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John Downman (17501824) 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
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 actors lot might be even
harder. Instead of scrounging to find an appreciative audience, she might find
herself before a much more hostile group of spectatorsa 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 moments 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 ones 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 cant
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, howeverthat of a tall, well-dressed rake with a lions 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 (18731942)
The Festive Everlasting,
Iposs 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 planes 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.
Iposs 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 dont
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.
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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