A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #421
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    The Baernoloth, well, I'd assume that they would be at least partially behind the Fall. There has to be a pretty good reason for an Archon of such power to be evil, and corruption by the prime evil is a good one.
    Thing is, as far as I can tell, the Fall of the various archons, was masterminded by Lucifer- who, as the Avatar of the Overlord of Hell, was always evil.

    In 3.5E, only the Pact Primeval version in FC2 stresses Asmodeus began as a nonevil guy.

    That said, 4E has it's own approach- which does involve the guy we now call Asmodeus being corrupted by an "older" and even more evil entity (CE rather than LE though). This is recounted in Demonomicon.

    The corruptor of Asmodeus is (spoilered):
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    Pazuzu.


    Using Dicefreaks as a starting point, does make the most of the existing material. And there's always room to modify it to be more WOTC-like, if you want to run a game with Dicefreaks-level power, but WOTC-style history.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-12-06 at 01:49 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I'd assume that the ancient Baatorians were there before the arrival of Lucifer and his host, and were driven into hiding, much like their original story.
    Unlikely, since Baator didn't even exist until the Overlord seperated from the Circle of Three and it didn't take long for the Maleficareim to emerge from his blood.

    As for the corruption thing, why is it so hard to imagine that the most competent, intelligent, and evil branch of fiend would be the masterminds behind this?
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2010-12-06 at 01:50 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #423
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Because it leaves the Baernoloth, and by extension the Yugoloth, without any achievement to their name. And I dislike that, I think the Yugoloth are much more interesting antagonists.
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  4. - Top - End - #424
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Because it leaves the Baernoloth, and by extension the Yugoloth, without any achievement to their name. And I dislike that, I think the Yugoloth are much more interesting antagonists.
    If you really want to give them a major achievement- no reason is given in The Gates of Hell for why the Force Of Law splits into three in the first place.

    If the baernoloths are held responsible for that- this makes them the creators of Asmodeus/Lucifer/Overlord Of Hell.

    Add in the idea of them being the ones who are responsible for the corruption of Chaos in the form of the Obyriths, and that would make them the secret Prime Movers, of Evil both Lawful and Chaotic.
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  5. - Top - End - #425
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Sorry, but "In its bid to define the Center, the Circle game to odds. Each aspect wished for its moral center to establish hegemony. A great struggle ensued and the Circle shattered. The Supreme Virtue was pulled into the Realms Above where her blood formed the Silver Sea and her tears countless angels. The Progenitor slammed into the Realms of Balance where his shattered body created the cogs of Nirvana and his broken mind the various beings of Order. The Overlord plummeted into the Depths Below, his passing creating the Nine Hells of Perdition and his blood the earliest devils. Thus, did the Circle break and its components become eternal foes." Page 5

    "These two paragons of Law were joined by the being that would become the
    Progenitor of Nirvana. They were the Circle of Three. They sought to order everything, including morality and the fledgling gods; they also hoped to do away with annihilation, chance, and liberty. This Circle of Three battled against Chaos, hoping to overthrow the roiling spontaneity by defining everything and establishing borders in the Cosmos. However, all Three could not agree on the sole important element of the Cosmos: The Center. The definition of The Center, the physical manifestation of ultimate reality, of the total Truth, would have been the final component to secure the power of Law and defeated Chaos for all time. While the Three could agree on the ordered elements of reality, they could not agree on the moral elements. One vied for honesty, truth, and integrity, believing that Law should seek to make all equal in happiness and goodness. The other wanted to eliminate goodness and evil, viewing both as irrelevant, in favor of pure logic and unfettered order. But the last, the quiet one, wished to see all of Creation ground into submission and all beings and concepts serving its every whim.
    Reaching an impasse for the first time, the Circle of Three struggled and their struggle became a war.
    " Page 398
    There already is a reason for why the Circle shattered.

    As for the Yugoloths,
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    "The daemons (Yugoloths) are often compared to devils as beings dedicated to intrigue and plotting. To be sure, the daemons, for hundreds of thousands of eons, have schemed to bring the denizens of the Depths Below to their knees under the leadership of Gehenna. This plotting almost worked with the Maeldur Et Kavurik, a being the daemons claim to have created. Supposedly, this monster granted the ability for the three fiend “races” to teleport across Creation; when the daemons stripped the Maeldur Et Kavurik of its power, many fiends temporarily lost
    their ability to teleport at will. Additionally, the daemons also are said to have created the four “races” of fiends as some grand study of the nature of evil. For a time, these tales were the leading theories on the origin
    and history of the fiends. They also happen to be totally and utterly false. For all their strength and dedication to evil, daemons have inherent flaws which will forever render them less threatening than devils.
    Certainly,
    they are more subtle than demons. Certainly, they are more shadowy than even devils. Without a doubt, they are consummate liars gifted with the ability to persuade others – even themselves – that the lies they perpetuate
    are truths. In this sense, they could be considered more dangerous than devils. Many scholars suspect that if daemons constructed a lie both massive and ingenious enough in which the entire Cosmos believed they would
    eventually come to rule Creation. After all, Belief is Power. Unfortunately for the daemons, not only are they liars but backbiters as well. Unlike demons, who engage in regular and bloody civil wars, the daemons constantly challenge each other’s lies with more lies. They are loath to allow another of their kind to rise to the pinnacle of power. There are a few god-like daemons in the Depths Below, but these entities are not capable of uniting more than a handful of their race. These challenges eternally blunt their evil and prevent daemons from achieving their optimum potential. (Section on Gehreleths expunged for being even pettier than Demons) Devils, in the end, prove to be the most deadly of the four fiend “races.” Unlike demons, devils are not interested in immediate gratification. Unless necessity dictates otherwise, devils typically will not simply kill an opponent. More often than not, they are not interested just in the death of their adversaries, but in their eternal damnation and loss of faith. Unlike the daemons, who lie as a matter of course, devils lie only when the truth is not more useful. Even then, they rarely lie in the entirety since lies have a nasty habit of backfiring and ruining carefully formulated plots. No, devils are more interested in manipulating fools with just enough truth and the right amount of hyperbole in order to lead them down the path of evil. Devils are logical and organized. Though they possess smaller numbers than both demons and daemons, devils continue to hold their own in The Blood War. Notwithstanding the countless battles they have lost, the percentage of diabolical losses is significantly less than those of the demon hordes or daemon mercenaries. Most terrifying of all, devils have rationalized their evil. There is a reason for everything they do,and they are more than capable of justifying their positions to any and all, even mighty solars (as history has shown on several occasions). Their evil is also guided by a governing force, an intellectual center... It is now known that the Lords of the Nine in truth answer to The Lord of the Nine, The Overlord of Hell, Asmodeus. This being, the apex of all that is Lawful Evil, is the overall guiding force of rational and organized evil in Creation. Greater in power than any of the demon princes or the various Nether Fiends, this entity is feared by all who are aware of its true power. There can be no doubt that devils are the most dangerous of the fiends. Their logical and formulated explanation
    of their evil, their ability to work together, and their ultimate leader, all contribute to their being the preeminent threat in the Cosmos.
    " Page 9-10
    I don't think they're particularily relevant.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    They also happen to be totally and utterly false. For all their strength and dedication to evil, daemons have inherent flaws which will forever render them less threatening than devils.

    ...


    Devils, in the end, prove to be the most deadly of the four fiend “races.”
    This? This is entirely the sort of thing which turns me off Dicefreaks. Why is one kind of evil inherently stronger and more dangerous than the other? It destroys the balance of the planes, and diminishes the whole setting, if you can discard one part of the wheel as a lesser threat.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2010-12-06 at 04:25 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    This? This is entirely the sort of thing which turns me off Dicefreaks. Why is one kind of evil inherently stronger and more dangerous than the other? It destroys the balance of the planes, and diminishes the whole setting, if you can discard one part of the wheel as a lesser threat.
    I'll try to explain. The Devils are portrayed as the most powerful force for multiversal evil because The Gates of Hell focuses on them. While Demons and Daemons will be reguarded as the greatest threats to the Cosmos in Horrors of the Abyss and Heart of Darkness respectively.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I guessed as much, really. I mean, half the Planescape material was written with that in mind

    However, and this is important: it does not appear to be an in-universe narrator making these claims, but an omniscient outside force, the author of the chapter. This makes it seem like an absolutely true statement.

    Furthermore, Iamyourking, at least, seems to be taking this literally, claiming that the devils are literally the top of the multiverse's food chain, a statement which, to me, does not make for a good setting.
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  9. - Top - End - #429
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    This? This is entirely the sort of thing which turns me off Dicefreaks. Why is one kind of evil inherently stronger and more dangerous than the other? It destroys the balance of the planes, and diminishes the whole setting, if you can discard one part of the wheel as a lesser threat.
    Then the answer is very obvious; it's Infernal propaganda. Much like the story of the Pact Primeval in FCII, it comes from the Devil's mouth. Consider; Gates of Hell is, story-wise, penned by a sage observing Hell and contacting various devils. He garners his information straight -from- Hell. So -of course- devils are going to tout themselves around as the big cheeses of the Lower Planes. For god's sake, they have an arch-fiend devoted solely to propaganda! They're going to make themselves look more important, and downplay everyone else. "Yeah, the baernaloths. They did some stuff, I guess. Never really noticed. Now let me tell you why Asmodeus is your Lord and Savior!" This explanation works for everybody; those who hold GoH as canon have what is written, and those that don't have perspective.

    All of which is moot because WE'RE HERE FOR THE FEKKING ARCHONS AND ANGELS. Wrap this up fast and get back to the haloes, cutters. We'll be here til' the Lady Sings if 'e keep on janglin' 'bout 'dem Fiends. 'Dem bad-bloods no lily-whites, they knights o' da cross-road! They're givin' us the laugh, more we keep chatterin' on em'. Now pike on the maggot-grown and ge' back to polishin' those haloes!
    Last edited by The Tygre; 2010-12-06 at 04:47 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    (Edited out by wish of Tygre)
    @Tygre: As you command, so it shall be. Now can I please have the next two days without having to answer every little question about Peredition before I start on the Virtue? (Although the Sigil slang is sorely testing the limits of my word )
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2010-12-06 at 04:52 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    As you wish. Get started on that there Virtue. 'Sides, we got a couple of bloods from the Freaks here. If there are any further questions, put the scrub on them.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Aye.

    Let's... get... virtuous!


    Anyway, one more thing, on the deep background:


    I'd say that Zaphkiel himself is not the Supreme Virtue. The Supreme Virtue is up on Chronias where no one but him has ever come back from. It adds a bit of mystery to the setting, which it needs.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    That was my intention. Incidentally, I may change the name of either the High Caste or the supreme entity of good to prevent confusion; as I do not intend the two to necessarily have much to do with each other. I am also considering petitioning to have the name of the Throne Archon changed because Throne is such a more appropriate term than Crown for the greatest of the High Castes; which, as you may recall, are the legislative body of Heaven.

    My idea was for the Virtue's to be essentially living representations of the teachings of Celestia; both to mortals and other outsiders. They would be the most important Archons to deal directly with mortals, and would interact with them in much the same fashion divine avatars would; if a Principality is a great leader and statesman as far as the mortals are concerned than a Virtue would basically be if Celestia itself had taken corporeal form. If anyone else wishes to submit official suggestions about the design of the Virtue, they have until Noon PST on Wednesday; at which point I will begin the process of creation. Suggestions about the Dominion will open exactly two weeks after the Virtue closes, the Throne/Crown is pending completition of the Virtue.

    In addition, I have officially petitioned the Age of Warriors team for leave to use their material after receiving a dispensation from Vaynor to revive the thread nine days past the limit. It is now a matter of waiting.

    Now that the petition is open, anybody who wishes to make Initiating variants of the Sword, Warden, or any other martially oriented Archon should probably let them know.
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2010-12-07 at 04:41 PM.
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  14. - Top - End - #434
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I'd say that Zaphkiel himself is not the Supreme Virtue. The Supreme Virtue is up on Chronias where no one but him has ever come back from. It adds a bit of mystery to the setting, which it needs.
    I'll go with that.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Now, it occurs to me that while King is puttin' the polish on those high caste archons, we've still got some free hands. What are some other thing that we can work on to keep the project moving?
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I'll be finished with all of my classes for this semester in roughly two hours, so after that I can finally start working on the variant rank-and-file archons. I'll try to get an outline of the various archons up later tonight or early tomorrow for comment and critique, and then I'll get working on them once everyone approves.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    To provide a status report:
    The Principality is finished, barring some possible tweaks to its spells. (Although as a prepared caster that doesn't really matter)
    The Authority is finished, while the Martial variant is pending approval to use Krimm Blackleaf's epic feats and some of the command or Good related disciplines
    The Virtue is in rough draft status, still not enough to post. Suggestions are open until 11:55 PM PST Saturday.
    The Dominion is still in concept form
    The Crown is requesting approval to have it's name changed to Throne and the name of the strongest common Archon changed to something else

    Other subjects for consideration:
    The position and role of Angels (So far they are only auxilaries in the army)
    More classes for mortals, including but not limited to prestige classes for followers of each of the Hebdomad
    The Powers, both in concept beyond the nine we already have and in mechanics for all of them
    The Hebdomad, mechanics wise
    Flavor for every layer other than Lunia

    So far I believe that blackjack, Eldan, hamishspence, Sir Chivalry, and DythTheKobold are currently unassigned, assuming that Tygre is taking an administrative role. Any of you have a particular area of interest?
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2010-12-09 at 10:34 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I'm technically still writing fluff for Lunia, but I haven't had the time to actually work on it.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Iamyourking View Post
    So far I believe that blackjack, Eldan, hamishspence, Sir Chivalry, and DythTheKobold are currently unassigned, assuming that Tygre is taking an administrative role. Any of you have a particular area of interest?
    I lack experience homebrewing- but am happy to make suggestions if I see something that could be changed.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Hey! Wake up! Back on your feet! All right, now who's available for work? And speak for yourselves on this one. If nothing else, let's start whipping up some new dollops of fluff.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I just posted a rough draft of the Virtue, but as a caster it will probably take time. I'm fine with going after something else between it and the Dominion if that is necessary though.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I've been reading up on bits and pieces on Babylon, Marduk, Bahamut and the Harmonium for Nemmiron, the Gate town to Arcadia (Ripvanwormer suggested making it Babylonian, I thought the idea was cool), but I just don't get any decent ideas together, sadly.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Off topic, that is always something I've been interested in. How do the Babylonian and draconic deities interact? I mean, according to FR, Marduk was an aspect of Bahamut, which explains the rivalry with Tiamat, but that just seems too out there.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Well, if we assume Tiamat is related to the Babylonian diety of the same name, they should be enemies. Marduk killed her, after all. Looking at Wikipedia, it says that she gave birth to snakes and dragons, so that fits.

    This, however, doesn't much sound like her:
    Quote Originally Posted by WIkipedia
    Within the Enûma Elish her physical description includes a tail, a thigh, "lower parts" (which shake together), a belly, an udder, ribs, a neck, a head, a skull, eyes, nostrils, a mouth, and lips. She has insides (possibly "entrails"), a heart, arteries, and blood.
    Also, as a creature of Chaos, the babylonian Tiamat is unlikely to be lawful.


    On Hallowed Ground lists Marduk among the Babylonians, and says that he lives on Arcadia and is violently opposed to Tiamat, who he considers his opposite. Tiamat is not listed among the Babylonian powers, but among the Monstrous ones. Interestingly, she's but a lesser power here.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    All right, back on topic. Are there any quick bits of fluff we could cover? Variant archons, knight orders, sites? Something small not more than a paragraph or two, but nice. Just toss some ideas around in the court; I know you have them. I can smell them. They smell like apprehension and strawberries.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    There is the Order of the Planes Militant. They don't have much beyond a page in the Planes of Law, as far as I know:

    Basically, they are an order of mortal knights based on Lunia. There's not really much beyond "they are lawful good".
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  27. - Top - End - #447
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Just chipping in my support of this project. Hope it goes well for you guys! It's about time the Upper Planes got some much needed attention.
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  28. - Top - End - #448
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I've finally gotten a chance to try to re-work the archons, but haven't been able to map out everything; the new archons we'll need to make 13 varieties and the variations on the old one aren't coming very easily. I'll post what I have and we can hash things out together.

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    Overall notes:

    From Throne to Lantern, the number of sub-varieties of our 13 archons will be 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7. This is mostly for symbolism, as the pyramidal hierarchy resembles Mt. Celestia itself, and those particular numbers result in a total of 49 lesser archons--"seven times seven" is an exceptionally sacred/lucky number in the Judeo-Christian scriptures we're drawing from.

    I've moved some archons around since the grouping Eldan came up with, again for thematic reasons. There are several sub-groups of archons based on their overall purpose:

    The Throne, Scepter (new variety), and Blade (super-group of Sword Archons) archons are all rulership-themed; they're on top of the hierarchy in more ways than one and are nominally in charge. The Truth (new variety), Life (new variety), and Word archons are enlightenment-themed; they're high enough up the mountain that they'd reasonably be in charge of souls' enlightenment, and the more introspective of the Hebdomad are around here--plus, Word, Truth, and Life are a play on "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." The next grouping of two archons have yet to be made; no idea what there theme is.

    Next up are the Sentinel (super-group of Owl Archons), Hound, and Warden archons, who are all protection-themed; they're the first-line defenders of Celestia (technically second, after the Silver Sea itself). Last are the Trumpet and Lantern archons; they're themed around guidance, the lanterns as they're commonly familiars and the trumpets as they're commonly messengers, and then of course lanterns and other petitioners start their journey to enlightenment here.

    Following are the archons, their sub-varieties, and short (possibly cryptic) notes on what sorts of abilities they'd have in addition to the ones they already possess.

    • Throne
    • Scepter
    • Blade--Sword, __
      • Sword--??
      • --
    • Truth--Justice, Righteousness
    • Justice--retribution effects, anti-Evil debuffs
      • Righteousness--, pro-Good buffs
    • Life--__, __, __
    • Word--Logos, Pathos, Ethos
      • Logos--utterances, atonement
      • Pathos--power words, charm
      • Ethos--divine word spells, geas
    • --
    • --
    • Sentinel--Owl, Falcon, Dove, Eagle, Osprey
      • Owl--petrification, sight in darkness
      • Falcon--dazing/stunning, distance sight
      • Dove--calm emotions, detect intentions
      • Eagle--exhaustion, stealth detection
      • Osprey--fear, detect illusions/invisibility
    • Hound--Greyhound, Bloodhound, Harrier, Foxhound, Retriever
      • Greyhound--sprinting, evading/dodging
      • Bloodhound--tracking, plane shifting
      • Harrier--endurance, delayed damage
      • Foxhound--detection, ??
      • Retriever--fetching, marking (mark of justice etc.)
    • Warden--Guardian, Watcher, Shield, __, __, __
    • Trumpet--Herald, Harbinger, __, __, __, __
      • Herald--long range communication
      • Harbinger--??
    • Lantern--Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindess, Humility
      • Chastity--purify physical debuffs
      • Temperance--"damps" enemy attacks
      • Charity--grant uses of SLAs
      • Diligence--take 10/take 20 stuff
      • Patience--reroll some checks
      • Kindness--"linked minds" effect
      • Humility--remove mental debuffs

    Any assistance would be appreciated, and I can clarify anything that's unclear.
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  29. - Top - End - #449
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Iamyourking's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Very impressive, I think I'll make a few of those after I finish the Virtue; although I would put Sword Archons in with the Protectors rather than the rulers. Perhaps the other duty of the Foxhounds could be counter-insurrgency and the Harbingers could handle mortal relations?

    Also, I've brought this up a few times and never gotten a response. Can we change the name of the Throne Archon so I can use Throne for the last of my High Castes? My theory here is that I like the concept of a council of Thrones acting as the legislative body, and changing the Throne Archon to the Crown Archon would be more thematic with your Sceptre variant.
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  30. - Top - End - #450
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Let's start at the bottom:

    For the Trumpet:
    There should be a variety of messenger archon, which would fit this very well. The sign of the post, at least here, is a horn, so that fits.
    Then, I was thinking of the horns of Jericho. Trumpets as sonic weapons.

    The Warden:
    The classical guardian angel? A variety that is mostly unseen (veiled? disguised? Invisible?) and is sent to protect important mortals. It's said that it's the main modus operandi for Eladrin, but can see this work here.
    Then, an Archon tasked with guarding evil artefacts, so that no one may use them.
    Another one to man the citadels, walls and gates of celestia.

    Hound: seems fine. Perhaps a pack leader archon?

    Life: where's that one from and what was the idea?

    Blade: these should be Celestias greatest warriors, of course. Different combat styles for varieties, then, but I have difficulties coming up with two that are general enough and not already covered by others. An armed and an unarmed archon?



    Also, I noticed there's no real ranged combat anywhere among these. Just a thought. Then, healers are necessary, these probably fit to Life. Earlier, a seer-themed archon for Earathol was mentioned, that's another thought, and an unarmed monk archon. Also, an ascetic archon, perhaps?
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