are. They go by many names, from the Deathly Powers, to the Deathlords/Deathladies, all the way to Gods of the Dead. Some scholars of the Underworld claim that Principalities, are due to an emotional resonance with death: truly ancient Geists that, having gone for so long without being Bound, have become god-like beings. Others say that when a Kerberos loses its Dominion, it will merge its consciousness with the Underworld itself, forming into a Principality. Finally, others claim that the Principalities have always been: they are simply cthonic gods of death that have long-since been forgotten by the living.
It's hard to say what exactly Principalities The last theory seems more plausible. Every Principality bears some aspect that ties it to ancient folklore or beliefs. Principalities are not inert and powerless in affecting the mortal world. Those attuned to the Underworld or with particularly strong ties to death can feel them whispering maddening things that humanity was never meant to know. Regardless of the Principality, no one hears exactly the same thing as anyone else. Perhaps the Principalities vary their whispers and the nightmares they send out to the living based on the individual in question; or perhaps it's solely in the mind of the listener what each Principality has to say. It could even be that the Principalities do not know they are reaching out – that they are whispering insanities to themselves and those attuned are able to listen.
It is not uncommon for Dominions to restrict agents of a certain Principality from entering, superseding the Old Laws altogether. Likewise, some Dominions seem attuned to these beings, catering to the whims of the individuals a Principality serves as a patron. In some cases, even speaking the name of a Principality can cause one to attract the attention of a Dominion's Kerberos – for good or ill.
Despite what they may or may not be, Principalities have some influence on the Underworld as a whole. Delvers and Underworld spelunkers have claimed that entire sections of the Autocthonous Depths have reshaped themselves after hearing the whispers of a Principality. Their existence alone can send strange ripples through the tides of death. In strange depths, makeshift temples exist to these beings with the dead holding service to honor them, if only in name.
It might be due to the human need to classify things by solid and specific examples, but the Principalities seem to follow along with the Jungian archetypes as listed below. Each Principality has a favored Attribute, although some simply have a favored type of Attribute (Power, Finesse, Resistance). In this case, an agent will pick one specific attribute associated with that set of attributes to enhance. This choice is permanent. While there is a sense of camaraderie among the agents of Principalities, most agents realize that their Deathly Power must prevail over the others. Any alliance between them is temporary at best.
Description: The Innocent is one of the strangest of the Principalities due to its bizarre optimism. Ultimately, it desires to be free of the constraints of the Underworld and, according to it, this is a certainty. Followers of the Innocent seem to share this same sense of freedom, seeking it out whenever they can. Many agents of the Innocent will go to great lengths to ensure their own personal freedom, often at the expense of others. The Innocent seems to be the most naive of the Deathly Powers, often seemingly unaware how its actions affect the Underworld and its denizens.
Favored Attribute: Presence
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Innocent are optimistic and independent, but can be slightly naive. They usually have grand utopian ideals, and are often considered romantic dreamers. Agents of the Innocent typically have problems staying focused on one task, and tend to get frustrated if they don't get immediate results. Like any agent of a Principality, they actively work toward empowering their Principality, but with a sense of sureity that's almost unnerving.
Associations: The Phantasm Key, Saturn, naivete, The Curse, orange or white, impulsiveness.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The Orphan is an attractive Principality to many due to its desire to bring forth a sense of communion with other beings. The Orphan is known to be supportive of pure equality in this instance, and often nurtures and cares for its agents in a way that goes beyond the superficial. Due to this, it is generally the most talkative of the Deathlords, having the ability to reach out to its agents (and others') dreams and nightmares, fostering a relationship. It often seeks out powerful agents, either in temporal matters or with powerful mystical abilities, which creates an almost one-sided relationship wherein the Orphan bolsters up its agent with a kind of hero-worship.
Favored Attribute: Wits
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Orphan are usually more virtuous and focused on bringing people together. As an odd twist in equality, they often believe in the equality of everyone else – with them at the head. The Orphan's whispers tend to make its agents narcissistic and egotistical. They rarely act brashly, and will often seem warm and inviting.
Associations: The Tear-Stained Key, loyalty, Pluto, the Boneyard, street smarts/streetwise, acting on intuition rather than book knowledge.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The Hero has false ideas about its own virtue. It views the world in a "might makes right" sort of fashion, seeking out those who've found some way to change the world or Underworld with raw power alone. It whispers to those who feel alienated due to their strengths, giving out dreams of great battles and even greater victories. The Hero (sometimes known as the Warrior) is also quite arrogant, believing that it stands to beat any odds set before it. It expects its agents to serve it in the same fashion.
Favored Attribute: Strength
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Hero are brash and brazen. They will rush into a situation without thinking about the potential consequences, instead focused on a plausible victory and the spoils they might receive. Each agent of the Hero interacts with this in a different way; the Hero will seek out people with great physical strength or powerful supernatural abilities, after all. Agents of the Hero will usually focus on the potential of something rather than the reality of it, and will often clash with others who do not share their ideals.
Associations: The Pyre-Flame Key, the Sun, yellow, bladed weapons, the Rage, defending the weak, destroying the strong.
Known Agents: None.
Description: A dark inversion of the idea of a true caregiver, the Caregiver Deathly Power seeks out the needy. It's often the most generous of the Principalities, giving its agents and potential agents the promise of more and more power, believing that the greater power one has, the more one is able to take care of themselves. This is where the Caregiver deviates from its namesake: once it finds an agent, it is often the least communicative of the Deathly Powers. It believes strongly that those who can take care of themselves are better than those that need others to care for them. It will often make strange requests of its agents, including murdering those it deems unworthy of life to make a ghost that can be more self-sufficient.
Favored Attribute: Composure
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Caregiver are often martyrs, and will seek out a cause to champion to their own detriment, trusting in their abilities to guide them through any trouble. They believe themselves to be compassionate and almost saintly, but will often wind up doing things that will very quickly drain their humanity, up to and including murder for "the victim's sake."
Associations: The Stillness Key, medicine, teal, Neptune, charity, selflessness without cause or reason, the Pit.
Known Agents: None.
Description: Of all things, the Explorer seeks to know. Unlike the Sage or the Innocent, it seeks out knowledge and the unknown for its own betterment. It believes that the further its reach, the stronger it will become. This isn't entirely unfounded, but often leads it to clash with Kerberoi and causes its agents to conflict with the agents of other Principalities in a far greater fashion than usual. The explorer will seek out those possessed of wanderlust, and will often send dreams of grand places almost too impossible to exist to entice potential agents to serve it.
Favored Attribute: Dexterity
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Explorer are iconoclasts first. They attempt to establish new roads where old ones exist, whether these be literal or metaphorical. They will seek out knowledge to better themselves, and will often be jacks of all trades, masters of none. Agents of the Explorer are usually pushed out of many Dominions due to their patron's propensity to overstep its reach. They typically are loners and individualists, and of the Sin-Eaters, the most common archetype is the Pilgrim.
Associations: Travel, The Primeval Key, Mercury, white, pilgrimages, the Shroud.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The Rebel believes that there are no rules or laws. It feels that the Old Laws invoked by the Kerberoi are unnatural establishments of order on a place that should be lawless. The Rebel seeks to disrupt any established rule, and is often considered one of the most destructive members of the Deathlords. It seeks out people that feel at odds with the system, or those who believe in a cause that would shake up the established authority. It is also known as the Outlaw, and believes that chaos should reign in place of order in all situations. It often sends dreams of regimes being toppled, or of its potential agent's bosses and leaders brought low.
Favored Attribute: Resolve
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Rebel are some of the most vengeful agents of the Principalities. They will attempt to seek out redress for any wrong committed against them, especially if they believe that it's due to an established authority figure (and will often convince themselves that this is the case either way). The Rebel's agents are similar to the Explorer's in that they tend to be iconoclastic loners, but will band together to support a cause so long as it's disruptive to the general system of things.
Associations: The Rage, fomenting rebellion, change of any sort, violence, red, wool, the Industrial Key, Mars.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The Lover wants everyone to believe that they're the only one. It typically communicates solely through dreams, which tend to be incredibly intimate. It will seek out people who are lonely or otherwise desire some close connection to others that has been denied them, either through their own machinations or through another's. The Lover will continue to communicate with its agents through dreams after the agent has pledged themselves to the Lover; with the way it communes with their agents, this often creates a kind of fanaticism drawn on the need for commitment. What it often doesn't tell its agents is that the Lover does this with any agent that serves it.
Favored Attribute: Manipulation
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Lover are usually sensual and manipulative. They will usually seek to push their Principality's goals through manipulating the desires and hopes of others, especially those they see as wanting some form of intimacy. It's rare for an agent of the Lover to make a true friend or find a true lover, instead focusing on selfish and shallow relationships. Agents of the Lover typically do not know that other agents serve their Principality, and will become angered and violent if they believe someone else is attempting to draw the attention of their patron. Agents of the Lover are also prone to losing themselves to their desires, and will seek them out recklessly.
Associations: The Passion Key, pink or flesh tones (all variations of flesh tone), sexuality, silk, the Marionette, Venus.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The being known as the Creator is often believed to have created the Underworld by its agents – a rumor that the Creator is understandably interested in allowing to perpetuate. The Creator feels that the Underworld is the true world, and that the world of the living is ephemeral at best. The Autocthonous Depths and the Dominions always exist, as do their denizens. In the living world, death hangs a sword over the head of every man, woman, and child. To this end, the Creator is an oddity among the Principalities in that it doesn't believe that death is a favorable aspect of existence. It often sends out dreams and whispers about constructing great and lasting things that will bring great fame and recognition to potential agents. Its agents are also the most varied of the other Principalities. It will choose anyone – seemingly at random – that it believes can further its goals.
Favored Attribute: Stamina
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Creator are tinkerers and builders. They can construct great and lasting changes in society, or build something that withstands the stretch of years. Often, they react to life in a violent fashion, seeking to end the lives of the suffering to bring them to the more static reality of death. Agents of the Creator are typically pragmatic about this. They feel similar to their patron: death is just a change that brings someone to their final form, allowing them to reach their true nature.
Associations: Stone, marble, the Caul, earth-tones (brown, beige, etc.), caves, the Grave-Dirt Key.
Known Agents: None.
Description: Often a bedmate of the Rebel, the Jester likewise seeks to overturn the natural order of things. It believes that chaos was the original form of the void, and find both the Underworld, the living world, and all of the shells of reality to be a strange irony. The primary difference between the Rebel and the Jester is that the Jester seeks no real cause or reason to overturn the establishment; it has no grand designs other than what it feels would be either darkly ironic, or absurdist. Agents and targets of the Jester often receive dreams that make next to no sense, as the Jester communicates in a short-hand based around bizarre, almost existentialist ideas, with the grand goal of invoking humor.
Favored Attribute: Intelligence
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Jester are tricksters first, and nihilists second. They believe their ultimate goal is to seek out the true destruction of all things, and to unravel the irony of existence. They are usually somewhat foolish, and revel in the fact that they're seen this way. They're also usually the most discounted agents of the Principalities, and have no compunction against working with other agents, so long as it reaches the goal of destroying reality – a goal to which all agents of the Jester are fanatically dedicated.
Associations: Yellow, east, the star Sirius, the Boneyard, mis-matched clothing, the Passion Key, absurdism.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The Sage believes that it will find truth. Almost a staunch opponent of the Jester, the Sage seeks to find out the secret behind existence, whether it be in the living world (and its many components), or the Underworld. Knowledge is power, and the Sage will gain power over all things through understanding the truth of the world's totality. It sends dreams with a sense of great import to its potential agents, showing them different semi-prophetic images that could mean just about anything, with a tantalizing suggestion that pledging with it could bring even more understanding.
Favored Attribute: Finesse
Roleplaying Notes: The Sage's agents are as curious as the agents of the Explorer. They seek to understand everything they can, but their focus is different. They believe that if they learn more and more about the world and share it with others, it will break about a great zeitgeist that will cause the Principality's goals to manifest itself. Agents of the Sage are the most apt to worship their Principality as a deity, feeling that it created the universe and is sending out visions and realizations to them so they can serve as its deathly prophets.
Associations: The Marionette, books and other forms of knowledge, northwest, the Moon, blue, the Cold-Wind Key.
Known Agents: None.
Description: Perhaps the most silent and enigmatic of the twelve Deathly Powers, the Magician is focused on making its own dreams a reality. It seeks out those who feel similarly, often those who've been wronged and wish to have more power to seek some kind of redress. The Magician is, first and foremost, a visionary. It sees itself as a catalyst to all events – the great wheel upon which all other Principalities are simply cogs. It despises manipulation, and believes that only through truth, one will acknowledge and achieve their goals. It sends visions of dreams-come-true to potential agents, showing them what could be, should they seek to pledge themselves to it.
Favored Attribute: Power
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Magician are quiet and often hermits. They can be mistaken for agents of the Innocent due to their supposed naivete; however, every agent of the Magician firmly believes that their dreams will, indeed, come true should the Magician come to have more power. They will typically take their patron's name to heart and learn as many supernatural abilities as they are able. Like their patron, they're usually not very manipulative, instead attempt to convince others of their potential as servants of their Deathlord.
Associations: Staves, black, flashes of insight, east, the Stigmata Key, the Curse, Jupiter.
Known Agents: None.
Description: The most controlling and unyielding of the Deathly Powers, the Ruler does not believe that might makes right; it believes that power, in itself, makes right. More than that, it believes that being able to hold onto one's power is key in establishing one's own order. The Ruler will send dreams and visions of mighty kingdoms being run by the recipient, who – in dreams, at least – is adored and feared. It seeks out those who wish to be leaders of their own kind, and will often find those who are on the fast-track to success, offering them power even greater than they could have imagined.
Favored Attribute: Resistance
Roleplaying Notes: Agents of the Ruler are megalomaniacs. They typically don't realize this, but they believe that they're the natural leaders of their group, whether it be a Krewe, or just an office building or company. Agents of the Ruler are usually very focused on retaining what power they have over their fellows, and will generally focus on holding threats over the heads of those they feel are weaker than them. Perhaps understandably, they are often adversarial with agents of the Rebel, and will work against them as much as possible without giving up their current or future goals. However, agents of the Ruler often don't have very much foresight. They understand what is now, and will establish their limits before they begin to test them.
Associations: Purple, the Stygian Key, bureaucracy, the Shroud, north, scepters, robes of office, the Earth.
Known Agents: None.
Sin-Eaters in particular can pledge themselves back to one of these mysterious forces. The process is heavy on the soul as it involves opening a channel to a Principalities through which their essence flows. As such, it requires performing the Ceremony Answering the Whispers, including paying all the costs required for it.
Powers gained via Principality are not statted powers. They are set on your character as a +note. In order to purchase them, you would use +req/xp to request it via job. All powers must be attained via PrP or Staff-run plot. They must be acquired in sequential order. If a character hasn't done enough to impress their Principality, it's possible that the request for additional power may be denied until they've done so.
Sight of the Garden
Name: Sight of the Garden
Description: The incessant whispers and dreams of one's patron Principality grants insight into the nature of the Underworld and how one perceives it. The Principality also offers a form of protection by anticipating potential attacks by its enemies to the lowest of its agents.
Requirement: Psyche 1
Ability: The first Boon offered by all of the Principalities is the ability to see more clearly. This offers a +2 Dice bonus on any wits + composure rolls to detect anything associated with Death. It also allows them to detect those marked by principalities. Additionally, this serves as a form of Danger Sense in being surprised by beings or entities associated with death. If the character already has Danger Sense, this bonus stacks.
Flaw: The bearer is marked as one of the Principalities chosen. Anyone with this ability can be detected by anyone else with it as well as the principality they serve.
Gained By: Becoming sufficiently in tune with one of the Principalities and discovering one of the appropriate symbols in the underworld and offer a prayer. If the Principality desires it he can offer the supplicant a boon, which the supplicant must accept.
XP Cost: 5
Voice of the Serpent
Name: Voice of the Serpent
Description: The Principality whispers secrets that it embodies or perhaps has gleaned from the depths of the Underworld.
Requirement: Psych 2, Sight of the Garden
Ability: +2 Dice and 9-again benefit for a Key or Manifestation associated with the Principality's affinity Attribute. This Key or Manifestation can only be chosen once and remains static. For example, if picking a Principality with Manipulation and manifesting the Passion Marionette will allow the character to have a +2 bonus on the roll, along with the 9-again benefit.
Cost:1 Plasm to activate this ability + 1 additional Plasm while using a Memento inscribed with the symbol of the principality.
Flaw: Whenever utilizing the the Manifestation or Key without using the Voice of the Serpent ability the Supplicant rolls at -2 dice.
Gained By: The supplicant must more closely embody the nature of the Principality, promoting it both within himself and at least once outside it.
XP Cost: 10
Taste of the Apple
Name: Taste of the Apple
Description: The supplicant drinks deeply of a substance that contains a tiny fraction of the essence of their patron. As they ingest it they are changed and brought closer.
Requirement: Psyche 3, Voice of the Serpent
Ability: By invoking their Patron some of the Principalities essence infuses them and their Geist, strengthening the attribute most strongly associated with the Patron by 2 dots for one scene.
Cost: 3 Plasm
Flaw: The Supplicant at this point has become one of the his Patron's champions. Having dedicated himself to his service he will find himself occasionally directed to tasks either by his Patron through dreams or through the intervention of others in his Service. In addition to this service his Geist takes on a bit of the aspect of the Principality. The character's manifestations and ceremonies utilizing the boosted Attribute are also tainted by their service to the Principality, causing other Sin-Eaters to immediately recognize the agent as being marked by one of the Deathly Powers.
Gained By: In order to advance in the service of the Principality one must next search the Underworld for a temple dedicated to that Principality. These temples are always at least 3 Rivers deep in the Underworld and attended by those who have long served the Principality. Once their they must meditate upon their Patron and pledge their service to him formally, and are offered a drink that seems to be a strange mixture of many of the rivers of the underworld.
XP Cost: 15
Fruit of the Tree
Name: Fruit of the Tree
Description: The Supplicants consumes a powerful figure of an opposed Principality, empowering the Aspect with themselves and allowing it to grow into an Avatar.
Requirement: Psyche 4, Taste of the Apple
Ability: This ability is functionally identical to Mythic Avatar. If the Supplicant also posesses Mythic Avatar each attribute is adjusted upwards by an addition +2 if it is invoked as well. In addition the Sin Eater stops aging, though becomes frail over time. Every decade past the age of 100 reduces the character’s permanent health levels by one; once a character reaches 0 health levels, they die.
Cost: 3 Plasm, 1 Willpower Point
Flaw: At this point the Supplicant's Geist has in been largely supplanted by an aspect of the Principality. Its outlook changes to support the Principalities goals instead of its own initial goals, and any aspect gained by being a member of a Krewe merges with it, bringing forth an entirely new sort of being whose desires are even more alien than the traditional Geist. In addition the Principality can at any time look through the Supplicant's eyes or use any of his Manifestations without consulting the Sin Eater in question.
Gained By: The Supplicant must hunt down one of his Patron's enemies, usually a Sin Eater, Geist or powerful Ghost four Rivers down. The opponent in question must serve another Principality that is currently in opposition to its goals. Once done the Supplicant must feed on the essence of that enemy, doing so empowers the Aspect and allows it to merge with the Geist and any other Aspect it might have.
XP Cost: 20
Name: Cherubim's Wings
Description: The Supplicant must pass the Guardian and then walks the pattern of the Principality etching it into himself at a fundamental level. The Principality the Supplicant serves teaches them their secret name, which is a pattern that must be walked on the grounds of a Dominion ("lands that have never felt the warmth of life").
Requirement: Psyche 5, Fruit of the Tree
Ability: The Supplicant and their Geist vanish and reappear in the Dominion with the pattern on it. Upon arriving, they must walk the pattern they walked in the Dominion once more, possibly forcing them into conflict with the Dominion's Kerberos, or the local ghosts. This is a primarily defensive power, and as such can be used as a reflexive defense against any attack.
Cost: 1 Willpower Dot
Flaw: Once the pattern has been walked the Supplicant and his Geist (what's left of it, anyway) become true aspects of the Principality: everything they know the Principality knows, every sight they see and skill they learn are its to command.
Gained By: After one has obtained both Pysche 5 and Fruit of the Tree one starts to notice patterns in the underworld, a sort of roadmap made up of the Principalities signs. It leads ever downwards all the way to a sixth river. Past that River there is Dominion that consists of only a small open area with a Guardian and a the symbol upon the ground. You must pass the Guardian and walk the symbol.
XP Cost: 25
Communing with the Principalities is a great risk in all ways. PCs who commune with the Principalities are in for a rough ride and are walking a fine line that is easy to get shoved off of. Geist Staff will not be holding back once you take this step.
Mystery Cult Initiation merit. You would effectively be creating a Mystery Cult centered around these beings, and would not receive the ability to gain the powers listed above with XP.
On another note, Principalities are designed with Sin-Eaters in mind. Although the Principalities will find mortals to serve as their agents (usually NPCs to push plot or story), they are largely set up for Sin-Eater PCs. Every splat has its ghost/death-focused group, from Changeling to Werewolf. If you choose to serve a Principality with your PC, please see the If you choose to go this route and form a Mystery Cult to one of the Deathly Powers, Geist staff will work with you to figure out a good list of potential skills, merits, and so on for your Mystery Cult Initiation levels.
Also, please remember: Principalities are almost unabashedly evil (as far as humans can understand them). All of them are insane, inhuman, and have equally inhuman and insane goals they wish carried out. Some of them seek to bring the Underworld into line with the living world; others seek complete obliteration of all things and to return the universe to its natural form prior to the existence of life. The Principalities urge their agents to fulfill these duties for them in the real world and the Underworld, to extend and expand their influence. Becoming an agent of a Principality – any Principality – is a choice that you cannot take back. Your Geist is forever altered; you will forever be marked as an agent of an inhuman, semi-demonic death god, and will be treated as such for as long as you play your character. Your Krewe will likely abandon you. You will be refused access to certain Dominions, preventing you from gaining powers others could (Stygian Key, for example), and you will be known by any Underworld denizen that you serve the Deathlords. To revoke your homage to a Principality would take a truly herculean task that is on par with ancient mythology.