by "Kirt A. Dankmyer -- aka Loki" (email@example.com)
Hey, all, it's me again. This is my version of Fallen Grigori, the Nephallim, meant to match up with the Grigori info I posted earlier. I'm interested in comments and criticisms, especially with regard to game balance. Not that there's much to worry about game balance with a bunch of demons that are all dead, but...
Heronaim was angry. Baal had promised him power, and it wasn't coming nearly fast enough. Baal kept telling him to wait.
"There are rumors that God is going to send a Flood," Baal had said.
Who cares? Heronaim could swim. But Heronaim was just smart enough not to attack a Demon Prince, so he sat in his hole, sulking. But it didn't stop him from being angry.
*Pain,* he thought. *Pain will clear this up.*
Heronaim wandered to the back of the hole, where the man was tied up, naked and covered with his own filth. Just as Heronaim liked it. Smiling, he covered himself with the form of a warrior from the man's village, right before his prisoner looked up.
Relief washed across the man's features. "Quickly," he whispered. "Loosen the bonds."
Heronaim smiled and nodded at him, pulling at the rope.
"Careful," he said. "Don't pull... so hard."
Heronaim kept pulling. Then he returned to his true form. When the man started screaming, Heronaim joined in, still smiling.
He didn't stop screaming until Heronaim had finished pulling his arm off.
Everyone (at least, everyone with a Celestial soul) knows that some of the children of the Grigori were known to the demons as the Nephallim. What is less well known is that some Nephallim existed even before the Grigori started laying down with the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve...
Nephallim are Fallen Grigori, and the most corrupt of the demons. They make even the Shedim sick. The average Giant has little or no impulse control. They are the ogres, the hags and the trolls of legend. They were so horrifying (mentally as well as physically) that God send the Flood to wipe them out. They are the Nephallim.
Where, then, do the tales of gigantic Nephallim born of the daughters of Eve come from? Simple. When a child of a Grigori is born, its soul is either more Celestial or more human. If it is more Celestial, the result, born in sin, is a Grigori that has already Fallen. A member of the Nephallim. Since such Nephallim have a sliver of a human soul, they are generally a little weaker than other Nephallim, though some optimists whisper that they are also more likely to be Redeemed. If the soul is more human than Celestial, the result is one of the smaller, more inconspicuous Children of the Grigori.
Where the Grigori are masters at noticing detail, the Nephallim are masters at hiding detail. Their resonance is for illusion, which they use to trick humans into doing what the Giant desires. Gruel can be disguised as a sumptuous meal, the Giant's hideous appearance can be hidden so he can bed the king's daughter, an illusionary bridge can be placed over a deadly chasm. Anything the Giant's twisted mind can devise can (and will) be projected into the mind of another.
To understand the Nephallim, one must first understand the Grigori. The Grigori are charged with remaining aloof from humans. It is dissonant for them to become intimate with Man. The way the Nephallim reconsile this with their selfish, Fallen nature is to stop caring. The Nephallim are much envied by the Djinn -- they don't give a rat's ass for anyone or anything, and they don't become obsessed. All their care about is the gratification of their own desires.
Pleasure, of all sorts, is the only goal of the Nephallim. In this respect, a person is no better or worse than a bowl of food, a sword, or a herd of cattle. All that matters is what the Giant wants, and how he decides to go about getting it.
For this reason, there are two forms of dissonance for a Giant. If a member of the Nephallim actually comes to care about a sentient being (especially a human), he gains a note of Dissonance for every week it goes on. This dissonance can only be cleared up by destroying the object of his concern. Also, if a Giant is ever thwarted in a desire, he gains a note of dissonance until either he attains the desire or he does something else (usually something violent) to make himself feel better...
The Celestial form of the Nephallim vary widely. Dragons, terribly misshapen humans, fanged creatures with a thousand eyes -- all of these and more are the Nephallim. Two things remain constant: All Nephallim are hideous, and all Celestial Nephallim are gigantic (at least twelve feet tall). Humans who see a Giant in Celestial form usually flee in fear, not stopping until they collapse from exaustion.
Grigori prefer equally hideous and gigantic Vessels, though their Vessels are nearly always humanlike. Those born to human women always have a giant human Vessel (and a nearly identical Celestial form), though none are beautiful to gaze upon. Clothing, when worn at all, is usually in the form of sewn-together animal skins. Nephallim gererally distain smaller vessels, using their powers of illusion for stealth.
One might think it's odd that a Watcher, in love with humanity in such a personal way, would find it so easy to stop caring about them, even when Fallen. Even Impudites love humans, in their own, twisted way. One might think this might cause something of a mental strain. One would be right. How do the Nephallim deal with this strain? By going crazy. And not crazy in a relatively stable way, like a Balseraph or a Habbalah, but absolutely, completely nuts.
The insanity of the Nephallim make them ravening monsters, raping, killing, and devouring their way through life. They are the dark mirror of Man -- Humanity's worst and most base desires are reflected in the desires of the Nephallim. Cannibalism, necrophilia, and torture are only some of their hobbies. The most sane of the Nephallim would be considered serial killers today. And when one considers that it is dissonant for them to ignore their desires...
It is no surprise, then, that God destroyed the Nephallim, along with others, in the great Flood. What is less well-known is why there are no Nephallim today. After all, couldn't a Demon Prince just create one, as he might a Balserpah or a Shedite?
The fact of the matter is, the Nephallim are natural Renegades, much as the Grigori seem to be natural Outcasts. They are quite unstable and it is Dissonant for them to ignore their desires, whatever they may be. While many Nephallim signed on with varous Demon Princes, it was only a matter of time before they went rogue, following this desire or the other. Even Saminga tired of them, eventually. Nephallim created from scratch are even worse -- even if you order them to rape, pillage, and burn everything in sight, their desires will pull them into doing something else. They are rebellous by nature, no matter how carfully crafted for loyalty. On top of which, despite their resonance for illusion, they are rarely subtle, and angels can smell them from a mile away.
For this reason, no Demon Prince has ever created a Nephallim since the Flood. They were of limited usefulness before then, and now they are even more useless, in the quiet War that is currently being waged on Earth. It is said that Lilith learned many lessons from the form of Freedom (i.e. Anarchy) that the Nephallim represented, and this is part of the reason her Lilim are so subtle and devious, in contrast to the Nephallim, who rarely planned more than a half-hour ahead.
It is believed all of the Nephalim are dead, their Forces scattered to the four winds by angels, servitors of the Game, and the Flood. If any have survived to this day, they were probably little-known human-born Nephallim who learned how to be subtle and somehow figured out a way to survive the Flood. (Perhaps their Grigori fathers sheltered them.) If such Nephallim actually existed, they would be fearsome indeed, having centuries of experience behind them, and possibly quite refined (but still dark) "tastes".
When they want to be, the Nephallim are masters of deception, though of a decidedly different sort than the Balseraphs. They can impose their illusions on any number of people within line-of-sight by making a Will roll. The Check Digit determines how realistic the illusion is, and how many senses it affects, and how long it lasts (see below). The demon can choose to stop affecting any given subject at any time before the illusion's duration is up, "dispelling" the illusion. If anyone new arrives on the scene, the demon may make a Will roll to affect them as well -- possibly even getting a better result! Nephallim that are human/Celestial crossbreeds have a -2 penalty to thier Will roll, and a -1 penalty to their Check Digit (cannot go below 1). They also may have other weaknesses (GM's decision) -- some sort of Achilles' Heel was common.
The victim may make a Will roll when first affected, and any time afterward if they are given good reason to believe that what they are seeing is not real (GM's decision). If the Will roll succeeds *with an equal or higher check digit than the demon*, the illusion doesn't work, or, from the victim's perspective, vanishes, if they had been believing in it previously. Celestial beings may add their Ethereal Forces to their Will roll, and angels may substitute Perception for Will, once again adding their Ethereal Forces. (This is the other reason the angels had such an easy time getting rid of the Nephallim.)
Any human who sees a Giant in Celestial form must make a Will roll or run away for at number of minutes equal to the check digit rolled plus the Giant's Celestial Forces. Anyone trying to stop the running person is likely to be attacked, or battered out of the way -- we're talking absolute, primal panic here. Generally, only a threat to life and limb, or to someone the person in question loves very, very deeply (GM's decision) will allow the human to stop running and possibly even face the Giant. Soldiers (and other humans who can control their Essence flow) may spend an Essence to get another Will roll if they fail, after running for at least a round.
Nephallim, like Grigori (q.v.), always have a gigantic Vessel, a Vessel/7 or larger. Nephallim human/Celestial crossbreeds are born with such a Vessel, starting with a Vessel of a size equal to their Corporeal Forces +3, or a Vessel/7, whichever is larger. This is one of the few advantages of being such a crossbreed, rather than an ordinary Fallen angel. Unlike the Grigori, Nephallim rarely (if ever) have an alternate, smaller Vessel -- the Nephallim are very tied to the flesh, and many of them suffer from the "Bound" Discord.
1...The illusion can affect one sense (usually sight) except touch, and lasts for a number of minutes equal to the demon's Celestial Forces.
2...The illusion can affect up to two senses (except touch) and lasts for a number of minutes equal to twice the demon's Celestial Forces.
3...The illusion can affect three senses (except touch) and lasts for a number of minutes equal to 3 x the demon's Celestial Forces.
4...The illusion can affect four senses (except touch) and lasts for a number of minutes equal to 10 x the demon's Celestial Forces.
5...The illusion affects all five senses, including touch, but cannot physically harm the subject, except indirectly. (An illusionary ape can't pummel a man to death, but he can push him over a cliff, since the man, convinced there's an ape there, will stagger backward and fall.) The illusion lasts for an hour plus a number of minutes equal to 10 x the demon's Celestial Forces.
6...As above, but the illusion lasts for a number of hours equal to the demon's Celestial Forces.
Below are a list of attunements for Nephallim, in case the GM thinks that any of the Nephallim that served a Demon Prince might still be around. Several Demon Princes are not listed, either because they were not around during that time (and therefore never learned to make them, like Haagenti), or they chose not to have Nephallim as servitors.
Andrealphus. Nephallim of Lust could add their one to their Check Digit when using their resonance on anyone they had had sex with. Whether the subject consented to the sex was immaterial. The Nephallim were a little too fond of rape for even Andre's tastes.
Baal. Nephallim of War recieved a +1 bonus to their Check Digits when using their resonance during combat. They were often used by Baal for decoy missions, and while they died in droves, they often took many angels with them.
Beleth. While Nephallim of Nightmares, unlike Shedim, were still barred from taking their celestial form on Earth, their Vessels caused fear in the same way their celestial form does.
Belial. Nephallim of Fire always got a check digit of 6 when creating illusionary fire.
Kobal. Kobal's Nephallim regained Essence every time they used their resonance on someone and caused others to laugh at him. They were fond of singling out a particular person and making them seem as if they were crazy, making their friends and family laugh at them despite themselves.
Kronos. The illusions of Nephallim of Fate always lasted for a day, regardless of the check digit rolled. They often worked closely with Habbalah, working together to created a hellish landscape of internal and external stimuli that would lead a man to his Fate. Unfortunately, the Habbalah often tired of the Nephallim, and would slay them after a time.
Malphas. A Giant of Factions could make a Perception roll to discover what sight (i.e. what potential illusion) will break a person's trust or destroy a relationship. The check digit of the successful Perception roll reflects the importance of the trust or the relationship.
Saminga. Nephallim who served Saminga could kill a human without disturbing the Symphony, so long as the Giant did not touch (and was not touched by) the human during the course of the combat. Using a weapon, such as a sword, counted as "not touching". (This is sort of the inverse of the Balserpah attunement. A Nephallim with the Balseraph attunement could kill a human in any fashion and not disturb the Symphony. Such Nephallim were quite common before the Flood.)
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