The Tetragramaphone

By Neel Krishnaswami (


One day, Vapula decided he was sick of his agents being bugged -- with listening devices, not unexpected failure modes -- and casually invented the tetragramaphone. It's a very simple device; it's more or less just a set of speakers that when turned on broadcasts the secret Name of God, distorted and backwards, over and over again.

No nonsentient listening device can that picks up a tetragramaphone broadcast bear to record this corruption of the Almighty's name, and consequently breaks. Tape recorders, microphones, telephones -- it doesn't matter how the recording is made; the listening device and the recording medium are both irrevocably ruined when they try to record a broadcast from the tetragramaphone.

Sentient listeners are affected as follows:

* Any human in the range of a tetragramaphone broadcast must make a Will roll each turn or lose check digit Mind hits, and any attempt to remember the details of any sounds they heard during that turn will fail.

* Angels must also make a Will roll each turn to 'tune out' the evil device's perverse mutterings, but don't suffer any mental damage from hearing it.

* Demons are immune, except for Habbalah. Habbalah must make a Will roll, and if they fail they go berserk with wrath. (Habbalah don't suffer any problems understanding what was said -- they just get angry.)

Demons typically use the tetragramaphone for a 'cone of silence' effect. Its utility is a little bit limited, however, since every turn it is on generates a point of Disturbance. (This accumulates normally -- after ten turns of operation there's a strength 10 disturbance.) Furthermore, when a demon turns on the device, it must make a d666 roll. On a Divine Intervention, the tetragramaphone breaks and the demon is struck with the Mute discord.


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