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Demons and NPCs in Combat...

Started by The Dragon Master, May 06, 2009, 11:50:48 PM

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The Dragon Master

I ran a one-shot to demonstrate Sorcerer a couple weeks ago. The game started with me trying to explain the bonus dice system, and Sorcery, and Oblique Conflict, and ended with us whipping up a medieval setting with noble families, and a rebellion on it's way. It was a fun evening, but I hit what may be a snag.

There was a fight, and the character wasn't built for combat. He built the demon to act as his "guard" and so when combat started, he ducked behind the demon. Since I wanted him to get a feel for how the system works, I let him play the demon for the combat and I played the opponents. It worked well enough for a one-on-one-one-shot, but how should something like this be handled in a longer game (I'm likely to be running a 6 session mini-campaign in a couple weeks).?
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Sorcerer Workshop, Phoenix Comicon, May 27th - 30th 2010


Hey There,

Here's a few things to keep in mind.  There is no "safe" place in a fight scene.  If the character is present at all he can be attacked.  So even if the demon is technically standing between him and his opponent.  It's perfectly legal for the opponent to try and attack him.  Depending on how the dice work out, justify it a successful attack retroactively, "He deftly side steps the demons swing and stabs at you!"  Or whatever.

Baring that keep in mind that the goal of a Sorcerer GM is to put pressure on the character's Humanity.  I once had a player send his big scary attack dog demon after a guy.  I spent a lot of the time having the guy declare Will based actions against the player has he pleaded for his life while dodging demon attacks.  As the player coldly ignored them he wracked up a few Humanity checks.

Another way is to split the character's priorities.  The demon might attack the wrong target or attack in an unsatisfactory way.  Try to endanger things the character cares about even if his demon is fighting for him.  Here's a great example.

Valmori is a member of Lord Dayton's militia.  His sword is an Object Demon that is the soul of his fallen comrade Gabriel.  Valmori's father, Jacob has summoned a demon named Zanzil because he wants to take over Lord Dayton's lands.  Early in the story Zanzil had killed most of Valmori's militia unit including Gabriel.  Here are two moments from a real fight scene from my play involving these characters.

Valmori was playing along with his father's plans hoping for an opportunity to take out Zanzil.  Jacob took Valmori along with Zanzil to confront Lord Dayton.  During the ensuing conflict I announced the following set of actions:

Jacob decides to attack Lord Dayton.  Zanzil is going to attack Jacob (part of the story was that Jacob was not meeting Zanzil's Need).  I didn't declare any action for Dayton at this time.  He was simply defending.  So you see Valmori had to make a decision.  Does he protect his Lord from his father or his father from Zanzil?

Later there was this situation.  Jacob was dead.  Lord Dayton attacks Valmori (assuming him to be in traitorous cahoots with his father).  Zanzil attacks Lord Dayton.  Gabriel (Valmori's sword) attacks Zanzil because he's at heart still a militia man sworn to protect his lord!  The LAST thing Valmori wants is to start a fight with Zanzil but he doesn't want Lord Dayton dead either.... choices choices.

That's how you run a fight scene in Sorcerer.


Ron Edwards


To stay tight to the technical aspects of your question, here's how to do it.

1. The character is indeed in the fight unless successfully he takes action to leave the area, which itself will be a declared action in the context of the fight. (If that action is not opposed by anyone, it automatically works, but it's useful to know when it happens especially if some kind of generalized attack is under way at the time. The roll provides sequence information.)

2. If the demon is actively protecting him, and if he is himself performing the full defense option, then he is as well protected as anyone can hope to be and still be in the fight. Do note that the demon's active protection can help the character's roll via roll-over victories, if it (the protecting action) happens first.

3. Have the player play the character. You play the demon(s). Fight scenes don't change that basic concept in Sorcerer. It was the player's choice to make up a spindly guy hiding behind a demon. That choice is valid, but it has risks too.

I hope that helps. Let me know!

Best, Ron

The Dragon Master

Thank you both. I figured it would be something like that.  The big thing here was that I didn't want to be rolling all the dice in a conflict in a one-shot. Up till then all of his rolls had been normal actions, and I wanted him to have a chance to experience the orthogonal conflict mechanism from a position other than as observer, but this does help me to fill in the blanks regarding future games I run. It also raises another question, but as it is more of a tangent, I'll post a new thread for it.
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Sorcerer Workshop, Phoenix Comicon, May 27th - 30th 2010