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Author Topic: Pale Blue Dot: Sorcerer supers one-sheet  (Read 6483 times)

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.

« on: July 28, 2008, 08:38:29 PM »

Remember those space-based superhero cartoons from the 60's and 70's? Space Ghost...Herculoids...the occasional Superfriends? Remember the newer cartoons that ran with those ideas, especially a whole lot of Justice League? What about comics like Micronauts? Superman vs. Aliens? Doctor Strange?

And all sorts of other shit I don't even remember at this point?

Yeah. This is for them.
And it's also for you, Carl.

This is a rough one-sheet for a game of Sorcerer I first thought about a number of years ago and that I'd like to play now that my long dry-spell of gaming has finally passed.


Pale Blue Dot: Superhero Role-Playing in the Void Beyond Earth.
An exploration of Power and what it means to Be Human.


You are a superhero.

Whether you were drenched with cosmic rays, inducted into a galaxy-wide network of super-warriors, are a genetic freak, or were born on a distant planet circling a giant red star, for some reason you have superpowers.

And you are human. Whether that means you really are human, just human-like, or a lost alien calling Earth their second home, you have connected with humanity on a social and personal level. You buy groceries, you do your laundry, you vote in elections (or don't), you read the newspaper, you know the name of the guy working at the gas station, and you volunteer at the homeless shelter, and you're trying to pay off your library fines and make sure your fish get fed when you're away. These are your people and you are one of them.

But, as superheroes are wont to do, you travel through outer space meeting out justice and fighting galactic menaces to peace, order and the security of humanity. Whether you travel by ship and advanced technology, or self-propelled impossible flight based on your superpowers, you are out there, somewhere, in the starry void beyond Earth, traveling from planet to planet, asteroid to asteroid, nebula to nebula, doing things and going places no one else can understand. Protecting humanity and Earth itself.


Demons are the source of your super-powers. They create conflict by virtue of their very nature, even if that is generally benevolent: they attract powerful enemies and dangerous situations.

Objects: your super-powers come from some object, whether that is a costume, a shield, a legendary hammer, an electronic staff, or a suit of power-armor.

Passers: are sidekicks like twin brothers, robotic companions, and team-mates. They may also be YOU and some exceptional but entirely human quality: a superior intellect, cunning hunches, incredible dexterity, or an uncanny eye.

Possessors: are controlling spirits, rage-filled shape-changed forms, the voice of your dead father, and powers of mental control over others.

Inconspicuous: the source of your power is strange cosmic rays, mutated genetics, the blessing of an elder god or alien entity, or any other source that has no other outward manifestation. The fact that you choose to wear green tights does not count.

Parasites: symbiotic organisms, spirit entities, alien embryos, blood-borne viruses and similar things that feast on your own lifeforce or body juices or whatnot are parasites.
Need & Desire

Each hero has superpowers--treated as bound demon(s)-- that come with Needs and Desires. Need is like fuel for the superpower: the rays of a yellow sun, specifically worded chants, communing with alien powers, eating a feast, deep meditation, the faith of the human race, the pursuit of a great love, etc. In some ways, a Need can tie a hero to humanity and his human nature, drive him to do what he feels he must do, or bind him inseparably to the Earth.

Desire is that which drives him to use his powers, that tie him to those powers and reflect their duty and burden. It is often reflective of the sorts of situations the hero seeks out and involves himself within, whether an external situation, such as stopping intergalactic slavers, or an internal one, such as fulfilling vengeance for their parents' deaths. In many cases, it can put the hero at odds with his ability to be part of and understand the human condition, or even to protect the Earth and the people on it.


Sorcery is the act of gaining and exploring your own superpowers, or either stripping another of or preventing another from using theirs. These are generally unique events, sometimes accidental, often deliberate, and usually repeated. Even if they are born with their powers, earning the right to use them as a hero is a deliberate act.

Contact: You talk to aliens, monsters, super-geniuses, the letters of your deceased father, and all sorts of other superpowered individuals, learning things about the things you could do and the things other superpowers--perhaps less benevolent ones--can do.

Summon: An event or circumstance that causes you to gain powers. This is often the culmination of a quest or extensive research, though it could simply be part of being in the right place at the right time, or stealing another superhero’s powers for your own (even temporarily).

Bind: The powers you draw up through summoning are now integrated into your character.

Punish: Using the flaws and weaknesses of other superheroes, monsters, aliens, and that sort of thing against them. What you can use against others. It’s all about how you fight giant robots with cement trucks and steel girders.

Banish: Holy Kryptonite, Batman! (Wrong superhero, kid.) This is something that can negate your powers, or something you know which negates the superpowers of another.

Humanity is something that ties your superhero to humanity and his human nature, something that drives him and binds him to the Earth. This could be the love of a good woman, the companionship of friends, the burden of past failures, compassion for fellow humans.

Having superpowers and soaring around deep space, you’re just getting further and further away from human concerns, human life, and humanity in general. With no Humanity left, you’ve moved so far away from the daily concerns and realities of common mankind, you aren’t human anymore. You’ve evolved (ie: changed, not “become better”) into something else and become some kind of metahuman. Earth fades into the background...now stop eating planets!

There are two thoughts on this: that this is a good thing, and something to be striven for, that this is the future of the race and such progress needs to be embraced, even driven towards, that this is movement towards a greater meaning and broader existance. Others claim this is not a good thing, that what makes us men is what binds us to the universe, and we must maintain our contact with human life much as we must maintain our roots for our lives to have any meaning.

Regardless of which your character chooses to believe, if either, losing all Humanity means the sorcerer is no longer a viable character to play. You, the player, being human, can no longer truly play this character because they are no longer human. There is no connection to the character you can grasp ahold of, because the character has moved beyond you.

Even a Humanity 1 character can be very human, swamped by the common life of humanity…it just means he is closer to the edge of such things, that the slightest change in the balance of his life will have a profound impact on who he is and how he experiences life, but he is still entirely human.

A Humanity 1 character may also be an individual whose superhero lifestyle or powers has moved him so far beyond human concerns that he is very close to breaking such ties altogether. A superhuman sorcerer who lives in a private dimensional world, constantly battles demonic forces, and has no need to go grocery shopping is one example.

In either case, no matter where they themselves are as a character, it simply indicates how much impact their decisions and behaviors will have on their story and their future: how much their future hinges on this episode, THIS decision.

Cover is what you pretend to be when you aren't a superhero. Billionaire playboy? Mild-manner newspaper reporter? Rebellious army brat? Geeky high school student? Professor of physics? Cover provides you with knowledge and contacts, only some of which might be useful out-there in the void beyond Earth, and an identity to slip back into for a time while on Earth and reconnect, to remind yourself why you're out there.


Ex-military (3): running, jumping, crawling...yeah, you did all that.
Godling (5+): you lift mountains on the weekends.

Smash! (1): at least your primal urges are strong.
Cybernetic brain (4+): 1-trillion calculations per second

I was an Accident (1): you have these powers, and that's that.
Alien Adoptee (2): born of another star, these things just come naturally.
Super-genius (3+): you gave yourself these powers with SCIENCE!
Occult gift (4): in communion with the higher powers of reality, you were given vast insights.


This is cartoon space, meaning the laws of physics do not (necessarily) apply. Get wild, get creative: dimension-bridging black holes, shattered planets that still have gravity, giant berserk battleships crewed by insane robot drones, atmospheres on asteroids, glowing gaseous nebulae, strange space-energy fields, planets and star-systems within days or hours of travel of each other (instead of light-years apart), etc.


Why out in the void of space, and not on Earth? Because the point is one’s distance from humanity and human concerns, and there are few things less human than aliens and outer space. It is the finding human-like moments out in the great starry void that keep you tied to humanity, to your roots, to your essence.


It's rough. It needs refining. I need to think more about the Descriptors, I need a few more and they aren't quite there yet. I'm not certain about Need and Desire.

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.

« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2008, 04:39:16 PM »

Right after I posted, I had an epiphany about Desire that clarifies it. Add this text to Desire: It is like a morally centering catchphrase, of which “With great power comes great responsibility” is the prime example, that comes with its own problems and issues when responsibility conflicts with living life. After all, you need to stop Cosmocyst, the Eater of Suns right now, but if you miss your girlfriend’s first night as news anchor, or the birth of your only daughter, there’s going to be hell to pay at home.

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Posts: 187

« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2008, 01:14:35 PM »

This sounds great!

It also sounds like it's in the same ballpark as an idea I posted (...five years ago, now... Man I'm old...) in this thread.  Nothing came of that thread, alas.  And I think your descriptors are better than mine were...

Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.

« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2008, 11:06:29 AM »

Thanks! I don't recall having seen your write-up before, so thanks for the link! It looks excellent and I might crib some notes from there. I do wish I could think up more/decent Descriptors, they appear to be a stumbling block this time around. Suggestions on that front are definitely welcome.

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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