Monday, November 7, 2011

Stepping Stones to a Demon: the Fallen Apocalypse

So I've been running Demon: the Fallen as a solo campaign for a couple years. Well, originally it was meant to be a party-based game but the players who joined in ended up having to drop out. Basically, it has progressed to the point of an apocalypse when Grifiel, the head of the Devourers and one of the three leaders of the Luciferans, found out that Lucifer could be contacted through the Hunter: the Reckoning types.

Basically, in my canon (which was quite different to established canon with a Kult-like Afterlife where people were scourged of their memories by the Loyalist angels and a missing-thought-dead God) Lucifer had been caged on Earth in the Kamchatka ranges while the other Fallen were sent to the Pit as punishment for both. Lucifer managed to exude him/herself piecemeal through the edges of the cavern sigil into the humans that ended up living in a city of marvels in the area. S/he did this until all that was left behind was his/her bones. Basically, Lucifer rendered his/herself Legion and was in possession of a few thousand humans who, to all intents and purposes, were individual and independent-thinking people. A few of them retained their memories and found the summoning rituals to summon out the Arch-Dukes. After that debacle slew the few Legion members who recalled what they were (they simply reincarnate into new hosts), thousands of years passed with Legion being unaware.

Of course, the angels were watching even as they slowly went mad without God's guidance and with the need to gather up the souls of their beloved mortals, torture them, and send them back into flesh that would be tormented and tortured by Caine's progeny, dealing with the 'spirits' that were the descendants of the multitude of layers of reality that were torn from Earth with the destruction of Eden, and all the other horrors that ended up sneaking through the cracks in reality to ravage humanity. In the end, most of the angels prayed for the end but only one end could come. The very end that Lucifer had averted by keeping his/her head down through Legion. When they detect that Lucifer had escaped his/her cage, Michael is to defeat him/her as a Final Punishment decreed by God as Lucifer's dying moments would involve the knowledge that the world would be unmade once he was destroyed.

Lucifer knew that the End of Days would come eventually and so had hatched a plan in his cage. She would plant flat stones of lapis lazuli containing notes in 'Hunter Code' (as it's later called) that would be found by Legion once humanity had reached a level where they could finally combat the Enemy. Legion has been stirring, finally re-developing some small level of their powers, as humanity's power over science grew to the point where they could finally stand a chance (a small chance, but a chance). Some found and studied the stones and plans for a Kamchatka Expedition were brought to bear.

One Visionary known as Daniel Carter, an Irish school teacher who fled Ireland for Berlin after an arson attack on a vampire caught police attention, and who gained himself a new identity and worked his way up the corporate ladder in Ophidian's PR Department. Ophidian was a company that dealt with the media and he ended up getting them on board as the documentary filmers (with a demonically possessed co-host called Urza / Alvin Gruber who he'd been having a Redeemer watch / subtly convert over a decade).

Unfortunately, once Urza and the other Fallen (whose players ended up dropping out over time) started looking into things it became more complex. Only a few Fallen, those with low Torment, could sense Lucifer's syllable of his True Name upon those stones, and they gravitated toward the expedition as cameramen, scientists, and researchers (there were some strange events surrounding that particular mountain like fungal insects, and, of course, the tablets that only a few could decipher whose symbols could never be remembered or matched pointed to a city at its peak).

During this time, Lucifer's bugeoning consciousness within Legion caused a manifestation over Las Angeles that knocked all of Legion unconscious. A good distraction to keep the other Fallen looking elsewhere.

After awhile of kicking around and getting drawn into conspiracy after conspiracy, Urza ends up telling Grifiel some of the truth of the mountain range as Grifiel was planning to pre-empt the human expedition with a Luciferan one of his own.

However, all that did was caused Grifiel to figure out how to contact Lucifer using one of the Reckoner Hunters - Daniel Carter, in fact (not realising they were Legion but thinking they were thralls of some sort). The first time, everyone blacked out and suffered aggravated damage as a terrible pain whipped over them and a single word howled through their mind: "Change."

Urza, being of so little Torment, came through it with only a few lethal and one aggravated damage and he woke up sooner than the others. Being a Cryptic (albeit one with staunchly Luciferan undertones who adores and worships Lucifer in his own way), he tells them never to do it again. At the same time, he's rather smug (Pride as a flaw) as he was less injured than almost everyone else and thus figures he has less that he needs to change.

A couple weeks later (weeks packed with investigative goodness that even took Urza into the edges of the Underworld), Grifiel tries again by kidnapping another Hunter, a set in her ways Defender called Caitlin (whose brother was a Mage and thus she had a little Mercy - Innocence to her rating). Urza attempts to come to the rescue using a team of Raveners who had previously killed themselves to possess a Spetsnaz team (they'd previously enthralled them) only to find themselves suddenly a lot more lawful and decent then when they'd started out. The Raveners are too late, however, and the building is annihilated through the brief manifestation of Lucifer. Unlike the manifestation over Las Angeles, this was undoubtedly him, and it truly awoke that piece of Legion, and tripped the Apocalypse.

The Angels that guarded the edges of the Abyss (and everywhere else) came roaring to the surface which allowed all of the Fallen Angels to escape the Pit as well. The force of all the onrushing entities ripped holes in the Realms and the True Afterlife which sent so many of the undead rushing to the surface as well. Since there are only a finite number of souls, a good 50% of our 7 billion people were Nulls - soulless individuals of zero faith and no divine spark that simply existed because the birth rate said they should. This caused the appearance of a Rapture as 3 - 4 billion people suddenly vanished.

Both Angels and the Fallen knew one choice though it was a choice many ignored. All could become physical once more as they truly had been and revel in their power. OR they could be inspired by the screams of help from the dying moments of humanity and reach out to them (thus coming to possess them as regular Fallen). Few Angels heeded the call (Urza assumed none would but he turned out to be wrong) while some of the Fallen who had been in possession chose to take to the skies and others from the Pit (or even a few Earthbound) chose to possess someone thus taking advantage of the suddenly richer intermingling of energies that allows them to safely possess a person.

Michael now stalks the Earth, seeking all aspects of his sword (two of which poor Belphigor, head of the Faustians holds), so that he can wipe out each aspect of Legion before finally destroying Lucifer's bones. The Prime member of Legion, what is left of Caitlin, has her own plans, however. All the while a battle rages in the sky between angels, demons, and the human military, which sees a surprising number of technologically unaware angels and demons to their death.

After all, other than those who had possessed but relinquished their bodies, few fallen or angels would recognise a missile and there's only so much armor can soak as they have both been greatly diminished. The Fallen because they were stripped of their powers. The Angels because they have been stripped of the God that fueled them. Both sides rely on ambient faith ... except for the few that are cunning enough to turn to gather human worshippers out of the broken remnants of this land.

Next up, I'll talk about how this ended up being a dream for my Tactician solo player (and fianc`e) and how Urza has managed to cope with this world.

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