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Author Topic: Questions and a one sheet from a recent purchasee  (Read 2323 times)
Hegar
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Posts: 4


« on: August 29, 2006, 09:25:58 AM »

So I just bought the Sorcerer book, having spent much time pawing over the apprentice pdf and these forums. Wonderful purchase, and very reasonably priced.
I was a bit surprised that that two of the things a wanted to read the official primers on were not in the book: relation maps and pacts.
I'm pretty sure I get relation maps - the idea is to give the GM a solid idea of the important characters in the story and their emotional ties to each other. I've read about them on here, and can get more detailed info from here, so only correct me if I'm way off on this one.
But what book deals with relation maps? Is it Soul and Sorcerer or do none of them and its just a thing thats been developed on the net? Which book deals with Pact? I'm guessing Sorcerer and Sword? Now that I come to think of it, do any of the books deal with one sheets?

Speaking of which, I've done up this one sheet (http://www.box.net/public/918i00elvn) which was originally meant as the one sheet for my player's first ever sorcerer game, which would have pre-made characters for them. Now I'm thinking I'm gonna run the example game with the house from the book, set in the world detailed in the one sheet (basically just make it late 18th century-ish, rather than 20th-ish) and use the premade characters for that, and give the players the option of keeping them or making their own for their first multi-session game.

How's my one sheet? I know that if I let the players make their own characters I need to include a list of descriptors, but is there anything else that I've missed? Or anything that might not work? (also, I'm not keeping the line about the bloody vengence, I was very tired when I wrote that and haven't bothered to change it yet)

I also have a few questions about an idea I had for an object demon:
IXK
Stamina 3. Will 6. Lore 5. Power 6. Abilties: Mark, Command, Special Damage (ranged), Cloak (it's powers)
It would look like an empty old jam-jar with a victorian-era label ("IXK Jam - Sweet and Healthy") and a lid with three holes through which dangle three knotted peices of string. IXK is a 'soul jar' it traps people's souls (in a game in which sorcerous or religious dogma may be about souls, but Humanity is not). It can only do this if their Lore is 0, and this does not change the person in any way. The game mechanic of this is handled with Mark (in reality it is just a mark) sorcerers can see the person's soul is trapped. IXK's other two powers though, can only be used on a target who's soul it has trapped. The Special Damage takes the form of a stroke, fit or heart attack.
I have two main questions regarding this demon. Firstly, i know that in the book it says Command can only be used against animals, but would it be too overpowered to let it be used on anyone with Lore 0 considering I'd require a Will VS Will roll, with large penalties for commands that go against the target's usual behaviour, and they'd have to be Marked first?
Secondly, would the idea of this demon be handled better mechanically by something like a Possessor with Hop and Spawn?

Finally, I was a bit unclear as to when your demon needs to take Cloak to hide its own powers? For example, if I wanted a demon which could teleport to any person it had slept with, appearing nearby in a packed crowd, or walking into the room or some such (subtly basicly) I'd need Perception and Cloak to back up my Travel, right? Does IXK actually need Cloak to have the Special Damage or Command not be obviously originating from it?

Thanks for the great game Ron, first RPG book I've bought in over five years now, and I can't wait to get stuck into it.
David
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2006, 10:22:18 AM »

Hi David,

Excellent!

First response: don't read the Apprentice. Put it away, forget anything it says, don't use it as a basis for understanding anything in the rulebook. Not only is it obsolete in terms of actual rules, it's basically a failed experiment. (People sure are getting good at finding it on the site, I must say ...)

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I'm pretty sure I get relation maps - the idea is to give the GM a solid idea of the important characters in the story and their emotional ties to each other. I've read about them on here, and can get more detailed info from here, so only correct me if I'm way off on this one.

You are a little off-base, actually. What you're describing is pretty much just standard prep like you can find in hundreds of scenario supplements built on the Call of Cthulhu model. A relationship map is a different animal altogether - much more specialized, not a general tool at all.

They're defined and described/utilized in detail in The Sorcerer's Soul. This may be a conflict-of-interest statement, but given the parameters you've described for the game you'd like to set up, I gotta say, the relationship map material (it takes up at least a third of the book!) seems well-suited.

Pact is found in Sorcerer & Sword, but in this case, for your purposes, I'm not sure it's really all that important.

I suggest not using the book's first-time example, but sticking with the basics of your sheet, and then using the diagrams on the backs of the character sheets as your basic prep. I can tell you more about that later.

So, to summarize:

Provide your one-sheet, which I quite like. Edit out that "bloody vengeance" bit, as you described, and provide a list of descriptors. The ones in the core book will fit pretty well, although as written they're a bit 90s-hip modern in phrasing. I do think you might provide a little atmosphere for how demons are summoned, what demons look and feel like - not much! You'll get most of this from the demons the players make up.

Quote
IXK
Stamina 3. Will 6. Lore 5. Power 6. Abilties: Mark, Command, Special Damage (ranged), Cloak (it's powers)
It would look like an empty old jam-jar with a victorian-era label ("IXK Jam - Sweet and Healthy") and a lid with three holes through which dangle three knotted peices of string. IXK is a 'soul jar' it traps people's souls (in a game in which sorcerous or religious dogma may be about souls, but Humanity is not). It can only do this if their Lore is 0, and this does not change the person in any way. The game mechanic of this is handled with Mark (in reality it is just a mark) sorcerers can see the person's soul is trapped. IXK's other two powers though, can only be used on a target who's soul it has trapped. The Special Damage takes the form of a stroke, fit or heart attack.

Nifty! Although you seem to have another Lore point to designate for another ability.

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I have two main questions regarding this demon. Firstly, i know that in the book it says Command can only be used against animals, but would it be too overpowered to let it be used on anyone with Lore 0 considering I'd require a Will VS Will roll, with large penalties for commands that go against the target's usual behaviour, and they'd have to be Marked first?

Not allowed. Don't do it. The rules were baked in playtest to a degree that is hard for people to believe, even by today's Forge standards, and I can confidently advise you that such a rules-tweak is destructive.

My recommendation is to replace the Command with Taint. This is an awesome ability. The NPC would still remain under the GM's control, but with a solid Humanity definition, you can influence them remarkably even so, changing their behavior and making all sorts of things happen. In fact, the collaborative nature of you and the GM dealing with a Tainted NPC, is very fruitful and I recommend it.

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Secondly, would the idea of this demon be handled better mechanically by something like a Possessor with Hop and Spawn?

If you'd really like the whole, hard-core, take-over of people's bodies, then yeah, that would work better. The jam-jar would merely be a special effect, and possibly where the demon is when it's not in a host, even possibly a Contain. I don't think it needs Hop, though ... Possessors are actually more fun when the possession-act requires more work on the sorcerer's part.

On the other hand, the original concept works really well if you can stand the idea of the influence on others being more iffy to establish and perhaps more random in outcomes.

Now, in all of the above, I am speaking of you in this case as if you were not the GM. When you are the GM, I recommend that when you make up a cool demon concept and fall in love with it, some potential problems arise if you introduce it into play when you're GMing. The best way to avoid these problems is to give the demon a master it dislikes intensely, so that one or more of the player-characters may well consider Binding it. In other words, don't let a favorite demon of your own making become more important to you than the demons that the players make up for their characters.

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Finally, I was a bit unclear as to when your demon needs to take Cloak to hide its own powers? For example, if I wanted a demon which could teleport to any person it had slept with, appearing nearby in a packed crowd, or walking into the room or some such (subtly basicly) I'd need Perception and Cloak to back up my Travel, right? Does IXK actually need Cloak to have the Special Damage or Command not be obviously originating from it?

Ah, much easier question. You are right regarding the teleporting demon. And yes, IXK does need that Cloak. I think you understand the parameters and purpose of that ability without any hitches.

Best, Ron
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Randulf
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Posts: 42


« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 11:30:46 AM »

Quote
IXK
Stamina 3. Will 6. Lore 5. Power 6. Abilties: Mark, Command, Special Damage (ranged), Cloak (it's powers)

Nifty! Although you seem to have another Lore point to designate for another ability.

Doesn't adding Ranged to Special Damage take care of that?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2006, 01:50:46 PM »

You're right, Randulf. I missed it.

Best, Ron
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Hegar
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 09:14:38 AM »

I gotta say, the relationship map material (it takes up at least a third of the book!) seems well-suited.
I'll take a look at my gaming store. I thumbed through the main book instore, than asked about the possibility of getting Sorcerer & Sword ordered in, a few days before I took the plunge and bought it. The guy at the desk said something along the lines of, 'Oh, is that for that weird little system you were just looking at?'

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Pact is found in Sorcerer & Sword, but in this case, for your purposes, I'm not sure it's really all that important.
I didn't think it would be, it just seems so nifty!

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I suggest not using the book's first-time example, but sticking with the basics of your sheet, and then using the diagrams on the backs of the character sheets as your basic prep. I can tell you more about that later.
I've decided to go with this plan, and just make up a sample characters for the players to look at and maybe pilfer some ideas from.

I've got a second, editted onesheet here: http://www.box.net/public/x18b5x7jum
It's now got descriptors, a little info on the first page about each groups demons, and info on the second about their sorcery. It's also got another sorcerous group which is a slightly modified Sanzoku. I'm a bit concerned that five possible sorcerous groups is getting a little splat happy, but most of my players are from predominantly White Wolf backgrounds, so I'm thinking maybe this will help ease the transition to Narrative gaming. I also intend to work with them alot on character creation so we do get multi-dimensional characters.

Quote
Not allowed. Don't do it. The rules were baked in playtest to a degree that is hard for people to believe, even by today's Forge standards, and I can confidently advise you that such a rules-tweak is destructive.
I figured this might be the case. I like the idea of using Taint, I think I could work with that, and the advice on demons that you as a GM are fond of makes a lot of sense. I think with Taint though, i'd feel more comfortable using it for that purpose after having gone through some of the stuff in Sorcerer's Soul. I'll just leave IXK alone for the moment :) 

Also, I remembered the other thing I meant to ask. I've heard talk on here about 'Framing', players framing scenes and so on. Is this an element that is discussed in a Sorcerer supplement, or is it just one of the elements of narrativist gaming? I found one of the actual play examples very illuminating, in which a player said they wanted to discover something shocking in a secret room below a study. Before I try it in a game though, there's a bunch I'd like to know. Stuff like what limitations, if any, should it have? Just go with anything that will advance the story? Is there somewhere I can get more info on the considerations involved in letting players frame scenes?

Thanks for the prompt, in depth response. I think this level of involvement by the game designer(s) is one of the things that can really give indie games the edge.
David
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