Going along with the theme of the Eden Ban (great work, BTW), the notion struck me:
What would an IN game be like without Hearts?
Picture the world of the Eden Ban. The only connections between the Celestial, Ethereal and Corporeal Realms are Tethers. This makes Tether-formation incredibly important, natch -- and also explains how Lilith got made a Demon Princess. If the only way to reach the Corporeal Realm is via Tethers, then her formation of the first Infernal Tether ever makes her an extremely pivotal figure in the history of both Hell and the Universe. For that kind of service, you get the big payoff.
Now add on the 'Heartless' philosophy...
Game effects that I can see:
A) Vessel-loss is no longer a joke, and celestial combat actually has a big place in the game.
When you lose your Vessel, you don't snap back to Heaven and stare at your heart. Instead, there you are in Celestial form... where you died. And if you can't get back to the nearest Tether and up (or down) the ladder before the enemy runs you down, you are one dead celestial. This also explains how soul-killing can happen even as halfway often as IN canon implies it does -- I dunno about you, but I have never actually seen a soul-killing in any game I've run in or played, simply because anybody with the slightest amount of sense spends the Essence (1) and ascends/descends to their Heart as soon as their first Force-loss starts becoming imminent.
This would also help explain why Sword servitors are so especially feared as demon-hunters... with the right attunement (Ofanite of the Sword, right?), they can run you down. What's the one that lets a Sword servitor in pursuit move twice as fast as you? A combination of Ofanite of the Sword and the Hunt attunement explains the Order of the Eternal Sword's perfect record... barring Infernal Intervention or a successful Superior Invocation, you just ain't gettin' home.
(1) And nobody ever spent their last points of Essence that I've ever played with, for precisely this reason. And Will scores tended to be pretty beefed.
B) Trauma doesn't exist.
Why should it? It's not needed.
This does tend to take some of the starch out of playing a Malakite, natch... but depending on their players, some DM's might find that a help.
Plus, if need be, we can game-balance by adding on another 'improved death survival' factor for Malakim... maybe giving them a Choir-wide bonus to celestial combat (or celestial speed) so that the average Malakite fights his way back to the Tether better than the average any-other-celestial, which would fit in well with their having been purpose-built as Heaven's demon-hunters.
C) Superiors Are Immune.
Between the Songs of Bridging and Correspondence, Superiors don't need Tethers. (Part of their Superior-ness.) So you can still Invoke them. And they can still pop in and out of the plot.
Provided that they don't mind making enough disturbance to not only wake the dead, but make Saminga complain that his neighbors are staying up too late. So they still won't do it much.
C1) Lilith Is Damned Significant
As the only Superior immune to creating Disturbance, the implications are obvious. And isn't it fitting that the Princess of Freedom be the one who can 'blip' in and out of the three planes however she sees fit, without consequence?
This is just a bunch of semi-random thoughts, not a finished treatise -- take the ball and run with it, guys!
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