And I Feel Fine - Part 8: The Keys to the Abyss

By Earl Wajenberg (


"On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not withstand it." -- Matthew 16:18

Apollyon, the newly-revealed Archangel of the Abyss, rose before the Seraphim Council, addressing them and all the Host: "I bring report of the Lower Hells. They are, indeed, the opposite of the Upper Heavens, very much as Nothing is the opposite of All. They are the ragged edge of reality, and beyond them is utter nullity, but they do have inhabitants -- the wicked soul-killed. Just as those in the Upper Heavens are more real and more truly themselves than ever, those in the Lower Hells hang onto existence and identity by the final thread, stripped of any Words they may have held, reduced to a few rags of Forces.

"And there is Lucifer, whose Word, if he has one, is Negation, and whose private realm these Hells are. The double-damned are his, his private Essence farm, one of the secret bases of his power, and all the more powerful for being secret. A few he has sent back, stripped of memory, introduced as new-minted demons or deranged damned souls. More often, he has used them as a source of Forces, so sending some into final obliteration.

"But, in the last extreme, he will reveal his secret hoard, restore Words, and send the double-damned back into the War, if he must.

"And he will, if he learns that Gabriel and Michael still live, and worse, the Upper Heavens have opened. And we cannot expect to keep such a secret for much longer.

"This negative resurrection must not be allowed, lest the old stalemate return, and we must face again Belial, Legion, Beelzebub, Vephar, Mesarach, Mariel, and the others. So we let us reveal ourselves, not wait to be discovered, while the Horde is drawn out into the Marches and Hell is emptier than ever before. This, indeed, was the reason for our campaign in the Marches, as worked out by Michael, Uriel, Lawrence, and myself. We are going to smooth off this ragged edge of reality. We will descend to the Lower Hells and destroy them, and all in them. We begin *now*."

The Archangels of Death and the Abyss are descending to Hell, to sing a one-time-only Song to destroy the Lower Hells. Singing backup are War, Wind, Fire, Sword, Lightning, Judgement, and Protection. All are taking huge numbers of their angels with them, to make sure they are not interrupted. Any PC serving them can plausibly come along. So can PCs of Purity, Faith, and Stone. PCs of Words like Creation, Children, Flowers, or Dreams will have to be a little inventive, but the more the, uh, merrier.

Once they are all armed and gathered, the PCs and everyone else can follow the Archangels down into Hell. For reasons of Word-mechanics, they are landing in Abaddon, Saminga's Principality. It is very empty, Saminga and so many of his demons being busy on Earth, but that will change very fast.

Roleplaying seed: The Harrowing of Hell

The Archangels start singing immediately. Moments thereafter, Saminga will show up, followed soon by Baal. Then wave after wave of Death demons will come in, followed by War-devils and just about anything else that can be brought to bear. Lucifer himself could show up at any point.

PCs are in for as much celestial combat as they can withstand or the players want. Besides pure melee, there's:

Roleplaying seed: As Long As We're Here...

Of course, everyone is there to destroy the Lower Hells and their inhabitants, first and foremost. But if there's a chance, there are a number of things various angels might like to do in Hell, such as:

None of these, or any similar side-raids, would be easy, but the chaos of battle could offer unexpected opportunities, and PCs' Archangels could have handed them various goals with the general instruction "If you get the chance, go for it."

Roleplaying seed: Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up to Me

A few of the double-damned may have repented during their time in the Lower Hells, and they've certainly had the opportunity to purge themselves through suffering. As the Lower Hells crumble around them, their bonds break, they are Redeemed by the direct grace of God, and they ascend -- to Upper Hell. Whee.

But this is a possible reason for PCs of Destiny, or Flowers and other Words, to come along. They can locate new-minted Saints and Angels (most of them stripped down to three Forces) and hustle them up to Heaven before they get painfully smacked by something (still) infernal. (Of course, even if they got "soul-killed," they'd just ascend to the Upper Heavens, but still, it's painful and Traumatizing.) Angels of Protection and Judgement could do the same, of course.

Before that, PCs have the interesting chance to meet some of the wicked soul-killed (either historical figures or old acquaintances) now on their side. What do you *say* to your old nemesis, groveling at your feet? Or to Dracula? Or Legion? What do *they* say? What if they aren't groveling, but want to stay and help you fight?

What if they claim to have valuable information, like the nature and location of some valuable item of Lucifer's? Can you believe them? (Not that they'd lie, but they aren't exactly stable at the moment.)

Roleplaying seed: Home Ground Advantage

Demonic PCs might have an exciting time, if not an enjoyable one, defending the home front, fighting the Host in Hell itself. This would also be a dandy time to go Renegade, or at least settle some old scores without anyone noticing.

The great bulk of the population of the Lower Hells is simply destroyed. The GM should decide which famous figures from the Lower Hells get destroyed, Redeem, or escape to Upper Hell. Any Heavenly characters that suffer otherwise-lethal soul damage ascend to the Upper Heavens, in Trauma that lasts as long as the GM finds convenient.

For the sake of the rest of the scenario, do not let the battle in Hell or the destruction of the Lower Hells change the status of Michael, Lucifer, Baal, Mammon, Saminga, Kronos, Kobal, Nybbas, or Therrian.

Roleplaying seed: The Awful Truth

Demonic PCs have an amazing roleplaying opportunity, reacting to the news that, not only is Michael not dead, no other angel is either, and the Apocalypse is proceeding according to their worst fears. Any angel will be happy to tell them all this, now. Particularly any seraph. Options include falling into despair, seeking redemption, and retreating into delusion.


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EDG <>
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