Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > In Nomine

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-15-2010, 07:16 AM   #1
Orlin
 
Orlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Okay, I know this is really nit-picky – and I’m not entirely sure why I’ve even decided to turn this into such a huge undertaking, but after reviewing the Cosmetic Changes for the angels of In Nomine, I suddenly realized that there were no demons on the list – and that was, of course, because In Nomine had already used the names of demons to construct the Princes. At first, the simple fact that I could wiki any of the Demon Princes and say “Oh! That demon was actually recognized by an occult source!” was enough.

But some of the names bothered me, and so I started digging, and every answer led to another question.

One of the first pieces of literature I came upon was the Philosophie Occulte – a transcription supposedly written by Solomon - which is Somewhere In This Massive Collection of Stuff. One of the chapters of the transcript (or the internet copy of the transcript which I can't link you to, but can PM the Word File that I used to copy it) described the natures of the Qlippoth (which pretty much says the same thing, but with what I'd guess to be more accurate translations -- if it ends in "-el" on the wiki article, they don't forget the "of God.")

If you’ve studied the Kabbalah, or you’ve ever done a google search for the word “Kabbalah,” you’ve probably come across the Tree of Life.

I don’t know what the Tree of Life is. I could probably write an essay about the Tree of Life and still not tell you what it is, but it is always represented as a collection of nodes, collectively known as the Sephiroth (Sefirot, Sephirot, Sefiroth…pick your transliteration.) Each node, or Sephirah, is an attribute or emanation of God. Some scholars have used the Tree of Life as a diagram of the human soul.

In Hasidic Judaism (?), angels are classified in a hierarchy that corresponds each “Order” with one of the Sephirah. Those of you who are interested should check it out – but don’t give yourself a headache. The strange contradictions and agreements between the Catholic Hierarchy and the Kabbalistic Hierarchy alone is enough to give me a headache. One site that will help you reconcile them is here.

Anyway, just as there is a Tree of Life that depicts the Sephiroth, so too is there a “Tree of Death” – so far as I know, it’s properly called the “Qlippothic Tree” – that depicts the opposite attribute. Just as each of the Sephirah on the Tree of Life corresponds with an angelic order, each of the Qlippoth corresponds with an Order of Fallen Angels. Many of these “Orders” are cited in other occult sources as individual figures, but the translations are fascinating nonetheless, and the demonic “Guides” or “Chiefs” of the Orders are equally interesting to read about.

From the Philosophie Occulte, I did some more digging. Solomon had a lot to say on the subject (or, at least, Samuel Liddel MacGreggor Mathers did), and many of the demons we see in the game guide can be found in the Lemegeton Clavicula Solomonus (‘The Lesser Key of Solomon -- but just Wiki them.’) All of these sources can be found, either in paraphrase or through direct transliteration on freaky cult websites, on the Internet. In some circumstances, the demons chosen for the word in question fit very neatly. In others…well, not so much.

So, after some tooling, I decided to take on a peculiar undertaking. Instead of leaving the demonic names as they are, I want to do some more cosmetic name changes – and just as I’ve changed the names of the Archangels according to their word (with some deviations from the original site), so too would I like to change the names of the demons according to their word.

I understand that many people would probably consider this to be a pointless undertaking, but I also figure that some people are bound to be at least a little interested. Those of you who have always wanted to change the naming schemes around a bit in order to fit a darker theme, or a theme more heavily lathered with Judeo-Christian overtones, should feel free to contribute, correct, or make suggestions as you see fit.

I was going to tack on an argument for each of the name changes, but that’d be too much of a pain. Instead, each name is linked to a corresponding website.

Andrealphus / Astarte (See Gamchicoth)

Asmodeus / Mephistopheles

Beleth / Epiales

Belial / Asmodeus (See Golachab)

Kobal / Belial*

Kronos / Samael (See Samael)

Saminga / Belphegor (see Thagirion; also see Belzebub)

* Of the suggestions I've cited, only Belial is remarkably out of place. This is because of a passage I've read in a wiki article that referred to him as "A man of arrogance, who seduces the proud." I've also often heard of him referenced as "Lord of Lies" even though the interpretation is probably inaccurate. Whatever the case, I felt it was important to keep this name in the scheme and had trouble placing it -- and making Kobal (who is the only demon I could not find any reference to) into a Balseraph who has convinced himself that it's all One Big Joke seemed...fascinating.

I'm taking other suggestions. So far, Epiales and Astarte have strong references to the Greek religion, which I find to be acceptable, but I'd prefer to keep Astarte as Astaroth, and find another, more Judeo-Christian sounding name for the demon of fear.

I'm not sure why I'd choose the name Mephistopheles over Asmodeus. I only know that the translation of Asmodeus as "He who is wreathed in fire," was appropriate for Fire, and that Mephistopheles is the first demon I think of when I conjure images of bartering, wheeling and dealing. In a way, Mephistopheles sort of played a game of his own with Faust, but the argument is weak. I'll gladly take other suggestions.

I’ll ask that you all pardon some of the manner in which these strange words have been transliterated. When you try to take a word that consists exclusively of Hebrew letters and twist it into a bunch of roman characters, what you usually get is a handful of possibilities. I just chose whichever transliteration I liked best and ran with it.
__________________
"A knight's a sword with a horse. The vows, the sacred oil and the lady's favors, they're ribbons tied 'round the sword. Maybe the sword's prettier with the ribbons, but it'll kill you just as dead."
Orlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2010, 04:17 AM   #2
Azel
 
Azel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: South of the Town across from the City by the Bay
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Ooo gobs of fun, this can be. from my brief work w/ Kabbalah (long before Madonna made it a fad, *snicker*) i remember about the Sephiroth and Qliphoth. naturally, all Kabbalah should never be practiced, for to know the keys of reality and to act upon them were to tamper with reality and get "really bad juju come back to you." but i do remember that if you wanted to act upon the world, for every Sephiroth you visit, and each road you travel on, you must do the inverse upon the "inverse tree of life." so you had to travel the Qliphoth and their roads, when manifesting something. in this way you "cancel out" any unbalancing creation (which is like some homing beacon that someone's messing w/ reality -- *cough* like Disturbance?) and allows the manifestation to be masked by an equivalent mal-creation elsewhere in reality.

it was stuff to make you have a nasty headache in high school, if you weren't careful.

looking back though, it makes great source material to sprinkle in when running a campaign with sorcerers. some of these names were translated differently (and cross associated differently) dependent upon the book used. however, regardless of the names issue, it's a great source material. it definitely gives a shotgun blast to the face of Judaica metaphysics, and a lot of the information sounds downright chilling if presented respectfully.

one of my favorites was literally typed upon an old school typewriter with fonts occasionally askew, student marginalia, and talking about strange associations to particular gemstones, colors, sounds, harmonics, etc. i stumbled upon it by ambling in the library looking for a better Kabbalah source, and a few lost aisles from where i was looking there it was lying eye level upon a bookshelf. wasn't really in the system, had no real publisher (like a self-published book), said it was stolen years ago, but i still was able to check it out, learned way too much about Kabbalah, got weird dreams soon after, and later returned it to never find it again (cue spooky music: OOO-WEEE-OOOO!). good times, good times...

i should run that as a game one day; but would it be accidentally stumbling into Yves' or Kronos' library?
Azel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2010, 09:43 AM   #3
Rocket Man
Petitioner: Word of IN Filk
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Longmont, CO
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azel View Post

i should run that as a game one day; but would it be accidentally stumbling into Yves' or Kronos' library?
Yes. ;)

(Don't you hate mathematically correct answers?)
__________________
“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
--Elizabeth McCoy, In Nomine Line Editor

Author: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"
Rocket Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2010, 07:01 AM   #4
Azel
 
Azel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: South of the Town across from the City by the Bay
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
Yes. ;)

(Don't you hate mathematically correct answers?)
Exactly! Doing so would be truly enlightening. =)

(Divination-speak loves best those answers that shadows the tongue, be they vague in poetic density or better yet precisely answer all questions at once. It's time efficient! ;) )
Azel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2010, 07:47 AM   #5
JCD
 
JCD's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Birthplace of the Worst Pizza on the Planet
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

To use a bit of shorthand, I used the Lesser Key of Solomon as MISinformation for the Sorcerous class. As has been indicated in many places, the Infernal Court wants to keep people ignorant of what is going on in Hell. That way I get to use Canon without confusing the players, but I have these occultic references as background flavor.
JCD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2010, 08:15 AM   #6
robkelk
Untitled
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: between keyboard and chair
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCD View Post
To use a bit of shorthand, I used the Lesser Key of Solomon as MISinformation for the Sorcerous class. As has been indicated in many places, the Infernal Court wants to keep people ignorant of what is going on in Hell. That way I get to use Canon without confusing the players, but I have these occultic references as background flavor.
Demons love spreading misinformation to Sorcerors... although occasionally it comes back and bites them. For example, take this exchange between two servitors of Dark Humor, just before one changes Superiors:

"You remember that snot-nosed Calabite over in Belial's crowd?"

"Which one?"

"The one that keeps humming that stupid tune."

"Oh, yeah - Furfur. I told some sorcerers a century ago that he was a Duke of Hell, commanding 33 Legions. They keep summoning the poor schmuck to get military help. Not one of my best jokes, but one that's still good for a laugh."

"Yeah, I know. You mentioned that a few decades ago. Lucifer made Furfur a Prince today."

"No way!"

"Way!"

"If he ever finds out I'm responsible for that rumor..."

"I already told him. Yeah, you're screwed."
__________________
Rob Kelk
“Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”
– Bernard Baruch,
Deming (New Mexico) Headlight, 6 January 1950

Last edited by robkelk; 07-18-2010 at 08:28 AM.
robkelk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2010, 11:05 AM   #7
Orlin
 
Orlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Quote:
To use a bit of shorthand, I used the Lesser Key of Solomon as MISinformation for the Sorcerous class. As has been indicated in many places, the Infernal Court wants to keep people ignorant of what is going on in Hell. That way I get to use Canon without confusing the players, but I have these occultic references as background flavor.
I still use the Lesser Key of Solomon for occult background -- and for misinformation, but what I change is the nature of how the information is misrepresented. One thing that I always disregard offhand is the rank. Demons are often listed with titles such as "Duke" "Archduke" "Earl" "Count" or "President," most of which mean absolutely nothing even if you know what you're reading, save perhaps as a rough ranking for a creature that commands between x and z minions of Hell.

For the most part, however, I'd rule that any character who managed to get his hands on a legitimate copy of the Lemegeton or the Key of Solomon would probably get some extraordinarily accurate information about the creatures in the manual. The crap that you find on the internet has been translated at least once, probably more than once, by someone who may or may not have infernal connections. After all, who is to say that MacGreggor Mathers wasn't a Soldier of Hell, working to purposefully "tinker" with the summoning and protection seals as a way of bringing more Sorcerers into the fiery fold?

What I like to keep from sources like the Keys of Solomon are the names of the demons and the attributes associated with them. The true purpose of this cosmetic overhaul, however, was simply to change the names of the demons so that they fit with the Judeo-Christian overtones. In some ways, this is my desire to preserve what I so sincerely and thoroughly enjoyed about Demon the Fallen; the Judeo-Christian themes were strong. I <3 names like Thuriel, Sandalphon, Tzaphkiel and Hashem -- and sometimes the demon names feel a little weak by comparison.

Deciding how much or how little of those themes to preserve can be kind of a chore. So far, the easiest answer to questions such as "Who was Jesus?" "Who will be the antichrist?" and "How strongly do you intend to follow the Judeo-Christian principles?" can all very easily be answered with "I have no idea and I'm not focusing my campaign on those questions at the moment." In the Redemption Game I'm running, we've established that d4emons can be created as imps and gremlins that are spawned in Hell and rise through the ranks -- rather than having it so that all demons were fallen angels, or no demons were truly demons in the Christian sense.

But...I don't know. When I see the word "Yves" the first word the pops into my mind is "Fez." The name Hashem feels more appropriate.

Consider this passage:

"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

The name Hashem - literally, "The Name," seems infinitely more appropriate for a game with a theme that is slanted in the direction of that religion. The description of the relationship between Yves and Kronos as polar opposites is also paralleled in the description of Samael:

"Samael represents the barren desolation of a fallen and failed creation."

I could go on rambling about the cool things I've uncovered in my attempts to tinker with the name scheme, but ultimately I saw a parallel between Samael and the description provided for Kronos, and I ran with it.

What I'm ultimately looking for is suggestions for other demons, or for other proposals that I might not have considered. I don't own any of the copies of the Keys of Solomon, but I'm open to suggestions. If someone has a way of implementing creatures such as the four horseman, or the seven sins, I'd like to hear about it. If someone has another suggestion, whether for a Prince that I didn't name or for a prince that I have already named -- I'd be happy to read about it.
__________________
"A knight's a sword with a horse. The vows, the sacred oil and the lady's favors, they're ribbons tied 'round the sword. Maybe the sword's prettier with the ribbons, but it'll kill you just as dead."
Orlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2010, 11:50 AM   #8
Archangel Beth
In Nomine Line Editor
 
Archangel Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Frozen Wastelands of NH
Default Re: Cosmetic Name Changes for Demons (lots of cool Occult Sources!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCD View Post
To use a bit of shorthand, I used the Lesser Key of Solomon as MISinformation for the Sorcerous class. [...]
Ah, misinformation...
http://www.io.com/~arcangel/Fiat/w2/w2d5/Liber2.html


For the original bit... Ungh, I have a headache and can't remember the first. Have you gotten Gustav Davidson's A Dictionary of Angels? That. Book. Rocks.
__________________
--Beth
Shamelessly adding Superiors: Lilith and her fiction page to her .sig (the latter is not precisely gaming related)
Archangel Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
demons

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.