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Author Topic: Southern Fried System Comments  (Read 6131 times)
Tor Erickson

Posts: 134

« on: November 18, 2001, 05:09:00 PM »

Hi All,
There was another combat in our game on Saturday, and it turned out really nicely.  The scene basically involved Cole (a PC) accidentally insulting Junior, a big, mean, farmboy, with a chip on his shoulder, and then Junior running Cole down and beating him to the edge of unconsciousness with a branch before Cole's demon teleported him out of harm's way (to Junior's great consternation).  

This was particularly satisfying because it made total narrative sense and was achieved with no fudging whatsoever.  We had established Junior as huge and overbearing, thus the player didn't expect to beat him in a direct physical confrontation (though he did manage to get in a punch before going down, splitting Junior's lip).  Also, given the nature of the damage system in Sorcerer, I didn't have to gloss over the big hits that Cole was taking.  In fact, to the contrary, I was able to get down and dirty and let the players know exactly how much of a beating Cole was taking.  In a game where (frex) dropping to zero hit points means you pass out or die this wouldn't have been possible.  I would have had to lesson the impact of Junior's blows.  But given that I didn't have to worry about the possibility of Cole "accidentally dying" I was able to totally cut loose.

The whole scene, of course, is a great set-up for several potential future conflicts.  Now everybody wants to see the rematch where Cole is prepared and ready to bust out some role-playing bonuses.  Or, an even more satisfying prospect is the match-up of Junior vs. Charles Scrump, the party heavy witha Stamina of 6 and  a cover of "alligator hunter".  Whatever the outcome of such a match-up I know that every one of us is looking forward to it with great glee and anticipation.

The combat also raised some system questions, however.  For example, Cole's Stamina is 5, his will is 3.  He had taken four points of damage and wanted to command his demon, but following the rules his Will was at -1, and will stay that way until he takes some more damage and is allowed to make a will roll to use some dice.  Am I missing something here?

Also, say  I take damage prior to my action.  Does this force me to reroll, now with fewer dice than before, or do I somehow remove dice from my pool?

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2001, 07:00:00 PM »


Oh I love these questions.

"... Cole's Stamina is 5, his will is 3. He had taken four points of damage and wanted to command his demon, but following the rules his Will was at -1, and will stay that way until he takes some more damage and is allowed to make a will roll to use some dice. Am I missing something here?"

Nope! Having taken slight damage, the sorcerer must SUFFER those penalties without any means of removing them. Only if the penalties equal or exceed his Stamina, can he use the Will-roll-tactic to generate dice.

This rule is emphatically on purpose. Think cinematically and you'll see exactly what I mean.

"Also, say I take damage prior to my action. Does this force me to reroll, now with fewer dice than before, or do I somehow remove dice from my pool?"

Neither. It's much easier than that. Just ADD the new dice to the OPPONENT'S defensive roll.

Tor Erickson

Posts: 134

« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2001, 03:44:00 PM »

Hi y'all,

We had a couple of interesting system moments in the final act of Southern Fried Sorcerer on Saturday.  

Particularly, in the climactic scene I realized that I had a specific outcome in mind.  The life of a five-year old girl was in danger, and I couldn't imagine that the game would turn out any other way than that she would live (with the characters saving her).  Additionally, there was a particularly nasty possessor demon with ranged hop (this has to be one of the most wicked combinations in the genre, for many many reasons) that needed to be dealt with... somehow; but I wasn't sure how that was going to happen.

This scene involved a lot of dice-rolling.  First, Charles Scrump tried to kill the original host of the demon (a success).  Then the demon tried to take control of Charles (a success).  Then Marvin Harris tried to kill Charles with a shotgun (a failure).  Then Marvin tried to banish the demon on his own (a failure).  Then Charles tried to regain control of his body (a success, for one round).  Then Charles lost control again and started to choke the girl (a minor success).  Then Marvin tried to shoot Charles again (a success).  Then, as Charles lay bleeding on the ground, the girl finally safe, Charles and Marvin attempted a group sorcery to banish the demon (a success).  Then Charles died.

Every one of those actions involved dice rolls.  We didn't fudge a single one.  The overall result was one of the most dramatic scenes I have ever experienced in role-playing.  

We made particular use of the fortune-in-the-middle.  When Marvin tried to shoot Charles the first time he was rolling 5 dice vs. Charles's 1, but Charles rolled a 10 and beat Marvin.  Instead of saying "you miss from 10 feet away with your 12 gauge) I had the mother of the girl run forward and jump on Charles's back, causing Marvin to cancel the action all together.

The second time that Marvin tried to shoot Charles he got something like 4 successes point blank.  Which is a lot of damage.  Within the realm of the system, Charles was pretty much incapacitated but he he could still roll his Will to get dice to make the banishing attempt.  Which he did (successfully).

At some point in the scene both the players and I came to the same realization.  They had the power to determine the outcome.  If Marvin had persisted with his wishy-washy attempts to stop Charles (the banishing wasn't working; he also considered containing the demon, or he was going to beat Charles senseless) he might eventually have succeeded and saved Charles's life.  But by that point the girl would probably have been dead.  Charles's fingers were on her throat.  As Marvin was mincing about, trying to save everything (Charles, the girl, banish the demon) I realized that I wasn't going to hold back.  If Charles has rolled four success when he was choking the girl, she probably would have died.  The game would have had a very, very different outcome.  It would have meant a total failure for Charles in terms of his backstory, but it would have been an acceptable outcome.  I think about one round after I realize this, Marvin's player realized this as well.  This wasn't going to be a golden ending where the mighty hero made everything right.  He had to make some decisions, and the result of his decisions was going to matter.  I wasn't going to pull their asses out of the fire.

Anyone for three cheers for narrativist use of fortune mechanics?

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