vikarmic: (Storyteller's Pride)
[personal profile] vikarmic
Possibly if I write this idea down it will go away and stop making me want to run it. I blame the Let's Play archive, a lot of rereading MoEP: Infernals and various enabling enablers, who know who they are.



It had been a day of celebration in the Wicked City; the streets were hung with garlands of tears and laughter, and even the lowest of demon-kind found revelry and leisure. On this day, the Ebon Dragon would take to wife his chosen bride, called in Creation the Scarlet Empress, undisputed mistress of the Realm, and with their joining the Reclamation of Creation would begin in earnest.

But it was not to be. For as the blasphemous ceremony reached its peak, there came the flare of Essence and the clash of blades. From the east came Orannis Twice-Born, great among the Solar Exalted, warrior without peer, his blade Righteous Judgement flashing like a serpent as he cut through demons like a scythe through ripe grain. From the west, Shattered Nightmare, unrivaled necromancer and Chosen of Daybreak, advanced with a legion of the dead whose numbers grew with every demon slain. Champions of Creation and the Underworld alike, it seemed, had united to oppose the Ebon Dragon's plans.

Against them stood the assembled might of Hell's legions, demons of every Circle, Green Sun Princes and the Yozis themselves. But Orannis put forth his power and broke through their ranks, even unto the dais where the Scarlet Bride stood waiting, and Nightmare was not far behind.

It was then that Ligier, the fetich soul of Malfeas, stood forth to engage both heroes, burning with the brilliance of his progenitor's full might, and the battle that ensued was a wonder to behold. But even in the hour of the Green Sun's victory, Orannis and Nightmare combined their strengths in a desperate gambit. The former focused every drop of his strength into a single, terrible blow, bringing Ligier to his knees even as the sword of the Heart of Malfeas took his head; with that death, the latter gave his own life to the most terrible necromancy he knew, freeing the very stuff of Oblivion to strike Ligier in his moment of weakness and scatter his Essence beyond repair.

With the death of Malfeas's heart, the Demon City shuddered and went dark, for the Green Sun was His only light. His walls cracked, opening fissures that looked not onto the Endless Desert, but into the infinite nothingness of the Void. And in the confusion, the Scarlet Bride took up the blade Righteous Judgement and buried it in her own breast.

Malfeas was insensate, dying, and his subject-brethren knew that with his death would come their own. Cecylene withdrew Her borders, pouring Herself into the cracks to seal them against Oblivion. She Who Lives In Her Name worked tirelessly to restore order to the Essence that was sundered. Adorjan hunted and slew the nameless things which poured in through the breaches in the Wicked City, and the other Yozis each gave what aid they could. But of the Ebon Dragon, there was no sign.

At last, a light bloomed in the center of Malfeas, revealing a landscape much changed, choked in the embrace of Cecylene's silver sands, with here and there strange structures of crystal and fire. But the light had no will, and Malfeas remained insensate, and the Yozis could not leave off their tasks lest Oblivion undo their efforts.

The Principle of Hierarchy has calculated that should a powerful being with free will and great enlightenment -- and only such a being -- could imbue the well of power that is all that remains of Malfeas's fetich soul with the spark of self-awareness that would give it life. Then, Malfeas would awaken and take himself in hand, and be changed as all Primordials are changed upon fetich-death. So it was that the remaining Yozis spoke to those few Infernal Exalted who had survived the cataclysm, instructing them in what they must do: gather strength and power to themselves, and reach the center of Malfeas, and return life to the Demon City.

But each Yozi wishes that its own Exalted should be the one to imprint the heart of Malfeas with principles to its liking, and the Green Sun Princes may not be alone in their goal. And even if they are, only one can accomplish their task...


The idea here is to smash SMT: Nocturne into Exalted (specifically, an Infernal game) and see what comes out. (Yes, this has been brewing since I realized that SMT!Tokyo was a Dyson sphere, shut up, it works better thematically than you think.) It would almost have to be a non-traditional structure, more like five linked one-on-one campaigns than a single unified one, and players would only interact per se when their paths crossed ICly. The objective would be to imprint your Urge or Motivation on the heart of Malfeas, thus ensuring that when He reawakens your Yozi -- or you yourself -- have shaped Him to your will.

Some thoughts on the specific castes follow. Given that everyone gets a game-specific Urge, I'd probably make everyone take an Urge appropriate to their Caste. Each of the five Castes corresponds loosely to an ending.

General Notes

With Cecylene's withdrawal into Malfeas, the Endless Desert no longer borders Creation. Demons cannot be summoned, the sixteen paths are dead ends, and artifacts which would bridge the gap between worlds no longer function. Until Malfeas reawakens, this state will persist. Slave-Spawn Summons etc. work just fine.

Depending on the number and inclinations of the players, there may or may not be a Solar or Abyssal Exalt running around -- backup for Orannis Twice-Born or Shattered Nightmare, respectively. A Circle of Solars or Abyssals is a valid way to play this structure in a more traditional way, making the five Infernals powered-up NPCs with heavier demon retinues than they'd otherwise get. Non-Infernals are NOT peers and lose many advantages Infernals have; they do, however, start stronger in terms of personal power, given that they braved the Demon City.

Demons are recruitable; you get an advantage when dealing with your patron's progeny-races or those of your patron's allies, and a disadvantage when dealing with progeny-races of Yozis hostile to your patrons. Fiends and Slayers are good at this, being neutral or allied; Defilers and Malefactors are less good but have their own advantages, and Scourges scare the shit out of everyone (?). Solars and Abyssals SUCK at this but can recruit from the mortal populations of Malfeas in their own unique ways, and/or intimidate demons into joining. Second Circle demons are hard to recruit but powerful allies (see: SMT fiends). Third Circles are not recruitable by default; getting even one to swear to you is a major, major coup.

The Temple of Cecylene has worked out how to blend chalcanth (liquid demon) from two species to create a third -- yes, this is fusion. Malefactors have the easiest access to this process; other castes have to intimidate, bribe or coerce the temples into helping. Solars and Abyssals have to twist arms and bust heads (possibly figuratively, in the Solar's case). Theoretical refinements exist but the Temple (or possibly the Defiler, if they manage to steal the process) will discover them in play.


Slayer

You felt the fetich-death of your patron like a knife in the heart, like a fire burning you from the inside out. You were blind as He was blind, mad as He was mad. Your Unwoven Coadjutor screamed and screamed, and then, more terribly, was silent.

But you did not die.

You woke in the ruins of His body, in the place He raised for you and your brothers, alone. The silence in your thoughts is strange after so long, but for the first time since your Second Breath you are free of His rage. Above you, a blue star swells and fades; you are drawn to it.

Somehow you know that if only you can reach it, you can set things right.


Starting Territory: The Conventicle Malefeasant.

Notes: The Slayer has no Urge. As the last surviving scion of Malfeas, certain places (such as the Conventicle) are open to them more easily than other Infernals, and most demon forges are initially open to them alone. The Ebon Dragon is hostile to their purposes, but all others are neutral to them. They sort of correspond to the Freedom Ending, with a side of restoring Malfeas to pre-Yozi sanity.

Malefactor

A grievous wrong has been done, a crime against your patron's laws. Not content with their previous victory, the Exalted of Creation and the Underworld alike have ventured into Malfeas and struck Him a mortal blow. No law rules His streets now, even with Cecylene's very substance binding Him together.

Now your course is clear, or so She whispers in your mind -- reach the star that is His heart and return to him the laws he has lost. You must embody the principles that She loves best: the strong rule over the weak. Become strong, and strike down any who stand against you -- even be they your Exalted brothers and sisters.


Starting Territory: a Temple of Cecylene.

Notes: The Malefactor may access Temples of Cecylene without question, thus gaining access to the secret arts of those temples (such as chalcanth fusion). Their Urge is "Awaken Malfeas to the laws of Cecylene", which loosely corresponds to the Reason Yosuga. Cecylene and She Who Lives In Her Name are loosely allied.

Defiler

Chaos constantly jars your senses; you can see the fluctuations of Essence as your patron works to restore order to Her King. But eventually, you sense, even Her work will not be enough. Not if the Demon City is to be saved.

At last, She speaks to you through one of Her emissaries, and tells you what you must do. No matter the cost, a hierarchy must be established so that stability can be regained, and She can trust none of Her siblings to do what must be done. The building of that hierarchy, and the imprinting of it upon Malfeas's heart, falls to you.


Starting Territory: TBD on release of CoCD: Malfeas

Notes: The Defiler's ability to co-opt demons into a temporary hierarchy extends to marshalling demons for a single battle. Once the battle ends, if the demons survive, they will likely not be well-disposed towards the Defiler. The Defiler's Urge is "Build a perfect hierarchy within Malfeas", which corresponds to the Reason Shijima. Cecylene and She Who Lives In Her Name are loosely allied.

Scourge

She spoke, as She always does, by not speaking; in the silences of the ruined Demon City, you understand her intent.

In Her benevolence, She wishes to teach Her brother and Her siblings the lessons She learned when She became the Silent Wind. You will be her instructor, the instrument by which she grants them wisdom and enlightenment. You will grant the blessings of infinite silence and so free them from ignorance and desire.

And if they resist, well, sometimes a teacher must cause pain.


Starting Territory: ?????
Notes: Musubi, duh. (This might've been what got me started thinking along these lines.) The Scourge needs more defining, particularly their special ability; probably some mad insight into the movements of Adorjan and Her daughters.

Fiend

In the moment of your patron's greatest triumph, everything went wrong.

The Bride found the will to slay herself. Malfeas's very heart was sundered and broken. And you found yourself enveloped in the infinite darkness of your master as He fled...somewhere else.

But as he fled, he spoke to you, explaining how even this could be turned to advantage. Let the other Yozis scramble and exhaust themselves saving the Demon City. The Ebon Dragon need do no such thing, and nor need you. You would wait, and watch, pretend weakness as needed, make alliances of convenience, seize your moment, and imprint yourself on the heart of Malfeas -- and in so doing, would raise the Ebon Dragon above Him once and for all, to rule as King of the Yozis.

No matter who stood in your way.


Starting Location: MYSTERIOUS.

Notes: The Fiend is hostile to everyone, but retains diplomatic immunity -- and nobody knows what they're up to. They're the Demon Ending.

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