It’s a fairly commonly expressed belief that Devils are incapable of empathy or at least have no urge to altruism, and that all their behaviour is motivated purely by their own self-interest, but is that really the case? Are Devils purely mercenary creatures willing to abandon all ideals to get ahead? Or are they simply socialised that way?
We do see a lot of Devils throw out those they seem to care for at the slightest provocation, lose interest when souls aren’t on the table, etc., and the young Devil you My Fair Lady at Mahogany Hall seems uninterested in anything other than soul gathering, but then we do sometimes see evidence of something deeper on the part of individual Devils - that Deviless you write a ballad for can’t be dating that Rubbery Man to get a soul out of him after all, and I seem to recall the Turncoat from that one Exceptional Story doing something or other that struck me as curiously selfless.
What do you all think? Are Devils capable of putting others before themselves or do they only do good when it benefits them to do so? Is there any way to tell a Devil genuinely in love for one out for a soul?
Well, gamewise, there has never been one example where a Devil was genuinely in love with someone, though many harbor fierce loyalty for their Princes, even romantic feelings in some cases. Even the Deviless who dates the Rubbery Man can be seen in a different light given what Virginia’s spa reveals about the particular interest Rubbery Men hold for the Devils.
I do not think they are purely mercenary - they just don’t see humans (and other types of creatures) as equals by any means. Looking like humans, and being skilled manipulators, they are capable of persuading you they are interested in you, but they never take the relationship further. This doesn’t make them two-dimensional: they have their own society, and they seem to have all types of interactions and relations between them, but never with any of us. Which is, I suspect, why you can never marry a devil/deviless, no matter how many times players have asked for those companions to be made available.
Not that this stops the infernally inclined from dreaming, but given what we have seen I seriously doubt they are getting their wish anytime soon.
As much as many Devils would not want to admit it, they are capable of empathy; I believe it is their society that wrings it out of them. If they may seem alien and cruel, we could say the same of Victorian practices such as child labor, which nowadays we see as abhorrent, was societally accepted and viewed at the very least as necessary.
They are a post-revolution society, with all the harshness it brings. And again, as much they wouldn’t want to admit it, they are still influenced by their old masters: they are very harsh towards traitors (such as the Wistful Deviless), much as the Judgements and Hell’s aristocracy once were. They view themselves as superior beings, which gives them the right to act as they please towards their lessers, as they did in the days when they were in servitude.
To that end, their hatred towards them is what is driving them into evil in the first place. They need souls to manufacture Laws to advance the Liberation and kill the Judgements; Even if they stopped to consider the cruelty of spirifige (or knew of its consequences in the first place), they would consider it in their minds as exercising a right granted them by their superiority to end a war. As shown by a ‘private soriee’ (Hell Renown) their formality was dictated by the old regime; but it can also be considered a form of camouflage, to better tempt humanity with the trappings of finery (ala this option). This is similar to what Virginia did during the war, seducing and imprisoning a Prince of Hell. Thus these two show the extent which they are willing to go as well, showing both self-sacrifice and loyalty so strong they are willing to change their identities and live as those they despise (not much different from the players of the Great Game).
However, I also argue their society holds a certain (twisted) ideal of justice or empathy. In the ES Tauroktonos, they set a trap for an executioner of the old regime. If they were motivated purely by selfishness, it would make no sense to waste resources punishing someone whose victims you didn’t care about or never even knew. It seems to me that it’s motivated by the former ideal, as they plan a rather sadistic way of surprising him and killing him with his own device, and they don’t emphasize the fact that he killed people they cared about.
To summarize what I think in a non-spoilerly way, they have a grander goal that necessitates cruelty, and a sense of (not completely unjustified) superiority that desensitizes them. I’d argue their society’s morality is a mix of a starkly utilitarian revolutionary regime and self-supremacism.
One of the things that interests me about the Devils in Fallen London is that they are depicted as individuals. While Hell has very definite goals, it’s clear that the various Devils share them to greater and lesser degrees, and that some Devils do not share them at all.
The conduct we see in Tauroktonos, however, does not seem to be about empathy in any form, or even the lack of it, but more about the importance of law In Dungeons and Dragons and its progeny, some monsters are considered to be of lawful evil alignment; i.e., their goals have nothing to do with the well-being and improvement of thinking beings, but more with the maintenance and enforcement of law. The way the Iron Republic operates is consistent with this general theme.
edited by cathyr19355 on 9/23/2019
edited by cathyr19355 on 9/23/2019
Order and Evil, if not ‘Law’, in effect, mayhap - (Doc_Static = an ‘AD&Der’ since 1979) . . . As distinguished from the ‘Demonic’ type, of Chaotic Evil sorts, prone to run amok, rather than organize a power heirarchy aethos of dark and sinister intent (all milieau subtlties simplified, so to quip) The ‘Virginia’ election candidates debate thread covered some ponders of the sort . . . ((BTW: the following ‘signature text’ is a test-run, and will soon be editted to be less "spammy", pls. pardon the vainglorious excess, Neighbors.)) ::
edited by Doctor_Static on 9/25/2019
[quote=Doctor_Static]Order and Evil, if not ‘Law’, in effect, mayhap - (Doc_Static = an ‘AD&Der’ since 1979) . . . As distinguished from the ‘Demonic’ type, of Chaotic Evil sorts, prone to run amok, rather than organize a power heirarchy aethos of dark and sinister intent (all milieau subtlties simplified, so to quip) The ‘Virginia’ election candidates debate thread covered some ponders of the sort . . . ((BTW: the following ‘signature text’ is a test-run, and will soon be editted to be less "spammy", pls. pardon the vainglorious excess, Neighbors.)) ::
edited by Doctor_Static on 9/25/2019[/quote]
I stand corrected, Doctor.
O’ mysterious Ixc - how apt and existential a quoth to weild - most sentimentally empathetic pathos!
Oh, and dear wise and experienced Peer Of The Neathly Realm, lady Catherine Raymond - please, No "Correction" Intended - that would be argumentive of me, outside of Election’s contentions - moreso, merely collaborative confabulation and concert, essaying and enthusing on-theme of interest - if i may humblebrag my gracious eloquence unto self-parody, in apology.
bows profusely - winking a slight, "Psmyth-ish", if not quite devilish grin
edited by Doctor_Static on 10/2/2019
Oh, 2 bad 4 them, I joined the expedition of the Bishop of Southwark thanks to my Obdurate Stallion.
While not having the greatest opinion of the Church, I was tired of seeing foolish society types throwing away their souls, the Affectionate Devil tricking people into becoming Unaccountably Peckish wih his trap-meals (the worst!), and even the Quiet Deviless being sultry. And I have Acquaintance:8 with the Regretful Soldier so my character empathizes with him, too.
And then I saw a Bringer of Death going up from 1 to 35 o.o
edited by Netos Korlan on 10/17/2019
I think devils can experience emotions they may not do it often but we have examples such as the devil and the opra singer and the repentant devil in sunless skies so while it may take a lot they do have emotions but I think its just a matter that there minds are so alien to ours
Yes. And they are not that much into us.
I doubt that even one story where a devil was involved ended happily for a human.
I’m sure there are happy endings but we just don’t hear about them
At least one devil loved a human. Else a certain destiny wouldn’t be possible.
may I inquire which one or am I fated not to know
may I inquire which one or am I fated not to know[/quote]
I believe the relevant story here is Secrets Framed in Gold. It’s been a while since I played it though.
thank you that’s more than enough to tell me
The story still didn’t end happily. And we are not entirely certain why.
well the course of true love never did run smooth
It’s never really explained what happened. Or why the painting ended up how it did.
‘Good Go… well, I never. I thought this one was lost to us. He’s the first soul that we snagged after the Fall. A young priest, I think. Our best succubus did the Abstraction and then took French leave with the donor. I wonder what happened to them. Hang on, I’ll have to get you a proper receipt for this one.’
-The Infernal Sommelier