Below is a small piece I wrote and submitted to Onyx Path a long while ago, not the best thing i’ve ever written and I heard nothing back about it but thought i’d post it here incase anyone fancies using it, some elements of this were eventually recycled into my Numenera game.
The Forgotten People
“You don’t recognise me do you? That’s okay, you’re not supposed to remember me, no-one does; if you believe nothing else that I say, please believe in two things, that once we were close, very close and that I am not mad.
‘What does this all mean?’ I can see your thoughts written in your eyes and I’m sure that, had the drug I slipped into your tea not already taken effect, you would be saying much the same thing. Don’t be afraid, I mean you no harm, once I have said my piece then you will never see me again and no doubt that this entire business, if you remember it at all, will seem like nothing more than a bad dream.
What does this all mean and how did it start? It started with odd things, small things happening, my online grocery order not being delivered, my driving licence going missing, it all seemed like coincidence at the time and only now, looking back, can I see the road that lead to the world forgetting me.”
A huge mechanism turns behind the skin of our world, directing the destiny of the planet and the human race; vast and unfathomable history clanks forward like a great engine slowly and inexorably turning towards some unknown end. The program that operates the world is not perfect, either through design or some external influence (some say human free will whilst others whisper of renegade fallen programs within the Machine itself), occasional errors or glitches occur in the system; in the grand scheme of things these glitches are a minor occurrence that register as no more than a brief blip on the radar of the God Machine, worthy of only brief consideration and a speedy correction, however to the people and places affected they can be devastating.
It is not known precisely what causes glitches in the system, however, they traditionally have a strange effect on either a person or a place in the world; typically these rare errors are focussed on a single person or a relatively small place, a modest residence for example, although there have been incidents where areas as large as a tower block have been affected.
Glitches – Rules
Supernatural Merit – Glitch (o)
Occasionally people fall through cracks in the God Machine’s programming; normally caused by an incredibly traumatic or near-death experience, the code that defines a person’s place in the God Machine’s grand scheme “skips a track” becoming foreign and alien to the rest of the program. Those people afflicted in this way have nicknamed themselves the Forgotten People or Glitches as their old relationships, friends, lovers and enemies, all begin to fall away from them.
In order to have any glitch related abilities a character must first possess this merit; possession of this merit grants +2 to any subterfuge rolls to avoid detection by the angelic servants of the God Machine or mortals and any such attempts to track them down suffer a corresponding -2 penalty. Glitches also do not show up on photographs or any form of recorded media, however, this merit does place heavy restrictions on the social merits that a glitch may possess.
Forgotten people may not possess the following merits: Allies, Alternate Identity, Anonymity, Barfly, Contacts, Fame, Fast-Talking, Fixer, Hobbyist Clique, Inspiring, Mentor, Mystery Cult Initiation, Resources (above level 1), Pusher, Retainer, Small Unit Tactics, Staff, Status, Striking Looks, True Friend.
Forgotten people may possess any other merits, including supernatural merits, although they may not be transformed into any form of other supernatural; whatever strange processes re-write the code of their being makes them immune to such attempts, for example, a vampire attempting to embrace a Forgotten Person would result in a dead person and a confused kindred (at best).
Forgotten People, despite their many disadvantages do have some abilities at their disposal, having a face that is almost instantly forgotten by mortals and servants of the God Machine can prove useful in a number of situations although it hardly compensates for the heartache of looking at a loved one and knowing that they do not recognise you and that their memory has compensated by papering over the crack of your existence as though you never were.
In order to take any of the following merits a character must first have the Glitch merit.
Glitch merit – Forgettable (o)
Mortals have a great deal of trouble remembering specifics concerning the person; anyone who interacted with a character possessing this merit will be unable to remember all but the vaguest details (rough height, weight, gender, etc) of their appearance.
Glitch merit – Hidden in Plain Sight (o)
A Forgotten Person with this merit has been affected to such an extent that, if they stop talking or interacting with a scene, then they seem to fade from the awareness of those around them.
Possessing this merit allows a character to make a wits + subterfuge roll, as long as they do not interact with the scene in any way that draws attention, then anyone wishing to interact with them must gain an equal or greater number of successes on a wits + composure roll, failure means that they simply fail to notice the character.
Glitch merit – Passcard (o)
With sufficient practice a Glitch can use their alien nature to bypass structures which are otherwise impassable for those still slaved to the God Machine’s program; by spending a willpower point the character can enter Twilight (following the normal rules as outline in the God Machine Chronicles) for the space of a single turn, at the end of the turn they immediately return to their normal state. Whilst not particularly useful in the long-term this ability can allow a character to pass through a wall or a solid barrier, any character who would remain encase or bisected by a solid object when the turn ends is shunted back to their start position and still loses the dot of willpower.
Glitch Merit – Forgotten People Contacts (o to ooooo)
Although they are unable to maintain normal relationships or groups of contacts due to their condition, on the rare occasions that Forgotten People meet they are generally sympathetic and attempt to maintain contact with each other. This merit functions as per the rules for the merit Contacts but represents contact details for other Forgotten People and can generally only be used to provide information of importance to the (small) Glitch community.
Supernaturals and Forgotten People
Supernaturals within the world of darkness (ie. Anyone with a supernatural template or possessing a supernatural merit) is unaffected by the any of the Glitch merits that involve perception or memory; please note that this does not include Angels or other servants of the God Machine since they are part of the program that has rejected the Forgotten People, although curiously Demons, having broken away from their programmed function, are able to perceive the Forgotten.
“I can see your eyelids fluttering, the dose is starting to wear off quicker than I thought; before I go Robert I’m going to put this photograph in your hand, you won’t know who it is and you’ll probably throw it away, but it’s our daughter, it’s Siann, she’s lost out there somewhere just like me, and I’m going to find her, whether you remember us or not.”