View Full Version : [Setting Outline] Black Politics (PEACH)

2007-01-27, 12:09 AM

Politics is a complex and nasty game, but all the powerful politicians have a little bit more in their hands than they admit; sorcery. The use of divination magic to get data for mudslinging, the selling of the soul in order to gain money, wisdom, or eternal life, and the use of demonic rituals to curse, kill, or control enemies.

This setting presumes that most players will be playing the “bad guys”. There is a much wider array of antagonists if you’re a sorcerer than if you’re a holy man, and the same holds true for demons over angels. If you want to play a holy man, or alter the theology of the setting, feel free.

Many settings offer no built in explanation as to why a group of people ally in the setting. Not so for the Black Politics! Wizards group into small covens in order to solidify their power as a group. Members of the same coven share similar goals and political viewpoints, and rely on eachother. Typical strategy is to push one member into power and have him pull up the others once he’s up there.
Adventure Opportunities:
Smeer Campaigns:
When your enemy can take control of your very mind, smeer campaigns suddenly become much more... complex. There is not “truth versus fiction” involved; it’s just truth. When you start waking up in strange places with no memory of how you got there, you should start looking for another sorcerer who’s setting up for a major mudslinging. You’ve almost certainly engaged in extramarital sex or immoral and illegal dealings, and probably both.
Wizard’s Duels:
Sometimes, a wizard will simply get tired of dancing around another sorcerer and simply challenge him to direct combat. Wizard’s duels are not so uncommon in politics as one would expect. The loser is frequently disintegrated into dust, and the winner is frequently left with a much less powerful rival. The preparation and aftermath of a wizard’s duel is much more difficult to deal with than the duel itself; worries of assassination, kidnapping, or other horrible things can quickly turn suspicion towards the other wizard.
Demonic Contractual Law:
Since most demons tend to switch up the language that they use at carefully chosen points between dead languages such as Latin, write words backwards or upside down or both or in bizarre and ambiguous language, it’s likely that, at some point in a politician’s career, he’s signed a contract and misread or been unable to read some words, and chances are those words are the most important parts of the agreement.
Betrayal of the Spouse:
Let’s face it; modern day politics in America rely on you being perceived as a family man (or woman). When your spouse turns on you, no matter what the reason, you have to turn things around and quick before your career falls to pieces.
Trouble In The Coven:
Most sorcerers organize into small covens, groups of a handful of powerful sorcerers who combine their power and political savvy to get one or more of their number elected to power. When a member of the coven is struck down, either magically or politically, the coven has difficult decisions to make; how to replace the missing member, how they can use the loss to help them, and how they can get back at the enemy who caused it to happen, and so forth.
Power Behind The Politics:
Everybody knows that there are groups which have a much bigger say in who gets elected than the average person. The supreme court, the party that selects their representative, and celebrities, they can all make important adversaries. But that’s not where the power ends. Demons that disagree with a particular wizard’s political opinions, especially powerful ones, can easily prove to be more than a thorn in the wizard’s side. And the supreme court is obviously populated completely by members of covens, who’s allies assisted them in gaining their new power.
Poll Tampering:
Americans need to think that they’ve assisted in the process of electing the president, or senator, or whatever. However, magic makes this process much more mutable. While if you poll tamper, you have no problem with that, when your rival poll tampers, it’s time to turn and fight. And if you choose to tamper with the polls, your rival will probably be as annoyed as you.
Fellow Wizards:
Wizards tend to make enemies out of other wizards. The bishops and popes of the old Catholic church, the modern day politician, the business tycoons of the industrial era, the parliament, and so forth; all are and were comprised almost entirely of mages. And there are more mages than there are position, and so there is the time honored solution to that problem.
Holy Men:
Priests, chosen ones, prophets, it all comes down to one thing: good wizards. Unlike your typical “I sold my soul to a devil, now I’m really powerful” wizard, most holy men never request their power. They are (or at least claim to be) the select of God, empowered by his infinite power and infinite capacity to let somebody else solve his problems, no matter how incompetent or stupid the person may be. There isn’t any clear intelligence behind who is selected to be a Holy Man.
While you may have sold your soul or only offered it as collateral in a loan, chances are the demon you sold it to wants to make sure it ends up in his hand, and the other demons don’t want him to get it. Chances are, you’re going to be dealing with quite a few demons, both in a contractual method and a direct mortal combat form. Fortunately, most sell your soul agreements are void after the person you sold it to is dead.
Since you’re a “bad guy”, you’re probably on the angels’ bad side. Vigilante angels are your most likely foes, but if you do anything seriously bad (probably involving children), you should worry. Angelic power structure might send it’s equivalent of a police force after you,
Normals, like celebrities, newscasters, stalkers, and even nonsupernatural politicians can prove to be a difficulty. Celebrities are a lot more difficult targets to hit, newscasters are hard to get without being recorded, politicians are always hard to kill, and stalkers are often not quite annoying enough to kill.
The theology of black politics is a very major player in the setting, and it’s certainly inspired by Christian mythos (I use the word mythos in the nicest way here), but it’s also certainly not the Christian view of the world. First of all, it’s a lot more grey; demons are manipulative and are always in constant competition for power, but they aren’t exactly evil. God is (probably) real and fairly benevolent, but he’s also very lazy and could very possibly be a lie propogated by angels to keep themselves in power.
Morality is a lot less black and white; murder is sometimes considered good, and charity is sometimes considered bad, and it frequently varies in both groups. There is no great big list of sins that you’ve committed because what is and isn’t a sin is a debated issue. Is malice a sin? Or is it too ethereal? Or is it just natural and okay? Or is it just a form of self defense? Opinions vary between individual angels and individual demons. It’s just as likely that two angels will agree on what is immoral in a particular case as it is that an angel and a demon will agree on what is immoral in the same case.
Angels And Demons:
The angels are not always good guys, and the demons are not always bad guys. There are demons who honestly care about the happiness of humans, and there are angels who live only to kill those that they deem wicked. The power structure of both are based primarily on immediately contested power; in demons, additional power is won by defeating superiors, and in angels, it is won by appeal to the society around them.

A very long time ago, the angels were the only heavenly race, and humanity had no real choice in their actions. But a group of angels rebelled against the present order, were expulsed, and left.

While angels and demons are technically related, the millenia between when they were one race has made most members very distinguishable from eachother. Only the oldest demons look like angels, and even then, they look like very old angels.

While both are immortal and extremely powerful, they are capable of sexual reproduction and can be killed. The lifespan of either varies wildly depending on time periods. During various times in the past, they were in direct conflict, and at other times they have been largely calm towards eachother, thus altering their lifespans.
If God is real, which is the most probable state of affairs, he’s best described as neither benevolent or malicious, but rather, apathetic. He’s probably male, probably omnipotent, and probably couldn’t care less whether the angels or demons kill eachother, or which one wins. There’s a growing belief amongst demons that God does not even exist, and this is not easy to disprove. Almost all divine intercession is on the part of an angel, and that which isn’t is questionable in how divine it is. The choice of Holy Men seems to be random and has no intelligence behind it, so it could very well be a (very bizarre) supernatural process that angels just assign to God.
The Soul, The Afterlife, And Economics:
The human soul is a powerful container of magical energy. Of course, like most people, it does almost nothing while it’s alive, and not much afterwards. The soul’s particular form of magical energy is determined by the personality of the person; if you are a helper, you have healing magic, and if you’re a hurter, you have destructive magic. The detonation of various dictator’s souls killed more angels than the detonation of all nuclear bombs has killed people. Of course, demons have much better aim than nukes.

Assuming that you have not sold your soul to a demon, or a corporation of demons, you might go to “heaven”, or “hell”. Basically, they’re the same, only demons live in hell and angels live in heaven. Also, you’re more likely to get laughed at when you trip in hell than in heaven, where the typical response is helping you up.

Since souls are powerful magical objects, demons frequently offer access to much less power than the soul has to offer, but still more than a human could possibly unlock naturally, in return for their soul or, more rarely, money and knowledge.

2007-01-27, 06:13 AM
I really like this! (It took a while for me to realize that this is supposed to be a "real world" setting though, you may wan't to state that more clearly). How commonplace is magic in this setting of yours? I mean, if "mind control and mudslinging" is a common technique people might have learnt to expect that? Or is magic more secret than that?

2007-01-27, 11:07 AM
I really like this! (It took a while for me to realize that this is supposed to be a "real world" setting though, you may wan't to state that more clearly). How commonplace is magic in this setting of yours?Not very commonplace. There's probably a few thousand sorcerers in the world. Or something like that.

I mean, if "mind control and mudslinging" is a common technique people might have learnt to expect that?Wizards, sure, they anticipate magical attacks by their rivals, but normals will go for more "normal" explanations; split personality, sleepwalking, et cetera. And your normal voter, who doesn't know about magic, won't automatically think "it's magic"; they'll think he was acting on his own accord.

Or is magic more secret than that?Magic is not well known. The common person in Black Politics think the world is the same as you or I.

2007-01-28, 07:35 PM
Sweet idea. For your system you may be able to pull some of what you are looking for from Infernum. It was free on drivethrurpg.com last time I checked.

P.S. What are you, racist or something?

2007-01-28, 07:58 PM
Sweet idea. For your system you may be able to pull some of what you are looking for from Infernum. It was free on drivethrurpg.com last time I checked.
Actually, I was thinking, in terms of system, something along the lines of New World of Darkness crossed with Pokéthulhu. But I'll check out Infernum.

P.S. What are you, racist or something?What?

2007-01-28, 08:01 PM
It was a joke... black politics...evil...African Americans...oh screw it.

2007-01-28, 08:06 PM
It was a joke... black politics...evil...African Americans...oh screw it.I got it. I was just being annoying because it was not a very good joke.

2007-01-28, 11:39 PM
Huh, I like the idea, politics as a campaign full of trickery and unknown magic. Cool idea.