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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 91 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Making Your Own Demon Abilities  (Read 7365 times)

Posts: 7

« on: April 05, 2008, 03:18:59 AM »

Hello Forge,

In the Sorcerer manual there are a vast amount of abilities to add to your demon. However, being the guy who loves to add his own flair to a game, I was thinking about making demon abilities of my own. Maybe because it suits the setting better, or because a player might want to summon a demon with some distinct feature. In any case, I was trying to come up with a template for this and this is the result:

[Name]: Fairly obvious, a name for the ability.
[Type]: Damage, Concealing, Command, Special, Protective, Physical (Simply a general statement of what it might affect or do)
[Description]: A description of what the power does.

An example:

[Name]: Spider-Climb
[Type]: Physical
[Description]: Allows the user to scale walls and ceilings, making a roll using the demon's power against half the users stamina to see whether the user is able to.

As you can see this is a bit flawed as there is probably a better method for checking success of climbing a wall, but this is really just to show how the template works. In fact, the type is not really necessary to include in your notes, but is more importantly used as a guideline in your mind about how to check for success of the power and what the power will affect/do. 

What I would like to discuss and know from you fellow Sorcerers is how do you go about doing this? How do you balance them against each other? My main concern is having abilities which almost all players would take, such as special damage lethal. I'd rather see unique and versatile demons.

Give me your input,

Sander K.

Posts: 27

« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2008, 04:39:07 AM »

Hello Sander!

The demon abilities are already highly versatile. The descriptions are vague enough to allow for much leeway in settling on how the effect of the ability comes to pass. Your Spider Climb, for example, is nothing but straightforward Travel. The description of this ability says that “Travel may be defined as flight, teleportation, or any other mode of travel permitted by the GM” and that among the modes of travel it encompasses is also “unnatural movement: running on water or air, for example, or flying”. So if you want a sorcerer to be able to climb like a spider, equip him with a demon with the ability of Travel designed in that way and with the sorcerer as user.

You will find that it is already possible to create almost any effect with the existing demon abilities, save things like mind control, which are exempt on purpose.

My real name is Michael.
Per Fischer

Posts: 212

« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2008, 05:15:29 AM »

Whay Michael said.

What you are doing Sander, is colouring the demonic abilities, and that's perfectly fine and actually a requirement for playing Sorcerer. I think it's a great way to do it the way you do, by saying f.x. Spider Climb, then describing what the ability does, and then find out which one of the demonic abilities fits the bill.

The thing about balance...it's not really an issue in Sorcerer. Every demonic ability will mechanically fit into the game's currency no matter how you have coloured what the power actually does in the fiction. Plus the mechanics only click into action when you have a conflict situation - maybe the spider climb will be used to escape from something, or approach something unseen, whatever, point is that the ability will then grant bonuses/penalties according to the normal Sorcerer rules. You can (and should) ahve all sorts of weird looking demonic powers in your game, the sky is the limit, but the super neat thing is they will all be understandable within the game's currency.

Some new players IME go for what they think is the most powerful or most deadly power - it's normal and probably leftovers from their previous gaming experiences. Let have have what they want, I say, and see how the game will hit them back like a sledgehammer (in a good way!).

I'd love to hear more of your ideas for describing demonic powers.

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Christopher Kubasik

Posts: 1159

« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2008, 09:25:04 AM »

Jesse always starts by asking the players, "What do you want the demon to do?"  He doesn't have anyone look at the lists at all.  THEN he goes and finds the right ability for the effect the Player wants.

I watched Jesse work a kind of elegant magic as GM last weekend for a Sorcery & Sword game doing just this. Note that occasion you'll combine two or three Abilities to get the specific effect -- but it all can be done right there.

This does two things:

1) It makes everyone at the table focus on the pictorial element of what the demon does -- rather than on an abstract effect.   These pictorial elements and focus on specific effect and action are very, very important to a game of Sorcerer -- as various threads of late will attest.

2) It prevents Players from limiting their imagination.  The first time I cracked open the Sorcerer book I read the list and went, "Oh, okay. So this is that the Demons could do."  And it was  very dry, limited point of view of what the Demons could do.  Travel?  Okay, they travel.  Blink, gone and back and now in a different place.  But, of course, scuttling up the wall like a spider is a hell of a lot more interesting!

I think it's a kind of cool "mini-game" to say, "Okay, I want this effect," and then to go down the list and sort it out.

I'm having the first meet up for a new Sorcerer game tonight, and I'm really looking forward to this part of the Process: The Players describing what effects they want the Demons to produce, and then figuring out the Abilities to make that happen.

(The PCs are all prisoners in a state penitentiary, where they all learned the Lore of prison.  Demons are razor blades and cocain and money and tattoos and pinups and fantasies and women who fell for them after they went to jail.  Things like that.  Some of the guys may be innocent, some of them might be guilty.  But all of them have summoned their demons to survive in the pen and to get what they want.  Lore is acts of domination over and submission to others.  Humanity is getting out of the game and building your own system of morality.  I think it's going to rock.  Hey, Ron?  Thanks for the game!)


"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 17707

« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2008, 04:57:29 PM »

Jeez. You guys are great.

Sander, is all of this working for you? I really don't want to step on your own creativity. I hope that the real point is coming clear: that you can bring your own creativity to Sorcerer without having to invent anything in terms of new rules.

Best, Ron
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