*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 25, 2022, 11:38:12 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 91 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: Getting the Sorcery urge  (Read 8384 times)
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2003, 03:16:07 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Have you considered skipping the "origin story" aspect of your idea? Just figure everyone's been a werewolf for however long, and take it from there? I like a lot of what you've presented but that's the part that just seems to keep tripping me up.


I have considered that, in fact, as I said, I would leave the PC origin story up to the players. I could extend that to just briefing them by saying "Werewolves are just a Hollywood myth, but you are one. Why?"

Unfortunately (or is it?) since at least one of them is a W:tA player, I do want to make sure they don't end up trying to play that game with Sorcerer rules, so I did want to make it plain from the start!

Oh, and I've now pretty much decided that 'Werewolf' is just a handy catchall term, each player may decide on a bestial form according to the Aspects of their Urge. An Urge with Attraction, Perception and Skulk may be more feline than lupine, for instance. Just as long as we don't end up with a remake of "Howling V: the Marsupials"...

Wulf
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2003, 08:21:38 PM »

The demons-as-your-emotions works well. It's something I can immediately sympathize with and understand -- it isn't some weird spookiness like "aliens have taken over your body" or Marvelesque "this energy-rift-thing here gives you heretofore unknown abilities."

I understand being overwhelmed by emotions and being used by them, being out-of-control, and I think most other people do to. Use that to focus on, IMO -- it adds a reality to the situation that players can identify with and easily riff off of.

The alien-spirits/energy-rift thing doesn't -- at least, not as written.

Also, it seems to me that if you wanted to be more true to Werewolf (my second favorite WoD game) as written, you could use the emotions-as-demons idea to really reinforce the idea of Spirits (capital "s") in the game.

Since as players, everyone knows that demons are just your emotions, and sorcery is the control of those emotions, what about those funky Werewolf rituals, the Umbra and all the spirits and such?

Mystic rites are always performed alone, and deal with spirits and such...so, does Luna exist only in your mind, on a psychological/emotional level? Because you just created her in your mind due mob-mentality/social-spiritual-kinship (take your pick)?

And the Umbra becomes a sort of psychological mindscape, haunted by demons, yet existing as a sort of ur-reality that can effect your physical reality.

And rites..."Rites are the outward forms of the Garou's rituals and celebrations. Rites form and reinforce the spiritual and social ties binding the Garou to each other and to Gaia herself...without the continuous practice of such rites, the Garou would lose their ties to Gaia herself...and become something less than their true selves...devolving into wolves or men."

This is probably the most important passage in the whole damn book! What's Werewolf about? Ultimately, it's about the above: the social-and-psychological aspects of being; the importance of our shared sociomythic reality in the face of: destructive emotion and uncaring logic. The fact that you get fur and claws is just Color.

It's religion, baby. More than that, it's about what religion is: communal social-bonding. Religion is one of the best ways to focus or manipulate human emotion, for good or ill. Our shared communal beliefs can either serve us, or turn us into a bloodthirsty mob.

Thus, I might start a Sorcerer game of this in the following fashion: you are a TRIBE in the wood knowing secret rites that allow you to control and manipulate your emotions. You are bound to one another by the rituals you enact and the shared psychological landscape they produce: this is your society.

There are other tribes who know the same things you do...and many of them are very, very bad. They have given into their emotion and run wild rites in frenzied, impassioned possession by that power. Savage packs of one-minded frenzy.

Humanity is loosely defined, and I can see two seperate definitions being used, depending on what kind of game you want to run (there may be more). This seperates it out from being a "game world feature" and makes it a "this story" feature:

If taking the communal aspect, Humanity is seperation from the community. When you lose enough Humanity, you schism from the community: you've become an outsider, hunted, hated, ostracized, ignored. Yes, if there were others like you, you could become your own tribe...but in context, you are no longer one with your community, your shared space of beliefs no longer resonate with one another and you become an outsider. This isn't attractive as such, since you're out of the game...far better to bring the community to your interpretations of those shared beliefs!

If the religious aspect, Humanity is the abandonment of reason to emotion. So becoming a dangerous fanatic, letting the shared beliefs of your community block out rational thought or alternate action -- manipulated by your invested emotions and ruled by the religious-social mechanism, is the end of your Humanity. You are no longer human, but a myth-driven force...and damn if it isn't attractive to be such!

There's something else I really like, too: without emotion, without the shared sociomythology that the tribe focuses on, you've got no power. It speaks to the necessity of a body of shared social beliefs by a community (religious or not). A high Humanity leads to more difficulty in sorcery (power), and helps you destroy the emotion empowered belief (Banishment). So it all plays nicely to the idea that pure intellectualism and unemotional rationalism is equally as bad as the wild abandonment of such (note how the loss of the rites causes someone to devolve into either wolf or man). This is sort of an echo of that whole war between the Weaver, the Wyrm and the Wyld.

And, like I've noted, it also speaks to the dangers of a body of shared social beliefs by a community (religious or not). It's spooky because it's gray rather than dualistic...it's very real in regards to not saying, "This is good, this is bad; this the path to follow" but requring every social-community to try define what that path is and what IS best.

Well, I like it, and I think I just hijacked your thread, Wulf. Sorry about that. I hope you'll get something you'll want to use out of this for your game!
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


WWW
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2003, 09:21:07 PM »

In your original description of the concept, you said that "Everyone suddenly discovers they are werewolves (or whatever). HOW they got that way, how they discover it, is up to the players."  Seems to me that you could readily make this precisely the issue and the problem.  If the players all understand how Sorcerer works, the characters do not -- and they also don't know what they have become, or at least, not its implications.  They don't know how it happened, either, and presumably are somewhat interested in finding out.

So now you've got the characters trying to find out what's happened to them and why.  Now for the Premise, why not simply turn the whole WoD thing upside down?  There, being a werewolf is a good thing, because you're all about saving the earth and whatnot.  Why not make it horrible and nasty, but really really powerful?  So the Premise becomes a matter of characters being tempted by the Beast Within, as opposed to wanting to get rid of it and stay Human.

What's sorcery?  Whatever makes you into a Beast, or allows you to draw on your Beastly powers.  So for example if a complete Werewolf is immune to harm except from silver, supernaturally strong, untiring, and has amazingly keen senses, then you can draw on these things at any time by something akin to Sorcery.  The more you do this, the more you lose Humanity.

I think the problem is that you're leaning too much on (1) White Wolf and (2) your backstory.  Let them figure out the backstory as they go along, and write it as well.  Chuck out the "being a werewolf to serve the powers of Gaia" and bring back werewolves as monsters.  You said somewhere that you'd like to expand from just wolves -- go for it!  I mean, take Vampires, right?  Why do cheez-whiz angst (a la WoD) when you can have the real thing?  The more you get the advantages of being a monster, the more you become a monster.  Sounds like Sorcerer to me.
Logged

Chris Lehrich
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2003, 06:34:53 AM »

Interesting... in two messages we have one vote for WW and one against :-)

I'm siding against, not because of any problem I have with WW or W:tA, but because I want it made clear that my world is NOT the world of W:tA. One potential player knows MUCH more about the WoD than I do, and I don't like starting a game with that situation. Plus, I'm worried that players may decide "there's nothing wrong with giving yourself over completely to pleasure"*, and messing up my ideas on struggling against their base nature :-)

I'm still favouring the idea of an overall plot in the background rather than relying totally on the players to provide motivation, be it aliens, dimensional rifts, Gaia or whatever. I'm more comfortable with this than totally player-driven plots, but we'll see. I'll start with a session of character development and expanding my ideas and brainstorming with the players. Everything may change. But it's not likely to be for a few weeks anyway.

Wulf

* - just don't eat the meatloaf. Mighty Marvel No-Prize to anyone who recognizes the quote...
Logged
dunlaing
Member

Posts: 308

My name is Bill


« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2003, 07:27:05 AM »

Quote from: Wulf
I'm still favouring the idea of an overall plot in the background rather than relying totally on the players to provide motivation, be it aliens, dimensional rifts, Gaia or whatever. I'm more comfortable with this than totally player-driven plots, but we'll see.


You might want to create the "overall plot in the background" but just not bring it up for the first three sessions or so. That way, if you still feel uncomfortable about totally player-driven plots, you can spring it on them. On the other hand, if you find yourself liking the player-driven aspect more, you can just never bring up the overall plot, or even change it to fit the player-driven stuff.

Also, the part about what kind of lycanthrope you are being driven by your emotions brought to mind the image of a serial date-rapist who turns into a skunk with a french accent whenever the moon is full. I hope you can live with the guilt.
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2003, 07:34:15 AM »

Hi there Wulf,

Problem. Big problem. You're talking about "big plot in the background" in a way which is extremely dysfunctional for playing Sorcerer. I also think you're working from a dichotomy between "GM-generated plot" and "players-generated plot" that the game explicitly defies.

In Sorcerer, "plot" is what happens, not what's planned to happen. It is constructed almost solely of player-characters' decisions. However! This is often misunderstood by people, especially those with White Wolf backgrounds. They think I'm saying that the GM does nothing, which is not at all the case.

The GM plays aggressively. The NPCs are up to stuff. They are committed both to and against various player-characters. There is back-story, there are Bangs.

Plot emerges from player-characters' meaningful decisions when faced with Bangs. This is so counter to most people's training in role-playing that many cannot even fathom what I'm saying. It is so straightforwardly related to the process of writing a story or directing a film that I have trouble spelling it out to people.

Have you read the Art-Deco Melodrama threads? I strongly suggest them; the links can be found at the bottom of the Actual Play page at the Sorcerer website.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2003, 07:35:34 AM »

Quote from: dunlaing
Also, the part about what kind of lycanthrope you are being driven by your emotions brought to mind the image of a serial date-rapist who turns into a skunk with a french accent whenever the moon is full. I hope you can live with the guilt.


If none of the players think of it, it'll be my first bad guy :-)

Wulf
Logged
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2003, 07:44:36 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Problem. Big problem. You're talking about "big plot in the background" in a way which is extremely dysfunctional for playing Sorcerer. I also think you're working from a dichotomy between "GM-generated plot" and "players-generated plot" that the game explicitly defies.

Well, my terminology may be off, but I don't feel I'm off the track yet.
Quote
In Sorcerer, "plot" is what happens, not what's planned to happen. It is constructed almost solely of player-characters' decisions. However!

That's not a problem to me, it's the 'almost' bit I'm filling in. When players don't drive events, I want a framework to base my GM events on. What you are terming Bangs, I think (must get my copy of Sorcerer back before I get too involved with the game's specific terms). What I'm saying is, I want the players to be able, should they take the bait and investigate, to believe that there is this strange plot (as in, people plotting, rather than storyline plot) that may well involve them.

Wulf
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2003, 08:31:39 AM »

Hey Wulf, I definitely think you'd be very well served to put all your planning on the back burner until you read Sorcerer very thoroughly and then reread a bunch of threads on this forum (like the melodrama one) armed with actual "from the book" knowledge (the supplements wouldn't hurt either).

Bangs are powerful.  Bangs are not plot hooks.  Bangs are decision points where the players are making choices...but those choices must be meaningful.  For example "A bad guy attacks you" is ususally NOT a bang, because the choice is almost always made for the players by virtue of there being a definite (and usually obvious) right answer.  Either the PCs can take him in which case the right answer is "fight" or they can't in which case the right answer is "flight".  In either case...not a bang worthy decision in most cases.

To understand the nature of the bang is to understand how Sorcerer must be played.  Without this understanding Sorcerer is just a sim light rules set with some unusual and potentially problematic mechanics without even the benefit of a High Concept setting to hold it together.

The way I envision bangs makes them actually pretty easy to understand conceptually.  Start with the traditional GM set up plot routine that underlies all Illusionist (or even railroaded) play.  At various points in the story there will be choices and the GM during prep will be thinking to himself "If the players do X...GREAT...that fits perfectly".  "But if the players do Y they'll screw the whole thing up".

At this point the Railroady GM will simply not offer Y as a choice.  The Illusionist GM will find a way to disguise Y so that it looks like Y but really is just another variation of X.

A Bang...a real Bang is just presenting the option to the players in the game and letting them choose X or Y.  But first the GM must understand that choice Y ISN'T screwing anything up, because the GM didn't create anything to BE screwed up.

This is what Ron means when he says the plot gets created in play.  To be a bang the choice has to involve giving full ability to the players to make choices that make anysort of GM prepped plot impossible.  If the choices given allow a GM prepped plot to continue than they aren't bangs.
Logged

Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2003, 11:16:36 AM »

This is obviously one of those cases where words like "plot" hold as much definition as "story" or "roleplaying-oriented"....

Wulf, I think everyone has a different idea of what you're saying, so instead of trying to guess it, I'm going to present a couple of possibilities...and you tell me, "Yeah, that's what I mean", "No, that's not what I mean"

Quote
I'm still favouring the idea of an overall plot in the background rather than relying totally on the players to provide motivation, be it aliens, dimensional rifts, Gaia or whatever. I'm more comfortable with this than totally player-driven plots, but we'll see.


1) The plot is a set of events the GM plans that "happens" to the players.  The players jobs are to react to the events, hopefully uncovering the "bad stuff" and foiling it.

2) Player driven plots are where the GM comes up with nothing and the players "just decide what to do"

3) Overall plot in the background means npcs are doing stuff, requiring the players take action
or:
4) Plot in the background means a "hidden plot" that the players must uncover

Here's a key question to ask:  Is your plot contingent upon the players making a limited set of choices?

If it is, then you're talking about #1, which is what Ron is concerned about.  Sorcerer is definitely not designed for games where there's flowcharted plots, or any kind of predetermined plot at all.  

This doesn't mean that the GM doesn't come up with stuff, but the GM's job is to push the players into making hard decisions without any preconceived notion of how it should go down.

Realize that in Sorcerer, folks can always choose to push themselves to try to hold on to Humanity, or slide on down the hole, and there's no "alignment" rules to restrict them from doing so.  What good is it to plot out a 6 month long campaign when most of the crew is at Humanity 1 or 2 by the second or third session?

Instead, come up with goals and motivations for your npcs, but no "predetermined" ways for them to carry out their actions.  If Alita(npc) loves Bill(PC), and Charlie(npc) loves Alita, what does he do to pursue her?  What happens if Bill goes rampage and accidentally kills Alita?  Does Charlie go on a revenge trip?  What if Bill gets sick of Charlie stepping in and kills him, what happens if Alita finds out?  What happens if Bill just decides he doesn't want to be part of scenario?  How far will Alita go to pursue him?  or perhaps he has an even bigger secret, he loves Charlie?  Between 3 characters you've already opened a pandora's box of possibilities...

Bangs are the scenes where characters are forced to make meaningful choices.  For that to occur, first there has to be more than one viable choice to take.  "Getting attacked" doesn't count as a viable choice really. Finding out your wife has killed somebody because they were a werewolf, and hasn't found out about you...well, there's some serious decisions to be made there.  Stay with her or leave is the basic choice, with lots more possibilities.  The meaningful part occurs when that choice  says something about the character.

We could all be on the same page here already, or we could all be talking about different stuff.  The only thing I can say for certain, is that it is a good idea to sit down, and literally read through the book 3 times, giving yourself time between each reading.  Sorcerer looks easy, and people skip over a lot of key material...check out how all the threads on combat or sorcery that folks miss over, and that's not even Ron's stuff on "what the game is about".  

Chris
Logged
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2003, 12:00:03 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
This is obviously one of those cases where words like "plot" hold as much definition as "story" or "roleplaying-oriented"....

Wulf, I think everyone has a different idea of what you're saying, so instead of trying to guess it, I'm going to present a couple of possibilities...and you tell me, "Yeah, that's what I mean", "No, that's not what I mean"

Okey doke...
Quote

3) Overall plot in the background means npcs are doing stuff, requiring the players take action
or:
4) Plot in the background means a "hidden plot" that the players must uncover

A bit of both of these. NPCs have their own agenda, and their situation will change according to what the PCs do (and how they do it). Meanwhile, there is a conspiracy (that's not quite the word I want, but I'm trying to avoid 'plot') to further the nefarious ends of the bad guys, which will illuminate the PCs situation.

Quote
Here's a key question to ask:  Is your plot contingent upon the players making a limited set of choices?

Well, I hesitate to say there are NO limits, since I have no idea what they might come up with, but I am not going to prepare the entire storyline in detail in advance. Possibly session by session I will produce some detail of locations, happenings, dialogue or extra NPCs.
Quote
Bangs are the scenes where characters are forced to make meaningful choices.  

 The meaningful part occurs when that choice  says something about the character.

Yep, I get that, I was really thinking that anyway, but working at a lower level than you are talking about (being attacked isn't a Bang, but deciding whether or not to 'change' to bestial form WOULD be since it incurrs a loss of Humanity, so even a simple combat can end up becoming significant if the player/character takes rash actions).

Wulf
Logged
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2003, 02:20:40 PM »

Hmmm. On one hand, I think that the W:tA world is very cool, as does Raven, and I'd go with that, personally. But I do understand the potential problem with the players associating setting with previous rules.

So here's what I'd do. Change everything slightly. Just enough so that it can't be mistaken for the WoD, but not so much that you lose the cool elements. Here's how I'd write it up:

1. PCs are still a Tribe, but drop the moon phase stuff. Your idea about different kinds of animals melding to form a single unique creature is a great way to introduce differentiation (and just plain cool sounding).
2. The tribe is dedicated to the idea preserving nature, theoretically. Let the ethics/morals of this position remain entirely murky and up to play to determine. Is it OK to kill a human if they threaten nature? Who knows? But you'll have to make a humanity die roll if you do.
3. Sorcery is binding more animal spirits that speak to the character's inner nature, and becoming less human, and less of the time, likely, as they probably all require you to be in your animal form once in a while (need). Perhaps summoning more spirits is a personal thing (and not ritual like Raven points out it is in W:tA). But mayhap it's political, with tribal members constantly vying for control of the tribe.

Lots of potential.

BTW, you never have to worry about the "pleasure" problem in Sorcerer. In fact that's one valid way to play a character. The point is, that if the players do this, they simply become more and more animalistic until at Humanity zero they become animals completely, and run off into the woods never to be seen again.

Which happens in some werewolf films and is a powerful statement.

Or they can continue to try to retain some humanity which means less power and less freedom. In fact a Sorcerer could banish their last demon and simply become human again as another powerful statemtent. If the players know that rule, how would you prevent them from using it?

And that's the point. You seem to have some particular direction that you want the story to go in. But that's just anti-thetical to how Sorcerer works. The game just alows players to mess with everything so much that there's no controlling where the story will go. If you want that, I'd suggest playing W:tA which supports it a bit better.

But I see a real opportunity to do werewolves up right.

I'd stay away from the Urge thing, actually. While a good concept in it's own right, I'm not sure that it's as applicable here. The Hulk is existential in his continual existence as the Hulk. Werewolves seem like they should be allowed to make the wolf or man decision at some point. Or be struggling to walk the line between the two.

Well, that's got a lot of my own preference in it. But I see a really neat concept, and I gotta call it like I see it. I think you have an opportunity to play W:tA like it's written and like the mechanics do not support.

Danm. Another game on the list of ones I want to play.

Mike

P.S. does any of this sound like HW Animism to anyone else?

P.P.S. Oh, and I see the Black Spiral Dancers as simply embracing another whole set of demons. Just clouds the whole moral issue. When they go to zero, they instead become insane raveging beasts.
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2003, 01:22:03 AM »

Thanks for all responses, I have loads of ideas now (mostly incompatable, but still...). I have to drop out of the discussion until

a) I get my rulebook back & have a good read again
b) I get this Saturday's Donjon ideas down on paper
c) I rewrite my Donjon review
d) I get to discuss ideas so far with the players

Wulf
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!