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Can a former infernalist ever redeem himself?

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  • #16
    I'm going to go against the grain here and say that as long as there are no level 10 pact/souls sold, breaking a demonic pact should be easy. It should just take swallowing your pride, walking into a church, temple, or other spiritually significant place of forgiveness and saying "I'm sorry and I need help". The only catch being they Lose any infernal powers or demonic investments they acquired.

    The central conflict with demonic investments is choosing between freedom or beliefs and the power demons can provide, each step along the demonic investment chart is a character giving up a bit more of themselves because they want what the demon is giving out.

    That's also why I think Not making forgiveness hard Enhances those themes. The vampire is choosing to be the demon's slave, Their choosing to defy all of their morals, They're Choosing to betray everyone around them because they value power More, and that choice is emphasized the easier it is to leave. You don't need the character to go on a spiritual journey to prove that they're serious, the character fundamentally changing to to such an extent that they value other people, their own beliefs, and their own freedom more than power is enough.

    This changes if they make a Level 10 pact. That's a choice that should always have Permanent and Final consequences.

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    • #17
      An alternative way to look at the "permanence" regarding corruption, if we are bringing other game lines into the discussion to prove or disprove a given point is to look at the Exalted game line. It had a clearly defined cosmology, a clearly stated soul cycle, and clearly stated dimensions. The setting was originally a pre-history to WoD, with each exalt type corresponding to the major splats at the time.

      Solar = Hunters
      Lunar = Werewolves
      Sidereal = Mages
      Abyssal = Cainite Vampires
      Dragon-Blooded = Kuei-jin Vampires

      Off the top of my head, I don't think they ever got around to linking the Alchemicals or the Infernals to anything in the modern age.

      Back then corruption could be purged and thus a character's soul redeemed. It was merely a matter of power level and who did the cursing/pact. Though given that V:tM Caine would probably be considered an Abyssal Half-Caste at best, very few groups in the modern magic dead age would be able to affect such things. Though if we go by the Kuei-Jin cycle system which seems connected to the Exalted one, then the upcoming 6th age could be a return of magic in general.

      I bring this up because whoever or whatever that made the deal/pact with the theoretical infernalist will likewise be depowered compared to its Exalted age counterpart. A modern max rank pact wouldn't hold a candle to the power of a 2nd or 3rd age Akuma, ergo the level of power to cleanse it would likewise be different by comparison.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
        And I reiterate that they offer no evidence for such affirmation.

        What we have are entities that are demons for all intents and purposes, which is vastly different from being a specific concept of demon, regardless of the infernalists believing they are. It wasn't ever said that those entities aren't the Fallen, much less that they aren't any particular other entity from other game lines. Those books don't need to, since they're Vampire supplements, and if they did they would call it out directly in some side bar, which hadn't happened.

        On the contrary, the only book I remember to ever refer to other gamelines on the matter was Lair of the Hidden, that has a pact with a Demon featuring prominently, without ever differentiating this demon from the ones that give investments, and that book has a side bar specifically saying that this Demon may well be a Fallen Earthbound.

        Those books aren't clear in any of those two things because they're beyond the scope of the books. They don't deal in Fallen, Djins or other entities, so they can't draw a meaningful distinction, and the infernalists don't travel to other realms, so no one can say where the demons actually take those souls to, if to anywhere. They could be Malfeans using vampires as source for the creation of Banes for the Wyrm as far as we know.

        You can take those books at face value on this information, it is a valid take and probably the intended one. But you can't argue they put clear distinctions on things they don't even mention.

        I was also going to mention Lair of the Hidden, as in this book it's said that Saulot could at any time, with a snap of fingers, end the pact as he's immensely more powerful than Nikanuuranu. Also, I'm pretty sure a Valeren at high levels could destroy the demon permanently, as could a mage with Prime Sphere, etc. Of course, it's all in the hands of the ST and unless he/she wants to make demons "all-powerful" entities, demons are definitely not "invincible" in the setting (especially on Earth).

        Many characters in the WoD have dealt with demons in the past, like Etrius (that once opened a gate to hell in Ceoris, but regretted it) or even Saulot (if you believe in the stories that said he was the progenitor of the "three" Baali). My main point here is to discuss the limitations of "how good" a former infernalist could become and also, something that comes to mind is that does using the powers the infernalist gained from pacts make him "closer to evil", I mean should he forever forego every "tainted power" he acquired via infernalism or could he use it freely once he's "free from a pact".

        All in all, I'm enjoying the discussion as it's an interesting theme.

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        • #19
          Using the powers of evil to fight greater evils is a trope for a reason. It's a compelling one. The Molochim certainly believe they're doing the right thing.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Reasor View Post
            Using the powers of evil to fight greater evils is a trope for a reason. It's a compelling one. The Molochim certainly believe they're doing the right thing.

            That's a very interesting concept, for sure.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
              My main point here is to discuss the limitations of "how good" a former infernalist could become and also, something that comes to mind is that does using the powers the infernalist gained from pacts make him "closer to evil", I mean should he forever forego every "tainted power" he acquired via infernalism or could he use it freely once he's "free from a pact".

              All in all, I'm enjoying the discussion as it's an interesting theme.
              Narrowing down redemption to "doing good" is valid.

              I think in that case redemption is possible, always possible, but at the same time it depends a lot on the reasons an infernalist had to make the Pact in the first place, and then at the lengths they're whiling to go for becoming better a better person.

              Using the power of demons to do good is a common trope, but it also brings a question: how does this power really work? I mean, if an infernalist wants to go that route, that's a pretty important question. How can a demon twist things to make the power itself be a source of evil? Does it make not using the power undoubtedly the best decision, or are there potential circumstances in which it is worth the cost, or bypassing the cost is possible?

              The games have no answer for this, and I think this is too important a think for the ST to work on a game with such a premise of redemption. Is the power damning by itself? If so, why? How? Maybe using the power fuels the demon or something in Hell. Maybe it uses up energy from other people, each use tax someone mentally and drive them to depression. Maybe the power lingers more than the initial effect, kicking up some butterfly effect that inevitably (or maybe not quite inevitably) causes tragedy down the road. Or maybe the power just works as constant temptation, it doesn't cause harm by itself, but the more you use it, the easier it is to give in and do some bad stuff for pleasure or to make things easier for you. Maybe this temptation isn't even supernatural.

              But to me the most interesting aspect of a Redemption Arc is the psychological exploration. People want to be good as they define it, they strive to be good, but they're also trapped in their own patterns of thought and behavior. Abandoning such a pattern is really tough, most people that try fall into it again several times, as the linchpin of the pattern is something we really don't want to give up on ourselves. The pattern that leads a character to seek a Pact, so, must be the core of their redemption arc, if they can't change that about themselves, or understand and work around how it leads them to bad decisions, they'll just go back to the bad decisions again and again, Pact or not.

              So defining this is fundamental to define a fulfilling redemption arc. And it isn't something you need to define at character creation, at character creation you're mostly defining the overall goals of the character, and the events that lead their patterns to the fateful Pact. I usually prefer to run the game for a time and observe the character, see the patterns that emerge and the reasons behind them, to see what would be a form of personal growth that would be most interesting and make the most sense to the character.


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