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The Nine Parts Mechanism [Setting Material]

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  • The Nine Parts Mechanism [Setting Material]

    Originally posted by from Voice of the Angel, the Pain Prophet's Testament

    The first Fury was named Silence, and fled to the center of the Sun. It cursed mankind to forget the art of speaking to and receiving the signals of the god-machine.

    The second Fury was named Death, and fled to the hidden side of the moon. It cursed mankind to forget the way back from the shadow of the Earth.

    The third Fury was named Torment, and fled to the star Venus. It cursed mankind to be split into two beings, wyff-man and wo-man, each imperfect and forever seeking its opposite.

    The fourth Fury was named Fear, and fled beneath the highest mountain on the Earth. It cursed mankind to be hated and dreaded by all the beasts and birds and fish and all creatures everywhere.

    Of the other four surviving Ancient Ones nothing here can be said, for they chose to withhold their curses until such time as they saw fit.
    Most claim it is just a rumor- a narrative which is sometimes repeated in certain origin myths told by God Machine cults. It could be found in certain origin myths, mysterious posts on occult forums in the Dark Net, in the holy books of few powerful conspiracies dedicated to the Machine. The God Machine Manual, which is hidden in Deva Corporation's deepest safes, is rumors to speak on the subject. Certain agents of Raziel LtD claim to have read a familiar story in their Book of Raziel the Angel (the original, of course). The Loyalists of Thule have a copy of the story in their Archiv, gained directly from questioning one of the Rmoahalas. Few of the demons which survived since the days of the Cold War have found scraps and notes in an offices of a strange organization called the Black Sun Cryptocartography, which seem to show some great interest in the rumors about the subject. There is a slasher lurking in a certain gas station, which tries to pull broken pieces of information about it from the dying breath of his victims. But still, without doubt, the most famous reference to the subject is found in what's known as the Pain Prophet's Testament.

    The Nine Pieces Mechanism.

    Actually, the original Testament claims there are only 8 such "pieces". The Book of Raziel, however, claims that there are 13. The fragment of the God Machine Manual counts only four before it is cut in the middle of a sentence. There are also rumors about 7, 10, 6, 23, 42, 100 or 6.022e23 number of pieces, but after a long analysis performed by a demonic ring from the Tel Aviv agency, the agreed number of pieces is 9. The nature of the pieces themselves is also not that clear- some sources claim them to be actual parts of the God Machine, or perhaps they are the foundation of the first Infrastructure which has brought it to life, or its Command and Control Infrastructure. Others say they are its makers, or its children, or just the remains of the last surviving members of the civilization which once worshiped the God Machine, or that it operated it, perhaps. Nobody really knows the truth- only that whatever those "pieces" are, they are as old the the Machine (or close to it), and that they seem to be very important to it, considering the number of cults which gather around them like flies. Some even connect them to another rumor, one which is known as the Black Sun Map, and that the Map is meant to find the pieces and assemble them together. Or maybe the pieces themselves are the Map. Or maybe it is something else entirely.

    Yep, there are many rumors about the subject and zero to no absolutes about it- but one thing is certain. No known demon or exile seems to have any memory of the Nine Parts Mechanism.

    Perhaps no angel which have had knowledge about it ever fell. Perhaps the God Machine destroys each angel which is exposed to the knowledge shortly after it finish its mission, fearing a potential leak. And maybe the God Machine itself doesn't really know the truth. After all, if it did, then why didn't it gathered the Nine Pieces already? But if that's the case, then it brings up yet another question...

    For if no angel knows about the Nine Pieces Mechanism, then who was the one to speak to Marco Singe?

    The Nine Parts Mechanism- Mechanics

    The Nine Parts Mechanism is a name given to 9 occult relics, which seems to be the remains of a per-human race destroyed by humanity, the God Machine, or both. While being older than almost any other thing upon earth, those who stumbled upon the pieces seem to feel some sort of presence or intelligence, as if the parts were still alive up to this day. Each of the different pieces has a tremendous power over a certain aspect of reality, yet there are all kinds of limitations and drawbacks which makes the use of the said objects pretty dangerous. Just as the exact nature of the Nine Parts isn't known, so are their locations- although the Pain Prophet's Testament seem to hint about the locations of some of the pieces, and most of the other sources agree with it.

    Each of the Nine Parts Mechanism takes the form of a certain artifact of biological source, although there are usually some secondary relics near it, with the place where they are hidden usually being known as the "Tomb". While some of the pieces have been found and moved from their original place of rest through the ages, those tombs which were hidden in extremely remote places (such as the dark side of the Moon), have remained undisturbed since the day they were formed. As long as the piece and/or the secondary artifacts remains in the tombs, they are inactive, and as such they are "safe". However, once removed from the tomb, their powers start to work independently, unless their owner shows some great measure of willpower and force them to his will. Certain Infrastructures seem to interact with the pieces, allowing to enhance, direct or stabilize the powers of the relics, or even create a temporary, artificial tomb (Deva Corps seems to have made such tomb in order to contain a piece more commonly know as Death).

    The ability of of the pieces to manipulate reality is represented through the system of Influences- each piece has a certain Influence, corresponding to its nature. Unless it is somehow contained, once removed from its tomb the piece automatically starts working it Influence: (0) ability. After a week of being away from the tomb, the piece starts activating the rating (00) effect. After a month, the (000) effect is activated. After a year, the (0000) effect starts. After a decade without a stabilization the Influence: (00000) finally starts. Artificial stabilization of the pieces withhold the progression of the automatic effects, yet once removed the effect advances from where it was stopped. Artificial enhancement of the effect works the same (meaning, once removed the item's Influence falls back to where it was before entering the Infrastructure, and progresses from there). The only was to "reset the clock" is to return the piece to the tomb, where it must stay for an amount of time equals to the one it was outside of it. For some reason, the automatic effects of the pieces seems to always be harmful to humans, as if they are directed to destroy mankind by some malicious intelligence. The pieces themselves are immune to most mundane damage, and require 10 points of Aggravated damage to destroy. However, after a passage of time equal to the one needed to "reset" the piece, they spontaneously reconstruct in their tomb. Still, destroying the piece automatically ends its effect.

    While anyone could activate the pieces' automatic effect, controlling it is an whole other story. First, each of the pieces has a tremendous power over reality, which could be used by anyone willing to risk his life and soul in order to attain it. Doing so requires competing your will against whatever power which resides inside the relic, something which expose the user to the piece's full wrath, and usually includes strange visions about the world before, of a Golden Age before mankind... and about the fall which to it by jealous usurpers and heartless gears. When trying to activate one of the pieces, the user must declare the kind of manipulation she wishes to try, which could be any effect available to an ephemeral being with 10 dots in the corresponding Influence (see Imperial Mysteries for Influences rated above 5). After choosing the wanted effect and deciding the number of dots required to preform it, make the following roll:

    Cost: 1 Willpower point per [Influence]

    Dice Pool: [Composure]+[Resolve] - [Influence] + [amount of human sacrifices]

    Dramatic Failure: you have disturbed the rest of the sleeping gods of mankind and invoked their Curses. In addition for the regular effects of Failure, you suffer from a Condition appropriate to the piece you tried to use.

    Failure: you have touched the rage of heaven and got burned- and unfortunately, heaven does not like to be touched. You suffer from one point of Aggravated Damage, and additional amount of Bashing damage equal to the Influence rating you tried to invoke.

    Success: you have claimed the power of the deathless dead and rose to become a god. You can preform the desired Influence.

    Exceptional Success: not only that you fought against the gods and lived, but your spirit has triumph over their broken spirits, forcing the fallen to stay fallen. You regain the amount of Willpower you have spent.

    Modifiers: +2 if preformed in a stabilized Infrastructure, -2 if in accelerating Infrastructure, +1 for any amount of Lethal Damage dealt in the process (not including sacrifices)

    While there are many people who wish to use the pieces, there are just as many who want to stop them- and for good reason. The Nine Pieces are not toys, nor they are weapon- they are eldritch horrors lying still, waiting to invoke their terrible curses upon all of humanity. The following role is used to deactivate any effect caused by one of the pieces, be it an active or automatic effect (in case of the automatic effect, treat the Influence rating as 5). Deactivation, like activation, requires a physical touch.

    Cost: 1 Willpower point

    Dice Pool: [Composure]+[Resolve] - [Influence]

    Dramatic Failure: same as activating an effect

    Failure: same as activating an effect

    Success: you have managed to stop the Curse of the Furies and forced them to withdraw to their sleep. The effect is terminated immediately. If the terminated effect was the automatic effect, the deactivation lasts for a day unless the character pays another Willpower to keep it at ease. The roll is not needed to extend the deactivation, yet the physical touch is. The time measured is 24 hours since the character preformed the initial roll.

    Exceptional Success: you didn't forced the gods to withdraw their Curses- you convinced them to do so, and they calmly return to their sleep. As a gift, they may give you either a Clue for an Investigation you are working on, or replenish your Willpower as if you have just fulfilled your Virtue. You are still required to pay willpower weekly to maintain the deactivation.

    Modifiers: +2 if preformed in a stabilized Infrastructure, -2 if in accelerating Infrastructure.

    Other relics taken from the tombs of the Nine Pieces are also activated/deactivated in the same way (including the automatic effect) with only one difference- unlike the pieces themselves, the power of the relics is much more limited. Each relic has a maximal Influence rating of 5 or bellow, and they could not be used to activate any effect which requires an higher Influence rating. The automatic effect is equal to the effect produced by the relic's maximal Influence rating. Destroying a relic works in the same way as destroying a piece, yet unlike the pieces they do not reform in the tomb, but are permanently destroyed.

    The Black Sun Map (Locations of the Nine Pieces)
    While many of the pieces has been moved from their place through the ages, they are all destined to one day return to the tomb from which they were taken. While the Pain Prophet Testament is, at the very least, inaccurate, it got one thing right- the names and tombs of 6 out of the Nine Pieces. The Pieces, their Influences, Conditions and the locations of the tombs are as the following-

    Silence- one of the more fearful Pieces, especially in the modern era, and one of the hardest of get. No one really knows where Silence's tomb is, but it is probably somewhere near the sun. Certain demons even claim that what most people call "solar flares" are the outbursts of Silence's rage against mankind. Some wonder if perhaps the tomb itself is found on one of the hypothetical vulcanoids, safe from even the greediest of men. However, some whisper that while mankind is yet to get to the sun, perhaps it is possible to get the sun to earth- strange rituals has been developed to create a bridge through time and space, and summon the "Silent Flames of Heavens" to the world, and some tell about favors granted by powerful spirit lords which may grant access to such items. Such ceremonies may be granted by the spirits which serves Helios, in the library of a cult known as the Apollonian Priesthood, in scriptures held by certain Cults of Moloch or in the hands of a certain werewolf cult which worship a being known as the Sun Wolf. Silence's Influence is Electromagnetism, and its Condition is Mute.

    Death- the most famous Piece, which was up until a while ago kept safely in the Dark Side of the Moon. Since then, it was removed from its tomb by the American government, and was then taken to custody by the Deva Corporation. At least one of its relics has already started to cause trouble when it was placed in an art exhibit, and there is at least one cult, made by vampires, which is dedicated to reclaim Death and return it to the Moon. While there are certain rituals which may allow to summon Death or its relics from and back to the moon, creating such dimensional gateways seems to be much harder to preform in this case than in the case of Silence. Those who are aware of the Uratha's existence and their beliefs claim that it is the nature of Warden Moon which works as a prison for all kinds of strange beings that disrupts such attempts, while others say that the dark side of the moon has an occult effect which could hide anything which sleeps under its shadow. Death Influence is Entropy and its Condition is Crippled.

    Torment- while it is also connected to a celestial body, unlike the previous two pieces Torment is not found in the outer space. Instead of physically being on Venus, the piece is actually found in Cyprus, the birthplace of Aphrodite according to the myth. However, while the tomb is rests around the island, the exact location isn't well detailed- some think it is found in Aetokremnos or some other ancient site on the island itself. Others think it is actually in the depths of the sea, or maybe on one of the neighboring islands such as Crete or in the newly discovered temple in Santorini which the Cheiron Groups tries to hide. Still, wherever was once buried, the chances are it is no longer there. Among all the pieces, Torment was the most active one, creating bloody wars and conflicts using its power over the fickle human heart, to the point that God Machine occultists usually identify it with the mythological golden apple of Eris. Torment's Influence is Love and its Condition is Depended.

    Fear- on the surface, it is pretty easy to find the place where Fear rests: under the highest mountain. However, the definition of the "highest mountain" may be a bit misleading. The Everest may be the tallest one, yet Chimborazo or Huascaran are the furthest from the Earth's core, and Mount Loa or Mount Logan could be described as the "biggest". The only thing which is certain is that it is found under some mountain, and even then it is not clear how deep one must dig to get there, or if there is some tunnel which would allow a person to reach it. Whatever the case, Fear is true to its name, and it is quick to turn the world itself against those who disturb its rest, being a dread god of nature. Certain people claim that some of the druids of the past had their hands on its relics, making bloody sacrifices to gain its favor. Perhaps if one could find their rites, the place of Fear's rest would be discovered. Fear's Influence is Animal Life, and its Condition is Madness.

    Strife- that Piece seems to share a lot in common with Torment- both are being very active through the world's history, and both are connected to the human nature instead of the physical universe. According to the Pain Prophet, the last time Strife has been activated has caused Cortes to get to Mesoamerica, and by doing so brought the fall of the Aztec Empire. There are many theories about Strife's exact location, with most claim it to be beneath the Vatican, hidden in there since the days of the Roman Empire which it led to endless conquests until it brought to its eventual fall. Still, Strife seems to never stay in the same place for too long, and is quick to leave its tomb as people seek to use it as a weapon. Many think it is now found in the hands of the US government, willfully allowing itself to be used by the biggest nation in the world in order to tear it apart from the inside. Others point to places like Jerusalem, which seem to always be at the heart of some conflict. If you want to know where Strife currently is, all you have to do is follow the bloody trail it leaves behind. Strife's Influence is Violence and its Condition is Broken.

    Dream- the last of the Pieces detailed in the Pain Prophet's Testament, Dream is the least aggressive one. It lacks interest in the physical world, and has little to no power over it. However, in the world of mind and thoughts, Dream is terrifying- it may produce nightmares which may break a man's mind, blur the line between truth and falsehoods and turn dreams into reality. Dream rests in Australia, beneath the Uluru Mountain. For most of the human history, the sanctity of the mountain has stopped people from climbing it and disturb Dream's sleep- but with the modern times, the rest of that piece is disturbed more and more, and some even find its relics scattered beneath the rocks. Since the spread of the Pain Prophet Testament, more than one God Machine cult has went to a travel in search for Dream's tomb, but for the time being, with success. Dream's Influence is Mind and its Condition is False Memories.

    Mystery- like most of the other Nine Pieces, Mystery hides itself from mankind- but unlike them, it wants to be found. It seems to try to lure people toward it, leaving enough hints around itself to make people search for it, only to get them lost or dead. Its abilities seem to be connected to cloaking and hiding, making some demons to wonder if perhaps it is the power behind the God Machine Concealment Infrastructures. If rumors are to believed, its tomb is found in the Bermuda Triangle, as it manipulated a Concealment Infrastructure to hide its existence. However, one cult known as the Black Tide seem to show a great interest in the Infrastructure, and is working to penetrate the barrier and get to what they believe to be Atlantis. Some even claim that it wasn't an angel of the God Machine which whispered to Marco Singe the stories about the Nine Pieces Mechanism, but Mystery, which used it not to alert people of Death's situation, but to draw more people to the God Machine and make them chase after the Nine Parts Mechanism. That must mean that there is someone already using either Mystery or one of its relics, but if it is the case, their identity is, how appropriate, a mystery. Mystery's Influence is the Unknown and its Condition is Amnesia.

    Wound- if Torment is Venus, Wound is Mars. While it is easy to confuse that Piece with Strife, Wound seems to be more interested in causing humanity to physically suffer than tearing apart whole nations. Where Strife is interested in breaking whole systems apart through war, Wound is much more interested in the individual, causing them personal, especially designed suffering. Every wound, every bad memory, every hurt you have had is under Wound's area of influence. Harms caused by Wound are never healed, hearts broken by its betrayal are forever shattered. Wound could turn a beautiful garden into a thorny hedge, or make swears written by it to cut the very soul of those who read them. The Tel Aviv agency seem to have tracked its tomb to somewhere in Egypt, perhaps under the Sphinx or in one of the pyramids. A breed of highly intelligent cryptids known as the Grigori seem to have more knowledge about its location, and some of them even worship it as a god only second to their own progenitor. Wherever it may be, there is a descent chance one would need to pass through few of the strongest Grigori which ever lived, if not standing against the Living Devil itself. Wound's Influence is Pain and its Condition is Fugue.

    Knowledge- the last of the commonly agreed Nine Pieces, Knowledge seems to be the least used through of human history, if any. There very few records which detail Knowledge's existence claim it to be hidden in the depths of the sea, although it isn't even clear in which ocean it may even be. Many claim it to be the Fruit of Knowledge from the bible, which granted mankind an awareness to their own faults and weakness, and by doing so banished them from Paradise of free thinking into a world where the mind is trapped in words and letters. Others say it is the fire of the gods stolen by Prometheus, taken to warm humanity only end up as Pandora's Box. Prometheans who hear about those stories seem to show a great interest in that Piece, perhaps thinking that it could help them complete their Pilgrimage, and so are alchemists which seek to use it to discover new ways to manipulate the fire for their own needs. Some demons have even claimed Knowledge to be the true identity of the Principle which governs the Divine Fire, with the qashmalim being created through information it stole from the God Machine's process for creating angels. That makes Knowledge into a potential rival to the God Machine, which is a strong motivation for demons to acquire that piece- but if that's true, they have to hurry. In the North Sea, a oil drilling platform went out of control, and the rumor has it that the God Machine has some great interest in that project. Knowledge's Influence is Information and its Condition is Delusional.

    It is important to remember that, in the end, the Nine Parts Mechanism is only a rumor. Maybe it is truly made of nine such artifacts, the remains of ancient beings which still have power in their bones. Perhaps there are more than those. Perhaps there are none- other than Death, of course. Maybe the Nine Part Mechanism is an important part of the God Machine, its very core even. Maybe it doesn't- maybe they are just a resource to be used by it like any other thing upon the face of earth. Perhaps the remains retain the agenda they had before they became the Nine Pieces. Maybe they don't. Just like the God Machine, the exact nature of the Nine Pieces Mechanism is left open for interpretation- and their curses wait to be unleashed, and destroy those who brought their fall, never to rise again.
    Last edited by LostLight; 07-16-2017, 07:25 PM.

    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here

  • #2
    This is incredibly my jam.


    • #3
      Thanks! I've really enjoyed writing this piece! I've noticed that of the things I enjoy in homebrew is taking something which shows only in a fiction and give it real mechanics so it could be used in the game (like the Grigori, who are also inspired from Voice of the Angel, or the Sutina, which came from the Strix Anthologies). Anyway, glad you like.

      However, I must say that the more I think about this piece, the more it feels like I should have posted it in the general forum instead of Demon's as it includes so many references to so many other things. Oh well.

      Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

      "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

      I now blog in here