So, in my game, 2 Quasitors are hunting the Renounced Hercule Ex Miscellania, a known Diabolist who fled Normandy and has been spotted in Colchester in Stonehenge.
But.... What exactly can a Diabolist do that a Magi cant? OK, he summons demons, but does that turn Colchester into one of those episodes of Supernatural in which everyone in town is possessed by a demon?
Or does the Diabolist sell his soul, for strange powers beyond any Magi? If so, what might they be.
I guess I'm a little stuck for inspiration on Diabolists and exactly what they get out of the deal and why they are a terrible threat. Any ideas, or past examples or statted up villains would be appreciated.
At the risk of sounding like a commercial, RoP: Infernal is a great resource and easy to pick up as a pdf.
That aside, I think it kind of depends on what the diabolist wants to get out of the deal. A magus who has made deals with demons might gain knowledge... extra experience points beyond what he ought to have by age/study. He might trade for the ability to treat his magic as Infernal when within an Infernal aura, gaining a bonus to spell casting there. He might get some extra nifty Infernal powers, perhaps similar to Virtues over is usual allotment without paying for them with flaws. He might gain a demonic spirit as an ally, which would use it's own powers at his command, though always working to corrupt him. He might also gain the ability to summon up demonic thugs or infernally corrupted beasts to fill the role of grogs and thrash any pesky investigating magi. Or maybe he just really wanted a doughnut.
I'm working on stating up an infernal necromancer for my saga right now. He'll have some extra experience points for arts and spells, the ability to use an Infernal aura as a bonus and a demon ally. He also has some demonic foot soldiers / spies that take the form of a flock of ravens and some monstrous wolves. That, and a whole bunch of ghosts summoned and bound by his own Hermetic magic and he will be, I hope, a challenging foe.
I've got RoP:I here by the computer and I've just flicked through it... and nothing speaks to me.
Partly its the constant mechanics, equations and formulae obscuring the ideas, but also that there arent any simple examples of Infernalists', which makes it less useful for my purposes.
What I'm after is ideas and concepts- the mechanics can go hang or come in later as needed.
So.... lets start with first principles. He's an Ex Miscellanea, so what type. I vaguely remember some fortune telling types, so lets make him one of them- a caster of bones and seer of palms. What is his advantage? Demons whisper to him of the Future. Yes it may break the Limit of Time, but thats the thing about demons- they cheat.
How does he exploit this? He's been telling (and selling) Fortunes in Colchester. But all his Fortunes lead men and women to Dark Fates (to steal a cool concept from In Nomine) rather than their noble destiny. He knows secrets- from every sin the town Priest has committed to black mail on the local Guilders to the local lord. And he knows the Quasitors are coming for him.
Hercule has suborned through Blackmail and Mentem magics and demonic possession the allegiance of the Guilds and Castle Constable. Only the stern and devout Augustinians (except in 1227 its too early for them- best make them strict Benedictines instead) remaining within their high Dominion Abbey are untouched by the plague of sin, Dark Fate and devilry unleashed by Hercule. Licentiousness, debauchery and the 7 Deadly Sins run rampant in the town. Hercule knows the Quasitors are coming, and more importantl knows where they will seek shelter, food and sleep - be it an inn or castle. Therefore their food will be tainted and their grogs led away by women of easy virtue and murder will be attempted in their sleep.
But... what weakness can we build in, to give the PC's a sporting chance. Well, while Hercule sees the future, its mostly his future and he sees his own Dark Fate approaching- death at the hands of the Order. Also, lets make Parma useful- it still protects the Magi from Fortune telling, so most of Hercules location fixes and future visions concern the grogs around the Magi- if they ever go off on their own, Parma'd up, then Hercule would be blind to their movements and actions.
I can Tell you some things about Colchester that may be of use/interest.
There was great rivalry - animosity even - between the monks of St. Botolph's and St. John's. They regularly came to blows, sometmes fighting with sticks on the town walls (this might be something that a diabolist could exploit).
The most likely place for anyone to stay would be the priory, which was outside the old Roman walls (St. John's Abbey was within the walls, but very close to the priory).
Boudicca attacked the town in around 60 A.D.. Colchester was, by then, mostly a settlement for retired or discharged Roman soldiers. She destroyed the garrison, set fire to the town and routed a Roman legion that was sent to attack her. So there should be plenty of pagan warrior ghosts just waiting to be exploited.
Much of the mediaeval town, including the abbey (and possibly the castle and the priory) was built by Eudo, who was steward to William the Conqueror, William II and Henry I. He was given control of Colchester, and died in 1120. Might he have hidden some vast stash of something in the town?
There were bear pits in - surprise, surprise - Bear Lane.
The nearby island of Mersea is/was reached by the extant Roman road leading due south. Mersea is connected by a causeway (dating from, at least, Roman times) which floods at high tide, cutting the island off from the mainland.
The vaults of the Temple of Claudius are still there and are still accessible beneath the Norman castle.
The Roman walls and the gates are pretty much still intact in 1220.
I hope that some of this helps.
Please don't destroy Colchester, it's where I keep all my stuff.
Well, you could start with the Ars Goetia portion of it. With him being a Diabolist, a good Hierarchy score + the ease of using Rego for summoning should make him sufficiently well-attended to cause significant issues before he even starts casting magic. As for your infested village idea... why not! Demons and spirits can possess folks and then said Diabolist can make them do nasty things. The ease of summoning also allows him to grant all those fun bonuses to himself! See that chapter for fun.
Second, a decent diabolist-magus is a fairly significant nasty. So, the demons are REALLY going to like him. In fact, there may be a bit of a rivalry between Big Nasties as to who is really owed his soul. This makes for some interesting opportunities for demons to meet with the PCs and arrange some back-stabbing betrayals. Remember, while one patron may want him doing nasty stuff on earth... the other may just want his soul and death is the fastest means of accomplishing that. Either way, he has attracted the attention of a troupe of nasty and uncooperating demons who work for different masters for different purposes. Having a whole gang of demons floating into a town makes for some interesting stories.
Third, design a couple interesting pacts for him. Maybe some straight demonic virtues so he is working with more than just his hermetic magic. Maybe his tongue shoots out of his head (piercing parma since its a physical attack) and poisons people or injects a propensity for sin into them.
Four, a big ceremony... something that is going to make the players lives really unfortunate. Or just throw them forever... I seem to recall an Infernal power that allows people to switch bodies. The Infernalist knows the ritual but needs a cult and someone to switch bodies into him. Think drug cartel boss on the run... plastic surgery! Hmmm, it's a demonic power that deceives so I wonder whether Hermetic magic can detect it? Congratulations, you killed the Infernalist... but for some reason Lord Shining Good Guy is smiling evilly at you as he waves goodbye to you. Oh well, nothing to see here folks, time to head home. That and there's the obvious investigation into trying to find him and what he's up to before the ceremony is held. Who is the victim chosen? Heck, maybe it's the baker's wife on a temporary basis. Yes that nice woman who baked the bread that our grogs bought this morn--ACK!
I'm pulling serf's parma over me here since it's been a couple months since I went through RoP:I.