The Nephandi

Overview

The Nephandi are a group of mages dedicated broadly to spreading corruption, decay, and discord. When taking the roots of modern-day Nephandi into account, they are collectively one of the oldest factions of mages still active today.

A Nephandus (singular) is an Awakened agent of the cosmological force of Entropy, and represents the antithesis to anything other mages would try to achieve. Despite this unifying aspect of their calling, Nephandi can be motivated by a wide variety of interests. Some seek to destroy all of reality in an effort to assert their power over the ultimate constraint every mage faces. Others seek power that they consider impossible to reach otherwise, and do so by the systematic destruction of everything in their path. Yet others corrupt and destroy out of religious zeal. Many possess all three motivations to varying degrees. Some more tragic mages become a Nephandus through trickery, despair or moral frailty. The crucial factor that makes them all Nephandi is, that they have turned their backs on the ideals of Ascension.

Then again, Ascension is really a matter of perspective.

Think carefully before you chose to chargen a Nephandus or to go barabbi IC. Nephandi are metaphysically married to their Patrons and nothing short of a miracle will break this pact. While not entirely impossible, it is exceedingly rare. Once you join the ranks of the Fallen you should not expect to be able to ever return again.

Classification

  • Infernal - Nephandi who worship demons and infernal dieties.
  • Malfeaen - Nephandi that worship the Wyrm, Urge Wyrms or Wyrm-tainted Umbrood.
  • Outsiders - Nephandi that worship something else. This can be anything from a giant space whale to an insane Umbral entity.

Nephandi hail from all backgrounds, origins, Traditions and Conventions. These can be classified into the following:

  • Barabbi - These Nephandi are turncoats; mages that comes from another Tradition or Convention who have entered into a pact with a Patron.
  • Widderslaintes - These creatures are born bad, having been a Nephandus in a former life and are tainted from birth. They generally have large knowledge of their former lives and pick up where they left off.

Goals

Due to the fractured nature of Nephandic beliefs and how varied they can be, the Nephandi only truly worked together on a few rare occasions. When one refers to a 'massive Nephandic move' they are generally only talking about a sect of the damned who coordinated a large blow. After The Fall, the fallen Magi have had to re-evaluate their ideas and beliefs. True to nature, barabbi whos avatars are twisted by Cauling seek to tear Ascension down and bring the world into Oblivion. The Fall was a start, but it wasn't the end result. The fact that the world almost ended was something of an inspiration and a morale blow to these vile creatures.

As such, small clusters of Nephandi have become ever more isolated from the rest, dividing themselves among areas. LATMA is a large enough area for a few groups, but due to the danger posed by Order 47, they tend to rally to the defense when under attack.

Common goals for the Nephandi can be anything from attacking a certain supernatural group to going subtle and swaying the corporate or public masses to an ideal more akin to their own. After all, why pull a gun when you can convince someone to pull it for you over and over again?

Habitat

Nephandi exist in several locations on Earth and throughout the World of Darkness cosmology, but those who are most powerful dwell in the Umbra (mostly in the Deep Umbra). This is because there they seek to establish contact with entities that exist beyond known reality, but also, because many Nephandi have been purged from Earth, and routed to realms beyond the Horizon by a concerted effort of the Traditions and Technocracy during and after WWII. Those that gained access in the time between WWII and the Fall were subject to a second more deadly purge during the Reconciliation War. The Fall weakened the Gauntlet and the Horizon, allowing the Nephandi access to Earth's physical realm again.

Nephandi Paradigms

Nephandi paradigms are interesting things. Barabbi have it a bit easier as all you have to do is adapt a normal Tradition/Convention paradigm to the flipside of Ascension. The opposite side of sphere magic is known as Qlippoth. In some books this has been represented by different rules. Except on rare occasions, this isn't allowed on DarkMetal, simply because normal spheres can simply be adapted to do anything a 'Qlippothic' sphere could do.

The easiest way to embrace a Nephandic paradigm is to embrace taboo, or those things that other mages would shun from. Establishing your magical belief structure with your foci in ways that are considered vile or evil is not an easy task as these are very subjective terms. As such, take especial care not to go overboard. Remember, actions through paradigm speak more than the paradigm itself.

Widderslaintes are a little different as they have been a barabbi before, but are so open to new ideals and stimuli their paradigms can be anything really. In a way, they have more Orphan-style paradigms with perhaps a Tradition/Convention bent.

Patrons

A Patron can be anything really, but there are handy tips and suggestions we can provide to make detailing your patron easier, especially when writing your Patron background.

  • Infernal - Demons come from nearly every region on the planet and all have their quirks and personalities. An Infernalist can worship a fallen angel, a rhyming Babylonian devil, a Japanese Yokai or a Chinese Oni.
  • Malfaen - Just as there are a thousands faces of the Wyrm, so too can there be a thousand different Patrons. Totem spirits, Urge Wyrms or even just the Big Poppa' Wyrm in his entirety can be worshipped and counted as a patron. However, picking a specific aspect can add flavor to your character and is very much suggested.
  • Outsider - Outsider patrons can be anything. It can be an ancient God long unworshiped from the Incan faith. It can be some alien intelligence beyond the stars much like the H.P. Lovecraft pantheon. It can even be a concept such as the idea of Oblivion, or even a Hive-Mind intelligence.

Joining The Fallen

  • Infernals - Easily the most pleasant way to sell your soul, Inferalists tend to go for contracts or pacts of one sort of an other. These pacts are magically binding and subvert the mage's Avatar wholesale or over a period of years. For some Infernals, the paper work can be quite elaborate or others the deal is simply sealed with a mark or a drop of blood. Infernals have a way of knowing when someone is backed into a corner and offering them an agreeable solution.
  • Malfeaen - Malfean Nephandi have a range of options, none of them nice. Some dance the black spiral while others are taken to the bizarre realm of whatever aspect of the Wyrm they are beholden to and ritually married to it.
  • Outsiders - Outsiders use the infamous Cauls. The Cauls are basically chambers of 'Rebirth' in which the avatar is torn inside-out and now works for the will of the Patron rather than Ascension.

Organization

Nephandi generally cluster together into societies based around the entities they are associated with. This is in no means a rule as many of them after The Fall have had to take a new outlook on the Ascension War. The following ranks are used by non-Nephandi to describe patterns they have observed. This is more a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule:

  • Pawn - These might be uncauled Mages or mortal proles used for grunt work.

Nephandus - Newly created Nephandi have this rank. While more valuable than Pawns they are still relatively expendable. Their value lies in their ability to keep up an appearance of normalcy and work directly for their Patron on Earth.

  • Adsinistrati - These are the tempters and Lieutenants of the Nephandi. They are generally in charge of controlling pawns and Nephandus and luring mages into bargains.
  • Prelatus - The Generals, both inscrutable and alien. A Nephandus that reaches this level visits the Earth only to coordinate massive Nephandic movements.
  • Gilledians - These are the highest ranking Nephandi and are trapped in the Umbra due to their enormous power and twisted visages. They rule Labyrinths and Nephandic Horizon Realms.
  • Aswadim - These are the anti-Oracles or creatures of such supernaturally massive entropic power that they are immeasurable in capacity. They are also, mostly a rumor.

The Fall and Reconciliation

The Fall could have been glorious were it not for the Union and the Council mages. The slide into Entropy was a doubled edged sword for the Fallen. Demons and monsters of all kinds were able to enter earth for the first time in centuries. The Fallen were strengthened in their very core by the sheer amount of decay and destruction going on but Union and Council forces worked together to purge Nephandi like never before. For certainly an event like the Fall had to be the fault of the Fallen Ones.

The Nephandi did what they could to promote the agendas of their Patrons despite the Council and Union purges. With the weakening of the Gauntlet and the Horizon, many were able to gain a foothold on earth again, granting them power previously inaccessible.

Nephandi In LATMA

With its dark sprawls of toxic earth and power hungry Corpers, the Nephandi have never been in short order in LATMA. For a brief period the Nephandi ruled a dark, cavernous underground kingdom stretching from Tijuana all the way to Downtown. At the behest of their Patrons, these Nephandi battled each other for the right to take LATMA for their own.

No one knows how this empire fell or what happened to it now that it's gone. Rumors abound that some 'metaphysical tide' washed caverns free leaving nothing left but a strange smell. Few Nephandi of this time remain, those that do, rarely speak of it, if they speak at all.

Currently, all three sub-factions are represented in LATMA. Their areas of influence are as follows:

  • Infernal - There are two factions of Infernal Nephandi in LATMA:
    • The Tzitzimimeh - take their name from the star-diety Tzitzimitl. They worship the New Aztec goddess Itzpapalotl in her 'clawed butterfly' aspect. Tzitzimimeh hail from the New Aztec Empire and their practices are accordingly bizarre, even to other Nephandi. Their base of operations seems to be Mexico City but have always maintained a presence in Tijuana.
  • The Executive Assistants - These 'traditional European' Infernals have insinuated themselves into the Corporate lattice work where they enslave greedy Corpers with contracts and promises of power.
    • Malfaen - These Nephandi serve the Wyrm in one of it's many incarnations and tend to work closely with the Black Spiral Dancers.

*Outsiders - Nephandi following the Outsider Nephandi worship a bizarre pantheon of hyper-modern beings who seem to be both trapped by and addicted to, LATMA's superspeed pollution, culture and media. These Patrons motivations are extremely difficult to understand, even for other Nephandi.