[Sorcerer] A few mechanical questioms

Started by Mackie, September 25, 2009, 02:37:36 PM

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Quote from: Noclue on September 28, 2009, 08:18:21 PMRun, my assumption was that banishing piddly demons had no effect because, hey, they're piddly demons.

James, keep in mind that's relative: Banishing a Power 2 demon (relatively piddly) still has a good chance to net Humanity gain for a sorcerer with a Humanity of 1. That is "piddly" is relative, as is "big bad".

(This is how I see it:) That's where the whole "universe as thematic landscape" comes in. It isn't a big deal from an outside perspective, but it is to the sorcerer involved in the action and his relationship to the themes of play. That seems weird because wouldn't the higher power demon be more of a big deal? Sure, but not in the same way. Banishing the higher Power demon for the lower-Humanity sorcerer is difficult because, relative to the universe, the sorcerer's own grip on the universe is more in-line with the demon's than with the universe's.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


I'm still pondering these useful replies. However, I think its helpful to draw a distinction between ease of banishing a demon (Which I have no "beef" with), and ease of gaining humanity after a successful banishing (Which is my "itch").

Ron Edwards

... "the ease of gaining Humanity after a successful banishing." I'm having a little trouble visualizing what you mean, in play, with actual characters and actual scores.

A sorcerer who's eligible for a Humanity gain roll after Banishing a demon has lower Humanity than the demon's Power, by definition. So his or her Humanity gain roll is automatically under 50% likely to succeed. That's why the word "ease" doesn't really fit into the situation, in my mind.

I'm not telling you you're wrong about anything, but the word choice is making it hard for me to see your point. Can you help me understand better?

Best, Ron
modified to clarify what roll I'm talking about


Quote from: Ron Edwards on September 28, 2009, 08:23:54 PM
That analysis falls more into how you want to interpret (or better, to apply) the rules, not so much into how the rules work in pure systemic and overall thematic terms. In other words, what you're saying is a fine way to apply the rules in a particular game, but you aren't describing the system as such either.

Hi Ron. I think my post and Mackie's questions are related. The issue is the relative ease of gaining humanity depending upon the two variables (demon's power and Sorcerer's humanity).

To put the issue simply:

Assuming I banish a demon with power (P) that is > than my humanity (h). (1) Why do you as the designer want the probability of humanity gain to go down as P increases? (2) Why do you want the probability of humanity gain to go down as h decreases?

As I've posted, I have a framework in my head that accounts for these facts, I'd like to know what was the original intent.

James R.

Ron Edwards

Hi James,

I've answered Mackie to the extent that I can, at present. I'll wait for his reply to see where that dialogue has gone.

You are presenting other issues. I want to address those entirely to you, and let my dialogue with Mackie be independent of that.

Let's give your example numbers. The sorcerer has Humanity 4. The demon has Power 9. Through any number of circumstances, the sorcerer has Banished the demon (which he did not summon in the first place). Now the player rolls four dice vs. nine dice to see whether the character's Humanity goes up by 1.

1. To paraphrase your first question: why is it harder for this sorcerer to gain Humanity if the demon he Banished had Power 11 instead of 9?

The answer: Power is a brutal bitch to combat in ways which are not merely "big and bad." As I mentioned before, that demon did in fact exist insofar as it was Summoned ... and so Banishing it leaves a nasty, ragged hole in the universe. Think of Banishing as removing a cancer by surgery. A wound remains.

The bigger the demon, the more nasty the wound. Think of that as offsetting the potential gain in Humanity, which is more-or-less the relationship between the patient and the surgeon. If a big nasty demon (cancer) is here, and you get rid of it, and the universe (patient) has to piss through tubes for the rest of his life, then it's not really capable of being anyone's friend.

Gamer-think assumes that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. That's not the case in the existentialist context of Sorcerer play. Or to put it differently, if you get stars in your eyes and think "Gee, I can Banish big demons and be the universe's best friend!", then think again. Big demons are not a strategic opportunity. If you try to Banish one, it should be only because you really, really want that thing gone.

2. To paraphrase your second question: why is it harder for this sorcerer to gain Humanity if he had Humanity 3 at the time of Banishing instead of 4?

The answer: because once the sorcerer is eligible for the gain roll in the first place, then lower Humanity is to no one's advantage. If the score value matters (as it does in this case, unlike the ethics-based rolls), then you don't get any favors for having been a shittier person and/or a more active sorcerer in the past. Again, this is a matter of thematic currency: you can't balance today's Humanity-lowering actions with the increased chance of gain for Banishing in the future.

I hope this makes some sense; let me know.

Best, Ron


Ron, that makes perfect sense to me. Humanity gain is not a reward for eradicating big bad demons and there's nothing particularly human about moving massive amounts of sorcerous power. If you increasing your humanity is your primary goal, stop messing with demonic powers altogether and just be a decent person. And the more often you're a decent person, the easier it will be the next time.
James R.



Sorry for the delay, I have been pondering the answers.

Firstly: Ron's explanation does make sense to me.

However, the alternative way of doing things (Big demons and low humanity increasing your chance of a gain) also makes sense. I suppose I am left with this: What makes more sense? And in fact, it is the alternative way.

But to be perfectly honest, the way that now makes most sense to me is a simple 50/50 humanity check!