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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Setting Concept: Inner Demons  (Read 9948 times)
MetalBard
Member

Posts: 40


« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2005, 05:42:09 AM »

What you've got looks good.  I think you're at the point where these things need to be solidified with your group.  Going with straight compassion as humanity might keep things simple and driven, which is probably what you want.  It shows the stark fact that after dealing with demons (and losing Humanity) your Sorcerer is just not as much of a good person anymoe and that it's very possible to become a very bad person.  I need to get Sorcerer's Soul at some point since I find this aspect of Sorcerer so interesting.
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"If you've ever told someone how your day went, you can narrate." - Andrew Norris at the Forge on player narration

My name is also Andrew and I have a  blog
jagardner
Member

Posts: 8


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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2005, 01:32:45 PM »

A few thoughts about a sorcerer's inner demon:

If I were running this (and I'm strongly tempted to steal it!), I'd say that you become a sorcerer by totally subjugating your inner demon.  This isn't the same as destroying it, nor does it map into standard game concepts like binding, banishing, or containing.  Basically, your inner demon loses its free will (something that never ever happens with other demons), and it gives you the ability to perform sorcery on others.  In other words, sorcery becomes your demon-given superpower.

Because your inner demon is subjugated, it doesn't have needs or desires.  (It's not really a demon as defined by the game system; it's just a rationalization for why you're a sorcerer.)  Your telltale would typically be some "leakage" from the subjugated demon -- some overflow of the demon's nature that you can't quite suppress.

Acts of sorcery and inhumanity have the potential to weaken the inner demon's subjugation.  In other words, every Humanity test reflects a battle with the demon.  When you hit Humanity 0, the demon breaks free of its subjugation and subjugates you.  Forever after, the demon is in command of your body, and you're a horrified but powerless observer.

So how do you become a sorcerer in the first place?  There are lots of options.  The most straightforward is that someone teaches you how to subjugate your inner demon.  With this scenario, anyone could become a sorcerer with the proper training.

Another option is that the demon itself teaches you.  Somehow, your demon wakes up and attempts to subjugate your mind.  You win the battle of wills and subjugate it instead.  Once it's your slave, you learn from it how sorcery works.

In a similar option, the demon wakes up and willingly offers to be your slave.  It's only after you take the bait that you learn the full truth: yes, the demon is subjugated for now, but it fully expects you to drop to Humanity 0 eventually, at which point you're toast.

Alternatively, perhaps some people are sensitive enough to hear "leakage" from their inner demon's mind.  Most sensitives just go nuts, but some hear enough to learn how demons can be subjugated...

Those are just a few possibilities.  Your set-up has such potential that I could spew out more with no trouble at all.

   ---Jim Gardner
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emaise
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2005, 04:33:50 PM »

Have you checked out The Sorcerer's Soul? It's all about Humanity, demons, demon-to-human, human-to-demon, parasites and possessors, and interrelationships as the key to play.

Hi, Ron!  TS'sS is on order, and I'm eagerly awaiting it's arrival.  Browsing through the threads on The Forge, it looks like all the best stuff is in that book, not the first. :)  I actually picked up Sorcerer and Sorcerer and Sword together in a game store quite some time back.  I noticed the promo for The Sorcerer's Soul and thought "Oh, great, another indie game designer wants to tell me how to run a campaign.  Well, if I like the basic game and the first sourcebook, maybe I'll get it later."

Okay, you win, I was wrong, and I should have listened to you a long long time ago.  Then I wouldn't be waiting around for the damn thing to get here in the mail.

In the meantime, if you have any observations that might not be covered in Soul, I'd be glad to hear them.  Even if they're painful.  Especially if they're painful, actually.

Regards,

  - Eddie
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emaise
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2005, 04:41:20 PM »

What you've got looks good.  I think you're at the point where these things need to be solidified with your group.

I think you're right.  Now I just need a group. <sigh> Recruiting goes slowly, but it goes...

Quote
Going with straight compassion as humanity might keep things simple and driven, which is probably what you want.  It shows the stark fact that after dealing with demons (and losing Humanity) your Sorcerer is just not as much of a good person anymoe and that it's very possible to become a very bad person.

Very good advice, thanks.  There's enough fodder here already for a kick-ass game, no need to gild the lily.  Simple means focused, and focused is good.  Very good.
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emaise
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2005, 07:19:50 PM »

Jim,

Wow, great stuff!  My spine tingled when I read your idea about sorcerers becoming trapped in their own bodies - the very same way that the demons they deal with are (or were) trapped in humans.  Oh the irony!  Oh the horror!  Sorcerer suggests that zero humanity could mean fire-and-brimstone damnation if that's your bent.. but what better damnation for a sorcerer than that?

Good riffs; I may steal them from you wholesale or at least play them for the group.  Lemme change keys now though and run a lead line for a few bars:

Humans are inherently supernatural.  A human's mystical potential is as much a part of themselves as their outward appearance, but it's a part they don't see and wouldn't recognize if they could.  Your demon isn't an alien being, it's you - different from you in many ways, but with many things in common.  How much someone's external self resembles their inner demon varies from person to person, which accounts for the wide variety of demons you might encounter.

The magic powers a demon has can alter reality in ways that Just Ain't Right.  Sorcery isn't magic, though, it's psychic surgery: the ability to cut away those parts of a person's self that keep the magical parts in check.  But even the most skilled sorcerers are more like butchers than surgeons; what gets removed takes along so much other stuff with it that what's left may have only a tenuous similarity to what was there before.

When sorcerers learn to do that thing they do, their first project is themselves.  But instead of cutting away their external selves which they have spent their whole lives believing is their actual identity, they proactively protect themselves by cutting out the mystical part before someone else gets a chance to set it free.  Like all sorcery, it's an imperfect hack job; enough magic gets left behind to give them a telltale, and enough humanity gets cut away to give them the nerve to go do this to other people in reverse.  But at least there's enough left for a single whole person instead of two, and what's left is enough like what they were before that they can call it a victory.

When a sorcerer's Humanity score hits zero his careful self-surgery unravels.  The stitching holding his personality together falls apart, and the first thing to go is humanity.  The demon and its magic is already gone and can't come back... but now the human is gone as well.  All that's left is sorcery and desire.  A demon's desire may be unfettered, but the demon itself is restrained by the laws of Binding and Need.  Sorcerers with unfettered desire can do anything they want, as often as they want, for as long as they want; they are probably the most dangerous creatures in all of creation.  They don't last long, they don't die happy, and they don't go quietly.  And they definitely don't get to stay PCs.

Oh, and Banishing a demon?  It doesn't restore the human that used to be there; that poor soul is lying on the cutting room floor somewhere in a hundred bits and pieces.  It removes the demon... and doesn't leave much else behind.  At best, you get a tabula rasa: a person with a child-like innocence, some key remnants of what they were, and a lot of rebuilding to be done.  At worst, you get an awful mess.  Still, either way, you got rid of a demon, and heck, you did your best, so that counts for something... go ahead and roll for humanity gain.

I like the imagery here.  Psychic violence, butcher's knives, torn holes with ragged edges... brutal, messy, dangerous... sorcery as an act of willful destruction.  My group may go for something completely different.  I kinda hope they do.  But maybe someone will draw some inspiration from it.

--------

In the back of my head, I can hear Ron saying "You're thinking too much!  Pick something and go with it! Story Now, Dammit!".  Maybe Ron is my inner demon...

  - Eddie
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Lisa Padol
Member

Posts: 365


« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2005, 05:09:21 PM »

I noticed that.  I did a forum search on "inner" and found your ideas about people's inner animalistic spirits.  I think you've got a very workable concept with humanity being civilization vs. animalism.  I hope your game is going well...

Well, we finally met to start character generation. I wrote about that here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?board=14.0

-Lisa
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Lisa Padol
Member

Posts: 365


« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2005, 05:15:27 PM »

Quote
Well, we finally met to start character generation. I wrote about that here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?board=14.0

Er, here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17417.0

-Lisa
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emaise
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2005, 02:12:09 PM »

This thread tossed around several ideas about demons and humanity.  Here's what I've decided to go with for my game.

Demons: leave it open.  I don't want to define them too clearly, lest my players focus on the mundane aspects of demons instead of the mysterious and horrific.  Here's what's in my players' handout:

Quote
No one is certain about the true nature of demons.  Perhaps they are psychological manifestations of people's inability to comprehend the power they have.  Perhaps they draw strength from the dreams and fears of all mankind.  Perhaps they truly do come from Hell and are bound to work their will through men, a remnant of Original Sin that God has not yet washed away.  In practice, few sorcerers devote themselves to such questions.  Understanding demons is incidental to a sorcerer's true aim: controlling them.

One thing about demons is known for certain: releasing a person's inner demon destroys the person.  The person's humanity is keeping their supernatural potential in check - for the demon to come out, the human must go.  Whether a demon is merely part of someone's subconscious or is an actual being from outside our own world is irrelevant.  What emerges from the summoning ritual is not the person that was there before; that person is gone and will never return.

Some sorcerers see this as a tragedy, albeit a necessary one.  Others see it as mere side-effect.  Either way, every sorcerer has obliterated an innocent person at least once, and most will do it again... and again, and again.

Humanity: I'm going with compassion and humility.  The two concepts together seem like a perfect fit.  Both are things that would keep a demon in check, both are things that demons would completely lack, and summoning a demon is clearly an act of both callousness and arrogance.

Sorcerers' Inner Demons:  I'm going to say that sorcerers "eliminate" their own inner demons without getting specific about how.  A sorcerer's inner demon can't be drawn out by another sorcerer, and humanity zero doesn't bring your demon back (it just means you're hopelessly unrestrained in your desires and have become an NPC).  However, by leaving it unspecified I've got a back door open to spring the "sorcerer imprisoned by his own demon" angle on the players at an opportune time - perhaps an NPC sorcerer will suffer that fate, and the PCs will witness it and begin worrying about whether that could ever happen to *them*.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and ideas.  I hope the discussion inspired some things for your own games.

  - Eddie

------

p.s. Recruiting is going well!  I've got plenty of players who want to play; scheduling is the next issue.  I'll post to a new thread once we have our first game session.
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