to the Pit. And one day they wake up, and discover they're in Hell already.
The old man doesn't see that I just give people what they desire. If they weren't so weak, they wouldn't have taken it in the first place.
Humanity: If human beings weren't so weak, they wouldn't need what I provide. They come begging for escape from the reality of their own worthlessness, and I give it to them. A kindness? Not when you measure a few years of stoned bliss against an eternity in Hell.
Soldiers of God: They pretend to be strong, they pretend to be better than the others. They're not. They shoot up before they go demon-hunting, they see visions of Jesus while tripping on acid...it's so easy to replace their delusions of serving God with service to me.
Hellsworn: Even I have need of humans to do some of the dirty work that my lowest demons are unwilling to do. Soldiers of Drugs are willing to crawl through swamps, sneak through airports with drugs stuffed into their bodily orifices, and even lower themselves to work in advertising.
Sorcerers: Occasionally, they interchange their sex rituals with sex-and-drug rituals, which helps to spread the Word. In gneeral, I have no real use for this particular brand of human vermin.
Ethereals: Any benefit the Ethereals receive from Drugs is merely a coincidental side-effect of hte process. I am not interested in their further well-being, nor their continued existence.



Variations! Fleurity as the Heroin Sheik isn't a cynic - he's an addict, a slave to the needle he has shared with the world. He spends hours in a haze n Shal-Mari, obsessed with the next fix. He never leaves the Black Lotus, but instead continuously indulges, hunting for God. His demons, those few that are loyal and not themselves addicts, do their best to keep the Principality going. The other Princes are taking bites out of it, with such a weak Prince, and Fleurity may soon be dead. Fleurity the Pothead Prince is a lighter demon, who loves marijuana above all. He's your standard pothead, loves Santana and handmade bongs, and is a real partier. He is going to find God in a bowl, and he doesn't really work very hard. That's what his demons are for. They aren't so enthusiastic, but they cover for him so they can keep the cushy jobs.

Despite Andrealphus' hostility, Fleurity still works out of Shal-Mari. It's unrestricted, has the most damned and demons to sell to and is just the market he needs. His main headquarters is the Black Lotus, a pseudo-Asian houseboat floating on the Acheron. Here, he controls his creeping empire of opium dens, coca bars and hash parlors. He knows the importance of influence, though, so while it's his main base, it's far from his only one. He uses it primarily to maintain his image as a fun party guy.

In Cass Corridor of Detroit, meanwhile, there is a club: the White Rabbit. Once, it was a quiet meeting place for a conspiracy of Gluttony, Death and Drugs demons - but now, it's Fleurity's top Earthly hotspot. Inside is a nightclub of indulgences of every kind, pounding music and darkened booths. Demons and humans alike shoot up in the bathrooms. In a back hallway is a small office where Fleurity consolidates his Earthly operations, but he knows it can't be his only home on Earth.

The Dealers, as demons of Drugs are known, are consumed by the cycle of dealing and abuse. They have an almost religious reverence for their drugs, between the indoctrination of new users, using their supply and fearing the narcs. They live, eat and breathe drugs. Most are enterprising young demons, formerly of Death or Gluttony, trying to make or break it in a new career. The understand the idea of excess and see a chance to put it into action. They remember the last young Prince to rise and the opportunities he made for others smart enough to get in on the ground floor, and they hope for the same. It's hard to reconcile continuous drug abuse and ambition, however, and it's not wholly successful. Several talents have joined only to fall to drug-filled euphoria. Almost all of these demons use, and most say they can handle it, but more than a few get utterly addicted. It's hard to resist temptation, after all. Many Dealers skim off their supply. Fleurity doesn't care as long as it doesn't affect the bottom line or your performance. There's no rehab in Hell, though - so if it does, you die.

Fleurity maintains a rigid hierarchy. Each demon has a boss, that boss has a boss, and it all leads back to him. Each wing focuses on a different type of drug, though multiple wings may come together for a single team job. Fleurity surrounds himself with his lieutenants, those that have been there from the start and whom he allows to manage large operations. He keeps an eye on them, though - he doesn't trust them, and will replace them if they can't keep up. Of course, knowing that makes them quite efficient - no demon in Drugs gets ahead by doing nothing. Local pockets may find themselves dealing petty drugs on the street while trying to be recognized and put in less vulnerable positions, like distributing or lobbying. Step outside your bounds to improve yourself and get caught, though, and you're likely to get an even worse job in Hell.

Punishment among Drugs is strict, swift, arbitrary and unfair. It comes fast and hard. Using up stock you're meant to sell, doing side business, even being lazy - that's all punishable. Normally, you get caught by your boss and punished directly - usually with a bad job or getting shot. But if the Prince himself notices, he's not above destroying your soul utterly. For every lazy demon, he has five below waiting to move up. Rewards are equally swift. Going above and beyond the call of duty will attract Fleurity's attention, though also piss off your direct superior. Your boss will ignore your accomplishments, leaving them out of reports or taking credit for them, and his boss will do the same to him. Fleurity isn't stupid and can usually see through it. Promotion comes fast for the skilled, which breeds a healthy level of paranoia and ambition - Fleurity likes a little social Darwinism.

There aren't many Fallen in Drugs. Sure, you advance fast, but most Fallen prefer more stable organizations. He does get the occasional Fallen Creationer, though, turned to drugs to alleviate their pain. He doesn't go out of his way to treat them any differently - he hasn't got the workforce to differentiate between Fallen and Hellborn, and a new recruit that used to be an angel gets treated like anyone else. New trainees only need to know three things: they have a place, they can rise, and sampling the merchandise can kill them. Anything else they learn by doing. Starting at the bottom is a learning experience, and all new demons of Drugs start out at the very bottom. Fleurity's not got the time or manpower to run training camps. He figures the streets will teach you. It works for humans, after all, and they're idiot monkeys. This means that demons of Drugs tend to have widely varied skills, but not with any real consistency.

Humans, of course, are required for Drugs. But that's humans in plural. Any one human is an acceptable loss. Hlel, any two dozen are acceptable losses. Don't worry about overdoses, as long as you keep recruiting new victims. All of Earth is your potential customer base. Demons of Drugs tend to see humans as a sort of pin cushion into which needles and pills can be shoved. They tend to feel similarly to Death demons - humans are squishy and will die eventually, so enjoy 'em while they last but don't worry when they break.

Balseraphs of Drugs like cocaine - one snort, and allies are true, and life is fine. They prefer straight lines of it to any other drug. The price is high, and they prefer classier circles if they can manage it. They try to be slick, clean and professional, with interesting clientele, the rich and famous. The smaller, less experienced and less lucky Balseraphs tend to end up dealing crack to the poor and disenfranchised. It's a shorter, more itnense high, and it has a dirty stigma. The smart ones move to coke as soon as they can.

Djinn of Drugs like downers of all kinds. Under stress, humans take drugs that'll give them a pleasant euphoria and send them into withdrawn inactivity, with maybe the occasional burst of hostility. Djinn can relate to that. Plus, it slows humans down and makes them easy to track. They like sell downers, sometimes in clubs, sometimes as pharmacists 'kindly' extending a prescription a little longer.

Calabim of Drugs like crystal meth. It drives the nervous system faster and harder than anything. It gives intense physical and emotional strain, and it's as convenient as a pill! It internalizes destruction until it breaks free in fury. It's great! They love it so much that Fleurity occasionally has problems getting them to stop taking it long enough to sell it. They move it any way they can - smoking crystals, snorting powders, swallowing pills, injecting liquids. They just have one problem: there are no old crank users. They don't last. They die on the regular. You have to keep hustling to new users, wherever you can.

Habbalah of Drugs like LSD. It alters perceptions even in small doses, and it can produce almost religious experiences. A Habbalite on acid gets orders from God, or feels like it. Plus, it provides bad trips to the unfaithful. It's like God has touched someone and marked them as dirty. That's great! Habbalah see selling acid as handing out God's justice. If they're strong, they can commune. If not, they are smited.

Lilim of Drugs are rare - addiction is a chain, and one they can't control. It's not like a Geas - the addict only needs drugs, wants drugs, works for drugs. They can't make it do anything else. The prospect of fulfilling the same need over and over until a human dies is not appealing, and Geases are useless on the dead. They prefer to provide whatever drugs will generate the longest addictions, usually coke or heroin, but freelance work can pay well. The few full-time Lilim of Drugs are intensely mercenary. They need a steady stream of users to keep their work interesting and get worthwhile Geases. It's like being the garbage man - plenty to take, not much of it worth anything. It pays well, but the job sucks. They tend to be among the few demons of Drugs that aren't addicts themselves - though that doesn't mean always, or that they never use.



Next time: Yes, Prozac

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

quote:

250 kilos over nuclear material have been confiscated by the Romanian security police since 1989, including 32 kg of "red mercury", desired by nuclear terrorists, techno-alchemists and vampires. The agents are fed a lead on the red mercury's current whereabouts - by who? Why?

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/the-doomsday-scam.html?referer=

Here's a million plot hooks for any modern supernatural game.

Cythereal posted:

Hell also wants to drag you into exactly the same war, incidentally, for exactly the same reasons. To demons, humanity is nothing but cattle. They care about you the same way you care about prime beef.

Are we talking factory farming or dry-aged, farm-to-table, beautifully treated organic beef? If Hell wants to get my Essence by keeping me drugged up, loved up and full of food that's fine with me.

Speaking of drugs, why do so many RPGs have this weird reactionary streak around them? I'd have Drugs be something created, corrupted, or fought over by other Angels and Demons - Commerce, Technology, etc. Though the Drug War being demonic and Angels being cool with it would be funny.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Most of Hell gets your Essence by beating it out of you or torturing it out of you. Even Nybbas gets it by giving his damned souls some tiny thing to focus on and then threatening to take that away from them, or making them engage in blind, useless consumerism. Shal-Mari is the only really 'free' one, and what they do is charge everything you have for the briefest moment of pleasure.

Being a damned soul is very much not a good time. The best you can hope for is to be the guy who is beaten slightly less and gets to beat other damned souls a little - and even then, only in the 'nice' Principalities. In Saminga's, for example, your soul is literally ripped apart until all you are is a mewling, crying grub.

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Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Mors Rattus posted:

Most of Hell gets your Essence by beating it out of you or torturing it out of you. Even Nybbas gets it by giving his damned souls some tiny thing to focus on and then threatening to take that away from them, or making them engage in blind, useless consumerism. Shal-Mari is the only really 'free' one, and what they do is charge everything you have for the briefest moment of pleasure.

Being a damned soul is very much not a good time. The best you can hope for is to be the guy who is beaten slightly less and gets to beat other damned souls a little - and even then, only in the 'nice' Principalities. In Saminga's, for example, your soul is literally ripped apart until all you are is a mewling, crying grub.

Saminga's a dude who knows how to party!

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