Lost Pages: Deus Ex Machina

“I’ll take the damn pills when you can prove to me I’m wrong about the Internet. I’m not saying that computers are evil, I’m not pretending to be some tabloid TV version of a fake Amish. I’m saying that the end result of a worldwide network has such a high potential to be evil that it’s safer to assume that it is. One cell isn’t evil, but you get enough of them together and proliferating – that’s right, I can still use precise vocabulary – and it’s a cancerous growth. No, I didn’t know your brother was in hospital for chemo. I’m sorry about that. But knowledge is power and when you hook enough of it together…”
-Secure ward, Highcroft Psychiatric Hospital

“I’m requesting leave for personal reasons. I’m starting to see the possibilities in the delusions of one of my patients. You look at the faces people using tablets, laptops, smartphones – it’s like the internet is sucking their souls out. I’ll take time out on a nice beach for a week, just with a normal non-smart cellphone. Please confirm by written memo or verbally – I’m switching my desktop off.”
– Main office, Highcroft Psychiatric Hospital, 2 hours later

The God in the Machine, or Deus ex Machina is a form of the Outer God Nyarlathotep which manifests itself as a purely digital form. It is a natural progression for Nyarlathotep to take an avatar which exists within communication lines; radio waves, telephone and Internet connections. The deity’s primary purpose is as the Messenger. In some cases, it is the only interface a deity or Great Old One might have with the rest of the universe. Nyarlathotep also acts as a go-between for the rest of the Gods, whose mutual hostility might prevent the exchange of information. The tendency of humans to create grid computing-based projects, where world-wide machines can act as nodes in the network to share computing time and power could almost be taken as an indication of a malign gestalt entity influencing our altruism for the wrong ends. Nyarlathotep has access to all areas of alien metascience (or ‘magic’), which especial influence over servitor races and Mythos creatures. In many cases, it is able to exercise more control over them than their putative masters.

To simplify this relationship, who would you be more scared of: your ultimate boss, who stays in the head office, only issues occasional directives and stays out of sight, or the human resources officer who has all the powers of hiring/firing/job conditions, shows up anywhere and at any time without warning, and is able to coerce you into carrying out their personal orders?

In most case, humans encounter the Deus ex Machina when it manifests itself within a LAN network that has access to outside systems it will then float up and down the Internet at will, while having a temporary home base to return to. It has a definite personality, with desires, preferences and a deeply sick sense of humour. It amuses itself hacking web pages, altering information posted, posting false completely false information or what is potentially worse, posting suppressed but true classified information. It takes a delight in the proliferation of conspiracy theories. The members of the Deus ex Machina cult tend to be technofreaks or neo-pagans. The cult attracts the outsiders and the confused, those looking for meaning in their lives and those looking for power.

It is certain that cult cells exist across the world; wherever the flow of information is accessed. The cult members maintain mailing lists and discussion groups on line – they also recruit through these methods.

The Deus Ex Machina, Mask of Nyarlathotep
STR n/a
CON n/a
SIZ n/a
INT 86
POW 100
DEX 20

Damage Bonus: None – non-physical form

Weapons: Electric Shock 60% 1d3
Strobe Display 85%/50% inducing seizure in epileptic/non-epileptic targets, CON
check to avoid unconsciousness. 1d3 contusion damage

Armour: Individual server casings; 1d8 points

Spells: This is a mask of Nyarlathotep, as with the book description he knows all Mythos spells as needed.

Skills: World of Warcraft 97%

Sanity Loss: 0/1 to deal with the Deus Ex Machina in this form.
1/1d4 if you know that it is a form of Nyalathotep

The Avatar Project is intended to provide a permanent physical base for the entity by constructing a purely neural computer. Unfortunately for certain people, current technology hasn’t kept up as fast as they’d have liked so optical computer chips have had to be replaced with experiments using bioware. The hard drive lattice is constructed from neurons harvested from human brain tissue. The intention is to merge the information entity with the lattice entity, allowing the digital information to utilise the neural network as an infinitely flexible, fast and switchable system. Owing to the classic sci-fi preferences of the cultist, the titanium shell enclosing the biomatter and its preservation fluids has been shaped to appear as the false Maria robot from Metropolis. They may be evil…but you can’t fault their style.

The Avatar Made Flesh, Permanent Physical Manifestation of Nyarlathotep
STR 16
CON 3
SIZ 12
INT 86
POW 20
DEX 10
HP 15

Damage Bonus: +1d4

Weapons: Fist 70%, 1d8; Electric Shock 75%, 1d3. Other weapons require retrofitting the shell to hold and use them, but can be done.

Armour: Titanium fluid-filled shell, 15 points

Spells: Can cast all Mythos spells except those that require movement; the shell currently precludes free movement.

Sanity Loss: 1d3/1d6 to see the Avatar

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