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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: James_Nostack on October 11, 2006, 06:25:57 AM

Title: [Sorc] the vigilante's sacrifice
Post by: James_Nostack on October 11, 2006, 06:25:57 AM
Here's something I never noticed about Sorcerer before: according to the official errata (, if you sacrifice a real scumbag during a summoning ceremony you might actually gain Humanity.  "Hey, demons!  Dinnertime!  Please enjoy this serial rapist I've brought for you.  Enjoyed that, did you?  Gee, now I feel like writing Christmas cards to Aunt Tilley."

Sorcerer is the most 80's game ever.

Title: Re: [Sorc] the vigilante's sacrifice
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 11, 2006, 06:42:36 AM
Hi James,

Although I applaud your enthusiasm, you're not correct.

Humanity checks have two possible results: (1) lose a point of Humanity, (2) don't lose a point of Humanity.

Your character with a Humanity of 4 sacrifices a serial rapist with a Humanity of 1 to a demon. You roll four dice against one. You win. The result is that you do not lose a point of Humanity.

The same principle applies to all Humanity checks: for ethical infractions, for running sorcerous rituals, and so on.

The only way to gain Humanity is to succeed at an entirely different roll called a "Humanity gain roll," which is prompted under entirely different circumstances.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: [Sorc] the vigilante's sacrifice
Post by: James_Nostack on October 11, 2006, 07:44:53 AM
Oh, right right right.  I know better than that.  (It would still be a funny house rule though.)

Title: Re: [Sorc] the vigilante's sacrifice
Post by: James_Nostack on October 17, 2006, 06:59:33 PM
Oh, hey Ron, I was still thinking about this one, and noticed a possible Errata in the Errata.

According to the Sorcerer Errata ( on the game's website, "Page 87: The final sentence of the Summoning section should read: 'If it is a human sacrifice, the Humanity check is rolled against the victim's Humanity instead of the sorcerer's own score.'"

Consider the situation where Billy the Sorcerer, Humanity 4, sacrifices a golden retriever (Stamina 2) to summon a powerful demon.  Aside from any Humanity loss check against the demon's power, Billy will have to make a Humanity loss check against his own score: 4 vs. 4 dice.

If Billy ends up sacrificing a human, instead, and selects a slightly less moral person than himself (Humanity 3), he would feel less guilty: the loss check would be 4 vs. 3 dice.  In other words, a high-Humanity sorcerer would be at more moral risk from sacrificing an animal than a Regular Joe.

Is this on purpose?  It's an extraordinarily strong statement if so.  As an alternative, I could see the rule for human sacrifice as (your Humanity) vs. (your Humanity + victim's).  This has the advantage of being the same rule for all sacrifices, if animals have Humanity 0.  Plus, this is arguably what the text on page 87 was trying to say in a garbled way.

Title: Re: [Sorc] the vigilante's sacrifice
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2006, 04:52:36 AM
Hi James,

I think you're squeezing pretty strong juice out of a pretty small fruit, actually.

First, the rules as written stand. I think you somehow have the idea that a human sacrifice is always supposed to more Humanity-risky than any other kind. If that were the case, then yes, the rules would not be doing a great job at that.

But that's not the idea that underlies the rule. The rule is built to make any sacrifice but a human one a 50-50 loss, and to make any human sacrifice a variable risk for Humanity loss.

I know it's possible to see this as some kind of amazing statement about humans being special and golden retrievers being not-special, but that's not what's going on. What's going on is that humans, in the game, operate as individualized Humanity wild cards, and that in many cases the personal histories of both sorcerer and victim are going to have a numerical effect on the Humanity-aspect of this action. It doesn't ultimately matter whether the effect is more or less risky for the sorcerer; what matters is that the effect will occur.

Best, Ron