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Author Topic: philosophical musings (response to Gareth)  (Read 1862 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: February 11, 2002, 06:17:24 AM »

I've split this off from the thread about Historical Sorcerer.

In there, I wrote:
"My interest in Thirty Years War period as a specifically-Sorcerer setting stems in part from the personal take on Humanity that I enjoyed playing or running the most a few years ago. In a lot of my Sorcerer play, loss of Humanity is related to transgression that may achieve something, but may also go awry. The transgression can be artistic, religious, social, or any number of things. Think of 'paying the price'"

And Gareth wrote,
"Would you be interested in this in a manner that reinterprets demons as ideologies, or keep demons "real" in a fictionalised world? IOW, does the focus of Humanity shift to ideology (which I think of on the basis of your interest in transgression), or do the fracturing ideologies merely provide character motivation? Just curious as to how you are seeing it.

"There has been some argument about sorcerer-for-spies recently. There might be, umm, scope he says delicately,
to tackle large amounts of social interaction through the synthesis of the Network concept and a
demon-as-ideology concept."


First thing: Gareth, from now on, when you get an urge to discuss a new topic, please begin it as a new topic.

Now to answer ...

Your question asks if I "would be interested ..." and that isn't really a question. Technically, I'd be interested in just about anything. I can only address your post by re-interpreting it to ask, "How do you tend to play, or to envision play when preparing?"

I tend to keep the metaphor intact when I play Sorcerer, ie, the demons are "real" in the imaginary situation/setting. This is not a rule or guideline or any kind of recommendation, but a description of what I find to be the most effective play.

Speaking descriptively of my GMing Sorcerer, it falls squarely in the category of "fracturing ideologies provide character motivation." I'm not sure what role the word "merely" plays in your sentence. I think our individual approaches to the concept of ideologies differ enough that "merely" doesn't apply to my preferred mode of play.

If someone else wanted to play by un-demonizing ideologies (in the imaginative sense, keeping, I imagine, their "demonic" qualities in the literal sense), it could be done, very much as you describe. Perhaps a more nuanced or multivariate form of Humanity might be used, or Cover might be employed as a "sister Humanity score" of some kind.

Best,
Ron
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contracycle
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2002, 06:52:15 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

sentence. I think our individual approaches to the concept of ideologies differ enough that "merely" doesn't apply to my preferred mode of play.
Quote


The comment about how you visualise the play hit the nail on the head; I have two models in my mind and I was wondering if either was the kind of thing you were thinking of.

The first is a "mythic 30yrs war" in which the war itself is a backdrop to a group of sorcerers doing whatever it is that sorcerers do.  This is "classic" sorcerer in a historical setting, summoning demons etc.

The second is an "interpolated" Sorcerer in which the ideologies themselves behave mechanically as demons; they have Needs and Desires emanating from their dogma and canon.  Combined with the networks concept, we are really talking about the dogma of a particular body, philosophy or movement.  The "party line" if you will, distinct from actual personal morality.

I have not got the second idea fully worked out in my head, but I too was struck almost immediately by the possibilities for dealing with organisations as demons; merging organisations with their dogma gives them a "para-demonic personality".  This is why I used the word "merely" in reference to personal ideologies; are they "merely" elements of setting which motivate characters, or are they directly embedded in the game mechanical reality?

[..and also because I would expect you would be realtively unmoved by ideological motivations for characters, on the basis of your strong preference for Character- rather than Situation-derived premises.]

Possibly a nuanced Humanity would be required to make that work, but I'm not sure it would be necessary; recast it as (christian) Morality framed by the demon/dogma and I think you'd get on OK.  On the other hand I quite like Bailywolfs suggestion about Humanity descriptors.  Anyway, no need to go too far down this road for this sort of speculation.  

So I think you mean that your personal vission is No.1, but that you think that No.2 is probably doable.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2002, 06:58:31 AM »

Gareth,

It struck me that my Hero Wars game is very much more along the lines of what you're describing than my usual play of Sorcerer.

In Hero Wars, as you know, ideology is a major part of the setting and of character creation, in all of its expressions: cultural mores, political alliances, religious/magic interpretations, preferred technology, hell, even phrasing. The best thing about the design of the setting is that the ideologies are constructed to be full of holes, overlap, and no overt connection with "the good guys" and "the bad guys." The neat thing about play, for me, is watching how the player-characters think they remain true to their culture even as they make decisions that warp value systems into new shapes.

The players are quite collusive about this and like to discuss the issues at a pretty deep level as an ongoing, out-of-character conversation during play. They like stuff like the following:
- the player-characters claim to be "rebels," but they saved a Lunar fellow from execution and now one of them has married him
- both native-Heortling and Lunar-immigrants despise the Crimson Bat cult and ally against it
- a dinner conversation including a rebel-sympathizer ("liberal") well-heeled magistrate in Boldhome, a famous poet from Glamor, and a determined missionary of Selven Hara, all of whom are tickled pink to be talking with "real rebels"
- a broo hero who is determined to Heroquest to the point in the Godtime when Thed presented herself at Orlanth's court - and revise the event, thus preventing the birth of the Devil
- a savage battle in which our heroes are faced off with Yelornans (virgin-warriors of Yelm) and Vingans (vengeance-driven female warriors of Orlanth), both of whom want to co-opt the same historical event in mythic terms for their respective sides

Hero Wars does not have a direct "personality gauge" characteristic like Humanity, but it does have Relationship abilities and any adjective like "Pious" or "Discerning" can be an ability as well. Furthermore, each character does have a stated Goal at any time, and (like Humanity) the player has a free hand regarding whether the character is working toward or against that goal. The net effect of all these things - in a much more multivariate way than Sorcerer - is to generate the "person" who struggles with ideology very much like an externally-derived, parasitic force. The fundamental Premise of Hero Wars is, "The Old World is over, and ..." in which the characters, saddled with their Old-World notions of right and wrong, must complete the sentence to re-make the world.

Best,
Ron
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