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Sorcerer Humanity Loss and Gain

Started by Ade, May 29, 2003, 05:18:32 PM

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I've just run a couple of sessions of Sorcerer, and it may well be that I've not read the rules well enough :) but it does seem that Humanity is very easy to loose and very difficult to gain.

Now, I appreciate the subject matter is dealing with a severe topic, so is it the intent that Humanity fluctuates downwards so easily? Or will my re-read of the rules this weekend show me something I missed? It just seemed a little harsh that the Humanity 4 professor did one in-game contact/summon/bind and is now Humanity 1!

Now, I would guess the intent isn't that everyone should be traipsing around with a passel o' demons - is it also the case that each demon-summoning should be so dangerous? - that's perfectly okay too, by the way.



Mike Holmes

Look at it this way. If you never kill anyone (or do similarly nasty things), or do any Sorcery, then you never have to make a roll to lose Humanity.  And if Humanity in a particular game is Empathy, all a character has to do is go and donate some time in a hospital or something. Easy as pie.

Bascially it's completely a player choice. There's no inclination to either end that's not provided by the player (with the possible exception that the game makes murder automatically really bad).

In a game that ended last night, I ran my character down to Zero Humanity, and then back up again to essentially become free of his Sorcery. All based on my choices.

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Hi Ade,

It's very easy to get dead, crazy, or damned in Sorcerer...but there is hope!  Did the professor get roleplaying bonuses(+1/2 dice a shot)?  Or did he make use of "roll-over" successes? Both of these are critical to staying alive in Sorcerer.

Consider this:

Using Lore to get some more info on the demon("Ah, he's partial to flayed kittens!") for bonuses, use your other demon to help you out("Go beat some respect into him while I chant over here"), for more bonuses, do some good roleplaying on top of that, and you should be able to pull up between 3 and 8 extra dice depending on your luck and creativity.

It's a must.


Ron Edwards

Hi Ade,

Welcome to the Forge!

A lot of Contacting, Summoning, and Binding can certainly bring a character's Humanity rocketing downwards, especially if powerful demons are involved. And Banishing is a very dangerous route to Humanity gain, especially since the gain roll is restricted to certain situations.

However, let's look at the more important and more common sources of Humanity rolls (both gains and checks): ethics.

The neat thing about a Humanity check for ethical reasons is that it's always 50%. Humanity 10 or Humanity 1, if your character does something rotten, then the chance to lose a point is always 50%. The same goes for a Humanity gain roll for ethical reasons. All this means is that the tendency for Humanity to go up and down, for these reasons, is strictly a matter of how often the characters act ethically or unethically.

Therefore, the thing to remember during play (and this goes for everyone, not just GM and not just players) is to keep an eye out for decisions and actions which deserve these rolls. If they're not very common, then (1) you as GM need to be more aggressive about the twists and turns you're bringing to the situation, and (2) the players need to focus their characters' actions more toward Humanity-relevant stuff.

I've seen plenty of powerful, raw sorcery flung about in my games, but mainly by players who either wanted to see their characters Humanity drop to dangerous levels, or by players who were working with a character with a comfortable "bank" of Humanity at the moment. If I'd been playing your professor character, and if I'd been thinking about all that whacked sorcery I wanted to accomplish, a score of 4 is pretty risky - as you say, bad rolls on the ritual-based Humanity checks can knock you right down to 1. You can bet I'd do a bunch of stuff that might bring up my Humanity to 5 or 6 before trying that stuff.

However, all is not lost. The only way to lose Humanity permanently is through actions that only you, the player, directly have the character do. The professor can't be made to do a sorcerous ritual. He can't be made to do something unethical. So even having Humanity at 1 doesn't mean you could lose your character at any moment due to a bad roll. Nope - all you have to do is avoid those three sorcerous rituals and do a lot of stuff that merits Humanity gain rolls.




And thanks for the insights - sometimes you just don't see the wood from the trees; I certainly need to re-read the rules anyway, but I'd sort of put the non-sorcery ethical aspect as something that needed major actions by the players.

It does, however, make sense to allow Humanity checks for important decisions, even if the decisions themselves don't have a direct large-scale impact on the outside world - if the choices matter to the character and affect them, then that's good.

I suspect I rushed into running Sorcerer a little unprepared, because that's my general style of GM'ing - and it can work well when I'm confident (and playing Champions always helped here!). But the players are enjoying it, and hopefully this weekend I'll do a post in 'Actual Play'.

One thing: as I've seen noted more than once, the first session of Sorcerer seemed definitely hard in relation to other games, but the second session was noticeably easier.

Again, thanks to all for the comments,