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Do you know what you're doing?
Premise: From the view of the Invisible Clergy, the vast majority of individuals are not aligned with any one Archetype above the others. On the other end of the spectrum are those who choose sides, consciously channeling the statosphere. Neither of these groups is of much concern to the Room of Bad Influences.
What does concern the Room is unconscious avatars. Because they follow a path without any real intention, they’re like cosmic jay-walkers – on the road, but without a car and ignorant of the rules. In short, they are the “hanging chads” of the statosphere. When it comes to tallying the votes, the Room of Bad Influences just wants the count to go a little smoother.
Agenda: The Room of Bad Influence turns up the contrast dial on agents of the Invisible Clergy. Specifically, it drags avatars along a logical extension of their Archetype’s path until they either commit themselves or walk away.
Agents might offer membership in a group compatible with the target’s Archetype, or just confront them with the “fork in the road” right off the bat. It’s a matter of the individual agent’s style. No matter what choice is made, the target becomes easier to fit into the cosmic puzzle, either as a common individual, a willful agent of their old Archetype, or a devotee of a diametrically opposed ideal.
Those who leave the Room join its ranks of alumni – a loose network of contacts that an agent can call upon. A few who choose to break with their Archetype also choose to stay on and become agents of the Room, replacing the current one. Individual agents specialize in avatars of a single Archetype - the one they followed before they entered the room. Agents may also join the Room through their own affinity, though the door only opens to ex-avatars who already separated from their former Archetypes of their own free will and accord.
Appearance: The Room of Bad Influences unusual in that, while there is a Commons, each agent has their own sub-Room, known as their “Office.” Although agents have a high burnout rate (those listed below are the two with the most tenure), there the Room only employs one agent associated with an Archetype at any point in time. Potentially, the Room could maintain an Office for each member of the Invisible Clergy, but there are only a handful of agents at any given moment. Each agent finds his Office remodeled to suit to his taste and background. The ex-Healer works from an emergency room, a disillusioned Scholar from a library, a resigned Judge from a courtroom, etc. Turnover is high, so the mix of active Offices can vary widely.
All Offices have an inner door to the Commons, though only one Office can open to it at any point in time. While the door is open, the Commons seems like a natural extension of the exposed Office, and all other Office doors leading to the Commons are locked. Once the door is closed, the Commons becomes a neutral space – an unstable series of labyrinthine hallways, lined by 333 doors. Archetype symbols decorate active Offices, which are the only ones that can be opened. It is an open question if the others exist at all until they take on an agent. (Only a handful of agents are employed at a time, so most doors are locked and undecorated.)
There is one exception: at the only dead end in the ever-changing maze is the 333rd door, which is decorated by an Omega-shaped knocker with an Alpha on either side. The door is always locked.
Once any Office door is opened, the Commons transforms to align with the exposed Office and all other doors disappear. Anyone wandering the hallways when a door is opened finds themselves standing in the transformed Commons, whatever it may have become.
Renunciation: A Fork in the Road
The nature of this trial varies widely according to the Archetype. This often involves the avatar’s family. It always pits the avatar’s morals against the path they follow.
Healers are must choose to save people who have tortured and murdered their loved ones, or to let them die. Warriors are made to turn their wrath on people they know are innocents, or members of their own family. Kings are made to choose between the welfare of a those they love (or a great many people) and that of their fledgling Kingdom. Those who decide to do what is morally right avoid the inner test and leave the room as normal citizens of the cosmos.
The consequences of choosing their path over their ethics invariably require a Stress check on a relevant gauge for the challenge (default to Self). If the avatar fails the check, not only do they gain a Failed notch in that gauge, they also become a conscious avatar of an opposing Archetype, which becomes their obsession skill. (Masterless Men might turn into Servants; Healers into Stalkers; Outsiders into Two-Faced Men; etc.) Given time for introspection, this change imposes a Rank-2 Self check.
Only those who face the trial and succeed leave the Room as conscious avatars of Archetype they entered with. They gain a Hardened notch in the relevant gauge and a powerful insight into their Archetype and the nature of their power -- adding 11% and an obsession to their Avatar skill, but causing a Rank-4 Unnatural check. Over the centuries, several of these alums have gone on to become godwalkers.
If the target dies as a result of his choice, his psyche is adjusted as usual and he wakes up bloodied, but unharmed on the floor of his home.
Morality Play: The Room can turn a tough choice into a true crisis of conscience. No matter how callous a target is, the situation they face in the Room will induce a Stress check. The victims in the scenario are conjurations of the Room, unless the agent can get them to enter as well.
Private Office: An agent may enter his Office through any portal associated with its Archetype. The ex-Healer may enter through any hospital, pharmacy, or infirmary door. The former Warrior travels freely through any military-operated building or tent, or even military vehicles. Although any agent may traverse the Commons to an active Office and exit through its appropriate portal, this only works for leaving the Room. An agent can only enter through his own Office. Usually it is the Room, not the agent that decides where an exit leads. The inner doors to the Commons do not have locks.
One of Us: Inside his own Office, the agent can roll his Soul stat to manifest any of the four channels of the appropriate Archetype. These abilities are confined to his Office and the Commons while his door is open; they cannot affect the outside world at all. When the agent leaves his Office, any lasting benefits are lost until he returns. (eg: any Merchant transactions made in the office are un-made when either party leaves, dead or alive; a Messenger’s information-gathering only works on subjects inside the Room.) Channels that change the agent, but do not proivde a significant benefit (eg: the Mystic Hermaphrodite’s gender changes) do carry over.
Dossier: When the Room notices a target for a given agent, it manifests a file on their background and experience following their Archetype. When the target leaves the room, these files are entered into that individual agent’s alumni registry. The files are always up to date, and if the agent leaves the Room carrying a file, he arrives through the doorway closest to that alum. Similarly, by dialing the dossier’s file number on the Office phone the agent can connect to the phone nearest to the subject.
The Talk and The Walk: Agents specialize in specific universal Archtypes, not regions or cultures. They all have the ability to communicate in any language. A closet in their Office also contains any and all appropriate uniforms or casual dress to fit in with their current target. Specialized equipment is often found in the Commons when their Office’s door is opened.
Making the World Go ‘Round: Each Office provides for its agent according to its own rules. The King’s agent is just plain rich; the Savage’s might have something to barter with, but are shit-out-of-luck on currency. Most are somewhere in the middle.
Favor of the Gods: Whenever an agent makes a roll that is under his Soul stat, he has the option of raising or lowering that roll by exactly 10.
Agent: John Stevens
John Stevens used to be a Navy SEAL. He also used to be a Warrior. He was brought into the Room during the Afghan War, ordered to interrogate a Taliban leader by torturing his family. Instead, he shot the ranking officer of the operation, and took his place as the Room’s fallen Warrior. Currently, he targets military-types. His attention does not extend to the less literal followers of the Warrior, and he would not really know how to deal with them.
Mimicking his predecessor, John presents himself as some super-elite unit of his target’s military, paramilitary, or police force. His favorite methods involve ordering his mark to torture a conjured young child related to some “evil” person. Twice he has presented himself as a Hamas operative trying to get a young jihadi to blow himself up in an Office-full of conjured women and children.
Time on this job has been hard for John, and though he is only 23, he looks to be in his mid-thirties. John has a habit of walking into other Offices uninvited and showing up in the Commons when other agents open their doors. This happens far more often than they’d like, and John seems to relish the other agents’ unease at coming upon him.
A little below the surface, John has been very lonely since joining the Room and is trying to make contact with the others any way he can. So far he’s encountered a Has-Been King, two Sold-Out Savages, and a Heartless Healer (Dr. Banks, below). Of all the agents, he is the most likely to maintain contact with his alumni (and to visit a brothel). He prefers the ones who step off the path intentionally over those who leave the room as avatars.
John Stevens, Drill Sergeant Deserter
Personality: (Leo) Large and in charge.
Obsession: Purging the weak and corrupt element and, hopefully, making them stronger.
Wound Points: 70
Rage Stimulus: Rapists. A suburban team of jocks took a couple of rounds with his older sister when John was in junior high.
Fear Stimulus: (Self) Being on the “wrong” side.
Noble Stimulus: Acts of Conscience.
Body: 70 (Imposing)
Speed: 60 (Slick)
Mind: 55 (Tunnel Vision)
Soul: 55 (Apathetic)
Body Skills: Sexual Aerobics (General Athletics) 45%, Police Brutality (Struggle) 45%, Hold Your Breath 10%
Speed Skills: Dodge 35%, Off-Road Driving 35%, Initiative 50%, License to Kill (Firearms) 45%
Mind Skills: General Education 25%, Conceal 35%, Notice 40%
Soul Skills: Spread Morale (Charm) 25%, Bluff (Lie) 35%, Commanding Presence 50%
Violence: 5 hard / 2 failed
Unnatural: 5 hard / 1 failed
Helplessness: 1 hard / 0 failed
Isolation: 1 hard / 3 failed
Self: 2 hard / 0 failed
Notes: As an agent of the Room of Bad Influences, he has all the powers listed above.
Possessions: The Room doesn’t pay John much – he has a maximum of $234 when he leaves the room. He does, however, have a never-ending supply of MREs to consume and more guns, licenses and badges than you can shake a stick at. Also, bullet proof vests and body armor of all sorts.
Personality: Wistful, sentimental, detached and resigned. He’s not a sociopath yet, but he’s damn close.
Obsession: Cyrus keeps his feelings at too much of a distance to have an obsession.
Wound Points: 50
Rage Stimulus: Zealots and (to a lesser extent) idealists.
Fear Stimulus: (Helplessness) Close, honest relationships, particularly with women. (Emotional attachment made him vulnerable to the horror of the world)
Noble Stimulus: Cold, reasoned professional ethics.
Body: 50 (Weathered)
Speed: 50 (Nimble)
Mind: 75 (Deductive)
Soul: 65 (Cynical)
Body Skills: General Athletics 15%, Struggle 25% , Hold Your Liquor 40%
Speed Skills: Dodge 15%, Ambulance Driver 35%, Initiative 25%, Misuse Medical Instruments (Melee) 20%
Mind Skills: General Education 55%, Conceal 15%, Notice 45%, Medicine 55%
Soul Skills: Bedside Manner (Charm) 25%, Boldface Lies (Lie) 35%, Doctor’s Orders (Persuasion) 50%
Violence: 10 hard / 2 failed
Unnatural: 7 hard / 1 failed
Helplessness: 8 hard / 3 failed
Isolation: 5 hard / 0 failed
Self: 2 hard / 2 failed
Notes: As an agent of the Room of Bad Influences, he has all the powers listed above.
Possessions: Cyrus has a handful of credit cards that never come due, but never has more than $57 in cash. An old-school medicine bad with everything a GP might need, including basic surgical tools. There is always a full bottle of single malt scotch in one of his Office drawers, and the latest medical journals somehow find their way to his desk. The Room has also provided him with a key that starts any ambulance and a name tag that every hospital recognizes as their own.
Menzoa | profile | Feb 08, 04 | 2:42 pm
All fixed up and final... the other two previous version can be deleted at any time. I'm taking my brain back from this one and going home.
Menzoa | profile | Feb 08, 04 | 2:43 pm
Note that agents are a bit less powerful than most, I'd think -- "Global" instead of "Cosmic." However, keep in mind that they are not targeting those in the underground. In fact, because the Room is interested in unconscious avatars, their targets are almost entirely drawn from mainstreeam society...
Menzoa | profile | Feb 10, 04 | 1:30 am
I like. Just one question: Each agent's office is appropriate to the archetpe they once were. I can get the office for True Kings, and Warriors, and Fools. But what's the office for the Mystic Hermaphrodite?
MikeONeal | profile | Feb 16, 04 | 11:34 am
Well, I'd assume the term "post-op" applies very heavily. In all likelihood, most of that Office's spontaneous agents are natural hermaphrodites who choose a gender and attempt to live a single, consistant identity.
Menzoa | profile | Feb 16, 04 | 11:11 pm
Given the theory running around the list that Rooms are produced by an Archetype's fall from grace, this one might be the one that renounces the Compte from the Last Man, to the First Man when the cosmos re-incarnates.
Menzoa | profile | Feb 17, 04 | 1:08 am
Oops. I wasn't exactly clear enough. I didn't mean who fills the office of the Mystic Hermaphrodite. I meant the actual office of the Mystic Hermaphrodite. What does it look like? What does it provide to its agent?
MikeONeal | profile | Feb 20, 04 | 6:48 am
The structure of the Office fits its agent, so you'd have to figure out who you have working there before I can suggest what it would look like. Hell, given its Archetype, this one might even take on a different look after each renunciation.
Menzoa | profile | Feb 20, 04 | 1:28 pm
Or maybe you were talking about a physical location.
Menzoa | profile | Feb 20, 04 | 4:35 pm
Thanks. That answers my question.
MikeONeal | profile | Feb 20, 04 | 5:52 pm