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Really Stupid Telltale Question

Started by jburneko, January 18, 2002, 11:01:08 PM

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Okay, I have a REALLY stupid telltale question.  I can't determine if the spotting telltale rolls are meant to be an 'in-game' thing such that if the opportunity to spot the telltale does not arrise, no roll is made.  Or is this more of a metagame mechanic such that if the roll succeeds the GM/players should either retroactively motivate the opportunity to spot the telltale or simply leave it as metagame knowledge, that is, the PLAYER knows that there is a taletell to be spoted but the character does not.


In one of the Sorcerer books there is a passer demon who's telltale is that she has eyes beneath her breasts.  (Freaky image by the way).  It occurs to me that if this demon is wearing clothing then it is awfully difficult if not impossible to spot her telltale.  Which of the following is 'correct'?

a) Roll to spot the telltale only if this demon appears naked infront of the player's character.

b) Roll to spot the telltale relatively regardless of the situation and if the roll is successful then engineer some reason for this demon to get naked.

c) Roll to spot the telltale regardless of the situation and then inform the player that there is a telltale to be seen then let the player decide what to do with that knowledge via author stance.

Just wondering.  My leanings are towards either 'a' or 'b' but I thought I'd get the 'official' as well as other people's thoughts on this.


J B Bell

I'm not sure your options are really the best way to approach the situation.  I'm tempted to answer it in the context given, but that's my inveterate Gamist.

I think the way that works best for a Nar system like Sorcerer is to look at the goals you have set for a scene in which the demon appears.  This Telltale is interesting because it's easily concealed, but is a dead giveaway when visible at all, unlike many other Telltales, which are simply things that make those with Lore say "hmm".

So, if I just want to give players a *chance* per a straight interpretation of the rules, I think she'd have to appear in a negligee or something.  If it's important that they know in order to move the plot, then she has some reason to be naked (brrr.  My players have some really gross demons, but man, ick).  I don't think NPC Telltales really need to be "fair", since fairness is not one of the goals of Sorcerer's design.  If you want more uncertainty about whether a person is a demon or not, without having to engineer nude scenes, pick a different Telltale.

"Have mechanics that focus on what the game is about. Then gloss the rest." --Mike Holmes

Ron Edwards


I've got some material on the Sorcerer site about this, in the Rules or FAQ section (in the blue menus).

In terms of my own range or quirks of play, I usually take the traditional route and go with (a). The idea is that should the character get naked with a PC, the payoff will be enough fun to be "worth" all that time prior, in which no Spot-Telltale roll was made. Not that any real accounting system is necessary to use as a standard, but unfortunately my mind works that way.

I also play that roll both as "Player announces ..." or "GM demands ..." in a pretty ad lib fashion.