This article originally appeared in Pyramid #29
An In Nomine Resource by Alain H. DawsonTwo demons sat on a park bench. They had finished throwing their empty beer bottles at the ducks an hour ago and were now engrossed in dissecting the many flaws of the Impudite's Demon Prince.
"C'mon, man, why do you put up with all the crap Asmodeus hands you? Did you tell God to kiss your butt so you could end up taking orders from a second-rate Djinn? I know you hear me knocking, and I think I'm making sense."
The Impudite snarled as his companion's words sank home. "You're right. He's jealous of me, I can tell. I'll never advance as long as he has anything to say about it. He probably tells Lucifer that I'm a goody-two-shoes behind my back. I'd like to tell him where to shove this assignment."
The Balseraph smiled. "You should say that to his face, man. Just to see him choke on his barbed tongue. Wouldn't that be great?"
A sudden reckless courage took hold of the Impudite. "I'll do it!" he screamed, leaping to his feet. "I'm going to invoke him right here! And he'd better . . . "
A shriek cut him off mid-sentence and the Impudite spun around. A huge, flaming hand had appeared out of nowhere and held the Balseraph in its crushing grasp. A cold voice cracked through the air like a whip.
"Not funny, Uzal."
The hand vanished, taking the Balseraph with it. A robed figure sat on the bench in its wake. The Impudite's stomach sank as he recognized the new arrival.
Asmodeus gazed at his quivering servant and said softly, "It must be hell to be the Demon of Insubordination, don't you think?"
The act of supporting certain Words can get a demon in heaps of trouble. The more diligently he works, the more heat he takes. The following demons have words that most diabolicals wouldn't wish on a dog. These NPCs can liven up an adventure, but demonic characters had better keep their distance if they know what's good for them.
Demon of InsubordinationCorporeal Forces - 6 Strength 12 Agility 12
Ethereal Forces - 5 4Intelligence 11 Precision 9
Celestial Forces - 6 Will 12 Perception 12
Vessel: Human/3 (Charisma +3)
Skills: Emote/6, Fast-Talk/6, Dodge/3, Computer Operation/3, Drive/4
Songs: Charm (Ethereal/6, Celestial/6), Form (Corporeal/4, Celestial/6), Possession/5, Tongues (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/4)
Attunements: All Balseraph attunements, Demon of Insubordination
Rites: Uzal generates 1 Essence every time he convinces someone to commit an act of insubordination.
Uzal is a Balseraph with a very special place in Hell. He serves no Demon Prince and has no Superior except for Lucifer himself. The reason is obvious; he simply won't follow orders. Not only that, he causes all those around him to develop the same attitude. The Princes think he's poison, and if they catch any of their minions fraternizing with him, those minions will have a lot of explaining to do.
Working directly for the Lord of Hell is no walk in the park, as Uzal will tell you at great length. Lucifer doesn't give him orders as such, because it is against Uzal's nature to follow anyone's orders. The Lightbringer just whacks the upstart whenever he gets out of hand, or sometimes simply at random. The thought of getting "whacked" by Lucifer can give the boldest demon cold sweats, so Uzal's Word is in no danger of being contested.
He is the only demon for whom a 666 roll is bad news: Lucifer has noticed his work and disapproves. (A roll of 111 remains disastrous for him. Essentially, any Intervention is bad for Uzal.) On a roll of 666, Uzal will be snatched back to Hell and remain indisposed for 6 days. No diabolical dares to ask what happens to him, but whatever it is, the effects don't last long. He is rarely out of commission for more than a few weeks, although any time he gets in trouble he loses all of his talismans and artifacts and must start collecting them all over again.
Uzal will foster his Word anywhere there is a hierarchy to be undermined. Armed forces, factories, palaces, corporations: if there are underlings, he's there to stir them up. He makes junior executives ruin their bosses' careers and soldiers frag their lieutenants. Uzal isn't interested in getting large groups to rebel. He works on an individual basis, getting one person to trample the authority of another. Much to his disgust, his actions occasionally bring about a change for the good, but even under those circumstances he can't stop himself.
In addition to possessing all of the Balseraph attunements, Uzal's word grants him the ability to fill a victim with false courage. Many people harbor the desire to take revenge on those in power but are deterred by the possible consequences. At a cost of 1 Essence, Uzal can suppress a person's fear of repercussion for a number of minutes equal to his Ethereal Forces, or as long as he is within eyesight of his victim. Celestials are allowed an Intelligence roll to avoid being taken in by his exhortations. Anyone who stays within 10 feet of him for an hour or more is infected with false courage at no cost to Uzal. The duration is the same as above.
It has been whispered that Uzal might actually be a part of Lucifer. After all, the Lightbringer's rebellion against God is the greatest act of insubordination ever committed. Add to that the extraordinary autonomy Uzal enjoys and the rumors abound.
Kronos is the only Prince who seems to have any solid information about a possible connection, and he isn't talking. In fact, talking about Uzal is considered bad luck in Hell, where everyone's Superior is paranoid. As the saying goes, "Speak of the devil and he shall appear."
Demon of Taking Credit for Someone Else's WorkCorporeal Forces - 2 Strength 2 Agility 6
Shedite Servitor of Theft
Ethereal Forces - 4 Intelligence 11 Precision 5
Celestial Forces - 3 Will 2 Perception 10
Skills: Fast-Talk/6, Lying/6
Songs: Shields (Corporeal/5, Ethereal/5, Celestial/3), Tongues (Corporeal/6, Ethereal/2)
Attunements: Shedite of Theft, Passage, Swipe, Demon of Taking Credit for Someone Else's Work
Rites: Hephzibah generates 1 point of Essence each time she convinces someone that she was responsible for something she didn't do.
For a Word-bound demon, Hephzibah is pretty weak. This is because she doesn't actually do most of what she claims. Many of Hell's denizens feel that this is perfectly acceptable behavior if no one finds out the truth, but because of her Word, she is usually found out, and on the rare occasions when she does accomplish something noteworthy, she is hard-pressed to make anyone believe her.
Once a low-level demon with ambition but no determination, she more than made up for her lack of work ethic in chutzpah.
Despite having achieved no distinctions, she decided to apply for a Word - Demon of Crashes. She told everyone that she caused an airplane crash over Norway that took 138 lives and a 47-car pile-up near LAX the day before Thanksgiving, knowing that the two demons actually responsible were still in Trauma and couldn't contradict her. Lucifer, the master of simultaneous punishment and reward, did give her a Word, but he named her Demon of Taking Credit for Someone Else's Work, thus making it apparent to the Hosts of Hell that she was a traitorous liar. Flattering, yes, but he exposed her method of advancement so that she would have to work very hard to pull off the same trick again.
She does very little to support her Word among humans. Luckily, her Word is really self-supporting. What strength she has comes from humanity's great desire to look out for No. 1. Her real troubles come when she has to work with other demons. Understandably, they don't trust her farther than they can throw her into a gale-force wind. She is a back-stabbing little sneak who uses all of her skills and abilities to cover herself with stolen glory. Because of this, she must continually shift hosts to avoid recognition by other diabolicals while she is on earth.
Valefor really admires Hephzibah's brand of theft, but he gets frustrated with her because she never admits that she's stealing. He thinks she should have more pride in her work and so he still hasn't given her any distinctions. However, her Word grants her the Balseraph resonance for lying (see In Nomine, p. 142). If she uses her attunement to make herself more important, it's free. For any other purpose, it costs her 1 Essence per person she wishes to deceive.
Demon of Bad TidingsCorporeal Forces - 3 Strength 2 Agility 10
Impudite Knight of Factions
Ethereal Forces - 4 Intelligence 6 Precision 10
Celestial Forces - 4 Will 4 Perception 12
Skills: Computer Operation/3, Dodge/6, Drive/4, Escape/6, Move Silently/5, Running/6
Songs: Healing (Ethereal/4, Celestial/5), Shields (Corporeal/3, Ethereal/3, Celestial/6)
Artifacts: Stealthy Shoes/3
Attunements: Impudite of Factions, Imbroglio, Knight of Deception, Demon of Bad Tidings
Rites: Lagopus gains 1 Essence every time he delivers bad tidings and personally witnesses the receiver's reaction (anger, sorrow, etc.) and 1 Essence when he gets bad news distributed nationwide in newspapers or on TV.
Everyone wants to kill the messenger, as Lagopus can attest. He is a pariah in Hell even amongst the Princes, because Lucifer often uses him to pass on reprimands, dirty jobs or busywork. He is frequently the worse for wear after telling a Prince something he didn't want to hear, and has refined his defensive abilities extensively as a result. He is a master of the quick getaway.
Lesser demons run from Lagopus like a process server. He has no friends because there is so much bad news in Hell that he is never off duty.
His only joy in life is traveling the Corporeal realm in his guise as a mailman. Delivering bad tidings to humans has no downside and nets him a lot of Essence. He has even been known to create an unfortunate accident just so he can go tell someone about it. He likes hanging out with paparazzi and hack journalists because they actually like to hear bad news and they tend to pass it on, furthering his Word. Unfortunately for him, he is not allowed to stay on earth indefinitely because he has too much to do in Hell and no one is willing to do his job for him.
His Demon of Bad Tidings attunement allows him to know one hurtful piece of information about a person at a cost of 2 Essence. He must make eye contact with his victim for his attunement to function. The information is always something the person did not already know, so Lagopus gets to share it with him. This attunement only works on the same person once per week, and Lagopus can always decide not to deliver the information if he thinks it would be more hurtful coming from somebody else.
Article publication date: April 10, 1998
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