Created by Elizabeth "Princess Beth" McCoy
(Note that in the demonic, Nitpicking could also be translated as "Rules Nazism" or "Line Editing.")
"The world can't be like that; it would contradict with three separate references, no, four. Here, let me quote the page numbers..."
Band-sister to Asmodeus, her celestial form looking something like a scorpion crossed with a beaver who could take down a redwood, this Beth was once the Angel of Evolving Consistency, a Cherub who served Archives. ("Yes, I know I have the same name as *her*. But that doesn't mean anything -- she's a Kyrio or Bright or something, and I'm a Djinn.") After foolishly attuning herself to the _Oz_ books by Baum and gaining dissonance for every internal inconsistency he wrote, she plummeted like a rock, convinced that humans were sloppy, uncaring, and generally contrary.
She wound up working in Asmodeus' records for a while, attuning herself to various case-files and -- possessive as a Djinn in fixation mode -- collecting them to her and not letting anyone mess with them. Asmodeus came upon her in this state and threatened to have her questioned. Her reply was... unusual...
"I'm a Djinn, and I simply don't care, so you can't frighten me. You ought to know that, you're one yourself. Besides, I'm not dissonant, or Discordant, and I'm serving the causes of Hell very nicely, thank you. Now, why *is* it that all your Servitors are supposed to seek out the Discordant, when that and dissonance are really only results of bad luck with one's resonance nine times out of ten, and not a case of defying one's nature? It's inconsistent."
Not deigning to answer the question, but more thoughtful now, the Prince inquired as to why she hadn't been reported before this.
"They're all afraid of me. I understand the triplicate forms and they don't."
So Asmodeus hauled her out of her cozy little nest and dragged her to one of the larger courtrooms and indulged in a nice, public trial, during which Beth proceeded to demolish the opposing lawyer's arguments with their internal inconsistencies (all the while dodging the main issue: she'd mouthed off to a Prince). And Lucifer showed up, smiling slightly. "Asmodeus?" the Prince among Princes asked. "Do you really want her destroyed?"
And the Djinn Beth pointed out, "If he *wants* anything, then he's not acting as a proper Djinn, you know."
While Asmodeus held his forehead in his hands, torn between fury and admiration and uncaring, Lucifer smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "I'm sure Princess Beth will make a good ally."
The Demon Princess of Nitpicking is an exacting task-mistress. *Nobody* can ever complete a mission to her utter and total satisfaction -- though those who come close enough are rewarded anyway. She has an uncanny ability to dole out exactly enough praise (and punishment) to keep Servitors motivated without being discouraged. Even her Djinn are surprisingly pro-active.
Servitors of Nitpicking cannot ignore anything that they believe to be inconsistent or Just Plain Wrong. They must inform the perpetrator of inconsistencies of his (or her, or its) error, preferably backing it up with references. Detailed page references are best. Not entirely surprisingly, they can get along with Judgment-angels rather well
With their flexible world-views, a Balseraph can see *anything* as inconsistent...or consistant. Anyone resisting their lies rolls at a penalty to Will equal to the Balseraph's Celestial Forces -- but *any* successful resistance will cause the Liar a note of dissonance (as if the subjected had resisted with a 6).
Djinn of Nitpicking would be Beth's favorite Servitors, if she cared. They can attune themselves to something, and be able to find the inconsistencies within the work with a successful Perception roll. This applies to people, as well -- if an attuned subject says one thing and does another (or vice versa) or has said two different things to different people, the Djinn will know (with a Perception roll). This makes them rather good at spotting lies, much to the disgust of Seraphim.
These demons trash things that don't agree with their sources -- if the Calabite's target somehow contradicts something the Calabite has read or heard (preferably from an authoritative source, like the Princess), the Calabite adds his Ethereal Forces to his resonance roll. They are very dangerous to argue with...
Punishers of the inconsistent (whom they consider weak; after all, Perfection is next to Godliness, right?), Beth's Habbalah may inflict embarrassment and shame on a target, reducing Celestial characteristics (instead of Ethereal) for minutes equal to the check digit; during this time, the subject will either be too embarrassed by his (or her) perceived gaffe to notice much else (loss of Perception), or so ashamed that he (or she) will do almost anything to make up for it (loss of Will). The target can resist normally, possibly causing the Habbalite backlash, as per pp. IN146-147.
Hell's proofreaders, Lilim of Nitpicking can scan a document (at a number of 550-word pages per minute equal to their Ethereal Forces) and correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, word-choice and internal inconsistencies. Upon receipt of the corrected (or at least red-inked) material, the target owes the Lilim a Geas, level equal to the time she spent on it (round up; see p. IN88), and will not get a Will roll to resist when she calls it in. These Daughters can expand into painting, cooking, or sculpture, but they have to make a successful Artistry roll for the alternate medium before they can nitpick it and the check digit is the highest level of Geas they can achieve.
Beth's Shedim have the ability to reside in computers, pens, pencils, typewriters, or other artifacts that could be used to create, possessing them in the same manner as a Kyriotate of Jean! This takes a resonance roll, and the duration of possession is up to check digit hours. They may, if they choose, automatically correct errors committed with their inanimate host: a typewriter will suddenly back up and strike out the offending typo, a computer will auto-correct, or the user will find himself (or herself) erasing something and re-doing it. Using the "silent possession" rules from the _Infernal Player's Guide_, Shedim of Nitpicking can move around rather quietly -- people will hold a pen much longer than a stranger's hand...
Takers of *ideas*, these demons point out the mistakes in a work, offer to correct them, and (with a successful resonance roll) steal away the guiding genius from the user for a number of days equal to the check digit. The resulting "co-authored" piece is technically perfect, but somehow lacking -- without "soul" -- as are all other pieces attempted by the subject during the duration of the theft. The Impudite, meanwhile, is free to use the inspiration himself (or herself), receiving a bonus to Artistry equal to the check digit. However, anything created by the demon will "read" as if the original subject had done it, if viewed by other celestials, and if enough time goes by, the work can be mistaken for the original creator's. ("Ah! An unknown Van Gogh!")
Impudites of Nitpicking who run into Servitors of Creation are usually in deep trouble. However none have reported running into Eli himself... At least, none have survived to report such...
The demon automatically knows which subjects within view are most vulnerable to his (or her) Band attunement or resonance. (Shedim of Nitpicking notice unattended items they are allowed to possess.) It's a GM-call, of course, especially if someone else's Servitor is gifted with this attunement.
Most of Beth's Distinctions are given to those who get away with spectacular nitpicks, though they can also be earned (grudgingly) with loyal service in other ways.
This distinction is always granted to a Servitor of Beth who manages to correctly nitpick either a Seraph or an Elohite in pedantic mode. It grants technical excellence in all works; any "soul" to the work will have to be supplied by the Knight. (Game mechanics: for a technically perfect creation, roll against a target number of 11. How "moving" it is depends on if that roll *also* succeeded at the *true* skill level!) Even non-creative works may be written -- technical writing, for instance -- but if the true skill is too low, the work will be dry, disinteresting, and complex.
This distinction is usually awarded to a Servitor of Nitpicking who has correctly nitpicked *both* a Seraph *and* an Elohite in pedantic mode. With a touch and the expenditure of 1 Essence, the Captain gains the ability to sense inconsistency like a Djinn of Nitpicking, until the subject leaves the Captain's sight and hearing. It does not, alas, work through mechanical media such as cameras, telephones or microphones. Djinn Captains of Consistency use this ability when they don't want to be unable to harm the subject.
Given to those who have managed to nitpick a Superior and gotten away with it, this distinction lets a demon take a "master copy" of a work and correct it; for every point of Essence he (or she) spends while doing it, 100 copies will receive the same correction. Songs or relics may allow the Baron to use more Essence than he (or she) normally possesses. Note that the "correction" does not *have* to be accurate, or correcting a mistake... But introducing gratuitous inconsistencies into a work will not make Beth pleased.
Beth has higher distinctions, but so far, none of her Servitors have managed to accurately nitpick Asmodeus, Baal, Kronos, Dominic, Laurence or Yves and reported back.
Kronos is highly amused by her (or as highly amused as he ever gets), and she does indeed get along well with her former Prince, Asmodeus. However, she much prefers the tidy, organized files in Hades to the horrible, messy Archives of Fate. Most of the other Princes regard her roughly the same as they regard the Prince of the Game -- especially since her Servitors are known to aid his. ("They have to follow the rules.") Vapula, however, detests her despite her avowed wish to help him keep his technical notes accurate -- she keeps pointing out little Habbie delusions and griping about his habits of going off on poorly-documented research tangents.
(she's always busy nitpicking someone or something, somewhere)
From: Kevin Walsh <hjalkar@RedBrick.DCU.IE>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 17:29:20 +0000 (GMT)
> Hmmm, what kinda Attunements do you hand out to Habbaalah, and
> where do I sign up??
> Brandon, who wouldn't mind serving the Demon Princess of Nitpicking
(For my own peculiar reasons, I'm modelling all of these on the Lust attunements, but first the dissonance.)
These demons stay verbally [close] to their victims but distant from any intellectual sympathy. It's dissonant for Beth's Servitors to feel sympathy for an argument, and they are strictly prohibited from feeling or showing concern for the main points of a discussion going on around them. Arguments exist only to be ruthlessly nitpicked.
A Balseraph of Nitpicking can force the victim to enjoy lecturing others about any nit the Balseraph has picked with them, for a number of minutes equal to his Celestial Forces. A victim may resist with a Will roll, but if that roll fails, a check digit of 6 indicates that he is now permanently wired to feel that particular nit to be of immense importance, no matter how trivial it may be.
Beth's Djinn, who are miserably compulsive about it anyway, are the best at giving nits their full attention. They have the uncanny ability to keep a person in extreme annoyance, that state of mind in which a person is most susceptible to lashing out in fury. As long as the demon continues harping on about a particular nit, the person will pay no attention to anything else that is going on - and the demon may add his Ethereal Forces to any Will roll to influence his victim and to any resonance thereafter if he is attuned to that target.
The Calabim of Nitpicking may do celestial damage to any target whose statements they can nitpick - even one protected by a corporeal vessel. Sadly, this attack will not do the final hit of damage that would cost the victim one of his Forces.
The Habbalah who serve Beth never suffer a reversal of their resonance if their target resists; the emotional storms they generate merely spin pseudo-randomly (the precise target is in fact generated by a "random" seed determined at character creation) into the world and afflict someone else. Also, these angels may add their Ethereal Forces to any use of their resonance against someone who has just made a trivial factual error that the Demon has corrected.
The Lilim of Nitpicking may or may not be Beth's favourite minions. (She asked for a full page in which to enumerate their powers fully and precisely, but basically it boils down to the fact that I was too lazy to write it.) They automatically detect what a victim needs if they successfully nitpick one of his statements.
Beth's Shedim, by agreeing fervently, can move at will into any vessel whose owner is nitpicking someone. Also, they may add their Ethereal Forces to any resonance roll against a person they are currently nitpicking.
Impudites who serve the Word of Nitpicking may add their Celestial Forces toward using their resonance on anyone who has joined in when they were nitpicking someone.
This power costs 1 Essence, and allows a demon to imprint any trivial correction upon a person's psyche. The victim may make a Will roll to resist his urges, but if he fails, he'll have no goal except to satisfy his desire to harp on about that nit, for a number of hours equal to the demon's total Forces. Note that this attunement does not work upon females, as it specifies "he" in the description. This also applies to all other powers granted by Beth. Nor can Habbalah, Soldiers or Undead buy any power which specifies that a demon uses it. After all, Habbalah are angels.
This power permits a demon (but not a Habbalah, as noted above), by succeeding in a Will roll, to attempt to kill someone who has joined the demon in nitpicking someone. This is considered a physical attack, doing hits equal to (the check digit times twice the Essence spent.)
The demon or angel can detect an individual's degree of verbal accuracy, both at that moment and in his life as a whole. Beth always grants this rank to any of her Servitors who correctly nitpicks a Seraph.
Beth's Captains can bring a person who knows them well instant pleasure by refraining from nitpicking that person, increasing all rolls to manipulate that person for the scene by the demon or angel by +4.
A Baron of Nitpicking can make someone who's joined him in nitpicking agree to any proposition by the demon or angel, even an argument the victim wouldn't normally consider.
From: Brandon Quina <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 14:12:27 -0500
(Nice try, Kevin. Beth, however, seems more related to Asmodeous than Andre, though.. Here's my shot)
'the world isnt that! this refrence on page 562 clearly states that it couldnt even be anything even remotly like that.'
Beth and his Servitors are the Lawyers of Hell. They can convince /anyone/ of /anything/ and usually find several refrences in some obscure context to prove that they are right.
The Princess of Nitpicking, a Djinn, isnt all that powerful in Hell-- She gets along very well with Asmodeus, who values her abilitys. She is widly feared, however, for her Balseraphs often serve closly with Asmodeus' as *hells lawyers*. What could be more feared than the lawyers of hell?
Above all Beths' purpose is to prove that she is right, and all others are wrong. *Noone* has ever one an arguement with Beth, except Lucifer himself-- and even then, she put up a fairly good debate. A debate soo well that afterward Lucifer gave her the word she bears proudly to this day.
Servitors of Beth generate dissonance if they refrain from correcting what they percieve as an error on the part of anyone-- even their dearest friends.
Beths' Balseraphs can add their Ethereal Forces to any attempt to attack someone elses arguement, or defend their own. Balseraphs of Beth are the best debaters in hell.
Djinn working for Beth can, on a successful perception roll, divine a page number (and, at highter check digits, even quote abit from the book) of a book that will disprove the arguement of anybody -- even if they are correct! Optionally, he can find a refrence that would defend an arguement -- but whats the fun in that??
Beth's Calabim can use their resonance on any refrences aimed at destroying their arguement. Sources suddenly agree with the demon, and the person who was using these refrences seems foolish.
Habbalah radiate an aura of 'correctness'. Anyone must make a will-roll to contradict a Habbalah of Beth. They can usually stop a arguement with mortals simply by stating their opinion.
Beths' Lilim can look in someones eyes, and make a resonance roll (perception based). They can tell any doubts that person has-- about a debate, or even about their life in general.
Beths' Shedim not only disagree with the way you live your life, they're pigheaded about it. They don't have to pervert you, but by the time there done you're life will be the Shedite's idea of 'perfection'. Do you really wanna know what a Shedite's idea of perfection is?!
Impudites can steal essence from someone they have successfully defended or attacked in a debate without having charmed them. If the target is charmed, they may add their Celestial Forces to the resonance roll.
Brandon, Habbalite of Nitpicking
From: Jo Hart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 19:50:03 +0000
At 14:12 21/01/98 -0500, you wrote:
>BETH, Princess of Nitpicking
>'the world isnt that! this refrence on page 562 clearly states that it couldnt even be anything even remotly like that.'
>Beth and his Servitors are the Lawyers of Hell.
She'll have to fight that one out with Valefor then... Naked mud-wrestling at dawn? (Hey, I'd turn up to watch, if I thought I could catch him ;-))
Very cute write-up. I wonder if the dissonance condition should be 'failing to have an opinion on any single topic that is brought up in conversation, however remotely' ;)
From: Emily Dresner <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 15:23:39 -0500 (EST)
> Beths' Balseraphs can add their Ethereal Forces to any attempt to attack someone elses arguement, or defend their own. Balseraphs of Beth are the best debaters in hell.
MY GOD, I'VE FOUND MY CALLING!
*look in shock*
After regaining several points of essence with mind blowing long flames and several cute light hearted humorous comments, I found myself dragged before Asmodeus in an ugly sort of way.
And he said to me, "Well, I have decided to loan you to Beth for a while. I'm sure you'll learn new... interesting... informative facts about her organization, and make sure everyone continues to play the Game happily. We wouldn't want anyone to play that GURPS Westerns or Supers, now would we? And another gaming system is just Right Out."
"And Backwards?" I asked, a tremor in my voice.
"If you must."
So there it was. I was packed up and shipped across Hell to go bow before my new Temp-Master, hoping that maybe she would cough up an attunement and maybe a Rite or two for some truly interesting service.
- Em, Baron of the Game, Balseraph of the Game in the Service of
Nitpicking, Demon of In Nomine Backwards, wanter of a shorter title.
From: Kevin Walsh <hjalkar@RedBrick.DCU.IE>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 12:32:10 +0000 (GMT)
> (Nice try, Kevin. Beth, however, seems more related to Asmodeous than Andre, though.. Here's my shot)
You will observe that I made no comment on Beth's personality. Besides, I think that the true importance of Nitpicking in the Symphony is that it be utterly non-constructive, and serve only to annoy. In that spirit... (It's Asmodeus actually.)
> BETH, Princess of Nitpicking
> 'the world isnt that! this refrence on page 562 clearly states that it couldnt even be anything even remotly like that.'
And shouldn't it be "The world isn't like that!", rather than 'the world isnt that'?
> Beth and his Servitors are the Lawyers of Hell.
I know sexuality is optional for Superiors, but textual consistency, please.
> Hell-- She gets along very well with Asmodeus, who values her abilitys. She is widly feared, however, for her Balseraphs often serve closly with Asmodeus' as *hells lawyers*. What could be more feared than the lawyers of hell?
"abilities" and "wildly"
> Above all Beths'
Beth is plural? Hmm...a Kyriotate Djinn?
> debate. A debate soo well that afterward Lucifer gave her the
> word she bears proudly to this day.
Shouldn't that be so good?
> Servitors of Beth generate dissonance if they refrain from correcting what they percieve as an error on the part of anyone -- even their dearest friends.
'I' before 'e' except after 'c'.
Well, you wouldn't want me to be dissonant, would you?
(Note that I'm refraining from commenting on duplicate errors. You can take them as read and notified.)
> Djinn working for Beth can, on a successful perception roll, divine a page number (and, at highter check digits, even quote abit from
"higher" and "a bit"
> the book) of a book that will disprove the arguement of anybody--
> Beths' Lilim can look in someones eyes, and make a resonance roll (perception based). They can tell any doubts that person has--
It sounds much better if you say "discern" rather than "tell".
> the time there done you're life will be the Shedims idea of 'perfection'. Do you really wanna know what a Shedims idea of perfection is?!
I note that you have failed to nitpick my own proposals. I will seek to atone for my lapse.
In the first line of the Dissonance section, it should read "These demons stay verbally close to their victims". In the original text, the word "close" is missing.
In the second installment, I promised to include Beth's rites. However, those rites were not included in the final draft.
Do you reckon that counts as performing a nitpicking rite?
Anyway, the real reason I didn't make any description of Beth is that she could so easily nitpick it, and send her Calabim and Habbalah after me for my gross incompetence.
The reason I modelled the attunements on Lust was because I was looking for powerful attunements, and Lust's attunements were the munchiest I'd seen.
(Having just seen Furfur's attunements, I've changed my opinion on the matter. Habbalah of Furfur are just insanely powerful.)
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