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Author Topic: Some ideas for feedback  (Read 1792 times)
Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« on: May 20, 2004, 06:34:13 PM »

Everybody's been talking about how Descriptors really contribute to setting. Dammit. Now I don't feel right about just using the standard Descriptors from the book for my game. Thanks a lot, guys =P

So... I could use some advice. Since most of my players (and myself) will be coming right off a CoC game, I intend to use a Lovecraftish setting. I say Lovecraftish, because I haven't read enough of the source material, nor have I played the CoC game (except for the upcoming one which we will all be coming off of), to really call it full on Lovecraftian.

Basically I plan on using the "Training Run" setup from the first book, with the big hungry house and all that jazz. I'm changing some details of course. As for setting, well... here's what I've got so far:

What is Humanity?
    In this session, Humanity is defined as Sanity- your character's grip on reality and reason. Your character's actions are in no way restricted by their current Sanity score, (as outlined in section 4.1 of the Quick Reference.) In this setting, a character at Sanity 0 has been consumed by madness and can no longer relate to human motives, goals or ideals. It may be possible to save them- but definitely not easy. And they will most certainly never be the same.

This was my main reason for going with this setting concept. I wanted a Humanity definition that would already be comfortable for the players, and since Sanity is a major mechanic in CoC, it seemed natural. Not just because of the similarity, but also because I thought it would more dramatically highlight the differences between Sorcerer and... well... anything else.

What is Lore?
     In this setting, Lore represents secret, arcane knowledge gleaned from studious poring over forbidden tomes scrawled by zealots and madmen both ancient and current. Scraps of higher meaning snatched from drug-steeped nightmares and feverish visions. Lore is both practical and theoretical knowledge of contacting, summoning, and binding unfathomable creatures from Beyond.

Pretty standard stuff, I guess, with a slight flavor.

What are Demons?
"Shadow wed to slime, discord raped by rhyme, Beyond our space and time, the profane meets the sublime."
     Demons don't exist. Humankind has been exploring their world for millennia, and nobody has ever run across a demon. Not in the darkest cave. Not in the most ancient crypts of forgotten civilizations. Not in the furthest jungles, the highest mountains, the deepest oceans, or the ultimate reaches of the frozen poles. Not even in the cold silence of outer space. Demons don't exist. Except…   
     Except that they do. Somehow. Somewhere. Beyond the edges of what is real and true. In defiance of all mankind's science and knowledge… Demons exist. And you are one of the few who know it.
     You are a sorcerer.

Okay, it's a little cheesy, maybe, but I can live with that.

For fun, I decided that all demonic names start with "Y" and have no vowels in them, making them pretty well unpronounceably to humans. You can call your demon whatever you want, it will answer to any name you give it.

I'd also like to grant +2 bonuses to rituals and commands for invoking a demon by their true Name, but I'm not sure how to work this in with the "unpronounceable" angle... I might have to let one of them go to do the other. I'm leaning toward mechanical depth over fun, but I'd like to have both if I can. I like the idea of a sorcerer in mixed company having need to invoke his unruly demon's Name to get it to cooperate, but not wanting to do so- because of course then everyone else present will know it. Which will also piss the demon off- demons, naturally, prefer taking orders from only one mortal at a time, if that.

I also decided that Lore and Sanity would be sort of opposing forces, which I'm pretty sure fits the mythos in that the more you know, the crazier you are. This manifests itself with Lore vs. Sanity rolls for understanding cryptic tomes, that sort of thing... the less sane you are, the MORE stuff makes sense to you. So when someone starts effortlessly translating those jillion year old riddles in unpronounceable tongues, everyone around them should start worrying. And of course there will be lots of Tainting going on for Sanity-challenging demons and effects.

I also decided it would be possible to Contact materialized demons, but only if you have their Name or a Token from them... I might just fiddle with some Abilities to get the same effect... but I wanted sorcerers to have a way to initiate negotiations with any demon they'd dealt with in the past without having to go chase it (or its master) down. Am I misguided here?

Let's see, what else... oh yeah- terminating a Contact is NOT automatically successful. Either both parties agree to hang up the line, or one has to overpower the other to force the Contact closed, otherwise it lasts the full hour. Not sure exactly how to handle this, but I'm sure it'll be a simple modification of the normal Contact mechanics. I can't remember exactly why I wanted to do this, but I must have had a reason, right?
 I also was considering allowing long-distance Banishments in the same fashion... but maybe I'm going too far with the idea? Anyone tried this before or have any comments on it?

Part of Contacting is getting the demon to give up its Name. You can't Summon a demon without invoking its Name- but on the flip side, if you know a demon's Name you can Summon it against its will. (actually I think in baseline Sorcerer, the demon can't fight the Summoning anyway, can it?)

Um... drugs. I decided there would be two basic drugs refined and used by sorcerers- Morpheus, the Lore boosting drug, which can be used at any time, not just during Contacts or other rituals. The effects last for an hour, after which the user rolls Will vs. Doses to regain control. Losses from this roll equal penalties to Will, lasting 24 hours. Falling asleep or unconscious during this time subjects the user to cripplingly terrifying nightmares... not sure yet if this risks a permanent Will hit or a Sanity check.
 The other drug, as yet unnnamed, is the Stamina booster. Works the same way, at the end of an hour, roll Stamina vs. Doses to shrug off the effects, with losses being taken as combat damage.
 I decided chemical enhancement for Snapshot rituals is only worth (Doses -1), with the side effects being vs. (Doses +1)
 I was also considering a supplementary drug that would speed the effects of the others for Snapshot purposes, but had worse side effects.
 And of course to round things out, maybe a Will boosting drug too? *shrug*

 It's very possible I'm making up too much stuff... making stuff up is kind of my thing, and it's hard to resist the urge. Normally I'd have triple this much in notes and ideas, but I've been holding back because I know Sorcerer relies more on "making it up as you play" than on "super setting prep". Or at least this kind of prep. I do plan on doing the more classical Sorc prep- R-maps, that sort of thing. Just haven't gotten to it yet.

So... yeah, the part I need help with... what are some suggestions for good Lovecraftish Descriptors? Or should I just stick with the basic ones, d'yathink? Also any comments on what I've got so far are welcome... Some of these ideas are more fleshed out than others, and some I could easily do without and not stress over it. This will be my first GMing of Sorcerer, but I want it to go smoothly, so don't cut me any slack if you think I'm barking up a bad tree or something.

*whew*... it's been a long time since I did this kind of thing... I'm sure it shows =/
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