Malefactors

"I know you've been hurt. I have something here that can make your life better again."


On the third day, God separated the seas from the land, and He gave stewardship of the land to a select group of angels. Named Artificers, these Celestials governed — and loved — the earth and all that lay within it. To them was given an affinity with soil, gems and stone; with the fires that smoldered below the earth's surface; and most especially, with metal.

To the Artificers was also given the responsibility of helping humanity use the earth — to till the fields, dig up the metals and to craft the tools they would need to shape their world. The angels took to their task willingly, eager to share their love for the earth with their charges.

But humanity was not equipped to deal with such responsibility. They tried to use the miraculous tools of the angels, but they were unable to make them work properly, if at all. Humanity became resentful of their hidden teachers and feared them for their perfection, while the Artificers grew confused and bewildered, unable to relate to humans in the same way they related to the predictable elements of earth and fire.

When the war erupted between the rebel angels and the forces of Heaven, many of the Artificers gravitated toward Lucifer's side. They felt rejected by the humans they had tried to love, and angry with the Creator, who had tied their hands by forbidding angels to help humans directly. Moreover, they sided with the rebels because they felt that only their peers understood them, loved them, when the humans has simply refused to do.

When the rebels lost the war and were imprisoned in Hell, the Malefactors found it difficult to cope — separated from the earth and fire that was their reason for being. This terrible lonliness made most malefactors cold and withdrawn, unable to interact well with even their fellow demons. They became cunning and thoughtful, preferring carefull planning and patience to the emotional upheavals of anger and immediacy.

Now released from Hell, Malefactors find themselves in a world transformed. Humanity has finally embraced the use of tools and become a race of makers, but in doing so, they have ravaged the earth and left it wounded and unloved. Those Malefactors still in the service of Hell swallow their pain and look for new opportunities to create havoc among humanity. For the fallen, the world is an open wound, and the urge to simply break down and cry is sometimes overwhelming. But if the world is to be healed, then the Malefactors must bear their plan and get to work, just as they did millennia ago.

Factions

Most Malefactors are Faustians, have been since the final days of the war. With their penchant for manipulating humans with their poisoned chalices and cursed gifts and their desire to push humanity back into a subservient and respectful position, this Faction is a natural fit for the House.

Reconcilers form the next largest block within the Malefactors, especially among the fallen. For all their attempts to stop caring about the world, these demons can never truly sever their link to the land and nature. Loose in the world, many Malefactors are overwhelmed by a forgotten love, and they push aside old hurts to try to redeem themselves.

Malefactor Cryptics bend their natural cunning and intelligence toward unraveling the mysteries of the war and the Fall. For many Malefactors, this faction lends them a purpose they sorely need and is unlikely to push them into contact with humans.

Luciferian Malefactors are not very common. Most were too hurt and emotionally damaged by the Fall to retain faith in their lost leader. However, hope dies hard even in demons, and there are some Luciferians in this House. These demons tend to treat the Luciferian cause as a holy calling and throw themselves into it with great passion.

With their love of the earth and of tools — the things that are crafted over time and with great care — an appetite for pure destruction is something rarely felt by these demons. Those few who do belong to the Ravener faction are terrifying indeed, often the most destructive and violent of the faction.

Prelude

Upon their escape form Hell, Malefactors usually gravitate toward souls that are as emotionally damaged as their own. Malefactors are in many ways lonely, insecure beings — separated from the earth that they once held closest. Their hosts tend to be similar individuals — lonely, needy people who have always felt that something was lacking in their lives, something that would have made them complete. Good examples of such individuals are drug addicts, the ugly or disfigured, people who cling to abusive spouses or teenagers trying to modify themselves with tattoos and piercings.

Another strong group of candidates are people who are alienated from other humans, and are more comfortable with machines or the earth — this matches the Malefactor psyche very closely. This is a broad category, which could include anything from a computer hacker who's only comfortable online to a sociopath who sees other people as merely things to an environmental activist who despises humans for despoiling the planet.

Faith

Malefactors often find it difficult to gather Faith from mortals, due to two factors. First, of course, is the fact that they have difficulty understanding an relating to humans, who aren't as predictable and dependable as stone. Being unable to truly know humans, Malefactors find it difficult to easily inspire them.

A greater impediment of sorts is the Malefactor's reliance on his tools and magical artifacts. A mortal will no doubt be dumbstruck and awed by the powers of a magic mirror, but that doesn't mean she'll automatically associate the mirror with the demon who made it or gave it to her. Unless the human makes a strong connection between the item and the Malefactor, the Faith simply vanishes into the other.

When reaping Faith from mortals, a Malefactor must do so using an item he has created. This might be a mundane item — such as a silver knife used to flay a victim's skin away — or a miraculous creation, like a mirror that shows a mortal's inner beauty. The demon can use different tools whenever he attempts to reap Faith — the important thing is that the item is something he crafted himself, and that the mortal focuses on the item as her Faith is collected.

Malefactors are drawn to the same sort of people who attracted them as a host — the lost, the needy, the damaged. In particular, Malefactors tend to target people who are looking for something that will fix their life, end their problems — a concrete solution, not a metaphysical concept. The nerd who wants to be handsome, the writer stymied on his new book, the paraplegic wanting her legs back — these are people who can be "helped" by a Malefactor, who can build a computer that inspires creativity or a mask that makes the wearer Adonis.

Character Creation

Malefactors tend to emphasize Mental Attributes, particularly Wits, which governs creativity and cunning. As miners and workers, they also tend to have good Stamina and Strength ratings. Social Attributes are often low, due to the difficulty Malefactors have in relating to humans — although Manipulation is often emphasized, as the demons have some talents for using humans as tools.

To reflect their status as demonic inventors, almost all Malefactors have high Crafts ratings. Many also have excellent Research ratings. Subterfuge is popular — while Malefactors don't have the natural propensity for manipulation that Devils have, they work hard to transcend their shortcoming.

Starting Torment: 3

House Lore:

Lore of the Earth
Lore of the Forge
Lore of Paths

Weaknesses

The primary weakness of this House is a problem with understanding human beings. Humans are unpredictable, messy creatures, and the demons find it very difficult to come to grips with them, even after pillaging the memories and personalities of their hosts. The demon are even slightly frightened by humanity. The Malefactors were confused and badly hurt by humanity's rejection, and fear of further rejection can subconsciously subvert and influence a demon's plans and actions.

Stereotypes

Devils: Malefactors often envy these smooth-tongued manipulators, who play upon human frailty so easily. For Malefactors, this takes effort and concentration, so they resent the Devils' skills.

Scourges: Air and earth do not mix, nor does plague touch stone. The Malefactors see the Scourges as inconsequential at best, nuisances at worst.

Fiends: Prophecy, portents and the movements of the stars — what do they matter in the grand scheme of things? Malefactors are practical demons, and they see the Fiends as useless.

Defilers: Like the Malefactors, the Defilers understand creation. They respect the Defilers, but they do not necessarily trust them.

Devourers: Malefactors do not understand the point of short-lived, messy animal life. Malefactors prefer to keep Devourers at arm's length, but they respect their strength.

Slayers: Human life and human death are both mysterious and fairly irrelevant to the Malefactors, who prefer the company of undying stone. They give the House respect, but little attention.