Friday, August 16, 2013

Arae: Infernal Powers (The Krampus)

Alias: Belsnickel, Black Peter, Chort, Grampus, Hans Trapp
Feast: December 5
Symbols: Horned Devil, Rusty Chain and Bell
Patronage: Bullies, Cowards, Legalists, Liars, Evil Fey
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Evil
Power: Clerics dedicated to The Krampus can know alignment at will. Clerics of the Krampus have no special power over the undead.
Also, clerics of The Krampus of level 6th and up gain Half-Fiend Template (see page 175 Blood and Treasure GMG), though lacking the ability to fly. Such half-fiend clerics begin looking only moderately demonic, such as small horns or a single hoof, but will begin to look increasingly like the Krampus as they progress in level.
Eventually (13th level or so) a cleric of The Krampus will be clearly demonic, unable to hide his nature. Such clerics will be immensely powerful, and will typically have a number of human and inhuman followers at his disposal
Favored Weapons: Flail

"Judgment is nigh, for the belsnickel ist I!"
-Dwight, The Office
The dreaded Krampus is a powerful Devil who thirsts for the blood, flesh and terror of lawbreakers. He appears in many variations, most share some common physical characteristics. He is hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long pointed tongue lolls out. Sometimes Krampus appears with a sack or a washtub strapped to his back; this is to cart off evil children for drowning, eating, or transport to Hell.
The Krampus is an oddity among infernal beings in that he is unflinchingly honest and always keeps his word (when he gives it). That said he will hold all others to their word and will punish oath-breakers with a cruelty that can make all but the foulest villain turn pale in horror. It may seem a good thing what the Krampus does, but the gnawed bones and pitiful shrieks of his victims makes all feel their own sins too sharply for comfort.
Clerics dedicated to Krampus seem to be goodly though stern Clerics of Heaven or otherwise moral folk. They are clean, law-abiding and honest and usually see themselves as Godly folk. However, clerics dedicated to Krampus mete out stern punishment to others, playing up the cruel preacher archetype. To make matters worse, these clerics become veritable avatars to the horned one during the first week of December, seeking sinners to torment and slay. Hobgoblins and Gnolls are the most likely humanoids to revere the Krampus.

Storytelling Uses
The Krampus is a favorite of mine. Mostly because I enjoy black comedy, also the plethora of rude and untrained children (and adults) that we are plagued with in this age irritate me mightily. But how to use the Krampus in a game? Having a half-fiend cleric stir up trouble during the first week of December is fun, but it is pretty limited, and pretty easy to avoid.
The basic doctrine of the followers of The Krampus is the same as followers of The Holy Trinity (Christians), however it uses a legalistic view of scripture. It is all of the laws and judgments found in The Bible without any of the love. Pointed fingers, and glaring looks, and even the simplest crimes punished with bitter scorn. On the outside it will seem good, but in-fact it leeches joy and warmth.
Communities where the cult of the Krampus is powerful will seem like goodly places. Children will be very well behaved (they'd better be), pickpockets are nonexistent the people are usually prosperous, and everything will be orderly and clean. However everyone will have a tightness to their expressions, and harsh judgment and disdain for "high-falootin" or "sinful" ways will manifest at the slightest provocation. Expect no pity for lawbreakers and "sinners" in such a place.

Please Note: These are meant for use by Game-masters for Non-Player Character Clerics. The Infernal Powers are nasty in the extreme and are the BAD GUYS, with no exception. 
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