A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Created by: "Paul F. Strack" (pfstrack@math.unc.edu)

On Mon, 14 Apr 1997, Hollis McCray wrote:
) You know, I don't really think it's important to find out why the War
) remains a secret. but here's a story idea based on keeping the war a secret.
) The "Other Side" is planning on presenting quantitative proof to the mortal
) realm. The PCs are dispatched to stop it.

How about this:

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

The player characters (preferably angels, but demons are a possibility) are called in to deal with an urgent problem in Kentucky. It seems that the ministry of a televangelist by the name Reverend Harold Bishop has recently had a Celestial encounter. According to an (un)holy spy within Bishop's church, the good reverend witnessed the miraculous appearance of a Celestial being, and plans to share the good word with his flock.

The PCs must prevent this revelation from happening, and learn of what is going on. The spy was not a witness to the miracles, so few details are known. The Celestial being appeared in a glowing field of light, and supposedly healed a badly injured man. He then spoke comforting words to Reverend Bishop, telling him that he had been chosen for a special revelation. Reverend Bishop agreed to allow the apparent angel to speak to his flock on live TV. The celestial being itself could be almost anything: a rogue or Outcast angel, a demon, an Ethereal spirit with an ax to grind, or maybe just mortal chicanery.


What Happened

The Celestial being in question is in fact a Balseraph Servitor of Nybaas name Caliban. His demonic compatriots arranged an accident that injured one of the technicians on the set of Reverend Bishop's show. Caliban then appeared and - with a judicious use of the Celestial Song of Form (for wings) and the Corporeal Song of Healing - demonstrated his divine nature. Caliban wasn't lying when he told the reverend that he was an angel. He just neglected to mention the "fallen" bit.

Caliban has been working on the reverend with his Resonance for the last few days. At this point Bishop is completely convinced of Caliban's holy nature. Bishop is beginning to air commercial advertizing that he will have an actual angel of the Lord speak in an upcoming show. A great deal of PR is being devoted to getting out the word, and the mainstream media is beginning to pay attention as well. Caliban is laying low until the actual day of the show, but several other demonic servants are watching the reverend's organization for the Celestial intervention that is likely to come. They hope to delay and confuse the issue until the day of the show arrives and Caliban can make his "revelation".


Reverend Bishop's Ministry

Reverend Bishop is actually a sincere man, devoted to spreading the word of God. His ministry has gotten large enough that it is not entirely under his control, however. Bishop's church has grown to the size of 5000, and his weekly television show reaches nearly a quarter million more. Bishop's ministry rakes in big money, from donations, advertising and marketing spinoffs. This sort of money attracts avarice.

Bishop's PR person is one Samantha Stone, a greedy and grasping woman more concerned with wealth and reputation than Christian works. Oddly enough, she is the person most likely to want to stop the TV appearance of the angel; she is worried that it will somehow blow up in the ministry's face. Furthermore, Stone is used to having the reverend wrapped around her own finger, and doesn't like the competition. For now, she is going along with the reverend's plan, but is seeking some sort of alternative.

The rest of Bishop's ministry is an odd mix of devoted Christian's (many of whom are extremely loyal to the charismatic Bishop) and cynical media technicians. Demonic and angelic spies are seeded amongst this cast of characters. A Servitor of Marc is watching the ministry to make sure a signifigant percentage of its collected wealth goes to charity foundations (this is the holy spy). There are the allies of Caliban as well, looking to make trouble for anyone meddling in their plans.


The Infernal Plan

With demons, few things are ever as they seem. Caliban has no intention of revealing the existence of angels. In fact, he plans to stage an "angelic appearance" that is so hopelessly fake that even Bishop's most adoring fans will see through it immediately. He will walk on stage with a chicken feather and wire wings, spout a few prophecies that he clipped from a tabloid, bungle a healing and generally make an ass of himself. Caliban's control of Bishop is great enough that he expects to be able to get through the whole performance before he is yanked from the airwaves.

After Caliban's disastrous fraud, Bishop should be ruined. Betrayal by their minister could extend in doubt in the Lord, and hundreds of thousands of mortals can be led astray. Caliban hopes to utilize any divine interferance to make the situation even worse, since the angels should be unaware of his true plan. The angels may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of accessories in Caliban's plot.

Caliban won't appear until 15 minutes into the show, so direct attacks on him will be nearly impossible without thousands of witnesses. Caliban isn't above labeling his attackers as demons as well. Reverend Bishop is also impossible to sway. He is caught too deeply in Caliban's lies. The PCs will have to work carefully and indirectly if they want to save the reverend's church.


**Flaming Feather**

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