Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Demon Translation Guide: Inferno

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Demon Translation Guide: Inferno

    The Demon Translation Guide understandably focused on translating between Demon: the Fallen and Demon: the Descent. But in the Demonic Taxonomy chapter, it tosses in the following gem:
    Reformed Possessors
    The fallen angels are the demons of the Inferno. They are creatures of sin and abomination who corrupt and occasionally possess humans with the misfortune or poor judgment to invite them into the world. Occasionally, for reasons none of them understand, demon and host dissolve into each other to create one of the fallen. This tempers the madness of the demon and allows it to overcome its Torment enough to remember that it was once an angel.
    Frankly, while the demons of World of Darkness: Inferno bear a lot more of a resemblance to the Fallen than the Unchained do, there are still several key differences that ought to be addressed if you intend to use this option. As well, Inferno was a “nwe World of Darkness” product, not a “Chronicles of Darkness” product, and is in need of some updating.

    That's what I'd like to do here: update Inferno to Chronicles of Darkness standards, and provide translation notes for incorporating elements of Fallen into Inferno and vice versa. I'm willing to borrow heavily from the Demon Translation Guide, and in fact intend to approach this as if it were an Appendix of sorts for said Translation Guide. In particular, nearly all of the “Fallen to Descent” material can be used as is or with minor adjustments.

    Fallen vs. Inferno
    The biggest difference between Fallen and Inferno is that Fallen mythology draws heavily on the Abrahamic faiths, while Inferno doesn’t: where the Fallen are so named because they are former angels who long ago rebelled against God and were cast into the Abyss, the demons of the Inferno are natives of their realm, making them parasitic invaders from the Lower Depths; they have never been anything but demons — at least as far as anyone knows. (Note that Inferno does include a “fallen angel” among its sample characters: Azazel, the Grigori featured on pages 172 to 175.)

    The taxonomy of demons in Inferno is much more expansive than in Fallen: they can exist as Whisperers, Diaboli, Dominions, Malus Loci, or Possessed (there’s also mention of Archdemons; but that’s more a matter of Rank than of type). By contrast, the Fallen exist only as the equivalent of Dominions (a temporary state, as these Fallen are inexorably pulled back into the Abyss), as the equivalent of the Possessed, or as the Earthbound (roughly analogous to Malus Loci).

    Whisperers are weak demons with a Malapraxis but no Rank, Influence, Numina, or Manifestations; they reside in peoples’ minds and seek to tempt them to commit heinous acts that will empower the Whisperer, and that is the extent of their power [Editor’s note: I don’t think they even qualify as Ephemeral Entities — they have no other game traits besides the Malapraxis]. Diaboli are corrupted ghosts, spirits, or Goetia (known, respectively, as Larvals, Immundi, and Deceptors) who take up Malapraxes (in place of their former Virtues and Vices, in the case of Larvals). They still count as ghosts, spirits, or Goetia in all other respects, such as which Ephemeral entities they can interact with. By contrast, Dominions are their own kind of Ephemeral Entity, as distinct from ghosts, spirits, and Goetia as those entities are from each other. No other Invisible Entities can become demons: not Strix, not Supernal or Abyssal Entities, not qashmallim, not Hedge Ghosts, not Amkhata, not the God-Machine’s angels, and not Unfettered Beasts. Most of these are monstrous in their own right; but none of them are demons. [Editor's Note: I'm open to arguments otherwise, for those types that weren't around when Inferno was written.]

    Translating the above for use with Fallen largely amounts to removing the rule about demons being forced back to the Abyss/Inferno if forced to separate from their host. Rules-wise, this is a minor change; but its impact on the setting is immeasurable: without an urgent need to take a host of some sort, insubstantial spirit-like demons become far more common. There are still advantages to possessing a host; but it’s something to be done after consideration, if at all, rather than something every demon must do right away just to survive. That said, the primary protagonists and antagonists of the game are assumed to be the ones who do take on permanent hosts.

    Alternately, you can translate the other way, adding a “pull of the Inferno” effect that draws any demon not somehow anchored to our world back to the Inferno. This would likely wipe out the Dominions while leaving the other types untouched — although the acquisition of Testaments and secret names, while not enough to anchor them, would be enough to let them be pulled out of the Inferno on a regular basis, and presumably to stick around long enough to complete whatever task the summoner set.

    To update the Possessed to Chronicles of Darkness, the hard link between Vice and the Possessed power stats is to be broken. The character still has seven power stats, each rated up to three dots and corresponding to one of the Seven Deadly Sins; but neither the human’s nor the demon’s Vice has to correspond to any of them. That said, they’re likely to echo each other, and they’re also likely to overlap the highest-rated Sin* at least somewhat. Integrity is replaced by Morality, a new trait that puts more emphasis on matters of ethics and less on coping with violence and/or the supernatural: in that regard, it’s more like Mage’s Wisdom trait than the core book’s Integrity trait. The trick will be to figure out a way to do this that doesn’t fall into the same pitfalls that the New World of Darkness’ Morality trait fell into.

    When translating the Possessed to Fallen, the Sins are tied to Torment: that is, the total number of dots distributed among the seven Sins always equals the number of dots of Torment the character has. You can also translate the Possessed human/demon relations to Fallen, with the human in the driver's seat and the demon in an advisory role. If you do this, Faith originates from the human and Torment originates from the demon; but the supernatural bond established between the two means that both halves experience both traits; and the demon is responsible for the supernatural properties of both. Such an arrangement also screams out for adapting some mechanics from Wraith; but that’s beyond the scope of this project.

    When translating Fallen to Inferno, Demon Translation Guide has already done most of the work: add a Faith power stat to the Possessed, possibly renaming it to something like Conviction or Hope, and treat it conceptually as an uplifting counterpoint to the Sins. The rest works more or less as written.

    Thoughts?


    * The name change from “Vice” to “Sin” is strictly cosmetic, to distinguish the Possessed’s power stats from its anchors. But both mechanically and conceptually, it’s still the same thing: a cosmic connection between the Possessed and some sort of bad behavior.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 10-01-2018, 11:43 AM.



  • #2
    Interesting. I actually have all the books to cross reference (I think), so I can provide detailed commentary (later). For now, it looks good, except maybe some of the clunky Inferno-Possessed Vestment mechanics (not your fault) and some potential justification to make possessing more urgent. But I'll have to review.


    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, I haven't looked at specific Vestments yet. That said, “updating to Chronicles of Darkness” would arguably involve reworking clunky mechanics, so long as it doesn't involve rewriting everything — and the latter is more a matter of how much work you're willing to put in than how much revision is permitted. Indeed, that was a major motivation behind going with seven Sins instead of keeping them as Vices and somehow adjusting everything to a more “freeform Vestments for freeform Vices” setup: the latter would have been far more work than I'm willing to put in.

      Also, I tend to be very conservative in these matters: keep changes to a minimum in order to keep unintended consequences to a minimum. Fix what's broken, sure; but try not to rework everything from the ground up when you do it. Especially for this, we need an end product that's still recognizable.
      Last edited by Dataweaver; 10-03-2018, 09:54 AM.


      Comment


      • #4
        I might recall incorrectly, but isn't an Inferno demon tossed back into Inferno of cast out of the person it possesses?

        Personally, I have considered converting one or the other to make it possible to run a crossover game, as I think they work quite well side by side. The Infernal Demons could be explained by being entities that are supposed to clear the souls from sin in some sort of purgatory, and that purgatory could very well be a creation after some second schism in heaven.

        Comment


        • #5
          When a Possessed is killed by Burnout, yes; the demon doing the Possessing is at risk of being dragged back into the Inferno: immediately after the host dies, the demon briefly manifests and can be attached. If it's defeated, it's forced back into the Inferno; if it gets away, it has the option to Possess another host or to become a Whisperer.

          But: we're talking about Greater Possession here, not run-of-the-mill Possession. Greater Possession is to demons as Claim is to spirits or the Bargain is to geists: it changes the nature of the demon by integrating it into the human soul. The demon used to be a Diabolus or a Dominion, but isn't anymore. With regular Possession, this isn't true; the demon remains a Diabolus or Dominion, and remains separate from the soul of the host. If forced out of the host, the Diabolus or Dominion merely returns to Twilight and continues on as normal.


          Comment


          • #6
            Sure, but updating to 2E, they would be Ephemeral Entities, right? Most of which need the proper Manifestations or Conditions to protect themselves from Essence Bleed?

            So a free-range Demon needs to either linger near a corrupted site, or hitch a ride.


            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

            Comment


            • #7
              Good point. Mind you, Essence Bleed is nowhere as severe as what the Fallen deal with; and especially in the Chronicles of Darkness setting, the Infernal equivalent of Resonance/Anchor/Infrastructure (Corruption?) isn't terribly hard to come by — unless the Dominion requires a particular type of Corruption, such as whatever defines its Malapraxis.

              So while the difference between Fallen and Inferno isn't nearly as extreme as I originally thought, it's still a significant difference.


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                Good point. Mind you, Essence Bleed is nowhere as severe as what the Fallen deal with; and especially in the Chronicles of Darkness setting, the Infernal equivalent of Resonance/Anchor/Infrastructure (Corruption?) isn't terribly hard to come by — unless the Dominion requires a particular type of Corruption, such as whatever defines its Malapraxis.

                So while the difference between Fallen and Inferno isn't nearly as extreme as I originally thought, it's still a significant difference.
                Right. For reinforcing similarities, you could always say that the (Maelstrom?) is a world-wide effect on demon!Twilight that accelerates Essence Bleed to per Turn.


                Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                Comment


                • #9
                  No need to invoke the Maelstrom; just rule that that's part of the nature of Infernal Twilight. Heck, Hedge Ghosts don't even get a Twilight. Even then, though, Dominions get to shelter indefinitely in places with the Corruption condition.

                  Conversely, you could relax the restrictions in Fallen to make Dominion-like demons a viable option rather than just being a transitory state for beings that must possess someone or something to survive.


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                    No need to invoke the Maelstrom; just rule that that's part of the nature of Infernal Twilight. Heck, Hedge Ghosts don't even get a Twilight. Even then, though, Dominions get to shelter indefinitely in places with the Corruption condition.
                    "Come to the House of the Damned! We always have a vacancy!"

                    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                    Conversely, you could relax the restrictions in Fallen to make Dominion-like demons a viable option rather than just being a transitory state for beings that must possess someone or something to survive.
                    Sure. Either way.

                    Honestly, Influences for their Vice/Sin/Malapraxis give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to effects and powers. Heck, the whole 2E Ephemeral Structure does. Whisperers aren't quite like the Urged Condition a target gets from being Fettered, but it is close enough for most needs.


                    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Devil's Due (the Dark Ages adaptation of Demon: the Fallen) synergizes even better with Inferno than DtF itself does. For instance, DD has you choose a Vice Archetype. With that in mind, I'm thinking that this project should also consider ways of incorporating concepts from DD into DtF. For instance, its demons don't have Faith; they have Resolve.

                      And instead of trying to reconstruct a Morality trait for the updated Inferno's Possessed, maybe a better approach would be to replace a mortal's Integrity with Torment, borrowed directly from DtF/DD. Chronicles of Darkness games allow for a lot more flexibility in how the Integrity substitute works; so I don't see why it couldn't be set up as an inverted scale measuring how much Bad Stuff the Possessed has to cope with.

                      Or maybe a Possessed's Vices are its counterpart to Torment, while its Infernal Will is its counterpart to Resolve, leaving the Integrity trait alone (mostly). This approach draws an analogy between DD's Learned Arcana and the Possessed's Vestments, the former of which is enabled by Torment and the latter by Vice.


                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X