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Angelus: The Battle

Angelus: The Battle

A roleplaying game by Stewart Wilson

God is missing.

Demons roam the streets of Earth. They want Armageddon.

The blood of saints runs in your veins. An angel shares your soul.

You are God's instrument.

Inherit the Earth.

This is not a complete roleplaying game. A copy of The World of Darkness is required for play.

Setting

God is missing, presumed gone. Nobody knows where he went or what has happened. The Archangel Council tried to rule Heaven in his absence while keeping Earth running as well. They almost succeeded.

The Lightbringer launched an attack on Heaven which shook the world to it's core, nearly destroying the planet in the process. Psychics and mystics dropped dead and the walls of Hell cracked under the strain. Michael, the First among Equals, is missing. Barachiel, head of the Four Hosts of guardian angels, lay dead in the ruins of Heaven. The attack on Heaven was a distraction — the Lightbringer nearly destroyed all that is so that six hundred and sixteen demons could escape from Hell and bring about Judgment Day on Earth. Denied their Final Battle for seven long years, the demons have taken matters into their own hands.

The six hundred and sixteen demons escaped into the bodies of humans who were already dead inside. Merging with humans gave them a taste of free will, and made them dangerous. They subjugate their human hosts, preferring to make things more comfortable for themselves rather than forging ahead with the Apocalypse. Their flirtation with the forbidden has given the Archangels a chance.

The archangel Selaphiel devised a way by which an angel of one of the lower five Choirs might meld with a human soul, using the human's free will to carry out the work of heaven on earth. One hundred and one holy men and women were chosen, their bloodline traced back to a handful of saints. One hundred and one angels of the five Choirs, pledged to one of five Archangels, matched themselves to human souls. Jegudiel refused to accept pledges from the angelic volunteers as he must focus on ruling Heaven in Michael's stead.

These beings — no longer quite people, and not entirely angel — are the Soul-Chained. Theirs is an impossible task. The Soul-Chained must face life in a cracked world, where under a thin veneer of respectability dark things lurk. Among this world they must hunt demons, for if the Final Battle starts early then Heaven will lose and the denizens of the world will face something much worse.

The Soul-Chained hunt demons, returning the escapees to Hell to prevent the end of the world as we know it — and some go further, seeking the truth behind the Presence's current state. For if the Lord were to return and the Final Battle commence, Heaven would be victorious. They cannot return to Heaven before their mission is complete and the demons returned to Hell. The only time an individual angel leaves Earth is after her human soul dies, and she cannot be bound to another human — she's had her chance.

Life in Chains

Many people are traumatised when an angel's chained to their soul. There's a sudden feeling of nothing being quite right — they know that the world isn't what it's supposed to be. Whatever happened on the first of January 2007, the world changed forever. Where once light and dark were in balance, this new world contains ancient evils. The Soul-Chained know on a deep-down level that this is wrong, but they don't yet know what to do about it.

After her initial revelation, the new Soul-Chained starts hearing voices. The angel within speaks to her in dreams and visions, leading many to think that they are going insane. When the mortal soul can take no more, what remains of her faith shattered and her sanity pressed, the angel manifests. Her human body is changed, improved, as the angelic side pours through. The human soul feels what it's like to ride shotgun in her own psyche, second-fiddle to a heavenly being. Though the trauma of the first change doesn't last, the nature remains. The angel whispers to the mortal soul, pushing her to a life of virtuous deeds (though often the state of the world drowns out such faint whispers). Likewise, the mortal whispers to the angel, suggesting new ways of looking at problems and new solutions that the agent of Heaven would not consider.

Those chained to demons have no such luck. The divine presence in a Demon-Chained starts corrupting the mortal soul early. By the time it first warps the human form, the soul has only a scrap of sanity left. The human soul is nothing but a servant to the demon by the time the demon starts raising Hell. The soul has to remain independent as the demon requires the human's free will in order to function, but the soul is already well on its way to eternal damnation.

The Soul-Chained have not been on Earth long enough to form factions or groups for anything other than personal survival. Where groups of angels meet each other, they gauge the other's probable reaction by her Choir and Host.

The Final Battle

The very presence of the Soul-Chained leads to questions of Armageddon, the Final Battle between Heaven and Hell. Demons took mortal hosts to hurry the oncoming end of the world, and angels travelled to Earth in order to stop them. Despite the urging of Uriel, the Archangels do not want to start the Final Battle until God wills it happen. That requires the Lord's presence, something that a number of angels in Heaven are working on.

Even if he were found God would likely set the world to rights, removing the shadow of darkness and bringing everything back to normal. Unlike the Adversary, the Lord has no desire to end everything. Heaven, Earth, and even Hell work as they should, and destroying two realms just to prove the superiority of one is a sucker's game. The Adversary has always been the one who clamoured for the final battle, and the Lord has no desire to give him what he wants.

The Archangel Council

Michael: The leader of the Heavenly Host and First among Equals. Currently missing believed killed during the Escape.
Jegudiel: Archangel of responsibility, has taken command of the Host in Michael's absence, but is unable to do so effectively.
Gabriel: The Messenger of the Lord. Carries the Word of God to all. Acts schizophrenic post-Escape due to looking after the Guardian Angels.
Raphael: The Healer of all ills. Rock on whom the others all rest. A pacifist who wins hearts and minds rather than battles.
Uriel: The Purest Light of God. Advocates literal interpretation of the Lord's word and and "burning out" of Sin.
Samael: The Shadow of Vengeance. Arbiter of divine justice and the original angel of death. What people mean by the "fear of God".
Selaphiel: Listener of Prayers. The embodiment of peace and holy mysticism, the agent of balance between light and darkness.
Barachiel: Guardian of Humanity. Lead the Four Hosts of guardian angels, saving the world from devastation. Killed during the escape.

The Council is split. Uriel and Samael want to find what happened to the Lord so that the Final Battle may happen and the forces of Heaven win for good. Raphael believes that the world should be left as is, with Hell and Earth existing alongside Heaven. Selaphiel backs Raphael, though whether as an agent of Balance or because he also believes in the futility of the Last Trump is unknown. Jegudiel listens to all and plots the course of Heaven, but cannot pick and choose — he doesn't have the vision for Heaven that Michael had. Gabriel has no side. She has taken on the work of Barachiel in addition to her extant tasks, and is far too busy — and possibly insane — to pick a side.

Five of the six remaining Archangels sponsor the Soul-Chained. These Hosts advance the cause of Heaven as seen through the lens of their patron among the Council.

Gabrielites: Messengers, bringing the message of Heaven to humanity and keeping the scattered Soul-Chained in contact.
Raphaelites: Healers of body and mind and Lords over the kingdom of beasts, though some use their talents to harm.
Urielites: The Faithful, who work with communities to keep groups together and who ignite holy fire in the hearts of those around them.
Samaelites: The Wrath of God, sending demons back to hell with every breath they have. They must prove the power of Heaven above.
Selaphim: Agents of balance, who manipulates the secrets of Enochian mysticism — Magia — to command forces beyond all imagining.

Angels

Those angels who choose to meld with humans do not come from all Choirs. The Seraphim cannot merge with a mortal — the pure power is too much for a human vessel to contain, and the person dies. Some do manifest on Earth as pillars of flame or caged lightning, but they cannot directly manipulate the world without sending the whole system of the planet off-balance. The Cherubim are too removed from the world, as they are the light of the sun and the stars. They could bond with humans, but in such experiments the Cherub burned out the human's soul, leaving the vacant body a perfect target for demonic use. Cherubs remain inspirational forces, repairing the damage to Heaven.

The other Choirs can join with human souls. Each has an angelic purpose, their duty as decreed by the Lord.

Thrones: The Humble Choir. As the Link to God they bring the word of the Lord from Heaven to the Soul-Chained on Earth.
Dominions: The Lords of Wisdom. Charged with leading the Soul-Chained while they are on Earth, they can command humans with consummate ease.
Virtues: The Warrior-Angels. Capable of winning any conflict, they see the everything as a struggle between Heaven and Hell.
Powers: Lords of Shape. Motion and energy embodied, they are the energy of creation distilled into angelic form.
Principalities: The Host of Christ. Their every fibre burns with hatred for humans and other angels who harbour Sin with their acts.

The Soul-Chained

The Soul-Chained are strange creatures, a fusion of human and angel. The angelic essence mixes with the human soul, creating a creature of dualities. In her human form a Soul-Chained can use her free will to do whatever she will, though with suggestions and urges from her angel. She has the ultimate freedom, something no angel has. However, she can only manifest Subtle Songs and does not have access to the majesty of her true form.

A Soul-Chained can transform, letting her Virtue shine through. Her body changes — a burning halo erupting around her head and wings erupting from her shoulders. Her body changes as well, becoming stronger and faster. In this form she is constrained by her angelic nature, though if her human side remains virtuous she can access a portion of its free will even when empowered. Finally, she can manifest both Subtle and Harsh Songs.

Demons inhabit people as a form of Soul-Chaining as well, though they subjugate the human soul for access to free will. Demons have their own equivalents to Songs, and can manifest a wider range of features than angels — everything from horns to flaming breath and poisoned spines.

Demons

Six hundred and sixteen demons escaped Hell on the night of the Lightbringer's attack. On earth, they found six hundred and sixteen empty souls — people who had given up hope, who were already dead inside. On the dawn of the year 2007, those people knew Hell. Rather than a careful bonding with a human spirit who carries the bloodline of a saint, the demons took anyone who had a gap in their soul that the Divinity could fill. From that moment on, the demon subjugated the human host, wrecking the soul to mine the free will trapped within. Each demon belongs to a horde, reflecting the Choir of angels that she belonged to before her Fall.

Defilers: Once Thrones, these demons embrace debauchery to bring the world closer to Hell, making things more favourable for demons in general.
Fiend: Dominions who fall can weave fate, manipulating mortals in positions of power and other demons with consumate ease.
Scourge: Death is only the beginning for ex-Virtues, as they wield disease as a weapon and control the ghosts of dead mortals to their warlike ends.
Malefactor: Powers who embrace the Lightbringer can create objects that taint all who touch them, and control the unholy fires of Hell itself.
Devourer: Principalities fall harder than any other angels, embracing sin and turning their self-loathing outwards in their quest to destroy any hope of a perfect world.

The Demon-Chained do not hold to archdukes of Hell. Their sole patron is the Lucifuge, the Night-Master and Prime Minister of Hell, who offers them far more leeway than any angel receives. Some seek out ancient demons who escaped the Pit through trickery or brute force and who bound themselves to the world, offering their service to these Earth-bound devils. Others remain true to the Lucifuge, doing his will to bring Hell to Earth. They are not alone; though the cracks in the Inferno's walls are smaller than at the moment of escape, minor devils still manage to sneak out. These devils ride humans, gently nudging their thoughts and occasionally taking full control of their host much like a Soul-Chained angel, but without any further divine power. Human-devil hybrids, called Daimonion, are subtle manipulators who have a knack for sniffing out mortals who can make trouble for angels on Earth, from cops to councilmen.

Mechanics

Character Creation

Create a character as specified on p. 34-35 of The World of Darkness Rulebook, in Step Five apply the following Supernatural Template:

Choir

Select one of the five Choirs of Angels. Choirs have access to the following Songs:

ChoirSubtle SongHarsh SongSkills
ThronesHumilityPrayerAcademics/Occult/Empathy
DominionsMajestyCommand Politics/Persuasion/Socialize
VirtuesStrengthTacticsWeaponry/Intimidate/Streetwise
PowersDexterityEnergy Athletics/Craft/Larceny
PrincipalitiesFaithDevastationBrawl/Survival/Expression

Determine one Impulse related to your Choir, this is what the character believes to be her sacred duty. The Impulse must not be an action that is automatically a sin against Morality. Pick one of your Choir's Skills as your Focus Skill.

Host

Select one of the five Hosts of the Archangels. Hosts have access to the following Songs:

HostSubtle SongHarsh Song
GabrielitesSpeedUnderstanding
RaphaelitesHealingBeasts
UrielitesLeadershipFire
SamaelitesWarDarkness
SelaphielitesReinforcementMagia

Determine one Impulse related to your Host, this is what the character believes to be her sacred duty. The Impulse must not be an action that is automatically a sin against Morality.

Songs

Characters start with four dots in Songs, at least two of which must be in Choir or Host Songs. Choir and Host Songs can start at 2 dots, all others start at 1 dot.

All Songs have a cost, paid in Aether. Subtle Songs are pay-for-effect on an existing roll, while Harsh Songs are actual full on impossible weirdness

Subtle Songs can be used in human form. Use the following rough guidelines, with the title of the Song for a general idea of the kinds of rolls it can affect.

RankCostEffect
o1Add +2 to a Skill
oo1Make a roll 9-again
ooo2Perform a feat without obvious action (laying on hands)
oooo2Make an Extended action Instant
ooooo3Success without rolling (WP for exceptional)

Two sample Subtle Songs are included below, others are up to players and Storytellers to create.

The Song of Faith

Spark in a Thunderstorm (o)
Cost: Special
Applies To: Any roll with a penalty of -2 or worse
The angel channels her faith in her purpose to the task at hand, allowing her to press on through any adversity. The angel can spend Aether to affect the roll in the same way as she normally spends Willpower.
In the Face of Adversity (oo)
Cost: 1
Applies To: Any roll with a penalty of -2 or worse
The angel unleashes her faith, pressing through impossible circumstances to victory even when it appears impossible. The roll gains the benefit of the 9-again rule.
Kindle (ooo)
Cost: 1
Applies To: Any roll with a penalty made by a human.
The angel kindles the spark of faith in a human near her, singing a song that reminds the world of the heaven it can aspire to. The targeted roll gains a +3 bonus, as if the affected character has spent a point of Willpower.
Spread the Word (oooo)
Cost: 2
Applies To: Any non-confrontational Social roll
Everyone who hears the angel's words hears the subtle tones of a higher reality. If the character's Social roll succeeds, everyone she's interacting with also regains a point of Willpower. If her Social roll is an exceptional success, each listener regains 3 points of Willpower.
His Will be Done (ooooo)
Cost: 3
Applies To: Any roll with a penalty of -2 or worse
Her faith blazing like an inferno, the angel finds that no matter what stands in her way, her faith brings her through. She succeeds at the task as if she had rolled three successes. She cannot spend Willpower to improve this roll

The Song of Humility

The Penitent Man (o)
Cost: 1
Applies To: Any roll to avoid combat
The angel represses herself, allowing others to shine brighter than her. She gains two extra dice to any roll she makes in a combat situation that does not affect an opponent.
From the Shadows (oo)
Cost: 1
Applies To: Any roll made by a human
This song inspires others to take the limelight, leaving the angel outside of others' notice. The affected roll gains the 9-again quality.
So Others May Shine (ooo)
Cost: 2
Applies To: Any roll
The angel's humility requires her to give someone else the credit for her successes, and this song allows her to do just that. Everyone who witnesses the roll believes that someone within the angel's Lux Aeternum in metres performed the successful action.
Beneath Notice (oooo)
Cost: 2
Applies To: Any contested Stealth roll
The angel's subtle song removes her from the perceptions of the world. The contested Stealth roll is treat as a simple action instead, the observer does not get to roll.
I Am Eternal (ooooo)
Cost: 3
Applies To: Any confrontational Social roll
This song uses an angels ultimate humility to bring others to her side. Having recognised her deficiencies, others recognise the light of the Lord within her. She adds three dice to her pool for the Social roll. If she succeeds, the targets of her roll become well-disposed to her no matter their previous attitude.

Harsh Songs can only be used in angelic form. Use the following rough guidelines, with the title of the Song for a general idea of the kinds of effects. Roll Attribute + Lux Aeternum to generate effects.

RankAttributeCostEffect
oResolve0Sense
ooWits0Enhance/Diminish
oooPresence1Create
ooooStrength2Destroy
oooooManipulation2Warp

The Song of Devastation

Sense of Sin (o)
The angel is attuned to the harmonies of Earth that indicate past sins, allowing her to seek out demons and those who give themselves over to sin.
Cost: 0
Action: Instant
Dice Pool: Resolve + Lux Aeternum
Roll Results
  • Dramatic Failure: The angel mistakenly believes that an innocent that he can see is possessed of sin.
  • Failure: The song reveals nothing.
  • Success: The angel is aware of the strongest source of sin within 200 yards (as a rough hierarchy, from worst to best: Bound, Soul-Chained, Daimonion, Humans with Morality below 4). If nobody within two hundred yards fits the definition of a sinner, the song fails.
  • Exceptional Success: As per a success, but the Song's effective range is increased to five hundred yards.
Fan the Flames (oo)
This song allows the angel to inflame righteous anger in humans, turning them against sinners. This song affects every human with Morality 7 or more within the angel's Lux Aeternum x 10 yards.
Cost: 0
Action: Instant Resisted
Dice Pool: Presence + Lux Aeternum - Composure
Roll Results
  • Dramatic Failure: The angel douses any ire that the humans may feel. She may not use this song on the same targets for a week.
  • Failure: The song fails to work.
  • Success: Everyone affected by the song feels an urge to strike out at the nearest source of sin, using the hierarchy for Sense of Sin to find the nearest target. They do this of their own accord, the angel cannot control which target they select or how they strike out at it.
  • Exceptional Success: The humans are whipped into a frenzy, reducing the Defense of their target by 2.
Fire and Brimstone (ooo)
This song rains divine vengeance on the world, striking a target with holy flame or converting part of him to salt. If used on someone who is not a sinner (by the definition of Sense of Sin), this power has an additional -2 die pool penalty.
Cost: 1
Action: Instant Resisted
Dice Pool: Strength + Lux Aeternum - target's Stamina + Lux Aeternum
Roll Results
  • Dramatic Failure: The song turns against the angel, inflicting one point of Lethal damage.
  • Failure: The song doesn't work.
  • Success: The angel lashes out against a target up to his Lux Aeternum x 10 yards away. That target takes one point of Lethal damage per success as he burns with holy fire and starts to transform to salt.
  • Exceptional Success: As per a success, and the target loses the use of a limb struck by the song.
Rapture (oooo)
The angel can save the righteous from the depravations of sin, transporting them instantly to a place of safety.
Cost: 2
Action: Instant Contested
Dice Pool: Stamina + Lux Aeternum vs target's Willpower
Roll Results
  • Dramatic Failure: The angel unknowingly sends his charges to the lair of a demon or other powerful source of sin..
  • Failure: The song fails to work.
  • Success: The angel transports everyone with Morality 7 or higher in an area equal to his Lux Aeternum x 100 yards to a place he knows to be safe no more than a mile away.
  • Exceptional Success: Everyone affected by the song is transported as per a success, and heals one point of Lethal damage that they have suffered.
Fanaticism (ooooo)
The angel can warp the energies of sin itself, turning the basest humanity into most righteous soldiers of Heaven.
Cost: 2
Action: Instant Resisted
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Lux Aeternum - target's Resolve + Lux Aeternum
Roll Results
  • Dramatic Failure: The song warps and twists. The angel loses a point of Morality instantly.
  • Failure: The song does not work.
  • Success: Every human within the angel's Lux Aeternum x 100 yards with a Morality of 4 or less treats their Morality as the number of empty dots, not filled (so someone with Morality 2 would count as Morality 8) until the end of the scene.
  • Exceptional Success: As per a success, but those who end up with an effective Morality less than 7 count as Morality 7 for the effects of other Songs (including Fan the Flames).

The Song of Magia

Magia is a mix of human mysticism and Enochian prayers, channelling the power of Heaven down to Earth through a more fluid conduit than the Songs of other angels. Rather than a list of defined effects, a practitioner of Magia has a pool of points that she can use for magical effects. Each prayer is built according to a Harsh Song, shaped via the angel's desires. A power that would be a three-dot Harsh Song thus costs three points from her Magia pool. An angel cannot create an effect that would cost more than her Magia dots (so a Soul-Chained with Magia ooo couldn't create an effect that required Magia oooo, even though she could afford it). The Magia pool refreshes every midnight, though angels who need their prayers earlier may take a point of Aggravated damage to fill an empty Magia pool. This damage lasts until the next midnight.

Apprentice (o)
Magia Pool: 1
Disciple (oo)
Magia Pool: 3
Journeyman (ooo)
Magia Pool: 6
Adept (oooo)
Magia Pool: 10
Master (ooooo)
Magia Pool: 15

Morality

Soul-Chained follow the laws of Morality as do humans. All demons, including Daimonion, Demonic Soul-Chains, the Bound, and the unliving (Prometheans/Vampires) do not count as humans for provisions against violence and murder — you can not kill what does not live. Werewolves may be kin to beasts and Mages wield powers none were meant to know, but they are still living beings.

Lux Aeternum

Lux Aeternum is the Light of Heaven within the angel, measuring her power. It acts as a general WoD supernatural power stat. It also controls access to Aether, the heavenly energy in an angel's form. The following table breaks it all down. Start with one dot and spend 3 Merit points per +1 Lux Aeternum at character generation.

Lux
Aeternum
Morality
Threshold
Attribute/
Skill Max.
Max. Aether/
Per Turn
Form
Features
16510/11
26511/21
36512/32
47513/42
57514/53
68615/63
78720/74
89830/84
99950/105
101010100/155

Aether

Characters begin with points of Aether equal to their Morality. Characters can regain Aether in a number of ways:

  • Spending an hour in prayer
  • Performing an action in keeping with your Choir while in human form
  • Performing a devotion to your Archangel when in human form
  • Activating your Virtue in Angelic Form
  • Lose 1 from any Attribute when in Angelic Form to gain 3 points. This damage heals like a point of Lethal damage.
In addition to fuelling Songs, characters can spend 1 Aether to switch to Angelic Form or to insta-heal 1 Health (worst wound) per turn if she does nothing else in a turn. Finally, once per story you can spend one point of Aether to apply the 9-again rule to your character's Focus Skill.

Merits

Characters can spend Merits on all the normal stuff, plus Blessing (sacrifice one point to automatically succeed on a roll), Reliquary (a storehouse of Aether, 5pts/dot) and Sanctuary (an area protected from demons). All Soul-Chained know their human language and Enochian for free.

Experience Costs

All the usual as per usual. Lux Aeternum is (New dots x 8), Songs of one's Choir or Host are (New dots x 5), all others are (New dots x 7).

Angelic Form

Soul-Chained characters have access to an Angelic Form, a powerful form that nonetheless has restrictions.

  • Add six points total to any Attributes. No Attribute can have more than four dots added thanks to Angelic Form. You can add extra dots (up to 10 total), but each dot after the sixth requires you subtract a dot from another Attribute. You cannot both add to and subtract from the same Attribute. Your bonus dots are fixed after character creation, and affect secondary characteristics as normal.
  • All Angelic Forms subtract 2 dice from Bashing attacks against them and 1 die from Lethal attacks made by humans. Other Soul-Chained do not apply these modifiers.
  • Your character's Angelic Form has Features per your Lux Aeternum dots. A Feature adds three dice to situations in which it is useful. These include blazing halos (+3 to Presence), wings (+3 Speed and flight), flaming swords (+3 Lethal, Aggravated at Lux Aeternum 3 and above), animal features (bull: +3 Stamina, eagle: +3 Resolve etc.).
  • You cannot channel your Virtue for Willpower (see Aether, above), and cannot channel your Vice at all.
  • You must keep your Morality above your Morality Threshold (see below), or else you lose free will in your Angelic Form).
  • Acting against the nature of your Choir is impossible. Acting against the nature of your Host is a Sin with Morality Threshold of 6.
  • Losing Morality dumps you straight back to human form for the rest of the day unless you succeed at a roll of human Resolve + Composure.
  • You can stay in Angelic Form for one scene before being forced to revert to human form for at least an hour. Roll Stamina + Lux Aeternum in addition to spending Aether if you need to change before the hour's up.

Morality Threshold

Each Soul-Chained has a Morality Threshold. If her Morality is equal to or above her Morality Threshold, then her angelic half can access her human soul's capacity for free will and she remains a free agent. If her Morality falls below her MT, she can still transform to her Angelic Form, but she is stripped of free will.

A character stripped of free will *cannot* commit sins against Morality, even those above her Morality. It's impossible. No justification, no weaselling out. No sins. At all. You've done the crime, now you must learn respect for the laws of the Lord your God.

The character must act according to her Choir and Host Impulses. They define her mission on Earth. She can not sin whilst doing so, for that would require going against the word of God, but within those constraints she must attempt to carry out her mission. She can focus on something else if it has an obvious, distinct resolution (fighting a demon, finding a lost child). This requires spending two Willpower points, and once the resolution has occurred the character goes back to acting out her Impulses.

The character may activate her Virtue in Angelic form to gain Aether, given the constraints above. Channelling her Virtue in human form is a good excuse for her player to spend Experience points on raising her Morality, but has no further effect. Activating her Vice in human form locks her out of transforming into Angelic form for the next sunrise and sunset.

The only way to regain access to free will is for the character to raise her Morality above her Morality Threshold. It's possible for a Soul-Chained to lose her access to free will simply by increasing her Lux Aeternum, when the fire of the Lord burns within her and eclipses her human soul while she is in Angelic form. She must hold her human self to higher standards of virtue in order to commune once more with her angelic half.

Antagonists

Daimonion

Daimonion are humans who are "ridden" by minor demons. Some actively seek out infernal manipulation, others are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the end, it doesn't matter. The devil, a lesser denizen of Hell, slips into the host's psyche. Unlike the Soul-Chained, these demons don't try to merge with the soul. Instead, they're an addictive presence. The human starts feeling strange, but the demon shifts things in the host's favour just long enough for the human to shrug off any change. After that, it's just a matter of subtle, subconscious prodding. The host eventually goes along with the demon without the devil's interference. Before then the demon can take control, leading to blackouts when anything can happen. Once the two souls are acting in accord, it becomes incredibly difficult to free the victim of demonic possession. Some powerful prayers of Magia can banish the demon, but otherwise the only guaranteed way to get rid of a Daimonion is to remove the eyes of the human host.

Mechanics

Daimonion are human, and should be created as such. Each individual devil has a measure of power, known as Torment. The lesser demons typically have Torment between 1 and 3, which acts as a Supernatural Resistance trait. This is the only extra trait that a Daimonion possesses. While the Daimonion's Morality + Torment is greater than 6, the demon hasn't yet gained full control of the host. In this circumstance, the demon can take over the host. The host blacks out for a scene, and the demon as full use of his body and memories. She can do this a number of times a week equal to her Torment. Additionally, the demon can "muse" the host's rolls, giving them the 9-again quality (she cannot do this when she has taken control of the host). This ability works once per day, and is regained at sundown. In this state, the demon can be removed by many forms of magic that disrupt possessing spirits or ghosts, or by inflicting significant trauma on the human host by reducing his Health to the point where his rolls are penalised.

Once the Daimonion's Morality + Torment is 6 or lower, the Daimonion is no longer two souls fighting for the same body. The Daimonion is under the control of the demon-soul, and the human soul is a willing participant. Every point of Morality lost becomes a point of Torment, which the Daimonion can use to ignore the supernatural powers of the Soul-Chained — in addition to supernatural tolerance, a Daimonion can neutralise the effects of a Song completely by sacrificing a point of Torment. The devil is also harder to detect, applying Torment as a penalty to any rolls to detect demonic influence. The only way to return the devil to hell is to remove the eyes of the host, kill the host, or use powerful Magia.

Demon-Chained

Create a Demon-Chained as a Soul-Chained. Their Horde indicates which Songs and abilities they get, as per a Choir. Their Patron is usually Lucifuge (though see the Bound, below), who gives access to the Subtle Song of Spite and the Harsh Song of Sin. Demon-Chained use Torment in place of Lux Aeternum, and Ichor in place of Aether. Their Demonic Form is akin to an angel's Angelic Form, though they have access to a greater range of features. A Demon-Chained has an inverse Morality Threshold, equal to (11 - the equivalent angelic Morality Threshold). Demon-Chained follow the rules for Morality Threshold, but must keep their Morality below their demon-half's Morality Threshold. Likewise, the role of Virtue and Vice et al are swapped for Demon-Chained. If a Demon-Chained's Morality is above her Morality Threshold, the demon can sacrifice a point of Torment to manifest in Demonic Form and take control, much like the Daimonion ability.

The Bound

The Bound are powerful demons of ages past who slipped out of the Pit through various means. They take their name from their need for a physical anchor to keep them on earth. This Anchor is an object at least Size 5, sometimes more, carved with inscriptions to the demon within. A Bound has a Torment rating of at least 7, and can possess one human per point of Torment (treat this possession as the first stage of Daimonion possession). These demons avoid Songs, as their resonance would draw the attention of Heaven. Instead, they use a tainted form of Magia to curry favour from Hell. The Bound have a Magia pool of five points per dot of Torment.

Ancient and incalculably evil, the Bound are the greatest demons on Earth. Only seven are known to exist with any certainty, though rumours persist of others. Cults, human puppets, and a veritable army of Daimonion serve each of these demons as they work to bring about Hell on Earth without the need for a Final Battle. Some go so far as accepting the pledges of demonic Soul-Chained, granting them access to the Songs that the Bound possesses but dares not use. Each Bound grants access to two Songs, and replaces Lucifuge as the patron of the Demon-Chained in question. In return, the Demon-Chained must do as the Bound requires or suffer incredible torment.

Designer's Notes

It was never my intention for this to get so long. I'm aware that there are a number of sites offering rules for Angels in the World of Darkness, this is my own stab at the concept without breaking the world too badly.

The Soul-Chained in other World of Darkness games

For people who want to introduce the Soul-Chained into their games, or use detailed antagonists from other games like Vampire: The Requiem or Mage: The Awakening, the following notes should provide a starting point.

  • Kindred suffer 1 Bashing damage for drinking from the human form, and 1 Lethal per point for drinking from the angelic form.
  • Auspex and like powers of other creatures show the Soul-Chained as being strange, unlike anything else but akin to a mage or a holy man.
  • Uratha smell something subtly odd from the human form. The angelic form smells suspiciously like a Spirit-Claimed.
  • A mage who attacks a Soul-Chained directly with Sphere magic requires Prime — you need a direct link to Kether if you're going to fuck with an angel.
  • A Promethean's disquiet affects the human form normally, but not the angelic form.

Setting

The assault on Heaven cracked the world, resulting in the World of Darkness. Before 01/01/2007, the world was identical to the world outside your window. This is thus a new creation myth that has everything coming into being a lot later. Kinda like Monte Cook's World of Darkness without the post-apocalyptic bullshit. The alteration of the world changed history, allowing werewolves, vampires, et al. to have existed for thousands of years — even though a Divine observer believes that they only came into existence on 01/01/2007.

There's not a full list of powers, instead just a few samples and some guidelines on creating your own. I wrote this in two evenings total. If you need inspiration for other Songs, read Mage: The Ascension , Nobilis, or other games with similar freeform powers. If you're utterly incapable of coming up with freeform-style powers, ask others in your gaming group. After all, that's why you're sat around the table playing this game, might as well use the resource.

Suggested inspirational matter includes Brimstone, In Nomine, Hex, Dogma, Sin City, Demon: The Fallen, Engel, and so on.

For obvious reasons, I have no idea whatsoever if this thing's balanced. I pulled most of it out of my arse, to be perfectly honest. Feedback is appreciated (via e-mail), but I might not respond to every message immediately.

This version expanded with new material; thanks to Wild Thing, Azrael the 7th, and Nopp of the Shadownessence forums for asking interesting questions.

[Posted to LiveJournal as Wordpress is a whiny style-munging bitch that doesn't deserve good content.]

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