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Author Topic: Sorcerer & Sword -- demons on vacation?  (Read 2788 times)
Zoetrope10
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« on: September 13, 2002, 07:27:03 AM »

Ron

At p. 33 of the published version of Sorcerer & Sword, where you list the features of Mystic Otherworlds, you write in part, 'They are demon-haunted; however, the demons are in most cases not "at home", there's just a lot of them around.'

I don't understand this sentence. There seems to be a word (or two missing). How should this sentence read/what were you trying to say?

thanks, Z
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2002, 07:54:36 AM »

How about: "There are a lot of demons there, but they are just passing through, loitering, or on business. The otherworld is not usually their home."

Do I have that about right, Ron?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2002, 08:11:56 AM »

Hi there,

Good inquiry.

The intended content is to get away from the notion that demons "come from" a homeland or dimension of some sort where they are "natural creatures."

You're probably familiar with the SF/fantasy idea that there are a bezillion dimensions, and when we call a "demon" it's basically being ripped from its own home and brought here, where its native properties are powerful and perhaps evil. By this view, if someone summoned you or me to their dimension, we would be the demons.

Sorcerer as a whole, in any of its applications (supplements, mini-supplements), does not include this concept at all. The game is predicated on the idea that the concept of "demon" is in every way, shape, or form a wrong thing in metaphysical terms, disconnected from reality.

If a game-setting for Sorcerer were to include a multiverse as I described, then a "demon" would be just as much a "demon" for each and every one of those interdimensional settings. This is pretty fundamental to the basic game.

Therefore the passage in Sorcerer & Sword that you're referencing is attempting to say (and granted it's not clear enough) that when a character enters a sorcerous netherworld or otherworld, lots of demon are probably going to be there ... but they are not going to be in their "home dimension." They will still be demons in every sense of the word.

Best,
Ron
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Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2002, 09:47:40 AM »

Quote from: Ron
Therefore the passage in Sorcerer & Sword that you're referencing is attempting to say (and granted it's not clear enough) that when a character enters a sorcerous netherworld or otherworld, lots of demon are probably going to be there ... but they are not going to be in their "home dimension." They will still be demons in every sense of the word.

Interesting. That approach clashes with the approach taken in much of the source material--say, David Drake's "Lord of the Isles" series (which I think is great S&Sword source material, by the way), or "Jirel of Joiry." These stories have otherworlds which are chock full o' demons, and the demons are right at home there, and yet they still seem abhorrent, frightful and unnatural--because the otherworlds themselves are abhorrent, frightful and unnatural, and would not exist in a good and sane universe.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2002, 09:58:25 AM »

Hi Seth,

That particular Drake story is not one of the references, but I can discuss the Jirel issue.

I don't think that the "At home" concept applies to the hellscapes in the Jirel stories. These places are expressions and manifestations of Sin (or rather, Chaos, or rather, the Void); they are accessibly physically because what they manifest is a real thing to us. The locales aren't ecologies, planets, dimensions, or "other places" in any non-metaphysical sense. Perhaps I should be more specific with that whole "at-home" concept; I am using the phrase to imply a naturalness (in the fullest, judgmental sense of this abused word) inherent in the demon-environment interaction. That quality is emphatically lacking in the Jirel stories, in my view.

(I think that the weird freaky fight with the very Freudian demons near the end of book Tomoe Gozen is highly influenced by the Jirel stories, by the way; reading them in parallel, it's impossible not to see the locales as the same place.)

Best,
Ron
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xiombarg
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2002, 10:39:58 AM »

To go at an angle to the current discussion, tho, what about good, old-fashioned "demons from Hell"? Aren't they from a dimension that's their home... i.e. Hell? I believe the Hellbound mini-supplement uses this sort of demon...
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Tim C Koppang
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2002, 06:30:43 AM »

Quote from: xiombarg
To go at an angle to the current discussion, tho, what about good, old-fashioned "demons from Hell"? Aren't they from a dimension that's their home... i.e. Hell? I believe the Hellbound mini-supplement uses this sort of demon...

Well wouldn't you agree that in this specific case the Demons are still, as Ron put it, "in every way, shape, or form a wrong thing in metaphysical terms, disconnected from reality?"  Especially if you interpret Hell as a representation of human sin etc.  So in effect the meaning of a Demon is still maintained.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2002, 07:59:29 AM »

Hey Seth,

Did some more thinking about this.

I'm not sure if it's part of the "Lord of the Isles" or not, but David Drake's The Dragon Lord is listed in the Sorcerer & Sword references ... and I agree with you that Merlin's explanation of his dragon-summons does indicate that each infini-micro-second of the dragon's existence comes from a "natural" dimension somewhere else ...

... but then (the) Veleda's comment that Merlin doesn't know what the fuck he's doing seems to weigh heavily in favor of my interpretation.

Best,
Ron
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Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2002, 03:59:47 PM »

Haven't read "The Dragon Lord," but it's not part of the "Lord of the Isles" series. (I was never under the impression that "Lord of the Isles" and its sequels were among your specifically listed sources--I think you might enjoy them, however, as they are very much in the classic pulp mode, and chock-full of demons. In fact, the story is told from the demons' perspectives about half the time, though the relationship of the protagonist-demons to the humans to whom they are bound is not quite dysfunctional enough for Sorcerer.)

Anyway, I think I see what you're saying about "naturalness." The important thing is not that the demons don't originate from the Otherworld; the important thing is that the demons are not any less unnatural when viewed in the context of the Otherworld--that is, having seen the Otherworld, neither the players nor the characters will be able to say "Oh, I get it now, I understand why demons are what they are." Right?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2002, 07:26:48 AM »

Hi Seth,

Right! Damn, I stumbled all over the place trying to explain that, and you nailed  it.

Best,
Ron
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Paganini
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2002, 07:48:59 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
You're probably familiar with the SF/fantasy idea that there are a bezillion dimensions, and when we call a "demon" it's basically being ripped from its own home and brought here, where its native properties are powerful and perhaps evil. By this view, if someone summoned you or me to their dimension, we would be the demons.


RO-on.... hel-LO... wake UP... major GAME hook... DO THE MINI SUPPLIMENT!

Sheesh!

This is *so* Sorcerer. "What do you do if you wake up one morning and discover that you're ultimate evil?"

I mean, dang! Makes me all shivery just thinking about it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2002, 02:15:11 PM »

Hey Nathan,

Sorry ... still not my thing, for the reasons listed above. However, if someone else wanted to do the mini-supplement thing with the idea, then I'd love to check it out.

Best,
Ron
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