So, put it all together. What are each of the major players’ general goals in China? Which is to say, what kind of adventures can players have there?
Awase (non-canonical Archangel): see Awase’s entry for details on this minor Archangel’s China-centered activities.
Blandine: The Cultural Revolution stunted many of Dreams’ brightest prospects, and her angels very nearly had to start anew. Still, dreams flourish in darkness. These days the dreamers Blandine protects in China inspire democracy and human rights movements. Her angels on the ground counsel their human charges to keep the faith; their dreams will be realized.
Christopher: The one-child policy would actually be something he would be able to get behind solidly, if it were voluntary and strongly incentivized rather than forced on China’s citizens. This puts Children’s angels in the nation in the odd position of encouraging behavior they also assist people in subverting. Child labor is an issue for his angels in this country, as well.
David: Stone is fairly well supplied with natural Tethers in the region. These, as well as his Great Wall of China Tether, survived the 20th century intact, and he is in a strong position in China overall. His geomancer corps (both angelic and human) is thickly represented in the local feng shui tradition and is on the front lines against the Black Order and other sorcerous organizations, making him one of the more active militant Achangels in China. Conceptually, while David supports workers’ unions and Communism’s stated ideals of agricultural and industrial labor are appealing, he disapproves of overly centralized leadership and power’s temptations to corruption. Modern “China,” in his view, is an amalgam of cultures too large for its own good; his angels focus on smaller communities with more coherent ethnic identities. He would be happy if quite a number of independence movements were successful, and friction over means and pacing sometimes flares between his angels and Blandine’s.
Dominic: As usual, his priorities are primarily internal. As legal systems go, the Confucian tradition was something Judgment regarded as a praiseworthy human achievement. In the modern day, Judgment angels working on rooting out corruption in the Chinese legal system tend to work through human reformers rather than directly. How many there are depends on your view of his balance between internal security and Word-support; China isn’t the only nation in the world with a corruption problem.
Eli: China has many and distinct artistic traditions, and Eli’s angels are as active here as they are anywhere. The Cultural Revolution damaged Creation’s projects as much as it did Blandine’s, and as it occurred around the time Eli went on his walkabout speculation occasionally connects the two events. No one can say, though.
Gabriel: No more or less active in China, per capita, than she is in any other nation. Her Servitors’ tasks, as they do anywhere, focus on individuals.
Janus: The Archangel of the Wind is perhaps somewhat less active in China than he is elsewhere, reflecting his lower elemental standing in the local worldview.
Jean: Historically active in India and China, especially during the European Dark Ages, Jean’s attention had been focused on the West in recent centuries, but this is changing. Lightning’s Servitors are among the vanguard of angelic activities in China, struggling for control of the direction of industrial and academic development in pitched battle with Vapulans, in a pattern reminiscent of Industrial Revolutions elsewhere in the world. Jean learned lessons from those years, and Vapula is having to work harder for the same results he got in those previous eras of turmoil. Lightning estimates that matters are going well with its efforts, especially with Chinese academia, and Jean has recently claimed a new Tether at the Jiuquan launch pad for the space program.
Jordi: Industrial development annoys the Archangel of Animals as much here as it does anywhere, and China is simply another large (and growing) nation to annoy him. The country has vast stretches of little-inhabited desert, steppe, and mountain, where animals continue to flourish. However, he has openly been pushing for David to attack Three Gorges Dam seismically. It’s too late for the Yangtze river dolphin, but there are plenty of other compelling reasons for Heaven to pull the foundations out from under that Vapulan Tether.
Khalid: Faith gets the worst of all worlds in China, and the country is definitely a priority for Khalid. The country is officially not just secular, but positively atheist... and yet it presumes to make laws concerning religious affairs from Tibetan Buddhism to Catholicism. Nor has Khalid forgotten the Hui Muslims of China’s west, who might have been a separate nation were it not for the armies of the Emperor. Faith’s angels service the underground religious movements, protect major religious figures, and take an active military hand where they can.
Laurence: China is older than Laurence and the Sword holds no particularly strong position in the region; angels of the Sword are likely to be either focused on assisting or coordinating with other angels, or working with individuals. The lack of Christian penetration in the nation isolates China from much of the Sword’s support structure.
Litheroy: His angels in China are almost exclusively focused on breaking the state’s hold on the media. For once, one of Heaven’s Words has been perceptibly successful in its endeavors, possibly due to that focus. He has vowed to continue making it a priority until the government has given up even trying, though.
Marc: As described earlier in this series, Marc has a significant presence in the “border regions” of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao, and is pressing his influence inward, seeking greater penetration into the central government. His angels have the clear goals regionally of assisting integration of the Chinese economy into the global marketplace (though they are willing to disrupt Sudan investment when possible). Slowly but surely, they are apparently achieving their goals.
Michael: The Middle Kingdom is no stranger to war, and Michael possesses several Tethers in China (including one found in the Liber Castellorum). The nation’s deeply-rooted traditions of individual prowess in the martial sciences and arts give his Word substantial support. Meanwhile, his angels have no shortage of targets in this country, and often get the go-ahead to pull out the serious weaponry for local assaults on Baalite strongholds.
Novalis: Considered an elemental Archangel locally, Novalis is the Peace faction archangel with perhaps the best remaining contact with historical Chinese culture, from agriculture to papermaking. She has a decent Tether position and pays significant attention to the country, and her priorities and resources make her a force that must be taken into account by both Sides.
Yves: One of Fate’s major Tethers, the Canton Customs House, is in the region, and the Great Leap Forward was a significant blow for Hell. Destiny’s angels are often on defense in China, trying to keep teeming multitudes of migrant workers from being exploited, or trying to save a significant local idea from being crushed in the name of progress and ethnic homogeneity.
Alaemon: An old land with many secrets and hidden faces, China pleases Alaemon a great deal. Between government censorship, rampant blackmail material and cultural respect for the art of hiding the truth under layers upon layers, his Servitors find much of value here. His more suave agents often affect Chinese styles.
Andrealphus: As history has taught Andre, attempts to regulate sex are among mankind’s more futile endeavors. While his whims of focus are notoriously quick to change, right now China does not seem to be high on his priority list.
Asmodeus: The Prince of the Game pays more attention to human ramifications of his Word in China than does Dominic. While this may mean that a Renegade familiar with the culture has a slightly better chance of slipping unnoticed into the enormous population, it certainly has paid dividends among the human judiciary.
Baal: Baal is in a hideously strong position in the People’s Liberation Army, and his voice has significant influence on governmental policy. Michaelite responses are considerable, and often up the violence ante, but at present his forces are holding their ground steadily.
Beleth: Briefly powerful during the worst days of the civil wars and the revolutionary era, her influence has faded from its peak in the region. Suspicion of one’s neighbors is fine, but there is no really bone-chilling internal police force like the USSR boasted, in Beleth’s opinion. A Servitor who can organize a good solid purge or crackdown would earn her favor. Ethereally, there is little to concern her with the Chinese pantheon’s heavily diminished position.
Belial: Like Gabriel, he is neither particularly active or inactive in the region. He would like control of the nuclear option, but Baal refuses to let his Servitors near it.
Fleurity: The Prince of Drugs got his start in China and still holds a fondness for the locale; Afghanistan has upstaged the Golden Triangle, though, and Gluttony controls the valuable alcoholism and tobacco addictions. An interesting front Fleurity is examining is pharmaceutical piracy, though he’d very much like to popularize harder drugs in the region. He may have to wait for affluence to sell his best merchandise, though.
Furfur: “China breaks, dude. Call me when they’ve got a decent rock scene. I’ll be in Europe.”
Haagenti: Some of the best alcohol and tobacco culture in the world can be found in China. However, China serves Haagenti’s Word better as a exporter of consumerism, rather than a customer. His Servitors can often be found in low-ranking support positions, ensuring that the factories that make fast knock-off fashions or cheap trinkets have all the right export wheels greased. Food as Gluttony is, perversely, not the Word’s highest local priority. Overall, Gluttons regard China as livable, but off the promotion fast-track.
Kobal: Rather less active in China than elsewhere, Kobalites consider the whole nation rather dreary and humorless. It’s almost as bad as Russia, really.
Kronos: Kronos’ heart is never warmed by the sight of anything. If it could be, it wouldn’t be the Prince of Fate’s. It would, however, have warmed at the sight of the Cultural Revolution, a cluster of mucked-up Destinies outdoing the wars that laid the path for it. Kronos has a significant Tether presence in China and Hatiphas’ fingers on several useful pressure points, meaning Fate is one of the infernal Words that directly influences affairs around the country.
Lilith: If Lilith’s direct projects netted any fewer Geases on angels and humans in the process of fighting (useful) oligarchy and (productive) oppression, Asmodeus might well launch a purge of his own among Lilith’s agents in China. As it stands, their often-violent means and the favors they earn from Dreams and Stone angels, unsuspecting fellow travelers in the independence movements, are sufficient for Lilith’s projects to earn their keep.
Malphas: The Prince of Factions is actually rather displeased that his Servitors haven’t accomplished more in China. The oligarchy can be splintered, but for some reason the local politics has a nasty habit of deciding victory quickly and then cauterizing dissidence before it can crystallize. The country is successfully integrating its old foreign-controlled territories, there is even talk of reunification with Taiwan... since he oversaw the breakup of the Mongol Empire he hasn’t had a major victory in the region. His last attempt, the Hainan Island incident, provoked nothing useful. He has recently decided to devote resources elsewhere, lowering his presence in the country.
Mammon: Mammon’s networks in China are a clear indication of the fundamental human urge to acquisition. He laughs off the idea of state ownership – ownership is control, and control brings opportunities for profit, and profit brings the need for bribes, blackmail, and more. The Demon Prince of Greed is in a stronger position in China than he is in many First-World nations, challenging Valefor for presence in both legitimate businesses and the criminal underworld.
Nybbas: See Riding the Tiger in this series for a discussion of the Media in China; China is an unparalleled audience, rivaled only by India for numbers. Since Blandine has the stronger position in Bollywood, China is a fantastic market for a Media demon who wants to be in on something big that isn’t centered on the old circles of Media power in America.
Saminga: Civil war upon world war upon civil war, followed by the Great Leap Forward, earned Death a Tether or two in China, though the killing fields of other Asian nations bore more putrescent fruit for the Lord of Corpses. Death’s disorganized ranks are no more likely to focus on China than they are anywhere, especially after Saminga lost a potential Tether at Tienanmen Square to Blandine – he has accused Lilith of collaboration to thwart him, believing it can’t possibly have been one single image of a man in front of a tank.
Valefor: Targets for Theft in China are more numerous than lucrative, and since Magpies can’t settle down to develop the necessary long-term positions required for the grind of China’s assembly-line brand of thievery, they tend to strongarm their way into crime management positions, or hire out their skills to other Words. It’s also not as much fun without more Windies around.) Greed has as much of an organized crime presence as Valeforians in the region.
Vapula: China’s current stage of development is Technology’s equivalent of a Golden Age. Three Gorges Dam is a major coup for the Word, a well-defended and lushly productive capital Tether, and Vapula expects more as China’s headlong development continues. Rickety factories, relentless strip-mines, quests for raw materials from desperate places around the globe – they all feed the vision of the Genius Prince. Opposition from Jean is heavy, and Technology’s Servitors often find themselves embattled socially and militarily; this is definitely one of the most active fronts of combat between the two.
The Government: On the scales described in the Game Master’s Guide, one could reasonably treat the police in the PRC as inept (or sufficiently corrupt to be paid off), the military as competent, the intelligence agencies (and ministries like the Directorate of Special Purposes) as not only competent but possibly supernaturally-equipped, and organized crime as... not all that organized, with decent odds of finding a demon somewhere up the food chain.
Human Spirits: The Chinese “pantheon” involves quite a few deceased humans, ancestor worship is a common religious element in China, and ghosts of all sorts are found in Chinese legends. It’s not stretching plausibility to suggest that Aware humans and human spirits make a significant front in the War around here – and since few spirits have much desire to darken their afterlives associating with Hell, those spirits could well be a potent ally for Heaven, if the angels could figure out how to make use of them.
Sorcerers: China has a long history of ornate ritual and elaborate myth, a rich body of alchemical and magical lore. It has been informed by religious traditions from all over the world, and academic studies from the earliest times both native and imported along the Silk Road. Its religions seek little assistance from heavenly spirits, but put much stock in the mastery of ghosts and demons. The Sorcerous traditions are strong here, and stiff with the influence of Kronos and Saminga, a sinister column of saboteurs in human society.
The Masses: China is the most populous nation in the world, one with a long history, memories of being a great power, and a likelihood of becoming one again. Its value in the War can hardly be overstated, but celestial efforts to affect the course of events here on a large scale will have to take into account the difficulties of reaching a billion people with vastly different modes of existence across a good chunk of a continent.
The material presented here is the creation of William Keith, and is intended for use with the In Nomine and GURPS systems from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.
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