Shifting from a human form and trappings into a demonic one is liberating and an act of simple will on the flesh that holds the demon together. Free will allows the demon to change between human form and demonic form whenever she wishes, though the transition between states is not always completely without effort. Demons are aware that changing into demonic form is risky and have schooled themselves to change in different ways depending on the situation. Demons are capable of fully transforming into their natural state, or only adopting select traits for more delicate procedures. The Unchained have also developed a way to change in an emergency and shred their mortal Cover, but gain extraordinary benefits from doing so. They call it “going loud” and they only employ it in a worst-case scenario.
Changing into demonic form requires very little effort. The demon can change into her demonic form as a reflexive action. When she does, she assumes every aspect of the form and becomes the horror that was once her natural state of being. The human form is shed and the demon’s Primum performs instinctive repairs on itself. The demon heals lethal or bashing damage equal to her Primum rating, starting with the rightmost health box upon changing into her demonic form. Any Tilts relating to a bodily injury, such as Arm Wrack, are removed.
When the demon shifts into her demonic form, she is more attuned to the Aether around her. She can draw in the little bits of processes and mechanisms floating about within the air to fuel her without much conscious effort. The Unchained gains a number of Aether equal to her Primum on her initial transformation into demonic form. Because she is so attuned to the Aether, she can never truly run out of it. Whenever her Aether is reduced to zero, the player can roll Primum, and each success gains the demon one Aether (minimum 1, even if the roll fails).
Most demonic forms are obviously not human and would cause any onlooker to be terrified by the change. Demons try not to change in front of an audience, and more often than not are only changing when they are dealing with something equally terrifying. Regardless of the presence of onlookers, manifesting powers reminiscent of the God-Machine draws its attention and could compromise the demon’s Cover. Each time the demon assumes her demonic form, the player must make a compromise roll at a –3 penalty. Any Conditions that are gained from the result of this roll are applied after the demon reverts back to her human form. The longer the demon stays in her demonic form, the more attention she draws to herself. Each scene the demon remains in demonic form, the player must make an additional compromise roll with an extra cumulative –1 penalty for each compromise roll made for this reason. This penalty is in addition to the –3 penalty
from changing into demonic form in the first place.
Returning to the human guise is not natural and requires concentration and effort on the demon’s part. She must pull the bits and pieces that comprised her Cover back together again and shape them around her demonic form to resume being human again. The demon remains in her demonic form until the player spends one Aether to return to the demon’s cover identity as an instant action. If the demon has more than one Cover identity, the player chooses which one the demon returns to. A Cover identity that was suffering from a bodily injury Tilt still has that problem when the demon returns to her human form.
As described on p. 195, a demon can completely destroy her Cover in a moment of need to transform into her demonic form. This form change is different from a normal change in that it lasts for the scene and the demon is unable to reassume her human form at will. Unless the demon has another Cover that she can use, she is stuck in her demonic form and considered Burned until a new Cover can be found. Going loud allows the demon to completely heal any lethal or bashing damage and shrug off any Tilts affecting her. In addition to this, when the demon goes loud, her current Cover is lost; she replenishes all her Aether, her Primum is set to 10, and she gains access to every Embed her Incarnation gives her affinity for along with all Exploits. Changing this way does not require a normal compromise roll, since it constitutes the ultimate compromise of completely destroying the demon’s current Cover.
With concentration, a demon can assume aspects of her demonic form without undergoing a full transformation. This type of transformation is as unnatural for the demon as being in her human form. Changing this way requires the expenditure of one Aether per form ability assumed in the transformation, and another Aether to completely revert back to human form. If the demon cannot spend enough Aether in a round to complete the transformation at once, then none of the form abilities can be accessed until all Aether has been spent for the transformation, as she is in deep concentration while manifesting them. Once the demon has partially transformed form abilities, she cannot manifest additional form abilities unless she first reverts completely back to human. The demon can utilize a full transformation or go loud while she is only partially transformed. It is treated as though she is changing forms from a completely human state.
Changing only partially into demonic form is not the same as a complete transformation. The demon does not heal or gain Aether during a partial transformation. Partially transforming into demonic form is still a compromise for the demon, yet not as severe as a full transformation. The roll gains a bonus equal to the number of form abilities not being accessed for the transformation. This means that if a demon with seven form abilities uses a partial transformation to manifest just one, the resulting compromise roll gets a +6 modifier.