Proto-Superior: Scroud, Demon of Squalor

By Douglas Muir


Scroud, Demon of Squalor
Calabite Duke of Gluttony

Squalor, n. filthiness and degradation from neglect or poverty; a filthy and wretched condition or quality. -- American Heritage Dictionary

True poverty does not come from God. -- Yiddish proverb

History and Nature

Scroud is that rare but dangerous thing: an intelligent, thoughtful Calabite. Like Haagenti, he worked his way up from the ranks over many centuries; like Valefor, he claimed his Word by eliminating the previous Word-holder. He once worked for Mammon, but cleverly switched sides just before that Prince's collapse to Minor Superior status. Haagenti rewarded him with a Barony, and he has prospered ever since.

Scroud's Word is "Squalor", and he serves it well. The previous holder, a Shedite, was an old-fashioned craftsman, corrupting slumlords and housing officials one at a time. Scroud operates on a much larger scale. His favored techiques include things like running highways through working-class neighborhoods, promoting government policies that spread neglect and decay, and encouraging the rural poor in Third World countries to emigrate to urban "superslums". Scroud is very much in touch with politics, and works to create (bad) government policies and incentives as much as he does to spread Squalor on the ground.

"Squalor" means "a filthy or degraded condition, usually associated with poverty", and this Word has been growing steadily in strength for the last century. Three billion people live in poverty, and more than a billion live in what the statisticians call 'utter' poverty -- absolute squalor. As slums, disease, overpopulation and misery have spread across the world, Scroud has steadily grown in power.

His Word has secondary connotations, too; a wealthy celebrity with a secret drug addiction may be living in utter moral squalor, as may a powerful politician with a taste for naive interns. The Word overlaps with Gluttony, Greed, Lust and Drugs, but stands alone as well; Scroud believes it truly has the potential to support a Princehood, and he may be right.

Scroud has all the Calabite love of destruction, but he has channelled it into the destruction and degradation of human environments. Unusually patient for a member of his Band, he takes particular pride in Third World megalopolises like Mexico City, Cairo, and Calcutta. Watching (for example) New Delhi gradually decay from a clean, charming, tidy little colonial capital to a "superslum" of twelve million people, the vast majority living in unsafe housing without running water or medical care... well, it's an act of destruction huge enough to make any Calabite tremble with joy and longing, even if it did take decades to accomplish. Hiroshima? Dresden? Pah! Scroud privately believes that he's destroyed cities on a vaster scale than Belial, and ruined far more human lives in the process.

Present Status

To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. -- Oscar Wilde

Hell is full of dirty housewives. -- Japanese proverb

Scroud is one of Haagenti's most powerful servants. He has, depending on the campaign, somewhere between a several dozen and a several hundred lesser demons working for him. Several lesser Word-Bound are among his Servitors; the demon of Slums works for him, as do the demons of Shoddy Construction, Tainted Water, Filthy Restaurants, and Potholes. He particularly likes Balseraphs (who can work effectively in the political sphere) and Shedim (who can spread Squalor effectively, one at a time).

As a Calabite, Scroud carries Discord. He is Pallid (2 or 3) and has the Aura of Entropy (5 or 6). The latter Discord typically manifests itself as damage to the infrastructure and architecture around him. When Scroud enters a house, lightbulbs pop, plumbing clogs, the carpets go nappy and the roof develops leaks. If he stays long enough, the walls will begin to slip out of alignment. Scroud can turn a lovely house into a neighborhood eyesore just by dropping in and staying for tea.

On the Corporeal plane, Scroud typically manifests as a filthy, stinking beggar, dressed in rags. He can clean up sometimes, and present as a lobbyist or a rich landlord, but his Discords make this difficult to keep up for long -- and anyhow, he has Servitors for that.


A rich man, and an ashtray -- the more they collect, the more disgusting they get. -- Japanese proverb

Sin is geographical. -- Bertrand Russell

Scroud believes that he's ready to make the jump to Princehood any time. However, several obstacles stand in his way.

The biggest one, of course, is Haagenti. The "Big Guy" may have fought his own way up from the bottom, but that doesn't mean he's going to encourage his own Servitors to copy him. If Haagenti finds out that Scroud is bidding for a Princedom, he will -- at a minimum -- strip half his Forces away and whack him with some serious Discord. More likely he'll simply crash through a wall, Kool-Aid style, and devour this upstart whole. He's done it before. The Prince of Gluttony wants powerful Servitors, but potential rivals are menu items.

In fact, Haagenti already suspects that something is up. Those Band attunements are a tipoff, as is the growing strength of Scroud's Word generally. He's watching his Duke carefully, and he's been noticeably ill-tempered towards him lately. Scroud, in turn, suspects that Haagenti suspects... it's all getting very iffy.

Scroud, like Furfur, would like to summon Lucifer and petition for his Princedom directly; he believes he's just about ready. Unfortunately, the Prince of Lies isn't summonable at will, and he doesn't have access to Furfur's special Song. A trip to the Lower Hells is a frightening prospect even for a powerful Duke. And anyhow, Scroud would like to set the stage properly -- he'd prefer to present his petition on (say) Breadloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, overlooking the endless sea of filthy tenements, squatter shacks, and squalid, soul-destroying favelas that have grown up around that lovely point. Any demon who can help him with this will be richly rewarded when/if Scroud comes into his Princedom.

Alternately, Scroud is giving serious thought to negotiating with Lilith. As a Princess, she should know how best to contact Lucifer... and a Geas/6 might not be too high a price to pay, especially if Haagenti is slavering down his neck.

Meanwhile, Scroud is building his defenses and playing a waiting game.

Rites and Attunements

- Cause some aspect of a human's life to become significantly more Squalid (+1 Essence, up to 3 times/day). This could involve anything from having a poor family's electricity cut off to making a human develop a nasty secret addiction. The change must be a lasting one, here defined as "absent intervention, very likely to persist for at least a month".

Demon of Squalor: Once per day, with a touch and a successful Perception roll, the demon can discover either the fastest or the most effective (his choice) way to introduce Squalor into something. The attunement works on individuals ("Introduce the Senator to the crooked lobbyist from the drug company," "Get Mrs. Jones hooked on electronic poker") or on any piece of the human environment up to the size of a building or playground ("Get the city to cut those trees down," "Sabotage the lock on the lobby's main door"). It's rumoured that Scroud himself can use this attunement on neighborhoods and even whole cities.

In addition to this general attunement, Scroud has developed specialized attunements for three Bands:

Balseraph of Squalor (restricted): Scroud's Liars add their Ethereal Forces to any lie which would make a human ignore, tolerate or encourage Squalor. "This building is in great shape! It just needs a coat of paint." "A powerful man like you is expected to have affairs." "Congressman, your new welfare bill is brilliant. You're giving the poor exactly what they deserve."

Calabite of Squalor (restricted): These Calabim can roll on the "subtle destruction" table (IPG, page 39) without first taking the -4 penalty, provided that their attacks directly create Squalor. Damaging housing and infrastructure is the obvious application, but maiming an honest health inspector has been known to work too.

Shedite of Squalor (restricted): Scroud's Shedim add their Corporeal forces to their Will rolls when making a human do anything that would fulfill Scroud's Rite (they still get Essence for the Rite, too). They are often found inhabiting landlords, housing inspectors, and urban policy makers.

Also, these Corrupters can kill their hosts without taking dissonance, if they do it in a sufficiently squalid manner. Some GM discretion is needed here, but "drug overdose in a filthy alleyway" or "heart attack while surfing child porn sites online" would probably work -- anything that would cause the host's friends and family to turn away in heartbreak and disgust.


Scroud has been quietly cultivating contacts with other Princes. He has even -- oh so carefully -- arranged to have some troublesome Gluttons picked up by the Game. This is dangerous, but it's probably moved Asmodeus from being a "probable enemy" (Squalor is a disorderly Word, after all) to the "neutral" column.

Mammon still hates Haagenti, not so much for betraying him as for stealing several Servitors and part of his Word. Fleurity, OTOH, is already a close ally, as their Words work nicely together without competing.

Scroud is very wary of Kobal; his demons cooperate with the Jokers, but Scroud himself avoids the Prince of Dark Humor as much as possible. Kobal is Haagenti's closest ally, after all, and just too damned clever...

Possible allies: Kronos (Squalor destroys the human spirit), Saminga (disease and crime), Fleurity, and possibly Belial (slums burn nicely, and there's an "enemy's enemy" effect WRT Haagenti). Andrealphus could go either way -- moral squalor is great, but poor, dirty and diseased humans are unattractive.

Probable enemies: Mammon, Haagenti, possibly Haagenti's "brother" Kobal.

Particularly hostile Archangels: Gabriel, Marc


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