[Sorcerer] Quickie Rules Question

Started by jburneko, April 07, 2008, 08:59:15 PM

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This is something that I've been meaning to ask about and keep forgetting.

Let's say Alice and Bob are fighting each other.

Alice goes first and Bob doesn't abort and defends with just one die and fails.  After calculating penalties Lasting Penalites < Bob's Stamina but Temporary + Lasting > Bob's Stamina.  What EXACTLY happens to Bob's next action?  Assume for now that Bob is not a Sorcerer and the fancy Will trick doesn't apply.  I see two options.

a) Bob loses his action, he is "stunned".

b) Bob's action is simply that heavily penalized in the form of Alice taking on all the penalties as bonuses on her defense (since Bob's roll is still standing).

I've been inconsistent when I play Sorcerer and flip back and forth between these two.


Per Fischer

I've never had that happen in play, I think, but here's what I would do: Give Bob 1 die for his action and the difference to his actual damage as bonus die for Alice. Hey, he could still make it, though his odds are pretty bad.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Ron Edwards


Here's the intention of the rules, as implied by the damage table. The harsher effects override the stated actions. In other words, under that kind of damage, Bob's attack is negated as Bob sees stars and loses all dignity. It's actually not any different, in the short term, from if he'd been somehow vaporized on the spot - if that happens, and his action was to shoot Alice (or whomever), then the attempted shot simply never happens.

I'd like to emphasize, however, that the Lasting Damage by itself is not an important variable in the situation you're talking about. The variable of interest is total penalties, regardless of type. And as you know, that value will quickly change, which makes the accounting for the next round pretty important. Those paper clips come in really handy once everyone understands them and is using them.

Anyway, as you can see, this is an unforgiving mechanical effect, and really puts that sorcerer Will trick into the spotlight as something special. There are some non-textual ways to tweak it, I suppose. For instance, if the actions stated seem as if they might be carried off even if the person is totally incapacitated for the moment, then Per's solution isn't totally out of the question. That's not a textual option, however - it's a conceivable tweak that doesn't violate the game particularly. I play it by the book, myself.

Best, Ron


Okay, got it.

And just for completeness say Bob is a Sorcerer and wants to use the Will option.  The already rolled for action, is gone right?  I just do the Will vs Dice of Stamina roll and if I succeed then I roll the action fresh with however many Stamina Dice I was trying for.  All bonus dice or roll over dice I may have had on my original roll are gone.  Correct?


Ron Edwards

Paul T

You know, a couple of people here mention things like "if the sorcerer wants to make his Will roll"...

Maybe this is a silly question, or something I missed, but why would you ever not want to try to make a Will roll to master yourself, as a sorcerer? What do you risk?

Peter Nordstrand

Paul, in a game of SoY that we are playing, we had a duel where my characters intention was to get seriously injured while his opponent just wanted to disarm him. Things like this happens all the time, and I can think of a thousand reasons why someone wouldn't want to attempt a Will roll. However, all of them would be connected to specific game situations, not generic stuff like arguments that "there is no risk". Perhaps the player wants his character to lose. Perhaps the character wants to lose for whatever reason.

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
     —Grey's Law

Ron Edwards

Hi Paul,

Peter's right. You never know when someone might want to exercise that option, and it remains an option (in design terms), because Sorcerer is all about wide-open choices for how a character might deal with situations.

Or to look at it another way, the rules pretty much have to go by one of three options: you can't do it at all, you have to do it under XYZ conditions, or you can choose. Thematically, the third is the only viable option for this game.

I am reluctant to give examples, because I am afraid they will be misconstrued as tactical options and therefore, on a small scale, "obvious" or "of course." They don't represent such cases; they represent how someone played his or her character, which is a different thing. Here's one from play.

A character takes enough temporary damage to lose an action, as described in this thread, and as it happens, the situation of the fight is looking pretty bad in terms of the foe's ability to deal damage. "That guy/thing is tough!" In this particular round, the player doesn't opt for the Will roll, because he doesn't really see any point to trying to dust up with this foe any more. His character was knocked well away from things and is, as the foe sees it, out of commission and not an immediate problem. The player has notions about what to do next, but none of them involve staying in the fight, and the action he lost (his upcoming one this round) isn't important to him. Staying in therefore serves no immediate purpose (and here it is constructive to think wholly in character-centric terms, actually), and it'd be dangerous. So the character basically has just been knocked ass over teakettle and he stays that way, losing that action he'd previously launched.

Paul, I'm tuning this next point specifically for you: all of this has to do with experiencing play through and with the character firmly forward. This isn't about "for the story" (a phrase that doesn't apply to Sorcerer) nor about the obvious tactical option in a generalized, always-win-the-fight sense.

Let me know if that makes sense.

Best, Ron

Paul T


That makes perfect sense (both your replies do).

Sometimes you just know it's time to give up the fight. Sometimes you realize you're better "playing dead" than getting your ass kicked even more. But when you want to, you can try to push through the pain.