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Creating a career for a bespoke Gadgeteer

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  • Creating a career for a bespoke Gadgeteer

    People who pay attention to my posts may have noted that I have a strong interest in gadgets and their effects. I view it as my one strength in Demon, and so naturally have become inclined to make my characters inclined towards being Gadgeteers - people who make, and deal with, gadgets. The problem is, as a recently ended game has demonstrated in hindsight, I haven’t really thought about how to make such a career plausible in a Demon game, not the least because gadgets break reality when you make them and the God-Machine tends to look out for those.

    My thoughts thus far are as follows:

    Step 0: Ensure your character has a good Crafts rating, possibly a decent Computers rating to have data gadgets as a thing, and a decent Intelligence rating wouldn’t be a bad choice either. A specialty in Gadgets would not go amiss. Do not make it hard on yourself by having to rely on Primum to bolster your chances of making a gadget.

    Step 1: Suborn an Infrastructure as soon as you can, especially one that is very well hidden. The more dots of Suborned Infrastructure you have, the more secure your gadget creation can be, the better your workshops will be too and the easier you have access to Aether.

    Step 2: Fortify this Infrastructure as best you can and exterminate anything that tries to infest it. Insects, rodents, even weeds. You want nothing to become a cryptid from this, not even flora.

    Step 3: Get a Bolthole (again, preferably a high dot amout) so as to store your gadgets in a place that will keep them out of sight. It may or may not also help keep aetheric resonance from giving away exploited gadgets (though it’s dubious this would take care of their aether reliance issues in the short term). Make sure to have some security within them to prevent would be thieves from a) sneaking in after you, and b) grabbing everything and running without any effort.

    Step 4: Get some connections within your Agency, but don’t make them too strong. It’s one thing having a reputation, it’s another to have an obligation. Making one-shot gadgets and keeping a supply of them isn’t a bad idea, though this is more practical at a higher Primum rating.

    Step 5: Keep your head down more than other Demons. Gadgets are currency for Demons, and non-one-shots are especially valuable. If anyone knows you have a store of them, you’re liable to have all kinds of pursuers coming for you. Have some downtime between gadgets so you don’t make it too obvious when you make them.
    Step 5-a: Perhaps invest in Tattooed Gadget, so you can have some of your wares on your body at all times and give yourself a slight edge should a deal go sour.

    Step 6: Use conditions to bolster your beat input, because gadgets are effectively 1-dot merits each, and that can really hamper your ability to progress with your character unless you use your gadgets via Sanctity Of Merits to gain, well, merits. Refer to Step 5 however.


    I think that looks like a decent list of how to go about things, but I could be missing some pretty obvious steps. Any ideas for how to refine it the next time I dip my toes into Demon?

  • #2
    Stockpiles and remote locations are your friend. Creating Gadgets can cause weird electrical phenomena, so places where that isn't going to be noticed is ideal. Away from you usual location is a must, so it doesn't bring Angels down on your head. Since you are away from typical Infrastructure, you'll want some Stockpiles of Aether to hold you over.

    Software Gadgets are great for portability, since you can access them remotely, and loan them out easily. Don't rely on them, though, so a bad network connection doesn't stop you cold.




    Oh, and to do something different, you could always play the Stigmatic agent (Sympathetic or otherwise) of a Demon gadgeteer. Bond to another's Q.
    Last edited by Vent0; 09-09-2018, 05:12 AM.


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

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    • #3
      I'd say you have a good idea to start with but an interesting thing about your plan, 'one shot' creation might work for you. You see, for gadgets if you don't invest the willpower dot the effect fades at the end of the svene but in a Bolthole no time passes. If st rules they function for the scene they after they are removed then you have a great emergency stockpile with minimal investment. If that is not the case then these same gadgets could be made use of within the Bolthole but would break once removed. Of course too, if they function for the scene after being removed oneshot gadgets can actually be useful.

      It is too bad though that FoH calls out that gadget creation cannot occur in any realm but the material.

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      • #4
        Vent0 Ah, yes, that's an excellent point. Ideally, Infrastructure that is set up (or possibly re-set up if you have the means, know-how and luck) in a ways away from civilization or hard to reach area (like in a mountain) would be hit, but otherwise setting up your workshop in such areas is a must. Deep space would be a very nice grab, though with a plethora of issues, not the least of which accessing it and maintaining it while not having a Cover as an astronaut presumed missing/dead. Such an area would be great for avoid Demon eyes too - they'd be bound to look in, and any workshop that has been found/infiltrated is infinitely less defensible. The Safeplace merit may actually be a good place to establish a workshop as well, given it outright penalizes finding/accessing the safe place itself.

        Software gadgets are nice if you have it as just a USB or flash card too, since it means you can turn any device they plug into to a temporary gadget and they are far easier to hide than the things they plug into. It still requires careful management though, since such things tend to get filched, and the device needs to run as per normal in order to get to the desired effect. That said, I wonder if a gadget smartphone designed to draw ambient energy from its environment (and thus never run out of battery life) could run a software gadget from a flash card...

        Mr.F.I.X. That is an ambitious idea, but I think I would rule it to fail for the same reason as exploited gadgets depleting aether while in a bolthole - entropy does not pass, but aetheric entropy does, and without that last sequence an unfinished gadget is going to simply fall to pieces no matter what you do. Still, I think it'd be an appropriate sort of time bomb to give to your enemies if you were ever captured and forced into gadget making - make an exploited gadget, allowing the fizzing it's doing to at least be excused, and then use it to get out but toss it over your shoulder on the way out, or simply let them keep it as you sneak out, so they get the aetheric bang it produces.

        A few people on Discord have noted ideas on how to possibly work around making gadgets in other realms, be it by using gadgets to simulate the mundane realm or simply take a chunk of it there and maintain it, but I think that's missing the point somewhat. It's like trying to bake a soufflé outdoors in a storm. It doesn't matter if the storm is wind, rain or snow, a souffle ain't going to be made. Still, interlocks can and have done stranger things than allow for different locales for gadget creation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
          That said, I wonder if a gadget smartphone designed to draw ambient energy from its environment (and thus never run out of battery life) could run a software gadget from a flash card...
          Stockpiles don't stop working. I think on of the examples was even a cell phone. So make your phone a Stockpile and it never runs out of mundane charge as long as it has Aether.

          Heh. Had the idea for a mortal story seed - due to a baggage mixup at the airport (or wherever belongings are picked up), a human ends up with an entire USB/Laptop/tablet full of Embedded Software Gadgets. Cue hijinks and multiple sources being after them now.


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

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          • #6
            Where did you find that exploited gadgets still run down in a Bolthole? I haven't seen that before.

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            • #7
              Vent0 It’s true stockpiles never run down, but they also draw attention from aetheric resonance and if you need to turn the thing off at any point, you need to reaborb the aether. Since you need to spend an aether to put any in, that comes out at a bit of a loss. Still, same could be said about a phone whose entire function is to simply never stop running. A battery pack/portable charger with that power though...

              Mr.F.I.X. There isn’t one, but it seems a lttle too easy for exploited gadgets to simply never run down in a bolthole considering that they only lose an aether once per month. Boltholes also only stop natural aging, including recovering from wounds, but supernatural powers such as magic, embeds or exploits work around that limitation. It’s a bit of a headcanon I’ve got. Still, if at the table you wanted to run that such things do ideed stop in a bolthole, whether it’s a degrading unfinished gadget or a full on exploited gadget’s aether run down, then that’s alright.

              Then again, maybe I should be careful about headcanon, since it led one ST I had to “read between the lines” and have an Angel use its Influence to make Infrastructure harder to hack...and it was already Concealment Infrastructure. For Primum 1 Demons.
              Last edited by Taidragon; 09-10-2018, 12:26 PM.

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              • #8
                Does anyone have any ideas on how a gadgeteer may insulate their supply of gadgets from a group of enterprising/d*******g Demons so they don’t all get stolen (or worse, destroyed)? It is something I am trying to plan around since I can see it as something an ST may try and do to make a game more “interesting”. It is a plot idea I am loathing to come up.

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                • #9
                  Certain kinds of Crypto-Flora have been known to block the signals. Cryptids might also eats the spare Aether leakage. The problem there is getting one that won't eat your Gadgets too.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
                    Does anyone have any ideas on how a gadgeteer may insulate their supply of gadgets from a group of enterprising/d*******g Demons so they don’t all get stolen (or worse, destroyed)? It is something I am trying to plan around since I can see it as something an ST may try and do to make a game more “interesting”. It is a plot idea I am loathing to come up.
                    Incorporating the "Tag & Release" Embed in one of the items in the cache would help you wreak vengeance.

                    Some application of the "Cuckoo's Egg" embed might protect some of your items.

                    There are loads of ways you can trap your cache, both magical and mudane - but I suspect you know that. It depends upon whether your ST plays fair, since they will be informed about all of your traps OOC.

                    I'd split up your cache - you'll never lose the whole lot that way.

                    However, this does sound like a good plot line. If I were you I'd spend energy making sure that I could find a way to track down the culprits and get my revenge. That sound more fun!

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                    • #11
                      Vent0 That isn’t a bad idea, even if it was just to make a case or to have a pet. Probably would have to source it out from an NPC, or perhaps a player character with an interest in cryptoflora/cryptids.

                      KieranMullen Aaaand now I’m thinking of a crate with Cuckoo’s Egg, or a Lambda with Cuckoo’s Egg and In My Pocket. You put a gadget in, you close the lid, activate it and you open it again; you get back a perfect copy of the gadget, minus any gadget functionality, and you only get the gadget itself by putting the copy (or at least a very similar thing to its hardware) back into the chest, closing, activating and opening it again. It does this with exploited gadgets too, though the copies only gives out aetheric resonance if aether is in it/the gadget it is copying. To activate it, you require a key of some kind...though you could simply (and completely) break the crate in order to get all the real gadgets out.

                      Still, good suggestions. Even having Tag And Release on his gadgets to make sure they’re still there would work out well, provided there aren’t too many...

                      There are a couple of reasons why I’m not fond of the plotline idea. One is because it shows once and for all that your little island of safety and sanctity is but sham. Anyone can break in and steal what you’ve worked so hard to create, to the point that a gadget is practically a merit apiece, and if you can’t stop Demons then you certainly have no hope for Angels. Having all that happen off-panel also reeks of the ST not playing fair, which feels like a breech of Storyteller/Player etiquette. I have been in games where breeches like that have cost the Storyteller the trust of the players and thus the game devolves into “how can we win against God”. It’s not fun.

                      Perhaps I’m just a pessimistic sort.

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                      • #12
                        It's definitely not something to use routinely, and to discuss beforehand. But, it can be done.

                        Angels can't inherently detect Aether, mind you, and I don't know if Embedded Gadgets leave the same Aetheric signature.

                        (Also, there are some Gadget focused Homebrew merits in the Hombrew Demon Merits thread that might help.)


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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Taidragon View Post

                          There are a couple of reasons why I’m not fond of the plotline idea. One is because it shows once and for all that your little island of safety and sanctity is but sham. Anyone can break in and steal what you’ve worked so hard to create, to the point that a gadget is practically a merit apiece, and if you can’t stop Demons then you certainly have no hope for Angels. Having all that happen off-panel also reeks of the ST not playing fair, which feels like a breech of Storyteller/Player etiquette. I have been in games where breeches like that have cost the Storyteller the trust of the players and thus the game devolves into “how can we win against God”. It’s not fun.

                          Perhaps I’m just a pessimistic sort.
                          But one of the best defenses will be the story whispered about the terrible vengeance you visited upon the few survivors who managed to make off with just TWO of your gadgets. In fact you might want to orchestrate such a theft for exactly that purpose.

                          In the end we should play the sort of games we enjoy, and if it would really upset you then if I were your ST I wouldn't force the issue. However, I would try to persuade you of your character's chance for the spotlight in a story where you and your ring go after the Whatever stole your Gadgets. It would make a great spy/counter-heist/vengeance story.

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                          • #14
                            Vengeance storylines aren’t cup of tea, really, given I’m not the type to want to default to violence. I like constructing solutions, not blazing trails of devestation. I find violence tends to put you onto more radars than simple respect will, among other, undesireable results. Still, that’s an entirely fair point for those who are interested in having that kind of reputation.

                            Another idea for a gadgeteer is using the exploit Living Installation, allowing them to install an embeded effect into a Demon’s Cover. It would be a temporary gadget, lasting a just a month, but it’d still be an interesting service a gadgeteer could provide for Demons who don’t know how to use Tattooed Gagdet but would rather have a gadget on them at all times. Only problem (aside from the willpower dot cost only being refunded by an exceptional success at the end of the month) is that it requires Medicine instead of Crafts, so a gadgeteer may want to have something on hand to help early on at least.

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                            • #15
                              Yeah... I house-rule/hack Living Installation because it's costs are too prohibitive for its benefit.

                              As far as security, Gadgets with:
                              The Look - trap thieves into looking at a mesmerizing image until their organs fail.
                              Ultimatum - "Return what you have stolen, or become an example to others. And possibly tasteless decor."
                              Solitary Confinement - Insta-prison!

                              I'd list more, but really there are so many Embeds and Exploits that can be rigged as traps or "curses".


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

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