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Demon without the god machine?

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  • Demon without the god machine?

    This is not a rant about the god machine. I like the mechanics and the ideas and I am not against the idea of the god machine at all. I am just trying to make the demons a bit more traditional, in the sense of removing the technological aspects, and looking for your thoughts and advice.

    ‚ÄčThe embeds and exploits can mostly be reskinned as something more infernal rather than technological, and covers and pacts will still work. Agendas and incarnations would largely stay the same, maybe with different names, but with their core purposes in tact. What I am trying to figure out is an alternative system for aether and infrastructure. I figured aether could be extracted from mortals either through pacts, encouraging vices, or generally weakening the world's collective faith, but this seems very social heavy and would be difficult for guardians, destroyers, and to a lesser extent psychopomps, not to mention that those sort of actions have a big red EVIL stamp that removes a degree of moral complexity that was really good in the game as is. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    You don't need an alternate system for aether/infrastructre. Just rename infrastructure to temples. Incarnations names fit perfectly for traditional demons/angels. Agenda's names fit with traditional demons, since they're not technological in nature, they're spy in nature.

    Technology aspects are removed pretty easily by just having all demonic form powers using the traditional appearance for them, renaming Embeds to Graces and Exploits to Miracles, and finally renaming Fractals with Cambions.


    Genius templates (for Demon: the Descent)

    Rakshasa: the Kingdom (Featuring the Extinction Chronicle) [WIP]

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    • #3
      Infrastructure is a technological way to think of holy spaces and placing of iconic items. the Abrahamic temples are great examples of non-tech infrastrutures, and they can easily be called churches, sites, temples, and more.

      Aether's a little harder. I'll get back to you on it.


      Sean K.I.W. Steele, Freelance Writer
      Work Blog Coming Soon
      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey

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      • #4
        It seems that you'd enjoy playing Demon: The Fallen with Chronicles of Darkness mechanics. Try checking out the Demon Translation Guide, where Demon: The Fallen's core ideas were translated into New World of Darkness mechanics. It also gives you ideas on implementing Demon: The Descent's concepts to Fallen, so that's a bonus.

        There are differences between NWoD and ChroD, though, so you might have to do one more round of translating the mechanics.


        MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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        • #5
          Oh, and I see you mentioned trying to make demons "traditional"... Would that include traditional demons NOT from the Medieval European depiction of Abrahamic demons? Then I strongly suggest trying on demons from other cultures; Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Egyptian, Shinto and all that non-Abrahamic stuff. It's a gold mine, trust me.

          And another idea; how about making the theme about music? Wait, hear me out. Look up on Musica Universalis from the internet. Music has been associated with the divine throughout history in many cultures, and since most of the professional jargon about music is European, the mood will fit in easily with the "traditional" depictions.


          MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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          • #6
            Here's my question: do you still want a game about spies? Switching the aesthetic from chrome to feathers is easy enough, but if you don't want to keep that constant surveillance/burned asset vibe, you're going to have to rebuild the game from the ground up.


            Call me Regina or Lex.

            Female pronouns for me, please.

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            • #7
              The God-Machine is pretty well hooked into the format of Demon: the Descent; not only do you need to consider the regeneration of Aether, but also the consequences of the degredation of Cover, which serve as game balance elements in various Embeds, Exploits, and demonic form abilities.

              The first option I would suggest is to consider running it as the Heavenly Host: machine as a process, but not a physical mechanism. Infrastructure becomes the product of the concentrated faith and ritual of angelic servants, manifesting in secret shrines and central tabernacles of sacred sites under the control of the Prince of the World and His angels. An insurrectionist game could then treat Aether as an occult blowback from the work of dispersing the sanctity of the assemblies of God, by desecrating holy sites with marks of your demonic identity and Agenda, or subverting and dispersing the angels' faithful. An option more friendly to a broader array of Agendas, including Integrators, could have Cultists in ritual worship produce Aether for the worshipped demon similarly to the Suborned Infrastructure Merit, or as you suggest, extend the parasitic nature of demonic pacts. Perhaps a partial Cover pact has the option of reaping the relationship or identifier offered by the signatory not as a Cover element, but destroyed and catalyzed into demonic power, yielding Aether instead of Cover experiences. If this is the primary means of recovering Aether, demons are probably more avid pacters than in the core game, perhaps giving rise to common urban legends about dark deals available at the crossroads.

              The above maintains the compromise system pretty much as is, keeping the Heavenly Host on your heels as a looming presence.

              Another option is, as 21C Hermit suggests, borrowing the thrall mechanics from Demon: the Fallen. Thralls become a new kind of pact benefit, and the power base of a demon becomes invested in maintaining personal flocks of followers. This makes demons a bit less anonymous and perhaps favors social demons more than the above, making the game a bit more intimate and tightly connected, rather than weaving in and out of lots of societies. In this case, I would suggest waiving compromise checks for revealing information about yourself to thralls, and likely not counting them as mortal witnesses. You might treat them as stigmatics, giving demons an indirect weapon to wield against their enemies, and leading them to act through proxy more often.

              This would leave the question of how to address compromise, however. If the God-Machine and its angels aren't present, what happens when you fail a compromise check? Perhaps glitches compound, making it more difficult to interact with the world effectively, or your nature is laid bare to various other supernatural predators, who take the role of hunter angels. A local vampire or wizard doesn't need to have any religious imperative to descend upon a fallen angel revealed. They might simply want to tear you apart and see what they can gain from learning how you tick. Or just wonder what angelic blood tastes like.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                Aether's a little harder. I'll get back to you on it.
                Aether is what makes up the heavens and is the air that gods breath in myth, changing it seems unnecessary.


                Genius templates (for Demon: the Descent)

                Rakshasa: the Kingdom (Featuring the Extinction Chronicle) [WIP]

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                • #9
                  All you really have to do is rename things. Occult matrix = celestial ritual. Need to calculate the right materials in the right place at the right time with the right people? Divine bloodlines using sacred geometry and astorology to figure out when the stars are in alignment on holy ground. Linchpin? Just another name for a weak point - stick with bane or ban if you want something everyone else uses.

                  Pretty much all the powers and abilities, despite having a techno theme to it, are actually classical demonic abilities and powers. Strip off the techno-paint, and you've got demonic abilities. Hells. You can make a goat legged, red skinned, horned, barbed tail devil easily. The five Incarnations? Devils, succubus/incubus, dark angels, whatever you want to call this, and imps (analysts are even called impish!).

                  And here's the part I have most fun with. Pearly gates and roads paved with gold are traditional impressions of heaven, and fires for hell. Forges and circuitry and chrome make excellent quivalents for the techno aspects of God-Machine. Amusing how technology fits the old descriptions of heaven and hell. Just strip out the technology, and your Facilities / Holy Sites / Heavens-on-Earth will remain the same in appearance.


                  Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                  Aether's a little harder. I'll get back to you on it.
                  Heaven is run on Essence. It manipulates the spiritual, but has Aether spit out as waste product. Its something that demons need to feed on, and heaven has in abundance to the point of not needing it.

                  The main story reason for aether is that its a major drive for demons to go out and hunt down God-Machine parts. If you run away from any and all Infrastructure, go out where the "air is clear," you're cutting yourself off from aether.

                  Aether is the reward for continuing the cold war against angels. You are literally empowered by fighting against (well, at least spying on) God. Without claiming parts of Heaven (suborned infrastructure) for yourself, you don't have a supply of ather. Without wandering around angels, you've got nothing. Even taking form gives you only a little when you're away from everything - you'll be constantly running near empty of power.

                  Aether is all about stealing Heaven's power for yourself. You're taking divine Essence, twisted and "corrupted," and making it your own.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by milo v3 View Post
                    Aether is what makes up the heavens and is the air that gods breath in myth, changing it seems unnecessary.
                    Part of the joy of Aether is the employment of God's grace defiled. Details like that help keep the setting afloat.


                    Sean K.I.W. Steele, Freelance Writer
                    Work Blog Coming Soon
                    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                      Part of the joy of Aether is the employment of God's grace defiled. Details like that help keep the setting afloat.
                      I agree... I just don't see why aether would need to be altered at all when it's a traditional angel/demon element rather than a technological element.


                      Genius templates (for Demon: the Descent)

                      Rakshasa: the Kingdom (Featuring the Extinction Chronicle) [WIP]

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