Earlier this year I established that I am no fan of Litherites – but I do not think that they are beyond salvation. An archangel of Truth and Revelation actually makes sense as a concept, I just think that the canonical version goes too far.
There are two tenants in particular
that rankle me:
- Lithrites gain dissonance for any misdirection
- Lithrites cannot adopt roles
In a universe where Angels and Demons are supposed to keep their existence secret (and where there are actually surprisingly few ways to put the cat back in the bag), every Servitor of Lithroy is a threat to one of the underlying premises of the setting.
Does This Matter?
Obviously, if your game is set in a world where the existence of Angels and Demons is public knowledge, this is a non-issue, and Litherites can be played as presented in canon materials.
Apocalyptic scenarios (such as those presented in the Revelations cycle of adventures), are a good environment for canonical Litherites.
The Sanctioned Angel
The Seraphim Council is not comprised of fools. If we can see the danger that Lithroy presents to the secrecy of Heaven, so can they – and they would act. Most likely by placing Lithroy under sanction. Before he or any of his servitors could visit earth, they would require the sponsorship of a “more responsible” Superior (basically, anyone but Eli or Gabriel).
The reason for the sponsorship and the terms imposed by the acting Superior should be worked out by GM and player in advance. If necessary, the acting Superior will impose the Binding Oath or Forked Tongue discord on the Litherite (but be sure to give the player the corresponding CP, fair is fair).
Lithroy might still break his sanction from time to time and assign a Servitor to Earth on his own authority – but if that happens the Servitor would be in violation of heaven’s law and subject to detention and deportation if caught.
Another solution is to modify Lithroy’s dissonance condition. We know that he’s against lying, but there are some changes that could be made that preserve the spirit of the dissonance condition without inherently undermining the secrecy of heaven. For example:
Lithroy is the quintessential Seraphim and all his angels respect the truth. It is dissonant for Servitors of Lithroy to lie to anyone for any reason. If they answer a question it must be with the truth, though it does not need to be the whole truth. If this results in a misleading statement, the Litherite must report their misdeed to a responsible authority within a number of days equal to their Celestial Forces or gain dissonance anyway. Likewise, Litherites are forbidden from deceiving the symphony; they gain dissonance if they use their Role to reduce the Disturbance they cause.
Responsible authorities would include Lithroy himself as well as any Seneschal serving Lithroy, Dominic, Lawrence, Michael, or Yves. If the chosen authority determines the deception to be justified they will absolve the infraction with a trivial penance, otherwise the penance will be equivalent to what is required to remove a point of dissonance. Either way it will be dissonant to refuse the penance. No matter who the authority is, it will never be deemed appropriate for a Seraph of Lithroy to intentionally deceive.
The Poisoned Truth
It is worth remembering that one of the properties of Light is to Reveal. It is always possible that Lithroy is either a cover identity or a mouthpiece for Lucifer. Sadly, the aura of ineffability that surrounds any Archangel prevents the Seraphim Council from perceiving this truth.
With the poisoned truth, you do not need to make any changes to Lithroy, his Servitors, or their Dissonance condition. The disruption they cause is entirely intentional (although the Servitors themselves probably don’t realize it).