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Demons & Hell in the City of Heroes Universe


Latex
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I'm brainstorming a new character with an adult horror foundation that involves Demons and Hell along with twisted rituals and malevolent intent. I'd love to go about this with established Lore in mind and work with it rather than against it especially concerning depictions of hell, who are it's allies, the pecking order, or if 'Hell' even exists at all in the universe of COH- I'm inclined to believe it does. There is an awful lot to read up on this games lore when you scratch the surface and this is one of the aspects I know very little about, but here's what I can take a guess at;

 

  • "Cap Au Diable" translates to "Heading to Hell"
  • Bat'Zul the final Archvillain of the Virgil Tarikoss strike force is a 'Demon-Lord from the lowest planes of existence'
  • The Circle of Thorns seem to be connected to some form of Hell.
  • Several Heroes and Villains have connections to Demons or Hell itself, including Demonic Armor and the like.

 

If you know more about Demonic lore and where they come from, please share!

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Nether and infernal realms exist, but nothing explicitly called "Hell" as far as I can recall.  Demonic entities seem to come from a couple various infernal realms, with the demons who made the pacts with the Orenbegans to form the Circle of Thorns being the most endemic in the Primal Earth universe/Shard.

It -seems- that the way the multidimensional nature of City has it that there are alternative realities that exist in external dimensions (Shards), and within those dimensions are realms that exist out of phase with one another (like First Ward/Night Ward, for example).  I believe it's implied that the infernal realms are that latter category.

Interestingly, the Demons of the Demon Summoning Power Set for Masterminds seem distinctly DIFFERENT from the Circle's pact partners, and seem to be from a different plane or entirely different realm.

Additionally, with the character named Infernal and his doppelgänger, we see that there seems to be an implication that Praetoria has a similar/roughly-equal infernal plane of existence.

 

We know of the Spirit Realm, which the Banished Pantheon are locked away within, but there are apparently even various realms that share that name, since there are a few missions where we have Spirits/Ghosts coming in to the physical world OR as a player-character you even go to those realms.

 

@Coyotedancer is exceptionally well-versed on Circle lore, so I'll prod her to see if she has anything to share here.

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3 hours ago, Latex said:

I'm brainstorming a new character with an adult horror foundation that involves Demons and Hell along with twisted rituals and malevolent intent.

 

Sounds like somewhere I used to work...

 

But GVT pretty much has it, as far as "canon." I mean, "Demon" sort of falls under "general description of probably malevolent extraplanar entities." There's noting saying the judeo-christian concept(s) of "hell" don't exist, and plenty of people who play with those interpretations of heaven, hell, angels, demons, and other related beings. But we also know of other gods and realms in COH, as well.

 

If you want to go with a "this interpretation of hell, its hierarchy, denizens, exactly as described here," go for it. If you want to call it a place ruled by someone named Frank where they play nothing but techno-country-rap... it's another version in another shard/world/dimension.

 

Go nuts. :)

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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The beauty of the multi-dimensional CoH universe is the creative freedom it gives us.

 

Once, long ago, I had a villain character who was derived from judeo-christian mythology (along Miltonian lines), but I didn't play the character long, and when I did, I de-emphasized that aspect, because the real-world religious ties it brought up made me uncomfortable. I felt I was doing an honest and respectful job of it, but you just never know how other people will interpret it, and I decided to let it go. Today in HC, I wouldn't create such a character based on any currently practiced religion; but that's me. 

 

But, again, that creative freedom is still there.  Imagine a parallel dimension where the laws of the universe look more like magic and less like physics; and where there's been violent evolutionary conflict between many different sentient races with inherent magical powers. Summon a few over here and they'd be demons/devils enough for me.  If those creatures were cunning and sufficiently deceitful, they might well claim to be the souls of deceased humans to take advantage of the beliefs of people in the CoH dimension.

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There's nowhere explicitly called "Hell" in the City universe, as VT said... But there is the Abyss. That's where the Circle's demons and their various named bosses (like the Envoy of Shadows and Lilitu-) come from. The little Wailers may be Abyssal as well, though their lore is less upfront about that than the Circle's demons.

 

There do seem to be ranks and some sort of hierarchy among the Abyssal types... Lilitu seems to be an archdemon, for instance.... But as far as I know there isn't anywhere in the canon lore that really goes into that in any detail at all. Looking at the in-game power/status levels of the various critters is as close as it gets. Spectrals<Spectral Lords<Behemoths<Behemoth Lords<Blade Princes<(Named archdemon AVs like Lil) Hoarfrosts and Succubi are also in there somewhere.

 

 If any of the City demons are from "elsewhere" rather than the Abyss, I'd guess Batz and/or his gremlins. They seem more like rogue elementals than demons... But, then, the Abyss may be a very big and vary chaotic place, filled with who knows what kind of weirdness. Who's to say there *isn't* some corner of the place that looks just like Dante's inferno?

 

 

 

Edited by Coyotedancer
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Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Some more bits:

 

- A few of the powers of the Demons mastermind set have a reference to Hellfire, such as Living Hellfire, and the Hellfire Demonling.

- There are the Hellion Girlfriends, who also use aforementioned powerset to an extent. Emphasis on Hell-ion. It's suggested however that they simply conform to Hellion iconography and ideas in order to exploit them better.

- Last but not least, just because your character is a demon, they don't need to know exactly as the multiverse works. In fact they may be as clueless as any human, simply clueless in a different way, or following some interpretation which may be as good, in the end, as any human interpretation. And nobody says all demons must agree about a certain interpretation or that any such interpretations is actually true.

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I had totally forgotten about the "Girlfriends from Hell" . . . so, yeah.  Looks like "Hell" is explicitly referenced, but it's done so in a cheeky fashion which kind of suggests a double-entendre more than a specific reference to a literal place called Hell, from my reading.

 

Also, thanks for reminding me about the word I was searching for, Coyot:  Abyss.

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Seems like the idea can be pretty broad. I have seen a lot of Demon players and the like but I'm more inspired by 14th-15th century depictions of Hell, the sort of grotesque monstrous and horrific place one would never want to be- I do like exploring adult themes that might be a difficult pill to swallow for some, I love uncensored horror in fiction.

 

The dimensional thing seems interesting I'm thinking Constantine and it's 'parallel dimension, but familiar' take. But I want something more akin to the famous old paintings such as Jan van Eyck, The Last Judgment (which I won't link as it's rather adult, a quick google will get the idea) I guess depicting 'Hell' in such a way would be fine? I also assume this means that 'Demons' as player-characters don't all originate from the same version of a hell-like dimension oppose to Praetorian characters all originating from Praetoria. I can see that being a little muddled on an interaction but I won't overthink that!

 

Edited by Latex
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Given I've met a number of players who have demon characters ranging from lore-friendly personal takes on the Abyss or Nether realms, all the way to literally describing their characters as from the d&d demon/devil planes . . . yeah, I don't think demonic player-characters really have to play by any kind of solid rules.

 

I mean, isn't there a saying about Hell being personal?  I feel like there's an obvious joke I'm missing built off of that sentiment . . . 

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There is clearly some form of "Hell", as the game mentions girlfriends from Hell, there is a gang called the Hellions, ect.  But it's also clear that the CoH universe exists within a larger multiverse of many dimensions, so there could be any number of different versions of underworlds/hells (or even no Hells at all, in some dimensions).

 

So you might imagine/view "Hell" from the lens of any real-world religion and/or myth or fictional source, including novels, movies, TV shows, or comics.

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I haven't really deep dived on the topic but my running canon is that demons in CoX take the Doom approach, where they're just inhabitants of alternate dimensions more naturally steeped in magic than Primal. Infernal's backstory suggests demons were either native to his universe or at the very least, that demon summoning was super common. There could be one, or even several demon infested realities/timelines, that can and do slip past the dimensional barrier via magical means, and probably have been doing for centuries in order to supply various worlds with hot horny devils. I'd just as easily accept a Tech origin Demons MM who is an employee of Portal Corp with demon dimension coordinates (I actually really like that, original character do no steal) as I would any other magic-themed demon binder.

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  • Lead Game Master

There are quite a few references, and with multiple dimensions existing, there is more than enough room for approaching it in RP any way you want to.


I usually hit the wiki first when researching a RP lore concept.

The PTS in Cap Au Diable is likely the reason for the name, a long lost reference to what is under the island long before Aeon did... things...
https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Power_Transfer_System

Infernal is from an entire dimension where demons are the normal population:
https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Infernal

While not "demon" in the normal sense, the default explanation for Dark powers is Negative energy from the Netherworld dimension.
https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Multiverse

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2 hours ago, GM Kal said:


While not "demon" in the normal sense, the default explanation for Dark powers is Negative energy from the Netherworld dimension.
https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Multiverse

 

... and of all of them, that bit of "it comes from here" has *always* bugged me. Sort of like the Well being the "source of Incarnate powers" and you having to decide fast or slow to avoid it trying to control you.

 

I mean, sure, easy to ignore (and I tend to,) but ... rrrrrrrgh... *recolors dark armor to tan and calls it sand or dust just to spite the description.*

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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4 hours ago, Greycat said:

 

... and of all of them, that bit of "it comes from here" has *always* bugged me. Sort of like the Well being the "source of Incarnate powers" and you having to decide fast or slow to avoid it trying to control you.

 

I mean, sure, easy to ignore (and I tend to,) but ... rrrrrrrgh... *recolors dark armor to tan and calls it sand or dust just to spite the description.*


Yep, I am a huge fan of recoloring powers and noting in your bio that it is something else if you wish.

A good number of my characters do that.

It's much too limiting to force yourself into what the game thinks the power should be.
But I don't begrudge the game for having power lore. Just like any lore in game, it should be used as a *possible* creative shared reference. Use it if you wish.
Not something that limits creativity.
 

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5 hours ago, GM Kal said:


Yep, I am a huge fan of recoloring powers and noting in your bio that it is something else if you wish.

A good number of my characters do that.

It's much too limiting to force yourself into what the game thinks the power should be.
But I don't begrudge the game for having power lore. Just like any lore in game, it should be used as a *possible* creative shared reference. Use it if you wish.
Not something that limits creativity.
 

 

Oh, I do. Before we could recolor, "swarm of nanites" was a popular option.

 

Starting from a point of "THIS is where your powers come from" (in the case of everything but epics, since they *are* tied to their storylines) is just ... nails on a chalkboard to me, though.

Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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And then there's the issue of having to deal with some amount of almost inevitable pearl-clutching (If not outright wails of indignation-) from the Lore Purists among us any time you stray from "But that's what the game says!"...

 

One silly example? I've actually gotten some fairly passionately-argued push-back because my Death Mage characters call that "Netherworld Dimension" something different. Not for making any real IC changes to what their powers supposedly are or do, mind... But for daring to call the Netherworld by another name.

 

Forget that the Purists were dealing with a pair of characters whose entire concept bends what City canon has to say about the Circle magi all being inhuman, body-snatching asshats. Or that one of them was in the mail-order Wailer business. Or that they were having delivery troubles from S00p3rFr31ght, the Freakshow couriers they'd hired to transport said-Wailers. Nope. All that was just fine.  But calling the source of their Dark powers the Void? THAT was apparently a step too far.  😝

 

Like I said, it was well into silly territory... But if you're conflict-averse it's something to keep in mind when you're coloring outside the lines. Purists aren't ridiculously common, but you also can't count on avoiding them completely. 

 

 

 

Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Anyone else bothered how there's a Praetorian Infernal? Did they grab his evil twin or something? Or is there just another all demon dimension out there which also has an Infernal? 

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