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Alternate Demons

Started by Bailywolf, October 10, 2001, 06:04:00 PM

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Anyone play with alternative demon ideas?  Ron suggests some intresting ones in the ole' tome itself, but I came up with a few...

Wuxia:  based on a mini-suplement I'm working on... instead of demons, characters persue Styles of mystical martial arts... each stye grants special Techniques (read: Abilities) and demands dedication.  Some artists sacrifice their Honor (read: humanity) to steal and conive Styles.  Combined with an advanced combat system.

Half-breed:  More a character idea than a new demon paradigm... a character who's starting demon isn't something summoned, but rather something he was born with:  his demonic half.  Sort of half parasite, half possesser...but more intimate, more inherent... the character couldn't imagine existing without the Other Self.  How many childhood years might pass before such a one as this realizes that everyone isn't so doubled...Perhaps not an actual alternate form, but certainly an alternate state of mind... how does such a character deal with his dual nature...

Otherowrldly:  Demons arn't easily identifiable as specific entities... but rather exist as states of being, modes of perception, and forces which control and are cntrolled by sorcerers... instead of summoning and binding imps or blobs or spectral hounds, sorcerers become vessels through which otherworldly forces flow.  They are raptures, dreams which don't fade, tokens of tragedies, and songs who's lyrics unmake reality.  Nothing so easy to deal with as a nine foot slavering mass of claw and fang.

Alternates:  Versions of yourself from other universes...

Homonculi:  creatures spawned and grown from the sorcerer's own flesh and blood...

Corruption:  Mundane creatures twisted and remade with a Sorcerer's inhuman Lore.  Instead of summoning otherworldly beings, sorcerers take the mundane and remake it as otherworldly- the household dog becomes a hellhound, the mailman a soul-stealing revenant, a murdured man's pocket watch drinks blood but can now time.

Memes:  Demons are mental constructs & mind viruses.  Ideas so twisted and unnatural, they can change reality for those with the courage to think them... but they also change the thinker...

Diseases:  Demons are supernatural diseases which only a rare few can catch... while the powers they grant seem wonderous, they are soul-cancer, phychic inflenza, spiritual plauge.

more to come

Ron Edwards


It is just time for a Bailywolf mini-supplement to happen.

Scott Knipe ran his Sorcerer game with "media" issues underlying all the demonics. I liked that too.

It surprises me, often, when people assume that Sorcerer MUST be based on a demon/Hell immortal-soul model, AND when those people are not personally committed to that model in their real lives. I'd rather set up a Sorcerer game in which the demons & Humanity issues really reflected the stuff that gives us the shudders, rather than what - for many - is basically a fantasy setting, and one without much emotional resonance to boot.




I've been dragging on the production end of things... my stupid life keeps getting in the way of whats importiant!

I was kicking around a sort of micro suplement collection- 5 'flavors' of sorcerer (sort of the bones of a setting, how the familiar sorcerer concepts are treated[what are demons/what is humanity etc], and some adventure hooks... about 5 pages each) and 5 'toppings' (alternate rules, extras, and snap-ins).  Sort of a banna split of darkness. Wuxia was one of the ideas I was kicking around as part of that.

I have trouble focusing on one set of concepts for more than a couple of weeks... so I tend to design for the short attention span.


Oooohhhh...aaaahhhh...all cool ideas, BW.
I really like the Wuxia one; it's fresh and interesting.

I'm still hashing out a modern-fantasy version Sorcerer along the lines of typical D&D games (thus, not "set in the modern world" but "modern fantasy style", ie: not pulp fantasy), with enough Sorcerous twists to keep it interesting.

One of the ideas you mention is how priests work; they commune with what could be conceived as "big possessor demons": their gods, and their gods work through them.
"Invest me with thy spirit, oh lord!"  And suddenly the priest becomes a terrible figure of savage, godly power (and yes, it does wither humanity, because the priest slowly loses what makes him or her an individual to the power of their deity).

In answer to Ron's statement about demons/Hell, etc. and people who don't hold those beliefs in their real life, I have to say that I've noticed the same.  I guess it is a fantasy escape for such folks (like myself).  Big, ugly, icky demons and such are stylistically "very cool."  Plus I have a thing for pulpy horror movies (like "Gate II" and such), and the whole "Fall from Heaven" and "Eternal Damnation" thing is an interesting myth to explore.

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Mike Holmes

Yeah, I gotta agree with Greyworm on the whole traditional view of demons thing. I don't believe in *any* sort of demon other than the metaphorical sort, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the novelty of each concept. I like every one that I've heard. And to the extent that the traditional view of demons is entrenched in our culture, I think that it has at least as much power to engage us as others do; maybe more. It certainly does for me.

Is it a surprise that I'm a big fan of In Nomine. Yes, the Steve Jackson version. Not so much the rules, but the setting. I think the concept of otherworldly creatures fighting for the souls of humanity, and trying to justify their own existences simultaneously is intensely interesting. Talk about a Premise. "Am I on the right side?"

I've always thought that I would like to make a Sorcerer background where the players are being both tempted by demons and redeemed by angels.

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Ron Edwards


The key is that "emotional resonance" issue. If the metaphor or symbology works, for purposes of fictional engagement, then that's what matters. I'm not so concerned with actual belief.

For me, that resonance in religious/spiritual stories is a big "sometimes" thing. I find the Exorcist tremendously affecting, and the concept of the girl's immortal soul (and the priest's!) is a matter of concern when I watch it. But in The Prophecy, I couldn't care less, and the brief shred of content arises from the Lucifer character for all of five minutes.

On reflection, I think it's not the "soul" at all that's the issue for me as an audience member or creator, but the parental concern and helplessness, and the fact that as much as we want to, it's VERY hard to connect with what's "inside" our children. The Exorcist hits that perfectly and The Prophecy is a blithering mess about it or any similar issue.

Of course, if the belief is there, then the engagement comes with it. Say the role-playing person really does have, oh, a Wiccan view, and a Sorcerer game addresses spirits and their roles (and the perversion of those roles) toward people. The person will, I think, have the emotional resonance going - his or her stated/felt beliefs are an expression that it already exists.

The danger in this circumstance, of course, is that of any creator/audience who are not distanced enough to create story rather than preach a point, but that's another issue.