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Author Topic: About to start first Sorcerer game..Humanity question  (Read 7394 times)
rabidchyld
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« on: May 16, 2002, 06:57:25 PM »

So I'm about to start my first Sorcerer game.  My players and I have come up with the following:

Setting:  present day, mid sized city.  

Characters:  Katie (yet to be named character) - a coroner who's demon is an object demon in the shape of an amulet, who's need is scare the pants off of her.  It has made her very paranoid.  She is a student of Tass Morgrum (see below).  She was recently called to the scene of a mass grave in the woods, in which all of the bodies have no internal organs.  Unfortunately for her, one of the bodies happens to be a friend of hers who's been missing for some months.  

Trey (Tass Morgrum) - An old man who is mostly mad and very rich.  He leads a very small coven out of his house.  He seeks out other sorcerers and either keeps tabs on them or invites them to his coven.  He's been around for over a hundred years now and as a result has lost much of his sanity.  His demon is a passer who is a beautiful woman, who protects him.  He hasn't made up a kicker yet, but he has provided Wasp(see below) with his kicker...although Wasp doesn't know it was Tass who did it.  

James (Wasp, AKA Ray Virnard) - a tall, lanky punk rocker who just inherited a record store.  His demon is a parasite living in a tattoo on his chest, in the shape of a swarm of wasps.  His mother died during childbirth from multiple wasp stings.  He has always suspected that his mother was murdered and now he has come across an old journal with information about his mother and possibly her death, but there are several pages ripped out.  

The premise: What would you do/How far would you go to find out the truth?

Here comes my problem.  I think that is a great premise, especially with the kickers that the players have come up with, and the "mystery" nature of the game itself.  I am having trouble, though, with the kind of situations that humanity rolls would be appropriate in.  When would they have to roll humanity?  In a situation where they could either reveal or cover up the truth?  

There just has to be more to it than that, but I am stumped.  

Basically, the plot of this game is going to be that the sorcerer who killed Wasp's mother is the leader of an evil coven that has been in operation for years upon years.  Tass knows of this evil coven, but has only rumors, and the occasional minor evidence of it.  One of the members of this evil coven has been kidnapping and killling people to fulfill his demon's need of fresh organs, who's remains have been found recently in the woods.  

Does anybody have any suggestions on humanity roll situations?  

Have I fleshed out the plot enough?  I don't want to lead the players by their noses anywhere, so I deliberately left it open.  This is a new concept to me and I don't want to make ugly mistakes the first time out.  

I appreciate any advice you folks can give.  

Oh, and by the way, Ron, have you thought about coming to DragonCon with your game?  Just curious...
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Fabrice G.
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Posts: 206


« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2002, 10:45:56 PM »

Hi rabidchyld,

I'm too about to run my first Sorcerer game in a few moments.


I think that basically you've almost covered what you needed...almost.  

Well, you've got the premise (pretty good one, BTW), the characters and their kickers. But what you need now is a definition (by your group) of Humanity. You seem to be using the "standard" of the rulebook. But, I strongly encourage you to take it and make it something much more connected to your premise. It will define and clarify many things (when to roll, the nature of sorcery,...).

So, the best thing is to get the Humanity defined in the contexte of this particular game. Then you'll see what or when an action calls for a humanity loss roll.

I don't know if this will help you... I'll present you my game and our definition for Humanity.

The premise is: "How far would you go for integration ?"
Setting:"southtern Lousianna"
Humanity is "your ethical, moral rightness"
Humanity loss "when you compromise you integrity"



Quote
I am having trouble, though, with the kind of situations that humanity rolls would be appropriate in. When would they have to roll humanity?


If you choose not to define humanity for this game, humanity loss could be called as the consequence of what the characters would do to find the truth. Would they lie ? Hurt, kill someone ?


Fabrice.
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Clay
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2002, 05:49:25 AM »

Nick's suggests are pretty sound - roll humanity when they cross the line on decent behavior.  When they do something that shows tht they think of the people they're dealing with less as people and more as pawns/tools to be manipulated, ignored or destroyed.
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Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management
rabidchyld
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2002, 07:12:39 AM »

I do need to define humanity.  Kindof a big oversight on my part, eh?  We were in the process of defining humanity last night, but kept getting distracted discussing characters.  

Chatting with Trey (who is the only one here right now because I happen to be married to him), we have come up with 2 humanity options.  

Humanity: adherence to the truth.  
Humanity loss: lying or covering up the truth.  

or I could make it a little broader.

Humanity: ethical rightness
Humanity: any non-ethical action, including lying, killing, stealing and so forth.  

I'll put these options to the group, and ask for their suggestsions if they have anything better, or that would fit the game better.  

I'd also like to somehow insert sanity in there somewhere, too.  All 3 of my players want their characters to struggle with their sanity.  

Katie's character is paranoid, and her way of summoning demons is to carve symbols into the flesh of dead bodies, with appropriate chanting and what-not.  By the way, she's thinking of changing her demon's need (to scare her) to it's desire, and change it's need to be embedded in the flesh of a corpse.  I would like to see her do that just because of all the fun I could have with her later on.  

James' character summons demons in a state of extasy caused by pain of massive wasp stings.  Total masochistic tendencies there.  I'm actually trying to figure out how this is going to work once we get going.  

Trey's character summons demons by doing bizarre sex rituals.  He wants his character to have low will and high stamina, since he's so completely mad.  I think later on his demon might end up controlling him.  

All three of them really demand sanity to be part of their humanity, or at least a big part of the game.  I'm trying to figure out how to do that now.  Should I do a 2 part humanity?  Ethics + sanity?   or adherance to the truth + sanity?  

I'm trying to figure this out.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2002, 07:31:19 AM »

Hey RC,

In sorcerer, you don't want to flesh out you "plot" at all. That's what the players get to do. In fact you should just have things for them to bump into more or less, and have no preset outcome determined at all. What you may want is more NPCs with more secrets to be revealed, more Truth to find out. Not neccessarily about the Characters, but about other things. If anything, you may have your characters intertwined too tightly with the NPCs already. All I see is the opposing coven, and one character knows about it, one character has found bodies from it, and another character's mother was killed by it. That's all your eggs in one basket. Waaayyy too tight. More NPCs, and spread it around some.

Beware with the whole "Mystery" angle. Not that it can't be done, but in Sorcerer, it's not the GMs job to feed the plot, and mystery and secrets to the players. They are supposed to actively create this discovery with your aid. It's not a "game" for them to find this stuff out, it's plot that they create that allows for the discovery. Do you see what I'm getting at?

What's Tass' Kicker?

As for the premise, Sanity and Ethics sounds like we're discussing sociopathy. So Humanity is Empathy, and Humanity zero is total sociopathy. Roll humanity loss any time a character lies, cheats or does anything else without considering the feelings of the affected. So, litttle white lies intended to make someone feel better would not require a roll. But telling them that their child was dead, just to get them to leave work so you could go through their files would probably be six dice or so. Leaves lots of room for Humanity rolls for other things as well.

For puroses of this premise Empathy is believeing in a truth outside oneself. Sociopathy is believing only in one's own internal truth. That sounds doable. Reminds me of what happens in In Nomine to Seraph angels when they fall. They go from being all about a selfless truth to being about a selfish truth. Very similar here.

BTW, that does sound better for the Coroner switchng need and desire.

Mike
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rabidchyld
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2002, 08:25:51 AM »

Hefferg!  I write too many D&D adventures.  Okay, I'm scrapping the plot, and I'm going to just come up with some bangs, and I will be spreading them out more.  I was worried about it for a reason, I suppose.  My players are so into creating the story, the plot was mostly their idea, but I'll let them play it out of that's where they want to go with it and just throw some other things at them.  

Quote
What's Tass' Kicker?


Tass is currently playing Star Craft and is ignoring my attempts to determine his kicker.  

Quote
As for the premise, Sanity and Ethics sounds like we're discussing sociopathy. So Humanity is Empathy, and Humanity zero is total sociopathy. Roll humanity loss any time a character lies, cheats or does anything else without considering the feelings of the affected. So, litttle white lies intended to make someone feel better would not require a roll. But telling them that their child was dead, just to get them to leave work so you could go through their files would probably be six dice or so. Leaves lots of room for Humanity rolls for other things as well.


Thank you!! That is exactly what I was looking for.  

I'm redrawing my relationship map now, and trying to spread out my bangs a bit more, and making them more general instead of plot driven.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2002, 08:44:20 AM »

Hi rabidchyld,

Sorry I didn't get to this thread earlier - but on the other hand, since everyone else did such a good job of responding to you, it looks as if I didn't have to!

Anyway, the only thing I can add now is a library of Forge threads that you might find helpful.

That's a lot of demons
Demons knowledge and players ...
Just got my game going
Rethinking the Kicker
Sorcerers in the forest
Last Girl on Earth wrap-up (and see the previous threads linked from there)
Simultaneous multiple-scene play

Best,
Ron
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rabidchyld
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2002, 12:04:12 PM »

Thanks very much everybody!  I'll post tomorrow about how the game went.  

The players are so incredibly into playing that they are beginning to go into silly fanboy mode.  We need to start playing very soon so they don't go too far over the top.   Tass has now decided that instead of his passer demon he wants an object demon - his house.  

He can keep it as far as I'm concerned.  That passer will show up later and cause many problems.  He's also decided that he suspects that Wasp might be his son.  Hence finding the journal and leaving it for Wasp to find.  I really don't know the motivation for that yet, I hope he has it figured out.  

I'm going between feeling that this is going to be so cool and fun, to feeling like this is going to be a complete disaster.  

Oh...and they have also decided that the next game will be goofy superhero fun.  Like The Tick or something.  Has anybody done a superhero game in Sorcerer?
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Ben Morgan
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2002, 01:35:07 AM »

I would venture to say that Jared's Schism comes closest to a superhero-type game, but he puts a nicely twisted spin on the whole thing.

As far as the nature of Humanity in the context of the game in question, I would point to people's general willingness (or even stubborn insistence) to blithely ignore the Truth (with a capital-T) if it doesn't fit with their idea of "how the world works"; it's the whole "ignorance is bliss" thing. Thus, coming into contact with, and subsequently accepting the validity of things which somehow challenge your world view puts your Humanity in jeopardy.

Of course, something like this would probably only work on the honor system, but after all, if you're even considering having to police your players, somebody's missing the point.

[Edited to clarify the superhero thing at the beginning]
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
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