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27May/120

ZMW: Demon Singer

Ahh, I remember Demon Singer fondly. It's pretty apparent what my inspirations were for this setting: Shin Megami Tensei, Dresden Files, Japanese Folklore, old detective movies and who knows what else.

The characters were people who had some sort of connection to the paranormal due to an interaction with the spirit world. Music, in the sense that it can effect people played a major part of it. For some reason, the random collection of words, "The song of Azathoth changes all" stuck with me and may have even been the defining moment of the idea for this setting. Some people were touched or communicated with daemons, others had haunted bloodlines. Some, for whatever reason, just naturally attracted a daemon. These daemons would interact with the character's "deimon" and take on a new form, that of a demon, formed by the character's being into a new shape. These people would create a unique song that formed the bond between daemon and human.

Before we go any further, I'd like to mention that in regards to this universe, a demon isn't the red skinned, horned beings from Hell you probably initially think of. I was using the Greek definition, which essentially is "A lesser deity between men and gods".

In this manner, anything from faeries, angels, devils, spirits could technically be a daemon and interact with the player.

Character creation was a two step process: First, they made their human characters, and then they would make the major demon(s) they formed. Players could decide whether they would focus on a single demon (more character points, but single flavor) or multiple demons (less character points, multiple flavors).

My first campaign was with a group of three people, one of them being a friend of mine. I told him that I'd run a game for him at some point, and his friends came along for the ride. I'll give you a run down of the characters:

Chadwick Denton: His demon was build like a football player with a helmet full of balefire. Represented strength, youth and revenge. The character lost his older brother due to a spinal injury suffered while playing football. Chadwick himself could communicate with the dead.

Earl Gray: His preferred demon was, a giant eggplant with a human face on it who had control over ice and could summon minor demonlings in the form of walrus people. This demon, who's name was "Eggy" also had a tendency to steal things and vomit them up later. The player imagined him talking as though he was a stereotypical african american police officer from the 70's. Earl's character dabbled with the occult, initially as a hobby. (No, I never found out why he wanted an eggplant demon or the explanation for the walruses)

Simon Scrooge: Simon had three demons, all of which took the form of flying voodoo masks. They were amusingly named, Huey, Duey and Louie. The three of them represented extreme personalities: Huey was aggressive, Duey was intellectual and Louie loved the ladies.

The first campaign was essentially a detective story involving cultists stealing things from the college the players went to. Chadwick died in a battle scene as one of the cultists managed to score two critical hits in a row.

I decided at that point to impliment a mechanic where they players, upon death, had a certain number of "strikes". Once all the strikes were gone, they themselves would lose themselves and become a daemon and part of the spirit world. Some entity, looking very much like the grim reaper, held a "contract" for the character.

The second campaign ran a little bit longer, and had quite a semi post-apocalyptic feel to it, from what I remember.

Demon Singer was an interesting concept I may develop more one day. I originally had a different image in my head that had to do with music and charming demons, but that was nearly absent in the final version.

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