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Sorcerer : breaking the Binding and the binding strengh

Started by Fabrice G., June 17, 2003, 11:27:51 AM

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Fabrice G.


In my last Sorcerer game (Famillyt ties, about witch I'll post later), the player asked me if he could break the binding with his demon.
The rules are pretty clear about a demon breaking the binding... but what about the sorcerer doing the same ?
I know he could just have waited for his demon to rebel, but it didn't fit the story at all. So I thought about too possibility:

a - banish the demon (after punishing him -- making it more easy, and good story-wise) : still hard to do in this case due to the 1-die pool for the instant ritual

b - use the demon's breaking of binding rules, but reversed.

Well, I exposed the two options the the player, who choosed option a).

But option b) got me thinking about the meaning of the binding strengh. In the text, it is said that the demon has to redo the binding roll, but with a penalty equal of the binding score (whoever has the upper hand). So it seems to mean that the binding strengh is about the depth of the realation between the demon and the sorcerer : high binding score is allways telling that the relation is a deep one.

So when you manage the fluctation of the binding strengh between the demon and the sorcerer during the session(s), you have to keep in mind two thing : 1)  is the relation getting stronger or weaker and 2) who's taking the upper hand in the relation ?
It changed my view of seing the binding strengh scale from -X -> +X to 0 -> (+/-) X
In conclusion, it seems to me better to maintain the binding strengh around 0 (ex: a +2/-2 scale) if the relation precarious and only going over that scale if the relation is strong.

To sum up, I really have two question: 1) How would you manage the sorcerer breaking the binding ? and 2) any thoughts about the binding strengh ?




Binding strength is supposed to fluctuate?  All I've read in the main Sorcerer book pretty much says, "Roll once, when Bound.  Afterwards, use that number."  Have I missed a passage somewhere, or is this a rule that crops up in one of the supplements?  Granted, I'd like to see Binding strength fluctuating (it makes more sense), but I don't see how the rules support it.

Yes, I agree that a high binding strength indicates, in one way or another, a strong bond between demon and sorcerer.  

Ron says in this thread that a demon can be Banished and still Bound (and thus, when re-summoned, remains Bound, likely to its former master).  Which means that (b) is probably the better option, and is likely what I'd do in that situation.  However, keep in mind I don't know much about the game yet, I've just read everything I've got my hands on.
Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming

Fabrice G.

Hi Alexander,

Quote from: youHave I missed a passage somewhere [...] ?

no, you didn't miss it. If I remember correctly, Ron spoke about it in this forum (but I coudn't find the original post).

In the thread you mentioned, Ron compare the binding strentgh to a "reality anchor"
He even give an answer to my question :

Quote from: Ron EdwardsBasically, the only way for a demon to become un-Bound is for it to rebel successfully. [snip] But rebelling means the demon is deliberately breaking the Binding; it rolls Will vs. Will, with the Binding strength applying as per normal (whoever has the upper hand). If successful, the demon is now un-Bound.

So, thanks for the link as I overlooked this part. Still, should a sorcerer be able to do the same (an option witch isn't supported by the rules) ?
If not, what is the reasoning behind this ?

Take care,


Ron Edwards


Seems like a couple of points have evolved here.

1. I don't provide rules for the sorcerer to break a Binding. My concept for how it might happen is always demon-mediated ... say an "amicable breakup" is happening, and the sorcerer and demon agree to part ways. This then depends on the demon's roll as normal; it's just not a "rebellion" so much as an "annulment." It still depends on the roll.

I do not support the idea that a sorcerer may simply roll to break a Binding in the same fashion that a demon can, under any circumstances. I think that would be a cheap and easy out from the central conflict of the game. If you've Bound a demon, you bloody well meant it at the time. Now, if you want to change that, and it doesn't want to change it, then you must Contain or Banish it (to get it out of your hair and free you, however temporarily, from feeding its Need), or kill it.

2. Binding strength is not a fixed variable. I'm reasonably sure the text is clear about that - see the Binding Subtleties section (although this is from memory; my book's not in front of me). A game might begin with a +2 Binding in the demon's favor, then over a session or two, the GM decides that all that attention to its Desire and Need bumps it to +1 in the demon's favor. Theoretically, this could go on to 0, then to +1 in the sorcerer's favor, and so on. It could also drop.

I tend to treat this dial as very, very hard to turn. Events in-game that warrant such a change are usually identified by everyone in the group hootin' and hollerin' because they're so impressed and entertained by them.



I like the commitment angle.  "You bound the demon, damnit, you've got to live with it."  Very nifty; hadn't considered that angle really, but it makes sense, and adds to the themes the game is trying to promote.  So the only sure way to get rid of a demon is (c) punish it and kill it while it's down.  Wow.

As for Binding strength changing, I read over Binding Subtleties section in the main book while I was home for lunch (as well as several other sections that referenced Binding) and found no mention of its changing (but, as it was just a short lunch break, I might still have missed something).  Thank you for the answer.
Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming

Fabrice G.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the reply.

I perfectly understand your reason for not allowing a sorcerer to break the biding like a demon would, this is why I proposed the option a), as it was the most "logical". But, it prompted me to think about why the other option wasn't a viable one. So I asked.