Deviant: The Renegades is a Chronicles of Darkness game about revenge - both achieving it and what it costs to achieve it. It’s about damaged, broken people reclaiming an element of their lives from those who took them, and taking on all others who want to control them. It’s also about belonging and isolation - the need for the former and the imposition of the latter.
The “Remade”, or “Broken”, are people who have suffered a massive life-changing event [to put it lightly]- their “Divergence”. Through some means they have been broken on a spiritual level and their very soul has been damaged. Sometimes by chance or environment, often this is the work of their Progenitor, the twisted instigator of their Divergence. Their Progenitor may have acted out of scientific curiosity, occult ritual, or they may have just had the twisted desire to alter a person. Even if their experiment is a success, to the Remade it is an inhumane act that has torn apart their life. After this experience, your characters cope with being isolated from others due to the changes wrought upon them and grapple with their deep-seated need for revenge upon those who stole their lives. It’s pretty intense.
The mechanics for Deviant will be familiar to anyone who’s played a Chronicles of Darkness game. I found the base rules well-presented and very clear. Deviant is a die pool system, where a number of d10s are rolled for each dot on the character sheet the player has in two (sometimes one) relevant characteristics. Anything 8 or higher counts as a success and on routine tasks only one success is needed. Situational modifiers, gear, and wounds all add or subtract dice to represent relative difficulty of a task.
When it comes to rules and tone, I’m a firm believer in the idea that the rules support the story and guide what story is intended to be told. If you have a robust social conflict mechanic but spartan physical combat one, then my assumption is you intend the game to be about intrigue, interpersonal relationships, and so on. If you say you want your game to be about a certain topic, or to promote a certain element, then I like it when there are mechanics to support that. Vampire wouldn’t be the same without The Beast and a Humanity score, for example. Deviant uses its mechanics to push home the revenge story narrative, with all its consequences.
Deviant: The Renegades is an exciting game. It’s a very cool entry into the Chronicles of Darkness series, covering horror ground previously untread. It has solid mechanics designed to support its particular narrative and a set of powers allowing players to create truly unique protagonists. It covers its themes and subjects responsibly and respectfully and I’m very eager to get this to the table and see what my players come up with.
Full review can be found below: