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Demonic Pacts 2.1

PACTS ARE CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW AND ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PLAYERS AT THE MOMENT. PLEASE BE ADVISED.

Demonic Pacts 2.1, Inferno Splatbook Clarification (2nd pass).

This page and the resulting information from the Playerbase will result with a new pass at the end of April 2014.

Forward

xxxxxPacts with the denizens of the Inferno are an obsession and as a Player it is your job to play up this obsession. The closer your research is to successfully summoning a Demon the more your researcher should feel he deserves to succeed. This is entitlement at its most dire and Demons count on it to exploit our researchers. They appreciate all the hard work that goes into uncovering them and bringing them forth into the material world, a treat many so rarely achieve.

xxxxxAs a Storyteller, ensure that the summoned Demon manipulates a successful researcher at every opportunity! A Demon is under no obligation to obey unless forced by magic or esoteric rules and summoning one is reckless behavior born of the same pride and other vices they themselves feed upon through their Malapraxis. Treat this process as toxic and potentially fatal for the characters involved.

What This Page Is

xxxxxThis Wiki Page is a list of House Rules and Clarifications on the Inferno Splatbook to ease players back into playing with Pacts.

What This Page Isn't

xxxxxThis wiki Page is not a reprint of Copyrighted rules and will require you to consult your books.

The Idebted

Contact Points

Links For Pactmaking

  • Demons Local Demons with the Create Pact Dark Numina. Coming Soon
  • Malus Loci Geographic locations where Pacts might take place. Coming Soon
  • Storytellers Local Demons who offer pacts to anyone willing to pay the price. Coming Soon


Who Else Is Indebted?

Active Indebted
Active Pacts

none


Detecting Indebted

xxxxxPacts do not count as spells for any reason. Furthermore, no powers granted to the character through the pact count as spells. No aspect or benefit of a pact garners Paradox or Disbelief, even if they bring a character’s Traits to inhuman levels of adroitness. Finally, no Benefit granted by a Pact nor the Pact itself can be affected through countermagic.

xxxxxNote that the summoning itself does not count as part of the Pact, and is likely subject to discovery by many forms of magic, as well as leaving a Resonance behind that ultimately causes a Desecration Rating.

xxxxxThe presence of a Pact can be discerned through the use of Resonance scrutiny or the Prime spell Supernal Sight (as well as through other aura-reading powers that grant information on the nature of a being). Under such senses, the pact manifests as bands coursing through the beneficiary’s aura. The bands typically seem dark, but the color may vary depending on the nature of the entity that holds the forfeiture of the pact. Fortunately, no specific information about a Pact can be gleaned through these senses, only the fact that it exists.

Who Can Be Indebted?

  • Changelings and Fae-Touched replace Pacts with Pledges. It is up to Staff if anyone else with a Pledge can or cannot take a Pact because of that Pledge. A character with an active Pact cannot make a new Pledge until the duration of their Sacrifice is complete. See Changeling Staff.
  • Changing Breeds cannot make a Pact, and it is unwise for Beastkin, see Feral Staff.
  • Cultists can make Pacts if they are of the appropriate Template. The demon must be affiliated with their Thing.
  • Purified cannot make a Pact.
  • Hunters fear their own and any Pact would have serious consequences, see Hunter Staff.
  • Lesser Immortals can in some cases make a Pact, see Immortal Staff.
  • Mages on the Left-Hand Path are NPC only. PC Mages cannot make a Pact, nor can Proximi or but Sleepwalkers may consult Mage Staff for the perils.
  • Mortals can make Pacts.
  • Possessed can make Pacts.
  • Psychics can make Pacts.
  • Sin-Eaters, Bound and subject to their own agreements with a Geist, cannot make a Pact.
  • Thaumaturges can make Pacts.
  • Vampires who are members of the Brood are NPC only. PC Vampires cannot make a Pact, nor can Ghouls.
  • Wardens cannot make a Pact without serious consequences, see Immortal Staff.
  • Werewolves: Mush news: demonic pacts werewolf. Wolfblooded become tainted upon making a demonic pact (it will be edited soon under new stipulations).
The Costs

A Word On Experience

xxxxxAt the most fundamental level, Pacts have an Experience Cost in terms of replacing wasting Morality (which costs New Dots x 3 Experience). This has been done because, prior to 2013, players were essentially getting ever increasing volumes of free XP on top of the free XP they already get just by playing here at Fallcoast. In the end it has been decided that the Inferno book should not be used to double down on the enormous volume of XP Fallcoast already provides.

xxxxxAs a result, at the end of balancing any Pact you should be looking at its cost effectiveness: Is it better to earn the Benefits of your Pact through your own Experience (buying the Traits yourself), or is temporarily holding these Benefits to the chest and letting them go in the end (if retaining them at a cost of New Dots x 3 in Morality recovery) is the more long term effective method, rather than merely buying them outright.

xxxxxA lot of the magic obtainable through a Pact is exclusive to them, meaning Pacts for things like Striking Looks, Resources, and Wits are not as cost effective long term. It may behoove you to use a Pact as a Justification for raising such Traits with your own Experience, and saving your Pacts for powers only Demons can provide.

Clarifying Experience Costs

The following Costs are pulled from Xp_chart:

  • Numina, worth 10 Experience.
  • Reality Blasphemy Power, worth 10 Experience.
  • Devotion, cost of Devotion and prerequisites combined.
  • Gift, New Dots x 7.
  • Discipline, New Dots x 14.
  • Aspect, New Dots x 6.
  • Minor Inferno Power, worth 10 Experience (equivalent of a Vice 1 x 10 xp purchase).
  • Major Inferno Power, worth 20 Experience (equivalent of a Vice 2 x 10 xp purchase).
  • Deadly Inferno Power, worth 30 Experience (equivalent of a Vice 3 x 10 xp purchase).
  • Psychometry 5 is worth 30 Experience.
  • Intelligence 5 on the character's sheet is worth 45 Experience.


xxxxxStaff, as always, are the final arbitrators as to both the Cost and Availability of any Benefit, which will dictate its Sacrifice details.

The Process

What Happens First?

Research

xxxxxFinding the right ritual is an extended action with a target number, a duration assigned to each roll, and modifiers for circumstances and equipment such as a library. Using a random starting point a player will roll Intelligence + Academics as described for Research on p. 55 of the World of Darkness Rulebook. The target number is 20 successes, and each roll requires 4 hours of research rather than 30 minutes. This roll may be modified by various means such as the the Merit: Good Time Management.

xxxxxRoll results are described on p. 73 of the Inferno Splatbook. In general, most researchers will reach the 20 required successes and discover a summoning ritual. Please note that having started at random, this information will be missing critical pieces: the researcher will know little to nothing about a demon's true personality or known desires. This means that the later invocation and negotiation rolls have a -3 penalty unless the summoner is researching a specific demon and has access to libraries or materials pertaining to that demon.

xxxxxNever tell a player they should research more than how to call a demon. Many players do not think to research how to stop a demon from killing them once called, and you should not tell them to research this. Leading a player by the nose is a Merit called Common Sense.

Lure

xxxxxThe lure phase is a summoners attempt to gain a demon's attention with actions and objects of the right Resonance. A general rule of thumb for Storytellers: the lure of a demon should be as complex as their Rank is high.

xxxxxIf the character has researched a random demon their lure should be “general” and “generic” and should run the risk of attracting something other than the intended demon: a larval ghost or immundi spirit for example.

xxxxxMechanically, the dice roll is a complete negotiation between player and Staff and Storyteller. Are you performing a re enactment? Expression may be your go-to Skill. Are you creating a summoning circle? Occult is your roll. Building an infernal machine? Crafts should be in the cards. The lure can take not just days, but weeks, depending on the Rank of the demon you are choosing to summon. If a player chooses to skimp, the Storyteller is free within their rights to punish with impunity - the demon should be enormously offended.

xxxxxDepending on your choices a degeneration check may be in order. Did you commit torture as your lure, for example?

Invocation

xxxxxThe invocation happens (usually) once your lure is ready (if the lure does not involve something like the continuous chanting of the demon's name). The invocation requires a character to call the demon by name. If you possess the Testament of the demon (which you would get when you research a demon you know, looking for the demon's Testament), reading it will serve as the call. For everyone else, you may want to keep researching until you have in your possession the Secret Name of the demon you are seeking to invoke.

xxxxxMechanically, the roll is always Presence + Occult. Roll results are described on p. 74 of the Inferno Splatbook. This roll should not only be adjusted for what the player can bring to the table with their Character Sheet, but should be modified by things like doing a good job on the lure (+2), knowing the Secret Name of the demon (+3. Of course, not all demons relish having their Secret Names uttered by mortals, and this can put them in a murderous frame of mind when they appear. -3 is valid in this instance.) 10 Believers present (+3). 5 Believers present (+2). 3 Believers present (+1). The DRagon's Tongue Merit (+2). The summoner is alone (-1). The lure was done inaccurately (-2).

xxxxxEverything hinges on succeeding on the invocation. Failure and a character must start again. Feel free to levy heavy penalties for those who refuse to go back to the research stage.

Arrival

xxxxxThe demon arrives. (Shocking!) This is your special effects chance as the Storyteller involved to get excited about what you bring to the Scene. This is your big moment. Use all five senses. Use that sixth sense involving gut feelings or sensations that are unexplainable. Try not to wallow in Judeo-Christian dogma. Bubble up in a patch of oil in the grass, or come on a wind, unseen, blowing the leaves and limbs of the trees. Be an eclipse or a spreading area of decay and death that takes time to become obvious. Make an impression. The higher a demon's Rank the more likely it is to be subtle.

xxxxxYour demon has a lot to do with the situation. Every demon has a different level of intelligence. An animalistic demon should attack on sight. A demon with a higher intelligence has a choice. It can choose to be compliant and restrained, or it can be violent and vicious, offended by being taken from the Inferno without permission.

Negotiation

xxxxxThis is often the most misunderstood piece of the Pact process. Players have these strange ideas about how binding negotiation is, or how literal. They envision rolls of parchment made from skin that include a lifetime of details. The negotiation is nothing more than an attempt to get the summoned demon to agree to maybe complete pact. There is nothing binding in the negotiation - not one thing.

xxxxxNegotiation Tactic Number 1 - On p 75 of the Inferno Splatbook it says: Demons are bound by the laws of their summoning ritual to listen to a negotiator who makes the right overture[.] The most important word in this sentence is listen. The laws of summoning rituals bind a demon to listen. This does not bind the demon to obey.

xxxxxNegotiation Tactic Number 2 - Remember we mentioned before that a player should be responsible for coming up with the idea of researching not only how to call a demon but how to stop it from killing them. More often than not, the research will stop when the ritual to call the demon is finished, and most never bother to learn how to stop it from killing them.

xxxxxMechanically, negotiations are usually a simple conversation, but the higher a demon's Rank the more complicated the negotiation should become. Opening the conversation requires a Manipulation + Occult roll, modified by the demon's intelligence found on p 75 of the Inferno Splatbook. The more animalistic or alien the intelligence of the demon, the less this will be a conversation. It may require re enactment, deception, worship or even equipment. Evidence that the demon agreed in the past to other pacts, speaking the same language, threatening to go to a demon's master in the infernal hierarchy, convincing regalia, offerings, a sacrifice - all sorts of things can convince a demon to agree to work on a pact.

The Parts

What Are The Parts?

Summary

xxxxxIn summary, a Pact has three basic parts: Benefits, Sacrifices, Durations.

Benefits

xxxxxSmall, Medium, and Large Benefits are referred to as Minor, Major, and Deadly Benefits, respectively, and are balanced by Sacrifices of equal size, Minor, Major, and Deadly. For a Pact to become Permanent it must be increased in Benefit, Minor become Major, Major become Deadly, and Deadly Benefits remain impermanent on Fallcoast.

Sacrifices

xxxxxThis means, at the most fundamental level, a Pact must balance in scope and duration. The Demon must be compensated by a Sacrifice that balances with the Benefit you will be receiving, and while the Benefit may be ongoing, Deadly ongoing Benefits will catch up to you eventually with likely deadly results.

Influence

xxxxxPacts remain one of the easiest ways for a Demon to maintain Influence in the material world. Demons are often measured by the Pacts they have made. The recorded Hierarchies, Mythologies, and Testaments Demons receive in exchange for their gifts are a measure of their Rank and privilege in Hell.

Breakdowns

House Rule: VALUE

For ease of thought Minor Pacts are worth +1, Major Pacts are worth +2, and Deadly Pacts are worth +3 to assign them a value. Equally important, two Minor Pacts are worth +2, two Major Pacts are worth +3, 3 Minor Pacts are worth +3, and one Minor and one Major Pact are worth +3. A Pact should never be worth more than +3.


House Rule: DURATIONS

Pacts last One Story (or 1 month of game time), however, each lower increment in duration can have an impact on the worth of the Pact. A Pact only worth One Chapter (or 1 week of game time) is worth -1, and a Pact only worth One Session (or 1 day of game time) is worth -2. By the reverse, each higher increment in duration can have the reverse impact: A Pact worth a quarter year (or 4 months) is worth +1, and a Pact worth a year is worth +2.


For example, a Pact with a Deadly Benefit only available to a character for One Session (1 day) can be made for a Minor Sacrifice. By the reverse, a Pact with a Minor Benefit available for a year would require a Deadly Sacrifice.


House Rule: VOLUME

A Player Character can have a number of current Pacts equal to his Morality. The stronger the soul the more resistant a Character is to the ravages of damnation.


For example, Bob has a Morality of 7 through atonement and Experience expenditures, and he also has 6 Pacts currently. Bob makes a 7th Deadly Pact, but in the process lowers his Morality to 6. Bob must assess his current stable of Pacts to discard one.

The Benefits

What Are My Benefits?

xxxxxIt may just be a favor, and it may be a power. A summoner has succeeded in conjuring forth a demon from the nether regions of the infernal and they want something. Every Pact requires a bargain, and every bargain requires enticing the demon to agree to what the summoner has in mind: a Benefit. It is all the same to a demon, curing your daughter of cancer, or killing your enemy - it matters not. All that is relative is the strength of the Pact, Minor, major, or Deadly.

xxxxxEach Pact can be divided into two loose categories, Traits and Services: think of these as internal and external Benefits. Any pact may increase any single trait on a character's sheet, although some demons are better at one trait or another. This is an internal increase on the sheet for as long as it remains. Any service, by reverse, does not take place on the character's sheet, and is therefore external. Pacts therefore change the summoner's body when he becomes Indebted to the demon. Services allow the summoner to keep his body and mind free of demonic taint.

xxxxxThe energy of each Sacrifice fuels the change that is reflected on the character's sheet for each internalized Benefit. Therefore, a Demon cannot grant a larger Benefit than the Sacrifice being received. A Demon may levy a heavy Sacrifice and in turn grant a weak Benefit. This should be the demon's goal: for you to make a Deadly Sacrifice, in exchange for a Minor Benefit.


Increased Traits

  • Internal Traits, whose major increases require one Minor Sacrifice per Trait following.
    • All Attributes
    • Physical Skills/Specialties
    • Social Skills/Specialties save Streetwise
    • Mental Merits save Encyclopedic Knowledge
    • Physical Merits, Striking Looks
  • Mixed Traits, whose major increases require one Major Sacrifice per Trait following.
    • Mental Skills/Specialties
    • Encyclopedic Knowledge Merit
    • Streetwise Skill
  • External Traits, whose major increases require one Deadly Sacrifice per trait.
    • Social Merits save Striking Looks


xxxxxEvery Trait is fair game, but it is up to Staff to make the final call on whether a Trait is an option or not. For purposes of a Pact, a Trait increase involves raising that Trait to any dot rating the Character could obtain (which usually means a maximum of 5 dots) through Experience. A rating beyond this would be a Superhuman Trait (see below).

xxxxxEach trait requires a Sacrifice, however, meaning that a summoner who wanted Dexterity 5, Athletics 5 and Fame 2 for the base of one month would have to provide two Minor Sacrifices and one Deadly Sacrifice for that one month of benefit. This makes things like Social Merits and Striking Looks untenable - they cannot be long-term maintained through a Pact.

Supernatural Traits

xxxxxEach Demon has an associated Vice and may grant a Supernatural Trait that resonates with that Vice. Any Demon may grant a power that is mechanically identical to one of its own Numina or one of the Vestments later in the Inferno Splatbook. See p 86 for an example list of Supernatural Traits and their associated costs in terms of Sacrifices. The following is a breakdown of numerical values assigned to common Supernatural Traits.

  • Numina +2
  • Innate Vestment +1
  • Lesser Vestment +2
  • Greater Vestment +3
  • Minor Supernatural Trait +1
  • Major Supernatural Trait +2
  • Deadly Supernatural Trait +3
  • Superlative Trait +3


xxxxxA Superlative Trait is any Trait increased beyond the natural maximum the Character can obtain, such as Strength 6. Increasing a Trait beyond the normal maximum of 5 dots. Each Superlative Trait has an associated cost in terms of the Sacrifice which grants it.

Service

xxxxxAny kind of a favor can be defined as a service.

  • Minor Favor +1, an action the demon can make itself.
  • Major Favor +2, a service the demon couldn't normally do.
  • Repeated Favor +1, any service meant to be repeated raises the Sacrifice a step.


For example, guarding a house is a Minor Favor. Repeatedly guarding a house is a Major Favor.

Gear

xxxxxArtifacts, Relics, or Equipment.

xxxxxDemons may give a character a magic item rather than directly altering them. This is reflected as a change on the character sheet, but may only be temporary as the Pact allows.

  • Minor Items +1, standard equipment like a truck or a laboratory.
  • Major Items +2, Relics, Artifacts, Fetishes, Imbued Items, Enhanced Items
  • Retained Item +1, any item meant to be retained.

For example, a Relic weapon to fight Twilight to be kept indefinitely is a Deadly Item.

xxxxxUse your judgement if an item is honestly available to a character's sheet. A non-Mage, for example, cannot activate an Imbued Item that requires a Mage for activation, but could use a Imbued Item that has no activation.

Other

xxxxxStaff is the final arbiter on both the Value and Availability of Gifts, Numina, Disciplines and so on into Benefits. They are perfectly acceptable to inquire about.

xxxxxThe fundamental source of something like a Gift-as-Benefit is not the same as the system it originates in.

For example, the Winged Aspect from Changing Breeds may be given a +3 Value and adopted as a Benefit but it does not stem from a Feral Heart or the Changing Breeds source material. It is a Demonic Benefit.



House Rule: LESSER INCREASES

To obviate this hemorrhage of Experience points to fix an ongoing loss of Morality dots affiliated with certain kinds of Pacts, a Player may choose to purposefully not take the maximum possible bonus or a 3+ increase in an Attribute or Skill in exchange for lowering the necessary Sacrifice by one increment. A Relic may be only worth 2 Merit dots, after all, and the full cost Value of it may not be as above. As always, discuss this option with Staff.


For example, Bob wishes to have his Luxury 2 Merit increase to 4 dots. Luxury 4 is ordinarily a Deadly Sacrifice. However, because the increase is pared down, it qualifies for a -1 Value making it a Major Pact instead. Increasing it to remain in place for a quarter of the year (4 months) would increase it to a Deadly Sacrifice again. Bob chooses to do so, dropping from Morality 6 to 5 in the process. It would cost Bob 18 Experience to raise his Morality, he chooses to remain at 5 instead.

The Sacrifices

What Are My Sacrifices?

Types Of Sacrifices

Examples of Sacrifices can be found on p 91 of the Inferno Splatbook.

  • Minor Sacrifices on a Pact that lasts but a few hours require only the loss of a Willpower point and the suffering of a single point of aggravated damage (which does not begin to heal until after the pact is ended).
  • Minor Sacrifices must cause someone injury (not the summoner), but need not be disfiguring, crippling, or cause death.
  • Major Sacrifices can affect the summoner, stripping away Traits they possess or inflicting flaws. It may involve giving the demon time in the summoner's body (if he is not a member of the Possessed). If a victim is involved, they might see a limb amputated, or a mental or physical violation, or a permanent flaw or derangement.
  • Deadly Sacrifices require someone to be given to the demon, requiring their consent (whether informed or uninformed), and are the source of all the stories of demon sacrifices that involve a murder.

Examples of Sacrifices

Minor Sacrifices

  • Minor Derangement related to the Vice of the Demon inflicted on an agreeing party, not the character.
  • Minor Action related to the Vice of the Demon that has possible consequences for the victim such as committing a theft and robbing someone, the victim must know.
  • Manifestation Effect giving the Demon a chance to use Fetter, Claim, or Possess while the victim, not the character, sleeps.

Major Sacrifices

  • Flaw related to the Vice of the Demon inflicted on an agreeing party, can be the character.
  • Trait related to the Vice of the Demon removed from an agreeing party, can be the character.
  • Major Action related to the Vice of the Demon that has strict consequences for the victim such as attacking someone violently, the character cannot cover up the incident.
  • Manifestation Effect giving the Demon a chance to use Fetter, Claim, or Possess on the character, even one of the Possessed, the character remembers the event.

Deadly Sacrifices

  • Murder related to the Vice of the Demon, with witnesses related to the character murdered, or the consent of the victim.
  • Material Possessions related to the Vice of the Demon must be destroyed, with the owner's consent or awareness.
  • Manifestation Effect giving the Demon a chance to use Fetter, Claim, or Possess on the character, even one of the Possessed, but the character does not remember the event.

House Rules On Sacrifices

House Rule: BALANCE

On Fallcoast each Pact will balance to zero.

For example, Bob wishes to buy a plane he cannot ordinarily afford. Ordinarily this would cost him 5 x 2 or 10 xp, disregarding Justifications and similar. However, Bob honestly only needs that 5th dot in Resources to buy that plane as he currently has 4 dots in Resources and finds this ordinarily quite fine. For sake of discussion, the plane has an Availability of 5.


Bob decides to gain 1 dot in Resources through a Pact, taking him to 5 total for the month he wishes to buy the plane. Resources is a Social Merit, listed as External, and requires one Deadly Sacrifice to take the Trait to 5. However, since Bob has Resources 4 already, through the rule of Lesser Increases, Bob can make this a Major Sacrifice instead. Furthermore, Bob does not need Resources 5 the entire month, just long enough to purchase his plane. The Storyteller decides to use the rule of Durations, lowering the duration of the Pact from One Story (1 month) to One Chapter (1 week), making the Pact a Minor Pact instead.

Each Benefit requires a Sacrifice and the Benefit and Sacrifice must equal to zero.


House Rule: ONE PACT, ONE SACRIFICE

On 'Fallcoast each Pact will be a single seating giving Staff the power to track them individually.

In summary, each Pact has only one Benefit and only one Sacrifice.


House Rule: NO PROHIBITIONS

The point of the sacrificial process is to Influence mortals as a Demon. A Demon in the infernal depths cannot thrive. A Demon needs access to human beings to expand their Influence. Each sacrifice acts to strengthen the summoned demon's Vice, if not to trigger their Malapraxis too. A good Sacrifice may require a player to choose to give up a trait on their character sheet. It is impossible to track whether a player is performing a prohibited action or thought, so these are not useful Sacrifices in a MUSH environment. Sacrificing a human being to a demon is not as powerful as having the sacrifice affect other humans.


House Rule: DEGENERATION

  • Minor Sacrifices of a short Duration (see above) do not require a degeneration check.
  • Minor and Major Sacrifices have a 2 die degeneration check, which, if it fails, requires the roll to avoid gaining a derangement.
  • Deadly Sacrifices always result in a degeneration without a check making the loss of 1 dot of Morality automatic - the roll to avoid gaining a derangement is still made.


Each Pact starts with a Duration of One Story (one Month of game time). This goes up and down during the Pactmaking process through dialog with Staff.


House Rule: TRAIT LOSS

For MUSH balance reasons, the loss of a Trait to a Sacrifice has a longer duration than the Pact itself. Consult the following for details:

  • One Turn - 3 seconds
  • One Scene - 3 hours or until end of current scene.
  • One Session - 1 day
  • One Chapter - 1 week
  • One Story - 1 month
  • One Quarter - 4 months
  • One Half - 6 months
  • One Year - 12 months


For example, Bob makes a Major Pact with a Story long duration, using his Strength Attribute as a Sacrifice, giving it to the Demon to use as Power. This Sacrifice lasts for One Quarter, or 4 months. While the Benefit of Bob's Pact may run its course this month, the consequences remain for their allotted duration.

The amount of time a Trait remains missing from a Sacrifice may be increased and this drives the Benefit up according to the rule of Durations.

For example, Bob makes a Major Pact with a Story long duration, using his Strength Attribute as a Sacrifice, giving it to the Demon to use as Power. He wishes the Sacrifice to last 6 months, two increments over the Story base increment. In exchange he may increase the Duration of his Benefit from One Story to One Quarter, or from 1 month to 4 months.

Minor Pact Addiction

xxxxxOnce a character has made and discharged a Minor Pact, the player must roll Resolve + Composure with a penalty equal to the number of Minor pacts to which the character has agreed in the past (cumulatively). If this roll fails, the character becomes addicted to the feeling of the pact, and before a month goes by he must begin working on another, new one. He can involve a different demon, which usually means starting the summoning process all over again, but often this is part of the thrill of addiction. Summoners have come to call this addiction 'Chasing the Demon'.

Supernatural Hubris

xxxxxSupernaturals believe they can approach a demon on equal footing, being more than mortal. The average Mage with Spirit, for example, believes they have nothing to fear from a Demon, which is just another variety of spirit to them. A Demon wants nothing more than to expand its Influence in the human world. A supernatural is as good an agent of Influence as any man or woman. Some supernaturals can bypass the Lure and Invocation stages described above using alternative methods. However, any attempt to use a supernatural power meant for a normal ghost or spirit, on a Demon, has a -5 penalty levied against the relevant dice rolls.

The Storytelling

I'm The Storyteller, Now What?

Transparency

xxxxxCharacters can be tricked into accepting pacts, and demons lie. With that said, the player should understand exactly what their character will be required to do to fulfill their end of the pact. This should happen before any dice are rolled. This should include the degeneration rolls their Sacrifice will require, the loss of a Trait, or the gaining of a Flaw. You are under no obligation to warn a player about consequences such as becoming hunted for being a diabolist because they should be looking for this information themselves.

Staff Obligations

xxxxxStaff are under no obligation to agree to a Benefit they find dissatisfactory. A player may desire their character make a bargain for the power to defeat an enemy and may receive the money to bribe a government into investigating their enemy's holdings and ruin them financially with seizures and penalties. But as Staff we are not obligated to hand the character a death ray that instantly vaporizes the player's intended target.

xxxxxOne of the powerful themes of new World of Darkness: Inferno is that damnation is often self-damnation. Demons are connected with the Vices for a reason. They can grant power, but it's usually a short-term gain and a long-term loss. If a character agrees to the pact, it's usually because he thinks he can play the system and come out clear. Faust tried that, as did Macbeth and many other tragic characters. It never works out, and players and storytellers both need to know that they need to be careful of what they wish for.

Demons Cheat

xxxxxDemons are cheaters, liars, swindlers, and work hidden clauses into their agreements, and they follow the letter of the law with the express purpose of getting the most appetizing Sacrifice for the least amount of work at their end. With this in mind a Sacrifice need not always balance perfectly with a Benefit. Sometimes the story requires you Sacrifice more than you are getting in exchange. While this is not as true among Trait-based Pacts. Favor-based Pacts almost universally give less than the Sacrifice truly demands.

xxxxxMore importantly, a Demon has a limit to what it can do, and not every wish can be fulfilled by every Demon. A Demon may promise anything, and the lie is impossible to discover until it is too late. But stay flexible, be fair, and decide if your Demon has the power to grant the benefit being requested from Staff. Remember, too, that the Demon wants to expand its Vice by Influence with the world.

Backing Out

xxxxxCan a player choose to stop a pact before completion? The short answer is: yes. A character may be making a pact to kill people and wake up one morning during the process, horrified by the prospect. A player may choose to have their character not complete the process of affirming a Pact. This can have wildly varying consequences and should be a story. Virtue is just as important as Vice, and should be rewarded in equal measure. A way you can handle this is to be up front: allow the research roll to uncover what the demon has done to careless summoners in the past, providing forewarning, and hopefully convincing the player to stop the pact process before going too far.

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