Metal Demons

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"Pure power does not discriminate; all power is destined to destroy."

--Siegfried

The Metal Demons are extraterrestrials that originally came from a world called Hyades. To most humans, they are a thing of myth: ancient and terrible monsters with flesh made of metal, who visited terrible destruction upon Filgaia thousands of years prior. They are believed to be dormant or fled. The truth, of course, is something quite different.

This file discusses knowledge that only Metal Demons possess. Drifters typically, unless told directly by admin, will not know this information at the start of the game. Furthermore, the Demons' understanding of Filgaia's history is often as flawed as humans'. This file is intended to provide a guide for playing Metal Demons on the game; as one of the major antagonist groups at the start of the MUSH, they require a central source of information.

History

The Metal Demons came from a planet called Hyades. This world is a myth to them: a holy place forever lost, ravaged by natural destruction. Their ancestors, it is said, fled with their goddess: Mother. This greatest of the Metal Demons took her children from that world and to Filgaia, where they laid siege to it a thousand years ago. In the end, they were narrowly defeated, and Mother was gravely wounded and sealed away by the humans. The Metal Demons themselves had taken heavy losses, and many of their most powerful warriors were either killed or forced into regenerative torpor. For the last thousand years, they've been holed up in the Photosphere -- the remains of the ship that fled Hyades -- rebuilding for the next war.

Rarely, they have ranged out into the snowy wastelands. These missions, until very recently, did not bring them into contact with humans beyond the occasional adventurer that they slew. Their focus had been on securing the Photosophere and repairing structural damage to it.

Most Demons have been born within the last four hundred years. They do not remember Hyades or the Metal Demon Wars, but they have been taught about them. They have mostly known society in the Photosphere and the leadership of the Quarter Knights. The older Metal Demons rarely speak about the events they witnessed beyond the official teachings.

Two years ago, the Metal Demons deployed to attack the Kingdom of Arctica. This lightning assault destroyed the kingdom in one night. Nearly every Demon capable of combat participated in the battle. With the human forces dead or routed, the Quarter Knights retrieved Mother from the depths of Arctica Castle, and returned her to the Photosphere. Though still recovering, she has returned to her place as the Metal Demons' object of worship. Her restoration is now their primary goal.

Nature of the Metal Demons

Metal Demons are unquestionably living things, but their nature is unlike that of anything native to Filgaia. Although their bodies have internal structures and organs, they're not composed of organic matter -- as their name implies, they're made of living metal, a substance that does not exist naturally in the Filgaia system. Even when they appear human-like, as even some of their strongest do, Metal Demons are fundamentally inhuman creatures who do not function, physiologically, anything like a human.

Living metal is a malleable substance, and Metal Demons can cause it to shift and change, both consciously and unconsciously. The most basic application of this is what gives the Metal Demons their legendary toughness -- they can reconfigure their bodies to compensate for damaged organs, allowing them to endure forces that would kill men by the score. This flexibility also allows for a degree of physical variation all but unheard-of in most organic life. Metal Demons range widely in appearance; some appear as fearsome parodies of Filgaian beasts, but many more prefer a type of monstrosity all their own. Few look truly human-like, although some could pass as a human in armor if there were ever some unfortunate day that called for it.

The Metal Demons' physiology also grants them the ability to transform into different shapes to suit their purposes. Some Metal Demons take this malleability to an extreme -- they're capable of shifting into even more powerful forms, and while they can't sustain these for long, they can cause quite a bit of damage before the Demon has to shift back. Conversely, some Metal Demons also choose to maintain a somewhat less violent form for their rare moments away from the battlefield. That said, this ability generally cannot make a Metal Demon radically change in appearance, only in capability. Even the most extreme transformation is still recognizably the same Metal Demon.

Metal Demons almost always carry weaponry of some sort, including many devices that humans would think of as powerful ARMs. Some of these weapons are built directly into their bodies, while others are hand-carried. Whatever their end state, all Metal Demon ARMs start off as bits of their owner's flesh, and are shaped into their final form using esoteric alien technology. This process allows Metal Demons to harmonize with their ARMs on a level that few others can equal, and makes them terrifying foes on the battlefield. Even Metal Demons designed for other roles -- such as scientists, engineers, scouts, and laborers -- can respond to threats with decisive firepower.

The few Elw attempts to create a living metal harmonious with Filgaia ended in calamity; this is proof enough that the very nature of the Metal Demons is anathema to Filgaia. Although Metal Demons are able to withstand the intolerance for long enough to wage their war, Filgaia, both as a biological and spiritual system, does not have the capability to support Metal Demons in any large quantity. For the Metal Demons, it is not politics so much as a pure point of existential fact: For the Metal Demons to claim Filgaia as a new home, they must first kill the planet and remake it in their image.

Harvesting weapons and other technology-like components from Metal Demon (and especially Metal Dragon) carcasses is one of the most common sources of ARMs, but even keeping these things working is difficult. Although ARMS Meisters are skilled in maintaining and even slightly modifying Metal Demon ARMs, parlaying that into broader technological development is essentially impossible: the people of Filgaia simply do not have the means.

Society and Culture

The Metal Demons are colonists from a world that died centuries ago, and their whole society exists to support their mission. Coexistence with humanity is seen as impossible -- in order to survive, the Metal Demons must conquer Filgaia and reshape it. None of them remember Hyades, but all of them know Filgaia, and most see it as their promised land. The Metal Demons will build a proud, glorious civilization in due time, but first they must secure their new homeworld. The fact that they've been beaten once before matters little. With the Photosphere grounded, they can't leave the Filgaia system, and even if it weren't, retreat would be the utmost disgrace.

Metal Demon culture is militaristic and ruthlessly pragmatic. All Metal Demons are warriors, and they must be prepared to sacrifice anything, at any time. They venerate personal strength, and despise weakness -- while they form partnerships and friendships, there isn't much room for empathy and emotional intimacy. Many Metal Demons look down on displays of love, trust, or affection, seeing them as the domain of humans alone. The only love they can afford is the love of Mother, the benevolent creator-goddess who sustained her children during their long journey from Hyades. If not for her, their species would have surely gone extinct.

With Mother still recovering from torpor, leadership of the Metal Demons has fallen to the Quarter Knights. Three of them are veterans of the previous war, and that fact alone would earn them great respect -- but all of them are mighty warriors as well. Siegfried, Berserk, and Alhazred are the most powerful Metal Demons on Filgaia, and in their authoritarian society, that alone gives them the right to command their fellows. If ever a Quarter Knight falls in battle, they will choose the strongest and worthiest of the Metal Demons to replace them. This has happened once in recent memory, when the remaining three selected the newcomer Lady Harken to replace a Quarter Knight slain centuries ago. Though a virtual cipher to many of her fellow Metal Demons, her skill in combat is truly fearsome, especially for one so young.

The possibility of power and prestige drives many Metal Demons to expand and refine their fighting skills. While the martial arts may be falling out of favor elsewhere in Filgaia, the Metal Demons are avid students, and dozens of schools flourish within the Photosphere. Many of these styles take advantage of the Metal Demons' mutable nature, innate ARMs, and inhuman durability, resulting in Techniques that aren't found anywhere else. The body of literature, art, and music surrounding these schools is a source of pride for their practitioners, but the most valuable trait of any school is how well its students can fight. Duels are extremely common among the Metal Demon rank-and-file, and are more often than not a chance to prove superiority without killing a rival.

This sense of honor extends even to humanity -- at least to a certain extent. There is no division between "soldier" and "civilian" in Metal Demon society. All Metal Demons are expected to fight if circumstances demand it, and war is so thoroughly ingrained in them that the concept of peacetime is strange and alien. Many Metal Demons see the human desire for peace as yet another sign of weakness, and view noncombatant humans as pitiful or contemptible. Ironically, Metal Demons tend to treat human warriors better than their civilian counterparts, giving them chances to prove their strength as appropriate.

The average Metal Demon soldier has extensive training, but very little practical experience. Outside of the complete destruction of Arctica -- and the occasional slaying of intruding Drifters -- most Metal Demons have never seen combat with humankind. Many of them have strange, warped, or grossly inaccurate ideas of what humans are like, and their superiors see no need to correct these misconceptions as long as they don't interfere with the war effort.

The Metal Demons venturing into Filgaia are often champions. While their hordes include the mindless Metal Beasts and the powerful Metal Dragons, the backbone of the Metal Demon forces are these strange, sentient metallic soldiers. They are afforded a great deal of latitude. While they report to the Quarter Knights, and their word is law, they are allowed to operate in Filgaia covertly and carefully. Here, they can challenge Drifters, enter ruins to find their secrets, and scout the countryside before the greater mass of Metal Beasts are led into war. When that war comes, these champions will be in the vanguard.

Notes for OCs

  • Metal Demon OCs should be no more than four hundred years old. Alhazad, Berserk, Boomerang, and Siegfried are the oldest surviving Metal Demons, and they're all veterans of the last war.
  • Metal Demon OCs are warriors. Many of them occupy roles that would be considered "support" in human military organizations, but every last one of them can fight. They're expected to.
  • Metal Demon OCs are loyal to Mother, to the Quarter Knights, and to the invasion efforts. None of them have had any chance to interact with humans nonviolently, and human culture is strange and alien. You're encouraged to develop your character's viewpoint as they learn more about humanity.
  • Metal Demon OCs cannot use magic. This is a property of all Metal Demons, in fact. Many of them have built-in devices that mimic the effects of certain spells, such as plasma projectors or forcefield generators, but these are classified as ARMs. In game terms, their Sorcery statistic reflects their body's innate defenses against magic (and thus will never be zero); they won't have Sorcery attacks.

See also...