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Author Topic: Getting the Sorcery urge  (Read 8523 times)
Wulf
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Posts: 141


« on: March 10, 2003, 07:08:56 AM »

I've finally decided what sort of Sorcerer game I want to play, and I want to use this opportunity to think the idea out loud and get some responses and ideas.

My idea emerged when I succumbed to buying a copy of White Wolf's Werewolf: The Apocalypse (Revised). I've always been interested in the WoD themes, but not at all in the barrage of wannabe-goth baggage that goes with it. However, I can never resist a good werewolf...

However, after a quick read through, I decided, "Stuff this, I don't want to have to learn all this just to play a game!" I'm OK learning a new game system, but the background was just too heavy. So, instead, I shelled out $4 for 'Urge' for Sorcerer, and figured out a 'Werewolf lite'.

So, eventually, here's the idea. I use Urge to allow players to create Were characters (yes, I know Urge isn't about shapeshifters, but that's easily adjusted), but add Lore back in as an extra stat, so they can start dealing with demons later.

The setup would be this. Everyone suddenly discovers they are werewolves (or whatever). HOW they got that way, how they discover it, is up to the players. Everyone starts out with Lore 0 (see note later), characters should all have no idea whatsoever that weres and demons really exist. They live in the present 'real world'. All PCs are drawn to one another, but don't know why.

Now, at present I'm not sure why myself... I fancy some sort of Tribe 8 like invasion. For those who don't know, Tribe 8 is Dream Pod 9's slant on alien invasion, where disembodied aliens find a way into our world by posessing people like spirits, then go on an amoral orgy of new sensations. Therefore, the newly seated demons would be there to help protect humanity, but lack direction or the ability to communicate.

Any suggestions, comments or criticisms? One problem, I actually don't have my copy of Sorcerer at present (it's on loan, and I won't get it back until the weekend), so I may be missing some important detail (like what value to start Lore at).

Wulf
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2003, 09:19:27 AM »

Hmmm. Lot's of problems. I don't know where to start, other than to ask "What is Sorcery?" Is this to be determined in play? That seems fraught with dificulties.

Mike
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Wulf
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Posts: 141


« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2003, 09:33:10 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Hmmm. Lot's of problems. I don't know where to start, other than to ask "What is Sorcery?" Is this to be determined in play? That seems fraught with dificulties.

Mike


Well, assuming you mean 'what are demons', they would be otherworldly incorporeal entities with seemingly supernatural powers which can manifest in this world in various forms, but are most powerful when posessing living entities. They 'feed' primarily on emotional outpourings, and thus are manipulable by the PCs who have been posessed by the most primally emotive demons Exactly what Lore represents I still have to detail, but some sort of spiritual/emotional communication ability.

Now, exactly what these entities are in terms of science and/or occult terms I will leave to players to work out or ignore as they please.

Well, sounds good for the first time I've ever actually written it down...

Wulf
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jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2003, 10:07:25 AM »

Wulf,

I've played Werewolf: The Apocolypse relatively recently.  It was nightmare.  It was a nightmare because it uses kitchen sink design when it comes to the question: What is this game about?  And I'm not necessarily strictly talking about a Narrativist Premise.  I mean the game tries to be all things to all people and ends up falling all over itself.

I recognized this fact up front while I was studying the game.  I TRIED to remedy this during the character creation process by trying to pry out some unified angle concerning what the group thought was "cool" about this game.  Even, armed with THAT the game was disaster because the System and Setting fought me tooth and nail to maintain that focus.

So, really I SERIOUSLY suggest you start here: What do YOU think Werewolf is about?  Be specific.  Then ask yourself: Is that thing compatible with Sorcerer play?

I think you might already be heading for disaster.  So you've got all the issues that come with Urge and THEN you tack on this emotion draining demon thing.  So what's the focus of play?  Primal Urges or Dealing With Emotions?

Maybe you see those as the same thing.  That's cool, and maybe this works.  But what you've given me so far, I'm seeing that road of fighting Premises that I fell down when I tried to Werewolf as written.

Just my thoughts.

Jesse
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2003, 10:23:59 AM »

Quote from: Wulf
Well, assuming you mean 'what are demons',
Nope. I said Sorcery specifically. I figured that demons would be about like you said, given the Urge and Werewolf references.

What is Sorcery? What do people do to get Demons? What is Humanity, therefore? What is violated, and how is it violated, to get demons to appear and join with characters? Seems like you're skipping this most crucial part.

Because this is going to tie into what Jesse has said. It's going to be what the game is all about in the end. Here are some obvious choices given the refrences:

1. Sorcery is falling prey to your animal nature. Humanity is refraining from acting in a bestial nature.

2. Sorcery is succumbing to the pull of the essence of nature and it's need to be defended (subtly different). Humanity is staying on this side of the curtain that separates us from the essential world.

3. Sorcery is embracing madness in order to fight an insane foe (wyrm). Humanity is remaining sane.

Just some examples. What do you see as the key issue in general terms (not character specific)?

Here's an interesting question. What are the black-spiral dancers? Are they demons who have completely taken over? Are they sorcerers who have lost all their humanity? Or are they just "misguided" or insane sorcerers?

Mike
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Wulf
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2003, 10:30:23 AM »

Quote from: jburneko
I've played Werewolf: The Apocolypse relatively recently.  It was nightmare.  It was a nightmare because it uses kitchen sink design when it comes to the question: What is this game about?  

You misinterpret my intent, I think. having taken a look at W:tA, I decided, as you say, it was a mess, and too much to be bothered with. Barring the connection in concept with Urge, write W:tA out of the equation. I might use some of the same terms and some ideas, since at least one player who's expressed an interest in a WoD fan, and I'd enjoy confusing him:-)
Quote
I think you might already be heading for disaster.  So you've got all the issues that come with Urge and THEN you tack on this emotion draining demon thing.  So what's the focus of play?  Primal Urges or Dealing With Emotions?

My initial idea was with people struggling to control their emotions/urges (looking at both as parts of the one), but then forced to use them to achieve their goals. So control and balance of emotions. Yes, you can stop those muggers, but only by taking the chance of killing them in an uncontrollable rage.

Also, other demons need not feed on the PCs' emotions, they can feed on others instead. Do the PCs/players WANT the help of a demon who feeds on terror and panic? These 'demons' are drawn to the PCs as beacons of emotion, but they have their own needs that can be satisfied elsewhere.

Wulf
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Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2003, 10:39:25 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Wulf
Well, assuming you mean 'what are demons',
Nope. I said Sorcery specifically. I figured that demons would be about like you said, given the Urge and Werewolf references.

What is Sorcery? What do people do to get Demons? What is Humanity, therefore?


Right, got you. Humanity is self-control, loss of humanity is giving in to the base urges, living through emotion over intellect. Total loss of Humanity would be returning to a bestial state (getting a bit Wolverine here...). Sorcery is a bit of a problem to me here, I want the PCs to be able to contact 'demons' because they are drawn to the posessor demons that make the PCs into weres (via the Urge rules). I imagine demons like shapeless forms within the PCs' perceptions, looking for a way to enter the world. Maybe they come in dreams?

Wulf
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Wulf
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2003, 10:45:25 AM »

Incidently...

Quote from: Mike Holmes
1. Sorcery is falling prey to your animal nature. Humanity is refraining from acting in a bestial nature.

This, as I mentioned, was my intent.

Quote
Here's an interesting question. What are the black-spiral dancers? Are they demons who have completely taken over? Are they sorcerers who have lost all their humanity? Or are they just "misguided" or insane sorcerers?


I was considering them as the primary foe, the leadership of the 'bad guys', and therefore Sorcerers who have surrendered more of their Humanity, possibly not all, but are willing to lose more to gain power.

Actually, I think of Black Spirals as those damned hard guys who attacked us at a LARP weekend last year... thankfully a load of Ahrouns and Talia of Philodox helped out... And they're the reason I decided to buy W:tA!

Wulf
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szilard
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Posts: 260


WWW
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2003, 10:45:39 AM »

Hmmm...

What if demons are the outward manifestations of the sorcerors' emotions?

Sorcerors are those who have tapped into an innate primal urge. This urge gives them shapeshifting abilities into forms that mimic their interior states. It further opens a channel, allowing them to give form to their other emotions.

Sorcery, then, could simply be losing yourself in emotion.

Stuart
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Wulf
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Posts: 141


« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2003, 10:54:30 AM »

Quote from: szilard
Hmmm...

What if demons are the outward manifestations of the sorcerors' emotions?
Sorcery, then, could simply be losing yourself in emotion.

Stuart


Hmm... so controlling other demons could be seen as releasing your emotions and giving them extra power? Hmm... nice, especially if the players don't know it at first, and assume the demons are separate entities... So they would likely contact them during times when the emotion was dominant, like during dreams, as I considered?

It would be reasonable to assume that the players would create ideas for demons based on their characters' character, so it would in turn be reasonable to allow them to miss the detail that that part of the character had been externalised (pardon my clumsy terminology), for a time, until they started to lose Humanity.

This is working well for me, folks, thanks.

Wulf
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Bankuei
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2003, 11:18:49 AM »

Hi Wulf,

Some serious questions for you here...

I haven't picked up Urge yet, so I'm not familiar with any rules mods it may have within it... But....

From what it sounds like you are describing, the point of play is "using and controlling your character's emotions" at which point the character's emotions sound more like the demons in play for the characters.  In Sorcerer, demons are both the "kewl power" of empowerment, and the key to a character's downfall.  The possessing alien/demons you're talking about sound a lot like "bad guys" to me, which doesn't make them under the character's control.

So let me make sure I'm understanding you correctly:
-PC's use/control their emotions to fight the bad guys(alien/demons)
-going "loked" on the bad guys too much costs humanity(ala Rage)
-Losing all humanity leaves you in permanent rampage....

Correct?

If this is the case, then recognize that you still have to define what "sorcery" is, because what it would be is some form of controlling/channelling your rage to become a werewolf/stop from becoming a werewolf.  Demons, as far as the player characters are concerned would be their emotions.  And anyone who was a werewolf and had some means of controlling their emotions(and most of the human, adult population has even a little bit) would have at least a Lore of 1.

Wulf, I highly suggest you take some time and really, really read the rules.  As much of a nightmare Werewolf might be to you, you can kludge a lot of rules and drift it as you see fit.  Sorcerer may be in a thin book, that doesn't mean its "rules-lite" or easy to play.  

Take a very close look at:

-What humanity means, and what its supposed to do in play(its more than simply sanity hitpoints)
-What demons are(the ones the players control) and how they empower pc's while at the same time literally fuck up their lives.
-What is sorcery?  Is it nifty shapechanging available to the werewolves?  Is it different for folks who are possessed by the bad guys?  How does each type work?
-What the hell is so important that the PCs are risking their humanity for?

Chris
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2003, 11:21:54 AM »

--Edited to note that this cross posted with Chris' post. What he said.--

Wait, wait, wait. Here's the problem. How quickly are the players going to learn what Sorcery is, and what Demons are?

See, this contradicts a lot of what, to me, makes Sorcerer work like it does. That is, the players are supposed to understand well the nature of the actions that their characters take. Sure, the characters might not get it, but the player does. This is how the player uses the rules to frame up whatever conflicts he thinks need to be framed up.

See, if I'm playing in this game, all I know is that I have a demon and it can do xyz. I don't know what I need to do to summon more demons to get more power, and get myself into more trouble.

I can see doing this for a short while, maybe. But you're denying half of the power of the game by making Sorcery unavaliable.

If Humanity is avoiding your bestial side, then Sorcery should be embracing it. All you need do to summon and bind more demons should be to do something in concordance with your "nature". See, that's cool. Want to get the ability to see in the dark? Go howl at the full moon all night long. Want to be able to Mark your prey? Go wrestle with a pack of wolves to learn their ways. Want to be able to take out the Black Spiral Dancers with terrible claws? Then go out and kill, kill, kill like a beast. Whatever.

The characters can't get into all this fun stuff until they're aware that this is what Sorcery is, and that's how it works (if indeed you go that rout). Worse, how did they become werewolves? What sorcery did they perform to summon a demon and become werewolves in the first place?

Because if they're not the driven sorts of people that are supposed to be Sorcerers, then they'll not want to use Sorcery anyhow, and the premise is shot again. You need driven sorcerers to drive the plot. Also, I can't imagine a Kicker that's going to somehow supercede "You wake up covered with hair, and an urge to kill things." All the initial play is going to revolve around finding out "what's going on." Likely followed by, "How do I stop?"

Essentially, you have to make the players complicit in hosing their own characters or it all doesn't hang together correctly.

Why not just do the standard setup? Say the PCs are all the guardians of a particular woods or something. Then they have to all decide why they became wolves (hence the driven), and what's going on here and now (kickers), in order to get the plot moving.

Sounds to me like it'd work.

Mike
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Wulf
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Posts: 141


« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2003, 12:01:07 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
I haven't picked up Urge yet, so I'm not familiar with any rules mods it may have within it...

Bits here & there.
Quote
From what it sounds like you are describing, the point of play is "using and controlling your character's emotions" at which point the character's emotions sound more like the demons in play for the characters.  In Sorcerer, demons are both the "kewl power" of empowerment, and the key to a character's downfall.  The possessing alien/demons you're talking about sound a lot like "bad guys" to me, which doesn't make them under the character's control.

My ideas are evolving, those aliens are getting more tenuous. Current idea is of a 'rift' of some form leaking energy and allowing people to tap potentials previously unattainable.

The purpose of the PLAYERS and the game will be an exploration of the character's emotional control, and their willingness to risk drowning in emotions. Demons will be those emotions, captured, put in a box and set to work.

The CHARACTERS' goals are up to the players. They will create their characters, with my advice and background, and decide how the characters' will act, and what they want. I HOPE they will decide to find out What Happened? then try and stop it. How much will characters become reliant on their powers? Will they use and embrace them, or try and find out how to get rid of them? Will they act selfishly for their own desires (either way) or use their new abilities for the greater good?

And yes, maybe Lore 1 makes more sense.

To Mike: Sorcery, in terms of being able to contact, summon, etc. demons, will be available as soon as PCs begin to explore their powers. The dangers of using Sorcery will be evident first time they try and use Lore to Contact demons (or whatever their first deliberate contact of other demons is). I erred in my explanation by stressing the CHARACTER knowledge - I agree the PLAYERS must know this, at least in general terms, from the outset.

By the way, some of the things suggested don't quite gel with the Urge rules. For a start the Urge-type demons don't have to be bestial as in nasty teeth-and-claws bestial, they can be a variety of sorts, Wolverine and the Hulk are prime examples, both highly destructive, but neither revelling in it. Even without releasing the dangerous, Humanity-destroying, Primal Urge the inner demon gives advantages based on it's power. Urge covers that. Likewise, in Urge, there IS NO Lore stat (it's replaced by the Urge stat), so there is only ever one demon - I'm adding that back in.

Wulf
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2003, 02:07:25 PM »

Hi Wulf,

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.

The way I'm suggesting, you don't have to work with the "what am I, what is happening to me," but rather, "what do I want, what can I do to live with myself."

Best,
Ron
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joshua neff
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2003, 02:56:50 PM »

A lot of old werewolf lore involves people who directly performed a ritual to become a werewolf. None of this "I got bit by a werewolf & now poor me is one, too" or White Wolf's take on it ("You were born this way, & there's no way to be anything else"). You become a werewolf by intent. Just like in baseline Sorcerer.

So, make the werewolf condition a Possessor demon with werewolf-y powers & werewolf-y Needs & Desires. You could even, if you were so inclined, make the other kinds of demons werewolf-y or "primal."

And then, as Ron suggests, skip the "origin story" (which is the part that trips me up, too) & assume that the PCs know all about this "becoming a werewolf" jazz, have done it, & now have to live with it. Jump ahead to the real meat (*ahem*) of the story.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
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