The Thousand Hells (also stylized as The 1000 Hells) is a sourcebook for Kindred of the East that details the realm wherein the monstrous Yama Kings hold sway. A guide to the Yomi World and those who dwell there.
- The Hell of Upside-Down Sinners
- All of Asia's Kuei-jin share a common experience — the agony of torture after death in one of the Thousand Hells. Beyond pain, beyond the end of existence, their very souls are flayed for their sins in the living world. Only the most powerful escape to rise again as vampires, but not even they can forget their suffering. The domains of the Yama Kings wait beyond the Wall, where demons and their servants anticipate the coming of the Sixth Age, when the Demon Emperor shall be loosed upon the world.
- The Hell of Being Skinned Alive
- The Yomi Thousand Hells are nothing like the spirit worlds of the West. Spun from the stuff of nightmares and corruption, they embody the worst damnation imaginable to the human mind – and more. At last, the secrets of the Yama Kings are revealed and the gates of their domains are opened.
- Now the bravest (and most foolish) Kuei-jin can return to set things aright in the homelands of demons... or be consumed and forever lost. Descriptions of the Hells are complemented by new rules for Yomi demons and spirits. Yama Kings and the powers of their undead servants, the akuma, are finally revealed. And, at last, the Yomi's place in World of Darkness cosmology is explained.
Descent of a Soul: a Cautionary TaleEdit
The opening story. It emphasizes the tainting mood that the Yomi World is supposed to bring to bear.
The introduction gives the theme of the book as well as a quick summary and the terminology you'll find within.
The Tapestry of YomiEdit
Details the history and evolution of the Yomi World and the Yama Kings, rulers of hell. It talks about the fall from Heaven's mandate and the rebellion of the Yama Kings and about the August Personage of Jade's apparent lack of concern about them. The history is very good, and the overall layout of the hells comes through. A description of both the Scarlet Path and the Ebon Road, the Yang and Yin routes into the Yomi are included, and both are interesting enough to spawn chronicles in their own right.
The Map of Damnation: GeographyEdit
Descriptions of a few of the thousand hells, as well as the hells in general. Giving descriptions of landscape and denizens, the brief sections inspire trainloads of thought and ideas, in much the same way as the best parts of Planescape and The Book of Worlds do. Kakuri,, the Night Realm; Lanka, Demon City of Rakshasas; The Hell of Being Skinned Alive; The Wicked City; The Hell of Boiling Oil; The Hell of Burrowing Maggots; The Pit of Salt and Iron; The Hell of Seven Burning Seas; The Hell of Upside-Down Sinners: all are given brief and inspiring synopsis. I was filled with ideas reading these passages. The constant urge to include it all in the games I run had to be fought, it was just too good. As examples of other hells, Puelekos, The Hell of Eternal Castration, The Hell of Those Who Sell Their Children, The Feverish Hell of Tou Shen, and The Hell of Being Cut to Pieces are given one-sentence mentions.
The Face of Yomi: the Yama KingsEdit
Discusses the Yama Kings themselves, and it is one of the best dealings with such unimaginably powerful beings that White Wolf has put to print yet. The Yama Kings are given dimension and personality, as well as history.
Storytelling in YomiEdit
Chapter Four teaches how to use the Yomi, how to get there and how to run a game involving it, as well as what things to consider when creating a realm or a Yama King. I was very glad that no point system was involved, as with organizations in The Quick and the Dead and chantries in The Book of Chantries. Instead, guidelines and considerations are mentioned, and it works much, much better.
Systems of YomiEdit
Chapter Five deals with the systems governing surviving and traveling in the Yomi. From rules on Chi to rules on how Disciplines are affected (including many Kin-jin Disciplines), the chapter covers most of That Which Must Be Known. In addition, the chapter also looks at what is needed to escape from hell (even for the souls rightfully there) as well as some of the Yama Kings' servitor.
Appendix: Akuma - the Devil-EatenEdit
Finally, there is an appendix dealing with the Akuma, describing how to become one and what happens after that. It deals almost exclusively with the Kuei-jin, almost ignoring the hsien and hengeyokai. Also, the apparent misprint in Land of Eight Million Dreams is continued here, calling those Yomi-aligned hsien Okuma, which is the name of the extinct Asian Gurahl.
Although the logo used on the book's covers and title page reads "The 1000 Hells", the text in the book's interior and on the back cover all consistently refer to it as "The Thousand Hells", and other books that reference the book also use the name "The Thousand Hells".
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