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Author Topic: Non-linear play and a change in character's ability.  (Read 2145 times)
sirogit
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« on: January 20, 2005, 08:10:59 PM »

What's the recommeded way to handle a character having different abilities during different time periods when running scenes non-linearly?

Example: I'm running some Sword & Sorcerer. We run scene A about Grant, our protagonist, when he's a ambitious young man with a strong body and a curious mind. Sometime later we cut to Scene B as his life as a sickly child struggling to attain medication. Later on in Scene C, the character has turned himself into a powerfull lich but has lost his good demeanor.

My instinctual way of handling it is:
1. If a character's Stamina, Will, Lore, Pasts or Descriptors are significantly different at a certain time and it'll come up, the player should write down the differences on a scrap of paper for reference. so Grant would have Stamina 3 in Scene A, Stamina 1 in Scene B, and Stamina 6 in Scene C.

2. Humanity, per most definitions, should stay the same throughout all time-periods. the Humanity score is the authors's judgement of that character, when a younger character does something Humanity-positive, he proves to the audience the quality his older self possesses.

I'd keep rule about the Humanity of a character perceptible by a Lore check, as I see it as a projection of our knowledge of the character's ickiness to a clued-in character.

It gets a little hard to deal with the character-as-demon rules. Perhaps having their current Humanity be their imaginary-humanity, which is capable to be completely lost with transgression against it of course?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2005, 08:43:42 PM »

Hello,

Wow, combining the sorcer-to-demon transition with the out-of-sequence play approach ... that's serious rules business. Black belt Sorcerer for sure.

I'll have to think about that a little. The game system can handle it, but the question is whether I'm smart enough to appreciate what the system can do.

Best,
Ron
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Rod Anderson
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Posts: 59


« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2005, 05:10:47 PM »

Hi Sirogit,

I think I have an intuition about this, but your comment about "having their current Humanity be their imaginary-humanity" kind of throws me. If I can ask a question, which of these situations are you envisioning:

1) Grant C is a zero-Humanity Demon (or Necromantic lich) from the moment he's on screen, and how do we handle that?

2) Grant C is in the process of becoming a Demon (or Necromantic lich) and will presumably hit zero Humanity during play, and what do we do if and when we does?

Or something else entirely?

Rod
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2005, 08:40:22 AM »

Hello,

I think it's more complex than that, Rod. Sirogit is talking about the formal process of becoming a demon, or becoming human, as outlined in The Sorcerer's Soul.

If a demon is becoming human, I suggested, one could build up a score of "fake-Humanity" and use it as Humanity is used dynamically (i.e. reach another empathically, etc). It would not become actual Humanity until the demon's Power reached 0. Similarly, if a human is becoming a demon, he or she builds up Power.

The point is that it's a pretty linear process over a fair number of sessions, which creates tricky notions for out-of-sequence play.

One important point, which I think Sirogit was driving at in his brief post, is that out-of-sequence play for a normal player-character shouldn't be a problem - we all recognize that if we have a character lose a bunch of Humanity when he's age 40, then play a new story when he's age 16, that in narrative terms it's OK for him to start that session with exactly the low Humanity he "left off with" at 40 (our preceding sessions).

But how does that interact with the linearity of the demon-becomes-human or human-becomes-demon? Clearly the fake-Humanity or the fake-Power are in-game phenomena, which is tricky because we are all aware that Humanity is not - it's pure metagame (yes, even when it's used as an in-game score).

So! Here's my take. Let's stick with the 40-year-old 16-year-old example.

1. We play the guy at age 40. He starts turning into a demon, thus builds up some Power and his Humanity drops from a starting score of, um, 4, to say, 2. Let's also say his Past is General + Mayor + Soldier.

2. We play the guy at age 16, as a young soldier. All adjustments to Past/Cover, etc, are agreed upon informally, with the most obviously being stripping off two of the Pasts, leaving only Soldier. But Humanity stays right where it is, at 2. Since the fake-Power was an in-game trapping, it gets stripped off along with (e.g.) the two Pasts.

Let's say the character loses 1 more Humanity 'cause he's such dick, or whatever.

3. Now let's play him again, at age 42! OK, pop those Pasts and so forth back on him, so he's General + Mayor + Soldier again. Along with all of that returns the fake-Power he'd built up by the end of step #1. But now, his real Humanity is 1, based on the events in step #2.

That works, I think. I'm referring to the transition rules from 'Soul by memory, so I might have to tweak a thing or two after I look them up, but I'm pretty sure that's a functional basis for understanding how the rules interact between the two supplements.

Best,
Ron
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