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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Bailywolf on May 05, 2003, 10:34:18 AM



Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Bailywolf on May 05, 2003, 10:34:18 AM
As per Mike's suggestion, here is a thread to post difficult-to-stat demon concepts & solutions.  Here is one which has been niggling with me-

Need: Sorcerer's love and affection
Desire: Defend sorcerer AT ALL COSTS

Powers: an insonspicuous demon who lurks about with the singular desire to prevent harm from coming to his sorcerer- even if this would interfere with the sorcerer's life.  He can teleport the sorcerer, but only via a sort of sympathetic position reversal, swaping the sorcerer in space with the source of the danger it is trying to avoid.  

for example, if a sniper shoots at him, the demon could flip their locations- the sorcerer would be looking down the scope of a high powered rifle as the assissin catches the bullet.  In traffic, a car runs the red and plows into the sorcerer's car- but just before impact the demon flips the locations of the oher driver and the sorcerer so th driver is killed in the side impact and the sorcerer saved by the driver's air bag.  

Figure Perception for detecting danger, and travel to move the sorcerer about... but how to work the mechanics of the switchero within the ability structure?  Would the victim of this get the chance to resist so he doesn't keep shooting himself?  


-Ben


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 05, 2003, 10:41:23 AM
Ben,

I imagine you'll hear several ways to do this, but here's mine.

Stamina 5
Will 6
Lore 5
Power 6

Abilities
---------
Perception (danger to Binder) [user: demon]
Travel + Transport + Ranged [user: demon]
Fast [user: demon]

Mechanically, the demon rolls Perception first versus:
- an opponent's Stamina, Will, or Cover if someone is deliberately trying to hurt the sorcerer
- 1 die if the sorcerer is in danger from a non-deliberate source

If successful, the demon then rolls Fast (+ successes from Perception) versus:
- an opponent's Stamina if someone is deliberately trying to hurt the sorcerer
- 1 to 6 dice, determined by quickness of the damage, if the sorcerer is in danger from a non-deliberate source

If successful, the sorcerer switches places with the source of the damage. If the attack was deliberate, the target may get a Stamina vs. Stamina roll (both his own Stamina) to see if he hits himself (in the case of your sniper, from above).


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 05, 2003, 10:49:20 AM
I think you need Transport rather than Travel, or perhaps both, since the demon is moving things about, but that's a minor point.  I think Special Damage (perhaps both Leathal and Non-Leathal to be used depending on the circumstances) covers what you are looking for.  The idea is that the demon is basically "attacking" the otherwise unthreatened individual.

So, you make the attack roll as usual.  If the demon fails, no switching.  If the demon succeeds the switch happens as per the Transport Ability and the victim takes the damage according the Special Damage rules.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 05, 2003, 10:50:19 AM
Hi Ben,

Whoa, before going on:

Quote
Desire: Defend sorcerer AT ALL COSTS


What is it that makes Desire so difficult for people?

1. Desires are not actions or things. They are one-word principles.
2. They may be achieved, perceived, or experienced in a wide variety of ways; they are not limited to particular people, places, or things.

This demon's Desire doesn't have to have anything to do with its abilities. If it did, though, I'd put it at Mayhem.

2. Now for the demon abilities. You've already implied one important thing: that the demon ability or effect is not guaranteed to work, which makes life easier.

So ... yeah, Travel and Perception, no problem. I'd actually have two Perceptions - one for the actual application of the ability, one for the "set-up" perception of the danger in the first place. After that - Special Damage, Ranged. The idea is that whatever happens to the person who's the source of the damage is bad, so, it's Damage. All done. No need to model the damage that would have been done to the original target (the sorcerer) and convert it back in any way.

So, roll #1 is to perceive the danger comin' up, quite likely with some time lag. Roll #2 is the other perception, perhaps used as a modifier to the Travel in terms of Stamina or Power (the Travel requires no roll, but could use the extra speed/distance implied). Then whop, the Special Damage. Roll all victories into bonus dice for each step.

Ugly.

3. As far as defense goes, I'd set it as a typical attack - the attacker has the choice to abort to defense or eat it with a one-die roll. This would be interpreted somewhat differently than simply two guys trying to kill each other with shovels, being more customized to the attack and based more on metaphysics, but the mechanics would work the same.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 05, 2003, 10:51:17 AM
Hello,

Shoulda checked the preview. I endorse both Jesse's Transport and Clinton's Fast added into the structure.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 06, 2003, 01:17:59 PM
I suppose I should support this idea, as it was partly my fault.

OK, I want a demon that can swallow people whole against their wills, then regurgitate them later when they feel like it, thus making the demon a walking jail.

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 06, 2003, 01:26:44 PM
Hi Mike,

I'm thinking that the long-term engulf would be simply expressed by Stamina. It would be set up as a Hold (the grab/engulf), then the Hold wears off and you've still got to struggle against the Stamina. If you want people really encased in there, then perhaps a Psychic Blast could be incorporated as well to keep'em on ice a good long time. Perhaps some application of the Currency would be used to set the limits or various penalties to getting loose.

Until I know more about just what limitations you'd set (can you cut your way out, can the prisoners inside even move or think at all, etc), that's about where I get.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 06, 2003, 01:35:17 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
OK, I want a demon that can swallow people whole against their wills, then regurgitate them later when they feel like it, thus making the demon a walking jail.

I like this game!

Let's see, I think we're definately looking a version of the Hold ability.  The thing that's tripping me up is: "A single Hold does not prevent actions  besides shifting places, but a second Hold will prevent motions like shooting, hitting, or thrashing.  The third immobilizes the target completely."

So, maybe Fast (perhaps taken twice) would allow this ability to skip right the second or even third stage?

Oh and most definitely this requires Transport.

As for the regurgitation, I would suggest that that's just the demon reliquishing the effects of the Hold.

Can anyone add to this?

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 06, 2003, 01:35:29 PM
Hmm. I like the idea that you can cut yourself out. Maybe you can do so until you fall unconscious, which happens some time after being swallowed. After that, I suppose it's just Transport. That would take care of the long term duration.

Given what Jesse points out, maybe it's just Hold, Hold, Hold, Psychic Blast, and then Transport?

The Hero System designer in me wants the points back for the Linked effects. :-)

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 06, 2003, 01:43:23 PM
Link schmink! That was so friggin' broken ...

H'm, I see the sequence a little differently: a Hold attack first (grab with tongue), then a Psychic Blast (the engulf), then further Holds and kicking in with Transport. Monstrous victory-rolling, of course, which culminate in more Power for the Transport.

Oy. The really neat part is that the demon doesn't have to be all that high-Power.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 06, 2003, 01:58:33 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
H'm, I see the sequence a little differently: a Hold attack first (grab with tongue), then a Psychic Blast (the engulf), then further Holds and kicking in with Transport. Monstrous victory-rolling, of course, which culminate in more Power for the Transport.


I think I just had another lightbulb moment.  So, let's assume the demon in question has a Power of 4 (minimum for the abilities listed above).  And it wants to swallow down some burly dude with a Stamina of 6.

Transport says, "...the passengers' combined Stamina must not exceed the demon's Power."

What I think you're saying is that.  I can roll the Hold victories over to the Psychic Forces (although I'm having trouble seeing why this ability is relevant) and then roll those victories over to perhaps another Hold and then... and here's the part that surprised me... have THOSE victories add on to the Demon's Power for purposes of calculating the Transport limit?

I didn't realize you could roll victories over to something that doesn't require a roll and is just a static limiting factor.  Very interesting...

That means all those funky "in world" limitations I was complaining about in that other thread where time and space are concretely measured as a factor of Power aren't as fixed as I thought they were.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 06, 2003, 02:11:57 PM
Hi Jesse,

Here's why I like the Psychic Force part - you basically are knocking the person's effective dice way down, so they, well, get engulfed and can't do much about it at the moment. If I'm reading Mike's intent right, the fun part isn't about "do I or don't I get engulfed," it's "oh shit, he's engulfed, when is the demon going to let him out?" So I'm just hammering the target with a lot of penalties, is all.

You wrote,

Quote
didn't realize you could roll victories over to something that doesn't require a roll and is just a static limiting factor. Very interesting...

That means all those funky "in world" limitations I was complaining about in that other thread where time and space are concretely measured as a factor of Power aren't as fixed as I thought they were.


This is me, doing hosannas. Rule of Currency! One die = one victory = one bonus = one penalty = one score value. Always! It means that you can always convert these things into one another, across any in-game categories or rules-chunk that you want.

I don't suppose anyone has noticed that, therefore, you could convert victories based on commanding the demon straight onto the demon's Power? The multitudes respond: We can? Me: "And I say unto you, brethren, you can! Say it now, all together ... We ... Can!!"

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Valamir on May 06, 2003, 04:55:20 PM
Too sweet.

Sounds like a great sidebar for the 2nd edition :-)


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 07, 2003, 01:07:19 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Rule of Currency! One die = one victory = one bonus = one penalty = one score value. Always! It means that you can always convert these things into one another, across any in-game categories or rules-chunk that you want.


Hey, I don't think that last link in the chain is in the book (don't have a copy on hand). Sure, it's obvious that I can add that success to a Power roll, but a Power stat for the purpose of employing a Power? I wouldn't even have gotten that. I can see extrapolating that from the rules, but you have to admit that it's not obvious.

So I'm glad it's out here so I can use it in my upcoming games.

You sure that doesn't have any problems with it?

Mike

P.S. Link is only broke in earlier editions. See Fifth for a truely beautiful treatise on how combined powers work. I was astounded at how cool it was when I read it. One of the great improvements of the edition.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 07, 2003, 01:22:15 PM
Hi Mike,

Equals signs work in both directions.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Valamir on May 07, 2003, 02:31:34 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes

Hey, I don't think that last link in the chain is in the book (don't have a copy on hand).


Sure enough...it is.  In fact its the very first link  

1 score point = 1 die = 1 victory.  Damn.   I never would have got that either.  

One day Ron will rewrite the rules using a bigger hammer for the benefit of the rest of us ;-)


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ben Morgan on May 07, 2003, 02:36:40 PM
Regarding Need vs. Desire:

A demon with a Need to "protect the sorcerer at all costs" would be pretty nasty, considering it's the sorcerer that's responsible for fulfilling the Need. You'd have to actively get yourself in stupid, dangerous situations in order to keep the demon happy. On top of that, "at all costs" can be interpreted in a variety of really screwed up ways. This, I think, is where Desire can come into play, as well as a dysfunctional relationship and a jealous nature. After all, someone has to take that bullet that just missed you, why not your girlfriend? You know, sometimes, there just isn't enough time to ask someone to choose who lives and who dies. But then again, sometimes... there is. Eeeeevil.

I so want to play this game, dammit.

-- Ben


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 07, 2003, 09:04:19 PM
You know, I think I noticed the Score Point entry on the first read of the text, but have been dismissing it since then (now that I've had time to actually re-read it). I think that I thought that it was broken. I still sorta do. That is, the equivalence seemed to me to mean that if you have a Score of Will 3 that on a Will roll that you can just take 3 successes.

I mean they're not really equal at all, but transferable through the mechanism of the roll (statistically your likely to get about a quarter of a success on average for each die; so they're each "equal" to some fraction of each other). I see it all now. But I've been confused about it up until this point.

Ya learn something new every day. :-)

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2003, 05:20:17 AM
Hi there,

Ben wrote,

Quote
A demon with a Need to "protect the sorcerer at all costs" would be pretty nasty, considering it's the sorcerer that's responsible for fulfilling the Need. You'd have to actively get yourself in stupid, dangerous situations in order to keep the demon happy.


One of the example demons in the book - Ruatt, I believe - is built on this principle.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Valamir on May 08, 2003, 05:50:40 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes

I mean they're not really equal at all, but transferable through the mechanism of the roll (statistically your likely to get about a quarter of a success on average for each die; so they're each "equal" to some fraction of each other). I see it all now. But I've been confused about it up until this point.

Ya learn something new every day. :-)

Mike


Which begins to open up all kinds of interesting possibilities for making rolls and then dumping your successes into your Will for purposes of making Will rolls to shrug off damage.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 08, 2003, 06:20:03 AM
Quote from: Valamir
Which begins to open up all kinds of interesting possibilities for making rolls and then dumping your successes into your Will for purposes of making Will rolls to shrug off damage.


See, that I would have done previously. That's a Roll, not a boost to a Score (pun intended, and quite significant). See, if you add to a roll, you only get a fractional return. If you add to a Score you get a full return if that Score isn't rolled. That's what threw me about the example in particular. If the demon's abilities were based on rolling a Power die roll, then it would have seemed natural to me. But they're not, they're based on a flat bonus.

If one thinks of, say, a demon ability like Boost as being rolled against a difficulty of Zero, and thus getting all successes every time, then it's all one system (and the rules as written are just a shortcut).

Now, there's no actual imbalance that I can see. It's just not symetrical, which was implied by the equivalence thing. Hence the fact that I had dismissed it. Now that I'm seeing it in it's complete form, I really like it.

No surprise that it turns out that Synthesis is just a more fomalized version of the exact same system (every die is turned into it's own "score" even if only temporarily). Turns out I was trying to fix something that wasn't broken to begin with.

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Valamir on May 08, 2003, 06:36:31 AM
I can see that.  In the spirit of unified rules consistancy the power shouldn't be written to say that it works for "the demon's Power in minutes".  Instead it should say "roll the Demons Power vs. something with successes being the number of minutes the power lasts".

That would eliminate the "exchange rate" difference in the currency equation.

Note:  "Should" and "shouldn't" in the above should be taken in the context of an example on how the exchange rate would be unified...not as an indicator of the game's design choices.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2003, 07:29:53 AM
Hello,

I tried at the time to choose pretty carefully among the abilities between (a) rolling the Power score and (b) using the Power score as such as a quantitative in-game thing. Dunno how well it worked, but yeah, I was in tune with the issues being discussed. As I've said before, my first thoughts re: RPG Theory were all about currency, not goals (I was a naive Narrativist who thought everyone else was obviously psycho), and at least this element of Sorcerer expressed pretty well what I wanted to do.

About time for trying out another weird/hard demon, yes? What would you make of ...

... a demon whose primary in-game effect was to smooth over all the little hassles of life? If you drive somewhere, no traffic problem. If you need to get a flight, you do. No bills logistics troubles, no tax audits, never having to wonder whether you have the correct change.

A big part of the concept is that it doesn't produce money or anything - the person lives a very normal life. They just never, or rarely, get stressed about managing the daily details.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 08, 2003, 07:40:31 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

About time for trying out another weird/hard demon, yes? What would you make of ...

... a demon whose primary in-game effect was to smooth over all the little hassles of life? If you drive somewhere, no traffic problem. If you need to get a flight, you do. No bills logistics troubles, no tax audits, never having to wonder whether you have the correct change.

A big part of the concept is that it doesn't produce money or anything - the person lives a very normal life. They just never, or rarely, get stressed about managing the daily details.


This one's too easy:
Stamina 3
Will 6
Lore 1
Power 6

Abilities:
Psychic Force (user: demon, used on people that would confront the sorcerer about petty problems)
Psychic Force (user: demon, used on the sorcerer whenever he gets stressed out.)

I wrote Psychic Force twice just to show the two uses. The demon pulls the Jedi Mind Trick on most everyone with the first use of Psychic Force.

The second's for when the ol' JMT doesn't work. In order to prevent the sorcerer from getting worked up, the demon just zaps him.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Bankuei on May 08, 2003, 08:03:12 AM
Hey Clinton,

Would it at all help to add:

Perception-Hassles(stop it before it happens)

Cloak-Allows the demon to run around and make small things happen without people noticing(oh, look she dropped her purse, you step right in line before her!)

Daze/Confuse-used in conjunction with Cloak?

Chris


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 08, 2003, 08:07:46 AM
Maybe Warp to make those bill problems and tax audits disappear in the computers? Along with Perception again to make it work.

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Bailywolf on May 08, 2003, 12:03:00 PM
Could it be as simple as...


Cover (confers to sorcerer)- Lucky Guy

With massive Power, this ability can be used in place of the sorcerer's normal score for just about any given task so long as luck plays a fair roll in its success or fialure, or it doesn't require any kind of real skill (like surgery)...  

And a wierd wierd form of Travel & transport

Path of Least Resistance: user moves throug normal life through the easiest path possible.  Never hassled, never bothered, and never having to worry about little things- subway fare, enuogh cash for the tip, a condom in your drawer when you need one, one last beer in the fridge when you get tired.  The demon steers the sorcerer- via a wierd sense of cosmic interelatedness and corespondences- between the flaps of the butterfly's wings which lead to trouble.

The good thing- no hassle.  The bad thing- you're going to loose your edge...seriously.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 08, 2003, 12:22:18 PM
I think that's stretching Cover beyond it's mechanical intention. I mean, I don't want to propose a man-eating demon, and get:

Cover - Guy with Man-Eating Demon.

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2003, 12:42:34 PM
Hi there,

I was thinking along the lines of Travel (through/past barriers, just making that lane-change in time, maybe stretching actual Time one way or another; Fast might work here too), Warp (for when you use the wrong key, for instance), and Daze/Confuse in some combination. Clinton's notion about the Psychic Force is a good one; I'd never thought of it as a stress-reliever, but when you consider its only mechanical effect simply to be penalties, that works. Cloak, certainly, although since the demon's best defined as Inconspicuous it's already got one of its own, so it would confer to the sorcerer (very handy ability). And yes, Perception in one or more forms to make a variety of the other abilities work better.

That Cover's definitely a bit out of the bounds, though ... Cover's a matter of subcultural semiotics more than anything else, as well as associated skills.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Zamiel on May 08, 2003, 12:53:14 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Cloak, certainly, although since the demon's best defined as Inconspicuous it's already got one of its own,

While we're talking about Inconspicuous Cloak, I'd like to note the book is ambiguous.  Does it literally get the Ability Cloak for free (ie. it doesn't increase the Demon's Power/Lore), or does it pay for it the same as all others its just automatically got to go on the sheet, or (third option that just occured to me) is it an assumed, "free" lesser Cloak that only applies to the Demon when its being, well, Inconspicuous (since it becomes visible when it takes an active interaction and doesn't retain the perception affect?


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2003, 12:54:15 PM
Hi Zamiel,

What a wonderful example of answering your own question! Your third option is correct.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Zamiel on May 08, 2003, 01:08:21 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
What a wonderful example of answering your own question! Your third option is correct.

There are times that being able to envision too many options is a hinderance, Ron.  :)

That said, this implies that an Inconspicuous can take a Cloak to remain invisible (somewhat) while acting, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.Rather nice for modelling those poltergeists ... its just a Demon grabbing things and waving them around without being seen.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 09, 2003, 06:03:53 AM
H'm,

I consider all Cloaks, of any kind, to be dropped when the demon takes "obvious" action.

The poltergeist activity example, in my mind, is itself a dropped Cloak, as the presence of the demon as an "ack! something's here!" entity is being made apparent.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 09, 2003, 07:30:00 AM
Hmmm. So to be clear, the mechanical effect is that you can target a "decloaked" demon, even if the "special effect"* is that he remains invisible at all times? The cause of "decloaking" in this case being that things moving?

*For those unaware, this is a Hero System term meaning "what the power looks like".

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 09, 2003, 07:42:57 AM
Hi Mike,

Yep. That's why (which I'm sure a fellow Hero System veteran understands) the concept that "but I'm invisible so you can't attack me" is meaningless in a game of this sort.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 09, 2003, 08:48:56 AM
Gotta keep this rolling.

I want a demon that can make me a rock star. Not just make me capable of being a rock star (Cover), but actually make me be a rock star with all the attendant glory. Doesn't have to be instant, but it does have to be, "overnight", if you catch my drift.

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Fabrice G. on May 09, 2003, 09:09:38 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Not just make me capable of being a rock star (Cover), but actually make me be a rock star with all the attendant glory.


Hi Mike,

I maybe going the easier route, so...

If I read the Cover's definition right, it's not only about skills and potential. It encompasses the contacts, the style of life and the glory too. So, IMO, with Cover : Rockstar at 7-8 dice, you ARE a rockstar, and not only potentially one. That of course does not explain HOW you're becoming a rockstar in-game, that's the "special effect" that need to be dealt with by the group.

Then again, I may be lazzy and going the easy way out.

Fabrice.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 09, 2003, 09:19:46 AM
Curse me and my litteral reading of the rules: "Cover.  The user is proficient at an yskills associated with a given profession or social status, using dice qual to the demon's Power."

So, no, fame and glory don't come with Cover, although the skills to HANDLE fame and glory do.

It seems to me that this is another use of Psychic Forces to slap on penalties to an audience, record produces, whatever to make them easilly swayed.  Add in Travel and Transport to move people around so that everyone is in just the right place at just the right time.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Fabrice G. on May 09, 2003, 09:34:32 AM
Okay Jesse,

then I curse you and your litteral reading...  ;)

I was going by the definition given for the Cover attribute:

"The character should own and have acces to anything reasonable that people who make their living doing whatever his or her Cover his.
Cover is an extremely inclusive term. It is used for all nuances of a given background, lifestyle, or profession, including any physical, social, or intellectual elements." (p.31)

My mistake was that I thought that the cover ability gave the appropriate Cover (attribute) to the character... my bad.

Fabrice.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 09, 2003, 10:34:09 AM
My money's with Fabrice, based on exactly the text he quoted.

However, all that says for Mike's demon concept is the minimum ability for the demon. What other abilities could be involved? Jesse's suggestions work fine - essentially a re-tread of my "easy life" demon, slanted toward making the perfect entrance and so on - but what else might?

Oh, that brings up one more thing - everyone understands that Boost Cover is absurd, right? It weakens the demon and only lasts for an action or two. Far better to take the Cover ability and have it confer to the sorcerer, which is not so limited.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 09, 2003, 10:42:04 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
My money's with Fabrice, based on exactly the text he quoted.


Huh, my reading was that was how the Cover Score and the Cover Ability differed.  If my Cover Score is Rockstar, then yeah, fame, glory the works.  If, however, my Cover Score is Bookstore Clerk and I summon a Demon to "make me a rockstar" then via the Cover Ability I gain the TALENT for being a rockstar but then I must put that talent to use to actually GET the fame and glory, perhaps aided by other demonic abilities.

I suppose either reading works.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 09, 2003, 11:29:23 AM
I've got a new demon.  Have you ever seen the one act play Sure Thing by David Ives?  It's usually perfromed as part of a collection of one acts called All In The Timing.

There are only two characters in the play a man and a woman who have a chance meeting in a cafe.  It's clear that the guy is interested in the woman and he's trying to get her interested in him.  Everytime the conversation goes wrong a bell rings and the scene starts over at the last point just before the mistake was made.

Here's the key: It goes both ways.  Sometimes, the guy just makes a mistake and the coversation rewinds.  But sometimes the woman simply gives an answer he doesn't like, the bell goes off, he asks the same question and she gives a different answer, the bell keeps going off until either he says the right thing or she gives the answer he's looking for:

Examples:

Guy looking for the right answer:

Woman: "What's your politics?"

Guy: "Straight down the ticket republican."

Ding!

Guy: "Straight down the ticket democrat."

Ding!

Guy: "I'm an independent."

Ding!

Guy: "Actually, I try to stay out of politics."

The Woman Altering Her Reactions:

Guy: "Are you seeing anyone?"

Woman: "Yes, and there he is now!"

Ding!

Woman: "Yes, and there she is now!"

Ding!

Woman: "No, actually I'm not."

I want a demon that can do this for me.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Rod Anderson on May 09, 2003, 11:53:05 AM
Jesse,

Cover: Suave Guy, with the special effect that you're actually fucking up, and then going back and starting over? I mean, assuming that the Demon's only function is to help its master get play.


Rod


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 09, 2003, 12:14:34 PM
Rod,

Interesting idea but I was really focusing on the ability to rewrite small parts of reality.  I don't think of this demon granting the ability to, say, go back in time to yesterday but rather to alter facts that revealed, in a given scene.

Consider this scene.

Sorcerer: "Ah, Mrs Robinson, how is your husband."

Woman: "Ah, last week, he got a promotion."

Ding!

Woman: "Oh, I'm affraid he passed away last week."

But as soon as the Sorcerer let's the fact stand the demon can't alter it.  Hell, what the fact gets changed to may be random or determined by the demon so the Sorcerer has to kind of decide to let this fact stand NOW, or let it pass and hope he gets something better.

That limitation is probably just that, a limitation, and doesn't need to be represented by the ability itself.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Rod Anderson on May 09, 2003, 01:08:36 PM
"Small parts of reality" according to whom, Jesse? Not the guy who, instead of getting a promotion, dropped dead!

My call, according to your stipulations, is that  the Demon has Travel: Slightly Different Recent Past, along with Transport.


Rod


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 09, 2003, 01:47:29 PM
Quote from: Rod Anderson
"Small parts of reality" according to whom, Jesse? Not the guy who, instead of getting a promotion, dropped dead!


Heh, I guess that was a little cold.  I was actually very much thinking about being an author and the whole "No Myth" conversation.  So, on a metagame level I was thinking about an ability that basically allows the player's demon to over-ride whatever fact was last entered into the transcript of play and replace it with something else.  It's just that the very act of replacement also becomes part of the transcript.

But, yeah, from an in-world perspective that's pretty big deal, probably akin to major time traval and maybe shouldn't be allowed.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Rod Anderson on May 09, 2003, 02:06:31 PM
I don't necessarily know that it shouldn't be allowed -- I just thought it was funny that the focus went from making time with girls to power over life and death!

Rod


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Michael S. Miller on May 12, 2003, 02:57:33 AM
Quote from: jburneko
But, yeah, from an in-world perspective that's pretty big deal, probably akin to major time traval and maybe shouldn't be allowed.


Maybe it doesn't fit in Sorcerer... I mean, when the Sorcerer's new Demon says "I'll serve you in exchange for a steady diet of virgins" can the first Demon simply DING! "I'll serve in exchanger for a steady diet of ice cream"?

However, this is such a strong idea I think it deserves its own game. A game where the GM and the players barter back and forth as to what is real and what is not. If the DINGs become a finite resource, then picking and choosing what facts you edit becomes the heart of play. Very cool.


Title: Demons
Post by: Nev the Deranged on May 13, 2003, 01:58:28 PM
<chuckle>  And the demon's name would be... Groundhog, right?  =P

 Alright, I have a couple of toughies I've been giving thought to, one based on a character in a story of mine and another based on a cool idea I had for a character in Sorcerer.  They are kind of similar in some ways but not completely.

 First the easier one.  I want a demon that will create a Warp field around my body at will.  This would allow me to step through walls, for instance; have any objects that might strike me (bullets, crowbars, runaway vehicles, falling I beams) simply bend themselves around me until I am out of harm's way.  I would be able to put my hand through any surface (including, say, the chest of that thug who's trying to intimidate me) and have the material of whatever it was simply warp away from my hand.  I'm envisioning cool things like simply dropping through the floor to escape from something, being unaffected by explosions, all that sort of thing.  

 Now, I know Warped objects revert to normal after a while, but I wonder about the affect on organic matter, like people, trees, animals, etc.  So maybe Warp isn't the best way to go, but it's what inspired me to think of the character.  And yes, I'm aware that this comes off as a "character with super powers", I would throw in balancing penalties, need, desire, etc... I just want to figure out how to get the power(s) as I envision them.


 Number two is actually a half-demon guy himself, who is living a relatively mundane life as a manager at a hardware store.  He's always been really good at untangling things, string, extension cords, xmas lights, etc... Unbeknownst to him this stems from the fact that he is the prophecied "Unweaver", a being with the power to unravel the threads of creation, thereby "unweaving" anything.  Obviously this power is a potential threat to all Reality, and his life quickly becomes hellish as various "do gooders" attempt to neutralize him... unfortunately forcing him to learn to use his power for increasingly questionable things as he tries to stay alive... will he become the evil force everyone is afraid he represents?  Who knows?  But how do I get this power to work?  I envision it as being able to touch something and having it simply "unravel" from reality... it's hard to describe, really.  I suppose you could look at it as an ability to break things down at any level from the mechanical (touch the car and everything falls off the chassis) down to the subatomic (touch the car and it simply unravels and ceases to exist) as he becomes more proficient with the ability.

 Ideas?


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 13, 2003, 02:19:26 PM
Hi there,

Your #1 can't be done with Warp alone. You'd have to have Travel, Armor, probably at least one form of Perception, and Special Damage in addition to Warp. Technically, when you "warped the floor" (in in-game terms) you'd be using Travel (in mechanics-terms). In the game-world, they look alike, but the mechanics (dice, numbers) would differ greatly.

(detail: Warp cannot affect living tissue)

All this is classic Champions-thinking: if you want your fire-ability to melt bullets as they hit you, then buy Armor (which, as a label, means nothing).

As for #2, based on your description (which is a mite vague), I'd say both lethal and non-lethal Special Damage, possibly Warp (for more minor uses), and Perception (for that sub-atomic thing).

Best,
Ron


Title: Hm.
Post by: Nev the Deranged on May 13, 2003, 07:29:37 PM
Well, #1 was based on ideas about creative uses for Warp.  I figured Warp alone wouldn't be enough.  And you suggested Armor before for the bullets thing, but Armor only reduces them to Fist attacks, which isn't the same thing.

 Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be twinkish here, I'm just aiming for a very specific power scheme, and trying to represent it accurately in game mechanics.  It's true this character would be incredibly powerful, but I envision him being part of a high power setting, something akin to, say, Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure or along those lines (which would be a cool Sorcerer setting on it's own, with the exception that Stands don't seem to have free will).

 #2 was actually conceived long before I ran across Sorcerer, so describing his abilities in Sorcerer terms is kind of hard.  I suppose Special Lethal Damage, Special Damage, etc. might cover it.  

 I have to admit, my thinking is geared more towards taking a specific "special effect" and thinking of creative ways to use it (I'd make a great anime hero, since so many of them seem to have that as their primary skill, IE "how to I take this very effective but very limited power and defeat the entire army of badguys who are way more powerful" kind of thing) than to taking "mechanic templates" and assigning special effects to them.  

 Which is funny, because the last game I ran (for 4 months straight no less) was built firmly on my players doing exactly that- taking a list of (almost 100) "Traits" and assigning whatever descriptions or visual effects to the mechanics they wanted... you'd think I'd have gotten good at it, and when I'm doing the creating I guess I am...

 I don't know why, but for some reason, the more Sorcerer excites me, the more stupid I seem to get about how it works... <shrug>

 Aaaanyway... thanks for the suggestions.   I had another creepy sort of daydream/hyperkinetic fit today in which I envisioned a creature I can only describe as a "homonculous", a humanoid shape with no features (sort of like if a thin but very fit man had his face bashed in and then was covered entirely in a skintight leotard).  The thing was the "pet"/construct/familiar of some very powerful wizard... I'm not sure if there was more than one, I got the feeling there was usually just one but sometimes more.  The being(s) didn't have individual personalities, names, or features.  They weren't very intelligent in some ways, and could only be given simple commands; but were amazingly ingenious problem solvers- once given a task, no matter how seemingly impossible, they would find a way to accomplish it.  The wizard guy assigned his to guard his daughter when he went away somewhere for some reason.  The creature behaved very animalistically, sometimes like a cat, sometimes like a dog, sometimes like a monkey, sometimes like a frog... and sometimes like nothing recognizeable.  It could make noises, mewlings, growls, etc.  And it could manifest appropriate  features for a short time, nostrils to smell with, teeth to gnash, claws to fight, etc... never eyes though.  Of course it's senses were all amazingly keen regardless of it's current features, it was inhumanly fast, strong and resilient; and because of it's subtly malleable structure (which is what allowed it to move like all those animals, all of which move differently and have different limb and join structures), it was amazingly agile.  The thing I became (don't ask) intrigued and disturbed me, for various reasons; but I really liked it.  I know I haven't really posed a question here, and I guess I don't have one... sometimes these things won't let go of me until I get them out of my system, y'know?  I don't know... I'm tired... need sleep... goodnight.


Title: Re: Hm.
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 14, 2003, 11:08:00 AM
Quote from: Nev the Deranged
Well, #1 was based on ideas about creative uses for Warp.  I figured Warp alone wouldn't be enough.  And you suggested Armor before for the bullets thing, but Armor only reduces them to Fist attacks, which isn't the same thing.


Sure it is. The temporary dice lost to the fist damage represent the character being distracted by the effect of the bullets melting around him. Or, if you want a direct in-game reasoning, he's slowed kinetically as the material passes through the field. Or it represents concentration. A lot of things it can represent.

If this isn't enough, then also take Vitality to represent getting those dice back more quickly.

No, there is no way in Sorcerer to totally negate damage. Anything that would do this has to be explained as the penalties being something else, or it's just not in the bounds of the game.

Nobody said you can do everything with the system. It intentionally disallows some things. Just as in Hero System where there's no ability to just be "Impervious".

Mike


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 15, 2003, 01:13:58 PM
I want a demon that can make a place stink so bad that everybody flees.

Mike


Title: Stink bomb demon
Post by: Trevis Martin on May 15, 2003, 07:12:56 PM
Heh...

Special damage non-lethal (gas)
Perception: enhanced smell conferred on target

I like it...

Trevis


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 16, 2003, 05:52:39 AM
Hi there,

I'd say Trevis hit it on the nose (whoop! whoop!), but I have a comment on Mike's description of the ability - it's described in terms of what other characters decide to do in its presence. That's not kosher in Sorc rules. The demon power or effect should be understood in Bang terms, not "what must happen" terms.

Interestingly, that strikes me as precisely the difference between classic RPG mind control and the various approximations thereof in Sorcerer.

Best,
Ron


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 16, 2003, 07:17:22 AM
How are they going to learn if you keep giving all the answers, Ron.

How about this: can people come up with powers that the rules don't allow for other reasons.

Mike


Title: Re: Hm.
Post by: Nev the Deranged on May 16, 2003, 02:34:17 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes

Sure it is. The temporary dice lost to the fist damage represent the character being distracted by the effect of the bullets melting around him. Or, if you want a direct in-game reasoning, he's slowed kinetically as the material passes through the field. Or it represents concentration. A lot of things it can represent.
...
No, there is no way in Sorcerer to totally negate damage. Anything that would do this has to be explained as the penalties being something else, or it's just not in the bounds of the game.
Mike


 I pretty much realized this as I was thinking over the mechanical effects of damage, which are handled somewhat unusually, the "stun" (temporary) damage being a regular mechanic instead of a special one.  So I guess it's not such a different thing from what I was proposing.  

 Basically I need to play before I open my yap about the game... holding my breath for the weekend >.<;;;


Title: Jonathan
Post by: Nev the Deranged on May 18, 2003, 05:45:46 AM
Alright, here's a fairly easy(?) one.  

 Jonathan (aka the Minotaur), has an object demon called the Labrys.  It has the power to Open and Close (Or Lock and Unlock if you want to look at it that way).  Anything with a lock or aperture or portal or gateway or door or whatever, no matter how large or small, simple or complex, no matter what would normally be required; the Labrys can open/unlock and close/lock ANY door, period.


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 19, 2003, 06:06:26 AM
Hi Dave,

I think it's the "any" part which isn't supported by Sorcerer rules. There's always an opposing roll if a conflict is involved.

The quick answer to this ability is Warp + Perception, or probably several Perceptions. I might even imagine a very abstract Special Damage that could be factored in for purposes of "overcoming" various possible safeguards or other demon abilities that are involved.

Best,
Ron


Title: riiight
Post by: Nev the Deranged on May 19, 2003, 02:11:52 PM
So, Special Damage, Warp, Perception(s), and a high enough Power would be enough to ensure a sufficiently high probability of success... that's good enough for Sorcerer use.

 To be fair, I am throwing out ideas based on existing characters from my own stories and games, so I understand if the Sorcerer rules framework doesn't support all of them.  As you've no doubt noticed (and I think I said it before), a lot of my character concepts are focused on a very limited range of power- but extremely high potency (if not ultimate potency) within that area.  Obviously not all game systems are going to support such lopsided character design.

 For the record, not all my characters are like that, but the ones that seem to lend themselves to demonic powers a la Sorcerer tend to be.

 Here's the next one, which has been somewhat covered before, I think:

 Void Epsilon, a demon that absorbs the essence of a being and incorporates it into itself.  It's physical form takes on some of the characteristics of the absorbed being, as do it's personality, memory, etc.  It's sort of like a doppelganger that never manages to make a complete copy, and instead just grafts a part of the target onto itself, both physically and mentally.  It CAN take the form, temporarily, of any being it has absorbed in the past, but it can't hold the form for more than a few hours without reverting to it's "base" form for at least an hour, or it risks being frozen into the assumed form, the risk increasing over time.  Like I said, it's most like a classic shapeshifter that is just not very good at it's ability.  Oh yeah, the absorbed beings are harmed by the absorption process, but it isn't always fatal.  The mechanics and limitations of the above can be worked out to taste.
 
 Oh, and Ron?  Call me Nev.  I never go by my given name online. =>


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: jburneko on May 19, 2003, 03:17:02 PM
I think we're looking at Special Non-Leathal Damage and Hold with those victories being rolled over for a Transport.  We finish the whole thing up with Shapeshift and perhaps Cover.

Jesse


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ben Morgan on May 19, 2003, 07:22:54 PM
Regarding small parts of reality:

Remember that Sorcerer was designed with a narrativist mindset in mind (no pun intended). The story isn't about the guy that got the promotion/dropped dead, it's about the PCs. As far as the PC (both as a protagonist in a story, and especially as a person as driven and self-centered as a sorcerer) is concerned, it is a minor detail. I think of it as being along the same lines as a child who believes that they are the only real person, and everyone else is a figment of their imagination.

-- Ben


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 20, 2003, 07:14:04 PM
Well said, Ben. The rules can make anything trivial except the conflicts that are important to the player.

In Charnel Gods I wouldn't bother rolling to kill most mortals. It's just not part of the question. Whether or not this will make you inhuman, now that's a question to be answered.

In Sorcerer & Space, I've made this a rule for certain situations. Wanna kill someone insignificant? OK, they're dead.

Mike


Title: Next up
Post by: Nev the Deranged on May 21, 2003, 04:50:31 PM
Alright... I had a few more from the same set as the last, but they were sort of variations on a theme... eh.  boring.

 So, how about a curve ball...

 I want a demon that has the power to... hmm.. well, sort of the opposite of the unweaving thing I guess.  Like binding things together at the molecular level...  I guess examples would be easier to follow:

 Say, you're falling, and the only thing to grab on to is a crappy, worn, fraying rope that probably wouldn't hold twenty pounds, let alone a human being already in mid fall.  The demon touches it... and voila- it holds.  The same thing would work for a vine that was too fragile to hold human weight.

 Or you're holding a door closed against a bunch of acolytes with swords... they're hacking at the door, ramming into it with their shoulders, etc... no way it should stand up to that kind of punishment... but somehow it does.

 The same power could, say, hold a tire together after it had been driven over a broken bottle, or make a rotting tree branch hold together when you're using it to fend off an attacker, that sort of thing.  

 The boosting type powers seem only to work on beings, but maybe they apply to inanimates too?


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Michael S. Miller on May 22, 2003, 03:09:38 AM
Hi, Nev.

I don't have the book at hand at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that the description of Warp has something about "if you want to make something stronger, the Boost ability is also required." If I recall correctly, that is...


Title: Name That Demon- building difficult demons
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 22, 2003, 07:40:58 AM
Hi there,

Michael's right. I'd build this ability as Warp, Boost Stamina, and probably Fast as well just for a little edge in getting the job done in a pre-emptive-to-disaster fashion.

Best,
Ron