Every Demon starts with Propulsion in Demon Form. It is difficult and limited to get additional Propulsions, but not impossible.

Propulsions are (as the name suggests) movement abilities, though many of them have other side benefits. For Examples include Phasing, Teleportation or Wings.

Plasma Drive is a highly defensive ability.

Plasma Drive (paraphrased and summarised from page 204 of Demon the Descent)

  • Defence does not lower when attacked by multiple opponents in the round.
  • +2 Defence against if fighting only a single opponent
  • Apply Defence against ranged attacks
  • Spend 1 Aether, as a reflexive action to take a Charge action without loosing Defence

Before my last game (a one day, 3 chapter, 10 hour one-shot) I looked at it and thought: "Seems a bit Overpowered. I won't do anything about it now, we'll see how it goes in play." One of my players express a sentiment along the lines of "It would be stupid not to take plasma drive." In the end I don't think he took it, as another player had it as a core part of his build, and the first player thought it better to increase the variety of what the party could do.

On observing it in play, I found the character who took it was untouchable. His defence was huge -- which is easier to do after the God Machine Rules Update. Even combat optimised angel could only get above a chance die to hit him by spending a willpower and/or several essence. To be fair, the character did have a few other defensive abilities like Reality Reinforcement (blocks use of Angel Numina) -- which stopped some of the angels big guns from coming out. As well as Inhuman Reflexes which is a additional +2 to Defence.

I figure I can house-rule/homebrew it into two abilities Removing the hard to get apply defence against guns -- almost nothing in nwod lets you do this, so I figure getting to do this shouldn't also come with a bunch of other great abilities

Plasma Drive (Propulsion)

  • Defence does not lower when attacked by multiple opponents in the round.
  • +2 Defence against if fighting only a single opponent
  • Spend 1 Aether, as a reflexive action to take a Charge action without loosing Defence

Bullet Time (Modification)

Sometimes God Machine Operatives have to act in threat rich environments. Whether they are messengers carrying messages across viciously contested battlefields, or Destroyers required to assault heavily entrenched and prepared foes. The God-Machine has advanced ballistics tracking and reaction capacity installed into such Angels. For them it is as easy to react to a super-sonic bullet as it is to a gang banger with a baseball bat.

  • Apply Defence against ranged attacks

Does this seem reasonable, and fitting?

Has anyone else had experience with the Plasma Drive propulsion? Did you house-rule it?

Maybe it is actually less powerful than I think, or is more in-line with the other Propulsions.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hey! Congrats on the site's first and only Tumbleweed badge! \$\endgroup\$
    – Ernir
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


Splitting it up doesn't seem necessary or sufficient. Modifications are cheap, and a player who sees Plasma Drive as a dominant strategy will immediately take that Modification and not feel at all stymied. I say don't split it up.

You only get one Propulsion, and the only way to get another one is to take the third dot in a Merit style chain. That means that a player who takes this Propulsion really wants to not get hit by attacks. They want it more than they want flight, teleportation, ranged grapple, or phasing. This sacrifice shouldn't be invalidated by splitting it up. Propulsions are supposed to be powerful.

After all, there are quite a few ways to affect someone with a high Defense:

  • Attack their allies or intangible resources
  • Hit them with a non-physical effect like a Social or Mental attack
  • Hit them with a physical attack that doesn't care about defense, like a trap or an area or environmental attack.
  • Remove their Defense with Surprise
  • Reduce or remove their Defense with merits like Cheap Shot, Heavy Weapons Style 2, or Light Weapons Style
  • Apply the Blinded, Drugged, Immobilized, Leg Wrack, and Stunned Tilts to reduce or remove their Defense
  • Combine the above with a grapple; you only need to hit them once and afterward you can damage them without Defense entering the roll. You can even Hold them to remove their Defense for other attackers.

If you do any of the above (and you should) you should also give the PC chances to show off their massive Defense so that they don't feel that their expensive choice of Propulsion was wasted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't address the issue that Plasma Drive is not a movement ability. But nor does my solution of breaking it up. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 0:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe that Plasma Drive is meant to represent maneuverability; it doesn't provide speed, only quick turns and dodges. I imagine a demon with glowing blue ducts all over its body, firing like retrorockets as it dodges attacks and all firing in the same direction as it charges. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 3:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you had any direct experience using it in its current form? (it is fine if the answer is no, I just want to know if this is theory based or practice based) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't. It's theory-based. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to the above answer: One option would also be to have fights in places where the players can't maneuver (ventilation shafts as example). This also negates defense. I had a problem with a mage some time back who went FULL defense and was near unhitable and used similar tactics to make it also dangerous to him (or swarm tactics) \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas E.
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 11:17

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