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Author Topic: The Evils of Civilization  (Read 2364 times)
Judd
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« on: October 09, 2004, 09:41:51 PM »

The City is all cities, a primordial urban mess whose alleys lead everywhere and everywhen.  Sorcerers are the desperate, the rugged or the just plain mad who live outside in the Wilderness.  Outside of the City is a frozen tundra to the north, a bleached desert to the west, a deep, dark wood to the east and a humid jungle to the south.

Demons are vile bureaucrats and well-oiled machines of the city.

Immanents are the spirits of the wilderness that can be summoned but never bound.

Humanity is one's individuality and ability to live outside the City.

Humanity 0 means becoming a cog in the City's machine.

Humanity loss occurs when taking pleasure in decadent urban life,

Humanity gain occurs when you destroy some facet of the City, show others the folly of urban life, or otherwise fight the machine.

Summoning, Binding and the like are using one's wild nature as urban savvy.

Lore is understanding how the was of the wilds relate and translate to those of the city.
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Judd
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2004, 09:51:15 PM »

Stamina Descriptors

Beast: You hold a reverence or a bond with some creature of the wildneress.  Name it as your own and its gifts are yours.

Sinew:  Only eating what you can forage or kill has made you thin, strong and fast.

Behemoth:  You are a giant of the wilds.


Will Descriptors

Mad: So much time alone in the wilds isn't good for a fella, nor a lady.  

Meditative:  You went into the wilds to learn and you did but it is a lesson that can't be taught, only experienced.

Gentle: You have leanred to live in harmony with the wilderness and that harmony sparkles in your eyes.

Lore Descriptors

Former Cog: Once you served the City but you left the noise, bustle and filth for a different way of life.

Wild-Born:  Your family has always lived in the wilds and can't understand how any could live in this filthy, cramped place.

Beast-Born:  You bring a beast's perspective to city-life.
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Judd
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2004, 09:54:30 PM »

I'm not sure if this makes sense, where it is going or if it works but it occurred to me and so I'm postin' it.

Feedback appreciated.
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Judd
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2004, 10:56:27 PM »

There are some other notes I should post about this Sorcerer idea.

JJ, Jeff and I went to Gen Con together and I mentioned the lovely, golden vibes of the Forge booth and when they visited, they loved it.  They have both read Sorcerer but don't quite grok how to put it all together.

We have formed a Tuesday Night Game club with only us three as rotating GM's, each trying a different game out and running it.  Some are games we picked up at Gen Con, some are old favorites, some are dusty bits we just have never gotten around to playing.  So far we've played Elfs, Burning Wheel, Lord of the Rings, Prime Time Adventures and this week they wanted me to run Sorcerer.

But I need a half-session to make up characters and set this puppy up.

So, this week I'll run a short BW idea and before we run that, make up Sorcerer characters.

This setting is largely inspired by JJ, who is a country boy who has lived in New York State all his life but has never seen New York City.  Jeff fed him a dozen reason to visit and JJ blew almost all of the reasons off.

I'm kind of eager to see how this setting works out for 'em.  We'll see.

If and when I run it, I'll post it in Actual Play and link it here.
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Judd
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2004, 11:05:52 PM »

Ideas are hitting me and I'm posting 'em as they occur.

One part of me wants the players to sit down and palaver about what they see the City as, come to a concensus.  Another wants them to sit down seperately and write down what the City is and make it so they are both right.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2004, 06:06:23 AM »

Hello,

Have you read the comic Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil? There are a lot of very strong corresponding features to your setup.

The problem with your writeup so far - and it is a problem, I'm not saying that lightly - is that it's plain old black-and-white Luddite good-wild, bad-city. There's nothing to say about it, once you're done reading the sheet. At most, you'd get "A Boy and His Dog" (thanks to my pal who's sitting next to me at the moment), which is awesome to be sure, but over and over?

Considering Finder, as well as perhaps the more obvious inspiration of Princess Mononoke, I think you should consider this:

The human relationships among people in the city are unique (to civilization), necessary (for sanity and Humanity), and powerful.

Thus the sorcerer finds himself or herself torn between, or perhaps balancing among, the valid and utterly necessary ties with people and the "call of the wild" which grants such remarkable power. You may find a dual Humanity approach more powerful, and I don't often recommend that.

As written, everyone oughta just run off into the wilderness with their torn-up jeans and tribal tattoos and let the city rot. The only way to make this a Sorcerer setting is for the people within the city - to have value as city-dwellers.

Best,
Ron
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Judd
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2004, 08:01:25 AM »

That is a really smart critique, Ron.  I'm going to change the write-up with the following sentences added.

Quote from: Paka
The City is all cities, a primordial urban mess whose alleys lead everywhere and everywhen, a den of sin and decadence and a host to uncounted miracles and glories.  Sorcerers are the desperate, the rugged or the just plain mad who live outside in the unforgiving Wilderness.  Outside of the City is a frozen tundra to the north, a bleached desert to the west, a deep, dark wood to the east and a humid jungle to the south.

Demons are vile bureaucrats and well-oiled machines of the city.

Immanents are the vicious spirits of the wilderness that can be summoned but never bound.
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sirogit
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2004, 11:44:35 AM »

I think you should consider Ron's advice here http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=13008 and re-define Humanity as something intergal to both City and the Wild.

I think basing Humanity loss on Cruelty would make a good deal of sense, as this would capture the flavor of both of Wild's unforgiving harshness and the City's perpetually stacked deck and lack of compassion.
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Judd
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2004, 01:57:35 PM »

Quote from: sirogit

I think basing Humanity loss on Cruelty would make a good deal of sense, as this would capture the flavor of both of Wild's unforgiving harshness and the City's perpetually stacked deck and lack of compassion.


I like how this is sounding.

Could you give examples of Humanity loss and Humanity gain rolls based on this plural definition?

This is getting somewhere now.

Neat.
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Judd
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2004, 04:33:41 AM »

Plural Definitions of Humanity in this setting:

City - Humanity is being one's own person and not becoming just another faceless cog in the machine.

Humanity gain for holding on to one's own beliefs in the face of urban threats, destroying some part of the city that is attempting to claim you, leaving the City.

Humanity loss for taking on traits of urban-living that aren't absolutely necessary for survival, giving away pieces of yourself to make living easier, signs of settling down.

Wild - Humanity is survival and keeping from being eaten from a beast.

Humanity gain for dominating a weaker creature, eating a weaker creature that you yourself killed, submitting to a stronger creature in order to survive.

Humanity loss for being driven out of territory where there is food, becoming caged, and entering the city.

When you reach Humanity 0 you either become some beast's food or become a faceless cog in the machine.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2004, 04:39:27 AM »

Hi Judd,

You're getting all tangled up in the Wild/City thing. These are related; they can't be separated into two different Humanity definitions.

I suggest the following alternate approach.

1a) Humanity gain roll when preventing cruelty to another (not just abstaining oneself)

1b) Humanity check when being cruel

2a) Humanity gain roll when asserting The Wild, in terms of being all green-hippy - planting a garden, e.g., in a non-garden area (like the city, but a wasteland would count too)

2b) Humanity check when (as you describe) asserting the City in some kind of de-individualizing, sterile way.

Note that 1 and 2 are potentially completely independent of one another. This is important.

Best,
Ron
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2004, 04:42:24 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Judd,

You're getting all tangled up in the Wild/City thing. These are related; they can't be separated into two different Humanity definitions.

I suggest the following alternate approach.

1a) Humanity gain roll when preventing cruelty to another (not just abstaining oneself)

1b) Humanity check when being cruel

2a) Humanity gain roll when asserting The Wild, in terms of being all green-hippy - planting a garden, e.g., in a non-garden area (like the city, but a wasteland would count too)

2b) Humanity check when (as you describe) asserting the City in some kind of de-individualizing, sterile way.

Note that 1 and 2 are potentially completely independent of one another. This is important.

Best,
Ron


This is good, Ron.  Thanks.

I'll be making up characters for this game on Tuesday and will post and Actual Play as to how it goes.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2004, 07:23:07 AM »

Hmmm. I'm not getting the objection, Ron. It seems to me that the "wild" in Paka's vision is a mystical otherworld. Why do Sorcerers not just avoid it? Why does any sorcerer in any setting not just abandon demons and become a "good guy?" Because they have a reason for having summoned a demon. I don't think that you have to make the city attractive other than it's the source of demons. The source of the power that sorcerers want to do...well, whatever it is that they want to do.

I'm not seeing the problem.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2004, 05:43:07 PM »

This is me shrugging, I guess. I see a problem with it. If Judd sees my point via my examples, then we've communicated, and if not, then he's fine without my advice.

Best,
Ron
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Judd
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2004, 07:25:41 PM »

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=139360#139360

Link to this setting's Actual Play thread.
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