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Author Topic: [The Beast Within] Ideas  (Read 17098 times)
Elishar
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Posts: 46


« on: April 02, 2006, 07:19:26 PM »

Ok, I'll give a bit of overview for anyone not familiar with my game.  'The Beast Within' is a modern game based around the hidden battle between human and demons.  In the game there are three factions: Hunters, Marked, and Demons.  Hunters are the humans that oppose the demons and devote their lives to hunting demons.  Even though they are only human they make up for this by using specialized weapons and gadgets to fight demons.  The Marked are those humans who have been infected by a demonic soul.  These humans possess superhuman powers but the more often they use their powers the stronger their demonic soul becomes until it overthrows the human soul and they become a full-fledged demon.  Demons are exactly that.  They possess incredible powers but the energy they use to power these powers is derived from the evil they cause in the world.  Basically, causing evil to demons is the equivalent of eating food for humans.

I've also got a basic rule set fleshed out but I need some inspiration for each of the groups.

Hunters
Hunters are defined by the cool weaponry and gadgets they have so I want to have loads of stuff for them.  I'm thinking about organizing everything into equipment trees where the hunter has to make minor gadgets in a given area before he can make the really powerful stuff.  I can think of plenty of normal things that they can make but I haven't been able to think of anything really unique for them.  Basically, let me know of any gadgets or weapons you think should be included in the game for the Hunters.

Marked and Demons
I have well over 100 powers for the Marked and the Demons from my Superhero game so I don't need much help there.  Where I do need help is I want there to be distinct clans of demons based on the founding demon of each clan.  What clan a Demon or a Marked's demonic soul belongs to affects their power selection (and for Demons it determines what evil acts they need to perform to regain energy.)  I'd like to draw off already established mythology for the founding demons but I've founding information on them rather lacking.  I have plenty of demon names but no information really on which demon specializes in which areas.  Most of the research I've seen just talks about how many legions of demons they control and what their title is.  Basically, I want input on which demon should be the 'Demon of Suduction' and which should be the 'Demon of Violence.'  Additionally, I'd also like some input what clans should be included.  I know I want a clan that focuses on seducing and tempting mortals as well as a clan that focuses on violence, death, and destruction but my ideas are slim after that.

So yeah, this is basically just a call for ideas to help get my creative juices flowing again.  Any help is appreciated.
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Paul Strack
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2006, 08:46:53 PM »

Marked and Demons
I have well over 100 powers for the Marked and the Demons from my Superhero game so I don't need much help there.  Where I do need help is I want there to be distinct clans of demons based on the founding demon of each clan.  What clan a Demon or a Marked's demonic soul belongs to affects their power selection (and for Demons it determines what evil acts they need to perform to regain energy.)  I'd like to draw off already established mythology for the founding demons but I've founding information on them rather lacking.  I have plenty of demon names but no information really on which demon specializes in which areas.  Most of the research I've seen just talks about how many legions of demons they control and what their title is.  Basically, I want input on which demon should be the 'Demon of Suduction' and which should be the 'Demon of Violence.'  Additionally, I'd also like some input what clans should be included.  I know I want a clan that focuses on seducing and tempting mortals as well as a clan that focuses on violence, death, and destruction but my ideas are slim after that.

There is a lot more mythological information on gods than are on demons. So, why don't you take your favorite mythology (say, Greco-Roman), and "invert" each god to make them evil and into a demon-prince.

For example, Aphrodite could be turned to the demoness of lust. Change her name and distort the symbols and powers associated with the goddess. If you change enough and don't give away your inspirations, it should seem original. Your spread of gods should give you a decent spread of demons and associated powers.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2006, 08:59:10 PM »

Where I do need help is I want there to be distinct clans of demons based on the founding demon of each clan.

Why?

I don't wish to be seen as clueless, but I would like to give advice that will actually help you reach the design goal that you're aiming for with the demon clans.  So I'd like to know what that goal is.  Why do you want to detail them at all?

Now, for instance, old-style White Wolf games (to my mind) use clans as a way of sublimating the natural desire to fit in with a group into a powerful driver that helps players to identify with social archetypes that are custom-made to interact with each other in interesting ways.  Which is why game-play worked nicely with the original clans, and went straight to hell when people start mixing Toreadors with Cattlemites, or whatever the newest free-standing clan-of-the-week was.

But if you were aiming for that sort of balance then you'd probably be asking different questions, like "What archetypes do you think are powerful enough to warrant write-up as a clan?  How will players interact with each other through the lens of those archetypes?" and so on.

Frankly, since you're asking "Help me fill out my clans," as if it's obvious that you need them, I worry that you don't know your own design goal, and so you're just trying to imitate what you've seen in previous games, without first figuring out why the previous games did it, or asking yourself whether the same tool is what you need for your different game.

But if you can give us some sense of what direction you're trying to head with your demon clans then I can put that worry behind me, and we can all do a better job of helping you brainstorm.
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Elishar
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Posts: 46


« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2006, 10:29:25 PM »

Where I do need help is I want there to be distinct clans of demons based on the founding demon of each clan.

Why?

I don't wish to be seen as clueless, but I would like to give advice that will actually help you reach the design goal that you're aiming for with the demon clans.  So I'd like to know what that goal is.  Why do you want to detail them at all?

Now, for instance, old-style White Wolf games (to my mind) use clans as a way of sublimating the natural desire to fit in with a group into a powerful driver that helps players to identify with social archetypes that are custom-made to interact with each other in interesting ways.  Which is why game-play worked nicely with the original clans, and went straight to hell when people start mixing Toreadors with Cattlemites, or whatever the newest free-standing clan-of-the-week was.

But if you were aiming for that sort of balance then you'd probably be asking different questions, like "What archetypes do you think are powerful enough to warrant write-up as a clan?  How will players interact with each other through the lens of those archetypes?" and so on.

Frankly, since you're asking "Help me fill out my clans," as if it's obvious that you need them, I worry that you don't know your own design goal, and so you're just trying to imitate what you've seen in previous games, without first figuring out why the previous games did it, or asking yourself whether the same tool is what you need for your different game.

But if you can give us some sense of what direction you're trying to head with your demon clans then I can put that worry behind me, and we can all do a better job of helping you brainstorm.

My reason for demonic clans is both for role-playing and gameplay reasons.

Role-Playing:
-To establish some sort of order and society among the demons.
-To make demonic bloodline an important part of the game.
-To create inter-demon struggle and conflict (otherwise the demons would be pretty unstopable.)
-To provide the character with a more defined sense of purpose in spreading evil.
-To better differentiate between one demon and another.

Gameplay:
-To provide different but specific ways as to how demons can regain energy depending on how the player wants to play their character.
-To allow the demon to have a better chance at rolling for a specific type of power (powers are randomly rolled for in the game.)

I'm looking more for a general worldview for each clan.  Basically their prime methods as to how the human world should be made into another hell.  One clan may see the best way to corrupt the world is through temptation and seduction while another might see violence, death, and despair as a quick way to break the backs of humans.  Each of these clans is going to approach the human "problem" in completely different ways and these ways might end up conflicting one another, which results in demonic battles or even all-out wars between clans.  Additionally, these demonic clans will have a completely different focus as far as power emphasis, skills, and attributes.
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dindenver
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2006, 11:22:42 PM »

Hi!
  I am with Tony. I think not having a pattern or discernable organization or human-like standards will set them apart from their human adversaries.
  So, what makes them evil? Their method of leadership should represent their evilness. If its might makes right, than they will rule by test of combat, etc. You know, maybe come up with a Demon domination system that walks the GM through making different organizations on the fly? And then make a few pre-baked ones for those days when the GM does not have time to prep it up.
  You know, set them fully apart. Humans are organized, motivated and focused on killing Demons. Demons are self-centered and and only care about their hungers or drives. Something like that?
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TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2006, 05:51:40 AM »

Each of these clans is going to approach the human "problem" in completely different ways and these ways might end up conflicting one another, which results in demonic battles or even all-out wars between clans.

Is that what the game is about?  Is that what the players are supposed to pursue?
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Anders Larsen
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Posts: 270


« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2006, 09:18:22 AM »

For any information/inspiration, wikipedia is your friend. Here are some interesting pages on demons:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_demonology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_the_demons

The lesser Key of Solomon, will properly also be a good source of inspiration.

 - Anders
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Anders Larsen
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Posts: 270


« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2006, 03:44:36 PM »

By the way, maybe the reason why you can't find proper information on demons, is that demons is something completely different than you expect. 'Demon' was the word the christians typically used for deities in other religions/mythologies.

Many of the entities that is called demons are actually not evil. Some of them give you knowledge about science, and other can find you true love. Even many of the 'demons' in nicronomicon (and yes, necronomicon is much older than Lovecraft), is actually beings that are very helpful. But there are also descried evil beings in necronomicon, like Pazuzu, Tiamath, Xastur etc. So, there could be some inspiration.

 - Anders
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TroyLovesRPG
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Posts: 150


« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2006, 03:35:23 AM »

Elishar,

After reading the posts, I think your question about demon clans can be answered from your first post. You stress the importance of power and that could be your delineation. The human soul is a combination of all sorts of powers, desires, flaws, etc. The demon soul seems fixated on power and the need to have more and better powers.

Its possible that there are no demon rulers in your game but a demon who has the most power of a given type. I don't see all the categories and powers in your game. Once you define all of that, you may have your demon groups. The ultimate desire of the demon is to be the most powerful. Methodically, the demon must be the most potent in every power group. That may or may not happen; therefore, you will encounter demons who are exceptionally powerful with a particular group. The Fire Demon. The Demon of Seduction. The Demon of Unsavory Knowledge. The Demon of War.

That also can give you a great story about who demons are. They may not be a separate race but are really transformed humans from the beginning. Twisted humans are no longer recognizable and have taken on the essence of demons. Humans who strive for power at any cost. Whereas the ascended are humans who strive for virtue. That places emphasis on pure ideals and powers. As a distinct virtue or power grows based on its most potent follower, the world is steered toward the ideal it represents. As the follower of that power grows, the other aspects of his being are shed. That's the price of power.

Your power categories are important in they must be balanced. Just as an average human is an amalgamation of everything human, the powers could be everything about a particular aspect of being human. Humanity taken to the extreme can appear very demonic. So, the ideas and activities involving knowledge, reproduction, eating, sleeping, socializing, emotion, creativity, protection and war could be taken to a new level. And the demon gains power with the proliferation of those aspects. That definitely ties in with world events, where each of those aspects is elevated, demonstrated and advertised to the point of obsession. The best university. The best fertility clinic. The most hot dogs eaten in one sitting. Intoxication to the point of unconsciousness. Valium. Celebrity awards. Group therapy sessions (religion?) Mass housing developments. Military defense. Post-justified attacks on foreign countries.

Where was I going with this?

Demons are transformed humans. This could easily explain the powerful "monsters" in history and today. Were Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan demons? What about W. Bush and Kim Jong Il? Along with demons you could have humans who have ascended beyond the need for this power struggle: Nostradamus, Da Vinci, Einstein, Pope John Paul II (could be a demon) and Mother Theresa. Demon clans could be based on real world activities taken to the extreme.  The extreme power manifests itself in the form of supernatural effects. Some powers are synergistic while others are diametrically opposed. This gives you your balance.

Hitler could have been a demon whose need to create the perfect race extended to eliminating others. Also, the "salute" is really an exposure of the palm, showing the invisible pentagram only demons can see.

Time for a nap.

Troy
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2006, 04:45:26 AM »

By the way, maybe the reason why you can't find proper information on demons, is that demons is something completely different than you expect. 'Demon' was the word the christians typically used for deities in other religions/mythologies.

Many of the entities that is called demons are actually not evil. Some of them give you knowledge about science, and other can find you true love. Even many of the 'demons' in nicronomicon (and yes, necronomicon is much older than Lovecraft), is actually beings that are very helpful. But there are also descried evil beings in necronomicon, like Pazuzu, Tiamath, Xastur etc. So, there could be some inspiration.

 - Anders

First, let me tell you that Wikipedia can lead you astray, but unless your players know too much then it'll be ok.
Gods as Demons can fit, because let's face it, many of the known "Demons" are actually 'foreign' Deities. Astaroth is Ishtar. Baal is the Marduch/God equivalent on the Caanite/Mesopotomian side. Dagon is the Plistine god, specifically of fishing and so on and so forth. Tiamat is Marduch's mother(IIRC), she is referred to as "The Great Beast" or some such in the beginning of Genesis, or The Great Crocodile, some such, so she may be more fitting for demonic influence.

Daemon helps you less, that is, the old description of Demon/Devil as "Spirit", or "Nature Spirit", which existed until the 4th Century where the motif of Singular and Evil Evil started being spread by some Christians.

In the end, just take some well-known names, In Nomine may provide a good place to start.
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Guy Shalev.

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Thunder_God
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2006, 04:55:08 AM »

Troy, a nice idea, very very much like Nobilis.

Though, anything taken to an extreme could be "Evil" or "Good". Maybe Mother Theresa just wanted to be The Best Nun, or to gain Celebrity through Piety. Maybe Einstein wanted to be further Knowledge or Science as you said. Maybe Hitler wanted to stop civil unrest, but just happened to use War as his path?

Where do you put the line? Motivation? Need people who will pick the real Motivation, not the one more fitting their desired goal OOCly, or maybe it'd work either way.
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Guy Shalev.

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Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2006, 08:08:36 AM »

Interesting ideas everyone, keep them coming.

I think I need to explain my vision for my game better though.  The Marked do not ask for their power.  They aren't power-hungry individuals who wish to attain perfection.  They are unwilling recruits into the Demonic horde, twisted souls who have been given incredible power but at an incredible cost.  It is very possible that a Marked character decides that he won't ever use his powers out of fear that he will turn into a Demon and simply continues with his normal life.  That could make a very interesting campaign in my mind.  What if he sees that he could save someone's life with his powers?  Does he risk his humanity to save another?  What if some hunters find him using special equipment that can detect demonic souls?  Does he use his powers to fight them off or escape?  The main thing I'm going for with the Marked is that they are very conflicted and I don't think the idea Troy presented is compatible with that vision.

Clans for demons just make sense to me.  Originally, there were only a few demons.  How they came to be is a secret lost to time.  Each of these demons then placed their demonic seed inside humans to create more of their kind.  Like how a parent shares the same DNA with a child, the new demon created shares the same essence as the demon that created it.  So, as the demons increased in numbers clans formed based on the demon that "fathered" the clan.

Clans also serve a more important purpose: survival.  A weak demon wouldn't last long if they didn't swear fealty to a greater demon and fall under their protection, especially because the only way demons gain power is consuming the essence of other demons.  Likewise, a demon lord sees his creation (that is, demons created with his demonic seed) as the perfection of demonkind so he will only accept the fealty of those who were fathered by either him or other demons that were fathered by him.  The demon lord might occasionally employ another demon outside of his clan as a spy or a specialist but these cases are few and far between.
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Anders Larsen
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2006, 02:10:59 PM »

I have looked through my various occult books and grimoires. I found this information in Grimorium Verum (1517).

There are three superior spirits (demons and other entity is called spirits in occult texts):

Lucifer, the rebel angel, reside in Europe and Asia, manifest himself as a beautiful boy.

Beelzebuth, lord of flies (I guess it refers to decay), reside in Africa, appears in grotesque and distorted forms.

Astaroth, lord of perverse eroticism, appears as human with ink black skin.

Below each superior spirits are two inferior spirits:

Below Lucifer are Satanachia and Agalierap.
Below Beelzebuth are Tarchmache and Fleruty.
Below Asteroth are Sagatana and Nesbiros.

Satanachia govern fifty-four demons, four of whom are Serguthy, Heramael, Trimasel and Sustugriel. These demons can aid the magician if they are pleased with him.

I can not find descriptions on the other inferior spirits.

Other demos are under the power of Duke Syrach. Some interesting are:

Clauneck, power over goods, money and finance.
Musisin, power over powerful people.
Bechard, power over wind and weather.
Frimost, power over wives and maids and will help thee to enjoy them.
Klepoth, brings dreams and visions.
Khil, power over earthquakes.
Mersilde, power of teleportation.
Sirchade, power over animals.
Frucissiere, brings dead to life.
Guland, causes diseases.
Surgat, opens all locks
Morail, power of invisibility.

 
Well, i don't know if this is useful. At least you now have a lot of names.

 - Anders
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2006, 02:21:55 PM »

Just to bring Semantics up, because it IS important in Occultism, and you may want to introduce True Names to your games.

See, Eroticism for "Astaroth", Ishtar.
Beelzebub is Baal Zvuv, Zvuv means "Fly", the insect, in Hebrew.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
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Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2006, 05:09:22 PM »

That's actually exactly what I was looking for.  I probably won't use the big three because they are so often used.  The Demons under Duke Syrach are very helpful but their powers are a bit specific.  I probably couldn't use them for head demons but I could definitely use them as high ranking demons in each clan who specialize in a specific power.

The six inferior spirits could make good clan leaders, do you have any more info on them?
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