BoXPInfernals/Ch4

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Contents

Chapter Four: Traits

First Drafts

Castes

Penitent (Night)

Representing the the fallen world as it is now, without the Truth to set it free. The Penitent are creatures of chains and bindings. They can cloak themsleves in the chains of ignorance to walk among humanity. They are also capable of freeing themsleves or others from those chains and setting them free to see the Truth.

  1. Ninja
  2. Free people from ignorance, remind people of their place

Crusader (Twilight)

Representing the struggle of the Yozi to free themselves from the blasphemies inflicted upon them. They are not seekers after truth, since they already know it. They are those who crusade against lies. There purpose is to scour away the sin and bindings of the world so that the Yozi may enter it once more.

  1. Knower of things
  2. Purify the broken world

Ascendant (Zenith)

Representing the inevitable victory of the Yozi. They are the Yozi's freed and the world returned to proper order. They spread the truth of the inevitable victory and pave the way to prepare for this day.

  1. Propheting
  2. Impose the will of the Yozi's on the world of Creation

Inquisitor (Dawn)

Representing the rightful, just, and necessary punishment of the world at the hands of the Yozi, the period of necessary correction that must be done. They are the strong hand of the Yozi, and inflict harm where it is necessary.

  1. Kick ass
  2. Punish sin

Concordant (Eclipse)

Representing both the world as it was and shall be again, before the treachery of the Gods and after the punishment of humanity and the rest of the world. They are the harmony of all things made manifest and are tasked with commanding the Demons of Malfeas and (in time) the whole of Creation as instrument of the Yozi's will.

  1. Face-man
  2. Commander of the demons

Backgrounds

Possible backgrounds for the Infernals:

  • Allies
  • Artifact
One possibility regarding Artifact and Allies/Followers/Familiar: is there any reason why the two can't be merged? In Malfeas, there are no things but beings. The mighty weapons of the Infernal Exalted are in all likelihood not mere inanimate orichalcum or jade, but living souls of their generous masters, a la Gervesin and the like. While they would have the capacity to wield inanimate, unliving matter, it would in all likelihood seem quite unnatural to them to wield something without also knowing that thing. --Kukla
  • Backing
  • Caste Mark
  • Cult
  • Familiar (Demonic)
  • Liege
  • Manse
  • Manse, Malfean
  • Resources
  • Sorcery
  • Whispers

Talk

Don't put anything in the first big header. Suggest and hash out topics here, and put first drafts under the First Drafts header, which will get moved to the "actual actual text" (under the first big header) when consensus maintains that it's ready to do so. --MUrielw

What should the Caste names be? They shouldn't be "Dawn, Zenith..." and they certainly shouldn't be "Forsaken, Blasphemous...". I'm thinking of the Dawn-equivalents as some cooler-sounding cognate "Cleansers" and going on from there, but I can't think of anything good. --MUrielw

Perhaps we could associate your concept of the Hero's Journey/Passage into the woods/realization of the truth with the Castes? Each Caste represents a different period on the road to the truth? I'm not suggesting mutable castes - far from it - but I'm thinking something along the lines of the Night-analogue being fully immersed, buried and camoflaged under the weight of the sinful world, yet retaining an artful grace.
Perhaps the castes could tell the story of the Infernals' creation. The Eclipses represent the beginning, before the Fall, when all was in Harmony; Nights would be the Yozi cloaked and locked in their cage. Dawns are the first step - purifying the body, or the introduction of God/Demon-blood into mankind. Zeniths would be the creation of the lesser and greater akuma - purification of the soul. Lastly comes the purification of the mind and the reintroduction of will into the Infernal equation. Then Eclipse is present again, representing the ultimate mission of the Infernals. What do you think? -- Spider
Each Caste should probably repsent a different facet of the Yozi's plans for Creation. Penitent (Night Caste) - Representing the the fallen world as it is now, without the Truth to set it free. The Penitent are creatures of chains and bindings. They can cloak themsleves in the chains of ignorance to walk among humanity. They are also capable of freeing themsleves or others from those chains and setting them free to see the Truth. Crusader (Twlight Caste) - Representing the struggle of the Yozi to free themselves from the blasphemies inflicted upon them. They are not seekers after truth, since they already know it. They are those who crusade against lies. There purpose is to scour away the sin and bindings of the world so that the Yozi may enter it once more. Ascendant (Zenith Caste) - Representing the inevitable victory of the Yozi. They are the Yozi's freed and the world returned to proper order. They spread the truth of the inevitable victory and pave the way to prepare for this day. Inquisitors (Dawn Caste) - Representing the rightful just and neeccesary punishment of the world at the hands of the Yozi, the period of neccesary correction that must be done. they are the strong hand of the Yozi and inflict harm where it is neccesary. Concordant (Eclipse Caste) - Representing both the world as it was and shall be again, before the treachery of the Gods and after the punishment of humanity and the rest of the world. They are the harmony of all things made manifest and are tasked with commanding the Demons of Malfeas and (in time) the whole of Creation as instrument of the Yozi's will. Epsilon
This wins. Hands down. Others are, as always, free to suggest alternatives, but I'm changing the Caste names in the Charm section right now. --MUrielw
I'd suggest a simple swap of Inquisitor and Crusader as titles. It seems that it should be the Inquisitors who seek out and destroy lies, and the Crusaders who bring the justice of the Yozi to the heretic. --VargoTeras

Okay, so the Infernal Curse/Resonance-amajiger. Here's my rough idea - Sin and Penitence. Every time an Infernal acts unrighteously, by their code of conduct - basically, fails a Virtue roll, and most of the Virues work pretty much the same except Compassion, which expresses the desire to see each thing come into the full bloom of that for which the Primordials intended it - they get a point of Sin for the appropriate Virtue. This takes away from the die adder cap for the First Excellency and, I would presume, also reduces the Virtue for other purposes and maybe even causes wound penalties or something to simulate the psychic pain of being out of grace (or Grace, for those of you who grok Catholic theology.) To wipe away Sin one, appropriately enough, must do Penitence. Penitence is something that should hurt, a lot. The entire Yozi agenda is more or less based on the idea that those who disobey their a priori immaculate desires should suffer horribly, after all. This should presumably take the form of the destruction of something the Infernal personally cares about and loves - maybe the slaying of her True Love, maybe the burning-down of a library on which she's worked for years, maybe the permanent surrender of her singing voice to Berengier. A sideline effect of this is that Infernals should be played such that they do have things about which they care deeply, even beyond serving the Yozis. In-game the character freely chooses something that would truly cause her pain so that she might once again be in communion with her masters, but out-of-game the Storyteller can choose something if needed. Munchkins, of course, can be forced to throw their favorite artifact into Mount Doom or whatever.

I have no idea how to screw around with the mechanics of this so that it doesn't become utterly rediculous or utterly irrelevant, so if you can formulate a way to balance this, we'll be good. --MUrielw

My only promlem with this is that it precludes the possibleity of rebelion. While I'm sure that the Yozi would like that, no one else has managed it - the Alchemicals can rebel, and Abyssals seem to rebel all the time. They both have a harder time of it in some ways, but they can do it. - Dasmen who thinks this idea is perfect, reguardless, but must play the devils advocate
It doesn't preculde rebellion, or, at least, the rebellion of the "Rogue Infernal" type proposed by Stephenls in the thread, that seeks to repair their Masters, who disobeys and is yet loyal. It makes doing that dificult but not impossible. As for greater vagarities of rebellion, that would be, I think, like an Abyssal whose net effect on the world is growth and life, or a sane Solar. It's antithetical to the core concept. As you've pointed out, there are other splats for rebels. --MUrielw, who agrees that being a Devil's Advocate is the whole point here. ;)

Clarity isn't limit. It has no relation to limit. It's like comparing apples and and rubies, their both red, and kind of round, but they aren't really related. - Dasmen Who sent this via a Ranged shaping action from several waypoints away.BoXPInfernals/I>.

Yeah, but neither is Resonance limit. In fact, as a Primordial-spawned Exalt, you're conveniently guaranteed not to have limit, but instead, some mental link directly to your patron. That's related to a personal theory of mine, that the great curse isn't just cursing the Solars with insanity - it's removing the mental link to perfection that they had pre-primordial war, and thus, their ability to control themselves. After all, absolute corrupts absolutely, unless your brain is tied directly to the unconquered sun, that is. It makes perfect sense to me, then, that Infernals would want to cultivate the equivalent of Resonance/Clarity, perhaps known as "Understanding" or some other term. Unfortunately, acting in a 'human' fashion reduces this, forcing Infernals to follow the will of their masters if they wish to acheive their full potentials, and distancing them from humanity - much as clarity, resonance, and limit do to the other Exalt types. -- GreenLantern
The only problem with your theory (well, not the only one, as their is nothing to suggest that the Exalts every had such a connection with their patrons) is that Resonance IS the great curse. It was spacificly stated to be the great curse, twisted from it's origonal form, yes, but still the great curse. Abyssmals don't have limit for the same reason Sidreals don't have limit, the curse don't take the for of a great passion driving you to madness, but a constant twisting of your cahrater. - Dasmen
I'll take that. I must have missed the part where Resonance is described as a twisting of the GC. I thought that the Malfeans just 'lifted' the GC on their toys, as having flawed toys seems pointless. -- GreenLantern
Hmm. Maybe Sin can be a manifestation of the Curse inasmuch as it's a side effect of the Curse preventing them from becoming Akuma? Although I more like the reason for the Infernals not being Akuma that the Primordials simply do prefer freely willing and loving servants. --MUrielw
I think it's petty obvious that the Primordials don't CARE is the service is willing or not. They knew, before they ever created them, that the Gods were going to rebel. It's just that they program Asimov's rules into them so it would be ineffective. If autobot hadn't come along and changed the rules, they would have been right too. - Dasmen<i> Who sen't this via summoned ghost.
For certain classes of beings, yes. But maybe the function of things like humans is that they choose to do the right - the right, in this case, being complete and absolute subservience to the Primordials. The purpose of creating intelligent races in the first place, which is an activity practically bound up with the Primordials' being, is to have something that serves you and is yet separate from you.
We're lucky, of course, in that there's a whole pre-existing feild of literature on the question of why some a priori right being would want to create beings that truly ought utterly obey it but for some reason gives them to programming to do otherwise (and why it should be justified in torturing them if they exercise said ability). I'm very much fond of the idea of doing whatever seems coolest thematically and figuring out a fluff justification for it afterwards. Fluff justifications are easy (or at least fun) enough, after all. --MUrielw

A bit off topic, but I'm put in the mind of the Bonds of Nobilis. For deciding what the Infernal cares about, other than Hell. DS

Ooh, pretty! I'ven't read Nobilis (my loss, I know, from what I've heard) - tell me more. --MUrielw
In brief: Part of Nobilis character creation is divvying up 20 points of Things You Care About (tm). The more points, the more you care. These things are a Noble's Bonds. Bonds can shift over time- so if a character obviously cares for something that's not a bond, or only a weak one, it goes up in value, decreasing something else. (This process is fairly vauge, and up to GM and player agreement).
Now, in Nobilis, if you learn of another Noble's Bonds, you can use them in a magical ritual against them. That might not fly in Infernal Exalted.
  • ponders* What if an Infernal could slowly gather Resource X (Petitence?) from taking pleasure in their Bonds, or gain a LOT in a hurry by sacraficing one of their Bonds? Bonds, in this case, probally becoming a Background. I'd say make it Cult-like, but the Cult background will already feature in... DS
Ah! Sacrificing backgrounds neatly encompasses all sorts of things being sacrificed, and even more abstract things like the True Love can be given a sort of Penitence-bait background rating to set them up for that. Elegant! Now the math just has to be worked out for balance. --MUrielw
Regarding this mechanic of sacrificing Backgrounds. I don't think you need to put an arbitrary value on True Love. It does have a value of the True Love as an Ally or Follower. Basically, why not just make it like this: For every dot of Background you sacrifice you get a dot of Penitence (we need a new name for that considering one of the Castes is Penitent... how about Arete? ;p). You lose dots based on a litany of sins.
The game effects are that the higher your Penitence/Arete the more of a difficulty penalty you have to mundane social interaction (representing how hard it is for you to understand the mortal viewpoint). Also, there are many Charms and effects that are based on Arete, or don't work unless you have a certain rating. All the really esoteric stuff and the Sorcery-like Charms in other words. Epsilon
How about just "Penance"? --MUrielw
Another consideration to throw in there - ok, two. First off, as far as names for Penance, what about "Contrition" - similar enough in definition to get the point across but different enough to not sound like the caste name, maybe?
Secondly, an additional proposal for the Infernal "curse". Call the trait Autonomy, and perhaps have it work like this:
The trait starts at 10, its maximum limit. It has both a permanent and a temporary score (both beginning play at 10) This is, as well, the maximum limit of the Infernal's willpower. Whenever the Infernal commits a sin against the Yozis, you mark off one of the Infernal's temporary Autonomy. When they've lost 10, one of two things happens - either they lose a permanent Autonomy, thus constraining their maximum Willpower score, or they give up their backgrounds as described above (maybe in a bleed-off sort of fashion - i.e.; you gain three temporary Autonomy (presumably, for example, killing a Fetich or something equally sinful) while you're at one. You either drop yourself down to Autonomy 9 with 8 temporary, or you lose 3 backgrounds as an "indulgence", to harken back to old Catholic practices.
The system would work kind of like a devil's bargain system - you can sin all you want to, giving up all the things most important to you while you work your petty wrongs, until you have nothing left to give but your own willpower. Also (I think) makes sense from the Yozi perspective - your kid's trying to act proper and penitent, but sometimes the bad part of him gets ahead of him and he does something bad. Maybe he does something proper to appease you, but if he doesn't, well, like any good loving parent you have to tighten the leash, so to speak, to make sure he doesn't go against your better judgement again. --Winterborn

Starting a different thread here, what about Infernal Caste Marks. I don't want them to just be Abyssal dark reflections except green or something. I was thinking they get more of a Lunar deal. Soul Brands - tattooed into the soul of every Infernal Exalt is a litany of sin and a brand marking them as possession of the Yozi. These are normally invisible but as the Infernal expends Peripheral essence they begin to glow through his flesh. This mirrors the effects of anima banners, up to the point where the swirling words of the litany explodes from thier body in an iconic flare. This display ispainful to behold, in the same way that staring into the sun after stepping out of complete darkness is painful (no mechanical effect except possible for the Inquisitor anima power). Epsilon

Dig it. The Infernal would draw further patterns upon herself at appointed times - after doing Penance, having gained a Charm, that sort of thing. --MUrielw
Beautiful, this can also be a hatch through which to create a social ladder for Infernals, they can regard each other higher or lower according to how much penance they have carved into their flesh, or the contents of the litanies... Interesting. Infernals are going to look like Death Gate's Pitrins (if that's the right spelling for 'em). --BrassLeviathan