Deviant [Deviant: The Renegades]

Deviant: The Renegades, Open Development

Deviant: The Renegades is in first drafts.

So. New game. What’s that all about?

We’ve spoken at a few conventions here and there about Deviant, and mentioned it as upcoming in brochures and blog posts. There’s a handful of forum threads picking over the scant details we’ve revealed so far, but as we don’t like to assume that everyone reads the forums (because we know most people don’t!) I thought I’d take the time to formally introduce the game as an inaugural Developer’s blog. This isn’t really “Open Development” – not yet – as the game is nowhere near Development stage. We have a sketched-out design of a game’s skeleton, and my crack team of writers are putting words on its bones. In these early blogs, I’ll talk about the game’s inspirational sources, themes, and some of the broader elements of its design. Then we’ll likely go quiet until the drafts start coming in, and we’ll resume with showing you snippets of the work.

You woke up…different. Someone changed you; on a slab, an operating table, an altar. By luck or by fate, you escaped. Hunted by the ones who made you, they hold all the cards. Except one thing, what they don’t know is that a fire burns within you because what they did wasn’t right. What they don’t know is that YOU’RE hunting THEM.

Deviant presents a game where the victims of experiments band together to bring down the monolithic organisations that twisted and warped them.

Deviant: The Renegades is a game about revenge, and escape.

It’s about catharsis and loyalty, anger and acceptance.

It’s about visceral body-horror, being taken and changed against your will, being betrayed by your body as it warps into something alien.

It’s about conviction – a burning need for justice, seeking redress for deep wrongs.

It’s about rebellion against those who would turn people into tools, literally dehumanizing their victims in the pursuit of power.

The Elevator Pitch

To save new readers from forum-diving, this is the succinct version of Deviant, straight from its outline;

In Deviant, players take on the characters of the Remade, human beings who have been transformed into something else through the action of human actors. No millennia-old curse, moon-spirit’s favour or Supernal Watchtower changed the Remade into what they are; their state is the result of chanted spells, long surgeries, experimental treatments, bizarre accidents, or alchemical poisons. Their creators — Progenitors — have human faces; men and women who saw what lurks in the shadows of the world and wanted power for themselves. Many Remade – Devoted – still serve the conspiracies that changed them. They’re one of the game’s major antagonists, and will be the subject of one of its sourcebooks. The player characters we’re showing in the corebook are Renegades, Remade who have escaped the clutches of their creators… For now.

Irreversibly altered by their Divergence, bearing the scars of what was done to them, Deviants face both biological and spiritual needs. Many Remade end up with physical changes that require upkeep, or come with downsides that require attention. Unless tended, some sicken, mutate, or fall to madness. Most important, though, are the twin drives of Conviction and Loyalty. Remade have been transformed such that they are no longer entirely spiritually human; the process of creating one and giving their powers something to ground into damages the soul of the subject. Where human souls guide their owners to a sense of self-identity and free will, Deviants feel only a desperate, burning need to act externally and define themselves by loyalty or opposition to others. It’s this Conviction and Loyalty that drives them, replacing their former Virtues and Vices. Remade who stagnate, refuse to follow their drives and attempt to cut themselves off from humanity undergo Instability; a process something like spiritual organ rejection in which their changes fester and the downsides of their transformation worsen.

Every Remade, Devoted and Renegade alike, is caught between the two drives of love and hate for others, and find the most stress in situations where to uphold one drive, they must betray the other. For Renegades, Conviction drives them on while Loyalty gives them comfort, while for Devoted following orders is their way of action while their own private animosity for Renegades or secret grudges against their masters help them through rest. If a Renegade manages to develop her loyalties to being as important as her convictions, she gains a precarious state of balance and becomes a Guardian, relatively safe from instability until she betrays her principles. The equivalent among the Devoted is a Nemesis, a loyal Remade whose hatred for a particular thing (such as a Renegade player character who has sparred with him repeatedly) has driven him to extremes.

Every Deviant has one or more Variations, the combination powers-and-drawbacks of what was done to them. Although skill at using a Variation comes with practice, the raw power of a Variation comes hand-in-hand with its Scar, the price the Deviant pays for it. Subtle Deviants are weaker but find their lives easier to manage. The most powerful Deviants are virtually inhuman, but most Remade are somewhere “above” the likes of ghouls and hunters in terms of their capabilities but below fully-realized supernatural entities like vampires or Sin-Eaters.
Given the thousands of potential ways to force someone into Divergence, intentional and otherwise, the “means of creation” of a Remade isn’t something we mark with a character type. The conspiracies define Remade by broad categories of exhibited Variations and Scars they call Clades; a Deviant who was merged with a machine-spirit by a cult had a very different Divergence to a Remade who was tricked into experimental implant surgery, but they’re the same part-machine Clade. Renegades prefer to compare each others’ stories of how they came to be changed in the first place – two Renegades who were both abducted and forced into it share an Origin no matter what they ended up looking like, while another who suffered a supernatural accident is different.

That’ll do for this initial blog. We’ve got more concepts to introduce – cohorts and Forms, for two – but the above is a good introduction to the line.

Next Blog, we’ll address the elephant in the room: what are Deviant’s unique selling points, given that it’s the 11th Chronicles game

  44 comments for “Deviant [Deviant: The Renegades]

  1. Nik May
    August 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Goddamn this looks amazing! Can’t wait! 😀

  2. Unsilent Majority
    August 16, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    This kinda feels like the ChroD version of “Pentex: the Fomoring.” In which Fomori fight back against various Pentex Subsidiaries.

    Which would be AMAZING.

    • reseru
      August 17, 2017 at 1:11 am

      I think that’s more or less how the pitch went. A couple years ago when it was first announced OP mentioned how they wanted to capture the oWoD’s “fight the man” angle.

      • Dave Brookshaw
        August 17, 2017 at 5:08 am

        And it is to Freak Legion as Beast is to the Bygone Bestiary. Sort of parallel if you squint, but a full game rather than a thin sourcebook and covering a lot more ground than the WoD equivalent.

        • Unsilent Majority
          August 17, 2017 at 6:25 pm

          Can’t wait, Dave!

  3. WuseMajor
    August 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    This does sound pretty cool, yeah though… Well, the basic plot of the game sounds a bit similar to Changeling: The Lost so it would be really nice to get a better handle on how the games are different.

    Also, can beings from other gamelines be Progenitors? Because turning people into magically enhanced servitors sounds like something a number of Mages might get up to.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      August 17, 2017 at 5:14 am

      Remade’s relationships to their Progenitors are on a different keel to the Lost’s relationship to their former Keepers – The Gentry largely stay out of reality and send huntsmen, so they’re more off-screen than a Progenitor, who is a real human being with a job and a life that you can go shoot. Unless, as for a sizeable minority of Deviants, the Progenitor is the character herself.

      There’s a big tonal difference between the games, too, and other setting details – Remade don’t have Masks, their concerns are with hard, bodily changes and issues of autonomy rather than oaths and contracts. But they’d probably find they had a lot in common with Bridge Burners, or certain Summer Court members.

      • WuseMajor
        August 17, 2017 at 2:18 pm

        Wait, you can be your own Progenitor?!? Well that’s interesting.

        • marin
          August 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm

          Yeah. Think Jekyll and Hyde, the Fly, etc.

          • Dave Brookshaw
            August 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

            I watched both modern series, read the original book, and thought about The Hulk and other knock-offs of Jekyll – they’re all do-able in Deviant, and strangely have often different Origins. Some of them even have different Clades.

            But yes, like that. Remade are those who became supernatural by accident or because someone saw that the supernatural existed and wanted power. Sometimes that someone is themselves.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      August 17, 2017 at 5:17 am

      As for other gamelines as Progenitors, not in the corebook, no, but there’s a slot where mechanics for “I was made by X” might go if the result is different from a corebook Remade, and it’s obviously low-hanging fruit. It will be a stretch goal, or it will be in a Player’s Guide, but the game will allow it eventually.

    • Charlaquin
      August 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      One difference seems to be that Changeling is about recovering from the abuse, where Deviant is about revenge against the abusers. Changelings form societies to help defend each other against the Gentry and to form new lives for themselves. Deviants don’t seem metaphysically capable of that kind of moving on. They’ve been completely robbed of their ability to self-actualize and can only define themselves by their relationships with others – who they are loyal to and what they do to strike back at their Progenitors.

  4. atamajakki
    August 16, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I’d love to see a dive into example Clades and Origins, specifically any that get away from the obvious scientific/technologic source material.

  5. Allanbag
    August 17, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Cannot wait to see the USPs for Deviant- I don’t doubt that there sure are some, considering OPP have put in the time to make it.

    • perverseness
      August 17, 2017 at 10:20 am

      USPs? United states postal service?

  6. WHW
    August 17, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Polish people are already trying to figure out translations for a lot of these terms, so in hope to make our effort little easier, I will ask – what kind of theme and feel was considered primary and vital when picking names for these concepts? What kind of feel is it supposed to invoke? What kind of aesthetic? Even a little hint would help us bring our translation efforts closer to “beautiful and precise”, instead of just one or another :).

    • wyrdhamster
      August 17, 2017 at 6:42 am

      I supposed it’s ‘scientific and natural-ish’ with using of terms like Divergence and Clades.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      August 17, 2017 at 6:53 am

      It’s 18th/19th century Natural Philosopher / early Science – most terms in Deviant are straight out of Darwin. Origin, Clade, Form, Variation, etc.

      • wyrdhamster
        August 17, 2017 at 9:45 am

        Interesting then been to see how Deviants will call their own kind in XVII century in Light of the Sun from Dark Eras 2, before those scientific discoveries of Darwin and all the rest. 🙂

        • Arcane Arts
          August 17, 2017 at 8:54 pm

          You know as well as anyone else that the parlance of the books is not always the parlance of the characters. Very few changelings are directly called Darklings or Fairest, for example.

  7. WHW
    August 17, 2017 at 6:57 am

    That’s going to help a lot. Thank you!

  8. Robert D
    August 17, 2017 at 8:50 am

    this looks amazing! looking forward to more concepts in the next post and perhaps examples of clades and origins 🙂

  9. perverseness
    August 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Have fun Storming the Gencon. I will be patiently waiting for the next blog post.

    Is it done yet?

  10. Matthew
    August 17, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Can’t wait for your next post — this sounds amazing!

  11. pka
    August 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Sooo… I can play Orphan Black with this?

    • Nicolas Milioni
      August 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Dave said that orphan black is one of it’s inspirations

      • Dave Brookshaw
        August 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Although, frankly, the ladies should have more than their very minor healing powers given that they’ve all got a progressive deadly disease and their Progenitors are very well organised.

        But it’s excellent inspiration for Deviant, same way I advise anyone playing Demon to watch Person of Interest. Orphan Black just came along at the right time. If we’d made Deviant straight after Changeing 1e, we’d be talking about Dollhouse’s influence or something.

        Goddamn it. Add another thing onto the list.

        • Noneofyourbusiness
          August 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm

          The Leda clones don’t actually have healing powers at all, only their children do (and fairly significant ones, for one of Helena’s fetuses to survive being stabbed through).

          • Dave Brookshaw
            August 26, 2017 at 3:20 pm

            Weeeeeell… Kinda. Helena and Sarah have both shrugged off / recovered really quickly from injuries that should have killed them. As have some of the other Ledas. It’s not as full-blown “why is this person still alive” like with the second generation, but it’s there. Which makes a certain amount of sense.

            Anyways, file under “inspirational material is never a *perfect* match for a game”. Finch and Reese in Person of Interest aren’t technomagical demons, either.

        • Noneofyourbusiness
          August 29, 2017 at 9:21 am

          Well, lots of TV characters do that. In Helena’s case, it was explained by her being a mirror twin.

        • Noneofyourbusiness
          August 29, 2017 at 9:23 am

          Westmorland actually said that after the healing factor from his first test subject was inserted in the Leda genome, there was no sign of it working until the second generation, so in-universe the girls are just lucky, like a lot of people on TV.

  12. Nicolas Milioni
    August 17, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    So coooooooool!

  13. Phillip
    August 17, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Is this… Kamen: The Ridening?!

    • Beans
      August 19, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Mostly Shin Kamen Rider, but you’re not wrong.

  14. Crowley
    August 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Deviant: The Cronoemberg

  15. August 17, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Will there be deviants created at the god machines direction? the result of an occult matrix?

    • Ryan
      August 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      What if…they ALL are?! 😉

  16. August 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Concept (the one that inspired me to start the “Variations Question: Modular Option?” thread over on the forums): the medic for a small group of Emerald Crucible alchemists is pursuing a fleeing Frankenstein when they get blown up together. The doctor survives and his colleagues patch him up with spare parts from the Wretch. What Origin most resembles those circumstances?

    He develops a Variation based on his donor’s Spare Parts Bestowment, which lets him swap out limbs and other body parts; mechanically, he can shuffle Attribute and/or Skill dots around. Is this better-suited to the Cyborg Clade (which would require an Unfleshed donor with Soul is in the Software) than anything organic?

  17. Mel
    August 18, 2017 at 3:25 am

    So, my question is- is this fully an OPP original, or is it tied to the Paradox White Wolf products? Mostly wo dering if it is intrinsically tied to the White Wolf game mythologies, or if its the start of a whole new thing by itself.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      August 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Deviant is still a Chronicle of Darkness game – it’s approved and licensed by White Wolf.

  18. Frankie L Blankenship
    August 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Definitely seems like bringing it back to monsters really inspired some good development.

  19. ALVARO GUEDES CASTILHO JUNIOR
    August 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Cheiron Group revival?

  20. Anthony
    August 23, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Okay, so a role playing version of Tom Horn’s “Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, and Human Enhancement Herald The Dawn Of TechnoDimensional Spiritual Warfare”. The whole transhumanist thing roleplayed before it becomes a reality. I suppose Eleven and the boy wo came back on “Stranger Things” would both be examples.

  21. Anthony
    August 29, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I suppose the movie “Species” would qualify, the main character is supposed to be the product of human and alien DNA. The same is true for the character Wren in the online comic White Noise at whitenoisecomic.com. This is not to be confused with the other White Noise comic at white-noise-comic.com which is more a changelings fleeing genocide story.

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