Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Location: Seattle, WA
1557 White Gold Dollars
|Posted: Mon May 23, 2011 7:48 am Post subject: Rules
|All praises due to God on High. And by "God" I mean, of course, Xar. He started this whole genre, and I'm not even the first to try to copy him. Of course, I take inspiration from those copycats who came before me, Odin and [Syl]. I boldly copied the Rules from Acropolis, and then mangled them into this document. However, you might be able to spot whole paragraphs that are nearly unchanged from how [Syl] wrote them. I won't specify the actual passages, but consider these rules to include a citation to [Syl]'s awesome game.
As somebody smarter than me once said, "If I see far, it is only because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants." Go look it up, if you need a citation on that one. I am fond of saying that plagiarism is the greatest form of flattery, though I hope that I can credit my sources, where applicable. Unless it's too much trouble.
Rules Version 0.666.2
Goatkiller's E-Mail Address: Goatkiller666 (at) Gee Mail (dot) com
This universe is modeled after, but not strictly copied from, the Christian idea of Hell. I draw heavily from Dante Alighieri's Inferno for much of the general concepts, as well as Neil Gaiman's characterization of Hell from the Sandman comics, and Mike Carey's continued work with the same story. That said, some of this is all just my own probably heretical ideas, based on "That would be cool!" or "This would be much easier to do in a game." It's probably best not to assume that something is canonical, just because you saw it in one of those sources, until you've cleared it with me first.
In this game, each of the players is a Demon Prince. In the first turn, you are each recently self-aware, and as-yet undifferentiated. You may begin to define yourselves as you see fit. Choose the section of Hell you will start on, but understand that at this point, nobody rules anything. If you want it, go take it. To begin with, there are no domains in a Pantheon sense. Your powers are up to you to invent, and justify. If you want to be a fire-demon, who deals with many types of sin, so be it. If you want to be the Lord of Lies, who isn't limited to any particular manifestation of powers, all the better. You may cooperate with the others, form alliances, or be generally hostile. You're also permanently manifested.
By bringing suffering to tainted souls, you harvest the Sin from them. You may use Sin to enact changes to the world. It's up to you to invent what those changes are. Presumably, you'll grant yourself specific aspects, powers, etc. Demons are currently all basically humanoid automatons. For there to be all of the many different flavors of demon that we know of today, someone (or several someones) must have changed the base model demon into all of the different specialized models. That's you guys.
Gaguing how much power is necessary to achieve an effect… that's the tricky part. If I say that *I* don't yet have an idea on what that is, people will get fussy with me. So, instead, I will say that it's up to you Demon Princes to discover the exact nature of the world around you. In game terms, you will all begin play with one Sin Unit, and may do with it whatever you can convince me is reasonable. If you try something beyond the reach of how much you spend, you will get a partial success. So it's worth experimenting.
For example, let's say that Ore-Sama has decided to start play as a demon from the second level of Hell, where the lustful souls are punished. She wishes to create succubi, and so she must spend power doing so. It's safe to assume that if her character conceptualizes the entire succubus motif at once, simply spending 1 Sin Unit (SU) wouldn't be enough. So, maybe she first spends 1 SU to turn 100 Demons into a female form. And maybe I'd have let her get away with doing 150, if she'd tried to. But she chose 100, just to be safe. Later, she'd grant these same 100 wings and the ability to fly. Further SU spent could give them more and more of the succubus features. Maybe later, she spends another 2 SU to have those 100 succubi impose their templates upon 100 more succubi. It's probably cheaper to increase your number of specialist demons once you have some to work with. Of course, doing so also means that those 100 succubi are unavailable to do anything else that turn.
Sin is an actual substance. To the degree that anything in Hell has a physical form, Sin has a tangible presence. It occupies space; more of it occupies more space. All other things being equal, a Demon Prince with more Sin collected will be spiritually larger than a Demon Prince with less Sin. Since it's a substance, Demon Princes may collect Sin from turn to turn, saving it up until they want to spend it later. They may give it to each other, throw it away, and take it from each other (willingly or not).
Nobody knows how much Sin a particular soul has, or how much can be harvested from a soul before the soul is free of Sin and returns to Heaven. I don't intend to manage inventory down to the per-person basis, so hopefully this kind of stuff will be abstracted away. However, it's not unreasonable to assume that spending power on researching in this area might allow one Demon Prince to do better at harvesting Sin in some way that could have a game benefit in the macro sense.
There also might be some strategic value to stripping souls as quickly as possible. Or, perhaps you leave the Sin on the vine, so to speak, so that others can't tell how much you have, even if that means they might be able to more easily take it from you while it's in a form you can't spend to fight them.
You begin play with just yourself. One Demon Prince, nearly humanoid. You have a body, which you always inhabit. Make of it what you will. You may give orders to the Demons you encounter, and they may even obey them. Actually changing a Demon will take the use of Sin, which could include compulsions to only obey you instead of any random Demon Prince who comes by. Demons also harvest Sin from souls, but lacking free will, they don't choose to spend it. You might command a Demon to give you any Sin it's harvested.
It's unknown how many Demons there are in Hell. You are encouraged to go out and start counting, if you're curious.
To begin with, nobody specifically rules any portion of Hell. Feel free to land-grab as you see fit. Holding land is based entirely on the degree to which you can command the demons of that place, and by extension your ability to harvest more or fewer souls of their Sin. At the moment, the geography of Hell isn't very interesting. There are no collections of habitations, or major landmarks to speak of. Nothing in a strategic sense, like well defensible mountain passes, etc. As even the geography of Hell is malleable, that perhaps may change. There are only two distinct areas, the part where souls are made to suffer, and the part where souls are not made to suffer.
Names and Shouting
Be aware, as you cause your Demon Prince to become more and more differentiated, his name will change. (The actual Avatar name is the same, but you'll acquire various titles and whatnot.) Aside from being thematically interesting to me, this has the result that gross changes to yourself cannot be hidden from the other Demon Princes. Others can tell how much Sin you have taken into yourself, which will be represented by your actual size. And if you add some attribute to yourself, especially something that's mutually exclusive (like Prince of Lies), the others will automatically know about it. Changes you make to other Demons may or may not be so well known.
All Demons may Shout. In game terms, anything said in the IC thread is considered to be Shouted, it is automatically canonical and fully public. Assume that all players and NPCs automatically hear what is Shouted.
Turn Submissions, Turn Results, and Posts
Turns are due on the first Sunday on or after the 14th of the month. I commit to having turns processed and returned to everyone on the first Sunday on or after the 1st of the month. This gives the players two full weeks to interact and decide what to do; it gives me two or three weeks to process everything and get it back to people.
Turns submitted late will be spliced into the month as I can, though if one player submits on time, and another is late, and there ends up being a conflict between the two, I'll favor the one who was on time. A tardy turn that requires me to go back and revise any work I've already done for that turn will just fail. At least, for the part that I otherwise would have had to revise around. Other than that, there are no penalties for being late. It's probably safe to assume I won't start processing the day after the deadline, but the longer you delay submitting, the more you risk.
Use the aforementioned address for submissions (top of page). I prefer the subject line to follow this format: Inferno - Demon Prince's Name - Turn X
In fact, I prefer that any and all communication about Inferno be kept to this email address, or to the OOC threads, where it's permanently documented. I have had in the past issues with using PMs for game-related things. The cap on PM storage, plus the ease with which I have accidentally hit the Delete All button make me leery of using PMs for anything that I'll be held to later. Those of you who know my Instant Message IDs (iI you want it, just ask. I won't publish it here for obvious reasons, but I'm usually up for chatting with people.), I probably won't actually lie to you via IM about game information, but I cannot guarantee that I'll remember a decision I made and then communicated via IM. If I'm multi-tasking hardcore and work, and you shoot me a question, even if I have a perfectly reasonable reason for my answer, I may have a different perfectly reasonable reason for some other contradictory answer later. If I can't refer back to a conversation somehow to adjudicate conflicts like that, there's issues. So, let's keep everything recorded for posterity, shall we?
When submitting turns, and especially the expenditure of power, try to give as much detail as possible. A "for example" might not be out of line. On the one hand, the magic you're dealing with is altering the definition of the world, you're not simply moving things, you're changing the nature of Hell with every expenditure of power. You're manipulating metaphor, as much as you're playing with the physics of the place. So you're probably better off over-explaining, than trying to keep me from having to read a bunch of stuff. (I reserve the right to change this stance if it turns out that I can't keep up with the volume of stuff people are throwing at me.) That said, your goal in this is to inform me, not to entertain me with a well-crafted tale. Keep that for the public posts, if you want to do story-writing.
Demon Princes have bodies. They exist in a single discreet place, though they can move around Hell as they are able. You may not perform an infinite number of simultaneous actions, with or without power. If you want to send a minion to do something, you actually communicate with that minion and inform him of your desire. It's up to me to determine the minion's response, or the outcome of any actions the minion takes. Treat all of your turn submission as things your character does in the first person, be that spending your own power to do <action>, or ordering one of your minions to do <action>.
Research is possible, and likely necessary if you want to find new and better ways to gain advantages over each other, but of course it takes time to do. And while servitor Demons have an intuitive understanding of many things, they cannot explain them. Also, since they are not themselves free willed beings, they never choose to do many of the things you would want to have researched. They don't move around, for example. So none of them could comment on the best route to take somewhere. Even if they were inclined to comment on anything in the first place.
Unless you spend power specifically on making something secret, there is no guarantee of secrecy. Hell is, now at least, a fairly open place. Demons may perceive some things happening in other layers, perceive more things happening in their own layers, and probably even more about what happens in their immediate presences.
All posts in the What Is Known thread need to be literary in format. No blockquotes. No emoticons. No abbreviations. I will go as far to say that the only emphases used should be bold or italic print and punctuation only where it is appropriate. All posts the Echos Of The Past thread are to be first-person statements, as if you were speaking. It's okay to include a previous statement in a quote block, in cases where your response is so far delayed from the original post that it might otherwise be confusing. I'm not going to enforce a strict sequential order of events for those posts, since some people (myself, for example) get the time to post in unmanageable chunks, so I accept that it's not always reasonable for a person to reply as quickly as a character would.
I have found value to knowing what the map said in previous turns, so I'll post all the maps in the What Is Known thread, along with current events. I'll also post the most recent map(s), as well as the currently known stats of all the other Demon Princes in the first post of that thread. "Stats" means, in this case, both the relative size of the other Demon Princes, as well as their titles (which will translate to various powers that they have granted to themselves). When you spend power to give yourself a new power, if you don't want me to invent a title for you, feel free to include the title you'd like. It should in some way describe the power or attribute; begin vague is fine, but nothing outright false will be allowed.
I will also include the next deadline and the date I commit to having it returned to you as the first line of THIS thread.
Each turn represents a decade in the mortal realm. (I remember typing that it was one year at some point, but I cannot find where I typed that, so I haven't changed it to say 'decade'.) Because of this extended timeframe, I assume that any Sin you harvest during a turn can be spent during that same turn. Hopefully, over time, you'll all come to be able to predict how much sin you may harvest in a turn, and use that prediction to know how much to spend. Things may lead to fluctuations in the amount of Sin harvested in a turn, which could leave you with extra by the end of a turn, or perhaps run you out of saved Sin.