Demon Ipos

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John Downman (1750–1824) Master Page, Anne Page, and Slender. (Detail)

John Downman (1750–1824) Master Page, Anne Page, and Slender. (Detail)

Orginally from The Book of Fiends

Designed By Aaron Loeb, Erik Mona, Chris Pramas, and Robert J. Schwalb

Ipos
Lord of Masques
Layer:
The Festive Everlasting
Areas of Concern: Actors, comedians, entertainers
Domains: Chaos, Eloquence, Evil, Trickery
Favored Weapon: Rapier

Throughout the mortal realm, certain sovereigns ban actors from entering their cities or performing in their lands. Men and women of loose morals and even looser reputations, actors receive treatment similar to that given lepers or heretics in some quarters. The craftiest find secret patronage from members of the effete nobility; the unlucky end up in stocks or worse. If more rulers knew about the decadent cult of Ipos and its pervasive popularity among performers, the actor’s lot might be even harder. Instead of scrounging to find an appreciative audience, she might find herself before a much more hostile group of spectators—a mob of torchbearing zealots just itching to cast her into the flames of redemption.

The cunning Ipos whispers knowingly to his enraptured audience of performers that life is but a grand production, that “identity” is nothing more than a role to be cast away at a moment’s notice when necessary for the plot of life to proceed to another act. While this philosophy encourages useful lessons of reinvention and discourages mulling over failure, it also teaches a disdain for morality: If nothing is truly real, there can be no consequences for one’s actions. To ensure that their performances are memorable (for to make no impression at all is the greatest of mortal failings), followers of the Lord of Masques will cross any line. No sin is too perverse, no risk too great that it can’t be endured for the sake of the show.

As befits his title, Ipos can assume numerous forms, ranging from a terrible draconic beast to a simple dung-covered pauper. He seems to favor one guise in particular, however—that of a tall, well-dressed rake with a lion’s head, the feet of a goose, and the tail of a hare. Actors often paint such a figure onto their tents and stageworks, waving their demonic affiliation under the noses of appreciative fans who see the animalistic image as a simple caricature meant to please children and the simple-minded.

Les retardataires (The latecomers). Date 1914 Albert Guillaume (1873–1942)

Les retardataires (The latecomers). Date 1914 Albert Guillaume (1873–1942)

The Festive Everlasting, Ipos’s bizarre Abyssal realm, resembles an immense outdoor theatrical festival held in a beautiful vale lit by an early afternoon sun. Eager souls play the part of groundlings near the plane’s thirty-three connected stages, while a host of demonic nobility flock to the bleachers and private boxes. The entertainers themselves are recently deceased actors, sworn to Ipos during mortal life, who revel in the chance to perform for all eternity. Hawkers of pleasures both simple and sublime roam the crowds, ensuring that all present sate themselves upon some sort of mind-enhancing (or occasionally mind-numbing) concoction.

The Festive Everlasting possesses an air of idyll, but a competitive desperation permeates the theatrical atmosphere, noticeable to all who know to look for it. At the end of each three-hour performance, the crowd displays by show of applause its appreciation for each actor in turn. The five entertainers (out of about seven hundred) adjudged to have engaged in the worst or least memorable performance are erased from existence, their souls totally consumed by the Abyssal stage upon which they stood only moments before. Those actors who survive a year on the stage join the jeering crowd as demons, only slightly more sympathetic to the plight of the actors than the catty, demanding drama critics sitting next to them.

Ipos’s decadent doctrine appeals to sensualist performers who live for the false existence they portray upon the stage. Boiling down the whole of mortal experience to the familiar rules of performance makes sense to such bon vivants, who generally don’t think far beyond making an impression upon the everpresent crowd. Ironically, such performers eventually disdain their audiences, seeing them as constantly demanding “mundanes” whose rigid ways allow them to live only through observing those willing to assume roles that they cannot. Performers sworn to Ipos pity those who have but one face, but one voice, but one role to offer the world. Theirs is a much more vibrant experience, leading to much more fulfilling applause in the afterlife. Amoral bards adore the Lord of Masques.

Obedience

Thaumaturges dedicated to Ipos spend their obedience ritual reciting from memory the great monologues of the theatrical tradition. Often, such monologues parody the liturgy of established religions, replacing matters of honorable ritual with references (and frequently pantomimes) of the most disgusting vices imaginable. Though by no means required for the ritual to work, Iposian thaumaturges prefer to practice their obedience before an audience. At the end of the hour-long performance, the thaumaturge regains his spell complement for the day.

Note: Thaumaturges dedicated to Ipos treat Perform as a class skill.

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