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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Moreno R. on February 21, 2007, 09:51:47 PM

Title: [Sorcerer] rule question: changing bond strenght
Post by: Moreno R. on February 21, 2007, 09:51:47 PM

I am going to be the GM in a sorcerer game. I already played the game two times (two one-shots), but with very drifted rules, so this time I want to play as much as I can "by the book", to really understand how the game works.

Reading the old questions in this forum, I found something about changing the binding strength after the binding.

In this thread: Commanding Demons  ( Ron Edwards said:

One existing mechanic you can use is the fact that Binding strength is labile. Every session, or perhaps even with individual scenes, the GM is perfectly free to alter the Binding strength. Given your inclinations, you could get it to pretty hefty levels through play, and thus it would fulfil your stated interest in seeing more ritual/system at work in the interactions.

Also, you can use role-playing bonuses. Say a Black Wheel sorcerer (to use a book example for clarity) re-applies the Binding contract every week or so. OK, fine, let that "color in" the abstract Binding strength with in-game activity, and you're all set with the effect you desire without any need for more rules. It also gives the group the chance to see what happens when it's not applied for some reason, and ALSO get the player a much-needed bonus if you guys take the time to incorporate this "reinforcement" into the run itself.

Finally, I just realized that I used exactly the concern you stated in designing Stephanie and Kerch, the example sorcerer and demon. Its Need is for reinforcing the original Binding contract, which in play translates to role-playing scenes all about that renegotiation (which may well involve Lore rolls), and in rules terms, into changes in the Binding strength.

And in this one: Binding Rolls ( he said:

How exactly can binding rolls be re-rolled during play?

Um ... you mean, if a sorcerer has bound a demon, and then binds it again? That's not really something that happens; if the demon is currently bound, then that's that. If the sorcerer wants to make the binding stronger (I suppose in his or her favor), then he or she simply needs to favor the demon's Need and/or Desire.

I would like to ask to Ron if he can explain better, or in more detail, when the GM can (or should) change the binding strenght, how he do it mechanically (he just tell the player the new strenght? He change it and keep it secret? He give a warning to the player that if he doesn't change his way the binding strenght will change? He rolls some dices with the players?) and when he thinks the GM should do this (and when he shouldn't). Thanks!

Title: Re: [Sorcerer] rule question: changing bond strenght
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 22, 2007, 05:23:13 AM

This is one of the features of Sorcerer GMing in which you have a lot of personal choice.

The actual rule is that when you think a sorcerer has not been meeting the Binding requirements with a demon, then change the Binding strength by 1 in the demon's favor.

Numerically, this is really two things rather than one. If the Binding was in the Sorcerer's favor, then this effect weakens the overall Binding (for example, its role in helping to resist being Banished). You should think of this as the relationship getting weakened because the demon is losing its commitment to it. However, if the Binding was in the demon's favor, then this effect strengthens the Binding.

In the one case, the demon is considering breaking up (leaving a relationship), and in the other, it is staying in the relationship out of negative commitment.

Let's go back to the rule - it depends on what you, the GM, think about the situation. This is your judgment and in that sense is a lot like your decisions regarding Humanity rolls. Ultimately, this authority lies with the whole group in that they accept your role, but at the time, in each instance, you really do have that personal authority. There is no specific set of signals or triggers in the rules because this authority is supposed to be founded on your own interpretation and judgment of the situation.

This is one of the main reasons why, in this game, you should play each demon as your own character. Because you need to consider how its relationship to its master might be changing.

Does that help? Look over the "steps of rebellion" rules in the Sorcery chapter and see whether they make more sense in this context.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: [Sorcerer] rule question: changing bond strenght
Post by: Moreno R. on February 22, 2007, 09:12:41 AM
Thank for your answer!

Does that help? Look over the "steps of rebellion" rules in the Sorcery chapter and see whether they make more sense in this context.

Yes, now I understand (or, at least, I think I do) the logic behind the rule, and how to apply it, thanks.  But I have still some question about the mechanical (numerical) effect of this rule.

If I understood correctly, a bound demon has bonus dices to rebel or break the binding, if his need is not meet.  It could be argued, I think, that that bonus apply (sometimes as a malus for the sorcerer) in every roll that include the binding strength.

If I change the binding strength when his need is not met, it's not the same thing, mechanically?

So, if I use BOTH the changing of the binding strength and the bonus/malus for the need, am I not applying two times the same bonus/malus?

Are they two manner of justifying that bonus/malus in the "story" (the bond is weakening, or the demon's rage is strengthening him) to NOT be used at the same time, or the Sorcerer that doesn't respect his promises to the demon is to be "punished" two times?

P.S.: another question: I plan to run this game in an "all-open" way, with every demon score known to the players (not the characters), because of the scope of the game (we all need to learn the rules). But from the game text and some of your past answer I know that sometimes you run the game keeping scores and result secret from the players, and I think that in the futures I could play other sessions in this way.

How do you do this, practically? You roll the dices behind a screen and tell the players when they succeed or not (or not even this, with the binding strenght roll), or you simply don't tell them the numbers before rolling (letting them see the number of dices - and learning the true scores - only AFTER they try to roll against it one time. And with the situational and role-playing bonus dices, they can't be sure about the exact starting values even then)?

Title: Re: [Sorcerer] rule question: changing bond strenght
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 22, 2007, 07:59:37 PM

You are correct to avoid applying the Binding strength as a simultanous bonus and penalty - that is not allowed. Always apply it to one side of the roll in the appropriate way. Also, it doesn't matter much which side you choose, if it's not immediately clear which.

(Quick language point: "malus" is not a word in English, although it could or should be given the language root. The correct word is "penalty." I speak poor-to-middling Spanish and start German lessons soon, so I greatly appreciate your language skill with English and hope you don't mind the correction.)

That's a good question about the secret values. Here's how I do it - I simply don't say the values out loud. My sheets are on the table in front of me, in full view of everyone, and I roll the dice in front of everyone, but I don't say the numbers for everyone to hear. This has proven to work perfectly for the effect I desired with those rules - it's not a matter of keeping precious secrets, just not bringing those values into everyone's attention, and maintaining a minor bit of uncertainty.

Best, Ron