By Snuggles the Elf.
69 AD: Gao Zhang has grown tired of trying to collect small victories one-by-one and has decided that a bold stroke is needed. His power base has been slipping lately since the loss of a few small feng shui sites and his impatient nature asserted itself in his most ambitious plan to date. He had his underlings commune with Guiyu Zui (the Netherworld palace is sentient in my game -- the guardian of the Underworld) and make a deal. Zui will open the gates of the Underworld and unleash all the spirits of the Underworld on the Earth under several conditions:
Guiyu Zui expects to gain many new souls in the Underworld by this (or so he says). In return, Gao Zhang is to receive a tiny share of the chi channeled directly from the Underworld, which would give him almost godlike powers, as well as command of a good portion of the demons coming through the 69 juncture.
The most difficult part is the decree from the Jade Emperor. Gao Zhang makes a deal with a shapeshifting demon by the name of Heart of Lies and arranges for several other demons to boost his power. Guiyu Zui secretly adds some power of his own to the mix. Heart of Lies manages to trick the Jade Emperor into a fold in space/time where he will remain dormant for a hundred centuries, then takes his place in the Heavenly Court. Heart of Lies issues the decree. Meanwhile, Gao Zhang has sent seven of his eight Petals into Guiyu Zui's heart, supposedly to summon seven powerful demons to aid the Lotus, and are given the wrong binding spells. The demons are far more powerful than the Petals are led to believe and devour the sorcerers whole, adding their powers to the demons' already formidable array. The seven then ascend to Earth and appear in the Imperial Palace. Unfortunately for Gao Zhang, he has also been given the wrong binding spells by Guiyu Zui. The demons open a direct gate to the underworld and Gao is sucked through. The seven demons go berserk and possess the Son of Heaven. Everyone else in the palace is killed. Evil spirits begin pouring into the Netherworld, access all four junctures at once, and conquer the world all at once and gradually over two thousand years, at the same time.
This has some interesting effects. The people of each juncture see the demons arriving just days ago their time, conquering the world in a week or two. From the demons' point of view, they've had the world under their control for centuries. The battles at each juncture are a foregone conclusion since they know they have control at the next juncture. They seem somehow immune to the laws of causality, and no juncture remembers the history they create as they go though their control is greater at each subsequent juncture. Not only are humans posessed by the hundreds of thousands, but inanimate objects and locations also fall prey to posession by demons. The world is remade in their image. Everything begins to come to life and humans find themselves slaves of the original seven demons, now grown to split the world between them.
The seven took inspiration from the humans around them, becoming infected by belief systems almost as humans were affected by the presence of a demonic reality. by the 1850 juncture they had become the seven Sins and each took on the aspects and trappings their name implied - naming themselves Rage, Greed, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth and Pride. Each gives him/herself a huge palace in their center of power. Each shuts off all netherworld gates in the territory except for a big one in his/her palace. The Netherworld is now an extension of the Underworld. The inhabitants of the Netherworld are imprisoned and gleefully tormented by the demons that have been released.
The practical upshot of all this is that the characters must sneak into the palace of their local Sin and distract him/her long enough (the Sins are somewhere in the realm of plot devices) to use the Netherworld portal to return to 69 AD when the demons are still consolidating their power and gain entrance to the Underworld, freeing the Jade Emperor from his prison and allowing him to restore the balance to the world. One forseeable problem, of course, is that to enter the Underworld one must usually be dead...
Last modified: July 31, 1998; please send comments to email@example.com.