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Remember You Are Man: The project formerly known as Pr-I mean Books of the Damned

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  • Remember You Are Man: The project formerly known as Pr-I mean Books of the Damned

    Yeah! Got me an Ex3-style title now!


    Originally posted by Gensh


    Behold the good and the just!
    Whom do they hate most?
    The man who breaks their table of values,
    the breaker, the lawbreaker;
    yet he is the creator.

    Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

    After two Ages of absence, the greatest heroes of the Primordials have returned, rebuilt from the stolen cores of Solar Exaltations. Where the akuma failed, the asura will succeed – or so the Yozis hope as they bite back their tongues and swallow their bile in order to guide the reincarnations of their hated foes to greatness. Unbound by any force upon Creation or Malfeas, will this new generation of Primordial Exalted free the ancient titans from their chains or cast off the burdens of the damned to craft their own legends?

    FAQ
    Q: Wait, what? Isn't there already a different Infernals project?
    A: Yes! Except it had fallen off the radar for several months when I started on this. The two projects are officially collaborating, however. Ideally, you will be able to use material from both of them and pick and choose as you want to create your own vision of Malfeas!
    Q: What's different about the Books of the Damned project?
    A: I want to answer "shenanigans," but more seriously, Malfeas is one of the most divisive topics in Exalted. Even if you're on the same side as someone else in a debate about it, you'll still probably have wildly different interpretations, and that's part of what makes it so beautiful. I can't give you a straight answer to this question beyond "wait and see." Fortunately, you won't have to wait long as far as I can tell.
    Q: Asura means something different in the Infernal Nightmare project.
    A: I know. This going to get confusing as hell!
    Q: What edition is the Books of the Damned project being built for?
    A: As things stand now, I'm working solely on fluff. I intend to start work on Ex3 Charms as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on Core, but I ran a year-long 2.0 game, and I'm not touching it again with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. Head on over to the Wiki or the Infernal Nightmare project to get your 2.5 goodies.
    Q: What are some of the design goals for the Books of the Damned project?
    So in all honesty, I didn't have a problem with anything in the first two chapters of Infernals aside from the sexual aspect of Lillun and the fact that the rape initiation party would violate the character's sexuality. Sleeping with an entire pantheon of demonesses as part of an effort to get me on board with the "destroy the world" plan? Can do! Would rather avoid swinging the other way if at all possible. All the rest of it, though? Great! It was everything I ever wanted out of Abyssals, minus the teenage dress code! I understand how parts of it were bad for the game, though, and how certain aspects were written in a way that would keep others from enjoying them. With the Books of the Damned project, I hope to show you the Infernals through my eyes, without the cheap shock value. To keep me from rambling, see the next question for a more concise answer.
    Q: What are some major influences on the Books of the Damned?
    The Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) manga and anime; the Shin Megami Tensei video game series, especially Nocturne; the Elric and Corum series in Moorcock's Eternal Champion saga; the fistacular manga of the 80s like Bastard!!, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Berserk, and Fist of the North Star; the Puella Magi: Madoka Magica anime, the Claymore manga and anime; and probably some other things I don't remember right now.
    Q: Why are you writing this?
    A: Basony was supposed to represent the sex appeal of Malfeas and yet didn't have sexy spider legs or breasts with fangs, and in no way resembled the gaping dragon. My heart was broken. Half of my porn is more representative of Malfeas than she is.
    Q: What is the release schedule going to be like?
    A: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    But seriously, I can't ever work on this when I feel like it, and when I have free time, I don't feel like it. I'll post in this thread as frequently as I get things completely done. However, the current (and generally horrifying) draft is hosted here. Feel free to take a peek if you don't mind spoiling yourself, but keep the comments to PMs if you please. No, seriously. There are some things in that draft that even I hate, and I'm the one who wrote the damn thing.

    Q: This is an awful lot to write solo. How are you going to manage it?
    A: Much like an old smoker who finally quit the habit, I find myself eying collectable trading cards whenever I go through a megamart checkout. So I'm releasing the Charms like trading cards! My first move will obviously be to get the splat's core competencies out. This will be like the shitty two-player starter set that no one really uses, but everyone owns in the hopes of it becoming a collectible. Next will come three themed decks: Architects of Light and Dark (Demon City and Shadow of All Things), Children of Order and Chaos (Principle of Hierarchy and Silent Wind), and Mistresses of Love and Hate (Endless Desert and Sea that Marched Against the Flame). At random times while writing the theme decks, I may release booster packs containing new demons and corresponding Charms for the previous Yozis. If I miraculously manage to finish the entire book, then I'll continue releasing in this fashion. The fourth theme deck pair should be obvious, but the fifth (if I make it that far) is going to be a bit of a surprise.


    I'm going to shut up and post something already.

    Note: the plural of "Yozi" is "Yozis." I went back and checked. It waffles back and forth in second edition, but is consistently "Yozis" in Games of Divinity.

    Can I get someone else to do the art? Please?
    Last edited by Gensh; 11-02-2013, 08:57 PM.


    Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

  • #2
    Regarding how the Yozis intend to escape their prison; more specifically, how they don't remotely come close to agreeing.

    Originally posted by Gensh
    Always the master of tact [/laughtrack], my first topic is the one that everyone was probably immediately concerned about when I mentioned that I didn't have a problem with last edition. Without further ado, I give you

    THE RECLAMATION
    The Yozis often speak of the Reclamation, when they shall end their five thousand year exile and descend upon their Creation once more, laying waste to the works of god and man alike. All things shall be put to the Green Sun's perfect blaze, to be destroyed completely, and all souls to suffer ten thousand years of penance before being snuffed out as if they had never been. On this holy Day of Wrath, the Infernal Exalted will lead the infinite armies of hell out from the bowels of Malfeas; they will strike from surprise as hidden allies reveal themselves to hold the true faith; they will build great empires in a day so that all things might be turned to make war upon the world turned traitor.

    Yet the Celestial Host was crafty when it bound its infinite betters, and the traitors stripped away the Creators' very spark. For Ages, the titans have idled, unable to imagine a way by which they might be freed of such careless Oaths. Isolationist by nature, each thinks it has uncovered the way by which they might be free, yet all are afraid or unable to act on such designs. The Demon Emperor tried to prove himself great once more and demanded his akuma throw open the gates, but the failure was so pathetic that none in hell is permitted to speak of it, lest it have every tongue ripped from its souls.

    The resurgent asura, then, are the fulcrum upon which the Yozis will direct their might. Their prison is invincible to direct assault, for their former slaves knew them all too well. An attack from an unexpected angle might well be all that is required to unhinge the gates and let forth the hatred of Creators robbed of their Creation.

    Or so the Yozis claim.

    THE ARCHITECTS
    Of the twenty-three (or more) Yozis, six have formed a sort of council of overseers to guide the Reclamation. Though each has a fundamentally different approach toward this goal, they have agreed to disagree (or agreed to obey Malfeas, if they think he's listening) and acknowledge that they cannot openly compete with one another if they wish their Chosen to accomplish anything beyond sabotaging their fellows.

    It is the third-circle souls of these Yozi who plan and coordinate much of the operations toward the shared goal of escape. Their own second-circle souls serve as mentors and guides for the youngest of the Chosen and brothers-in-arms for the veterans. Only the most senior warlocks join the Unquestionable in planning Creation's downfall.

    Beneath the overarching spiritual bodies of the Yozis, individual demons make backroom deals amongst themselves, both within and beyond their own pantheons. Ancient rivalries and alliances shift as the prize of Creation causes emotions to run high, even for the already-mad demons. The Yozis are sure of their plans today, but few can say what might happen tomorrow.

    THE DEMON CITY
    The King is dead! Long live the King!

    Both King and Kingdom, the Demon City is at once lord of the Yozis and their spawn and their prison itself. In this manner, the damned are made to venerate that which they hate above all things, save the traitors who cast them beyond their rightful dominion in the first place. Even the Demon City itself is not above such feelings; indeed, it is likely that of all the bound titans, his burning hatred for himself is greatest of all. The Exalted could not contain the Empyreal Chaos without destroying him, yet they could not bind him if they destroyed that which swore surrender.

    Upon the fulcrum of the Green Sun Ligier was the collapsing Malfeas staked, using the most noble aspect of the King of Kings to nail shut the coffin in which they buried the Creators alive. That sun now burns madly over the bleeding carcass of that which was once his master, trying vainly to destroy that which is invincible. The Emperor himself does naught to avert his heart's gaze, suffering eternal agony at his own hands until the pain drives him into a rage culminating in the shattering of continent-sized cities and emerald detonations which leave behind only toxic wastes which even his fellow titans cannot enter without fear of illness.

    At other times, the Tyrant goes mad from the heat instead and forgets himself for a time, dancing violently in his own squares until the blood of his subjects has tempered his passion or he can no longer ignore the infinite weight of his limbs dragging him down into another nightmare-filled slumber.

    It is this form, the Brass Dancer, in which his asura might be able to speak with him. It is better for their health that they do not attempt such, for his human shape is a term of his surrender rather than any show of empathy for those who shattered his body and his mind. If such a fool asserts he deserves better treatment for his loyalty, the Tyrant doesn't hesitate to beat them half to death with whatever doomsday prosthetic the Verdigris Furnace has most recently grafted to the burning stump of his right hand.

    In this manner, Malfeas is the most difficult of the Yozis to serve for an asura who cannot keep his mouth shut and his head bowed, but the benefits of receiving his favor and the kingly privileges that go with it is well worth the risk to the crafty among the warlocks.

    THIS HAND WILL DESTROY
    THIS HAND WILL REBUILD

    To the gods and their Chosen, Malfeas is a justification for their grand theft of Creation. Behold the brute and the Tyrant who rules his subjects with violence and fear! The boldest of the Solars in the Yellow Age said as much to his face, warded as they were with their magical protections and oaths made while they twisted the broken arms of the titans. The Yozi King could almost forgive them, idiot animals that they are. While the damned hate and resent their lord for being the source of their agony and imprisonment, his bounty is limitless as his rage, and his souls all possess some sort of craft as he tries to regain some small fragment his former glory by copying the rough movements of the beasts that now rule his former dominion.

    Even in exile, he plans for the further expansion of his greatest Creation, though this time he will not give such generosity to his subjects in the finer aspects of its design. The Yellow Age was the time of his betrayers' triumph, but now that it has passed and the humor of the Solars' Comeuppance had faded, he has found himself missing his wayward grandchildren. The base children of Gaia's souls had not the cleverness of his own Sun's favorites, and they destroyed much of what was great in the struggle.

    Even should the unthinkable happen, and the Demon Emperor is not restored to his rightful place, he would see Creation's skyline restored to its former glory. Even as he commands all of hell to lay waste to the cities of man, he commands his own servants to reflect his eternal glory. In the wake of villages of wood and castles of stone going up in dun smoke, brass towers rise above the horizon, and the dispossessed are invited to stay as long as they declare themselves the serfs and property of the King and Kingdom.

    THE SHADOW OF ALL THINGS
    The Shadow is the greatest of the fallen titans, least defiled by the searing blades and words of the Chosen of the gods. So great is his cunning that to imprison him, the Exalted had no choice but to aid in his long-overdue birth, cutting his umbilical and freeing him at last from the womb of the Shinma even as they cast him into Malfeas alongside his brethren.

    Or so he claims.

    The Ebon Dragon, so named by centuries of Dragonblooded occultists unaware of his true nature, has no true form, though he is more than fond of assuming the shape of a massive dragon to mock them. This form predates the misunderstanding, however; it is a flawless imitation of the draconic form worn by the Unconquered Sun in Creation's prehistory. In contrast to the shining glory of Sol Incarnate, this colossal serpent drips shadow of such darkness that it blots out the light of the elder sun Ligier, much to the demon prince's chagrin.

    In the Shadow's body, dragon or otherwise, lurk the lesser shadows of all things that have ever drawn breath, writhing in agony under a hazy membrane as if trying to escape. The longer a viewer watches, the more familiar the shadows seem, until they take on the faces of loved ones, both alive and dead, blind and trapped in horrifying darkness with no escape.

    Despite this handicap, the Shadow is the most social of the Yozis, frequently attending the private galas and soirees of the Unquestionable uninvited, while wearing the shape of the host and making merry with the disquieted guests as they watch phantoms of themselves dance in agony just under his skin. Among the architects of the Reclamation, the Shadow alone speaks to his Chosen personally with any degree of regularity, partially because he delights in harassing the naïve incarnations of his captors and partially because the inventor of betrayal expects nothing less from his own souls.

    Only his all-consuming need to escape his prison curtails excessive abuse of his asura, though he is also more open to suggestion than the other Yozis thanks to their shadows living within him. This is a two-way street, however, and he is more than capable of playing a dangerous game of manipulating and pretending to be manipulated with his Chosen. Some believe that because he is capable of assuming a fully human form that he is capable of understanding them. Few things, even in Hell, are more dangerous than such foolishness.

    TWILIGHT OF THE GODS
    The Shadow of All Things is the architect of Virtue, because by inspiring it, he was able to grant himself the semblance of an existence, and it was the Virtuous ambitions of the Exalted who made him real as they cast him into Malfeas. Without light, there can be no shadow, but no one said that the light need be particularly strong.

    The Shadow's vision of the Reclamation would have him escaping Malfeas alone – not simply because he is the cosmic embodiment of betrayal – but because his siblings would be the greatest threat to making Creation truly his. Perfectly passive, a shadow need not act until that which it mimics does: in this manner will the Ultimate Darkness conquer Creation by doing nothing. He will simply watch and wait until the ego of the Exalted drives the world to the brink for the final time, slowly filling the hearts of all things as they give in to despair.

    As one of the Creators, he will save Creation from final dissolution, but just as the Shadow dances on the border of existence, so too will Creation be saved only once it is not worth saving. The humans will be weak-willed and will possess only such Virtue as to allow its opposite to exist, while the gods will be starving of prayer and leave the world to rot. In this world of twilight, half-living, half-dead, the Shadow of All Things will finally be as real as he could ever be, and he will spread his hidden wings to eternity to preserve the carcass forevermore.

    THE PRINCIPLE OF HIERARCHY
    When the Rebellion drew to a close with the surrender of the Holy Tyrant, the Creator most concerned with Order insisted that the victors take her as advisor, that she might continue serving the ruler of all things as she always had. Of equal concern was the vast damage done to Creation during the conflict, which the pair of traitors alone (to say nothing of the gods and their lapdogs – useless, all of them) would be hard-pressed to heal. Instead of swearing her in, however, the Exalted made to cast her into Malfeas wit h the rest of her kin. They thought she would betray them for that hideous corpse-thing that yet still masquerades as the Emperor, those stupid apes!

    In a moment of panicked spite, she cracked three of her outermost spheres against the black bones of Malfeas, unleashing Empyrean fire for the last time and burning away three of her favorite principles. Now, with millennia – no, even a moment – to reflect on that foolishness, she wishes she could take it back. This is not out of some sense of regret in regards to how the absence of those principles have ruined the lives of countless humans and gods, but because a single act of senseless passion has made her just as imperfect as her so-called peers. The ignorance of the Exalted was such that she could have recovered from their clumsy vivisection given time, but it was herself who forever broke the beautiful form given to her by the Empyreal Chaos.

    Since then, she spends much time gazing at Szoreny's yet further distorted reflection of her own broken form. From time to time, she has distracted herself by watching mortals who follow their station and pray to her, though only causes that support a rightful hierarchy, such as the Seven-Stranded Vine of An-Teng, draw any form of response from her. Recently, she has been particularly concerned with the selection of the Scarlet Empress' successor, to the point that the meaningless power politics of the infinite kingdoms in Malfeas no longer interest her. While all the Yozis desire to return to Creation once more, it is the Pyrian Queen alone who ignores the affairs of Malfeas entirely, and for asura who have no desire to abandon their human form and have no love for the warped delights of the demon realm, she is an ideal patron so long as one does not confuse disinterest with approval.

    SPEAK OF THE DEVIL
    Regardless of what the Shadow of All Things may claim, the Principle of Hierarchy is the least diminished of the Yozis. She serves the broken King for the time being, as he is truly the lord of the disgusting realm in which she finds herself trapped, but she is greater than that mockery of her progenitor. Within her 999,997 spheres are 999,997 fragments of the Holy Tyrant, and even those cinders of the true Emperor are greater than the warped light of maddened Ligier. So long as she remains trapped, she will serve Malfeas in all things, lending her own souls and asura to his vision of a Reclamation of flash urbanization, but she has plans of her own as well.

    Though her Chosen are still fundamentally stupid apes incapable of understanding her brilliance, they are cleverer than their fellows and constantly test the bounds of the Yozis' prison. From the madness of the Wyld to the grim and regimented nations of traitorous Autochthon, they travel in search of ways by which their mistress might escape without damning Creation to suffer the pathetic rage of the broken Tyrant. Of particular interest are the workings of Fate and the facsimile of such the Great Maker developed. Perhaps if all things were to learn her sacred Name, she might be freed in some form to rule over the mandates of Destiny forevermore.

    THE SILENT WIND
    To the serfs of Malfeas, there are few things more terrifying than the Silent Wind. A mindless stream of destruction that flows through the Demon City unseen and unheard. The City is kept in a constant state of uproar and revelry to keep her away and to celebrate doing so successfully, for she hates noise more than any other thing. Because of this, she often trails after the Shadow of All Things, whose passing often warrants quiet awe, but who may tame the wind? So she dances far and wide through the demon realm, bringing with her the ultimate enlightenment of death which her predecessor Adrián discovered at the hands of the Solar Marus.

    To the other Yozis, she is anathema, an unspeakable monster even among their kind. Her souls have little order, save when they wish to, and they occasionally fight and kill each other with potent magic and legends spun upon a moment which shatter their immortal lives in imitation of the horrors of the Rebellion. Though as a titan, she is not wont for chaos, she is yet still a madness tamed, and as such, changes in demeanor more rapidly than any of her kind, though her high, cruel laughter remains when all else has changed.

    To many of the asura, who are hardy enough to weather her assault, she is not taken so gravely. Some appreciate her calm detachment and seek to emulate her inner peace while others hate her for that same quality, the majority don't take her quite so seriously. “Giggle murder zoom zoom!” they say, simplifying the actions of a being with scores of souls their equals to the behavior of a sociopathic child. Adorjan, who knows no hatred beyond that of noise whispers back, “Giggle murder zoom zoom,” for she finds joy even in their mocking laughter. The last laugh is on them, of course, for she often takes items of value as she passes. If she cannot teach them freedom by taking their lives, then she will do so by taking their possessions.

    WINDS OF CHANGE
    The Silent Wind cares for nothing. Naturally, she doesn't care for Creation either. Let her fellows rage impotently at their losses; she will take even more from them until they understand that there is value only in freedom, including freedom from life, but most of all from the roar that they make to keep her at bay. Five thousand years trapped in a City filled with creatures who have had the spark of creation stolen from them, however, has drained even her tolerance, such that she became an Architect of the Reclamation solely to escape the boredom.

    Due to her intermittent interest, Adorjan frequently has difficulty holding to any particular long-term strategy for retaking Creation, to say nothing of immediate plans. As such, most of her conspiring occurs among her second-circle souls, who are distant enough from the deafening cacophony of the Yozi's locus to organize a highly effective guerillas campaign, even if the targets frequently have nothing to do with one another. At least they're interesting, which is more than she can say for her fellows. Further, because even the best-laid plans of the second circle are nothing before the brilliance of the Unquestionable, she extends a gift of freedom to the asura – allowing them to independently plan missions and request her share of resources from Ligier's stockpiles so long as any one of her competing third-circle souls approves of the plot.

    THE ENDLESS DESERT
    All things will come to the Endless Desert in time.

    She is patient. She could not be otherwise, for the nature of eternity is to endure all things. Before the King ruled the titans, she was the stretch of infinity which mirrored her brother's greatness, and when he descended upon Zen-Mu, it was through her that the titans came to be bound to him. She was the Lawmaker Princess Cecelyne, architect of the Primordials' social contracts, spinner of Nirvikalpa. To her was given the greatest respect short of that shown to the Primordial King. These are the things recorded in her annals of that time, so they are certainly true. Who else possesses such records?

    Beyond the vagaries of her history, she is indeed the most patient of the Yozis and perhaps as a result has among the greatest capacity to deal with humanity. They will be returned to their rightful place as worshipers soon enough – why aggravate them and have to deal with yet more rebelliousness? Still, she is as capricious a mistress as any other titan and especially hates making use of her humaniform jouten since it implies that her infinite wisdom and glory could be matched by such an infantile creature as a human.

    Despite her strict views regarding rank and hierarchy (from which height she gazes down upon all else), she is especially fond of giving gifts. Such gifts always have strings attached, but for a warlock who does not mind such obligation or who has clever ways of passing the buck will be granted their every desire so long as they use those rewards to grind the souls of lesser men and gods into dust. In this manner does the Endless Desert expand to infinity even while bound to the Demon City.

    JUST DESERT
    Though a founding architect of the Reclamation, Cecelyne does not care about it so intensely as the others, even Adorjan who possesses no attachments or Kimbery who does all things halfheartedly. She supports the Reclamation because it will succeed. Maybe not this year or the next, but given time, the impatient and short-lived humans will make a mistake that will free the Yozis. And of course, the Endless Desert has more time to give than any other.

    Until then, her servants expand her reach, body and soul, with their every action. They spread her sands when they create oases to feed their armies, and they spread the barrenness which hides behind her gifts when they grant the ephemeral dreams of their fellow humans without the sense of accomplishment that makes such things sweet. In time, justice will be served to the traitors. In time, all things will be trapped within the Endless Desert to sing her praises forevermore.

    THE SEA THAT MARCHED
    AGAINST THE FLAME

    Like her ancient rival Gaia, the Demon Sea wields much more weight in Creation than she ought through her children. While the Lintha Family has become a blight on the glory of the ancient race they claim to be and are hardly more competent than mortals, they yet still have Primordial blood in them, which is more than the Children of the Dragons may claim. Though clumsy and selfish, the Lintha live to serve their Great Mother, granting Kimbery a hand in Creation far more deft than a hidden demon cult, and they are far more amenable to breeding with demons than pureblooded humans.

    Each time the Yozis come upon the Phylactery-Womb to choose a new asura, she repeats that they should simply choose one of her children again and again like the crashing of her waves against the streets of the Demon City. To this end, she dotes on Lillun like a kindly grandmother, hoping to somehow influence the ultimate decision. Her efforts against her peers and the Queen-Mother alike are in vain, but she is convinced that she will wear them down eventually, as her waters do all else.

    Though the asura who serve her are only rarely Lintha by birth, she declares all those who join her court as such and treats them with the same tender care as she does her actual children – which is to say that she holds them to unreasonably high standards but comforts them when they fail, making them wholly dependent upon her. Those who resist her, she resents for a time, but like all good mothers, she knows that they are merely going through a rebellious phase and will return to her breast soon enough.

    WE ALL LIVE IN A BRAZEN SUBMARINE
    Kimbery is almost never direct in her intentions, but her vision of the Reclamation is perfectly obvious: she wishes to drown all things in herself, just as she has since the tribe of dreamers sang the song of Zen-Mu.
    She gives of herself to her Chosen without asking in return so that they will come to think of her as the most generous of her peers. Those that follow her and learn her twisted arts create monsters that emulate her hideous glory. She has to do but little. She gives and then waits while her children perform great and terrible acts in her name and spread her acrid reflection across Creation.

    Of particular interest to her is the plight of those in dry regions of Creation, where famine and drought rule. Asura hailing from those regions are all the more likely to find her blessings generous, and the more they use them, the more they spread her beloved oceans, which she might one day use to swallow up even the driest of deserts.

    THE OTHER YOZIS
    If there is a Yozi who does not wish to escape from their imprisonment, then it does not speak openly of this. As such, all of Creation's former masters are technically a part of the Reclamation. Since the Yozis only rarely agree on things, however, only the Architects may typically command the attentions of the asura. It is unwise, however, for a mere human to question the Unquestionable or the direct mandate of a titan, for doing such may lead to disciplinary action from the warlock's own superiors.

    In general, hell's Chosen are safe in that realm, but since such safety is wholly social in nature, asura must ensure that they do not overstep certain bounds and maintain decent relations with certain demons. While the Black Boar that Twists the Skies is still picking at the wounds inflicted upon him by the Demon City when he trampled one of the first asura, the Exalted must keep in mind that their well-being is predicated upon the moods of mad giants.

    THE TRUTH
    The Yozis restored their Chosen to glory out of a combination of desperation and boredom, with assurances from the Shadow of All Things that if the Exalted had bound them in the first place, then the Exalted could certainly let them loose once more. Perhaps this is a vain hope, for it is a certainty that the demon princes cannot escape under their own power. Perhaps their ultimate escape is indeed drawing near, for the Exalted have done the impossible time and time again.

    This is truth: the lords of the damned are being made to dance as puppets by a force that knows them intimately enough to understand exactly how to yank their chains.

    The Creators are such no longer. That capacity was stripped from them by the Exalted so that they might not simply invent some means of escaping from their prison. Someone or something would see that ingenuity restored to them. The Yozis idle about, simply waiting for their servants to invent new magics within their pantheons until they have recovered that which was taken from them. This force ensures that those servants stumble upon their hearts' desires, so long as those desires aligns with the desires of the broken titans. As such, this entity is the greatest foe of the Queen-Mother, who would guide the warlocks against their masters.

    Though Citizens ignore such nonsense, rumors about this force pass through the chattel and the humans quietly but with growing intensity. A coincidence or a series of such, the Unquestionable say, but the clever among the Exalted can see a pattern. It must be Cytherea or perhaps a friendly Sidereal elder, they muse, but none can say for sure. Those who have sought to uncover this force have all been drawn into its perfect dance, but nothing may evade the Exalted forever – it is only a matter of time before it is unmasked, its power leashed to the Reclamation or perhaps lost, as if starlight lost with dawn's first rays.


    Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

    Comment


    • #3
      Lillun and locations. Maré and Malfean Mardi Gras.

      Originally posted by Gensh
      And to get all the controversy out of the way immediately, I present a glimpse of a less Reclamation-focused hell and the return of Lillun!

      THE GATHERING DARKNESS
      The Yozis' unfurling pantheons, from an unfathomable godhead to the lowliest serf, are the most common encounters in Malfeas. The buildings are Malfeas; the streets are Malfeas; the people are Malfeas; the food is Malfeas. Yet within the walls of the titans' prison, other things might yet be found – other prisoners, artifacts of Solar rule, works of natural beauty, and more.

      WALPURGIS NIGHTS
      Though the Yozis, particularly Malfeas aspected as the Street of Golden Lanterns, insist that Walpurgis is a creation of their own, they no longer possess even this level of ingenuity and stole the celebration from the victorious gods of Creation some time after they had finally gotten over the initial shock of defeat. Like the Carnival of Meeting, it is a time of abandoning social mores, but in the demon realm, where such is the norm, Walpurgis is largely a formality.

      Each Calibration, the demons take their revels to such heights that serfs die in droves, dancing as if that alone might tear open the gates to their prison. The Unquestionable and the Yozis take lesser forms for the duration of the celebration so that they cannot be shamed by their peers for forgetting their torment for a time. Even the Green Sun relents for the five days of celebration as he takes the form of a boyish dancer and accompanies his greater self without shame, though once the festivities have drawn to a close, his bile returns and he burns all the hotter for a month or so.

      The revival of the asura has had a profound effect on this event, for acting as peers to the lapdogs of their hated enemies for even five days is a thought that disgusted the whole of hell. To quell such unrest, the Dragon Beyond the World offered his services to the Architects of the Reclamation, though he did not mention what such an offer entailed until it was too late for the others to renege on their agreement. Each Calibration, the moment the first day arrives, all of hell is transfigured, serf and Yozi alike taking on humanoid forms, even if they do not typically do so. Though the broken-armed child initiallly laughed at his peers' panic, the other Yozis eventually agreed that it was an excellent manner of seducing the willful asura to their causes.

      Thus, it is mandatory that all the Infernal Exalted attend Walpurgis. Bemasked Unquestionables dance with the Chosen, drink with them, bed them, and more during these five days, seeking to extract drunken oaths of love and loyalty from those warlocks who have thus far avoided proper participation in the Reclamation. Likewise do summoned demons entice their Dragonblooded summoners to join the festivities, that they might be unwittingly made into slaves and swell the ranks of their akuma servants.

      Only those Exalts who are performing especially vital missions in Creation may outright refuse the call of Walpurgis, though on one occasion, the King of Temperance was allowed to attend the Carnival of Meeting instead. Security at the Carnival has been much tighter ever since. What exactly the King did that night is a forbidden topic in heaven, though nothing can truly stop gossip, and the vulgar tale has since become a favorite in Malfeas, growing more outlandish with each retelling.

      THE DRAGON'S DAUGHTER
      Regardless of personal preference or association, all the Princes of Hell pay homage to Lillun, their Queen-Mother. To ignore or shun her is to fail to show proper filial piety, of which the Yozis take note. It was those ungrateful children the Incarnae who led the other gods in rebellion, after all, and an Exalt failing to respect his most human of progenitors is taken as a sign of misbehavior to come.

      Yet it is those who love her most that the Yozis should watch, for she plots against them in secret and keeps the warlocks from losing their humanity even as they drink deep from the well of demonic power. Just as they did in the Time of Glory, the Yozis have created a leader around whom the Exalted may rally and overthrow them; just as they did in the Time of Glory, they will not notice the conspiracy until it threatens to destroy them.

      BIRTH OF THE PHYLACTERY-WOMB
      Once the Shadow of All Things finally took his harvest of the freed Solar Exaltations, he needed a more permanent home for them so that they might not slip their bonds and again the bonds of the Yozis to empower the heroes of Creation once more. This, he accounted for long before he set his plan in motion. From a cult in Creation established for this very purpose, Erembour demanded as sacrifice the bastard daughter of a certain woodsman. On a moonless night, that demon appeared in Creation for only a moment and stole the child to Alveua's forge of night. There, the Ultimate Darkness molded the child into something better suiting his purposes while carefully retaining her deliciously detestable humanity.

      Into her was poured the fifty stolen Exaltations, each striving to bond to the brilliantly-flaring will that yet still strove to flee at all cost. From within his secret wings, the Shadow drew forth fifty strands of Fate he had secreted away while his fellows constructed the Loom. These fifty destinies of epic heroism, he strung through the shards as though weighting a fishing line, and each end he affixed to the soul of his helpless captive, forever denying her the one thing that might free her from his grasp.

      The girl then passed into the hands of Gotrifent, the Dragon Dowager, who among the Shadow's pantheon was best suited for what remained and what would come. The wicked matron then set about instructing the simple country girl in proper etiquette, history, politics, and a thousand other things deemed necessary by her primogenitor. This education, though magical in nature, still took a number of years, and at its conclusion, the Yozi's jouten appeared once more to present the debutante before his fellow architects.

      She was to be the Queen-Mother of the Princes of Hell, a powerless but respected figurehead. Her harmless appearance gave to their ensnared mortals a human-seeming superior to whom they might relate better than a berserker of living brass or their perfect opposite. Malfeas could be as violent as he pleased so long as the Dragon's Daughter was there to pick up the pieces, at once a mother to care for the asura and a younger sister for them to protect.

      With the Reclamation now in full swing, the Queen-Mother has proved her worth despite the delay caused by her development. She has become an idol to the Infernals she presides over, carefully balancing images of cruelty and kindness so that she seems always to be exactly the sort of soul that her observer wishes. When advising a brute, she displays casual sadism and military camaraderie, yet bemoans the suffering of the lowliest serf when in the company of a compassionate warlock. Her true nature is difficult to place – she is her mother's daughter, after all.

      LILLUN'S PLAYMATES
      One might expect that a young girl subjected to the horrors of Malfeas and forced to preside over the jockeying wills of the Infernal Exalted might go insane. Lillun is not so fragile; she has even managed to create for herself some semblance of a normal life. In her personal palace within the Conventicle Malfeasant, she plays children's games with childlike demons and....something else. The Shadow of All Things insists that one of his souls created a race of demon children, but that is an obvious lie. The little girls – Lillun's friends; confidantes; servants; and above all else, Playmates – possess powers beyond what his souls are capable of, sometimes even seeming to belong to another Yozi. More concerning, he eldest has demonstrated power that rivals a Citizen and has not yet revealed her full strength.

      Though Lillun calls the creatures her friends, their role is a subservient one. Crossing the Endless Desert to deliver a brief message to a favorite asura; risking life and limb to convince an Unquestionable or Yozi to go along with one of her plans; sneaking into Yu-Shan: these are the sorts of tasks assigned to what appear to be human girls. They may perform these tasks in whatever manner they please and seem to be otherwise free-willed, but they have as much difficulty resisting Lillun's orders as a Dragonblooded resisting a parent who feels the need to press the issue.

      THE BARQUE OF FLORIVET
      There was a time when the demon Florivet was a scholar like his progenitor, the End of All Wisdom. Many years of studying the ways of Malfeas and of Creation left him hungry – for adventure, for wine, and for women – so he fled his master's halls in search of excitement. Young among the demons, the Time of Glory was to him so much fiction as the First Age to the returning Solars; rather, he would seek things that yet still exist and experience them in a way that even the most intimate study could not replicate. So unrestrained was he that he would have sailed free of the Yozis' bindings upon a ship made of his own bones had Orabilis not restrained him of jealousy.

      Nearly a year ago, an Exalted sorcerer summoned him in a novel manner, binding his Essence to a warded medallion. This token was given away or lost and found its way into the hands of a foolish mortal. Unaware that his companion is a demon and perhaps even ignorant of the medallion's power, he stole a ship capable of sailing land as well as sea and has taken the Whim-of-the-Wind on a grand adventure spanning the whole of Creation.

      Orabilis maintains some hold on his progeny, however, In addition to being constantly aware of his location, the End of All Wisdom may recall him as far as the Demon City's edge. The greater demon had hoped the first such calling would result in the mortal's death, forcing Florivet to return to Malfeas, but uncanny luck has thus far kept him alive despite the dangers of the Endless Desert. Orabilis has relented trying to recall his rebellious soul for now but occasionally demands Florivet transport favored warlocks to places far from any Gate of Inauspicious Passage. The mortal, for his part, has been wildly excited to learn that fire aspects can also produce green flame.

      DAMNABLE LOCATIONS
      Malfeas is a realm of wonders unlike anything in diminished Creation. More often than not, any site of interest within the bounds of the Demon City is the body of one of the Unquestionable or one of the Yozi themselves – alive, growing, and deadly. These locations are frequently also objectives or prizes in hellish wars, and even warlocks with no interest in holding land in an infinite realm might assist their fellows in exchange for manses or more esoteric places of power.

      On the other hand, Malfeas is also the ruin of an ancient civilization that reached its zenith before humanity was even conceived. Undefiled ruins dating back to the Time of Glory might still be found by a studious mind, to say nothing of the newer ruins left over from the fits of the titans and their children. There is greater wealth in Malfeas than drugs and courtesans for those who would seek it.

      LIMBO, PIT OF THE DEVOURED
      When the Empyreal Chaos finally learned of the treachery committed upon the Creators by his Sun, he stormed out of the Jade Pleasure Dome in such a rage as has never been seen again, even on Malfeas' hottest days. Before the Exalted host knew it, the Emanance was in their midst. Were it not for the heroism of countless Chosen and a smattering of brave gods, the Rebellion might have been halted in that moment of sublime fury.

      Yet even as the Solars led the others in flight, the plight of their patrons and fellows led entire types of Exalted to their complete and total annihilation like moths to a flame. It was the sacrifice of the Marine Exalted who shored up the physical boundaries of that Infinite presence and that of the Astral who turned the tides of Essence against his spiritual form. How many others were lost, to say nothing of the countless Dragonblooded and Exigents, faded with the Death of Memory. A memorial to the nameless fallen was later constructed during the Yellow Age, and as the Yozis were cast into the crippled shell of their King, they consoled themselves with the knowledge that many of the great among the traitor gods had received vengeance that day.

      Malfeas wisely hid that this is not so, and rumors of such inevitably disseminated amongst his souls and into the rest of hell. Unlike paranoid Malfeas, who chooses to destroy all that which offends him, the former Emperor destroyed unknowingly. As he was so filled with hatred toward the traitors when he fell, they could not have ceased existence – that would have freed them from retribution. Tales abound of a hidden graveyard of midnight obsidian, deep below the Demon City where the light of Ligier grows so harsh as to destroy all it touches.

      Trapped within each scabrous tombstone is the soul of a human or god so arrogant as to oppose the Primordials. So bound, they must suffer an eternity of agony as the glass of their prisons amplify Ligier's all-consuming hatred toward them. Such is always the fate of traitors.

      ENDLESS-ARMED MARÉ
      Much to noble Ligier's aggravation and to the interest of the rare few who have discovered the Pit of the Devoured is that one of its inmates seems to be on the brink of escape. In the Time of Glory, Endless-Armed Maré had been an overseer of the gods, tasked with keeping most of their kind on the Blessed Isle and turning back those creatures that dared try to cross the internal sea.

      When the Holy Tyrant sought to test his ultimate creation, he gave the divine babe to the Great Mother so that her waters might keep his then-untamed aura from laying waste to Creation while he journeyed between his trials. Kimbery would not suffer it; that a mere godling was greater than any of her own children was unacceptable, and she wished nothing more than to be gone from the monster's presence. To the deva or god who would care for the Princeling, she offered their heart's desire.

      Many fools jumped at the offer but underestimated even the unconscious power of Sol Incarnate. Some were outright destroyed, while others suffered horrifying burns even as they fled. Soon, Maré grew interested in what sort of god this might be to turn away the boldest of deva. When he approached, he too was scorched by the power of Ignis Divine, but mere pain would not dissuade him. He reached out with all of his infinite arms, and they burned away in scores. With the supreme force of will only a god forced to enslave his own kind could bring to bear, he took hold of the Sun with only eight arms remaining of his infinity.

      From that day until the time came that the Sun was proclaimed Unconquered, Maré served as his nursemaid, and from that day, the martial aspect of the Yellow Sun has been represented as a disc with eight rays.

      Yet even now, in a prison within a prison, that ancient god's arms regrow. Though at first Ligier dismissed it as a curiosity, with millennia, their number has increased slowly but surely. At present, they threaten to fill the glass entirely, while the god's spined forehead presses at the surface, a morbid grin spread over his face.

      Were this ancient god of battle to escape, he would undoubtedly be able to hide himself before the shamed Green Sun could respond. There are some among the oldest demons who would call the fleeing god friend, and despite his gruff demeanor, his charisma is such that he would have no trouble gathering troops to wage a guerrilla war against the Reclamation's major resources.

      Infernals considering outright rebellion might be emboldened by his actions, and should they wish to make good on their designs, he could prove to be a powerful ally. Members of the Empyreal Cult (see Chapter Two) would have similar, though contradictory interests, as he is possibly the best source of information regarding the Empyreal Chaos if his memory was not affected by time during his imprisonment, though he obviously would not be inclined to speak with such. Those with appreciable territory in Malfeas might also seek him out to strike a deal, offering resources in exchange for immunity from his raids.

      THE CONVENTICLE MALFEASANT
      Though many buildings have since been constructed for the purpose, the oldest and largest building in Malfeas designed to host the restored asura without unsettling their initially frail sensibilities is the Conventicle Malfeasant. To this end, it is part living Yozi, part artificial structure, painstakingly designed by Ligier and the priests of Cecelyne, who most frequently traffic with humans, and constructed by the seven souls of the Spire of Blood and Mortar (though much of the manual labor was done by those serfs unfortunate enough to have been living in that space previously).

      While the Conventicle is often referred to as a singular building, it is more practically a city within the Demon City, partitioned from the horrors outside by obsidian walls so that the Yozis are able to more easily convince their new champions that the Reclamation is truly a noble goal. Even those who express little interest in dominance of Creation or who were Exalted for other purposes are urged to remain there while they acclimate to their new home's strangeness. Likewise, warlocks who become too stressed by their duties or by the weight of their own power frequently return to the Conventicle in order to relax.

      All the pleasures of the Demon City and many of those of Creation can be found beneath the massive dome, though in much more moderate portions to keep the inexperienced from losing themselves before they have a chance to “repay” their benefactors.

      Also within the Conventicle is the main meeting hall for the Reclamation. Any warlock or third-circle demon associated with the conspiracy may call a general meeting, though attendance is based solely on interest. Meetings called by the Yozis themselves are mandatory, however, and it is considered poor form to miss the Walpurgis opening ceremony held in honor of all the demon princes.

      The asura associated with the Reclamation often call meetings on behalf of other beings as well; sometimes in exchange for a favor and other times gratis. Most frequently, this is a request for aid from some serf or Citizen, but the Queen-Mother, whose palace overlooks the meeting hall, and various akuma or demon sympathizers have also asked for support from the attending asura or from the resources they possess.

      THE HALL OF TRIUMPH
      When a being enters the Conventicle for the first time, he must pass through the Hall of Triumph. The visitor's name is then inscribed upon a sorcerous guestbook, and he need only pass through the Hall again if he so wishes it. Though most pass through it only when required, artists and historians of questionable veracity haunt its length, copying the myths recorded within. The Hall is actually a series of individual arches pressed together. Each such arch is a symbol of the decadence and beauty of the infernal realm, a masterwork of Malfean brass entirely covered in reliefs depicting the origins and greatest acts of its subject.

      Initially, each of the Unquestionable possessed an arch, but an early decision by the warlocks convened for Walpurgis resulted in two additional arches: one in honor of their spiritual predecessor Gorol Thrice-Damned and one as a tribute to their beloved Queen-Mother. Since then, further arches have been added to the Hall with a majority vote. Typically, such votes are only called when one of the asura performs an act of great heroism in the name of the Reclamation, though there have been a few instances of achievements so grand as to earn recognition even though they actually hindered the conspiracy.

      THE HALLS OF TANTALUS
      To the asura is given the whole of the demon realm to conquer. Only the personal dwellings of the Unquestionable and the Yozis themselves are forbidden (if a given oversoul even possesses one). There are but two exceptions further: the boneyard reluctantly guarded by the Weaver of Voices and the Halls of Tantalus. The Halls are spoken of only in whispers by the Unquestionables and the Yozis, and if pressed, they will simply respond that it is not yet time for the curious warlock to know.

      Typically, the Exalt will forget the matter until it is next spoken of, only to be denied yet again. It is a place of heroes, the oversouls might say; the final dwelling place of those who gave more for the Reclamation than any other, who abandoned their base humanity to take on a form that pays homage to the true lords of Creation.

      Only those whom their masters fear they might lose or who have grown drunk on their borrowed power are ever brought to the Halls' entrance, a single gateway of amber shod with red iron and carved in the likeness of one of the passages to the Heaven-Violating Spear. There, the demon prince will open the sealed gate and guide the wayward warlock into the Halls. Almost immediately, the inhabitants of that place will take notice of the intrusion, and the most bloodthirsty will not hesitate to turn from their constant battles with their fellows to seek out fresh meat.

      These are the Watchers, former akuma and asura who lost themselves to the demonic power coursing through them. Insane beyond the madness of the damned and at least as powerful as demons of the second circle, their former patrons cast them into a cold, lifeless realm beyond hell where they might feast upon each other's eternally-reborn bodies until they are freed to wreak havoc upon Creation. The oldest among them are great behemoths of incalculable power, even with their Exaltations lost to their inhumanity, but it is the few Watchers born from the souls of asura that are the most worrisome to the demon princes.

      Those which were akuma as humans much resemble their former selves. They appear in much the same manner and wield powers appropriate of a behemoth created by their patron, albeit with minor throwbacks to their former existence as the Chosen of another. The rare and as-yet weak former asura, however, bear powers belonging to no Yozi.

      For this reason, visits to the halls are just as terrifying to the accompanying demon prince as they are to the warlock whom they wish to warn or cow. Demonic scholars furiously debate the origin of these powers, but as more asura unleash the hideous might of the augoeides (see Chapter Four), they will soon realize the horror they have wrought.

      SIX DRAGONS PLATEAU
      Five years ago, a great dragon of vitriol rose above the Demon City, dripping ichor from a fatal wound. Its howls of agony became chorus with those of the unfortunate serfs caught in the acid rain below. With a sudden typhoon of sulfuric rain, it beat its great wings and made for the Endless Desert as if it might escape to Creation. As the unknown dragon drove itself beyond the limits of a mere citizen, the Unquestionable looked on, puzzled as to where such a beast might have been hiding, and Ligier swore that he would not be outdone, turning away immediately to hammer out a new behemoth upon his forge.

      Faster and faster, the wounded dragon flew, trying fruitlessly to make the five day journey in five moments. Those observing the beast's flight were abruptly drawn back to its starting point as five roars shattered the Malfeasant obsidian and Cecelynian glass throughout that layer. Five wings cast the dead into the air as if summoning the Wind of Promise, and a hideously massive serpent took to the air, sporting five heads as those of Gaia's own Dragons. A second wave of shock went through the demon princes, and the monstrosity came alight with the gaze of Ligier, yet it paid the flames no heed and beat after the dragon of vitriol with such tenacity that Isidoros begged the prince let the chase continue unhindered.

      Five great jaws clamped down on the long neck of the fleeing beast, tearing into its flesh heedless of acid burns. Unable to keep aloft so entangled, the pair tumbled through the sky wildly, and in moments, they had crashed into Cecelyne's sands and were encased in glass forged by the combined flames of Hesiesh and Ligier. There, they have remained ever since. Those with vision-enhancing magic can see the two monsters still locked in their deadly embrace within the immense plateau of prismatic glass, though the dragon of vitriol is slowly being devoured by the greater beast.

      APARTMENTS OF THE DRAGONS
      The immense amount of Essence given off by the entrapped dragons is comparable to the unconscious emissions of the Yozis, though on a much smaller scale. Demonic artisans came from locations throughout Malfeas to work the beautiful Essence-stained glass plateau (though more than a few were killed for observing the blues near the air dragon head), and from the plateau, they constructed a number of small but luxurious manses. Across the whole of the plateau, there are perhaps three dozen, each rated no more than three dots, but as the vitriol-aspected manses fail, those aspected to the Gaian elements grow in power and may soon support greater manses.

      These apartments are in great demand for their novelty, and Cecelyne has extracted a great deal of favors in exchange for lodging. Circles who dislike the hustle and bustle of the Demon City often provide incentive for those asura rewarded with one to join with them, and a warlock willing to lease can make a hefty profit.
      As with all beautiful things in hell, however, staying in the apartments poses a certain amount of risk, as the dragons sometimes shift in their struggle, destroying demesnes, sometimes with spectacular results. A further danger is simply bad luck with neighbors. For reasons unknown, the Shadow of All Things owns several apartments, and while he is careful not to harm his servants, a few have traded away their own apartments due to constant voyeurism made obvious by the Yozi's bemused criticism humming through the walls.


      ...aaaaaand now I'm out of mostly-finished content. Off to play the new Shadowrun game, then!


      Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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      • #4
        Something you don't like about a Yozi? Pretend it doesn't exist, and your wish just might come true!

        Originally posted by Gensh
        Now to present the manner by which the asura can acquire capabilities beyond what the Yozis offer, possibly change their core themes, and generally make Malfeas even greener with envy!

        THE YOZI MYSTERIES
        One does not walk astride transcendental beings of myth without learning a few secrets lost to the ages. While some Infernal Exalted avoid the company of the damned and learn little from them but how to expand their single-minded power, those most interested in their masters uncover truths, half-truths, and outright lies about the ancient history of the titans. In regard to beings who are manifest through their own supernal will, however, all those are of equal value to enterprising warlocks with the wit and audacity to manipulate their rightful lords “for their own good.”

        The unbroken Primordials ruled Zen-Mu for a thousand ages and Creation for a thousand more, to say nothing of their infinite sojourns in timeless Chaos. Across this vast gulf of time, their aspects have shifted in varying degrees, and those who suffered fetich death are so drastically different as to be unrecognizable. It is a curse of the Shinma that things created can never be banished to nothingness once more, and as such, even the most ancient visions of the titans can be unearthed with careful inspection.

        These lost or destroyed aspects of the Yozis, as well as surviving aspects which are not typically venerated, are set upon as mystical foci by groups of warlocks seeking further enlightenment or greater versatility in their mystic arsenal, called Mystery Cults. All hell honors Malfeas, Destructor and Malfeas, Dancer, but only the cults speak of Malfeas, Plaguefather. Each cult holds its magical rites secret, only bestowing them upon those who have passed harsh initiation rituals and sworn oaths of loyalty upon eternal Cecelyne. Despite this concealment of greater lore, the cults whose foci are acceptable to the real Yozis often possess a public following from which they can draw additional manpower or even political power if a Citizen – or more rarely, one of the Unquestionable – finds the alternate vision of personal interest.

        Unlike the personal cults of an independent warlock, the Mystery Cults are a two-way street, and the communion reached between an Exalt and the idealized aspect of the cult's focus is drawn toward the surface of existence, bestowing upon the Chosen knowledge of Charms which Oramus sees only in his nightmares. As such, while the Mystery Cults are only rarely disbanded by order of the Yozis, the potential danger they pose is enough that they are closely monitored. If the Yozis knew of the traitor Autochthon's troubles with his own Voidbringer Cult, they would likely annihilate all but the most transparent Mysteries – and even those would risk harsh punishment and tests of loyalty for years to come.

        MYSTERY CHARMS
        Initiation into the inner circle of a Mystery Cult provides not only a support network of like-minded Infernals and demons, but various esoteric benefits as well. Greatest of all is the effect that the idealized aspect venerated by the cult has on a warlock's connection to its Yozi. Charms related to the cult's focus may gain additional effects at no cost or even additional shinka to provide a greater range of effects. In rarer cases, entirely new Charms might force their way into existence in response to the demands of the Exalted.

        The Yozi venerated by the Mystery is often unaware of such changes, though the more warlocks that learn such secret powers, the more obvious they become to the titan's senses. No Yozi has yet been able to incorporate Mystery Charms into their main body as they do unconsciously with other Charms innovated by their Chosen, though Malfeas would pay dearly to acquire the regal capabilities of the Four Kings.

        NOTABLE CULTS
        The following are some of hell's most popular Mysteries, representative of the sorts of concepts upon which they might be based By no means are these the only cults through the infinite layers of Malfeas, and membership amongst different cults is not usually exclusive. Any asura may create his own Mystery, though without suitable devotion (expressed as dots in an appropriate Merit), the idealized aspect will not grant any Charm-related benefits.

        The obvious aspects of the Yozis are never the subject of a Mystery. That Which Calls to the Shadows is often worshiped in secret, under the cover of the Shadow of All Things' darkness, but she does not represent an aspect of that Yozi which is more hidden than any other thing belonging to the architect of deception.

        THE EMPYREAL CULT
        Before the first dawn of Creation, the Primordials dwelt in Chaos, making endless war with the ancient illusions that hunted there. The Creators were each a world, perfect and independent, but one who was greater than the rest came upon them and made them bow. His magnanimous flames warded against the monsters that flitted about at the edge of vision, and his limitless will drove the dreamers to dance and play until they could do so no longer. To flee despair, he drove them to seek the Shining Answer, and when the hunt grew wearisome as well, he drove them to create the masterwork that can only be called Creation.

        From this limitless creature of power and imagination which could be bound by nothing, the Exalted carved the broken Malfeas, and this crippled effigy they broke yet again and bound with his own bones. Upon the Tyrant's screams of bereavement, the Empyreal Grand Prince was sworn to be the grim warden of his twisted progenitor's rotting flesh. Himself unmolested by this vivisection, his sentence was to suffer indignity piled upon indignity as he watched the Creators warp and destroy all that they touched, all the while suffering their envy and hatred for keeping them bound, forevermore.

        The warlocks initiated into this Mystery are the most loyal adherents of the Green Sun, seeing him as a wonderfully tragic figure, a noble hero quite unlike their own brutish forebears. The manner in which they display such devotion is often as mad as their hero himself, however, and some of the cult go as far as to oppose Malfeas at every turn, risking his ire by reminding the titan of his heart's shame. Others are hardline members of Malfeas' vision of the Reclamation who deliberately eschew the physical violence of their compatriots, though emotional brutality is a common replacement.

        More than anything else, this cult seeks knowledge of the Rebellion and what rare scraps might remain about the time before, untwisted by the maiming of the Yozis or lost to the Death of Memory, that they might shape the Demon Emperor's future to better resemble his past.

        • The Four Kings:
        • In an unusual show of cohesion among the Infernal host, leadership of the Empyreal Cult is shared among four veteran warlocks, each of whom sought to become the Grand Prince's right hand. Amused, he instead laid hand upon each of them, granting them dominion over the cardinal directions of hell's skies. They are rarely active in the day-to-day activities of the cult but actively proselytize both in their daily lives and especially when on missions in Creation. The Wyld Hunt may learn to fear the Green Sun's wrath through the flaming brands carried by warlike Infernals, but Creation shall rediscover his magnanimity through the dignified passion of his most favored servants.


        THE DREAM FAMILY MYSTERY
        Of the Yozis who suffered fetich death, Adorjan is the one most obviously broken – at least to her bitter and hidebound peers. After all, who could behold the damage inflicted upon Creation and upon themselves and not hate the gods and their human lapdogs? What greater cause could there be than to avenge oneself against them? What manner of madness would cause one to love them with such abandon?

        So insane is the Silent Wind that she once entered a Solar despot's dreams on seven nights and bore him seven daughters. Three of these fled the Demon City to live mortal lives with their father while the others abandoned their humanity and intelligence to live forever as the four winds of hell. Occult scholars who share a fraction of the titans' wisdom but not their revulsion hardly see anything significant about this act: how is this so different than the countless other bizarre forms of demon reproduction?

        Adherents of the Dream Family Mystery see more to this act than simple procreation. Those four daughters who remained with their mother are more than simple behemoths; they are a part of her, at once more intimate and more distinct than her own souls. Their names reside within the uppermost level of her Charm structure, an honor that even Malfeas does not grant proud Ligier.

        For what purpose did the Silent Wind lay with the Solar seven times? What whim struck her to create seven daughters and then to let three go while those that remained with her destroyed their selves? Though Adorjan herself and most of her servants and souls insist there is no reason or perhaps use the story as a parable about the abandonment of attachments, the Dream Family Mystery holds that all of such doctrine is a lie.

        Adorjan is not truly free. She pretends to be so, just as Malfeas dances to forget his imprisonment. Rather than allow herself to behold the emptiness that fell upon her when Adrián was slain, she constantly throws herself into greater and greater seclusion, trying to quiet the noise of the Demon Realm, that she might pretend it does not exist. Rather than being something that is not Adrián, she would rather be nothing, would rather be a human with a human husband and human children. The three daughters who fled to Creation did so at her bidding, and she erased the consciousnesses of those who stayed with her so that she might forget that pretend game, even as she burned their names into the deepest depths of her being, alongside the sacred name of Adrián.

        She is simply running away. Running to Forever. Never stopping, never letting herself dream again. Never letting her heart break again.

        Initiates into the Dream Family Mystery seek to find in Adorjan an intermediary to stand between mankind and the rest of the Yozis. They would see her desires granted after a fashion, and many meditate on ways to restore her daughters their human minds so that they might help their mother find some sense of peace.

        • The Elder:
        • The Dream Family Mystery is given much of its prominence thanks to the prestige of its founder and informal leader, a Solar who fled to Malfeas to escape the Comeuppance. Ironically, as an akuma of the Devil Tyrant himself, he is unable to partake in the cult's unique Adorjani Charms. Instead, he seems legitimately interested in healing the Yozi's trauma – at least when he is not being thrown into battle after battle by the fickle whims of his master.


        CHILDREN OF THE WITHERED LILY
        The manner by which an infallible titan is forged was never discovered by the manic genius of the Yellow Age's greatest scientists and theologians. Those Exalted understood how the Creators' pantheons unfolded, and certain documents long since destroyed by Sidereal censors conjectured that a titan's souls might jockey for power or be elevated to greater status by their primogenitor, but the true origin of such monsters remained unknown or perhaps even unknowable.

        This Mystery believes that despite such ignorance, their precursors might have created one by accident – or rather, that the rebels might have split one titan into two.

        It does not take magic or even a keen eye to notice certain similarities between the Endless Desert and the Demon Sea. They are both old among the Primordials; both patient and sadistic; both nurturing yet ultimately hateful; both reduced to barrenness by the Exalted; both try to hide that barrenness through the giving of “gifts”; and both eternally attempt to flood the Demon City. Tales of the Time of Glory place them adjacent to one-another, and in some, Kimbery's waters reflected Cecelyne above.

        Despite these common threads, the two Yozi matrons have seemingly nothing to do with one another. Surely each should love or hate or envy the other, should they not?

        This Mystery believes that the Primordial once called the Lawmaker Princess was drastically different from the Cecelyne who claims the name but does not use it. Before she was the Endless Desert, divorced of the waters that gave her life, they claim, she was the Isle of Sapphire Lilies, upon which the Empyreal Chaos was entrapped by his visage repeated a thousand-thousand times in the endless blossoms. When that monster made his advent to Zen-Mu, he did so without leaving the Isle, instead entrapping the Primordials upon its shores just as the Yozis are now lost in the Endless Desert. Unlike the barren sand and tundra of modern Cecelyne or the acidic waters of Kimbery, however, the Isle was a paradise the titans had no desire to leave and no need either, for she drifted with their whims. Now, trapped as they are, the split Yozis provide yet more barriers – should the Demon Sea swallow up the City and the Desert dry that up as well, the demon princes would be no closer to freedom.

        Initiates into this cult wish to reunite the two halves of the broken Princess, whether through the impossible-seeming task of reintegrating the divergent pantheons of the Yozis or through some sort of more typical union. Membership follows no real trends, though the cult is somewhat small due to its controversial views on hell's lawmaker being more than likely illegal. As peers, however, the asura are not bound by Cecelyne's laws, and may pursue the plot to its ultimate conclusion, if only the cult itself could agree on a course of action. As success would render hell itself much more tolerable to humanity, warlords are drawn into its inner circle just as often as Yozi sympathizers, and the discord amongst such groups is perhaps prophetic of any effort toward union of the Desert and Sea.

        • The Lovers:
        • The Children of the Withered Lily are unwittingly led by a Sidereal akuma of Cecelyne named Iris and Fulmina. Properly speaking, Iris is the name of the Chosen of Serenity herself; Fulmina was the former bearer of her Exaltation. For whatever reason, the elder Exalt's personality is deeply imprinted upon the shard such that Fulmina takes on a role not dissimilar to the Unwoven Coadjutor which some Infernal Exalted possess. More than a boon companion or mentor, however, the additional personality is a doting lover. The pair leads the cult by example, showing how two distinct personalities can blend into a wondrous whole.


        Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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        • #5
          Mount & Blade, Exalted edition! No Crusader Kings for you; go play a Dragonblooded game for that.

          Originally posted by Gensh
          Bluh. Definitely not my strongest work here, but since it's a character splat rather than a setting book, I don't want to put a whole lot of emphasis on this sort of stuff. At least not until we get a third edition empire-building minigame.

          TO RULE IN HELL
          From the Primordial King, the notion of Hierarchy descended, declaring all things lesser than he and binding them with chains of command descending from that untouchable pinnacle. These days, the Yozis are loath to call broken Malfeas “Emperor,” but they otherwise remain bound by those same chains.

          Above all the damned stand the Exalted who declared themselves Lords of Creation, but with the rise of the Immaculate Order, there is no asura who knows this when he swears fealty to those who would be his servants. Thus at the moment of Exaltation, when a warlock should be elevated above all things, he is tricked into relinquishing his claim of rulership and loses the sorcerous power over demons which all other Chosen possess.

          From undeniable princes of all things, they are made into landless servants in a world that is as much prison as empire. Humans were nothing once, and so the Yozis have made them nothing once more. This time, however, the Primordials are counting on the rise of the Exalted.

          WHAT'S IN A NAME
          In a ceremony witnessed by whatever demons and asura aligned with the Reclamation that are not otherwise occupied, each new warlock is bestowed the honorary title “Prince of Hell” by the Brass King and is also frequently an epithet related to his prior life or Exaltation. Until the new recruit does something noteworthy in support of the Reclamation or makes a name for himself in hell, he will be referred to solely by this sobriquet. A few asura have done something to anger the Yozi King during the ceremony or embarrassed the demon prince who Exalted them and were given a suitably mortifying epithet, to which they were forced to answer for weeks or even months.

          Experienced asura often prefer to be styled after one of their achievements as a matter of pride, even after the Unquestionable have bothered to learn their names. These warlocks often compare this fascination to the use of sobriquets by the greatest demons and the titans themselves. Others do take pride in their human names, feeling no need to embellish their legends further. Still others are given a nickname by their peers, particularly those who insist upon especially obnoxious sobriquets or those who change them too frequently to keep track of.

          COURTS OF PERDITION
          While the Yozis and their children pay lip service to the rule of Malfeas, and the Architects of the Reclamation feign unity, each titan hosts its own mockery of a court, each independent from another. Even the Pyrian Queen denies the authority of the Demon Emperor over her personal designs. While this meant little while the Yozis were totally helpless within their prison, now the asura vie for favor with one titan or another. What were once set dressing for the demon realm have become something resembling true nation-states, with the warlocks selling their services to one at the expense of favor in another.

          It is not unusual for an asura to lay claim to a dozen or more palaces awarded by as many Yozis. While some have no interest in ruling over hell's vast princedoms and trade their lands for lodging elsewhere, trade rights, or something as insignificant as a harem, acquiring a “real” title beyond the honorary “Prince of Hell” is typically the first objective of new warlocks. Doing so not only proves to the Yozis that they are willing to please but also allows them to more easily socialize with the important demons descending from the Yozi in question. Ronin completely without title are rare, and while they are typically just particularly incompetent or unlucky new recruits, a few masterless warlocks have made careers out of their impartiality.

          Members of a court are expected to obey the commands of the Unquestionable who outrank them; the orders of a Citizen or Exalt who outranks them may be ignored with the permission of any Unquestionable from the same court, and in practice, most Unquestionable will give such permissions in exchange for the warlock aiding in a more personal matter. A warlock may ignore orders from any demon, even an Unquestionable, with permission from the Empyreal Grand Prince. Asura who are skilled craftsmen are rarely forced to perform tasks they find distasteful so long as they have a new masterwork with which to bribe the Green Sun.

          FALLING WITH STYLE
          Just as each Yozi holds its own court, independent from even the Demon Emperor's influence, so too may it declare its own noble titles; for example, the Pyrian Queen hosts several dozen numbered ranks while the Endless Desert has a much smaller number of ranks styled as religious officials. To prevent confusion amidst Reclamation operations, whenever a mixed group is gathered, even for purposes not related to that overarching conspiracy, all titles are replaced with their nearest Malfean equivalent. This is in part due to the Demon City's ubiquity meaning that nearly all Infernals possess a Malfean title and thus know the organization.
          The lowest title within the court of the King of Kings is Baron. A baron is expected to put effort into advancing the agenda of the Yozi who rules over the court, though not much is expected of him. A barony is typically defined as any amount of land held in the demon realm that does not contain especially valuable materials. A barony in possession of anything of value only does so out of the baron's personal efforts rather than any provisions on the part of a superior.

          The second title within the Malfean court is Viscount. While more is expected of a viscount than a baron, it is more of an intermediary role. A viscounty is a greater territory than a barony in terms of size, but it likewise possesses no major resources or other strategic importance and has little risk of invasion unless the demon prince granting the land is playing a trick on the receiving asura, and the territory has particularly aggressive neighbors.

          The third title and first of real importance is Count; in fact, most demons of the second circle are counts. A count is given a certain amount of respect by all demons, even those outside of the court to which he belongs. A county is a “core” territory of the demon realm, either being so large as to contain notable amounts of mundane resources or a valuable supernatural resource such as a manse, and given the typical power of a count, they often hold several such resources. All counts are thus major players in demonic politics in addition to their other duties, and those who are frequently in Creation must find trustworthy retainers lest they find their territory stolen from under them by a rival, even a fellow Exalt. In some cases, however, a county is instead territory in Creation ruled by the count which is not able to openly host demons but is able to aid the Reclamation in some other way.

          The fourth title of Margrave shows something resembling respect on the part of the Demon Emperor, no matter how begrudging, and as such, a margrave is a cornerstone of politics in his court. A march either contains sufficient resources as to make an impact on the future of the Reclamation or (more likely) is territory in Creation itself which the Reclamation is able to use as a beachhead from which to strike out at the rest of the world, whether through military might or through more insidious means. Margraves are thus either especially potent forces in Infernal politics or else are well-rounded enough to hold against their neighbors, to say nothing of any Sidereals that might be watching. Due to her nature as the outer boundary of the Yozis' prison, the Endless Desert is particularly generous in awarding this title, and in her court, it is referred to as “Exarch.”

          The fifth and final title of Duke is especially rare among most Yozis, as it is equivalent to the status of the Unquestionable. Indeed, dukes need no longer refer to those demons as such, instead calling the majority “Duke,” while fetiches are instead “Grand Duke” or “Grand Prince.” A duchy based solely in the demon realm would be a territory so preposterous as an entire layer of the Demon City, so the rare few Exalted dukes have thus far also been holders of pivotal territories in Creation, though the nature of such territories often means they are not so open to the demon realm as marches.

          As Emperor (if only in name), Malfeas may also bestow titles of greater rank, as was the case with the Four Kings (see Chapter Two). This carries grave implications, however, as it hints that he finds such servants just as reliable as his fellow Yozis. Whether the other titans esteem themselves above their broken liege and secretly elevate favored servants to such rank remains to be seen. The four Malfean kingdoms are effectively figurative, however, so it remains to be seen how a true king would affect the politics of the demon realm.

          KING FOR A DAY
          The demons of the first circle have a drastically different mindset from humans, no matter how humanoid a given race might seem. While the downtrodden serfs of Creation might not resist a charismatic or terrifying Exalt claiming rulership over the land in which they inhabit, they possess the capacity to do so, and may in time begin to rebel. The serfs of the demon realm do not typically have this luxury. They are a mad passion given flesh, and as such, behave in a wholly predictable manner.

          This is not to say that they are incapable of treachery, innovation, or personal desires; merely that they will not naturally aspire to much beyond what their basic nature calls for. This behavior is reinforced by the natural dominance of the higher circles, so the transition to Exalted rulers is effectively seamless.

          With such a cooperative proletariat, all that is needed to establish a nation-state within Malfeas is the will to do so. Even if a given asura lacks a real title, each is still a Prince of Hell and thus has a right to command the serfs. Of course, it is just as easy for an Exalt or demon of higher rank to steal his subjects out from under him, and since power is the only true measure of divine right in hell, the victim has no recourse so long as the thief does not violate any pacts sworn upon Cecelyne.

          At the same time, an asura possessing no rank but capable of denying any rivals has every right to rule, even without the blessing of a Yozi. In fact, asura without a title have the same “benefits” in ruling as do their golden counterparts in Creation – particularly that if a fiefdom does not follow expectations, it can simply be abandoned in favor of a new territory. Landed nobles of particularly mobile Yozis occasionally have a similar benefit in that their lands may have incredibly fluid borders, in some cases going so far as to be defined as whatever the warlock currently sees.

          KNOWING ONE'S PLACE
          For those Princes of Hell who desire power at any cost, who do not wish to deal with obnoxious Exalted rivals, or who otherwise do not mind the strictures of the demon princes who stand above them, there exists an alternative. Landed asura may ask to serve a demonic ruler instead of being granted their own territory. Such a declaration is binding, however, and can be limiting for those who desire a rapid rise to prominence, as their own rank is restrained by the rank of their master.

          Nevertheless, choosing to become a client ruler can be a wise decision. Not only do client rulers often receive larger territories than their independent counterparts, they are often considered more loyal, regardless of evidence to the contrary. As most demonic rulers belong to the second circle, the Yozis view client rulers as accepting of humanity's rightful place beneath even the least embodiments of their glory.

          For the warlock, however, this means greater consideration in power struggles within the court and without; preferential treatment from demonic services and manufacturers from the lowliest whorehouse to Ligier's own forge; and first pick of any duties.


          Also, the main alpha pdf hasn't been updated in a while. This is because I've forgotten the password for that account. Again. I'll figure it out eventually, but looking at the full version isn't particularly helpful at the moment. The only things on there are the rather questionable Limit setup and my "special present" for Basony, so it's not a big deal anyway.


          Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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          • #6
            Notable mentions from the old thread:

            Originally posted by The Chills and One Last Joke
            The Only objection I have to this one is [Lillun's] status as "Powerless but Respected." In hell at least, no such beast exists. Power comes with Respect, it IS respect in a sense.
            Originally posted by Gensh
            You have to take into account the rest of the sentence there: "She was to be [...] a powerless but respected figurehead." When it comes down to it, she's probably the most powerful human in hell, at least until the PCs break up the status quo.

            Originally posted by Gensh
            Hegra won the popularity contest by a landslide somehow (is everyone here Slaaneshi or what?), so the first expansion will be Hegra and Elloge, showing that sometimes reality is simply stranger than fiction. Or even most of the time.

            [...]

            That is to say that Isidoros, Qaf, Szoreny, Elloge, and Sacheverell will have at least one Charm in the main book. Which will later be moved to those Yozis' main writeups because always going back to look up things in RotSE is a pain.

            Originally posted by Gensh
            As soon as Core drops, I'll start on Infernal Monster Style and [Dark Souls] Style so that you can still be a Yozi cultist while you're waiting on Infernals.

            As a final note, I've thrown together a diagram that shows what the general Infernal Charm structure will be like as a belated tl;dr for the mechanics rant above.
            Charm Cloud


            Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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            • #7
              Regarding the signature characters:

              Originally posted by Gensh
              To start, we're going to stop saying "Devil-Tiger" I have named the signature Hymn caste that, and will start talking about his backstory if anyone asks about them.
              Originally posted by Gensh
              To make up for my lack of real content lately, here's the old introduction to the signature Nocturne that got cut on the grounds that it's both kind of deceptive and a bit too long.

              BLIND AMBITION
              Nebata Akana was born to rule.

              Four generations ago, the blue-eyed godblood Nebata established a dynasty of pimps, smugglers, dealers, and couriers who would come to dominate the region. When the legendary madame burned through her mortal form and ascended to start a new dynasty in the city of the gods, many vowed that they'd never see such a beautiful, ruthless, or cunning master again. Indeed, Nebata's own children were dullards in comparison to her supernal wit and will. The fifth child of the fifth generation seemed at first least of all these, pale and so weak that it couldn't even open its eyes before its parents had given up on it.

              Nebata Akana had her eyes.

              For the first time in decades, the Nebata family had hope for the future and dared to dream that their dynasty's aching death march might be turned back. Akana had the relative misfortune to have been born to a mere branch family, some distant cousin of the blood heir, but his shining, wicked eyes was all it took for the main family to begrudgingly raise him alongside their own scion as a brother of sorts.

              As the children grew, Akana overcame his deficient blood's weakness through rigorous training, honed his mind alongside the finest scholars the family could afford, and killed any notion of honesty or compassion at first opportunity. The blood heir, so released from expectations by his cousin's meteoric rise to prominence, grew to be a sluggard and a dolt who spoke of taking the dynasty into honest business once he succeeded. As if.

              When the pair had come of age, and it came time to decide upon the heir, the fool offered to renounce his birthright if he failed to match the success of the house's matron with honest business within one year. Akana, sure of victory, agreed to these terms. He had not anticipated that his cousin had inherited their ancestor's will if nothing else.

              So robbed of his rightful position as family head and forced to watch as the environment that had produced him be systematically disassembled, forced to watch his life's work be devalued and destroyed by such a lackwit, Akana made his excuses and left, traveling east with a small group of loyal retainers, allegedly to spread the family's influence. Far beyond the sight of his cousin, he continued to operate as Nebata had intended, all the while practicing and studying and searching for a manner that he might become immortal and succeed that thin-blooded oaf when the years came upon him.

              Then the unexpected happened. It seemed that the fool had produced offspring. This much was to be expected. A cow can produce offspring. This was intolerable, nonsensical, downright impossible.

              Nebata Higarda had her eyes.

              Akana bit his beautiful lip until it bled and retreated again to plot and scheme. He wasn't about to let some brat steal what was rightfully his. He wouldn't lose a second time.

              Each occasion he visited the main house, Akana tried his hand at another method of destroying the so-called princess of the Nebatas. If the child died, she could be replaced, and the blame would immediately fall to the one who held the most to gain. Instead, he put his efforts toward at once protecting and corrupting his young niece. His keen nose kept her from poison even when other methods had failed (usually because he had caused them to fail), he whisked her to her appointments with speed as great at any horse might (because he had drugged them), and assailants fell to his superlative skill by the dozens (because he had paid them).

              At every turn, he was a faithful, if dour, companion, and he took full advantage of this, trying to crush the princess' bedtime story naivety and drive her to such paranoia as to alienate even her closest supporters. In time, the precious princess was a bitter, sadistic young woman. As expected, she succeeded her father as head of the family and reinstated much of their old fronts, maximizing revenue by balancing a positive reputation with the family's true agenda. A lesser man would have felt regret and a sense of loss at turning on her.

              The brat and her fool of a father had restored the family to a greatness not seen since its founding, yet as she aged, she became an insufferable witch, such that she had been forced to adopt an heir – who was equally unpopular. The family was a fruit ripe for the plucking.

              In the dead of night, Akana stalked the house not as an intruder but as an honored guest. Through bribes and intimate knowledge of the guards' movements, he entered Higarda's bedchamber unhindered. He poised to strike, to end decades of scheming in one clean move, but he had succeeded too well in teaching the child to fear.

              She rose as he cut, the wickedly sharp starmetal blade slashing out her eyes and the bridge of her nose instead of her neck. Befitting of her name of princess for the first time in years, she screamed for help, identifying her attacker as she did so.

              Something in Akana broke at that moment. His entire life's work had been ruined in a single instant. He had been just an instant too slow, and now he would lose everything – his reputation, his wealth, his dreams of divinity. He had wit enough to flee the scene – not that mere mortals could catch him of course – but that was the end for him.

              As he crumpled to the ground in a darkened alley, his shadow grew long, and a gnarled wooden effigy with a face twisted with mad despair crawled out from it. The hideous thing somehow spoke and offered him its condolences. Akana kicked it to the ground, unwilling to deal with something as pathetic as a demon even in his moment of loss. It offered him power, spoke grand names, and rattled off what beautiful titles he might possess if only he forsook Creation for Malfeas. Yet further, its tone began to hum like wooden percussion as it spoke of what prestige he might gain in Creation were he to return with such resources at his command.

              He had nothing else to lose, after all.

              Akana made to accept, but was suddenly forced prostrate in the dirt by a boot to his spine. Blood and ichor dripped onto his back as he heard Higarda's ragged breath.

              “Mine.”


              Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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              • #8
                New content time!

                Fun fact: I actually slipped the following into its proper place in the Damnable Locations section above.

                THE HALL OF TRIUMPH
                When a being enters the Conventicle for the first time, he must pass through the Hall of Triumph. The visitor's name is then inscribed upon a sorcerous guestbook, and he need only pass through the Hall again if he so wishes it. Though most pass through it only when required, artists and historians of questionable veracity haunt its length, copying the myths recorded within. The Hall is actually a series of individual arches pressed together. Each such arch is a symbol of the decadence and beauty of the infernal realm, a masterwork of Malfean brass entirely covered in reliefs depicting the origins and greatest acts of its subject.

                Initially, each of the Unquestionable possessed an arch, but an early decision by the warlocks convened for Walpurgis resulted in two additional arches: one in honor of their spiritual predecessor Gorol Thrice-Damned and one as a tribute to their beloved Queen-Mother. Since then, further arches have been added to the Hall with a majority vote. Typically, such votes are only called when one of the asura performs an act of great heroism in the name of the Reclamation, though there have been a few instances of achievements so grand as to earn recognition even though they actually hindered the conspiracy.



                The next part is actually a spoiler rather than real content, though I'm releasing it so that people can yell at me if I made some silly choices.

                Anyway, each Yozi will be represented by three of its third circle demons and so twenty-one second circle demons. Each second circle demon will provide Charms for a single Ability, while third circle demons provide Charms of any combination of those seven, while Yozis provide Charms of any Ability. As was (I think) originally intended for second edition, Infernal Charms will thus become more broad as they progress; Infernals will start with Solar-like demonstrations (ha, demon-strations) of skill and gradually get weirder and more esoteric. At the same time, it's also possible for an Infernal to stick with lower circles and stay mostly normal.

                So finally getting to the point, Malfeas' Abilities have been decided:
                Ligier, the Green Sun: Melee (Gervesin), War, Integrity (Sondok), Performance, Resistance, Craft (Berengiere), Medicine
                Amalion, the Manse of Echoes Ascending: Survival, Craft, Investigation, Lore, Occult, Awareness, Larceny
                Ipithymia, the Street of Golden Lanterns: Presence, Resistance, Athletics, Bureaucracy, Linguistics, Ride, Socialize

                So yeah, go ahead and make suggestions for alternate abilities or tell me that Sondok should be Resistance or whatever. I swear, though, no Malfean Stealth jokes.


                Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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                • #9
                  Fascinating, though you might have to build some 2cds to fit, rather than pulling all the old ones together for this.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PlotVitalNPC View Post
                    Fascinating, though you might have to build some 2cds to fit, rather than pulling all the old ones together for this.
                    7 second circle demons for 3 third circle demons for 6 Yozis means 126 second circle demons total. There's maybe a dozen in canon. This book is going to end up as much a demonology guide as a character splat, haha~ In essence, each Charm is going to be a legend about a demon. None of them are going to be getting a full writeup. I might give a paragraph or so to some of the major political players, but that's about all I'd want to put in so as to keep the book fundamentally about the Infernals.


                    Now, for something more exciting!

                    Creating your own demons is AWESOME. In theory, anyway. In practice, I've not seen anyone do it, and I suspect that it would be the same sort of annoying as that one guy who wrote Exalted family members in his character's backstory and then goes on to play the entire family instead of just the one character. And then fluffwise, a human doesn't need subsidiary souls like a Primordial does; humans simply lack that sort of spiritual bulk. While the Devil-Tiger transformation was about evolving beyond human limits, I think that sort of major change to the human soul would eject the Exaltation.

                    So my Infernals will not, in fact, be able to spawn subsidiary demons. However! All Infernals already have a demon glued to their soul: the unwoven coadjutor. I'd said before that a Seed of the Yozis is an unborn demon coalesced into a physical link to a Yozi and that as a result, you could choose to evolve that spirit into an additional coadjutor. You can have several Seeds and therefore quite a few coadjutors; see where I'm going?

                    Infernals are not able to create subsidiary souls, as their own souls are not large enough to warrant that. Rather, where their souls touch those of the Yozis, they are able to form intermediary souls. They aren't so tightly bound to the Infernal as subsidiary souls would be, but they are also only loosely tied to their Yozi and may not be commanded by them. In other words, they'd function more or less like standard Allies.

                    Now, I'm not actually sure where I'm taking this. Do you lose the benefits of your Seed if the intermediary is destroyed? If so, then murder becomes a convenient way to regain lost humanity. Much like Dark Souls, haha~ I'll have to think about it. What does everyone else think?


                    Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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                    • #11
                      I wrote an addendum to the politics section because it didn't really describe how the Infernals did anything. It mainly just rambled on about how you could earn noble titles like they were video game achievements. What follows is a brief discussion as to how the Reclamation plans things and why it has accomplished all of jack shit since the return of the Solars.

                      HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE
                      The Yozis are broken and bound. The Creators have been stripped of their creativity, though they are loath to admit they have been so lessened. They are not fools, however; they have committed to using the ingenuity of their ancient foes to escape from their imprisonment and will not imply that was a poor decision by directly leading their servants. They cannot escape on their own, so they must trust the judgment of their Exalted, no matter how foolish it might seem at the time.

                      While demons of the second and third circle occasionally use green warlocks as pieces in their internal conflicts, exercising such authority on more senior asura is looked down upon and may face sanction at the hands of a greater demon or worse. The vast majority of the time, it can be assumed that such commands are in accordance with the plans of some Exalt, though the demon's interpretation will certainly favor its own objectives.

                      DEMONCRACY
                      Though their small number means that each asura is busy with his own assignments at all times, the general thrust of the Reclamation is decided in committee. Even those who publicly decry the conspiracy are given a vote, and this inclusiveness typically means that all members are at least nominally involved in the project, if only to steer it away from their own interests. Akuma, demons, and even the Yozis themselves officially have no control over decisions made by a committee of asura. Further, their rarity means that any full circle is considered such a committee, and its decisions can shape the Reclamation as a whole. As a result, third-circle organizers avoid assembling a full circle if at all possible so as to prevent the waste of resources caused by a rogue circle.

                      In order to counteract such meddling or worse abuses off the record, the first warlocks forged loose voting blocs which have since then solidified into some of the most powerful political powers in Malfeas. Though in general, Citizens outrank the lowliest of Exalted, and the Unquestionable outrank many of them, such demons have come to prostrate themselves somewhat and kowtow to certain demands in order to buy the votes of even the least of the asura. Where once the demon princes were undisputed masters of their domain, each an unchallenged ruler, now they must go through the blocs. Still, in doing so, they have the capability of influencing Creation on a scale never before possible, and a growing number of demons have simply accepted the new order rather than chafing at it.

                      The following are the Demon City's most prominent blocs, though others exist, and membership varies with the status of the Reclamation:
                      • The Moderates: As things stand, the Moderates have brought much of the Reclamation's early energy to a crashing halt. Though the bloc was originally established as a vote to counteract the votes of various extremist blocs, it has since acquired a plurality of the asura, many of whom are quite satisfied with the current state of affairs in the demon realm and are willing to bring the entire conspiracy to a halt in order to keep things that way. The bloc's rule is ironclad at the moment, as the Four Kings' membership (see Chapter 2) has secured the support of Ligier, no matter how begrudging.
                      • The Conquerors: Initially, the Conquerors were by far the most popular bloc amongst both the demon princes, who wanted a grand return to Creation at the head of a grand army, and the Exalted, who had some vague notion of claiming revenge on their usurpers and restoring the glory of the First Age. As more Exalted died in the line of duty, however, enthusiasm for an all-out war began to wane, and with Malfeas withdrawing official support of the bloc, it has languished from lack of support. Its leadership seems to be planning some gambit to attract Ligier's support, but what that might entail is hazy.
                      • The Missionaries: The Missionaries have always been small, consisting only of those few warlocks who revere their masters and ambitious geomancers. They believe that if all Creation becomes a prayer to the Yozis as it was meant to be, then they will simply return to it as a matter of course.
                      • The Guild: With more human elements in Malfeas than ever before, some Guild factors has taken advantage of the shift in demonic politics to expand the trade with hell and buy a voice in the demon realm's future. Though the thought of a victorious Reclamation is frightening, the factors involved are sorely tempted by the profit that could be turned by carefully controlling an open war.


                      Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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                      • #12
                        I wanted to get comments on this before I mucked about with Infernal psychology and soulscapes and stuff, so without further ado:

                        Coadjutors, ho~!

                        MAGNANIMITY
                        The moment that the dreaming asura awakens and frees himself from the Chrysalis Grotesque, he has become something greater than human. Those great apes possess a mere two souls, little better than their fully animal siblings. Even worse, one of them is actually the animal Po soul, rather than something actually meaningful. They and their fellow Chosen all possess the same prosthetic souls that are the Exaltations, but those souls are insensate, hollow, mutilated so as not to interfere with the “humanity” in which the traitor gods saw so much value. The Shadow of All Things, whose nature is to cheat and to skirt boundaries, decided that if humanity need must be preserved, then the Infernal Exalted would have more of it than any other.

                        While the would-be Chosen of the Yozis communes with the genetic memory of the demon that carried his Exaltation, the demon itself uses its loss of corporeal form to worm its way into the worn edges of the shard. Without the Great Traitor's lackey to remove the memories of previous incarnations, visions of the treachery committed upon the murdered Solars are vivid, as are the deeds of any Infernal who fell in battle before this one. Though they are left untouched, the mental strain of inheriting these memories of greatness would be too much for the nascent Exalt, so the demon, using simple directives from his oversoul and his own (often bizarre) judgment, orders them into a new personality shell. Just as the demon's physical body forms the Chrysalis which nourishes and shapes the Infernal's glorious new form, its mind weaves itself into a new soul to be the base of the warlock's spiritual strength. No longer a mere serf, indistinguishable from the others of his kind; the demon becomes a unique being severed from its Yozi and infused with the memories, talents, and even personalities of any number of the Exaltation's former bearers.

                        Mere humans lack the spiritual bulk to possess subsidiary souls, so the Infernal Exalted must make do with an intermediary soul, suspended between their own and the remnants of their predecessors. Called tulpa, these spirits serve as mentors and guardians for the young asura, allowing slow, controlled access to the fragmented memories of their past lives so as to prevent them from being overwhelmed but also to color their impressions to better serve the Yozis. Just as important is that by giving shape to an asura's human memory, the Infernal Exaltation provides a permanent anchor to his humanity, no matter what demonic aspects he might take on later. Indeed, this initial tulpa is only the first,; as the asura gains more power, he may acquire further tutelary spirits to learn the ways of the Yozis. Though the first tulpa possesses an edge in effectively being the asura himself, with each additional soul, that spirit of humanity has proportionally less say in his decisions, so that some warlocks come to ignore their humanity entirely.


                        Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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                        • #13
                          Free internal world with the purchase of your first intermediary soul! Act now and get your own palace-cathedral today!

                          Because Lunar Quest, yeah.

                          HELL IS ONESELF
                          The formation of this first tulpa, even should the warlock later come to look down upon it, signifies his birth as one of the Primordial Exalted, and Creation bends knee at his coming. Each of the Creators is a world to itself. Even those that seem to hold singular forms possess a depth beyond simple inspection; the so-called Ebon Dragon is not a mere serpent but literally the Shadow of All Things, visions of all that lived drowning beneath the surface of his inky blackness. The Primordial Exalted, their conquerors and heirs, could be nothing less. With the budding of his first soul, the substance of the world parts to make way for the coming of a new master.

                          A throne worthy of his glory forms beneath his soul, and his kingdom stretches for a thousand miles within the bounds of his anima. The spirit of his humanity takes a seat of glory at his right hand in a citadel that is a brazen mockery of his own former Solar industry. Within the bounds of his anima, he is enshrined in a palace-temple to witness firsthand the awesome power of the Primordials with whom he has cast his lot. This realm, the Labyrinth of his own soul, grows in size and magnificence with his own eldritch might and that of his intermediary souls, their own palaces radiating out around his brilliance just as all things once orbited the King of Kings. It is only once the asura understands the full depth of his own self and claims ownership of it that his inauguration as a Prince of Hell is complete.

                          All that follows is the result of his Exalted will alone.


                          And, guys, thumbs up/thumbs down would be nice. I know I'm basically just ranting about how I think Infernals should be at this point, but there's just not much that I can do until Core is released, haha~

                          Since I want to continue avoiding writing backstory for the creation of the Infernal Exaltation, does anyone have any requests? Even a request for me to never attempt to write romantic fiction again? I know it was bad, but you didn't have to stop talking to me because of it, haha~

                          I laugh a lot in these posts because I drink DIABEETUS-inducing amounts of sugar when I write.


                          Remember You Are Man, my entry in the family of Infernal conversions

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                          • #14
                            *Joins The Empyreal Cult*


                            Formerly KingCrazyGenius. Still a Malfean Bovine.
                            The New Adventures of Spearpsycho Soulshitterson

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                            • #15
                              I like the interweaving of Past Lives and Unwoven Coadjutor into something between but distinct from the both of them. I like it a lot.

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