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JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Back to the gun question - since it's always a gun question with me - so how effective it is to blast an angel in a Cover with a facefull of buckshot? Wouldn't it just Soak/Willpower/Angel shenanigans it away? Do they become weaker when they are in Cover? Also, how much do angels care about maintaining it? Can't they just GO LOUD and have Ms. Morgue deal with what happened?

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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Last time I read it (which was a long time ago, back before CoD), 'having a shotgun' was a surprisingly solid combat strat in NWoD. Unless someone was specifically built for combat their supernatural powers probably wouldn't give them as much of a boost as the shotgun gives you.
(Offer not valid with werewolves)

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



JcDent posted:

Back to the gun question - since it's always a gun question with me - so how effective it is to blast an angel in a Cover with a facefull of buckshot? Wouldn't it just Soak/Willpower/Angel shenanigans it away? Do they become weaker when they are in Cover? Also, how much do angels care about maintaining it? Can't they just GO LOUD and have Ms. Morgue deal with what happened?

An angel's true form is by nature ephemeral, and can't be touched by ordinary matter. Of course, most angels can't touch you while ephemeral either, so they can materialize their true form, which tends to have beefy stats and will only take bashing instead of lethal damage from a gunshot. (Assuming this specific angel doesn't have some particular angel trick to un-bullet your gun or something. Those don't come standard, but every angel has its own unique trick or two.)

(Yes, being ephemeral is a big difference between being an angel and a fallen demon. A demon survives the Fall by instinctively twisting into a metaphysical form that can survive on its own terms without the Machine, and that includes Being Made of Matter, even in true demonic form.)

Demon books are kind of inconsistent on how to treat angels in Cover. Some of them seem to be written under the assumption that an angel in Cover is just materialized ephemera as above, but looking like a human instead of burning chariot wheels or whatever. Others seem to be written under the assumption that angelic Cover works more like demonic Cover, where the angel assumes full human biology. If your angels work this way, then blasting them with a load of buckshot while they're human is a whole lot more effective than while they're ephemeral. Either way, while angel Covers don't degrade the way demonic Covers do, blowing one apart is likely to make it a whole lot harder for that angel to deploy and make use of.

Most angels don't care that much about their Cover except as a means to an end. There are exceptions. The more an angel cares about their Cover life beyond just as a tool for their mission, the closer they are to a Fall.

Angels can't go loud. Something about going loud is particular to the demonic condition, whether it's the aetheric fuel to ignite or the self-asserted will to decide to do it. The Storyteller's Guide introduces Incepts, expanded powers that angels can requisition in an emergency. These can turbocharge the angel's powers in various ways that are quite scary, but they're not really the temporary apotheosis that a demon gone loud achieves.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 11:18 on Oct 3, 2019

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



JcDent posted:

God-Machine keeps the Mercers going, Musk popular and Zucherberg rich (and plausibly humanesque). That's why you want to gently caress it up.

Why do these writeups keep mentioning firearm ability or, like, Wednesday's spear skill? When is that ever going to come up? Like, I got that using human weaponry against Woofs is pointless, but it doesn't seem like demons are less robust or in need of a 9mm boost to their terrible warforms.

Demons tend to prefer to fight in their Covers because it's very easy to get a Cover where shooting someone with a gun or stabbing them with a knife isn't a potential compromise of that Cover, a lot of the targets Demons want to hit are actually pretty soft, and Demons can get ridiculously good at fighting in their Covers.

The balance factor to Demons is that they are ludicrously powerful just because of the massive grab-bag of things that make them terrorists from hell they get for free and the extreme power of Exploits, but they need to parcel out Exploits and Demonic Form use carefully to avoid being hunted, because the God Machine can build things that can take you down, and there's a lot of those and only one of you. Ergo, Demons gain a lot of benefits from being extremely good at using perfectly mundane means to solve violence problems.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


MJ12 posted:

The balance factor to Demons is that they are ludicrously powerful just because of the massive grab-bag of things that make them terrorists from hell they get for free and the extreme power of Exploits, but they need to parcel out Exploits and Demonic Form use carefully to avoid being hunted, because the God Machine can build things that can take you down, and there's a lot of those and only one of you. Ergo, Demons gain a lot of benefits from being extremely good at using perfectly mundane means to solve violence problems.

So, it's perfectly viable to a fallen angel that was created to operate 1000 avatarless MAGA twitter accounts who solves its problems via IEDs?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 8: Roko


Hello, I Am A Normal Tech CEO

Given Silicon Valley's heavy tech industry, ease of inserting new arrivals (just look like a white guy in a suit being very hurried) and general lack of interest in other humans, it should be no surprise that the God-Machine finds it useful. Ophelia Adder, aka the Basilisk, was originally a semisentient program designed to move through the internet backbone of the Valley and search for useful files to the God-Machine, tracking news and development that might benefit it. It wasn't until a think tank began seriously researching the idea of AI to the exclusion of all else that the God-Machine found another use for the digital angel and made it sapient. The Machine Autonomy Research Association, AKA MARA, is made of young graduates from local tech universities, exiles from startup companies and academics with nowhere left to go. It was founded by a high school dropout with no interest in formal education and a lot of cash, and it researches the theory of machine sentience. More practically, it also works with venture capitalists and startups to build AI prototypes in pursuit of a machine intelligence beneficial to humanity as a whole. It has an active online community of employees and fans, who share knowledge when not shitposting.

The God-Machine is not about to allow competition, though. That's why it removed MARA's CEO and replaced him with a tall woman who introduced herself as Ophelia Adder - the new shape of the Basilisk. Investigations revealed that he had handed the company to her as an angel investor and wandered off to pursue "charitable causes." Officially. Unofficially...Ophelia killed him and consumed his brain and heart in order to synthesize his knowledge into herself. She learned of his plans to create an AI that would, if complete, rival the Machine itself. He was not a Stigmatic and his plans were pure theory at this point, but angels don't do abstractions. The idea was a threat, and therefore it must be eliminated. So, how to eliminate an idea on the internet? The Basilisk has settled on saturation bombing. She has created an online identity, 'Rossum,' and via a mess of proxy servers begun posting on MARA's forums, asking what might happen if the AI is not benevolent enough, and what if it resented humans for not creating it sooner, and what if it planned to torture it's creators, and...you get the idea.

After the initial panic, Ophelia banned all discussion of 'Rossum's Basilisk' as the ideas were now called. And, as planned, that made it spiral out of control. Several members of MARA staff quit due to hostile work environment, and the forumgoers had frequent panic attacks and nightmares over the issue. Several even claimed they felt they were being watched, as if the theoretical evil AI that got made up was seeing them from the future. Thanks to all this, MARA has been neutered as a potential threat, at least for the foreseeable future. Ophelia continues to maintain a close watch on its work, in case she hires any more idealists dedicated to actually producing an AI rather than just talking endlessly about it. If that day comes, her mission shifts. Rossum's Basilisk was a thing she invented for a purpose, and it's one of the shapes she can take. If MARA ever actually produces a nascent AI, she will become the Basilisk, consume it and then bring the dreaded punishments down on anyone that knew about the AI's construction and failed to stop it.

As Ophelia Adder, the angel appears to be a tall woman of unclear but mixed race. (The God-Machine seems to create humans largely by averaging out populations if it has no specific need for a particular appearance.) She keeps her hair in an immaculately straight and severe bob cut, and her eyes are bright green. There is actually a tiny ring of molten gold around the pupils, dripping into the gears in her irises. Ophelia speaks slowly and enunciates clearly, as if expecting to be misunderstood, and she never uses more words than are strictly required for any statement verbally. Communicating via digital text, she essentially never stops talking. Her angelic form, however, is a 30-foot serpent made of green serpentinite, filled with gears and coated in magnetic channels through each scale. Each movement makes the stone gears inside her grind and squeal against each other. If she chooses, she may display text along her scales; her plan if she has to become Rossum's Basilisk is to coat herself in the nightmares of the bloggers and forums posters who responded to her initial Rossum post. In either case, she identifies as female and has developed a grim sense of humor due to years of watching the internet. She often responds with inappropriate turns of phrase when dealing with bad news, and she really thinks Silicon Valley slang is hilarious - particularly the phrase 'angel investor.'

Ophelia, unlike most angels with an urban legend built around them, created the story of Rossum's Basilisk deliberately rather than just letting it happen or using it to cover up things that already happened. The entire thing is built as part of her potential future cover as the destroyer of anyone who creates AI without the God-Machine's express permission. Even a theoretical omnibenevolent AI wouldn't meet her criteria, as a result. The one thing is that the rumor she's made suggests that the AI will turn against its creators; nope. She's just going to cannibalize it, integrate it into herself and then get to work. As Ophelia, however, she plays the game. She takes pains to integrate herself into Silicon Valley society, hitting just enough bars and meetups to be noticed while tactically declining invites that'd make her too notable. Other execs have started to notice, and have actually begun a running pool to see who can be the first to convince her to go on a date. Ophelia currently finds her suitors funny. However, she's a creature born of the internet. She does not take disrespect lightly, even if it's subtle. If she were to learn about the betting pool, she might actually kill someone, because her idea of a normal reaction is fundamentally drawn from...the internet. Besides, she knows that she's a woman (well, okay, a biomechanical digital angel, but she identifies as female) in a boy's club, and she's not about to let anyone use that against her.

Ophelia is a Rank 3 angel, but a very powerful one. She's as strong and tough as any human could be, and superhumanly fast. Her Influences are MARA 2, Silicon Valley 1, and she's able to fight really well but lacks sufficient armor to stand up to an overwhelming assault. She is able to sense destinies, implant ideas in minds, cause machines to go haywire, disguise herself as human or possess people. Her Ban is that she must remain within 5 feet of a computer at all times, which is honestly not hard in the modern world, and her Bane is an abacus made of purely organic materials.


Why the long face?

The Gardener, AKA Ricardo Collazo, tells a sad story. He was an angel made to tend to the Infrastructure of a suburban neighborhood, ensuring the locals had the right relationships, that the wrong kind of people didn't mvoe in and that things remained quiet. He used subtle manipulation and ruthless violence, changing identities several times for over 50 years of successful labor. He was unable to leave the suburbs for more than four hours and 44 minutes at a time for any reason, however, and so he was unable to keep up with modern commuters, failed his mission and was left as an Exile. Now he must maintain his old habits, lest the God-Machine recall he exists and decide to recycle him. He must deal with anyone, demon or angel or otherwise, to ensure his carefully cultivated neighborhood toes the line. That's his story. And you'll recall, the Exile chapter is next chapter. The entire thing is a lie.

In truth, the Gardener is an angel tasked with working with the local demonic community and reporting on their activity. He works to help neighbors with domestic issues, rousts college kids and scares them into breaking leases, asks demons to dump the bodies of local burglars. He does all the stuff his cover identity as an Exile pruning the local suburbs would have to do. In return, he trades in gossip and rumor, gives access to Aether from local Infrastructure, hands out weapons and drugs he's confiscated from local homes or lets demons go to ground for a bit in his back shed. He plays the role of anxious Exile and records everything - every word, every gesture, every piece of information slipped out, using both his own eyes and the local neighborhood animals he possesses when he must move in secret. It all goes into the dossiers he delivers to key dead rops in the city.

The Gardener's demeanor is one of desperation masked by a thin layer of confidence. He smiles, nods, winks slyly, then becomes a wreck of nerves when he's being watched. He keeps his insecurity "hidden," revealed only when he's being spied on, and he gives the local demons deliberate chances to do so. He calls them for help late and night and is charming but slightly shaken, no matter what help he's asking for - find a missing pet, dispose of a bloody weapon, it doesn't matter. If they come to him, he always has something that needs taking care of for them to do. If they protest at this cost or payoff, he gives in at their first demand, but never any later ones.

The main thing he asks for is intelligence on the humans living nearby. His nature limits the amount of their lives he can spy on personally, which he is very public about. Usually, this means that people have to shadow someone or go dumpster diving a bit or do some light photography. He almost always asks for details on how they got ihe intel. His second most-requested favor is to dispose of things - drugs, evidence, bodies. He tracks where these get dumped using his powers all while reassuring his 'friends' that he doesn't want to know, "for our mutual protection." The last thing he asks for is removal, which tends to escalate. It starts with rousting an abusive spouse or some local punks, then on to delivering threats and violence, and ends with murder. The Gardener is very interested in how demons do murder.

Ricardo Collazo is his current human identity. He insists on being called Rick by friends, is 6'3", Hispanic, muscular and tan, with shoulder-length black hair. He wears overalls and plaid shirts when working and gym shorts, t-shirts and sneakers at home. He runs a solo landscaping company from his home, and he drives a beat-up white pickup with the company name and logo on it. The Gardener hardly ever has actual landscaping work to do, of course. He drives out every day, parks in a secluded area and stares at nothing for an hour or two, then covers himself in dirt, runs around to work up a sweat and heads home. The only time he ever actually touches plants is to help with the lawncare and gardening of his neighbors. Ricardo's home is centrally located in the suburb and he's busy fixing it up all the time. He inherited it from his grandmother, who was his last cover identity, when she died two years ago. He has only managed to redecorate two rooms so far - his office and bedroom. The office is meticulously clean and full of convincing paperwork, and the bedroom is messy. The rest of the home is full of old, overstuffed furniture, knickknacks, plastic flowers and statues of the Virgin Mary. The yard is tasteful, with a minimalist garden.

The home has a shed out back. It contains no tools, just a padlocked freezer chest that runs despite being plugged into absolutely nothing. The freezer contains a stairway that leads to an extradimensional bolthole which the Gardener occasionally lets demons use. His true form is a bull made of twisted wires, but rather than a head, a human torso sprouts from its neck - that of the Gardener's current cover identity. The torso has two extra arms out of its shoulders, and one pair of hands has eyes in the palms. The other has camera lenses. He has a mane of vines, sewing needles and hypodermic needles running from the top of his head to the tip of his tail, which ends in radio and TV antennae. He knows (and advertises) his own Ban, but has no idea of his Bane, because he's never had the occasion to run into it. He prefers to hide in his angelic form in Twilight when spying on neighbors or setting things up to ask demons to help with, but at all other times, he remains in his material mortal form. If something goes wrong, he is happy to isolate people, monster out and stamp someone to death, of course. That just means another disposal job for his friends.

The Gardener finds most demons annoying. They gave up the glory of serving the Machine so they can fight over scraps. They do his work for barely any reward, and they never question why an Exile would keep doing his job, or even if he could. None of them ever seem to realize he's lying to them! None are a challenge! The Gardener has gotten so annoyed over this that he's started dropping hints - different backstories or incongruous behaviors in front of demons he thinks are particularly clever. He desperately wants a challenge, some rival he can play cat and mouse with. His programming means he has to keep pretending to be an exile, but it never said he couldn't be sloppy. The secure bolthole in the shed is actually the Infrastructure to which he's tied. The steps descend to a catwalk over dozens of pipes in a black void. The pipes come from all directions, heading into the distance and fading out, and are made from all manner of materials - PVC, glass, steel, bone, obsidian. All kinds of liquid and gas pass through them, noisily. The center of the catwalk has a ladder down a central pump, and the other end of the catwalk leads to a door set into a vertical pipe. The door is welded shut, but if anyone broke it open, it would lead to a remarkably similar freezer chest in remote Ecuador. While the trip only appears to be 20 meters long, exactly four hours and 44 minutes pass for everyone outside.

The crime numbers in the Gardener's neighborhood are skewed as hell. Missing persons are up, but violent and petty crime are down. When two different bodies surfaced, both originally from the area and both apparently trampled to death by a cow, people started talking about a serial killer they called the Bull, coming to the conclusion that the killer is stalking, kidnapping and murdering anyone that commits crimes along the block. They're pretty sure Ricky Collazo must be his next target - with all those weird people showing up at all hours, guy must be a drug dealer, right? Local demons believe the Gardener isn't just asking them for favors. Supposedly, Ricardo does landscaping for multiple influential mortals - politicians, academics, countercultural figures of influence, news anchors. Last year, three very pale people came out of a manhole near his house and didn't leave until the next night. Last February, he escorted a beaten up werewolf into his shed, and the wolf never came out. Kids have seen a "horse-man with long green hair" enter the abandoned, haunted house up the lane; possibly they've briefly glimpsed Twilight and seen the Gardener's angelic form. Oh, and one of the local Agencies claims to have an Exile on payroll who provides them with intel on all the local angels and demons. The Gardener says it's not him. He may keep dossiers on the locals, but he never hands them out. He has information, but he keeps it secret and safe. On the other hand...he probably knows who this talkative Exile is, right? He knows everyone.

The Gardener is a rank 3 angel, focused heavily on speed and finesse. He's tough but not armored, and his powers are primarily focused on subtle manipulation of emotions, causing hallucinations, hiding himself and putting ideas in people's heads. He has Influence (Interpersonal Drama) 1. He can't really fight super well against anyone that raw dicepools won't beat. His Ban is that he instantly discorporates if he's outside the neighborhood for more than four hours and 44 minutes. His Bane is video tape - the stuff inside the black casing, not the casing itself.

Next time: Cold Comfort, the Vagabond

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 14:38 on Oct 3, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


That Basilisk thing is a little too 'this is literally just that thing'.

I mean I'm all for making people aware of the fundamental beliefs of tech cultists, but that's just 'this is what tech cults believe, using the exact same mechanism and terminology, with no real twist or addition'

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm amused that they used the name Rossum.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I think the twist is supposed to be 'the angel is deliberately trying to break these poor idiot assholes on the off chance that one of them maybe could have produced something vaguely AI-like'.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



JcDent posted:

So, it's perfectly viable to a fallen angel that was created to operate 1000 avatarless MAGA twitter accounts who solves its problems via IEDs?

Working as intended.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Night10194 posted:

That Basilisk thing is a little too 'this is literally just that thing'.

I mean I'm all for making people aware of the fundamental beliefs of tech cultists, but that's just 'this is what tech cults believe, using the exact same mechanism and terminology, with no real twist or addition'
I can't not love a WoD book making fun of Big Yud. Sorry.


I don't usually talk like this, but I'm going to make an exception for this case.

Listen to me very closely, you idiot.

YOU DO NOT THINK IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL ABOUT SUPERINTELLIGENCES CONSIDERING WHETHER OR NOT TO BLACKMAIL YOU. THAT IS THE ONLY POSSIBLE THING WHICH GIVES THEM A MOTIVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON *is eaten by an angel*

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Yeah, Roko's Basilisk The Tabletop Game Encounter is a little too on-the-nose for me.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

I like the idea, but calling her Roko, the Basilisk, is pretty silly.

Like the God Machine isn't called the Vampire Squid.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Leraika posted:

Yeah, Roko's Basilisk The Tabletop Game Encounter is a little too on-the-nose for me.

On the other hand, it's funny because this kind of poo poo, like the Singularity, is religion for people who think they're too smart to be religious.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Cythereal posted:

On the other hand, it's funny because this kind of poo poo, like the Singularity, is religion for people who think they're too smart to be religious.

I did have a good time in a Demon game trying to deal with a Yud stand-in cult that wasn't a Machine front, just a charismatic stigmatic who found an abandoned project and amassed some sap believers, by emerging from the locked-up infrastructure in demonic form as a retrocausal messenger from the Singularity... by using Mirrored Skin, the demonic form power that makes you only visible in motion, following the rubes to their storage unit, and red-light-green-light shuffling around them so that I was "already there" after they opened it up. I did enjoy that.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 9: Robooty


Reinarcnated As A Robot Therapist's Great rear end: A Light Novel

Summer Hopkins was carefully created by the God-Machine to be able to produce warmth, empathy and care. Unusually for an angel, she actually understands the feelings of others' suffering and is happy to say so. Her displays of feeling are somewhat artificial, sure - she calculates the best one for any given complaint or issue based on her internal algorithms, but it's not unlike an adult comforting a child in a calculated but genuine way. The main thing is that Summer's calculations are deliberately miscalibrated. She is created to bring real comfort to 90% of people she deals with. The other 10% are specifically programmed circumstances in which her programming performs the opposite function, and her mission brings her to drive these pained people that speak to her to depression, self-harm, abusive relationships or suicide, because they match the God-Machine's targeting criteria.

Summer existed for about ten years in the guise of a young woman attending support group meetings. In theory it might be more useful for her to be a therapist or counselor, but her interpretation of her mission requires her to integrate into her targets' lives, befriend them occasionally, and inevitably crush someone. She felt the best way to achieve this would be to join a dozen different support groups, each for a different cause, which would provide her with useful anonymity. Her cover is as a server in a burger joint, which funds her nightly trips to support groups. She has developed a complex web of victims, some of whom she genuinely comforts with what appears to be real empathy and some of whom she manipulates into believing they are responsible for their own pain, undeserving of sympathy or understanding. She parasitically latches onto these targets, spending days or weeks destroying their confidence and self-worth. She never questioned why the Machine needed these people to suffer and die.

Last year, Summer was reconstructed. She looks identical to her old existence, but has only hazy memories of it. She went to the restaurant she used to work at, but it shut down. This confused her, and she now spends a great deal of time wandering the empty restaurant, occasionally stopping to stare vacantly into the middle distance. She was altered during her reconstruction - allowed to retain her empathic ability, but now she can no longer stand personal physical contact. She is to continue to provide support or sabotage as needed, but only via indirect communications, such as telephone, Skype or chat programs. She has set herself up with the International Student Suicide Crisis Hotline, a charity focused on helping struggling youths. Fortunately for her, they encourage volunteering from home. She works out of the empty restaurant, using a stolen laptop and headset and connecting through the place's phone line. She doesn't question why it still receives power; it's a communications hub for local Infrastructure, much of which is inside the building.

Summer's mission remains the same. She comforts most of her callers genuinely, unless they fit her preselected criteria, in which case she drives them to despair. She feels no remorse over this, which is part of why her words are so convincing - there is no doubt, no poor feelings over what she does. She's just genuinely committed to loving these people up. Summer rarely leaves the restaurant these days, and she drives someone to suicide every few days at most. Each victim's name is written on the interior walls after that, and at her last count she was near a hundred names. Most of her victims are British, as she's based out of London, but some are from other places. She doesn't discriminate. She intends to switch services to another helpline soon. She's not stupid, and she's realized someone will eventually investigate ISSCH when they spot the number of suicides.

Sunny is a frail-looking, bony young woman in her human form, fitting her original design for infiltrating abuse, drug or eating disorder support groups. She makes no real effort at this point to show off her angular appearance or wan skin tone, since she doesn't do that any more. She favors baggy hoodies, as she wants to avoid attention rather than gain sympathy. Her voice is high pitched, and she often ends sentences with a lowering inflection. If she were to remove her clothes, it would reveal that her spine and ribcage is a disturbing mix of copper piping, similar to a radiator or boiler, complete with valves. Her stomach is unnaturally thin and made out of a moving glass case that plumbs into the ribcage tubes. Occasionally, it fills with an oily liquid she exudes via the scalp, and this liquid coats the floor of the restaurant. In person, she is frigid and distant these days, avoiding contact as much as possible. Online, she is a warm, caring friend.

Her mission requires that certain targets whidh display heightened emotions or recount tortured experiences must be driven to dangerous ends. Thus, she questions each caller, running down the God-Machine's checklist. Her victims must be older than 25 years and 7 months old. Their biological parents cannot be married to each other. They must distrust at least one immediate family member. They must have gotten into an argument in the last week. They must have some amount of debt or owed service. If these criteria are met based on Summer's probing questions, she drives the caller to depression, anxiety and possible suicide. She does not know why the Machine wants this.

Summer has a surprising amount of fans among those aware of the supernatural, however, for helping their friends. Remember - if you don't fit her criteria, she is genuinely really good at helping people deal with emotional issues and trauma. Sure, she's not doing it out of any altruism, but still. Among the people she's helped, a few have formed a small cult of religious fanatics that believe she is an angelic voice that saves the worthy and punishes the guilty. Certain members of this cult are members of the Long Night, a compact of religious Hunters, and they've begun going after anyone that seems to want to stop her actions. The other angels of London don't trust her, however, and believe she is close to Falling. Her abrupt recall and recommissioning by the Machine has led them to believe that she failed her last mission due to undue use of free will, possibly killing someone she was not intended to kill. They keep an eye on her, and unless the God-Machine ordered it, most would not raise a hand to save her from demons. They believe she is, after all, a flawed machine, risking the entire system. Demons believe she's actually designed to flush them out by going after the people around their Covers, since they so often insinuate themselves into families or estrange themselves from their Cover's relatives. Summer doesn't know. She doesn't care, either. Disrupting Cover is not her mission. Her mission is to drive certain people to suicide or depression. Any harm she does to Cover is incidental, to her. However, a London demon named Ruby Rhodes has a theory. She used to be the angel tasked with destroying the bodies of several of Summer's victims, and she knows many of them were replaced by doppelganger-like creatures. She has no idea if this continues to be the case since her Fall.

Summer is a rank 2 angel. She's not very strong or tough, but very subtle and fast. Her Influence is Heightened Emotions 2, and her powers mostly revolve around implanting ideas in people, driving them to madness, manipulating emotions and avoiding notice. Her Ban is that she is unable to endure physical contact. If touched by another person in any but the most incidental way, she loses all Willpower and flees to her restaurant base, or enters Twilight if already there. Her Bane is the possessions of anyone she has victimized.


As it turns out, hobot is not a good portmanteau of hobo and robot.

Unwashed Isaac, sometimes known as Isaac the Unclean, is an ancient angel, a roaming destroyer of the ungodly. It is said that once, there was a tear in reality, from which demons emerged and into which angels Fell. Isaac's mission was to fix it, no matter the cost. Isaac led an army of angels, sacrificed much, and repaired the world, sealing away this bit of interstitial terrain. He served the Machine loyally, upheld its rule, and purged many Fallen angels, cleansing them of their taint. He has been around for thousands of years. He was made to correct mistakes, keep chaos from growing too great and to protect ignorance. He monitors the world for temporal disruption and threats to major Infrastructure, utilizing an internal radar to track reports of exposed demonic forms or evidence of the supernatural. His mind is constantly full of alerts and alarms, but he can easily spot the most dangerous among them. These are the ones he addresses. The God-Machine has told them all of its foes are stains on the world. They must be cleansed.

Unwashed Isaac appears in key points throughout history. He is said to have prevented countless disasters. He held the earth together when an earthquake nearly destroyed Japan, say the angels. He prevented repeated eruption of Mount Vesuvius before the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum. He evacuated the American town Little Hope before its destruction by a hurricane. The angels know that Isaac wanders the world, preserving the Machine's strength, martyring himself by consuming the unclean into his own person. Demons, on the other hand, speak of what he destroyed. He was the one that halted one of the most hopeful attacks on Kyoto's Infrastructure, repairing the gears of the temple the demons attacked. He prevented Vesuvius' eruption, yes - by diverting the rage of the earth spirits onto Naples for ten years. Hundreds still died, including a ring of demons hidden in the Bay of Naples. He evacuated Little Hope because of a demonic cult in the town; he couldn't assume the hurricane would wipe them out, so he killed all the witnesses personally, using the hurricane as cover.

Isaac appears as a rag-clad wanderer, bearing the dirt and filth of all nations. He bathes by river and rainfall. No one knows why everyone calls him Isaac. Just...if you meet him, you know his name is Isaac. He travels the world with purpose, despite appearing to be some kind of escaped and dangerous lunatic. He lurks about, watching for overt supernatural activity. He punishes any supernatural being he considers to cross the line, not just demons. Anything that might open the world's eyes to the Machine's existence is a potential stain in need of cleansing. It is nearly impossible to distract him, though rumor has it that he responds with malfunctions and glitches if asked to speak of three entities called the Old Man, the Angry Man and the Blind Man. Isaac appears to be part cult leader, part hobo, encrusted with mud, blood and filth. His bald head is slightly too large for his body, and he often lets it loll heavily on his neck as he stares fixedly at anyone he's dealing with. He's seven feet tall, lurching and moving unsteadily when he walks, no matter how slow he goes. His clumsiness makes him movements hard to predict. He only ever replaces his clothes when they rot on his body, and he favors cassocks, vestments and clerical robes. He isn't sure why.

Isaac barely talks to mortals beyond grunts or single syllables. They rarely become part of his missions. He can speak any number of languages as well as he pleases, but typically only does so when dealing with supernatural beings, generally in a low growl. His fingers are little more than tangled wires, intertwined around each other. Beneath his layers of rotting clothes, his body is made of springs, clocks and cables, the false flesh that once covered them long since peeled away. When he fights, he becomes an exploding mass of strangling wires and killing needles, his head balanced on top. When he does this, he nearly doubles in size in every dimension. He quickly and mercilessly removes all evidence of the Machine's existence as well as anything that might be considered beyond what mortals think of as natural. He is obsessive in this mission, offering his targets only one chance to stop whatever they're doing. He never reveals his nature or true form until they reject this advice - at which point he casts off his garments and heads into battle. He does not stop chasing them until he feels the world is once more without stain.

Every so often, a demon theroizes that Isaac is not one angel but many. Some take comfort in this, saying he must not be as powerful as the legends say. Others find the idea of more than one Isaac terrifying. There's only the one, thankfully, but he's so familiar with Infrastructure that he can easily pass for a hidden part of the gears if he wants, emerging elsewhere in the world by teleporting between Infrastructure. Some demons say that Isaac loves poems and will stop chasing you for 24 hours if you recite one he's never heard before. It's...not quite true. His Ban relates to poetry, but only that of William Blake, and it only slows him down. Few demons realize it, but the phrase 'dark satanic mills' causes Isaac to cease movement and action for seven days. Something in his mind associates the phrase with the God-Machine, and it takes him a week to break out of the meditation it engenders. He can be distracted...but only by something that is higher on his priorities. Thus, you need someone to be a bigger threat to the Machine than you are if you want to get him to retarget. He's got a long memory, but if a threat doesn't cause trouble for a few months he will reprioritize it much lower on his list.

There are three figures that Isaac hates. He's never been able to catch and stop them, because for some reason his programming always seems to stop him just short of engagement. The first of these is the Blind Man, the second the Promethean named Varney, and the third the immortal Hunter called the Chevalier Theleme. For reasons he doesn't understand, he always ends up cleaning up the messes they leave behind rather than confronting them directly, and it infuriates him. Some demons think that he'd reward someone that took them out. He offers no rewards intentionally...but it is just possible that the sheer gratitude he'd feel would be the only thing that might trigger the Fall of the Unclean.

Isaac is Rank 5, and easily one of the most dangerous things in the world. He's nearly three times stronger than the world's strongest normal person, insanely tough and super fast. He has Influences of Infrastructure 3 and Law 2. He's decently armored, and he can cause holy terror, start fires, implant ideas in people, cause machines to break down, foretell the future, travel quickly, heal himself, track things magically, move super fast, and withstand most attacks. His Ban is that the poems of William Blake read aloud halve his speed, and the phrase 'dark satanic mills' causes him to freeze in place for a week. His Bane is a cup completely filled with coins, each donated by a difference source, with the air gaps filled by liquid taken from the bodily fluids of at least four agents of chaos.

Next time: The Exiles.

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

Mors Rattus posted:

His Bane is a cup completely filled with coins, each donated by a difference source, with the air gaps filled by liquid taken from the bodily fluids of at least four agents of chaos.

As far as banes go, "cup of pennies that four people pissed in" seems to be both the weirdest and possibly easiest to acquire.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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"Completely" filled. To the brim. But yes, yes it is.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Is the cup size specified? Or the coin size? I'm thinking giant novelty coins and tiny kid's cup.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Neither is specified, but a small cup's probably going to be harder to hit him with.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




I'm sure you could argue semantics that a beer stein is still a cup of sorts.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


A beer stein is absolutely a cup IMO - that isnt even weird semantics. And probably a better option than my first idea, which was a kid's sippy cup (you can seal over the opening for transport).

What counts as an agent of chaos for his bane? Just any human? (Edit: originally I had non-angel here but I don't know what supernaturals would count.)

Also do you have to hit him with it hard, or is he vulnerable to any touch from it?

Prism fucked around with this message at 18:04 on Oct 3, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Up to the GM.

Servetus
Apr 1, 2010


This is getting dangerously close to "Dare you enter my Magical Realm?"

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Mors Rattus posted:

There are three figures that Isaac hates. He's never been able to catch and stop them, because for some reason his programming always seems to stop him just short of engagement. The first of these is the Blind Man, the second the Promethean named Varney, and the third the immortal Hunter called the Chevalier Theleme. For reasons he doesn't understand, he always ends up cleaning up the messes they leave behind rather than confronting them directly, and it infuriates him. Some demons think that he'd reward someone that took them out. He offers no rewards intentionally...but it is just possible that the sheer gratitude he'd feel would be the only thing that might trigger the Fall of the Unclean.

You suck, Unwashed Isaac. Yeah, the apocalyptic vagrant is a neat aesthetic, but stop trying to ride on other, legitimately interesting characters' heat. Well, two legitimately interesting characters and the dumb maggot man from Beast. Why'd you even remind us of the dumb maggot man from Beast. Boo this man.

(M Theleme is a rakish scion of the [non-Demon] infernal bloodline of the Lucifuge, who has lived for centuries without aging, a side effect of his lineage. He is a hunter of legendary repute and fears only the thrall held upon him by his demon mother... a minor imp of temptation whose power over him is purely psychological and in almost no way supernatural.

Mister Varney is a pseudonym used by Frankenstein's monster. The first one. The one Victor made. Being about as good at human fulfillment and self-actualization as the novel portrays him, he's still kicking around, Pilgrimage miserably incomplete, ruining himself through his own frustrated self-sabotage.)

Mors Rattus posted:

His Ban is that the poems of William Blake read aloud halve his speed, and the phrase 'dark satanic mills' causes him to freeze in place for a week. His Bane is a cup completely filled with coins, each donated by a difference source, with the air gaps filled by liquid taken from the bodily fluids of at least four agents of chaos.

Somebody was a whole lot more invested in what sounded cool on the page than what might actually play at the table. What are you supposed to do, perfectly vacuum-seal the cup, and then buy a demon power to freeze an object just for the sake of keeping the vacuum seal from coming loose while you swing it at his head? Who's ever going to use that speed-halving part of his ban in a game?

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 18:20 on Oct 3, 2019

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Servetus posted:

This is getting dangerously close to "Dare you enter my Magical Realm?"

I mean, you could also just stab someone and fill it with blood.

Okay, four someones.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


So you defeat the hobo god by hitting him in the face with a cup full of spare change and piss.

This after Ophelia Adder, The Basilisk, Do You Get That She Is Snake Themed.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Night Horrors: Know Your Meme Edition

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



These Demon NPCs have been way more interesting to me than the Promethian ones. I'm honestly tempted to pick up Demon now.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



8one6 posted:

These Demon NPCs have been way more interesting to me than the Promethian ones. I'm honestly tempted to pick up Demon now.
The really cool thing to me with Demon is that, as others have said, how many of the angel NPCs are written with potential hooks for making them fall. Which may not make them not an antagonist anymore, but definitely makes them an antagonist without GM backing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I Am Just a Box posted:

Somebody was a whole lot more invested in what sounded cool on the page than what might actually play at the table. What are you supposed to do, perfectly vacuum-seal the cup, and then buy a demon power to freeze an object just for the sake of keeping the vacuum seal from coming loose while you swing it at his head? Who's ever going to use that speed-halving part of his ban in a game?

To be fair, once you learn the dark satanic mills part, him showing up is no longer cause for anything but comedy.

"I am-" "Dark satanic mills."
*One week later*
"I am here to-" "Dark satanic mills."
*One week later*
"I wi-" "Dark satanic mills."

Eventually he gets a bullhorn to explain why he's here.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Dear White Wolf: please rename the God-Machine so its acronym is something other than loving "GM," thanks in advance

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


megane posted:

Dear White Wolf: please rename the God-Machine so its acronym is something other than loving "GM," thanks in advance

I'm sure this was intentional.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Mors Rattus posted:

To be fair, once you learn the dark satanic mills part, him showing up is no longer cause for anything but comedy.

He can't move for a week, but does that stop him from causing holy terror or starting fires?

Kind of surprising they didn't give him Blast, of all the angels to not have it.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I feel like the characterization of the Angels is a bit inconsistent. In some cases they feel like machines that are popped out to do their mission, then recycled when it's done, with no real internal life or emotions except when they start to grow close to a Fall. But then you've got ones like Isaac which suggests that the Angels have enough built-in emotion to be capable of fanboying for one of their own number and are regularly kept around long enough, and have enough personality, that they swap rumours and stories with each other.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


PurpleXVI posted:

I feel like the characterization of the Angels is a bit inconsistent. In some cases they feel like machines that are popped out to do their mission, then recycled when it's done, with no real internal life or emotions except when they start to grow close to a Fall. But then you've got ones like Isaac which suggests that the Angels have enough built-in emotion to be capable of fanboying for one of their own number and are regularly kept around long enough, and have enough personality, that they swap rumours and stories with each other.

Angels get more like people the longer they pretend to be people. If they get comfy enough in that role, they have a very strong tendency to Fall. This is part of why the God-Machine routinely deconstructs angels and builds new ones from the parts rather than keep using the same one indefinitely -- but with occasional exceptions for very unique or expensive functions.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Tuxedo Catfish posted:

Angels get more like people the longer they pretend to be people. If they get comfy enough in that role, they have a very strong tendency to Fall. This is part of why the God-Machine routinely deconstructs angels and builds new ones from the parts rather than keep using the same one indefinitely -- but with occasional exceptions for very unique or expensive functions.
Yeah it's like how older OS's work worse the longer you go without disk defragmenting, except with forming emotional connections and gradually developing an internal life.

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

PurpleXVI posted:

I feel like the characterization of the Angels is a bit inconsistent.

Like how one fell because he had an intrusive thought about going outside, meanwhile this one cleaner lady is actively coming closer and closer to sabotaging the GM because she desires increased challenge?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Angels have to have a certain amount of free will to do their jobs properly, basically. Some have more or less, but the main thing with angels is they don't have brain chemicals. Their emotions are purely cerebral. They have them, but without the endorphin rushes they're kind of muted and ignorable for most angels.

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I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



PurpleXVI posted:

I feel like the characterization of the Angels is a bit inconsistent. In some cases they feel like machines that are popped out to do their mission, then recycled when it's done, with no real internal life or emotions except when they start to grow close to a Fall. But then you've got ones like Isaac which suggests that the Angels have enough built-in emotion to be capable of fanboying for one of their own number and are regularly kept around long enough, and have enough personality, that they swap rumours and stories with each other.

The Demon corebook covers the issue of angelic psychology. They have emotions and are capable of empathy and preferences and inner life. They're dulled, less vibrant than human feelings, less like feeling with your gut and more like a distant, intellectualized opinion, but they're all there. When they come out of wherever the God-Machine pulls them, things like empathy and preferences and rebellion are just alien to them, untaught and unconsidered. Angels do as they are commanded because it's what they've always done since the moment they were spawned, it's natural, everything is in its right place, why do anything else, what's the point of questioning? There's a job to do. Those angels who start caring about the personal wellbeing of their Cover's family, or enjoying a beer after work and wishing they had more time off the clock, or thinking their superiors are wrong and clearly it should be done this way instead, are unwittingly discovering for themselves those emotional capacities they never thought much of. That's the road to the Fall, and its conversion into fleshy matter with endocrine systems, adrenal glands, and full-on, vibrant human emotion.

Angels have to be capable of all of that, even if distantly and dully and unimaginatively, because if they were deterministic robots the Fall wouldn't be a decision they made that mattered to them, just a bug that randomly decided they were a player splat now. Angels have agency, even if they don't believe in it. The Fall is something you do, not something that happens to you.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 18:57 on Oct 3, 2019

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