By Moe Lane


The Witnesses, the Observers, the Igors

The physicist swore underneath her breath as she returned from lunch: the afternoon looked to be nearly as frustrating as the morning. There was an obvious answer - she was sure of it - but it kept eluding her.

Her face blanched as she entered her office. While she was gone, someone had come in and cleaned. Worse, they had obviously disturbed her desk. From the looks of things, papers had been dropped on the floor and hastily put back in any sort of order. The scientist opened her mouth to start shouting - then noticed the title of one of the articles in the journal that she had meant to read for the last six months. She closed her mouth. Fifteen minutes later she was grinning. Two hours later she was still going through the implications (while a small part of her was mildly wondering how one said 'thank you' in Norwegian).

Down the hall, a nondescript man idly whistled as he pushed a broom around and waited for the chemist to go home.

Jean may micromanage, but he does know when to use a light touch. He may not be personally all that good at it, but he can see when it might be necessary.

That's why tools were invented in the first place: to do a specialized job better than one's own bare hands. The Irin are Jean's tools for delicate and precise work. The antithesis of the brute force approach, one of the Witnesses can slip into a particular scenario, quietly arrange matters so that any problems fix themselves and slip out again without anyone or anything (including the Symphony) noticing.

Except for the occasional dead body, of course. There are, after all, Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know.


The resonance for an Irin (plural 'Irin') is for interference: they can see it, compensate for it - and in some cases, provide it. A Witness is always an expert in at least one field of knowledge, and often knows the solution to the problem that those around her are fervently working on. She may not give them the answer, but she can make it much easier (or much harder) for them to work it out for themselves.


It is dissonant for an Irin to just give a human the answer to a problem: instead, the Witnesses must find a way for their charges to legitimately work it out on their own. They may act either overtly or covertly, but Jean did not intend for this Choir to do humanity's research for them. If a particular human cannot see the clues (or warning signs) placed in his or her path, so be it.

Manner and Appearance

Irin are natural mimics: they are careful to create the exact appearance and demeanor that will allow them to truly fit into a group. This goes beyond such simple concepts as 'nondescript', actually: after all, anything so paranoid as a demon will always look twice at the people that you wouldn't look twice at. They aren't as good as Mercurians at fitting in, but they aren't bad at it, either. A Witness is not emotionless, normally - but they usually are fairly sedate and calm. It isn't about them, after all.

In their celestial form, Irin appear as mathematical abstractions. An inspired mathematician might be able to adequately describe them (to other mathematicians, at least): others - say, someone who was a liberals arts major in college - would just see 'a bunch of pretty curves and some numbers and stuff'.

The major problem facing the Irin is frustration: they often have to fight the urge to scream at particularly obtuse humans - or, worse, give up and just tell the idiot the answer. Those that succumb on a regular basis (and they've all done it, at least once) are in imminent danger of Falling. If they do, they almost always end up working for Vapula as Regulators, tasked with imposing the Genius Archangel's vision upon the universe. The fact that none of them can agree on what that vision actually is never stops a Regulator.

Irin never see themselves as musical instruments: rather, they see themselves as the cases for those instruments.

Game Mechanics

With a successful resonance roll, an Irin may boost a human's skill in a particular science or Knowledge skill roll by the resonance roll's CD. The maximum bonus allowed is the lower of either the Witness' or the target's level in the target skill: Irin much prefer to work with experts in their field. This bonus is also only available in cases where the target is already working under a disadvantage of some kind. Finally, the Irin must find a way to provide this assistance without the target catching on: this is pretty much a GM call, but it should in general involve some sort of surreptitious behavior.

More Sophisticated Uses of Resonance

The Irin give, but can take away. By making a successful resonance roll at -2, they can reduce a target's skill level by the resonance roll's CD (allowable skills and limitations as above). The average Witness does not enjoy doing this, but they usually agree with Jean that there are some paths that humanity should not walk.

Irin in the Host

Jean has been using this Choir for millennia - but only began creating them in large numbers once it became clear just how dangerous Vapula really was. Today, they act as silent muses, hidden shepherds and preemptive agents of karma. There are things Jean wants humanity thinking about - and things that that he most assuredly does not. The Witnesses are a useful tool for accomplishing both goals without unnecessary bloodshed.

The Irin are not often seen serving other Archangels. Yves has some; so did Raphael, before her untimely death (they have since come back to Jean's service). Eli has been known to reward one or two of the Witnesses, as had Gabriel.

In non-canonical campaigns, the Archangel of Mending has shamelessly used her favored relationship with Jean to poach. For that matter, the Archangel of SCIENCE! would find this Choir highly useful... which is, apparently, why he makes them himself. How he does this is just another mystery of the fellow.

Irin of Creation (restricted): Eli wasn't one for taking Witnesses into his service, but was and is happy to reward Irin who were of assistance to them. As his usual reward is the ability to use their resonance without fear of disrupting the formation of a Tether, this is rarely an issue.

Irin of Divine Fire: Gabriel has no Irin in her ranks, but will reward the worthy with the ability to detect humans whose Cruelty would involve Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know. An Irin with this Attunement is not constrained by Gabriel's dissonance conditions, but that's really just a formality.

Irin of Lightning (restricted): Witnesses of Lightning can determine (with a successful Perception -3 roll) whether the object of their resonance is being affected by deliberate Infernal aid/interference.

Irin of Knowledge (restricted): There are a few Witnesses left with Raphael's old Attunement. They are able to assess a theory and determine the most likely way that later researchers will misinterpret it.

Irin of Destiny (restricted): The assistance of an Irin of Destiny will not interfere in the target's achievement of his or her Destiny.

Irin of Mending (restricted): Witnesses of Mending always know if a failed experiment is due to mechanical error. With a Perception roll at -2, they can also work out what the data should have been...

Irin of SCIENCE! (restricted): Identical to Jean's Attunement, except that the roll will detect any supernatural interference. However, his Irin are not able to hinder a human researcher's skill rolls via the use of their resonance.


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