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Author Topic: Commanding Demons  (Read 5031 times)
Valamir
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« on: September 06, 2001, 04:36:00 PM »

Ok.  Several places in the book it mentions the ability sorcerers have of giving orders to other demons besides there own.  Are there specific rules for this?  I can't find the pertinent section in the rules.

The best source I found was an example from the demon house scenario which indicates what I take to be Will vs. Power + |Binding|.  This raises the following questions for me.

1) when (if ever) is in necessary to make such a roll against your own demons?  The stages of Need indicate that at stage II a Will vs Will roll must be made (modified oc by the Binding).

2)  Why is this different from the roll against other demons?  This seems like a place where using the same rule in both places would be simpler...

3)Why isn't Command one of the standard Sorcerer rituals?  Is it because its supposed to be a secret until the players stumble upon it themselves?  It occurs to me that it would be easier to remember if it were just on the list with the others...
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2001, 08:01:00 PM »

Ralph,

Check out the thread called "Bids?" or something similar on the older pages of this forum. I pretty much cover most of your queries there.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2001, 06:08:00 AM »

Thanks, I looked it up, and actually it doesn't contain the answer I was looking for.

Namely, when is the "Bid" roll (as in "do my bidding") made with respect to your own bound demons.  If I say "Fragg, kill those thugs" does that require a roll to get Fragg to listen to me?  My initial inclination was no, but your (Ron's) response on the Bid thread was non specific in this regard.  Is this sort of roll necessary only when the demon's Need has not been met, or is it in fact required all of the time.

Also since demons whose Needs have not been met are less likely to obey, should they get a bonus die for each loss of Power/Stamina they've suffered due to deprivation, or at that point do they just blanket refuse...

Further, in the Bid thread you don't indicate a difference between ordering a demon bound to you vs. one bound to someone else.  You state that ordering a demon is a simple Will vs Will modified by Binding.  But the demon house example indicates that for other demons its Will vs Power modified by |Binding|.

This leads me to the question of why this should be different.  It leads to a dramatically different environment whereby it can be easier to order someone elses suitably Punished demon than your own.  Since Punishment reduces Power and not Will, punishing another's demons will reduce its ability to resist your orders.  Punishing your own demon will have no such effect and likely just piss it off.  What is being modeled here by this difference as it doesn't quite make sense to me yet.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2001, 07:07:00 AM »

Whoa .... this is WAY easier than you're making it.

Here's the deal.

Telling one's own Bound demon to do something does not require a roll unless the GM, playing the demon, thinks that the demon might object.

Telling any other demon to do something usually does require a roll, unless the GM, playing the demon, thinks that the demon would have no possible objection.

If a roll is called for, it's a Will vs. Will roll. If my demo pack says "Will vs. Power," that's an error derived from hasty typing.

If the demon is Bound to the person ordering it around, the Binding strength operates in the favor of either sorcerer or demon, depending on who won the original Binding roll.

If the demon is being ordered about by sorcerer X, but it's Bound to sorcerer Y, the Binding strength operates in favor of the demon (no matter who won the initial Binding roll between demon and sorcerer Y).

If the demon is not Bound to anyone, there is no automatic modifier.

None of the above rules are exceptions or changes to any existing rule. They're just applications of the Sorcerer Currency explained in Chapter 4.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2001, 10:55:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-09-07 10:08, Valamir wrote:
Also since demons whose Needs have not been met are less likely to obey, should they get a bonus die for each loss of Power/Stamina they've suffered due to deprivation, or at that point do they just blanket refuse...

Further, in the Bid thread you don't indicate a difference between ordering a demon bound to you vs. one bound to someone else.  You state that ordering a demon is a simple Will vs Will modified by Binding.  But the demon house example indicates that for other demons its Will vs Power modified by |Binding|.

This leads me to the question of why this should be different.  It leads to a dramatically different environment whereby it can be easier to order someone elses suitably Punished demon than your own.  Since Punishment reduces Power and not Will, punishing another's demons will reduce its ability to resist your orders.  Punishing your own demon will have no such effect and likely just piss it off.  What is being modeled here by this difference as it doesn't quite make sense to me yet.


Crazy Simulationist! I can't believe I'm designing a game with you! Just roll some dice when you feel like it. That's the definition of Narrativism, right Ron?

))Ducks((

Mike  :wink:
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2001, 11:05:00 AM »

Ralph was dead-on correct when he identified that using Will vs. Power would skew the "Sorcerer environment" badly. One could Punish Power down, and thus make a demon more obedient to commands. That's why the Real Rule is Will vs. Will, for telling a demon what to do; always was, and always will be.

I may be a Narrativist, but I know Currency and I know dice.

Best,
Ron

Now I have to go get my shoe from where it hit the wall, after I threw it at Mike.
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2001, 11:24:00 AM »

I'll check when I get home, but I could swear that the Demon House example in the Hard Cover book used Power instead of Will.  There was a point where it discussed Sorcerers ordering the house being very difficult because at power 11 and Binding 4 the house would roll 15 dice to resist.  Maybe I misread it.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2001, 11:28:00 AM »

Yes, yes, currency, etc. yes.

But riddle me this, O master of sorcerers. Am I right in assuming that there must be some sort of magic or lore in operation in the day-to-day commanding of demons to do things that they are adverse to? I ask because I would think that if you wanted to get another person to do something that they did not want to do that you'd make a will vs. will roll (adjusted by how ridiculous the request was). Well, a demon which is almost certainly a sociopath by nature, would be harder to persuade in this manner, no? Often capable of destroying their masters (especially when 50 meters tall, and wielding weapons capable of destroying cities), why do they listen when commanded? This ties into the binding thing as well in that it effects these commands. I don't see another reasonable interperetation for this.

So, why didn't you just make this another ritual called Command?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2001, 11:28:00 AM »

Huh. Either you're misremembering, or I fucked it up. I'll post to the Errata on the site, if that's the case.

(Of course, the math is the same, 'cause Power is always equal to Will, but still ...)

Best,
Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2001, 12:38:00 PM »

The above post was to Ralph. This one's to Mike.

"Am I right in assuming that there must be some sort of magic or lore in operation in the day-to-day commanding of demons to do things that they are adverse to? I ask because I would think that if you wanted to get another person to do something that they did not want to do that you'd make a will vs. will roll (adjusted by how ridiculous the request was). Well, a demon which is almost certainly a sociopath by nature, would be harder to persuade in this manner, no? Often capable of destroying their masters (especially when 50 meters tall, and wielding weapons capable of destroying cities), why do they listen when commanded? This ties into the binding thing as well in that it effects these commands."

Um, unless we're reading different posts, what you said corresponds exactly to what I wrote - that if you're commanding a demon who's Bound to you, and it's something that the demon doesn't want to do, it's a Will vs. Will roll.

Are you suggesting that the roll needs modifiers against the sorcerer, because demons are sociopathic? That would be a personal take on the topic which could be applied in YOUR game, but it's not the baseline assumption, no.

I hate trying to answer things when I'm also trying to figure out what the hell is being asked.

Clarify, please. I can't see how anything you've said actually fails to correspond with the Rules or how I've explained them above.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2001, 07:19:00 AM »

Sorry, I thought that I had been more clear. But the questions are right there in the text. To reitterate.

"Am I right in assuming that there must be some sort of magic or lore in operation in the day-to-day commanding of demons to do things that they are adverse to?"

As opposed to just cajoling, browbeating, whatever, using your willpower.

The answer may be in the rules, but I don't remember seeing it. I think that you may have left it vague, which is why I asked. I then assumed that there must be magic involved for the reasons specified, and asked further.

"So, why didn't you just make this another ritual called Command?"

This seems straightforward enough.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2001, 07:33:00 AM »

Mike,

OK, let's see if my brain works this time.

"Am I right in assuming that there must be some sort of magic or lore in operation in the day-to-day commanding of demons to do things that they are adverse to?"

According to the ground-level rules assumptions, no, such rituals or magic or lore are not required. Binding sets up the relationship, and after that, it's a matter of Need-fulfilling and interaction.

Now, of course, that's the base-line assumption, not a rule for How It Must Be. Any play group can generate a more sophisticated or formal situation, perhaps requiring rolls of some kind, whether for demons in general or for a given character's approach to sorcery.

"So, why didn't you just make this another ritual called Command?"

I talked about this in the "Bid?" thread. Originally, this act WAS listed as a ritual. The problem is that it's a brief action, and that led to horrible problems during the pre-PDF play days. Ultimately, for the most serious round of rules revisions, I was stuck with two options, each with disadvantages.

1) I could have it be a ritual but with special rules that exempted it from the snap-shot, one-die rule. This nagged at me because it layered on a "spot-correct" rule, which I always use as an alarm bell that something is wrong. It also would need its own stable of modifiers regarding time, effort, and all that stuff. As I said, this option (the original design) led to awful problems during play.

2) I could have it not be a ritual at all, but simply a form of interaction. That made sense to me - it IS just an interaction, after all, and its relation to the rituals is already present in the Binding modifier. And that lets all the real rituals get handled by the same logistic rules. The only disadvantage is that it's not immediately clear to players and GMs that ANY demon can be bossed around by ANY sorcerer, so I tried to beef that up in the text a bit, apparently unsuccessfully.

Hope that helps.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2001, 08:19:00 AM »

OK, I get it.

It's just that it seems to me like demons would be a beligerent lot, and the relationship would usually be based on the economy of the demon's need. Given that I'd think that I'd find myself applying the rolls a lot and giving big bonuses to the demons in play.

The personalized routs I could take is to either make the binding bonus bigger, say, automatic +3 raised or lowered by the number of successes rolled by the sorcerer or demon; this way each side gets to roll more dice, yay! Or to reintroduce the Command ritual. Actually, just saying that "the binding has influence on the relationship" to level this playing field might be enough.

Or both ideas, possibly. I like that. The demon bound can resist the binding strength and will of the sorcerer, but then the sorcerer can resort to an elaborate Command ritual to try and get the demon to do his bidding. I like that a lot. One possible result of Command rituals would be to potentially reduce the binding strength. Might be the result of the demon getting successes. Hmmm....

Anyhow, I can see how this is all unneccessary in some games and why you didn't include them. Still, I like the feel of the addition of the magic to the relationship. I see this sort of freedom of setting as being a bonus, and one of the reasons I really like the general design of Sorcerer.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2001, 08:30:00 AM »

Mike,

One existing mechanic you can use is the fact that Binding strength is labile. Every session, or perhaps even with individual scenes, the GM is perfectly free to alter the Binding strength. Given your inclinations, you could get it to pretty hefty levels through play, and thus it would fulfil your stated interest in seeing more ritual/system at work in the interactions.

Also, you can use role-playing bonuses. Say a Black Wheel sorcerer (to use a book example for clarity) re-applies the Binding contract every week or so. OK, fine, let that "color in" the abstract Binding strength with in-game activity, and you're all set with the effect you desire without any need for more rules. It also gives the group the chance to see what happens when it's not applied for some reason, and ALSO get the player a much-needed bonus if you guys take the time to incorporate this "reinforcement" into the run itself.

Finally, I just realized that I used exactly the concern you stated in designing Stephanie and Kerch, the example sorcerer and demon. Its Need is for reinforcing the original Binding contract, which in play translates to role-playing scenes all about that renegotiation (which may well involve Lore rolls), and in rules terms, into changes in the Binding strength.

Hope some of this helps.

Best,
Ron
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