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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] First Date: The Session  (Read 8257 times)
Doyce
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« on: March 28, 2004, 02:55:30 PM »

(See also my previous post detailing the PCs.)

With the Sorcerer characters completed no later than 8pm (!), I wanted to do something that would introduce us to all aspects of the system with a minimum of fuss and complication.  To that end, we used the Training Run from the main Sorcerer book.

Kickers
The player's kickers both had strengths and weaknesses; Sebastian's was very immediate and interesting, but didn't tie into the plot of the Test Run very tightly at all (I'm working on retrofitting it to tie in but not having much luck).

Conversely, Shannon's didn't have a lot of OMIGOD punch, but wove into the scenario well.

Sebastian
Sebastian's kicker (provided entirely by the player) was that after an uneventful evening involving relatively little debauchery, he woke to a strange smell in his (top floor, off-campus) apartment.  In his walk-in closet he discovered a coed hanging from a meat hook.  While he recognized the coed, he did not recognize the meat hook, nor had he seen either the night before.

Just then, someone knocked loudly on the front door.

Sebastian used his link to holler for Shade (who was lurking around the Campus peeking in windows, an activity Ryan encouraged for a number of reasons (gave him dirt on the student body and fed Need)).  Shade showed up and was sent to the closet to 'figure that out' while Seb forced himself to saunter to the door casually.

The visitor was a courier with a message from his mentor that read:

Quote
Come.  Immediately.

CLV


It was at this point that we realized that Ryan's mentor's initials sounded like c'est la vie, which works rather well on a number of levels.  Heh.

Right.  Seb tips the courier and goes back the closet where he and Shade stare silently at the girl and think about the twelve floors between them and the parking garage.

Shannon
Less immediacy here: Shannon receives a letter from her mother (now living as far away from Yale as she can get).  The envelope contains a brief note from Mom ("Thought you might want to have this.") and an engraved invitation to a party this evening at the home of Alonzo Clarence Shaw.  The invitation is addressed to her father, has a handwritten note at the bottom that reads "Looking forward to seeing you again, old friend", and is signed with a sigil that Shannon has only ever seen in her father's personal notes.  (I made up something for the Black Wheel.)

A connection to Dad!

A party...

Ugh. Shannon is not good at parties (see her Price).

Without going into too much detail, the rest of Shannon's day is spent picking out clothes and having Bister check out Shaw on the internet (an alumni and long-time contributor to Yale who hasn't been seen in public for several months -- he has a home on the outskirts of Cambridge (matching the address on the invite), for which no photos can be found.

Back with Sebastian, the GM and the player try to work out the mechanics of what a Stamina 5 demon can be expected to carry around when they don't have Transport.  Can they fetch books using Travel, or carry nothing at all?  Can they just walk around, lugging a body but not using Travel?  One would hope so.

Anyway, since the coed's not 'living tissue' anymore, the body is subject to Shade's Warp ability.  Ryan has Shade twist the body around into a passable imitation of a piece of luggage (I know... eww) so they can get her down to the Audi TT with some degree of subtlety.  Ryan knew and had in fact dated the girl several times in the past, but not in the last several weeks, and has no idea what's going on.

Once in the car, Ryan proposes dumping her in a dumpster somewhere, but Shade has something of a problem with this, since she was a decent enough girl and doesn't really deserve that kind of treatment (moral? a demon? not really... but it's not really poetic justice).

Great line:

Quote
ME: Umm... Shade has a problem with the dumpster idea.

Player: Yeah... I kinda thought he might.


Shade proposes any number of people who richly deserve to be framed for the girl's murder but Ryan eventually opts for the simpler solution of leaving her (tastefully, and warped back to her normal shape) near a stream outside of town and anonymously calling the cops.

He then heads to CLV's house, where she is chain smoking and holding an engraved invitation to a party.  She's stressing about this because of what she does and doesn't know about Shaw:  he's a major mover and shaker in the Sorcerous community, but she's never met him -- she has no idea why he'd invite her anywhere, but at the same time she doesn't dare turn him down.  She's been agonizing over the invitation for weeks, but tonight is the night of the party and her options are reduced to nil.

She has to go, and the invite allows for a guest, so Sebastian's going to.

Ryan goes and prepares for the party, picks up CLV, and talks to her about the "coed problem" on the way out to the house (the renfrew-cat is in the back seat, crunching on a June-bug).

Quote
CLV: Did you know the girl?
Ryan: We dated.
CLV: I assume that's some sort of euphemism for having sex.
Ryan: Hardly a euphemism... sex is what normally happens in the course of a date.


Everyone arrives at the house
Here's the point where dice start to hit the table in earnest.  Sebastian has Shade with him, CLV is there and has sent her cat around the back of the house to scout around, Shannon got there a few minutes earlier and is trying merge with the wallpaper (if only she knew!) and stay out of the way, plus there's Yvonne and another NPC sorcerer I've thrown in among the crowd of professors, alumni and other film students and wannabe's in the crowd -- all in all, there were a bunch of demon and sorcerer telltales to potentially spot.

Spotting Telltales
I found it easy enough to figure out how to spot demon telltales (Lore vs. (10 - Demon's Power)), but couldn't seem to locate the formula for doing that with another Sorcerer's telltales, so I made it Lore vs. Humanity (the lower the humanity, the less you could pass as 'normal'), which worked well enough but left me wanting the 'real' rule.  (edit: Turns out the real rule would have resulted in the same dice hitting the tables, so no biggie.

Amusingly, Sebastian (Lore 2) simply assumed that everything and everyone was either a demon or a sorcerer and proceeded calmly into the party with that assumption in mind and a smile on his face... the best part of that was the fact that his Humanity was high enough that no one else really picked up on the fact that he might be a sorcerer.

Yvonne (who I portrayed as Lara Flynn Boyle) showed up to give everyone the wiggins... I mean, invite them to mingle and enjoy themselves.  Ryan saw and greeted "the librarian" whom he'd seen on any number of his book-hunting missions for CLV... somewhat surprised to find out that she was a sorcerer (remember, he's simply assuming everyone at the party is).

Mingling goes on... several film students try to recruit Seb for roles in their projects, etc.  

Yvonne shows up again and tells Shannon and Alonso is very curious to talk to her, since he was very close with her father, and would you mind a private conversation with him, upstairs?  Shannon agrees willingly and is led to a third-floor study, given a chair, and told that Shaw will be right in.

Yvonne leaves, heads back downstairs, makes an abortive attempt to seduce Sebastian (who is somewhat on his guard after noticing the human bones working in to the art on the walls), and is interrupted by CLV, who pulls Seb aside to inform him that her link with her cat has been severed in some way.

Right about then, the wings of Shannon's wingback chair reach out and grab her.

Seb has Shade use his perception to look into rooms in the house to see if he can find the cat.  Shade does, and offers to go get the little blighter, but Seb demures.  He asks for directions, but Shade can't give them easily -- the 'directions' work for teleport-hops, but not so well for walking there.  Still, using some triangulation, they figure that they can determine what floor he's on (if they're getting closer) and find him that way... also, staying together.

The GM is bummed he can't seem to separate Shade from Seb, but conceals it well :)

Meanwhile, Shannon is struggling with the humanoid shape bulging out of her chair and grappling with her.  She manages to have Bister help break her out of the Hold and heads for the door.  The demon 'bulges' down into the carpet and grabs her ankles.  She hits the floor with the shriek and a thump.

The two sorcerers and Shade are moving from the second to the third floor.  Shade picks up noise from one of the rooms but the door is locked... sounds like some kind of struggle.  Ryan has Shade Warp the door so that the lock will not be latched to anything, but the Warp doesn't work... it's not unliving material!?!?  Shade tries the wall as well, with the same effect.  HMMM.

Just about then, the carpet runner in the hall bulges up and tries to grab Seb.  He leaps back trying (not coincidentally) to be further away from the thing than CLV so that it'd go for her first.  I almost gave him a humanity check for this bit of cold-blooded behavior -- I would have if his Humanity had been any higher than it was... anyway, he avoids being grabbed.

Meanwhile, Jackie (playing Shannon), has picked up the Sorcerer book for the first time since picking out demon abilities during chargen and is reading furiously.  When I turn back to her, she rips off a great bit of dialogue (highlighting her rageful and vengeful Will descriptor) and goes for a Punish...  a great tactical move and completely out of the blue as far as I was concerned.

The problem: she didn't get initiative on the round, which means the Demon is going to get a chance to bite her first.  She opts to 'soak' it, since he's at 1 dice either way (due to a 1-success demonic fist-attack from the last round), and hope that she can stay conscious long enough to get the punish off.

Not only does she get it off, the demon missed its attack and she can punish it without having to make a Will check to stay in the fight.  Still prone, she grips the thing around the 'neck' and, screaming invective, lays on the dice: two success leave the thing writhing in pain.

In the hall, Seb gets his unspoken wish and the carpet-demon goes for CLV -- it lunges and shoves her against he wall, which promptly engulfs her up to the knees and elbows.  Seb has already ordered Shade to pound on the demon, so he grabs a big brass floor lamp and attacks the door of the locked room, hoping to find a grateful ally.

Shannon immediately goes for a Banish after the Punish, reasoning (edit: incorrectly, as shown in the comments below) that the thing would be weakened by the 2-dice Punish penalty to both it's Will and Power, making it much easier to Banish (edit: nope, that should be a lowering of it's Abilities... OOPS -- oh well, we'll wave our hands and say that last round she had Bister attack it for similar effect).  Theoretically, the thing would get dice bonuses for it's Binding strength, but the scenario didn't list Binding strength for the Spawns, so I just assuming a Binding of 1.  (I realized later that they probably had the same Binding strength as their 'parent' (a +4), but by then it was too late... C'est la vie. :)

The door bursts open and Sebastian is treated to the bulging carpet demon getting blasted into carpet bits by the successful banish.  Shannon immediately chastised Bister for not helping her out more and told it to get into the hallway fight now.

Seb asks Shannon for a bit of help in the hall and tries to burn the walls by lighting some drapes, but the House has an unspecified Protection which I decided was vs. heat & fire, so no go.  Seb and Shannon put two and two together (the failure of Warping and the Walls' resilience0) and figure out that the whole house is a demon.  There is much horrified swearing at this point.

Seb and Shannon try a couple punishments to get CLV out of the wall (she's not being eaten yet, but the house is trying to use her to get to the Cat-demon, who's managed to keep it at bay by staying clear of the floors and walls... its vitality has helped) while Shade and Bister beat the hell out of the last Spawn demon.

The punishments do not go well (since the pair can't combine efforts on Punish), but they do manage to get a couple successes and get the walls to spit out Seb's mentor.

Everyone rushes downstairs, which is a horror show: Yvonne is crouched in the corner, staring into the middle distance, rocking back and forth and covering her ears -- half-wall-stuck demons, faculty and alumni are being stripped of their flesh and only one other NPC sorcerer is still reasonably functional.

Everyone descends to the main hall and tries to get people free, using multiple Punishments to cause pain to the House (Seb keeps drawing different arcane runes in the walls with a knife: Pain, Death, GOD, etc., but with only a vague idea of the exact precepts of his character’s Sorcery, the player's floundering for ideas after about the third round -- note to self).  Grabbed by the floor, Shannon switches to using her Confuse to keep the House from eating her or anyone else, and Seb slaps Yvonne into action -- help us or die in here, etc.

Everyone comes to the center of the room at the end of a round wherein the group collectively combines on a Banish.

Yvonne nets them nothing, the other NPC nets them one bonus, CLV nets them none, and Shannon nets + two.

Seb, between bonuses and the -4 penalty for the house's Binding strength (I was doing it as a penalty on the Sorcerer's instead of a +4 to the house's rolls, which I think is backwards, but the wording of Binding and Punish list it as a penalty to the rolls, so...) is at a base of 8 dice.  He goes for an additional role-playing die by ripping off his shirt and carving a rune of warding directly into his own chest.  Wow.  That takes it nine dice (he'll get a one-success knife wound right afterwards), plus the three from other others, for twelve total.

The house, normally at 22 (11 power, 11 will) is now, due to a misreading of the Punishment ability (which I will now hand-wave and call damage from physical attacks), at 10 (5 power, 5 will).

They won.  Of course they won :) The house melts around them and the demon is banished.

Everyone flees the house.  Humanity checks for the nice banishment are handed out to the PCs and they both succeed (!).  Everyone's feeling good and it was a great first run for the game, so I gave them a chance to improve their stats as well:  Shannon misses her first check (to raise her Will to five), but makes it on her second check (raising Stamina to 3, which she wasn't exactly bummed about -- Shannon getting mugged in the study showed everyone that no stat can be safely ignored).   Seb makes the roll to raise his Will to a 6 (!), which (with his shiny Humanity of 6 as well) makes him ripe for some pain next game :)

And that's where we left it.  It's not a deep scenario, but it allowed for some nice roleplaying moments, a bit of funny, and LOTS of chances to test out non-combat, combat, and Sorcery rules (and get them a little wrong, but there you go).  Everyone seemed to have a great time and it was 1 am before we knew it.

I ended up with a few questions about things like Punish (which I now know I got wrong).

On the whole, however, it was a good experience with a slick, easy to learn, and very engaging game.  Good stuff we're all looking forward to playing again.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Trevis Martin
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2004, 05:23:32 PM »

Hi Doyce, sounds like a good first run,

notes on the rules.

1. It's a mistake to punish a demon before banisihing because you're wasting your time.  Punish only drops the demon's power.  Nothing else.  When the text discusses 'abilities' it is talking specifically about the demon's powers not about its attributes.  It doesn't effect the Demon's Will or the strength of its binding which is what you're rolling against.  It might also potentially add dice to the demon as I guess below.

2. On punish and penalties for binding... Ron I have a question on this one as well.  Though the rules list a five dice penealty for the binding against the sorcerer if he does not offer to fulfill the demon's need, It doesn't seem explicitly stated that punishing it will add a similar bonus.  Though as above, power is not the relevant score for binding.  If there is such a bonus, I might say that since punishing it might induce need it would get the same penalty, or, alternativly, that a bonus die is added to the demon for every successful die of punish it recieves.

3. To spot a Sorcerer's telltale is a Lore vs. Cover roll.

Sounds like it went well!  I hope to read about your future sessions.

regards,

Trevis
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Doyce
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2004, 06:46:32 PM »

Quote from: Trevis Martin
Hi Doyce, sounds like a good first run,

notes on the rules.


We really did have a great time, and thank you for the rules notes in advance.

Quote from: Trevis Martin

1. It's a mistake to punish a demon before banisihing because you're wasting your time.  Punish only drops the demon's power.  Nothing else.  When the text discusses 'abilities' it is talking specifically about the demon's powers not about its attributes.


And here's where I hang my head in shame.  Reading it now, it makes perfect sense.  Really, what I was doing was having Punish work the same as Physical attacks, right?  (In that physical damage would have lowered all the demon's scores by X number of dice for a period of time, provided they could get through the multiple protections and stamina of the thing.)  In other words, to get the House's numbers down (i.e.: to accomplish what we thought they were accomplishing by doing Punish), the group needed instead to be physically attacking it.  Correct me, but that would have dropped the net anti-banishing scores for the House, yes?

Quote from: Trevis Martin

3. To spot a Sorcerer's telltale is a Lore vs. Cover roll.


Which is exactly what Shannon's player suggested.  I don't know when, but she seems to have completely absorbed the Sorcerer rules by osmosis in a way that I have never seen her do with any other game, even the much-vaunted-for-feminist-power Trollbabe.  From character generation to demon design to kicker, she's been pulled into the story in a very strong way that I just haven't seen from her before... very cool stuff.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Doyce
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2004, 06:55:12 PM »

Further clarifying question on Punish: it drops the Demon's Power...

1. ... only as it applies to use of Abilities, or...
2. ... the Power rating itself goes down, in the way that Scores drop from Damage?
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Trevis Martin
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Posts: 499


« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2004, 12:32:31 AM »

My understanding is the second, since the demon has to make stamina rolls vs. the power of the punish to regain its power.  

Punishing it isn't necessarily a bad idea, for one thing it limits its ability to use its powers against you, but to drive down its other scores, including will which is the critical one for bind and banish, it would have to be  attacked.

I had a player latch on really well in my game as well, one of the girls of the group and a new roleplayer to boot.  No bad habits to unlearn I guess.
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Doyce
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2004, 08:31:11 AM »

For clarity-sake, the post on the characters is here
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2004, 08:40:49 AM »

Hello,

Let's take the questions from the top!

Quote
Further clarifying question on Punish: it drops the Demon's Power...

1. ... only as it applies to use of Abilities, or...
2. ... the Power rating itself goes down, in the way that Scores drop from Damage?


The Power rating itself goes down, in the way that scores drop from damage.

Trevis, I think you introduced a whole world of confusion with your comment about Banishing. Punish drops a demon's Power. The roll for Banishing is:

Sorcerer's [Will + Humanity] vs. demon's [Will + Power + Binding Strength]

So if you Punish a demon successfully and reduce its Power, you do, in fact, decrease its total dice when it resists a subsequent Banishing attempt. Doyce, it sounds to me as if you handled it just right.

Trevis, you may have been confounding this issue with entirely separate issue of Binding, in which the demon's Power is not involved, only its Will. Since Punish doesn't affect Will, a sorcerer cannot increase his or her chances of a favorable Binding outcome by Punishing the demon first.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Doyce, please, never edit your post's content following someone's reply to it. The negative effects of doing so are terrible and wide-ranging; they've already cast this whole thread into a bit of a fog for me.
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Doyce
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2004, 09:05:42 AM »

A couple questions that haven't already been addressed -- I'm trying to keep these out of the realm of RTFM and in the area of 'how would you do it':

Quote
Back with Sebastian, the GM and the player try to work out the mechanics of what a Stamina 5 demon can be expected to carry around when they don't have Transport. Can they fetch books using Travel, or carry nothing at all? Can they just walk around, lugging a body but not using Travel? One would hope so.


This portion of play got kind of bogged down in details.  Ahh well.

The player in question has sort of a tendency to push on stuff like this, trying to get more than what they paid for.  I don't like being a rules stickler, but at the same time, there's no need to go get another demon if the first one can be finagled to 'do' everything -- dude didn't buy Transport, so I have problems with him trying to get the demon to 'shadow hop' a body down to the car (although I don't have a problem with small-item 'fetching', since that -- not kidnapping -- was a stated orginal purpose for the demon having travel).

Still, the question comes up: "I jump out of the window, and the demon's down below -- can he get Big and catch me, or does he need transport?"  Silly, but it's nice to get those things out of the way.

Quote
Spoting demon telltales (Lore vs. (10 - Demon's Power))


Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that make the House dead-obvious (or does it have Cover that I'm forgeting... would Cover even apply?).  Hmm... need the book in front of me.

Quote
Seb leaps back trying (not coincidentally) to be further away from the thing than CLV so that the demon would go for her first. I almost gave him a humanity check for this bit of cold-blooded behavior -- I would have if his Humanity had been any higher than it was...


Hmm... anyone else do this -- make Humanity more 'touchy' the higher it gets -- or am I grafting on a thought-process from other games?  

I know what I'm thinking off -- Oriental-style 'honor', where the higher your honor is, the easier it is to do something that makes it drop, and the lower it is, the more honorable behavior 'counts' as noteworthy -- I went that route in this case, and I do kind of like the idea that this leads to a bell-curve of Humanity scores (seems realistic to me), but I'm interested in other takes.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2004, 09:15:26 AM »

Hi Doyce,

Regarding the demon Stamina issue, a demon can carry stuff and do stuff just as a human would with that Stamina. The score is the score, so if you want the demon to try to catch you, the demon rolls five dice against a handful assigned by the GM. In order to leap into the air in a superheroic fashion and pluck you out of the air, then land on top of a speeding train, it would need Travel. But it doesn't need Transport merely to carry someone at all. Transport has a pretty specific definition that's different.

Regarding the house's Telltale, check out the Rules Questions page and the Errata page at the Sorcerer website; from the latter:

Quote
Page 102: To detect the demon's Telltale, Fenster must roll Lore vs. the demon's Cover, as explained on page 48. The (10-Power) reference is obsolete.


That ought to fix it.

And ... let's see, about the bell-curve Humanity issue, that's fine - although I suggest you let the players know that's what you're doing, and be open to their possible objections. It so happens that I put some effort into keeping Humanity absolutely equally "reactive" to actions, regardless of its level, but that's my personal take on using the rules. If you and your group are happy doing it as you've described, then go for it.

Best,
Ron
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Doyce
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2004, 09:23:26 AM »

First, apologies for the post editing -- live and learn.

Quote
Doyce, it sounds to me as if you handled it [Punish] just right.


Which isn't entirely true, since I was also having it affect the Demon's Will score, but we were darn close for the first run, so I'm quite pleased.  (I'm also pleased because I really like the idea of weakening a demon like this before banishing... it just seems very dramatic and appropriate.)

Quote from: Ron Edwards
It so happens that I put some effort into keeping Humanity absolutely equally "reactive" to actions, regardless of its level.


Which I've tried to be cognizant of.  It was the first in-game action that I thought was kind of dodgey -- and only would have been for Sebastian's character, who's Humanity is based on Empathy -- in this case, it seemed he was treating the other Sorcerer in the room as merely a useful obstacle to put between himself and the demon (like a couch), with no regard for what would then happen to them.

For the character whose Humanity is defined as Mastery, I wouldn't have even blinked.

I need to talk with the player I think and make sure that he's clear about why I considered the check (treating people as things) in the first place, so he knows where I stand on the idea of Empathy.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2004, 09:39:15 AM »

Interesting ... are you permitting Humanity to be customized per character? I don't especially recommend that, although you're of course free to do so.

Best,
Ron
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Trevis Martin
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2004, 09:57:09 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Trevis, I think you introduced a whole world of confusion with your comment about Banishing. Punish drops a demon's Power. The roll for Banishing is:

Sorcerer's [Will + Humanity] vs. demon's [Will + Power + Binding Strength] (snip)

Trevis, you may have been confounding this issue with entirely separate issue of Binding, in which the demon's Power is not involved, only its Will. Since Punish doesn't affect Will, a sorcerer cannot increase his or her chances of a favorable Binding outcome by Punishing the demon first.


Quite right.  Whups.  Sorry Doyce.  My Sorcerer-Fu was lacking.  I knew that too, just a straight up error on my part.  Thanks Ron.

How about the #2 part of my post above though?  If a Sorcerer were to punish a demon prior to binding (trained...and soon to be dead...professional, don't try this at home.) Is there actually a mechanical followup to your comments in the 'stupid sorcerery' section.  I.e. use the dice of punish as bonus to the demon's will for binding purposes?

regards,

Trevis
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Doyce
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2004, 09:58:23 AM »

Ron said:

Quote
Interesting ... are you permitting Humanity to be customized per character?


It didn't evolve so much as "per character" as it was "per Branch of Sorcery."

Thus, Shannon's dad was Black Wheel... she finds his old notes, studies, and for all intents and purposes, she's Black Wheel (though she's never really met one, she's learned from their traditions).  Looking at Black Wheel, "Mastery" seemed the way they'd look at Humanity (or, the result of that had the right kind of 'cascade effect' on the definitions of the other attributes.

Conversely, Sebastian's demon-binding took place as part of early childhood trauma, which seemed much more organic and emotional, so we just went for Empathy-based, since he was summoning in answer to an emotional need for companionship.  He has since met a mentor who (probably) learned from a typical coven (I'll have my own, but for the purpose of this, picture Dark Lady, it's close enough).  That influence may change his definition of Humanity later (after resolving a kicker, perhaps), but not at the moment.

On the one hand, it makes each character's story very personal.  On the other, it makes things potentially uneven.

In a way, this came out of two things:
 1. Quick character generation to largely test out of the system, so folks tended to generate characters in a bit of a vacuum and were applying Humanity definitions irrespective of a larger focus.
 2. My own more-recent GM-choices (in other games, such as Nobilis) in which I have a Premise per character, rather than (or in addition to) an overarching Premise for the whole campaign.

I'm not sure how much I like (2) above.  I've run several successful games in the past in which I 'just' had a solid story Premise for the whole game.  Lately, I've been doing premise-per-character and getting much more uneven results -- several character's stories shine... some don't.  

To be honest, I just noticed this trend a few days ago, thinking about this very same question of whether I really wanted multiple definitions of Humanity and projecting that question back to my other games as "should I be focusing on a main premise instead of breaking it up as I have been?"

The nice thing with this Sorcerer game is that the players know that rulings and setup are a bit in flux, since we're testing it out getting our feet wet, so if I retune it later it works out just fine.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2004, 11:42:38 AM »

Hi Doyce,

I suggest, at least as food for thought, that one of the most important elements of playing Sorcerer is being audience to one another's characters, in addition to authoring one's own. As audience, that means emotional engagement, basis for comparison with one's own character, and a general sense of a shared task rather than a set of little ones.

Playing Nobilis, as I see it, is a much more "autistic" experience (depending on one's group) and doesn't map to playing Sorcerer especially well.

My Life with Master, on the other hand, represents an extreme form of the effect I'm talking about, in that the primary source of adversity for all of the characters has been created jointly by the players. Therefore one player's choice about a character defying or obeying the Master not only affects other characters logistically, but also is ipso facto relevant to the choices made by the other players at all times, in thematic terms.

A common Humanity definition goes a long way to establishing a similar effect in Sorcerer. The entire supplement The Sorcerer's Soul is about this single issue.

Best,
Ron
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Doyce
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2004, 12:01:43 PM »

Kind of topic-drift, but...

Quote from: Ron Edwards
... one of the most important elements of playing Sorcerer is being audience to one another's characters in addition to authoring one's own. As audience, that means emotional engagement, basis for comparison with one's own character, and a general sense of a shared task rather than a set of little ones.

Playing Nobilis, as I see it, is a much more "autistic" experience (depending on one's group) and doesn't map to playing Sorcerer especially well.


Hmm.

I read autistic as "characterized by marked deficits in communication and social interaction".  I would say that's not at all how Nobilis plays out, at least for me.

IMC, the PCs are, as in Sorcerer, often participating in different events, but the players are usually quite tied into each other's stories.  This is handled both through the setting (PCs can usually contact and talk with one another even over distance) and through mechanics/practices within the system (specifically, players whose main characters aren't directly involved in a scene can and usually do take up the roles of character who are there, thus keeping the players both involved and contributing directly even when their main characters are otherwise engaged).

In that sense, every ongoing story is a story that each player is involved in, simply because they have some emotional investment -- I guess that's how I get around the fact that the characters have different 'themes' to each of their stories.

As for Sorcerer's Soul, I entirely agree that Humanity is the main subject -- it was in reading that that I realized that each character could define their ties to Humanity differently.

Granted, could and should... very different, but in these sorts of 'test bed' games, I'm quite willing to try out whatever seems possible to see if it's also recommended... Test to Failure and all that. :)
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
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