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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Zak Arntson on May 30, 2001, 07:59:00 AM

Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Zak Arntson on May 30, 2001, 07:59:00 AM
(Dragging an idea over from the ever-fraying Zombie Squirrel thread)

I don't have the Sorcerer book (hopefully this weekend), but does it discuss each player playing their character and another character's Demon?

I could see this allowing for a more free-willed and cantakerous Demon, seeing as the GM is freed up from making any Demon psychological decisions.  And introduce a friendly rivalry among players?

Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: greyorm on May 30, 2001, 09:25:00 AM
It's certainly an interesting idea...the only problems I see personally with doing so would be players beginning to know 'too much' about the demons and ruining their mystery, or not knowing enough about them as a species to adequately portray them.

But those problems aren't insurmountable, certainly.

As to having done so, no, I haven't and can't recall any instances of my players running one another's "henchmen" (for all intents and purposes).  So I unfortunately can't really discuss how it works!

If anyone has, speak up!

Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
"Homer, your growing insanity is starting to bother me."

[ This Message was edited by: greyorm on 2001-05-30 13:25 ]

Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Dav on May 30, 2001, 09:30:00 AM
Sorcerer's Soul has good mechanics for playing half-demons.  I think these could serve as nifty "starting-points" for playing full-fledged demons.  Hell, write it up and submit it to Ron for the Affiliate Program, I know I would read it.


Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 30, 2001, 12:41:00 PM
The default way to play Sorcerer is such that demons are not a player sphere of influence.

However, it is one of the suggested "over the edge" ways to play the game.

No one, so far, despite many tries, has suggested a method to do this that I find convincing. "Gee, let's play the demons" sounds good, but for them to be really interesting, thematic, and story-driving is a hard call.

If the demons are just people with powers, then so what? Conversely, if they're just magic psychopaths, then so what?

There's a thread or two on the Sorcerer forum on GO that might be relevant here, about playing what we called dickweed characters. It might be a good foundation for demon-PC play.


Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Dav on May 31, 2001, 10:34:00 AM
I think instituting a mechanic to integrate a possible paradox within the demon might be appropriate (in the vein of Unknown Armies' Magic system).  Also, I think that a lot of the problems can be leashed by allowing a GM-controlled Sorcerer rather than a player-controlled sorcerer.

Something that just hit me:

A run wherein the players are demons and their sorcerers have been mage-napped.  The dmeons have to find the sorcerers before they dissolve into nothing (ala Need), and still need to operate within conventional norms of society so as not to be killed/arrested, etc.  

I think, within this context, running a demon could be entirely feasible.  In addition, what about demons with completely undesirable sorcerers who have bound them?  You could have loads of fun and entertainment (as well as story) by having sorcerers that give insanely difficult orders and say "no Need for you until X is accomplished."  Sure, eventually that demon will break the bonds, bite the hand that feeds it, and flee into the woods in search of more accomodating "masters", but there in lies the rub... that demon must actually *find* that sorcerer... that special someone.

I think that many people may be focusing too greatly upon the "otherworldiness" of demons.  The threat of banishment or death can be a strong motivator.  The demon's eternal quest toward a suitably malleable master could provide hours of enjoyment, as well as creating a cohesive group.

The rules support a definite switch toward this goal, and I personally think it could be done convincingly in a strong Narrativist theme.  

What does everyone think?


Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 31, 2001, 11:43:00 AM
Driving in my car this morning, I tried to devise a way to run Sorcerer with PC's as demons.

First assumption: Sorcerers and demons in the same group aren't going to work.

The reason I made this assumption is that Sorcerer is based primarily around premise and theme. While in the main text of the game, the Premise is "What will you do in order for power? How much of what makes you human will you give up for control?" every game of Sorcerer has its own central theme: see Jared Sorensen's soon-to-released "Schism" for an example of using Sorcerer with a different theme.

Nevertheless--whatever the theme of your Sorcerer game, the game benefits from it being consistent and not confused. Therefore, mixing humans and demons as PC's seems right out.

From there, I imagined an all-demon group. (Dav's idea above about 'mage-napping' rocks. Actually, Dav, you stole the idea of a GM-controlled Sorcerer right out from underneath me while I was typing this--great minds do think alike.)

As an all-demon group, I'd have the GM control one human sorcerer. To continue, I need to define some things. Traditionally, the GM controls the 'world': the things not under the control of the players. This usually includes all non-player characters, the environment, the weather, and the like.

In a demon-PC Sorcerer game, I'd have the GM be primarily responsible for the one thing the PC's can never control: the human Sorcerer. For everything else, I'd have the PC's have near-total-Director-stance control.

Actually: I'd have the GM give a rough sketch of the entire episode beforehand and let the players go with that. Here's an example of what such a game might look like at the beginning of a session:

GM (Paul): Ok--in this week's episode, Jon, your sorcerer, is going to a costume party in the city. He's going because he's heard that his old flame--and rival sorcerer--Cristina is going to be there, but she's not going to be: in actuality, a businessman, Martin Crowe, has made sure Jon got an invite. Martin's not a sorcerer, and has no idea about it, but three years ago he saw Jon caught in an alleyway between two muggers and was going to help him out. Jon, though, took the two muggers apart with his bare hands, getting shot five times in the process. Jake, your character, Snatch, should remember this--he's the one that granted Jon Armor in the first place. Anyway, Jon never saw Martin, and Martin never forgot. He's been collecting information on Jon ever since.

GM: At the start of the session, Jon's arriving at the party. He's dressed as Oliver Cromwell, and is walking towards the front door of the manse. What are you guys doing?

Jake: Snatch is going to remain his Inconspicious self for now, hiding his little pinched-off goblin body in a large ficus plant in the foyer.

GM: Great. Jon notices you in the ficus plant, but doesn't say anything, instead giving his coat to the coat-taker inside the front door.

Peter: The coat-taker, a striking brunette, smiles at Jon. "Jon, it's been so long since we've seen each other. And who's your friend?" she asks, looking directly at Christopher (Peter's Passer demon PC).

GM: (under breath) Cripes. Ok. Jon recognizes the brunette finally. "Maria... I mean, Mary. Of course. Wow. How long has it been?" He thinks he may have slept with this girl before, but isn't sure.

Peter: Christopher steps forward and shakes her hand, smiling. "Chris Tailor. And it's certainly a pleasure to meet you. Jon hadn't told me we'd be in such good company."

GM: Fuckin' cripes. You really can't resist flirting with every female NPC, can you?

Anyway, I really think this could work. I think there'd have to be some ground rules:

All Director-type statements by players can introduce no more than one NPC, and must include their own character somewhere in the statement.

It needs to be explicitly defined who the user of each demon power is. In Sorcerer proper, it should be any way, but a lot of the interesting dialogue and conflict from a scenario like this can come from the demons choosing when to let the sorcerer have access to their powers.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or comments as to how to make this work?

Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 01, 2001, 06:46:00 AM
I am staring with wide eyes.

Clinton, this is ... well, OK, this looks like it has the power to be a whole Sorcerer mini-supplement.


Title: Players playing Demons
Post by: Clay on June 03, 2001, 12:24:00 PM
Clinton, it's a shame we live on opposite sides of the country.  I'd love to be in your Sorcerer group.  I have a grup that might, with a lot of stretching, be able to pull something like that off, but you have a gloriously twisted mind to be able to think of that.