Sep
26
2019

Makatiel, Habbalite Prince of Disease [In Nomine]

Ah, what could have been. I wrote this a decade ago with an eye to getting it made part of In Nomine canon. It… was not to be. But I feel that this was ultimately not due to the write-up itself.

Makatiel

Habbalite Prince of Disease

The World is sick, and I am its physick.

They all called him mad, of course.  Such is the price of genius. And make no mistake, Makatiel was one of the smartest Superiors to ever reach apotheosis: it was one of the two things that made him dangerous.  The other thing that made him dangerous was his tendency to obsess, which was noteworthy even among celestials.

Makatiel was from the first generation of demons created (by Beleth, in his case) after Lilith freed Lucifer from Hell.  Very few of his contemporaries have survived to the present day, perhaps unsurprisingly. After all, most of them developed oddly, and were prone to suicidal forms of madness in their later years.  While still alive, Makatiel’s own inner insanity lurked inside his fascinated loathing of humanity; the Prince of Disease had a name for being aware of the most trivial (to demons) corporeal matters.  Very few besides Saminga regretted his passing, and none were foolish enough to display their feelings where Asmodeus could see.

The Word of Disease, when supported, focused more on the psychological effects of disease than on the physical ones.  Makatiel saw both his Word and himself as tools by which to control humanity, which meant that serving his Word required a more subtle approach.  Among other things, this meant that his Servitors were expected and encouraged to integrate themselves thoroughly in human society; the better to torment it, and eventually bring it down.  Whether or not there are still any Orphan Servitors of Disease out there and doing things is a matter of no little concern.

The Prince of Disease died in 1348 AD, destroyed through the combined efforts of Dominic, Archangel of Judgement, and Asmodeus, Prince of the Game.  Makatiel had decided that it was God’s will that humanity be wiped out completely, and had already gone to great lengths along those lines by the time that he was discovered.  After his destruction, those of his Servitors who escaped the Game’s clutches ended up in Saminga’s service, where they remain to this day.

Dissonance

It was dissonant for Makatiel’s Servitors to ever reveal to a mortal the true cure or cause of an illness, whether physical or mental.  The Prince viewed his Word as a tool for spreading terror as well as death, and ignorance served his purposes very well.  It was not dissonant for Servitors of Disease to cure people, although doing it too often was considered unwise.

Band Attunements

Makatiel lived and died centuries before humans worked out the germ theory of disease, and so did not give his regular Servitors many ways to actually create illnesses.  There was no need.  The Prince of Disease’s attunements instead reflected his original goal to control humanity via his Word: saving one person here, killing a thousand there, as it would serve either the needs of Hell, or Makatiel’s own personal whim.

Balseraph (Restricted)

Balseraphs of Disease could suppress the symptoms of one disease with a successful resonance roll.  The victim still had the disease, but would show no outward signs of it for the next day.

Djinn (Restricted)*

Makatiel’s Stalkers were able to cause their attuned to be unaffected by diseases, while still remaining highly infectious.

*Originally from Liber Castellorum, Page 126.

Calabite (Restricted)

Calabim of Disease could choose to inflict a disease upon a living mortal as part of their resonance.  All damage done would manifest itself over the few hours, at the rate of one Body Hit per hour. This slower damage proved to be less likely to provoke the Symphony: treat the damage done as if it were done as part of a Role, with the Role’s level equal to the demon’s Corporeal Forces.

Habbalite (Restricted)

Habbalah of Makatiel automatically succeeded at their attempts to impose Emptiness on others (roll anyway for the check digit and Interventions).  They usually used this ability to ensure that certain individuals would not panic at the sight of the plague, and thus perhaps flee to safety.

Lilim (Restricted)

Makatiel’s Lilim automatically detected any target’s Need to see someone else healed.  Makatiel had fewer Lilim than the norm, and he never received any of them directly from Lilith.  The antipathy between the two was legendary.

Shedite (Partially Restricted)

Shedim of Disease could “cure” illnesses by taking them along with them as they switched hosts.  The newly-cured individual would not be immune to the disease in the future.

Non-Shedim could purchase this Attunement, but had to know the Song of Possession in order to use it.

Impudite (Restricted)

These demons automatically Charmed anyone suffering from a life-threatening illness.

Servitor Attunements

Diagnosis

Demons with this Attunement could determine both the true cause and the true cure of a disease.

Mountebank

This Attunement allows a demon to add his Ethereal Forces to all reaction rolls, provided that he was acting in a medical capacity.

Distinctions

Knight of Plagues*

Makatiel’s Knights could choose to inflict or cure diseases with a touch.

*Originally from Liber Castellorum, Page 126.

Captain of Miasmas

Makatiel’s Captains could automatically determine which disease a particular human feared most.

Baron of Pestilence

Makatiel gave his Barons access to the regular Balseraph resonance.  Balseraph Barons instead added their Celestial Forces to all resonance rolls.

This Distinction was one of the most stubborn mysteries surrounding the Prince of Disease.  Prior to Kronos, no other Prince had ever managed enough command over the Symphony so as to impose a ‘foreign’ resonance upon demons.  The closest to come to this was Asmodeus and his Humanity attunement, but that was thought to be just a deliberate lowering of power.  What made this more unusual was that Makatiel was imposing the Balseraph resonance, not the Habbalite (which would have been presumably easier for him to do).

It is rumored among some that Asmodeus’s true motive for removing Makatiel was to learn this secret.  It is also rumored that the Prince of the Game chose not to move against Disease until he was no longer unique.  It is certainly true that no Baron of Pestilence has survived to the modern era.

Relations

Makatiel had one true ally in Hell: Saminga, Prince of Death, and that was not nearly enough to save him from Asmodeus.  Most Princes found him vaguely and subtly disquieting, to the point that the revelation of his madness and plots came as no great surprise.  It is rumored that it was Lilith who eventually discovered the Prince’s plans, and that she was the one who betrayed them to Asmodeus.

Allied: Saminga

Associated: Belial

Neutral: Baal, Beleth, Kobal, Kronos, Malphas

Hostile: Andrealphus, Haagenti, Valefor

Enemy: Asmodeus, Lilith

Basic Rites (Included for completeness)

* Cause someone else to come down with an illness

* Burn or destroy useful medical information

Chance of Invocation: 1

Invocation Modifiers

+1 A dead cat

+2 Tomb dust

+3 A medical textbook with at least twenty serious errors

+4 A room full of people dead from disease

+5 The burned corpse of a true physician

+6 A room full of people dead from disease — with all of the deaths due to the demon

Name, Appearance and Manner

Makatiel was one of the rare Habbalah who disdained the title of “angel.” To him, the Archangels were the Rebels against God, and so their own use of the term cheapened it utterly.  Likewise, he refused to use the word “demon,” as he considered it an insult from his enemies. The Prince of Disease was adamant about using the word “celestial” to mean “demon”. His own Servitors conformed to Hell’s usage, once out of his presence, but only if circumstances required it.  His own titles were generally “Prince” or “Dread Lord,” as Makatiel found overt flattery tedious.

While the Prince of Disease could easily change his appearance, he generally did not bother.  A hooded robe was about the only concession that he made to covering up his scarred and patched body.  This was apparently due to a genuine disinterest on his part.  

The Word of Disease

Makatiel preferred to focus on ways to promote fear and panic through his Word.  The Prince was not shy about taking the credit for the death toll, but he and his did very little to directly foster the spread of disease.  What they concentrated on instead was making sure that the state of affairs did not change. A doctor burned as a wizard here, a “miraculous cure” using trash there, a careful rewrite of a medical text somewhere else; it didn’t matter much what the intervention was, as long as it continued to keep humanity from actually working out proper methods for fighting illnesses.  It is a dark testimony to the system of suppression that Makatiel set up that it survived his demise for several hundred years before finally collapsing.

History

Makatiel never knew Heaven.  He was part of the first “generation” of demons created after Lilith provided Lucifer with an escape route from Hell.  As was noted before, the Servitors who made up this generation tended to self-destruct, over time. The various Princes of Hell were still new to their altered state, and were inclined to experiment.  Or, more accurately, to throw random Forces together into a new demon and see what worked.

At the time, Makatiel seemed to be one of Beleth, Princess of Nightmares’ successful experiments, given that he survived.  The Habbalite was designed to be a sort of staff officer for Hell’s invasion, which meant that he was crafted to be very smart, at the expense of strength and will.  This intelligence saved him when things went badly wrong in his section of the War; but Makatiel spent a rather nasty decade or so on the corporeal plane, Heartless and cut off from Hell.  Pop psychology or not, the argument that this time period marked the genesis of Makatiel’s simultaneous hatred for, and fear of, humanity has some justification to it.  

Once he returned, Makatiel spent the next few millennia working for Nightmares, only to be abruptly traded to Factions some time at the start of the beginning of the Sumerian era.  It was there that he was outfitted for corporeal duty and given the assignment of trying to work out some way to make humans’ lives miserable in these new “towns” and “cities.” This was naturally easy work for the Habbalite.  One thing that had been driven home to him during his exile was that while humans were stronger than they looked (they had certainly been strong enough to beat up a new-made celestial with underdeveloped physical abilities), they were vulnerable to illness.  It was almost pitifully easy to encourage mortals to waste their time on superstition, magic and flawed theories; so easy, in fact, that Makatiel’s acquisition of the Word of Disease (in 2100 BC) and promotion to Prince (150 BC) seemed almost inevitable.

It is widely accepted that Makatiel’s decision to eventually actively seek humanity’s destruction came from, of all things, the rise of Christianity.  Like Laurence, Archangel of the Sword, the Habbalite eventually decided that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God. However, Makatiel was convinced that the appearance of Christ was mankind’s last test — and one that humanity had failed, miserably.  In his twisted interpretation, Christ’s Death and Resurrection was symbolic of God’s final rejection of humanity.  The failure of men to recognize their Creator, to the point of killing His earthly shell, was the final proof of the rightness of Lucifer’s arguments.  All that was left to do would be the actual elimination of humanity.  

The Book of Revelation was therefore not allegory, or even prophecy.  It was instead a set of instructions given by God to His loyal servants (with the chief loyal servant being Makatiel) for ending the experiment, once and for all.  Makatiel focused on the description of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as being his particular instructions. Obviously, he was to be the First Horseman, Conquering the world (through his Word, which clearly meant killing everyone via disease).  Then Baal as the Second Horseman would go to War with the Rebel Host and destroy them. The Third Horseman would afterwards wreck the Earth through Famine, leading to Fourth Horseman Saminga’s destiny: bringing Death to all three planes. Those who survived — the worthy — would then be readmitted to the Higher Heavens, reunited at last with the Godhead.

The logical and theological errors in this theory are both many, and obvious.  But then, Habbalah are quite mad, and Habbalite Princes are even more so.

Many of Makatiel’s activities become more explicable in light of this delusion.  The Prince of Disease was of all things a tacit supporter of the Purity Crusade.  From his point of view, Uriel was merely pruning away allies who Heaven would need later, and they were all just the products of pagan foolishness anyway.  His enthusiastic engagement in the Legion Incident reflected Makatiel’s erroneous belief that the Tribulation had finally begun, requiring him (and, to a lesser extent, Baal and Saminga) to play the hero there.  The first millennium had Makatiel involved in every Christian heresy from Arianism to Sethianism, with a special emphasis on Gnosticism; the Prince believed that further instructions would come from some obscure prophet or sect.

Makatiel was exceptionally cautious in revealing his very long-term and seldom explicit plans.  This reticence did not, however, save him. Fairly reliable rumor suggests that he was first betrayed by the Princess of Freedom to Asmodeus; certainly, the antipathy of Makatiel for Lilith (and vice versa) was well-known.  After that point, the Prince of the Game merely needed a triggering incident.

That trigger was the Black Death.  The Prince of Disease had decided that this particular disease was best-suited for wiping out humanity, and was making preparations for it to appear simultaneously across the globe.  This brazen attempt at genocide (Dominic) and flagrant disregard for the Rules (Asmodeus) caused the two Superiors to temporarily pool resources in order to eliminate Makatiel — and, in fact, they did so reasonably easily.  Naturally, the thought “too easily” occurred to each, but over six hundred years have passed since the Prince of Disease’s death with no sign of him.

Personality and Outlook

As was usual for his Band, the Prince of Disease was a walking, barely-contained bundle of contradictions.  While Lucifer does generally pick the most stable Habbalah to be his Princes, Makatiel was particularly self-controlled.  On the outside. On the inside, the Prince was consumed with a perfect hatred and fear of humanity. Makatiel may even have been unique among Princes for believing that humanity could become powerful enough to become a threat to celestials.  He believed at first that his job was to keep humanity down until God decided whether the Seraphim Council’s coup was justified; at some point it became clear to him that the Almighty had given Makatiel the duty of destroying this flawed experiment.

His relationships with other Princes were directly affected by his paranoia towards humanity, to the point where it probably contributed to his eventual destruction.  Makatiel always considered his worst enemy in Hell to be Lilith, and apparently assumed that any setback or slight originated from her somehow. Ironically, it is sometimes argued that his ultimate downfall was due to the Prince’s refusal to contemplate that Asmodeus might react unfavorably to Makatiel’s scheme even without Lilith’s urging.

Priorities

While all Superiors have public and private agendas, none had as sharp a contrast as did Makatiel.  Publicly, the Prince of Disease was dedicated to a reasonably straightforward regime of keeping humanity sickly, weak, and backward.  Privately, the thought of eliminating humanity entirely grew steadily more seductive as time went on.

Princely Opinions

Makatiel had almost no real allies.  The Princely opinions below reflect Makatiel’s fall from favor and destruction.  Baal, Beleth and Belial were somewhat friendlier towards him while he was still alive, or at least more polite.  Belial in particular did not really comprehend how low of an opinion the Prince of Disease had of him until centuries after Makatiel’s death.  Interestingly, Lilith’s usual tendency to at least to accommodate other Princes completely broke down in Makatiel’s case. As noted above, the antipathy between the two was legendary.

Andrealphus: Makatiel was never as interesting as he thought he was, and not pretty at all. Plus, he smelled.  If he was around today, he’d be a problem. But he’s dead, I’m not and that’s just fine. (Princes should not play with poppets.  But his toys will have to last him an eternity.)

Asmodeus: Of the inadequate players we have seen, he was the best.  Princes should aspire for better than almost adequate, though. (I do not fear Asmodeus.  He concentrates on the board and the rules and never sees the pieces. And no one dares warn him otherwise.)

Baal: Makatiel thought that he was crucial to the War, but he wasn’t.  Include him in a campaign and you had to watch him every second, or he’d snuff out all your troops with the flux.  The idea is to kill off all your troops while winning the damned war, but he wouldn’t get that through his head. (Too soft for his Word, too soft for his tasks, and too impressed with his own reflection.  Fortunately, I only need him to look good on a horse.)

Beleth:  There was no need to make Disease a Princely Word.  Makatiel did nothing that a competent Servitor of mine could not and had not done instead.  His eventual dissolution was inevitable. (Beleth is a waste, thanks to her absurd sentimentality towards her old owner holding her back. Perhaps she will learn better, one day.)

Belial: I’ll give Asmodeus this: Makatiel burned well. (Belial is uncouth, stupid and unimaginative.  In this, he suits his useless Word like a glove.)

Haagenti: I was prepared to eat him, too, if that’s what it took to prove my point.  Didn’t have to, but I guess that Asmodeus did. (He is a crude whelp elevated far above his station who won’t last long.  A better replacement will not be hard to acquire.)

Kobal: The Antonine Plague: cost, 5 million Essence sacks.  The Plague of Justinian: cost, 25 million Essence sacks. The Black Death: cost, 75 million Essence sacks.  Scaring Asmodeus enough to make him run to Dominic for help: priceless. (Impudites seem incapable of giving up their toys.  At least this one isn’t as solicitous of his as the other Leechers are.)

Kronos: He served his purpose. (I wonder who he is, what he is, and Who he has spoken with.  And I wonder if he has any messages for me.)

Lilith: He hated me from the moment that he first saw me.  Hated, loathed, despised me. He looked at me, and saw just another human.  And now he’s dead. Funny how that worked out. (There is one trick that the human knows, and when it is revealed unto me, there will be no Need to keep the human around any further.  I look forward to that revelation.)

Malphas: Poor Makatiel. Sloppily made, crookedly grown, he never really had the chance to live up to his potential.  I had hopes for him; he understood, but in all the wrong ways.  A pity. (Malphas is one of the few Princes who I can respect.  His Word is useful and his company stimulating. But he is too mired in this game that the Rebels have forced upon us.)

Saminga: I miss him, but I was better than him. (Saminga is crude, but he comprehends God’s will better than anyone else in this place of exile.  We will flood the Earth in pestilence, and the piled corpses of the dead will be our Tower to Heaven. And this time there will be no confusion of tongues to stymie our crusade.)

Valefor:  Makatiel was a grade-A, 100%, certifiable lunatic.  The crazy came off of him in waves, and the only thing that I can’t figure out is why it took so long for everyone else to notice.  (I do not trust him. He is a spy. I simply have not yet worked out who he is a spy for.)

Archangelic Opinions

Blandine: He hated me the most, I think.  He was certainly always trying to interfere with the Marches.  It was if he took personal umbrage at the thought that someone might Dream.  It didn’t take long to wash away his stink, though. (An absurd excuse for a Rebel, infected worse than any other of that breed.  Beleth was right to spurn her. Would that Beleth had killed her, too.)

David: There is nothing more useless than a deservedly dead Prince, except to dwell on him.  (The last thing that this fool will ever see is the writhing corpse of the last Jewish physician, on the pyre next to his.  I will savor David’s despair even more than I will David’s screams.)

Dominic: I decline to discuss the circumstances of Makatiel’s death, except of course to note that the result was Just. (Hides behind his rules and robe; he is one of us, except that he’s too afraid of the Truth to embrace it.  God will always overrule you, craven.)

Eli: How could someone that smart be that stupid? Yeah, you can say that about all the Princes.  That’s sort of the point. They’re all going to end up like him, in the end. And there’s no reason for it.  (Meddler, and not as good at it as he thinks that he is. Eli will learn that God will not be mocked.)

Gabriel: Two have heard the Final Prophecy of Disease!  Be wary in choosing which lips to hear them from: one knows them, but does not understand; the other understands, but will not know them. (Of course a Rebel would go mad from hearing the Word of our Lord.  I find them hard to bear, and I am what Gabriel only pretends to be; a True vessel of God’s will. I will give her an easy death.)

Janus: He was crazy, even for a Habbalite Prince who wanted to kill everybody on Earth.  And that’s special crazy.  (Oh, yes, a spy he is; a spy!  Nobody wants to say a word about it, but I know, I do.  But for whom?)

Jean: I am given to understand that his opinion mirrored mine: we both considered the other to be a waste of potential.  The difference, of course, is that I was correct. (So close to knowing the will of our Lord, so far away from doing anything about it even if he did.)

Jordi: He did little to me, directly, but it would have only been a matter of time.  Other than that, Makatiel’s bones are dry, and the marrow sucked out of them. (His destruction will be an afterthought.)

Laurence: I personally disapprove of Dominic’s actions in the destruction of Makatiel, given that I had prior claim to decapitating the heretical son of a bitch.  No, I am not actually being profane at all. (He thinks that Christ’s Death and Resurrection actually vindicated Heaven’s Rebellion. Oh, the fool. The purblind, demented fool.  I will savor his casting out into the outer darkness, along with the rest of the goats.)

Marc: His death was overdue.  As it was, it took forever to undo the damage that he did. (I love civilizations, and trade routes, and sea travel. It makes it so much easier for me to kill humans in proper quantities.  Marc is my servant.)

Michael: Not one of their best, frankly.  Too caught up in his lies, too rigid in his thinking, couldn’t throw a punch worth a damn.  Baal never got much use out of him, either. He was just as likely to infect Hell’s human forces as he was ours.  The Hyena didn’t need the help to put Makatiel down. (A vulgar brawler with no real intellect. Michael is easy to outwit.)

Novalis: And that is why hatred and fear is not good for you.  You end up dead in a trap, and the worst part is that it’s a trap that you made and set yourself.  It could have been otherwise, and I wish that it had been. (She cannot stop me. I bask in her hatred, no matter how hard she tries to hide it behind a veil of smug hypocrisy.)

Yves: He failed his purpose. (Demiurge.  His death will be our vindication.)

Humans and Others

Humanity: Use them up.  They are born to die, and so numerous that you can slay and slay until your arms are leaden without draining the supply.  For now.

Soldiers of God:  I see no reason to single them out.  Some day, I will amuse myself in Heaven by slowly rendering each one of them down in front of their would-be champions.  I can wait.

Hellsworn: The look on their ashen faces when they see their true home is almost worth the bother they create while alive.  But only almost, and if my servants need a human for something then they can borrow one from another Prince.

Sorcerers: Like ticks, they batten off of the Symphony.  Unlike ticks, they usually burst from greed.

Ethereals: Kill the roots, and the plant dies.  The Rebels could have gotten some use out of these worthless parasites.

Children of the Grigori: They could be anywhere by now!  They must be burned out, wherever they might be found.

Variations on a Theme

The Contagious Prince

This version of Makatiel is constantly sick with half a dozen diseases at once.  His own Servitors are not as bad off, but are also always down with something.  Visiting him or his will almost always result in the visitor catching a disease.  Even Princes have been known to come away with something. The type of diseases usually involved will determine tone: a campaign where Makatiel is perpetually beset with psoriasis will be somewhat sillier than one where he is a carrier for smallpox.

The Leper

The outward change in this version is that Makatiel’s Habbalite deformities come in the form of leprous lesions. His body is slowly rotting away, while never quite getting there.  His Servitors’ vessels are likewise exceptionally prone to leprosy, requiring them to change them often. Interestingly, this version of the Prince may be quite Bright. If Makatiel sees his disease in more of a traditional medieval Christian fashion (as a Divinely-offered way to earn salvation via suffering), it would be easy to recast his going Renegade as part of a legitimate Redemption attempt.

The Ruins

Somewhere in the porous border between Tartarus and Perdition are the sprawling remnants of Makatiel’s Monastery.  Most of the aboveground structures have been worn down by centuries of neglect (assisted by the not-quite-occasional debris from Vapula’s Principality), but the outlines of a vast, two and three story stone edifice laid out in the shape of a cross can still be seen from the air.  What surface detail exists is almost random and never extensive; an arch here, a doorway and three rooms there, a gaping window with the remains of stained glass. In the center there still remains a statue that once represented the Prince of Disease, half-shattered by a crashing experimental saucer half a century ago and obviously never repaired.  The underground levels are extensive, but in no better condition. The entire complex was explored, looted, and reduced to disconnected rooms in a sea of rubble long ago. Even the rumors of hidden chambers and levels have been exhausted by now.

During Makatiel’s tenure his Principality was in much better repair, but never busy.  Makatiel kept up his Monastery mostly for appearances, his Servitors’ Hearts, his Tethers, and a place for his most precious secrets.  Few damned souls were kept here. Makatiel routinely traded the ones assigned to him to Saminga in exchange for Essence shipments, and the ones who he kept were invariably used up in experiments.

The Forbidden Shrine

Officially, this site does not exist — and there is a contingent of the Game who has been given the assignment to make certain that it continues not to exist — but if there is any memorial to Makatiel in Hell, it would be here.

The Shrine takes up what was Disease’s favored place for the Infernal loci of his Tethers.  It consists of an underground cobblestone room with inlaid, disturbingly abstract wall mosaics of what were once exceptionally high quality.  The passage of time has degraded them, but not as much as the passage of indifferent traffic. What pitiful few Tethers to Disease still exist link here, usually activated via particular stones in the mosaics.  While most have been claimed by other Princes, a few are deemed immobile, or simply not worth the trouble to move. At one end is a stone prie-dieu and table facing what may be the only non-ironic Christian mosaic permitted in Hell (although the particulars of the artwork would make any human believer blanch, or perhaps reach for a weapon).  

As noted above, the Game keeps an eye on the Shrine (traffic is quite low, which helps), but there is a quiet suggestion that someone is continuing to maintain the place.  It is a little too well-preserved for an abandoned room in an abandoned Principality. There always seems to be a candle or two available to light one’s way — in Hell, where resources are eternally absent.  The patterns formed from the wax from the candles are almost maddeningly suggestive to the Gamesters who must look over the site as part of their duties, but nothing concrete is ever revealed.

Servitors of Makatiel

Makatiel preferred quality over quantity. He preferred his Servitors to be well-trained and powerful, and showed some care (not much by angelic, or even human standards, but some) to keep them in that state.  He also had a habit of destroying any Servitor not completely devoted to the Word of Disease. Renegades were hunted down with a special and ultimately ironic zeal, with lavish rewards going to successful hunters.  It was also noted that the Prince rarely acquired demons from other Words. Said demons were never given positions of trust, and indeed inevitably seemed fated to be abused and eventually destroyed by Makatiel’s “real” Servitors.  

As a result of all of this, Makatiel had some of the most reliable servants in Hell.  Their major weakness was their low numbers. While this was not really a problem when the Prince of Disease was alive (his Servitors did not actually have to work to keep diseases ubiquitous in human culture), it proved a disaster when Asmodeus began purging their numbers.  Relatively few of them managed to find some protection with Saminga or, more rarely, Belial. Those that did discovered that they were expected to abandon their former subtleties and instead embrace the tactics of mass destruction. Many were not able to handle the switch.  

Today, there are a double handful of Word-bound (and a somewhat larger number of Servitors) of Death who still hold attunements from Disease.  The rest are dead, fled, or “assisting the Game with their enquiries.” Makatiel’s Orphans can be distinguished by their arrogance, their relative sophistication, and their general disdain for Saminga’s more conventional minions; they currently form a somewhat paranoid and vicious clique within Death’s organization.  If these Orphans have any purpose in life past keeping up a unified front, it has eluded multiple investigations by interested agents of the Game.  

The Fallen

Makatiel preferred to create or fledge his own Servitors.  The thought of outsiders interjecting themselves into his organization apparently disturbed him.  This, coupled with a certain paranoia towards the Host, kept him from accepting too many Fallen angels into his ranks, and the ones who the Prince did accept he rarely used effectively.  Most ended up being reassigned after relatively short periods of time: a few managed to survive and thrive in Disease’s organization, but none of those survived the purges.

Humans and Undead

Soldiers of Disease were both exceptionally rare, and exceptionally badly treated.  Makatiel avoided recruiting humans whenever possible; this only concerned Hell when it became clear that he was routinely having potential Hellsworn killed “to deny them to the Host”.  The Prince was eventually persuaded to provide whatever suitable recruits who he might discover to Saminga; while the Prince of Death tended to simply mummify them, this was still considered an improvement on matters.  In the aftermath of Makatiel’s death the Game made it a point to have all Soldiers of Disease first killed, then “reassigned.” There is some indication that a few of the damned souls actually still exist, deep in the Halls of Loyalty.

Interestingly, Makatiel showed few qualms in using Undead, and used the ones he had fairly extensively, if fairly harshly.  The single surviving Mummy of Disease is currently ensconced in a Tether to Death as a curiosity piece. This is not figurative language; the Mummy is encased in Lucite, to prevent spoilage.

Adventure Seeds (Introduction)

The Prince of Disease can obviously be inserted into any historical game set before 1348 AD.  Opposing his minions would be an interesting task for player characters. While his servants are not particularly skilled in regular combat, their abilities make them excellent assassins of mortals: their methods are indirect, subtle and quiet.  Makatiel himself can be justified as having any number of baroque long-term schemes handy, and his unique hatred of humans can justify him expending resources on activities that would be below another Superior’s dignity.

In a modern day campaign, the focus would be on his surviving Servitors.  Those demons who still hold his attunements will generally be involved in killing humans via disease (they invariably serve Death, after all); but enough of them retain the ability to think clearly to be a potentially nasty surprise to complaisant players.  There is also the potential for a more conspiratorial campaign. Makatiel’s Orphans may be, and some in fact probably are, eager to finish their lost Prince’s self-appointed task. Being somewhat protected by their new Word, they are also limited by it. Hell tolerates incompetent plots to exterminate the human race, not clever ones.  It takes some doing to work around that.

And, of course, for the ultimate in conspiracy theory campaigns: perhaps Makatiel is not actually dead!  After all, he was very intelligent, very paranoid, and under no illusion about how his plan would be seen by the weaklings on his own side, let alone Heaven’s.  It would take supremely high intelligence and paranoia to outwit both Dominic and Asmodeus, but the Prince would have had ample time to prepare.  

If he survived, Makatiel would certainly be still plotting to destroy humanity, and will have updated his plans to take into account the modern era.  Of course, as facing down even a Renegade Prince is simply beyond the abilities of any group of non-Superior player characters, it seems best to make the modern-day Makatiel a fragment of his former self; not quite a Remnant, but even an 18 Force Habbalite is someone who a party can aspire to defeat.


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4 Comments

  • Towering Barbarian says:

    So this is what happens when demons become Sparks? o_O

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Vapula, Habbalite Prince of Technology is so Spark-y that I created a fan-favorite assistant for him *named* “Sparky.” Sparky has both the most dangerous, and the safest job in Hell: his job is to keep Vapula from going down *too* many explosive, mutagenic, and unraveling rabbit holes. It’s a dangerous job because that means he’s at Ground Zero a lot; it’s a safe job because absolutely NOBODY else wants it. Sparky is a lot of fun to write.

  • Rockphed says:

    AIDS, Ebola, swine flu, the anti-vaccine movement; I think we are living in the so-called “ultimate conspiracy” scenario.

  • junior says:

    A survivor Makatiel doesn’t *have* to be a fragment of his former self. After all, the party doesn’t have to defeat him. The party merely has to survive long enough to let someone *else* know about him. This guy is someone who has a Kill On Sight order from pretty-much *everyone*. So long as the person they report to isn’t a secret member of the Contagion, hammers will be dropped when the party provides evidence that they found this guy. A nice GM might actually let his or her players drop one of those hammers.

    That’s after the players overcome the original person they reported this to, who was a powerful secret member of the Contagion, of course.

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