KingPrince of Beasts
for In Nomine
by Elizabeth McCoy
Note: The following adventure is based upon a premise which is not canon at the time of this writing. It might become a canon rumor or theory.
Administrivia for the GM
This is an adventure primarily for demonic characters. Angels, ethereals, and humans may participate (or try to thwart it from the other side), but the prize is Infernal. Characters may be the normal 9-Force demons, or the GM could have a more humorous tone with demonlings and demons of 5 to 8 Forces. In a mixed group, the GM may give lower-Force Infernals character points equal to what the highest-Force character has, in order to purchase enough Resources to hold their own. (The Liber Servitorum may provide pre-generated PCs, for a one-shot.)
While the GM can introduce this into an existing game, the payoff is a Word and even Princedom. The group might need to be retired . . . but this could be a way to end a campaign with a bang!
The Lightbringer intends to grant a particular Word. The first the characters hear of their involvement is when their respective Princes inform them that they are candidates, and must report to an office in Kronos' Archive to get further details. (Anyone with Bound or similar Discords will be given transport. A Free Lilim may have a Geas invoked to participate!)
Upon arrival, the characters will be ushered into an office which is not as cramped as they might expect. Their hostess and informant is Saboth, an attractive Lilim of Fate. Wise demons will let her get on with the briefing. Those who wish to take notes are permitted.
According to Saboth's presentation, Kronos, the Prince of Fate, sponsored one of his Shedim as the Demon of Beasts. When this was done, he learned that animals have two destinies. If they achieve neither, they are reincarnated. If they achieve their Heavenly destiny, they go to Heaven. If they achieve their second destiny . . . they are incarnated as humans.
Saboth, with any encouragement, will go into an explanation of how this is proof of the Finite Souls Theory -- that eventually, the number of souls on Earth will be exhausted, and only remnant-like shells will roam the planet. According to FST, at one point even one-celled animals had souls, but as the number of more advanced species grew, the less-advanced were no longer ensouled. If the group wishes to discuss this theory, Saboth will let them do so (for as long as the players are interested in the implications). Eventually she will bring them back to the main reason they're there.
The Shedite Demon of Beasts went to Earth and was, apparently, eaten by Jordi, the Archangel of Animals. C'est la vie. While Kronos no longer cares whose Servitor a replacement Demon of Beasts is, he and Lucifer both want one. Considering the obvious danger of getting this Word, it was deemed that most sensible demons wouldn't apply, and many Princes wouldn't bother to sponsor anyone. As the prior Demon of Beasts showed the perils of lack of sense . . . Lucifer has required that each Prince select some number of Servitors who will compete to gain the Word. They will compete to the fullest extent of their abilities, under pain of the Lightbringer's displeasure. On the positive side, Saboth's information strongly suggests that the lucky demon will not only gain a Word, but a Princedom; any runners up will be offered as initial staff to the new Prince (as will Saboth herself).
Saboth is responsible for briefing the candidates, getting the paperwork filed so Fate Servitors should cooperate with on matters which pertain to gaining the Word, and supplying minor items if they have a good explanation for how it will advance the Word of Fate while working toward the Word of Beasts. She is also a Lilim in disfavor with her Prince; when she says that she is commanded to do anything in her power to aid the candidates, this includes submitting to non-fatal depravities. (Of course, whatever's done to her will affect how much aid she's likely to render. Paperwork can be . . . misplaced easily, in the Archive.)
Candidates will all receive a vessel/6 of a reasonable animal type; blue whales are probably over the top. Shedim are given the Song of Possession/6. The GM may bestow these via "one-shot relics" which were crafted by Kronos and can be handed out as needed (making the vessels come from a pre-selected stock and requiring special paperwork or a personal meeting to get something unusual), or the GM may have Kronos personally grant these boons.
Any demon with an Ethereal Force to its name is likely to figure out that setting off alone, when Jordi has presumably figured out that there's a Word-competition going on, is suicidal. (If necessary, Saboth can mention this.) While only one of them is going to get the brass ring, having a support staff is an important thing for a new Prince -- especially if said staff hasn't been loaned from someone else, causing the new royalty to be beholden to the elder one. If you're trustworthy enough, and get along enough with your team-mates, then it's the fast-track to a Dukedom as second place.
This should keep the backstabbing to a minimum.
Other groups of NPC candidates are presumed to exist; if the PCs witness a set of them being eaten alive by fruit flies because of insufficient cooperation, it may be instructive. (The Songs of Acid, Fangs, Claws, Tongue, and Form are all good for a Kyriotate of Animals to possess, and can make for a very dangerous swarm of fruit flies at the GM's option.)
Part of the whole "candidate for a Word" thing is forcing the demons to come up with ideas to promote the Word. In case no one has a hair-brained scheme, or takes inspiration from Princely orders (below), here are some possible approaches.
- Promote an extreme animal-rights group; organize a huge charity ball for their cause, with celebrities. If the press can be swayed with Songs, attunements, or resonances, it could be a huge success.
- Concoct a half-breed human monkey, live or false, and tout it as the "missing link." If it can survive genetic scrutiny as a link between man and beast, even demons who aren't Nybassians can sway that Prince to help promote the concept. Hopefully, Lightning and Animals will stalemate themselves instead of destroying the Infernals responsible.
- Start a new fad among the fanatic ecological conservationists -- Beastialization. With selective brain surgery and hormonal treatments, a human can be "reverted to a state more harmonious with nature," and released to a preserve to live out the "natural life" as the ape it is. Vapula and Kobal would both be delighted with this sort of approach.
If any demon rolls a 666 during the probable mayhem that any plan will generate, the GM should take this as a sign that they are (somehow, probably against all odds) on the right track to pleasing the First Balseraph.
Most of the Princes are less than pleased to have to pony up some of their Servitors; even the losers are almost certainly going to be given to whoever wins the competition. Some are tossing screw-ups into the ring. Some are picking the cream, in the hopes of getting an allied Prince. Some are hedging their bets, with promising Servitors who aren't too special. All the Princes want the competitors to be promoting their Words, in the meantime. It may be the last work they get out of their minions, so it'd better be good.
Instructions may have been given to the PCs before the briefing, in which case they probably knew what was up, or handed over in a sealed packet for after they are briefed. They may burst into a character's mind as a "time-bomb" of data, placed there when the Prince picked up the Servitor. They might show up as a Celestial Song of Tongues, or as personal directions after the initial planning sequence, causing problems if the PCs have already brainstormed something. C'est la vie.
Andrealphus would like more bestiality, please. He'll settle for more people dressing up like animals to have sex, but he'd prefer that "fur-suited furversion" become the only reason to like animals. He may bestow appropriate decorative Numinous Corpus Songs, and will make sure the new animal vessel is not neutered.
Asmodeus will finagle the paperwork to grant a Role/1 to any appropriate animal vessel. He favors anything which advances the Game, in either the greater or trivial aspects; if racetracks can be sucked away from Mammon (Prince of Greed and former Gamester), that will be acceptable. Allied with Kronos, he is surprisingly lenient about how much Word-boost he expects.
Baal is annoyed that Kronos has persuaded Lucifer to give resources to a minor Word like Beasts, but at least it will annoy Jordi. Any of his Servitors should be laying the groundwork for animals in the military and police, the better for demons of Beasts to infiltrate. Cyborg animal-soldier research is acceptable.
Beleth wants werewolf tales, insanity with bestial traits, and the assumption that any animal could be rabid at any time. Spontaneously. She would also look favorably on any plot that gives people the impression they could be turned into some beast-human hybrid and sold into slavery -- fear of beasts, and of turning bestial, is her spin. (Bonus points if the celestial forms of Cherubim can be made terrifying in the human mind.) She may provide a minor Numinous Corpus, if sufficiently impressed.
Belial is outwardly uncaring what any minion of his does. "Just don't get burned." (Secretly, he doesn't want his Servitor to win, and may send assassins after any Fire-demons who get "in the lead." He is less anxious about giving someone up to be someone else's Servitor, so being an assistant in a successful plan is not as liable to "friendly fire.")
Haagenti thinks animals are there to be eaten, and this should be emphasized. Make vegetarians laughing stocks. Make man just another beast to be devoured. Help out Kobal's people. Get Haagenti lots of chicken.
Kobal is the Prince Most Likely To Have Sent Demonlings as the majority of his candidates. Whatever you do, make it darkly funny. Serious bonus points if you make Prince off it, and then do something to make Kronos less powerful. Total bonus points if whatever you do nets you a Princedom and makes Kronos less powerful as well.
Kronos wants a Demon of Beasts. He will work with any Prince of Beasts to ensure that animals gain a fate -- or failing that, how to pinpoint what their "human destiny" is, so that they become vulnerable to Fate's demons. Naturally, he would be pleased to have said Prince come from his ranks, even as Vapula did.
Lilith has one suggestion which will go to any Lilim, Bound or Free. "Be a good Duchess." She is also delighted to do favors for her Daughters, and the Geases are really quite attractive, don't you think? She charges more for favors when the plan has a lot of captive animals and/or humans.
Malphas wants focus on the loners, the psychopaths with no ties and no sense of the pack. Those who have no sense of the ties in human society. The mavericks, the rogues, the lone wolves. Humanity should fear the beast in each other's hearts.
Nybbas wants something flashy, that will create news, babe. Some of Vapula's ideas are pretty flashy. (So are some of Andre's.) He may provide Summonable camera relics.
Saminga wants more zombis. Zombi animals. Packs of zombi gerbils sweeping across towns at night and devouring humans live. If this Finite Souls Theory is true, then binding souls into undead form will also bring about the soulless Earth, where everything is dead and empty and doesn't know it. That's a good thing.
Valefor likes cat-burglars, but is more interested in themes that steal the innocence of animals, and the humanity of humans. Uplift animals to sapiency? Muddy humans' place as the chosen of God? Now that would be a Theft; a Prince who did that might be the Prince of humans as just another kind of beast.
Vapula is clearly thinking along the lines of Dr. Moreau. He is also interested in the transfiguration of a soul from animal to human, and how this might be accomplished. (If, indeed, the information is accurate.) Whatever plan is hatched, he would like one with a great deal of data for him.
Saboth, Lilim of Fate
Corporeal Forces - 2
Ethereal Forces - 4
Celestial Forces - 4
Vessels: Human woman/2, Charisma +2; Cat/6*
Skills: Artistry/1, Computer Operation/1, Detect Lies/1, Emote/1, Fast-Talk/2, Knowledge (Area: Archive/3, Finite Souls Theory/4, Psychology/2), Languages* (Native/3, Others/1), Lying/1, Savoir-Faire/1, Seduction/3.
Songs: Attraction (Ethereal/4), Harmony (Ethereal/3), Healing (All/1).
Attunements: Lilim of Fate
* Her cat vessel is new, so that she can covertly communicate with PCs on Earth if they happen to be in animal vessels of their own. (If the entire group has taken something aquatic, or otherwise made a cat vessel too obvious, she'll get something else as well. Likewise, her Language skills are suited for the areas she needs to operate in.)
Saboth's cooperation does not stretch to explaining why she is in her Prince's bad graces; she has apparently been sentenced to silence on the matter by Kronos himself. Aside from that, she has been instructed do anything that will not actually strip a Force from her, be dissonant, get her into trouble with the Game, or further displease her Prince. Naturally, the details of her cooperation will vary depending on how she's treated, and she will tread on the thin edge of any of those restrictions if she thinks a relatively kind PC has a shot at the Word and probable Princedom -- once she's been put in the new Prince's service, she'll be in less danger from Fate's wrath. (Not no danger, but less.)
While on the corporeal plane, the PCs may or may not be able to contact Saboth and enlist her aid, depending on how many groups of NPCs she is also acting as liaison for. If the GM wants, each group can have its own contact, and Saboth will be sent with the PCs; she will probably have a Vapulan cellphone which connects to Hell, for making arrangements. Then again, Saboth may be managing all candidates, and be unavailable most or all of the time.
What exactly she did to disgrace herself may never be found, or it could be an integral complication in whatever plans the PCs hatch for their candidacy -- GM's choice.
Article publication date: September 30, 2005
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