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Author Topic: [&Sword] Brief praise and some questions  (Read 3983 times)
Frank T
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« on: September 17, 2006, 03:10:55 AM »

I finally got to use The Elder Isle for a game of Sorcerer & Sword yesterday with my girlfriend and an internet friend of hers who visited us over the weekend. We made characters between 10 and 11 p.m. and, after a quick break, played until 5 a.m., mostly resolving the kickers. Both players repeatedly expressed that the game was great fun and they would like to play again. Yay!

We had some serious ass-kicking and fornication going on. Nicole was also very happy that she made a kickass fighter all on her own. Check out her Inconspicious demon's powers:

Psychic Force (self)
Special Damage: Claws (self)
Cloak (master)
Shapeshift (master) (into a twin version of the demon)
  Special Damage: Claws (master)
Fast (master)

What we've got here is two 6 dice attacks that cause successes + 6 lasting damage each, so beware... Here are my rules questions:

1) "Fast" means you roll your demon's power instead of your own stamina to attack, right? Or do you just roll it to determine the order of actions, but roll the actual attack with your stamina?

2) Commanding a demon works with a simple Will vs. Will, right?

3) If my dice drop below zero due to temporary damage, can I still roll the single die to defend?

4) For a "Big" demon, I don't use stamina+power in an attack/defense, only to resist damage. So I would roll [stamina] dice, and after I'm hit, roll [power] dice in addition to see if I actually get hurt, right?

5) If in combat two fighters try to hit each other and the first one hits, but the second one doesn't abort to defend, and the second one takes some damage but is not reduced to zero, does he roll again, or does he simply take away his worst or best dice?

6) Nicole really knocked me around with "Cloak". I explained it as invisibility, basically, but that she would become visible when she attacked or otherwise touched people. Correct? So she used her demon's "Psychic Force" as an attack instead, since that didn't mean touching people. She could basically just slowly have beaten the shit out of everybody around without anybody ever noticing where those punches came from. Urm, that sort of felt wrong to me, but was it? How do you spot someone who is invisible and keeps moving?

Thanks,
Frank
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2006, 07:01:59 AM »

Hi Frank,

You may have achieved some kind of new rank in playing Sorcerer. I am impressed.

I'll take the questions one by one.

Quote
Psychic Force (self)
Special Damage: Claws (self)
Cloak (master)
Shapeshift (master) (into a twin version of the demon)
  Special Damage: Claws (master)
Fast (master)

What we've got here is two 6 dice attacks that cause successes + 6 lasting damage each, so beware...


You didn't actually ask a question about this, but I do want to point out that this demon is constructed correctly. This is top-notch rules use.

Quote
1) "Fast" means you roll your demon's power instead of your own stamina to attack, right? Or do you just roll it to determine the order of actions, but roll the actual attack with your stamina?

Here's the best way to do it. Roll additional dice with your own Stamina. So if the demon has Power 7 and you have Stamina 3, then roll four more dice with your Stamina. However, use a different color for these dice.

The character's action comes in the order dictated by the highest value from all the dice. But when someone defends against that action, just look at the character's "real" Stamina dice, not the differently-colored ones representing the Fast.

This works perfectly and results in distinctive moments of play that you can't get any other way.

Quote
2) Commanding a demon works with a simple Will vs. Will, right?

Correct, with one important consideration: Binding strength.

a) Commanding your own Bound demon, when the Binding favors you: (your Will + Binding strength) vs. its Will

b) Commanding your own Bound demon, when the Binding favors it: your Will vs. (its Will + Binding strength)

c) Command someone else's Bound demon: your Will vs. (its Will + Binding strength) (doesn't matter who the Binding favors in this case)

d) Command an un-Bound demon: Will vs. Will

Quote
3) If my dice drop below zero due to temporary damage, can I still roll the single die to defend?

Yes, and give the opponent a bonus die. If his or her dice are already rolled, no problem - just roll one more on the spot and add it in.

Also, remember there are no such thing as negative dice in Sorcerer. You can drop to 0 dice through penalties, but no further.

Quote
4) For a "Big" demon, I don't use stamina+power in an attack/defense, only to resist damage. So I would roll [stamina] dice, and after I'm hit, roll [power] dice in addition to see if I actually get hurt, right?

Absolutely right.

Quote
5) If in combat two fighters try to hit each other and the first one hits, but the second one doesn't abort to defend, and the second one takes some damage but is not reduced to zero, does he roll again, or does he simply take away his worst or best dice?

Neither. His dice remain exactly as they are, but the opponent who defends against them gets to use his penalties are bonus dice for the defense roll.

Quote
6) Nicole really knocked me around with "Cloak". I explained it as invisibility, basically, but that she would become visible when she attacked or otherwise touched people. Correct? So she used her demon's "Psychic Force" as an attack instead, since that didn't mean touching people. She could basically just slowly have beaten the shit out of everybody around without anybody ever noticing where those punches came from. Urm, that sort of felt wrong to me, but was it? How do you spot someone who is invisible and keeps moving?

Nicole did find a good combination here, and I've used it for an NPC myself (the secretary demon in Demon Cops, now that I think of it). A person really could simply walk through a crowd and have people drop in their tracks, mysteriously.

However, it's not omnipotent. Here are some things to keep in mind when GMing it.

a) Stamina limits demonic ability use. That's two abilities being used for every action. You can count the Cloak as being used each time because it has to mask a dramatic action, not just the user's presence. Demons get tired fast!

b) Anyone with Lore can spot a sorcerer and a demon with Lore rolls. This and other Lore-based information-gathering can alert someone to many of the details of this tactic, and therefore prepare for it in some way.

c) No Cloak can ever fully disguise an attack, which is why people should be getting perception rolls to see this activity going on. Granted, they aren't very likely, since the demon's Power is added to the defense rolls, but they aren't impossible either.

d) The above point becomes even more important when you consider how to optimize this ability using Daze and/or Confuse. That's how to make it truly undetectable (given successful rolls). Since this demon doesn't have those abilities, the limitations and consequences of (c) above should be applied in full.

One last point ... are you sure the Kickers were resolved, or almost resolved? It's possible (five hours can be a lot of Sorcerer!), but I think if you really check out the diagrams on the backs of the sheets, and really consider all the implications of a situation, then finishing out a Kicker-based story can have many steps.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the characters and more about what happened in the story.

Best, Ron
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Frank T
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2006, 12:52:14 AM »

Hi Ron,

Thanks for all those answers! I did most of it right and some of it wrong. That's the learning curve.

One very important improvement I took from our game in Berlin was to have all the dice in the middle of the table for everybody to see them. Also, instead of trying to explain the dice mechanic in abstract, I just made a few examples, which worked much better.

We did not finish up all the lose ends, but I think the central problem of each kicker was resolved. Of course, I did keep things quite simple because I didn't know whether we would get the chance to play again. Here's a little transcript:

Nicoles character was a powerful witch, but still very young, just having moved out from her parents into her own sinister mansion. Her demon's desire was fornication and its need was rape. She was working as a teacher in a school for the rulers because she was in love with one of the teachers, who didn't show much interest in her. Her kicker was that a student told her he had been abused - by her desired one!

Lars' character was she shopkeeper of a bookstore with a history and quite some arcane and forbidden works on the shelves. He was a paranoid freak and also a pretty impressive sorcerer, but his passer demon bodyguard wasn't that powerful. It did have an impressive ranged special damage (agony) that went well with its need (fear). Lars' kicker was that someone was trying to intimidate him, breaking into his shop, stealing books, painting ancient runes on the door in blood.

The backstory I made up: At Nicole's school, there used to be a secret circle of sorcerers, the "Storm Crows", generations ago. The whole thing blew up and was banished, the teachers and students that participated punished heavily. Now, some students are trying to revive the Storm Crows, and have learned that the one to betray the circle back then was Lars' ancestor. The boy who was abused by Nicole's desired one has also found some stuff out about the Storm Crows. He also happens to be the son of a magistrate. The director of the school is a sorcerer, sitting like a spider in his web, watching everything through his demon mirror, very interested in how the Storm Crows handle themselves and if some of them are worthy apprentices.

Lars did some research and found out about most of the back story. Nicole talked to her desired one, assuring that he'd keep his hands off the boy, and blackmailed the man to have sex with her. The boy was found dangling on a rope the next morning. An inquisitor showed up at the school to investigate, who wasn't buying any of Nicole's excuses. In the meantime, she announced to her colleagues that she and her desired one would marry. Nicole also followed Lars around a bit and learned about his problem and about the school director, and there were some scenes about nurturing both demons' needs, taking it out on slaves and the poor.

Nicole's fiancÚ came to visit her and was really pissed about the betrothal thing, finally storming out again when she showed less than impressed. Then the guards of the inquisition showed up to snatch Nicole away for interrogation, and she knocked them around with psychic force and fled. Visiting her fiancÚ's house, she found that they had come for him as well.

Lars followed the Storm Crows to their hide-away in a crypta on one of the large forest cemeteries of the city. They were attempting to summon a demon, using the books they stole from his store. Nicole was secretly following, and the school director with his fighting demon that was a huge statue of the school's founder wasn't far either. One of the boys was hit by Lars' demons and instantly died of the agony, his face twisted in horror. The other kids peed their pants.

The school director then rushed in with his demon, and Lars started to negotiate a gentleman's agreement. Just as they were shaking hands, Nicole popped up and asked for help with the inquisition, but the director would rather see her dead than betraying his secret in the dungeons of the Temple of Justice. Nicole dodged the statue demon, lured him away, used cloak to get close to the director and tore him to pieces in a single attack of her shapeshifted self and her demon. And that was that.

She then decided to give up on her fiancÚ since the blackmailing thing hadn't really satisfied her and he'd never truly love her. Lars took back his books and left the rest of the scared kids alive. That was the point where we quit play. So, Lars' kicker was resolved almost completely, and Nicole's main issue as well, though she still had some trouble with the inquisition to take care of.

- Frank
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2006, 07:18:27 AM »

Hello,

I'm a bit repulsed but also fascinated ... Frank and two hot goth chicks, Sorcerer, and a demon whose need is rape. That does it, I'm going to have to visit Hamburg now as well as Berlin.

For what it's worth, it does look to me as if Lars' character's Kicker-sequence does need a bit more playing out, in confronting or otherwise dealing with the Inquisition. If you do decide to play it out further, then I suggest using the reward mechanics for Nicole's character (Humanity potentially improving a score, but especially re-writing descriptors as desired!) and she can keep participating if she wants. Usually people do.

Best, Ron
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Frank T
Guest
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2006, 07:45:04 AM »

I really hate to spoil your imagination like that, but Lars is a guy. Big, hairy guy at that. It's still one hot goth chick though, and I got a couple more for you when you come around. And don't forget about the hookers.

I think we might well continue the game. Lars was pretty jazzed and already asked about it. He lives only 1 1/2 hours down the autobahn from us.

- Frank
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2006, 08:54:18 AM »

Heh ... who knows, maybe my imagination is spurred even further with a big hairy guy in the scene! I'll never know until I try.

Anyway, you are certainly providing incentive for me to expand my knowledge of Germany westward. I'll be there in the forseeable future.

Best, Ron
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