And I Feel Fine - Part 8: The Keys to the Abyss
"On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not
-- Matthew 16:18
Apollyon, the newly-revealed Archangel of the Abyss, rose before the
Seraphim Council, addressing them and all the Host: "I bring report of
the Lower Hells. They are, indeed, the opposite of the Upper Heavens,
very much as Nothing is the opposite of All. They are the ragged edge
of reality, and beyond them is utter nullity, but they do have
inhabitants -- the wicked soul-killed. Just as those in the Upper
Heavens are more real and more truly themselves than ever, those in the
Lower Hells hang onto existence and identity by the final thread,
stripped of any Words they may have held, reduced to a few rags of
"And there is Lucifer, whose Word, if he has one, is Negation, and whose
private realm these Hells are. The double-damned are his, his private
Essence farm, one of the secret bases of his power, and all the more
powerful for being secret. A few he has sent back, stripped of memory,
introduced as new-minted demons or deranged damned souls. More often,
he has used them as a source of Forces, so sending some into final
"But, in the last extreme, he will reveal his secret hoard, restore
Words, and send the double-damned back into the War, if he must.
"And he will, if he learns that Gabriel and Michael still live, and
worse, the Upper Heavens have opened. And we cannot expect to keep such
a secret for much longer.
"This negative resurrection must not be allowed, lest the old stalemate
return, and we must face again Belial, Legion, Beelzebub, Vephar,
Mesarach, Mariel, and the others. So we let us reveal ourselves, not
wait to be discovered, while the Horde is drawn out into the Marches and
Hell is emptier than ever before. This, indeed, was the reason for our
campaign in the Marches, as worked out by Michael, Uriel, Lawrence, and
myself. We are going to smooth off this ragged edge of reality. We
will descend to the Lower Hells and destroy them, and all in them. We
The Archangels of Death and the Abyss are descending to Hell, to sing a
one-time-only Song to destroy the Lower Hells. Singing backup are War,
Wind, Fire, Sword, Lightning, Judgement, and Protection. All are taking
huge numbers of their angels with them, to make sure they are not
interrupted. Any PC serving them can plausibly come along. So can PCs
of Purity, Faith, and Stone. PCs of Words like Creation, Children,
Flowers, or Dreams will have to be a little inventive, but the more the,
Once they are all armed and gathered, the PCs and everyone else can
follow the Archangels down into Hell. For reasons of Word-mechanics,
they are landing in Abaddon, Saminga's Principality. It is very empty,
Saminga and so many of his demons being busy on Earth, but that will
change very fast.
Roleplaying seed: The Harrowing of Hell
The Archangels start singing immediately. Moments thereafter, Saminga
will show up, followed soon by Baal. Then wave after wave of Death
demons will come in, followed by War-devils and just about anything else
that can be brought to bear. Lucifer himself could show up at any
PCs are in for as much celestial combat as they can withstand or the
players want. Besides pure melee, there's:
- Seeking out the crypts containing Death-demon Hearts, so as to ambush
them as they come home.
- Joining a party led by some heavy-duty Word-bound angels, who will
try to take out particular Princes.
- Being handed a special artifact, equivalent to a bomb, and told to
quick run into Gehenna and blow up some important property of Baal's.
Also works for stuff in Vapula's labs.
- Facing very old enemies who come boiling up out of the Lower Hells as
either (1) their bonds break, when the Lower Hells start to
disintegrate, or (2) Lucifer starts to release them. These can be
demons and undead the PCs have faced before, or they can be historical
horrors like Legion, of whom everyone used to say, "Thank God, at least
THAT one's gone."
Roleplaying seed: As Long As We're Here...
Of course, everyone is there to destroy the Lower Hells and their
inhabitants, first and foremost. But if there's a chance, there are a
number of things various angels might like to do in Hell, such as:
- Raid Vapula's labs.
- Raid Asmodeus's files.
- Raid Alemon's files.
- Raid Mammon's treasure vaults.
- Raid Baal's armory.
None of these, or any similar side-raids, would be easy, but the chaos
of battle could offer unexpected opportunities, and PCs' Archangels
could have handed them various goals with the general instruction "If
you get the chance, go for it."
Roleplaying seed: Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up to Me
A few of the double-damned may have repented during their time in the
Lower Hells, and they've certainly had the opportunity to purge
themselves through suffering. As the Lower Hells crumble around them,
their bonds break, they are Redeemed by the direct grace of God, and
they ascend -- to Upper Hell. Whee.
But this is a possible reason for PCs of Destiny, or Flowers and other
Words, to come along. They can locate new-minted Saints and Angels
(most of them stripped down to three Forces) and hustle them up to
Heaven before they get painfully smacked by something (still) infernal.
(Of course, even if they got "soul-killed," they'd just ascend to the
Upper Heavens, but still, it's painful and Traumatizing.) Angels of
Protection and Judgement could do the same, of course.
Before that, PCs have the interesting chance to meet some of the wicked
soul-killed (either historical figures or old acquaintances) now on
their side. What do you *say* to your old nemesis, groveling at your
feet? Or to Dracula? Or Legion? What do *they* say? What if they
aren't groveling, but want to stay and help you fight?
What if they claim to have valuable information, like the nature and
location of some valuable item of Lucifer's? Can you believe them?
(Not that they'd lie, but they aren't exactly stable at the moment.)
Roleplaying seed: Home Ground Advantage
Demonic PCs might have an exciting time, if not an enjoyable one,
defending the home front, fighting the Host in Hell itself. This would
also be a dandy time to go Renegade, or at least settle some old scores
without anyone noticing.
The great bulk of the population of the Lower Hells is simply
destroyed. The GM should decide which famous figures from the Lower
Hells get destroyed, Redeem, or escape to Upper Hell. Any Heavenly
characters that suffer otherwise-lethal soul damage ascend to the Upper
Heavens, in Trauma that lasts as long as the GM finds convenient.
For the sake of the rest of the scenario, do not let the battle in Hell
or the destruction of the Lower Hells change the status of Michael,
Lucifer, Baal, Mammon, Saminga, Kronos, Kobal, Nybbas, or Therrian.
Roleplaying seed: The Awful Truth
Demonic PCs have an amazing roleplaying opportunity, reacting to the
news that, not only is Michael not dead, no other angel is either, and
the Apocalypse is proceeding according to their worst fears. Any angel
will be happy to tell them all this, now. Particularly any seraph.
Options include falling into despair, seeking redemption, and retreating
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