View Full Version : You are a Demon

2017-10-19, 07:17 PM
OK, I need suggestions about how you would go about accomplishing some goals if you were a high-ranking demon.

Some background: you are the servant of a peculiar breed of demons, the Pre-Daters. The Twelve Pre-Daters were there before the dawn of time, before the world even began. They floated in nothingness, beings of a time before time.

Then the First Gods decided to create the world, and nothingness was no more. And the Demons saw this, and did not like it.

They sought to return the world to nothingness, but through a coalition of the good and evil gods they were banished once more, in what is now known as The War of Twilight Last.

A very stupid human did something to one of the seals, recently, that allowed the First Demon, the being oldest in all universe, to slip one of his henchmen through.

It is a peculiar shapeshifter demon - he can kill and wear the skins of men, and gain their appearance, in a manner undetectable through normal magic. Accessing their memories can be done, though it takes time and effort (days), but it cannot emulate abilities, for instance. It is, however, a natural spellcaster - let's say, a bunch of spells up to third level thematically appropriate for a demon.

It has two goals: 1) Stealing one of the lynchpins of the seal keeping his master sealed, a sword in possession of a Paladin PC, and 2), gaining a position of power insidie the Old Capital, in which the heroes dwell, so that he can access the ruins under the old palace, now ruined.

The Capital, unfortunately, has been under control of the Devils for quite some time, and they like it just so. The government is openly diabolist, and it doesn't take kindly to Demons in its midst.

You appear ten miles away from the Capital. You can take the skin of anyone you can kill, and you are confident you can kill just about any human, but five or six experienced men COULD overpower you, if they discovered you. It takes you ten minutes to "skin" a man. Afterwards, the skin can be worn and removed as required, it never decays - you must needs, though, store it somewhere, since you obviously can't be seen running around with a skin in hand.

You know that the Hero that has the sword you seek has organized a resistance to the Diabolists, seeking to overthrow the government. You do not know where is his base of operation.

You do not know much about the government of the city, just that you need to be in a position of high power to get to the palace, as it has been sealed up when it ruined with powerful magic, and only by order of the twelve noble families ruling the city it can be reopened.

You appear, naked, with only your long claws and natural resilience, in a summoning circle ten miles North of the city. You hear the soft noise of a cart approaching. It has two farmers on it, who calmly discuss how they're gonna sell their crop in the Old Capital.

How would you go about this?

From your answers, I'll gain insight into making a quest for the PCs: find the skinchanger, and end it - before it ends you.

I can give more info, if needed. Any ideas are welcome!

2017-10-20, 01:09 AM
Take the skin of a young callous upcoming hero, pretend to be good.
Join the paladins group, become a trusted member. Do hundreds of good deeds to gain his trust, this might take years.
As the paladin saves the city/kingdom/princess, you will be right there besides him, and you will reap rewards as his equal. But wait, you do not wish for material wealth, you wish only to serve the people. Your reward shall be a position of power inside the Old Capital.
Only when you have achieved this goal will you go after the paladins sword, this should be the easy part since he trusts you. Proceed to stab him while he sleeps, or send him on a suicidal quest.

2017-10-20, 01:31 AM
I'm guessing this natural spellcasting includes at least some amount of illusion magic. In that case, given that there's no convenient cultists around to grill for information, I'd probably disguise myself as some monster OTHER than myself, subdue the farmers, interrogate them, and then using their knowledge, find a way to kill them in such a way that if their remains were discovered, it'd point at something other than what had happened.

If possible, I'd also take at least one of the farmers' skins.

Wearing the farmer's skin, depending upon how far it was from the next town, I'd get the farmer's memories while traveling there, then while disguised as them look to gather more information. I'd also look to liquidate the farmes' crops and any other fungible assets they might have had on them. While preferably avoiding most people who might have known them.

After determining what all I could know, and since I don't have any particular time table I would devote a good amount of time to gathering information, along with looking for plenty of opportunities to get multiple safe houses and places to secret things like spare skins as well as gain information, resources, allies/dupes/catspaws, and new identities ascending up the social ladder and also seeing what kind of connections and influence I could get in the underworld.

An ideal identity to steal would be to find a priest who either was going on a religious retreat or who would have a decent pretense on going off on one. Since I could kill them, take their skin, and then devote many days to learning all of their knowledge.

As much as I could juggle it, I'd have at least one identity in the criminal underworld, one identity in the realm of finance/merchants, one identity with access to nobles if not a noble that is sufficiently eccentric that disappearing and reappearing wouldn't be notable, and one identity climbing up the ranks of the clergy.

Since I'm learning mens' secrets as part of taking their identity, I'm learning a lot of information, potentially valuable information, so over time I would take on a role of a shadow broker as a way to leverage that into gaining more resources and more information.

Depending upon how quickly I was able to get identities, especially of people where their absence would eventually be noticed if I discarded those identities or didn't appear as them for a long time, I'd likely lay some false trails to attract various adventurers to deal with things that are threats which are not demons, but would be of interest to a paladin or a paladin's associates and be able to find out if any such individuals accepted the quest.

Connected to all of this, eventually, would be a nice little dungeon I'd have set up that I would know how to easily get through, with several pass keys and triggers reliant upon my own native spellcasting so I could fast track through it, but no mortal would just be able to guess and cast all of those spells themselves. It'd be a death trap, and there'd be false trails connecting disappearances as well as a few manufactured monster attacks and the like and fake stories thereof that would lead adventurers to this death trap. If I was able to gain influence over lowly monsters, I'd also get some of them living there too.

From that I'd at the very least get a few adventurers' identities to use as well as eventually either getting the paladin or someone connected to him having shown up so I could steal their memories to find out more about the Paladin.

It's entirely possible that it would be to my benefit to help the Paladin's resistance along, since in the confusion of the paladin's forces taking power, the seal could easily get broken in the confusion and I do my business there with no one being the wiser. Heck, I could also get an opportunity to be alone with the Paladin and kill and replace him as the new king of this place and have the sword and the palace be rightfully mine in the eyes of everyone after the glorious revolution's success.

mig el pig
2017-10-20, 04:26 AM
1) Try to join the city guard

-> keeping your eyes open for someone who might know something about the resistance. Either use my powers to assist the resistance (releasing a prisoner or allowing one to escape) so they want to get in touch with me or, if necessary, replacing one of their own.
-> Learn more about the security surrounding the old Palace.
-> create a believable lie why you would want to betray the government ( a personal slight, vengeance for a family member who dissapeared, ...)

2) Start spreading rumors, fabricating proof that their is something that the Devils/Diabolical Government might fear in the old Palace. A threat which could destroy them so they want to keep it locked away. This shouldn't be so hard to believe since the Government has made the old Palace off limits for everyone.

-> It should be the PC's own idea to try and break into the old Palace, if by then you've managed to get in their good graces and you're part of the Old Palace security you would be a logical ally to get in touch with.
-> Join the party and betray them at an oppertune moment once inside the Old Palace.

2017-10-20, 05:21 AM
Is there a clock/deadline for the seal opening?
If not, I'd play the long game. Set up a primary identity and take my time rising into a safe position either in the palace or with the rebels (or both). Build a network of agents contacted by various secondary identities. Have emergency "backup" skin stashes.

From an adventure point of view, it would be much more interesting if there was a race against the clock (e.g. some cosmic alignment in a few weeks/months, the birth of the new prince, etc.) and the shape-shifter was forced to risk/improvise much more. I'd probably go the route of misdirection (mutilate bodies so much it points to another type of monster or a group of killers) and try to quickly "climb the ranks" by taking possession of city guards, then officers, then nobles (each time probing the memories for useful information and suitable targets).

Another suggestion to make the game more dynamic and give the players a chance - make it so that each new skin can only be put on once. It can be worn indefinitely, but the old identity is destroyed when any new one is put on.

Finally I'd think of a way to let the players identify the shapeshifter, but they need to figure it out by themselves after some time (e.g. the shapeshifter's blood tarnishes silver).

2017-10-20, 12:29 PM
Priority one is disguising myself so as to not be detected and banished. Both farmers are ambushed with a Sleep spell. One farmer immediately dies, becoming a new suit. If possible, consume the rest of the body to destroy evidence. If not possible, hide the corpse in a body of water (a swamp is ideal), weighed down by stones. The other farmer is then charmed and awoken to provide cover and local knowledge far more quickly than the memory access allows.

Get your "partner" jailed - ideally for a real crime. The locals are ruled by tyrants, so the farmers are probably bending rules to survive. Use Prestidigitation to discolor a hidden cache to make it obvious to guards. Slip away using Invisibility. One farmer jailed and killed by tyrants with the other missing is a very solid cover.

Remain invisible while scouting the city. Use Detect Object to locate the sword. Circumnavigate the castle ruins. Are they guarded? Is there a restoration effort underway? If guards are in place, observe them while invisible using Detect Thoughts to determine their hierarchy. If the ruins are under guard, observe the supervisor for several hours while undetected. Take him when possible, disposing his body into the sewer for the swarms of rats and otyughs to devour.

The key here is to get a position that doesn't require much specialized knowledge, is close to the ruins, has authorization to be there, and is not in direct contact with the wilier devils running the city.

Regarding the sword, observe the PCs while invisible and hidden. See if they understand the significance of the item, but do so subtly. Use Alter Self to take on the role of a benefactor. If the paladin wants to fight the devils running the city, what makes him think he'll win? If the sword is part of the answer, probe for details.

Possible scenarios:

PCs are unaware of the sword's role. Lure them into the ruins with promises of wealth or the means of overthrowing the devils.

PCs are aware of the sword's role. Escalate the fight between the PCs and devils. Work your way into their confidence. If PCs trust you, tell them the sword must be kept hidden, and they should not tell you where. Use Detect Thoughts or Locate Object to discover the location, then steal it.

2017-10-20, 04:40 PM
Initial Actions

Providing no timetable: use spells to incapacitate one of the farmers, take the other one, don their skin. If possible use spells like charm to cover up the switch and get info from the other farmer.

Primary info: names, background, anything needed to sell the goods and avoid suspicion
Secondary info: background about the capital and other smaller towns in the region

Attempt to sell the goods as planned and return to the farmers farm. Manufacture an unfortunate accident With a little bit of luck, this should allow me to take over the farm. If not, perhaps a summon monster or two could result in a tragic tale leaving me the sole owner of the farm.

Goal is to consolidate power and learn about this strange world

Find a skilled would be adventurer in town, kill them, take their skin. Keep the unused skin (farmer and adventurer) as well hidden as possible when not in use. OpSec demands I keep as few skins as possible lying around, since that directly impacts my chances of being discovered. Either use the monster issue above or summon very defeatable monsters outside of town and then rush to kill them as the adventurer. become a local hero!

if everything has gone well upto this point, proceed to first primary objective Use the local hero to join the resistance against the devils in the capital. Especially look out for close allies of the hero (paladin) that are open to subversion. Heroes (aka paladins) will not be swayed by an argument of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." But others close to them might. This is, per the OP, objectively true. We both oppose the devils and the devils are "anti demon"

Primary Objective: Obtain the Sword

Plan: obviously the goal here is to kill the paladin PC, assume their identity, and keep the sword in the process. This is a secondary objective, but should be considered a priority because the paladin has a network that opposes the devils. If this network can be leveraged it can help either directly or providing a distraction for the assault on the temple.

Unanswered questions: How powerful are the PCs? Obviously, from the sounds of it, all of them together could best the demon (me). What are my chances in single combat vs the paladin alone? Would i need an ambush or leverage to be expected to win? Are there weaker members of the PC party ("the hero's allies") that could be taken singly. How developed is the resistance, is it worth the effort to cultivate?

Possible Long Con

Build up a base/network outside the capital and allow the PCs to oppose the devils as best possible. As long as they are fighting each other, I can't loose. Monitor the situation for opportunities but don't be too quick to seize ones that don't involve primary objectives (ie the sword or access to the ruins).

2017-10-23, 01:37 PM
IMO, starting off as a high-ranking demon takes a lot of progression out of the situation that could be used for what you want.

2017-10-23, 01:49 PM
IMO, starting off as a high-ranking demon takes a lot of progression out of the situation that could be used for what you want.

Not sure how high ranking the henchman is. If i read the OP correctly, they are asking for actions/ideas for the henchman/shapeshifter demon which is explicitly NOT the first demon but rather a henchman.

What we know for sure:

<= 3lv spells
Can probably defeat one human in combat
Could be overpowered by 5 or 6 experienced individuals (ie an adventuring party)

Sounds to me like there is room to grow with that, just IMO though.

Honest Tiefling
2017-10-23, 02:51 PM
...If this was a mature game, I would say 'sleep with all of the heroes' because adventurers always try to find the wenches when they get to town, so it would be to just to mess with the players.

Since I can take the skin of anything, getting rid of that reign of pretenders seems like a good first step. Nothing like the collaspe of a government to allow for some chaos. Not real chaos, but good enough. Presumably, I can take the form of a eagle and fly away...So why not start a war between the devils and their neighbors? I have a disadvantage of numbers, but an advantage of being able to be a really good assassin.

Just take a form of some guy, scream 'I have seen the unholy light! I swear myself to the devils of Devilsville!' and stab some people on the way out if I have no other powers. It doesn't need to be super convincing, just rile people up so that they're so afraid and angry that logic doesn't matter.

Heck, to prepare for witnesses I could just try to pretend to be a giant devil...Unless I need to kill one of those to access a more monstrous form? You said he appeared naked, but that's not very descriptive.

2017-10-24, 01:37 PM
Kill someone and become then, then move around towns gaining information, and killing.

Being a demon I bet a few unavoidable slaughters may occur.

Then finding the sword and probably ambushing him at night or in his sleep for it.

2017-10-30, 06:13 AM
By your description it is very easy to sunder those seals.

I assume the farmer's identity, deliver local produce to the mages guild. I assume the identity of their quartermaster and steal a bag of holding and a few scrolls of scyring and teleportation magic From their inventory. I store his dead body inside. I then kill the mage's librarian and store his body inside, too. Then i leave, change identity to something else entirely (identity doesn't matter at this point, I only need to be innocent looking).

I pull the bodies from the bag and start probing their brains in a secluded area, thereby discerning the area of the other seals or at least more information about them. I smash those seals by scyring and teleporting, thereby summoning reeinforcements. Probably demons of greater fighting power and other powerful abilities than myself. From there on, demoncalypse unstoppable.

2017-10-30, 10:15 AM
Take the skin of a young callous upcoming hero, pretend to be good.

A lot of this depends on the "theme" of the campaign. In Eberron, you could easily take over the local [nominally good] church (indeed, the church of the silver flame is run by a LE patriarch). Most other settings frown on this. I'd expect "acting good" to be intensely painful for the demon and be used sparingly.

Is there a clock/deadline for the seal opening?
If not, I'd play the long game. Set up a primary identity and take my time rising into a safe position either in the palace or with the rebels (or both). Build a network of agents contacted by various secondary identities. Have emergency "backup" skin stashes.

Assuming the demon is an NPC, I'd force a deadline if only to make sure the conclusion happens in the parties lifetime.

Not sure how high ranking the henchman is. If i read the OP correctly, they are asking for actions/ideas for the henchman/shapeshifter demon which is explicitly NOT the first demon but rather a henchman.

What we know for sure:

<= 3lv spells
Can probably defeat one human in combat
Could be overpowered by 5 or 6 experienced individuals (ie an adventuring party)

Sounds to me like there is room to grow with that, just IMO though.

Regardless of whether the "henchman demon" is a PC or NPC, it does open the question as how the demon advances (assuming a sufficiently long campaign to the point where the demon can't be easily overwhelmed by a party.

1. Political power: an obvious "real world" method, advanced with demonic powers. The demon has both natural and personal reasons to infiltrate and advance the anti-devil movement. I'd love a report of the Paladin's party response to discovering just what is behind the "freedom wing" of the movement.
2. RPG power: presumably consuming the souls of mortals could grant xp and advance a demon. Whether the demon "autoadvances" similar to Crystal in OOTS is an open question.

Obviously these methods are likely to be combined, if only by adding additional henchmen (whoever heard of a BBEG without henchmen).

I have to recommend not taking too long to allow the demon to be discovered (don't count on vague prophesy to be useful), or at least don't make it appear that the players were *supposed* to find the demon earlier (if you plan on pulling the rug out from under them after getting a foothold in devil territory).

I'd certainly make more conditions for the release of the elder demon. I'm not at all certain of "victory conditions" for the players. Presumably the demon can be expected to achieve one goal (gain power in the movement, presumably beyond player control) and just needs the sword (railroading the sword away won't make the players happy). This sounds like a fast quest with little agency (both sides need to defeat each other in combat. It isn't safe to hide the sword (or you otherwise need it to defeat the demon) so the only thing each side might do is try to arrange the fight in a preferred setting.

One big issue is whether the demon is willing to let another release the old ones. From the sound of it, it shouldn't matter as much (the Elder might reward whoever wields the sword, or he might just consume him out of eternal hunger). This means that the sword will require eternal protection (if it could be destroyed while maintaining the wards they would have done so). That pretty much means a retirement condition where the Paladin adopts a position much like OOTS Sung.