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Fallen Mechanics

#11
Demonic Investments
Those cool 'merits' you can purchase in Vampire 20: Rites of the Blood, Infernalism: The Path of Screams, Demon: Damned & Deceived, and other books. After being asked about these, I've decided to include them... and this is going to be a major change for the system.

These investments will be separate from the Faith Potential system. That's right: You do not spend a point of Faith Potential to take one of these; instead, you will purchase them with your EXP, just like any Merit (rating x 2, or CR x 2). Yes, you will also need to wait one day per point of EXP spent; after all, you need to practice with your new Investment, so that you can figure out how it works. So what's the catch?

  • You may only take ONE Investment per Pact. That's per Pact, not per point of Faith Potential. If you want another, you will need to raise your Faith Potential, and then form a separate Pact... which means another point of Permanent Torment.
  • Each Investment equals an automatic Flaw. The nature of the Flaw will be decided based on the nature of the Investment, at ST discretion (both mine and the ST of the Thrall's splat). Pacts are all about risk versus reward; there's no such thing as a free lunch!
  • Each Investment is subject to veto by the ST of the Thrall's splat. Game balance must be preserved, after all.

For this reason, I will be providing examples of Investments in this section, as well as how they will work. Please note that Investments are not limited to these. If you have any questions about what would or wouldn't be allowed, please don't hesitate to ask me or the ST of your splat. Fallen are encouraged to only grant Investments that would make sense for their House (Demonic Strength by Rabisu, Uncanny Beauty by Lammasu, etc.).


Dark Thaumaturgy Paths: For Vampires. Please note that the mechanics for this are provided on the previous page, and either the Fallen or the Vampire must have justification. Dark Thaumaturgy wasn't invented by the Fallen (at least, not by player character Fallen), but that doesn't mean they can't grant it once they learn how it works. Dark Thaumaturgy will not be accompanied by an additional Flaw; after all, you're punished enough just for using it, as the Flaws are 'built in' so to speak. Dark Thaumaturgy Paths will be treated as a Clan Discipline for the sake of EXP costs, as the demon has granted it to you and only to you.

Infernal Sorcery Paths: For Sorcerers and Hunters from Hunters, Hunted 2. Please note that the mechanics for this are provided on the previous page, and either the Fallen or the Sorcerer must have justification. Just like with Dark Thaumaturgy, this form of sorcery wasn't invented by modern Fallen, but again, it doesn't mean they likewise can't grant it one they learn how it works. Taking this Investment does not give you a Flaw... at least, not immediately. Upon gaining the third dot of your chosen Sorcery Path, however, you will gain the three point 'Uncanny' Flaw (Mage 20: Book of Secrets, page 86), as by this point, you are fully immersed in and committed to the dark arts. If you ever use your Infernal Sorcery to kill an innocent, however, you will instantly gain the 'Taint of Corruption' Flaw (7 points, Mage 20: Book of Secrets, page 96). At that point, you've crossed the Rubicon. You are officially an Infernalist. Have fun while it lasts...

Corrupted Edges: For Imbued. Work exactly as described in Fall from Grace, complete with the drawbacks of having them in the first place.

Demonic Strength (3 points): This is the only way to get your Strength or Stamina above 5 with a Pact. Note that doing this will mark your character as obviously supernatural, and will work with the same mechanics as raising your Attribute above 5 with Lore of the Flesh 5 (described above), in that taking this Investment could very well make you look like a roid-raging freak, or turn your skin to cold stone.

Uncanny Beauty (2 points): Just like with Demonic Strength and Strength and Stamina, this is the only way to get Appearance above 5 with a Pact, and will likewise mark your character as obviously supernatural. Note that just as it is described in Infernalism: The Path of Screams, this beauty is not 'true' beauty. While others will find you irresistibly beautiful, certain things will expose you for what you really are. While not technically an illusion (as your beautiful new body will still FEEL real to the touch), certain holy relics and abilities can pierce the demonic veneer, and instead reveal you as a corrupted monster, the equivalent of Appearance 0. This will also automatically grant you the equivalent of the Sakhmu weakness from Mummy: The Resurrection, and Gods help you if you catch the attention of Toreador, only for them to eventually find out the truth when they use Auspex with you in their field of vision...

Banned Investments
The following are not allowed, for the sake of game balance:
  • Luciferan Charm: -4 difficulty on all social rolls ever that stacks with other merits or powers (such as Fae Mein) makes social rolling into an absolute joke.
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#12
Crafting Relics with Lore of the Forge

This is a big one, and thus requires its own section from "What You Can and Can't Do With Lores." I was recently asked if an Annunaki (or anyone else with Lore of the Forge, or possibly even Lore of Contamination 4) must know the required level of a Lore to apply that effect to a Relic, or if they just need to know one dot of that Lore.

I thought about it for a while, and after discussing it with some players and other STs, I'm going to compromise on this, so as to bring Relics in line with Wonders in terms of both difficulty in acquiring them, and potential use.

So here's how to make that cool new Relic you want to craft:

Step One:
  • The player tells me what, exactly, what they want to make. Details must include the intended effect(s) of the Relic. Keep in mind that Relics, like Wonders, have very specific uses; there is no such thing as an 'all-purpose' Relic (even Demonic Relics are bound by their own limitations), and the more uses it has, the more Lores will have to go into it, and the more difficult it will be to craft.

Step Two:
  • Once you have an idea of what it is you want to make, I will tell you the Lores (and their required levels) to create it. I will also tell you whether this is would qualify as an Enhanced Relic, an Enchanted Relic, or a Demonic Relic. If it is the latter, you'd better know Lore of the Spirit, too, or have the assistance of somebody who does. If there are a lot of moving parts or it's a particularly complex relic, I will give you the difficulty needed to create it.

Step Three:
  • If you have the required Lore(s) at the required level(s), you're good to go. Get to crafting, using the method laid out in Demon: Player's Guide, page 142. If you have the required Lore(s) but not the required level(s), you may attempt to craft the item anyway, at a cost of one extra difficulty, one extra point of Faith spent, and one extra success required per level missing. If you do not know the required Lore(s) at all, sorry, you're out of luck.

Other Factors:
  • Time: If you're 'taking more time' to craft your Relic, as laid out in page 143 of Player's Guide, you may do so, but please don't use this to cheese the system; if you're dedicating a lot of long, hard hours into making this relic and then participate in a bunch of scenes that day, I'll start giving you difficulty penalties or taking away dice on anything related to Stamina or Willpower, because realistically, your character is going to be tired if they're doing all of that in one day, and Gods help you if one of those scenes involves combat. Remember that you can only add up to two dice by taking your time, no more.
  • Visage: If you're an Annunaki and your Visage is Mummu, the Visage of the Forge, you must either roll to enter your Apocalyptic Form, or spend a point of Temporary Faith as per usual in order to get your Crafts bonus from the Apocalyptic Trait. Please state in your roll that you're using it for the sake of crafting. Botching this roll may mean that there were witnesses...
  • Resonance: Basically, your workshop. Any smithy or industrial forge will be good for Lore of the Forge, as will getting your hands dirty and putting in some hard work. If one is not available, then try to find a place that will resonate with another of the Lores you want to use (a graveyard for Lore of the Spirit, forging over an open flame for Lore of Flames, a farm or the swamps for Lore of the Beasts, etc.) But be warned: If the place you pick is a public place, you're bound to attract attention, and that attention may come from unwelcome sources. I will allow a -1 difficulty modifier for using Resonance, so long as it's a valid resonance with your Lore.
  • Unfamiliarity: If you're trying to craft something you don't understand (i.e. you want to craft a Smartphone-like relic for your Virtual Adept BFF, but you only have Technology 1), your difficulty will increase at the ST's discretion. No, using Lore of the Forge 1 is not going to help with this; that only helps you understand how the device works as it currently exists, which is not enough to create an upgraded version of it, let alone a supernaturally upgraded version.
  • Existing Relics: You cannot enhance an item that is already enhanced, as per Demon: The Fallen: Players' Guide, p. 144. That item's spiritual status has already been altered, and messing with it more than it has been already will just break it. Yes, this also extends to Wonders, Trinkets, Amulets, etc. You can, however, try to figure out how that item works, and then try to create your own 'new and improved' version of it from scratch.
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#13
Player Characters as Earthbound Thralls

Wait, why would you even-- *sigh* okay. I'm going to be honest, I didn't even think I would have to address this as an ST, but, well, here we are, so here goes nothing.

Let's be real: Fifteen freebies to spend on the Thrall Table is nuts. Immunity to Mind Control? Extra Health Levels? Investments from other splat books (like V20: Rites of the Blood)? Yes, it comes with a terrible cost (more on that in a moment), and that's why I was going to leave it as is... and because I didn't want to go through and make another 10 or so posts doing mechanics for thralls from different splats like I did with the Fallen, but whatever.

Well, then the sheets started coming in. So here's the new House Rule.

You cannot be an Earthbound Thrall at character creation. You must become one during the course of the game.

Why am I doing this? Because 30 freebie points (before Flaws) is just crazy, especially since many of these characters are likely supernaturals of another flavor already, and since they're PCs, that means they're also getting floor XP and Catch-Up on top of that. So, in order to preserve game balance without also having to make a buttload of new mechanics, this is how it's going to be.

The way Earthbound empower their thralls, they will likely still require you to eat kittens and punch puppies to prove your loyalty to them, and now you have to roll Willpower (and Degeneration where applicable) to go through with it in a scene with your sanity intact, difficulty to be decided by the Storyteller and in accordance with your character's Nature.

So to recap: You still get the 15 points to spend on Investments, and the three points of Stigmata, along with the automatic Bound flaw (5 points, Mage: Book of Secrets, p.92) and point of Permanent Torment. You just have to gain it in-character, not at Character Creation. Hey, look at the bright side: It's free XP for doing the scene.

WARNING
If forming a Pact with a Fallen is playing on Hard Mode, then willingly selling your soul to an Earthbound is Nightmare Mode. Your splat will kill you if they find out what you've done, and the Earthbound, with a Permanent Torment rating of 10, are literally incapable of seeing you as anything other than expendable. You will be considered kill-on-sight to the vast majority of the game's other player characters, not to mention non-player characters. Just like the Fallen, the Demon owns you from that point on. They have you on speed dial 24 hours a day, and they will make you do things you, as a player, will not want to do, and often at the worst possible time, and just trying saying no to them and see what happens. They also have enemies of their own, and now they're going to come to for you, too. Once you take this plunge, there's no going back; only the Earthbound can end the Pact at any time, and their method of doing so will probably be by killing you. If you do this, do not be surprised if you end up dead or worse. In short, AGREE TO SERVE THE DREAD KINGS AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
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#14
Reconciliation

Much like Golconda for Vampires, Reconciliation is believed by the overwhelming majority of the Fallen to be a pipe dream. Something no Fallen can ever truly achieve; even most of the Reconcilers themselves only work to atone for the crimes they believe themselves to have committed, with little to no hope of actually becoming one of the Elohim of the Heavenly Host again.

But also like Golconda, there are those who insist that it is not only possible, but that the Heavenly Host would love nothing more than to have their Fallen brethren truly see the light and seek the forgiveness preached in the Talmud, the Bible, and the Qu'ran. And indeed, following a scene that took place on August 7, 2019, the Heavenly Host has expressed just such sentiments to player characters.

Please note that if your character ever does Reconcile and becomes a full-fledged angel of the Heavenly Host, they will be retired immediately and will become an NPC. Sorry, but we're not allowing playable Angels here. Given how powerful they are, that's just asking for trouble, game balance wise.

To become eligible for Reconciliation, your character must have the following prerequisites:
  • Obviously, they must be a Reconciler. A true, unrepentant believer in Lucifer's cause, or especially a Ravener, cannot Reconcile.
  • They must have Permanent Torment 1 and Temporary Torment 0. No, you cannot become Permanent Torment 0 by spending EXP.
  • They must have the Penitent merit, found in Devil's Due, page 100. Note that in order to purchase this merit, you must have a Permanent Torment rating no higher than 2, and must not have any dots in the Cult or Pacts background. If you have either of these, you must voluntarily disband your Cult (which may be easier said than done, depending on how fanatical your Cultists are) and sever your Pacts (meaning they, unfortunately, will lose whatever you gave them. Hope you didn't cure any terminal illnesses as a part of your Pact....).
  • They must not have any active Pacts. You shouldn't have any anyway if you have the Penitent merit.

Once these conditions are met, pray. Who knows: Maybe your prayers will be answered, and you'll be given the final task you must complete before you're allowed to be truly forgiven...
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