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I, for one, would enjoy exploring the mystical realm of rural Maine. Is it looking solid, vlado? It's OK. I'd even say I like it, for it tries to be different.
It also has some shortcomings due to that. It's really a mix of the two in most respects, to be honest, but I'm overall positive about it. I'll write a lengthier synopsis of what the game is like tomorrow I hope but I'll keep it short for now: - the setting I like. But I don't like the Demon title. I don't hate it, mind you, it just feels Not as bad as the "sin powers" of the demons from Inferno, though - sheesh, that was pushing it, but these ones just ever so slightly off on many occasions.
It's mostly minor issues, though, and that might be mostly me. At the same time, it is annoying too. The title fits perfectly in both a good sense and a bad sense - it is a God Machine It's a bit infuriating how it has equal portions of both.
In fact, they work tirelessly to thwart their creators designs and destroy that which they rebelled against.
Most knowingly defied the God-Machine and never regretted that rebellion. Other Saboteurs did not set out to leave the God-Machines service but fight against it now because they feel it betrayed them. Some carefully pick their battles to maximize the damage they cause, while others lash out at everything the God-Machine touches to prevent their makers projects from gaining any foothold. The Architect character is a Saboteur.
Psychopomp The God-Machine dispatches Psychopomp angels, sometimes described as Wheels, to gather raw materials be they crude matter, animals, people, or souls. They shape them into the intended form and move them into place within the established time.
These quartermasters of the God-Machine do not concern themselves about what they must do to harvest the needed supplies, nor do they contemplate the purpose it will serve at its destination. Theirs is the journey, the task of bringing all things into alignment for the God-Machine. The Architect character is a Psychopomp. Tempter To Tempters, the world is a marvelous garden of new experiences, and they intend to eat their fill of its fruits.
They served a more powerful being once, but now they intend to be served in turn. They play at being gods among mortals, using their demonic gifts to command and cajole these lesser beings that hang upon the Unchaineds every word. They pursue even greater political or financial power, establish an ever-expanding cult of personality, and otherwise attempt to place their mark on as large a swath of the world as they can.
The Nice Guy character is a Tempter. Agendas Though they lack the self-awareness to appreciate it, angels possess a powerful raison dtre free of doubt or unwanted introspection. They serve the God-Machine, and that is enough for them.
Demons have cast away that certainty of purpose, and they feel its loss keenly. The compulsion to fill that void with some purpose custom-built for their strange and terrifying new condition claims nearly all the Unchained, and most subscribe to one of a handful of demonic philosophies. Inquisitor These Unchained gather intelligence on the God-Machine, its agents, and anything else that may prove valuable later on.
They tend toward paranoia and frequently take drastic measures to ensure their anonymity ahead of the day when the God-Machines servants start looking for them. They arrange an untraceable escape plan ahead of the inevitable day when they must flee or be captured by one of their creators angelic hunters. Many of them may claim intellectual curiosity motivates their constant search for knowledge and secrets, but they also do a brisk trade with other demons in the information at their disposal.
The Street Kid character is an Inquisitor. It is divided into two parts. Mission Briefing p. Honey and Vinegar p. Mission Briefing - The Rules Mission Briefing The Rules The Basics When your character tries to accomplish something challenging or avoid danger, you roll dice to determine the outcome. The dice youll use are ten-sided, and youll roll a pool of them based on your characters relevant traits.
For example, to punch someone in the face, you might add your Strength Attribute of 3 to your Brawl Skill of 2 and pick up five dice. When you roll the dice, each one that comes up 8, 9, or 10 is a success. Usually, you only need one success to accomplish what you intended, but more are always better. Especially if youre trying to hurt someone successes add to damage in combat. Any die that comes up a 10 counts as a success, but re-roll it, potentially adding another success.
In fact, if it comes up 10 again, roll it a third time, and so on. This rule is called again. These reflect circumstances that make your characters action easier or harder.
You add or subtract the appropriate number of dice from your pool before rolling. If modifiers reduce your dice pool to zero, you roll a single die, called a chance die. A chance die counts as a single success if it comes up Any other result is a failure, and a 1 is a dramatic failure. There are a few different kinds of success and failure: Success: Your characters action goes off as planned. Achieved by having one or more dice come up greater than or equal to 8.
Failure: Your characters action fails.
Sometimes, that means nothing happens, other times it means complications are on the way. This occurs when none of your dice are successes. Exceptional Success: Your characters action succeeds beyond her expectations.
This is achieved when you roll five or more successes. Your character also gains the Inspired Condition. She can take this for herself or, if appropriate to the story, give it to another players character. Dramatic Failure: Your characters action fails badly This is suffered under two circumstances. The first, and less common, is when you roll a 1 on a chance die.
More often, youll choose to turn a regular failure into a dramatic failure. When you do that, you get a Willpower point, which can make a big difference down the road.
In the full game, rather than Willpower, you get points which help you improve your character. Willpower Willpower represents a characters determination to carry through and see her desires fulfilled. Spending a point of Willpower adds three dice to most dice pools. Only one point of Willpower can be spent in this way on a single action. Types of Actions Most actions are instant. They take place in a relatively small space of time.
In a fight, an instant action takes up your turn. An action can also be reflexive, something your character barely has to think or act to do. Reflexive actions can happen at any time, and dont take your turn in combat. Some actions are contested.
These work just like instant actions, except youre rolling dice for your character against another player or the Storyteller rolling dice for theirs. In a contested action, victory is achieved by rolling more successes than the opposing player.
Contested actions only take the turn of the player who initiated the contest. Characters can use teamwork on a single action. One character is the primary actor, and her player assembles her dice pool as normal. However, anyone assisting rolls the same pool first. Their successes become bonus dice on the primary actors roll. Obviously, some kinds of action lend themselves better to teamwork than others. The Passage of Time Weve talked about turns, periods of about three seconds each.
The games tracked in turns when in combat or other time-critical situations. The second important measure of time is the scene.
Scenes are an abstract measurement of time, lasting roughly long enough to take care of all of the action the characters want to take part in in a particular place.
Characters Characters are made up of a set of traits. Some of them are numbers, others are descriptors that have an effect on other game mechanics. Attributes are raw potential. Skills are trained areas of expertise.
Specialties are subsets of Skills where a character is particularly adept. Advantages cover things like how fast a character moves or how much Willpower she can bring to bear. Embeds and Exploits reflect the ability of the Unchained to hack reality, taking advantage of the mystical harmonies of the universe put in place by the God-Machine.
Cover is the measure of a demons human mask, the identity she uses to hide from the God-Machine. Demonic form is the demons true shape, a mechanistic nightmare. Skills can also have Specialties, which contribute an extra die when relevant. Attributes Attributes are a characters innate capabilities. Theyre rated from one to five, and come in three categories: Physical, Mental, and Social.
They determine the power a character can apply to a task, the finesse with which he can perform it, and his resistance to harm and interference by others. Mental Attributes Mental Skills Mental Skills are applications of a characters insight, acumen and focus, such as examining a crime scene for clues, unraveling an enigma or diagnosing an illness.
If your character tries to use a Mental Skill she doesnt possess, take a -3 penalty. Academics: Academics is a broad-based Skill that represents a characters degree of higher education and general knowledge in the Arts and Humanitieseverything from English to history, economics to law. Computer: All characters can perform basic tasks with a computer, such as using office programs or social networking sites.
Characters possessing this Skill have the necessary training or experience to operate a computer beyond the level of a normal user. With 1 dot, a character can program at a casual level or replace hardware components in a desktop computer. At 2 dots, the character is a moderately skilled programmer. At 3 or more, hes qualified for work on major software applications. People with this Skill are often familiar with a variety of programming languages and operating systems.
Crafts: Crafts represents a characters training or experience in creating works of physical art or construction with his hands, from paintings to car engines to classical sculpture. Characters possessing this Skill typically have the knowledge, but not necessarily the tools or facilities to make use of their capabilities.
A character might be an exceptional mechanic, for example, but still needs to sweet-talk her boss into opening up the garage after hours to work on her friends car. Investigation: Investigation is the art and science of solving mysteries, examining seemingly disparate evidence to find a connection, answering riddles and overcoming paradoxes.
It not only allows your character to get into the head of a killer to grasp his motives or plans, it allows her to look beyond the mundane world to guess at answers to mysterious problems, or to have a eureka moment that offers insight into baffling circumstances. Medicine: The Medicine Skill reflects a characters training and expertise in human physiology and how to treat injuries and illness. The trait represents knowledge of human anatomy and basic medical treatments.
Occult: The Occult Skill reflects a characters knowledge and experience with the worlds various legends and lore about the supernatural. A character with this Skill not only knows the theories, myths and legends of the occult, but can generally discern fact from rumor. Politics: Characters possessing this Skill are not only familiar with the way the political process works, theyre expe- Intelligence: Your characters ability to recall information, form plans, or solve puzzles.
Wits: Your characters ability to think on her feet and Resolve: Your characters raw determination. Physical Attributes Strength: How much your character can lift, and how hard he hits. Dexterity: How fast your character can react physically, and how deft her movements are. Stamina: Your characters ability to suffer physical stress and power through obstacles.
Social Attributes Presence: Your characters assertiveness and raw appeal. Manipulation: Your characters ability to appeal to the desires of others and get them to cooperate.
Composure: Your characters poise, and ability to keep apparently calm under pressure. Skills While Attributes represent innate ability, Skills represent abilities trained and honed over years. Theyre also rated one to five.
Skill Dots 10 Proficiency Level Novice. Basic knowledge or techniques. Solid working knowledge or techniques. Broad, detailed knowledge or techniques. Exceptional depth of knowledge or techniques. Unsurpassed depth of knowledge or techniques.
A leader in the field. Mission Briefing - The Rules rienced with bureaucracies and know exactly who to call in a given situation to get something done.
Your character keeps track of whos in power and how she got there, along with her potential rivals. Science: This Skill represents your characters understanding of the physical and natural sciences: biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, physics and so on. Science is useful not only for understanding how the world works, but it helps characters make the most of the resources at hand to achieve their goals.
Some individuals such as government agents and members of the military receive formal training in bypassing security systems and stealing valuable assets. Stealth: The Stealth Skill represents a characters experience or training in avoiding notice, whether by moving silently, making use of cover or blending into a crowd.
Survival: Survival represents your characters experience or training in living off the land. He knows where to find food and shelter, and how to endure harsh environmental conditions. The more capable your character is, the fewer resources he needs in order to prevail. Weaponry: As the name implies, the Weaponry Skill represents your characters experience or training in fighting with everything from beer bottles to pipes, knives to swords.
While formal instruction in Weaponry is uncommon restricted to military and law-enforcement training and a few martial arts , any character who has grown up on the street or spent a lot of time in seedy bars has had ample opportunity to learn this Skill. In combat, Weaponry is added to Strength to make armed attacks at close range. Physical Skills Physical Skills are applications of a characters might, endurance and coordination, such as climbing a mountain, driving a car or shooting a gun. If your character tries to use a Physical Skill he does not possess, take a -1 penalty.
Athletics: Athletics encompasses a broad category of physical training, from rock climbing to kayaking to professional sports.
The Athletics Skill can be applied to any action that requires prolonged physical exertion or that demands considerable agility or hand-eye coordination.
Examples include climbing a high wall, marching long distances and leaping between rooftops. In combat, the Skill is combined with Dexterity to determine the accuracy of thrown weapons, and is also factored into your characters Defense. Brawl: Brawl defines your characters prowess at unarmed combat, whether hes a black belt in karate, a hard-bitten street tough or a college student whos taken a few self-defense courses.
Characters with this Skill know how to hit an opponent, where to hit for maximum effect and how to defend themselves from attack. In combat, Brawl is combined with Strength for unarmed attacks. Drive: The Drive Skill allows your character to operate a vehicle under difficult or dangerous conditions. Characters dont need this Skill simply to drive a car.
Its safe to assume in a modern society that most individuals are familiar with automobiles and the rules of the road. Rather, this trait covers the training or experience necessary to operate at high speeds, to tackle hazardous road conditions and to push a vehicle to the limits of its performance.
Drive is the difference between a typical suburban parent with a minivan and a police officer, car thief, or racecar driver. Firearms: Firearms allows your character to identify, operate and maintain most types of guns, from pistols and rifles, to military weapons such as submachine guns, assault rifles, and machine guns.
This Skill can represent the kind of formal training provided to police and the military, or the basic, hands-on experience common to hunters, criminals and gun enthusiasts. Firearms also applies to using bows. A demon inhabiting a human form for the first time doesnt necessarily know that that gnawing feeling in her gut means she needs to put food in her body, or that her mental faculties are growing weaker because she hasnt slept in two straight days.
Many demons arent even aware of human biological needs, or possess at best a cursory understanding of them.
Even demons who have been living human lives for years often find they have to periodically pause and analyze the signals their bodies are sending them. For some demons, the needs of the body are a distraction.
They eat and drink perfunctorily, sleep the absolute minimum required for their mental well-being, and ruthlessly abandon any Cover that shows signs of physical weakness.
If spending large quantities of time in demonic form didnt carry such risks, theyd do it as often as they could get away with. Others see human experience as one of the few unvarnished positives of having Fallen and seek to experience as much of it as possible as often as possible. Still others treat the whole experience as an intellectual puzzle, a vast biological code to be cracked.
These latter demons sometimes find themselves pressed into teaching newly-Fallen demons the ins and outs of biological existence. Inhuman Frailties Well talk more about demonic forms in Chapter Three, but its worth noting here that most of the information presented above doesnt apply when a demon sheds her human body and assumes demonic form. Hunger, thirst, fatigue, and so on fall awaybut so do the physiological responses to the demons emotions, leaving only the intellectual expression behind.
A demon doesnt suddenly stop loving her wife when she takes her demonic form, but she no longer feels the flood of pheromones, norepinephrine, and serotonin that stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, for example. If the demon isnt prepared for this effect, it can be startling. Sometimes demons experience an effect similar to Capgras delusion as a result, in which the lack of the expected neurological response to the sight of a loved one leads to the belief that the loved one has been replaced by an impostor.
On the more positive side, the neurochemical effects of emotions like anger or revulsion are also stripped away, which can help rivals set aside grudges for mutual benefit like, say, when a half-dozen hunter-angels have just descended from on high and torn the roof off of your bolthole.
In either case, when those biological aspects abruptly reassert themselves upon reversion to human form, they can bring a lot of baggage with them. Most of the time, these effects are momentary and easy to compensate for. They dont necessarily have any game-mechanical effect.
If youre looking for a hook to roleplay a Condition like Guilty, Shaken, or Spooked, however, particularly coming out of a scene where your character spent time in demonic form, they provide excellent fodder. Also, as an optional rule, shifting to demonic form temporarily suppresses visceral, emotion-based Conditions. Those Conditions return once the demon resumes her Cover.
Poker Face Although demons feel every bit as intensely as humans, the demonic mind exists at a partial remove from the human body, an advantage in controlling the outward expression of autonomic responses. A demon can beat a lie detector test or bluff convincingly on a six-high as easily as she makes small-talk about the weather. Cold-readers get nothing off of her unless she wants them to.
Unless she makes a conscious effort to show her emotional state, she defaults to bland neutrality. Depending on their experiences and expectations, humans might suspect shes socially deficient in some way or simply dismiss her as cold or unfeeling.
How much effort a particular demon puts into keeping up appearances says a lot about her. In human society, of course, people are conditioned to look for those tiny, unconscious expressions of emotion.
A demon who makes no attempt to display any microexpressions at all falls into what artists call the uncanny valley: that is, she appears so close to human and yet just slightly off that she triggers an instinctive revulsion or fear response. In demonic circles, its sometimes considered de rigeur to honestly project your emotions. In other cases, being among ones fellow Unchained is considered an opportunity to relax and not have to focus on presenting a human face.
The chief benefit of this effect, as described on p. Thats not the only thing a clever demon can do with body control, though. Here are a few other tricks: Total control of outward responses includes pain responses. A demon can stick her hand in a blast furnace and stand there as nonchalantly as if it were a cool breeze. She still feels excruciating pain, of course, but damned if anybody looking can tell. This can make it impossible for people to gauge the degree of a demons injury especially if she covers any obvious wounds with clothes , but it can also provide a bonus to Intimidation dice pools.
This ability doesnt give any immunity or resistance to wound penalties; remember, the demon still feels every cut and bruise and broken bone, and a lacerated tendon still doesnt work right. While its not specifically stated, the fact that demons have total control of their bodies microexpressions means they can also display false ones.
A demon who hates your guts with every fiber of her being can give off every sign that she finds you utterly charming and delightful.