• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

Questions about Demon: The Descent and Mage: The Awakening

Damocles23

Retired User
Hi, I just got the book and while I have not finished yet I have a big question about it. Is it clear what a Demon does to the forces of the God Machine, but what do the God Machine does to exercise his control over things? Also, about Mage, how would you start a chronicle at street level? Being focused on the newly Awakened on using their powers int heir daily life and finding a master? Or perhaps using their power as they please and when personal gain comes into picture Paradox hits them?
 

Logos Invictus

Registered User
Validated User
Hi, I just got the book and while I have not finished yet I have a big question about it. Is it clear what a Demon does to the forces of the God Machine, but what do the God Machine does to exercise his control over things? Also, about Mage, how would you start a chronicle at street level? Being focused on the newly Awakened on using their powers int heir daily life and finding a master? Or perhaps using their power as they please and when personal gain comes into picture Paradox hits them?
With regard to Demon, I've found that it's best to think of the God-Machine not as a single entity but as a collection of interlocking systems. Like all systems, the God-Machine exists to take input and transform it, through whatever process, into output. In this case the input is the decision making process of the G-M itself, as reflected through Command and Control infrastructure, and the output is an occult matrix which produces...well, pretty much whatever the desired effect is (time loops, spontaneous resurrections, the creation of an angel, etc.).

The systems that exist in between the input and the output are, I think, the answer to your question - the God-Machine creates Logistics Infrastructure and Concealment Infrastructure to get the pieces into place and keep them from being found out. Because the G-M lives in pretty much any complex set of rules, Infrastructure could be mystical, scientific or societal in nature (For Concealment Infrastructure, as an example: hide a building under spell of invisibility that the God-Machine developed from another project, for instance, or bribe city planning to destroy records, or use metamaterials developed by a tech research firm run by a God-Machine cult to make the building literally invisible, each of which could be linked to its own Infrastructure with its own lynchpin and fail conditions).

There are four (there would be four wouldn't there?) good rules of thumb when dealing with the God-Machine:

1. The God-Machine prefers to stay hidden whenever possible.
2. The God-Machine prefers to use existing resources when it can - recycling angels, using human infrastructure to create supernatural Infrastructure, etc.
3. The corebook for Demon mentions that the God-Machine doesn't hold grudges, which is true, but the God-Machine DOES consider variables - and if a Demon or mortal has proven a dangerous variable before, the God-Machine may devote resources to ensuring they don't interfere with another project if they start sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong.
4. Sometimes the God-Machine does things and no one knows why - the outcome is obscure at best, and the God-Machine plays the kind of long game that no one can play unless they are both immortal and able to literally manipulate the entropic decay of the universe. Even the most mundane Infrastructure is probably in service to a truly bizarre project when you start fitting the pieces together.

For your question about Mage, the key is that Mage is a game about mystery, so if you tie the game's Big Mystery to a setting that encourages the kind of low-level play you're looking for, you'll have a much easier time fitting the pieces together. My first specific recommendation would be to go with a game where the PCs are the "first on the scene" - newly Awakened Mages in a place that, previously, did not attract a large Awakened presence, but which now presents a new, unique Mystery to explore and will eventually attract more Mages looking for the truth.
 

Damocles23

Retired User
Basically, its will is nebulous but most of what we can infer is that it needs to perpetuate its existence, hide its existence and eliminate those who investigate about, manipulating also society to work the way it needs for this objectives, right?
 

Logos Invictus

Registered User
Validated User
Basically, its will is nebulous but most of what we can infer is that it needs to perpetuate its existence, hide its existence and eliminate those who investigate about, manipulating also society to work the way it needs for this objectives, right?
Pretty much. The only being that knows what the God-Machine wants is the God-Machine, but it has specific methods of getting what it wants that it prefers.
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Re: Mage: I'd emphasise the "power corrupts" angle. I'd make sure we establish the PCs as dissatisfied with their lives in various ways before the Awakening, and also give them something worth preserving in their mundane lives. Humanizing the NPCs to the best degree possible is always important, but it's especially critical here because the players don't have any peers.

Consider an unreturned crush. The Mastigos has the power to make her love him, but the effects are imprecise and certain, even with a master's hand, to be not precisely what he was going for. Consider a bastard boss who you really could turn into a toad. Then watch as the situation at work gets even worse as people are dealing with missing persons issues and your co-workers are talking things like "yeah, I didn't like the guy, but I sure hope nothing happened to him".

Play up the fact that these people are anchored in their everyday lives in whatever way, so they have to watch the consequences of their magic playing out before their eyes.

Resist the temptation to have big NPCs show up and stop them if they're misbehaving. This story should be about what you are when there's no one to stop you. It's also a story about taking responsibility. No one can stop your Obrimos when he's using his powers to form a cult, or your Thyrsus from summoning alien beings from the world's Shadow into this world for his own purposes. No one except you.

You've been given an incredible gift. Unfathomable power that no one else on earth can match. What are you going to do with it?

All the while encourage the players to think more in terms of what their own character thinks of all this rather than falling into the group/party mentality. That mentality works great for an "us against the world" chronicle, usually where the PCs are the underdogs, but here they're at the top of the food chain and their personal differences are really going to drive the conflict.
 

Stupid Loserman

Lame Dumbhead
Validated User
It's more like "we don't know what the enemy is working towards in the long run, but we know that periodically it has a project that feeds one of each of the 13 zodiac constellations into gnashing gearworks in order to expand its tactical web, and we (pick one depending on the individual demon: object to innocent people being ground up as radar fuel / are justified in disrupting this operation to keep ourselves safe from its reclamation agents). Some demons are pretty sure the God Machine's end goal is Machiavellian and potentially apocalyptic, and that everything it does consequentially feeds back, at some point or other, to the master plan; others maintain that it's a more morally ambiguous force, or wild and unguided, and try to "trim" the God Machine like it's a bonsai and its projects are the branches and leaves, disrupting harmful projects while permitting harmless or beneficial infrastructure to thrive.

Either way, what matters to a given ring of Unchained, or even a big Agency, is going to be the practical matter of what the God Machine is doing in their backyard and the aftereffects of that. That can vary significantly from region to region, according to the ideas and needs of the Storyteller.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom