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GMing Demon: What NOT to do?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

    Demon Car + Merge as a Lambda. I'm just saying...

    Do not make Vehicle Voltron, that’s even worse than portraying weak angels

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Korogra View Post


      Do not make Vehicle Voltron, that’s even worse than portraying weak angels
      Some Angels are fairly weak, though. Just not all, by any means.


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

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
        . When put through the lens of any human, demons are lying backstabbers who have a disregard for human life
        The corebook says demons are no more good or evil than anyone else in the World of Darkness. "The protagonists are jerks" mindset that infects many games doesn't really belong as a default assumption in DtD. Afterall, given that the PCs already start with invisibility to the God Machine, one of the main ways to goad them into action is to protect people from its depredations.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Deinos View Post
          The corebook says demons are no more good or evil than anyone else in the World of Darkness. "The protagonists are jerks" mindset that infects many games doesn't really belong as a default assumption in DtD.
          The protagonists are fugitive spies from an amoral system. Espionage is historically a profession whose standard practices look pretty bad to the average person.

          Afterall, given that the PCs already start with invisibility to the God Machine, one of the main ways to goad them into action is to protect people from its depredations.
          Invisibility to the God-Machine is a type of Hell. The PCs start with a reasonably sturdy way to deflect suspicion, and that means will break down under prolonged scrutiny regardless of its intent. You can certainly try to pass under the radar and live a normal life, but passing under the radar without looking at the screen or giving away the fact that you know about it is essentially playing on Nightmare Difficulty.
          Last edited by Satchel; 11-03-2018, 10:45 AM. Reason: Misplaced double negative.


          Resident Sanguinary Analyst
          Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
            The protagonists are fugitive spies from an amoral system. Espionage is historically not a profession whose standard practices look pretty bad to the average person.
            Okay, that seems more like an agreement? Demons are more likely to be fighting the good fight, and in virtually all the inspirational materials, they are (there's 3 examples cited of villainous demon types; Smith, Lucifer, and the rather pathetic Merovingian). Its a game with a quietly heroic tone, against the force that is responsible for much of the Darkness in the World of Darkness.

            If a demon is visible to the God Machine, its almost certainly because he's sticking his neck out -- and if he's doing that, chances are its to defend people or stop the God Machine (which may be one and the same motive).

            But even if we didn't know by the book directly telling us that demons aren't any more or less evil than anyone else it would still be unhelpful to try to cast them as having a low concern for human life in general.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

              Don't disregard the fact that demons really do live up to their name. When put through the lens of any human, demons are lying backstabbers who have a disregard for human life due to pride in never accepting that some things the god machine does is good. They often have a warped morality through virtue and vice, and the worst part is they can convince you that they are in the right.

              Demons can be just as bad as angels, but for different reasons. Don't represent them in a black and white way as beginner storytellers often do
              I think that the game supports a variety of play styles. It is probably good to have a Session Zero with your players to agree on the general ethos of your Chronicle. (I intend to).

              I am curious to find out data from the field: how do players run their Demons in your games? Tempters who exploit humans? Secret paladins opposing the GM? Something in between?

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Deinos View Post
                Okay, that seems more like an agreement?
                It's a typo. I am saying that spies are typically Not Very Good People in fiction by virtue of what they're doing and why, and demons having changed sides and taken on a more sympathetic cover story does not change the fact that the game's escalation process pushes them toward a mode of existence where they burn out people's lives to save their skin and mess with a massively complex edifice that happens to keep the world from being destroyed on a regular basis so they can twist it into a shape they find more pleasant.

                Some demons quit the system because they grew a conscience, yes. Some of them quit out of ego or obsession or fear. The scale of the things they deal with and their impact on the world makes it pretty damn hard to claim anything better than amorality.


                Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                • #38
                  To add on, yes, demons can have a moral system that we can consider good. But demons live to lie, to steal people's literally, all in the name of destroying a god that may be just as good as he is bad (which is too say very good)

                  Lastly, as satchel said, espionage has very grey morals, dark grey. Those brave heroic rebels? Nothing more than lost creatures who take advantage of the emotions and circumstances of others to fiether their own agendas. That great and horrible machine? Nothing more than an amoral occult computer that has saved humanity as much as it has sacrificed it (and demons will often ignore such infrastructure as still needing to be destroyed)

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                    To add on, yes, demons can have a moral system that we can consider good. But demons live to lie, to steal people's literally, all in the name of destroying a god that may be just as good as he is bad (which is too say very good)
                    Demons don't live to lie and steal people's souls. They lie very easily, and stealing souls is so easy and so advantageous that most of them at least consider it at some point in their Descent. They don't do these things out of some kind of reflexive love for malice; rather, they have set out to war with weapons prone to great collateral damage.

                    All demons aren't saboteurs or integrators, either. Some of them are motivated by naked, relatable greed and pleasure seeking, or by the need to protect some little provincial haven from the forces that would threaten it. These demons, too, probably end up doing some nasty, brutal things to maintain their efforts.

                    In other words, Satchel is more on point with the nuance. Like spies, demons are often nasty people because of what they're doing and why. It's not the other way around.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post

                      Demons don't live to lie and steal people's souls. They lie very easily, and stealing souls is so easy and so advantageous that most of them at least consider it at some point in their Descent. They don't do these things out of some kind of reflexive love for malice; rather, they have set out to war with weapons prone to great collateral damage.
                      .
                      Sorry if I was unclear. What I meant was they will end up living their lives like that at some point if they live long enough. Most of the time out of necessity

                      But even then, there are demons that think they can justify doing this, that is for the greater good, and the scary thing is they are convincing about it. This can be considered similar to what the god machine and it's angels do (but to be fair, they would likely sacrifice a lot more humans, but at the same time likely saving twice as much)

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                        To add on, yes, demons can have a moral system that we can consider good. But demons live to lie, to steal people's literally, all in the name of destroying a god that may be just as good as he is bad (which is too say very good)

                        Lastly, as satchel said, espionage has very grey morals, dark grey.
                        That doesn't really have bearing on the Unchained, who aren't motivated by geopolitical slap fights. You can try to play the moral relativism "whoa dude, what if the Unchained are the real baddies" game, but its not part of the overview and its not part of the inspirational materials.

                        Besides the fact that it is just plain absurd to tar an entire playable splat with one brush (especially for one with a theme ranging from sympathetic to heroi like DtD), turning around and attempting to apply moral relativism between Unchained and the God Machine is crazy. Defending people against the GM is stated as a repeat motive whenever the agenda of demons comes up; every time the GM is discussed, on the other hand, its made clear that human bodies and human souls are totally expendable to it. If you still think there's moral equivalence between the GM and demons, you should check out... every storyline in the GMC and the DSTG.

                        No one is saying demons are all good, of course; but the book directly states that they're not any more evil than anyone else.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Deinos View Post
                          That doesn't really have bearing on the Unchained, who aren't motivated by geopolitical slap fights.
                          "I'm going to blow up that facility."
                          "Even though the last one you blew up caused an Aetheric shockwave that sent tremors throughout the tristate area and mutated so many animals that the feds are still clearing cryptids out of the sewers four years later?"
                          "It sends a message."
                          "So does a greeting card."
                          "If you want to make an omelette —"
                          "— you have to destroy the economy, the ecosystem, society, technology, culture… I get it, you're a Soldier, you have a particular set of skills. But some of us are trying to Build something here. Show some awareness."
                          "Just give me the C4."

                          Defending people against the GM is stated as a repeat motive whenever the agenda of demons comes up
                          "Defectors to humanity" doesn't mean "defenders of humanity" and it is important that you understand this when talking about characters whose existence starts to unravel under persistent scrutiny. They're functionally-human monsters with primarily human assets and loved ones; that means they're obliged to care when the Machine affects them, and little else.

                          every time the GM is discussed, on the other hand, its made clear that human bodies and human souls are totally expendable to it.
                          It is a mechanical fact that that higher a demon's Primum is, the more incentives they have to collect soul pacts for the express purpose of buffering the faster rate of degradation they suffer from more severe glitches and heightened suspicion. Avoiding that eventual outcome necessitates a demon be that rare combination of unimportant, unambitious, and lucky; most of the Unchained instead opt to be various flavors of indispensable through the usual channels of blackmail, bribery, threats, misdirection, and so on.

                          Even setting aside how half the core Incarnations and several facets of the basic Unchained package put an unsettling distance in front of their approach to people and communication, the business of Hell as it relates to other people is almost entirely drawn in terms of what those people offer to demons. Sometimes that's just "being their family" or "keeping the bar open five minutes longer for one more drink," but as time goes on and attrition does its work the chance of a given demon having an ulterior motive relating to some grand scheme to remake God in their own image approaches 1.


                          Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                          Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                            Even setting aside how half the core Incarnations and several facets of the basic Unchained package put an unsettling distance in front of their approach to people and communication, the business of Hell as it relates to other people is almost entirely drawn in terms of what those people offer to demons. Sometimes that's just "being their family" or "keeping the bar open five minutes longer for one more drink," but as time goes on and attrition does its work the chance of a given demon having an ulterior motive relating to some grand scheme to remake God in their own image approaches 1.
                            I don't agree with you about the inevitability of Demon characters being evil in a deontological sense - high Primum demons have more glitches but also more power to avoid Compromise. An ethical demon might chose to make Soul Pacts with those characters he feel deserve ultimate annihilation, or only perhaps only design patch Covers.

                            I think it interesting that DtD, more than any other game I know, removes ethical backstops from the game. In D&D a DM can choose (or not choose) to have the city guard come down on players who act as murder-hoboes. It is generally assumed that somewhere there is some authority that will stop characters who are malicious. Many of the other nWoD splats have built in meters (Integrity, etc.) that might temper player choices. But DtD has only Cover, which is divorced from any ethics. Add to that the spy nature of the game where actions are easy to hide, and it allows players to get away with murder - if they so choose. But I don't think the game forces them to do so.

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                            • #44
                              Man, if ever there was a game I didn't expect to see "But my monster is the good guy, ergo they can't be a monster!" argument in, it was Descent.

                              You can be as stalwart a defender of humanity with as much good intention as can fit in your grounded ego as you want, at the end of the day you're still a reality terrorist and soul-eater. Your actions and motives are distinctly at odds with the current existence of humanity, and as much as I hate to say it, nothing says that you're actions will actually lead to anything better.


                              Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                              Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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                              • #45
                                Not to be rude to the OG, but the claims that we are all just lumping demons as purely evil seem pretty hypocritical considering the constant assessment everything they do is completely justified and morally good

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