Maurice, Calabite Demon Prince of Heresy
The world is … flawed, at best. But, if you look at it the right way, you’ll see that it’s really just a bunch of tiny pieces put together … and if you take them apart and move them around a little…
Well, it’s just neat.
There’s too much unity in Heaven these days. What with all those old enemies coming together to kick Hell’s collective asses, not to mention those ungrateful former Princes glorying in betrayal of their old allies, Lucifer needs as many entities dedicated to division as he can find. Maurice was the closest tool to hand: he and Jezebel are supposed to replace the lost Malphas.
If only it wasn’t becoming clear that Maurice seems determined to replace the missing Kobal as well…
Leaving things alone. Servitors of Heresy suffer dissonance whenever they let a day go by without creating or promulgating a heretical viewpoint. Oddly enough, Maurice lets them bank up their heresies: a Servitor that specifically creates more than one heresy per day may skip the next one safely. Up to three days’ grace period may be accumulated at any given time. However, most demons of Heresy rarely bother to ever use up their free days…
Guess. The only thing that any two Servitors of Heresy agree upon is that Maurice runs things (although a daring few will occasionally challenge even that, albeit not for very long). This is one of the few places in Hell where interpersonal relationships are formally recognized as being more important than any stuffy hierarchy. Servitors of Heresy group themselves (or are grouped) by a particular task or duty. It seems sometimes that demons with Distinctions are only there so that an outsider has someone familiar to whom they can pass on information and/or yell at…
Balseraphs of Heresy add their Ethereal Forces to any attempt to resonate someone into believing a particular heretical belief or theory.
Djinn of Heresy automatically attune to deliberate heretics (CD of 1). They can also break this attunement automatically. The Djinn may attempt to attune normally, but then they most roll normally to break said attunement.
A Calabite of Heresy may use their resonance to inflict Mind Hits (instead of Body Hits) upon a living target. All Calabim of Heresy start with the Surreal Discord.
Punishers of Heresy – well, that’s their duty. They recognize people who have consciously chosen to espouse heretical beliefs on sight, and get a +2 to any attempt to enflame a hatred of a known heretic. Maurice is careful to not make fun of his Habbalah – for all he knows, they’re right…
Maurice keeps his exact number of Lilim a secret (and is oddly reluctant to admit that he actually has any, to the point of looking over his shoulder first whenever responding to the question). His Tempters have the ability to duplicate the resonance, dissonance restrictions and celestial appearance of one other major Band of demons (chosen at character creation).
Shedim of Heresy are considered to be not quite right in the head by their Band-mates: their need to corrupt their hosts is handled quite easily by merely requiring the host to espouse heretical beliefs.
An Impudite who has successfully Charmed a human may convince them that any heretical belief is actually correct for (CD of the Charm roll) hours.
It Seemed a Good Idea at the Time
The demon adds his Ethereal Forces to all Fast-Talk, Lying and Emote rolls.
This Attunement allows the demon to encourage a human to spout off on a particular heretical belief (the sillier / more fringe, the better): the target must actually hold said belief. The human must make a Will Roll or immediately start bringing up any variant beliefs that they might have for (Will Roll CD) minutes.
The demon gains +(Ethereal Forces/2 (round up)) to reaction rolls. In order to maintain this bonus, the demon must present an entertaining and different heretical belief once per day.
Knight of Cranks
If the demon has not already earned It Seemed a Good Idea at the Time, he or she will be granted it now: in addition, the Knight may (once per day) convince any human with a Will of 1 to 2 of the essential truth of any heresy. This belief will persist until someone else manages to talk the human down.
Captain of Conspiracy Theories
Captains can, with a Perception roll, determine what heresy a particular target will find most appealing and/or seductive.
Baron of Heresy
The number of these is also kept quiet, mostly because every Word-bound on both sides hates them with a passion. Barons of Heresy may, by spending 9 Essence, temporarily Word-shift any Word-bound that they face for one day. This will force the target to make a Will roll at -3 whenever he, she or it wishes to use their old abilities, special Attunements or Rites. The new Word must be related to the old, and subject to GM whim.
Allied: Jezebel, Leviathan
Associated: Furfur, Nybbas
Neutral: Andrealphus, Baal, Beleth, Kronos, Lilith, Vapula
Hostile: Alaemon, Asmodeus, Mammon, Valefor
Alaemon: “A poor substitute for either Kobal or Malphas: trying to be both at once is even more futile. His habit of trumpeting secrets far and wide merely shows his idiocy.” “Boring – and not a little cowardly. What’s the point of having an opposing opinion if you don’t dare inflict it upon the world?”
Andrealphus: “A little … tame … for my purposes, and not in a good way. I mostly ignore him and his, unless his activities impinge on my Word.” “Let’s just say that I have my reasons for not going there, and leave it at that. His work is useful for Hell in general: just not me in particular.”
Asmodeus: “Someday, Lucifer will stop laughing at him. When that day occurs, he is mine.” “Ah. I have to admire chutzpah: Asmodeus spent the last twenty thousand years directly working with the Enemy, and he has the nerve to accuse me of treasonous behavior? I’ll never forget the time he accused me of heretical beliefs: I yawned in his face. Apparently, he’s not used to that. Such a pity.”
Baal: “Obnoxious, but his work takes some of the pressure off of the front lines. Unless he goes completely insane, Maurice remains tolerable. But he had better not infect the troops…” “Baal is such an interesting character study: he’s halfway there to serving my Word as it is. Until he’s ready to admit it, I plan to let him alone.”
Beleth: “I suppose that Heresy is a useful enough Word to have, although only because of the current situation. Besides, I know what he fears. Maurice is almost as bad as Nybbas is in that regard.” “I know what she fears, too, and if Hell – and Lucifer – didn’t need Beleth, I’d tell her. I still might, provided that I could do so at a distance: the scream of anguish and rage as she realized just how badly she was duped would be hysterical. Maybe if it looks like we’re about to lose this stupid War anyway…”
Furfur: “We’re the wave of the (bleeping) future. It’s about (bleeping) time that proper Calabim got their due, and Maurice doesn’t try to put on any (bleeping) airs or anything.” “Well … everybody knows someone who they hang out with for inexplicable reasons, right? That’s Furfur – and me, I suppose. He’s got the muscle and I’ve got subtlety. Besides, he’s a Band-mate, you know?”
Jezebel: “Our Words are intertwined. We, however, will not be.” “Clever, opinionated and willing to experiment: the New Calabim have to stick together. We’ll work out any differences after the situation stabilizes.”
Kronos: “Disrespectful to power structures in general, but careful to never offend me. As long as Maurice proves useful, he will be allowed to stay a tool. And if the tool breaks, well, that is the Fate of tools.” “As I see it, either we have to have both him and Yves, or neither. At the moment, there isn’t a chance in Hell to take Yves out, so we’re stuck with the bugger for now. Just smile and nod, smile and nod, and keep in mind that he’s necessary for balance. However, should Yves go away, well, that just changes his utility, now doesn’t it?”
Leviathan: “No need to debate which way the boat’s going until after we secure the wheel from the fools currently steering. Don’t the rest realize yet that the recent appointments are Lucifer’s way of telling them that a change is order?” “I can get into his head – it might not be fun, but I can get there. Leviathan’s ambitions and mine are in different areas, so it’s no skin of my nose if I give a hand. We’ll worry about the rest later.”
Lilith: “You would think that a Prince would have sufficient self-confidence to be alone with me for more than five minutes at a time. However, his paranoia has led him to produce a very useful trick for my Daughters, so I don’t press the issue.” “None of your business. Useful Word, useful Servitors – and we will just leave it at that.”
Mammon: “Maurice shows no respect – and he’s trivial anyway. I can’t see why Lucifer made him a Prince at all.” “I might be more polite to him if I wasn’t pretty sure that he’s going to be the next Prince to valiantly fall in the service of Hell. From what I’ve heard, Marc is going to rip him into tiny bits. (Shrug) And I should care why?”
Nybbas: “He can give good product – and, better yet, he gives lots of it. Who cares if most of it’s crap?” “We’ve got a good business relationship going – I produce product and he makes sure that it’s packaged nicely. Besides, I know that he agrees with me about what Hell’s priorities should be. We’ve just got to get the rest into line…”
Valefor: “He’s an obnoxious, rude, gratingly arrogant son of a bitch. Do you know that he actually called me Janus to my face? We started off disliking each other right from the start, and it’s hardly improved since then.” “Valefor? I don’t care what Jezebel thinks, but he isn’t really with it. Maybe if he was getting his start now… but he didn’t, and he’s too hung up in playing cops and robbers with his supposed ‘nemesis’ to see any other way of doing business. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he really was Janus…”
Vapula: “I see a trend. For a Calabite, he’s not completely intolerable. For a Calabite.” “Vapula? He’s got the right spin on things – the universe is what you make of it, and screw anybody who tries to tell you that something can’t be done – but Habbalah have… issues. I don’t trust him with anything that I might need later.”
: Convince someone else to express his or her heretical beliefs
: Cause a minor riot over a heresy
Chance for Invocation: 5 (Maurice likes the corporeal plane)
+1 A banned book
+2 Someone espousing a heresy
+3 Someone espousing a heresy in an amusing way
+4 A minor riot (less than 100 people) started over a heresy
+5 A major riot (more than 200 people) started over a heresy
+6 The moment of a major religious, social or political schism
Role in the War
Spreading of dissension: it doesn’t matter what the dissension is, as long as it weakens Heaven. Unlike Malphas, Maurice isn’t into conflict for its own sake: in fact, he doesn’t even care if said dissension ends up with two or more people not talking to each other, just as long as they can’t do anything effectively. Ideology be damned: what’s important is that the pressure gets taken off Hell.
As a result of this, Servitors of Heresy are usually not on the front lines, as they’re at their best behind them. They serve as combination rabble-rousers, revolutionaries and saboteurs, trying to keep the pot boiling long enough to blunt Heaven’s attacks. They are also expected to not stay too long in any one place: once they’ve upset a particular apple-cart, it’s time to move on and upset another one, not sit around and bask in the knowledge of a job evilly done. There’ll be plenty of time to do that once the War is declared a draw.
Views on the War
Maurice’s view of the War is about what you’d expect from a Prince of Heresy. Essentially, he thinks that it should just – end.
After all, what good is it doing? Heaven does this, Hell does that in response, a lot of celestials get themselves killed and nothing ever gets resolved. Frankly, Maurice doesn’t think that either side is going to ever get to win, so why not agree to disagree and work out a time-share program instead? Hell gets to play with everybody Fated, Heaven can have their precious human paragons of virtue, and Earth can be turned into the tourist spot that it was always meant to be.
You see, Maurice doesn’t care whether the Rebellion was justified or not. He wasn’t there for it, he’s heard one too many lectures on the subject and everybody who attended that shindig comes across as seriously disturbed, anyway. If a bunch of angels want to delude themselves about the worthiness of talking monkeys, well, everyone needs a hobby. Hell, maybe they’re right: Maurice doesn’t really think so, but he’s always willing to listen to an entertaining line of B. S. You never know.
Of course, this particular opinion grates across the souls of every Superior on both sides that remembers the Fall: it’s one thing to be told that you’re wrong, but it’s quite another when someone is so patronizing about it. The only reason why Maurice is still alive and has all his Forces is because he apparently amuses the Hell out of Lucifer. Like Kobal, the Prince of Heresy is fearless when it comes to telling the First Balseraph what’s on his mind, and unlike Kobal, Maurice isn’t jaded about it all yet.
Besides, Maurice is only saying aloud what more than one newer demon (and Prince) is thinking, deep in their Hearts. The resolution of the War is simply less of an all-consuming issue among the younger generation: yes, of course, defeat Heaven and prove that Hell was right all along, but – well, do we have to do it right now? I mean, it took forever to get those concert tickets, and they’ll certainly cancel it for Armageddon. Plus, the conquest and subjugation of the Host is simply going to play merry Hell with everyone’s scheduling. Possibly we could do it next year, during the slow season?
Princes like to ignore mutterings from their Servitors (because they can), but they aren’t idiots. This is no time to alienate a large swath of Hell. So, as long as Maurice is useful enough, in his way, they won’t carve off steaks from his hide quite just yet.
Even if panicked Gamesters have to occasionally hold down a frustrated Asmodeus on days when Maurice is being particularly Heretical…
Personality and History
Maurice started out as a Servitor of Dark Humor, and he loved his work. Kobal may have been a bit jaded, but a look at the archives could show that the Prince had nothing to prove when it came to his Word. By the time that the changes occurred in Heaven, Maurice had risen to the rank of Baron, and was a serious contender for the word of Spurious Logic (or the creation of absurd postulates based on bad data).
When Kobal disappeared, the Servitors of Dark Humor found themselves quickly scattered (and, usually, suffering from acute cases of payback). Maurice managed to maintain fairly well, mostly because he wasn’t in the habit of having live enemies in the first place, until Lucifer tapped him to take the Word of Heresy. Why he got that Word is only known to Lucifer and Maurice, but it’s suspected that some kind of deal was made. Of course, it may have just been sheer pragmatism: if your problems are mostly because the other side is too unified, then it’s a good idea to attack that unity.
Maurice is … well, Princes reflect their Words. The Prince of Heresy seems to take unpopular positions simply because they’re there, and abandon them the second that they seem to become respectable. Couple that with a fairly inappropriate sense of humor, and one can be forgiven for wondering why the older Princes tolerate him. It’s simple: they’re too busy trying to stabilize the front lines to do anything else. Unfortunately (from their point of view), once the situation is stabilized, the Prince of Heresy will probably be too strong to dislodge. They might be able to do it if they find Kobal … which is why Asmodeus has found himself in the impossibly surreal situation of trying to find and restore the Prince of Dark Humor.
As a Calabite of Heresy, Maurice has the Surreal Discord at an amazingly high level. His mere presence on the corporeal plane can do odd things to reality in his near vicinity. This pleases him, and his Servitors – and annoys Heaven to no end, especially when he goes to certain places simply to mess with the talking monkeys’ heads. Every little bit helps.
Maurice is definitely a Demon Prince, no matter how little he cares about winning the War. He is not sadistic, per se, but he has very strong opinions about the metaphorical food chain, and has no desire to lose his privileged position on it. For a Calabite, he’s not very violent, and is amazingly willing to permit dissenting opinions among his Servitors … just as long as they always remember that Maurice is the Final Authority.
There are limits, after all.
Principality: The Bastion of Heresy
Maurice has set up his Cathedral (the choice of name was deliberate) smack dab in the middle of Shal-Mari. The area had been pretty much cleared out already, anyway, thanks to that amusing little civil disturbance.
The Bastion isn’t too odd, although it switches outward appearance according to its Prince’s whims. The inside is fairly freeform (Maurice just set up shop, after all), except for the top floor. There, the Prince of Heresy holds a fairly subdued court among possibly the strangest art gallery in existence.
Maurice himself created all of the works of art: the artwork is of varying quality, but there’s a good deal of it. The Prince of Heresy has a taste for representational art (mostly paintings and sculpture). He seems to enjoy creating odd (and insanely dangerous, politically speaking) variants of existing subjects: to give you an idea, the first thing that a visitor sees is a sculpture in bronze of Haagenti as he emerged from the Light of Heaven. Other works include a praying Bright Lilim with Khalid’s features, a stone sculpture of a smoothed-face Vapula, and a painting showing Hatiphas burning what appears to be a Sorcerer. His current project takes up the entire back wall of his audience hall: it appears to be a half-finished mosaic of a smiling Lucifer holding up the severed head of Michael. Maurice greets visitors from the simple chair beneath this work, flanked on the left side by a sculpture of a grim-faced Novalis with black wings and on the right by a tapestry of a weeping, white-winged Kobal.
Servitors of the older Princes dread having to go to an audience with the Prince of Heresy – and no one ever voluntarily sends a Word-bound into his presence. There’s always the possibility that he’ll send them back different…