Demon of Justice - Creative Make-Up for Sunday Morning Heroes

We missed another SundayMorningHeroes D&D5e stream (this time as Quill, Briar and Eva recovered from a massive Saturday Charity Livestream), so here's my Creative RPG video to Make Up for it...

A viewer requested the text of the video, so here's the (fairly raw) relevant part of the script:

This time, the suggestion is one of the first ones I got when I started doing these - a Demon of Justice (I lost the name of the viewer who suggested it, but there have acutally been a few similar suggestions since).

This is a being scholars call: The Fair One

-like most demons, The Fair One seeks blood and carnage, both at its own hands, but also on a much grander scale.

-to do the most damage for the longest period of time, though, it does not simply wander into the town square and start killing. It is a far more insidious threat... and it requires a mortal patron that it can work through.

-It appears first in their dreams. It may try this several times, if it finds subjects unsuitable, but it always Seeks individuals with a path to power, or already in power.

-it may choose the person at the top if that individual is insecure, or has some grand ambition to play upon, but since ambition and fear are the main motivations it can use, it more often chooses someone who seeks to rise to ultimate power in their city or nation

-through dreams, the demon sews and amplifies the fears of the individual, reinforcing in their mind the "divide" between different groups of people - be it ethnic, linguistic, racial or class differences. No group of sentients is so small or so homogenous that it cannot be twisted into "us" and "them" (in the minds of the fearful and ambitious)

-once the potential patron has been prepared, the Demon reveals itself to them in a waking vision

-The Fair One appears as a tall, stately marble statue of the patron's race and any other societal group they strongly identify with; for example wearing the garb of wealthy merchant, or a devout worshipper of their deity, as appropriate.

-but always the Fair One's face is a blank featureless slate, and it has angelic wings folded partway around its body

-The demon seeks to convince the mortal that it is an angel or avatar of Justice, who has chosen them as its vessel to deliver their society from danger, injustice, or immorality... whatever would appeal most to the subject - and that in order to save the people the patron must make personal sacrifices to rise to power. Chosen for their susceptibility, and prepared by the dreams to be ready for such a cause, whether swayed more by the desire to "fix" their city or state, or by the ambition to rise, the individual will usually accept the quest and begin acting.

- The Fair One guides them to push for laws and policies which "protect" the patrons group at the expense of whatever race or demographic they are predisposed against, using this conflict as a wedge to gain more power. The demon uses its cynical political guile to guide the patron, and uses every success AND failure to cleverly manipulate the patron to both succeed and rise, and to enact increasingly draconian laws where possible.

-the rise of the demon's patron tends to be quick, but overall this is still a long process taking years, and there is another goal; to convince the patron to perform the ritual which summons The Fair One into their world.

-Depending on the individual patron and the details of their rise to power, it may be quite easy or very difficult to convince them to perform the ritual. The greedy, evil or gullible patron may summon the demon early in the process in their reckless lust for power, while the Fair One may not even broach the subject with a wiser patron until it can maneuver them onto a more desperate situation. Typically a key part of this bargain, once made official by the ritual, is that the Demon will agree never to harm its patron. Directly... if for some reason it needs to get around this, it tries do so by indirectly provoking enemies to action, but generally the Demon is "loyal" in the sense that its success is tied closely to that of the patron, and starting over would be a major setback.

-Once the Fair One is brought into the world by the ritual, it will still serve its patron much as before, in secret, but it will seek to do so from a sanctum - a grand, austere location if possible. If anything its political acumen becomes more precise because, once physically present, it can sense the mood of the city, the main collective fears and desires of the people.
-It can also sense their crimes. The fair one becomes aware of any crime perpetrated within the city, as well as some information about the criminal; whether they side with or against its patron. And now, not only can it create the draconian justice it seeks via its supposed 'master', but it can administer justice itself. Using its crime-sense, The Fair One begins to venture out at night, materializing at crime scenes and slaying the perpetrators. It does so almost silently, and at first, very selectively - chosing victims in such a manner as to further its patron's political power. This may mean killing members of the opposing faction or a minority targeted by the patron's rhetoric, or members of the patron's own group or supporters to inflame their passion against the targeted groups. Regardless, the demon only murders criminals in this way, and kills them in such a way as to make clear the crime they had just committed.

- Of course, The Fair One does not care the magnitude of the crime, only That it was a breach of the law, and How it will affect it and it's patron's power. More draconian laws, more oppressive regulation... all this furthers its power, increasing the range of targets it can choose from.

-These killings create the appearance of vigilante justice, spreading terror and outrage as petty criminals are found dead, the spoils of their crime still in hand. The Fair One revels in slaying law breakers, but also in fear and paranoia. As it kills and as fear grows, the demon grows more powerful, and the rate of killings increases, while The Fair One pushes for more and more oppressive laws.

-The end goal of the demon is totalitarian state where the people live in terror of the government and of the mysterious killings. Normally this injust "justice" will provoke just enough acts of rebellion to slake the demon's bloodthirst.

 

-The Demon of Justice could create a Dr-Who like 2-4 session murder-mystery, or a longer arc as the PCs try to find the source of the mysterious killings - especially if they are dealing with other, more seemingly urgent threats while this plot builds in the background. After all, the apparent vigilante killings (which we know are the Demon) could easily spark gang violence, conspiracies and who-knows-what-else throughout the city or region, perpertrated by groups who know nothing of the Demon. That's half the point.
-Or you could start out beforehand, when it appears this politician is rising, just in the background of your setting. It would be awesome if the previous ruler were corrupt or enacting some villainous scheme which the PCs thwarted, leading to their ouster, only to have the Demon's Patron take their place. You can definite what the Ritual is and what it requires - perhaps some arcane component combined with the execution of a number of criminals? Could the PCs discover and stop part of the gathering of materials, but maybe only delayed the summoning?
-If you want to start in with the supernatural sightings - both clues and/or misdirection - remember, this Demon can only kill beings who break the law (or beings OTHER than its Patron who enter its sanctum). Imagine what a witness sees - this stone, faceless Angel (usually teleporting-in with some suitably dramatic special-effects) slaying a criminal in the act, but unable to touch or use any abilities on a bystander who is truly innocent by their society's legal standards.

Demonac

D&D Dungeonmaster and Storyteller

Long, long ago, I created Another Gaming Comic, the world's ugliest webcomic. After about a 10 year run the writer's block piled up and I couldn't continue it. I don't want to call it dead - there was more to tell - but I also don't have time to go back and getting it going again would be hard.

I also created text-based D&D Excerpts, from some campaigns where I was a player (the first one was INSANE and hilarious). But by the third "season" of D&D Excerpts, that was a game where I was the GM, which meant I had GM notes, and it really changed the flavor. 

Then, I experimented with doing those same excerpts on youtube, and Tales From My D&D Campaign was born...