On my "off weeks," I'd like to share with you the behind-the-scenes stuff I do for the series. This post will be the first in a three-part series detailing my cosmology for Yomi Wan, in which I will examine my adaptations of the denizens of Malfeas into the setting of Burn Legend. Given that the name of this series is The Advent of Yomi Wan, I put a lot of thought into it. This week, we'll be looking at the Yama Kings.
Beings of immense, impossible power, many religions and mythologies touch on their existence. Christianity names them as the Demon Princes subservient to Satan himself, while Japanese Shinto has a pantheon of wicked, powerful deities. In any case, they reside in Hell, also known as Yomi Wan, a bleak land of perpetual suffering and fiendish pleasures. Discontent with ruling only over Yomi Wan, the Demon Emperor seeks to conquer the world that mortals call Earth. He would do it himself, but his awesome might alone is enough to shatter the world simply by entering it—if he and his five fellow Yama Kings entered Earth, it would be obliterated. He wishes to subjugate the Earth, not destroy it, so he and each of his fellow Kings has created an avatar to deal out death and destruction in a more refined and precise manner. These Lords of Death are shadow puppets that necessarily limit the Yama Kings’ power while on Earth.
The Demon Emperor, also known as Malfeas in the Tantra of Creation, is the ruler of Yomi Wan. It is he who decided that the forces of Hell would mobilize and seek to extend his dominion to Earth. In ages past, he let the demons of Yomi Wan run free. It is unknown what caused him to become discontent with the structure and scope of Yomi Wan, but he now rules Hell with a fist of brass. He takes the form of an Emerald Sun, blasting the land with harsh, radioactive light. His ultimate goal is to amass forces in both Hell and Earth, and use this unstoppable army to storm the Heavenly Gates. (Colors: Emerald and gold)
The Princess of Hell, or Cecelyne as she is called in the Tantra of Creation, is the second-in-command of the Demon Emperor. While he focused on military expansion, she concerns herself with political and judicial matters within Yomi Wan. In fact, the Demon Emperor often defers to her legislative knowledge when assigning punishment to transgressors. She takes the form of an endless desert made of sharpened silver and glass. Those punished to death for breaking the Laws of Hell are transmuted into more silver and glass sands. Her goal is to break human benevolence entirely, as it is an affront to her most important law: The strong have dominion over the weak. (Colors: Silver and yellow)
The Grand Arbiter of Fell Wisdom, also called by the equally pretentious title She Who Lives In Her Name in the Tantra of Creation, is the keeper of infernal lore. She has an obsession with perfection and preservation of that perfection. To that end, she assists the Demon Princess’ goal of promoting domination of the strong over the weak. She does so by withholding knowledge from the weak and granting wisdom to the strong. In doing so, she preserves their positions in her extensive hierarchy of power within Yomi Wan. It is she who determines which component souls should be used to create new demons, according to her infinite stores of diabolic knowledge. She takes the form of a maelstrom of white flame and crystal. When an object is touched by this storm, its physical form is violently vivisected and transmuted into shattered crystal, while its consciousness and its knowledge are transformed into white flame to add to the Grand Arbiter’s library. Her goal is to create a world of perfect order, perfect form, and perfect stasis. (Colors: Opal and grey)
The Herald of the Emerald Winds, or Adorjan as she is named in the Tantra of Creation, is the force of the Demon Emperor’s judgment given physical form. She manifests as a gale of emerald hue when she detonates from the green sun, destroying most everything in her path. She races around Yomi Wan, seeking out those who have earned the contempt of the Demon Emperor, tearing them and everything around them to shreds. Their blood colors her winds, gradually turning them ruby. When no trace of green remains, the Herald’s task is done and she returns to the green sun to rest. Her goal is to one day break free from her shackles binding her to the Demon Emperor, able to run free and forever deal out wanton destruction. (Colors: Ruby and green)
The Shadow of All Things, or as the Tantra of Creation names him, the Ebon Dragon, is the shadow king of Yomi Wan. Whereas the Demon Emperor rules with outward force and might, the Shadow of All Things operates several conspiracies simultaneously, each allowing him to pull strings and shape the society of Yomi Wan to his whims. He appears as a serpentine shadow that slithers its way through the streets of Yomi Wan. Many flock to his shadow, as the green sun is impossible to avoid except inside the Shadow of All Things. Even as he grants reprieve, the shadow transforms those inside it into fiendish creatures that lose form and substance. His goal is to overthrow the Demon Emperor and become the Tyrant of Existence. His current plan is to conquer Earth along with his sire, then lock the gates of Yomi Wan and trap him there eternally. (Colors: Onyx and violet)
The Mother of Poisons, also known as Kimbery in the Tantra of Creation, is simultaneously the most beloved and reviled of the Yama Kings. She has unpredictable mood swings, so she is as likely to be overwhelmingly benevolent as murderously vindictive. Those who consider her beloved are simply lucky and believe that the stories of her petty acts of violence are fabrications, while those who revile her have suffered by her hand and think that stories of her benevolence are mere propaganda. She takes the form of a vast ocean teeming with aquatic demonspawn and currents of myriad toxins. When she interacts with other creatures, she will coalesce the venom into prehensile tentacles. She believes that all the mortals of Earth need to create a utopia is some tender, loving care, which she intends to flood across the world when she finally enters it. (Colors: Amethyst and blue)
I know I borrowed heavily from the thematics of the core Exalted setting, but I had fun coming up with their alternate names for this setting. I also know that there are several other canonical Yozi I could use, but *SPOILER ALERT* I have a motif of six in the cosmology of Yomi Wan, much like the Exalted core setting has a motif of five in pretty much everything. I was also toying with the idea of having nine Yama Kings, each one tied to a circle of the Inferno. Of course, there is room for expanding the Pantheon Infernal.
Let me know what you think! Do any of them stand out to you as particularly cool or lame? Which one would you like to have as your campaign's "Big Bad?"