Sunday, February 28, 2010


The Infernal Lords are the most powerful fiends amongst those who live in Inferno (which means "damnation", and is a demiplane coexistent with Ajsalium). Depending on each one, they can be located in any of the five inner Circles, leaving unoccupied only the first and outermost Circle. These Lords were not always infernals, not at all; but rather, most of them were champions of good. But to further the interests of Hell during the Long War, Azeth the Overshadow, leader of the invading hordes, ordered later to be known as the eight Lords of Temptation, his lieutenants* and fiends of confidence, to tempt until total corruption twelve champions of good especially powerful, thus to totally unbalance the scales in favor of evil (but in return this caused the unexpected breakthrough in the fight of the dragons). From some of them there's not the slightest idea of what or who they were in their former lives, and from the rest there are only suspicions, rumors or speculations at best. Those listed and described below were the chosen ones, creatures that are now so dark and evil as bright and caring in their time, who live tortured because they remember their fall but know that there's no possibility of redemption; and today they project that torture and self-hatred against the world, which they yearn to break in its entirety. The power of the Infernal Lords is absolute respect of their subordinates, and only the Lords of Temptation, their creators (whom they love and hate alike) have the authority to give them orders; in fact, today the main task of Infernal Lords is to rule in Hell representing their too busy masters.

The infernal title of Abaddon is "Exterminating Angel", a title that gives a good account of the grim, violent and cruel mood of this terrible Lord. This abyssal fiend has established his dwelling in the Sixth Circle of Hell, a place usually avoided even by the rest of Infernal Lords (except Azrael, practically the only one so dark and gloomy as Abaddon, as to relate to him). Wherever he travels, Abaddon sows the most complete ruin, the total destruction, the irreversible desolation; he' a true destroyer in every sense, and therefore one of the best examples of what Hell is. A common way that he uses to wreak havoc in the world are the plagues, that he periodically breaks out, trying to capitalize on moments when mortals are weaker (for example, after a war or during a drought) to maximize the damage caused. It's no surprise then that he's the "Master of Locusts", which, according to some theories, are formed from souls dead at the hands of Abaddon, so every sighting of a simple lobster is considered a sign of bad omen. On what might have been Abaddon before being tempted and damned there's no notice; but so low you can only fall from the top, so if so he should have been a powerful celestial...

Azrael's name is rarely uttered by mortals, as he's the one that causes the deepest fear, and there is a superstition that states that just by saying his name his curse is invoked. To refer to him it's often used the title of "Angel of Darkness" or "Angel of Death", both very suitable to describe this Lord, who dwells in the Sixth Circle of Hell, with only Abaddon. As usual there's almost no information on him, though some visionaries say he was once a mere mortal, a human pure and innocent, but extremely lonely, who finally embraced the angel of destruction (Abaddon?) who offered him a new fate, his destiny. Today he's a being of pure evil, so pure that he's even free from the malice present in other Lords: Azrael meets his duties with a coolness that scares even many fiends. As an angel of death, and in his infinite zeal, before killing his victims he destroys their personality; with a patient and insidious work, which is taken as his duty and honor; first he eliminates the dreams and hopes, then destroys the mind driving it into the pit of despair (perhaps that's the origin of his title of "angel of darkness"); and only after all that does he take the life, that the victims arrived at that point surrender voluntarily, believing that death is preferable to the prosecution and non-life imposed by the relentless Azrael.

The origin of Belial, although with some gaps in his history, is fairly well located and identified: it seems that Belial was already living at the time the Vortex appeared and the Long War broke. Supposedly, according to some sources, he was a half-elf (the offspring of a human and an elf); but most sources claim that he was a king of Vidolgreen, so then he should be a full-blooded elf. Anyway, what everyone agrees is that his small kingdom near the eastern limits of Vidolgreen was an embarrassment to the elven race, as indulgence had reached a less than unseemly peek. It's logical, then, that this incorrigible epicure, very fond of the very young, fell into the temptations of Hell, thereby becoming the patron of sodomites. His character, over the millennia, has only further fall in his vices, and today he's the most rebellious, disobedient, vain, wicked and incorrigibly liar Lord; but also most beautiful. Maybe that's why he's called the "Prince of Fire", comparing his way of being with this element; and is also known that his mortal followers usually held orgies in his honor and attempted invocation in January, in midwinter, when the "fire" that Belial provides is most welcomed. Fond of visiting the world of mortals, his lair lies at the Second Circle of Inferno.

Truth to be told, Belphegor is one of the less known Infernal Lords, and probably also one of the less powerful (but this doesn't mean much at this level). Unlike other Lords he has no infernal race under his command, nor any of mortals either; yet actually there are more Belphegor worshipers than what might be supposed. And the relatively large number of followers comes from the fact that this Lord sponsors inventions, discoveries and wit. Of course these are typical of dwarves and humans, but nobody really thinks that there may be a relationship between these two races and Belphegor (except some elves and orcs perhaps). Yet, its sphere of influence assures enough allies among humans (almost in the manner of a Lord of Temptation), who are always anxious to advance their technology; and for this unpleasant coprophagous rites are run, either on statues with an open mouth and an obscenely phallic tongue that comes alive during the ceremonies, or on other statues of female appearance, in a vaginal variant of the same theme (in these rites there may also be involved demons sent by Belphegor, and occasionally even him, though rarely). In Hell he dwells among the sulfur deserts of the Fourth Circle, which explains the nickname of "Belphegor of the Sulfur Wells".

Dagon is one of the Infernal Lords that has thrived the most since his conversion to the dark cause, and although himself is not amongst the most powerful ones, he has huge armies under his command, of both infernals and mortals, so nobody in his right mind would directly oppose him. He's an infernal fish, a monstrous creature of enormous size and bloated appearance; his origin has been tried to track back to the members of some of the evil aquatic species from Ajsalium (koprus, kuo-toas and sahuagin), but he might as well have come from another plane of existence with intelligent aquatic life. At his arrival to the oceans of Ajsalium he killed, with the now lost "sword of Dagon", the decadent Wuquosa, ancient god creator of the above mentioned races (a three-headed deity, who discussed among themselves so much that he finally went mad), and usurped his place in the worship of his subjects, who appreciated having a new sane Lord, even if infinitely evil. Since then Dagon has moved to the Second Circle of Hell, the only one that in some places has access to the oceans (remember that in the First Circle live no Lords, because it doesn't entirely belong to Hell). From there he pursues his patronage over evil aquatic beings, using the aquatic imps as his servants and slaves, and other powerful oceanic fiends as ambassadors and carriers of his will.

This Infernal Lord is well-known throughout the continent of Rynath, but much less elsewhere in the world, except by those who have more dealings with the sunburned rynathians. The reason for this is that Eblis is the master of the flying imps (called "shedim" in the near forgotten tongue of ancient Rynath), strange infernal bird-like humanoids, except for the absence of wings. The sighting of these creatures is common in this continent, and many legends include them as the greatest danger that can be encountered in the already quite dangerous deserts; and Eblis, as his master, is considered the incarnation of evil and the enemy (but really he's only one of the many that exist). His appearance, of course, is that of a bird, with plumage so dark that no gloss on his feathers helps to distinguish the shape, which always seems just a black silhouette outlined against the background. He lives in the Fifth Circle of Hell, a very hot place partly due to its connection to the heart of the planet Ajsalium, and mainly a vacuum so that it gives him plenty of room to fly, because this Lord does not like to set foot on land never, not even to copulate with his many consorts, an act that is performed in flight; if the results of these matings are the shedim, another unknown race, or whether they produce no offspring, is something that no one knows or will ever know.

This is one of the three Infernal Ladies, and the only one that's really beautiful, although her dark way. She's certainly a fascinating infernal, helping to make her even more dangerous, because she has no moral or scruples, of course. Thanks to her charms and manipulative mood she has achieved a high position in the parody of infernal hierarchy, something that no one disputes. Habondia is also the mistress of couril, small infernals that look like a macabre underworld version fairies, who usually live among mortals, pestering until they are driven beyond the borders of despair. Another use this clever Lady gives couril is that of spying, something for which they are well gifted; and the vast amount of information she collects serves for her political intrigues. Habondia loves these little malicious creatures and lovingly caress them; although she's able to smash with one hand a paladin or celestial while with the other she tickles her subjects. These usually call her the "Queen of Fairies", a title known by mortals that and makes them wary of all the fairies, although the sylvan creatures (elves included) know that most of these are beings of great kindness, and that couril are nothing but an aberration. In Hell Habondia dwells in the Third Circle, where, for some reason, is where the three Infernal Ladies are concentrated (perhaps because of its morphology similar to a negative version of the Ajsalium fields).

This Infernal Lord looks like a normal human, although endowed with a grave and melancholic appearance, with a long and well kept gray beard, and eyes of intelligent expression that seem to pierce the heart of those who are looked; his taciturn face also seems absent, as if Leonardo always were immersed in his own thoughts, much deeper and important than anything that can happen around him. Despite his human form, scholars generally agree that he is no man from Ajsalium, but must come from some alien reality, perhaps an alternative material plane. Anyway, Leonardo enjoys a high place in the hierarchy, something which is mainly due to two reasons. The first, that being the most serious and intelligent of the Infernal Lords he's the most trusted by the Lords of Temptation, who often use him as a messenger and spokesman to the rest of Lords. Furthermore, regarding the mortals, Leonardo is one of the most often associated with these, as he has the role of chairing the black masses and cults of greater importance throughout the world; hence he's a key part in the interaction between humans and infernals at the highest level. In Inferno, his abode settles in an almost unreachable rocky perch from the Fourth Circle, submerged in a cloud of sulfur.

Another of the Infernal Ladies, of Mania there's no doubt about her origin and previous life: she's a nymph who was tempted to exploit her vanity, self-indulgence and narcissism, until once corrupted she was damned and turned into a horrible monster. Previously fatally beautiful (because she went to the point of enjoy killing mortals appearing naked in front of them), she now has a cadaverous thin body, with a skin so thin and transparent that she almost seems to be flayed. To hide her terrible appearance she has grown her hair to cover herself with it, and is therefore sometimes called "Mother of the Manes"; but as a part of her curse her hair has gotten a life of its own, and it withdraws to reveal her true aspect whenever she meets someone. As you might imagine, seeing her naked remains fatal, but now because of her infinite ugliness. She can be found in the depths of a twisted and black forest of the Third Circle of Hell, where she's surrounded by a legion of undead, the only ones who cannot be affected by her ugliness (can't even perceive it), and over time this has made her a "Queen of the Dead", a title she sometimes uses. To satisfy her sexual needs she continually calls to her presence incubus and succubus, but needless to say that only the most heinous of these are willing to copulate with her, which fills her with disgust and more resentment and hatred.

The third Infernal Lady, which as noted above lives in the Third Circle of Hell, is not as horrible as Mania, but she's certainly closer to this than to Habondia. Nocticula is the infernal matron of witches, so it is suspected that in her time she must have been a powerful sorceress, though her race or natal plane is unknown, as she didn't even need to be a mortal from Ajsalium. Her appearance is similar to that of witches, that of a crooked and hunched crone, with long but thin and dirty hair, and skin as rough as wrinkled, full of pimples and warts. Although her vision doesn't cause real harm it's sufficiently disgusting so most of the world (and this includes the infernals) ignore her; something that she actually prefers, because she's very lonely and prefers to live surrounded by the nauseating ingredients used to make new potions, the recipe of which she will then offer to mortal witches. With these she usually communicates through dreams, which explains why witches often get up in the middle of the night and start to work at these ungodly hours. But the fumes that are generated by manufacturing their potions are poisonous, and eventually end up transmuting any witch in a being so deformed as Nocticula; of course, to counter that they also make potions that allow them to change shape, adopting that of beautiful maids.

This is the Infernal Lord most beautiful and attractive, although his appearance is far from resembling that of humans or any other humanoid race (and therefore his origin is completely unknown). Samael is a giant red serpent, with twelve wings of beautiful white feathers with multicolored iridescence, and that in his flight leaves a dark trail behind. Despite his bizarre appearance seeing him is certainly a beautiful show, something that of course he knows well, since he's a great sexual tempter. Moreover, his non-affiliation to any known race favors that all can relate to him alike. Samael is an incubus, and a very good and famous one as well, eclipsed only by Bitru, the Lady of Temptation who gave him the infernal immortality. He's, of course, frequent partner and ally of wayward Belial; although he doesn't live in his Circle but in the Fifth, more fit and pleasing for flying infernals like him, and where winds continuously carry moans of pleasure from one end to the other. Naturally, all those infernals of connotations and overtly sexual behavior are his soldiers, dedicated to extending sin amongst mortals, being their favorite victims innocent and ignorant girls, who accept their suggestions in ignorance of what is sin.

Uphir is the twelfth and last of the twelve former champions of good thatwere tempted until they succumbed and became the Infernal Lords who govern and control much of Inferno and which have been the penetration wedge of this in Ajsalium. Uphir is a great expert in chemistry, and so it's the alchemists who know him best and the most likely to become his servitors; cabalistic symbols and rituals soon turn into darkness and the invocation of evil, however much his original intentions might be pure. Uphir was pure at one time too, and he was perhaps the Lord that better remembered his previous life, what caused him deep and unbearable pain; and to avoid it he put all his alchemical arts in making a potion that would allow him to forget the past; the result was the resin distilled from nepenthe, which has become popular among mortals. Today Uphir doesn't remember his previous life, or even which of the Lords of the Temptation is his infernal "father"; he only recalls the struggle for dominance of Ajsalium. He divides his time between the Second Circle of Hell, where his real home and laboratory is, and the Fourth, where apart from sulfur many other chemical and magical elements can also be found, that are useful for his experiments; and he's one of the few that go to visit Nocticula in the Third Circle, too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Last week I discovered the existence of a new tabletop rpg based on the videogame Dragon Age: Origins. Actually I haven't played said videogame; my computer is too old to run it and anyway I don't play videogames anymore. Yet I remember watching the trailer and it was bloody fantastic. The background seemed dark and sinister, so similar to my own world of Ajsalium. Furthermore, the tabletop rpg publicly uses a new super simple game system. What more could I ask for?
So, thanks to the electronic formats I already owned it the next day. And I started to read as soon as I got it. Once done, I am now writing this review.

The product:
The game is actually "Dragon Age RPG set 1". It's the first of four sets; each one will cover 5 levels for the classes of PCs. This being the first set it covers levels from 1 to 5, logically. The set includes two lithe books: a Player's Guide (weighing 66 pages) and a Game Master's Guide (other 66 pages). The "real" set (i.e., not the electronic format) also includes a poster with the map of Ferelden (the nation in which the game predominantly takes place), and three six-sided dice.

Extremely simple. Everything is resolved the same way: with an ability test, that is done rolling three six-sided dice, totalling them up, and adding the appropriate modifiers of the related ability plus any focuses (specializations) applicable. With that you must reach a certain target number. In an opposed test, the target number is the result of the other guy's test. Combat is too an ability test, with the target number being the opponent's defense rating. Spells are cast spending mana points and making an ability (magic) test.
One of the dice must be of a different colour, and that's called the "dragon die". It's important when some doubles are rolled; whenever that happens the player gets points to perform various stunts (special combat tactics or magical effects). The number of points gained is the result of the dragon die.
And that's most of it.

Coherent system. Everything (including combat) is resolved the same way, by throwing 3d6. Also, the more is always the better, both in the dice roll results and in characteristics.
Tactical variations with stunts. The stunt points that players get when they get doubles (or triples) in the 3d6 roll both for combat and magic allow them to use different tactical maneuvers that add spice to the game.
Simplicity. If you have read this post so far, then you already know how to play Dragon Age RPG. And that's just perfect, both for total novices to the world of tabletop rpgs and for veterans tired of learning complex rules.

Limited. This first set, as it complies only the first five levels, is quite limited (for example, there are only 13 spells). Also, there are just three classes to choose from. Subsequent sets may correct this, though.
Railroaded. As a consequence of the preceding feature, character creation seems to be very railroaded. There will be little differences in game terms, and thus it's the roleplaying part that demands extra emphasis. Not that I complain, given that my own Ajsalium RPG would have pre-generated classes to copy and paste.

So my verdict is: worth giving it a try. I want to run the introductory adventure that comes in the Game Master's Guide, and have a real feel of the game. I don't expect to fully adopt it, but I am seriously thinking of "distilling" it to convert it into my generic ruleset. After all, there are already some nice similarities. For example, we are talking of very simple systems. Also, if you look at the main abilities from Dragon Age, you'll see they are mostly the same than the ones from my own Arcade Ruleset. I'll decide on this later, and I'll keep you informed.

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, here is a trailer of the videogame:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


You may be wondering what the hell is going on. I posted on the very New Year day, even changed the looks of the blog to a far more professional layout, but since then... nothing... nil...

The main reason for this prolonged silence is that I suffered a malware infestation on my PC. A computer that has not been working properly ever, as the HD has some hardware problem. And the graphics chip. And the motherboard. So I've had to finally buy a new one.
And this has been just one more problem on top of some other more serious real life issues, at job mainly, that have drained pretty much all my energy and enthusiasm. I just didn't feel like continuing with the blog.

But I don't have that malware now, and other things seem to be going more or less OK, so I'm coming back to the blog and regular updates. I'll try to be more regular and have a weekly update posted in the weekend. I may diversify themes a little bit, too, adding more posts about minis and some game reviews. So if you stay tuned this weekend things will go back to normal, as if it had been no hiatus.