Mage: The Gun Quarter
Demons exist as a loose alliance of factions housed primarily in the High Umbra. The subtleties of demon culture, leadership, ranking, and factions are the subject of guessing and debate for even the most experienced occultists. Several notable historic figures such as Solomon and Michael Psellus are said to have classified demons and while all of these accounts offer some information which appears to be true, many of these reports also conflict with each other. There are some who theorize that these conflicting accounts are perpetrated by the demons themselves as a kind of misdirection to prevent mortals from gaining too much information about them or their methods and activities.
Demons as a faction exist as something between a corporation, a monarchy, and a military organization. Their ranks are made up of fallen angels, malevolent spirits, an eclectic group of powerful entities which are no longer able to sustain their existence in the mortal world, smaller, less powerful entities, and human souls which have been transformed into demonic spirits.
The fallen angels make up the leadership of the demonic legions. They are the strongest, craftiest and the most influential. In general, an average fallen angel is more powerful than any of the other demons, with a handful of notable exceptions. It was the fallen who carved out the area of the High Umbra and built the empire of Hell within it. After their defeat by the Archangel Michael and the heavenly host, the Fallen sought to swell their ranks but found that the ability to create new angels was an ability held only by God. Frustrated, but always adaptive, the Fallen began an aggressive and expansionist strategy to bolster their numbers. What they could not create, they could capture and change. They invaded and enslaved several other regions of the Umbra and adopted many of the creatures therein to their own purposes. At the same time, they began to make deals with mortal creatures in exchange for their souls, that upon their deaths, their spirits would arrive in Hell and begin their transformations into demons.
While these tactics met with a great deal of initial success, their returns began to drastically diminish as spirits and mortals alike began to ally against them at the behest of heaven. The Fallen, even with their great power, were still reeling from their initial defeat and were driven back from many of the realms they had invaded. Despite these defeats, the demons began to breed the beings they had enslaved to serve their needs. These became the lower classes of demons such as the Imps. The demons transformed from mortal souls, while nowhere near as powerful as the fallen, would serve as effective cannon fodder. What stood out most to the demons were the souls of those few who had been able to shape reality around them in life. These beings were far more powerful than their mortal counterparts and took naturally to the Hell imbued energies infused into their essence after their deaths. The souls of awakened mages became a highly valued commodity.
By this time, the demons unanimously decided that their best chance to defeat Heaven’s tyranny was to gain control of the mortal world, but not in a way in which would be obvious to the mortals. They began an extensive “hearts and minds” campaign with many magical beings, taking advantage of humanity’s shifting paradigm of science and reality. By offering sanctuary to creatures fleeing the mortal realm, the demons greatly increased their numbers, much more so than they had in their invasions. The demons of Hell then opened their door to include other demonic entities from many cultures, changing parts of Hell to resemble the afterlife envisioned by many different religions. They also began to entice mortals to seek them out rather than chasing mortals, even turning mortals down for deals. This sort of forbidden taboo brought more people chasing their favour than they had ever known before.
Despite being depicted as beings of chaos, most demons are very orderly creatures. The fallen angels were once the caretakers of creation, beings who imposed order on existence. As such, they have a natural affinity for law and order. Hell boasts a disproportionately large amount of souls belonging to human lawyers, who themselves contribute to the bureaucracy. Contracts between demons are common and heavily enforced. Contracts between demons and humans, are likewise enforced. Because contracts with humans are the main way in which Hell receives fresh souls, demons are expected to honour all contracts they sign. If a demon is unable to fulfil his or her side of the bargain, the soul must be freed or returned to the living human to whom it belongs. If a demon takes the soul and for any reason, breaks his contract, he is immediately exiled from hell or imprisoned for eternity, and all the souls held in trust by Hell for that demon are confiscated from the demon. Hell takes it’s contracts very seriously and because demons are already seen as evil by most mortals, they endeavour to uphold a reputation of always following through on their deals.
Hell also has significant energy invested in the mortal world, where they have subtlety been shaping the world’s economy. The corporation known as the Mammon Investment Group is the front for Hell’s economy and it has been so successful with corporate takeovers and and economic growth, that even the Technocracy has significant investments through the Group.
Currently, Hell is in the middle of a political schism with some demons arguing for a massive overhaul of the way that Hell is run. They suggest that Hell should continue to adapt and modernize, reshaping itself to model a corporation rather than an outdated monarchy. Their argument is that those who are and who continue to demonstrate themselves capable should be appointed and maintained to positions of leadership instead of merely having those who are the most powerful control Hell. Currently the Kings of Hell, who hold to the old monarch style of governing, control the majority of the political sway and the most legions and souls in Hell, however the modernists, fewer in number, have proven much more efficacious at collecting fresh souls and resources to Hell’s cause.