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Author Topic: The Looking Glass, the Cyclone, the Wardrobe and the Second Star to the Right  (Read 2097 times)
Judd
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« on: March 06, 2010, 12:11:05 AM »

What happens to those kids who have been to otherworlds when they grow up?

One sorcerous theory:

http://githyankidiaspora.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/the-looking-glass-the-cyclone-the-wardrobe-and-the-second-star-to-the-right/
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 12:42:23 AM »

Makes me think of this.

Why have a fixed demon pantheon? I thought one of the neat things about sorcerer is that demons don't exist until the Sorcerer makes them.
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Judd
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 07:10:36 AM »

Makes me think of this.

Why have a fixed demon pantheon? I thought one of the neat things about sorcerer is that demons don't exist until the Sorcerer makes them.

The fixed pantheon might be a darling I have to kill.  We'll see.

I had this idea about a fixed pantheon of demons based on a deck of playing cards.  I tried to shoehorn it into this setting because of the Wonderland angle.
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greyorm
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 01:02:52 PM »

While "make up your own demon" is kind of cool, having to summon demons from a set pantheon (and yet not knowing exactly what you're going to get) is also pretty spiffy. I still want to get back to my group's Sorcerer game sometime, or start a new one, where we were using the daemons of the Goetia ala Solomon's various Keys as the things that could be summoned. The restriction is liberating.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 05:20:39 AM »

And of course, the fixed pantheon doesn't mean the demons abilities are known. Sure you know you're summoning the White Rabbit, and that he is a guardian of travellers, but that doesn' t mean that you know HOW he guards them. It doesn't necessarily mean he has the Travel ability, or that he has any kind of Boost ability, just that he uses whatever powers he has to Guard them. As for why he does so? What his need is? What he desires? These are still open questions, or at least are area's where the characters knowledge isn't guaranteed to be accurate.
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 06:09:05 AM »

Hey guys,

For what it's worth, my take is that a "fixed pantheon" (whatever that might specifically mean, I smell reader-interpretation going on) is perfectly fine in Sorcerer.

That doesn't mean they actually exist. It does mean you have one of them. Same as playing Sorcerer any other way.

I strongly advise against interpreting these concepts as, "In Sorcerer, you conjure up the demon out of nothing as an act of will." That is as fixed an ideological-metaphysical statement as saying "In this setting, there are demons, and their names are A, B, and C."

All interpretations of sorcery, in Sorcerer, are speculative, and that's a hard limit. Lore is the extent to which your character's notions about this (regardless of whether they conform or defy in-setting bodies of teaching/reading) apparently work. Saying "fixed pantheon" only means such an in-setting body of teaching and reading is available.

Best, Ron
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 06:16:13 AM »

Now that you say that it occurs to me that "Fixed Pantheon" would make a kickass Lore Description. :-)
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony
Judd
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 06:34:43 AM »

In  my head, when I picture playing in the above setting, I picture the demons all statted out before-hand.  The player will know what they are getting either through knowledge gained through play or based on how their Contact roll went.

Ron,

Maybe it is deserving of its own thread but whenever you say, "demons don't exist in sorcerer," I really do not understand what you are saying.

Judd

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 07:32:10 AM »

You and a lot of other people, Judd. It's a little bit like when Vincent says, in GMing Dogs, to play as if God (the Lord of Life, whatever it's called, the dude of the Church of Life the Dogs belong to) does not exist, and runs into similar conceptual stall-out on the part of readers, especially in combination with the issue of the Dogs always being right, which means pretty much the opposite of how it's often read.

When I brought this up about Sorcerer in the Walking Eye interview, it clearly baffled Kevin so thoroughly that I realized there was no point in continuing this line of conversation and moved on to other things.

So I’ll try with you, here. I mean that in the fiction we create with Sorcerer, the sorcerer character has disobeyed what everything in the setting is. Not "says" - I'm not talking about what people in the setting believe or don't believe. I'm talking about the stuff of the cosmos, how things are, down to every physical and metaphysical detail.

This is easiest to understand if everyone in the setting believes there are no demons. Then you summon one. "Ooooh, scary!" Most people grasp this, I think ... but I also think they only kind of get it, because they're focusing on in-setting, in-character opinions. They think, "Well, in this setting, everyone thinks there are no demons, but there really are, and so my guy Knows Better and they're all stupid." This is basically White-Wolf-think and reinforces a wide set of adolescent power issues (and nothing else).

There's another, similar misconception the mind can slip to when the first misunderstanding gets challenged. This is what I alluded to in the previous post: "In this setting, there are no demons, but my guy is so mentally powerful and special that he makes them by making them up! He's kind of a psi-power guy!" This is less prone to the adolescent issues, but it's actually stupider, philosophically speaking. It renders all the potential issues of Sorcerer down into a single pseudo-explanation with no juice at all to it. It’s the ultimate in bad fantasy, bad SF.

I think it might be easier to explain if we’re talking about a setting in which demons are talked about and believed in, by many or most people in it. The sorcerer goes ahead and uses all that established small-l lore and belief, maybe buys into it entirely. He summons a demon! Whooo! That means that “the beliefs are right, right?” No, it does not. What he actually did, was fuck with reality. The fact that it looks like something that accords with the beliefs he holds (is surrounded by, et cetera) is merely a detail of that reality. Is what he summoned “really” Beelzebub. He will never know. The fact that he believes in Beelzebub (before the summoning) actually hampers his ability even to ask that question, but if he does ask it, he’s fucked anyway because neither he nor anyone can actually ever know.

I hope you can see that all of the above is exactly the same if in the setting, most people do not believe in demons but a few arcane clubs or cliques share “secret knowledge” that they do. Exactly the same.

And finally, also exactly the same if no one believes in, or even conceives of, or gives a single thought to demons except for the sorcerer player-characters. Now the “demon knowledge” is limited to them alone, but in terms of certainty it’s no better than all the superstition and belief

This is, by the way, why “Belief System” is a Will descriptor and not a Lore descriptor. It’s also why the Lore descriptors concern how the sorcerer came by his or her ritual activities, but not what they do, which is the same for all sorcerers.

In Sorcerer, not only am I giving the boot to metaphysical belief and certainty about reality, but I’m also giving the boot to empirical certainty about it too. I am basically taking the full range of philosophical crisis in the early 20th century and making it squeal like a pig. It does a person no good, when either end of that range gets tweaked (depending on that person’s starting orientation), to go running to the other end of it for succor.

Does that help?

Best, Ron

P.S. Oh yeah. You can number-up the demons all you want to beforehand, and even that won't change what I'm talking about. That's real-world author-type non-in-game prep, that's all. Doesn't mean a thing regarding the in-fiction content. Also, don't forget the alterations to demons based on the players' rolls, which I strongly recommend implementing.
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Judd
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 08:21:31 AM »

So, the easiest way for me to think of this is to just concentrate on the sorcerer.  The sorcerer is a cosmic outlaw and is breaking the rules of reality by bringing in entities that should not exist but now do thanks to their power of will.

What everyone else believes in doesn't change that.

This doesn't mean that demons are figments of the Sorcerer's imagination or anything else.  Once they are brought into existence, they exist but they shouldn't and there's the rub.

Yes?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 09:42:37 AM »

Yes indeed.

Also, divorce time from the equation as well. If the demon has a history, a back-story, hell, a whole cosmology and chronology associated with it, doesn't make a difference to this fundamental point.

Best, Ron
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Judd
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2010, 10:13:10 AM »

Now that we've defined the sorcerer's reality...

P.S. Oh yeah. You can number-up the demons all you want to beforehand, and even that won't change what I'm talking about. That's real-world author-type non-in-game prep, that's all. Doesn't mean a thing regarding the in-fiction content. Also, don't forget the alterations to demons based on the players' rolls, which I strongly recommend implementing.

This is interesting and inspired by an e-mail from Chris, I am thinking that this means that if a player fails a summon roll, it could mean that rather than summon the wrong demon or not summon the demon at all, they summon a powerful demon who has been scarred or wounded or a lowly demon who has risen in power above his station without the sorcerer's knowledge but will likely play dumb for a while to lull the sorcerer into a false sense of security.

Basically, failure could mean that the player isn't quite getting what they asked for but they are getting something based on the established demons, only something has happened to them.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2010, 03:28:31 PM »

Sure, that's fine.

Also, I was looking over your prior post, and there is one small thing to amend: from "What everyone else believes in doesn't change that," I'd say instead:

What anyone believes in doesn't change that, sorcerer included.

Best, Ron
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