Devil

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XV. Devil

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None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Overview

The Devil Arcana is the #15 Major Arcana, and is a card of binding. It usually depicts a devil; often the devil has a mix of human and animal physical qualities, and is often similar to a satyr or Levi's Baphomet. Before and below it are two naked human figures, bound by chains to either the devil or an altar on which the devil perches. Either way, the devil stands ascendant and possesses all the power.

Devil is often associated with temptation, obligation (especially the unwanted or inherited kind), rebellion, breaking the status quo, the physical, the external and the yearning for freedom. Devil covers some themes which are similar to Temperance- for example the struggle against temptation and the theme of control. However, whereas Temperance deals with the theme of inner control- that is, control over oneself stemming from within- Devil deals with external control- the control exerted on oneself by others or by other things. Often this control is invisible, subtle or camouflaged- for example, social obligation or the constant expectations of others that one act a certain way. Alternatively, the control might be exhibited because one cannot resist it- temptations of the physical world, of flesh, wealth, greed and power can enslave people to their own bodies. Regardless, the central theme is that the person at the heart of Devil is destined to struggle for their own freedom against the invisible bonds laid on them- and unlike Temperance, where they are tested, Devil does this by testing the world around them. Mythopoetically, having had their virtues tested in Temperance, the person's vices and faith are subject to tests and exploration.

To that end, Devil often has a streak of rebellion to it- after all, if it is about struggling against control, then rebellion is the obvious answer. And indeed rebellion is a trait associated strongly with Devil, especially when the control is exploitative, unfair or destructive. To that end, Devil encourages a healthy sense of rebellion, of opposing the status quo and questioning the obligations of society and the boundaries it places on everyone. That said, rebellion can be a sort of temptation too- too much rebellion and it becomes habitual. It replaces the status quo with another, just as chaotic status quo- that of constant rejection. Devil is not about rejecting everything blindly- a person who rejects everything quickly shrivels up. What Devil truly demands is that one test the bonds they have, removing what is unhealthy about them and rearranging them to become healthier and more beneficial for everyone. Rather, Devil inspires one to seek out healthy, growing commitments and to bring one to peace with the physical world around them in a more equitable, just way. This is important, because sometimes the acts that one considers 'rebellion' are really just another enslavement- escaping an oppressive relationship through alcohol soon breeds a new dependency, after all. Devil rebels not to destroy all bonds, but to improve the system- even if sometimes that does require damaging or forcibly rearranging it. Not for the rebel without a cause is Devil- at its best, Devil always knows what it is fighting for, what it wants, and how to achieve it.

Devil is a precarious Arcana at the best of times, at risk of becoming an iconoclast for its own sake or losing sight of its own goals. Reversed Devils are thus easy to imagine. Often, reversed Devils smack of hidden hypocrisy or lack of self awareness as they decry one sort of inhibition, binding or restriction, but enslave themselves to physical pleasures without which they cannot function. Sometimes they rebel for no reason, or become unnecessarily destructive- or sometimes they don't rebel at all, meekly accepting the status quo no matter how unfair or unjust it truly is. In some cases they even become the oppressor, contorting the status quo to benefit them and harm others.

Example Inner Conflicts for Devil include: attempting to escape a desperate situation through pretty dubious means; being torn between one's obligations and one's own desires and heart; losing sight of their goals and descending into mindless temptations; oppressing others; wanting to rebel but not having the courage or understanding how; rebelling for no real reason and causing unnecessary harm.

Mechanically, Devil is an offensive Arcana that excels at ailment-based attacks, especially status effects. Devil loves to wear enemies down through status effects, leaving them weaker over time with no real effort on the Devil's part. The Devil also packs plenty of physical punch, however, and often takes advantage of ailments by hitting them with powerful physicals.

Aptitude-wise, the Devil is good at both combat and social arenas, with Toughness giving them extra defensive ability, whilst Perception and Social make them more cautious and aware of dangers as well as giving them a powerful social edge.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 Fellowship, +5 Perception Toughness, Perception, Social Fellowship

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Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
The Flesh is Weak Whenever you successfully inflict an ailment on an enemy, and the DoS on your casting is greater than their Toughness Bonus (physical) or Willpower Bonus (mental), the target is also Staggered, granting you a One More. Devil's Advocate: You unlock the Devil's Advocate Personal Time Action. It is a group action between you and one other willing person. The other attendant takes 10 Stress, but selects a single Characteristic. For the next week, each time they test this Characteristic they either gain a +10 bonus, or reduce a net penalty by 20 to a minimum of 0. You take a -10 penalty to interaction tests with the attendant, and may not use Devil's Advocate on them again, until the effect wears off. Ailment Spells cost 1 Spirit less, to a minimum of 1. If cast as part of a One More or Baton Pass, they cost 2 SP less to a minimum of 1. You may now target yourself with Devil's Advocate. Targeted characters reduce the Stress they gain by an amount equal to your S-Link bonus with them (you do not reduce it at all). Finally, benefactors of Devil's Advocate can decide, instead of the other benefits, to gain an extra success on every Training or School Personal Time Action done during this time.

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Arcana List

Grade One: Whiro

The evil god of the underworld in Maori mythology. He eats the bodies of the dead, and thus becomes stronger. For this reason, it is recommended to cremate bodies, as Whiro cannot gain anything from eating ashes.
Details
Grade: 1 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Two: Unhcegila

A massive draconian monster of Lakota mythology. She arrived one day and nestled in the mountains, where she lived peacefully before suddenly starting to wreak havoc on the nearby people. She was wreathed in shadow, with scales and claws of iron, and any who looked on her would go blind and insane.
Details
Grade: 2 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Three: Aeshma

The Zoroastrian demon of wrath and rage. His main nemesis is Sraosha, who he rages against because of Sraosha's works to instil obedience to God in the people. Aeshma's legend travelled west, where the Jews named him Asmodeus.
Details
Grade: 3 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Four: Perkele

A name for the devil in Finnish. The name itself is a strong curse word. Perkele is actually a degraded form of Ukko, the old Finnish god of the sky and storms, but with the coming of Christianity, he was demonised and turned into a curse.
Details
Grade: 4 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Five: Nergal

A Mesopotamian god of pestilence, death and war. He resides over the government of the underworld and binds souls to it. In his rage, he unleashes plagues and the scourge of war across the world.
Details
Grade: 5 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Six: Lilith

A tempter and demon-mother of Abrahamic lore. She mothered the Lilim, the succubus-like creatures that subverted men and good morals. She was actually the first woman and made for Adam, but she demanded to be equal to him. He refused, and the two quarrelled until Lilith rebelled against Adam and God both and left.
Details
Grade: 6 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Seven: Nebiros

Hell's most valiant marquess. He makes men cunning in all arts and restores lost honour. Of all the lords of Hell, none can dominate the soul with greater skill than Nebiros.
Details
Grade: 7 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
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Grade Eight: Babalú-Ayé

The Orisha of disease. He is a form of the supreme god's wrath, who brings diseases such as smallpox onto wicked evildoers. He himself is in exile and his body is ridden with disease, but his exile in turn gives him a sense of righteousness and sympathy with humanity, allowing him to also remove disease.
Details
Grade: 8 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Nine: Iblis

A name for the Adversary in Islamic lore. His is the sin of hubris, for at the start of creation, God bid the angels all to bow to Adam, his new creation. Iblis refused, for he was made of God's burning radiance and Adam was made of earth; for his hubris, he was cast down and made low. He whispers temptations and sins into the hearts of those who listen to him.
Details
Grade: 9 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Ten: Beelzebub

The Lord of the Flies and a prince of hell in Abrahamic tradition. He represents pride, gluttony and the worship of false idols. He was one of the first Angels to rebel against Heaven, right after Lucifer, and was cast down for it. His roots seem to lie in the worship of gods such as Baal, who were literally demonised by the Jews and Christians who fought against the Canaanites and similar peoples.
Details
Grade: 10 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

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