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Rules Question on Contains

Started by Valamir, August 23, 2001, 12:54:00 AM

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Ok, been reading through the new book, came across something in the Contain rules I had missed before about Preparation.  The actual contain is Sorcerer Lore vs Demon Power, but bonus dice to this roll can be gained through Preparation.

Now, I'd always thought the Preparation roll was Sorcerer Lore vs Demon Stamina, representing the Contains ability to resist actual physical flailings and efforts to escape by the Demon.

I now notice that the roll is in fact Sorcerer Lore vs SORCERER Stamina.  The character is essentially rolling off against his own stats.  What is the reasoning behind this.  I'm having trouble envisioning why physical prowess would make creating the Contain more difficult.

Also is Preparation a one shot thing or can the Sorcerer keep trying thereby accumulating bonuses.  I assume that the roll could be assisted by an appropriate craftsmanship Cover if actually creating a physical object as a Contain.

The rules don't specify but is there a penelty for failing this roll?

Jeffrey Straszheim

On 2001-08-22 20:54, Valamir wrote:

I now notice that the roll is in fact Sorcerer Lore vs SORCERER Stamina.  The character is essentially rolling off against his own stats.  What is the reasoning behind this.  I'm having trouble envisioning why physical prowess would make creating the Contain more difficult.

Yeah, this one always bothered me also.  I asked about it on the
GO forum and your interpretation is indeed correct.  As I recall
it has something to do with the brains vs. brawn dual,
and is a bonus to smart, bookish sorcerers.  Personally I don't
like this rule much, as I've never seen them as exclusive.

It's a pretty minor rule, however, and can surely be modified as
you see fit without mucking up the game too much.

[ This Message was edited by: stimuli on 2001-08-22 21:57 ]
Jeffrey Straszheim

Uncle Dark

There are a couple of places where this happens.  Another is the idea of rolling sorcerer humanity vs. demon power for humanity gain after banishing the crittur.  You're more likely to gain humanity by banishing weak demons than strong ones, even though the strong ones are more likely to require bonus dice through role-playing, and thus inspiring humane acts.

Reality is what you can get away with.


Except Lon, IIRC you don't get ANY humanity gain from banishing Demons weaker than your Humanity.  But it is easier to gain humanity by banishing a strong demon than it is to banish a *really* strong demon.

That almost sorta kinda makes sense if interpreted as "what kind of foul spells and places do you have to go to be able to overcome a demon that strong"...

Ron Edwards

Ah, Contains. Where to start.

Just as in the GO discussion, I must emphasize that ALL rituals gain a Stamina-based bonus if the character preps them beyond the one-hour standard. In other words, sorcery gets better if you put your back into it (see the quote from The Worm Ouroboros).

Now, for Contains, we have to consider three things.
1) The basic roll - sorcerer's Lore vs. the demon's Power. This is the raw conflict at hand, and "Power" may be interpreted in any way the GM or player likes, as physical clawings or pychic struggle or any combination of the two, or anything different. It's "all the demon has" against the arcane knowledge that went into the Contain.

* He draws a funky rune all over the floor and checks his notes eight times as he goes. *

2) Then we add in the possibility that the sorcer made use of the bonus mentioned above - he or she put HOURS of extra work into the Contain: back-breaking, sweaty, headachey work. This means everything the sorcerer had, physically, went into the arcane expression of his or her Lore.

* He preps every chemical fresh, he uses a compass for the angles of the rune, he saws off each candle to the same starting height, and he paints alternating, complementary runes on the walls as well. He ignores his mom on the answering machine. *

3) Now, finally, we get another option (which is for Contains only). This one means that the sorcerer applied the arcane knowledge "past the brink" of his or her physical abilities - started to sweat blood, shuddered in an epileptic fit, had six orgasms during the process, strained his or her skeleton with antagonistic muscular contractions, whatever.

* Um, choose your favorite from the list provided, I guess. One of those or something like it. *

There is no obligation to use both 2 and 3; either or both is fine. I think that they represent reasonable, interesting, dramatic, and fun elements of role-playing the Contain. That's why I added #3 to the options for that ritual. It's a lot like the hallucinogenic option for the Contact ritual.

For #3, the higher the physical prowess, the harder it is to overcome. Yes, a tough-guy sorcerer ought to stick with #2 only.

The bonus for #3 above is a one-time thing, mainly because it applies to the whole Contain preparation process. In fact, that applies to #2 as well, for all rituals.

In general, I tend to avoid assigning future penalties due to failure. That is, if you're rolling a modifying roll and hoping to apply its victories to the "real" roll, and you fail, I tend not to count the victories against you as penalties in the "real" roll. Jim Henley suggested this idea a while back, and it's perfectly valid, if the group likes it that way. I'm just a weenie about the spiral problem, which is to say, the worse you get, then the worse you get. That's something I tend to avoid in game design or play. The one place it applies in Sorcerer is damage, and believe me, that's bad enough.

Ralph is right about the Banish issue. No, you don't get lots of Humanity by Banishing hordes of piddly, squeaking demons. This showed up right away in playtesting, which is where the "demon's Power must be higher than sorcerer's Humanity for it to count" came from. That rule has worked out just fine in practice.

I suggest that further debate on these matters arise from instances of play when and if they prove to be actual problems.