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Author Topic: Sorcerer & Sword?  (Read 12018 times)
greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2002, 11:58:49 AM »

Gareth,

I know you think you know what you're talking about by pushing this "demons are the Premise; without them, Sorcerer is out of its scope" but I know for a fact that you are wrong.
Yes, a fact.  Not an opinion.  Not a feeling.  A fact.

Please feel free to examine Jared's mini-supplement -- one of the first written -- "Schism" for a concrete, well-written and very excellent example of non-demonic Sorcerer play.

This showcases that stating when one moves out of the arena of demon-based power, you end-up applying the current mechanics to an environment which does not support them, the game breaks, is just plain incorrect.

In my opinion, your notion that the mechanics are based around demons and cliche sorcerers, and do not work with anything but, is highly inaccurate based on my considerable experience with the game.

Simply, no, it does not require too much "rationalization."

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At which point you have to completely re-rationalise - in effect, re-write - the rules to reflect that new siuation.


Really?  

No you don't.

I don't have demons in my supplement.  Oh, there can BE demons, but the characters are more like Technomancers, and I didn't rewrite any rules; I just used the basic Sorcerer rules.

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I have the feeling that Gareth didn't read S&S too deeply (if he read it at all, I'm assuming he did),


Thank you for patronising, your custom is appreciated.

How I feel is how I feel.  I will not apologize for it; and I don't get the feeling that you read it too deeply, because (as already stated) a great number of your concerns are already dealt with in the books, hence it tells me you didn't read it.

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I'm sorry, but at this point I have to put on my panto hat and go "whoooooooooo!"

I'd probably be offended if knew what in the Nine Worlds a panto hat is.

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Faire enough.  The major axis of chaarcter power is still control over demons.  The point is that a character without a pet demon is at a substantial mechanical disadvantage and will continually play seocnd fiddle.  And the kludge around this is the travelling menagerie.

No, it isn't.
Again; no, it isn't.

Let's try this again: one does not need to have a "pet demon" (ie: slavering netherworldly entity at their command...or even an entity of any sort) in order to be a character in Sorcerer, or risk playing second-fiddle.

One route is, yes, the "menagerie" of half-demons...yet one requires no "extra rules" for these beings without bound demons.  They exist solely within the context of the already extant rules, contrary to your above claims.

And let's take a look at necromancy as well...again, the same...non-demon-based magic that still works with the mechanics as written.

Similarly, other characters, who do not have bound demons, *do not require them.*  An intense story can focus on the companion of a traditional sorcerer, even make him or her the star and the sorcerer second-fiddle, without giving the companion a pet demon of any sort.

Even further, one can have a non-sorcerer character who still commands "demons" in some sense...perhaps drawing on something in their own soul, a dark nature, a mental or physical scar.
The mechanics work well for simulating heroic abilities gained through emotional turmoil or environmental circumstance as well as their normal role as demon controling magics.

...

On a tangent, I swear it sounds like we're talking about game balance here...are we?  Good lords...a game balance discussion in the Sorcerer forum?  Blech.

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And so does your warrior Bind Crom?  Of what value is the relationhsip between Crom and the warrior if defined in such a functional manner?

I utterly fail to see what you are trying to get at with your statement...rather, I see what you are trying to get at rightly enough, but I'm wondering why you are painfully shooting yourself in the foot?

Of what value is the relationship between a sorcerer and a demon in a regular game of Sorcerer, when the relationship is also defined in such a functional manner?

Your question about the relationship between Crom and the barbarian who serves him either: showcases that you are arguing to argue and hadn't thought this through, or makes Sorcerer itself a poorly made game because it trivializes the relationship between master and servant which is so central to the sorcerer/demon theme (something we both know is untrue).

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the mental gymnastics required appear to me to eactly produce the phonmenone where the game being played is not the game as written.

I'm going to avoid for the moment, excepting this small note, the spurious "replacement for all FRPGs" hype you keep accusing, since I've even remotely no idea where this comes from.

In fact, as Ron has stated repeatedly that Sorcerer (et. al.) are for those who've grown dissatisfied with traditional role-playing, or those wanting to try something different, your insistence that somewhere someone official is touting S&S as the best thing in fantasy since D&D is quite beyond my grasp (especially after Ron has voiced the question about your source for this just above).

So, to move on, the above quote tells me that no, you don't "get it", contrary to your claim.

How can you state without noting the absurdity of the claim, that the game being played isn't the one written when a primary concept of Sorcerer is that the game itself is written to be customizable!! (?)

You are supposed to bend it and twist it around, each group is supposed to develop their own meanings for Lore, Humanity, the nature of the rituals, of demons and sorcerers and so forth!
Heck, the rules lay this out as a necessary part of play.

Finally, just look at the Sanzoku in the main rule-book...they don't have "demons."  Tell me, please, if one runs a Sanzoku game if the game being played is not the one written?

Do the rules break because one is not utilizing powers to call things up out of hell, but running around fighting and chopping off heads in the quest for more power, each with spectacular abilities to help them?
No, they don't.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2002, 12:03:17 PM »

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the primary axis of character power is still control over demons

Repeating half-truths will not make them truths.

-Raven
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Uncle Dark
Member

Posts: 215


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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2002, 12:58:15 PM »

Hurm.

I wonder if we need a new graphic to mark certain threads.  A fire extinguisher, perhaps?

Gareth doesn't feel S&S lives up to it's advertising and the praise it gets around here.  Fine.  He doesn't have to play it.

Raven thinks Sorcerer (and S&S) is far more flexible than Gareth is allowing for.  Fine.  Raven will enjoy the game more than Gareth would.

So, did I miss anything of substance?

Lon
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Reality is what you can get away with.
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2002, 02:19:17 AM »

Quote from: greyorm

I know you think you know what you're talking about by pushing this "demons are the Premise; without them, Sorcerer is out of its scope" but I know for a fact that you are wrong.
Yes, a fact.  Not an opinion.  Not a feeling.  A fact.


No, most definately an opinion.  

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Please feel free to examine Jared's mini-supplement -- one of the first written -- "Schism" for a concrete, well-written and very excellent example of non-demonic Sorcerer play.


Ah yes - whatever you do, Don't Stop Consuming!  So, in order to comprehend the core book I should be buying supplements, huh?  I thought that was widely considerd a Bad Thing here.

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Really?  

No you don't.

I don't have demons in my supplement.  Oh, there can BE demons, but the characters are more like Technomancers, and I didn't rewrite any rules; I just used the basic Sorcerer rules.


Oh, I'm quite sure you did - using the Summon, Bind rules etc.  This is why I say the major axis of character influence is demonic control; if you remove the demons from the equation, what remains is merely a res-mech.

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How I feel is how I feel.  I will not apologize for it; and I don't get the feeling that you read it too deeply, because (as already stated) a great number of your concerns are already dealt with in the books, hence it tells me you didn't read it.


Superficially dealt with, IMO.  And I am quite happy to stand by my feelings too - after all, I paid for the product and I feel a right to express my dissatisfaction.  Fundamentally, I was not persuaded.  The questions I was addressing was not "does it work on its own merits", the question I was answering was "should I, as someone who is NOT into characters controlling demons, buy Sword."  While I recognise that there are attempts round this problem, for me they created more problems than they solved and were frankly inelegant, IMO.  That is wholly pertinent to the question asked and a legitimate opinion.  That said, I now want Nathan to buy it anyway so he can tell us. :)

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Let's try this again: one does not need to have a "pet demon" (ie: slavering netherworldly entity at their command...or even an entity of any sort) in order to be a character in Sorcerer, or risk playing second-fiddle.#


Then why is it a game called Sorceror, and containing more specific rules for interacting with demons than anything else?  Ah, demons are just a metaphor - or are they?

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One route is, yes, the "menagerie" of half-demons...yet one requires no "extra rules" for these beings without bound demons.  They exist solely within the context of the already extant rules, contrary to your above claims.


I did not claim you needed any new rules - the travelling circus is supported within the rules as they stand.  I claimed that if you wanted to alter the game to such an extent that you maintained its mechanical design and ported it to a different world-concept, you WOULD have to seriously readdress what Bind means, what Summon means.  These are rules actions predicated on the presence of DEMONS, or at the very least disembodied spirits - and I say again, if someone says that they do NOT wan't characters of this ilk then it is fair to say they are looking at a significant rewrite.

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And let's take a look at necromancy as well...again, the same...non-demon-based magic that still works with the mechanics as written.


True.  That was arguably the best bit.

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sorcerer, even make him or her the star and the sorcerer second-fiddle, without giving the companion a pet demon of any sort.


Like a Grog or a Companion in Ars MAgica?  Yes, it could be done.  Why would you buy Sorcerer to do it though?  I did indeed consider this model, which is why I mentioned AM previously.

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Even further, one can have a non-sorcerer character who still commands "demons" in some sense...perhaps drawing on something in their own soul, a dark nature, a mental or physical scar.


Yes, you can - but how MANY of them can you have? 3, 4 dark vigilantes tortured by their past misdeeds?  A half-dozen angst-ridden vampires from the depths of time suppressing their primal urges?  We have been here before.

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On a tangent, I swear it sounds like we're talking about game balance here...are we?  Good lords...a game balance discussion in the Sorcerer forum?  Blech.


Balance is indeed tangential.  The question is, why buy a rules set if only a subset of your players will use most of the rules.

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Of what value is the relationship between a sorcerer and a demon in a regular game of Sorcerer, when the relationship is also defined in such a functional manner?


As an aide, flunky, ally.  Crom is a god - worshipped, not bound.  I think it would be wholly innapropriate to treat a  pukka god in such a manner, and if what you really want is a world thronging with spirits, where everyone and their pet dog has a patron spirit, get HeroWars.

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itself a poorly made game because it trivializes the relationship between master and servant which is so central to the sorcerer/demon theme (something we both know is untrue).


I am not saying Sorcerer trivialises such a relationship; I'm suggesting that the necessary rewrite would.  And I am pointing out that that very centrality is what makes it innapriopriate for some games, which frankly is NOT a revolutionary statement.

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In fact, as Ron has stated repeatedly that Sorcerer (et. al.) are for those who've grown dissatisfied with traditional role-playing, or those wanting to try something different, your insistence that


Fine.  So in what way is this appropriate for a GM who says that he is NOT enamoured of "demon controlling guys".

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You are supposed to bend it and twist it around, each group is supposed to develop their own meanings for Lore, Humanity, the nature of the rituals, of demons and sorcerers and so forth!


EXACTLY!  And Nathan did not like that in Sorcerer, why would he like it in Sword?  You are attacking a straw man - I have said repeatedly that Sword probably works well enough on its own terms.

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Finally, just look at the Sanzoku in the main rule-book...they don't have "demons."  Tell me, please, if one runs a Sanzoku game if the game being played is not the one written?


I deeply suspect it would become so very quickly.  you can do Michael Knight and Kit; you can do Stringfellow Hawk and Airwolf, but can you do Michael Knight + Kit + Stringfellow Hawk + Airwolf all at the same time and still have anything approaching the not-kitsch?  I sincerely doubt it.  Of all the available genres, the one beyond the Hidden World which sorceror is most optimised is Supers, where ever character has their funky martian death ray or some other mcguffin.
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2002, 04:25:40 AM »

Contracycle said "Anyone who was not grabbed by the Premise of sorcerer is not going to be grabbed by the Premise of Sword."

Without wishing to get into the rest of the matters in this thread, which others (particularly Raven and Clinton) have already addressed well, I have to say that while I like Sorceror its premise doesn't do that much for me.

Sword on the other hand I love.  Sorceror for me is a good game, Sword is a great game.  I doubt very much I'll ever run Sorceror, I sincerely hope that one day I will have a group I can run Sword with.

On a different point, Sword is not designed for creating a game with a typical rpg party.  To criticise it for not doing so seems to me a bit like criticising Call of Cthulhu for its poor simulation of super hero gaming, that's not what it's about.  The literature Sword emulates does not contain parties of that kind, if Sword did encourage that kind of party formation it would IMO have failed in its objectives.
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AKA max
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2002, 07:10:31 PM »

Gareth,

Your responses are beginning to border on "troll", and I won't respond if the nonsense keeps up; I also won't respond a fourth time to arguments I have already overturned twice now (and am about to again).

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Ah yes - whatever you do, Don't Stop Consuming!  So, in order to comprehend the core book I should be buying supplements, huh?  I thought that was widely considerd a Bad Thing here.

Nowhere was it said one had to buy the supplement to understand the core book; I mentioned it because you stated that non-demon Sorcerer games would not work.  

Schism is my example of a non-demon Sorcerer game which DOES work.

I used it to invalidate your statement and provide you with an example, should you care to read it to affirm that it does, indeed, work.
Period.

Your sarcasm and fraudulent question are uncalled for.

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Oh, I'm quite sure you did - using the Summon, Bind rules etc.  

You mean redefining the concepts behind the sorcerous acts?

As the main rulebook encourages?

In order to bring them in thematic line with the concepts of demons and humanity that each group is supposed to develop?

Yes, I did; I made a game supplement for Sorcerer and I followed the advice of the rulebook to do it.  Why would this surprise you?

When added to a number of your statements below, it is here where I begin to suspect that you have not read the main book.

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This is why I say the major axis of character influence is demonic control

The major axis of character influence is influence over and conflict with a SOMETHING, not necessarily a demon.

Note that I do not use the term "control" because one does not "control" one's demon like a big, charmed pet.  One enters into a relationship with it, and there is always the question of who is really in charge when you get down to it.

Such is made clear and explicit in the main rulebook, even as far back as the now ancient .txt document that Sorcerer used to be passed around as.  This is one of the themes I encouraged exploration of with Electric Ghosts.

It is also why one can "bind" a God.  Perhaps "Worship" is the god's Desire or Need (or it might be much more complex than that...no one said this had to be one-word stuff); in return it grants the worshipper some power.
There is nothing so blasphemous about this that entails crying out that such would utterly ruin the relationship between god and worshipper.  It is practically a fantasy cliche!  "Hey, Zeus, I sacrificed to you in your temple...now heal this schmuck!" or if your players are really good, "Almighty Zeus, heal this great hero who lies before you and brought to you the Golden Ram; I, your humble servant and priest beseech of thee!"

To me, it appears you are the victim of tunnel vision.  Despite the fact that an entire chapter of the main rules are written specifically about the "open concepts" of the game, you are insisting that the game's concepts are NOT open to interpretation.

The game isn't about sorcerers and demons, it is about human conflicts and exploration of the condition of control and power.  That's what the rules are meant to model, sorcerers and demons are window-dressing.

Since that is the case, one can easily change the dressing of the mechanical items in Sorcerer without changing the context.

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The questions I was addressing was not "does it work on its own merits", the question I was answering was "should I, as someone who is NOT into characters controlling demons, buy Sword."

Yes.  Because one doesn't have to control *demons,* despite your ill-informed arguments to the contrary.

And to put an end to this once and for all, please provide evidence -- evidence from play or mini-supplements, mind you, not just, "I say it can't!" -- that Sorcerer has to be about sorcerers and demons specifically, or it doesn't work right.

You will find examples, however, that show quite clearly that it does work; two mini-supplements are not about sorcerers and demons at all (and I am working on two more of my own), so you will also need to explain these anomalies before you can declare the statement valid.

There are even examples in the main and S&S rulebooks showcasing that a game can be run without cliche demons and sorcerers!  (Note the Xar setting in S&S)

Regardless, you have strayed quite a ways from your main question in this discussion...and as I said, there's more to the book than simply material for Sorcerer, making it worthwhile IMO for even those who do not use it for Sorcerer.

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Then why is it a game called Sorceror, and

Baseless semantic arguments will be ignored -- "We can't adventure outside a dungeon!  It SAYS DUNGEONS and Dragons!" is on par with the logic displayed in the above argument.

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containing more specific rules for interacting with demons than anything else? Ah, demons are just a metaphor - or are they?

They're whatever your group wants them to be.  Page 58.  RTFM.

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I did not claim you needed any new rules

You most certainly did!  Your statement was that to make a game with non-demon Sorcerers, you would have to invent or change the current rules to deal with them.  Yet the menagerie, which you just stated worked within the rules, allows non-demon non-sorcerers without alteration of the rules.

You keep putting your foot in your mouth, and at this point it would appear that you have now been left without a leg to stand on.

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ported it to a different world-concept, you WOULD have to seriously readdress what Bind means, what Summon means.  


...

um

...

Have you bothered to READ the main book?!
THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO!!!!!  It's in the bloody text, for chrissake!!

You're telling me that the game is broken because you have to do exactly what it was written with you doing in mind?  What the hell?

Please cease and desist your trolling, I will not bite again.

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These are rules actions predicated on the presence of DEMONS, or at the very least disembodied spirits

Parasite "demon."  Oject "demon."

Frex, traditional RPG "cyberware" is simply a parasite demon; a non-sentient piece of technology, yet it can be very easily described in Sorcerer terms as a "demon."
Stamina is the durability, Will is the complexity, Need/Desire are the altered biological requirements of the gear (you're faster or stronger?  your flesh-parts take extra stress and your metabolism is higher), Lore is the number of cybernetic enhancements, Power is their strength.

Here I begin to doubt that you have even read the book, and in hindsight do not understand how you could even make a number of the statements you have about the game considering the very text of the rules.

An example of this is on Page 58: "Demon is one of the 'open concepts' of Sorcerer, meaning that its fundamental definition is left entirely up to the individual role-playing group...these rules do not provide a specific answer.  Chapter Four is all about how to produce that answer yourself."

Your main problem in this discussion is this insistence that Sorcerer and S&S has to be about cliche, traditional pulp fantasy sorcerers, demons and etc.  

It doesn't.

Despite your repetitive claims to the contrary, I can prove it and I can prove it works as such, and the main rules fully support such an deviation from the "main."

Sorcerer is not a game-book -- a sheet of music -- it is a guide book -- instructions on how to play an instrument, so you can make your own music.

(I suppose you'll put on your panto hat again and make funny noises at me for saying the above, but then I guess that would mean you didn't exactly read the essay in the book on gaming and music)

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Like a Grog or a Companion in Ars MAgica?

No, like a guy with Lore who isn't a Sorcerer, a Conan-type (remember in the Conan movies Conan wasn't 'second-fiddle' to the wizard they had...yet he's not a sorcerer himself).

Like Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.
Like any number of non-sorcerer main protagonists in the literature who confront and deal with the supernatural, mystical and infernal.

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Yes, you can - but how MANY of them can you have? 3, 4 dark vigilantes tortured by their past misdeeds?  A half-dozen angst-ridden vampires from the depths of time suppressing their primal urges?  We have been here before.

Why do you have to constantly take the most spurious, ridiculous, exaggerated example possible?  This doesn't even deserve a reply, since you and I both well-know the answer.

Instead, here's an example of a non-sorcerer sorcerer (and you should also check out the "Sword Characters" thread this discussion has spurred):

Sorcerer:
Ka'ain
Will  2  Rageful/Vengeful
Stamina 5  Athletic Regimen
Lore  3  Trained Berserk/Superstious
Cover 5 Exiled Barbarian Warrior
Price: boastful (-1 to all social interaction rolls)
Humanity 5

Demon: Overconfidence
Type: parasite
Stamina 3  **
Will 5  
Lore 3  
Power 3 (Boost (Stamina), Armor, Vitality)
Telltale: That special gleam in his eye and snarling grin
Need: to prove himself
Desire: battle
Binding: two dice in the "demon's" favor

** Stamina in this case doesn't represent physical power (for the demon), but staying power, how many times he can get knocked down by life before he starts losing the edge he gets from his confidence.

(Note: this interp. of Stamina IS in the main rules...I used it in EG to describe the "force of existance" or "staying power" some incorporeal creatures have, though they are physically without power).

Background
Ka'ain Contacted this "demon" as a result of the warrior culture he was raised in, which taught him that being the best and the strongest was the most important virtue one could attain.  At least that's what he got out of it.

He Summoned it as child, when he outstripped the other children in size and physical ability, becoming far too certain of his own abilities, and soon permanently Bound this attitude into his psyche.

Unfortunately, this attitude has become such an ingrained part of him that he often loses control to it, focusing upon his personal achievements and self-glorying behavior instead of the welfare of his tribe.  He lives for battle, and avenging slights to his honor...it was this, in fact, which caused his shame and banishment from his own tribe, an act he wishes to repay in blood when he finds a way to remove the magical binding the tribe's witches placed upon him to keep him away.

Another note, this is a near clone of my 3E character...who isn't a sorcerer and has no magic, either.

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Balance is indeed tangential.  The question is, why buy a rules set if only a subset of your players will use most of the rules.

Because they don't have to?
Because as I've shown a number of times, they can use all the rules without the cliche/book presentation?

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As an aide, flunky, ally.  Crom is a god - worshipped, not bound.  I think it would be wholly innapropriate to treat a  pukka god in such a manner, and if what you really want is a world thronging with spirits, where everyone and their pet dog has a patron spirit, get HeroWars.

See my comments further above about this situation -- Binding is simply the entering into of an agreement or contract with a demon, whether all the details of that contract are known or not.  This is the exact thing which most religions have for priests and their gods...you perform the prayers, rites and ceremonies, and you are blessed by/granted/a channel for the power of the god.

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I'm suggesting that the necessary rewrite would.

Yet experience proves your intuition wrong.

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Fine.  So in what way is this appropriate for a GM who says that he is NOT enamoured of "demon controlling guys".

Because you don't have to play *demon*-controlling guys, and there's more material in the book than just rules for Sorcerer...he said, again, in the hopes that this time it would be recognized.

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Raven: "You are supposed to bend it and twist it around"
EXACTLY!  And Nathan did not like that in Sorcerer, why would he like it in Sword?

No, Nathan said he didn't like the concept of "demon-ruling guys", not that he didn't like that you had to define your own game concepts.

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I deeply suspect it would become so very quickly.

Good gods...

[sarcasm mode *on*]
Yes, of course.  Don't bother playing.  Just suspect and theorize and prattle endlessly about things with which you have no experience.  The Gods know that's a good position from which to defend an argument.
[sarcasm mode *off*]

Sorry about the harshness, but give me a break...

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you can do Michael Knight and Kit; you can do Stringfellow Hawk and Airwolf, but can you do Michael Knight + Kit + Stringfellow Hawk + Airwolf all at the same time and still have anything approaching the not-kitsch?  I sincerely doubt it.

Have you tried?  Seriously?  Not, "I'll try and it will fail because it won't work."

A wise course of action would be to attempt to play the game first, then make comments.  It's easy to sit in the passenger seat and tell the driver he doesn't know what he's doing, far easier than actually driving.

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Of all the available genres, the one beyond the Hidden World which sorceror is most optimised is Supers, where ever character has their funky martian death ray or some other mcguffin.

D&D characters all have "special powers" too, yet I see no complaints from anyone that playing a warrior is a waste of time, or that warriors play second-fiddle to magic-wielding classes, or that all these classes simply have mcguffins.

I hope everyone has found this post informative and interesting, and I will post Ka'ain in the other thread as well, plus a few others I have thought of.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2002, 07:52:04 PM »

Wow...go away for awhile and look at the fun I miss.

I have my doubts about replying to this thread at all but I feel I must.

CC:  If you think that Sorcerer is about evil guys summoning vile creatures and commanding them to do horrible things then you have completely totally and uterly missed the point.  You are so far off you're not even in the same state with the ball park.

For all of the things I'd rather have seen done differently in the game, one thing the game does extraordinarily well (so well I have trouble believing you missed it for reasons other than intentional) is explain that demons can be anything you want them to be.  Hell, defining the nature of demons and humanity is the first thing you do when starting a new campaign.  IIRC there's an entire chapter devoted to it.

If you think that defining the nature of demons means deciding whether or not they have horns and wings or whether they appear in a puff of smoke or what not then you once again are entirely missing the point.

Demons are a metaphor.  They're a metaphor for what ever you want them to be.  Could they be horned winged demons like Pit Fiends from the monster manual...sure.  Could they be icky elder gods with cthulhu-like motivations...sure.  They could be any number of traditional depictions of demonic or other worldly beings.

But they are most certainly NOT limited to that, nor are the mechanics limited to depicting them that way.

Demons could be the personification of raw emotion...hate, love, fear...each with effects on the character.  The mechanics as written might refer to the emotions as demons, feeling them as a pact, and their effects as powers but so what.  Change the names to something more appropriate and you still have a viable mechanic.

Demons could be schizophrenic personalities manifesting, they could be haunting memories, they could be your own Id, Ego, and Super Ego, they could be mutant super powers.

In a high fantasy world, the magic items could all be defined as object demons.  How much more interesting and powerful a tool than "+1 damage".  They could be saints and powers of good.

By changing the definition of demon and of humanity (which are not rerationalizations...thats part of the core rules) you can come up with an unlimited number of possibilities.

What do they all have in common...the emotional struggle behind the question of "what would you do".  The whole point to the game is to provide the player's characters with power far beyond most NPCs and see what they do with it.  Its a test of the adage "absolute power corrupts absolutely"...does it?...I don't know, what would you do?

That struggle is at the root of most true pulp fantasy.  If all you see are half naked chicks and guys with swords...well theres another boat you missed.  Given the similiar nature of the struggle, and given that Sorcerer's mechanics are designed for that sort of struggle, it is no great stretch to apply Sorcerer rules to the genre.

Now if the genre isn't your cup of tea...thats completely fine and another matter entirely.  But that is pretty much the only thing you've right about in this thread so far.

I don't know how much you care about your credibility as a critical thinker and rational debater with the folks on this list...but you're rapidly losing points with this thread.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2002, 03:28:25 AM »

Quote from: greyorm

also won't respond a fourth time to arguments I have already overturned twice now (and am about to again).


Arguments you have "overturned", you mean.  the fact that you believe your point does not mean all observers believe it.

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I used it to invalidate your statement and provide you with an example, should you care to read it to affirm that it does, indeed, work.
Period.
...
You mean redefining the concepts behind the sorcerous acts?
...
Yes, I did; I made a game supplement for Sorcerer and I followed the advice of the rulebook to do it.  Why would this surprise you?


It does not surprise me at all.  Its the primary reason that your "evidence" is no such thing; all you have done is redefine the concept of demon as something appropriate to the setting.  You have not been able to move away from the demon or "demon" as the axis of character influence.

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The major axis of character influence is influence over and conflict with a SOMETHING, not necessarily a demon.


Exactly so.  Which might present some difficulties to someone who said they were NOT interested in guys with demons.  One might assume the person who made such a remark had been able, with Sorcerer, to realise that even there they might not be actual demons.

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the "open concepts" of the game, you are insisting that the game's concepts are NOT open to interpretation.


No.  I suggested that someone who was not won by the open concepts of Sorcerer was unlikely to be won by the same concept re-presented in Sword.

As a second and separate criticism, I mentioned that IMO the very "open concpet" is somewhat invalidated by its use of culturually-specific imagery (i.e. demons).

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Since that is the case, one can easily change the dressing of the mechanical items in Sorcerer without changing the context.


Yes, thats right, ALL you can change is the dressing.

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Yes.  Because one doesn't have to control *demons,* despite your ill-informed arguments to the contrary.


I happily ackowledge this.  Instead of controlling demons, you can control radioactive horrors, or ancient horrors, or disembodied elecftrical horrors.  Your choice of a faithful genre appropriate side-kick - which brings about the travelling menagerie effect.

[/quote]
You will find examples, however, that show quite clearly that it does work; two mini-supplements are not about sorcerers and demons at all (and I am working on two more of my own), so you will also need to explain these anomalies before you can declare the statement valid.
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I bought sword to see how a game based so heavily on control of NPC critters would translate into more mundane character types; this I thought was an interesting idea and I wanted to see it executed.  I don't think it succeeded; given that I don't think it succeeded, its remarkeably unlikely I'm going to stump up more cash for another attempt at the same brass ring, now am I?  I think you need to provide some evidence that it can in fact be done.

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without cliche demons and sorcerers!  (Note the Xar setting in S&S)


So instead of a demon, I have a falcon.  And my buddy Jim has a preternaturally intelligent stoat; and Og the half-ogre over there is riding his mystic heart-beast woolly mammoth.  Yes, I understand - that IS the travelling menagerie I was referring to.

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Then why is it a game called Sorceror, and

Baseless semantic arguments will be ignored -- "We can't adventure outside a dungeon!  It SAYS DUNGEONS and Dragons!" is on par with the logic displayed in the above argument.


I suggest this front-loading of the customer has a lot to do with how a game is played, D&D being a good example of just that.

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You most certainly did!  Your statement was that to make a game with non-demon Sorcerers, you would have to invent or change the current rules to deal with them.  Yet the menagerie, which you just stated worked within the rules, allows non-demon non-sorcerers without alteration of the rules.


Indeed.  Thus, if you were to totally rewrite sorceror to something that was NOT based on the travelling menagerie - i.e. the character was not primarily effective through a relationship with another entity - you would be left with just a  resolution mechanic.  

Or, if your "customization" of sorcerer proceeds to the point that you needed to alter the "demons" in a major way, then you may have to rewriet the summon and bind rules as well to be appropriate.  IF you think a demon is a disembodied entity,. Summon makes sense.  IF you think humanity has power over the creatures of the netherworld, Bind and Contain make sense.  If you are starting from scratch, i.e. are employing a different set of assumptions as to how humanity and "demons" interact, Summon and Bind may have to be completely re-rationalised and mechanically re-written.

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Have you bothered to READ the main book?!
THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO!!!!!  It's in the bloody text, for chrissake!!


You quite clearly have not even bothered to read the criticism.

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Frex, traditional RPG "cyberware" is simply a parasite demon; a non-sentient piece of technology, yet it can be very easily described in Sorcerer terms as a "demon."


Good example.  Now I have several severe problems:
1) Do I really want my "cyberware" overuling player characters?  Does someone get themselves a bionic leg that aoccassionally says "dude, no walking 'till you feed me juju beans"?  Absurd - this takes us back to the mechnaically restrictive conventions of cyberpsychosis and the like.
2) If I remove or limit the extent to which these non-summoned, non-bound, non-contrained, non-punshibale "demons" can interact with their hosts, whats the point of playing a game based on that interaction?  To make it work at all I must re-write what Bind means, etc etc.
3) Having disocvered that I can't even maintain the pure character+sidekick trope in a meaningful way, why am I useing a system predicated on such a concept?  Sure, mechanically it can be used to do this setting, but what would the point be?  The cool part of Sorcerer has been lost.

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Here I begin to doubt that you have even read the book, and in hindsight do not understand how you could even make a number of the statements you have about the game considering the very text of the rules.


Of course.  It is, after all, impossible that two adults might comrehend the same text and see different values in it.  That never happens, so when it does, we know that someone is being dishonest, right?  

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An example of this is on Page 58: "Demon is one of the 'open concepts' of Sorcerer, meaning that its fundamental definition is left entirely up to the


You keep attacking straw men I have not criticised; I specifically attacked the idea that Sorcerer can work without the travellling menagerie, not that the travelling menagerie had to be classic demons.  Could you answer the criticism rather than evading it, please?

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Like Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.
Like any number of non-sorcerer main protagonists in the literature who confront and deal with the supernatural, mystical and infernal.


Who all "happen" to have, oh, a soul-sucking sword from the many spheres, or a mystic-yet-sarcastic pet mini-dragon, or the One Ring with a mind of its own...

If pulp fantasy is "The Beastmaster", it works fine.

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Demon: Overconfidence


Fine.  So you have converted the Demon mechanic to a psychological mechanic.  Queue previous ciriticism: the posse of dark avengers tortured by their past misdeeds.

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Background
Ka'ain Contacted this "demon" as a result of the warrior culture he was raised in, which taught him


Which would suggest that any other character from that background would or should have that "demon" too.

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Because you don't have to play *demon*-controlling guys, and there's more material in the book than just rules for Sorcerer...he said, again, in the hopes that this time it would be recognized.


Indeed - you can have any colour you like so long as its black.

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No, Nathan said he didn't like the concept of "demon-ruling guys", not that he didn't like that you had to define your own game concepts.


It is possible I misunderstood Nathans concenrs, but you have certaibnly failed to recognise, let alone address, mine.

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Have you tried?  Seriously?  Not, "I'll try and it will fail because it won't work."


I have to be convinced that there is some POSSIBILITY of success first, yes.  Otherwise I can't distinguish between jumping off chairs and juming off cliffs.

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D&D characters all have "special powers" too, yet I see no complaints from anyone that playing a warrior is a waste of time, or that warriors play second-fiddle to magic-wielding classes, or that all these classes simply have mcguffins.


Becuase those are not the PRIMARY vectors of character action; or at least where they are they are appropriate to the character concept i.e. fighters kill shit.  I don't have to rationalise my fighter as a sorcerer-but-not-really.

You have consistently assumed that I failed to laud the book because I fail to understand it.  Fine; that is your claim.  What you need to do, however, is demonstrate some manner in which I have misunderstood it; it appears to me you don't even grasp the criticism.  I said, and I say again, it probably works on its own terms, but I am NOT interested in a traveling menagerie, or a game of loin-cloth-clad barbarians agonising over the state of their inner child.  Using the sorecer-of-whatever-type + demons-of-whatever-type model wortks well enough where that is the primary explicit dynamic of the game; sho-horning it through a set ot torutrous rationalisations to a character concept like "savage barbarian warrior" is too much like an exercise in double-think, IMO.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2002, 03:31:46 AM »

Quote from: Valamir

CC:  If you think that Sorcerer is about evil guys summoning vile creatures and commanding them to do horrible things then you have completely totally and uterly missed the point.  You are so far off you're not even in the same state with the ball park.


Wow, you guys sure got your moneys worth outta that straw man.

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Now if the genre isn't your cup of tea...thats completely fine and another matter entirely.  But that is pretty much the only thing you've right about in this thread so far.


Actually it IS my thing.  I have said repeatedly: on its own terms Sorcerer probably works.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2002, 06:09:37 AM »

Hello,

I'd like to suggest that everyone's had his say, with the possible exception of me.

My say is this: It is perfectly OK for Gareth not to like Sorcerer & Sword. Or to decide whether it is or isn't focused toward the kind of play he's interested in.

I do appreciate the fervor of the defense, and I confess that I have my own take on the matter (obviously), but you know? It's all right. This isn't an instance of game theory discussion that must eventually come down to one most-sensible conclusion.

So, as moderator for the forum, I'm sayin' - I think all the points are made and we could well be done here.

It's OK to continue the thread, if you disagree with me and still want to hammer at the topic. But there will come a point when the noise exceeds the light, and please use judgment about when that's happened, instead of merely getting in yet another post just because the other guy hasn't said what you want to hear yet.

Best,
Ron
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Gordon C. Landis
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Posts: 1024

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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2002, 01:21:38 PM »

Here's the only bit I see to add that hasn't (to my eye) been well-covered.  Gareth said:
Quote
Fine. So you have converted the Demon mechanic to a psychological mechanic. Queue previous ciriticism: the posse of dark avengers tortured by their past misdeeds.

Based on reading, not yet playing, Sorceror and  & Sword, I think you're selling the conversion to a psycholgical mechanic a bit short.  I think there is a WIDE variety of possibilities for the "demon" conflict mechanic psychologically - I wouldn't anticipate the dark posse you see as inevitable.  Any of the 7 Sins could work.  Just about any psych issue could work.

How well?  Only play could tell.  And there are plenty of folks who see psych mechanics as an problem in and of themselves.

Variety in some actual "demon" definition . . . that, I'd claim, really is just a matter of taste.  Some people do see a big difference between one "demon" concept and the next.  Others don't.  I can undestand both positions, and would only really judge actual incarnations of versions to determine how "alike" they are or aren't.

That's all for now,

Gordon
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AndyGuest
Member

Posts: 56


« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2002, 05:50:58 AM »

(Apologies for butting in on a thread that should probably be let die)

I think the argument here falls down to a simple disagreement. Let me pose a question.

Say I want to run a game/produce a story about a muscle bound barbarian and his wily, sneaky thief mate. The question is 'can I do this with S&S ?'

The answer seems to be (I've not got S&S, waiting for it to appear) yes you can. The argument seems to be getting mixed up somewhere along the line. No one is saying you can't do it.

What is being said is that to do this you define the barbarian in Sorcerer terms, which includes his relationship between him and something, be it his god, his inner honour, some demon or a six foot invisible rabbit named Harvey.

However, some people will want to define the barbarian as simply being big, strong, tough, stubborn and good with a sword. For such a person what does S&S offer that another system doesn't ? How much of the Sorcerer ruleset would you be using ? Is there any point ?
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2002, 06:33:37 AM »

Quote from: Gordon C. Landis

Based on reading, not yet playing, Sorceror and  & Sword, I think you're selling the conversion to a psycholgical mechanic a bit short.  I think there is


Quite possibly so; especially as I am among those who thought that Vampire worked.  Perhaps further sample characters will allay my concerns.
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