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Author Topic: Demon ability assistance requested.  (Read 5903 times)
angelfromanotherpin
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Posts: 132


« on: October 04, 2004, 07:33:23 AM »

One of my players wanted a Demon who functioned like the time-twisting knife in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, specifically its ability to reverse failure to try the task again or to try something different instead.  (The more usual abilities, like turning things to sand or accelerating the user were easy.)

I've had some success mapping this with standard demon abilities (like Armor, Daze, Perception and Vitality) and then narrating the results appropriately, but it seems awfully awkward at times.  Can anyone suggest an elegant way to map this sort of ability?
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-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?"
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greyorm
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2004, 07:56:17 AM »

The "that didn't happen" inherent in PoP because of the Sands is tricky because it covers quite a bit of "stuff." Injuries done would be discarded, "rolls" would be taken back, movement/actions/statements would be undone. And then everyone except the Sorcerer would have to declare the same actions they previously took.

It almost seems like a combination of powers: frex, Vitality is the obvious "His sword never hit me" idea. Vitality + Daze would seem to be the best combo there, in that the Vitality restores dice, and the Daze removes the event (the sorcerer being injured) from the minds of the affected. Of course, the Vitality would also apply to everything else involved in the combat injured during that exchange, not just the Sorcerer.

Since you know what action the enemy is going to take before he does once you've "rewound", I'd say this would be a use of...hrm, I don't know. I've unfortunately never been very good at picking out these "actual uses of the weird powers" from the text in the book that others seem to be able to grasp so well.

So, that's my suggestion above, though it doesn't cover everything, nor the effects of it very well, IMO. The way I see it working best is to have everyone roll normally, and if you don't like your rolls results...what? You can roll an extra number of dice equal to the demon's Power each time you activate the ability? With activations for any given action limited only by the demon's Stamina and attendant Need being filled.

Because, of course, each activation makes it more and more hungry until you feed it more sand by fighting and slaying more of the sand-possessed...which also makes it more a powerful (and less controllable) demon.

I just finished playing PoP and the idea is a very cool one. Additionally, the whole idea that you are telling someone the story of what you did (events that never actually took place...now) works easily with Sorcerer, particularly if you run out-of-sequence games as explained in &Sword, and use Destiny as well.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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sirogit
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2004, 12:18:23 PM »

It's alot like the angel ability Recall. I'm not sure what would be the effect if you let demons have it...
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angelfromanotherpin
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Posts: 132


« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2004, 01:17:40 PM »

Quote from: sirogit
It's alot like the angel ability Recall. I'm not sure what would be the effect if you let demons have it...

Ugh, actual scene or even action replay is not what I'm looking for.  Particularly not with the kind of frequency that this gets used.  Right now, the whole 'time' thing both is and occurs as a perceptual mucking-around.  It's actually led the character to question how much of the Demon's power over time is real and how much is illusion.  
Right now, the way it works is that the Demon uses its power before/during risky business, and if the hero would have failed, we narrate a failure, then a success.  Only a few times has it used Daze socially, after a failure to give the character another chance.  
It does work, but it comes across as awkward, and sometimes it fails to properly represent the whole "wait, no... that didn't happen..." aspect.
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-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
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2004, 05:46:24 PM »

Hello,

This sort of thing is way easier than it looks. All you need is a standard defense roll based on the ability Perception.

If the demon uses the ability, then it's a "full defense" action based on Power (perception), hence +2 dice.

If it succeeds (i.e., goes first before the attack or whatever), then play it out as if the attack succeeded, then "blinked back." Very simple.

If the attack hits first, then the ability failed for whatever reason.

The whole point is not to try to simulate the "it worked, no it didn't," using in-game linear thinking. Sorcerer, she no work that way.

Best,
Ron
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greyorm
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2004, 03:22:34 PM »

Ron,

I assume "attack" above can be replaced with "any action".

Also, the thing about the Sands is they let you test a variety of actions to see what works, without fear of "that being it."

ex1: "Can I reach that rope if I jump to it?" [try] "Yep, made it." or "Nope, can't...rewind."

ex2: "I wonder who is hiding around that corner?" [walk around corner] "Ah, good, no one." or "Shit! And they saw me! Rewind!"

Does that "work" with the application of Perception to a specific roll? In that there are really three outcomes: success of the action, failure of the action, and "knowing" the results of the action independent of its success or failure (and then deciding what you want to happen).

For example, you go into a bar and confront someone about something; you get the info from him, but he will tell his buddies about you and make things more difficult. What do you do? Rewind so that it never happened: you still have the info, but he has no clue that he gave it to you.

I'm assuming this would work with the Perception roll as stands?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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jburneko
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2004, 05:59:32 PM »

Hello,

Also, I presume that the person who concieved of the demon would want the ability to rewind more than a single action.  We start a combat we've gone back and forth a few exchanges and now I decide I want to start the whole thing over or only go back two or three exchanges out of 5.  I don't think the Perception proposal covers this condition.

Jesse
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2004, 06:22:23 AM »

Quote from: greyorm

For example, you go into a bar and confront someone about something; you get the info from him, but he will tell his buddies about you and make things more difficult. What do you do? Rewind so that it never happened: you still have the info, but he has no clue that he gave it to you.


And
Quote from: jburneko
Also, I presume that the person who concieved of the demon would want the ability to rewind more than a single action. We start a combat we've gone back and forth a few exchanges and now I decide I want to start the whole thing over or only go back two or three exchanges out of 5. I don't think the Perception proposal covers this condition.


Not being familiar with the video game in question, it sounds to me like these interpretations lead to a "get out of Consequences free" power, which Sorcerer simply does not and should not support. The basic premise of the game is that every ounce of Power has its Price. Something that allows me to get something for nothing is out of place. Perhaps if the demon demanded its very nasty Need each and every time the power was used, it would fly, but otherwise, it sounds like someone who doesn't want to engage the Premise.
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angelfromanotherpin
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Posts: 132


« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2004, 07:07:18 AM »

Thanks, all!

Ron, I like.  I'll keep most of the other abilities to use as backup so the thing seems more reliable, but that looks very solid.

Quote from: jburneko
I presume that the person who concieved of the demon would want the ability to rewind more than a single action.


Actually, no.  The dagger never (by both our interpretations) goes back by more than a single roll's worth in the game.  So one at a time is fine.

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
it sounds to me like these interpretations lead to a "get out of Consequences free" power, which Sorcerer simply does not and should not support. The basic premise of the game is that every ounce of Power has its Price. Something that allows me to get something for nothing is out of place. Perhaps if the demon demanded its very nasty Need each and every time the power was used, it would fly, but otherwise, it sounds like someone who doesn't want to engage the Premise.


I am a big fan of a game supporting a choice between two different risks, so I understand where this is coming from.  In fact, due to my Humanity definition, many uses of the "What would have happened?" ability are Humanity-threatening, since it's such a departure from the normal human condition.  In fact, as I played through Sands of Time listening to the various confusions caused by the dagger, I really came to appreciate just how much alienation the dagger caused its wielder, and how subtly it did it.  And that's when its an obedient tool without any agenda or capacity to withhold its abilities!  Since the Humanity-threat keeps the player from engaging willy-nilly in 'risk-free' behaviour, he mostly reserves it for cool little scenes reminiscent of the 'stolen kiss.'  Mostly.  

In combat situations, I give him more leeway to use it to kick serious ass.  

Hmm, I'll probably post what my finished version of the thing is later on, along with examples of how it's abilities are used and narrated, since it's such a deviant little thing.
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-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?"
angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 132


« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2004, 11:16:20 AM »

Here she is:

The Dagger of Time (In my campaign it's called The Antiquity)
Type: Object, Desire: Confusion, Need: Killing(Often misinterpreted as Sand)
Stamina: 7, Will: 8, Lore: 7, Power: 8
Abilities: Confuse, Daze, Fast(conferred), Hint, Perception: What Would Have Happened, Special Damage(Lethal): Conversion to Sand, Vitality(conferred).
Telltale: The sand stored in the hilt's glass runs upward.

Okay, so the thing can see ahead in time and use the information to warn its master, who in turn perceives and probably believes that what he saw was real and has happened already, but that the dagger rewound the clock to the present time.  This description models the mechanical action best, but the thing may actually rewind time, who knows?

The most freqently used power is the Perception.  Out of combat, it can be rolled to get information and/or bonus dice on almost any task, as you figure out what won't work or discover surprises ahead of time.  In combat, the Demon can use it to take Full Defense actions on its master's behalf(so nasty!).  

The Special Damage is used in a fairly standard way.  Hint as well.  Fast is the 'slow time' ability.  

Confuse, Daze and Vitality are used to cover the occasional failures of the Perception, and to mimic the dagger's other minor time-twists.  The dagger is not above Confusing or Dazing its master to reinforce the illusion of its own infallibility!

In case anyone's interested, the poor sucker attached to this thing is:

Adan
Stamina: 6(Street-Raised,Trained Soldier)
Will: 3(Zest For Life)
Lore: 1(Naive)
Humanity: 5
Past: 6(Prince+Outlaw)
Price: -1(Untrusting: Affects social rolls with non-allies)
Telltale: His shadow and reflection do not always match his own movements.
Binding Strength: 1, in The Antiquity's favor.

The player originally conceived him as 'equal parts Aladdin and Spider-Man' in a HERO game.  Some years later, he immediately identified the unnamed 'Prince' of Persia as Adan, and jumped at the chance to run him through a Sword and Sorcerer campaign, picking up after Sands of Time left off.

edited to specify conferrence of abilities.
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-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?"
djarb
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2004, 07:55:23 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hello,

This sort of thing is way easier than it looks. All you need is a standard defense roll based on the ability Perception.

If the demon uses the ability, then it's a "full defense" action based on Power (perception), hence +2 dice.

If it succeeds (i.e., goes first before the attack or whatever), then play it out as if the attack succeeded, then "blinked back." Very simple.

If the attack hits first, then the ability failed for whatever reason.

The whole point is not to try to simulate the "it worked, no it didn't," using in-game linear thinking. Sorcerer, she no work that way.

Best,
Ron


Is there a special rule for the Full Defense actions, such that if it goes off first, it doesn't matter whether it has victories over the attacker?

My understanding is that Full Defense was just like any other action: when it happens is governed by its highest die, but whether it works to protect the character or not is only known when you count victories versus the attack roll.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2004, 05:09:33 AM »

Hello,

Whoops, missed that last question.

Djarb, if the Full Defense goes before the incoming attack, then it already has a higher die, by definition - hence we know that it defends successfully against that attack.

That seems 100% suited to the "re-do" special effect, because as soon as the dice hit the table, we know that the attack/whatever that the demon is affecting isn't going to work. We know that the demon ability has it cornered.

Best,
Ron
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greyorm
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2004, 08:34:13 AM »

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
it sounds to me like these interpretations lead to a "get out of Consequences free" power, which Sorcerer simply does not and should not support. The basic premise of the game is that every ounce of Power has its Price. Something that allows me to get something for nothing is out of place.

Michael, the reason this is not a "get out of jail free" card power for Sorcerer is the fact that -- you're still using demonic power to get the card. That is the price of the power, and all that is associated with such a situation.

Yes, you can get out of consequences free, every single one...except the consequences that arise from the fact that you're using demonic power in the first place. This is why it works. You dodge every consequence, and yet you don't dodge the most important one: the associated loss of humanity that comes with using demons to get what you want (in this case, "complete" freedom).

Honestly, use of this particular demon is the best example of making a Faustian bargain I can think of!

BTW, Angel, I think the demon looks good. The only power that looks out of place/unecessary to me is the use of "Hint": which is a far more oracular power than really befits the dagger in my view.

Let us know how the game goes and how it actually works out in play!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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