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4 possible outcomes

Started by Tony Irwin, September 22, 2003, 03:41:08 PM

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Tony Irwin

Hi folks,

I have a question related to a very early thread on this board, where Ron mentions 4 possible outcomes in Sorceror scenarios. You can see the thread here but its very long so I've just quoted the relevant part below.

Quote from: Ron EdwardsBut Sorcerer play doesn't work that way. Have you really thought about the four possible outcomes, per character?

Joyce gets the Nobel Prize for her sociological conclusions, and she's destroyed every human relationship on her way to get there. Her demon praises her and gives her her "real" Ph.D.

Joyce gets the Nobel Prize for her sociological conclusions, and she's preserved great relationships with the school, her brother, and Frank. Her demon was Banished long ago in the process.

Joyce gives up the Nobel Prize or other intellectual-achievement ambitions and becomes a no-'count teacher at a minor community college, helping others rather than self-aggrandizing/comprehending stuff. Her demon was Banished long ago during the events that led her here.

Joyce gives up or fails the Nobel Prize or other ambitions, but now she and the demon live in some flophouse, and she makes money by hooking at the bus stop so she can still work out her equations on the chalkboard in her crummy room.

Different themes implied here, eh? Would you say that #1 and #2 "say" the same things? I wouldn't.

The reason I bring it up is that I noticed that My Life with Master's epilogues does something kind of similar and I was hoping someone could clarify for me just really what is happening in these outcomes so that I can understand them better.

Is it viewed so that the PC and demon are equal partners in the relationship and so the story outcomes describe win/lose variations for their partnership? (Where win/lose deals with getting what you want from the present situation)

1 PC win Demon win
2 PC win Demon lose
3 PC lose Demon win
4 PC lose Demon lose

Or is the focus on the PC, and so the different outcomes describe win/lose variations for the PC both within a Demon relationship, and outwith a Demon relationship?

1 PC win, while Demon still here
2 PC win, while Demon gone
3 PC lose, while Demon still here
4 PC lose, while Demon gone

Or is it something else entirely?


PS: I'm guessing that this kind of thing is well known and documented in literary analysis. I'm sure I remember outcomes like these getting classified as "redemption" or "damnation" among other things. University seems so distant now... can anyone point me in the way of a few books that might discuss this?


Mike Holmes

I think you only care about the character. Did they win, or lose, and either way, what was the cost to them in the process? If the demon remains, that's a cost. If they've given up other things that are important, that's a cost. The true "winner" gets everything they want, and, despite risking a lot in the process, don't lose anything.

So I think it's:
1. Win with little or no cost.
2. Win with big cost.
3. Lose with little or no cost.
4. Lose with big cost.

It seems to me that Sorcerer is quite a bit about trying for 1, when forces are trying to get 4 to happen. But then the real question becomes, when these forces cancel out to some extent, which compromise do you take, 2 or 3? Or, "How far are you willing to go to get what you want?"

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Ron Edwards

Hi Tony,

The four outcomes are first presented in the Sorcerer rulebook, in Chapter 7. From a certain perspective, all three supplements are dedicated to bringing the four outcomes into play in some way. That "in some way" is very important.

You've presented two entirely valid contexts; both of your examples are functional interpretations of the four possible outcomes in Sorcerer terms, and even more exist.


Tony Irwin

Many thanks folks - I read the passage the other night. I guess I was thinking in terms of something really structured (like, The story of your character will turn out one of these ways. Now decide which way.), but I can see how much more powerful it is having the group and individual bring their own context and meaning to a particular outcome.