*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 21, 2014, 05:33:21 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 28 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Do What I Say, Now or Later  (Read 1712 times)
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


WWW
« on: September 04, 2009, 06:53:04 AM »

Rules query about demons, them acting or using their powers and when it happens, because there's a spot in the book that makes it seem as though a demon doing something other than what a sorcerer wants only happens if he's moving faster than you are (ie: beats your initiative). Example situation: two thugs are getting ready to pound the crap out of a pasty little loser sorcerer with skinny arms and no physical prowess to speak of. Declarations are:

Sorcerer: I tell my demon, "Turn me into a damn bird so I can fly out of here!" (ie: use Shapeshift on me!)
Demon: The demon says "RAWR!" and tries to squish those guys so he can pull their arms off.
Thug 1: I'm looking for a handy weapon, like a board or something.
Thug 2: I'm grabbing the pasty little jerk and shaking him around.

Everyone rolls, sorcerer wins initiative. His demon goes second. The two thugs go last.

Here's what I'm wondering: the demon already had an action in mind, but his master is telling him what's what. If he doesn't resist, he's already committed to his stated action so the sorcerer's command can only be implemented next round anyways, via the "can't change your action" rule? Or is this different for demons because they CAN be bossed around and thus "changes" his action to what the sorcerer is telling him?

Or if he does resist, is his attempt to resist the command his action, as per usual? That is, is the demon's action is aborted for Will defense and so he only acts according to his master's instructions on the next turn (assuming the sorcerer successfully commands him)?

This came up in a game a while back, and I handled it as "following the command" taking until the next round to happen and "resisting" being the demon's action that first round. But thinking about it made me wonder, even though I'm 75% sure that's how it's handled, because the way I'm thinking it goes is slightly odd if you're commanding a demon to stop doing whatever it is doing, it happens right away? (assuming you win initiative)

Demon: The demon is eating your unconscious companion's eyeballs!
Sorcerer: I yell, "Touch him not, foul thing!" and make the Black Signs of Khemera!

Sorcerer wins initiative. Demon resists: Will roll for defense is the demon's action that round, or the demon doesn't resist and so doesn't eat the eyeballs.

(If any of that sounds like utter gibberish: sorry, three hours of sleep. It makes sense to me and looks like English, as far as I can tell.)
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2009, 09:30:39 AM »

Hey Raven,

Ron can correct me if I'm wrong but the thing that took me forever to learn is that demons are just really damn difficult to control mid-conflict.

Let's look at your first example.

Demon: RAWR I kill the thugs!
Sorcerer: Shapeshift me into a bird you dolt!

Sorcerer goes first.

1) If the demon really has no reason to actually resist the command, (i.e. my role-playing idea of the demon's reaction to the command, "Oops, sorry master bird it is!") then I just roll 1 die.  Failure meaning something like the demon doesn't hear you or misunderstands.  However, that means the demon stays committed to attacking the thug this round and will announce the shape shift the next round.

2) If the demon is really, really, really committed to killing the thugs for some reason I might consider aborting the attack this round, in order to fully resist the command, so that I can get back to having the demon continue killing the thugs next around.

Yes, this means one way or another, no shapeshift until round 2.

Now for your second example, where the order is directly counter to what the demon is doing.  This isn't a pretty situation and I've noticed it's really hard for some players to swallow.

Demon: I eat her eyeballs!
Sorcerer: Wait STOP!

Sorcerer goes first.

1) The demon could abort to defend fully against the command.  If it fails, no eyeball eating next round.  If it succeeds, then it can try to pursue eyeball eating next round.

2) However, if the demon DOESN'T abort.  The Sorcerer is kind of screwed even if the demon fails the roll.  So let's say that happens.  The demon rolls 1 die, and fails.  However, he still gets his action.  What happens is that the Sorcerer's Victory dice roll over to the unconscious dude's defense against having his eyeballs eaten.  If he's really unconscious that's likely 1 die + the Sorcerer's victories.

Sorcerer is a harsh mistress.

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2009, 02:54:37 PM »

Let me start from the beginning.

Your stated fair-and-clear only works if we already knew that the demon and its master were going into the situation "cold," i.e., with no idea what the sorcerer might want out of the situation.

And that was his first mistake. A sorcerer does very well to keep his or her demon apprised of whatever he or she wants, both generally, and specifically when things are getting dicey. (And that, incidentally, is a problem with the example too, because they seem to be up against generic Hollywood thugs without any indication of why the sorcerer's priorities might include getting away rather than having the demon kill them.) Sure, that means you look awful weird muttering to your lucky rock or explaining your world-view to a cross between a baboon and a pit-bull over its snacky of cats at midnight, but hey, sorcery has its off-beat moments.

Anyway. This sorcerer was so dumb as not to have his demon know what to do in an unexpected violent situation, doubly so if he's a stick-armed skinny guy. If he had, then the demon wouldn't have to be told.

All right, now he pays the price. Jesse's right: the best he can hope for is to get the demon's attention in the first round, hoping to beat its Will, and have it Shapeshift him in the second round, hoping to have that happen before his action in that round, so he can flitty-flap away then.

Now, since that's fuckin' lame and gives the thugs all kinds of opportunity to belabor them thuggishly while they debate, it might be good to stay in that first round's fair-and-clear phase for a minute longer, because the player, if he has a brain, will realize the stupidity of all this and simply have his character go into Total Defense while his demon wreaks havoc. That fair-and-clear phase is there for a reason; no player-character is ever in the situation of having actions forced upon him - the intent is that you go into the serious business of fight-type rolling with whatever you think is going to get you through it, period.

I'm not picking on you, Raven, but I do want to stress that it's not the system that gets characters into the pickle you describe, it's the way a given player chose to handle how his or her character interacted with the demon.

OK, one other thing, given that for whatever reason, things got to the point where the sorcerer is telling the demon what to do in the middle of a combat situation. It does happen for other reasons, most usually when information was revealed as one of the events in the middle of all the fightin'.

Well, the one thing about Jesse's point that I want to modify is that I don't play demons as "bulling through" a successful order regarding their behavior from any sorcerer. In other words, if you beat its Will, it shuts up / stops attacking / sits / sits & begs / whatever you said. The option is there to use, but I reserve it for demons who are well along the path of rebellion. For any other demon, it does what it's told if (a) it hears in time and (b) loses the Will roll ... and I do that because it's fun to use that as fodder for how the demon acts regarding its Desire and Need later.

Now let me talk about that latter bit in detail. Let's say, to take the most complex example, you order someone else's demon to "sit!" during a fight ... and you win. That means first that its master, if present, will find himself in the annoying position of having to countermand the order with all the difficulty so far described. But more interestingly (and this applies to one's own demons too), let's look at the order in question. OK, "sit" might not be a good example, but there are plenty of orders which are easily identified as consonant with the demon's Desire, or not.

So let's say you told the other guy's demon to sit, and it did. Let's say the demon wasn't all about fighting anyway; its Desire is Knowledge or something like that (yes, any demon can and will fight, but the issue is whether it's into doing so by default). Well then! Afterwards, I'm thinking like a GM is supposed to, and I say, "H'm, maybe that demon liked getting that order, keeping it out of the fight as it happened to turn out." So now we have the glimmerings of a new relationship forming, at least in the demon's cartoony little mind, and I have a whole new Bang to consider that emerged from that player's actions during a scene, and from the system in action.

Best, Ron
Logged
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2009, 03:10:48 PM »

Ron,

I'm little confused.  The only reason I had the demon bullying through successful orders was because it was my understanding that one can not willfully choose to abort an action once you've committed to it.

That is, if I announced, "I shoot joe" and then mid-round circumstances change such that I actually regret having said, "I shoot joe" I can't stop.  I HAVE to shoot joe.  I'm locked in and committed to my action.  Extrapolating to demons, if you successfully order a demon to stop but for whatever reason his action is still on the table, you end up with the demon going, "Wait, what..." (whomp, squish) "Oh, sorry Master..."

Or are you're drawing a distinction between me merely changing my mind mid-round vs. me having lost a conflict that justifies me stopping?

Jesse
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 11:03:32 AM »

Ron, not feeling picked on at all. Getting into that pickle or how to avoid it wasn't the problem (well, not for me), but I appreciate you laying it out that way, that's good stuff there.

I'm asking because a similar situation came up in a game. And I realize that's a funky situation to get into, that the sorcerer was a bonehead for not doing the whole "and if things get crazy, give me wings and get the hell out" action plan, and that the demon was pretty much not caring about the sorcerer's wishes anyways because it had other things in mind it preferred (and screw the scrawny little dick anyways).

So I was asking how to handle the mechanics of it, specifically, "Or is this different for demons because they CAN be bossed around and thus 'changes' his action to what the sorcerer is telling him?" is what threw me for a loop. Because you can tell a demon, "STOP THAT RIGHT NOW, MISTER CRANKY PANTS!" and he stops, right then, not next round (if you win).

There's a difference between commanding a demon to take an action and commanding a demon to stop an action. Which is what I thought, but it was a bit dissonant to me because of that and for the reasons Jesse points out. But it makes sense from the perspective that you can abort your action during a round if necessary.

But this only applies to demons, correct? You can try to demand someone else, a human or another sorcerer or whatever, PC or NPC, stop doing something and they don't have to listen, even if you win the roll. You "just" get bonus dice against them for follow-up actions if you win (this is why the police yell "Stop, thief!", so they get bonus dice for the chase, right? Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk).
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 06:07:22 AM »

JESSE

Quote
I'm little confused. The only reason I had the demon bullying through successful orders was because it was my understanding that one can not willfully choose to abort an action once you've committed to it.

This is going to be a little tricky to answer clearly in text form. I agree that this is something that's not explicit and barely implicit in the rules (i.e., I'm not pulling my usual "it's obvious if you read and think" line), but as I play the game, characters may abort when their turns come up, subject to a point I'm about to make in the following paragraphs. I'm pretty sure I haven't said otherwise in discussions here. But before you leap up like you have a chili up your butt, and land back in your chair already typing furiously, please read all the rest of this post carefully.

I'm talking about once all the dice are on the table and we, the players, are well embarked along the sequence of action-by-action, one-by-one resolution, in order. I have my gun drawn on (um) Barbara, having announced that I'm shooting her; no one has done anything to me by the time my turn comes up; and now the question is whether I can abort the shot right then and there. I'm saying that the answer in this case is indeed no, just as you say. But if I have my gun drawn on Barbara, having announced that I'm shooting her; and something has happened that led me to perceive changing information in the context of other characters' current actions; and that something involved me making a defensive roll to "get it" and failing that roll; then I can abort the shot as my action.

Let me go through that in some detail. I remember in a previous discussion, long ago, we were talking about communication in combat situations, and I said that we'd have to rely on the resolution system for a situation in which, say, I decide not to shoot Barbara because you told me she's actually my sister a second ago in the combat sequence. In that situation, your roll on your action would have been Will vs. my Will mainly to establish whether your effort to communication overcame my determination to shoot (also understandable as inattention to anything else at the moment). Interestingly, my choice about whether to abort + defend vs. defend + proceed still applies, but let's not get distracted by that. The point is that in this situation, we're adding the crucial notion of whether you get a word in edgewise into my understanding of the situation, in the heat of a tangle of committed actions.

So that's a lot like this current situation in which a demon is being told not to do something. The point is that if a defensive roll was involved in "getting the message," and if that defensive roll was failed, then the demon (or in my example above, my character shooting Barbara) may abort as an action. (Conceivably, interestingly, I might choose instead to keep the shot but add the victories against me in the "get the message" roll to her defensive roll. Let's not get distracted by that either.)

This isn't quite the same as "abort on my action because I feel like it." I think that your perception that if I've announced shooting Barbara, and my turn comes up, and nothing at all has changed my character's perceptions of the situation until that moment, then hey, the shot gets rolled for. Arguably this would even apply if Barbara had been evaporated into a haze of red droplets by some other attack; my shot would simply go "bang" into the space she vacated.

Quote
Or are you're drawing a distinction between me merely changing my mind mid-round vs. me having lost a conflict that justifies me stopping?

Exactly. Yay for answering your own question!

RAVEN

Quote
But this only applies to demons, correct? You can try to demand someone else, a human or another sorcerer or whatever, PC or NPC, stop doing something and they don't have to listen, even if you win the roll. You "just" get bonus dice against them for follow-up actions if you win (this is why the police yell "Stop, thief!", so they get bonus dice for the chase, right? Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk).

Yes, but it doesn't apply unilaterally even to demons. As I mentioned briefly, if the demon is on or well-along the path of rebellion, then you (the GM) may play them using the "don't have to listen" rules, albeit opportunistically from the demon's point of view rather than mechanically.

Best, Ron
Logged
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 10:42:56 AM »

Ron,

No leaping.  Perfectly clear.  Also, makes a lot of sense.

Jesse
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 02:00:07 PM »

Yes, but it doesn't apply unilaterally even to demons. As I mentioned briefly, if the demon is on or well-along the path of rebellion, then you (the GM) may play them using the "don't have to listen" rules, albeit opportunistically from the demon's point of view rather than mechanically.

Yep. Confusion cleared. Thanks!
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!