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  • Demon System Hacks

    Here's one I'm thinking on (similar to has in DSG)

    Compromise is caused by disrupting the lie, and Demonic forms are often so we should flaunt them as much as possible.


    1. Compromise only happens if there is an observer that would either disbelieve, or report to the god machine
    * Compromise can't usually be caused by actions taken in concealed facilities
    Rationale. The god machine doesn't watch it's infrastructure, if a human would think it's weird it's concealed so if you enter a room people can't see that is filled with arcane gears, you're safe to expose your form. Exception: you remain in your cover, and an Angel or other Observer sees you, anyone not authorized is weird, and worth attention.
    * Demons that don't trust each other with their covers try to meet in Demonic form (so usually inside of a subborned facility, or using a place secured with cryptoflora)
    Rationale, demonic form can't be compromised

    What do you think of this? what hacks do you apply?


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  • #2
    Originally posted by xenoterracide View Post
    Here's one I'm thinking on (similar to has in DSG)

    Compromise is caused by disrupting the lie, and Demonic forms are often so we should flaunt them as much as possible.


    1. Compromise only happens if there is an observer that would either disbelieve, or report to the god machine
    "But Joe Smith," the angel said. "You are wearing a human face. You are experiencing a human life. Sweat. Shit. Tears. Sex. All those lives are part of the Machine. Youare the Machine."

    And Joe Smith was the machine.

    * Compromise can't usually be caused by actions taken in concealed facilities

    Rationale. The god machine doesn't watch it's infrastructure, if a human would think it's weird it's concealed so if you enter a room people can't see that is filled with arcane gears, you're safe to expose your form. Exception: you remain in your cover, and an Angel or other Observer sees you, anyone not authorized is weird, and worth attention.
    Yes, of course, let's be wanted criminals who plan our police department heist inside the police department, not disguised. They definitely won't notice that.

    * Demons that don't trust each other with their covers try to meet in Demonic form (so usually inside of a subborned facility, or using a place secured with cryptoflora)
    Rationale, demonic form can't be compromised
    Possibly fair, but this is very much like deciding to play a game of poker where the house rule is that you have to put three of your cards face-up on the table. I can't think of many demons that would be willing to play that game, even with a perfect poker face. I would suspect that if this is "demon etiquette," demons will trust each other with information like "I'm a demon" even less and instead present as Stigmatics at best, cultists in the middle, or human servants who have no idea what's going on at worst (the image of two demons trying to give each other information while making the other think they're just a human who was given vague instructions on what to do with a particular milk carton is pretty hilarious, though).

    What do you think of this? what hacks do you apply?
    These are more setting hacks than system hacks. I'm all for letting players let it all hang out with demon forms.

    System hacks I use:

    I typically don't let players buy Terrible Form higher than one at character creation.

    Resonance Sensitivity doesn't instantly detect demons, 1 xp lets you blow cover whenever you feel like it? I call shenanigans.

    Your contracts can be digital - but that's more dangerous than paper.

    You can totally burn 1-dot Covers for demon super mode - It flags all your other covers for inspection when you do.

    Cults can always do more cool things. They can also do worse things. Refer to Leviathan for details.

    Oh, yes. Some Ciphers have five keys. Some of them use Exploits. Did it design you to fall? Is your failure part of its plans?

    Setting hacks I use:

    Alternate Earth splinters are more common than time splinters. I like Sliders, GURPS Infinite Earths, and The Long Earth by Pratchett, and I am not ashamed.Yes, you can use Rip the Gates to get to one if you know it exists.

    Demon Agencies tend to monopolize their cities. Eventually, one Agency is holding all the contracts in town and they do not share. They also send agents out whenever a new demon falls and extract promissory contracts from them. They also let demons do pretty much whatever they like as long as they don't compromise the agency's members, even going so far as to let little cells of demons get involved with their own personal politics and betrayals. They just hold the deck so when things get too crazy, they step in, much like an actual intelligence agency and its individual members working on their own personal cases.

    The Principle and the God-Machine are the same thing. The Machine constructs elaborate religions for its own personal gain. What is one more falsehood? Chaos is order. Truth is a lie. Infinite complexity is still bound by simple rules. Understand is doubleplusgood bellyfeel. Thoughtcrime is death. Support our troops.

    Remember that the Machine does not use math, it is math. Numbers are spies and there are many-angled ones dwelling at the bottom of the Mandelbrot set.

    It's blue. I know you think it's black, but it's blue from the outside.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by raygungoth View Post
      Yes, of course, let's be wanted criminals who plan our police department heist inside the police department, not disguised. They definitely won't notice that.
      I've always gotten the impression that the God Machine, like many corporations puts it security at the systems edges and not at the middle. This is likely not universally true. However, I think a person being in most concealed infrastructure is probably less normal than the biomechanical horror. To me it's also logical that if said person was observed in said infrastructure their cover would immediately be blown. Whereas a Demonic Form has no cover and thus you can't blow it (in my mind). Yes obviously the commando raiding your nuclear plant is a an enemy combatant, but you don't actually have a way to identify who he is because he's effectively covering his face in a way you can't identify.

      Also criminals plan shit in jails all the time.


      Possibly fair, but this is very much like deciding to play a game of poker where the house rule is that you have to put three of your cards face-up on the table.
      So any 5/7 card stud or Texas Hold 'em? yeah no one likes that.

      I would suspect that if this is "demon etiquette," demons will trust each other with information like "I'm a demon" even less and instead present as Stigmatics at best, cultists in the middle, or human servants who have no idea what's going on at worst (the image of two demons trying to give each other information while making the other think they're just a human who was given vague instructions on what to do with a particular milk carton is pretty hilarious, though).
      I mean, isn't that the big alternative anyways? trying to hide the fact that you're a demon? I have trouble imagining telling a Demon, that I'm a Demon in human form, which allows them to identify and blow my current cover. Outside of burner covers it seems incredibly risky, compared to, again, a Demonic Form which doesn't expose the cover itself, and also proves who you are. I wouldn't want another demon knowing I'm a demon if they passed buy me on the street by recognizing my cover.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by raygungoth View Post
        Did it design you to fall? Is your failure part of its plans?
        I am going to attempt this one in my chronicle since I'm starting them out as angels.

        Alternate Earth splinters are more common than time splinters. I like Sliders, GURPS Infinite Earths, and The Long Earth by Pratchett, and I am not ashamed.Yes, you can use Rip the Gates to get to one if you know it exists.
        Given some of the splinters and stories not sure I entirely grok the difference. note: I've seen Sliders, and I feel almost all of it is valid time splinters.

        Demon Agencies tend to monopolize their cities. Eventually, one Agency is holding all the contracts in town and they do not share. They also send agents out whenever a new demon falls and extract promissory contracts from them. They also let demons do pretty much whatever they like as long as they don't compromise the agency's members, even going so far as to let little cells of demons get involved with their own personal politics and betrayals. They just hold the deck so when things get too crazy, they step in, much like an actual intelligence agency and its individual members working on their own personal cases.
        Ah a setting hack I've yet to do is that agencies should actually be like modern spy agencies and be huge world spanning things. To me Demon's may not trust each other doesn't preclude working together. I tend to think of Drug Cartel's and how I'm guessing a lot of the spy community actually works. Professional Liars and thieves.

        The Principle and the God-Machine are the same thing. The Machine constructs elaborate religions for its own personal gain. What is one more falsehood? Chaos is order. Truth is a lie. Infinite complexity is still bound by simple rules. Understand is doubleplusgood bellyfeel. Thoughtcrime is death. Support our troops.
        I can see this, but not so much since Promethean 2

        It's blue. I know you think it's black, but it's blue from the outside.
        so it's just a dye? since that's how most dye's are?


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        • #5
          Originally posted by xenoterracide View Post
          However, I think a person being in most concealed infrastructure is probably less normal than the biomechanical horror. To me it's also logical that if said person was observed in said infrastructure their cover would immediately be blown. Whereas a Demonic Form has no cover and thus you can't blow it (in my mind). Yes obviously the commando raiding your nuclear plant is a an enemy combatant, but you don't actually have a way to identify who he is because he's effectively covering his face in a way you can't identify.
          Your demonic form is part of the impromptu severance package you absconded with that the opposition designed. You can't blow your Cover in demonic form because blowing your Cover is making a concrete connection between your demonic form and your Cover. It's your true form, not a disguise, and so it's less "enemy commando with his face covered" and more "enemy commando that's very clearly This Former Operative."

          Humans at least have the relative lack of distinction necessary to blend into the human systems God uses quite regularly, and if the Machine has no problem literally turning a young man into his father for the fourth time in recent memory then it's certainly not going to raise a fuss about another pair of hands running an assembly line position unless it's got your number and can't tolerate you being there. An angel demonstrably designed for assassination hasn't got any business in a data archive when there's no scheduled information purge for another three months.


          As far as systems hacks go, I haven't yet had a chance to test whether scaling compromise penalties for glitches by number and severity has any unforeseen bugs in it, but I feel like it's probably more concrete than eyeballing whether a given partial transformation risks detection more than once.
          Last edited by Satchel; 12-07-2016, 08:23 PM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by raygungoth View Post

            It's blue. I know you think it's black, but it's blue from the outside.
            Unless it's white, yellows, and blues.

            With some grey.

            (Which is a moot point, because as the sum total of all infrastructure, it's rather a lot of colors)


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              Your demonic form is part of the impromptu severance package you absconded with that the opposition designed. You can't blow your Cover in demonic form because blowing your Cover is making a concrete connection between your demonic form and your Cover. It's your true form, not a disguise, and so it's less "enemy commando with his face covered" and more "enemy commando that's very clearly This Former Operative."
              sure... my analogy is probably bad, the point I was trying to make is you can't blow the cover because there's none to be blown, you can't identify the face the agent wears everywhere else. No amount of "facial recognition" will find this individual because the face is known, yet nowhere to be found in the world at other times.

              Humans at least have the relative lack of distinction necessary to blend into the human systems God uses quite regularly, and if the Machine has no problem literally turning a young man into his father for the fourth time in recent memory then it's certainly not going to raise a fuss about another pair of hands running an assembly line position unless it's got your number and can't tolerate you being there. An angel demonstrably designed for assassination hasn't got any business in a data archive when there's no scheduled information purge for another three months.
              my thought is that most "hidden" infrastructure, key term being hidden, or being concealed and thus not visible to most humans. I did make that distinction (or at least I think I did), initially. I'm sure some of these have human slaves, but a free slave would be abnormal and stand out. Of course not all infrastructure is concealed in this way.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by xenoterracide View Post
                my thought is that most "hidden" infrastructure, key term being hidden, or being concealed and thus not visible to most humans. I did make that distinction (or at least I think I did), initially. I'm sure some of these have human slaves, but a free slave would be abnormal and stand out. Of course not all infrastructure is concealed in this way.
                You did. Humans represent a much easier and more accessible workbase. Angels require a lot of power to create, we're talking decades or even centuries of storage to make one. It might send an angel or two out to check up on things, but it's far more energy and work-efficient to run human conspiracies and cults around. The likelihood of Stigmatics being in and around and working on concealment infrastructure is much more likely than angels. Heck, two or more angels in the same place is basically the same thing as the military moving a few nukes in on the ground when sending in a fireteam will do - something big is happening.

                Poker's a bad representation - though Texas uses a fixed central hand. Magic: the Gathering is probably better. Before the first card is played, it's likely your opponent probably doesn't even know the color of the deck you're playing, let alone contents, and this game is played for keepsies. Meaning, loser probably gets shot to death. I can't imagine a variant where everyone plays with their hands face up.

                Cover is a wonderful razor-edged playing card. You can play it close, and risk erosion over time as discrepancies build up, or you can inform a few other local demons and you can help each other keep your covers straight and risk one rapid erosion if one of them turns you in for some reason.
                Last edited by raygungoth; 12-08-2016, 04:28 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by raygungoth View Post
                  You did. Humans represent a much easier and more accessible workbase. Angels require a lot of power to create, we're talking decades or even centuries of storage to make one. It might send an angel or two out to check up on things, but it's far more energy and work-efficient to run human conspiracies and cults around. The likelihood of Stigmatics being in and around and working on concealment infrastructure is much more likely than angels. Heck, two or more angels in the same place is basically the same thing as the military moving a few nukes in on the ground when sending in a fireteam will do - something big is happening.
                  I've notice that a large portion of example infrastructure (the hidden kind), is only lightly staffed in most cases. Take the golden gate in Constantinople (next thing I'm running). For defense it has like 1 angel and some cryptid packs. Obviously these would attack either people or angels, and generally speaking neither are expected to be there. In another case there's infrastructure that's based on something like thousands of dead, again IIRC, not a lot of living there. Sure the god machine uses people as tools, but most people are staffing a different kind of infrastructure, or guarding the front door. I'm sure there are counter examples and I remember the stories in the anthology where people were plugged into machines.


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                  • #10
                    Some rules hacks I've toyed with:
                    1. Allow a number of "Freebie" Compromises due to Demonic Power (Demonic Form, Exploits, Embeds) per Chapter equal to Primum. Allows for slightly more casual usage for more high powered games.
                    2. Cap the Pact Benefit totals on either side by the Demon's Intelligence + Primum. This means newer Demons need multiple smaller Pacts, and can't gouge a fool (Willpower cost aside). Minor effect, really.
                    3. Codify Hellhounds to create a Rank (Primum/2, round up) Cryptid, and you can only select Adaptations you've seen/analyzed before (like with Show of Power).
                    4. Tinker with Glitches and Compromise bonuses/penalties, based on Cover - Primum. Low Primum Demons find it easier to hide, while high Primum Demons need to maintain high Cover ratings to compensate.
                    5. Fully completing the Cypher grants a 4th Interlock (between Keys 4 and 1) and/or a more flexible power or passive modification.
                    6. Demons can naturally shift to Twilight... but on the same spectrum as Angels, leading to Compromise risk.
                    7. Possession based Demons/Angels - rather than Covers being whole-cloth creations, Angels and Demons operate through possession/Claiming.
                      1. A Demon's multiple Covers are those they have a tie to via Soul Pacts.
                      2. Each Cover operates independently when not in use, going about their own life (Alibi isn't needed). This has benefits for Cover integrity, but risks them being targeted separately.
                      3. The Demon can shift between Covers...
                        1. By Spending a Willpower point and "jumping" to the other Cover's location.
                        2. Moving between them (either Cover to Cover touch, or the Demon shifting to Twilight, then reaching the Cover that way).
                        3. Pulling the target to their location, and dumping their current Cover back into that one's last (or a reasonable) location. (May require Aether)
                      4. Physical traits and damage/Tilts might be tracked separately, or just stay with the Demon. Separate would increases Demonic toughness remarkably, since they effectively have a health bar for each Cover.
                      5. Cover's "mind" and memories are fully under the control of the operating Demon. If, prior to leaving the Cover, the Unchained wants them to remember the intervening time "together" differently, then that is what the Cover remembers when they are on their own.
                      6. Patch Jobs aren't really a thing. Maybe Facades, on their own or with Urban Legend might be the limit of it.
                      7. [Optional variant] Demons and Angels are software based (Data Form is a part of the template). Work better for more data-prevalent, cyberpunk settings.
                    Note: each of the above items on are separate options, unless otherwise stated.
                    Last edited by Vent0; 12-09-2016, 11:31 AM.


                    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                    • #11
                      Vent0 I really like 3 and 6.
                      3 because I like the idea of making cryptids and having a restriction or guide to making them would assist in a characters growth in my opinion and with the show of power like restriction it'd also promote a character to search for cryptids which is a hook in itself.

                      6 I like because to my surprise demons have neatly no way to a cess twilight. The best I have managed to come up with is a gadget with a NFE of Rip the gate to bring them into twilight on a set frequently.

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                      • #12
                        Vent0 cool stuff, though possession is an ability demons can buy. DtD p171


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by xenoterracide View Post
                          Vent0 cool stuff, though possession is an ability demons can buy. DtD p171

                          Yeah, I mean as the entire basis behind Covers and what not. Covers in this model wouldn't be alternate identity/reality-masks, but actual people you are hijacking for a time.

                          Brings the care and treatment of your Covers into focus as something other than a "saving my ass" asset.


                          Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                          Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by raygungoth View Post
                            Poker's a bad representation - though Texas uses a fixed central hand. Magic: the Gathering is probably better. Before the first card is played, it's likely your opponent probably doesn't even know the color of the deck you're playing, let alone contents, and this game is played for keepsies. Meaning, loser probably gets shot to death. I can't imagine a variant where everyone plays with their hands face up.

                            Cover is a wonderful razor-edged playing card. You can play it close, and risk erosion over time as discrepancies build up, or you can inform a few other local demons and you can help each other keep your covers straight and risk one rapid erosion if one of them turns you in for some reason.
                            Just got two things to say to this. As someone who periodically lays his hand, face-up, on the table and grins at their opponent, I can say it is quite a thrill to look into someone's eyes and know that they're trying to figure out what the hell you're thinking with that hand: what they don't know is I've recently stacked things with scry+ to put a Sheoldred out next turn without paying more than a single tapped creature. Spy games are a gamble, and if you don't know how to game the system you're better off avoiding the Fall.

                            Also, it's better to keep Covers close to the chest if you need to disappear into the crowd. Demonic Form is less suspicious, regardless of your history, than a human being clearly in an area designated hands-off doing things that a human clearly cannot do; if the wrong face gets made, then it's that much harder for you to make a getaway. These hacks aren't for everyone, and they clearly aren't for you, but they do have their place as valid options that I personally see the merit in.

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                            • #15
                              what they don't know is I've recently stacked things with scry+ to put a Sheoldred out next turn without paying more than a single tapped creature
                              So you agree with me. Imagine that. This quote is exactly my damned point. At this point, it seems like you're deliberately dodging the analogy.

                              Spy games are a gamble, and if you don't know how to game the system you're better off avoiding the Fall.
                              That's right, so why not make a burner cover and meet up in that instead of letting everyone who wants and doesn't even ask see your true form? Or risk a homeless guy taking a photo on his smartphone? Or, worse yet, meeting someplace God is constantly watching? My original RPG experiences were with actual ex-cons who had already served their sentences for corporate espionage, an actual police detective working on vice, and an instructor working for the DoD on training radio operators on analog/manual encryption methodology. I feel a little qualified to weigh in.

                              Originally posted by Necrophear View Post
                              Demonic Form is less suspicious, regardless of your history, than a human being clearly in an area designated hands-off doing things that a human clearly cannot do; if the wrong face gets made
                              It is the ultimate suspicion, that is why it requires a cover roll every time you use it. Sheoldred the Whispering One should not be hanging out behind the Circle K chatting it up with Optimus Prime Except on Fire and his buddy Fox Mulder Made Out of Glowing Worms if they want to stay low profile. Demonic form is a gun. You pull it out when you plan to shoot something because just holding it in your hand in public is an automatic 20 year sentence.

                              These hacks aren't for everyone, and they clearly aren't for you
                              Lunar Perfect Defense!

                              they do have their place as valid options that I personally see the merit in.
                              I agree. I just happen to have the opposite opinion. No big deal.

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