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Author Topic: Questions About How To Read The Descriptions of Demon Powers  (Read 12630 times)
jburneko
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« on: March 14, 2003, 09:17:35 AM »

Okay, so in another thread Ron wrote this:

"Consider Perception, Transport, and Psychic Force, and you can actually bring people, unwillingly, to yourself from afar, striking them unconscious."

This is something that has bothered me about the text of the Sorcerer rule book for sometime.  I KNOW some parts of the game are meant to by highly flexible and customizable.  In fact a great deal DEMANDS to be customized, (obvious example: Humanity).  On the other hand there are some parts that are litterally hard and fast rules and Sorcerer ceases to be Sorcerer without them.  The text is extremely unclear about where each rule falls in this spectrum of solidity.

The BIGEST culprit is Demon Powers.  There are several things listed in the descriptions of Demon Powers that look like hard-and-fast rules and yet I see examples of play that are violating them all the time.

Example: Shapeshift.  Shapeshift gives a duration saying that it only lasts a number of minutes equal to the demon's Power.  I've had players NOT give a demon that power because of that limitation.  What the player wanted to do is summon the demon and and ask for a long term "disguise."  They wanted to be shapeshifted into looking like someone else so that they could gain the confidence of an enemy and slowly infiltrate their ranks.  This was a long-term plan, days or months of game time.  They abandoned the plan because of that "rule."

At the time this seemed really counter-intuitive to the point of Sorcerer's rule system.  On the other hand, I find myself constantly second guessing myself because there are so many other really subtle points about Sorcerer, I find myself thinking, "Well, Ron must have put that in there for SOME reason."

Another Example: Big.  The text says: "The user becomes very large, anywhere from bear to mastondon-sized."  But think about the Space Station Demon.  I was torn.  I was torn because the Space Station is ALREADY big and so isn't really transforming.  But then again, I sort of imagined it had Big functioning ALL THE TIME.  But then, the Space Station is WAY bigger than Mastondon-Sized.  Argh!

And then you whip out an example like the above and I find myself going, "Huh?"  How does that work?

So here my questions about the above example given the text from the book.

Perception: "Exactly what is perceived must be defined at the outset."  So how would perception be defined in the above example?

Transport: "The user may carry others comfortably during movement"  Maybe I'm misunderstanding the word "carry" and "movement" in this context.  But the above example is particularly bad if the Sorcerer is the user.  How is "teleporting" which is what's happening above involove "carrying" or "moving" on the part of the Sorcerer?  From the text of the power I get the distinct impression that that either the Demon or the Sorcerer (whoever is the user) must physically travel to the object to be carried.  "Physically" pick it up and then physically travel to the intended destination.

I might buy it if Transport were Ranged but the text of Range specfically limits itself to Special Damage, Hold and Hop.

How about time?  Is using the combined ability (Transport Unconcious Victim) a single "Power Use"?  Or Three?  Must I first Percieve the target, then use Psychic Force (possibily repeatedly) until they are unconcious, THEN transport them.  Or can I somehow do this all in one go?  (I'm thinking specifically about the combat rules here).

Stupid Question: Can the abilities still all be used individually or must the linking be stated upfront and really functions as a single ability.  I call this a stupid question because instinctually I believe it to be the former and I really don't see why it would be the latter.  I'm just covering the bases here.

Looking forward to the replies.

Jesse

Edited Note: The concept of strategically using Powers in combination has never been lost on me.  Shapeshift + Special Lethal Damage is a particularly nasty combination.  I'm thinking of the scene with the rock-to-spider demon from People of the Black Circle.  However, Ron's recent post seemed to imply that there was something more to it than simply using the Powers in clever creative combinations.
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2003, 09:54:48 AM »

I had the same reaction as you Jesse.  My solution.  Treat the rules for each power as if they were case by case rules custom made for how that power works for 1 specific demon (an example demon imagined but not actually present in the text); and use that as a guideline for how to write a similiar brief paragraph of custom rules for how to apply the general power to your specific demon.

There's a short quick RPG called Duel (from Crunchy Frog?) that had a magic system that worked basically like this.  One of the more effective freeform magic casting systems I've seen (though their choice of categories I didn't care for completely).
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2003, 10:18:10 AM »

Hi Jesse,

This is yet another case of God Damn Expectations Based on Other RPGs.

SHAPESHIFT
Shapeshift: nothing stops the demon from using Shapeshift again following the duration of X minutes. A given shapeshift can therefore last as long as the demon's Stamina and its notions about Need-per-obedience hold out.

Regarding Shapeshift-as-disguise, by the way, everyone is all wrong about this ... you don't need Shapeshift at all, you need Perception (targeting observers), Cloak (so directly-targeted observers don't look), and Cover for the details.

BIG
The space station demon is an Object. Objects are already as big as they are, period, so no special ability is necessary to make it Big (in the demon sense). However! Note that Big (in the demon sense) includes some very advantageous, very important advantages regarding damage in combat. So if you want your Object demon to have these things, give it Big and apply when necessary rather than thinking that it "must be" Big all the time. That's how the house in the core book works.

Cue player: "Can I have a galaxy as my Object Demon? It doesn't saaaaaay I can't!" Kick player in nuts and point to "we all discuss concepts and standards for demons" in Chapter 4.

FETCHING LISA
I am so tempted to answer, "How do you think the example would work, Jesse?"

But I won't. Here goes. Perception permits you to determine the target's location. Yes, Perception can be used as a cross-distance thing, if it's defined that way.

The user needs to Travel (defined as Teleport) to the location and get the target. I knew I was missing something in there; Travel has to be included too, and if the demon is strong enough, then Transport might be unnecessary. Please note that given certain demon abilities such as Cloak or Daze or Confuse, or the Type Inconspicuous, can render the action to appear instantaneous or nearly-so.

All the abilities being used are separate actions, but that's not relevant unless we're in a state of complex conflict in which timing is important. If that is the case, then which goes first is definitely a matter of the "free and clear" stage of the resolution system.

STUPID QUESTION
The stupid question isn't stupid at all - it needs to be answered, and the answer is, "whichever works best for the player's concept of how the demon works." If you think that players will automatically take "individually or in combination" simply for the increased flexibility, then you're underestimating the power of the Sorcerer premise - players often limit demons' abilities (a) for purely aesthetic reasons and (b) because they know demons are ultimately played by the GM, not necessarily to the character's advantage.

AND FINALLY
You wrote,

Quote
Ron's recent post seemed to imply that there was something more to it than simply using the Powers in clever creative combinations.


This is the sort of comment that sometimes makes me think we're talking through muffled panes of glass. Both "simply" and "clever" are completely baffling me. If it's simple, that means good, right? If it's clever and creative, that's good too, right? I'm certainly not offering anything beyond these three things - what I'm stomping on, and as demonstrated very clearly by your players, is the inability to see the available range for their application.

In general, I do not see the distinction between customizable vs. hard-and-fast that you draw, at all. To me, all the rules are hard and fast, at all times, and all of their imaginative application is customizable, mainly via pre-play discussion but also sometimes in play. Sorcerer was built very much on the Champions-based principle, recently articulated by Vincent, which I called the Lumpley Principle, that rules = agreements by which we establish what happens in play. That's all. They represent nothing in the game-world itself. At the table: hard and fast, this is how we do it, these are the dice, here are the numbers. In the game-world, in terms of appearance and meaning: negotiable, discussed, customized, and enthusiastically entered into.

I think that your confusion about this stems from some very deeply-embedded Simulationist-by-habit assumptions.

Best,
Ron
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jburneko
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2003, 11:21:01 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Regarding Shapeshift-as-disguise, by the way, everyone is all wrong about this ... you don't need Shapeshift at all, you need Perception (targeting observers), Cloak (so directly-targeted observers don't look), and Cover for the details.


Just to poke you more about the wording in the actual book.  The text of Perception reads: "User adds the demon's Power to whatever score is being emplyed for perception." And then goes on about what can be percieved.  First, Perception seems to grant the heightened ability to see something that's really there, not alter what they're seeing to make them think they're seeing something else.  Second, the text is pretty explicit about the difference between User and Target.  Perception doesn't say anything about a Target.  I always assumed Perception could only be used on the User.

So what about Vitality which reads: "Dice of lasting damage up to the demon's Power are removed when the user takes a rest following combat."  Does user here, not really mean User in the sense the sentence implies?  Could the User of Vitality actually apply the effects of the ability to someone else (i.e. a Target)?

I made Christopher change his demon boy from a Passer to an Inconspicuous Type over this point.  He wanted the demon to be sustaining his life.  But since the text of Vitality implies that only the User recieves the benefits and Passer's can't confer their abilities onto others then the Passer Boy with Life Giving Powers isn't allowable by the rules.

And yeah, I think all of these questions come from Simulationist-By-Habit points but that's why I ask them.  To uncover what assumptions I'm making vs what's actually written on the page.

After this discussion I think the a MAJOR assumption is that of time.  In specific how long it takes to apply a demonic ability.  In the combat rules it states that a demon can use only one ability per roll of the dice, I hesitate to use the word "round."  Okay, so when we extrapolate this logic (and maybe I shouldn't be) up to non-combat conflicts I run into problems like this:

Okay, so you say Perception + Cloak + Cover = Disguise.  Note: I think most people kneejerk equate Cloak with Invisibility.  I, myself, had never thought of using Cloak simply to have someone not notice it's me, even when directly interacting with them.  I think that's another assumption, if it's being directly interacted with, it can't be Cloaked (mostly becaue that IS in the text of Inconspicuous Demons).  

Anyway, back to the time problem.  So let's say that I walk into a room with the King and 30 of his advisors.  Now according to what you say part of my disguise routine is apply Perception to OTHER people.  Great, by the time I've applied Perception to the first 15 advisors, the other 15 advisors have noticed that I'm not who I want them to think I am.

For a while now, I've been thinking about the need for an Area of Effect ability that works like Range except it allows the ability to affect multiple targets in one go (probably limited to the demon's power) this would allow for things like Demonic Storms that rain down Special Lethal Damage Lightening Bolts on 3 or 4 targets at time. (I keep having this image of a Sorcerer in a tower summoning a Storm Demon to wipe out an army that is coming to kill him.) Perhaps you can give me reasons why such an ability doesn't already exist.

I think the same goes with Shapeshift.  You say that I can apply that indefinitely until Stamina/Need gives out.  Great.  But I think even with that clearification what went through our heads at the time was that in the gap between the Shapeshift giving out and the reapplication of it, the character's true form would be exposed.  Although, I can clearly see why that was a bad assumption on our part and I can't figure out why I didn't think of it at the time.

As for the "simple clever combinations" comment I was trying to figure out what the difference in thinking was between using Perception + Travel + Psychic Forces in Sorcerer vs Locate Object + Teleport + Sleep in D&D.

Jesse
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2003, 12:26:26 PM »

I'll just say . . . my READING of the demon powers stirred up a lot of these same issues, and frankly, it looked like a nightmare trying to sort it all out.  And not an interesting/fun nightmare.

My limited actual play has run across far fewer issues than I thought it might, but I think that's because either 1) I was in the hands of a more experienced Sorcerer GM (Scott at GenCon) and just played off his lead, or 2) I was the "authority" on the rules and since our play sessions were basically experiments, we didn't get into it very deeply.

I could easily believe that these things sort themselves out quite nicely as play experience widens, but it honestly is a bit of a barrier.  Even reading through the descriptions in this thread and elsewhere, I haven't got a gut "feel" of understanding how powers are supposed to work.

Gordon
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jburneko
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2003, 12:38:10 PM »

Gordon,

I agree fully.  The issues do just kind of melt away in actual play.  What I'm trying to address is the issue of all the people who claim that Sorcerer is either poorly written, poorly organized, unclear or just plain don't get it and see it as sim-lite as Ron likes to say.  In other words I'm thinking about the the guy who either refuses to try the game and so never discovers that the issues melt away OR the guy who DOES try it and gets tripped up by habits of play (myself, and my players are to varying degrees in this category) and doesn't ever realize that there's anything more to it all because the texts makes no effort to speak these people, which Ron fully admits was never his intent.  It's something that makes me go "Grrr" and I feel like barking about it at the moment, just to clear some stuff for me and to point out to Ron what some people maybe refering to as "poor organization or writing."

Jesse
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Bankuei
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2003, 12:59:43 PM »

I've always found the greatest "teaching" of how this stuff works is by example.  After the first time I saw a set of powers getting linked, I started coming up with all kinds on my own, or that the powers aren't necessarily visual "dictators" as well.  

It may prove to be useful for folks to exchange particularly entertaining, cool, or nasty power combos, or likewise, ways of using the rules to make some interesting demons.

Powerwise, I've always wanted to combine Hint, with Perceive(High/Low Humanity), with a demon with the need for chaos.  Watch as the demon finds folks with low Humanity and starts forcibly dropping Hint on them, between convulsions, Humanity rolls, and truths that might not be good to be revealed("She's cheating on me!?!"), you can get some real nasty results.  Think Pi or the Necronomicon for good examples.

Has anyone else found that examples tend to speak better than the rules alone?

Chris
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Tor Erickson
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2003, 11:36:18 AM »

Quote from: Bankuei


Has anyone else found that examples tend to speak better than the rules alone?

Chris


In Spartan Sorcerer one of the players wanted his demon to be able to heal his character and to confer on the character the ability to have some sort of second-sight.  So he gave the demon Vitality and Hint, and defined them as the results of drinking from a flask of dark wine that his demon carried around (it was a big, satyr-like thing, Bacchus and all that).  I thought this was a great idea, but it seemed to bend a number of rules:  mainly that passer demons can't confer their abilities (vitality), and that since it was just a bottle of wine, it seemed like anybody could drink from it.

This "anybody could drink from it" effect didn't occur to me until the Player gave someone else a sip to cure him.  It was a case where I knew what the rules said, the player didn't, he'd envisioned the power one way, I'd envisioned it another.

It would have been jarring to say "no you can't do that" or, "it doesn't work."  So instead I let him go ahead and give the wine to his henchman then implied some awful consequences.

-Tor
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jburneko
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2003, 02:43:40 PM »

I've been thinking about this some more and have come up with some more examples.

Quote

The space station demon is an Object. Objects are already as big as they are, period, so no special ability is necessary to make it Big (in the demon sense). However! Note that Big (in the demon sense) includes some very advantageous, very important advantages regarding damage in combat. So if you want your Object demon to have these things, give it Big and apply when necessary rather than thinking that it "must be" Big all the time. That's how the house in the core book works.


And this precisely what I did.  But I'd like to point out that this "interpretation" is still a direct violation of the rules as written:

"The user becomes very large, anywhere from bear to mastodon-sized..."

Violation 1: There is no "becoming very large" involved.  As pointed out the station is already very large and when the ability is in effect the station doesn't appear to get any larger.

Violation 2: The space station is a great deal larger than "mastondon-sized"

To add insult to injury Big goes on to say:

"Without this ability, Passing or Inconspicuous demons may be dwarf-sized to largish-human-sized."

I can already imagine the "traditional" role-playing group trying out Sorcerer and having his buddy make up an Inconspicuous Demon that's a little tiny imp like creature that hides in his pocket until it springs into action using Big to become a slavering fanged monster.

Player: "Alright, I think it's time for the little guy to spring into action.  I order him to use Big and help me out."

Newbie Sorcerer GM: (Flipping through the book to double-check how Big works again) "Let's see... bear to mastdon-sized... Stamina is increased by the demon's Power... Oh, dude, we fucked up!"

Player: "What do you mean?"

Newbie Sorcerer GM: "It says here that without this ability Passing or Inconspicuous demons may be dwarf-sized to largish-human-sized.  Your demon's too small!  The smallest it can be is dwarf-sized.  Now why the hell doesn't it say that under the description of Passing or Inconspicuous demons?  God, I hate the way this book is layed out!"

Player: "But I thought that pocked-sized inconspicuous demon was one of the examples."

Newbie Sorcerer GM: (flipping to description of Inconspicuous Demons) "Hey, you're right it says, 'They may merely be small, hiding in their master's pockets.'  Now the rules are contradictory!  So which does this game actually mean?"

Player: "Maybe we should play something else."

Okay, so Ron has this to say:

Quote

They represent nothing in the game-world itself. At the table: hard and fast, this is how we do it, these are the dice, here are the numbers. In the game-world, in terms of appearance and meaning: negotiable, discussed, customized, and enthusiastically entered into.


Okay, so MAYBE it's safe to say that really an references to "game-world" interpretations presented in the Demon Abilities are really just examples of how the Ability MIGHT be applied in "game-world" terms and not really a rule, per se.  Thus really, the only "rule" portion of Abilities are the stuff that refers to Dice, Game Stats, etc, etc directly.  So the ACTUAL Text of Big in terms of inviolate rules is:

"Stamina is increased by the demon's Power for purposes of resisting damage and endurance only (not for attack or defense rolls)."

If this is case, first of all the text doesn't directly point this out, and second of all there are a few cases where even this interpretation doesn't hold:

Quote

The user needs to Travel (defined as Teleport) to the location and get the target. I knew I was missing something in there; Travel has to be included too, and if the demon is strong enough, then Transport might be unnecessary.


From the text of Travel: "The user has the demon's Power as a multiple of normal human movement..."

Damn, now here we have BOTH a direct refence to a game statistic AND an a "game world" interpretation.  So, how do we read this.  Strictly according to the text a relatively average demon with a Power of 4 can allow a Sorcerer to "teleport" at a speed of approximately 12 miles per hour assuming an average walking speed of 3 miles per hour.  48 miles per hour if the Sorcerer "runs" assuming that a human being runs about 4 times as fast as they walk.  That's about 0.8 miles a minute.  Great, now let's assume I want to "fetch" my mother who lives about 24 miles away (not an unreasonable distance if, the presumed fellow is pining over the proximity of Lisa).  This is going to take me 19.2 minutes ONE WAY.  Or 38.4 mintues to go there, pick her up, and come back.  Not exactly, "Shazam-bam!"

Okay, so Ron adds:

Quote

Please note that given certain demon abilities such as Cloak or Daze or Confuse, or the Type Inconspicuous, can render the action to appear instantaneous or nearly-so.


Okay, so using Cloak, Daze, or Confuse, I've got to make 38.4 minutes disappear in the mind of Mr. "gotta-have-my-lisa-now."  Let's go back to the text.

Cloak: "The demon's Power is subtracted from the Perception dice of anyone who might perceive the user."  Well, the User isn't there.  He's off fetching Lisa.  So no one is "perceiving the user" because he isn't there to be perceived.

Daze: "The user hits the target wiith a combat roll to subtract Power from all target's perception rolls; the effect lasts for the demon's Power in minutes.  Note that the target is not blinded and needs no perception roll to deal with direct attacks or other obvious things.  This ability is automatically Ranged."

Hmmm... This MIGHT do it.  Again we have reference to perception rolls.  Does one need to role to percieve a 38.4 minute time gap?  Maybe, especially since we're dealing with a relevant conflict.  The effect only last's for 4 minutes for our given demon so the effect would have to be reapplied at least 9.6 times (what's the Demon's Stamina?).  I'd worry about the fact that Daze requires an attack but the ability is Ranged and we've already defined Perception to be able to see remote targets.  The last niggly bit is, "...no perception roll to deal with direct attacks or other obvious things."  How obvious is 38.4 minutes of time?

So, I might buy this.  However, how many demons have a Stamina of at least 21?  1 for the Travel and then 20 for the repeated applications of Perception * 10 + Daze * 10.  And just how 'obvious' is 38.4 minutes of time.

Confuse: "The user matches the demon's Power against the target's Will to force target to lose his or her next action(s), either later in that round or the next round, whiever applies.  This ability is automatically Ranged."

Hmmm.  Again with have the attack requirement but the Perception + Automatic Range again solves the problem.  However, this lasts for only one action.  The question becomes how long is one action.  From the Combat section, "...anything...that takes about two seconds."  Two seconds!  Ouch.  Let's see, 38.4 minutes is 2304 seconds which would require 1152 applications of Daze to cover.  A Demon with a Stamina of 1152?  Double for the Perception problem.  Not going to happen.

Here's the point of all this.  I'm not attacking Ron.  I'm not attacking Sorcerer.  What's keeping me up at night, what's plaguing my sense of ethical behavior is this: One of the strongest selling points of Sorcerer is that its rule system is robust and its application is uniform.  Ron has gone on for a long time about how Narrativist play isn't about "ignoring rules for the sake of the story."  I agree.  I want this to be true.

But from where I stand, The Space Station's use of Big, The "fetching" use of Travel, and Tor's Vitality Wine, are all in the spirit of Sorcerer.  I understand why they work, and I understand that for the specific events they were valid interpretations of rules.  But there's no denying it they are ALL applications of White Wolf's much meligned "Golden Rule."  They ALL ignore the rules AS WRITTEN for the sake of making a better story.

But I go around bitching about "The Golden Rule" all the time and holding up Sorcerer as a game that gets a story centric rule system right and that doesn't need no sticking "Golden Rule."  And then I turn around and do the thing with the Space Station.  That makes me a hypocrit.  That makes me a liar.

Someone, clearify all this for me.

Jesse
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2003, 03:04:58 PM »

Ummm ...

... it's hard to make a game-book work the way you want, when the very essence of the hobby is shifting under your feet as you do it?

Sorcerer became more of and better as a game, as I wrote it, and as I played it, and as I continue to play it. But the text necessarily lagged, even for the re-working for the book version. I try to make up that lag through website and forum interactions, which to some people might seem like laziness ("second edition!") if they've never self-published a book or run a company.

Today, I think the abilities rules should all be stripped into pure "rules-notions" rather than in-game descriptions. That's a failing of the text, that it doesn't reflect that desire.

Not a satisfying clarification, perhaps, but all I've got.

Best,
Ron
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jburneko
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2003, 04:24:54 PM »

Ron, that was more satisfying than you know.

I reflected back on my actual play of Sorcerer and I realized that almost every place when the group tripped and fell, and I really felt like something wasn't right relates directly back to where the text states a game world casual relationship.  Every kick-ass idea presented by a player that was shot down was followed by a sentence like:

"Oh, nevermind, Passer's can't do that."

"Damn, it only lasts X minutes."

"Fuck, I can only go so fast."

Or some such.  I think what you meant to say is, "In Sorcerer, nothing is every instantaneous, eternal or infinite.  If the notion of time and space becomes relevant to the conflict at hand than these factors are limited by a Demon's Power."

Thus your "fetching lisa" example becomes really easy.  Okay, so I want to go get Lisa and come back and make it look all spookey and instananeous.  Great, first I Daze the fellow to whack off some perception dice and then roll his remaining perception dice vs the demon's Power to see if I can get there and back again in time.

How long can I shapeshift for?  When I go in for a lengthy dialogue with my enemy I roll Power vs. The Demon's Stamina.  If Power wins then the Shapeshift holds, otherwise it gives out sometime during the dialogue.

I like to think I know how to play Sorcerer.  It just gets me down when I realize that not everyone does just from reading the core book alone.

Jesse
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2003, 08:58:41 AM »

Hey,

I was thinking some more about all this, because Jesse's analysis represents one of the best critiques of the game text since Ralph's way back when. Just in case anyone was wondering, no, Jesse hasn't gone over any lines in any way. If I can't hack well-documented critique from someone who's read and played the game as much as he has, than I wouldn't be much of a game author (or at least shouldn't be on-line).

Here are some more windows into what was happening in my head regarding the issues of demon size. These are very much in retrospect, trying to recover my decisions as I wrote those parts of the text.

1. The pocket-sized size of the imp seemed to me to be a function of the passive Cloak that operates for all Inconspicuous demons.

2. The large size of the station or the house seemed to me to be a function of the object's size, and not fundamentally related to the ability Big. Technically, these demons don't have to have Big, although I can see why it's somehow aggravating for them not to.

3. The text in Big really gripes me now. It's all a function of not wanting any textual bias toward what a demon "is," thus not having a full text section on demon size on its own. I think that I was considering only demons who were essentially humanoids, in my mind, which was definitely a mistake.

All of the above are definitely not clear from the text, and represent excellent examples of how Sorcerer wasn't intended to be a teaching text at all. Somehow, it sort of has become one, probably due to the virtues of the game that it does manage to communicate, and also to my on-line support.

In many ways, I wrote the game for myself and for anyone like me, and balls to the rest of ya (ran the thinking at the time). "Myself" would best be described as a role-player who had abandoned fantasy role-playing as not fantasy at all, who had internalized a particular use of the Champions rules very thoroughly, and who recognized at last certain possible rules-philosophy applications in the implied play underlying Prince Valiant and Over the Edge.

Catching up from that attitude in writing the game - as niche as you can get, socially speaking - to an attitude or approach that welcomes the "gee this doesn't work according to all my habits, but I want to adjust my thinking so it does" player, is something I've been working on since the book version came out.

Best,
Ron
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Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2003, 10:58:49 AM »

When this has come up in my games (twice so far) I took a cue from the 'Ranged' ability which serves to modify the effects of another ability.  I dedifferentiated that ability to cover all the 'secondary' effects of another ability- range, duration, area of effect etc.  When ever a player wanted a demon with an extended ability (I called the new ability 'Extended' for simplicity sake, and included in it the effects of Ranged) they had to take a second modifying ability to cover it.  

In the Shapeshift example (one of those that came up for me) I said Extend would make it last for hours instead of minutes, and if taken twice, for days.  I found this satisfied the players, and stayed more of less within the rules.  'Ranged' in time rather than space, if you will.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
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Posts: 112


« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2003, 02:30:27 PM »

Quote from: Bailywolf

In the Shapeshift example (one of those that came up for me) I said Extend would make it last for hours instead of minutes, and if taken twice, for days.  I found this satisfied the players, and stayed more of less within the rules.  'Ranged' in time rather than space, if you will.


This is a nice solution.  In fact, I seem to remember somewhere in the text it suggests that the GM to make up new demon powers (although I can't find it now).  This would, I'm sure, include the right to bend, fold, and modify the existing powers to what is needed, all without the broad "ignore these rules" (because they don't work) crap you sometimes see.

Just speaking for myself, customizing a demon's powers never struck me as being a form of ignoring the rules.  Obviously the rules need to be adapted to express setting details.  Chapter 7 practically tells you to do such.  Likewise, &Sword is a list of rules tweaks for pulp S&S.  Tweaking the rules (rather than arbitrarily discarding them mid session) is normal, expected, and neccesary.

Fudging rolls (and similar acts) during play, on the other hand, is a big no no for me.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2003, 08:51:33 AM »

Yeah.  I've not found anything in Sorcerer I had a major problem with after chewing on it for a while.  The above solution to a player's concern is a bit of a blunt instrument, just extroplating on a rule.

But, I find the in-play results were right in line with Sorcerer's core ideals.  If you want your demon to be able to warp your flesh so you can appear as another person for hours at a time, then it is by definition a more potent ability.  And with the extra Power and Will the demon will then have to throw about, the extra trouble it can cause serves as justification enough in my book- anything that makes the demon/sorcerer relationship more complicated is a good thing in my experience.

-Ben
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