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Mastema from the Shin Megami Tensai Series

Mastema from the Shin Megami Tensei Series

In Nomine does not give us much information about Hell’s most senior prosecutor. Just that he’s a Balseraph and that he works for The Game.

Other Attributes Ascribed to Mastema

  • The Accusing Angel
  • An Angel of Hostility
  • Convinced God to spare some of the demons so that they might tempt mankind
  • Has divine sanction to act as a tempter and executioner.
  • Champion of evil, injustice, and condemnation
  • Tried to kill Moses
  • Assisted the Egyptian sorcerers against Moses & Aaron
  • Hardened Pharaoh’s heart to Moses
    (also credited to Uzza)

Serving with Distinction

The first question I find myself trying to answer is this: what level of Distinction would Mastema hold within the Asmodean hierarchy. When I first saw Mastema listed in the Infernal Player’s Guide, I immediately assumed that he must be one of the Dukes of the Game.

However I think this missed three very important points:

  1. The primary goal of Asmodeus is to win. Policing the demons of hell is simply a means to that end, it is not actually the end that Asmodeus strives towards.
  2. A Prosecutor is not a Judge. Mastema may lay out the cases (and take what steps are necessary to ensure conviction), but when all is said and done he still plays with and within the rules, he does not set or adjudicate them – so he cannot be at the very top of the hierarchy.
  3. Looking at the real world, the highest jurists and solicitors in constitutional monarchies are frequently nobles, but rarely hold the very highest of titles.

With this in mind, Duke begins to look like a very poor fit.

In reading Superiors: Asmodeus, I discovered that the Prince of The Game prefers to place his Counts at the head of his administrative units. All things considered, this seems like a much better fit for Mastema. However, because he also speaks with the voice of Asmodeus (and because he managed to advocate to an Archangel on behalf of Hell if you chose to incorporate that aspect of his angel lore) I would also give him the Dealer distinction. This would make Mastema the only Count Dealer, and would give him authority over anyone under the rank of Duke.

A Matter of Force

The question of Mastema’s Forces is much simpler. Hell employs all manner of trial. In order to remain the top prosecutor, Mastema would have to be a master of them all. Regardless of whether the trial is corporeal, ethereal, or celestial, Mastema would need to be able to best his opponent. As such, the only sensible force total for Matema to have is 18 (though if you’re feeling particularly generous, you could go as low as 15).

Of course, just because Mastema could win a fair contest doesn’t mean that this is actually his preference. He is more than willing to rig the outcome. It is rare for one of Mastema’s cases to go before a judge that he did not select himself.

Known Skills

Because of the wide array of challenges that hell employs to try a case, Mastema would have a rather broad array of skills. In addition to full ranks in Fast Talk, he would also have some basic competence as a combatant, athlete, riddler, and game player.

Infernal Word

Based on his position and angel lore, “Accusation” and “Prosecution” seem like the two most likely Words for Mastema to have been granted. I consider it highly unlikely that he would not have any word. Either way this would be a Important Word, worth about another 14 Forces.

Outlook

This is where GMs really get to have fun. Personally, I would consider Mastema to have a permanent chip on his shoulder (especially when it comes to Demons who have been to Earth). As I interpret it, Mastema would have been one of the first Demons to leave hell. When he did, he found Yves waiting for him and the other Fallen.

True to his nature, Mastema accused Yves (and/or God) of creating the war because the fallen were necessary for humanity to achieve their destiny. Over the course of their debate/trial/contest, Mastema felt that he was being constantly outmaneuvered as Yves perfectly predicted and countered each point he made, until the Archangel declared the discussion over and that nine of the ten demons present would need to return (Lilith, being no demon, was exempt).

Mastema wanted to remain, but knew that it was important for him to report the engagement and its terms as accurately as possible. As “reward” for his actions he was promoted to a position that has ensured that he can only ever return to the Corporeal realm for the very briefest of moments.

He, of course, delights in those rare occurrences when he gets to mount his prosecution in the Corporeal realm. It is perhaps the only way by which one can influence him to accept less than favorable terms for a trial (though even under these circumstances he has a winning record).

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