[Sorcerer] Possessors out of Host

Started by Frank Tarcikowski, June 09, 2008, 08:22:53 AM

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Frank Tarcikowski

In yesterday's Sorcerer game, we had a powerful possessor demon (Power 8) try to get to a new host. The demon's telltale was crawling insects, so I pictured this as the bugs swarming out to reach the next available person. The PC sorcerer tried to stop him. I was wondering how.

He wanted to use his demon's Hold ability. Normally you have to hit with a normal attack before you use it, but what would I roll for the possessor's Stamina? He didn't have a host at that moment. In the end I ruled that the Hold could be used right away. It failed, though.

I was also getting a little nervous because I only then realized that a powerful possessor trying to take you over is pretty damn lethal: One roll, Stamina vs. Power, and you're lost. If you're unlucky, the possessor scores more successes than your Humanity and you're gone for good, no safety net, no second chance. Otherwise, you're still trapped in your own body and need someone to ban the possessor which will be pretty hard against Power 8 and binding strength added in.

A possessor with Hop needs a successful attack first, so there you have a chance. But how about a possessor who loses his host? How does he get there? Without an attack? Or if he attacks, which stat do you use? Because without an attack it's pretty grim!

In our game, the PC just fled and I ruled that he could outrun the bugs without a roll. But sooner or later he'll be facing that demon again and I best be prepared (him, too).

Any thoughts on that?

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Ron Edwards

Hi Frank,

The key is to remember that a demon always has a "presence" in game that can be affected through normal rules use. This presence is, unless modified by abilities, essentially the same as a person.

Therefore the Possessor outside of a host can be targeted normally, it can hit people normally, and can move normally. (I confess the rules for Possessors in the text about demon types is misleading, since it describes the attack as if it were something special or rules-exceptional. The intention of that rule was to show that in a body the natural attack may vary in terms of the damage table; out of the body, the normal Fists rule applies.) Note that this presence is subject to all limitations that a human presence is - for instance, your swarm of insects would not necessarily be able to fly up to a second-story window, or go through a closed door, in any special way. You could narrate that they do, but the timing of the action relative to everyone else's action should be equivalent to a person climbing up there, or opening the door using normal means (including a roll for it, if for instance the door were locked).

Abilities that involve Travel may be used, of course.

If the demon does not have Hop, then the main difference is that the transfer is not host-to-host, but requires the demon to manifest outside the first host's body. To get into the new host, once having dealt with any problems along the way and having managed to reach the new host if that was necessary, either the host says "come on in" (i.e. there's no conflict) or again, an attack roll must be made just as it is made for the demon with Hop.

It is perfectly valid to decree that the demon loses a point of Power and requires a hit of its Need as quickly as possible once it has exposed itself outside of a host.

I know the rules say that the non-Hopping Possessor is effectively trapped in each host body, but in practice, I've found that this may be subject to a conflict roll of some kind. That's a bit of squishiness in my play-history that I probably should have paid more attention to in the past, actually, because I like the nuances and distinctions among the various sorts of Possessor as defined by the abilities.

Remember that a sorcerer can in fact deal with a demon who is possessing his or her body, even as a mere "bit of consciousness." A sorcerer's bit of consciousness is no small thing, after all. Rituals, in particular, are still possible, as are basic Will vs. Will commands. I tried to expand the rather limited notions in the core book in Chapter 2 of The Sorcerer's Soul, so be sure to read that carefully when dealing with these critters.

In the original PDF and earlier versions of the rules, Possessors only had Stamina based on their host's Stamina. However, I found that to be unworkable and took the more elegant solution that the Possessors had Stamina of their own - but using values above that of the host meant possibly hurting the host, as described in chapter 4. I looked through the core book and did not find anything that suggested otherwise, but let me know if I missed a possible artifact from the earlier versions.

Therefore, outside of the host, the demon's own full Stamina is available for its use, for defense or attacking or whatever. So it could have been hit with Hold, and it can try to get into position relative to a host (prior to the Power-based host-entry attack) on its own, if the host is objecting.

Best, Ron

Frank Tarcikowski

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the clarification, that's very helpful! I was under the impression that "a possessor's Stamina equals the host's" but I'm not sure where I got that from. I'll be checking out the relevant passages in The Sorcerer's Soul.

As for this particular critter, I think I'm going to settle for Stamina 5 or so, the possible maximum of 7 seems a bit extreme to me. Right now, the demon is sealed in a deep cellar with a bunch of innocent slaves and less innocent cultists, it'll be my pleasure to figure out what happens down there until the PCs care to venture...

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