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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Humanity Eureka  (Read 4266 times)
Darcy Burgess
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Posts: 476


« on: September 13, 2005, 07:24:27 AM »

It was one of those moments.  Driving back from groceries, singing "If you're happy and you know it" with my son.

And I finally fucking got it.  Swerved, smacked the steering wheel, and got a "what's wrong with the city boy" look from a passing farmer.

That humanity definition -- you know, whether it's Sanity, your Soul, love of Puppies, whatever.  It doesn't necessarily translate into a "white wolf" heirarchy of sins -- it doesn't let a crafty bunch of players come up with some broken-ass sabbat "paths" by suggesting clever definitions...

We're still all human, and what's bad is still bad.  Just because your Humanity is all about loving puppies, that doesn't make murder OK.

If anything, all it does is focus things, and maybe even add to the list of "bad shit".  In a given game, bestiality may be "weird, but not Humanity loss weird", but in a Puppy-lovin' game, that's definitely on the list of "shit not to do".

That's me -- one dim fuckin' bastard finally catching a goddam clue.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2005, 09:14:16 AM »

The nice thing about this is that we still have no reliable metric to match up "bad" with "the wrong thing to do, always."

That's why we make stories and try them out on one another. It's also why we like stories which disturb or provoke us as well as those which confirm what we already think. And finally, it's also why stories tend to get re-cast into new idioms, reversed from existing stories, and extended into imaginary/fantastical forms.

Best,
Ron
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Fabrice G.
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Posts: 206


« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2005, 12:45:10 AM »

Waitaminute...

Ron when you say : "It's also why we like stories which disturb or provoke us [...]" , I cannot but relate this to the often  (purposefully) forgotten  path of the outlaw prevail. I had for a long time a Withe Wolf background in rpgs, and that's exactly what the book suggest as the clever path because, you see, here's a mechanism to keep your  morality in check, let's see if you can beat it.

That's why I thought that path in Sorcerer always bugged me. But in light of this thread, I realize that this particular path is meant to be wrong and disturbing for the player.

Hum... I really have to go back to Sorcerer play right now


Fabrice

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2005, 04:24:03 AM »

Uhhh, no, Fabrice.

"The outlaw prevails" is the most important option of the four steps.

What makes the White Wolf version annoying to me is that the outlaw prevails (a) without being much of an outlaw, just an asshole; and (b) without accomplishing anything, despite all the effort by nthe metaplot to to keep providing cliched villains. I consider it extremely adolescent and without much comparative value to what I'm providing in Sorcerer.

My version of "the outlaw prevails" means that the sorcerer has retained the path of demon summoning, binding, and commanding - and has brought some good into the light, into the world, anyway. The little joke-dialogue with God in The Sorcerer's Soul represents this outcome.

Without that option existing, in story terms, then Sorcerer would be a boring "give up your demons" after-school special.

Best,
Ron
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Fabrice G.
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Posts: 206


« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2005, 07:19:10 AM »

Well, hum, okay.

now, reading your response, I dunno why I had such an urge to make such a link. Except maybe that, for me in this case, that's a statement that the ends does justify the means. Here's this guy, doing Wrong stuff (i.e. sorcery), and with it/out of it he makes some goods. (you know, like such characters as Dr Norm in Shadowslayer). That sound pretty disturbing, to me.

I agrre with you on the White Wolf issue. But, even if it doesn't bring usefull point, the comparison between it and what you bring in Sorcerer will be made amongst most of the players I know. So it's very important for me to be able to clearly understand where my WW background interfere with the proper understanding of you game, so I know where to be carefull and get things on the right path.

Anyway, thanks for that clarification Ron, I don't want to derail the thread further.

Fabrice - trying to get back in the sorcerer state of mind.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2005, 09:25:00 AM »

Oh, we're on topic, I think. Let's look at that "end justifies the means" comment.

Culturally, you and I and many other people have been trained to treat this concept aversively. "Ick poo! Nazi!" is the most basic aversion, but there are others.

The trouble is, it's an incredibly valid and useful ethical framework that, in fact, underlies most of the justice systems employed by most developed countries.

"Is it wrong to kill someone?" Answer: It Depends. Who? When? How? What was going on? Up to and including the concept of "In order to preserve my life, I struck back and this man is dead." And the response is, "All right then."

See? The end (preserving my life) is accepted by the vast majority of us, legally and ethically, as justifying the means (had to kill the guy).

That's call utilitarian ethics. And yes, at its most extreme and grotesque form, it's used to "justify" stuff that a lot of us end up not agreeing with. But it's also a central and apparently absolutely necessary part of our own, functional, every-day ethical frameworks. (Do not confuse this term, by the way, with the 19th century term associated with the phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number." That is something else.)

The alternative is called deontological ethics. These are based on the notions that various acts or things are intrinsically good or bad. "Child molester" = bad. "Basic courtesy" = good. That kind of thing. It's also central and necessary to our functional and everyday ethical frameworks, and can be found in a lot of our politics and a few of our laws. And like the other sort, at its most extreme and grotesque, it's horrid - pure dogma, often used as a mask for exploitation and corruption.

The two ethical frameworks are completely inconsistent as "methods," but that doesn't bother anyone. We use both to arrive at what's right and wrong, switching back and forth with no hassle at all (except when we disagree with one another, at which point hideous confusion ensues).

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the two approaches will automatically contradict one another, either. One person might support, for instance, a method of birth control because it represents an instance of "rights." Another might support it because its use has outcomes that he or she desires.

Anyway, here's my big point: Sorcerer is about ethics. When you play a Sorcerer character, and if you can avoid certain gamer traps (playing a psycho, playing "my guy," playing a White Wolf poser-PC), then you are going to end up making fascinating and situational judgments, specifically dealing with a character who has already made at least one major statement already using the utilitarian approach.

Best,
Ron

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Darcy Burgess
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Posts: 476


« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2005, 10:26:43 AM »

:sticking nose back in:

umm...what the hell is "the outlaw prevails" referencing?  Is it a specific WW path, or a forge term that didn't make the Glossary?

:nose unstuck:
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Fabrice G.
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2005, 12:57:02 PM »

Darcy,

the Outlaw Prevails is one of the four big outcome a Sorcerer story can produce for a particular character. It's adressed page 123 of the main rulebook under the Thematic points in the Deep Stuff section of chapter 7.
The other major outcomes being : Retribution, Remorse & Redemption.

Ron,

thanks for making explicit the two approachs and how they both relate to Sorcerer play. I surely didn't saw how much nor how central they were to the game. Fascinating food for thoughts.

[quote"you also"]Anyway, here's my big point: Sorcerer is about ethics. When you play a Sorcerer character, and if you can avoid certain gamer traps (playing a psycho, playing "my guy," playing a White Wolf poser-PC), then you are going to end up making fascinating and situational judgments, specifically dealing with a character who has already made at least one major statement already using the utilitarian approach.
Quote

And that's why I really find Sorcerer to be scary (and to be honest, why I find narrativist play scary) : because it assume you to reconsider those easy answer and those beautifully constructed little certitudes. My recent gaming sadly tended more to err on those ugnly gamer traps. Oh, it rocked, but also was disturbingly lacking in a sense. Now I now why.

I'll let everything percolate some more.

Thanks a lot,

Fabrice
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