By Elizabeth "Archangel Beth" McCoy (firstname.lastname@example.org),
with commentary by Kingsley Lintz (email@example.com)
and Frank Lazar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[This adventure seed makes some assumptions... Be forwarned.]
(For demon PCs!)
To start this, the PCs are going to have to be in a fight/ambush where Things Are Not Going Well -- either the GM is going to have to have fiated this (in which case, just say "you're in a battle and things are not going well -- please don't get clever yet or I can't run the rest of the adventure;" desperate PCs will try dumb things), or the GM can use this seed to get the PCs out of a hopeless situation that's cropped up in a game...
Anyway, when things have just looked bleakest (the players have rolled their second Divine Intervention; the angelic forces have just hit them with an Ethereal Song of Harmony; and/or their strongest fighter has just gone celestial and is about to become a Remnant in the next five seconds...), Something Happens.
An Archangel appears, celestially. After everybody's finished reeling from the Disturbance this causes, the Cherub in question coalesces into one of the more obvious forms of Novalis, the Archangel of Flowers. She looks... upset. Desperately worried. Maybe even crying.
If the PCs are smart [smart PCs? That'll be the day...], they'll throw themselves at the feet of the peacenik Archangel and beg for their lives. Otherwise, it's time for a battlewide Song of Ethereal Harmony, which is going to affect all sides -- Archangels don't always care how much noise they make. Right afterwards, the Lady of Flowers cries out, "Don't kill those demons! I need to talk to them!"
Well, only Servitors of David or Michael are likely to ignore her, but they're going to be in no condition to do violence anyway... Looks like the demons will get to live. [Have I mentioned that they should be looking at each other, thinking, "Hey, she's the softy!" and wailing for mercy? If none of them have thought of it, give them an Intelligence roll or Perception roll or something.]
After a moment to compose herself, Novalis approaches the PCs and explains...
It seems that she's recently, well, *lost* one of her Servitors: Shelemiah, a very young Seraph of Flowers who was out on its first Earthly mission. The angels who were working with "Shellie" have just shown up in the Glade, in Trauma; that Shelemiah *hasn't* shown up in Trauma, nor contacted anyone, obviously means that it's been kidnapped! No, no, not destroyed -- Novalis is *sure* Shelemiah is still alive. Somewhere. Novalis thinks Shellie's been taken to Hell.
That's where the PCs come in. If they'll agree to a teensie little Geas [Assumption: All Superiors can inflict those, if they wish to.], Novalis will call off the rest of these here angels. She might even offer some kind of bribe -- probably an Artifact of some kind (peaceful, of course; no "itty-bitty pistols" from *this* Lady) or removal of dissonance or Discord, though she might be talked into trading her "dancing" Rite, upon successful completion of the mission. (She's unlikely to bestow Attunements or Distinctions, unless she thinks that they'd influence a demon towards the Bright side of the "Force.")
If they don't take on this mission, then, well, Novalis will just have to leave everyone where they left off. Though of course she'd heal up the angelic side of the conflict and give them some Essence, since angels have to stick together.
The mission? Oh, yes. Go to Hell -- and bring Shelemiah back. Intact, not as a Remnant or a Balseraph. (Well, if that's all the PCs can find, that will have to do -- but she'd rather have at least a Renegade Balseraph...)
The rest will depend on the GM's whim -- who kidnapped the Seraph in the first place? There are several people who might do such a thing (especially Malphas, Prince of Factions, who hates lovey-dovey peacenik Novalis even more than he hates most angels), for one very cogent reason.
[Here comes another Assumption:]
Shelemiah is Novalis' offspring. Direct offspring, not just the usual "sing an angel into existance" kind of angelic-creation that the Archangels usually use. (Who's the other parent? [Gendered terms for parents are unlikely to matter to celestials, even though Novalis does appear as female exclusively.] No telling who "dad" is -- but Novalis is allied to both Eli and Jordi. Could be either of them, or both, or one of Novalis' high-ranking Servitors...) And while celestials don't have quite human standards for raising children, Novalis is quite fond of her promising young child -- to the point of voluntarily using her Cherubic resonance on Shellie. This is how she knows the youngster is alive, and at least part of why she's so desperate to get the Seraph back. (She may also have had her eye on young Shelemiah for some Word or other in the next few centuries, and be loathe to lose the chance at it.)
Now, if you'd been able to find out this little detail (the offspring part, at least), wouldn't *you* want to take advantage of it? You would if you were a Demon Prince...
Even the least hostile of the Princes would think of ransom; the more-hostile ones might think of a metaphoric spitting in the eye of Archangels by trying to *corrupt* this Seraph-kid. Malphas, in particular, *specializes* in the destruction of bonds. You think the Shedite Prince of Factions wouldn't leap at the chance to try his Word on a Servitor of Flowers? Even if some other Prince's servants got Shellie initially, Malphas may have taken the angel away...
If the PCs aren't going to be able to find Shelemiah easily (or if they try and fail), then one of the angels who was with the kid can come out of Trauma and provide some hints -- kinds of Attunements that were used, names shouted during the battle, tactics, etc.
The most likely result -- that Malphus has his hands on Shelemiah -- will have the PCs trying to sneak into Stygia and perform a rescue from under the Princes' noses. If the GM wants to be kind, Valefor may be out stealing something; if the GM wants to be *really* kind, then maybe there *is* good reason for other Princes to be suspicious about why he's got a similar theme to the Archangel of Wind, or somehow, a Wind-sympathizer has infiltrated Theft's very Principality; if the GM wants to be really sadistic, then the other Princes are dead wrong about good ol' Val.
Well, if they can manage the rescue, maybe they can ascend out of Hell really fast; if not (Shelemiah is bound by some infernal artifact that keeps it from leaving Hell?), maybe they can drop the angel in front of one of the Servitors of Judgment who keep watch outside Hades... Or cut through Beleth's Tower into the Marches... Or sneak into Tartarus in search of infernal bolt-cutters... Or something equally hazardous.
Even if they do get out of Hell "easily" -- where do they go from there? Especially if they have guards chasing them. Better hope nobody gets recognized, either...
One interesting thing to remember is that Shelemiah *is* a Seraph of Flowers. [Assumption: while angels do not regain Essence in Hell, their Attunements and Distinctions still work.] This means that it's got the standard "peace aura" -- anyone wishing to commit mayhem must make a Will roll, minus the total number of Forces of the Seraph, plus 1 for ever yard apart (until back to normal Will; GM decides when the Will roll is no longer necessary; be cruel, make the effect hit at eyesight range...).
Other things to remember:
Corporeal 2 (Strength 3, Agility 5)
Ethereal 3 (Intelligence 7, Precision 5)
Celestial 4 (Will 8, Perception 8)
Vessel/1 (16-year old human); Role/1 (teenage kid), Status/1 [4 points]
Artistry/2, Detect Lies/2, Driving/1, Savoir-Faire/1, Singing/2 [Detect Lies is not redundant -- when your Resonance fails, you want to be able to spot stuff in less than hours...]
Harmony (Corporeal/1, Ethereal/6, Celestial/2) [+2 to Check Digit] Healing (Corporeal/3, Ethereal/2, Celestial/2) [+2 to Check Digit] Shields (Corporeal/4), Ethereal/2, Celestial/2) [+2 to Check Digit]
Shelemiah is very young, quite naive (even for a Seraph), but is also too innocent to realize *entirely* what kind of danger it's in -- Shellie thinks that the worst that will befall is that it gets destroyed utterly (which is depressing enough!), but that its strength of character will keep it from Tripping or Falling.
The GM gets to decide if it's been right so far, gotten a little dissonant/Discordant (it would rather be Discordant than Outcast or Fallen), or actually become a baby Balseraph (though probably a thoroughly ticked-off one).
If it's still angelic, it will preach Truth, Peace, and Redemption to its rescuers -- though it's also bright enough to realize that there *are* times when Truth, Peace, and Redemption are not useful, and it should keep its mouth shut. (Like when you're trying to convince a demon jailer that "we're fine, we're all fine here, how are you?") But afterwards, it will bemoan the necessity... ("How can you lie so easily? How does this place even exist, with the perversions of truth, with the violence it harbors? How can you bear being here, when forgiveness and Redemption are waiting for those who only ask???")
[Regarding whether Superiors can or cannot lay/remove Geasa...]
Though it's similarly probable that they can remove them, if the players think to go to their Superiors and report all this, so the GM may want to be prepared for that... (Personally, I would NOT want to go to Asmodeus or Belial and explain that, "Well, see, we were getting our butts kicked by some Angels, but hap..I mean, tragically, Novalis showed up and saved our lives. Er."
For example; Asmodeus, Baal, Beleth, Belial, Haagenti, Kronos, and Saminga probably all fall under the, "It would just be really dumb to tell them" category.
Andrealphus, Kobal, and Malphas (if it isn't him behind it) might well be amused and tell their Servitor to go through with it...having an Archangel think fondly of some of their Servants might not be too bad an idea.
Nybbas, Valefor, and Malphas (if it is him behind it, and maybe if not) quite plausibily WOULD remove the Geas, in which case the GM gets a player in the party with orders to follow along and work against it...(Alternatively, Nybbas may have his keep the Geas but also carry along this eensy video camera, because this should make for GREAT copy...)
Vapula particularly, but otherwise almost any of them, might also go ahead and remove the Geas but order their Servitor to go along and get the Seraph for THEM...)
> ([Novalis is] unlikely to bestow Attunements or Distinctions, unless she thinks that they'd influence a demon towards the Bright side of the "Force.")
Oog..I can think of very few Demon Princes I might be serving that I'd WANT a Distinction from the Archangel of Flowers...can you imagine the next time you meet them? "Say, what's this bright spot on your soul?" Asmodeus asks suddenly...
> [if hints or help are needed,] one of the angels who was with the kid can come out of Trauma and provide some hints -- kinds of Attunements that were used, names shouted during the battle, tactics, etc.
This could also be a way to slip one in if one player -REALLY- wants to play an Angel. (Awfully dangerous, though, but PCs are stupid. They're bound to think of a way. Maybe pretend it's another prisoner..)
> [perhaps Shelemiah has] actually become a baby Balseraph (though probably a thoroughly ticked-off one).
Or confused...still preaching Truth, Peace, and Redemption, not even realizing that it's now a Balseraph of Malphas with the Imbroglio Attunement...(Or, for a very special case like this, perhaps Malphas got Kronos to take it on, giving it the Seraph Resonance still...if Novalis isn't paying close attention, even an Archangel might be fooled when they -really want- something, and that darker shade is just a side effect of that awful place which she's sure will clear up soon...granting that it still won't strictly be on Hell's side, I could see Malphas and Kronos both gleefully working out the whole thing, including the rescue, just to get a Balseraph who doesn't know it right under Novalis's nose...getting her in major, MAJOR trouble with Dominic when someone else notices. Not even Yves could shield her from something like that. Especially if, as I'd propose, the Seraph of Flowers Attunement would just naturally, quietly, twist to something equivalent to the Imbroglio Attunement from Malphas anyway. Poor Shellie wouldn't even know.)
> "dancing" Rite, upon successful completion of the mission. (She's unlikely to bestow Attunements or Distinctions, unless she thinks that they'd influence a demon towards the Bright
Assuming that they're not heavily discordant or otherwise off the ballpark, we'll assume that these PC demons are more or less on the party line. In that case the main question is what kind of reward would a demon want from the Archangel of Flowers.
Actually there's one fairly obvious answer even for those Malakites of Micheal who don't think much of her either. It's always nice to be owed a favor from a Superior, much nicer to be owed a whopping BIG favor from a Superior, and if this favor is owed by someone on the other side of the Fence? So much the better, if for no other reason, you've got something to trade the next time you meet Valpa... or Lilith.
Just a question: Which winged animal would be [Novalis'] celestial form??
(If the GM demands a predator, then obviously a ladybug will be appropriate, as they prey upon aphids.)
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Elizabeth McCoy <email@example.com>
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