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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    *Ahem*

    I have a problem with evil outsiders (actually, by association, all outsiders) in D20. I had other problems with the alignment system, but they revolve around non-outsiders and arbituary class alignments (You cannot be a Paladin/Druid or Paladin Bard without damning your character even if you're still a good guy, which is, IMO, the point of a Paladin.) and they are resolved by abolishing alignment for mortal characters and leaving it in place to ID and fight outsider and mortal Divine spellcasters that bargain with Gods and Demons for their power.

    This works from a gameplay standpoint, but then I look to demonic motivations and wonder "why would a demon show up (so the cleric/paladin/Good-magic user custom created using EOM:revised rules could have his or her moment in the spotlight) on the material plane other than some random, stupid warlock/cultist *very* occasionally summoning one?" I also have the horrible affliction of think that demonic magic users are "cool" but think the very idea of an "irredeemibly evil yet uber-powerful species that lives on another plane and will rally to invade and destroy the mortal world at the first chance they get" is a transparent "escape hatch" for the content writer to save himself from writing something new to facilitate the plot by relying on the same old, never-fully-explored-but-accepted anyway fantasy conventions.

    My main questions are:
    1) The important one, if I assume fiends have any more complexity than to have it in for the world "just because", then why would they bargain with mortals over their magic? Whats really in it for the demon/devil/insanity god?

    2) If we assume demons really do want the apocolypse (but need someone on the material plane's side to open a gate), then why would non-nihilistic (nihilistic doesn't neccesarily mean evil, there are some who simply want to CONQUER the world...) people agree to become a diabolist? Actually, here's what a friend of mine suffering from "CAPS-LOCK" shouted out on a World of Warcraft forum: HEY! THAT WARLOCK YOU RAIDED THUNDER BLUFF WITH LAST WEEK? IF HE ISN'T INVOLVED IN AN ACTIVE CONSPIRACY TO SUMMON THE BURNING LEGION BACK INTO AZEROTH, WHERE'D HE GET HIS POWERS?

    Its so tragic about his caps lock.
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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    1) Presumably, bargaining with mortals involves souls at some point.
    "PC: Gee, I sure do want to be a cleric.
    Demon: Gimme your soul and you'll be casting Orisons by morning."
    Demons like souls. That's about as complex as they'll ever get.
    2)I fail to see what your friend's quote has to do with your question. Also, some people are aren't nihilistic, but also are rather misguided. All through history, you see examples of maniacs who thought God was talking to them and telling them to kill people. These cultists summon Demons because they've been misled by truly nihilistic people.
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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Arguably, yes, it's a hack plotline. But it's a very _old_ hack plotline; devils and demons date back to well before any tabletop game codified them.

    As for answers to your questions:

    1-I do believe there's some kind of souls-being-collected-for-power thing going on in hell.

    2-Easy, cheap power, I'd say. The full impact of their actions strikes too late for them to realize.

    Also, I do believe azerothian warlocks can _enslave_ demons for power... at least, at first.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    This works from a gameplay standpoint, but then I look to demonic motivations and wonder "why would a demon show up (so the cleric/paladin/Good-magic user custom created using EOM:revised rules could have his or her moment in the spotlight) on the material plane other than some random, stupid warlock/cultist *very* occasionally summoning one?" I also have the horrible affliction of think that demonic magic users are "cool" but think the very idea of an "irredeemibly evil yet uber-powerful species that lives on another plane and will rally to invade and destroy the mortal world at the first chance they get" is a transparent "escape hatch" for the content writer to save himself from writing something new to facilitate the plot by relying on the same old, never-fully-explored-but-accepted anyway fantasy conventions.
    Hmmm, is your problem with the thematic basis of demons/devils and their designs on the Prime Material, or with the less basic issue of them actually coming to the Prime? The former requires dealing with cosmology, the latter can be resolved by simply saying the demon lords and archdevils have schemes a-hatchin' that require manipulation of events on the Prime and they sometimes send their juniors to deal with matters directly. In other words, the demons you see outside the Hells aren't there because it's innately in their best interests but because someone bigger than them will cause them a very great deal of pain if they don't do as they're told.

    My main questions are:
    1) The important one, if I assume fiends have any more complexity than to have it in for the world "just because", then why would they bargain with mortals over their magic? Whats really in it for the demon/devil/insanity god?
    There are a few factors here. Firstly, granting mortals power in exchange for their souls strengthens the demon, as souls are currency on the Lower Planes. Secondly, I believe some evil outsiders are experimenting with more or less setting themselves up as gods - getting mortals to worship them, granting powers to clerics etc, so that they don't get souls per se but instead get the benefits of mortal belief, which apparently adds up to a potent force on the Outer Planes in general. (I think Orcus has something like this going on, having a necromantic cult or something similar - though I may have the wrong guy, or there may be others.) Lastly, a demon might want to accomplish some machination on the Prime Material that will in some way benefit it - say, destroying a church of a deity that particularly opposes it, thus weakening its foe a little - but want to do so stealthily, without drawing divine attention too early. Using human agents and paying them in the coin of the outsider's own power is a good way to accomplish this.

    2) If we assume demons really do want the apocolypse (but need someone on the material plane's side to open a gate), then why would non-nihilistic (nihilistic doesn't neccesarily mean evil, there are some who simply want to CONQUER the world...) people agree to become a diabolist?
    I don't know of anything in D&D that says demons or devils have the ultimate aim of bringing about an apocalypse that destroys everything. Rather they may want to take over the Prime, which would pretty much be "the end of the mortal world", but still leave a material realm in place. A follower who expects rewards of power and/or station in a devil-ruled hell-world wouldn't need to be any sort of nihilist. And of course, it's entirely possible that someone working for an evil outsider could be deluded or deceived - thinking he's actually the agent of an evil god, or working with some other faction from the Planes entirely.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Paladin/Bards are allowed. Check out the Devoted Performer (I think that's the one?) feat in CAdv. In fact, with the Initiate of Milil, Divine Might, and Snowflake Wardance feats, it's a very playable combination.

    1. Devils (and demons) want to - need to - corrupt mortals. The best way to corrupt someone is to offer them something they think they want, but with strings attached. What do you think a "deal with the devil" is all about, eh?

    2. Who says fiends want to end the world? They just want to corrupt more and more mortals, and cause fear and pain and destruction in the Material Plane.

    Fiends are creatures of philosophy, metaphysics, and belief. The more their ideals (pain, fear, violence, tyranny, chaos, terror, death) are present in the Material World, the more powerful they are (or feel).

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    1) The important one, if I assume fiends have any more complexity than to have it in for the world "just because", then why would they bargain with mortals over their magic? Whats really in it for the demon/devil/insanity god?
    The standard trade is that the the mortal gets great power over the material world, in exchange for losing his soul.

    Since devils are immortal, this suits them fine. They wait a few years or a few centuries for the mortal to get killed off, and get a soul. As an added bonus, the mortal will probably cause lots of evil and destruction on the material plane while he's alive, and the devil can leverage extra influence from them along the way. From the devil's point of view, this is a win-win situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    2) If we assume demons really do want the apocolypse (but need someone on the material plane's side to open a gate), then why would non-nihilistic (nihilistic doesn't neccesarily mean evil, there are some who simply want to CONQUER the world...) people agree to become a diabolist?
    Demons aren't going to destroy the entire world from just a single little gate. Diabolists open gates all the time. The demons that come through cause a lot of death and destruction, but will eventually be stopped. If you're the kind of person who's willing to consider becoming a diabolist, a bit of random death and destruction to people you don't know is unlikely to bother you much, as long as you get what you want in the process.

    And then there are the people who are dumb enough to open gates under the assumption that they can outsmart and control any demons/devils who show up and just send them back once they don't want them around any more. You have to be pretty stupid to believe this, but every world has its quota of stupid people.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Indon View Post
    2-Easy, cheap power, I'd say.
    So what you're saying is that Demonologists just want to use the Material Plane as some kind of Planar-Fusion Reactor? All you need to do is summon a couple of Demons (or Devils, your choice) and with all the heat they have down in hell (I've heard it gets kind of toasty down there), you use a little of it to kick start the apocalypse. Take over the world to cut down on the heating bill. Sounds good to me.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    So what you're saying is that Demonologists just want to use the Material Plane as some kind of Planar-Fusion Reactor? All you need to do is summon a couple of Demons (or Devils, your choice) and with all the heat they have down in hell (I've heard it gets kind of toasty down there), you use a little of it to kick start the apocalypse. Take over the world to cut down on the heating bill. Sounds good to me.
    Yes. You see, the little-known true reason that lawful evil outsiders are Devils and chaotic evil outsiders are Demons is that the names derive from Maxwell's Demon, who was clearly archetypally chaotic what with all that violating thermodynamics and such... and, well, the nomenclature just flowed from that.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    For the first question I would agree with the above statements about the desire Demons/Devils to corrupt mortal souls is largely for their own benefit or on orders. I would also like to point the OP to ProjectGutenberg text of Marlowe's Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, as well as the wikipedia entry on the play. In it there are essentially two main Demons, Mephistopheles and his lord Lucifer. Faustus makes a pack with Lucifer and in return for his soul he gets the service of Mephistopheles for 24 years and great magical powers.

    The key to this is that both Lucifer and Meph. want to posses Faustus' soul. In the beliefs of the religion that the play is tied to there was a definite war between Hell and Heaven for souls, and each soul counted, especially men as important and intelligent as Faustus. D&D has done away with some of this due to the fact that there is both The Hells and The Abyss as well as making the Positive and Negative Energy planes the places for souls to go after death. This makes sense because it removes some of the heavy religious connotation that Heaven and Hell imply, but it leads to ambiguous motivations for Demons and Devils. Another artifact of this that I personally don't like is that none of the Lords of Hell as listed in D&D are gods in their own right. Sure there are Evil gods in both planes, but they are largely separate from the political machinations of Nine Lords of The Hells and whatever equivalent The Abyss has. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    For the second question, again Faustus is a good example. When he initially trades his soul he is intending to do good with it. He will advance science, change society for the better, and all other sorts of things. He certainly doesn't want Lucifer to control the world or destroy it. The fact that he doesn't accomplish anything but take a trip around the world, steal the Pope's food, and impersonate a Bishop is due to the fact that Meph. deliberately seduces him with trivial powers, not real ones. People can bargain with Demons for any reason that they would want the power, even for good.

    In the end, if you really hate the archetype though, blame Faustus.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Foucault View Post
    ...as well as making the Positive and Negative Energy planes the places for souls to go after death.
    Ummm... Pardon?

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Yeah, that's not right. Those are Inner Planes, like the Elemental Planes; souls go into the Outer Planes.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Maybe I'm a bit rusty on my Planar stuff. I though the souls of the dead went there. It might have been setting-specific. I that case I guess I don't know where they go.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    So what you're saying is that Demonologists just want to use the Material Plane as some kind of Planar-Fusion Reactor? All you need to do is summon a couple of Demons (or Devils, your choice) and with all the heat they have down in hell (I've heard it gets kind of toasty down there), you use a little of it to kick start the apocalypse. Take over the world to cut down on the heating bill. Sounds good to me.
    More along the lines of:

    Demon: Hey, I'll give you CRAZY magical power!
    Guy: Oh, sure.
    Demon: You just have to do one small favor for me...
    Guy: Hey, no problem, man!
    Demon: Let me and my friends into the material plane to feast upon the souls of mortals.
    Guy: Uh...
    Demon: I _can_ take your spellcasting back...
    Guy: Okay, okay! I'll cause the apocalypse already, sheesh!

    But Maxwell's Demon works, too.

    Especially if Hell is exothermic, they'd need the power.
    Last edited by Indon; 2007-02-13 at 10:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    One thing you have to understand is that Demons and Devils do not have the same motivation as mortals. For one, they are immortal, so a lot of the things mortals seek are irrelevant to them. Secondly, evil outsiders are basically Elemental Evil. Asking why a demon seeks to corrupt souls and destroy the mortal plane is kind of like asking why a fire elementals burn.
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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Foucault View Post
    Maybe I'm a bit rusty on my Planar stuff. I though the souls of the dead went there. It might have been setting-specific. I that case I guess I don't know where they go.
    Outer Planes - Lower and Upper Both. Abyss, Baator, Arcadia, Celestia, Beastlands, and so on. Where the fiends, celestials, and other outsiders live. There they become "petitioners" (such as the "soul larvae" all over the Lower Planes), and sometimes evolve - by various mechanisms - into outsiders themselves. (Although I think the current version has outsiders born out of the essence of the plane itself.)
    Last edited by Thomas; 2007-02-13 at 11:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    My view is that mortals are not actually important to fiends... their souls are useful, but the Prime Material isn't much more important to them than Kansas is to the average New Yorker... it is in an existential way, but not really. And any given crystal sphere? That's just one farm amongst many thousands, if not millions.

    However, individual mortals are useful. They can do things for fiends which will increase their personal power/status. When the warlock's fiend masters has him slaughtering babies? That's about power. When he's going to rival fiend cults and slaying their worshipers? That's about status. And when the warlock goes out and burns down the orphanage where he was raised, where the brutal nuns beat the children for the slightest infraction and the gardener stares at them with lust in his eyes and the older children taunt those who are smaller when the lights go out and the lessons are all about how demons will steal your soul if you don't cleave to the teachings of Ilmater and you'll never be a good boy because if you were a good boy your parents wouldn't have died and left you here and they certainly would've found someone who loved you instead of leaving you all alone... when the warlock does THAT, it's pure satisfaction.
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Thank you for responding. Especially you, kamekasei, for your in-depth response.

    I don't know of anything in D&D that says demons or devils have the ultimate aim of bringing about an apocalypse that destroys everything. Rather they may want to take over the Prime, which would pretty much be "the end of the mortal world", but still leave a material realm in place. A follower who expects rewards of power and/or station in a devil-ruled hell-world wouldn't need to be any sort of nihilist. And of course, it's entirely possible that someone working for an evil outsider could be deluded or deceived - thinking he's actually the agent of an evil god, or working with some other faction from the Planes entirely.
    The reason the subject of apocolyptic demons was brought up was a reference to Warcraft 3's burning legion, which behaves that way. This got entangled with my references to D&D fiends, but the question was still over why anyone would become a demonic magic user.

    The reason I started this thread is because of my recent acquision of Lyceian Arcana. The sister book to Elements of Magic: Revised version from Rpgnow.com. And in it were listed a rules for created magical traditions (templates for structuring your customizable EOM spells) for your campaign world as well as 9 traditions and a magical school which can showcase them in your game. I liked what I saw, to give the short version, but one magical tradition purplexed (sp?) me:

    The Taranesti Diabolists.

    Basically, they are a group of "dark elves" (I think they mean drow) that are so oppurtunistic, they will try to backstab the devils they sold their souls to! Upon reading it again, I discovered they in fact use Transform and Illusion magic to disguise their identity (not only from "polite, demon-hating society" but from the fiends they bargain with!)

    I mean imagine:

    Fantasy conventions: Don't make a deal with the devil, he'll steal your soul. Its the rules.
    Taranesti: Screw the rules, I have disguises! *alters self into the visage , down to the fingerprints, of some NPC he doesn't like*
    Taranesti: Ah, yes, Mr. Asmodeus? I am Gillian, the assh-uh, I mean captain of Norzama's city guard, and I'd like to forge-I MEAN sign a contract with you in exchange for diabolic magic of the dominate others sort.

    Question time!

    1) What would you do about the above situation if one of your players tried to do the Taranesti Diabolist's trick of signing other people's souls in exchange for diabolic power? The Diabolists also switch demons and, preportedly "drop all alliances when the time is right." If they f***ed around with all the outsiders like this, this would make a little more sense, but just understanding how the diabolists play politics and pit fiends (pun not intended) against each other is too much for me. How would you, as a DM, deal with a player who tried to use outsiders like this? Supposedly, he could get off scott-free and leave various archdevils and demon princes trying to figure out who has ownership rights over some-random-NPC-who-didn't-do-anything's soul.

    2) Also, how would a student at the Lyceian (the afore mentioned magic school) find out about and study the Diabolist's tradition (or any other questionalbe, illegal, place/group a PC or NPC suspects is there, but of course the place/group can't advertise their hideout's location.)?
    Petition for the Giant to make more "The World" articles!

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Sorry for double post

    Secondly, evil outsiders are basically Elemental Evil. Asking why a demon seeks to corrupt souls and destroy the mortal plane is kind of like asking why a fire elementals burn.
    Why does a fire elemental burn? Or rather, why does it keep burning, and burning, and burning, and burning....where's the fuel?

    Good analogy, it actually points to why I hate evil outsiders, because well.....click on this link: http://www.mu.ranter.net/theory/writing.html#goodevil
    Petition for the Giant to make more "The World" articles!

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    1) What would you do about the above situation if one of your players tried to do the Taranesti Diabolist's trick of signing other people's souls in exchange for diabolic power? The Diabolists also switch demons and, preportedly "drop all alliances when the time is right." If they f***ed around with all the outsiders like this, this would make a little more sense, but just understanding how the diabolists play politics and pit fiends (pun not intended) against each other is too much for me. How would you, as a DM, deal with a player who tried to use outsiders like this? Supposedly, he could get off scott-free and leave various archdevils and demon princes trying to figure out who has ownership rights over some-random-NPC-who-didn't-do-anything's soul.

    2) Also, how would a student at the Lyceian (the afore mentioned magic school) find out about and study the Diabolist's tradition (or any other questionalbe, illegal, place/group a PC or NPC suspects is there, but of course the place/group can't advertise their hideout's location.)?
    1. I love the idea of selling other people's souls to devils, and frankly, I'd think devils would love it, too - because few crimes can be as horrible as condemning innocents into Hell, and that ensures the mortal's damnation just as surely as signing their soul over in a contract would.

    Not that I'd think the "I get X, you get my soul" contract makes any sense. No. Devils (and corrupting demons) are much more subtle. They keep giving you what you want, apparently at no cost - you control them! - but every gift they give you will eventually turn out for the worst. (Everybody's seen movies or cartoons or comics where this happens.) You don't sign over your soul - it's slowly, subtly corrupted, as you spread despair and evil around you with your new-found power.

    So long as there are some sort of game mechanics that ensure the person cheating the fiends doesn't get an unfair advantage over other PCs, it's fine by me. Eventually, I'd hit them with the whole "Your deeds have blackened your soul beyond all hope of salvation, muahahaha!" deal. (Possibly when they happen to die of something completely unrelated. Hey, would you look at that - Bel owns your soul, and he won't let go of it so you can be resurrected ...)

    2. Learning the traditions of any particular secret sect is always essentially the same deal. They make great adventures. You either have to track down or attract the attention of a member, and become an apprentice, or you have to find the appropriate grimoires or whatever else.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    What would you do about the above situation if one of your players tried to do the Taranesti Diabolist's trick of signing other people's souls in exchange for diabolic power? The Diabolists also switch demons and, preportedly "drop all alliances when the time is right." If they f***ed around with all the outsiders like this, this would make a little more sense, but just understanding how the diabolists play politics and pit fiends (pun not intended) against each other is too much for me. How would you, as a DM, deal with a player who tried to use outsiders like this?
    Well, outsiders are immortal. So, pulling a number out of thin air, the average devil will probably have been doing soul-pacts for . . . a few thousand years? Maybe a lot more, maybe less, who knows.

    Now, let's look up the mental scores of your example devil. Let's say it's a pit fiend - Int 26, Wis 26, Cha 26. Okay. So we have a mortal trying to double-cross a creature that's almost certainly smarter than him, has been doing this in infinite permutations for goodness only knows how long, and probably invented entirely new ways of double-crossing a thousand years before the mortal was even born.

    Basically, your diabolist is screwed. It might take a while, and the details are going to depend upon your exact campaign setting, but the devils are going to win. They've got every advantage in this contest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    2) Also, how would a student at the Lyceian (the afore mentioned magic school) find out about and study the Diabolist's tradition (or any other questionalbe, illegal, place/group a PC or NPC suspects is there, but of course the place/group can't advertise their hideout's location.)?
    Wait for the explosion and be around to pick up the pieces afterwards?

    Okay, seriously - the same way you find out about every illegal group. Contacts, very cautious probing, and some way of convincing the people that you're not a cop/double agent/spy. It'll also depend on how motivated the diabolists are to get new recruits - do they want new blood, or would they rather keep the secrets to themselves?

    It should be very difficult - after all, if these people were easy to find, they'd probably be dead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    Good analogy, it actually points to why I hate evil outsiders, because well.....click on this link: http://www.mu.ranter.net/theory/writing.html#goodevil
    Eh. I don't think the guy knows what he's talking about, but whatever works for you.

    - Saph

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Eh. I don't think the guy knows what he's talking about, but whatever works for you.
    Agreed. It's irrelevant, anyway. D&D devils and demons are only as hackneyed as you make them. As a former AD&D Planescape player, my opinion is "Not very hackneyed at all." They're metaphysical creatures with their own motivations and goals. They've got goals: they want to extend the dominion of their particular Lower Realm and of their particular fiendish overlord (economic interest, eh?), by spreading corruption and evil. (The mere proliferation of evil makes those metaphysical planes, fueled by belief and souls and abstract concepts, stronger.)

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    I can't speak for demons, but I've spoken with a friend who happens to own the Fiendish Codex 2 - an entire book devoted to Devils.

    They come to the Prime Material with the intent to corrupt a mortal's soul. They don't typically write out a contract with the mortal's price listed as "Your Soul", most the time, but it does happen on occasion. Usually what happens is that they lend the mortals small motes of power over time, making deals regarding how they use that power, or just making that power inherently corrupting in some way. They WANT the mortals to be corrupted, so that they turn Lawful Evil.

    If a particular devil can convince a mortal to become Lawful Evil, he gets credit for that soul when that person dies. They arrive in Hell, various things happen, which isn't necessarily within the scope of this post. The point here is that the devil who corrupted that particular mortal gets the credit for bringing that soul to the Hells. When a particular devil has brought enough souls down, they "evolve" into a different form of devil, eventually working their way through the ranks to become a Pit Fiend.

    Of course, there are other reasons Devils might work on the Prime Material... cults and the like, for example. But this is usually the most common of them.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Eh. I don't think the guy knows what he's talking about, but whatever works for you.
    actually, "that guy's" rant was covering game design of P+P, console, PC, and MMORPGS, and that section was about writting. Actually, the part he wrote about on "the hackeyed battle between good and evil," he was refering to things like Orcs, goblins, gnolls, murlocs, etc. The things that come from beyond the mountains (not the wizard's summoning circle) and raid farming villages and eye that city enclosed by walls with all them der fancy buildings at the center like a munchkin eyes a wheezing, abnormally skinny Red Dragon's treasure hoard. (but do not have intricate agendas ultimately involving a major shift in the cosmic balance of power.) Humanoids have ethics based on how their culture evolved on the material plane; outsiders have ethics that bolster the ethics that are, in fact, their living essence. So, it was a bad example. I was in a hurry and had to leave soon.

    Here's the exact background/overview of the Taranesti Diabolists, which will be needed to understand a later post I'll make, but I'm out of time again:

    Taranesti Diabolists
    Even before they fled the scorching sun of the surface
    world, the dark-skinned Taranesti Elves were believed to
    be evil, for they consorted with the infernal. While
    normal spellcasters drew power from nature, or from the
    gods, the Taranesti made bargains with devils, seeking
    power through ever-shifting networks of demonic
    couriers and magical merchants. The overriding theme of
    Taranesti doctrine is opportunism, and so regardless of
    how evil their business partners might be, the Taranesti
    never balk at taking the fastest course to power.

    Availability: Any mage willing to risk her sanity
    speaking with infernal entities can begin to learn the way
    of the diabolists, but true power comes by being willing to
    abandon all alliances when the time is right. Thus, nearly
    all diabolists are chaotic, and most are evil.
    Thematic Elements: The Taranesti have also
    developed tattoo magic, in which tattoos are infused with
    permanent spell effects, or used as focuses for a mage’s
    own signature spells. Using pale inks, they cover their
    dark skin with elaborate designs, but leave their faces and
    the backs of their hands bare.
    An opportunistic diabolist must be able to conceal
    her identity if necessary, and so long, loose clothing is
    preferred, often accompanied by an assortment of preplanned
    magical disguises. Particularly when dealing with
    powerful demons, lying about who you are is very useful.
    Diabolic magic favours darkness and shadows, and
    mages like to keep hidden and use summoned or misled
    allies to do their fighting. Imperfect things are often used
    as items of power, and spells that affect creatures are
    usually accompanied by well-hidden marks that can be
    traced back to the caster if she is not careful. Often diabolists end spells on their allies when things look bad,
    rather than risk having a foe find out they were
    responsible.
    Petition for the Giant to make more "The World" articles!

    He's a suave Amish cyborg who knows the secret of the alien invasion. She's a manipulative mute safe cracker with the power to see death. They fight crime!

    *facepalm*
    *facedesk*
    *facewall*



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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Just to check - these Taranesti are going to be NPCs, right? Because a PC whose character concept is "I deal with demons, frame the people around me for it, and stab my allies in the back" is going to really strain relations between the players in your gaming group.

    - Saph

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtbot360 View Post
    Why does a fire elemental burn? Or rather, why does it keep burning, and burning, and burning, and burning....where's the fuel?
    It's Magic.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Demons fight devils. Devils fight demons. Archons fight demons. Eladrin fight devils. Angels and guardinals fight both demons and devils. All of this goes on for eternity.

    There's obviously some conflict going on in the outer planes. I don't think an individual demon or devil cares that much about what happens to the material plane.

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    and don't the souls that the devils obtain become lemures or occasionally higher forms of devil depending on the bargain made
    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Just to check - these Taranesti are going to be NPCs, right? Because a PC whose character concept is "I deal with demons, frame the people around me for it, and stab my allies in the back" is going to really strain relations between the players in your gaming group.
    Actually, its more than likely they'll be NPCs. But I'd like to know how to theoretically join the diabolist for detail and flavor text reasons. Also because I hope to play few Street Fighter: The storytelling game sessions and the exact process of how the prototypical street fighter (or his manager) ever finds the fundamentally illegal fighting tournament (many of which are set up by Shadoloo, the criminal network that scour the tournaments for fighters that can be bought off or coericed into joining them. Shadoloo are the bad guys, run by M. Bison, btw.) where all the action is and all the money is made. So there's that other, more modern version of a secret society that has to stay hidden from the law.

    However, considering PC relation trouble: There is also a slight possibility that the following situation may occur:

    NPC teacher of the Lyceian in my campaign: Welcome back, students. For your second year, you are encouraged to take on one of the magical traditions as your focus. You will be left to dabble in the traditions as you please but will have to report back to an instructor for advice and grading once per month.
    GM: Okay, now lets stop the game here to look over the traditions and their feats.
    PC: I like this feat, I wanna join the tradition that has this:

    Infernal Pact [Tradition]
    Your spells always carry the taint of evil.
    Prerequisite: Knowledge (the planes) 4 ranks, must
    know Abjure Evil and Summon Outsider.
    Benefit: All spells you cast detect as evil to a magical
    Spellcraft check, and you detect as evil. This does not
    prevent you or your spells from also detecting as their or
    your actual alignment, if that is not evil. You gain energy
    resistance 10 against evil damage, but take full damage
    from good effects, regardless of your actual alignment.
    Whenever a creature fails a save against one of your
    spells, even if the save is normally listed as harmless, that
    creature takes 1d6 points of evil damage. A creature cannot
    be damaged in this way more than once by a single
    spell, regardless of how many saves the spell calls for.
    You gain one additional spell list. Whenever you cast
    a spell using this spell list, you take damage equal to the
    MP spent on that spell list.

    GM:*has a diabolist conspiracy adventure planned*......thats the Taranesti Diabolists.
    PC: Yeah, I know.
    GM: How do you even know the Diabolists are availible?
    PC: How do I know they aren't there? You have a hard-on for using everything in the gamebooks you can.
    GM: That's metagame thinking.
    PC: Fine! Then I'll just say that I've become interested in studying demon lore and start searching for any clues as too were diabolist instructors/tomes may be hidden on campus or in the Nozama Govt. library, and I'll find them!
    GM: Even if you do, you'll detect as evil, and the Paladin/Mageknight multiclass or the divination expert will end up detecting evil sometime and WHAM! An aura will be coming from you! They might think your a Doppleganger or something and kill you before you can react.
    PC: Oh, that Paladin's gonna be the first to die.
    GM: *Looks at him like he's an idiot* Well, there goes the quandry of you having a Good AND Evil aura at the same time, at least..... Look, just pick another tradition.
    PC: *Whines* but I want that extra 1d6 damage!
    GM: You end up fighting evil charcters anyway, and their immune to evil damage! And you won't do full damage against neutral chars...
    PC: Oh, I think I'm going to be fighting a lot of good people.
    GM: You sound like you have a plan instead of a blantant attempt at munching your already over-specializiced attack spells for even higher damage...
    PC: It'll be like, a betrayer side-plot. I'm going to buy the poison for the paladin now. Maybe I'll kill two birds with one stone and head to the black market for some sinmaker's surprise at what's undoubtably going to be a very diabolic magic-related shop.
    GM: ......*stabs him in the face*

    Maybe the above is conjecture, but it gets the point across.

    EDIT:
    Demons fight devils. Devils fight demons. Archons fight demons. Eladrin fight devils. Angels and guardinals fight both demons and devils. All of this goes on for eternity.

    There's obviously some conflict going on in the outer planes. I don't think an individual demon or devil cares that much about what happens to the material plane.
    Excellent point, JJ. I've actually considered making it a variable tradition that deals with outsiders on the whole and when you make a deal with a celestial (Wow, thats never been done before! But, then again, explain Paladins and good religions...) Infernal pact (the diabolist's star feat grants good based powers. This probably wouldn't raise the Diabolists to PC-material, but it would allow for the creation of some mysterious, sneaky b*st*rd NPC whom the PCs would be meet up to gain a unique ally, get screwed over, and have short shrimishes with before he withdraws with omnious information he gives the PCs that both helps them fight their current demon problems, and helps him "get ahead" on his attempt to reach godhood via massive scams and maniupaltion of events.

    Problem is, the Outsiders weren't born yesterday (or even last century) and they might call BS on such a character from day two.
    Last edited by Thoughtbot360; 2007-02-13 at 06:51 PM.
    Petition for the Giant to make more "The World" articles!

    He's a suave Amish cyborg who knows the secret of the alien invasion. She's a manipulative mute safe cracker with the power to see death. They fight crime!

    *facepalm*
    *facedesk*
    *facewall*



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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    Don't forget that Devils fight Devils and Demons fight Demons...
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

    – Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)

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    Default Re: Demons, Devils, and other Contrived conflict-creators

    You used the phrase "Irredeemably evil" to describe evil outsiders. It should be noted that the irredeemable evil,or incorruptable good, does not exist in D&D. A very basic tenet of good is that all can be redeemed, and a main point of evil is that anyone can be corrupted. This includes outsiders. Fallen angels exist aplenty...in fact, that's the originl of the Devils of the Nine Hells of Baator...formerly lawful good outsiders commissioned to fight the chaos of the abyss and being corrupted in their dedication to their job. (A dedication which has never waned, by the way. Demons and Devils are far more concerned with killing each other than dealing with "good vs. evil." Law vs. Chaos is a much bigger deal to them.)

    Outsiders may be the very embodiment of the allignment they possess, but they are still changeable, in very rare cases.

    (This is also my "eyerolling" done at people who complain about 'good drow'. Redemption is the main point of good...killing evil is not a good thing. Its at best a neutral act that is necessary. Redeeming evil is a good thing.)

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