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Author Topic: Naval Gazing On the Nature of Demons  (Read 3206 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« on: September 08, 2002, 10:11:16 AM »

I've been sort of thinking about the nature of demons in Sorcerer a bit lately. Not so much in the what are they really sense as described in the book but in the what are they in game terms sense.

So what are they?

The source of a sorcerer's power. Without it, a sorcerer is just some guy in need of an attitude adjustment.

A hanger-on NPC. Every player has at least one NPC in the form of their demon. Possibly more. Possibly several. Which is One More Thing For The GM To Do. Playing and keeping track of all of these demons running around.

A complication for the PCs. You see there's the "plot" using the term loosely here which the game is about and then there's the added complication of the demons themselves which can be a ready-made help or hinderance to the plot. It can be a tad annoying when you're closing in on the main bad guy and then your demon starts getting very insistent about its need to go fishing every once in a while.

This seems a little too easy to ignore, if the GM is willing to ignore it. It can wind up being besides the point, like actually killing puppies in kill puppies for satan. But without it, you've got Pokemon! Nothing especially wrong with that, but jeez.

That's what I've got so far. Any comments? How do you get the most out of your demons?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2002, 07:07:45 PM »

Hi Jack,

It's pretty easy, actually: a demon is a dysfunctional relationship.

Can it be fun? Sure. Can there be understandable reasons why it exists, and why the person chose to enter into it? Sure. Can good things potentially occur because of it. Sure.

But the pound-for-pound effect or result is dysfunctional in some way, shape, or form.

The game is about how these relationships can turn out, in all kinds of ways. There is a kind of "outlaw triumph" in achieving one's goals even with the use of (and priority toward) such a relationship, sometimes; similarly, there's a kind of "satisfied justice" in watching or experiencing the bad side of it all catch up with a character (including one's own).

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2002, 02:45:48 PM »

*Light bulb goes on*

Ahh! So that's it. I've been approaching this with a whole mess of sim baggage with nutty ideas like making certain you take care of your demon's need is a major concern if-you-don't-say-it-you-didn't-do-it kind of way. And that isn't it at all. Needs and Desires function to give the GM an excuse to have the demon give the character a hard time, which is what the game is really about. With this understood, Needs and Desires can be safely ignored as long as the GM maintains a dysfunctional relationship. That said the concepts of Needs and Desires are probably key elements of a dysfunctional relationship.

It makes more sense now.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2002, 11:23:57 AM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
That said the concepts of Needs and Desires are probably key elements of a dysfunctional relationship.

The other key element is the Bastard Factor. That is, demons are, well, demons. Their nature is to be bastards in some way. Not only do they want what they want, but depending on their exact definition, they aren't likely to be nice. Take for example, demons in Charnel Gods. They are all about obstinancy, and killing. Demons in &Space are all about being absurd.

In every case, the real price that the sorcerer pays for his abilities is that he has to deal with some creepy entity to get them.

Even the Angels in the angel option are bastards. As soon as you allow players to define demons as cudly fuzzy animals who like to serve people, the game will fall apart. Ensure that all demons are the kind of "people" that get into dysfunctional relationships. Then you're off and running.

Mike
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2002, 01:10:51 PM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
I've been approaching this with a whole mess of sim baggage with nutty ideas like making certain you take care of your demon's need is a major concern if-you-don't-say-it-you-didn't-do-it kind of way.

Or, to put it another way, the point of demons having Needs is not so you can roleplay your sorcerer character taking care of said Need with all the excitement doing other household chores has, but so that your sorcerer will have to deal with a demon in Need. Very different things, that.

Thinking on this now, I may sort, kinda combine this with Elfs if I run Elfs with my group after all (see my thread in Actual Play)
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