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Author Topic: [Sorcerer]Demon Types Make No Sense (to me)  (Read 6357 times)
Peter Nordstrand
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« on: June 27, 2004, 05:27:39 AM »

Hi,

Please forgive me if I'm asking something that has already been discussed at length...

However ...

The demon types make no sense to me. The categories actually seem pretty arbitrary (which I am sure they aren't), but that isn't my main concern. Instead, I see no reason to worry about the types at all! Why not go directly to the Scores and the Demon Abilities and just ignore Type alltogether? Please enlighten me.

All the best,
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sirogit
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2004, 06:21:42 AM »

I think a relevant response would require knowledge of what exactly you were expecting from the idea of a demon's "type".

Right off the bat, I would assume that you were expecting something like splats from WW books or In Nomine and dissapointed that it's such a minimalist designation. But that's just a wild shot in the dark.

Types have a pretty clear cut purpose. Definition of a demon's form. Do you think they fail at that purpose? If not, why would you want to get rid of it?  

While I'd owe up that it'd be certainly possible, you'd have to do alot of tinkering around with the concept of Possessors, verus adhering to a system that is pretty damn invisable.
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2004, 07:41:50 AM »

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time talking to me. :-)

Quote from: sirogit
I think a relevant response would require knowledge of what exactly you were expecting from the idea of a demon's "type".


Quite the opposite, actually. I'm not expecting anything. I'm asking you experienced Sorcerer players: What is it for? The Types don't seem to add anything to the game in terms of rules. As for descriptions, I don't need categories in order to describe a demon: It is a book, a tall handsome human male with batwings, a fire-breathing draconic thing, a cd-cover depicting a 17th century English mansion, or a talking centipede.

Quote from: sirogit
Right off the bat, I would assume that you were expecting something like splats from WW books or In Nomine and dissapointed that it's such a minimalist designation. But that's just a wild shot in the dark.


A wild shot, indeed. Miss. :-)

Quote from: sirogit
Types have a pretty clear cut purpose. Definition of a demon's form. Do you think they fail at that purpose? If not, why would you want to get rid of it?


Check out the demon Ruatt (Sorcerer p. 60). Remove the part that says "Type: Inconspicuous", but keep everything else. What is the difference? Nothing (except for the free Cloak ability). Do I need to change or adapt any other rules as a consequence of removing the Type information? No. Does this affect the demon's form in the game world? No, Ruatt can still be described as "only occasionally glimpsed as a man standing in the shadows or stepping away around a corner, near its master ..." etc, etc.

Quote from: sirogit
While I'd owe up that it'd be certainly possible, you'd have to do alot of tinkering around with the concept of Possessors, verus adhering to a system that is pretty damn invisable.


Can you rephrase this, please? I don't understand.

All the best,
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Fabrice G.
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Posts: 206


« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2004, 09:00:56 AM »

Hi Peter,

IME demon's types have a clear impact upon the implication of the sorcerer in satifying the demon's Need. Let me explain myself...

To me, there is a gradation in the proximity of the sorcerer and the action requiered by the demon's need, and that gradation does correspond to(some of) the demons' types. For exemple, a Passing demon could take care of its need by itself (that's the most external that you can get) ; now, take an Object demon, here the sorcerer has to at least cooperate to provide it with its need (here we're middle ground in the comitment of the sorcerer to the need's achievment) ; then, take Parasite, if its host is the sorcerer then he basically has to 'act' like a demon (the comitment is maximum)

This is how I explain the demon types to my players, to go beyond the whole "what does your demon look like ?". Instead, I prefer to ask "how comited to providing the demon's need do you want your character to be ?"

Now, that's only ONE utilization and explanation of the different types, and it even leaves some blanks : what about Parasites or Inconspicious demons ?


Hope it helps,

Fabrice
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2004, 09:43:42 AM »

Hi,

I'm sorry if I seem obstinate, but I still don't get it. Lets say that we have a demon that takes the form of a wooden staff covered with carvings. Furthermore, its only Ability is to Boost its user's Stamina, its Need is to be immersed in human blood. The way I see it, it is pretty obvious that a wooden staff cannot satisfy that Need on its own. Somebody else must immerse it in blood, or it will not get immersed. A staff cannot move by itself. We don't need special game terminology to know that. I must be missing something here, but this is all just common sense to me.

Perhaps I am just going mad.

Cheers,
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Fabrice G.
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Posts: 206


« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2004, 11:31:01 AM »

Hi again,

Actually, by Sorcerer's rules (baring local customization) an object demon could act or move, in a behind-your-back kind of way (p.48). Still, I agree with you that, in this case, it might not fullfill its own need alone. But, IMO, there's a significant difference between immersing a staff in a pool of human blood and immersing yourself in such a pool (as for a parasite, for exemple).




Hum... beside this explanation, I'm at loss to have the demon Types make sense to you. Sorry.


Fabrice
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2004, 01:45:33 PM »

Hiya,

Peter, I guess it's not going to get further than this unless we establish a common foundation for "making sense." Let's just say that the phrase itself isn't enough (means different things to different people) and try to work on that foundation.

The Types do include slightly different rules-details, but apparently that's not your basis for objecting to them. But that's why I put them in - to indicate that a Possessor, for instance, will suffer certain penalties because it's not in a host, in addition to suffering because it's in Need. That applies to a Possessor regardless of customized versions of Possessors in that particular game.

Again, though, that doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy your objection, so let me know more about what you mean by "make sense." Use examples if possible.

Best,
Ron
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2004, 02:53:36 PM »

Hi,

Argh!

Quote from: Ron Edwards
The Types do include slightly different rules-details, but apparently that's not your basis for objecting to them. But that's why I put them in - to indicate that a Possessor, for instance, will suffer certain penalties because it's not in a host, in addition to suffering because it's in Need. That applies to a Possessor regardless of customized versions of Possessors in that particular game.

Again, though, that doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy your objection


Actually it does, and I did realize it myself only two minutes ago. Reading the rulesbook before going to sleep, I came upon a couple of instances where demon Type has actual rules impact, so I got out of bed to ask you all to please disregard my imbecile drivel. Thank you so much for taking your time, trying to figure out what I was talking about.

All the best,
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Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2004, 04:28:24 AM »

Beyond the rules, Type shapes how Sorcerer and Demon interact.  

Type defines the boundaries for a Sorcerer's relationships with is demons, and thus influence play pretty dramatically.  Exceptions exist, of course, but consider the following:

Object Demon:  things with an unnatural life and abilities.  How do you communicate with a gun?  A house?  A car?  More significantly, how does it communicate with you?  How do you meet its need?  How does its Desire manifest?  A demon able to speak to you can say "Hey, I'm pretty hungry... you might want to keep me happy, or I might forget to use Armor when you need it."  But how do you know your battered old trench-coat is jonesing for a pint of cat blood?  I have seen players create personalities and impose behavior on their Object Demons simply by interacting with them (in often weird ways).  I make it a point that Object Demons never talk- or at least never talk under normal circumstances.

Possessor:  A demon with the face of someone else- someone you likely know.  This is a prize if you (as GM) get into play-acting the NPC roles.  You can chew the scenery with Possessor demons.  The fun comes when the demon Hops into an established NPC and you play them slightly...wrong.  A hint of cruelty in the kind NPC, a lustful look in a chaste one, or an unexpected kindness from a brutal NPC.  Identity Crisis- you know you are talking to the demon... but it looks and acts like your girlfriend.  How do you avoid treating it like your girlfriend?  Some great humanity-destroying stuff comes out of this, especially when a players gets lazy and starts interacting with the Demon as if it were the NPC.  Good Times.

Passer:  Like Possessor in some ways, but carrying its own quirks.  It is easy to personify a Passer (or... dogify or catify or fishify), and players get into trouble with them when hey start trying to interact with them on normal human terms.  I watched a player once play out this budding love affair with his passer demon, like his love would somehow redeem the demon.  Ha!  The demon didn't care.  Of course it didn't.  The demon is a bundle of need and desire and power, operating on the basest level of survival (even if its required sustenance is rarified and occult).  It could mimic love, parrot affection, mime respect and care and kindness... but was no more a human women in love than a chameleon lizard is a branch when it turns brown.  The sorcerer still Bound her, and the "relationship" was entirely in the player's imagination.  That didn't end well.  

Inconspicuous:  He's around here...somewhere.  These guys can cause no end of trouble, because you never know how long they have been standing right behind you.  They are a recipe for paranoia, because their nature makes them sneaky and subtle.  An Inconspicuous Demon likely knows every one of its master's secrets.  It hangs around, imperceptible, waiting for orders... or amusing itself in other ways.  Like a good servant, the Inconspicuous speaks when spoken to, and remains unseen.  It is possible to interact with one of these demons without even knowing it. Be careful what you wish for...your Inconspicuous Demon might be in the rooms.  

Parasite:  I love these guys.  Really.  They demand, in some ways, that their host become the demon.  They Desire imprints on the Host, their Need becomes the Host's.  It becomes easy to forget they are separate creatures, terrible creatures.  How do you talk to your demonic spleen?  How do you communicate with an eyeball?  Unlike Object Demons, Parasites have a direct link to the host's body.  That crawling sensation?  Your living tattoo Needs to be stroked.  Feel sick and nauseous?  The demon-insect larva in your stomach want you to go all in and bet your whole pile of chips on a bluff.  Parasites seem initially like the most distant and alien form of Demon, but I have found their presence influences play constantly.  You can put and Object in a drawer, send a Passer to New Jersey to do some research...but how do you get some "alone time" from your scaled and clawed left hand?




Demon types are essential to Sorcerer.


-Ben
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2004, 05:01:39 AM »

That is very good. Thank you.
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2004, 07:24:20 AM »

That's all funny.  I think of types as just color for the default setting.  Any cusomization is likely to say these types exist and these don't and these work differently in these ways.  I mean, I think it's good for the book to have them as a starting point, but it would probably be better if they were more explicitly customizable.

Chris
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2004, 08:36:41 AM »

Hiya,

Good points, Ben.

Chris, I tried to get some customizing built into all three supplements along those lines, especially in The Sorcerer's Soul, but also in the example settings in the other two.

Best,
Ron
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Piers
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Posts: 72


« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2004, 10:09:35 AM »

I absolutely agree with Ben's points, but I tend to see the different demon types as the result of the combination of two choices, which in turn produce the very different characterisitics of the individual types:

1. How is my demon hidden?

2.  What can my demon do with its Stamina?

The first, defines the difference between Inconspicuous and Passer Demons (and also, sort of between Parasites and Objects) in the default setting where demons try to avoid being seen.  Either they are hidden (Inconspicuous, Parasite) or they look like something (kind of) innocuous (Passer, Object).

The difference is most obvious with the Inconspicuous and Passers: one has Cloak, the other usually has Cover.  (Yeah, there are a few slight differences in how they confer powers, but I read that as customization--it doesn't have to be that way, it just makes things more interesting).

This distinction is combined with the second one: Can the demon use its Stamina actively and effectively, particularly for fighting and getting around on its own?  Inconspicuous and Passer demons both can; they're more or less the same in this way.  They are separated from Objects and Parasites (not exactly true, but sort of), neither of which can act effectively.  For the character, the trade-off is not being able to act to help, in return for not being so threatening when they turn on you (again, not quite true for all Parasites--some of them are much worse) and not being able to wander off and get up to mischeif on their own.  

The best example of this distinction is the example of the ring that can turn into a demon-guard, you build it using an inconspicuous demon template, because what defines it as different from an object demon is its ability to act.

Possessors are a sort of wierd hybrid, and don't quite fit into this scheme, but I think if you keep these two factors in mind they act as a good template for further customizing.
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