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Author Topic: Basic Question  (Read 8104 times)
xiombarg
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« on: September 03, 2001, 09:10:00 PM »

Perhaps I'm not reading my copy of Sorcerer closely enough, but I'm not sure when a demon is In Need.  I know it loses Power and so on for every day it is In Need, but it doesn't get bonuses to resist it's master's wishes until a "week or so" have passed. So does this mean that the demon isn't In Need until its Need hasn't been met for a week? Or does the Need need to be met daily?
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2001, 09:30:00 PM »

How I thought it worked is the Need must be met at regular intervals or else the Sorcerer's control (as it were) over the demon will start to slowly degrade until it starts rebeling and it eventually breaks loose (a bad thing, I'm given to understand)

Imagine you neighbor had a pet dog that he kept chained up in his yard.  You neighbor is a total prick and doesn't feed his dog regularly.  When the dog has only gone a day without food, it's really hungry but easily pacified and probaly really happy to see its master.  If the dog goes a week or so without eating, it's now despirate and will likely attack your neighbor when he goes outside to feed it.  If the dog gets despirate enough, it will probably try to break the chain holding it...you get the idea.

A demon's Need works pretty much like this except a demon's need may not be for Gravy Train but for a sip of human newborn infant blood.  (Most people freak out badly when you try to take their baby's blood, even if it's just a little bit)  Needs of this nature are hard to fulfill and it's likely they won't get it daily so the demon is likely to be in Need.

But then, like the neighbor's dog, you could tempt a demon into doing what you want like a doggie treat.

"Come on, Malitrax.  Level the city and I'll give you a Scooby Snack."

How Need works is left a little vague in the rulebook, and I believe Ron did this on purpose to allow for a wide interpretation in how Need is handled.  These are just my ideas, mind you.  WHat can you come up with?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2001, 06:07:00 AM »

Hey,

Jack's pretty much on it - there is no regular schedule of demon Need-feeding built into the rules except for "once a week or so." The "or so" covers demon concepts - originated by GM or player - that lead to a different schedule.

However, if that seems too free-form loosey-goosey, here's a good way to look at it.

Q: When is a demon in Need?
A: Always.

What matters is when the demon is EXPECTING its Need to be fulfilled. Jack is right - as a rule of thumb, figure a day for it to mention the Need, or at least perk up its ears to make sure it's coming soon, and a week before it gets irked enough for its behavior to be off-base. And the "scooby-snack" element of Sorcerer play is often one of the most delightful quirks of the game, which is why I illustrated it with the suburban ninja example.

I also like the notion that the demon usually appreciates immediate gratification upon performing something dangerous, and especially upon performing something that doesn't accord well with its Desire.

In practice, I've found that players are either pretty careful - the PC demonstrates to the demon that its Need is coming just about as often as possible - or very careless, expecting (perhaps) that the GM doesn't want to be bothered with keeping track of things. Of course, these latter are overlooking the facts that (1) Sorcerer isn't a game that exhausts the GM via all the stuff to keep track of, and (2) playing the demons is FUN for the GM, usually, and so their Needs get role-played more than the players think.

Oh - and never, NEVER permit a player to use the "well of course" logic. That would be something like, "Oh, well I always feed him a mouse before going to bed. That goes without saying." This sort of thing is fine in some contexts, say, when you all decide that a week of game-time goes by without incident, but in general, this is one detail of Sorcerer play that I do NOT permit to "go without saying."

Best,
Ron
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xiombarg
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2001, 08:05:00 AM »

I thought it was deliberately vague, but I got confused by the rules about the demon losing Power daily when In Need. I knew, considering the philosophy of Sorcerer, it was pretty GM-dependant, but I sorta wanted to know that the default assumptions were. So I take it the demon doesn't lose Power until that "week or so" has passed without its Need being met.

Thanks!
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
xiombarg
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2001, 08:05:00 AM »



[ This Message was edited by: xiombarg on 2001-09-04 15:51 ]
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2001, 08:29:00 AM »

S'okay, man, just use that wonderful Delete option in the edit menu or wherever it is.

And yeah, sorry I didn't clarify - figure a week of game time goes by before the demon starts losing Power. Shorten that for ANY use of demon abilities AS WELL AS any specific orders, particularly those that the demon isn't necessarily inclined to do.

And, of course, change the above "week" into any time period you prefer to suit the definition of sorcery and demons in your game. (Try not to diminish the importance of Need by doing this.)

Don't forget that Contains shield a demon to some extent!

Best,
Ron
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Knight
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2001, 02:19:00 PM »

Oh - and never, NEVER permit a player to use the "well of course" logic.

May I inquire why? It seems a bit out of character.
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random
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2001, 06:38:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-09-11 18:19, Knight wrote:
Oh - and never, NEVER permit a player to use the "well of course" logic.

May I inquire why? It seems a bit out of character.


Here's my take on this.  A sorcerer must pay attention to, and manage, his or her demons' needs at all times.  It's a crucial part of maintaining cordial relationships with the demons.

Since providing a demon's Need is such a critical aspect of the relationship between the sorcerer and demon, it is important to stress that aspect in the role-playing of that relationship.  Otherwise, the sorcerer-demon interactions in the game -- one of the key aspects of Sorcerer -- are trivialized.

-rnd
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2001, 06:24:00 AM »

Agreed.

It's like saying "Oh of course I check for traps" or "Oh of course I loot the bodies." in D&D.

Or saying "Oh of course I drink some blood" in Vampire: the Masquarade.

Or even "Oh of course I tap some mana" In Magic: the Gathering.
Or "Oh of course I pay the rent for the hotel on Boardwalk" in Monopoly.

It's an action that's part of the reason why you're playing the game in the first place.  If you're going to ignore it like that, you oughta be playing something else.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2001, 06:55:00 AM »

Hello,

I think Jack has expressed the general issue well, although I want to twiddle it just a little to bring it into the Narrativist context of Sorcerer rather than the Gamist context of (for instance) much AD&D (one of his examples).

In Sorcerer, the idea of shared Authorship is paramount, and in many ways, how players express issues of Humanity and Need are among their most important "instruments" or "keyboards." So that's the reason for my uncharacteristically picky instructions about putting Need all on the players. How they handle that specific issue is considered a foundation for how they want the story to go. If the issue is presented right, then the players shouldn't see it as some picky weapon of the GM's ("You failed to mention that you carried a boot knife! It's not there! Ha HA!") but as one of their powerful "rights and responsibilities" as authors.

However, the final paragraph in my post above is important, too. I do think that good role-playing is PACED, and that there are times, periods or codas or chapters, whatever you'd like to call them, in which "not much is at stake." It's downtime, or low-pressure time - role-playing is still happening (I'm not talking about full break), but during these periods, nothing much is going to "break." It's a good time to see what your character does, or is like, without a crisis. So I'd like to say, without any implication of contradicting my or Jack's point about the importance of player impact on handling demon Needs during "up" times, that during these periods, Need-meeting MAY be relaxed a bit along with everything else.

Best,
Ron
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Knight
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2001, 12:15:00 PM »

Ron, of course, answered my query best.  The concept initially did seem to me very much like the boot knife example - I've heard that particular GM dysfunction being referred to as the "I drop the rock" technique (after a PC who only realised that he'd been carrying a rock in his hand for the past week or so when he tried to use a two-handed weapon, if I recall the story).

The uncertanty that still remains for me is who is it who defines the "break" and the "up" times.  For me, it seems that these should be at least partially up to the players themselves.  If the players don't want to deal with something like that, it seems to me to be a message rather than a deriliction of duty.
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Ben Morgan
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2001, 01:00:00 PM »

Hey all,

Round our group we call this the Twinkie syndrome: "First I unwrap the Twinkie. Then I eat the Twinkie." "Haha! You didn't say you were going to throw away the wrapper, you're still carrying it around with you!" Exhibiting this kind of behavior is grounds for a right good smack on the side of the head with an empty soda bottle (or, for repeated offenses, pelting with dice).

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"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2001, 01:35:00 PM »

Knight wrote,

"The uncertanty that still remains for me is who is it who defines the "break" and the "up" times. For me, it seems that these should be at least partially up to the players themselves."

I agree.

The exact authority and mechanisms for determining such things are not presented in Sorcerer, and I think they are extremely group-specific. I suggest that the members of a group recognize that these issues HAVE to be explicitly addressed, among the real people during real play.

Best,
Ron
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