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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: So, Mud Planet 2 Sorcerer?  (Read 3993 times)
Frank Tarcikowski
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« on: August 03, 2007, 06:32:56 AM »

I wrote this contribution to the Ronnies, Mud Planet. In his feedback thread<
Quote
Self-Control, Commitment, Savageness; Impulse, Revolt, Hunger ... well, I know you've worked out how these cross-reference with one another for different situations, but to my poor tired brain, a lot of those situations look pretty much the same to me.all rolls. The latter means Savageness goes up by 1 instantly, no check required.

Hm. Not as elegant as my original rule, but it seems workable.

What do you say?

- Frank
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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2007, 06:34:53 AM »

Quick clarifier:

Quote
Meanwhile I've had the chance to check the game out and play it a few times, once (briefly) with Ron himself. I really do like it.

"The game" being Sorcerer, not Mud Planet. Curse the absence of the edit function!

- Frank
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2007, 07:02:38 AM »

Hi Frank,

I'm glad to see this going back into development! I'd also like to stress that your own visions are more important than Sorcerer, so to me, I'd favor that you use my game/ideas however you'd like ... but I hope you're making Mud Planet into the best game it can be, rather than converting it to Sorcerer.

Here are my current thoughts ...

1. Commitment strikes me as a difficult internal feature. If the character's Commitment goes to 0, so what? How does that actually change the way the character is played? That question can't be answered unless there is some way to play correctly when the score is not 0. With that in mind, I see three possibilities:

a) Commitment of 1 or higher means the character can do whatever he or she wants, but Commitment of 0 means the character cannot do certain things (i.e. cannot be committed in specific ways).

b) Commitment of 1 or higher means the character must do certain things (i.e. must be committed in specific ways), but Commitment of 0 means the character can do whatever he or she wants.

c) Commitment of 1 or higher means the character must do certain things (i.e. must be committed in specific ways), but Commitment of 0 means the character must do (other) certain things (i.e. cannot be committed in specific ways).

The issue is this: in Sorcerer, no score or any game element at all describes a character's "feelings." The dice and numbers only concern actions. Furthermore, no score or any game element circumscribes character behavior, as in what they wouldn't or cannot do. Therefore there are no rules like (a, b, c) in that game.

That's just a feature of Sorcerer, though, and doesn't have to be a feature of your game. If you want Commitment, as an internal-state score, to be a feature of Mud Planet, then I suggest that one of (a, b, c) must exist in order to provide a framework for it to be meaningful.

2. In thinking about the dragon effects on Savagery, that's an interesting question. If I'm reading and remembering correctly, the whole point is that the lancer has a choice: either diminish personal effectiveness and hold back the dragon, or release the dragon and get huge bonuses, but basically conforming to the dragon's most savage priorities.

If (and that's a big if) we're talking about applying Sorcerer logic, then the action of holding back the dragon already diminishes effectiveness, as it deprives the lancer of a crucial action-round announcement in a conflict. Taking away cards as well seems like a significant, unnecessary penalty. In other words, if the rules force a lancer both to lose an action and to lose cards if they try to restrain their dragon, then they probably aren't going to succeed in carrying out whatever they originally planned to do anyway.

So by the rules, it seems to me as if we're talking about a standard conflict between lancer's Will and dragon's Will (or Might if you are combining Lore and Power for dragons, which is probably a good idea).

Also (still using Sorcerer logic), all notions of lost or constrained control over one's character apply only in one circumstance: Humanity going to 0. If you have the supplement The Sorcerer's Soul, you can find a section which describes lots of ways that this can happen during play and allow the player to retain the character. The simplest way, mechanically, would be a Taint ability on the dragon's part.

That actually makes the rules-use very easy: the dragon attacks the lancer with Taint, and if the victories are high enough, drives the lancer to Humanity 0 temporarily. One can even roll those victories into a bonus for the lancer's next action, as well.

Let me know what you think!

Best, Ron
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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 04:30:49 PM »

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2007, 06:37:12 PM »

Hi Frank,

You wrote,

Quote
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Frank Tarcikowski
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Hamburg, Germany


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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2007, 01:09:23 AM »

I'll take the easy way and quote from the original Ronnies entry. Here is the fluff text:

Quote
Of what I tell you now, you must keep absolute privacy. The system does not work
just the way it is supposed to. Whoever is all devoted and disciplined, all of the time?
Who can be expected to not live and feel and love? Especially when you can sense
that enormous heart of your Dragon companion beating in heat.

Ferocity and I have linked our minds for years. She is closer to me than any other
living being in the universe. She considers me a part of her. To her, we are one
person. And I have come to feel much the same way. I know I must be careful lest I
become a monster. But honestly: Sometimes she is right. I have urges, too. There is
more to life than just reason. Why should my desires not be satisfied sometimes?

And there is one thing more. I can channel the power of her Gift. If we join forces, if I
let her have her way, she enhances my psychic capability by a square. I can do
amazing things using her. Depending on the situation, it can be sweet temptation or
desperate measure. I have used it. I will use it again.

People say I am not acting quite human any more. There is something predatory
about me. That happens a lot with Lancers. The Code is very strict on this, but the
Code is only enforced by people. They cannot possibly accuse two out of three
Lancers. And it is not like I was on the verge of turning Savage. I control it. There is
no need to worry about me.

And here is the relevant rules text:

Quote
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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2007, 12:24:20 AM »

i]is<supportive action<just like thatsupportive action<just like that
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2007, 07:45:05 AM »

Hi Frank,

I think all your thoughts on the game rules and designs make sense. However, I disagree strongly with a term you're using, at the conceptual level, and it's important enough to be clarified.

The term is "fiat." This term is causing enormous confusion among independent game players and the sub-group of designers. The way you've used in it in that post illustrates the confusion.

The only way I can attempt to repair the confusion is to ask a question, for anyone reading this: When you are role-playing and you say, "I [meaning your character] stride forward and hold up my sword! 'You will not pass!'", is this fiat? To repeat the question another way, when you announce, "I'm going to slice his head off!" and reach for your dice, is this fiat? And to repeat it one more time, when someone asks, "So what's your character doing this morning," and you say, "Taking a shower," is this fiat?

I'll answer for you. No. Of course not. None of that is fiat, "player fiat," or whatever you want to call it. That is called "playing your character."

For reasons that I can understand, a lot of people have got the idea that any such statement from the person labeled the GM is somehow, automatically, called "fiat." Add to it other actions and tasks that have to be done in order to role-play at all, and which traditionally are centered (all too vaguely) in the GM's hands, like scene framing and adjudication of misunderstandings and filling in system-gaps in IIEE.

This erroneous idea is an understandable reaction to many years of having played in a certain way, specifically, when all of the techniques and tasks described above are utilized to run events and outcomes in such a way as to permit players' actions (in any way: announcement, execution, outcomes) to matter, and to override them if the actions are deemed unsuitable. As many of you know, I consider that play founded on this principle, begun in AD&D2, refined in Shadowrun supplements and contemporary games, and brought to the forefront of play by White Wolf in the early 1990s, to be empirically flawed. I also do not consider it well-suited for creating stories, despite its branding success in cornering the term "storytelling."

However, the intensity of my dislike for it is not the present point. The present point is that many folks, having decided that they don't want to do this, are now flailing out into the conceptual mists with one thing in mind: they don't want any more of that "GM stuff" causing any more damned hassle in their lives. What is that stuff? Why, fiat! It's fiat! We shall have no more fiat! Such players are strongly attracted by games like The Shab al-Hiri Roach, Universalis, Polaris, and others in which no such centralization is present.

To be absolutely clear, I think this point is best illustrated by my conversation with Joshua BishopRoby in Bangs&Illusionism - in which Ron beats down Confusion late last year. I coined a term "murk" in that conversation to refer to the lack of any real procedure for determining where characters are, what they're doing, whether they're in a conflict, what the conflict is about, and how we know when it's over. People can play in the murk, using confused or covert or unspoken methods, but one of those methods that was drilled into too many people's heads for too long was that centralized power over permission and overrides I described above. To my knowledge, the first RPG ever written to be absolutely free of murk was Trollbabe.

The reason the notion is erroneous, however, is that many functional game designs do place any number of necessary techniques in a given person's hands: particularly scene framing, back-story creation, and playing multiple characters, but lots of others too. In a game with a meaningful and clear IIEE principle underlying its resolution system, with a murk-free process of arriving at when conflicts do and do not occur, and with sensible narration rules (meaning any, really, as long as they are not confusing), you may well still have a GM. He won't be a White Wolf (AD&D2, Shadowrun, et cetera) GM, but there will be a person, or series of persons, who do these things. That person will typically play one or more characters, too.

Without any permission or overrides occurring, game-play may still include centralized distribution of certain techniques, centralized knowledge and use of back-story, and centralized play of multiple characters. Sorcerer, for example, centralizes all these things. What it does not have is any means, either overt or somehow hidden in the centralized stuff, of granting permission for another person's character to do anything, or to override what another person's character is doing or has done. That particular power is wholly absent in Sorcerer; the game cannot be played in this fashion without violating a host of other explicit rules.

Yet somehow, when I am GMing Sorcerer and I say, "Your demon grins nastily and says, 'Fuck you, Charley,'" that's supposed to be fiat? It cannot be. It is the same thing as you having said, earlier, "Demon! Go fetch me a cherry poptart!", or "I rip my shirt open at the chest, then seize her in my arms," or, "I shoot the guy!" It is role-playing. Furthermore, when I am GMing Sorcerer and I frame a scene, saying "All right, you're on your motorcycle," and you find that a reasonable statement, then that is not fiat either. That's a task delegated to me, and if it's utilized as a subtle means of controlling your character over your wishes, then you may draw upon the cardinal rule in that game and un-frame the scene - because in Sorcerer, no one but you controls your character, as long as he or she has Humanity 1 or higher. However, in practice, this un-framing happens easily if at all, because you just grunt and say, "Let me do X first," and we move on, with no one noticing that the permission was yours to give, not mine.

Frank, does that make sense? I absolutely disagree with describing a GM role-playing a demon in Sorcerer, whether to obey or rebel or to do anything at all, as "fiat."

In fact, I suggest that "fiat" be recognized as a non-word which is currently holding a whole constellation of specific possible meanings and is subject to the same problems as "realistic" or "balanced." As such, it should just be chucked out.

Best, Ron
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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2007, 09:26:01 AM »

Ron, I agree. Maybe this is language confusion. I was unaware that the term "fiat" carries such heavy connotation. What I meant was, simply, that there is no hard rule, but instead, the GM has to make up his mind based on what he deems appropriate and interesting.

- Frank
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