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Broken Imperatives: Home-brew Occult Allies/Contacts

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  • Broken Imperatives: Home-brew Occult Allies/Contacts

    The Demon Storyteller's Guide introduced the idea of Imperatives: minor, single-purpose constructs of the GodMachine. The example given in the DSG was the Wendigo, which induces cannibalism in humans. However, it wasn't entirely clear to me if the Wendigo was continuing to follow its mission as an Imperative, or whether it has somehow gotten stuck in this purpose and continues to do this off on its own.

    This lead me to the idea that there could be lots of minor GM creations that have wandered off on their own - "orphan processes" if you will. From a human perspective they are summonable occult forces, but from a demon it's a matter of making the right subroutine call. You just have to know how to invoke them properly - and safely. They would have little intelligence, just more of a purpose. They can't really Fall because they aren't smart enough to have free will. They are in some way broken, detached. But just because they are not as intelligent as a demon doesn't mean that they don't have powerful abilities, nor that they are entirely safe to invoke. They may live in Twilight, or more probably The Shadow, where they would not run into the standard GM angels and Imperatives.

    So that would be the fluff. I'm not sure about the crunch. I thought they might be either an Ally or a Contact, with an Aether and/or a Willpower cost. Their powers would be on the level of an Exploit but without a Compromise roll. They would probably have some extended action roll depending upon the number of dots you buy in the Contact and some other character trait. Like Contacts, they would have a limited to one use in a chapter.

    Example: Itinerae

    The Itinerae are errant transportation Imperatives. They were originally used by the GodMachine to transport goods and agents from one point in the material plane to another. If the GM wanted 100 bales of cotton to be moved from Alabama to form a 100 pointed star crossing the Antarctic and did not have time to go by mundane routes, it could assign an Imperative with a special gating ability to do it. Such a menial task is unworthy of an angel. However, at least one such Imperative went wrong - perhaps traveling through its gates or the gates of another disconnected it from the GM. It now waits for instructions to open gates for transportation, and if a summoner can spoof the correct calling codes they can have the Itinera open a gate from any location in space to another. They might also be able to cross planes, pass through occult barriers or connect Shards.

    Itinerae can open gates from one location to another - for a price. The summoner must roll their dots in Contact + Primum as an extended action and get five successes. The summoner must also provide two Aether or two Essence. Gates between planes or Shards cost three Aether or Essence. Summoners who disrespect, annoy or cause damage to an Itinera can find themselves transported to very unpleasant places.

  • #2
    Here is a second "Broken Imperative." The heading is what I show the PC's as a "purchasable Merit" that they can choose when designing their demon character. They only learn the details if they purchase the Merit.

    Occult Distraction: Ally/Contact cost 1-2 dots, value 2-3 dots

    There are servants of the GodMachine that are less intelligent than angels. Such single-purpose creations are called Imperatives. Sometimes they become detached from the GodMachine but continue their programming. Mortals think of these creatures as spirits. Demons know that they are simply errant subroutines that can sometimes be exploited. What humans interpret as summoning a spirit, to a demon is merely making the proper subroutine call to an orphaned process of the GodMachine. Such a call may be trivial and safe, or it may invoke an unpredictable routine that, while relatively unintelligent, has significant and dangerous privileges to re-write reality.

    The Turbae is an errant subroutine. (The singular form is in fact plural). It was originally used by the GodMachine to create the appearance of a mob. Riots and mobs are hard to stop but also hard to get going. By creating a violent mob the GM can provide the match that sets off an explosive riot. While the GM could have created a few dozen Simulacra, that would be extravagant. The false mob only need exist for a short while until a true mob could be whipped into a frenzy. The false mob also does not need any Cover or support since it will disappear after a short while.

    A Turbae is a hive of entities that can take on the shape of a mob of people, a stampede of animals or an avalanche of other discrete objects that are appropriate to the setting. Unlike similar Exploits, there does not have to be anyone there originally to riot, or any animals to stampede. They can induce anything in a similar form to act similarly (people to riot, animals to stampede, drivers to race their cars recklessly, etc.) They are hard to control, once released. They can cause real damage, but only exist for a few minutes before returning to Twilight.

    Turbae come at a price. The summoner must roll their dots in Contact + Primum as an extended action and get five successes. The summoner must also provide two Aether or two Essence. Requesting a form inappropriate to the setting (a small stampede in an office building) might require one or two more points of Essence/Aether. Once summoned in a particular form the Turbae is hard to control - it can often cause damage to the summoner as well. The Turbae itself revels in the random destruction it can cause before fading.

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    • #3
      Minor Occult Source of Information: Ally/Contact cost 1-2 dots, value 2-3 dots

      There are servants of the GodMachine that are less intelligent than angels. Such single-purpose creations are called Imperatives. Sometimes they become detached from the GodMachine but continue their programming. Mortals think of these creatures as spirits. Demons know that they are simply errant subroutines that can sometimes be exploited.

      What humans interpret as summoning a spirit, to a demon is merely making the proper subroutine call to an orphaned process of the GodMachine. Such a call may be trivial and safe, or it may invoke an unpredictable routine that, while relatively unintelligent, has significant and dangerous privileges to re-write reality.

      Humans have Google and web searches. Angels can make information queries to the GodMachine’s network, spawning autonomous agents called Querents that will collect answers for those queries. Demons can spoof such inquiries by making or drawing a ouija board, and working with at least two humans to move a glass, wood or plastic planchette on the board. Querents excel at finding factual information that, in principle, is available somewhere in electronic or paper form. They can answer simple questions about the past in a given location, especially actions that might leave a strong resonance in Twilight or Shadow. They can also answer simple questions about angel or GodMachine activities at a -3 penalty.

      Querents come at a price. The summoner must roll their dots in Contact + Manipulation as an extended action and get five successes. A failure (roll without a single success) results in a Condition (either Hunted, Flagged or Surveilled). In addition, any time this ritual is performed there is a 3/10 chance that one of the human participants in the process may become a Stigmatic. While invoking a Querent does not cause a Compromise roll, telling a human participant in the process that the invoker is a demon, does cause a Compromise roll.

      The summoner must also provide one Aether or one Essence. Questions about angel or GodMachine activities double that cost.

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      • #4
        I think Imperatives were actually first written about in the demon chapter for Mortal Remains and then the DSG book ported them into demon proper.

        Good thread!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nicias View Post
          I think Imperatives were actually first written about in the demon chapter for Mortal Remains and then the DSG book ported them into demon proper.

          Good thread!
          Thanks for the comment! I am looking for feedback on these.

          I was concerned that there was no "downside" to invoking these Broken Imperatives. I then re-read the section of Extended Actions are realized that any roll without a success in it can have negative consequences. I added them in explicitly for the Querents. I may go back and add them for the others as well.

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          • #6
            For consequences, think how their Intended Function can go wrong - Dropped off at the wrong place or something else being brought to you, or the results of the query being returned to the wrong person.

            For ideas:
            • Retrieves items
            • Bad Fortune (like a curse)
            • Good fortune (like all lights being Green and no traffic, or stuff just happening to turn out your way)
            • Animal influence
            • Make other things avoid X


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

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            • #7
              Powerful Occult Source of Information: Ally/Contact cost 1-3 dots, value 2-4 dots

              There are servants of the GodMachine that are less intelligent than angels. Such single-purpose creations are called Imperatives. Sometimes they become detached from the GodMachine but continue their programming. Mortals think of these creatures as spirits. Demons know that they are simply errant subroutines that can sometimes be exploited.

              What humans interpret as summoning a spirit, to a demon is merely making the proper subroutine call to an orphaned process of the GodMachine. Such a call may be trivial and safe, or it may invoke an unpredictable routine that, while relatively unintelligent, has significant and dangerous privileges to re-write reality.

              The Memenisti - those who remember - are a trio of tall, gaunt figures that can be summoned from the Shadow. The Shadow is not Twilight. It is the warped reflection of the physical world (or Material Realm) in which everything is alive. Anything of import that happens in the Material Realm may birth a reflection in the Shadow, and that reflection may live on long after the original is gone.

              The Memenisti are the collectors of lost things (keys, toys, passwords, children). Originally some sort of scavenging routine, they developed an independent existence in the Shadow. They can provide clues, recall over-written histories, and point toward whatever was lost.

              The Memenisti can be summoned in abandoned places. This summoning can be attempted once per chapter as an extended action. The PC must obtain five successes total, rolling a number of dice equal to the number of dots in the Merit+Primum. A failure (roll without a single success) results in a Condition associated with memory: (e.g. Amnesia, Embarrassing Secret, Obssessed, Lost) or the loss of all successes, at the choice of the player. They may also elect to take Dramatic Failure in return for a beat.

              The PC must explain what it is that they seek and the Memenisti will attempt a search. This search may last beyond the Scene depending upon the nature of the quest. The summoning involves a cost of 2 Aether or 2 Essence independent of its success. However, summoning the Memenisti does not cause a Compromise roll.

              ​Fun Fluff and Crunch for the Storyteller: Tell the player that the Memenisti always charge something but that the summoner will not remember what it was. Then have other PC's and NPC's ask about some object they claim belonged to the summoner ("Hey, what happened to that pocket watch of yours?", or "Why did you stop wearing that cool trench coat?").

              Comment


              • #8
                Occult Repair/Healing: Ally/Contact cost 1-3 dots, value 2-4 dots

                There are servants of the GodMachine that are less intelligent than angels. Such single-purpose creations are called Imperatives. Sometimes they become detached from the GodMachine but continue their programming. Mortals think of these creatures as spirits. Demons know that they are simply errant subroutines that can sometimes be exploited.

                What humans interpret as summoning a spirit, to a demon is merely making the proper subroutine call to an orphaned process of the GodMachine. Such a call may be trivial and safe, or it may invoke an unpredictable routine that, while relatively unintelligent, has significant and dangerous privileges to re-write reality.

                Reparantes are the repair-bots of the GodMachine. The summoner must roll their dots in Contact + Primum as an extended action and get five successes (10min./roll) to summon them. A failure (roll without a single success) results in a Condition or the loss of all successes, at the choice of the player. They may also elect to take Dramatic Failure in return for a beat.

                The PC must also roll Dots in Merit+Manipulation to communicate successfully to the Reparantes exactly what they want done. Even then, these Imperatives have their own idea of what it means to “fix” something or someone that may be at odds with the summoner. An automobile may be given a magnetohydrodynamic engine or mechanical legs for propulsion.

                The Reparantes can repair demon modifications. They are less skilled at repairing injuries to Covers (that is, medical injuries to the Cover form of the demon, not restoring dots of Cover) or people. While they can automatically fix a Condition (e.g. blindness, arm wrack), roll a single die and if there are no successes they introduce a temporary minor Glitch to the patient, on a 1 the Glitch is permanent. If they are restoring Corpus or Health, roll five dice for every Aether the player spends; the number of successes are the dots of Corpus/Health restored. This always introduces a permanent minor Glitch. Roll 8 - # dots restored to see if the Glitch is major and permanent. This may cause a Breaking Point for a non-demon patient.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nicias View Post
                  I think Imperatives were actually first written about in the demon chapter for Mortal Remains and then the DSG book ported them into demon proper.
                  Yes/no/maybe.

                  With DSG it is clear to see that Imps could in all actuality be Imperatives that are either malfunctioning or are designed to influence people into doing “sinful” behavior for the inscrutable goals of the Machine, but Mortal Remains makes it open ended enough so Imps could easily be cryptids or even Vice spirits- though given the inclusion of what we now know to be Lares ( or Demons with the Demon House Exploit), Imps being a Hunter’s perception of a possibly faulty Imperative is the most expected conclusion xD. Kind of like how Devourers could be some sort of God-Machine spawned entity.. or they could be Strix, just of a different “breed” as it were.

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