*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 01, 2022, 05:04:05 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 80 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: When Sorcery Goes Poof  (Read 6074 times)
Jeffrey Straszheim
Member

Posts: 112


« on: September 12, 2003, 08:01:26 AM »

Following the general "nothing never happens" policy, when a player fails a sorcery roll, the ritual shouldn't just fizzle out.  A failed contact gets the wrong demon; a failed summon draws through two of the bad guys, and so on.  Does anyone have some examples of how they've handled failed sorcery rolls in actual play, and how it worked out?  I'm particularly interested in failed summon rolls.
Logged

Jeffrey Straszheim
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2003, 08:24:07 AM »

I've been meaning to ask this question, myself for some time now.  However, for me, I'm particularly interested in failed Contact rolls.

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2003, 08:30:55 AM »

Hi Jeffrey,

Damn good topic. This is my most painful sore point in the Sorcerer rulebook. It is totally written as if a failed roll goes "poof," and I know exactly why.

It's the Elric-Yyrkoon interaction in Elric of Melnibone. Elric successfully Summons Arioch, and Yyrkoon does not. Given the way I'd like to play Sorcerer, and given the notion that we are talking about two solid characters and not one character vs. one irrelevant-foil, success and failure at the rituals as tasks should be both possible and unpredictable.

But damn, then the "poof" problem shows up.

I know how I deal with it in play. It's the same-old, same-old Customize It answer I also give, that drives everyone nuts. It's my old-school Champions background showing up again.

1. Sorcerous rituals should have a look and feel for a particular game, and the details should themselves be full of logistic implications.

2. Those implications set standards for what happens in successful and failed roll situations.

The current necromancy game discussion illustrates some of this. The visual details of The River bring tons of implications into play - for instance, the fact that the sorcerer experiences The River when Contacting, regardless of the roll's outcome, means a lot.

For instance, Frank actually failed his Contact roll in the second session, which meant that Urma couldn't "catch" the dead-guy/demon as it passed beyond the second gate ... but that meant that he ran face-first into another demon entirely which was being Contacted by someone else. His and Craig's interactions with that demon (Craig kicked the dogshit out of it) actually ruined the other sorcerer's chance to Summon it. That's a hell of a lot of sorcery and story emerging from one failed roll.

All this should not overlook the observation that sometimes, "nothing happens" carries enough weight on its own to be good story-stuff too. Way back in my Demon Cops game, Dav's character Arturo attempted a Contact + Summons in his bathroom, and Dav failed the crucial roll. We played it as "nothing happens," mainly because it played up the societal context of that setting. Loner-sorcery is bad news in Demon Cops, and in some ways, I think that Dav's failed roll for such an attempt led to his decision, post-Kicker resolution, to redefine Arturo's Will descriptor to "By the Book."

How did I make that decision? Purely on the fly. The players get to apply their creative author-power mainly through the medium of their characters, in Sorcerer, and I get to do so through scene framing and through final-say in terms of conflict resolution. Just what conflict gets resolved by one of these rolls, though, is sometimes the main issue, and I maintain that this is one of the primary artistic responsibilities for the Sorcerer GM.

In the game text, I completely failed to convey how these concepts apply to success or failure in the ritual rules, for Contact and Summon. (I think the Binding is fine, and Punish, Contain, and Banish are straightforward enough in success/fail terms to not be much of a problem.)

Best,
Ron
Logged
Jeffrey Straszheim
Member

Posts: 112


« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2003, 09:10:47 AM »

Thanks Ron,

Having an underlying structure to sorcery, such as your river of death thing, is really cool, and helps alot in thinking about this. I'll need to create such a thing for my upcomming game. Interestingly, it seems similar in concept to the "Mystic Otherworlds" stuff from &Sword, minus the massive Humanity loss.

I'm still interested in a bunch of examples of failed summon rolls. Anyone else?
Logged

Jeffrey Straszheim
Mikko Lehtinen
Member

Posts: 41


« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2003, 08:33:59 AM »

A quick idea:

Summoning might sometimes work as planned on a failed roll. But then the sorcerer has a sudden memory lapse about the details of the binding ritual, and the demon gets bonus dice equal to its victories to the Binding roll.
Logged

Mikko
Jeffrey Straszheim
Member

Posts: 112


« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2003, 06:25:08 PM »

Quote from: Mikko Lehtinen

Summoning might sometimes work as planned on a failed roll. But then the sorcerer has a sudden memory lapse about the details of the binding ritual, and the demon gets bonus dice equal to its victories to the Binding roll.


Thanks for responding Mikko.  Have you done something like this in actual play?  If so, how did it work out?  My concern would be that it lessens the importance of the summoning roll, leaving it to provide a mere one or two dice bonus or penalty (on average) to the binding roll.  I'm hoping for examples of failures that got this sort of response from the players: "Oh shit" (at first) and "Damn, that was cool" (later).
Logged

Jeffrey Straszheim
Mikko Lehtinen
Member

Posts: 41


« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2003, 12:43:05 AM »

Quote from: Jeffrey Straszheim
Thanks for responding Mikko.  Have you done something like this in actual play?  If so, how did it work out?  My concern would be that it lessens the importance of the summoning roll, leaving it to provide a mere one or two dice bonus or penalty (on average) to the binding roll.  I'm hoping for examples of failures that got this sort of response from the players: "Oh shit" (at first) and "Damn, that was cool" (later).


No, I haven't. And yes, its boring.

Hmm. Maybe you could use the Currency in some another way, while letting the actual ritual still work. The demon's victories could convert to edged weapon damage. Or lower the sorcerer's Lore. Or something, depending on the definition of the sorcery. Still, these don't get applause from the players unless you combine them with wild descriptions.

I'm a newbie with Sorcerer and haven't actually gamemastered ANY summoning yet... But it will happen in the next session. This thread is good reading for me.
Logged

Mikko
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2003, 11:39:11 AM »

Actually, I think that's a nifty idea. As long as there's a good rationale for description behind the event, I'd allow it. For example, maybe the demon is caught in the interstices between our world, and nowhere, and the sorcerer has to use some of his resources reserved for the binding to get it all the way through. Resulting in the penalty. Described right, I could defintitely see that.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!