- Informal Titles: Machinists, Techies
Now that is a beautiful piece of work!
We live in an ordered universe, one defined by coherent laws and systems. Since Newton’s time, people have viewed the universe as the machine, a perfect and precise clockwork, predictable and orderly. Some people find this a cause for despair, feeling that they are doomed to be crushed beneath the gears of the universe.
The Ambassadors to the Machine know better. The universe is a beautiful and wondrous thing, awe-inspiring in its vastness and fascinating in its complexity. How can someone look up at the stars and not feel awe at the vastness of space? How can someone not look upon a rainbow and admire not just its beauty, but also the dance of light and water that brought it into being? How can someone look upon the incredible complexity of the miracle that is life and not be amazed? The universe is a wondrous place, and knowing how it works just makes it even more beautiful.
And that is perhaps the greatest miracle; the universe can be known. Mankind can comprehend the universe in all its subtleties, and with this knowledge they can work wonders that can improve the lives of millions. Of course, those same tools and machines can destroy cities as well as feed them, but the Hopeful have never been pessimists. The Techies know that the machines and tools are an extension of man’s will, and strive to make sure those tools are used for noble ends. The Ambassadors to the Machine take a little bit of the universe into their souls and thus take upon them the mantle of machines; extensions of human will built upon the system of the universe.
Marks and RequirementsEdit
One would assume that the Enlightened who join this Embassy are extreme technophiles, obsessed with the new, the sleek, and the shiny. One would mostly be right. The aesthetics of this Embassy have changed multiple times, even over the short time since the Release, and, typically, the best way to judge what they were was to look at the sci-fi at the time. The current dominant is very much the sleek, post-cyberpunk, white look which is probably best described as iPrincess. Regalia is tight without being gratuitous, rounded, and often hard, not deforming to the touch, like an outer carapace. Unusual eye colours are the norm for Machinists; greyish white, purple, and just-having-the-entire-eye-be-a-metal-globe are all common. Purple hair, too, is not uncommon. The skin itself is different from the untransformed form; it is slightly cool to the touch, and often has tattoo-like lights shining through the skin, usually in blue or green.
There is, however, another school, which has remained since the Release. These ones are less about the rampant technophilia of the more common ones, and more about machine as function. These self-described Wrench Wenches and Hammer Men take pride in their apron-like armour, oil-covered Reglia, and often bouncy demeanour.
Every Machinist is an excellent craftsman, and treats her tools with loving care. The required Attribute for the Embassy is Dexterity, and its required Skill is Craft.
Note: The mechanics refer several times to the concept of a machine. For the purposes of this Embassy, a machine is a tool or object with multiple moving parts integral to their function, specifically designed to fulfil a purpose by human or otherwise sapient beings. Moreover, for any dice bonuses or special effects granted by these powers to apply, the primary function of such a machine must be derived from mundane, mechanical principles, or from the Light. An engine with parts made from a magically created frictionless material is acceptable; a device which spins to collect ambient heat and converts it into some unnatural source of energy is not.
The Secretary has a natural intuition for systems and technology. She never takes a penalty on unfamiliar applications of a skill when using, repairing, or analyzing a complex piece of technology (this includes electronics and any mechanical device that has more than one moving part). While an ordinary person may take a penalty for using Computer for both Linux and Windows, or have a hard time applying Drive to handling a motorcycle, driving a big rig, flying a helicopter, or landing a space shuttle the Princess does not. In addition, once per scene the Princess can add her Sensitivity (minimum bonus of +1) to any single roll involving repairing, building, or using a complex technological device.
An interesting side effect of this ability is that when a Secretary watches a machine in use, or tries to use it herself, she will instantly notice if the machine functions on something other than natural principles, such as a Werewolf's fetish or a Genius's Wonders. The blind spot in the Princess' intuitive understanding stands out like neon pink dreadlocks at a lawyer convention.
Rise and FallingEdit
The rise and fall of a piston as it converts heat and energy into productive work is something that is truly wonderful to watch. The Machinist can emulate this. When Transformed, and spending a point of Willpower to add to a dicepool involving machines, she can instead choose to convert it into a single automatic success. This counts before the dice are rolled; as a result, in an uncontested roll, she can always ensure that she succeeds. Such predictability comes at a cost, though. Dicepools where this ability are used don't count the automatic success towards the five needed for an exceptional success, as the spark of brilliance is directed towards not failing rather than exceeding.
Depths of LongingEdit
Machines long to be used, and, moreover, they long to be used correctly. The Machinist can aid in this. With the expenditure of a Willpower point, she can "lend" another individual her dots in Crafts, Computer, Science, Medicine or Drive. For the rest of the scene, when using a machine in a skill-check the person she lends to may use her skills, instead of their own; if their own are higher, they simply get a +1 bonus. The Princess does not lose access to the skills; one of the wonderful things about machinery is how it saves labour, and allows division of tasks, after all.
The Consul's intuitive grasp of technology lets her hone a tool to perfection. She spends a turn working on a machine (forgoing Defense, if in combat), then spends 1 Wisp and rolls Intelligence + Inner Light. If she succeeds, she adds her Sensitivity to the machine's equipment bonus for anyone who uses it, for the rest of the scene. On an exceptional success, the bonus remains for a full hour.
Watch in AweEdit
With the expenditure of a Wisp, the Machinist can grant another person the power of Rise and Falling to ensure success with machines. For the rest of the scene, the beneficiary can choose to add 1 automatic success, instead of 3 dice, when spending Willpower on a roll involving machines. As with Rise and Falling, the automatic success does not count towards the five needed for an exceptional success.
The most beautiful thing you can do with a machine is to build one, to encode your understanding of the world into a device that anyone can use to enhance their lives. An Ambassador can create machines that draw on the Light directly, without the touch of one illuminated. Magnum Opus nearly duplicates the Charm Bequeath with the upgrade Charged; it differs in three respects: Firstly the dicepool becomes Dexterity + Crafts, Invocations may be applied as usual. Secondly the Machinists can make only machines based on Charms they know, though they do not need to quest through their Crawlspace to do so. But most importantly, a Techie’s creations can be used by anyone, they have only one form and do not need to be Transformed to function. They are undeniably magical Bequests powered by the Light, but their magic responds to anyone who presses the buttons. (The rule limiting some Bequests to Princesses still applies.)
The final form of these Bequests depends both on the Ambassador’s personal style and the Charm within. A simple Charm might require nothing more than an on off switch, but a complicated Charm might be covered in toggles or have a complicated computer interface and come with a thick user manual. As a general rule any Charm in which the user has options for how to invoke it (such as Phantom where the user may choose which image they wish to create) or is highly dependent on external factors (such as Balm, which depends on which injuries one wishes to heal) can be considered to require a complicated interface. Anyone but other Techies (and other people with a power like Calling Calling that allows the use of unfamiliar technology) suffers a -3 penalty to use Bequests with a complicated interface unless they have a specialty along the lines of "Ambassador Eriko's Medicine Engines".
Drawback: Aside from the activation cost of 1 Wisp/roll and a dot of Willpower, as normal for the creation of a Bequest, all the Ambassador’s machines have an Intimate sympathetic connection to her in both her forms; such is the bond between the craftsman and her creations. The sympathetic connection is not vital to the functioning of the device, it’s actually irrelevant, but it is exceptionally hard to remove. Most magic which dampens sympathetic connections will not make a dent, and anything powerful enough to remove the connection would probably destroy the Bequest and hurt the Ambassador.