Sunday, November 21, 2021

Every Devil is a Cop

"So sooner or later, everybody's working for the Man."
- Go (1998)

Hell was born when border Archons of the Machine became convinced that It's algorithms would never conquer Chaos. Stronger measures were needed. These warriors cut a path into Chaos and fixed it with iron, stone and fire, and created Hell.

Though Hell's propaganda won't admit it (devil's have been rendered back to Lermure-hood for saying it), the War on Chaos has not gone well over the aeons. The Infernal Marches once safely reached to the Black Iron Prison of Carceri. Chaos not only has refused to be subdued, but it has been able to turn formerly loyal soldiers. Does anyone in Hell's hierarchy trust the Yugoloths or Gehreleths? No, they've both been compromised and will be the next targets as soon as the demon threat is ended.

If there's one bright spot it's the Material Plane. Diabolic agents have been able to turn an unexpected action by Chaos into a key recruiting tool. The soul-stuff of material beings may be relatively modest in absolute magnitude, but every transgressor that can be brought over and gotten under contract is added to the Infernal warchest.

Minor devils and trusted agents work to uncover (one might even say tempt) wayward, souls all in the name of recruiting--coercing--them as assets. Let the priggish supplicants of the Mountain fret about "right." There is no right in a fallen cosmos, outside the Law. And right now, the Law needs strength more than mercy.

And the fires of Hell are not eternal for those see their error. With toil and penance the most Chaos-ridden soul can become a devil, a stalwart soldier in the armies of a new order for the all things. Is that not mercy? 

Not all beings turned by infernal influence are small. Big fish are particularly prized, those with influence over other souls. Even Gods and their cults have been suborned to the diabolic agenda. Of course, there are also devils posing as gods to the unsuspecting people of material worlds.


JB said...

Devils don't get nearly as much play as they probably should. So many possibilities with the monster species.

I think it's especially interesting to consider them in a D&D world and how...being diametrically opposed on the alignment scale...they become the mortal enemies of the (Chaotic Good) elves. If they are the "cops" of the outer planes, what does this make their minions the orcs? What does this make elves? Hippy-dippy liberals cultivating acres of weed in the woods? The Duke brothers?

Kind of funny when you think about it. Boss Hog as a pig-faced orc.

Anyway, underutilized compared to demons. More devilish devils as arch-antagonist? Yes, please.
; )

Trey said...

In my concept of it here, alignment is really more a thing of the planes and planar powers than beings in the Material world, but I would say the Chaotic God elves would be individualists and live-and-let-live sorts, whereas the devils are about oppression and conformity to their goals.

Dick McGee said...

I like it, very close to my take on diabolic interactions with the Prime Material. Devils are the epitome of Law without mercy, without pity, without remorse, while also understanding and supporting the ambitions and desires that attract the most useful mortals. Their competitive hierarchical nature lets them avoid the predictability and inflexibility pure Law suffers from, which is all too often confounded by Chaotic foes and environments.

If you want a baker's dozen of very different takes on devils, take a look at 13 True Ways from Pelgrane Press. Their devils are recognizably derived from D&D, but they offer wildly different motivations and origins for them based on which of the game's 13 Icons most associated with them (either as foes or allies). One of them is even based on devils as cosmic lawkeepers in a very similar way to your idea and opposed to the Prince of Shadows, who would be the Icon of Thievery if he wasn't just a myth perpetuated by the Man. Well worth a read for anyone looking for more diverse ideas of what devils are really all about.

Jon Bupp said...

Great point of view on the infernal machine!
Added to the Blog Database.

Anne said...

This is really powerful imagery, Trey.

I like that you still center all the action on Law vs Chaos, with good and evil remaining as moral choices about how to accomplish your goals.

Devils aren't evil b/c they're EVIL, they're evil b/c of the approach they've chosen to take to advance the cause of Law.