Why is there no Good succubus equivalent?


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Shadow Lodge

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Orfamay Quest wrote:

A lot of Paizo's product seems to have been created based on a misguided notion of symmetry -- we have demon lords and archdevils, therefore we need mirror images of them (empyreal lords).

Unfortunately, from a narrative perspective, the symmetry often doesn't make sense. You see this in other media as well -- in the Knights of the Old Republic video game, for example, the Light side is portrayed as "good," but the Dark side isn't so much "evil" as cartoonishly dickish. Tolstoy famously wrote that "happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Bunyan pointed out much the same in The Pilgrim's Progress; there is only one path ("the strait gate") that leads to "good" and all the other paths will lead, ultimately, to "evil."

Goodness, just ask any soldier. How many ways are there to be "out of uniform" as opposed to how many different ways are there to be correctly dressed?

While I agree that you don't need celestials and fiends to be symmetrical, I don't think virtue is a uniform, either. It's more like a dress code. There are a lot of ways to screw it up, but there's also a lot of ways to live a virtuous life.

Just looking at the Core deities, Erastil and Iomedae have very different ideas of what a virtuous life looks like for their followers.

Even with a monotheistic take on virtue Catholicism has a boatload of patron saints associated with different callings or hazards, in order to guide the faithful through the individual challenges they face. These include the patron saints of anesthetists, protection from rabies, and doing stuff quickly, and several patron saints of marriage. If Catholicism had a slightly different take on sexuality I could easily see a patron saint of lovers whose job would be to help people approach their romantic/erotic relationships in a virtuous way (compassionate, giving, not exploitative or destructive).


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Goblin_Priest wrote:
Otherwise, I don't really get the need for an *outsider* good lusty creature. I mean, what's the point? ... at our all-male table, roleplaying this thing is more than a brief passing would come off as extremely awkward and creepy. Honestly, I think it'd be even worse in a mixed table.

To leap directly from "why isn't there a good-aligned creature that also does X" or "what would a creature that does X read like or be able to do", to "how could a GM roleplay a creature doing X to the PCs", misses some of the point of creatures in a roleplaying game.

Not every creature's purpose is to use their powers directly on the PCs. It can be as much the PCs' duty to convince an outsider to exert its influence over mortals or other outsiders, or to do an outsider's bidding to push a larger scheme forward, or to set the stage for the outsider to accomplish something in return for something the PCs need.

There are plenty of examples in this thread already of what that kind of creature can do in a plot, that aren't easily available to other similar creatures, and which wouldn't involve the creature doing those things to PCs. That's doubly true for good-aligned creatures in campaigns with non-evil PCs that aren't likely to ever be in combat against the PCs.


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How about an angel of unrequited love? Tasked with consoling the rejected, overlooked, and scorned in an effort to prevent them from becoming bitter and forsaking love.

I've heard it said that unrequited love is the mark of a kind soul, but in my experience it's the path to redpilling MRA posting.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


Well, that's the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope (warning, TVTropes can be hazardous to your productivity, isn't it? But I don't see any reason for this to be a trope with a dedicated outsider to fill.

I think you do see the reason: Waifus of course. It's the same reason everyone talks about redeeming succubi and Nocticula and not hezrous and Pazuzu. People want a stupidly high charisma (because cha = hotness ergo why succubi are objectively hotter than nymphs) outsider they can play the romantic with that are handily summonable via planar ally/binding or Leadership. And no, Lillends are mostly snake so that makes them too hard to have rolls in the hay with so they don't count.

No, I think that for having a roll in the hay, snake coils are not a problem. The problem that I see with Lillends is that since they don't have feet, and their wings are heavily feathered so that they can't make use of them as modified hands (unlike what is at least potentially possible for bat-style wings, even if the current rules have no support for it). This means that they are impaired for being muses in any circumstance in which they need to play an instrument that has pedals (link to most glaring example, but by no means the only example, and not even the most common example).


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This thread is giving me some pretty good Eidolon ideas. I may have to whip something up. Azata muse, perhaps?


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Mangenorn wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Lillend azatas are close enough. The only thing I would change is giving them shapechange so they can blend into societies and subtly influence poets and artists without them knowing. Plus,it's easier to inspire when you can change into anything.

There's nothing stopping you from swapping out one of the 2nd level Bard spells Lilends get with Alter Self as a GM.

This works out pretty well, even CR-wise.

That would only last 7 minutes.

Liberty's Edge

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When I think succubus I think, Manipulation & Trickery, sure they're no slouch in combat, and lets face it can be pretty downright deadly like other demonic forces, heck I think they have more Patience and should have been infernal with LE, but I think the closet Pathfinder has to an opposite for them is in the Inner Sea Gods book. The Spirits of Adoration.

As a poster brought up before, sure Succubi have sex appeal, but they rarely sleep with the one that they are trying to corrupt, the do that with those that get in the way of their power plays & plans. After all wouldn't do to kill the one they want on the throne giving them X power to use on the mortal plane for their needs.

The Spirit of Adoration, is the personification of love and uses her gifts to lift heavy hearts and to help overcome obstacles. So where the Succubi would be tempting one of two princes too evil acts and killing those in his way for her own plans. The Spirit of Adoration would be helping bridge a romance between the other brother and another kingdom, or even helping him to try and save his own brother from ruin, while he confronts to half corrupted brother she would fight the Succubi.

So in short page 308 of the Inner Sea Gods books looks like it has what you might be looking for.

Grand Lodge

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Scythia wrote:
How about an angel of unrequited love? Tasked with consoling the rejected, overlooked, and scorned in an effort to prevent them from becoming bitter and forsaking love.

Rebound angel! Rengel! Time to stat this up...


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Thelemic_Noun wrote:
That would only last 7 minutes.

That is only a problem based on your CON score.

Sovereign Court

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Presumably this goes back to the religious roots that paint sexuality as sinful and inherently bad. Various kinds of demons would tempt people to do things that they know are wrong; the succubus simply relies on sexuality (lust), while other demons rely on greed, envy, etc.

Thus there's no sexuality counterpoint among the celestials because the old Judeo-Christian model said that sex was inherently tainted and thus the counterparts are always chaste and celibate. The virtue that a Judeo-Christian model would posit would presumably be sexless love, probably love of God instead of mortal love.

PF has, of course, moved more into the modern age (a bit), so now we have the Empyreal Lord Arshea, who represents sex-positivity and gender identity acceptance, versus the counterparts like Calistria who uses sex as a weapon (the "selfish" sexuality goddess, who represents seeking sexuality as part of getting one's own gratification from someone else rather than as a partnership - hence the tie to the vengeance portfolio, as once she is no longer happy with a partner she tries to ruin them).

So succubi remain a symbol of sexuality that is driven by bad motivations. They make you want them even though you should know better. And of course they will always play innocent, or tell you that "you're special," or "if you help me maybe I can be saved," because it's easy to get people to want to believe that and then fall into the trap hook, line, and sinker. (That's a metaphorical hook, line, and sinker. Don't think about it too hard.) 'cuz everyone wants the hot girl who is dirty just for them and is basically a "hooker with a heart of gold," because that's what our culture teaches.

In a sex-positive world, celestials driven by good motivations would be teaching people to be comfortable with sexuality, showing how love and sex intersect in positive ways, and especially helping people who feel outcast or abnormal because they don't identify with mainstream sex and gender stereotypes. The problem is, celestials can't just stick around all the time, pick a human (or other mortal) to hook up with and raise a family - I mean, one or two might (that's how you get aasimar, right?), but they're not of the material plane and their concerns and motivations are different. So they would have to be super-careful about not causing jealousy, grief, and depression among people they visit - because they are of a different order and they can't just stick around and be your fantasy angel spouse. Possibly the chaotic good ones would be more "free love" types while the lawful and neutral good ones might lean more toward sex counselors and therapists, helping people to come to terms with their sexuality - and fighting against the bad uses of sexuality, that is, being a counter-example to demons and evil people who use sex as a weapon.


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Note: I'm not actually interested in arguing the morality of any of this, merely opposing the idea that sexual love was somehow 'evil' as a tenet of the faith.

Also, I really don't want to drag this whole thing off-topic in religious discussion. Hence, I'm just putting this behind a spoiler, and leaving it there. I probably won't pick it up again, here. :)

TL;DR version - 'Judaism and Christianity aren't anti-sex, though certain cultural subgroups are, and the whole is often painted with this broad brush':
Jesse Heinig wrote:

Presumably this goes back to the religious roots that paint sexuality as sinful and inherently bad. Various kinds of demons would tempt people to do things that they know are wrong; the succubus simply relies on sexuality (lust), while other demons rely on greed, envy, etc.

Thus there's no sexuality counterpoint among the celestials because the old Judeo-Christian model said that sex was inherently tainted and thus the counterparts are always chaste and celibate. The virtue that a Judeo-Christian model would posit would presumably be sexless love, probably love of God instead of mortal love.

As a very minor aside, and at the risk of religious stuff, this is fundamentally very untrue, at least as a genuine part of the core religious principals.

From the beginning Adam and Eve were told to "be fruitful and multiply." which, you know, requires sex. The entire daggum Song of Songs (generally called Song of Solomon in English Bibles) is all about the martial bliss and their romantic, sexual, and personal union woven throughout its narrative. Esther was never rebuked for being beautiful or using that to entice the king; in fact, the opposite.

Even in the New Testament, sexuality was never condemned - Paul noted that it was better to be abstinent, if possible, but if that's not a thing for you than he pointed out that you shouldn't live an abstinent life. Peter was married; depending on your faith tradition, Mary and Joseph had children together after Jesus was born (though not before).

Instead, Judaism and (at least early) Christianity has always held sexuality as a solid part of human existence. It was never the highest or most important love - that was always sacrificial love - but it was never condemned. What was condemned, consistently, was sexuality outside of its "proper confines" - which, according to the religious teachings, were inside a bond of marriage (though this could be waived in certain situations, such as when, say, a widow was being defrauded of proper care and inheritance).

That said, some later Christian traditions, when blended with and interpreted by various later local social mores, did devalue sexual relations, and this was an idea that waxed and waned over time, for various reasons and interpretations. But this was all where local customs, later interpretations, and temporary cultural surges took more emphasis.
This is especially common among those that teach celibacy, but many various groups held this in various degrees.

The main thing that I object to, here, is that it's a Judeo-Christian concept that sex is sinful and inherently bad. That's just not true, despite the presence of some groups that do have such an outlook.
(Paul's teachings could be construed as this, but, more generally, Paul seemed to indicate that all physical wants and needs were a possible point of abuse/sinful desire, not just sexuality.)

It was inherently less than that love willing to sacrifice for the good of another, but it is not inherently sinful.

That said, it's not exclusively Jude-Christian, either.

That said, there are a very many other and distinctly different social and religious traditions, as well.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllso, it's definitely true that celestial entities were painted as different from mortals, and so this was likely a part in shaping all of this - after all, they were, "neither married nor given to marriage" (as, it's worth noting, the saints after the resurrection; this is never explained) but then again, they had four faces, contained wheels within wheels, and other very bizarre concepts.

Anyway, that's a long aside that's pretty off-topic.

Certainly the various mythological traditions D&D built itself off of included those concepts as populist interpretations and understandings thereof, as well as the "angels are different" elements - so, indeed, that is one of the reasons such creatures didn't exist.

In a world in which you have celestial deities who are expressly good and expressly sexual in nature, it does definitely make sense to have celestials that follow those concepts.

EDIT: Make things a bit smoother, I hope.

Sovereign Court

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Totally disagree with your interpretation. While there's plenty of evidence that early Christianity had an indifferent attitude toward sex, by the time of the Middle Ages it was certainly problematic - see Thomas Aquinas' comment about asking God to take away his sexual desire because it was sinful, "just not yet." (The hypocrite.) Similarly the entire tradition of nunneries, where they are required to be abstinent (and, thus, why that created the sub-fantasy that crops up occasionally in modern media of the "naughty nun"). Or the fact that while priests could marry they were expected to remain chaste and restrictions on marriage were common. And of course by the 16th century there's an entire movement of purity codes and we still see it in the modern era with the demonization of sexuality, especially anything outside the confines of straight sex in marriage, which only started to become acceptable again very recently and is still hotly contested (hence why here in the U.S. there's an entire political movement devoted to persecuting gay people, all the way up to the Vice President who is an evangelical who thinks that gay people need to be "cured").


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depends... Early christianity seems to have been more or less indifferent to sex (but remember how one of the gospels has Jesus stating that if one has looked at a woman with lust, the sin has been committeed, meaning there is a sin), but as soon as you put Saul of Tarsus inside the picture, and all the authors he influenced, it becomes definitely sex hostile, outside strictly utilitarian child making within the bounds of wedlock.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In the very early Christian church, there is not really evidence of a negative attitute towards sexuality. The negative attitude at that time was in fringe Christian groups (conservatives would label them as heretical), particularly gnostics influenced by Platonism who saw anything physical as bad. The earliest 'mainstream' truly negative attitudes about sex I am aware of come from Tertullian and Origen.

The problem with any statements about the historical attitude of the Christian church is that you are talking about many different institutions over a period of about 2000 years. The Roman Catholic Church required priestly celibacy, but the Eastern Orthodox Churches did not, nor did the Celtic Church.

Also, people aren't using the same definition of 'negative opinion about sexuality.' Is the idea that sexuality is one of God's wonderful gifts to humans, but only people in some particular circumstances are allowed to use it a highly positive or highly negative view of sexuality?

Sovereign Court

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To be clear, the attitude that certain people are inherently inferior/destructible because of their sexual orientation or history (i.e. the mistreatment of gay people in modern society, the mistreatment of people born out of wedlock, the mistreatment of people who engaged in sex outside of marriage) is highly negative.

Also the term "succubus" appears in the 14th century, well in the midst of a stratified church with strong morality codes. The Church's adherence to a patriarchal, no-sex-outside-marriage attitude is probably a social stabilizer because it supports the needs of feudalism to maintain strong family lines of inheritance (if nobody's allowed to have sex outside of marriage, then you always know who the parents are - the reality, of course, was frequently different). The roots of the succubus likely go back much further (Lilith, according to apocrypha, became a succcubus-like being after being cast out of Paradise) and one of the interesting bits is the migration of the succubus from a spiritual, frightening, ugly demonic entity that worked in dreams to a beautiful, manifested entity that worked through physical temptation. (See also the Church disputes over whether something could be beautiful and evil or if truth/good was always beautiful, a major point of historical contention.)

The Church was a massively influential social force for over a thousand years in Europe and the Western world and its various purity codes in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Restoration and beyond (all the way to today!) have a huuuuge impact on what people see as "pure" or "impure." If your culture teaches you that sexuality is bad, the succubus is a demon that tempts you to do bad things via lust.

TL;DR the succubus has no counterpart because if your culture says that sex is sinful, this makes it really hard to have a "good" creature that is also sexual.


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Jesse Heinig wrote:
TL;DR the succubus has no counterpart because if your culture says that sex is sinful, this makes it really hard to have a "good" creature that is also sexual.

Christianity has almost never taught that sex is sinful. (Yes, there are a few small groups like the Shakers, but, for some strange reason, those groups tend to die out in a generation or two. Whooda thunk?)

Christianity, along with many other religions, teach that sex outside of marriage is sinful, which is a whole different kettle of... well, of something. (Viagra?) It's very easy to have a "good" creature who is also sexual,.... she's called "your wife." And, indeed, in Jewish tradition, it's a mitzvah (a blessing) to have sex with your wife, a double-mitzvah to have it on a Friday night (the Sabbath), and a triple-mitzvah, sometimes rising to the level of an actual duty, to make sure she enjoys it. There are a whole bunch of issues with this (the assumption of heteronormativity, the assumption that the husband is the one who needs the blessings, etc.) but the sex itself isn't problematic.

The problem isn't with a "good" "creature." It's with a good "outsider." What are you going to do, marry an angel? (Ideally, read the previous sentence in a New York Jewish accent.)


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Jesse Heinig wrote:
Thus there's no sexuality counterpoint among the celestials because the old Judeo-Christian model said that sex was inherently tainted and thus the counterparts are always chaste and celibate. The virtue that a Judeo-Christian model would posit would presumably be sexless love, probably love of God instead of mortal love.

I don't think you can put Jews and Christians views of sex in the same basket. In my (limited) knowledge The ancient Jews had sex in a better light than later Christians.

EDIT: Eh, Nija'd long time ago. That happens when I didn't care to read teh whole thread before posting.

Sovereign Court

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Judaism is really strong on purity taboos, but it's probably fair to say that modern Christianity is much harsher about sexuality than Judaism. I simply use the term Judeo-Christian because of the shared roots.

To really recognize how much Christian groups influence sexuality in our culture, you need to look at the Christian-led political movement to demonize gays, sex outside of marriage, or even education about sex in general. Movements like "abstinence only" and "conversion therapy" are demonstrably bad - we have clear evidence about that, but that's really probably outside the scope of this discussion - but there's a strong religious group agenda to drive them.

Now when people get all #NotAllChristians you should also remember that while there's definitively a Christian Right in the U.S. and to a lesser extent in Europe (and a strong influence in parts of Africa and South America, too), any sort of identifiable Christian Left is much, much more scattered, disorganized, and frankly not powerful. The Christian Right has TV shows like the 700 Club, evangelical movements that fill stadiums, gets people like Jerry Falwell Jr. posted to positions where they decide how we educate the entire country. The Christian Left just doesn't have that kind of swing. So there's a strong group identity of self-identified Christians who are pretty repressive about sexuality (c.f. "purity balls," suppression of gay rights, refusal to teach sex education in public school, etc.).

Obviously our modern incarnation is not the same as the historical ones, but the succubus in gaming is a modern incarnation of an old story, too.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I'll admit I haven't read beyond the first page of this thread, but...

Why is there no Good succubus equivalent?

Because there doesn't have to be a direct analogy or parallel of everything between Good and Evil!

I think the game is more interesting if there isn't a direct parallel.

But that's just my opinion, YMMV.


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Jesse Heinig wrote:


To really recognize how much Christian groups influence sexuality in our culture, you need to look at the Christian-led political movement to demonize gays, sex outside of marriage, or even education about sex in general.

You're misinterpreting the Christian position. The Christian position, as has been pointed out several times, is generally that sex is good, but only as part of a marriage.

In particular, sex education is mandatory in the Catholic Church. You are not allowed to get married in a Catholic ceremony without having undergone sex education. No, seriously. It's a required portion of the "pre-Cana" course that every couple must complete prior to the ceremony. Many other churches have similar requirements. However, there's no requirement that anyone who isn't planning to be married should have sex education, and every expectation that teaching sex education, especially sex education designed and taught by secularists, will normalize the expectation of premarital sex, which is a bad thing (in the Christian viewpoint).

An analogy that might help is looking at opioids. If you just read the press, you'd see that opioid addiction is a terrible problem, and that many (most?) health professionals are seriously concerned that Opioids are a Bad Thing (which, when uncontrolled, they are). At the same time, they're absolutely vital in the context of health care, and when used appropriately, for example, in a hospital setting, drugs like morphine are absolutely critical to providing good treatment.

So are hospitals anti-opioid? Absolutely not. But they're anti-casual-opioid.


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I'd really like it if we, collectively, would leave our moral crusades and poorly-formed opinions of other peoples' faiths and instead get back to topic. That was the point of putting it behind a spoiler - to avoid derailing into the whole, "Religious argument." which is what this is quickly becoming.

In any event, I will begin flagging posts starting now, and I would greatly appreciate it if we, as a whole, would do the same. Thanks!

Good gaming. :)

EDIT: for important clarity, as there are several different opinions. Also, a typo. Dang it, phone... >.<


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
It's with a good "outsider." What are you going to do, marry an angel?

Actually, that could lead to some interesting ideas, insofar as a Lawful Good succubus-like creature requiring that temporary marriage contracts be formed, wherein you're essentially "married" for a set period of time only, and then the marriage is naturally dissolved. Now throw in some requirements about what such a marriage requires on the mortal's part and you're halfway to having an adventure premise ready to go.


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Sounds similar to the way prostitution works in Iran, to be honest. Prostitution is of course illegal, but you can always get a temporary marriage which is bought by the husband and then dissolved after being consummated. All the sex within marriage too!

Sovereign Court

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I would really like it if people didn't immediately jump into defensive mode; this wound up dragging the thread way off-topic.

It is, ultimately, an attempt to address the original question of "Why is there no good-aligned counterpart to succubi?" If succubi represent evil temptations of sex, in a framework that has lots of taboos about sex, then you can't have a good counterpart when you've already determined that there are all kinds of problems wrapped up in sexual identity (especially female sexuality) and what people are and aren't expected to do.


Haladir wrote:
I think the game is more interesting if there isn't a direct parallel.

You know, this is kind of why I feel the opposite way. I think the game is more interesting if every good thing has the possibility of falling to corruption and becoming an evil thing and every evil thing has the possibility of seeking redemption and becoming a good thing.

That's not to say that, whatever a succubus would be or do after completing the long climb to redemption, there needs to be something born in the heavens that corresponds to it, but it's worth considering what would a redeemed succubus be like? What would she do? What sorts of things would she be interested in?

Sovereign Court

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Haladir wrote:
I think the game is more interesting if there isn't a direct parallel.

You know, this is kind of why I feel the opposite way. I think the game is more interesting if every good thing has the possibility of falling to corruption and becoming an evil thing and every evil thing has the possibility of seeking redemption and becoming a good thing.

That's not to say that, whatever a succubus would be or do after completing the long climb to redemption, there needs to be something born in the heavens that corresponds to it, but it's worth considering what would a redeemed succubus be like? What would she do? What sorts of things would she be interested in?

Now that is a great question worth exploring; Planescape: Torment tackled one possible angle with Fall-from-Grace. And of course there's always the question of "How do you know? How can you trust that she's really redeemed? She could just use magic to conceal her alignment." It's full of juicy story possibilities.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

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Flagging posts seems to be an excessive and rather childish response to seeing something you'd rather not. The point is open discussion and exchange of opinions. If one can't handle that you probably shouldn't be on the internet.

Sovereign Court

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To be clear:

What my position is NOT:
"Christianity is bad"
"Everything Christians say about sex is weird"

What my position IS:
If you ask "why no sexy angels," you must consider why there are sexy demons and why they are considered bad. What we consider "bad" and "good" is heavily informed by our cultural standards, and demons draw their model of being "bad" from how our culture was informed by Christianity.


Mark Thomas 66 wrote:
Flagging posts seems to be an excessive and rather childish response to seeing something you'd rather not. The point is open discussion and exchange of opinions. If one can't handle that you probably shouldn't be on the internet.

Flagging posts is a valid option (and important) if the conversation is too far afield of the actual topic, which this is.

If you'd rather open a new thread discussing those points, go ahead - it won't be flagged. These two posts, however, will be.

Please note, I am flagging my own, here, too.

Thanks!

Oh, and regarding the PM: I am not attempting passive-aggressive anything. It's plain old clarity, here - we're off-topic. Someone said noted something that I disagree with, I noted the disagreement, and this has now become heavily off topic, as I kind of feared it would (but hoped otherwise).

I am sorry it comes off as passive-aggressive. It was meant to be clear, polite, and to-the-point. This is a fine topic, but it deserves to be in its own thread, and not, in fact, in this one.

Again: peace, and good gaming.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Haladir wrote:
I think the game is more interesting if there isn't a direct parallel.
You know, this is kind of why I feel the opposite way. I think the game is more interesting if every good thing has the possibility of falling to corruption and becoming an evil thing and every evil thing has the possibility of seeking redemption and becoming a good thing.

Yes, but it's precisely the "falling to corruption" that breaks the symmetry. There are more ways to do something wrong than to do something right (the Anna Karenina principle, again), and so there are a lot more types of demons than angels.

This is even fairly explicit in a lot of (Christian) theology; Dante has a good framework for exploring it.

God is Love. Which is to say, all of the virtues can be summarized as "love." But love needs to be appropriate: appropriate to the object, appropriate to the manner, appropriate to the time and place, and so forth. The cardinal sins (and sins more generally) are simply incorrect love.

For example, "pride" is simply excessive love of Self. "Gluttony" is excessive love of food, or perhaps more generally of pleasure. "Sloth" is generally considered to be insufficient love of anything, so you just sit there and don't do anything. "Envy" is love of self perverted into schadenfreude, delight at seeing others brought low. And so on.

Even the lesser sins can be seen this way : homosexuality, for example, is a warped form of the natural love of a man for a woman (or vice versa); prodigality is insufficient love of the goods God has entrusted you with. Depression, or "despair" as it was called, is insufficient love of self. So you can see how both pride and despair are linked in terms of different failures of self-love.

So a nabasu is a demon of perverted love (specifically, love perverted into gluttony) while a succubus is a demon of perverted love (specifically, love perverted into [carnal] lust), and a nalfeshnee is a demon of perverted love (specifically, love perverted into greed and avarice).

Redeem any of them and you get an angel of balanced and appropriate love.

Quote:


That's not to say that, whatever a succubus would be or do after completing the long climb to redemption, there needs to be something born in the heavens that corresponds to it, but it's worth considering what would a redeemed succubus be like?

An angel.

Sovereign Court

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@Orfamay Quest: That's a great analysis. Ties in neatly with the notion that demons are really fallen angels, and that they are therefore flawed in some way. Also ties in with the idea that an angel would be possessed purely of a platonic, eternal love (presumably of God).

Even more interesting from the perspective of the apocrypha with the grigori!


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I think the thing is that (in both popular consciousness and RPG bestiaries) there's a whole lot of different kinds of angels.

I mean, you've got the ones with 9 eyes and six wings, the ones with 4 faces and 4 wings, the wheels upon wheels, the cute little naked baby ones with the bows and arrows, and the imposing one with big feathery wings (sometimes black) and the flaming sword.

Which is to say, there's a good reason for a game to have a lot of different kinds of angels, which do a lot of different kinds of things.

It's probable that whatever the succubus turns into when it's redeemed is not a thing they had in heaven before the first succubus redeemed, but I would imagine that she found a place among the heavenly hosts nonetheless. The question I was having is really "what is that place"?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
The question I was having is really "what is that place"?

I think I already answered that upthread. "Answering phones and making coffee." Because, as a demon, she's focused specifically on excessive love, and all her skills and abilities are devoted to making mortals forget the Great Loves and concentrate instead on the lesser ones and specifically on lust, and even more specifically on lust for her. Being a succubus, like most other demons, is specifically a selfish act -- it's all about MEEEEEEEEEEEEE! --- look at MEEE! pay attention to MEEE! neglect other things that aren't MEEE!

That's what distinguishes a demon from an angel; the selfishness.

Lose the selfishness, and you also lose what makes a succubus into a succubus.

Now, that's not to say that all redeemed succubi would be identical -- but just as succubi share the defining selfishness that makes them succubi, all reformed succubi share a lack of that selfishness, and are practically defined by that lack. So what is left is not a type, but an individual angel. Now that Mara (to pull an actual demonic name from literature) is no longer focused single-mindedly on her selfish desires for illicit sex, what's left is whatever other aspects of personality the now-angelic Mara has.

Maybe she likes jigsaw puzzles and takes (appropriate) pleasure in them. Maybe she dances (appropriately, in appropriate amounts, at appropriate times). Maybe she's a good cook, but not enough to herself be a glutton or to tempt her fellows into gluttony.

But there's also no reason to assume that, if Mara likes dancing, then her friend and also-redeemed succubus Ouza will also like dancing. Because they're both angels, but not necessarily of a kind. By the very act of redemption, they have granted themselves -- or been granted -- the possibility of becoming unique individuals.

(In a way, you're asking the question "what do soldiers do when they're not on duty?" Because, of course, soldiers all share a set of skills, attributes, and goals by virtue of being soldiers. But when they're off-duty, you've taken away the stuff that makes them similar, and they can and will do what they like as individuals, not as members of a group.)


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Jesse Heinig wrote:

Presumably this goes back to the religious roots that paint sexuality as sinful and inherently bad. Various kinds of demons would tempt people to do things that they know are wrong; the succubus simply relies on sexuality (lust), while other demons rely on greed, envy, etc.

Thus there's no sexuality counterpoint among the celestials because the old Judeo-Christian model said that sex was inherently tainted and thus the counterparts are always chaste and celibate. The virtue that a Judeo-Christian model would posit would presumably be sexless love, probably love of God instead of mortal love.

While I agree with the rest of what you're saying I think you're a bit off the mark here.

I don't think it's that sex as such is seen as bad, but that the succubus is using it to do evil. Likewise, desiring wealth isn't evil, greed is this mishandling of that desire.

Since there is no corresponding good uses of these things there is no corresponding celestial. There's Arshea but I don't see s/he as an opposite of the succubus as there is no use of sex to do good. Rather, sex is a means of worship for Arshea's followers.

(A thought: Does the time spent on the celestial obedience feat also qualify for a cleric praying for spells?)

Now, if you want a true positive there's an idea I've toyed with but I've never attempted to ensure it's balanced--and it would be NPC only as it's not very combat effective. One day I heard a song talking about sexual healing that prompted me to come up with a class: sexual healer.

Divine caster, unlimited at will casting. However, casting is only possible during orgasm (they decide what to cast before reaching orgasm) and the target of the spell is inherently whatever brought them to orgasm (If the spell permits multiple targets and they are being stimulated by multiple sources simultaneously they can target all the sources. A single target spell will hit the source they are engaged in full sex with, otherwise a random source of stimulation.) Material components are as normal, verbal and somatic ones are dropped. They can only use spell completion magic items at touch range.


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Loren Pechtel wrote:
Jesse Heinig wrote:
Thus there's no sexuality counterpoint among the celestials because the old Judeo-Christian model said that sex was inherently tainted and thus the counterparts are always chaste and celibate.

While I agree with the rest of what you're saying I think you're a bit off the mark here.

I don't think it's that sex as such is seen as bad, but that the succubus is using it to do evil. Likewise, desiring wealth isn't evil, greed is this mishandling of that desire.

Since there is no corresponding good uses of these things there is no corresponding celestial.

Well, there is a corresponding good use of sex,.... but, as I pointed out upthread, it's only in the context of marriage. (And the dodge of temporary marriage doesn't work when marriage is, as it is in Christian tradition, a life-long, "till death do us part" sacrament. The idea of a temporary marriage is, in Christian thought, at a minimum oxymoronic, and at worst blasphemous.) So we're back to "marry an angel."


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Here's the relevant bit from Canto XVII of Purgatory.

Dante wrote:


Creator, nor created being, e’er,
My son,” he thus began, “was without love,
Or natural, or the free spirit’s growth,
Thou hast not that to learn. The natural still
Is without error: but the other swerves,
If on ill object bent, or through excess
Of vigour, or defect. While e’er it seeks
The primal blessings, or with measure due
The inferior, no delight, that flows from it,
Partakes of ill. But let it warp to evil,
Or with more ardour than behoves, or less,
Pursue the good; the thing created then
Works ’gainst its Maker. Hence thou must infer
That love is germin of each virtue in ye.

Freely explicated:

* God is Love, and Love is naturally Good
* When Love seeks the Great Good (God) or lesser goods in appropriate measures, Love itself is still good.
* When love "warps to evil" (perverted love, loving the wrong things), or is pursued too strongly (excessive love) or not strongly enough (insufficient love), then it becomes an Evil.

So pride, envy, and wrath are examples of perverted love:

Quote:


There is who hopes (his neighbour’s worth deprest)
Pre-eminence himself; and covets hence,
For his own greatness, that another fall.
There is who so much fears the loss of power,
Fame, favour, glory, (should his fellow mount
Above him), and so sickens at the thought,
He loves their opposite: and there is he,
Whom wrong or insult seems to gall and shame,
That he doth thirst for vengeance; and such needs
Must dote on other’s evil.

Sloth is the example of insufficient love.

Quote:


All indistinctly apprehend a bliss,
On which the soul may rest; the hearts of all
Yearn after it; and to that wished bourn
All therefore strive to tend. If ye behold,
Or seek it, with a love remiss and lax;
This cornice, after just repenting, lays
Its penal torment on ye.

And, of course, gluttony, avarice, and lust are examples of excessive love for lesser goods. Food is a pleasure in itself, but to love food to excess is gluttony. (But the full explanation isn't in Canto XVII.)


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EDIT: so... very... ninja'd... XD

Orfamay Quest wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
The question I was having is really "what is that place"?

I think I already answered that upthread. "Answering phones and making coffee." Because, as a demon, she's focused specifically on excessive love, and all her skills and abilities are devoted to making mortals forget the Great Loves and concentrate instead on the lesser ones and specifically on lust, and even more specifically on lust for her. Being a succubus, like most other demons, is specifically a selfish act -- it's all about MEEEEEEEEEEEEE! --- look at MEEE! pay attention to MEEE! neglect other things that aren't MEEE!

That's what distinguishes a demon from an angel; the selfishness.

Lose the selfishness, and you also lose what makes a succubus into a succubus.

Now, that's not to say that all redeemed succubi would be identical -- but just as succubi share the defining selfishness that makes them succubi, all reformed succubi share a lack of that selfishness, and are practically defined by that lack. So what is left is not a type, but an individual angel. Now that Mara (to pull an actual demonic name from literature) is no longer focused single-mindedly on her selfish desires for illicit sex, what's left is whatever other aspects of personality the now-angelic Mara has.

Maybe she likes jigsaw puzzles and takes (appropriate) pleasure in them. Maybe she dances (appropriately, in appropriate amounts, at appropriate times). Maybe she's a good cook, but not enough to herself be a glutton or to tempt her fellows into gluttony.

But there's also no reason to assume that, if Mara likes dancing, then her friend and also-redeemed succubus Ouza will also like dancing. Because they're both angels, but not necessarily of a kind. By the very act of redemption, they have granted themselves -- or been granted -- the possibility of becoming unique individuals.

(In a way, you're asking the question "what do soldiers do when they're not on duty?" Because, of course, soldiers all share...

To some extent, but I don't really think that's the whole of it.

If the whole thing is, "Now she's appropriate." that doesn't really matter, especially in a PF-context.

As noted, Golarion has an extremely modern and progressive attitude toward sexuality - to the extent that what some would consider "illicit" (or whatever) sex in our culture really isn't in Golarion.

Beyond that, I'd suggest that humanity - mortality - has the ability to "corrupt" just about anything - if she becomes perfect and uncorrupt, in either Golarion terms or ours, that really means nothing.

She's going to be an object of desire - that's what she is, by definition, unless she changes into, I dunno, a lantern archon or something; but, as I alluded to with Flumphs up above, there's the rub - she's still going to be a potential object of desire for someone, because, as we've proved, this is the internet, and Rule 34 (I think it's 34? Sorry, I've forgotten.) is in full sway - whether for comedy or for realsies. And with being an object of desire comes being an object of inappropriate desire.

So is she then forced to go into a cloistered life?

Nope. Not on Golarion.

There are plenty of non-evil gods of probably-any-kind-of-consensual-sex (including good ones). That gives her a place.

Heck, there are plenty of instances in myth of the tempter being a good creature - she could even play her exact role, but then, at the point when it would otherwise go through, turn it into a "teaching moment" to explain, "Look, this is what would have happened if we'd gone through with it."

(To be clear, that's a hard, harsh lesson, but, you know, I could certainly see that sort of thing for a Calistrian. Buuu~uuut, I submit that a CN non-evil succubus is also pretty far afield of the OP, soooooooooo...)

In any event, I don't think that she'd have to be relegated to that role; and especially not in Golarion. It more or less depends on who she ends up "associated" with, over-all, as it is exceedingly unlikely (though I'd posit not impossible) that such a creature would be able to change alignment on her own.

Another thing to mention, that just occurred to me on a related topic (that may require its own thread): the fact that we consistently call succubi "she" - I wonder if there's any reality to that? Obviously, they have secondary sexual characteristics of females, but I wonder if that's really a consistent way they view themselves. One poster earlier mentioned that they're basically just predators that use sexual desire as the camouflage they use to hunt their food (aroused people). Hence, I wonder how many of them actually are sexual or even gendered creatures, themselves.

It can be comparable to the stripes of a tiger. Sure, they are good a camouflage, but how many consider themselves basically grass? Heck, how many are interested in getting chewed on by the creatures they hunt? That's a kind of interesting analogy, to me - it makes them far more alien than I'd previously been considering.

In that case, though, the whole "what is the opposite of a succubus" becomes a case of "what is the opposite of a hunter-killer" - and I guess that's basically a shepherd or other entity that raises and helps tend/breed the creatures. And that is an interesting and weird succubus.

In that case, I could certainly see them being helpful in certain marital situations - if the spark is gone, but a couple really wants a child, the creature could serve as a kind of "fetish fuel" to think about, even if the couple themselves are exclusively engaged with each other.

Spoiler, 'cause pretty racy for the general tone of these boards:
Like, if a couple really got off on someone watching, she could do that. If a particular physical "look" happens to be required for turning someone on for some reason, she could provide visuals and just kind of hang out - dancing, or otherwise putting on a "show" to arouse, or whatever. Basically, free porn (or otherwise engaging or titillating visual/audible displays) to help a couple through their certain issues.

I mean, depending on the "goal" as it were, she could even engage herself, whether she'd be normally interested or not, for the purposes of breeding (if her physical body could handle it - which, canonically, in-Golarion*, we know it can), for some reason - which might result in Alu-Fiends**, but, if the succubus as been redeemed, might, instead, result in half-celestials** of some sort (which may or may not be a goal).

Heck, I could definitely see her being useful for helping couples who otherwise wouldn't be interested (maybe a forced, arranged, or even willing-but-only-political marriage) find that "spark" - and while she, herself, would be an object of arousal, she'd teach them, over-time, how to transfer the desire toward each other (or whatever).

Anyhoo, that's another track you could take. "Human husbandry." That's a weird thought. Heh - could be true for any humanoid that, like the panda, is endangered...

* Though, admittedly, we're pretty far from their standard portrayal in Golarion canon... sort of. I could easily see most of the instances I've run into be painted as, "These fools think I'm sexy, and I even indulge a bit on occasion to either lure them into continuing that delusion, or generating useful spawn." with no actual sexual interest beyond that.

** Frankly, by the time we're discussing redeemed succubi, I really can't guess anymore. You'd think alu-fiend, but maybe an "alu-celestial" or something instead...

Sovereign Court

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The masculine counterpoint to a succubus is an incubus. Depending on the demon-lore you're referencing, they may have genders, or they may be naturally genderless and just take whatever identity is convenient.

The idea of a "good sexy angel" as a creature that engages in therapeutic practice/gender identity counseling/teachable lessons is what I was saying before - that if you want to take "sexuality as method for alignment" and wrap it up in good trappings, it needs to be something that has those morally teachable elements that encourage people to pursue good ends rather than bad ones.

Of note, while @Orfamay Quest makes a very interesting case, Pathfinder specifically does categorize angels and other celestial entities into various rigid groups that have specific areas of interest, so at least in the structure that the game already uses for categorization there is a plausible reason to ask "What kind of specific angel would a redeemed succubus be? What would that be like?"


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Azata who specifically travel the mortal world who works to stop people mistreating others as a result of their sexuality and go out of their way to show that sexuality can be celestial without being chained up by restrictions.

Archons of marriage could also exist.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I find it funny that the original poster's point seems to be lost. The OP already pointed out that there was a good aligned outsider that was designed for amorous pursuits - the gancanagh azata, Bestiary 5 pg 38.

The point was that there was no female equivalent to that particular azata. My suggestion, make a write up of one for the next RPG challenge and see if it makes it in a future beastiary.


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Scythia wrote:

How about an angel of unrequited love? Tasked with consoling the rejected, overlooked, and scorned in an effort to prevent them from becoming bitter and forsaking love.

I've heard it said that unrequited love is the mark of a kind soul, but in my experience it's the path to redpilling MRA posting.

Naderi does a lot of work with lost loves and forbidden love.


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Tacticslion wrote:
In that case, though, the whole "what is the opposite of a succubus" becomes a case of "what is the opposite of a hunter-killer" - and I guess that's basically a shepherd or other entity that raises and helps tend/breed the creatures. And that is an interesting and weird succubus.

I think you're onto something there: the role changes from the predator to someone that teaches and protects mortals, helping them grow to their fullest potential.

And yeah, the more I think on it, I feel that a redeemed succubus could very definitely still be sexualized or beautiful (in the way that Tacticslion pointed out) without that being necessarily serving the succubus in the way it did as a demon.

Quote:
In that case, I could certainly see them being helpful in certain marital situations - if the spark is gone, but a couple really wants a child, the creature could serve as a kind of "fetish fuel" to think about, even if the couple themselves are exclusively engaged with each other.

You know, succubi in PF can grant their Alter Self as a profane boon to mortals. I could see something akin to that being used as a sacred gift for the situations you put in spoilers as well.

Quote:

God is Love. Which is to say, all of the virtues can be summarized as "love." But love needs to be appropriate: appropriate to the object, appropriate to the manner, appropriate to the time and place, and so forth. The cardinal sins (and sins more generally) are simply incorrect love.

For example, "pride" is simply excessive love of Self. "Gluttony" is excessive love of food, or perhaps more generally of pleasure. "Sloth" is generally considered to be insufficient love of anything, so you just sit there and don't do anything. "Envy" is love of self perverted into schadenfreude, delight at seeing others brought low. And so on.

I think that's an interesting angle to approach this from. But I think your later post where you suggest that the redeemed succubus really boils down to just being the coffee/phone lady of heaven just sounds... Underwhelming?

I could see the redeemed succubus as a messenger and a shepherd in the way Tacticslion described things very easily. Indeed, I could see the bit about teaching the lessons of temptation and how to AVOID temptation being core to the redeemed succubus. This sounds like an angel that might lead good or neutral aligned characters feeling doubts to see glimmers of hope, or to help a young (wo)man that is surrounded by unfriendly souls looking to take advantage of the youth learn how to spot deceit and temptation. Etc.

Also, I know you mentioned homosexuality as a lesser sin solely in the old Christian context, but I'd probably make a note saying "and I'm not saying it is one but this is just Dante's framework at play etc etc" to make that clearer. I won't bother you any more about that - but I wanted to point that out, since someone might misinterpret what you said, and I know you didn't mean any harm or insult.

Quote:
Though, admittedly, we're pretty far from their standard portrayal in Golarion canon... sort of. I could easily see most of the instances I've run into be painted as, "These fools think I'm sexy, and I even indulge a bit on occasion to either lure them into continuing that delusion, or generating useful spawn." with no actual sexual interest beyond that.

Yeah, that's a very good point. People tend to play them as sex-crazed, but they're really not supposed to be. They're supposed to be manipulators and tempters, but I would compare them to the "Black Widow" concept: you have a character that knows they have a strong sexual presence, and they use that to their advantage, but that doesn't mean they're crazy into the act of babymaking.

Quote:
Of note, while @Orfamay Quest makes a very interesting case, Pathfinder specifically does categorize angels and other celestial entities into various rigid groups that have specific areas of interest, so at least in the structure that the game already uses for categorization there is a plausible reason to ask "What kind of specific angel would a redeemed succubus be? What would that be like?"

I think they'd be angels that focus on teaching mortals and helping them grow while also being companions (potentially ranging from friend to guardian to some sort of platonic love) to troubled characters in need of guidance. Having been demons versed in temptation and corruption, they'd be focused on teaching mortals the -

Oh God I just had an image of a redeemed succubus as a "don't do drugs cuz I've been there" spokesperson at a high school.


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*Ahem*

Who says there isn't a good equivalent of a succubus?!


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Bardess wrote:
*Ahem*

Is that for someone who wants to play a Bard named Sappho?


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And for someone who wants to play another Bard named Petrarch. ;) Or Plato.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I'm drawn to think of the Lillim "class" from In Nomine, as the daughters of Lilith in that game filled the succubus role as their powers enabled them to see what people want deep down and to extract favors from people (via geas) for giving them what they want. Obviously, as they were demons so this didn't usually work out well for the target; but they were some of the "nicer" demons as they were all born in Hell and weren't the corrupted versions of anything, they were just selfish and transaction-oriented.

It was exceedingly rare, but possible for one of the Lillim to be redeemed, and since they weren't the fallen versions of anything native to Heaven, there weren't others like them already up there. But their power transitioned from being able to see what people "need" rather than what they "want". They still got to extract favors from people in exchange for providing what the target needed, but since getting what you need is generally better for you than getting what you want (and they're angels now) this did usually work out well for the target. They were among the least selfless and most morally flexible angels, but the Bright Lillim were angels nonetheless.

Even Bright Lillim could fall though. Redemption was relatively rare for any type of In Nominee demon, because the process involved an Archangel literally rebuilding the demon, a process much more difficult than simply creating a new Angel. And demons did not always survive the process of retuning them to the Symphony.

That's the inherent difference in the In Nominee setting, Angels are in tune to God's Symphony whereas demons are those angels who have rejected the Symphony in favor for their own private one.

Lillim are unique because they are all children of Lillith, Adam's first wife.


Alexandros Satorum wrote:
Jesse Heinig wrote:


....I didn't care to read teh whole thread before posting....

After a certain point, that basically becomes the norm, though, doesn't it?

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