demon ability "Protection"

Started by Paiku, August 06, 2010, 03:42:50 AM

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Hi all,

I just read something that makes me think I misunderstand how the demon ability "Protection" works - or maybe that it has been "errata'ed" since the core rulebook was published.

Does a Demon's Protection ability protect against ONE non-physical attack (fire, lightning, disease, etc), or against ALL such attacks?

Here's the quote from The Forge that creates the confusion for me:
QuoteTopic: How did I miss this? (link)
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 27, 2004, 10:17:41 AM


Good question - my reasoning at the time was that Armor protects against all
impact, clawing, kinetic attacks; and that Protection protects against all fire,
chemical, radiation, and pyschic attacks. Any other attack concept should be
farmed into one of these categories, or perhaps a category that both abilities
will protect against. I didn't want to have any conceivable attack that was not
protected against by at least one of these abilities.

Any Champions veteran will see the influence there, although Protection
combines Ego Defense with Energy Defense.

Today, I wonder whether I should have just had the one ability "Protection" and
then permitted customization. Although it seems to me that that construction
would have led to far more reader-confusion than the current one does.

...And here's what it says in the rulebook:
Protection:...The type of attack it defends against must be defined at the outset.

I took this entry in the rulebook to mean that, when I'm spec'ing the demon, I have to specify one type of special damage against which it gets Protection.  If I want a Demon that's protected against two types of Special Damage, then I have to take Protection twice.  Non?

Or, if a Demon has Protection, then it can use it against any and all forms of (non-physical) Special Damage?

Or... (here's my best guess at what "at the outset" means)... does the user choose what type of Special Damage against which the ability protects, when (and every time) the ability is activated?



Quote from: Paiku on August 06, 2010, 03:42:50 AMI took this entry in the rulebook to mean that, when I'm spec'ing the demon, I have to specify one type of special damage against which it gets Protection.  If I want a Demon that's protected against two types of Special Damage, then I have to take Protection twice.
I'd always thought this was indeed the correct interpretation of that rule, and it's how we had used it in play, but you do raise an interesting point.

I can see how Ron's statement by itself could be interpreted as "Protection protects against all types of Special Damage" but I think the full text of the wording in the rulebook puts the lie to that interpretation: "...against damage from Psychic Force or one non-impact form of attack (for example, most of the versions of Special Damage below)..." (emphasis added; also note the "or", further indicating it is a "pick what it protects you from" power) As does, I believe, his statement in the post you quoted about having considered using a single Protection power that players merely customized (consider that if it protected against everything, it wouldn't need to be customized).

Unfortunately, none of the example demons with Protection found in the main book list WHAT that Protection is against, so frustratingly I can't use them as examples, and that might seem to point to Protection being an "against anything" power (except for that "defined at the outset" and "or one non-impact form"). However, as there aren't any "cycling" powers in the Ability list -- that is, Powers you can change the effect of as desired in play -- instead everything has to be defined specifically up front during creation, I suspect that remains true with Protection as well.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


I think you're right Greyorm, that the specific type of Protection has to be defined at Demon creation.  I guess I was just hoping it was otherwise.

I've never actually given a Demon Protection, because: what are the chances that the Demon will be attacked with the one specific form of Special Damage that I pick??  Protection against fire or Protection against disease, these are all just too specific to spend an ability slot on.  Unless the sorcerer already knows something about the adversary that s/he'll be coming up against.  Maybe Protection isn't common in sorcerers' first Demons, but in Demons subsequently Summoned during play?  What are people's experiences on this?

Still hoping to hear the Final Word from Ron on the interpretation, too.

Thanks all,


I have always taken Protection to work against one form just like it says in the text.  If nothing else I back this interpretation on raw thematic aesthetics alone.  I'm working up a fire demon.  It makes sense for him to be immune to fire.

Also whenever a player has pointed out to me that Protection isn't very useful unless you know what you're going up against I do two things.  The first is I point out the thematic aesthetic point I just mentioned.  The second thing I point out is that the player is not thinking very proactively.  If you have a demon that confers Protection from fire to you imagine how useful that is.  Your girlfriend has just been kidnapped and she's being held up in an old warehouse.  Great, torch the place, and while everyone else is panicking and running around, you walk in and calmly pick her up.

If you're immune to ice and you really need information out of that one guy.  No problem.  Lock yourself with him in an industrial freezer and see which one of you gives out first.



I like the way you think!

What seemed like a limitation is starting to look like a (narrative) opportunity...

Thanks Jesse,

Ron Edwards

Hi everyone,

The original meaning of Protection was that it was specific against any single type of non-impact damage: radiation, fire, cold, arcane magic, mental/psychic blasts, or whatever else. Both Raven and Jesse have used the rule correctly.

If you want to have Protection against both fire and cold, you must account for two Lore slots to do it. The text quoted above does not contradict this point, although I can see how the phrasing of one sentence could be confusing.

At the time of that post, I wrote "I wonder" whether that was the best choice for the rule. I am not wondering any more. The single-effect for a single "buy" of Protection is the right way to do it, and my best judgment for how to do it, not only at the time of writing, but today.

For the player who whines that this is too limited, my answer is "tough shit." The player is probably thinking in superhero terms, in which they want to be equally prepared to face either Corporal Cold or Fire-Nipple Lass. Sorcerer is not about being prepared for any and all foes. It's about doing what you want (i.e. what the character wants, in fictional terms) as effectively as possible. If something comes up that you're not optimized to face, then you have to think. Or be both determined and lucky enough to get up off the hospital bed after you've had a limb charred away, rip out the IV, and walk out seeking some payback.

Best, Ron