sauntervaguelydownwards: (shirley you can't be serious)
[personal profile] sauntervaguelydownwards
User Name/Nick: Shankill
User DW: [community profile] huddle
AIM/IM: mintyfreshevil
E-mail: whiskeybythepint at gmail . com
Other Characters : Bleu, Duke Crocker


Character Name: Anthony J. Crowley
Series: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Age: Around 6,000. He appears to be in his late twenties or early thirties.
From When?: His 2006 New Year's resolutions (dated here and republished here), after the novel's end.


Inmate/Warden: Warden. Admittedly Crowley is a demon, damned and dedicated (at home) to spreading corruption. He is used to playing the “shoulder devil” and being the voice of temptation in humans’ minds – however, he does not have to be. His centuries of studying and influencing humans’ wishes gives him a strong advantage in wardening; he is exceptionally good at recognizing motives and desires and teaching through little moral tests. He can do so with his own inmate no matter what their problems. His reasons for being on the Barge are directly related to spreading what “Goodness” he can, and although he is a fallen angel he still has an intrinsic knowledge of right and wrong (mixed with a large bias toward demonic mischief, plus humanoid curiosity). He’ll always be his snarky self, but his wryly hopeful outlook and casual approach may appeal to some inmates.

Crowley will not be a “typical” warden in that he won’t enforce a great deal of authority or impress many ideals upon his inmate/s; he will steer them toward/let them discover and learn their own lessons. His method of choice is discussion, alternating between a Socratic method of questioning, commiseration, and playing devil’s advocate (so to speak). The only situations in which he’d be worried about discipline are violent offenses toward others (he finds these a bit sickening) and pursuits that he knows are self-destructive. Aside from all this he’ll be happy to pal around with, poke fun at, debate with, guide, and spoil or prank his inmate. He seeks to provoke and placate those he works with at turns, and while this sort of changeable relationship wouldn’t work for all inmates, it might be helpful for one who needs a warden to keep them on their toes.

Item: His sunglasses.


Abilities/Powers:

Shapeshifting. Crowley has and can switch between four different forms, each of which have their own traits:
  • Demon form – a hulking Lovecraftian horror that makes the average human beholder faint. Crowley doesn’t like this one; he says that he’s always afraid he’ll forget how to switch back.

  • Snake form – Crowley was the original Serpent in the Garden of Eden and a snake’s body was the first physical one he ever took on. He can speak in this form and is an arboreal serpent, although the species is not named. I play off the assumption that this form was a boomslang (Dispholidus typus), a very docile and beautifully-colored southern African tree snake that, while venomous, almost never strikes.

  • Human form – this is the body of a handsome dark-haired Caucasian man in his late twenties, and for the most part it looks typical. Crowley retains a few of his serpentine characteristics though: yellow snake eyes (which allow him to see in the dark), the split snake tongue, and his last-resort bite. Interestingly, he can also manifest his wings in this state (which are feathered and virtually indistinguishable from angel’s wings). He does not need to eat, drink, or sleep in this body, but he enjoys doing all three.

  • Energy form – Used when he dissipates whatever body he’s currently in, almost exclusively for a lightning-fast getaway. He moves in this form when a hostile demon attempts to capture him, escaping through a phone line.


Immunity to fire. As a demon Crowley is invulnerable to (at least earthly) fire. He runs into a burning building and, while the heat and flames melt his sunglasses, they don’t harm him at all. Later on his Bentley is on fire, so hot its metal body is burning red, and while driving it he only sweats profusely and picks up a layer of soot.

Transmutation. Throughout the book Crowley changes or modifies physical objects. His car runs perfectly although the gas tank has been empty since the 1960s; his home stereo system reproduces sound perfectly even though it isn’t plugged in and has no speakers. He can only change objects, not living things, and the effect is limited to a relatively small area around him (around 20 feet, for Barge purposes). Most often Crowley will use this ability for his convenience, changing his tea into coffee or keeping the rain from wetting his clothes. He can also use it defensively: he stops a pursuing police car by changing its engine into something that is definitely not an engine. Similarly if someone attacks him he can ensure their shoelaces are tied together or they get a face full of pepper.

Healing. Crowley has enough supernatural influence over his body that he can heal non-lethal wounds and sicknesses. However, a major injury can still kill his earthly body.

Weaknesses:
Holy water. Holy water has, upon demons, a permanently destructive effect compared with dropping a lump of sodium in water. Any contact with holy water will burn Crowley’s skin, bones, and/or organs beyond function, recognition, and (probably) repair.

Occult rituals/signs. Occult rituals, sigils, wards, etc. can summon or limit Crowley, contain him, and in some cases hurt, change, damage, or discorporate him (similarly, in the book Aziraphale loses his physical body due to a ritual gone wrong). An exorcism would normally send him back to Hell, but on the Barge it will simply send him back to his cabin.


Personality:
The one thing Crowley has always been is adaptable. In Heaven he was perhaps too much so and was influenced by the rebellious angels enough to Fall from Grace, but he took surprisingly quickly to that (less than a week), and was immediately stationed on earth. He was the first demon to make contact with a human (Eve) and the first to take permanent residence on earth and live alongside mankind. He’s watched humans’ inner workings and begun to adopt some of their habits himself: “Being a demon, of course, was supposed to mean you had no free will. But you couldn’t hang around humans very long without learning a thing or two.”

People, in Crowley’s opinion, are far more interesting than angels or demons. Existence as an ethereal/occult being comes with inarguable moral laws and expectations, but humans are capable of both great mercy and great cruelty – a fascinating quality. In addition, they’re far more creative than Heaven and Hell give them credit for. “It was this free will thing, of course. It was a bugger.”

(His angelic counterpart Aziraphale shares this empathetic view of humanity. It led to their empathy toward each other. It also led to him defying Hell’s orders, dousing an enemy demon in holy water, and trying to stop the Apocalypse, but let’s not talk about that.)

As a demon Crowley’s job is to spread corruption and misery among mortals, but he’s not fond of hurting people. Violence makes him queasy and he only engages in it defensively, and so he’s found cleverer, mostly harmless ways to influence people. One of his little tricks is to interfere with a city’s cell phone signals and consequently make everyone angry, and likely to take it out on each other. His personal touches are equally safe and pedestrian: he’ll often use transmutation to offer people the things that tempt them, or to do small-scale sabotage to their possessions. While his demonic superiors don’t really get this, his work is nonetheless effective and they usually let him go about the job undisturbed.

It’s lucky Hell doesn’t keep a very close eye on him. Earth gives you a lot to think about, and from the Beginning Crowley has been trying to puzzle existence and the Plan. It sits wrong with him that God would allow an angelic rebellion and create an entire universe for a planet full of capricious, intelligent creatures only to plan on destroying it; what’s the point? Moreover what’s the point of the different Sides? Everlasting Hell and everlasting Heaven would in Crowley’s opinion be equally awful.

By all appearances Crowley is inherently cool, both in the calm and in the fashionable sense. On earth he’s in his element and at ease in his human shape. “Flash bastard” is the most common descriptor: he’s handsome, stylish, wears sunglasses even when he doesn’t need them, and has a sharp sarcastic wit. (Vanity is a lovely sin.) But he knows his doubt of Hell and sympathy toward humans makes him vulnerable to punishment, and his Fall from Grace is still painful after six thousand years. It's a discomfort that leads to a low-level but constant paranoia and sadness he keeps buried. As personable and fond as he is, he holds friends at emotional arm’s length and builds himself up as much worse than he is.

"I’d just like to say,” Aziraphale said, “if we don’t get out of this, that… I’ll have known, deep down inside, that there was a spark of goodness in you.”
“That’s right,” said Crowley bitterly. “Make my day.”


Crowley’s worldly, clever, vain, cynical, and a little too personally invested; he’s almost human, in a way. Just don’t expect him to admit it.


Barge Reactions: Not easily ruffled on the outside, Crowley will be cool and casual amongst nearly all people regardless of where they’re from. Good Omens includes appearances of quite a few bizarre people-groups and species, and while Crowley isn’t shown directly interacting with them it can be reasonably assumed that he would treat these unusual beings with interest, skepticism, and mild sarcasm. Arm’s-lengthing is a talent of Crowley’s, which allows him to process nearly all beings with a certain reasonability. His most likely reaction is to troll everyone.

Breaches and floods are either going to be exciting novelties or things to resent and ignore afterwards. He’s playful at heart, but that doesn’t mean he won’t sulk if he ends up looking foolish or having a rough time.


Path to Redemption: N/A


Deal: When Crowley first steps on the Barge he will have no deal whatsoever. His attraction isn’t based on personal gain, he just wants to get into a dimension where neither Heaven nor Hell has dominion. That, and he’s trying to win an argument about morality with Aziraphale and needs to graduate an inmate so he can rub it in the angel’s face. As time goes on, he may ask for something else.


History: Crowley never intended to be a demon. He never intended to be an angel either, or anything really; he just sort of began to exist as per God’s idea and worked forward from there. He was created in Heaven before the earth existed. After Lucifer rallied the Rebellion and led a war against Heaven Crowley’s friends all Fell from grace and he followed them downward, thoughtfully. Once he became a demon he took on the name “Crawly” and went to earth in the form of a snake, tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden. As far as he was concerned it was only an apple, and he was very disturbed by the fall of man that sprung from it. It was at this point that he struck up an acquaintance with the angelic guardian of Eden’s Eastern Gate: Aziraphale, a Principality (though people make jokes about that nowadays).

Renaming himself “Crowley,” he remained stationed on earth and worked on turning humans toward sin and corruption. Aziraphale, meanwhile, remained on earth to encourage virtue and holiness. Due to constantly bumping into each other doing work for their respective Sides, around 1020 AD they came up with a simple Arrangement: neither interferes in the other’s work. This turned out quite well for them, as they’re both able to carry out their own projects without getting wrapped up in each other’s (beyond the occasional small helping hand, of course, but neither will ever admit that). In fact during the course of Crowley’s six millennia on earth he’s had some notable “achievements”. Hell gave him a commendation for the Spanish Inquisition, although in reality that was all humans and he took one look then spent a week drunk. What he’s really proud of are the small things. Manchester. The M4 motorway. iPods.

Crowley’s spent the bulk of his existence in North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, meandering from place to place depending either on divine/infernal activity. He’s been immersed in many different parts of history and has a great fondness for various centuries, although he slept through most of the 19th (getting up in 1832 to go to the bathroom). The 20th is his favorite and the 14th his least. The 20th involved, among many other things, the internal combustion engine, which was a great improvement over horses (Crowley does not like animals and usually fell off).

The late 20th century was also the planned date of the Apocalypse. Crowley was slated to deliver the newborn Antichrist to human parents but rather botched the job, mixing up the babies and focusing on the wrong one. He and Aziraphale, both fond of earth and unwilling to see it end, decided to see if they can influence the Antichrist to take the moral middle ground by pushing both sides at him (“godfathers”). Of course, they had the wrong kid and weren’t able to locate the Antichrist for eleven years. The real Antichrist was a boy named Adam Young, a creative and sensible child raised in a rural English town called Lower Tadfield, untouched by Heaven or Hell. When Adam was 11 he came into his powers and began changing the world due to imaginative childlike idealism, unaware of what he was doing.

The rapid global geographical and mythological changes made Crowley resolve to stop the Antichrist’s influence and actually led to him defying Hell’s orders as Aziraphale defied Heaven’s. Both Sides wanted to see the world end but Crowley strove to find a way to stop things. By the time Crowley found a book of completely accurate prophecies on the end times, Heaven and Hell were already primed for warfare with the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding toward Adam (on motorcycles of course. This is modern times). He rushed to Tadfield despite disastrous conditions, pushing his 1926 Bentley so hard it burst into flames as he traveled. Along with Aziraphale, Crowley had been willing to try and kill the Antichrist but was immediately cowed by him, especially as once Adam realized what he was doing he began to change things back and wipe the memory of the massive upheaval from humans’ minds – he liked earth just as much as the angel and demon did. He even discouraged Lucifer from surfacing on earth to punish Aziraphale and Crowley.

Adam’s staunch refusal to allow the final celestial battle or the earth’s destruction, and indeed the entire failed Apocalypse, was such an embarrassment to Heaven and Hell that everyone more or less refused to acknowledge it happened. Crowley and Aziraphale escaped punishment largely because none of their superiors were quite sure how to deal with things. After this, everything went back to normal – or at least, mostly everything.

The book ends there, but due to the new year’s resolutions, general proclivity toward new technologies, and just because he finds it amusing, it seems logical to assume his newer hobbies include Internet trolling and working with Apple.



Sample Journal Entry:
You people either deserve chastising or credit, I can’t decide which. How didn’t that work? [Crowley swings his communicator around to show the pub’s floor and the gold and silver coins he’s glued onto it.] Two hours I’ve been sitting here and not a one of you has tried to grab one. What do I need to do to tempt you people? Don’t say a striptease. I’m not wearing those high heels ever again.

Sample RP:
The Barge may be small, Crowley reflected, and it may have a limited number of people to tempt. These were the sort of circumstances where craftsmanship, tempting the old-fashioned way, could really take root. He could get inside people’s heads and float them a myriad of little personal suggestions, reassurances, and shames. Build up the guilt and negativity one-on-one. That kind of behavior would give him a few much-needed points in Hell’s book.

Or he could do what came naturally these days. It was the 21st century, after all.

He’d worked on mixing up the Network but couldn’t crack whatever system the Admiral used. That was on the backburner while he got hands-on: he covered the deck in a thin layer of liquid soap, blunted all the pencils in the art room, and put the music room’s piano out of tune. In the kitchens he turned a few random knives to rubber and unscrewed the all the pepper shakers’ tops, then turned to the refrigerator.

No, this wouldn't do at all. Crowley gestured at the food, changed this and that, switched ingredients, redid the preparations and stepped back to survey his work. The pork was now a rich smoked ham, the grape juice a very potable cabernet, and the apple slices an apple tart.* This was much better, far more palpable.

Besides, he reasoned as he slipped out the door, if hard-pressed he could chalk it up to gluttony.

________
*Because modern times or no, old habits die hard.


Special Notes: Religious parody isn't something everyone's into playing so I will put up an opt-out post. In addition, because Crowley has some snake icons, I'll also ask whether snake-phobic players want me to avoid tagging them with those.


🍎



REVISIONS


Additional Personality:

To begin with, Crowley loves mortals, but as a demon and an immortal he doesn’t have a huge regard for individuals’ lives. Violence is disgusting and messy and he hates having to deal with it, but due to the general atmosphere on earth and in Hell he’s willing to engage in it – not his favorite choice but sometimes a great option (or just an amusing one). When seeking out information about the Antichrist, Crowley and Aziraphale are caught up in a paintball game and shot. In light of the inconvenience, ruined suit, and mild ache, Crowley changes all the paintball guns into real guns out of pure spite. He does assure that no one is killed, but it’s only at Aziraphale’s insistence.

When he’s in a confrontation, he’s capable of extreme cruelty. When Hell learns of his mix-up with the Antichrist, they send a pair of demons named Ligur and Hastur to collect him for punishment. Crowley retrieves a supply of holy water and spills it on Ligur, destroying him in a horrifying display leading to a disgusting residue.
“There are some things that are unthinkable: there are some depths that not even demons would believe other demons would stoop to.
“‘…Holy water. You bastard,’ said Hastur. ‘You complete bastard. He hadn’t never done nothing to you.’
“‘Yet,’ corrected Crowley.”


But when it becomes up-close and personal, simply put, Crowley is a coward. He would far rather run and get himself to safety than to get involved in any sort of altercation. This is especially evident when he runs afoul of any other supernatural beings, because in Hell’s hierarchy he is not very powerful. (“Hastur was a Duke of Hell. Crowley wasn’t even a local councilor.”) In fact, when Hastur confronts him Crowley dissipates into energy form and escapes through a telephone line. Hastur follows in the same shape, and Crowley lures him through the lines back to his own answering machine where he captures the other demon on tape. (…Look, I didn’t write it.) After this he immediately begins a high-speed drive to Tadfield to kill the Antichrist -- who is, remember, 11 years old (“He ran down to his Bentley and drove towards the West End as if all the demons of hell were after him. Which was more or less the case”).

Basically, he’ll do what he has to do as efficiently and painlessly (for him) as possible. Savvy and self-preservation serve him better than strength, and certainly better than conventional morals.


Transmutation.
Due to the nature of the game, Crowley’s transmutation ability will be limited on the Barge. He will be able to affect only inanimate objects equal to or smaller than his human body size, within a 20-foot radius. If he attempts to use this ability to hurt anyone, it will malfunction and manifest harmlessly. In addition, he will not be able to alter any mechanical or structural part of the Barge.

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Anthony J. Crowley

June 2015

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