Created by: "Bodhi" (email@example.com)
This one's a little wierd, even for me!
Angels are getting sick! The PCs are asked to QUIETLY investigate the fact that many Celestials are coming down with what can only be called an Illness. They seem to get progressively worse, some faster than others, until finally their corporeal vessel dies. The rate of deterioration is not set: instead, it seems to change with some unknown factor. What is going ON!?!?!
The PCs should then proceed to investigate using the standard disease model. They should consider what vector might be common to all of the patients, and what the contagion is, how it interacts with the host, etc. Nothing seems to fit the description.
The PCs should also investigate whether the same thing is happening to Diabolicals. Yup! They're getting sick too. Not every one of them, but the ones that do are getting worse all the time.
What is more, the Trauma from such a death seems to be much more harsh than normal. While a few "fatalities" have come back afterwards, and are sitting up in Heaven ticked-off that their vessels are trashed, MOST of the others are still "staring at the walls."
Mortals seem to be immune. No cases of mortals catching the Plague have occurred. Soldiers are becoming more important than ever!
Around this time, there is found to be a link to the use of Essence. The more Essence you use, the worse off you become. Nobody knows how you catch the plague. However, once you've got it, don't use Essence. Essentially, for every point of Essence you spend, you PERMANENTLY lose one Body hit from your vessel. When your vessel is out of body hits, you die.
Furthermore, perhaps it is time that the Celestials and Diabolicals starting working together to find a cure, lest they both perish and end the War in a draw!
The PCs have to find out that the standard disease model doesn't work. Here is why...
The Symphony is a self-contained, self-supporting system. Non-Symphony objects can normally interact with the Symphony, causing minor disturbances, but are basically ignored by the Symphony. However, the Symphony now seems to be having an "immune response" to non-Symphony objects, such as Celestial/Diabolical vessels.
Thus, there is no disease that the angels are catching... they are the disease! Something has happened that is making the Symphony rebel against any non-Symphony incursions. (think of white blood cells attacking foreign invaders...)
Hali, A Servitor of Vapula, has decided to undertake a project of massive importance, without clearance from his Dread Lord. He has found, through various resources, a remnant piece of the original "Burning Bush". He has, using plant vector genetics and archeo-botany techniques, retro-cloned the Bush, in an attempt to find out something useful that could be bent to Diabolical ends (those Vapula guys... always experimenting for experimentations' sake...). Since the original Bush was a Gate between the Voice of God and the Corporeal Realm, his thinking is that the Neo-Bush can be made into some sort of link between the Corporeal Realm and Heaven.
Thus, he wishes to create a Gate through which Demons could actually enter Heaven again... a great way to stage a war! Think about it... Demons could actually enter Heaven again... maybe... If he can complete his task, and figure out how to control the powers that the Bush represents, he can present his findings to the other Demon Princes, or even Lucifer himself! Hali's fondest wish is that he be raised to Prince status for his efforts.
Suspecting that such a powerful artifact would make a ridiculous amount of Noise in the Symphony, he made sure to hide his work in a spot which was already Noisy. He holds a special fondness for the Bikini Atoll (where a ridiculous amount of experimenting was done on unsuspecting soldiers in the U.S. army regarding exposure to Atomic explosions...), and there is a Tether to Vapula in one of the underground Vaults on the Atoll.
He has set up a lab there, with the permission of the unsuspecting Seneschal, and has completed retro-cloning the Bush. What he has now, then, is a Diabolical Tether, with a Celestial Tether-like Artifact in the middle of it. While the Neo-Bush makes quite a bit of Noise, the surrounding Noise from the Bikini Atoll Diabolical Tether has completely drowned it out. Thus, Hali is free to attempt to figure out a way to access the power inherent in the Neo-Bush.
What he doesn't realize is that the Symphony has responded to such an Unnatural combination of things. The response has taken the form of an "immune response." Thus, the Symphony is actively purging all non-Symphonic objects. Whenever a non-Symphonic object uses Essence, the Symphony fights back a little harder, and uses the expenditure of Essence to power the purge. Simply put, if the Symphony has decided to push you out, every time you use Essence, it pushes you a little further.
Not every non-Symphonic object is under pressure. If you are near a Celestial/Diabolical who is being "attacked" (IOW, one who has got the plague...), then there is a chance EVERY TIME YOU USE ESSENCE that the Symphony will pick up on your non-Symphonic status and target you as well. Thus, the "disease" is caught through using Essence near another plague victim, and thereby catching the `attention' of the Symphony. You yourself then become a target for the "immune response" as well.
Just imagine it, GMs... a game in which the PCs are afraid to spend Essence... hee hee hee
Well, I'd like to see Celestials and Diabolicals work together to try to end the plague. The idea that a full-scale assault on a Tether might be involved is kind of intriguing. Furthermore, there are going to be Princes and Archangels who don't want the Neo-Bush destroyed, but instead would happilly trade favours for a chance to keep a little piece of it for future exploitation. Other, more wise Superiors, will recognize the inherent Danger in keeping ANY of this blasted thing about, and will advocate its complete and total destruction.
I foresee a group of PCs and NPCs, both Celestial and Diabolical, some of which are secretly planning to keep a little piece of the Neo-Bush for their Masters, as well as notes and a copy of Hali's protocol. All of them are probably suffering from the plague by now, except for their various Soldiers and Servants.
The political schemes and machinations should be quite diverting, don't you think?
Well... again, what do you think?
Walk in Beauty,
Rob Wolff / Bodhi
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