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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: James_Nostack on November 19, 2006, 11:12:40 AM

Title: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on November 19, 2006, 11:12:40 AM
A thread for listing all kinds of crazy exploits of the rituals. 

From page 69 of Sorcerer:
[In setting up a story for a game of Sorcerer] the GM might considre and include three issues that work together very well: a specific element of sorcerous magic, a long-standing crisis ("back-story"), and the ending. . . . One of the best places to start is to read the rules for sorcery in Chapter Five very carefully, looking for any tiwsts that could lead to a crisis.  Built into the rules for, say, Contain or Humanity loss are all sorts of interesting consequences.  Then think up something pretty abominable or tense that could ensue . . .

I'll list a few I've thought of; I'll also try to comb through the boards looking for earlier examples too.

Disclaimer - sorcery varies from game to game, and YMMV.  I'm trying to operate from as close to the core text as I can, but I'm not perfect.

Demon Bombing - Sometimes you might not be able to bind a demon right away.  Since the demon has been summoned but no binding, it's out of control and in pain.  Depending on how you handle demonic needs, the demon might try desperately to satisfy its need to keep the pain away, though this may not work very well.  This tactic might suit certain extremely irresponsible sorcerers: roll up to a crisis situation, drop a demon-bomb, and run.  And since you're not bound to the demon, its antics won't reflect on your humanity.

On the other hand, thanks to the contact ritual, the demon knows who you are, and will want to settle the score.  It will be very eager to bind to another sorcerer, and get revenge.  The loose demon would probably offer to share whatever it's learned about you through the contact with your worst rival.  Alternately, if the demon gets really desperate, it could teach a mundane the basics lore, to perform a binding--might make a good 'origin story' for a naive sorcerer.

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on November 19, 2006, 11:29:08 AM
Always the Last to Know - According to the core rules, demons who aren't here in the real world . . . aren't, or something.  And when they're not here, only sorcerers can talk to them--and, furthermore, it's the sorcerer who picks up the phone.  This stinks, if you're a demon who wants to stay informed about terrestrial events.  It makes it hard to scheme, for one thing.  If a demon gets summoned, it might be grossly out of date in its thinking and skill sets.

It's possible that a Demon Prince, who is so powerful that it can seldom be contacted, has to construct his own intelligence network, using underling demons, and flunky sorcerers who are only tolerated for their frequent use of contact rituals. 

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on November 19, 2006, 11:35:12 AM
He Can't Make You Happy Like I Can - The core rules are silent on whether a summoned, bound demon can be contacted by a rival sorcerer, but it would be a pretty good way to get in touch with someone, using the contacted demon as a phone line, assuming the demon can be trusted to pass along the message faithfully.

Alternately, you can contact someone else's bound demon, and then seduce it into breaking the binding--or, if you can satisfy its need, perhaps get it to spy on its master.  And the master will never know . . .

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on November 19, 2006, 03:52:37 PM
The Forced Betrayal - Contain someone's bound demon, then punish repeatedly it until it agrees to break the binding.  Since its Will score will be very low due to the repeated punishing, you'll need a second, Will-boosting demon nearby to help it break loose.  Then, once the captured demon has become a free agent, you use the Will-boost to bind it to yourself.

Note that the contained demon will be super, super angry, and probably will try to destroy you unless you can banish it when its job is done.

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on November 21, 2006, 09:54:41 AM
The Altruistic Sorcerer - Consider a low-Lore, high-Humanity sorcerer meeting a high-Lore, low-Humanity sorcerer (I'm going to call them Young Dude and Old Fart, for reference sake).  Young Dude can probably spot Old Fart's massively reduced humanity--but it's going to be a lot harder to pierce Old Fart's cover.  So, from Young Dude's perspective, you've just met this horribly soul-crushed guy who is, it seems, a despicable and perhaps pitiable, but entirely mundane, human specimen.  Depending on how humanity is couched in the game, maybe Young Dude wants to help Old Fart regain some humanity and live a better life.  Very noble, etc.

Trick is, Old Fart knows a lot of lore, and presumably has no trouble breaking through Young Dude's cover.  So, here's this whippersnapper interfering in your affairs, which cries out for punishment.  On the other hand, Old Fart knows that his own end is nigh, so the trick is to persuade this interloper to do all the humanity-risking things that Old Fart wants to do, but is too risk-averse to try.  Manipulating Young Dude into becoming a much worse person.  Perhaps, if Old Fart can get Young Dude down to Humanity 0, this counts as a sacrifice that will transform Old Fart into a lich, thereby avoiding punishment in the afterlife . . .

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on December 03, 2006, 05:49:50 PM
The Race to Bind - Two rival sorcerers want to bind a demon.  (The way this works in the rules is that, if each of the sorcerers is acting on the same time scale, each guy rolls for binding normally and whoever gets the most successes wins.)  So, in game terms, each rival wants the most rollover bonuses, so each is busy conducting the most complicated ritual possible--and it gets way out of hand.  Meanwhile, some third sorcerer shows up, and snags the demon (possibly in a very poor binding) instead. 

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on December 19, 2006, 01:47:25 PM
Return of the Repressed - Depending on how you conceive of possessor demons, the host's personality might still be half-awake or flickering around at the back of consciousness.  If the host is a sorcerer, he can perform punish or contain rituals against the possessing demon from the "back seat"!  This might look really cool, depending on the special effects of the rituals.

This could lead to weird stories, as the repressed host personality tries to rig a ritual together without alerting the possessing demon; outside help is probably required.  (I guess the host could use a snapshot.) 

The other possibility is for the host to contain the possessor, trapping the demon (and himself) inside.  The demon, of course, is immune from hunger due to the containment, but the host body isn't.  Alternately, maybe the containment acts as a "demon filter," so that as the host body passes through, the demon gets screened out and the host regains control.

(Taken from Possesor Demons Possessing Sorcerers (

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on December 26, 2006, 07:06:25 PM
CORRECTIONS DEPT. - In the "He Can't Make You Happy Like I Can" section, I suggested that you could use the contact ritual as a way to pass messages to someone else's demon.  In this thread (, Ron says that contacting only works with a demon when it's in the demonic netherworld--i.e., when it has not been summoned to our reality.  So, if someone's demon is running around causing you problems, you couldn't seduce it into breaking its binding to your enemy through a contact ritual.  The demon would have to be banished first; then you could contact it, as it's no longer real.

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on December 29, 2006, 07:09:09 AM
Aw, He's Got His Mother's Eyes, and His Father's Horns - Sorcerer's Soul presents a complicated ritual for humans mating with demons to produce half-breed offspring.  Without getting too deep into the mechanics, there are four possibilities for the child, each with story potential.  In each case, you can build a pretty good situation by considering the agendas of the human parent, the demon parent, the child itself, and anyone close to the child (other kids, teachers, grandparents, etc.), looking for conflicts of interest.

  • Regular Human - born with a Humanity score, but no Lore.  Despite the freaky parentage, this person is totally normal; if he or she later practices sorcery, it happens the same way it would happen to anyone else.  But what happens if the demon parent takes an interest in this person?  Might be a fun "origin story" for a naive sorcerer.
  • Regular Demon - born with a Lore score, and Power instead of Humanity.  It may look like a kid, but it's totally not, and any human parent is likely to come to grief as a result.  (I wonder if the type of the half-breed would be Passer?  I like the idea of an Object baby, one of those fancy dolls, and the human keeps treating it like it was a real kid.)
  • Child Sorcerer - born with a Humanity score and Lore.  By definition, this toddler can perform rituals, spot telltales, slog his/her way through grueling physical punishment.  But his/her agenda is a child's.  (What happens in a conflict between a Child Sorcerer, and the demon parent?)
  • Larval Demon - born with Power, but no Lore.  This kid is inhuman (no Humanity) and acts like it.  But has no understanding of what it is, nor any freaky powers.  Presumably there will be some incident that gives the demon Lore, the way a regular human might, and the demon comes into its heritage.  (This might work as a really screwed up coming-of-age puberty story...)

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on December 29, 2006, 07:15:57 AM
Oh, also: the half-breed child might also be a candidate for Humanity trading or capping, per Sorcerer & Sword, permitting a character who has more strength/determination/knowledge than she should based on her age.

Title: Re: [Sorc] Fancy-Pants Ritual Technicalities
Post by: James_Nostack on January 16, 2007, 06:20:21 AM
Clinton's Taint - Suggested by Clinton R. Nixon in this thread:

Essentially, if you know you're going to be losing lots of Humanity soon, go ahead and get yourself tainted by a demon.  The point of humanity lost to the taint will come back after a few hours/days/whatever.  It's been put in the bank, basically.  So, once that's safely locked up, go ahead and ram your character into the dirt, Humanity-wise, by doing all the stuff you've been too inhibited to do up til now.  To prevent this from being a completely bogus rules-dodge, it makes sense to play up the physical and moral consequences of the taint ability, which requires customization prior to use: hideous disfigurement, "opposite day" behavior, whatever: something upsetting and impossible to gloss over.

This suggests an NPC who only performs sorcery when tainted by his demon--but when the sorcery happens, it happens big.  And since the guy is likely to only have that one point of banked Humanity left when his sorcerous bender is over, he'll have to become saintly and good to earn back the Humanity.  Sort of a split-personality Jekyll & Hyde thing... What might he do if someone discovers his secret?