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Author Topic: Elric the sorcerer  (Read 1318 times)
Finarvyn
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« on: August 02, 2010, 04:08:50 PM »

Hope this isn't too obvious, but I was thinking about Moorcock's Elric character and the Sorcerer RPG.

Seems that the term "demon" gets some folks hung up, probably because of the biblical references and other pre-concieved notions of what a "demon" is and what a "demon" isn't. (Some of this is still the remnant of anti-RPG bible-thumpers of the 1980's, but I'm old enough to remember being told that I would burn in hell if I didn't give up my RPGs.)

Anyway, when Elric casts spells, he seems to rely most on summoning creatures to do his bidding. He doesn't have the flash-bang spells seen in most fantasy RPGs and fantasy literature. This would seem mechanically identical to the process involved in contacting/summoning/binding demons in Sorcerer.

I have a new group I'm hoping to expose to Sorcerer and I want to avoid the use of the term "demon", so I was thinking that since Elric seems to summon extraplanar beings more like "elementals" that it would be a fine substitution in terminology. Not as edgy or intense, perhaps, but would get accross the main idea without the "demon" hang-ups.

I thought about using vague terms like summoning "the spirits" or "a genie" or some such terms, but so far nothing has grabbed me as much as "elementals." (Of course, Elric also summoned the gods of his worlds and I don't want to use that, either.)

So, am I "wimping out" too much here? Would an elemental/demon terminology substitution maintain the same feel, or would it totally weaken the intensity of the game too much?

(Or, am I over-analyzing the whole issue too much?)
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Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * Dresden Files RPG * Amber Diceless
Forge Member since 2004
OD&D Player since 1975
Karl
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Posts: 18


« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2010, 05:07:55 PM »

Hi

Do you have a specific reason to think specific members of your group will get hung up on the "demon" terminology? I assume so, otherwise yes you are over-analyzing!

Replacing "demon" with "elemental" may or may not solve your issue: it's hard to know without knowing the specifics. But I would say the important thing is the relationship between the PC and the "elemental": they've broken the fundamental laws of the universe and agreed to fulfill the "elemental"'s Need in order to accomplish something(s) they cannot accomplish any other way.

If your players are eager to play a game based explicitly on that setup then you are fine.

Also, if they really like Moorcock's Elric, and are leaping out of their seats demanding to play their own Elric, I would say you are fine anyhow!

Cheers
Karl
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2010, 10:22:11 PM »

Hi Marv!

Do you have the Sorcerer supplement "Sorcerer & Sword"? It's really useful for using Sorcerer with fantasy settings, and has additional options for the kind of "dealing with demons" that you see in the literature. (for example, Pacts, that best resemble the kind of one-shot deals Elric do all the time with demons without binding them)

About the change of the name from "Demon", I think that "elemental" sound too... normal. Make them seems like a part of the natural world   Another solution is simply not giving them any name. They are "beings from elsewhere", "from out of the normal world", "that should not exist". 

An interesting take on the Elric theme is found in the mini-supplement "Charnel Gods". Each and every player character has a object demon in the form of a "Fall Weapon" (like Stormbringer) built by old and forgotten gods with the express purpose to destroy the world. And the world WILL be destroyed by the first PC who reach humanity zero....
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Finarvyn
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Posts: 133


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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 06:46:11 AM »

Thanks for the replies so far, guys!

Do you have the Sorcerer supplement "Sorcerer & Sword"? It's really useful for using Sorcerer with fantasy settings, and has additional options for the kind of "dealing with demons" that you see in the literature.

An interesting take on the Elric theme is found in the mini-supplement "Charnel Gods".
Hmmm. I have both of those resources and will brouse them again. It makes sense that Sorcerer & Sword might have something Elric-like (although I always think of & Sword as being 1930's pulp rather than 1960-90's Moorcock) but I hadn't even thought about Charnel Gods since I own it but have never run it.

I'll read and ponder...
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Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * Dresden Files RPG * Amber Diceless
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Paiku
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2010, 07:27:29 PM »

As the Sorcerer core rulebook points out, you and your group are free to (and encouraged to) develop a custom setting for your campaign, including specific definitions for "Demon," "Sorcery," etc.  Whether you call Demons "elementals," "spirits" or whatever else, they still fulfill the same function in the game.   For an Elric game (and I'm currently putting one together for my group, too), you could call them "Agents of Chaos, Agents of Law" and still have Elementals and Beast Lords as distinctly different entities (which they are, in Moorcock's fiction).  And the gods would be the "Lords of Chaos, Lords of Law" without ever having to call them "Demons" (or "Demon Lords").

I second the motion that Sorcery & Sword is an invaluable resource for adapting the Elric saga to a Sorcerer game!

Let us know how it goes,
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