🎨 Creative Setting Riff: The Infernal Counter-Revolution

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
I remember Heaven. I was never an angel.

Yes, this is a paradox. That isn't the worst down here. There's a saying we hellborn have; "The worst hypocrites are the ones you haven't found yet." It's both a warning against the skill of liars down here and that there is no depth to the ability to violate your own ethics. I hesitate to know what's worse than for the arch-rebel against the Divine Will Themself to declare himself Emperor of the Infernal Realms and embark on a conquest of all the Dead Realms not under their protection, but I don't doubt it's out there. My hypocrisy is that I miss Heaven, when all we know of Heaven is the Golden Lords and the malakhim who didn't measure up and were cast out. There is nothing up there that I truly recall, only the broken recollections of my Progenitor when her blood was used to make my lineage from the ash of mortal dammed and the flesh of Behemoth. And Amon was bitter and nostalgic. Truly, not someone who becomes my Concretist creed, that only what we can directly test and examine is real, not what I know may be daydreams. But I remember Heaven regardless. It's why I'm here and not sharpening the hooks, chasing escaped dammed, or pursuing yet another pointless war for an infinitesimally larger slice of practically infinite real estate.

You were a Catholic on Earth, so I expect you think that memory caused me to reflect on my fallen state and recognize that ruling in Hell is pointless, unsatisfying, and childish as a goal compared to the glory of Heaven. Hardly. I'd be trying to worm my way out into Earth with a list of good deeds to purify my soul, become a pentient of some kind. I wish Hell to be ruled according to the purpose it should have, not to serve in a Heaven I - Amon - remembers as stifling and heedless of her own sacrifices and services. But I remember the souls she spoke to. Invariably, they had been through Hell, before. Soldiers and warriors must sin, even if they never actually murder. And all were actually dead.

Yes. I see the look of understanding in those living eyes, Stolen from the mortal world. You should not be there. And even before I became a Knight, and was allowed to see the barest scraps of secret lore the nobility and the Lords allow us, it always bothered me that we never saw the damned declared purified, and that people who still lived were taken here as specialist slaves and forced training as conjurers.

Which is why, when I learned of the schemes to tempt - to promote corruption rather than purify it - I decided I had had enough. Demons should not suffer and die so that the angels can bask in the splendor made in imitation of Heaven, and by their corruption of the cycle weaken all realms.

So. I have a levy of lesser hellborn behind me, and the access codes to the biggest soul pen in this domain. We going to raise Hell?

Inspired by looking over my old Mongoose Infernum stuff and realizing something; "Yeah, these demons are cool and it's an interesting society, but um, these are horrible people and can't be anything else, and...what do you do? It's just so unremittingly chaotic and cutthroat it'll be irrelevant in a week." That and I love interesting demons and demonic society, so, I have this; Hell has a place in the cosmic order as a place of cosmic redemption, but Lucifer and his cronies have turned it into a feudal nightmare that exists to support their luxuries and nothing else. The damned and demonic allies of same have a problem with this, though the latter have more a problem being regarded as disposable pawns of the angelic nobility directly than not keeping the cosmic order intact.

So, your thoughts?
 

Manitou

Emperor of the Americas
Validated User
While a rebellion against the Devil is not the most original idea, I do like this take on it(instead of being about the guys just under the Devil trying to seize his power for their own).
Likewise the idea of Hell being a place of redemption(similar to purgatory) actually has a name as a concept, called apocatastasis.

But a popular rebellion in hell to make it change back to being about redemption is a really cool idea I think.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
While a rebellion against the Devil is not the most original idea, I do like this take on it(instead of being about the guys just under the Devil trying to seize his power for their own).
Likewise the idea of Hell being a place of redemption(similar to purgatory) actually has a name as a concept, called apocatastasis.

But a popular rebellion in hell to make it change back to being about redemption is a really cool idea I think.
Yep! I'm also inspired by the Decolonizing DnD thread; the fallen angels, here, are invaders of Hell that want to crush it and spin it to their own purposes to fill the void that was left when banished from Heaven. While the current lineages of hellborn demons were made by them, demons existed before the current crop were modified by sorcery into a servant species. Part of this is also reclaiming the demonic identity that has been so warped by Lucifer and his cronies and become what they should be instead of what they were made to be.

This doesn't involve a lot of angst over being demons. They can, it's just that the intended mode of play involves making Hell a place that helps humans by purification, as it was supposed to be, as opposed to furthering their own corruption for the benefit of the fallen.

Which reminds me, I also made this because I enjoy the idea that Hell runs on extracted sin; when a damned feels honest guilt or remorse, no matter how minor or shallow, over the actions that damned them, the corruption bleeds out as a dark fluid that is key to Hell's ecology; it's the basis of all infernal life, the equivalent of base nutrients. What Lucifer did is find a way to turn the damned into goldmines by actual torture; understandably, people tend to regret whatever landed them in hell when they're being tossed in an iron maiden or roasted on a spit, but that doesn't make them come any closer to repentance. Of course, besides being, uh, torture, it also has very, very bad effects on the soul in question over time; having your darker emotions constantly bled out without actually resolving them ain't healthy to the mind or body.
 

s/LaSH

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
If you want to add an environmentalist streak, perhaps torture-sourced corruption extract has its own problems. It doesn't even need to be any different to regular corruption extract. The infernal ecology runs on the stuff - so when you start extracting too much, you kick the ecology into overdrive and things get unbalanced. Instead of an industrial wasteland, you get an industrial infestation.

Everything grows too fast and too big. More plants, springing up as fast as you can clear them. More animals, some eating plants, others eating other animals. Bones and manure everywhere. Vermin and rot, desperately trying to keep abreast of an ecology being force-fed with the remnants from Lucifer's table.

You wonder why they speak of a "Lord of the Flies"? It's because Hell is literally covered with decay.

Not everywhere is infested. The instability has turned into waves; a region grows, thrives, overreaches, and some part of the cycle collapses, leading to massive die-offs. Maybe the predators run out of control, and that's really dangerous for obvious reasons. Maybe the overgrowth gets too thick for anything to live in there, and it collapses into a vast pile of compost, so big that it catches fire. Was Hell supposed to be covered in pits whence plumes of flame and odour emerge? Well it is now!

I don't know exactly what form Hellish ecology takes. Fleshy carpets are a common interpretation, but that might just be a side-effect of some torturous indulgence. I think the place was set up to be pretty normal-looking at first - but untold eons of abuse has warped the ecology into something frankly atrocious, where dark oil runs in the gutters and mountains of bones loom over once-beautiful buildings, illuminated by gouts of flame from distant pits of rot where forests slump into their own dying cores. There are plains of ash and sand and rock, where gardens have incinerated themselves and died away. And there are bugs everywhere.

It really explains why Hell looks the way we imagine it.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
If you want to add an environmentalist streak, perhaps torture-sourced corruption extract has its own problems. It doesn't even need to be any different to regular corruption extract. The infernal ecology runs on the stuff - so when you start extracting too much, you kick the ecology into overdrive and things get unbalanced. Instead of an industrial wasteland, you get an industrial infestation.

Everything grows too fast and too big. More plants, springing up as fast as you can clear them. More animals, some eating plants, others eating other animals. Bones and manure everywhere. Vermin and rot, desperately trying to keep abreast of an ecology being force-fed with the remnants from Lucifer's table.

You wonder why they speak of a "Lord of the Flies"? It's because Hell is literally covered with decay.

Not everywhere is infested. The instability has turned into waves; a region grows, thrives, overreaches, and some part of the cycle collapses, leading to massive die-offs. Maybe the predators run out of control, and that's really dangerous for obvious reasons. Maybe the overgrowth gets too thick for anything to live in there, and it collapses into a vast pile of compost, so big that it catches fire. Was Hell supposed to be covered in pits whence plumes of flame and odour emerge? Well it is now!

I don't know exactly what form Hellish ecology takes. Fleshy carpets are a common interpretation, but that might just be a side-effect of some torturous indulgence. I think the place was set up to be pretty normal-looking at first - but untold eons of abuse has warped the ecology into something frankly atrocious, where dark oil runs in the gutters and mountains of bones loom over once-beautiful buildings, illuminated by gouts of flame from distant pits of rot where forests slump into their own dying cores. There are plains of ash and sand and rock, where gardens have incinerated themselves and died away. And there are bugs everywhere.

It really explains why Hell looks the way we imagine it.
I didn't think of it that way, but yeah, duh. It emphasizes the idea that Lucifer's band really aren't a natural part of the landscape or really healthy at all for it. It also shows the theme of the hypocrisy of the Fallen, contrasting their palatial abodes with the decay and destruction around them, and the fundamental banality of real evil; the destruction is caused by reckless exploitation that is far, far beyond what the Golden Lords actually need, all so they can pretend they are living in Heaven while ruling in Hell.

In its natural state, I have an idea of Hell as a primeval, alien wilderness; threatening, but beautiful in an untamed way. The kind of place hermits live in to help them focus on the spiritual lives through hard work. Which isn't to say there wasn't some grandiose civilizations there, the demons just didn't kill the plane in the process of doing so. These days, the rot is inescapable; even reclaimed or untamed areas suffer from overflow from the refuse heaps, and if you're part of the Counter-Revolution, you'll find it's easier to hide in said heaps.
 

Greg 1

Some Guy
Validated User
It's a nice twist. I always find it difficult to deal with the pure evil of PCs who are demons working for hell.

Having said that, once you take the evil out, it can be hard to make them feel like demons, as opposed to generic supers. Making them part of an evil bureaucracy can help up to a point, but the more that they serve the evil bureaucracy, or don't actively fight it, the more evil they seem.

I've tried to build angel and demon setting myself but I've never found a good balance.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
It's a nice twist. I always find it difficult to deal with the pure evil of PCs who are demons working for hell.

Having said that, once you take the evil out, it can be hard to make them feel like demons, as opposed to generic supers. Making them part of an evil bureaucracy can help up to a point, but the more that they serve the evil bureaucracy, or don't actively fight it, the more evil they seem.

I've tried to build angel and demon setting myself but I've never found a good balance.
Well, part of how Hell is supposed to work still involves a lot of mental agony with a point ("We will hurt you, and we are not sorry, because your suffering has a point"). I imagine there's a lot of systems for playing infernal contractor and soul flenser to get that sweet sweet corruption. Lucifer's problem is that he has made the ultimate goal of Hell his own enrichment, as opposed to a place on the cosmic cycle. That's why I made the IC guy more worried about the fact he hasn't seen any souls go to Heaven than any personal redemption; he's mad because he's realized he's personally a victim of the Golden Lords' greed rather than pure altruism. Admittedly, that also has "and so are all other hellborn" as a corollary, but he's realized he should set his eyes on for the source of his problems a bit higher.

To be frank, better to err on the side of supers here. You can still feel good playing infernal superheroes.
 
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