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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 34 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] More Evil Is More Morally Taxing?  (Read 4100 times)
Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2009, 05:10:32 PM »

Yes. You're playing Sorcerer with Dogs in the Vineyard Players.

Ha Ha Ha.  Perhaps.  But then you run into the naive assumption that Religion = Oppression.

Jesse
Well,  yes. But the thing is demons in Dogs and Demons in Sorcerer are not analogous. The best Dogs analog to a demon is the guns that the Dogs themselves are carrying around. Demons tend to crystallize moral choices because suddenly there's something arguably more scary and wrong than the Dogs themselves. In Sorcerer, demons can be evil to be opposed on moral grounds, or they might be tools to getting what you want, or they might be adversaries intent on getting what you want before you do. I think that may be why amping up demonic activity in your Sorcerer game had a paralyzing effect on your players. They didn't really know what they wanted and demons force you to choose.
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James R.
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2009, 06:10:14 AM »

Well,  yes. But the thing is demons in Dogs and Demons in Sorcerer are not analogous. The best Dogs analog to a demon is the guns that the Dogs themselves are carrying around. Demons tend to crystallize moral choices because suddenly there's something arguably more scary and wrong than the Dogs themselves. In Sorcerer, demons can be evil to be opposed on moral grounds, or they might be tools to getting what you want, or they might be adversaries intent on getting what you want before you do. I think that may be why amping up demonic activity in your Sorcerer game had a paralyzing effect on your players. They didn't really know what they wanted and demons force you to choose.
[/quote]

First, James, I want to just chime in and say this is one of the best summations of the functions of Demons I've ever seen for Sorcerer.  Awesome.

Second, I'm in New Hampshire, on vacation with spotty internet access.  I keep typing up responses offline, but then, by the time I get online, everyone else has already made my point.  But since we're circling a certain issue, I'm going to post part of a response I typed up...

These days I'm very suspicious of a Kicker that had anything to do with a Demon or Lore.  If I allow such a Kicker, it has to also be tied to something much, much more human and mundane. 

As Ron writes in the Sorcerer rules, the Demons and Lore and stuff are "just fantasy."  The point where a Player connects the fiction to real, human connections that any person might care about is the point where a story can kick off.  Which echoes what Ron says in this thread about Dogs, "the mechanics and moral issues of play should remain exactly the same, whether your particular group's particular story includes glowy eyes and floaty people, or not."

My view on Kickers might sound strange, even stringent, given that the game is about Lore and Demons.  But the Demons and Lore are there as complications assets to the very human stuff.  The human stuff needs, in my view, to be the groundwork that everything else springs from. 

If the complication is based on having a Demon, at one end a character need only get rid of the Demon.  At the other end the Kicker launches a set of puzzle-box mysteries based on the arcane tools of comic-book/RPG Gnostic-occult-lore logic where the Players use the arcane knowledge of a fictional supernatural logic to solve problems that are ultimately disconnected from anything to do with reality.
Cool color stuff is cool… and it's point is to turn up the pressure of a story to make it extraordinary, unique and specific.  But at the base of a successful story, again, outside of some genre-logic-locked tales, are very mundane engines.

John McClain wants to sleep with his wife again.  Sure, terrorists show up and take over the building and have a plan to kill all the hostages and make off with the bearer bonds… but really, the movie is about a guy who wants to sleep with his wife.  "When my guy tries to mend his marriage, guys with guns show up and take over the office party…"

Ripley is a woman who wants to have a good night's sleep and a have a life again.  Sure, she's given the opportunity to head off into a rockin' cool story about space marines and lots of aliens and an alien queen… but without the context of a human being who lived through a nightmare that left her whole crew dead with all the guilt and panic and stress that would bring, having a bunch of monsters wouldn't mean diddlysquat.  "When my gal can't face another sleepless night, a man from The Company offers her a chance to go back to the planet where her crew first found the alien egg…"

And so on…

Mot of us don't spend much time dealing the terrorists or aliens... but we all know about romantic strife and being terrified of past disasters.  That human mundane stuff is the stuff that let's us into the story.  If the Kickers are based on Demons, we enter, as noted in the quote Jesse pulled from Ron, a fiction about the in-fiction metaphysics that certain comic books and RPGs can fall into -- and which require an almost gnostic discipline to follow.  After all, the issues at hand have nothing to do with reality and only a "false reality" that have nothing to do with anything.


I also want to add that Kickers can be opportunities -- not just problems.  I'm playing Sorcerer & Sword with my niece and nephews this week (ages 10, 10 and 8) and the Kickers are, "I hear about a treasure I can bring back to my tribe," "I find out my mother was murdered," "I hear about a diamond that can raise my father from the dead."  There's no impending disaster in any of these. But they were written by a bunch of kids who read constantly, watch fantasy movies constantly, and knew what kind of story interested them. 

The only problem I've had is that -- without enough time for prep -- I've been clumsy in getting them into action as fast as they wanted to get into action. 

(Favorite kibitzing so far:
BEN: Alex! If we kill him, we might not get the map!
ALEXANDRA: Ben! He killed my mother! (to me) I shoot him in the eye with an arrow!)

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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2009, 11:03:19 AM »

CK,

That's an interesting point about Demons and Kickers.  Also the point about "opportunities" is well taken.  I still see that as creating a problem as there is implicitly something between the player and the opportunity we just don't know what it is yet.  But I concur that's a fundamentally different than baking the crisis directly into the Kicker.

What this thread has taught me is that I'm too soft on Kickers.  Though in the case of the Zenov Kicker as I was just glad to get something that had a wiff some of something about to happen AT ALL.  Here are a couple of that player's previous attempts at Kickers:

"I've just run out of leads on the cult I'm researching." (The other player actually said, "That's not a Kicker, that's a stopper.")
"I'm in a tomb and I've just killed the demon that lived there."

A lot of her attempts at Kickers are in fact endings.  I don't know if that's telling or not.

Jesse
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Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2009, 06:37:31 PM »

BEN: Alex! If we kill him, we might not get the map!
ALEXANDRA: Ben! He killed my mother! (to me) I shoot him in the eye with an arrow!)
That's awesome!

"I'm in a tomb and I've just killed found the demon that lived there."
Fixed!
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James R.
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