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Found 1 result

  1. When an angel of the God-Machine Falls, it loses much of what it once was from when it was hooked to the Machine. That includes its sense of purpose. In the absence of the God-Machine to tell it what to do, and to give it the tools and powers to do it, an Unchained has to figure things out for itself. A demon does this through learning Embeds. Embeds are the main powers of Demon: the Descent. Pages 123 - 155 list all the main Embeds available to demons; Storytellers and players are encouraged to come up with new Embeds, and the game mechanic structure of Embeds is described in the core rulebook. Embeds are like those keys from The Matrix Reloaded, only they're not just for opening a door and you end up in an infinite corridor that leads you to The Oracle sitting in an urban concrete park; an Embed is like turning on an invisible switch, and suddenly everybody accepts that the demon belongs there, kind of like psychic paper from Doctor Who (the "Authorized" Embed, p. 140), or blend into a crowd ("Lost In The Crowd," p. 145) or use people's body language and microexpressions to eavesdrop on a conversation across a noisy room ("Eavesdrop," p. 149). A lot of these Embeds, from the feel of them, resemble supernatural tools of tradecraft - they are used for intelligence-gathering, infiltration, sabotage and so on, the typical acts of insurgents and operatives out in the field. Embeds are either Reflexive or Instant actions, can never be Extended, and cost no Willpower or Aether. They work on a literal level - open a door, open an encrypted computer file - as well as on a conceptual one - open someone's eyes. open their mind, open a debate. And now comes the fun bit. Embeds turn out to be a crucial part of the game, not as the source of a demon's powers, but as clues as to what its Unchained purpose is. Because when an angel Falls and becomes a demon, the process of Falling changes the demon in a very specific way. While it was an angel, its purpose was whatever the God-Machine wanted it to be. Disconnected from the God-Machine, the demon's purpose becomes a secret; a secret that the demon must unlock during the course of the chronicle. And the literal key to this is the Embeds. Every demon knows one Embed on chargen which is its first Key. The demon knows that this specific Embed, that is chosen from all the Embeds that it knows at charged, is exactly 25% of its Secret; its Cipher. But the other three Keys, all Embeds, are not known. During the chronicle, every demon must go about learning new Embeds, whilst at the same time maintaining their Covers, living their stolen lives, doing their spy stuff against the God-Machine and its agents and so on. And with each new Embed, the demon has to test whether or not this new Embed is the next Key - the next step towards uncovering the mystery of what it is now meant to do as a jailbroken angel. From what I can gather, these Keys must be tested in a specific sequence. It is entirely possible to learn the third Key before one learns the second Key, or to find that the fourth Key was one that the character already knew from chargen, but never actually thought to test before. But unless you test each Key in the right order - First Key, then Second Key, then third Key and finally the fourth Key - the consequences are terrible. As in "cut the red wire of the ticking nuke" consequences. And the point of all of this? Well, it happens that this is the "Descent" part of Demon: the Descent. The unlocking of the four Keys leads the demon closer to the revelation of its Cipher, its final secret. The fact that each new Key Embed unlocks a powerful, subtle new power called an Interlock when working in conjunction with its other Embeds should also motivate the players to go seeking their Key Embeds. But yes ... unlocking the core mystery of each demon's Cipher lies at the heart of what Demon: the Descent is all about.
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