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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 08:02:00 AM



Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 08:02:00 AM
Hi all,

This thread's name is courtesy of the excellent Mike Holmes. It is all set for the next round of the "Under the Hood" series starring me, Jesse, Paul, and Tor. Comments and observations are of course appreciated from everyone.

Best,
Ron



Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 18, 2001, 08:29:00 AM
Quick Question:

These Characters that we're building.  Are we just working with ideas at this point.  Just the Sorcerer part or both the Sorcerer AND the Demon?  Or is this the full stats, price, kicker and the works?

Jesse


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 08:48:00 AM
Jesse,

Whatever. If you want to chat first, do that; if the numbers and specifications are just leapin' to mind, do that instead. Whatever works. Either way, we're still in discussion stage.

Character AND demon, of course, whether sketchy or not.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 18, 2001, 10:28:00 AM
Okay, here goes my attempt at a character.  I went with the full write up.  I noted several places that I thought were weak or could use work but of course the whole thing is open to critique.  I look forward to your comments.

Jesse

Sorcerer: Cyril Forrester
Stamina 2 Natural Vigor
Will 4 Manipulative
Lore 4 Solitary Adept
Humanity 4 (I have not made any of the requisite rolls for binding Blob)
Cover 2 Gambler
Price: Jumpy (-1 to social interaction rolls)
Telltale: Whenever Cyril smokes every puff of smoke forms an open palmed hand above his head.
The Story: Cyril loves to gamble.  He loves the thrill of risking it all and raking in the winnings.  There's only one problem.  He isn't very good at it.  Cyril was down to his last dollar and was about to end it all by leaping from a bridge when a stranger pulled him back at the last moment.  The stranger surprisingly called Cyril by name and said that he knew how to end all of Cyril's problems.  The stranger was of course a Sorcerer and he taught Cyril everything he knew.  Cyril's first (and current) Demon is Blob an inconspicuous demon that masquerades as Cyril's shadow.  Blob uses his various powers to impove Cyril's gaming skills and the two have been rolling in dough ever since.  Eventually Cyril and the stranger parted ways.  He hasn't seen the stranger in over three years.

Other Stuff (This is the stuff that would go in the box on the back of the character sheet:

Lore: The Stranger.  This was the Sorcerer Cyril apprenticed under.  He saved Cyril's life and taught him how to use Socerery to turn his life around.  He's very sketchy at this point and doesn't even have a name.  So input is welcome.

Price: Cyril has a girlfriend named Jenny.  Jenny works as a waitress at the club Cyril visits most frequently.  He loves her very much but unfortunately he can never settle down enough to truly be comfortable with her.  She is growing increasily anoyed at his paranoid behavior but is holding out in hopes that whatever is bothering him will pass.  She probably suspects that he's on the run from something in his past.

The Kicker: During his nightly round of poker at his favorite club Cyril was spotted by another Sorcerer, he himself had failed to noticed.  Cyril has never seen this man before.  But instead of exposing Cyril and accusing him of cheating the man simply folded his cards and excused himself from the table.  As he left he leaned over and whispered, "I never forget," to Cyril.

(I personally think this Kicker is kind of weak, so feel free to offer advice).

Demon: Blob
Type: Inconspicuous (He's Cyril's Shadow)
Telltale: Although Blob appears to be Cyril's shadow, Blob has about a quarter inch of thinkness.
Abilities: Boost(Cover), Confuse, Hint, Perception, Shadow
Stamina 3
Will 6
Lore: 5
Power 6
Desire: Mischief
Need: Blob needs to collect people's deepest, darkest secrets.
The Story: Blob follows Cyril wherever he goes like a loyal puppy.  However, Blob is FAR from a cute cuddly little pet.  Normally, Blob uses his Boost and Percpetion abilities to improve Cyril's gambling skills.  Blob also sometimes uses his Confuse ability to cloud the minds of Cyril's fellow players. (Note: Hint and Shadow are added because they enhance the nature of Blob as well as go with the style of the game itself).  Blob has a need to learn people's secrets.  However, Blob, although capable (unbeknowst to Cyril), does not leave Cyril's side so Cyril must somehow trick people into revealing their secrets to him.  And on occasion Blob has even convinced Cyril to use one person's secrets as leverage to learn someone else's secret.  It is clear that this has led to some pretty awkward situations.


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Paul Czege on October 18, 2001, 10:41:00 AM
Okay...this is my request from Forge regulars for character suggestions. I can't seem to get materialist out of my head, and I don't want a character who's a materialist. My brother is a materialist. My character, Steffan Solmama, for Scott's Sorcerer game was a powermonger, self-absorbed, with a callous disregard for others. Sorcerer is about humanity. There are two satisfying narratives for a materialist or powermonger in my mind; he either redeems himself, or he gets his comeuppance. I'm not really interested in either of those narratives for this game.

Josh's idea for a lower-middle-class kid who busted his way into the big leagues with sorcery is pretty good.

But I'd really prefer a character who thinks he's doing good, advancing science or theology or xenobiology or entomology or something, without cognizance of the sheer malevolence and immanent evil of the forces he's involved with.

Doesn't fit with the game? Any thoughts?

Paul


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 10:45:00 AM
Paul,

Boy, you are just a worry wart!

It fits fine with the game. All you need is to include an important person who the character really cares about, and/or demon, who has different money, fame, and success values from the character's.

It's not supposed to be hard. There is no pressure.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 18, 2001, 10:48:00 AM
Hello Paul,

Well given that Ron has stated the Premise as being about Material Wealth, it's a little hard to get away from the Materialist.  However, what about someone who indirectly supports Materilists in some fashion.  Someone who thinks he's bringing about some great benefit to society when in reality all he's doing is increasing the divide between the haves and have nots.

What leaps to mind is an engineer who thinks he's building great inventions to make work easier and increasing productivity, when in fact his inventions are putting people of of work and just increasing the wallets of the industrialists.  What do you think of that?

Jesse


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: joshua neff on October 18, 2001, 10:55:00 AM
Paul--

How about the noir "young priest" character? He's just out of the seminary, where he learned a few unorthodox bits of lore, along with the regular stuff. Now he's back in New York (where he grew up, but in a sheltered home), trying to do good. He's not materialistic in the traditional sense, nor is particularly manipulative. But he's not above tempation either, & part of the reason he wants to help is not for selfless reasons but to be recognized as a "good & helpful person". Which leads him to stick his nose where it doesn't belong, in an effort to be a recognized good samaritan. He also has to deal with the messiness of sorcery, which conflicts with his otherwise "good" nature.

Just an idea.

I like Jesse's engineer idea, too. Vaguely Fountainhead. (Hell, make him an architect.)

Or how about an artist, who's not after material wealth (at least, not consciously) but pushing the artistic envelope. Sorcery, to him, is just another form of art, albeit a messy one--imagine Jackson Pollack as an "action sorcerer".

[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-10-18 14:58 ]


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 11:09:00 AM
Couple more points ...

1) Nothing about sorcery necessarily includes atrocity. Demons are dangerous, but sorcerers do not have to be perverts and murderers.

2) The Premise as I've stated it does NOT require a character to be especially materialist, or at all! The very same Premise may be investigated via a character who challenges material gain in every way.

Don't see shackles where there are none ...

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 18, 2001, 12:11:00 PM
Just a short bit right now, more later: I like the angle that you're taking, Jesse.  Low-life elements, living a fast-paced life-style.  But what if we kicked it up a notch?  I was thinking characters who are a little bit more driven, who can feel the flames at their back, and they know if they stop to rest it's all over. Right now Cybil sounds like a drifter, sort of letting the winds of life blow him around.I mean, why is he destroying his life by gambling?

The character I'm thinking of for myself is young, ambitious, flashy and callow.  The flames at *his* back are the poverty that he emerged from and the spectres of his dead parents who refuse to let him rest or settle down (maybe a younger brother or sister kickin around somewhere).  The route he's gone is that of the high-paced hustler: maybe a lifted crate of booze here, maybe a little B&E there, maybe a dash of strong-arm work.  Of course, sorcery has given him the ability to raise the stakes and get away with it.

-Tor


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 01:39:00 PM
Jesse,

So far so good, with the following bits o'feedback.

- I'd like to see more in the Kicker (or the immediate response to it) that illuminates Cyril's person a bit more. In most good movies, the character does something in the first few minutes that lets you know "this guy is OK," or "this guy has a good side," or something like that.

- That sorcerer mentor is way weak, man. Showed up, taught him sorcery, then vanished? Whoa Nelly. How 'bout altering that structure into steps which resulted from SPECIFIC actions on Cyril's part? Not to get too detailed - but again, add some proactivity on the character's part, just enough so I (or you) go "uh-HUH" when we see it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 01:40:00 PM
Tor,

So far so good for you too. I like it. Again, remember that we're dealing with a protagonist here, so be careful not simply to make up a good second-tier bad guy. (That is a very common problem in Sorcerer character creation, which is why that business about being a worthwhile protagonist is in the rules.)

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 02:05:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-18 17:39, Ron Edwards wrote:
- That sorcerer mentor is way weak, man. Showed up, taught him sorcery, then vanished? Whoa Nelly. How 'bout altering that structure into steps which resulted from SPECIFIC actions on Cyril's part? Not to get too detailed - but again, add some proactivity on the character's part, just enough so I (or you) go "uh-HUH" when we see it.


Well, what do we know about Cyril (BTW, big award for a most Melodramatically Art-deco name) and his relation to his mentor? Well, he came along just a Cyril was going to off himself. Coincidence? I think not! Sounds like this Mentor was just waiting for a low point in Cyril's life, a point where he could step in and mold Cyril into whatever he wanted. And then he disappeared? Why go through all this trouble and then disappear? Isn't it just possible that Cyril's mentor is just waiting in the shadows, waiting for just the right moment to burst back forth onto the scene and unleash the awful destiny that he's had planned for Cyril all along!

Or maybe he's just become an insurance salesman and settled down with a family. You decide, Jesse. :wink:

Mike


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 18, 2001, 02:09:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-18 14:41, Paul Czege wrote:
But I'd really prefer a character who thinks he's doing good, advancing science or theology or xenobiology or entomology or something, without cognizance of the sheer malevolence and immanent evil of the forces he's involved with.


Steal Josh's Jackson Pollock idea. The character makes great art. But the people who want to buy it don't understand it. OTOH, they're loaded, and willing to part with stacks of cash.

And just what effect do his paintings have on people. The angles of the lines seem... to....

Mike


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on October 18, 2001, 02:40:00 PM
Could a demon Possess a painting? Or maybe the painting is just an Object demon...?


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 18, 2001, 02:44:00 PM
Well, Ron did an excelent job of reaffirming what I already knew.  But the Proactive thing helped bring it into focus.  I fell into the trap I'm constantly warning people about Kickers.  Shame on me.

But seeing the two problems next to each other presented an interesting solution. SWAP THEM.  Check this out.

Mentor Story: Durring part of Cyril's bad luck days he spotted something not quite right with one of the more successful players.  Cyril got brave and approached the stranger with questions about the peculiarities he'd noticed and with curiosity about the man's amazing luck.  At first the stranger was reluctant to speak about them.  But Cyril was persistent and eventually the stranger gave in.  Thus began Cyril's training.  All was well and good for a while but one town ain't big enough for two Sorcerous gamblers.  After all, they can't BOTH win all the time.  Eventually things got too hot to handle between them and one day Cyril simply packed up and left town.  He didn't even leave a note.  That was three years ago.

I suck at names.  Anyone have a name for this mentor?

The Kicker: Walking home from his club Cyril spotted a young man about to jump off a bridge.  Acting quickly Cyril reached out and grabbed him.  The young man struggled at first but Cyril quickly subdued him and invited him back to his house.  The two talked long into the night and Cyril learned that the young man was an aspiring actor who was down on his luck.  After Cyril was convinced that he talked some sense into the boy, using mostly analogies from his own life minus the Sorcerous stuff, he called a cab and sent him home.  Over the next few weeks the young man has started showing up at Cyril's club asking about him.  He goes on about how Cyril saved his life and he has sort of taken on Cyril as a 'role-model.'  Cyril is not comfortable with the young man's enthusiam because it eerily reminds him of his own beginnings.  Worse Jenny has started taking a liking to the young man.  It's just a playful friendship now but if Cyril doesn't do something it may evolve into more.

I think it adds a nice parallel between Cyril's beginnings and Cyril's current problem.  However, it's different enough not to simply be the same.  After all, the young man isn't interested in gambling, only success and particularly success as an actor.  Also, Cyril spotted his mentor's telltale while the young man is ignorant of Cyril's knowledge.

Again.  I suck at names.  Anyone got a name for this young man?  Oh wait... What do you think of the name: Tobias Hapgood?

Jesse



Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 18, 2001, 02:56:00 PM
By the way a bit more on Cyril's motivations.  He lives for the game.  The thrill of the gamble.  The problem is he's really really really bad at it but it's all he wants to do.  He probably wouldn't even care about winning or losing if his survival didn't depend on it.  It's like my relationship with the 7th Sea CCG.  Man, I LOVE that game.  It's the only CCG I've ever had any interest in.  But I never WIN.  I can't design a deck or follow a strategy worth beans.

The more I think about it, the more I think Cyril OWNS this nightclub I keep talking about.  I see this as being the height of his fortunes thanks to Blob.  Up until now he's been very lucky with Blob's need.  Yeah, it's gotten him in some tight spots but nothing he couldn't worm his way out of.  

In fact I was vasellating between Manipulative and Zest For Life as the descriptor for will because it's kind of a combination of both.  He's manipulative because he HAS to be but he's driven by his love of the game.

Make Sense?

Edited Section:

I just had some more ideas.  Swapping the mentor story and the kicker really has shown Cyril's love for risk and more importantly his respect for life.  I realize now that Cyril is not a killer and the Kicker shows that.  But more interestingly so, neither is his Demon.  Blob, is by no means NICE or LOVING but his Desire is for Mischief.  He likes to take in secrets and see people burned by those secrets and even more so watching poor Cyril get stuck in the middle but Death doesn't enter into it.  It CAN enter into it but Death isn't subtle enough for Blob.  It's the easy way out.

So, when the style of the game kicks in lots of shocking violence, murder, betrayal and so on, it's all very horrific even on the DEMONS level.

Jesse

[ This Message was edited by: jburneko on 2001-10-18 19:25 ]


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2001, 08:28:00 PM
Jesse,

OK, good, full stop. The other half of the Art of Kickers is knowing when the story has begun - and to save its continuance for really playing.

"Tobias Hapgood" sounds just right to me.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: contracycle on October 19, 2001, 01:37:00 AM
Quote

others. Sorcerer is about humanity. There are two satisfying narratives for a materialist or powermonger in my mind; he either redeems himself, or he gets his comeuppance. I'm not really interested in either of those narratives for this game.


There's no need to construe this sort of behaviour as "materialist".  Western thought tends to interpret materialism as "greed", but if it is kept within its formal bounds - drawing information for decisions from material reality rather than utopian idealism - any form of philanthropic or other behaviour can be materialist.

See the debate between Greyorm and John Wick regarding the biological basis for competition or cooperation in the wicked press forum.  Greyorm is advancing an argument for materialist philanthropy, essentially.


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 19, 2001, 05:03:00 AM
Hey Gareth (contracycle),

I'm with you there. In fact, a great deal of my professional life is devoted to distinguishing between the material and (for lack of a better word) vitalist standards for knowing things.

My writeup for this exercise so far did include "material GAIN," which is to say, the amassing of status, power, wealth, sexual partners, and indications thereof.

The word "material-IST" as injected by some posters has been confounding to them. To all, Gareth is right; it has no place in our discussion. I didn't use it, so don't feel constrained by it. I also did not specify a given character's attitude, approach, or approval of the kind of material gain that I mentioned.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Paul Czege on October 19, 2001, 08:44:00 AM
Okay...influenced by all the suggestions...here's my current thinking.

Character name: Eroch de Pauvan

Eroch is a young architect, perhaps 27 years old, with a 15 year old sister, Chema de Pauvan. They are heriditary European nobility from some unspecified country, living in exile in the United States. Their parents were killed in a political assassination ten years ago. Chema has not spoken a word since the assassination, and for a number of years was fairly catatonic. She's currently being treated by an incredibly renowned German psychotherapist who Eroch hired and had brought into the country, and her condition has improved dramatically from her prior catatonia, though she still doesn't speak. It has been an expensive treatment proposition, and has depleted the family's heriditary wealth at a remarkable rate, but that's something which isn't a concern to Eroch. The improvement in Chema's condition and the renewed closeness between the two of them is the most important thing to him in the world.

Still, he realized a few years ago that he would need to produce an income that would provide for Chema's treatment after the heriditary wealth was depleted. So he created an architectural firm, funded it with money from investors and loans against de Pauvan heriditary assets, and designed and built a surreal skyscraper, with the idea that it would be the centerpiece of the metropolis and that owning and leasing it would provide the money he'd need for Chema.

His demon's name is Pazuzu. And I'm kind of fixated on an insect theme for the demon and for Eroch's surreal architectural style. I imagine a towering gothic structure, with flying buttresses that have sharp angular protrusions like the detailing of an insect leg. I picture round, multicellular windows of shaped glass, like insect eyes, that break the view of the outside up into abstraction. I imagine long dark corridors with bulbous eerily glowing light fixtures running down the middle of the ceiling, like the luminescent organs of fireflies.

I'm not sure how to incarnate his demon, however. I think of a horde of stinging insects. I can picture what looks like a snowy white area rug in the building actually turning out to be a carpet of insect larvae that rises up to envelop an assailant and consume everything but his watch, buttons, and skeleton. But I also picture a femme fatale with dark hair and bee-wing glasses.

Any suggestions on the demon?

I've got this idea that a cool telltale convention for the game would be that sorcerers and demons have colored items in our black and white and grey universe. If I went with the femme fatale demon, she'd have hard, shiny reddish-orange shoes with a few black spots on them, like the wings of a ladybug.

Any thoughts about telltales? How about one for Eroch?

And what about a Kicker?

Paul


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 19, 2001, 09:10:00 AM
Paul,

Are you kidding? The building is his demon. And you've already described it.

Mike


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 19, 2001, 09:36:00 AM
Hey Paul,

Even if the demon isn't the building, a shapeshift will do just fine for the human-type form. That insect theme is great by me.

I really like the colored Telltale part; it was pretty much what I was aiming at when coming up with the style of animation.

Kicker? No problem. Threaten or destabilize his success - EITHER financially (threaten the building/business) OR personally - devalue the sister, either in her actions or via someone else's negative influence on her. All set; you have the material-gain issue as well as the decent-guy issue ready to go.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 19, 2001, 09:40:00 AM
Hey Paul,

I gotta go with Mike on this one.  The Building as the Demon is pretty awesome.  I'm pretty unerved already.

Jesse


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 22, 2001, 06:55:00 AM
Jesse and Paul, full writeups of your characters are welcome. Tor, how about a character concept and/or writeup?

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 22, 2001, 06:18:00 PM
Hi fellas,
  Sorry I haven't been posting, we just finished midsems and then I had to travel back to California.

  Jesse, Paul, Ron: what do you guys think about there being character connections prior to the game itself?  I have to admit that I like the idea.  So should we tie our characters together somehow?  

Anyway, let me present...
 
Richie Silver

Stamina: 2, scrapper
Will: 5, driven, social competence
Lore: 3, Coven member
Humanity: 5
Cover: Street hustler
Price: Out of control, -1 to control emotions
Telltale:  Occasionally the horror that Richie has witnessed and caused overwhelms him and he lapses into minor psychotic episodes where he begins to see things from his past and hear voices.

"Be good, Richie," his mother would say, "be kind.  Look after others, do no harm."  That is what she said.  

But she did not tell him that the world is an evil place.  She did not tell him that no matter how hard he tried to do good, he would not be able to escape doing bad.

"My shadow" is what he calls it, and for him, it is all that is evil and wrong in himself.  He would never hurt another man, but his shadow would.  He would never make a woman scream in mortal fear, but his shadow has.  For some reason it knows what needs to be done, and it does it.

"I have no choice," Richie tells himself, "without my shadow's help I would never be able to give the things to my mother and sister that I do.  I would be as worthless to them as my father was."

Richie's father never told him to be good.  He never told him anything.  His lesson to his little son was that when the going gets tough you walk out, leaving it all behind.  Richie hates his father all the more because sometimes, more than anything else, he finds himself wanting to walk out and leave it all behind.

But now Richie is scared, more scared than he has ever been: supposedly somebody claiming to be his father is back in town, and is looking for the family that he left.

Richie's shadow:
Type: Inconspicuous
Telltale:  See text, below
Stamina: 5
Lore: 5
Will: 6
Power: 6
Abilities: Armor, confuse, hint, special damage (lethal), perception (360 degree awareness, conferred to Richie when they are close)

Richie's shadow dwells in and around Richie's body (almost like a parasite).  It looks like twisting tendrils of gray and black, sometimes forming frightening geometric patterns that seep from his mouth and eyes when he grows very emotional (telltale).  It can travel freely though, spilling across the ground and up walls, enveloping its victims, leaving them lacerated and bleeding with hundreds of surgical incisions.

Its need is to cause pain, its desire is corruption as it constantly tries to subvert Richie's hopes and desires to perverted versions of themselves.


[ This Message was edited by: Tor Erickson on 2001-10-22 22:19 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Tor Erickson on 2001-10-22 22:29 ]


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 22, 2001, 06:26:00 PM
A couple of other things:
 First, I know Richie's background is pretty sketchy, and descriptions are at a minimum, but it seems to fit with the setting, more evocative than concrete.  Thoughts, comments?
 Second, I think I'm missing something, because as far as I can tell, Lore is a markably inferior attribute.  The only two acts of sorcery that it affects are contact and contain (which are potentially two unimportant acts) and possibly Bind.  But  Will is good for Summon, punish, banish and potentially bind, and even stamina could be useful for bind.  And Stamina and Will are both highly useful in non-sorcerous contexts.  What am I missing?  How is lore useful?
-Tor


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 22, 2001, 07:52:00 PM
Hey,

Funny, my very next point was to suggest some interconnection among your characters that permitted positive interactions. Soap really taught me a lesson about this and now I wish I'd included similar concepts in the Sorcerer rules.

I would prefer that the interconnections be one-on-one between characters, and not some blanket thing like all being triplets or some such thing.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 22, 2001, 07:57:00 PM
Lore, not useful? Oh, Tor.

Lore spots Telltales. It provides information about demons and sorcerers and rituals. It, more than anything, orients the character among all the funky evidence and leftovers. All that stuff in Chapter 4 about customizing demons and sorcery? Lore is the character's key to that material.

It's perfect for pre-action rolls - roll Lore vs. the demon's Power to get bonus dice for practically anything regarding that demon, including fighting it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 22, 2001, 09:16:00 PM
Well as for being interconnected I can come up with these two things off the top of my head.

My demon is a shadow.  Tor's demon is a shadow.  Perhaps they're two halves of some greater entity that was rend in two thousands of years ago.  This works espcially well since my demon has a mental need and his demon has a physical need.  Well, that at least relates the demons.

As for my connection with Paul.  Perhaps my nighclub is located IN his big scary building.  Kind of weak but the best I can do off the cuff.

Jesse


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 22, 2001, 09:33:00 PM
In regards to character connections, I wonder how deep we should go.  On the one hand you can have characters connected on a pretty superficial level (they hang out in the same bars) and on the other end they can be deeply and intimately connected to each other (they are long-lost twins, or his character murdered my character's father).  I suspect that the nature of the connections could have a serious effect on the feel of the game.

With that out of the way, I'm really digging your idea, Jesse.  Perhaps the demons themselves feel the urge to be reunited, or perhaps they fear such an eventuality...  

On the other hand, maybe we have similar demons because we are both members of the same coven.

I also think our characters are similar in that (although this didn't make it directly into the write-up) they both operate in fringe/illegal areas.  Yours is a gambler, mine is a street-hustler.  Do you conceive of your character acting in a legal or illegal capacity?  Are the joints he plays in the back rooms of Italian restaurants or big-time casinos (is he a character in Rounders/Lock-Stock and Two Smoking barrels or The Croupier?)

As for yr character, Paul: what if Richie Silver were supplying Eroch with various illegal/untested drugs for his sister?  Your character has a lot of money, but sometimes you need something other than money to get what you want; you need somebody who knows somebody or is willing to risk jailtime.

-Tor


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 22, 2001, 09:35:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-22 23:57, Ron Edwards wrote:
Lore, not useful? Oh, Tor.



heh heh.  I was pretty sure I was missing something, thanks for the info.  I'll be curious to see specifically what sort of uses lore has in this scenario.

-Tor


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 22, 2001, 09:40:00 PM
Jesse,
 
  One other thing: Richie calls his demon his shadow, but in appearance it is something else.  Imagine a roiling dark mass that protrudes tendrils and sometimes twists to form geometric forms or screaming faces.
 
  This thing sort of lives in and on Richie most of the time, almost like a parasite.  When he gets angry or really upset or depressed it starts to manifest itself by poking out feelers and wisps of matter from his mouth, ears, eyes, fingertips.  
 
  Also, it's not a parasite it's an inconspicious, so it can come or go as it please: when it attacks somebody it sort of rolls out of Richie like fog and then descends upon the hapless victim.

  -tor


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: joshua neff on October 23, 2001, 05:19:00 AM
A dark fog rolling out of someone in wisps & tendrils...a swarm of bugs skittering over someone...a shadow reaching out to its master...

Man, what great imagery.


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 23, 2001, 05:43:00 AM
Hey folks,

I am definitely not looking for connections as intimate as those in Soap (long-lost brothers, e.g.). Nor am I looking for EACH character to have a connection to BOTH other characters. Just a little something, is all.

The physicality of the one "shadow" demon and the incorporeality of the other are complementary, to my way of thinking. It may well be that each sorcerer-character is aware of his demon's incompleteness. If both players agree, I'd like to keep the idea that the two demons are connected in some way, but keep the "two halves" idea as a possibility rather than a given.

Paul, I believe you're the only one who hasn't given a numerical writeup (unless I'm missing something up above in the thread).

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Paul Czege on October 23, 2001, 05:59:00 AM
Paul, I believe you're the only one who hasn't given a numerical writeup...

I'll put that together tonight. Last night was game night.

Paul


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 23, 2001, 08:02:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-10-23 09:43, Ron Edwards wrote:
If both players agree, I'd like to keep the idea that the two demons are connected in some way, but keep the "two halves" idea as a possibility rather than a given.


Hey, as an observer, I have a request which you may ignore if you like.

Keep in mind Suspension of Disbelief. In general, if you have only a few sorcerers in the world, the only reasons why they would reasonably be together or be related somehow, would be their sorcery. Otherwise it is far too big a stretch of imagination to assume that the characters know each other and just happen to be sorcerers as well.

So any of the suggested stuff works so far. But if one character is supplying the others' sister drugs, the sorcerers first met at a sorcerer convention or something. Chance here would be silly and pointless. If the two players are related through their demons, then something about that fact is what ties the characters together in location. If the demons want to be together, maybe they can vaguely sense each other and are forcing the sorcerers together. If they want to remain separate, then some third party interested in them reuniting may be forcing them together. Or perhaps they both got their demons from the same incantation out of the book held by the Cabal. Whatever. Please just don't say the they happen to work at the same place, and happen to have demons that might be part of each other. Get my drift?

The Cabal idea is pretty straightforward for this, and very tight, but won't be very interesting until someone writes up the history, membership and goals of the group, at least in brief. Almost too easy, really, like the old adventurers guild idea from fantasy games. It could be good if you really develop it,however.

Just some thoughts, and most of it pretty obvious; you've all probably already thought of all of this. Felt like chiming in, tho.

Mike


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: contracycle on October 23, 2001, 08:41:00 AM
One of my experiences from "hidden world" games like this is that if you among the Hidden, the only people you can really, well, relate to are other members of the Hidden.  Nobody else grokks your problems, man.  Nobody is your equal.  Mundanes cannot provide much of a challenge, intellectual or otherwise.  So there may well be an element here in sorcerers gathering together because, wuite simply, there is nobody else to talk to.


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: jburneko on October 23, 2001, 08:49:00 AM
Just for clearity I'm officially stating that I'm cool with Tor's shadowy demon being related to my shadowy demon and for the details of that relationship to be left as a plaything of the GM.

Jesse


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 23, 2001, 08:54:00 AM
Great! That just means that Paul's character should have SOME Lore-based connection to either of the other two. Keep it small and nifty, no horrendous and Kicker-level connections are necessary.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Paul Czege on October 23, 2001, 09:25:00 AM
That just means that Paul's character should have SOME Lore-based connection to either of the other two. Keep it small and nifty...

I'm thinking Eroch is a low-Lore sorcerer, perhaps Lore 2, who used hallucinogenic drugs to boost that Lore when he Contacted Pazuzu. How about he got the drugs, and maybe some inspirational literature, from Richie?

Paul


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 23, 2001, 09:56:00 AM
Well, see, Paul, that's the kind of thing that leads to people writing short stories instead of role-playing ... we have all sorts of questions now, about WHY Richie would do such a thing (does he pass such stuff out at random?) and we'd end up practically playing the characters on paper for days to resolve it, and never getting to play in real terms.

I suggest something far more superficial - they both gain their drugs from the same source, or they know of one another via their studies and demon conversations, but that's it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Paul Czege on October 23, 2001, 01:12:00 PM
we have all sorts of questions now, about WHY Richie would do such a thing

Well...maybe he's a nice guy?

Seriously though, I see your point, and I think this is exactly the kind of thing that you identify easily and manage effectively that prospective GM's struggle with. I think it's the kind of thing that people want to see exposed by this game prep project. The character creation session for my Everway game last winter spiralled out of control on just this issue. The players went around and around on how they knew each other, inventing more and more elaborate solutions. It was like wrapping layers of tinfoil onto an onion. Ultimately I had to step in and refocus them, but it took me a long time to realize that they were just spinning their wheels, not gaining any ground. How do you recognize it earlier? What do you pay attention to? How does a group focus their character creation session on aspects of character that facilitate story developing through play, rather than hitching themselves to a process of over-inventing the characters?

Paul


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 23, 2001, 01:38:00 PM
Hi,

As best as I understand it, what I'm doing is saying "Are these characters ready to start?" If they're not, I say where they need something. If the result (of your responses) isn't putting us closer to starting, then I hit the "erase" button.

The "ready to start" criteria for Sorcerer are very, very explicit. The Cover implies stuff, status, and locale. The Lore implies paraphernalia, associates, a demon, and a very intense effort. The Price and the Binding roll results imply some history. The Will and Stamina descriptor together imply "self" as well as more stuff and status.

What all this is good for, and WHY it's part of "ready to start," is that events during play, beginning with the Kicker, spin off of and continue to develop all of these things. You cannot put any of these BEHIND your character when play begins.

All we're doing right now is putting any aspect of the above a little, teeny bit "closer" between characters. Not a story, not a history, not a justification - just a bit of recognition or setting-based overlap.

I look at any effort spent on character creation and if ANY of it is going off the beam of this outline, whether too little or too much, then I give the donkey a thwack, so to speak.

All good RPG design provides such an outline, in my opinion. Orkworld and Hero Wars sure as hell do. Plenty of RPGs lack this "ready to start" profile aside from figuring out how well you hit things and maybe suggesting some vague-ass back-story.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Give me a PC writeup, including One Tiny Little overlap with ONE other PC. We get that down, then we can start a new thread and talk about MY prep for the first session.


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Paul Czege on October 23, 2001, 08:45:00 PM
Okay, here he is, all in one place:

Name: Eroch de Pauvan

Stamina: 3 - clean living
Will: 5 - high self-esteem
Lore: 2 - solitary adept
Humanity: 5
Cover: hereditary nobility
Price: visionary - -1 to perception rolls
Telltale: When he leaves a scene, in this black and white and grey world, there is always a colored insect left behind: a moth fluttering around a lightbulb, june bugs on the windshield of a car or ladybugs on the hood, a butterfly on the umbrella of a cafe table, fireflies in the front yard when he comes inside at night.

Description: Eroch is a young architect, perhaps 27 years old, dark and thin, with a 15 year old sister, Chema de Pauvan. They are heriditary European nobility from some unspecified country, living in exile in the United States. Their parents were killed in a political assassination ten years ago. Chema has not spoken a word since the assassination, and for a number of years was fairly catatonic. She's currently being treated by an incredibly renowned German psychotherapist who Eroch hired and had brought into the country, and her condition has improved dramatically from her prior catatonia, though she still doesn't speak. It has been an expensive treatment proposition, and has depleted the family's heriditary wealth at a remarkable rate, but that's something which isn't a concern to Eroch. The improvement in Chema's condition and the renewed closeness between the two of them is the most important thing to him in the world.

Still, he realized a few years ago that he would need to produce an income that would provide for Chema's treatment after the heriditary wealth was depleted. So he created an architectural firm, funded it with money from investors and loans against de Pauvan heriditary assets, and designed and built a surreal skyscraper, with the idea that it would be the centerpiece of the metropolis and that owning and leasing it would provide the money he'd need for Chema. It's a towering gothic structure, with flying buttresses that have sharp angular protrusions like the detailing of an insect leg, round, multicellular windows of shaped glass, like insect eyes, that break the view of the outside up into abstraction, and long dark corridors with bulbous eerily glowing light fixtures running down the middle of the ceiling, like the luminescent organs of fireflies.

Connection: Gets his drugs from the same source as Richie Silver.

Kicker: His sister has been moody and distant as the opening of the building has approached. Eroch has just discovered that she's pregnant.

The demon: Pazuzu
Type: Passer
Stamina: 6
Lore: 4
Will: 7
Power: 7

Description: Pazuzu is a horde of insects.

Abilities: Perception: Infrared Vision, Psychic Force, Shapeshift: Femme Fatale, Special Damage: Lethal

Telltale: In femme fatale form, she wears hard, shiny reddish-orange shoes with a few black spots on them, like the wings of a ladybug.

Need: To hear a human weeping.

Do you want me to pick a Desire for Pazuzu?


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 24, 2001, 06:56:00 AM
To all,

I got'em. All done with this thread.

(I'll take care of the demon's Desires, if they haven't been announced already ... bad-man chuckle follows)

Tune in later for the new thread about what the GM *does* with all this stuff.

Bset,
Ron


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 24, 2001, 08:34:00 AM
Carefully, the hunched over Author creeps down the dimly lit corridor to the room at the end, a jumble of papers clutched to his chest. He glances back over his shoulder as he enters his study. Seeing that he is alone, an odd smile cracks his face. He enters his study and closes the large but crooked oak door. A sliver of weird yellow light escapes from under it, cut intermittently by the shadow of his hand moving feverishly.

And, after uncomfortable periods of near silence, the air is punctured by mad giggles of delight.


Title: Art-Deco Melodrama
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 24, 2001, 08:43:00 AM
The Author? Hell no. Shall we say, the alchemist who is preparing the ink and paper for the REAL authors.

All right, I'm calling it. This thread is over. No more posts, please.

Best,
Ron