"I still have a suitcase in Berlin That's why I have to go back there soon The joys and the bliss of earlier days May be found in that suitcase within" --Ich Hab Noch ein Koffer in Berlin, Marlene Dietrich
A campaign of Demon: the Descent using the Quickstart Rules, which may be downloaded for free.
The Cities of Berlin
The Greater Toronto Area
Beyond the modern City of Toronto, born of forced amalgamation in 1998, a number of other cities in the area comprise the Greater Toronto Area. Many of these serve as commuter cities, though some such as Mississauga have the right combination of cheap land and favourable conditions to serve as locations for the head offices of companies. While the more residentially focused cities have far less occult influence, those filled with industrial parks and corporate headquarters have minimal pretext over the Infrastructure.
Vast subdivisions are still being built in municipalities all around Toronto proper. Rows of near identical houses in repeating patterns are burying arable land. Cheap, large homes are fairly easy to come by thanks to this if you're willing to be far from the city. But the reach of transport is promises to continue to increase, likewise access to the highways that go straight to the downtown core.
Those who live in the heart of Toronto tend to use the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) to get around. A U shaped loop of subway with its bend happening near the Toronto Convention Centre serves as the spine of the system. An intersecting line runs along Bloor Street, the official end of downtown and start of midtown. Bus routes fill in the rest, with most routes having at least two different subway station stops. Downtown street cars run along major streets to speed along transport.
For those who live further out, cars are the preferred mode of transportation even for downtown destinations. The competing needs of the two modes of transport leads to frequent frustration and serves as a flash point for tension between those who live in what was Toronto before amalgamation and those who live in the suburb cities fused onto it.
Hiding in Hostile Territory
With particularly high angelic attention due to God-Machine projects, Toronto is hostile territory for those with deviant agendas. On the other hand, all those projects make the agents of the God-Machine very busy. It also means plenty of projects that don't pass snuff get quietly set aside, leading to assets for clever Demons to exploit. The result is a plethora of rings and agencies. Neutral meeting ground is rare but highly valued as there is too much for any single ring to take in and pay attention to.
- Mysteries that should stay that way
- Dangerous knowledge
- How knowing transforms you
- The price of ignorance
- Under pressure
- Under Pressure, David Bowie and Queen
- The Becoming, Nine Inch Nails
- Help I'm Alive, Metric
- Metal, Gary Numan
- Extraordinary Machine, Fionna Apple
- Man That You Fear, Marilyn Manson
- Paper Girl, July Talk
- God's Away on Business, Tom Waits
- Vox/Erika Vocce - Saboteur Messenger
- Reverend Sail/ Robert Riemann - Inquisitor Messenger
- Zash/Godin "Horse" Burkashvili - Inquisitor Guardian
- Panopticophony/Steve Weine - Inquisitor Psychopomp
- Silavos/Dr. Ian Sulter - Inquisitor Destroyer
- Steve's Girlfriend Mel, who he confides in and who could give him up to the angels
- Irina Arkadyeva Lebedeva, Zash's True Friend who could give him up to the angels, mistress of his former target
- Jean Cowden, Rv. Sail's True Friend, a Stigmatic, has enough to give Rv. Sail to the angels
- Liam DuPont, who suspects Rv. Sail of being inhuman, lives near Rv. Sail's church
- Christine Leah, who thinks she has something on Rv. Sail but has nothing, is a member of Rv. Sail's church
- Barista who works the graveyard shift at the coffee shop that Erika after her shows, suspects Erika of being inhuman
- Samantha "VoiceAddict" Nielz, head of Erika's cult, could give Erika to the angels
- Marjorie, Erika's neighbor and best friend
- Herbert Giles, Erika's station manager, thinks he has something on Erika. He does not.
- A security firm contact of Steve's who suspects he is inhuman
- Local mob boss thinks Steve is working with the cops against organized crime
- Rebecca Masters, a young girl that was Ian's target, who he confided in when he fell
- Edward the Blind Busker suspects Ian isn't human
- Valerie Yasmine, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University of Toronto, former client of the Ring
- Natasha Chernowski, former client of Steve's, apparent vampire victim
- Milo Glebb, former client of the Ring, apparently murdered by his own doppelgänger
Locations & Infrastructure
That works, that's what people would assume anyway in the 60's if they saw somebody doing Parkour downtown.
Here are a few Demon-interesting locations in Cold War Berlin, all are mostly real although maybe not quite historical. I will later put these on the Wiki for future reference.
[B]Tempelhof Airport[/B] -- the name means "Templar Court", based on a templar fortress that was here 600 years earlier. This has led some Demons to speculate that Berlin's been a control point for the [I]Weltmaschine[/I] (world-machine, what they call the G-M in German) for a very long time. Most notable for having a giant roof that airplanes are parked under, so that passengers and their luggage don't get rained on.
[B]Bahnhof Zoo/Zoo Station[/B] -- the main railway station into West Berlin, next to the zoo. Behind the station on the other side from the zoo, there's a sketchy area which in a decade or so will blossom into an open-air drug and prostitution scene, but is already a pretty good black market.
[B]U-Bahn/Subway[/B] -- the network dates back to the turn of the century. It was roughly cut in half when the Berlin Wall went up (just a year or two ago in game time), so for West Berliners, there are numerous abandoned Geisterstationen (Ghost Stations) which are patrolled by VoPo police and where you can't get off, plus one station in East Berlin on Friedrichsstrasse where you can get on and off, with a checkpoint manned by VoPos. West Berliners seem to pretend that stop doesn't exist.
[B]The Berlin Wall[/B] -- it was never very tall or imposing at any time, but at this time it's pretty sketchy, in some places no more than a fence. There's already a "death strip" along it, though, where Easterners can get shot if they get too close. Over the next decade, it will gradually get expanded, spotlights and guard towers will go up, and it will be invisibly reinforced with Infrastructure to keep supernaturals from passing through, but for the moment, even a gutsy mortal can cross with no more preparation than some forged papers or, at night, a blanket to throw over the barbed wire so you can climb over.
[B]Checkpoint Charlie[/B] -- the most famous crossing point, in the middle of downtown, and the busiest. A good place to cross if you've got good papers, but not good for sneaking through. There's an impromptu memorial on the Western side to all the people who have already been killed trying to cross -- already dozens, and soon to be hundreds. [B] The Bridge of Spies[/B] -- complete nonsense. It's just a crappy little bridge across the river Spree that happens to connect East and West Berlin. The Russians and Yanks like to exchange spies across this bridge in one of their absurd Cold War rituals. The rest of the time it's locked up and guarded from both sides -- probably the worst place to cross in the whole city.
[B]Gedachtniskirche/Memorial Church[/B] -- a pre-WWI Gothic church, blown to hell by the Allies in 1943, preserved as a memorial to man's inhumanity to man and all that. There's a hideous modernistic new church being built right next to it, and Germans like to point to it as if to say, "We weren't the only murderers back then, you know." It's conveniently located in the middle of the Ku'damm shopping street and near a U-Bahn stop, which makes it a great place to rest and have a smoke while shopping, and a great place to meet contacts.
[B]Salon Kitty[/B] -- cabaret, nightclub and brothel with a pre-war flair. Some people say it was the inspiration for the "Kit-Kat Club" in the movie Cabaret. During WWII, one of the Gestapo's bright boys had the idea of staffing it with spies to see what secrets people let slip in their pillow talk. The owner, "Kitty" was convinced to go along with the plan, a group of unusually clever prostitutes were trained in the necessary skills, and the whole place was wired for sound. It's said that Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich, among others, liked to go there for regular inspections, at which time the microphones were turned off. It's also said that the British found out about it and tapped into the surveillance system, so that intelligence analysts from both sides were listening in. And some people even say that the Russians slipped some of their own agents into the place as working girls! But who knows? In any case, the place was demolished by Allied bombs at the very end of the war. Kitty reopened it across the street a few years later, with nicer rooms and no microphones. It's one of the worst-kept secrets in Berlin that Kitty is a Demon, at least she is now, and she keeps a private room, the Unterwelt (Underworld) room in the back which is her own little slice of Hell.
[B]Teufelsberg/Devil Mountain[/B] -- it's no real mountain, but it [I]is[/I] the biggest hill in Berlin. The story goes that Hitler's favorite architect, Albrecht Speer, built an air defense facility here towards the end of the war that was so well-built the Allies couldn't blow it up -- so they decided to cover it up, with tens of thousands of pounds of rubble from all the bombing. Naturally the Yanks built a huge listening post on the top of it to spy on the Russians; just as naturally, there's a massive amount of Infrastructure up there that is well concealed. There's also a ski jump for use in winter, and a year-round carnival. Funny story, that: the carnival's Ferris wheel was discovered to improve reception for the NSA antenna further up the hill, so the carnival was subsidized to stay there year-round, offering cheap rides and listless shows whether there's an audience or not, in a bit of extremely flimsy cover. There are also rumors of tunnels leading down into the indestructible Nazi base, or even underground caverns beneath that. All you know for sure is that it's not a healthy place for Demon to poke around without a lot of friends along. Lots of people and not-people are watching that place.
Agencies & Rings
- The PC's Ring
- Penitents of the Long Clock—Moderately well knowing Ring with Integrator tendencies and a long view things; very concerned about human extinction
Plot Hooks & Notes
- The Night Hunters—Related to Steve's First Case; vampire like beings, inspire fear and mask their presence, repeatedly feed from the same victims it seems
- The Dream Haunter—A past case where what appeared to be Infrastructure hidden in an apartment's water tower induced recurring nightmares and gradual mechanical transformation in at least one of the residents
Demon Rules Cheat Sheet
- Cover (pg 155)
- You can use Cover instead of Primum as resistance to supernatural powers.
- You can use Spoof to fool anything that would reveal you are not human. (157)
- You can use Legend by spending an Aether and rolling your Cover. This allows you to fake having skills or merits appropriate to your cover, and gives yout he Impostor condition. (157)
- Going Loud: You can utterly destroy your cover in order to be incredibly powerful for a short time. (158)
- Compromise (159)
- A Compromise Roll is Wits+Manipulation
- Assuming demonic form is a compromise roll with a -3 penalty. Staying in your demonic form for more than a scene is another compromise roll, with a cumulative -1 modifier per scene.
- Some Embeds cause compromises, all exploits do. You can spend a willpower to avoid this for an exploit.
- Information about your true nature being revealed to humans THAT BELIEVE IT can cause Compromises. See the section for details.
- Taking actions grossly out of character for your cover cause compromise.
- You can investigate a Demon using Wits + Occult, requires a number of successes equal to their Cover, one day per roll.
- Compromise rolls are modified by the current strength of your Cover: 8-10 +2; 6-7+1; 4-5 +0; 2-3 -1; 1 -2.
- Compromise rolls can be modified by circumstances. If witnessed by an angel, it is penalized by the angel's Rank. If humans see an overt supernatural act, it is -2. If all witnesses are drunk/high, you have +1.
- Rules for Cover rolls are found on pg 161.
- Improve cover by living it (162) or via Pacts (163 & 286). Soul pacts require a DOT of Willpower. Lesser pacts require Points of willpower, and give Cover XP.
- Your Agenda gives you the appropriate condition at the start of each Chapter. You can gain the Beat once per chapter and Resolve it once per chapter, which removes the condition. You regain it at the start of the next chapter.
- Inquisitors are Prepared for Anything. Beat: Make someone question their assumptions or course of action. Resolve: Connect disparate facts with a leap of logic, or +3 to any mental skill roll.
- Integrators have Angel Empathy. Beat: Put the Ring at risk or make them suspicious of his motives. Resolve: Gain a +3 bonus to any roll to evade, outwit, persuade, or learn the bane/ban of an angel. This bonus does not apply to combat rolls made against angels, however.
- Saboteurs have An Eye For Disorder. Beat: Draw attention to yourself by destroying, disrupting, or destabilizing a system. Resolve: When performing an action intended to create chaos, take a +3 on the skill roll.
- Tempters tend to Know Someone. Beat: Delegate a task or a risky endeavor, so that you don't get your own hands dirty. Resolve: Gain a +3 bonus to a social roll where VIP status is the goal or would be a benefit.
- Conditions. New Conditions are described starting on pg. 167.
- This includes conditions like blown, hunted, impostor, etc.
- Special Demon Powers (274)
- Total Control. Rolls to ascertain a demon's true emotional state automatically fail.
- Natural Aptitude. Demons are fluent in all living languages and have eidetic memory.
- Other powers exist as well, and are described in this section. Such as Aetheric Resonance.
- The ability to make Pacts is described on 286.
- Glitches are described on 278. They are permanent or temporary supernatural flaws on your character.
- Gadgets are permanently useful devices that any Demon can make. They are described on pg. 282, and cost a DOT of willpower to create.
- Embedded gadgets use modified embeds and are subtle.
- Exploited gadgets are bizarre devices that use Exploits.
- Demonic Forms are how a demon can change into a biomechanical badass. They are described on 278.
- Demons in Demonic Form use different Conditions. See page 320.
- Captivated & Disoriented are on pg. 324.
- Ciphers are described on 367, with mechanical information on 230.
- When you gain a beat from your Agenda Condition, you may roll to advance your cipher.
- Advancing through your Cipher is supposed to help increase Primum?
- During the game, if you gain a beat in a scene involving angels, demons, stigmatics, or the God-Machine, the player makes a reflexive Intelligence + Wits roll. You can add your Primum if you are also following your Agenda.
- On a success, you may ask one of the following questions, which must be asked in order:
- Do I already know my next key?
- What attribute does my next key use?
- What category is my next key?
- What is my next key?
- On an exceptional success, you instead advance two questions.