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01000111 01101111 01100100 Plot Hooks

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  • 177. In a neighborhood the ring knows well, the city has started installing large (~3-4 feet in diameter) concrete spheres along and sometimes in the middle of streets. In some cases the placement makes sense as a way to control and direct the flow of traffic (ie turning an intersection into a roundabout, creating a barrier between opposing lanes on a busy thoroughfare). In other places the spheres seem like they're just installed for the aesthetics, and in a few places they're actively a nuisance. They're also some kind of Infrastructure, though the Angel in city government who organized the project has protected itself within a bureaucratic maze. Just what kind of Infrastructure the spheres represent isn't apparent, either. Until one of them hatches...


    • 178) An Agency's experiment with recreating Nephilim interacted badly with another Demon's attempt at "mass conversion" using a Lambda (Inflict Stigmata + Rain of Blood) the same time the God-Machine was setting up new Infrastructure. The result is a region (about 20 mi/40 km in diameter on the "inside", though the area of interaction is usually far smaller) where every human is born with (or develops) one Demonic Form Ability. This happeneds hundred of years ago.

      Inside the region, these people are just regular humans, excepting they're one "quirk". For those who travel outside, their Form Ability becomes hidden (they can manifest it as per a Partial Transformation, but take a point of Lethal damage to do so, and changing back is free) and they are treated as a Cryptid (Camera Shy, and the God-Machine mostly sees them as a pest).

      Your Ring has stumbled upon this enclave. How will they protect or exploit the inhabitants?

      [Comments: This might be better as an entire Settings Shard.]
      Last edited by Vent0; 01-12-2018, 10:24 AM.

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


      • 179. All right. This'll sound crazy. Just hear me out, okay?

        So you've heard of the Luddites, right? Group of protestors and "machine breakers" in England who feared that better sewing machines would replace and disenfranchise the skilled laborers that once worked the mills. Claimed to follow a guy named Ned Ludd. They'd send mill owners letters warning them to remove their improved machines or they would get smashed at some (usually unspecified) time.

        Who cares, right?

        Well, see...I heard there was a group within the movement independent of the others. Not unbelievable, there were at LEAST three separate groups operating in various places in the UK, and the evidence says they did not coordinate. But these guys were different. They were smashing machines. They were smashing THE machine. Stigmatics attacking Infrastructure hidden in the mills. That alone would be interesting enough. But these weren't just any other Hunter conspiracy. They were being...lead by somebody.

        See...old myths in Wales and England talk about this old king who ruled a city where London is now. Guy was named King Ludd. One of the things this guy did was put a pair of red and white dragons to sleep that were terrorizing the countryside. Two dragons grappling and eating each other. One depiction of the ouroboros features twin dragons devouring each other rather than one. Incidentally, one symbol for the Machine? Ouroboros. Anyway, so many centuries later the dragons get restless and people start sacrficing kids to keep it asleep. Then this one kid convinces them to stop and let the pair duke it out. That kid was named, according to some myths, Merlin. Later legends connect the sacrifice (occuring in the month of May, usually around Beltane) with such folk as Robin Hood.

        Again, who cares?

        Well, picture this. What if Ludd was a real king? What if he had dealings with the Machine, found a way to turn it off a long time ago? And maybe he's still alive. Some legends say England had inhabitants for the humans showed up. Maybe the Machine has an ancient enemy, something representing the land or the wild or something primitive as opposed to the ultratech of the God-Machine. Maybe this enemy pops up when the Machine is done using a group. Think about it. Ludd would represent, at the least, the people on the Isles before the Romans showed up. Most scholars place King Author, if he existed, around the end of the Roman occupation of Britain. Empire is falling apart....and the Machine is already trading in the tools of Rome for the incoming Saxons. Few centuries later, around the supposed time of Robin Hood, its the Saxons turn to be driven out by the Normans. Thousand years after all that a group pops up named after a guy named Ludd, officially fighting against the extinction of a class of worker that are soon to be abandoned to more modern machines.

        What am I saying? If this...entity is real, he seems to enjoy forming bands of resistance among the people and classes right around the point where progress or time or the Machine is ready to abandon them. Here's the thing. These pseudo-Luddites, so the rumors go, are still around. They've grown up with the Industrial Revolution, a bunch of survivalists and machine breakers who still leave messages for stigmatics and Angels warning them to stop serving the Machine or else. And they are still guided by their General Ludd, whoever that is. Only this time its not a nation or a nationality or a worker class that's the lost cause Ludd is backing. Its humanity. The Machine is advancing enough to where it can sustain Itself without needing to piggyback off human constructs. Pretty soon It will have no more use for humanity and will trade it in for something more pliable.

        (Author's Note: One day I'll get around to a full write up of The Machine Breaker for Hunter. I hope. In the meantime, enjoy my weird ability to find bizarre connections in the most unlikely moments in history.)


        • 180) The End of the World (Inspired by the movie Legion)
          Investigation has led your Ring to a gas station out in the middle of nowhere. The air is thick with Aether, but when you examine the place you can find nothing odd, not even with the application of Embeds, Exploits or whatever else you try. As night falls, though, a van turns up with half a dozen people, one a pregnant woman. They're terrified, paranoid and Stigmatic, although they seem incapable of perceiving their own stigmata and have a wild tale to tell. According to them, everyone in the nearest city they have been possessed and are hunting them, and they only just managed to get away. Any powers you bring to bear show that they believe what they're saying, but if you use anything that somehow shows objective truth you receive inconclusive, nonsensical or no results

          180 b)You don't have long to talk, though. As the night wears on, things start turning up - animated corpses and twisted servants of the Machine, although no angels. Any attempt to leave the gas station runs you into what seems to be some kind of spatial distortion - not matter what you do you seem trapped in a bubble of space where if you leave from one side you find yourself at the other. You defeat these things (and notice that for some reason no matter how egregiously you act outside your Cover it remains stable so long as the Compromise isn't caused by a supernatural power), although they whittle down the refugees one by one until only the pregnant woman remains. Finally, just before dawn, she gives birth and dies doing so, leaving you with a child on your hands, a very confusing night and a number of human and not-so-human corpses.

          180 c) And then the other shoe drops, in the form of something that looks a great deal like an angel but isn't - a man with wings of steel, superhuman physique and a conviction that he is the angel Gabriel, sent by God to retrieve the child. If you defeat him, his wings vanish, but no matter what he will not tell you the importance of the child.

          180 d) Where do you go and what do you do now? The spatial distortion vanished with the dawn, so you can leave, but this was so obviously a setup of the Machine that it could be no clearer if it were shouted from the rooftops. You were trapped; why did It not finish you off? What if the occult matrix is still ongoing, and whatever you decide to do next or with the child (who may be a Stigmatic, Offspring, Latent, Fractal, Nephilim or something stranger) is simply a continuation of whatever that was the night before? Perhaps most chillingly, what will you find when you return to civilisation? What if the refugees' claims were not some memory-trick of the Machine, but in fact real? Perhaps an entire city has been overrun by angels, spirits or something else. Maybe the world. Or maybe it's all just a fabrication. Who knows? (coughtheStrorytellercough)
          Last edited by ajf115; 03-08-2018, 12:18 PM.