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Sample Ciphers and Interlocks

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  • Sample Ciphers and Interlocks

    I've written these down as I'm getting ready for a Demon chronicle, and being that a) I'm hype for the game and like to share the things I write with people, b) the nature of the cipher precludes sharing them with the players until they've discovered them in play, and c) I'm pretty sure my players don't read this forum anyway, why don't I throw these out there. People will have Opinions about Mechanics and that's cool, but I'm not specifically looking for balance tweaks or anything; I'm pretty happy with how these came out (wordy and cheaty as Hijack Infrastructure is). Mostly I want to share these with the community, maybe help people out by showing them some examples, and possibly prompt people to post ideas they have themselves (please do so!).

    I ran into only one major frustration writing these (they were challenging, but it's the rewarding kind of challenge otherwise): the number of Attributes rolled by Embeds is very few, which narrows things down when these powers combine an Attribute from one Embed with a Skill from the other. Almost all the Embeds I was working with rolled Manipulation. Got repetitive, narrowed choices down. This also motivated me to house-rule the questions asked to search for the next key in the cipher, such that it asks about Skills rather than Attributes. On the bright side, the Skills were a little more interesting to work with - the Skills rolled by Mr. Watch's interlocks influenced the flavor of the powers a little for the better.

    Miss Fortune, who Fell to save the career of the last honest politician cleaning up the city.

    Cipher: God is in our hands.
    The message broadcast to this Messenger Tempter is the accomplishment of the Descent by taking control not only of the messaging, but of the Machine itself: the Machine is fallible and the Machine is material, and so being, it can be repurposed to fit her goals. The emergent theme of her interlocks advances from stronger control of interpersonal signals to jamming and finally hacking the God-Machine's operations. These are powerful effects with Aether costs attached.

    Muse ▶ Earworm
    This interlock effectively locks a person into a looping command, repeating a volitional idea so heavily that it cannot be helped but followed. The temporary reprogramming is accomplished through a small circuit of Aether, however, which can attract unwanted attention.

    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Expression vs. Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance
    Action: Instant and contested
    Cost: 1 Aether
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: Short-circuit. The subject becomes catatonic for one scene and may suffer long-term damage in the form of a persistent condition, such as Amnesia or Obsession.
    Failure: No effect.
    Success: The circuit is implanted. The subject must obey the command and cannot think of doing otherwise until the command is completed or up to the demon's Primum in days, whichever comes first. The subject gains the Blackballed condition until the circuit is complete.
    Exceptional Success: A quiet circuit is achieved which fails to trip Aetheric Resonance. Blackballed is not applied.

    Earworm ▶ Interference
    In electronics, crosstalk is when signals on one circuit or channel of a system have unintended effects on another circuit or channel. Having interlocked thought-jamming signals with the aetheric disruption of compromise signals, Miss Fortune has become able to produce more generalized angelic crosstalk that interferes with God-Machine communication channels. This interlock must be used in the presence of an angel, using the angel's senses as an interface from which to bounce the crosstalk.

    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Subterfuge - highest angelic Resistance present
    Action: Instantand resisted
    Cost: 2 Aether
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The reverse conduction of Aether has had the opposite effect, drawing attention from the God-Machine. Suffer the Flagged, Surveilled or Hunted condition, as deemed appropriate.
    Failure: No effect.
    Success: The general vicinity, up to the size of a large apartment, suffers angelic crosstalk. Angels are temporarily unable to receive information or new orders from the God-Machine or to use their Influences, and suffer -2 to all perception rolls. God-Machine Infrastructure malfunctions, producing faulty output or temporarily dropping concealment. Any demons in the vicinity are able to resolve the Flagged or Surveilled conditions. These effects last for one scene, but demons who resolve conditions remain free of them thereafter.
    Exceptional Success: The effects last for one hour or one scene, whichever is longer. A demon who stays in the affected area for the full duration can resolve the Hunted condition.

    Interference ▶ Momentum
    Hijack Infrastructure
    This powerful interlock is a backdoor into the God-Machine's chain of command, able to produce great effects in short order, though it requires precise timing and infiltration of a project at its apex of activity. By accessing the controls of Logistical Infrastructure at the moment of the culmination of a project, Miss Fortune can activate this interlock to redirect the output of the project's occult matrix, producing all manner of results. The use of this interlock is contested by the Power + Resistance of the angel the occult matrix is dedicated to producing, or in the case of infrastructure not dedicated to angelic summons, a dice pool equal to five times the estimated Rank of the infrastructure, as judged by the magnitude of its intended output. As with angel-jacking, other demons can assist in the activation of this interlock by hacking or rearranging infrastructure, but they have only a single turn in which to do so.

    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Science vs. Power + Resistance (or Rank x 5)
    Action: Instant and contested
    Cost: 5 Aether
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The occult matrix goes wild, producing a result anticipated neither by the God-Machine nor the demon. Localized distortions of physical laws, the entry of alien intruders into the world, or simple explosive Aetheric discharges are all possibilities. In all cases, at least in the short-term, it's likely worse than what the God-Machine was planning.
    Failure: The output materializes as the God-Machine intended, and Miss Fortune suffers the Hunted condition.
    Success: Miss Fortune learns the God-Machine's intended output, and may name an output lesser or roughly equivalent to the original output's magnitude of effect. For instance, infrastructure designed to raise the dead could resurrect a different person, month-long weather control infrastructure affecting the entire city could instead alter the city's traffic patterns for that month, or an ephemeral being of equivalent Rank could be summoned or created in an angel's stead. Alternately, a summoned angel could be automatically angel-jacked as per a standard successful angel-jacking, or the project could be hijacked into catalyzing Essence into Aether, producing a single yield of five times the Rank level of the project in Aether.
    Exceptional Success: Miss Fortune can assume administrative control of the project for her Primum in days. For that duration, the infrastructure continues to function, producing its normal effects (a gas station continues to generate and sell gas, a machine cult continues to operate). More usefully, any agents of the God-Machine, including angels, whose function is to shepherd the project regard her as project leader for that duration, following orders loyally. These servants remember Miss Fortune for the duration of the post-project functioning period as an angel above question, and retain that memory after the infrastructure closes, but recognize her as a demon as normal thereafter.

    Ms. Burn, a millenialist demon who intends to live the last days out to the fullest.

    Cipher: Hell is other monsters.
    Ms. Burn's Descent is fairly straightforward, and if she wants to live out in both security and style, she may be directed to some lively company able to watch each other's backs, as long as she can strike an understanding with them. This demon's player likes to play a little fast and loose and a little flippant, so I had fun with some effects I think he'll enjoy using. These interlocks modify conditions of Cover and trust, enabling tricky social maneuvering and leading up to a final interlock which may be one of the few ways demons can learn to trust each other in a social gathering. They're subtler effects than Miss Fortune's interlocks, and cost no Aether.

    Authorized ▶ Social Dynamics
    Like a Boss
    Knowing social dynamics and their effects on people, Ms. Burn is able to tweak her own social dynamics to her benefit. She declares a social role or position her Cover occupies in explanation, and all present accept that it is justified and normal for her to act in that capacity, even if the role or position does not normally relate to the action being performed.

    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Subterfuge - highest Intelligence present
    Action: Instant and resisted
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The stigma is attached to Ms. Burn's Cover. Suffer the Stigma condition: Ms. Burn's Cover is identified as the kind of person who would perform the action she attempted, without any sense of justification or normality. Resolve this condition by discarding the Cover identity or improving her Cover rating with an appropriate patch job.
    Failure: No effect. People probably look at you funny.
    Success: Your Cover identity is tightly wound together with the idea of performing that action, such that everything is normal and none would interfere. For the rest of the scene, this influences your compromise conditions. For example, being the kind of person who would shoot a man dead for crossing her obviates the need for a compromise roll to shoot someone, but forces a compromise to talk down a violent situation.
    Exceptional Success: The effects last for a full day.

    Social Dynamics ▶ Lost in the Crowd
    Just Doing My Job
    Ms. Burn can step into the holes left by absent social roles, effortlessly gliding through situations as if she belonged, simply by naming a minor role that wouldn't be out of place in the situation and claiming to fill it.

    Dice Pool: Wits + Stealth
    Action: Instant
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: Something about Ms. Burn gives her away: "we didn't order a pizza" or "that's not what my secretary looks like" or even subtle body language or a feeling that's just not right. She is unwelcome and suffers -2 to social rolls in that company; if any agents of the God-Machine are present, she suffers the Flagged condition.
    Failure: No effect.
    Success: Ms. Burn becomes inconspicuous, "just the pizza guy" or a mere stenographer or intern. Her presence is accepted in that context, and so long as her actions line up with her declared role, all rolls to identify her as anything else suffer a -4 penalty. This effect lasts for one scene, but ends prematurely if Ms. Burn "breaks character."
    Exceptional Success: Instead of suffering a -4 penalty, rolls to identify her as something other than her chosen roll automatically fail.

    Lost in the Crowd ▶ Cool Heads Prevail
    Ms. Burn can designate a space as neutral ground. With the consent of all present, she can declare terms which attendees are compelled to obey.

    The activation roll for this interlock subtracts the highest Primum of those present, as well as the number of other demons present minus one. Other Supernatural Tolerance traits, such as an angel's Rank or a vampire's Blood Potency, do not apply to this modifier.

    Dice Pool: Wits + Empathy - (highest Primum present + number of demons - 1)
    Action: Instant
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The terms have been improperly input. The Storyteller determines a single rule of decorum in secret and applies a -3 penalty to actions that violate that rule for the scene.
    Failure: No effect. Since success does not register positively, there is no sensory distinction between a failure and a success, except the absence of the enforcement of terms.
    Success: The terms which have been declared by Ms. Burn and consented to are binding. Nothing prevents anyone from violating them, but the moment anyone violates any of the terms, all parties intuit that the agreement has been broken. This lasts for one scene.
    Exceptional Success: In addition to the above, any roll to violate the terms of the agreement for the duration of the scene suffers a -3 penalty.

    Mr. Watch, who Fell in a quandary over the motives of the God-Machine.

    Cipher: God walks among us.
    The message broadcast to Watch invites him to look beyond the God-Machine for deeper principles, to see it as an instrument active in the world, but not the whole of the great work of the cosmos. The great work binds and suffuses all things. Watch's player likes inquisitive powers and seeking answers, and his interlocks do exactly that, as they ascend towards swapping one thing for another, exchanging a lesser vehicle for a greater one. There's obvious crossover potential cooked into Watch's final interlock. This is the first cipher I wrote, but I think it stands up.

    Like I Built It ▶ Right Tools, Right Job
    Chekhov's Gun
    Truly knowing a thing is more than knowing the gears and cogs. It means knowing its purpose. This interlock allows Mr. Watch to physically inspect a device and, in so doing, intuit what purposes it has been set to.

    Dice Pool: Wits + Craft
    Action: Instant
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: Meaning breaks down; the center cannot hold. The device malfunctions, performing a function it should not be able to perform, such as a clock telling the weather or a gun backfiring in a burst of amnesia.
    Failure: No effect.
    Success: For every success gained, Watch can ask one purpose the device has been set to by a user, specifying the user, rough time of use, or other appropriate circumstances; and why the device was set to that purpose.
    Exceptional Success: Like the figurative Chekhov's gun, Watch is able to substitute one question to ask what major purpose is waiting for the object that it has not yet fulfilled or even been set to.

    Right Tools, Right Job ▶ Cuckoo's Egg
    Shell Game
    Knowing enough about things to substitute them for each other requires knowing how they relate to one another in context. Something without context, after all, has no relation to anything and is therefore effectively meaningless. Physically swapping the position of two things enables Watch to intuit how they relate and compare to one another.

    This interlock does not work on demons.

    Dice Pool: Wits + Larceny- highest Composure, if any
    Action: Instantand resisted
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: Watch fumbles the shell game; the items are not properly substituted. Qualities transfer between the two items: people trade physical attributes, or devices swap functionality.
    Failure: No effect. Each subsequent attempt within the same day requires Watch to make a "bet" of one Aether, which is recovered on success.
    Success: Watch intuits every relevant quality which is shared between the two items.
    Exceptional Success: Watch also intuits the primary relationship between the two items.

    Cuckoo's Egg ▶ Raw Materials
    Ghost in the Machine
    As above, so below. The completion of the cipher allows Watch to pick open the divine lock secreting the pleroma away in the everyday and the mundane. The effects of this interlock vary depending on whether an object or a person is picked open.

    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Larceny
    Action: Instant
    Cost: 3 Aether
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The lock is sealed; the alarm is tripped. Roll for compromise or gain the Flagged or Surveilled condition.
    Failure: No effect.
    Success: Objects picked open become cooperative and willful; they will answer questions about what they have experienced or function independently for the rest of the scene as Watch requests. People and ephemera so opened feel a renewal of their higher drive and recover Willpower as if they had fulfilled their Virtue, except for Prometheans and qashmallim, who instead refill their Pyros reserves to full.
    Exceptional Success: The subject receives an epiphany. Objects may become relics or gadgets; angels may spontaneously Fall; humans may become stigmatic; demons may further their cipher; visions of the future may occur.
    Last edited by Stupid Loserman; 11-25-2013, 10:14 AM. Reason: Fixed a typo.

  • #2
    Thanks for those! They really helped me figuring out how Interlocks are suposed to work.

    I'm So Meta Even This Acronym


    • #3
      Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post
      Mostly I want to share these with the community, maybe help people out by showing them some examples, and possibly prompt people to post ideas they have themselves (please do so!).
      It's much-delayed, but I've got the bits of one for a character I've been loosely planning since the Messenger preview dropped back in July:

      Dr. Phoenix, who built his new identity on a mistake that wasn't a mistake.
      Cipher: The best lies contain an element of truth.
      Phoenix is learning that, just as the Unchained can set the truth of a statement and pretend to be other than they are, so does the Descent allow them to blur the line between "real" truth and occult fabrications. The emergent theme of Phoenix's Interlocks includes "making lies true" and draws on Cover to cement the Unchained's place in the world beyond the specter of the God-Machine's designs. Consequently, all of the Doctor's Interlocks use that cosmic wiggle-room and require Aether.

      Strength Through Adversity ▶ Miles Away
      I Know What I'm Doing
      A vital element of good lying is conviction. By drawing on his assumed identity and understanding of himself and visualizing prior successes, Phoenix shores up the reserves of will that help it to control the world around it. This Interlock can only be used once per day, whether it succeeds or fails.

      Dice Pool: Resolve + Occult + compromise modifier for current Cover rating. (Add one die if the character has fulfilled a short-term Aspiration in that chapter, or three dice for a long-term Aspiration. Subtract the highest Rank of any angels present that the character is aware of.)
      Action: Instant
      Cost: 1 Aether
      Roll Results
      Dramatic Failure: Lose all remaining Willpower and gain the Shaken Condition.
      Failure: No effect.
      Success: Regain Willpower points equal to the roll's successes. Willpower points over your maximum are still retained, but disappear at the end of the scene if still unused.
      Exceptional Success: In addition to regaining at least five Willpower points, you gain the Steadfast Condition.

      Miles Away ▶ Cuckoo's Egg
      Not What It Looks Like
      As an Inquisitor, the Doctor is often required to reexamine its assumptions. By taking advantage of grey areas in perception and its own quantum state, Phoenix can consider an ambiguous scenario and select a preferred history of that situation. A person who is whole but freshly dead instead might be unconscious, or a particular card might be drawn from a shuffled deck. Whatever the case, Doctor Phoenix transforms what might be into what is — within reason.

      Dice Pool: Wits + Larceny - highest Wits or Composure of observing witnesses, if any. (Demons do not count as observers unless they are currently using aetheric resonance. Observers can spend a Willpower point to downgrade the result of the roll by one category, though you may do likewise when rolling to negate this.)
      Action: Reflexive
      Cost: 1-3 Aether, depending on desired number of alternatives; resolution of Prepared For Anything; 1 Willpower (optional).
      Roll Results
      Dramatic Failure: The outcome of the situation damages your confidence in your ability to influence the world around you; take the Broken Condition for the rest of the session or until you get an exceptional success on any roll to affect someone or something other than yourself.
      Failure: The situation is whatever it would have been without your interference.
      Success: The situation is subtly changed. The Storyteller presents as many different alternatives as you spent points of Aether; alternatives tend to be presented in ascending order of preferability. You choose one and the facts of the situation change to fit it, though its appearance remains the same until the outcome is revealed. You may choose to decline any of the alternatives presented, though doing so does not refund the cost of this Interlock.
      Exceptional Success: As success, and you may recover one spent point of Willpower or take the Déjà Vu Condition.

      Cuckoo's Egg ▶ Trivia
      We Go Way Back
      By reaffirming its chosen identity to a related person, the Doctor can make its false life more convincing; the connection to the world at large is made more real by the witness’s acknowledgement of the mask Phoenix wears as its connections blur the line between subjective and objective.

      Dice Pool: Presence + Subterfuge
      Action: Instant
      Cost: 1 Willpower dot and all current Aether (minimum of [Primum])
      Roll Results
      Dramatic Failure: The Cover you attempted to reinforce is Blown.
      Failure: No effect.
      Success: You reinforce your current Cover in the company of a mortal character who has been connected to that identity for at least the length of one story. The Cover’s rating is reset to the number of successes rolled plus the demon's Primum. The new Cover is completely real and fits together naturally, regardless of its original provenance and assembly; rolls to investigate the Cover are modified as though it were gained from a soul pact, applying a -3 penalty to attempts to investigate that Cover. Even people only indirectly affected by any changes the Cover had incorporated believe you have always possessed the Cover's connections; the reconstructed Cover gains the Persistent Established Condition. However, the sudden outpouring of Aether draws the notice of the God-Machine as surely as a Falling demon; your renewed Cover gains the Flagged Condition.
      Exceptional Success: As normal success, except your Cover is not Flagged.

      I ran into only one major frustration writing these (they were challenging, but it's the rewarding kind of challenge otherwise): the number of Attributes rolled by Embeds is very few, which narrows things down when these powers combine an Attribute from one Embed with a Skill from the other.
      See, given that that line contradicts the first description of Interlocks…
      These powers are not Embeds, and so can involve Aether expenditures and non-Finesse Attributes. However, they aren’t Exploits, either, and so don’t necessarily endanger Cover with every use.
      …and results in less variety overall I pretty much just ignored that part and went with the option I thought was more interesting.

      I can't say much about the outcome's mechanics, but I'm fond of the conceptual result in any case.
      Last edited by Satchel; 08-02-2014, 12:20 AM. Reason: Flowers of Hell provided a more apropos first and final Key.

      Resident Lore-Hound
      Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


      • #4
        This is a great topic!
        I had a hard time figuring out what a cipher could be, or what interlocks were, after the first reading of that section in the book.
        I will think about it more and come back to submit my own ideas and give feedback after another reading


        • #5
          I came up with a Interlock, for putting between the keys of Mercyless Gunman and Animal Messanger, or for Cause and Effect and Mercyless Gunman

          I have a bullet with your name on it
          Action: Extended 5 minutes/roll requires 10 successes
          Cost: 1 Aether
          The Demon, writes the name on a bullet casing, or onto the side of a melee weapon.
          Even if he only writes it in ballpoint pen, it appears engraves on the object.
          This bullet is now destined for it's target, sooner or later.
          The demon doesn't have to know the target's actual name, a nickname or even a fake name (so long as it was actually used) will do.
          Dramatic Failure: Some how the demon, mistakingly writes there own name on it. The they are now the weapon's target. See success below.
          Success: The bullet (or other weapon) is now destined to be used (one way or another) against the target at sometime this story.
          Even if the demon has written on a knife, that was dropped in the ocean, a fisherman might pick it up in his nets and then donate it to a second hard store,
          which the target then visits, knocking the knife off the table sending it point first into his foot, and somehow striking the metatarsal artery.
          On the first attempt to damage the target with the weapon, it deals bonus damage equal to the demons Primum, if it misses then the effect ends, and it is a normal weapon.
          Exceptional Success: Rather than being destined to happen sometime this story, the demon may be more precise, saying for example: Some time this chapter, or "The next time he goes home". What is a appropriate trigger is ST discretion.
          But remember, messing with causality draws the god machine's attention. This ability will often cause compromise, espectially if the exceptional success is used to make it happen now (without obvious cause of immediately stabbing)


          • #6
            Figured I’d resurrect this thread. Accordingly, I’ll open with:
            Theft-of-Breath, a Tempter with designs on the dead.

            Cipher: A burden shared is a burden lifted.
            Theft-of-Breath, like many Psychopomps, has an unfortunate habit of treating people as things, though it might be better to say she thinks of them like animals; her work for the God-Machine often involved clearing out sites for Trumpet-instigated cults, and nothing can derail those quite like a cultist catching the scent of an inconvenient leftover from the last project and ferreting out what happened to those people. She’s seen enough of rats running mazes to find entities who don’t move until they’re told both preferable and eminently convenient. The spiritual load necessary to keep things moving is irksome, but she maintains it in deference to what little residual programming she finds enjoyment in; most of Theft’s Interlocks cost Willpower, save for the one from which she draws her current moniker.

            Without a Trace ▶ Fulcrum Point
            World-Renouncing Step
            The first thing Theft learned about the restless dead was that gravity doesn’t strictly apply to them - earthbound though most of them are, they need not worry about the incline of the ground beneath them, nor its solidity. Meanwhile, their bodies remain just as heavy as usual. Theft reverses this dynamic for herself, turning her physical weight into a spiritual one.

            Dice Pool: Strength + Stealth
            Action: Reflexive
            Cost: 1 Willpower
            Roll Results
            Dramatic Failure: Subtract your Size from your jumping distance and add three dice to any rolls to track you.
            Failure: No effect.
            Success: For the remainder of the scene, divide your weight by a factor of your Primum; subtract your Primum from any falling damage you take, multiply your jumping distance by your Primum, and subtract your successes from any rolls to track you.
            Exceptional Success: It takes a Wits + Composure - Primum roll to notice you when you land.

            Fulcrum Point ▶ Bystander Effect
            Breath-Taking Aura
            Theft intimately understands the role of the spirit in mortality. She also knows how to benefit from it, though doing so means the human herd must suffer somewhat. This is regrettable in its repercussions, but she prefers it to the alternative.

            Dice Pool: Stamina + Intimidation vs Stamina + Athletics
            Action: Instant
            Cost: None
            Roll Results
            Dramatic Failure: You cannot breathe for the remainder of the scene; this can only be remedied by either getting to an isolated area, falling unconscious, or assuming demonic form.
            Failure: No effect.
            Success: Every mortal character within [Primum + successes] yards of you takes your Presence in bashing damage; so long as at least one character fails the contesting roll, you regain a point of Willpower.
            Exceptional Success: In addition to regaining a Willpower point, you may apply the Disoriented Condition to any of the people who took damage from the Interlock’s effects.

            Bystander Effect ▶ Animal Messenger
            Life-Giving Pulse
            By adjusting the position of her metaphysical organs, Theft generates a zone in which the animating energies of human bodies are prevented from leaving their corpses, giving her command over the resulting zombies through the fragment of her will that suffuses the space around her.

            Dice Pool: Dexterity + Medicine
            Action: Instant
            Cost: 1 Willpower
            Roll Results
            Dramatic Failure: You mislay the field of vitality, taking your Primum in lethal damage.
            Failure: No effect.
            Success: For the rest of the scene, any mortal character who dies within [Primum + successes] yards of you has their body animated as though they were subject to the Animate Exploit, distributing your Presence among the zombie's Power, Finesse, and Resistance Traits. These zombies can be maintained indefinitely by spending another Willpower point and rolling again at the start of each scene.
            Exceptional Success: You recoup the point of Willpower spent to activate the Interlock.

            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


            • #7
              These are great intuitions! Please do continue!

              I will cook something up myself soon, but I love you guys


              • #8
                Hey folks, could use some help on a Cipher, then perhaps with the Interlocks. (I really just need something to help me start, it's my first Cipher...)

                So the character is a Psychopomp that was constructed to manage all the organized crime in Seattle. The character was calculating and precise, working carefully to alter the landscape of Seattle in subtle ways through criminal manipulation in order to make it easier for the God-Machine to enact other projects. They were a veritable Napoleon of Crime, highly intelligent and capable of predicting their opponents' moves to get the drop on them, etc. They were very good at their job.

                Eventually, the God-Machine introduced another asset into the equation, a painter by the name of Maggie Fischer. Fischer was a painter and a very human, flawed person. For some reason, when M (the Angel) considered them, M felt something overriding their disdain for the weak, simple predictability of humans. Maggie fit and defied a profile haphazardly. She intrigued M like no other. Rather than growing fond of her however, M grew envious.

                M fell because of Maggie Fischer. It wasn't long after she learned about her new state that she sought Fischer out and tricked her out of her soul. She's been trying to live as Fischer since then, finding that it wasn't as simple as taking her soul. She still wants.

                tl;dr Psychopomp who fell because she was envious of the full life that a human seemed to be leading. She stole the human's life and continues to feel wanting. Her player decided she wanted Identity Theft to be her first Key. Any help here?

                I keep thinking of stuff like "Masks worn become faces" but it hardly seems sufficiently revelatory. Any help you guys can give would help.

                I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.


                • #9
                  How about something like, "There is no joy in stolen things, you must build your own hell"?
                  The implication that M cannot find fulfillment by soul pacts or even patchwork cover, but must instead start with the most meager undefined cover possible (a 1 dot cover as a homeless person or something) and build that cover up through real work and real interaction as if she were truly human in order to obtain happiness and fulfillment, and discover her own personal hell, safe from the god machine.

                  Interlock idea - Second Self
                  Key 2 - Cuckoo's Egg (p.140)
                  You, temporarily, force one of your covers onto another individual. While in effect, they become that person, and you lose that cover. You cannot control their actions, but they act fully in character as that cover would. Note that while in effect, you DON'T HAVE THAT COVER, so if you only have one cover to start out with, while this power is in effect you are effectively burned and stuck in demon form.
                  Dice Pool: Manipulation + Socialize VS Composure + Expression
                  Action: Instant (simple contested)
                  Cost: 1 Aether per scene (paid up front, select number of scenes you want this to last)
                  Roll Result
                  Dramatic Failure: Well, you sure put that cover somewhere. Yep. Where the heck it is, you don't know, but it's not in the guy you were trying to put in on. It'll come back in a day or so. With outstanding warrants, probably, and maybe a tagged/hunted condition.
                  Failure: Power doesn't work, and you have to make a compromise roll for the cover you tried to lay off on another person.
                  Success: The target's identity (or current cover if target is a demon) is overwritten by the cover you are laying off onto them. For the number of scenes you elected to make this last, the target has your chosen cover, access to it's skills and merits, take on it's physical appearance and traits, and have all the knowledge to use them, and to live their inflicted pseudo life. They will act as your cover would, in character. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean they will act for YOUR good, or even that they will know you if their isn't a good reason for that cover to know the cover you are using. They will simply act as if they were that person. This lasts until the end of the last scene you paid for.
                  Exceptional Success: As success, but the target is automatically positively disposed towards your other covers (two doors open automatically for social maneuvering, generally helpful) and you can elect to end the power early if you so choose (but no Aether spent is refunded).


                  • #10
                    I like how some of that sounds, though in have to admit I feel that Cipher is a bit moralizing when I don't think the Cipher should be necessarily. I think the idea I want to work with is that M craves feeling fulfilled by her covers and feeling like she really can live that life. Lies become living as opposed to living al ie, yknow what I'm getting at? Either way, you've given me something to work with, gonna think on it some more and post the results in here.

                    I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.


                    • #11
                      Well, this is apropos.

                      Mister Glass, a body double with a spiteful streak.

                      Cipher: Images are treacherous
                      As a Saboteur whose Descent has proceeded largely as a repetition of his initial Fall, Glass has made a habit of destroying the reputations of “pillars of the community.” As a practiced impressionist, the Guardian’s Interlocks all help with the scourging of those in the public eye.

                      Ambush ▶ Identity Theft
                      Sympathy for the Devil
                      By exploiting the law of sympathy - like attracts like - Glass can travel rapidly through mirrors, glass, still water, and other reflective surfaces, all the more easily if he looks like somebody who is already where he is going.

                      Dice Pool: Wits + Streetwise
                      Action: Instant
                      Cost: None
                      Roll Results
                      Dramatic Failure: You become trapped in the reflections, and can only get out by shredding your current Cover and going loud, which deposits you in the vicinity of your entry point.
                      Failure: No effect.
                      Success: You step into your own reflection, emerging from a reflective surface up to [Primum] miles away. This distance limit is waived altogether if your destination is within sight of someone you are currently disguised as through mundane or supernatural means.
                      Exceptional Success: You can pick your moment to strike, remaining in the reflections for up to [Primum] turns before you emerge.

                      Identity Theft ▶ Everybody Knows
                      Stealing Glances, Reflecting Poorly
                      Glass further develops his ability to take a person’s face, refining the process to better suit his disdain for the masks of humanity and draw upon his demonic puissance.

                      Dice Pool: Composure + Subterfuge + Primum vs. Resolve + Composure + Primum
                      Action: Instant
                      Cost: 3 Aether, 1 Willpower
                      Roll Results
                      Dramatic Failure: The power fails and you receive a temporary catastrophic glitch.
                      Failure: No effect.
                      Success: You can assume the appearance of a character you can see, or a character within [Primum] miles whose image you possess, gaining their dots in Striking Looks and Fame for the remainder of the scene. During this time, the target finds a quiet place and disappears when nobody is looking, reappearing in the same place at the end of the scene if nothing more is done with the power (but see below). Any result on a compromise roll besides a dramatic failure inflicts you with a minor glitch evocative of the target instead of a different glitch or Condition (temporary on a success, permanent on a failure).
                      In addition, you may spend a Willpower dot to convert one of the target’s Embarrassing Secret Conditions that you know of (if they have any) into an equivalent Notoriety Condition, gaining a Cover Experience and changing places with the target as soon as you are alone and unobserved. This Notoriety Condition cannot be resolved for at least a number of weeks equal to the demon’s Primum.
                      Exceptional Success: A Notoriety Condition created by revealing the target’s Embarrassing Secret cannot be resolved for at least a number of months equal to the demon’s Primum.

                      Everybody Knows ▶ Alibi
                      Through a Glass Darkly
                      Taking the reflection of a target’s ill repute and breathing life into it, the Saboteur creates a doppelganger of a notorious person, which sustains and is sustained by the rumors and infamy of its fleshy parent. Glass, naturally, finds those who are prominent in the public eye to be easiest to distort in this manner.

                      Dice Pool: Manipulation + Occult + target’s total Fame and Striking Looks dots
                      Action: Instant
                      Cost: 1+ Aether, 1 Willpower dot
                      Roll Results
                      Dramatic Failure: A spiritual doppelganger of Glass is produced instead, which forces a compromise roll every week for the Cover Glass was in when he suffered this dramatic failure, persisting until he has lost as many dots from that Cover as the spirit’s eventual Rank would have been, though this can be cut short by destroying his current Cover.
                      Failure: No effect.
                      Success: With this Interlock, the demon turns the image of a target with the Notoriety Condition into a simulacrum of the target which, if the Condition remains unresolved by the end of the day, grows to become a spirit of Rank 1 (stats below). The spirit may develop other abilities, as it rapidly grows in power, gaining additional Ranks at the end of each greater unit of time [a week for Rank 2, a month for Rank 3, a year for Rank 4] that the Condition persists, until it reaches a Rank of [Primum/3, rounded up]. Resolving the target’s Notoriety Condition stops the spirit’s accelerated growth.
                      Exceptional Success: The spirit gains power at a faster clip, beginning its existence at Rank 1, rising to Rank 2 by the end of the day, and so on.

                      Walker in Broken Glass (larval)
                      Rank: 1
                      Essence: [amount of Aether spent activating the Interlock, plus the results of a Power + Finesse roll]
                      Attributes: Power [target’s highest]*, Finesse [target’s highest]*, Resistance [target’s highest]*
                      Size: [target’s Size]*
                      Influences: [focal subject of the Notoriety Condition] 1*
                      Manifestations: Materialize
                      Numina: Mortal Mask
                      Ban: Must flee the presence of the person whose image birthed it.*
                      Bane: Blood of the person whose image birthed it.*
                      * As the spirit gains in Rank and propagates the Notoriety that gives it life, these facets of its nature may shift to reflect the popular image of the Notorious character.

                      What's M's Agenda?

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                      • #12
                        She's a Tempter-Saboteur. She wants to re-establish her temporal influence as a criminal mastermind on principle. She also wants to live the life she stole without interference from the a God-Machine. (tempter) but also wants to fucking destroy the G-M's replacement and all the infrastructure she can find to get even for being replaced (Saboteur) She's very smart but doesn't care to moralize about the God-Machine beyond getting even/protecting her interests. The way she sees it, the only safe way to do it is to annihilate its presence and influence in any way possible.

                        I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.


                        • #13
                          I feel as though something involving counterfeiting may be a viable basis, between organized crime and Fischer's painting, but that's largely just spitballing. I will second the recommendation of Cuckoo's Egg as one of the Keys, all the same.

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                          Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


                          • #14
                            Fourth one.

                            Aurora, an Integrator who wants to grow up.
                            Cipher: The butterfly breaks its golden cage.
                            As a low-level Sword of God, the worm-angel Babel was mostly called upon to weaken or destroy buildings for whatever purpose the Machine intended. She Fell over a matter of timing, delaying demolitions to evacuate the residents of an apartment complex in contravention of her orders. She came to realize in the surrounding weeks that her angelic form’s unchanging state was unnatural; the means that sustained her divine constitution were also stunting what she perceived to be its intended development. Aurora intends to complete her metamorphosis, but changing without retaining her autonomy can hardly be called a complete transformation…

                            Check Backdrop ▶ Combustion
                            Heart-Hollowing Consumption
                            By taking a few seconds to focus, Babel can summon small exiles that resemble glowing green worms to augment her attacks.

                            Dice Pool: None.
                            Cost: 1+ Aether, 1 Willpower (optional)
                            Action: Reflexive
                            In addition to allowing her to receive bonus dice from aiming close combat attacks (rather than only ranged attacks), this Interlock allows you to reflexively spend one point of Aether per turn to convert a die from aiming an attack of any type into a tiny packet of angelic ephemera that burrows to the center of a successfully-hit target.
                            Every converted aiming die becomes a short-lived parasite, rolling your Primum + weapon damage as lethal damage (aggravated with the expenditure of Willpower or against anything capable of storing or generating Aether) for a number of turns equal to the converted aiming dice. This damage ignores Defense, Armor, and Durability, and is applied against any target for whom at least one success was scored in the modified attack roll.
                            Converted aiming dice do not add to the attack roll they would have modified and thus do not count toward the maximum bonus from aiming. An attack “charged” in this manner glows with the eerie green light of the worms, prompting a compromise roll once the attack is unleashed or abandoned.

                            Combustion ▶ Momentum
                            Tapestry-Tempering Resonance
                            Babel enhances her ability to conduct energy toward creative pursuits, using electricity to boost the effectiveness of sustained effort.

                            Dice Pool: Varies
                            Cost: 3+ Aether, 1 Willpower, Special (see below).
                            Action: Reflexive
                            Spend a point of Willpower within reach of an electrical source to reduce the required number of successes on an extended action using the Crafts, Expression, Occult, or Science Skills by [higher of Primum and source’s damage rating] at the cost of [bonus successes] points of Aether, paid over the course of the action. This also reduces the threshold for exceptional success on each roll from five successes to three successes. Sustaining this benefit requires that you remain within [Primum] yards of the electrical source for the duration of the action - leaving that radius negates the initial reduction of required successes and returns the exceptional success threshold to normal for subsequent rolls.
                            This Interlock accompanies the extended action with mostly harmless poltergeist activity and freak electrical phenomena such as ball lightning or St. Elmo’s fire, casting the area in an auroral green color; an extended action subjected to this Interlock effectively becomes an Exploit, prompting a compromise roll (which may be negated by spending a Willpower point) upon its completion.

                            Momentum ▶ Cause and Effect
                            World-Wracking Wingbeat
                            When Aurora assumes her demonic form, the sky goes green and an eerie wind blows.

                            Dice Pool: Stamina+Science
                            Cost: 1 Willpower.
                            Action: Instant
                            The cost and roll for this Interlock are spent and made immediately before assuming full demonic form, and this downgrades the result of the compromise roll for assuming full demonic form by one success category (exceptional success to ordinary success, success to failure, failure to dramatic failure). Apply the Heavy Winds Tilt to the area with an intensity of half your Primum, rounded down (use your temporary Primum rating of 10 if the demon entered demonic form by going loud).
                            For the remainder of the scene, you can replace the result of a compromise roll (besides the one for assuming full demonic form) with a fortuitous occurrence, as though you had used the Lucky Break Embed, Each lucky break decreases the intensity of the Heavy Winds Tilt by one. The wind subsides and the sky returns to normal when the intensity falls to zero, the scene ends, or you resume human form, whichever comes first.
                            This Interlock can only be used once every 24 hours and only works under an open sky.

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                            Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


                            • #15
                              Mister Price, a Destroyer who absconded with the bits that broke off.
                              Cipher: Fortune favors unconsidered trifles.
                              The demon formerly known as Sachiel has long been fascinated with the notions of wealth and compensation - he doesn’t work his way into the wills of the imminently deceased as often as he did in the service of a higher power, but it’s a skill he’s developed enough to keep himself in high demand among his associates. And if you’re good at something, as the saying goes, never do it for free. Price’s Interlocks deal with monetary worth and means of tapping into overlooked aspects of more typical demonic powers.

                              In My Pocket ▶ Borrowed Expertise
                              Crystalized Knowledge
                              Specialists are highly sought-after, as any Tempter worth associating with knows. Price can lend his talents more widely than most of the Unchained, and takes payment accordingly.
                              You can have as many crystalized Skills at once as your Intelligence + Wits.

                              Dice Pool: Intelligence + [condensed Skill]
                              Cost: 1 Willpower
                              Action: Instant
                              Roll Results
                              Dramatic Failure: You condense your Primum instead of your Skill. Reduce your Primum to 1 for the scene, losing any excess Aether but retaining any glitches from high Primum. You cannot assume full or partial demonic form for the rest of the scene unless you are Burned.
                              Failure: You do not condense the Skill. The Willpower spent on this Interlock is lost.
                              Success: You convert your rating in a Skill you have at least one dot in to a jewel that grants its rating and any associated Specialties and Specialty-modifying Merits to whoever holds, wears, or carries it. If they have the ability to store Aether, they may spend a point of Aether to grant a roll with that Skill the rote action quality. While so condensed, your natural rating in that Skill is treated as 0.
                              The jewel has a Resources value equivalent to the stored Skill’s rating (maximum 5) and a Durability equal to your Intelligence + Skill roll successes. A jewel can be dissolved to restore the stored rating whenever you have it on hand. Destruction of a crystalized Skill deals its rating in points of lethal damage to you, but restores that rating to you regardless of either’s location.
                              Exceptional Success: You recoup the point of Willpower spent to activate this Interlock.

                              Borrowed Expertise ▶ Freeze Assets
                              Bottling Smokeless Fire
                              The angels of the God-Machine can gain sustenance from the destruction of valuable objects. Price knows how to invert this process, trapping an angel who has starved into dormancy by binding it into a vessel that reflects its standing among the Heavenly Host.
                              To use this Interlock on an angel, the target must have fallen dormant due to Essence bleed and you must have an object available with a Resources value equal to the angel’s Rank. You may not bind more than one angel into the same object.

                              Dice Pool: Strength + Occult + Primum vs Power + Resistance + Rank
                              Cost: [Angel’s Rank] Aether, 1 Willpower
                              Action: Instant and contested
                              Roll Results
                              Dramatic Failure: The object is destroyed, awakening the angel and granting it its Rank in Essence.
                              Failure: The angel is not bound. The Interlock cannot be used on the same angel for one lunar month.
                              Success: The angel is bound into the object. While bound, the angel grants the use of its Influences to the holder of the object, who spends as many points of Aether as the angel would have spent Essence and rolls Intelligence+Manipulation.
                              Destroying the object frees the angel but does not necessarily rouse it; give the angel [object’s Size] points of Essence, and if this gives it more Essence than its Rank, the angel spends a point of Essence and wakes for at least one hour or scene.
                              Exceptional Success: As a regular success, and the point of Willpower spent to activate the Interlock is recovered.

                              Freeze Assets ▶ Last Place You Look
                              Stingy Jack’s Lucky Penny
                              Money walks. Price knows how to render the adage more literal than usual, transforming himself into a coin and moving from pocket to pocket.
                              The coin resembles the golden collar-talisman that once adorned Price’s demonic form, engraved with the face of the last Cover he assumed on one side and the likeness of his demonic form on the other.

                              Dice Pool: Dexterity + Politics + Primum
                              Cost: 1 Aether
                              Action: Reflexive
                              Roll Results
                              Dramatic Failure: Rather than being easily overlooked, the coin draws attention. Add your Primum to any rolls to notice you or anyone holding or carrying you.
                              Failure: You remain in your current form.
                              Success: You assume the shape of a Size 1 coin, gaining a general Armor rating equal to your successes and applying the same value as a penalty to any rolls to notice or find you; you may selectively negate this penalty should you want specific people to find you.
                              In this form, you can move up to [Primum] yards per turn, but cannot perform most rolled actions predicated on Physical Attributes. In addition, you may speak into the mind of anyone touching or carrying the coin, allowing normal Social rolls and the use of most Embeds that rely on touch or communication, such as Borrowed Expertise or Freeze Assets. You may also sense the general state of the surrounding [Primum] yard radius along with normal line of sight. Finally, you may move from one unobserved location to another (pockets, cash registers, storm drains, etc) within [Primum] yards by spending a point of Aether.
                              While in this form, you must spend a point of Aether in order to assume any other form - even going loud is impossible unless you have at least one point of Aether to spend, though you may receive Aether from other demons or angelic dross as normal.
                              Exceptional Success: You regain your Primum in points of Aether, as though you had assumed demonic form.

                              This one came out mostly as plot-device-viable trinket-making, I think, which works nicely for a Tempter/Inquisitor like Price.

                              Next one's the last before I start working on more specifically story-facilitating sets, I think, like "demonic Andrew Ryan" or "turn your cults into supernatural call-center networks." Anybody have any requests, in the interest of keeping this thread afloat?

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