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The Warden [Setting Material]

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  • The Warden [Setting Material]

    Ask the common mage about the Warden, and they'll probably tell you they have no idea what you are talking about. Ask the common Seer about the Warden, and he would probably do his best to cover up for the fact he has no idea what you are talking about. Ask the more knowledgeable Seer, especially ones which work with the more dangerous material, and they'll probably scold you for even asking that question, and may even break his way into your mind in order to find from where the hell did you heard about the subject.

    It is an heresy, they say. There is no 12th Iron Seal. It is a misguided interpretation of the holy texts. It is a propaganda used by the enemies of the Throne. It is a product of madness born from a lost Lesser Ministry. There are no evidence for the existence of the Exarch but some rumors and few pages from apocryphal books which has escaped the flames. Anyone who claims otherwise is an heretic, and they should be punished for defying the true Kings of the world in the name of a false god of their own invention.

    Some, of course, claim otherwise.

    They say that there is a 12th Seal, unknown to all but the wisest. they say that the Warden does not sit in the Supernal like the other ten great Iron Seals, nor does She watching on the edge of the Abyss in a self imposed exile like the Gate. He was betrayed, they say- thrown by the other Exarch from Supernal, fearing His Power. She has left by her own, they say, preferring to rule in Hell than serving in Heaven. He is there because of a sense of duty for the other Exarchs, sacrificing Himself so they could safely sleep in their ivory towers. There are many rumors about the Fallen, the Lost One, the King of Lost Things, the Broken Winged Angel and the Guard Under the Mountain- and even the different cults which make the Lesser Ministry of Tartarus can't agree about the exact details, but they do know one thing. That the Warden is the Iron Seal of the Lower Depths.

    Whatever the truth about the Warden may be, the general consensus is that He exists as a power which protects the Fallen from the dangerous, hungry horrors of the Depths. Without him to stand vigilant, they say, the things which lurk bellow the world would have consumed all life from it centuries ago. The Warden sacrifice itself on a daily bases, dying and being reborn countless times in order to stop the everlasting flood of abominations which looks upon the world like a low hanging fruit. From living shadows and soul devouring monsters and up to howling hounds and even classical demons which feed upon sin and passion, those terrors which you see in the world are only the small fraction which has escaped the Warden's burning blade of fire and brimstone. She is the only reason why the world hasn't collapsed already, and after those monsters would have consumed from the the Fallen, they will go up to the Supernal and devour it whole. And all of this, the Warden does without asking for anything in return.

    Well, except of one thing.

    Souls.

    See, the Warden is the strongest of the Iron Seals- He has to be, if he were to survive the flood of monsters- but even He has his limits. Every time she dies, she grows a bit weaker, a bit more vulnerable. He can still withstand it, don't get it wrong- but one day, if left by Her own, she would fall one more time and won't rise again, and during that time- bang! Apocalypse. There is, however, a way to help Him with His duty- by channeling souls to the Warden, She can replenish her power and push the horrors for one more day, to banish the demons for one more night. Yeah, making human sacrifices may not sound like a nice thing- but it is the best course of action we can take. Besides, the Warden suffers for so many years in order to protect us from the products of our own sins and lacking. It is only fair to give something back.

    The Ministry of Tartarus

    The agenda of the Lesser Ministry of Tartarus is that it is better to reign in Hell. Yes, this world is Fallen, broken and way from perfect. Yes, it is mostly the Exarch's fault. But while the Lie is a bad thing, there are things far worse than that, things we simply can not fix- things which are our fault. This world is Hell when compared to the perfection of the Supernal- but it is Heaven when compared to the horror of the Lower Depths. We need to protect when we have, even if it means doing some terrible things in order to do so. The end always justifies the means, even if the means include risking your life at serving an entity which no one truly understand, and that which demands you to sacrifice lives in its name.

    No one really knows when the Ministry of Tartarus has been established- it has been destroyed and rebuilt so many times, that it has lost any sense of time. Their latest self appointed Minister (a title no Seer outside of the Ministry recognize) has been in her job for no more than a few years. The Ministry is, in fact, more of a collection of different cults which have meddled in the Lower Depths too long for their own good, and ended up absorbed by the biggest one when it went to a crusade against the others in the name of an Exarch no one recognize. While the other Seers may call their faith heretic and false, they know the truth- they hear the whispers of the Warden in their sleep, after all, and see the horrors He face against in their nightmares. They know that they are afraid- knowing that by giving legitimacy to the Warden, it would become the greatest and only Archigenitor, and throw the other Iron Seals to Hell in order to suffer in his place while claiming the Supernal as His own. Other than the Gate, of course. She has a much more.. creative punishment for the Lone Exarch of the Abyss, which She blames for her endless torment and fall from Heaven by locking her on the "Fallen side".

    It is needless to say that the faith of the Ministry is considered are a terrible apocrypha by any sane Seer- even if one were to accept the concept of a 12th Exarch which rules upon the Lower Depths, the concept that a Seer should be satisfied in the Fallen World and not even dream about Ascension, or serving the gods without getting the payment you so deserve, is something which goes against the very core of the Seer agenda. Plus, the idea that the Archigenitors are afraid from another Exarch, one which is so weak that He is stuck in the Lower Depths for all eternity and that it requires a supply of souls just to exist- well, it is just ridiculous. The Ministry of Tartarus is made from a bunch of madman, and they should be erased from the face of earth.

    However, just like their patron, the Ministry of Tartarus always rise from the ashes of its own bonfire.

    Prelacy of the Warden
    O- as normal
    OO- appropriate symbolism could be found in images of fallen angels, satanic imagery, sulfur and phosphor, self inflicted wounds and similar actions of self mutilation, among others.
    OOO- the Warden grants the Crown of Negativity. She may now use her magic normally upon entities which lack the qualities represented by the Arcana (for example, using Life magic to influence the strix, Mind against infernal entities or Prime magic against the Hounds of Annwn) by influencing the "holes" in the target's patterns. That attainment is not only limited for beings of the Lower Depths, and colour the magic of the Seer, making it "empty" and "hollow". She may also add her dots in the "negative Arcana" to her Gnosis when protecting against the corresponding being.
    OOOO- the Temple of the Warden does not connects to the Supernal- instead, it connects to the hidden Lower Depth in which their unseen patron lurks. Instead of summoning Supernal Beings, it calls upon creatures from the Depths which were submitted by the Warden's iron fist to serve against the hordes of demons which lurk bellow the world. For simplicity's sake, treat them as Supernal Beings, only that they use Essence instead of Mana, only have a Vice and use "negative Arcana" as detailed under the Crown section, and are immune for effects which manipulate that Arcana. The conjured spirits come from the the Seer's highest rating Arcana.

    In order to sacrifice a soul to the Warden, the Seer only has to kill the victim in a ritual as she "sees" fit, and declare the soul as belonging to the Warden. While Sleeper souls work, Awakened souls seem to be more satisfying to the Warden, giving the Seer as single Willpower point. The mage may also sacrifice a soul which she stole using her magic without killing the victim- the soul simply vanish, usually by "burning" by a red-green flame while making sounds similar to agonized screams, leaving behind only the scent of burnt sulfur.


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  • #2
    I think it's a little silly to have "the Gate, but even more," but it's cool that these guys have more of a demonology/infernalism flavor! What's their take on the Tutor entity that Paternoster uses?


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Caladriu View Post
      I think it's a little silly to have "the Gate, but even more," but it's cool that these guys have more of a demonology/infernalism flavor! What's their take on the Tutor entity that Paternoster uses?
      well, I did my best to different the Warden from the Gate- it is simply that the Lower Depths do share some things in common with the Abyss, and as such the Exarchs which governs each are similar. The main difference between the two is that the other Iron Seal do recognize the Gate as their equal- they owe Her that much. The Abyss is something they need, but they are also afraid of it, and as such they can't trust the one which governs that darkness. The Abyss is something to be regulated, not blocked, fought against or destroyed. The Gate is the black sheep of the family, but He is still a part of the family.

      The Warden in nothing like that- He is a sacrificial lamb used by the Iron Seals in order to fend off against the Lower Depths. She is some sort of barrier which needs to die countless times a die to reduce the Lower Depth's rot. The Depths are not to be regulated, but to be stopped, isolated and removed from the Fallen as much as possible. And as such, the Warden doesn't regulates or controls the Depths- it fights them, conquers hell after hell and submit it to the will of the Exarchs so it would no longer be a threat. He isn't a part of the family- She isn't even spoken about, not out of fear but out of not recognizing Her as equal. The use Him for their needs while ignoring Her existence simply because the Warden is not "important enough", being merely a tool for their agenda- at least, that was the plan. The Gate locked him outside of the Supernal in a realm of endless horrors, and then the other Exarchs simply forgot about Him, knowing She will fulfill her purpose as the Depth's punchbag.

      They never thought He would actually succeed at being something more than that.

      About the Tutor- those of the Ministry of Tartarus who know about the creature see it as not only a threat to the stability of the world, but as a direct insult to their patron. The Warden suffers from countless wounds in order to block the monsters of hell from entering the world- and Paternoster simply invites one of them in! The Lower Depths can't be bargained with, can't be satisfied or controlled, and what they are doing is a threat not only to the Seers, but to the world itself. Besides, each soul that thing devours is one less soul which could power the Warden and powers Her enemies instead. Of course, they don't have the power and access to break into Paternoster's base and banish the creature- but if they would, they'll do it even if it requires their own death (or at least, the death of some of them), and they would sacrifice their own souls to the Warden with their last breath (or the souls of those who could be sacrificed as such).


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      • #4
        I rather like this, though like Caladriu, I wouldn't give them the trappings of a full Exarch. I mean, throwing an Exarch out of the Supernal should really mean they aren't an Exarch anymore (unless they go live in the Abyss).

        There are a few examples of beings like this. There's the Master-Builder from Unbidden who might be Celestial Ladder's architect sent by the Exarchs to rebuild it. There's also the Dethroned Queen from Reign of the Exarchs.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael View Post
          I rather like this, though like Caladriu, I wouldn't give them the trappings of a full Exarch. I mean, throwing an Exarch out of the Supernal should really mean they aren't an Exarch anymore (unless they go live in the Abyss).

          There are a few examples of beings like this. There's the Master-Builder from Unbidden who might be Celestial Ladder's architect sent by the Exarchs to rebuild it. There's also the Dethroned Queen from Reign of the Exarchs.
          glad you like it- in fact, I have never meant for the Warden to be an true "Iron Sea"- after all, the only ones who say that are the Ministry of Tartarus, and no one trusts people who defy the very foundation behind the Seers of the Throne. In fact, you may even play the Warden as something which never truly was an Exarch at all, but a Lowerdepthian monster which tricks mages to think it is. My personal interpretation is that the Warden was once an Exarch, but after His fall His "supernal symbol" was so corrupted by the Depths that it is no longer the case, becoming something not truly Supernal, but not of the Depths either. Again, it is all open for your own interpretation, as the only ones who know enough about the subject aren't exactly reliable.


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