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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] very basic issues with understanding Will & L  (Read 2579 times)
redwalker
Member

Posts: 54


« on: April 26, 2004, 01:06:50 PM »

I'm going through the Sorcerer book again, making a list of the equations that confuse me.

On the one hand, "Lore" applies to all kinds of demon interactions.  So if you see a demon and use your mighty Lore to suss it out, you can carry over those victories to directly connected actions applying to the demon.


However, when you're generating a character, there's no example of a high-Lore character, e.g. 2 Stamina, 4 Will, 4 Lore, being allowed to use the 4 Lore dice to roll first, then add those victories to her 4 Will dice to bind.  So we can assume that when doing the initial character generation, one must use only one stat -- Stamina, Will, or Lore -- nothing else.

My concern is that I'll gather (e.g.) three veteran gamers who are willing to cooperate in character creation.  One will sacrifice himself and be the 2 Stamina, 2 Will, 6 Lore ringleader. He may be down to 1 Humanity by the time he gets his initial demon bound, but he will have a huge Lore score to help the party.  He will be the effective ringleader.

Then the next character will take 2 Stamina, 7 Will, 1 Lore.  This character will be the persuader of the group -- probably physically attractive.  Her humanity will be no lower than 6, even if she botches her initial binding.  She can be used to take the Humanity risks for group contacting/summoning etc.

If there is a third character, he will undoubtedly take the "big bruiser" slot with 7 Stamina, 2 Will, 1 Lore.

The characters with relatively high Humanity will take the risks to Humanity by summoning the new demons, and the high-Lore ringleader will basically act like a living dice pool for the party.  

He would probably use his large Lore score to find a couple of medium-powered demons for the other two.  Those medium-powered demons might include "Boost Lore."

If he loses his remaining Humanity point and rolls up a new character early on, the story has been subverted by mechanics.  The two older characters have demons with "Boost Lore," so the player who  originally ran the "ringleader" can come back in with a new character, Lore 1 for maximum Humanity benefit.  The two older characters can use their "Boost Lore" demons to assist him with getting a couple of pet demons.

I presume this problem has arisen in previous playtest sessions.  Minimaxing is so typical of gaming that it *must* have arisen.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2004, 01:37:05 PM »

Sorcerer isn't just a "roll" up those PC's and game RPG's.

I find that 99%of my job, as a GM, is done during character generation.  I'd notice that my group was min-maxing their PC's.  I'd talk about our goals and how their stats being laid out would make up a good story.

Perhaps two of the PC's letting the third go to 0 Humanity is a great story, using him to get their own Lore Demon to decipher the arcane world with.

It might work great at the table, why fight it?

If the players want to be clever and break the system, well, they're going to do it.  As a GM, I can flat out say, "No," or I can shock the bastards and simply say, "Yes."

"But you know that we're going to use this one PC for his Lore and then when he's at 0 Humanity, throw him away?"

"Sounds like an interesting story of betrayal to me."

Give them rope and let them have fun hanging themselves.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2004, 02:28:27 PM »

Hi Red,

Min-maxing will not "break" the system in any fashion.  Remember, Sorcerer is not, not, NOT about how many dice the opposition is throwing at you, but a nasty moral question that the dice can't tell you what is right.

For example, if we take the classic, "Dragon raids the realm" sort of problem, and throw in, "If you kill the dragon, magic in the land dies and within 3 generations it will be a desolate wasteland."  Now the question is, do you kill the dragon and save the land, or let it burn, burn, burn everything away and come back until it rampages again in another century or two?  

The dice won't tell you that.

And if you're afraid of a "throw-away" character, remember, Humanity 0 also gives the GM the right to take control of the character, re-write them, and hand them back to the player.  

Imagine the surprise when the character comes back with 2 in every stat, a parasite demon that is designed to keep the character from dying in every sense(mucho Power), and the character fathered/mothered several half-breed demons who are seeking to drain his or her power.

Oops, there you go.  You have a conflict the character can't run from, the sort of action that many min-maxers were looking for to begin with, plus a little hardball for being a jerk.

But honestly, regardless of the play history of these folks, you shouldn't have to apply this sort of stuff during play, because that means people are missing the point entirely.  If the idea of a moral conflict doesn't click with your group, you might want to consider picking up a copy of Donjon or the 2 Page Action Movie game or something along those lines.  

Chris
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DannyK
Guest
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2004, 02:32:25 PM »

Also, Sorcerer doesn't have much of a "party" ethic -- there's no automatic assumption that Fragile Genius, Seductive Babe and Muscle Bound Boy are all going to be working together to fight the bad guys.  They could be antagonists, wary allies, or merely coexisting in the same millieu.  

I agree with Paka, it could be an interesting game, since the three of them have *very different* interests.  Also, depending on what happens when Fragile Genius goes to Humanity Zero, he could immediately become the other player's greatest enemy.  

Damn, I wish I had a reliable group to game with; I'd love to run a series of Sorcerer games, just testing different parameters.
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redwalker
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2004, 03:46:05 PM »

Quote from: DannyK
Also, Sorcerer doesn't have much of a "party" ethic -- there's no automatic assumption that Fragile Genius, Seductive Babe and Muscle Bound Boy are all going to be working together to fight the bad guys.  They could be antagonists, wary allies, or merely coexisting in the same millieu.  

I agree with Paka, it could be an interesting game, since the three of them have *very different* interests.  Also, depending on what happens when Fragile Genius goes to Humanity Zero, he could immediately become the other player's greatest enemy.  

Damn, I wish I had a reliable group to game with; I'd love to run a series of Sorcerer games, just testing different parameters.


I don't have a very reliable group at the moment;  certainly I can't rely on them to do nuanced play.  Which is why I'm posting theoretical questions instead of post-mortems on how the play went -- I haven't found a group of players with enough dramatic chops to play Sorcerer.

While the game is intended to assume that there isn't a party ethic, I think a lot of the role-players I could find would have a party ethic even if it were inappropriate to the setting -- which is just another factor in saying that the players to which I have access are not suitable for Sorcerer.


Actually, after I posted the question and walked away from the computer, I realized that my typical solution would be to say, "He's a NPC now -- and his *human* soul is dead -- but his body just got Stamina 10, Will 10, and a legion of demons possesing it.  And you let him stand behind you while you perform the ritual, so he's going to get a free attack as he stabs you in the back..."

Also, in terms of min-maxing, a simpler solution in standard Sorcerer terms is to have a character start with 2 Stamina, 7 Will, 1 Lore and Power 6 starter Demon with five powers, one of which is Boost Lore.  That way he gets a sizable boost to lore without having to resort to the help of other PCs.  

A high inherent Will and a boosted Lore is decent for a starting character, but Humanity checks provide a built-in safeguard against sudden acquisition of large numbers of demons.  Small demons are easy to control, but the numerous Bindings would require a lot of Humanity checks, so you can't necessarily have a large number of small demons.  Large demons deliver a lot of power for the Humanity checks, but are more troublesome if they get out of control.

And the biggest monkeywrench to minmaxing is that the GM can alter summoned demons unless the dice-rolls go perfectly for the player.  You could be desperately burning through Humanity points by summoning lots of demons, only to find that the most recently summoned demon doesn't have the power that you really need.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2004, 11:41:12 AM »

Just to be clear, you just can't do this in chargen. The PCs don't interact during chargen in any way. You decide on your starting demon, and you make your binding roll, no other rolls allowed before that. At least that's my understanding.

Meaning that what you propose can only happen in play. And if it does it'll be an interesting story. I mean, if one of the three players wants to knock themsleves out of the game, he must have a pretty good reason. What I'm saying is that once a character goes to zero humanity one simple option is that the player is just done with the game. Given that possibility the player will only do this if he thinks it's really cool to do it, and not just some min-max. Which will create meaning. Sure the PCs in play are now more powerful than they would be otherwise. But since there's no "standard" for power in Sorcerer, this is completely irrelevant.

So let 'em do all this nonsense. First, they won't do it. Second, even if they did it would still be fun. I'm not saying that Sorcerer can't be broken, but you don't need players with "chops" of any sort to play Sorcerer. It's actually way more accessible than the vast majority of games out there in terms of what happens once you're playing by the rules.

So just play, it'll work out fine. You're worried about nothing.

Mike
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Nev the Deranged
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Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2004, 06:45:45 PM »

Wow. Sounds like you're trying to play Sorcerer (a game with blatant Narrativist goals) with a purely Gamist group. The point of Sorcerer is not to have the badassest unstoppable party or the most effective stats. BUT- if that's the way they want to play, as others have said, let 'em.

From my recent porings over the tomes that are Sorcerer, there doesn't really seem to be anything a player can do to "break" the game besides being an outright obstructionist dickhead. If they want minmaxed scores, let 'em have minmaxed scores. Because Sorcerer is about the stories created by the characters' choices (and therefore the players' choices) as facilitated by the GM, your PCs should be able to have any combination of scores, powers, stats and dice they want, and still tell a dramatic tale. Which may or may not include getting their asses handed to them, or losing a character to death or zero-H, or whatever.

Sorcerer isn't about getting the good rolls and "beating" the GM. It doesn't even have to have a Big Bad villain for the characters to oppose. Not that there's anything wrong with Big Bads, but if that's what your players are preparing for during chargen, throw 'em for a loop by presenting them with something unexpected and different. Put them in situations where their cooperative scores are useless, or hell, give them a challenge that will make them push that cooperation to the breaking point. There are any number of possible ways to work with the players' conceptions of their characters, no matter what they put together.

I would respectfully suggest that in this regard the GMs role is more important than the players'... maybe you need to adjust your style to try to break them out of their Gamist habits? I dunno, just my 2c ^_^
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