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Author Topic: Rule interpretation  (Read 2299 times)
Neon White
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Posts: 16


« on: June 13, 2009, 03:12:24 PM »

Hi all, first post here after more than a year of lurking.  I am new to Sorcerer and have introduced it to my gaming group for a trial run.  I am the GM and have made quite an effort to understand the system both as written in the main rule book plus supplements, and also with the help of the wiki and numerous threads here at the Forge.

I still have a lot of questions though - all arising from a first combat session we are playing through at the moment. The game is online (play by post) which allows a lot of time for reflection on how exactly to apply a given rule.

Any guidance anyone can offer in relation to the questions below would be much appreciated!

1) When a demon confers its special damage to a sorceror, does the sorceror attack with stamina or the demon's power (if the latter, would it not negate usefulness of 'fast' insofar as 'fast' adds the demon's power as initiative dice but not 'action' dice.)

2) When an object demon has not conferred its special damage, how does it attack if it doesn't also have range?  What happens when it is a weapon wielded by its master.  What happens in the case of (e.g.) special damage: poison, which may coat the blade of an object demon (knife) when activated.  Does the wielder have to hit on the same round as the power is activated? Does it carry over into the next round or several?  Is the damage done based on the wielder's stamina or the special damage, or both (successes on one rolled into the next roll?)  How can they do so if the rolls are simultaneous at the start of the round?

3) Do successes in defense from a previous round always give bonuses to an action in the following round? Does this affect initiative too? (I suspect it is only when the new action is directly relevant to the success-generating action from last round.)

4) If a character sucks up an attack and takes damage as a result, do the damage dice apply to his attack later in the round?  How does the penalty work given that his attack dice are already on the table? 

5) Does temporary damage affect next round's initiative if it was inflicted before the character acted in the prior round.  i.e. the character sucks up an attack, takes damage, then acts (with temporary damage reducing his dice pool).  Presumably there is not penalty to initiative and action next round except from lasting damage? 

6) If a character has taken damage in a previous round, his next action may be at enough penalty dice to give him zero or negative dice pool for his next action.  I understand that zero is the minimum, and so in a contested action one would normally add one die to both the wounded character's dice pool, plus also that of the person acting against them (please confirm this understanding).  How exactly does this work in a combat situation where multiple characters are attacking that same wounded character - do they all get +1 die to their attack?

7) If a demon's action to boost its master's stamina occurs late in a round, does the boost carry over into the following round or is it lost? Does it add to the initiative of the master for that following round?

8) Do roleplaying bonuses, prior successes and other currency-related bonuses add to the single die available for passive defense?  If so, then for a low stamina character, the bonuses could easily make him always prefer to always suck-up an attack rather than abort to carry out an active defense.

9) If a character is carrying temporary damage from the previous round, presumably their action (and therefore initiative) dice are impaired for the current round.  What happens if they abort their attack to defend? Does the temporary damage also apply to the defence (even though it has already adversely affected their initiative)? 

10) Following on from (9) what happens if that character is attacked by a second character later in the same round (presumably the temporary damage dice are lifted)?  Does this also apply if their first defence is passive (sucking up the attack) and the second defence is active? i.e. the character has so many negative they might as well defend passively. Is it the case that, later in the round, because of the prior passive defence, the temporary damage has been lifted so they then defend actively with only lasting damage penalties.

11) Do Demons and other NPCs get the same advantages from carrying over successes (default, I suppose so since penalties do seem to apply too). What about ‘roleplaying’ bonuses?



Sincere apologies for the barrage of questions.  As you can see, I am a bit tied up in the possible ways to resolve the various questions outlined above.  My players are similarly unclear.

Any help will be gratefully accepted!
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Adam
The Dragon Master
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 03:22:12 PM »

Don't have my books on my right now. I'll be in their vicinity this evening and will post my interperetations then.
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The names Tony
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 03:23:06 PM »

I love questions like these! I am only stealing a moment of time to tell you that I will follow up as soon as I can.

Everyone, let me do it first this time, OK? Only because I really want to.

Best, Ron
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 03:28:04 PM »

Will do.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 06:00:20 PM »

Hi there,

Answering these questions was a lot of fun.

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1) When a demon confers its special damage to a sorceror, does the sorceror attack with stamina or the demon's power (if the latter, would it not negate usefulness of 'fast' insofar as 'fast' adds the demon's power as initiative dice but not 'action' dice.)

Any attack using Special Damage uses the demon's Power as the score for the roll.

You're absolutely right about Fast. That ability is quite useful if one (including the demon) is using a score which is less than the demon's Power, but completely negated if whatever score being used is equal or higher than that Power. That is on purpose. 

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2) When an object demon has not conferred its special damage, how does it attack if it doesn't also have range?


This depends to a very great extent upon what sort of object we are talking about and what exactly is supposed to be happening which is described as Special Damage. You'll have to give me a more specific in-game situation. Some object concepts will be much more limited than others in this regard.

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What happens when it is a weapon wielded by its master. 

The weapon is attacking, not the person holding it. The person holding it may feel as if they are wielding the weapon, or perhaps he or she may not, depending on how you want to describe the specific features of the demon. But it's the demon's attack, not the person's. Also, you would have to tell me which of two situations you would prefer: (i) the weapon can attack without a wielder, the classic "dancing sword;" or (ii) it cannot, and the pseudo-wielder has to be there to provide the necessary circumstances in which the weapon can make its own attacks. Both are equally valid by the rules, or rather, the rules are built to accomodate both of these concepts, as well as others.

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What happens in the case of (e.g.) special damage: poison, which may coat the blade of an object demon (knife) when activated.  Does the wielder have to hit on the same round as the power is activated?

It's treated exactly like any other Special Damage: one roll, the demon's Power, is the attack. Never mind any nonsense about someone else having to hit first. The user of the ability, demon or person holding the knife, rolls the Power as his, her, or its attacking score.

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Does it carry over into the next round or several? 

I'm not entirely sure what this means. Are you thinking in terms of poison steadily affecting a target over time? That's easily handled by the weapon simply continuing to make rolls, and as long as it's successful, it can make another roll on the next round. By the rules, they're separate attack rolls, but they're fictionally causally linked together by the continuity of successful rolls.

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Is the damage done based on the wielder's stamina or the special damage, or both (successes on one rolled into the next roll?)  How can they do so if the rolls are simultaneous at the start of the round?

Special Damage, if you're talking about the poison. If you want the wielder to do damage as well, then that'd be a separate roll on the wielder's part and have nothing to do with the Special Damage particularly.

I'm assuming here that the demon is the user of the Special Damage. If so, then this is interesting, so let's summarize: you have a demon knife using Special Damage as its own attack, and you have the guy holding the knife making a "plain knife" attack with it, as two actions on the same round. To an observer, it looks as though the guy is supernaturally fast! But it's really because the physicality of the knife is being acted upon/through by two beings.

I hope you can see that the founding assumption of your later questions in this section - which is to say, that the poison is somehow dependent upon the wielder successfully hitting - is incorrect, making most of your concerns unnecessary.

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3) Do successes in defense from a previous round always give bonuses to an action in the following round? Does this affect initiative too? (I suspect it is only when the new action is directly relevant to the success-generating action from last round.)

Let me clarify one thing - bonuses from successful rolls affect the character's next roll, regardless of whether that roll is later in the current round or in the following round.

I also need to clarify something which I think you know, that the "initiative" roll in Sorcerer is precisely the same as the attack roll.

Given all that, to answer your question, we have to assume that we're talking about the last roll someone makes in a given round, which just happens to be a defense roll. It succeeds. And yes, you are right, in the fiction at this moment, whatever the character did which constituted that defensive action is very well suited, perhaps even crucial, to the action he is taking in the next round. If all of that is the case, then yes, the bonuses carry over into that attack roll (presuming it's an attack, which is simplest for the moment).

And to clarify yet again, if you make a defense roll, and it's not your last roll in the round, then no, nothing about that defense roll carries over into the next round's roll or rolls.

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4) If a character sucks up an attack and takes damage as a result, do the damage dice apply to his attack later in the round?  How does the penalty work given that his attack dice are already on the table?

Yes, that's how the damage applies. The answer to the second question is that you take that exact value of the total penalty and have the defender apply them as bonus dice to the defense roll. (This all presumes that the total penalties inflicted were not so severe as to stop the character in his tracks, which can also happen.)

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5) Does temporary damage affect next round's initiative if it was inflicted before the character acted in the prior round.  i.e. the character sucks up an attack, takes damage, then acts (with temporary damage reducing his dice pool).  Presumably there is not penalty to initiative and action next round except from lasting damage?

This "initiative" talk is hurting my head a little bit ... it's not an initiative roll. Those are the action rolls, what the characters are doing. I know you probably know that.

But that aside, this is a great question, and you are absolutely right: the temporary penalties only operate toward the next roll, and in this case, the character is only penalized by the lasting damage in the next round. In this sense, bonus dice and temporary penalty dice are exactly alike.

Quote
6) If a character has taken damage in a previous round, his next action may be at enough penalty dice to give him zero or negative dice pool for his next action.  I understand that zero is the minimum, and so in a contested action one would normally add one die to both the wounded character's dice pool, plus also that of the person acting against them (please confirm this understanding).  How exactly does this work in a combat situation where multiple characters are attacking that same wounded character - do they all get +1 die to their attack?

I'll start with your second sentence: your understanding of that issue is exactly right. To answer your last question, we have to presume that although the character has penalized to zero, they did not take enough damage at once to knock them out of acting at all. All right, given all that, then yes, all the attackers would get the +1 bonus. Sucks, huh?

People who wonder how several player-characters could possibly defeat a single, powerful opponent should be taking notes.

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7) If a demon's action to boost its master's stamina occurs late in a round, does the boost carry over into the following round or is it lost? Does it add to the initiative of the master for that following round?

By "late in a round," I presume you mean after the master has already performed his or her action at normal Stamina. The Boost will affect the master's next action, whether it is, for instance, a defense still later in this round, or the action which begins the following round.

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8) Do roleplaying bonuses, prior successes and other currency-related bonuses add to the single die available for passive defense?  If so, then for a low stamina character, the bonuses could easily make him always prefer to always suck-up an attack rather than abort to carry out an active defense.

Yes they do apply! However, your "easily" does not correspond to my usage of the bonus dice rules. Insincere and uninteresting attempts to gain bonus dice should not be honored. (see Role-playing bonus dice, Bonus dice questions, and [Sorcerer] The cold and bloody northland for help with this). And if the stated actions are consistently sincere and interesting across many scenes and actions and sessions, then you should not only be awarding bonus dice to this player (and yes, helping his character survive, or at least permitting better odds), you should also be buying him or her beer and possibly offering sexual favors.

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9) If a character is carrying temporary damage from the previous round, presumably their action (and therefore initiative) dice are impaired for the current round.  What happens if they abort their attack to defend? Does the temporary damage also apply to the defence (even though it has already adversely affected their initiative)?

No. The next roll rule applies in full. Once the temporary damage has done its, well, damage, to the initial roll, then that particular penalty is gone forever.

And I am relieved to see you correctly state the action/initiative issue. This question did not hurt my head, and I thank you.

I hope you can see that the concept of the "round" is actually not as important as the concept of "next roll" for temporary bonuses and penalties of all kinds. Hey, I found this thread: How long do rollover bonuses last?.

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10) Following on from (9) what happens if that character is attacked by a second character later in the same round (presumably the temporary damage dice are lifted)?  Does this also apply if their first defence is passive (sucking up the attack) and the second defence is active? i.e. the character has so many negative they might as well defend passively. Is it the case that, later in the round, because of the prior passive defence, the temporary damage has been lifted so they then defend actively with only lasting damage penalties.

That's correct. You can probably see that this is a viable (if most-often doomed anyway) strategy - "if I'm only getting one die, I might as well get zero and roll one anyway."

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11) Do Demons and other NPCs get the same advantages from carrying over successes (default, I suppose so since penalties do seem to apply too). What about ‘roleplaying’ bonuses?

Demons and other NPCs get all carryover successes, but if you're the GM, then you should be especially critical of yourself and remember that such carryovers wholly depend on the dramatic and visual logic of the dependency of roll B upon roll A's success. Don't grant them to yourself unless the other players appear to be engaged by the logical connection between the two actions. This will probably be a little harder on-line ...

I hope all of this helped! Let me know.

Best, Ron
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2009, 10:34:16 PM »

Number 6 raises a question that has been raised on here recently. Where does it say that if you have 0 dice, you roll one, with your opponent getting an extra die? I never did find that in the main book. Is that an addition by one of the other books? Is it on the wiki somewhere? Some kind of errata?
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The names Tony
Neon White
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 11:59:20 PM »

Dragon Master, I think that rule is not in the main book. I read it here on The Forge somewhere.

Ron, thanks for your time spent in answering all of my questions.  Your responses are immensely helpful!

Answering these questions was a lot of fun.

I'm glad!

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Any attack using Special Damage uses the demon's Power as the score for the roll.
You're absolutely right about Fast. That ability is quite useful if one (including the demon) is using a score which is less than the demon's Power, but completely negated if whatever score being used is equal or higher than that Power. That is on purpose.

Excellent, thanks.  That cuts to the heart of the issue and from that angle, all of the rest of your answers to my questions 1 and 2 now fall out naturally.

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Quote
2) When an object demon has not conferred its special damage, how does it attack if it doesn't also have range?


This depends to a very great extent upon what sort of object we are talking about and what exactly is supposed to be happening which is described as Special Damage. You'll have to give me a more specific in-game situation. Some object concepts will be much more limited than others in this regard.

I was thinking of the knife example, so your comments below have answered the question.  I suppose the key insight here is that problems arise when you take 'colour' too literally and try to bend the system to match it, rather than the other way around.

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Does it carry over into the next round or several? 

I'm not entirely sure what this means. Are you thinking in terms of poison steadily affecting a target over time?

This question was actually about an occasion where the knife-object-demon activates its special damage (poison on a blade) after the wielder of the knife has already acted for the round.  The question is resolved from your previous answers explaining that either a demon confers its special damage, or it doesn’t.  If not conferred, there is no need for the wielder also to ‘hit’ in order for the damage to be applied.  The demon does the attacking.  It's just a case of working out a way for the colour to match the system.

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Is the damage done based on the wielder's stamina or the special damage, or both (successes on one rolled into the next roll?)  How can they do so if the rolls are simultaneous at the start of the round?

I hope you can see that the founding assumption of your later questions in this section - which is to say, that the poison is somehow dependent upon the wielder successfully hitting - is incorrect, making most of your concerns unnecessary.

Precisely! And I’m delighted to have it cleared up!

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3) Do successes in defense from a previous round always give bonuses to an action in the following round? Does this affect initiative too? (I suspect it is only when the new action is directly relevant to the success-generating action from last round.)

Let me clarify one thing - bonuses from successful rolls affect the character's next roll, regardless of whether that roll is later in the current round or in the following round.

Ok, that's the bit I was missing. For some reason I had confused 'next roll' and 'next action' in my thinking. 

Quote
I also need to clarify something which I think you know, that the "initiative" roll in Sorcerer is precisely the same as the attack roll.
Yes, after reading all about Fast and Initiative, this comes through loud and clear.

Quote
This "initiative" talk is hurting my head a little bit ... it's not an initiative roll. Those are the action rolls, what the characters are doing. I know you probably know that.
Apologies! It’s just shorthand to make the distinction between the dice as applied to the action and the dice as applied to order of acting.  So far, the only reason I have encountered for the two to be different is where characters are using Fast.  We have several of those in the fight scene in question and so it has been relevant to our discussions.

Quote
Quote
6) If a character has taken damage in a previous round, his next action may be at enough penalty dice to give him zero or negative dice pool for his next action.  I understand that zero is the minimum, and so in a contested action one would normally add one die to both the wounded character's dice pool, plus also that of the person acting against them (please confirm this understanding).  How exactly does this work in a combat situation where multiple characters are attacking that same wounded character - do they all get +1 die to their attack?

I'll start with your second sentence: your understanding of that issue is exactly right. To answer your last question, we have to presume that although the character has penalized to zero, they did not take enough damage at once to knock them out of acting at all. All right, given all that, then yes, all the attackers would get the +1 bonus. Sucks, huh?

People who wonder how several player-characters could possibly defeat a single, powerful opponent should be taking notes.
Thanks, this is exactly the situation I was thinking of.  One character gets in a lucky shot, perhaps with non-lethal special damage (which can inflict an insane amount of temporary damage), the bad-guy staggers for a moment from the blow, and then everyone else jumps in to take advantage of his distraction.

Quote
Quote
8) Do roleplaying bonuses, prior successes and other currency-related bonuses add to the single die available for passive defense?  If so, then for a low stamina character, the bonuses could easily make him always prefer to always suck-up an attack rather than abort to carry out an active defense.

Yes they do apply! However, your "easily" does not correspond to my usage of the bonus dice rules. Insincere and uninteresting attempts to gain bonus dice should not be honored. (see Role-playing bonus dice, Bonus dice questions, and [Sorcerer] The cold and bloody northland for help with this). And if the stated actions are consistently sincere and interesting across many scenes and actions and sessions, then you should not only be awarding bonus dice to this player (and yes, helping his character survive, or at least permitting better odds), you should also be buying him or her beer and possibly offering sexual favours.
Ok thanks, I'll read through the threads.  I'm expecting to find out that my players and I need to up our game in this regard. Given it is just a test scene, we haven't been working the drama as hard as we might have. Probably my fault for not putting enough at stake.

Quote
I hope you can see that the concept of the "round" is actually not as important as the concept of "next roll" for temporary bonuses and penalties of all kinds. Hey, I found this thread: How long do rollover bonuses last?.
I'll read the thread, however I definitely take your point here.


Quote
I hope all of this helped! Let me know.
Most certainly and I was pleasantly surprised to find responses posted overnight!  I may have a few more questions for you / the forums as time goes on.  I may need some help refining some aspects of the definition of humanity in the game.

Actually, I do have one more question right now, though not related to Sorcerer rules.  Where on The Forge is the appropriate place to post a message looking for other players?  I am based in London now and, with my gaming group back in Australia, I'm looking for one or two others to try out Sorcerer face-to-face.

Thanks again for the time taken,
Adam
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Adam
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2009, 11:27:05 AM »

Hi Adam!

You wrote,

Quote
For some reason I had confused 'next roll' and 'next action' in my thinking.

I suggest that this still needs a bit of further dissection.

As I see it, the issue lies with the term "action." In the text, when it says "next action," it is referring literally to the next roll. So next roll and next action are exactly the same thing.

I think you might be thinking of "action" more in a wargame sense, in which the word is a game term referring to the formally-stated attempt that every character must go into a round with. I'm using it instead in a literalist sense, which is to say, the next time you have to roll, that's your character's next action. In that sense, the formally stated "going into the round now" action is a subset only.

Does that help, or make sense?

Best, Ron
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Neon White
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2009, 02:54:59 PM »

I believe I understand the sense in which you are using 'action'. 

When I said 'next action' I was thinking (mistakenly, it now seems) that an aborted action is not actually an action.  When a character makes their roll for the round, this establishes the order in which they act relative to others. This roll also uses up any penalty dice and benefits from any relevant previous successes. 

I was getting confused about what happens if the character needs to defend before he completes his intended action.  Drawing out my wrong thinking a little further, I was thinking that his choices are:
a) abort the intended action, in which case the next actual 'action' for the character is an active defence; or
b) sucked up, in which case the next action is a passive defence (which again may be considered an action or not an action).

That's what I was thinking, however based on your comments earlier, it's all a lot clearer (and simpler) than I was trying to make it.

It is easy (for me at least) to get tied up in language here and I think things are much simplified by thinking about anything giving rise to a roll as an 'action'.  It doesn't matter whether it is successful, completed, interrupted, etc.  There is sufficient conflict to require a roll, the character is doing something.  It's an action and any dice bonuses or penalties are carried over.

Sound about right to you?

adam
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2009, 06:32:59 PM »

Perfect.

Here you are, slashing left and right as you close in - but oh shit, he's faster and plants a foot into your gut - you totally give up on the slashing and do your best to stop your forward momentum to either avoid the worst of the kick or maybe even force it to miss.

Or finish it differently - you go "Huhhh!" and eat the power of the kick as best you can on short notice, doing your utmost to slash the bastard anyway.

In either case, your next roll following your initial "gonna slash him" roll is an action of its own.

All of which is only to add some color to your perfectly correct statements.

Best, Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2009, 04:01:02 AM »

Oh yeah,

Tony, you wrote,

Quote
Number 6 raises a question that has been raised on here recently. Where does it say that if you have 0 dice, you roll one, with your opponent getting an extra die? I never did find that in the main book.

It's "there" in the way that a lot of Sorcerer rules are there - at the intersection of other more explicitly-stated rules. It's explicit that you must roll dice to resolve conflicts. The currency is also explicit. Putting those together, the conclusion can only be as you've written.

I agree that it's unlikely for a reader to understand this right out of the box, and I'm not saying anyone obviously should. As a technical point, though, it's not an add-on to the rules in the sense of errata.

The annoying thing is that I was probably only one more read-through and edit-through away from getting it in, as indicated by the error in the combat example, when I forgot to apply the one-die penalty against Fragg (due to the thug's damage) to the next thug's defense. If I'd been "on" enough to correct that, I betcha I would have clarified similar currency points throughout the text.

Best, Ron
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Neon White
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2009, 08:06:36 AM »

Ron, thanks once more for all of your answers to my questions earlier.  Do you mind if I pose a few more that I have been turning over in my mind?

1)   Can you please confirm my understanding of the cost vs. duration of the various Demonic powers:

* Armor
* Big
* Fast
* Protection
* Shadow
* Shapeshift
* Vitality

* Hold

All of the above are activated once at the start of a scene/conflict/combat and last for the duration of that scene/conflict/combat.  Hold can be broken if opposed successfully, or strengthened through further applications. 

All of the above (including hold) can also be dropped/cancelled by the user and also by the demon should either wish to do so.  To cancel such a power once activated is a typical action (similar to any other action in combat) and is usually uncontested (roll Demon’s power if it is important for purposes of initiative, otherwise no roll needed). 

Also, if the demon wants to end the use of a conferred power (i.e. user is sorcerer) against the will of the sorceror then it calls for an opposed will roll.

Is all of this accurate?

2)   Sorcery on the fly. 
Can it be done in a minute? A second?  5 minutes?  What is the recommended minimum time to get the ability to try the ritual, even if only at a single die? Probably instantaneous right?  However the cost of humanity is a big risk?

What about banishing then? Where there is humanity upside, not downside risk.  Is an ‘on-the-fly’ banishing a viable action to perform during a combat round?

3)   Demons summoned but not into a prep-prepared contain.
 
Will they hang around for the binding, attack, flee?  Given they want to be bound, is that enough to keep them in line or at least in the vicinity?  If you proceed straight into the binding after the summoning, does that keep them in line?

4)   Score descriptions – are they fixed or not. 
Switching tacks a little here.A few things I have read here on the Forge suggest that the list ought to be quite constrained and perhaps limited to those on offer in the main book + supplements.  They seem quite limited to me and I instinctively want to expand them, however I am wary of doing so in an ill-considered way.  Allowing player suggestions seems to invite exploitation (Will description: ‘Incredibly lucky’… ok so it doesn’t really fit, but you can see how players might seek to make it as open ended as possible so as to call upon the extra die for as many occasions as possible).

5)   Surprise
The announcement phase allows adjustment of actions.  What happens when a new character enters the fray unbeknownst to the characters (inconspicuous demon or whatever).  How is the element of surprise handled?  Are players allowed to target the newly entering character before their characters are aware of the threat? (I suspect the answer is ‘no’ and they have to wait until the hostile character’s presence is known to the player character).

6)   Binding Rolls
The outcome of demon binding rolls  is supposed to be rolled in secret by the GM, but how does one do so when dice rolled are on the table.  Players will work it out pretty quickly.

7)   Score descriptions
Do demons and other NPCs have score descriptions and can they call upon them as player characters do?

Once again, any input would be appreciated!

Adam
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2009, 10:40:07 AM »

Hi Adam,

Me = little Dutch boy: "That ought to do it. I can take my finger out of this hole and go home now." And then ...

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1)   Can you please confirm my understanding of the cost vs. duration of the various Demonic powers:
...
Is all of this accurate?

All except for this:

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Also, if the demon wants to end the use of a conferred power (i.e. user is sorcerer) against the will of the sorceror then it calls for an opposed will roll.

The demon always, always has total control over the ultimate availability of an ability. If it's the user, then that's easy; but if it confers the ability to another, then it still holds the circuit-breaker. If it says "off," the ability is off. It can do this at will at any time (or if in a complex conflict, upon its action).

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2)   Sorcery on the fly.
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Any sorcerous ritual carried out as a snapshot may be treated as a single action if it's in a complex conflict.

Out of a complex conflict, if someone wants to do a ritual in less than an hour, it's still treated as a snapshot mechanically.

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3)   Demons summoned but not into a prep-prepared contain.
Will they hang around for the binding, attack, flee?  Given they want to be bound, is that enough to keep them in line or at least in the vicinity?  If you proceed straight into the binding after the summoning, does that keep them in line?

Depends on the demon. You play the demon, especially its attitude and actions when summoned but not yet bound. No book can tell you what to do with the demons you play. I don't make'em up for you.

I suggest that you not assume a summoned but unbound demon is a raving carnivorous mindless fiend. If you want them to be, then well and good, but the decision is yours.

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4)   Score descriptions – are they fixed or not.
Switching tacks a little here.A few things I have read here on the Forge suggest that the list ought to be quite constrained and perhaps limited to those on offer in the main book + supplements.  They seem quite limited to me and I instinctively want to expand them, however I am wary of doing so in an ill-considered way.  Allowing player suggestions seems to invite exploitation (Will description: ‘Incredibly lucky’… ok so it doesn’t really fit, but you can see how players might seek to make it as open ended as possible so as to call upon the extra die for as many occasions as possible).

Stay constrained. A given play-experience of Sorcerer should work from a fixed list.

The list can be one of those found in the books (the core book list is especially brutally and extensively playtested, and I recommend it), or you can make it yourself. Some of the discussions here about making such lists are pretty good, as you can see from my and others' comments what kind of standards should apply.

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5)   Surprise
The announcement phase allows adjustment of actions.  What happens when a new character enters the fray unbeknownst to the characters (inconspicuous demon or whatever).  How is the element of surprise handled?  Are players allowed to target the newly entering character before their characters are aware of the threat? (I suspect the answer is ‘no’ and they have to wait until the hostile character’s presence is known to the player character).

When you as GM, during the announcement phase, announce that the new character has entered, that does not mean that all the characters suddenly know about it. Players can announce actions which do respond to the new character - and when the dice hit the table, if the new character goes before them, that means that they were surprised and hence their actions are not particularly advantaged.

You'll find that in all cases, the system accounts for surprised/not-surprised by looking at what happens with the dice, and that includes finalizing whether characters "noticed" the new character in time to do anything about it. So it's perfectly all right for the announcement phase to include reactions as if the player-characters noticed the new character.

See [Sorcerer] Effects of Perception for some more discussion.

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6)   Binding Rolls
The outcome of demon binding rolls  is supposed to be rolled in secret by the GM, but how does one do so when dice rolled are on the table.  Players will work it out pretty quickly.

We've talked about this a few times in the forum but the better threads are eluding me. The answer is that "secret" isn't sacred. I typically roll them openly and simply don't announce them out loud. If anyone wants to look, they can.

To stay completely textual, roll them and say "don't look." That's OK too. However, bear in mind that the book doesn't say you must keep the information unknown. Clearly, once the Binding strength starts operating as a source of bonus dice, the players will get the idea of who has the upper hand. That's not a problem; you can merely let that understanding develop.

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7)   Score descriptions
Do demons and other NPCs have score descriptions and can they call upon them as player characters do?

Demons do not. Other NPCs do if you want them to.

What exactly do you mean by "call upon descriptors?"

This thread might help a little bit when discussing descriptors: [Sorcerer] Three things I need to understand.

I do enjoy answering questions about the game, so please feel free, despite my teasing.

Best, Ron
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Neon White
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Posts: 16


« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2009, 01:01:52 AM »

Ron, thanks for your answers.  I'm glad to see that I was on track with much of my thinking.

I note your comment about not assuming that unbound demons are raving carnivorous and mindless fiends.  This also accords with my thinking.

I've now done quite a bit of reading here at the Forge about score descriptions (or is it descriptors? I see both in use) and I think I now understand why you recommend the list be constrained to a set of choices that collectively and separately fit the setting.  As someone else put it, they also collectively answer the question 'what is a Sorcerer' for a given game.

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Adam
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