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Author Topic: Terminator is totally a Sorcerer Setting, isn't it?  (Read 2889 times)
Timespike
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Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« on: December 24, 2008, 10:23:55 PM »

Okay, first of all, Hi. My name's Peter. This is my first post to the Forge. I'd ask you to be gentle, but I read the warnings in the sticky at the top of this, and I can take it, so if I'm being an ass, retreading old ground or doing something else totally stupid here, go ahead and light me up.

I'm reading through the Sorcerer rules for the first time, and it just registered: Terminator is a Sorcerer setting, with the Terminators being the Demons (mostly of the Passing variety, but a few of the Inconspicuous or Object varieties.) This is particularly true when you consider the new TV show (or the first season and first episode of the second season, at least. My wife & I have decided to consume this one in DVD form rather than week-by-week). Cameron would seem to be a textbook Passing demon, with the T-1000s (the liquid ones) being a kind of strange mix of Inconspicuous and Passing.

Re-Programmed terminators make for potent demons, to be sure, but apparently, now and again, one just "snaps" and mows down a bunch of people.

The only thing keeping the analogy from being perfect is some good needs & desires.
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2008, 09:45:03 AM »

Ha!

You get a big hug and kiss for that one. Terminator 2 came out not long before the real creative spike in writing in Sorcerer, and one of the characters in the very first major playtest was based on Sarah Connor in that film. Her demon was a knife, and there weren't any robots in the story, but the vibe was totally there. In fact, I suppose if one were to watch A Better Tomorrow, The Hidden, and Terminator 2, the whole "modern mythology" angle on Sorcerer would be revealed. It operates in tandem with pulp fantasy (Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, et cetera) and olden-day mythology (Medea) too, but it's certainly a big part of it.

Desire: Mayhem. Needs ... well, if it's applicable at all, that might require a closer look at the TV show, which I haven't seen, but now will.

Best, Ron
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Timespike
Member

Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2008, 08:45:03 PM »

Cool! I'm glad I got it.

I've never seen A Better Tomorrow or The Hidden. Looks like I should fix that. I'm pretty excited about this game, though. My initial idea for a setting would be Terminator with some elements of the action/horror movie Virus from a few years back so Parasite and/or Possessor demons can enter the mix. Demons are hostile mechanical things from the future (or maybe the present), from Terminator-like Flesh-Covered robots to AI-equipped smart weapons to parasitic nanocolonies that hijack the host's lymphatic and nervous systems. I'm not sure if I'd want to keep the time-traveling aspects of Terminator, or make them an insidious threat being manufactured as a secret army by a malevolent A.I. on a remote island and distributed through the black market or something.
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
The Dragon Master
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2008, 10:36:13 AM »

Timespike: Awesome idea. I've been asked by my group to run a sorcerer game after our current one, and I'm going to offer this to them as a possible campaign.
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony
Timespike
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Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2008, 06:24:22 PM »

Feel free! Let me know how it goes if you do.
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
Timespike
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Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2008, 08:27:10 AM »

An interesting Need fr terminators after some more thought would be certain exotic alloys/substances used in their construction or power plants. The stuff is likely to be expensive, rare, heavy, bulky, well-guarded, and possibly dangerous to handle or even be near without protective equipment. If you need to break into NORAD, Area 51, or some similar place in a nastier country (Russia, for example, or Uzbekistan, where getting caught could mean being boiled to death) in order to get your demon's Need, that should make for some interestingly tense game play!
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
angelfromanotherpin
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Posts: 135


« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2008, 11:25:42 AM »

See, now I'm thinking about the Sorcerer's Soul, and Arnie's T-800 becoming a human with his final action in Terminator 2. 
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
charlesperez
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2009, 10:17:56 AM »

In the Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Terminator Cameron's need seems to be to fulfill mission parameters. This seems innocuous, but the series highlights the problems with asking a demon to do something for you; Cameron doesn't blink at causing deaths or ruined lives of the people with whom she interacts while fulfilling a mission. This view of a terminator's need is supported in the third Terminator movie, Rise of the Machines, where ...








SPOILER ALERT








it is revealed that Arnold Schwartznegger's Terminator actually killed the future John Connor, then was left at loose ends by those who sent him, left without a mission. Arnie's Terminator, sent to the past with a new mission to protect the Connors, remembered this, but nonetheless accepted his new mission and never looked back. In any case, it could easily be argued that Arnie T became human by the end of the movie.

In any case, in any Sorcerer game closely based on the Sarah Connor Chronicles, the rules for demons becoming human in Sorcerer and Soul would be in full effect, as indicated in Season One's seventh episode, where Sarah's closing narration ends, "... they won't have to destroy us; they'll be us."


Charles
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Timespike
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Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2009, 11:25:49 AM »

You've nailed it. That's definitely the right Need to go with.
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2009, 12:32:29 PM »

Hiya,

I've now seen the first seven episodes of the first season of the show, including the pilot - "The Demon Hand," I think, was the latest one. They're fun! And surprisingly "their own thing" considering the overwhelming content and iconography of the franchise.

You're absolutely right about the Need being the mission, especially because the current "binder" (speaking a little loosely) has little or no control over what the mission is. Binding is a little more tricky, because typically the helper-type 'scary robot' adopts you due to some strange mission-based situation, and there's not much you can do about it.

My favorite bit about the whole "carefull what you tell your demon to do" was the Russian brother and sister - after all, Sarah did tell her/it, no guns, basically to keep a low profile, right? So, too bad for them! Jeez, Terminators terminate even when they don't kill. (Boy, now that's a Desire.)

It's also interesting to consider the Lore angle, not really in the show itself because the characters would all be pretty low, but conceptually - if you were to delve into the Lore of the cybernetics and whatnot, then stuff like Punish and Contain become easy to imagine. But a person who's into that sort of thing gets a little strange, and in the sort of thematic environment of the show, also gets tempted. H'mm, now I'm thinking about the Andy character, who is kind of complicated at this point in my viewing.

Best, Ron
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charlesperez
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Posts: 30


« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2009, 07:03:08 PM »

In a modern day campaign, I think such binding is kosher a la Sorcerer, if you accept a character's future self as part of the character, asking the player, "What would your future self do/have done?" from time to time. Notice that a helpful Terminator obeys the past self of whoever sent it. Such a binding might be truly sealed when the Terminator says something like, "Come with me if you want to live" and the present self does so; or the binding may already be established. In light of this, I would say that "Future Self" makes a dandy Lore descriptor. Other good descriptors would be "From the Future", "Past Experience", and, of course, "Naive".

I'm all for Sorcerer chosen missions - choosing the missions still means that a Terminator is doing something for you, with all of the problems that entails. Not assigning a mission risks rebellion; such a rebellion is the story of Arnie T in the third movie, who puts his heart into the new mission after being abandoned by those who assigned the old mission, gaining a heart in the process. Also, helpful Terminators may rebel anyway - as per Cameron's quote: "Sometimes they go bad - no one know why."

Desire: Mayhem? Certainly! Although it wasn't immediately obvious to me whether Cameron encouraged the Russian brother and sister to be killed, or merely used them, showing indifference to their situation. Either way, she was obviously acting inhumanely, such inhumanity adding irony to the ending of the episode.

Charles
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Timespike
Member

Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2009, 08:53:21 PM »

"Come with me if you want to live"

I totally agree. This is the binding ceremony. Arnie's done it in two movies and Cameron does it in the series.
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
Timespike
Member

Posts: 10

My name's Peter; use that if you like.


« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2009, 09:07:58 PM »

Addendum to the previous post: getting into some sort of horrible, life-threatening trouble might be part of the binding ceremony, too. Traditionally, Terminators rescue their sorcerers from other Terminators, but an enemy military unit, a natural disaster, or a group of angry outlaw bikers would work, too.
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"The Wicked are always surprised to find the good can be clever" -Marquis de Vauvenargues

I've been playing GURPS since 1999, D&D since 3.0 came out, and have gotten an interest i indie RPGs since I started listening to the Sons of Kryos
angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 135


« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2009, 10:31:56 AM »

Having caught up on the TV series, I think a big part of the setting's Humanity is 'Don't behave like a machine.'  The way that the machines put pressure on people to behave with a sort of inhuman efficiency, to eschew emotional attachment, and so forth, is a great example of how Demons can challenge Humanity just by existing.

The other big part of Humanity would be 'hope for the future.'  Again, that part is directly challenged by the mere existence of Terminators (and other time-travellers).  People with low Humanity have 'you're all dead!' moments, and little seems to be more humanity-affirming than actively trying to prevent Skynet's future from coming to pass.

My question is: is Jesse a Demon, or a low-Humanity Sorcerer?
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
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