Demon: The Fallen is a role-playing game and a fictional setting from the World of Darkness line by White Wolf Game Studio. The player characters in the game are demons; fallen angels who were cast out of Heaven after siding with Lucifer in a thousand year war with God. The game line was intentionally set up with a limited number of books to be published.
In Demon: The Fallen, players assume the role of one of the rebel angels who defied their Creator for love of humanity and for their rebellion were cast into the Abyss, a prison hidden deep beneath the lands of the dead. Over the millennia, the angels have been twisted by their suffering, manifest in the form of their Torment.
As the Sixth Great Maelstrom rages across the kingdoms of the dead, cracks have appeared in the walls of the Abyss, cracks small enough to allow the smallest and weakest of the Fallen to escape. Fighting both the force of the storm and the pull of the Abyss, they have made their way back to the material realm.
The only way they can remain there, however, is by taking a host - preferably a mortal whose soul was weakened enough to allow the Fallen to gain a foothold and protect it from the ravages of Torment.
The process of possession exposes the Fallen to the mortal's memories. In the majority of cases, this has no effect. A minority of Fallen, however, discover a deep-seated streak of humanity in their hosts, be it love, courage, ambition, curiosity, or even rage - something strong enough to shock them out of their Torment, to remind them of the angel they once were, even if only for a moment. These human memories and emotions act as a bulwark against Torment, shutting out the memories of the Abyss, restoring the Fallen to some semblance of sanity.
The player character starts out as one of this minority, given a second chance by the memories of their mortal host. What they will make of it, however, is another story.
The seven Houses of the Fallen, the Sebettu, were created by God in the first days of Creation. It is impossible for a Fallen to change their House; it is, in a very real sense, the core of their beings, an essential part of who they are.
- Devils (Namaru) - The first House created by God, leaders on both sides of the rebellion, the Devils' affinity is for radiance, enabling them to command mortals and demons alike and granting them power over fire.
- Scourges (Asharu) - The Angels of the Firmament were the second House to be created. They were the ones who guided the winds of creation, who granted the breath of life to all living things and who defined the spiritual connections between living beings.
- Malefactors (Annunaki) - The Third House, the Angels of the Fundament, were the makers of form, the shapers of Creation. They defined spatial relationships, the paths from one place to another. Theirs is the power to shape the earth, and to make and empower astonishing artifacts.
- Fiends (Neberu) - Once, the Angels of the Spheres were the ones who set the stars in their great design, who gave them the light to shine, using their mastery of portals to travel the great distances required. Now, the Fourth House fears what has become of the design in their absence.
- Defilers (Lammasu) - Originally Angels of the Deeps, the Fifth House have an affinity with fluidity, giving them power over water, emotions, and even their own forms.
- Devourers (Rabisu) - Once the Angels of the Wild, warriors without equal, the Sixth House can command animals and plants alike, as well as shaping and reshaping the flesh of other beings as they desire.
- Slayers (Halaku) - The House of the Second World, the final House to be created, the Slayers have dominion over endings and death. They can destroy the things of the physical world, command the spirits of the dead, and even enter the Underworld.
Upon their escape from the Abyss, the Fallen divided their society into five Factions based on their outlook on humanity, God, and themselves. Each Faction is composed of like-minded demons who, although from different Houses, share similar goals.
- Faustians - Their goal is to foster humanity's divine potential, the divine spark that burns in every human and then turn it against God; whether they intend to be the ones who encourage that potential, or the ones who enslave it, depends on each member's opinion.
- Cryptics - These demons stand for the search for knowledge. This allows for a variety of options and no single way to classify them as long as the demon claims the search for information about the Fall and their imprisonment as their goal.
- Luciferans - Lucifer's standing army, their goal is to find their Morningstar and ensure that they are at a strategic advantage when the time comes to pick up the reins of the war once more.
- Raveners - Nihilists of the highest order, these demons stand for nothing at all except for the destruction of everything that is Creation. They feel that if they've lost the war, then no one deserves to hold the prize.
- Reconcilers - For the most part standing against the stated goals of demon society as a whole, these demons are penitents who search for redemption from God or humanity in some fashion.
Demons and Mortals
Demons relate to mortals in two special ways: they reap Faith from mortals in order to gain power, and they can engage in pacts with mortals, creating thralls. Earthbound use a variation on the latter technique to create particularly warped individuals, and also require constant worship by their mortal followers.
Demons have a number of innate powers that are rather low-key but constantly "on". In addition to these, they can manifest their Apocalyptic Forms, the remnants of their true angelic selves, and use their Lore of Creation to create a variety of effects. All demonic powers require Faith to function - if a demon runs out of it, he becomes a mere mortal with strange memories until he regains some of it.
One other important characteristic of the Fallen is their immortality. Though their host bodies can be destroyed and their spirit forms sent back to hell, they don't die; they will only weaken and become increasingly consumed by pain with each "death". The only way a Fallen can actually die is if their soul is consumed by another Fallen.
The Fallen face two main groups of antagonists: mortal demon hunters and Earthbound. The lords of the Fallen comprise a third group, but one that won't be important early in the game. Vampires, hunters, and mages are the three supernatural factions most likely to cross swords with the Fallen at one time or another.
- Demon hunters may hunt the Fallen for one of two reasons: either to banish them back to the Abyss, or to force them to give up their secrets and their power.
- Earthbound are demons that were conjured up from the Abyss and given inanimate reliquaries instead of host bodies to reside in, mostly because these Fallen were too powerful for mere flesh. However, without a human conscience to guide them, these Fallen devolved into monstrosities unlike even the most debased Fallen, and now follow insane and alien agendas.
Apart from fighting their more monstrous fellow Sebettu, a number of other themes lend themselves to the Demon setting:
- Recovering Old Artifacts and Lore: These objects may either be dangerous and wreaking havoc on Creation, or still hidden and much sought after.
- Summoning High-Ranking Fallen: Fallen of the player characters' status were sent out to pave the way for the return of their masters.
- Control: Fallen will probably try to establish a power base without attracting too much attention. Power, however, always draws attention.
- Redemption Through Good Deeds: This may be a goal for any faction except Raveners - how to repair Creation. However, each of the factions would go about this in a completely different way.