If you end up going to Hell (sorry if that happens, by the way) and you somehow manage to get a job as a public servant there, who processes your paycheck? It’s Melchom, the subject of today’s post. Melchom only makes a few appearances in the series, but as far as occupations go among the demons of Megami Tensei, he has my favorite.
Melchom is one of the Fallen race, the angels who according to Christian tradition joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God. Naturally, all the Fallen fell into Hell with Lucifer when he lost and became demons (demons in the more western traditional sense this time, not the broader Megaten one.) Melchom and many of his friends in the Fallen race are taken from the Lesser Key of Solomon, a 17th century grimoire made famous in modern times by devil magic enthusiast/all around weirdo Aleister Crowley, and from the Infernal Dictionary, a later French work. These books list these demons’ characteristics, and the Lesser Key also contains instructions for summoning them if you feel like enriching yourself through demonic power or getting some supernatural revenge on an enemy.
The entry for Melchom is a strange one mainly because of his profession. The Infernal Dictionary describes him as the paymaster of Hell who carries the purse and hands out wages and salaries to Hell’s servants. This is a real demotion for Melchom, since his name is supposed to be derived from Moloch, a god of the ancient Ammonites of modern-day Jordan who were enemies of the Israelites in the Old Testament. Going from being a god to an infernal bureaucrat has to be embarrassing.
However, he seems to take it in stride. In Strange Journey, Melchom is one of the few demons who isn’t a pain in the ass to deal with. Outside of the random encounters you’ll fight him in, he’s also hanging out in the second layer of the Schwarzwelt and will give the protagonist fairly easy missions to carry out in exchange for what else but a nice paycheck. Money can be hard to come by in Strange Journey, especially early on, so these missions may be a real source of relief to the player. Thanks, Melchom!
Well, this series has been getting a little too demonic lately. I’ll bring it down a few notches tomorrow. Until then, remember: always treat bureaucrats and office support staff well, because they can make your life as easy or hard as they feel like.