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Dimthar
06-19-2008, 10:10 PM
"The forces of darkness must be beaten. You seem to be under a misapprehension. The point is not to avoid the war, it is to win it. We have been waiting a long time, Aziraphale."

It seems that a lot of the time Mortals are just considered "Chess Pieces" and the Mortal World the "Chess Board".

Is there any good fiction where Angels and Demons legions battle each other on the Mortal World?

In the LotR there is only a few specimens of both sides, of course compared to the thousands of Humans and Orcs.

Does Heaven (Elemental Good) and Hell (Elemental Evil) have an active role in your campaigns? I mean, other than the the occasional summoned Demon?

.

agoraderek
06-19-2008, 10:16 PM
It seems that a lot of the time Mortals are just considered "Chess Pieces" and the Mortal World the "Chess Board".

Is there any good fiction where Angels and Demons legions battle each other on the Mortal World?

In the LotR there is only a few specimens of both sides, of course compared to the thousands of Humans and Orcs.

Does Heaven (Elemental Good) and Hell (Elemental Evil) have an active role in your campaigns? I mean, other than the the occasional summoned Demon?

.

i cant think of any literature off the top of my head, but larry niven's legions of hell popped into my mind, and i loved those books...

i dont really use alignments, per se, in my campaign, but the gods and their minions do take an active roll in the world at times.

upidstay
06-20-2008, 05:00 AM
I definitely use strong evil in my campaign. The current party is not strongly good, but I'm going more for a clestial balance idea any, where neutrality is the goal.

Cosmic war books? David Eddings's series's, the Belgariad and the Mallorean deal with this, and Raymond Feists' new(er) Conclave of Shadows series deals with this too. Not so much angels v demons, but more of the cosmic chess game idea. Both are fun reads too.

fmitchell
06-20-2008, 10:58 AM
The Steve Jackson Game In Nomine (based off an earlier French game) involves the secret war between angels and demons on earth. Depending on the tone a GM sets, angels and demons could compete to turn humans toward one side or the other, or they could just kick each others' butts for dominion. The game also has a bibiliography/videography of stories involving angels and demons.

I don't know if this movie can be considered "good", but The Prophecy with Christopher Walken concerns two rival factions of angels battling for the fate of the world; one wants to trigger Armageddon, the other wants to preserve the human race. The human characters are pretty blah, and the plot is pretty muddy, but Christopher Walken as Gabriel pretty much carries the movie. There's also a cameo by Satan, played by Viggo Mortensen as a cackling psycho.

And then there's Dogma, a movie by Kevin Smith, which is even more theologically suspect but funnier and better made. Again, the world will end unless the last descendent of Jesus, the thirteenth apostle, two losers (Jay and Silent Bob), and assorted angels stop it ... and again, not all angels are good, or even particularly nice.

Dimthar
06-20-2008, 11:23 AM
And then there's Dogma... Again, the world will end unless the last descendent of Jesus, the thirteenth apostle, two losers (Jay and Silent Bob), and assorted angels stop it ... and again, not all angels are good, or even particularly nice.

Not losers ... Prophets!, Jay and Silent Bob were the Prophets. And to avoid more controversy, Kevin Smith made the Last Scion the grand grand grand.. ... grand niece of Jesus not his direct descendant.

:)

Is there a "universal" agreement that when Angels, Demons, Gods Avatars, etc. enter the "Real World / Earth / Material Plane" they become vulnerable or Semi-Mortal?

.

tesral
06-20-2008, 12:18 PM
Does Heaven (Elemental Good) and Hell (Elemental Evil) have an active role in your campaigns? I mean, other than the the occasional summoned Demon?

.

They have a role, but not perhaps the one you might think. Heaven and Hell are two aspects of the three afterlife planes. They are part of the circle of life, death, and rebirth. Devils and Angels have a place and it is not fighting each other, ever really. It is seeing to the souls in their care. There is the third plane as well. Devas are the denzines of Coventry, the place for those that did neither good nor evil.

The way of it is that none of the above planes are forever. The Soul move through the Plane of Shadows to the river Styx and to be judged for their deeds in life. They go to their proper place unless they have been tagged by a god for special treatment. One "contemplates" their life and when the soul is ready it moves to the cauldron of rebirth for another go. In Heaven bound they might move to the Crystal Forest instead. An After-afterlife when the beings become the entities that are creation itself.

There is even a mortal order the Hoc Ta'Lung whose avowed purpose is to keep the extra-planer beings on their extra planes and off the prime. Angels, Devas, or Devils, they don't care.

Demons, not called Deamons on Thindacarulle are those creature that have rejected their place in the order of life, death, and rebirth. they can be any of the above types or something unique.

Alignment planes do not exist. the outer planes are the realms of the various gods.

fmitchell
06-20-2008, 01:08 PM
Is there a "universal" agreement that when Angels, Demons, Gods Avatars, etc. enter the "Real World / Earth / Material Plane" they become vulnerable or Semi-Mortal?

In In Nomine you can "kill" an angel or demon in the Mortal world by doing enough damage to him/her/it. However, it merely returns to its plane of origin, and after a period of getting over the shock has to convince its superiors to give it a new body. (A possible exception may be the order of angels and band of demons that have no physical form and hop from body to body.) A celestial can only die by destroying its "heart" in Heaven or Hell.

Most other works take that stance, or else that angels and demons can die permanently if destroyed in the right way. For example, if I recall correctly, in The Prophecy and its sequels, removing or destroying an angel's physical heart will kill it.

nijineko
06-21-2008, 08:46 PM
i have a fairly detailed afterlife worked out. several actually, depending on how 'system canon' vs how 'niji's view' that particular game is. in my games there is no such thing as neutral. neutrality is a lie perpetuated behind the scenes by evil as another way to seduce people away from good. so as an "alignment" system goes, mine is neutral, good, evil-with good being the central way between the two extremes of neutrality and evil. a well made road has a high center peak and slopes to either side to allow water to flow off the road into the ditches on either side. this high point, or center way is good, the synthesis of the thesis (evil) and anti-thesis (neutrality). there is also no seperation of chaotics from lawfuls. that is simply a matter of personal inclination.

look at it this way. neutrality traditionally espouses the idea that too much good or too much evil is bad. ignoring the oxy moron of "too much good" which by definition cannot occur, the neutrals spend their time pulling down either side that gets ahead. by definition, they should also pull themselves down for the same reason, should they get too successful, but we'll skip over that for the moment. so they pull anyone down that gets ahead in the overall good vs evil game. basically a lobster tank. or impeading progress. which in itself is an evil act. a neutral following this philosophy must shatter the peace of people who are busy giving of their substance to each other and helping each other out whenever it is needed, because this represents "too much good", as one example.

i'm simplifying (mostly due to time and other constraints) but i think that with some contemplation that my points can be understood.

i'm not asking anyone to agree, and certainly don't just take my word for it. think it over and if this strikes you as off, play advocate for a while and see what you feel after thinking it over for a few days.

i also have never had a tpk, so i haven't yet had the chance to continue the game after the party dies. but that is going to happen someday! in my idea for an ideal game, once the party dies, the roleplaying continues in the afterlife as they go about figuring out what's going on and exploring my version of the afterlife. i have fun borrowing from both my beliefs and from beliefs that strike me as cool or interesting regarless of origin.

Moritz
06-25-2008, 08:08 AM
In 99% of all the games I've run, I have denied the existence of anything remotely mythological. This includes Superhero, Space Opera, Heroic, DarkWorld, Mech, Danger International, and similar modern or future games. It does not include D&D since that game is mythology in itself. Though, in D&D's case, demons/angels are just evil and good personifications, nothing to do with modern religion.

nijineko
06-28-2008, 04:03 PM
lucky for me that my religion is at least 6,000+ years old, some argue 13,000 years. ;D

GC13
06-30-2008, 12:47 PM
nijineko: Not all neutrals in D&D espouse balance. Some (likely most) of them are merely noncommitted, not wishing to bring harm to others with their actions but likewise not wishing to go out of their way to help others. With this worldview as the dominant neutral view, it makes perfect sense to have neutrality in the middle.

To represent this apathetic majority with your system, you'd need to change the definition of good (from proactive assistance of others to mere nonharm), get everybody off of that darned fence, or have a separate "uninterested" alignment. Do you use any of these? Because while your system works reasonably well (the problem being that, to be honest it's not properly represented as a scale as the way D&D's alignment is as you yourself said evil and neutral are not opposites and good is most certainly not a middleground between neutrality and evil), those fencesitters are kind of annoying if they exist but cannot be modeled.

Dimthar
06-30-2008, 02:23 PM
nijineko: Not all neutrals in D&D espouse balance. Some (likely most) of them are merely noncommitted, not wishing to bring harm to others with their actions but likewise not wishing to go out of their way to help others..

In Catholicism, "Not helping others when possible" is considered a sin. The example is the Mea Culpa : "...that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do...".

Now, in trying not to make this an "Alignment Topic" but a Forces of Good vs Forces of Evil, I would rule that "Inaction to do Good" is a Win for the Forces of Evil.

As a "Plot", I believe "Temptation" is an interesting twist to lead the PCs into the path of damnation (e.g. Devil's Advocate Movie), in some cases, Heaven and Hell will pick a single human as their major battleground (e.g. "Don't Tempt Me movie", aka Bendito Infierno).

.

GC13
06-30-2008, 03:36 PM
It may be a win, but it's much like merely destroying the enemy's munitions rather than being able to steal them for your own use: you're happy for what you have, but you're still wishing for that more you could have had. Watching a demon kill a baby is not the same as laughing while he does it and then killing one yourself.

For a game to feature the good vs evil battles you want, it would likely need to be designed around the conflict. I mean, if this were to be a regular happening, the setting would just be way different than one where it almost never happened, regardless of how powerful the good/evil people were.

D&D is about as bad as it gets for this, really, with one of the evil forces being infinite in size and the forces of good too scared to do a danged thing about it (once burned, twice shy) and instead relying on the other force of elemental evil to be too busy fighting them to realize that "hey, we're letting the good guys get off totally easy here..."

nijineko
07-04-2008, 09:36 PM
good is absolutely the middle ground between neutrality and evil in my system. the apathetic majority in d&d you describe fall in-between good and neutral in this system. it is very much a shades-of-in-between setup.

i should mention that the alignment system that i have devised is more complex than the simple reduction of d&d terms allow description for. in its native form it resembles a 3d or 4d sculpture. for ease of sharing the concepts, especially the more unusual, comparing it to a fairly well-known is one route towards understanding.

another way to describe it is the old mountain path philosophy... good is the apex of the mountain, all the traits and beliefs and actions that serve to preserve and progress an individual and community with the maximum amount of potential for each in harmonic regard for each other. in a simplistic sense and borrowing from a concept that many philosophies hold in common, this apex is when a community and the individuals of said community both uphold and act upon a selfless attitude. anything less than this moves away from selflessness and towards selfishness of one type or another. there are many ways to the top, but only one top of the mountain. and there are many many ways of not being at the top of the mountain, much more than a simple linear depiction of neutra-good-evil will show. ^^

ultimately, there is only one way to be pure good, regardless of what path one used to get there. in practice, however, few humans, if any, ever acheive whatever that pure good might be. there are some arguments for a few that seem to have come close.


...with one of the evil forces being infinite in size....

it has been established in d&d cannon that the number of evil outsiders of any type is finite in number, if large.


For a game to feature the good vs evil battles you want...

this is a core characteristic of the d&d game. that is what it is about. hence "heroic fantasy". you read literature put out by tsr and wotc and advocacy groups dealing with extremists religionists, as well as the simply misinformed and that is one of the key and primary arguments put forth. d&d is about people playing heroes and kicking evil's butt. they justify statting out evil things like demons and devils by stating that it is for the purpose of allowing the heroes to beat them. oddly they don't seem to have to justify statting out the good guys like angels.

of course, not everyone actually plays it that way....



the main problem i've perceived is that most players and gms don't know what good is of themselves... and i don't mean what some religion teaches you, but having actually sat down and thought it out for onesself and decided that "this is what my philosophy of good is". and then tested it out in the real world and started tinkering with it based on ones' experiences over a long period of time. unless one has done that, then one is not really going to have an idea of what good really is, let alone be able to roleplay it with anything resembling accuracy as a player or gm. and really, the same could apply for evil. although more people seem to have a grasp of what evil is than what good is. interesting that.

i have seen time and again (in a roleplaying setting) supposedly 'good' supreme powers acting capricious and selfish and destructive and on and on.... talk about a greek or mesopotamian pantheonic drama! i have yet to see anyone succeed in rp'ing a really good portrayal of a power of good. i have to include myself in that as well as i've not yet actually gm'ed one.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-05-2008, 01:37 AM
I definitely use strong evil in my campaign. The current party is not strongly good, but I'm going more for a clestial balance idea any, where neutrality is the goal.

Cosmic war books? David Eddings's series's, the Belgariad and the Mallorean deal with this, and Raymond Feists' new(er) Conclave of Shadows series deals with this too. Not so much angels v demons, but more of the cosmic chess game idea. Both are fun reads too.
I'm also guilty of using "strong evil" in my campaigns. In fact it is rare that a player even takes on a LG class... that is, till i explain "fanatic" to him or her. Being a fanatic allows rules to be bent or broken as long as one can rationalize behavior.

Thoth-Amon

tesral
07-05-2008, 07:31 AM
the main problem i've perceived is that most players and gms don't know what good is of themselves... and i don't mean what some religion teaches you, but having actually sat down and thought it out for onesself and decided that "this is what my philosophy of good is". and then tested it out in the real world and started tinkering with it based on ones' experiences over a long period of time. unless one has done that, then one is not really going to have an idea of what good really is, let alone be able to roleplay it with anything resembling accuracy as a player or gm. and really, the same could apply for evil. although more people seem to have a grasp of what evil is than what good is. interesting that.

At the risk of derailing ther thread that is exactly what the Religious types fear about role-playing, it gives you "ideas" and lets you explore those ideas and not accept the dogma and shut up.





i have seen time and again (in a roleplaying setting) supposedly 'good' supreme powers acting capricious and selfish and destructive and on and on.... talk about a greek or mesopotamian pantheonic drama! i have yet to see anyone succeed in rp'ing a really good portrayal of a power of good. i have to include myself in that as well as i've not yet actually gm'ed one.

Well Greek gods were not "good" they where. More often than not where given as a good example of a bad example.

I found it useful to define good/evil for my game. I make it plain this is the definition of my game, it is fictional, it applies to my game and is not intended to be a general depiction of good or evil. However it works within the game and is how I will adjudicate any question of good and or evil.

First Rule: Good is creative, Evil is destructive.

That is, all she wrote. Everything can be boiled down to that. Every act of creation is by nature good. Any act of destruction is by some degree evil. Dive too deep and the making of a meal is fraught with implications. If gives sophists something to do.

Second Rule: No being has the right to initiate force, or delegate the initiate of force, against any other being.

Defending yourself is a lot less evil that starting it.

Third Rule: The ends do not justify the means.

You might be cleaning out the nasty Orcs to make way for pure and decent people. You are still a murdering mother killer and a baby killer. By rule two, those that sent you are equally as guilty.


Now those are the universal rules. Various gods and nations will tell you otherwise. The really good ones will tell you the truth.

Dimthar
07-05-2008, 09:09 PM
In my imagination while designing a FR campaign, there was a scene of hundreds of balls of fire falling from the Sky, these "meteors" were in reality Archons (or other celestials) engaged in battle with Devils/Demons.
Their “Antagonism” so great that blinded by their rage there is nothing else in their minds that destroying their opponent. Consequential damage is justified.


"The forces of darkness must be beaten. You seem to be under a misapprehension. The point is not to avoid the war, it is to win it. We have been waiting a long time, Aziraphale."

For the purpose of this “campaign” it makes sense to me to “Lock” the “Good Gods” in an eternal quest to destroy the “Evil” and vise versa as a way to achieve satisfaction, their work will never be complete if the other side is always “destroying” what you managed to create .

They don’t and will never understand this so called “Balance“, when you are living light you never know darkness. Their view of the world is limited by the rigidness of their nature.

That said, I just really thought it would be cool to have “A Cosmic Conflagration” ending.

.

mrken
07-12-2008, 03:02 PM
Try this theory on for size. Good and evil are not really what the fuss is all about. The school of order is apposed to the side of disorder. One side is attempting to grow or keep things together and ordered. The other is trying to bring disorder and chaos, breaking things down, decay. Either side can be kind and loving, but the issues arise when one ruins the others work. Both are diametrically apposed to the other and "fighting" the other is not so much bad as natural or normal.

agoraderek
07-14-2008, 06:03 PM
Try this theory on for size. Good and evil are not really what the fuss is all about. The school of order is apposed to the side of disorder. One side is attempting to grow or keep things together and ordered. The other is trying to bring disorder and chaos, breaking things down, decay. Either side can be kind and loving, but the issues arise when one ruins the others work. Both are diametrically apposed to the other and "fighting" the other is not so much bad as natural or normal.


i'm just waiting for eris to toss in the golden apple...

nijineko
07-14-2008, 07:02 PM
At the risk of derailing ther thread that is exactly what the Religious types fear about role-playing, it gives you "ideas" and lets you explore those ideas and not accept the dogma and shut up.

so i've noticed. again i am fortunate in that among my people it is a commandment to study pretty much everything. science, other religions, politics, culture, technology, and more. perhaps that is why i am both strongly religious, and yet hold the ideals that i have attempted to share here. =D




I found it useful to define good/evil for my game. I make it plain this is the definition of my game, it is fictional, it applies to my game and is not intended to be a general depiction of good or evil. However it works within the game and is how I will adjudicate any question of good and or evil.

First Rule: Good is creative, Evil is destructive.

That is, all she wrote. Everything can be boiled down to that. Every act of creation is by nature good. Any act of destruction is by some degree evil. Dive too deep and the making of a meal is fraught with implications. If gives sophists something to do.

Second Rule: No being has the right to initiate force, or delegate the initiate of force, against any other being.

Defending yourself is a lot less evil that starting it.

Third Rule: The ends do not justify the means.

You might be cleaning out the nasty Orcs to make way for pure and decent people. You are still a murdering mother killer and a baby killer. By rule two, those that sent you are equally as guilty.


Now those are the universal rules. Various gods and nations will tell you otherwise. The really good ones will tell you the truth.

i quite agree with defining good and evil for in-game context. and i like the ones you have. i could definitely work with that. ashame we are so far apart. ^^'

tesral
07-14-2008, 11:37 PM
i quite agree with defining good and evil for in-game context. and i like the ones you have. i could definitely work with that. ashame we are so far apart. ^^'

Damn the continent for being.

Holocron
09-21-2008, 02:59 AM
I've used angels and demons in GURPS fantasy on a few occassions...

I had an ambiguous idea about a war between angels and demons, that usually took place outside the sight of normal society, but came into view in a particular battle. I forget what the point was supposed to be, but I think there were a few angels that had a particular objective, and the demons wanted to kill the angels so they made an appearance to ambush the angels when they were "doing their work"... It made the battle kind of interesting, but I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to accomplish by including a war between angels and demons in the players' adventures, so I couldn't sustain the idea, and later realized I would rather let issues of religious importance remain ambiguous, so players would have suspicions about angels doing God's will, but never really being sure.

After that, angels only made a few rare appearances, and it was always to perform a specific task, and they always appeared to be humans. The task was usually to give one of the players' character instructions to do a certain thing, but I left it mysterious to let the players suspect something. The angel would approach them as a human who knew the person's character's name and details about them, and would give them an instruction to do a certain task and then they would disappear.

Usually the way I did it would be when the player's character was asleep, they would have a dream that someone approached them and gave them instructions, "Take this sword East, travel toward Megalos city. You will know who to give it to when you meet them..." then the character would wake up, and notice something like a cloth wrapped around something nearby them that they didn't remember seeing before, and inside would be the beautiful sword...

Demons on the other hand were way easier to throw into the game. I didn't use them much, but occassionally they would be summoned by a necromancer, or sometimes they were just around and would offer quasi-divine wishes just to sign a little peice of paper... Nobody really fell for it, not even my one arch villain player...

nijineko
09-21-2008, 01:32 PM
to continue, if in a slightly different vein:

as an interesting side note, i seldom use the outsiders as given in d&d for anything. they do not fit the needs of my campaigns very well. i also do not have the outer planes aligned according to the alignment system. Each outer plane is tied to a Contract that a particular power has made with primes.

another interesting feature is the journey a soul makes into the afterlife. a dead soul passes into the ethereal plane and traverses the world to a specific location which corresponds to a particular country which unsurprisingly has a strong cultural relationship with death. Here they pass into the "deep ethereal". nobody is certain what transpires there, but it is known that they eventually pass through the inner planes somehow and show up in the outer planes. as they traverse the outer planes, various beings of all sorts will try to offer them Contracts to lure them to their side. there are eight levels of the "deep ethereal" that they pass through while this process takes place. should the souls choose to ignore them they continue on into the "outer ethereal" or final ninth level from beyond which nothing and no one has been known to return, not even the powers. very few have ever seen it and returned, the rare exception being the Guardians of the Dead-an order peculiar to the aforementioned country. and even they cannot return should they pass all the way through it's final portal.

needless to say, any effects which bring a soul back to life function differently in my campaigns.

as for the heaven and hell bit, the equivalents are very active in my campaigns.