*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 18, 2022, 03:24:12 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Sorcerer]Favorite Humanity Definitions?  (Read 8053 times)
angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 132


« on: June 28, 2004, 06:28:03 AM »

I tried running Sorcerer a couple of times, once with Humanity as Identity, once with Humanity as Empathy; and I was a little disappointed each time.  The mechanics flowed nicely, but the intensity so many people described was missing.  Despite my discouragement, I was drawn back to the game like a moth to the flame, certain that a kick-ass experience awaited me.

So I organized a one-shot, with Humanity as Hope.  It clicked, immediately and immensely.  My players are demanding more, and they're going to get it.

So I'm interested, has anyone else experienced a particular Humanity definition that worked extra-well for them, and what was that definition?  What was it about that definition that had it resonate for you?

I should really answer these myself, first.

The resonance Hope had for me was the bind it put the players in: Hope-increasing actions usually involved puting their faith in not-necessarily reliable NPCs, thus increasing their vulnerability.  Behaving in a sensibly paranoid fashion cut them off from the things that buffered Hope and sent them spiralling towards Despair.  By removing any 'safe' path, the players were free from the constraint of trying to walk it, and instead choose which risks they wanted to try.
Logged

-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2004, 08:42:00 AM »

Yay! Thanks for telling about the success story.

One lesson I've taken away from so many different game-experiences with Sorcerer is very hard: (a) Humanity needs definition, but (b) Humanity should be broad.

And how that's achieved is pretty various.

Take my necromancy game - Humanity is harmed mainly by failing to "let your dead go." Sounds specific, right? Until you realize that it can apply to practically any emotionally-powerful human interaction, and also that the emotions can be terribly negative or terribly positive.

Yet our Demon Cops game was based on the player-characters-only Humanity concept of being a "good cop" - one who walked the line of justice and legalities, becoming neither an automaton with a badge nor a vigilante. Now that's specific. But since the "crime of the week" model gave us lots to work with, the very specificity provided neat case-studies for many different scenarios.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2004, 12:29:39 PM »

I love that "hope" definition.  Its perfect for introducing gamer-types to Sorcerer because its basically a big hammer to smash all of that "turtling/defensive/cynical/trust no one" habit built up by a gaming career full of betrayals and "plot twists".

Play like you know you're about to be screwed and your humanity drops like a rock.

I think that's a particularly effective "ice breaker" humanity definition.
Logged

Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2004, 02:07:09 PM »

Actually, hope is the Humanity definition for the Dictionary of Mu mini-supplement I've been working on.

I've been digging the plural definitions lately, the ones where situations happen where you can be making a Humanity gain and Humanity loss roll in one action.

When I'm trying to explain how Humanity works I usually say that if Sorcerer was set in Edo period Japan and Demons were oni, spirits and restless ancestors, Humanity would probably be some kind of idealized version of Samurai honor.
Logged

angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 132


« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2004, 08:44:58 PM »

I think Humanity in Edo period Japan would be a combination of Honor and Face.  Which helps explain why so many Samurai stories end so badly.
Logged

-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2004, 08:54:51 PM »

Quote from: angelfromanotherpin
I think Humanity in Edo period Japan would be a combination of Honor and Face.  Which helps explain why so many Samurai stories end so badly.


Nice. Not sure I'd ever run Samurai Sorcerer but that's a nice thought and one I'll keep in mind if I ever do.
Logged

NickHollingsworth
Member

Posts: 78


« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2004, 04:26:40 AM »

angelfromanotherpin:
Quote
I think Humanity in Edo period Japan would be a combination of Honor and Face. Which helps explain why so many samurai stories end so badly.


I like the dual definition, but I dont think you need it to explain why Samurai stories come to a sticky end.

I think that Humanity as Honour is based on performing one's obigations and duties to superiors, kin, etc. (This is called 'giri' isn't it?). Sooner or later a samurai comes under conflicting obligations, so that whatever he does means he fails one of his obligations and hence, in Sorcerer terms, loses Humanity.

Heres a stab at a definition: Humanity = Honour where Honour is
    Duty aka Giri = performing loyally on behalf of all those you have a bond of duty to through service or relationship.

    Face = Personal dignity and prestige.[/list:u]
    Zero Honour indicates a samurai who has either abandoned his obligations or has lost all credibility by being unable to successfuly perform his role. He might becomes a rogue masterless warrior (ie a ronin) who can't truly be trusted(*). Possibly he might retreat from life to a monastry (I dont know if this was considered an acceptable way out of such dilemmas). Or he can avoid letting anyone down by committing sepukku instead, thus dying with his Honour (and his family's reputation) intact. Which are all nice ways to retire the character from play.

    Giri is the one that really entangles and causes problems. 'Face' is just another way to trip up dutyful action. Giri is the one thats about relationships and conflict of interest and all the other stuff that the GM enjoys inflictings on players and players enjoy agonising over. Face is dangerously close to stereotypical 'I'm dead hard me' PC posturing. Giri works on its own to create dilemmas for the player. Face probably only works well if played off against Giri. All Face no Giri is the architypeal Ronin bandit or wandering DnD 'adventurer'.

    Cheers,
    Nick

    (*) the converse is not necessarily true, not all Ronin are necessarily operating without Honour, they may still have powerful Face (eg be credible warriors) and Giri (still be loyal to a master etc) but have been forced to become ronin for some other reason. They will tend to be seen as without Honour by others, but might be driven to act with Honour despite this. Which suggests that Honour is an internal view of yourself as much as its an external view of you by society.

    Can anyone provide the Japanese term for Face?
Logged

Nick Hollingsworth
NickHollingsworth
Member

Posts: 78


« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2004, 04:29:16 AM »

Afterthought: Apologies if I am abusing the subject of this thread - please feel free to move the post to a new thread if I am.
Logged

Nick Hollingsworth
Doyce
Member

Posts: 442


WWW
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2004, 09:16:37 AM »

Like Paka, I've really enjoyed the games I've been running with dual Humanity definitions.  The single-level definitions are cool and certainly work (as in Bibliophage's 'empathy for fellow humans'), but it's easy to end up with characters who are always a bit slimy or darkened, because there's this single track of Humanity... when they do something that potentially drops Humanity, it's usually because they chose some other Thing over their own Humanity... result... kinda slimy.

The dual definitions often make this a much trickier wicket -- the example I'm going to use is from the excellent Grade School Sorcerer's setup, in which Humanity is dual defined as (1) being a good kid and (2) staying true to the Make Believe/Imagination.  

These two things aren't in direct conflict (nor should they be: it falls to the demons to be in direct conflict with Humanity), but it's often difficult to reconcile the two when it comes time to make a decision: "I told Mom I'd go to school and take the lunch money check to the principle, but I also promised to go to the Old Forest and help save the Mouse King and his Court... ugh!"  In that kind of Humanity arrangement, it seems easier to make characters who are running on quite low Humanity  who are at the same time really trying to Do the Right Thing.  (The two Grade School games I'm running average Humanity scores around 2 or 3 right now, while Bibliophage has much more morally-flexible people with Humanity around 4 or 5.)

So... what's my favorite Humanity definitions?  I'd say that I'm currently most jazzed about dual definitions that aren't in direct opposition (I don't know that that would even make sense), but are frequently going to result in scenes where meeting both requirements is very challenging.
Logged

--
Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
droog
Member

Posts: 263


« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2004, 02:45:25 AM »

Quote from: KingOfFarPoint
angelfromanotherpin:
Quote
Can anyone provide the Japanese term for Face?

Menboku.

I think that the classic Japanese conflict is actually between giri and ninjoo(human feelings). Could Sorcerer do it that way?
Logged

AKA Jeff Zahari
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2004, 05:45:17 AM »

Hello,

Best way to do the classical feudal-Japanese thing is like this:

Passion = hate, love, ambition, kindness, pity, etc

Obligation (Duty) = family, lord/job, culture/people as a whole

Face = reputation, appearance, "cool"

Now for the nasty part: although all of these are, cumulatively, "Honor," every one of them can lead to Humanity loss or gain.

Is this, then, triple Humanity rather than dual? No. The Humanity loss or gain has to do with one thing, and one thing only: human suffering. More suffering = potential for lost Humanity. "One person's grief is our collective loss."

So the Honor thing is not, itself, Humanity - it's the triple arena in which suffering may be alleviated or increased.

You can see why, I hope, that (classically speaking) suicide would in some cases be Humanity-increasing in these stories.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Yokiboy
Member

Posts: 363


WWW
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2004, 02:55:34 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
I love that "hope" definition.  Its perfect for introducing gamer-types to Sorcerer because its basically a big hammer to smash all of that "turtling/defensive/cynical/trust no one" habit built up by a gaming career full of betrayals and "plot twists".

Play like you know you're about to be screwed and your humanity drops like a rock.

I think that's a particularly effective "ice breaker" humanity definition.

I love this definition Vlamir, although I'd call it Trust if I were to use it, and I just might. We are actually just preparing to play http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=12034">Sorcerer for the first time and were thinking of defining Humanity as Empathy, but I think Trust is even better.

[EDIT] Creds to angelfromanotherpin for the original idea. [/EDIT]

TTFN,

Yokiboy
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!