Fine, fine, have another teaser

Demon: The Descent

Flowers to Hell should be out by now, but we’re waiting on art. This kind of thing happens, as you know, and it’s not going to delay things long (everything else is done and full-page art isn’t going to screw with pagination), but it’s frustrating, just as much for me as for you.

What to do? Well, obviously, tease the book a bit more, so ArcaneArts chose page 121, and here we are. This doesn’t line up perfectly with the page in the book, because I decided to be nice and give you a few demonic form abilities rather than cut off in mid sentence.

BTW: I’m at Origins next week, at the Indie Game Developer Network booth (224), pretty much every morning at 10 until a little later (varies day by day). I’m happy to talk about Demon and other OPP projects, provided you buy a Growling Door Games product first. 🙂

Evolution of the Demonic Form

An outcast’s demonic form at the moment of her Fall is little different from the true form she possessed as an angel. The demonic form can change and evolve over time as the demon integrates more fully with the world (increasing her Primum rating). Some among the Unchained have a somewhat mystical view on what this physical transformation means — that it reflects what the demon has become or even his ultimate destiny on the path to Hell. Many, however, treat it as no more remarkable than a human dressing in the latest fashion or taking steps to lose some weight. This latter attitude is often a coping mechanism used by outcasts to obscure the fact that the gradual transformation of their demonic form is at times a horrific and painful experience.

A new demon often clings to his first Cover, the one he wore when he defied the God-Machine and Fell. The last human shape given to the outcast by his creator before rebellion ended his service forever gains a certain sentimental value to the demon. This attachment is usually more intense among Integrators, but even the most militant Saboteur does not casually cast her first Cover aside. Despite the risk of discovery Inquisitors fear using the first Cover represents, most still keep it in reserve. Demons who have burned away a dozen or more Covers over a lifetime spent fleeing the God-Machine’s servants may cluck their tongues at these “first fleshers,” but most still remember how difficult it was not to treat that Cover of their final missions as something essential to their identity.

The demonic form holds a similar mystique to newly Fallen Unchained, but whereas the outcast has only spent a few weeks or years in her first flesh, her demonic form has been virtually unchanged for decades if not centuries. Even though it is a pale shadow of her angelic glory, it is still an angel’s shape. With each increase in Primum, the outcast’s demonic form — the truest shape of her identity as a physical body, since Covers are ultimately masks — shifts. This can erode the demon’s sense of identity as something other than a collection of thoughts and memories disconnected from any physical shell. Intellectually, the Unchained often embrace their existence as memetic constructs rather than as beings of flesh and spirit, but not many believe this on a deep psychological level. This is the main reason the evolution of the demonic form so often becomes an object of mystical fascination for the Unchained, just as the quest for Hell springs into existence in part to fill the void left when they rebelled and so became creatures of purpose who had abandoned that purpose.

Physically, the transformations associated with a rising Primum rating range from merely disconcerting to truly agonizing. Those who experience this evolution while concealed by Cover do not know these changes have happened until they take demonic form. Outcasts who evolve while unmasked may find parts of their bodies atrophy or fall off, while new appendages spring forth. The sudden change in the demonic form may manifest with intense pain (the Storyteller should choose an appropriate Condition or assign damage), or the outcast might find himself unable to physically “forget” the lost ability, experiencing the sort of “ghost sensations” commonly associated with amputees. Even if a demon’s player chooses not to change the abilities granted by her character’s form when her Primum rating increases, she should feel free to make cosmetic alterations that reflect this evolution. The demon is less of what the God-Machine intended her to be, and while some demons might outwardly rejoice at this turning away from their creator’s designs, the changes represent a kind of body horror even stigmatics (who are likewise physically marked by their experiences) cannot fully comprehend.

Modifications

Advanced Optics

The God-Machine’s largest projects require minute attention to detail. The forms of the angels it deploys on such missions often possess exceptional visual acuity. They can see faraway objects or miniscule details as if their eyes were telescopes or microscopes.

Appearance: When the demon takes her demonic form, her eyes retract into their sockets and glass lenses slide into place. As the demon changes modes or magnification, these lenses twist and shift to reveal new lenses better-suited to the task.

Systems: If the demon spends a turn focusing on a small or distant object as an instant action, she receives a +3 equipment bonus to rolls that benefit from magnification (usually Investigation, Larceny, or Science). However, this intense focus comes at the expense of myopia, afflicting the demon with the Blind Condition for anything not currently in her sights. This demon can resolve this Condition as a reflexive action by returning her vision to normal.

Component Indicators

Usually someone would have to observe the item, run tests, and compare results to judge the component elements of a substance,. This Modification makes the demon sensitive to various criteria in substances, and makes her able to discern details.

Appearance: At least one appendage must feature the Component Indicators, but as much as the entirety of the demon’s flesh may be covered. Indicator flesh is a medical, pale blue rubber covered with tiny pores and bumps in a Gaussian array. It’s slightly pliable to the touch, like snakeskin.

Systems: The demon must touch the subject to be assessed. Her skin conducts a comprehensive chemical test battery within seconds. She can identify component molecules and in turn component elements. She can identify DNA strands. She can identify trace elements left behind from a cleansing, or microscopic bits of organic matter. Most importantly, if she touches two things simultaneously, she can pinpoint the similarities between the two. No roll is required, but the character must touch the subject for a full minute for analysis. The Storyteller may require that more in-depth analysis requires longer contact. Interpretation of the data might require an Intelligence + Science roll.

Detachable Limbs

When the God-Machine deploys angels to hazardous areas where accidents can easily cripple them, It often sends servants that can shed a mangled leg or a severed arm and grow a new one to replace it. Demons with this ability can survive being torn limb-from-limb and can even quickly and painlessly dismember themselves. They can also reattach severed limbs with equal ease or, in a pinch, regenerate a lost limb in a matter of seconds.

Appearance: The demon’s joints are enlarged with visible gaps between the bones in each finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, etc. When a limb or digit is pulled out of its socket, a black liquid that resembles crude oil pours out instead of blood.

Systems: The demon can detach a limb at any joint, or his head from his torso, as an instant action. He retains control of any detached limbs, so hands locked in a chokehold around a victim’s neck continue to strangle, for example. Most ordinary humans who witness the demon as he dismantles himself or who see the demon’s limbs acting independently of him suffer a breaking point. Reattaching a severed limb requires an instant action.

The player can also spend 1 Aether on his turn to allow the demon to instantly regenerate a detached limb as a reflexive action, with his torso counting as two limbs. A detached limb immediately withers and dies as soon as the demon replaces it, so if he regenerates his left arm, for example, his previously detached left arm stops functioning within a few seconds. The demon cannot replace a missing or damaged head, although he can use this ability to replace the rest of his body from his severed head, given sufficient Aether.

  5 comments for “Fine, fine, have another teaser

  1. Phaolan
    June 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Nooooooo! Not a delay! I am so very cross now that, um, I’m gonna winge about it? …Actually, thanks for the teaser. My excitement over this book is pretty high, mostly due to the excitement I had for Demon: the Descent to begin with.

    Oh, and thanks for being a tease. 😮

  2. MorsRattus
    June 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    While any reading involving common sense will say ‘no, you don’t get a Beat for reflexively resolving Blind with your Advanced Optics’, strictly by the letter of the rules it seems to produce infinite beats on demand.

    • Leetsepeak
      June 11, 2014 at 2:59 am

      Call it a Tilt, bam, you’re done. No infinite Beat Machine.

      Probably a typo, anyway.

  3. Tadanori Oyama
    June 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I am so excited about the timing of this. I’ll be getting access to new demon form pieces right aroudn the time when the players in my campaign will be beginning to alter their current forms.

    • James
      June 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      A Question that will hopefully have an answer by the time it comes out, regarding Detatchable Limbs:
      Do they match your propulsion form?

      Say you have flight and detatch your arm, does it remain hovering there, or is it going to crash a few dozen feet down and shatter on the pavement?

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