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XV. Devil

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


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 Character Aptitudes Persona Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 Fellowship, +5 Perception Toughness, Perception, Social Ailment, Might Fellowship

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Arcana Exemplaries

Exemplary Evoker Rank 1 Evoker Rank 4 Evoker Rank 7 Evoker Rank 10
Flesh is Weak Whenever you cast an Ailment spell that requires a test on an enemy and you both successfully inflict it on them and roll 10 or lower on your test, you Expose them (and thus trigger a One More in the usual way). Ailment spells cast as part of a One More action only require a 20 or lower to Expose the enemy. You reduce the cost of Ailment+Support spells by 1 SP per tier. If cast as part of a One More action, you reduce the cost by 2 SP per tier instead. You increase the number needed to Expose with an Ailment increases by 10, so long as the target is already suffering an Ailment that you cast on them.
Undo Binding You may reroll tests to resist or overcome Fatigue, Grapples, Immobilisation and Sealing. Furthermore, you may declare this Exemplary as a free action; you ignore all Fatigue and its effects for 2 rounds. Whenever you successfully resist Fatigue, Grapples, Immobilisation or Sealing, or you successfully overcome a physical obstacle in an Investigation, you gain a +10 non-stacking bonus to all tests until the end of your next turn. You count your Characteristic Bonuses as two higher for the purposes of Fatigue effects, including calculating Fatigue Threshold. Furthermore, once per day, after you successfully resist one of the listed effects or overcome a physical obstacle, you may decide to regain a spent Realisation Point. Rank 4's bonus is now extended for another round and stacks to a total of +20. You may now spend a Realisation Point to automatically pass tests to resist the listed effects with DoS equal to your Realisation bonus.
Devil's Advocate You gain the Devil's Advocate Personal Action. You select one willing character (not yourself), who instantly gains 10 stress but selects one characteristic. Until the start of the next week, the character either gains a +10 to all tests with that characteristic, or if the test is at a net penalty, may halve the net penalty. You take a -10 penalty to all interaction tests with the character until Devil's Advocate wears off. You may only target the same character once per week. So long as a character is benefitting from Devil's Advocate, they may, once per day, willingly take an extra 10 stress to remove all penalties from a single test. You may now target yourself with Devil's Advocate. Furthermore, targeted characters reduce the amount of stress they take from the initial action by 1 per 2 Social Link ranks you have with them. Instead of the usual effects, a chosen character may instead choose to gain an extra success on all Training and School Personal Actions.

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