Angels, Demons and Squid
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Basic Information

Angels, Demons and Squid is a fantasy religion trope whereby the universe is divided not between good and evil - or even law and chaos, but between three powers. A common trichotomy1 is between some kind of good (the angels), some kind of evil (the demons) and some kind of omnicidal eldritch abominations (the squid2) determined to ruin everything. A more nuanced trichotomy could include light (sort of good, with angels), chaos (mostly squid) and unlife (the undead and such things) - this gives you light and unlife on the "side of law", light and chaos on the "side of life" and unlife and chaos on the "side of mostly evil", thus giving worldbuilders and GMs scope for all kinds of unnatural alliances.

Where a demon/devil differential exists, the the demons may actually be the squid - the eldritch, world destroying abominations and the devils may end up being the not-as-bad-as-them faction.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • A good choice of worldbuilding - making the PCs choose between the cannibalistic nutter with tentacles where his nose should be and his mutant barbarian horde and the hegemonising swarm of the necromancer-lich is always fun.
  • As, in the trope naming example, is it to have angels and demons assigned in an awkward buddy pairing to fight off the squid.
  • The light/unlife/chaos triad also makes for a universe in which everything is a useful force - chaos provides the raw stuff of life, the light gives it meaning and purpose and the unlife brings it to a tidy conclusion: allow any one to get out of proportion and things go haywire: too much chaos and the world is overrun by quivering protoplasm, too much light and everything stagnates and too much unlife and everything goes cold and dead. This also makes "the balance" an entirely practical position - indeed, possibly the only sane position.
    • Which again is great for campaign hooks ("what do you mean we have to kill an angel now???").
    • It's also worth considering whether the balance tends to maintain itself (as the weak sides gang up on the strong one) or requires work (as the strong sides gang up on the weak one).
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