Sickness Demons and Aegis of the Hearth

I thought it would be interesting to inflict one of our covenant’s grogs with St. Anthony’s Fire (City & Guild, pg. 27), but I am a little uncertain how to handle some aspects of it.

We are told the illness is caused by a “minor demon in the victim’s intestines.” Cool. Our magi are both healers of one sort or another, and they have battle demons and diabolists in the past, so this sounds like good fun.

However…

So, if a demon takes up residence in a grog is that physically or spiritually? Most importantly, what would happen when the grog attempted to cross the covenant’s Aegis of the Hearth? (It can certainly protect the against a creature with Infernal Might 10.) Would the grog himself be prevented from entering? Would the act of crossing the [i]Aegis[i] drive the demon out of his body?

Secondly, it shouldn’t be too hard for the magi to identify that a demon of some sort is causing the illness. Even though Hermetic magic cannot identify the demon’s presence the characters have sufficient skill in mundane healing, Intellego Corpus, and infernal lore (shh… don’t tell anyone) to rule out other sources. Would a Rego Vim ward against demons (targeted on the inflicted person) drive out any demons even if they have not been independently identified?

Finally, C&G says that the wounds inflicted by the disease demon are magical. Should I take that to mean that the Medicine skill would be insufficient to treat it? Are there diseases that are supernatural and thus beyond mortal ken? Or can it still be treated with the standard disease rules?

Thoughts are appreciated.

Hi,

Good questions.

I think that the answers to these questions are probably highly saga dependent, so it really depends what you (the story-guide) and the troupe want. However, this would be my take on it.

Yes, I think that crossing the Aegis would drive the demon out of the character's body. If you don't want that to occur, you can always increase the Might of the demon.

What is the effect of driving out the demon? Clearly, it should prevent the demon from causing on-going damage to the character. However, if the character has already suffered wounds due to the demon, they would still need to be healed.

In addition, I think that I would rule that the demon can easily find its way back into the character --- as it has not been exorcised properly. So, the demon would lurk around outside the Ageis (hopefully, invisibly), and not need the character to fail a Stamina Test to infest him again. If the character spends "most" of the season outside the Aegis, the demon can still cause escalating damage. Of course, while he's waiting the demon might try to infest another target.

I think it should be pretty easy too. Once the symptoms have manifested, then a simple Perception + Medicine roll should be enough to realize that the character is afflicted with a disease usually caused by a demon. Or, as you suggest, an Infernal Lore roll or InCo effect would probably give the same information.

To actually see the demon and categorically identify it as the cause (or target it with spells) is trickier.

I think a ward would keep the demon out in the first place, and also prevent the character from being reinfested if the demon leaves, but I don't think it would actually remove the demon. Of course, you could maybe remove the demon with some other ReVi effect (or a PeVi effect), but you need to be able to sense the demon in some way to target it. Alternatively, given that you suspect it is there, you might be able to devise an effect you can use to indirectly target the demon --- see Aiming in ArM5. And your effects would need to penetrate the demon's magic resistance, of course.

The intention is that it's not that the wounds are magical; it is the attack that is magical. So you can resist the attack with magic resistance. If the attack has been successful, the wound it causes is not magical and it is treatable by mundane (or magical) means.

I hope that helps.

Have you ever wondered why people tend to get more sick in the winter? This might be the reason - at the time the Aegis is being recast, there is a short time that it is down - allowing sicknessdemons to enter. And since the Aegis ritual is usually performed with all the inhabitants, the demon gets to become an inhabitant along with the rest:)

In most legends spiritual entities like spirits and demons enter wards using a host. I would rule that this would be the same: the demon would be unable to cross on his own, but he can "ride" the grog across the boundary. I have always done that IMS. It works ok most of the time.

Cheers,

Xavi

Alternatively you could use the four bodily humours - they each correspond to a long list of symbolisms. If you look at the list below e.g. a red-haired man of the Taurus sign would in the spring, especially if he eats to much sweet food or meat from mammals or if the planet Jupitier is in ascendence, be vulnerable to an excess of blood -> which would lead to sickness from diseases from excess blood. Whether this is due to metaphysical laws or vulnerability to certain sickness demons within said humor.

In terms of seasons the winter would bring phlegmatic diseases/demons, the spring blood diseases/demons, the summer choleric diseases/demons and the autumn melancholic diseases/demons. These might also be the seasons that the various demons might be stong enough to cross the Aegis.

[size=150]Table: The Four Humors - from Cause & Cure[/size]
Sanguine
Humor:blood
Qualities:hot and moist
Organ:heart or liver
Season:spring
Time of Life:childhood
Color:red
Taste:sweet
Archangel:Raphael
Evangelist:John
Saint:Mark
Beast:mammals
Element:air
Planet:Jupiter
Astrological signs:Gemini, Taurus, Aries

Choleric
Humor:yellow bile
Qualities:hot and dry
Organ:gall bladder
Season:summer
Time of Life:youth
Color:yellow
Taste:bitter
Archangel:Michael
Evangelist:Mark
Saint:Paul
Beast:reptiles
Element:fire
Planet:Mars
Astrological signs:Virgo, Leo, Cancer

Melancholy
Humor:black bile
Qualities:cold and dry
Organ:spleen
Season:autumn
Time of Life:middle age
Color:black
Taste:sour
Archangel:Uriel
Evangelist:Luke
Saint:John
Beast:fish
Element:earth
Planet:Saturn
Astrological signs:Libra, Scorpio, Saggitarius

Phlegmatic
Humor:phlegm
Qualities:cold and moist
Organ:brain or pituitary gland
Season:winter
Time of Life:old age
Color:white
Taste:salt y
Archangel:Gabriel
Evangelist:Matthew
Saint:Peter
Beast:birds
Element:water
Planet:Moon
Astrological signs:Pisces, Aquarius, Capricom

Ultimately, I think that's the most gameable approach, and not an unreasonable one (especially if the demon can not leave the body once past the Aegis or something-- I'll think on that). Another idea is that the demon is temporarily expelled... but what if the victim is someone who has to spend a lot of time beyond the Aegis? Things to draw wizards out of the covenant are always useful. This might be one.

I have already reported this Vile Spammer! :angry:

Wonder if the sickness thread spawned it's own sick little spam...

But the Verditius who enchanted my Hard Drive , assured me , that its inbuilt Aegis would prevent this happening.

You must question him on the exact magnitude of the spell used, then. Sounds like sloppy use of the provided vis. Maybe he was a waster of vis?

Xavi

And the warrantee on that didn't just happen to expire this midwinter, did it?

There is a hook in Covenants called, serf's parma, Possesion, where a demon has snuck into the covenant hidden in its host's body. The hook does not specifically mention that the demon has to be stronger than the Aegis. Actually, if the demon were stronger than the Aegis it probably wouldn't have to sneak in, if you are looking for a decision based on Canon. Of course, that makes Aegis almost useless agaist demons who can possess folks. Hmmm....troubling. Well, I say just make the decision that makes for the best storytelling.

As I mentioned before - the demon could sneak in at midwinter, just as the aegis is about to be renewed... Since it is on the inside, the aegis wouldn't force it out - and if your covenant has everyone partake in the ritual, the demon wouldn't have any minuses, and wouldn't have any trouble returning if expelled.

Page 32 of ROP:Infernal is pretty explicit.

A demon may possess a target and, unless the demon has granted any magic resistance or the target is under the effect of an active supernatural effect generated by the demon, the possessed target can take the demon across the threshold of warding effects.

I'd apply the same logic to demons of sickness.

Of course, the demon will probably still have serious problems using his powers once within the Aegis.

Intresting...
So, people will pick up a demon and harbor them unknowing for some time (as the aegis prevents the demon from doing any damage), and then as the aegis is renewed, and the demon is allowed to partake in it, people will become very sick...

Midwinter's exorsisms...

Indeed, but the carrier is still possessed and under the thrall of the demon.