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Author Topic: Some vague ideas for a sorcery inversion  (Read 2132 times)
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« on: April 19, 2002, 09:46:07 AM »

Please stick with me... I feel a riff coming on here.  

Sorcerer assumes that the basic, un-sorcererified state of humanity is something better than what happens after Sorcery violates the hell out of it, destroys it, transgresses against it...

The (very) vague shape I'm seeing in my mind is a perfect inversion of this... Humanity is inherently unnatural f-ed up, and debased...and Sorcerery is the key to escaping this horrific prison of thought and flesh.

Transcendant instead of transgressive.

Jared's Schism touches this angle in grand Momentum Mori style (which involves rupturing heads, bulging veins, and hunks of car-parts imbeded in flesh).

But what I'd like to come up with is some way of gradualy toying with the perceptions of my players...start them off with a fairly typical sorcerer scheme- humanity is good and gets eroded by sorcery which is bad...and then slowly kink their thinking on Humanity until they begin to percieve just how nasty and terrible the sate of being 'only human' really is...and how preferable the transcendant state of being free of it can be...

Now the kick in the ass.. is this perception shift a reflection of a new and higher state of perception...or is it self delusion used to justify personal disintigration?  Am I escaping the prison of humanity...or selling my soul for power?  Am I transcending human concerns, or being eaten alive by them?  


If I could come up with a game structure which would let me oscilate between these two possibiliites, I could give my more nervous palyers a good solid mental breakdown.


Is this too vague?  Too larky?  Thoughts?
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J B Bell
Member

Posts: 267


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2002, 10:06:21 AM »

Not vague at all, and it exemplifies the thinking of body-despising mystics that has existed for centuries.  In particular it brings to my mind the Carpocratians, a Gnostic sect of early Christianity that Irenaeus railed against.  These charming people, it seems, felt that one could only achieve transcendence by doing everything in one lifetime, thus exhausting the grip of the prison of flesh and the world on the pure pneuma (spirit).  Thus it is said that they engaged in murder, orgies, the ever-popular gross-out poop-eatin', and so forth.

Of course, it's very likely that all these practices existed almost exclusively in the heretic-hunters' fevered imaginations (many of the same accusations were levelled against the early Christians by their state-backed pagan opponents), but what the hey.  We're talking fiction anyhow.

I think making the value of Humanity explicitly relative is an obvious & natural extension of Sorcerer.  Let the players wonder whether they're doing magic more effectively, or actually descending into total madness.  Use cut-scenes to add this ambiguity.

You could have fun by being explictly Gnostic about it.  The Pneuma is the imprisoned pure spirit.  Its Desire is to escape the prison of the world; its Need varies from PC to PC, depending on its past lives and whatever depraved crap it didn't exhaust well enough to escape.  Note that the Psyche, seat of personality as we ordinarily think about it, is separate from the Pneuma and composes part of its prison.  So you get a pretty interesting conflict going right there--the Sorcerers as they understand themselves to be will definitely not make it to transcendence--only the personality-free Pneuma does that.  It's actually hostile to the personality.

OK, pardon my mad riffing--I spent literally years thinking about this sort of thing, reading about it, and in some rather unpleasant ways, living it.  So I tend to jump on it gleefully when I see it expressed.

Let me know what you think of that.  I have all kinds of cool source works and nifty Greek terminology that can give a game that oh-so-important sheen of historic authenticity, which I'm more than willing to share.

--JB
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"Have mechanics that focus on what the game is about. Then gloss the rest." --Mike Holmes
Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2002, 10:25:20 AM »

Yar.  But take it furhter... It's not about mortifying the flesh to release the spirit... but about escaping from humanity on all planes- material, mental, spiritual.  "The human spirit" is just as inhibiting as the human flesh...unless of course you're crazy.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2002, 12:16:28 PM »

Quote from: Bailywolf
Now the kick in the ass.. is this perception shift a reflection of a new and higher state of perception...or is it self delusion used to justify personal disintigration?  Am I escaping the prison of humanity...or selling my soul for power?  Am I transcending human concerns, or being eaten alive by them?  


We could refer to this as Lucifer's Dilemma. To serve the almightly or reign in hell?

Mike
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xiombarg
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Posts: 1183


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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2002, 12:49:30 PM »

Quote from: Bailywolf
Now the kick in the ass.. is this perception shift a reflection of a new and higher state of perception...or is it self delusion used to justify personal disintigration?  Am I escaping the prison of humanity...or selling my soul for power?  Am I transcending human concerns, or being eaten alive by them?

If you haven't already, you may want to look at Kult for a take on this very sort of thing.
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