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  • Questions about Demon-Blooded and Stigmatics

    Hello!

    These questions about Demon-Blooded / Stigmatics keep popping into my head, and would like some help answering them:
    1. If an Stigmatic obtains a Template, does it lose its Stigmatic qualities or keeps the non-merit abilities and it is refunded the merits dots?
    2. Can a creature with a Template become an Stigmatic? (The opposite of the previous question, here an already established template like a Mage, gains the stigmatic quality, possible?)
    3. If a Demon-Blooded obtains a Template, does it lose its Demon-Blooded qualities, or keeps the non-merit abilities and it is refunded the merits dots?
    4. Can I use a pact to retroactively become a Demon-Blooded (Offspring, Fractal, Latent) even if I am supernatural creature (Vampire, Werewolf, etc)?
    5. Can I use a pact to retroactively become a Wolf-Blooded even if I am supernatural creature (Vampire, Werewolf, etc)?
    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 09-23-2017, 05:50 PM.

  • #2
    AFAIK, there's no canonical one-size-fits-all answer to any of those questions; it depends on what kind of story you, your troupe, and your Storyteller want to create. That said, there are individual cases that answer the first two questions and provide a guideline on the last one:

    1) "World (sic) of Darkness: Seattle" (the third chapter of Splintered City: Seattle) mentions a "high-ranking Acanthus mage named Moore" who dreamed a succession of ends of the world.

    Moore doesn't know it, but he was stigmatic before his Awakening. Combined with his deep understanding of the Time Arcanum, his stigmata allowed him to glimpse the Apocalypse Vault (p. 75) and see the possibilities contained therein.
    So, evidently, he at least retained some stigmatic qualities even after signing his name to his Watchtower. Whether these were represented mechanically or narratively, I couldn't say, since they don't provide his character sheet. He's the only example I know of, but he demonstrates that the thing can in fact happen.

    2) There's an entire covenant of stigmatic Kindred (the Holy Engineers from The Danse Macabre), so it's evidently possible for other Twilight folk to become stigmatic, but probably not likely.

    3) Neither "Giants in the Earth" (from the Demon Storyteller's Guide) nor Heirs to Hell really gets into how crossovers affect their respective flavors of demon-children, so that's even more of a judgment call. My house-rule would be that nephilim, having Primum of their own, can't acquire a new template without losing the old (being Embraced, getting abducted by the Gentry, having their bodies used for a generative act). Hellspawn might keep some demon-blooded qualities, but these would be best represented as mechanical tweaks. This is my house-rule, however; your chronicle's needs may very.

    4) Demon: The Descent doesn't cover this specific case, but the general principle stated under the subhead "Pacts and Other Creatures of the Night" (p.194 of the core rulebook) addresses it:

    Supernatural beings may become cultists and may also gain Skills or Merits from pacts. They can provide mundane aspects of their life as Cover benefits, but demons cannot "patch in" supernatural aspects (...). A demon cannot take away a vampire's vulnerability to sunlight, for example, nor can she patch in a werewolf's ability to change forms.
    If the Unchained could make demon-blooded via pacts, I'm not sure what would stop them.

    EDIT: 5) This is probably covered under the same DTD quote as 4, that pacts can't incorporate supernatural aspects. A minor template can influence a major one (like the Dead Wolves bloodline from Shadows of Mexico), but no mixing practices.
    Last edited by AberrantEyes; 09-23-2017, 09:45 PM. Reason: He added a new question.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AberrantEyes View Post
      If the Unchained could make demon-blooded via pacts, I'm not sure what would stop them.
      Heirs to Hell actually stipulates that Unchained can create Demon-blooded via Pacts by "adopting" someone (the parent Pacting away "I'm the parent of X child").

      Getting ambitious with this method and having dozens of kids is a good way to draw attention and shred your Cover, though.


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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

        Heirs to Hell actually stipulates that Unchained can create Demon-blooded via Pacts by "adopting" someone (the parent Pacting away "I'm the parent of X child").
        True, I had not seen that, the relevant part is:

        A human cannot sign a soul pact on behalf of her child, but she can offer her relationship to that child so that the demon can incorporate it into a patch job... One side-effect of these adoption pacts is that when the demon calls in the deal, the child becomes an Offspring.
        What happens if the Pact unravels either the death of one of the signatories, or because the contract gets destroyed? Does the child return to being a normal human? Does it keep his Offspring status?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post

          True, I had not seen that, the relevant part is:



          What happens if the Pact unravels either the death of one of the signatories, or because the contract gets destroyed? Does the child return to being a normal human? Does it keep his Offspring status?
          No idea. What happens if the parent Cover gets annihilated Going Loud and the Offspring's parent ceases to exist? Also, no idea.


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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
            Heirs to Hell actually stipulates that Unchained can create Demon-blooded via Pacts by "adopting" someone (the parent Pacting away "I'm the parent of X child").

            Getting ambitious with this method and having dozens of kids is a good way to draw attention and shred your Cover, though.
            I missed that when I was reading HtH. And yeah, that's the main thing that would stop them.
            Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
            What happens if the Pact unravels either the death of one of the signatories, or because the contract gets destroyed? Does the child return to being a normal human? Does it keep his Offspring status?
            Probably returns to being a normal child, though he might become a Latent depending on the circumstances that negate the pact.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
              What happens if the parent Cover gets annihilated Going Loud and the Offspring's parent ceases to exist?
              For transferred pregnancies, presumably apply one of the options provided under "Imperatives of Cover" on pp.29-30 of HTH. Children that have already been born presumably stay Offspring, though as Offspring, they have no inherent ability to recognize a demonic parent in a different Cover.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
                What happens if the Pact unravels either the death of one of the signatories, or because the contract gets destroyed? Does the child return to being a normal human? Does it keep his Offspring status?
                The death of a signatory doesn't nullify a pact; the pact's altered history remains in effect unless the pact is itself destroyed. The destruction of a pact should revert the relationship to its condition before the pact altered history, i.e. you're no longer the devil's child, you're Sam and Mary's like you were before. I would treat offspring status rather straightforward in this manner: if you are the child of a demon, you are offspring, and if you are not the child of a demon, you are not offspring. So if you go from being the child of a demon to not being the child of a demon, you go from being offspring to not having been offspring. This may leave you having trouble reconciling your memories of being able to step behind the laws of physics and all that, but hey, pacts get confusing when they break that way.

                There is no official statement I'm aware of on how being stigmatic or demon-blooded interacts with other character templates. My personal inclination is to suggest that a stigmatic who acquires another supernatural nature, especially a "major template" with a Supernatural Tolerance trait and all that, should lose (and be refunded a la Sanctity of Merits) any non-universal Supernatural Merits they may have acquired through their stigmatic status. (Being a stigmatic monster should be an excellent justification, if you so desire, for spending those refunded dots on esoteric or homebrew Merits representing odd mutations of your new monstrous breed, like Unnatural Affinity or Occultation.) The "core" effects of stigmata – the Unseen Sense for infrastructure, Omen Sensitivity, and permanent glitch – could either be retained or not; Storyteller and player should agree on what seems like the more satisfying option. I'd treat offspring similarly, refunding any experiences spent to purchase Embeds, and treating the Demon-Blooded Cipher and any corresponding Key Embeds as a single package that could, again, either be retained or not. Ambient Aether and Aether Pool I would incline towards refunding, while the other demon-blooded Merits seem to me fine to retain.

                As for becoming Wolf-Blooded through a pact, I don't consider that to be within the power of demonic pacts. The God-Machine's wayward children don't have command privileges over the will of Mother Moon and the flesh of Father Wolf.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post

                  The death of a signatory doesn't nullify a pact; the pact's altered history remains in effect unless the pact is itself destroyed.
                  But the Pact Duration states:

                  Pacts are usually permanent, lasting for as long as the contract exists and both parties live. They can be nullified, typically by destroying the contract, but otherwise continue to have their effects.
                  Emphasis mine, doesn't this mean that if one of the parties dies, the pact unravels?


                  I agree with the rest of your points.
                  Last edited by lbeaumanior; 10-25-2017, 02:05 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
                    What happens if the Pact unravels either the death of one of the signatories, or because the contract gets destroyed? Does the child return to being a normal human? Does it keep his Offspring status?
                    I'd rule the child remains an Offspring, by the same reason a Stigmatic cannot be healed of being so without significant effort; the human's body and soul have been burnt by the presence of aether/the God-Machine. It doesn't matter if the source and ashes of the fire has been swept away and forgotten, the body and soul are still burnt. A Demon's ability to rewrite time is not absolute, otherwise nobody would recognize that a change had been made; subsequently, the power to undo what has been done while the pact was in place is not absolute by it or the cover it was incorporated into being destroyed.

                    Further, a pact can't remove or add a supernatural template or the aspects of one, and becoming an Offspring is most certainly a supernatural template (if a minor one). Certainly, the pact resulted in the template coming into effect, but that's a side effect, not the pact's aim. Pacts are notorious for not affecting the memories of those not directly involved, and leaving evidence behind of how things were; it stands to reason for me that it would work the other way around if the changes are significant (such as someone becoming supernatural). That's also not going into how Demons have the ability to resist reality being warped to an extent, particularly in the ways of time, and being the biological child of one (however adopted) is certainly going to do something towards that.

                    As to the pact unraveling if one of the signatories dies, I think that only applies if the pact's aspects haven't been collected on. Demon: Interface includes a section on how a Demon can make pacts that only come into effect after certain conditions come into effect. One of them states that if the person you pacted with dies before their cover portion comes into effect, the pact is still valid. That makes me think that pacts still work even after one or the other party has died, only expiring when both parties die.
                    Last edited by Taidragon; 09-24-2017, 02:09 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Taidragon View Post

                      I'd rule the child remains an Offspring, by the same reason a Stigmatic cannot be healed of being so without significant effort; the human's body and soul have been burnt by the presence of aether/the God-Machine. It doesn't matter if the source and ashes of the fire has been swept away and forgotten, the body and soul are still burnt. A Demon's ability to rewrite time is not absolute, otherwise nobody would recognize that a change had been made; subsequently, the power to undo what has been done while the pact was in place is not absolute by it or the cover it was incorporated into being destroyed.

                      Further, a pact can't remove or add a supernatural template or the aspects of one, and becoming an Offspring is most certainly a supernatural template (if a minor one). Certainly, the pact resulted in the template coming into effect, but that's a side effect, not the pact's aim. Pacts are notorious for not affecting the memories of those not directly involved, and leaving evidence behind of how things were; it stands to reason for me that it would work the other way around if the changes are significant (such as someone becoming supernatural). That's also not going into how Demons have the ability to resist reality being warped to an extent, particularly in the ways of time, and being the biological child of one (however adopted) is certainly going to do something towards that.

                      As to the pact unraveling if one of the signatories dies, I think that only applies if the pact's aspects haven't been collected on. Demon: Interface includes a section on how a Demon can make pacts that only come into effect after certain conditions come into effect. One of them states that if the person you pacted with dies before their cover portion comes into effect, the pact is still valid. That makes me think that pacts still work even after one or the other party has died, only expiring when both parties die.

                      So, I could sell my relationship to both my parents, to two different Demons and become a Fractal? And if both Pacts are destroyed/end I still keep being a Fractal?

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                      • #12
                        GM fiat on that, but I suppose. Problem is more at how if you do so, you are going to be one heck of an interesting thing for the God-Machine to look in on, since your Demon "parents" are no longer there to explain things, and your human ones are going to be confused as to why you are so different. Not to menrion you completely switched genetics, which may constitute a compromise roll...

                        All I am saying with that is, be careful in where you go with that line of thought. Demon lives are hard. What their children go through is even harder.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post

                          There is no official statement I'm aware of on how being stigmatic or demon-blooded interacts with other character templates. My personal inclination is to suggest that a stigmatic who acquires another supernatural nature, especially a "major template" with a Supernatural Tolerance trait and all that, should lose (and be refunded a la Sanctity of Merits) any non-universal Supernatural Merits they may have acquired through their stigmatic status. (Being a stigmatic monster should be an excellent justification, if you so desire, for spending those refunded dots on esoteric or homebrew Merits representing odd mutations of your new monstrous breed, like Unnatural Affinity or Occultation.) The "core" effects of stigmata – the Unseen Sense for infrastructure, Omen Sensitivity, and permanent glitch – could either be retained or not; Storyteller and player should agree on what seems like the more satisfying option.
                          Since Unseen Sense is also a supernatural merit, it would mean that Stigmatics get refunded for that also, right? But they would retain their ability to see the gears and structures of the God-Machine:

                          Originally posted by Demon: The Descent
                          "Stigmatic characters begin play with the Unseen Sense (God-Machine) Merit (p. 302) for free. Characters who become stigmatic during play gain the Merit at no cost. Additionally, like demons, stigmatics can see the gears and structures of the God-Machine unveiled."
                          Last edited by lbeaumanior; 10-07-2017, 10:56 PM.

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