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  • Tinkering with Stigmatics

    So, a sudden wave of inspiration came over me while rereading Hurt Locker and its Merit-based microtemplates. Basically, rework Stigmatics (and their variants, like the demon-blooded) into a microtemplate. I cranked this out in an hour yesterday afternoon so it's hardly finished, but I'm planning on continuing working on it. The idea that drove me with this rewrite is that Stigmatics are suffering from divine radiation poisoning, and that while it is likely to eventually kill them, it also empowers them to be useful agents of the Unchained, the God-Machine, or just about anyone else. I folded the Potent Blood Merit into the overall Stigmatic template, because it felt a lot more like a drawback than an advantage. Anyways, here you go.


    Stigmatics: The vast majority of people go their entire lives without learning anything about the God-Machine. What glimpses that some catch are dismissed as belonging to the realm of conspiracy theories. But for some, the touch of the God-Machine is not so easily dismissed. The God-Machine becomes a clear and harsh reality. There are many ways to become Stigmatic, but the most common are:
    • A Dramatic Failure on a Breaking Point caused by encountering something of God-Machine origin, whether this is Infrastructure, an Angel, a Demon, a Cryptid, or something stranger.
    • Overexposure to gadgets (or use of a lambda)
    • The use of the Inflict Stigmata Exploit
    • Being the child of one of the Unchained, adopted or otherwise
    The change begins within the first few hours of the encounter, and can take anywhere from mere minutes to several weeks to manifest entirely. It begins with hallucinations and changes in perception that cannot easily be explained. The experience is horrifying, akin to being trapped in a ceaseless dream where the familiar is made bizarre. Even if he could make sense of the visions, which for the most part he can’t, the burgeoning stigmatic is traumatized. As horrific as visions may be, however, the next stage is worse. The stigmatic develops a brand or tell, a physical or behavioral mark that he has been touched by the God-Machine. With the manifestation, stigmatic visions recede and the world returns to focus, but it will never look the same again. Beings and facilities that were previously hidden now stand obvious, and Infrastructure is laid bare. Now they seek him out. The stigmatic will spend the rest of his life hiding from the God-Machine.

    Character Creation: Stigmatic characters are designed just like mortal characters, but they begin play with Unseen Sense (God-Machine), one dot of the Stigmata Merit, and the Omen Sensitivity Merit. They also gain an additional three dots of Merits to develop Supernatural Merits. If a character becomes stigmatic during play, they gain all of the above expect for the three additional Merit dots.

    Note- Seeing the Gears: Like the Unchained, stigmatics are capable of seeing through the magical occlusion of the God-Machine, albeit only when their stigmata manifests. Fortunately, exposure to the works of the God-Machine triggers stigmata manifestation.

    Heirs to Hell: Occasionally, the Unchained have children, and they have lives wondrous, paranoid, and strange, possessed of their own Cipher. The three kinds of demon-blooded, Offspring, Latents, and Fractals are stigmatic from birth. Use the following guidelines for the different types of demon-blooded characters:
    • Latents: Treated as a stigmatic, but if they are exposed to conditions where they would become a stigmatic, they awaken into Offspring.
    • Offspring: Gain the Noted Condition
    • Fractal: Gain the Catalogued Condition
    Note- Inheritance of the Heirs: If you’re running a slightly more high-powered game of Demon: The Descent, consider granting demon-blooded characters a number of Supernatural Merit dots equal to their demonic parent’s Primum. Why yes, this would mean that Fractals could have potentially twice as many Supernatural Merits as Offspring, and Latents wouldn’t receive any at all.

    Note- Giants in the Earth: If you have the Demon Storyteller’s Guide and want to incorporate the Nephilim in your Chronicle without using that particular setting, consider rolling the demonic parent’s Primum (as a teamwork action for Fractals). On a success the demon-blooded child becomes a Nephil. Design a Nephil character as a Fractal, but also give them three Demonic Form powers (not including Propulsions or Processes).

    Note- Reprogramming the Cipher: If you have the Demon Storyteller’s Guide the various ways of approaching the Cipher apply equally for demon-blooded Ciphers, with one notable exception. If the demon-blooded attempts to form the Pentagram by forcing a fifth Key into their Cipher, they suffer a point of Aggravated Damage (per Primum +1, for the Nephilim) but the Activated Condition resolves and thereafter they suffer Compromise like a demon as opposed to the demon-blooded. They become a rogue element in the God-Machine’s plans.

    Modified Merit

    Stigmata (• to •••••)
    Effect: Once per week, in a time of great stress or high drama (such as exposure to God-Machine phenomena) the stigmatic manifests their stigmata by suffering a point of resistant Lethal damage. They gain the 8-again quality to their next Supernatural Merit roll after the stigmata has manifested. Because of the intense, divinely-sourced experience of the stigmata, your character always starts a scene with at least as much Willpower equal to half your Merit dots rounded up and their wounds heal twice as fast.
    Drawback: When your stigmata manifests you suffer a wound penalty equal to half your Merit dots rounded up, and rolls to notice or remembers you gain an equivalent bonus due to the presence of the stigmata (treat it as a Brand or Tell Glitch, +1 is Minor, +2 is Major, and +3 is Catastrophic). Even when fully healed, the stigmata manifests at least in its Minor form. Additionally, your character’s blood is treated as Aether, meaning that while you could empower gadgets or refill stockpiles, you also become a rather valuable resource to numerous Aether-hungry horrors.
    (Note: Based off the Merit of the same name in Secrets of the Covenants)


    My Homebrew Hub

  • #2
    Question: Stigmata is rated 1-5 but all the effects seem to be half, round up. What is the point of dots •• and ••••? Why not just make it •, •••, and •••••? Or • to ••• and drop the rounding?


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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      Question: Stigmata is rated 1-5 but all the effects seem to be half, round up. What is the point of dots •• and ••••? Why not just make it •, •••, and •••••? Or • to ••• and drop the rounding?
      Honestly, the reason it's written that way is because it's the way the Merit was written in Secrets of the Covenants. But I definitely see your point. Making it • to ••• and dropping the rounding would be a good solution, or, alternatively, it could be rewritten so that when the stigmata is manifested you start a scene with Willpower points equal to your Merit dots if you have less than that. It would give stigmatics a little bit of a bump, and would still allow microtemplate synergy like the Lost Boys or the Infected. The synergy is something I want to keep, because I really like how the microtemplates scaffolded and branched.


      My Homebrew Hub

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Arcanist View Post

        Honestly, the reason it's written that way is because it's the way the Merit was written in Secrets of the Covenants. But I definitely see your point. Making it • to ••• and dropping the rounding would be a good solution, or, alternatively, it could be rewritten so that when the stigmata is manifested you start a scene with Willpower points equal to your Merit dots if you have less than that. It would give stigmatics a little bit of a bump, and would still allow microtemplate synergy like the Lost Boys or the Infected. The synergy is something I want to keep, because I really like how the microtemplates scaffolded and branched.
        You could. Or just figure something out for dots 2 and 4. What about giving them "temporary" Willpower? They can spend it in a Scene, but can't keep anything past that.

        Have you seen the Sleeve Integrator options in the Homebrew Demon Merits thread?


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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

          You could. Or just figure something out for dots 2 and 4. What about giving them "temporary" Willpower? They can spend it in a Scene, but can't keep anything past that. Have you seen the Sleeve Integrator options in the Homebrew Demon Merits thread?
          I feel like if I use the to ••••• option I would need a line about "temporary" Willpower anyways. I have, actually! I'm looking at poking around with those are part of the stigmatic microtemplate "Merit tree", such that it is.


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          • #6
            Tiny bit of necromancy. Took another stab at the Stigmata Merit.

            Stigmata (• to •••••)
            Effect: Once per week, in a time of great stress or high drama (such as exposure to God-Machine phenomena) the stigmatic manifests their stigmata by suffering a point of resistant Lethal damage. They gain the 8-again quality to their next Supernatural Merit roll after the stigmata has manifested. Because of the intense, divinely-sourced experience of the stigmata, your character always starts a scene with at least as much Willpower equal to your Merit dots and their wounds heal twice as fast.
            Drawback: When your stigmata manifests you suffer a wound penalty equal to half your Merit dots rounded up, and rolls to notice or remembers you gain an equivalent bonus due to the presence of the stigmata (treat it as a Brand or Tell Glitch, +1 is Minor, +2 is Major, and +3 is Catastrophic). Even when fully healed, the stigmata manifests at least in its Minor form. Additionally, your character’s blood is treated as Aether, meaning that while you could empower gadgets or refill stockpiles, you also become a rather valuable resource to numerous Aether-hungry horrors.
            (Note: Based off the Merit of the same name in Secrets of the Covenants)


            My Homebrew Hub

            Comment


            • #7
              This isn't relevant to the body of the post, but is related to the title of this thread: For "Tinkering with Stigmatics", rather than work off the Vampire Merit, what about modelling "Stigmata" after Werewolf's Wolf-Blooded Tells? Where the specific Stigmata/Glitch affects the related Boon? Like one that inflicts pixelated eyes granting some vision power, or stained fingers also having a touch ability?


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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                This isn't relevant to the body of the post, but is related to the title of this thread: For "Tinkering with Stigmatics", rather than work off the Vampire Merit, what about modelling "Stigmata" after Werewolf's Wolf-Blooded Tells? Where the specific Stigmata/Glitch affects the related Boon? Like one that inflicts pixelated eyes granting some vision power, or stained fingers also having a touch ability?
                That could work extremely well! Especially if you choose to pair different three-dot Supernatural Merits with a thematic Stigmata. That said, I'm still poking around the idea of a Merit based microtemplate based off the Stigmata Merit. Possibly adapting Demon-Blooded Merits to apply to everyone with the Stigmata Merit.


                My Homebrew Hub

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