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Author Topic: Miami Vice onesheet  (Read 4149 times)
colin roald

Posts: 82

« on: January 28, 2004, 07:13:14 AM »

I have the following as a draft of a one-sheet for the game I'm trying to put together.  I'd welcome any feedback.  The setting is in a lot of ways what I think of as "vanilla Sorcerer", but none of us have played an explicitly Narrativist game before, so I don't see any need to get too fancy.

I *would* appreciate any suggestions anyone has to fit the sorcery more firmly into the theme -- I think that's the weakest part.  I have tried paring back some of the demon options, but I think they still lack a thematic unity.

Also, do you think it necessary to specify the consequence of Humanity 0 any more explicitly?  I've sort of left it open with the thought of picking something that seems appropriate depending on the circumstances of how we get to it in play.

Is there anything else that I seem to be overlooking?

<h2>Miami Vice</h2>

A Sorcerer Game

It is 1985 in Miami. It is our world, more or less -- Reagan is president;
the Columbian cartels and the Cuban exiles run south Florida; at parties
on giant yachts the supermodels snort cocaine and dance to "Bizarre
Love Triangle" until dawn. Pink suits and beard stubble are in fashion.

Almost all "magic" this and "occult" that is total superstitious hooey
-- almost. You have found, or stumbled across, or been shown, the
golden needle in the haystack; a set of rituals that truly provide
contact with things that are not human.  They were not easy.  You
had to do things that others would not understand or approve of, but
you had the talent and the drive and the vision to do what it took.

But you did what the rituals required of you.  You summoned and bound a

Why did you do it?

How much farther will you go?


The price of sorcery is a piece of your humanity, which for this game
is defined as *empathy*, or the quality that allows you to connect
with and understand other human beings.  Actions that buy you
advantage at the price of the grief and misery of others cost you
humanity; sacrificing your desires for others' happiness gains you
humanity.  When a person's Humanity falls to zero they are alienated
from all other humans and unable to form new relationships -- this is
a critically dangerous state for one who has congress with demons.  A
sorcerer PC who reaches Humanity 0 immediately becomes an NPC.


You have bound a demon to your service.  Demons are intelligent
entities with unnatural powers, and wills and desires of their own --
they are NPCs.  They are not Christian devils; they do not come from
Hell; they do not torment the spirits of the dead in the afterlife.
Neither are they merely aliens from "another dimension".  In some
fashion they are twisted shadows of humans -- *anti-souls*.  It is
possible that the sorcerous Summoning ritual in fact *creates* them,
or that it pulls them like memories out of the collective unconscious.
Demons themselves do not actually know much of what they are, and they
lie about what they do know.  They should not be here.

<h4>Demon types:</h4>

    * Inconspicuous:  shadowy, often insubstantial presences, often with
       a hallucinatory quality.  The image of Munch's The Scream presents
       itself here.
    * Possessor:  inhabits and takes over a human host.  The host may or
         may not retain some degree of awareness or control (sometimes control
       may alternate between possessor and host, symbiotically). The
       demon may or may not be able to easily switch to a new host.  
       e.g. the black goo from the X-Files.  
    * Passer: able to pass as an ordinary (but usually exotic) animal,
       such as a monkey that a zoologist can't quite identify as belonging
       to any known species.

    Object and parasite demons do not exist in this setting (unless someone makes a good case for them...)

    <h4>Demon Needs and Desires:</h4>

    Each demon Desires one of: Corruption, Mayhem, Mischief, Power,
    Sensual Gratification, or Artistry.

    Every demon has a particular and specific Need from which it derives a
    kind of sustenance.  Most have to do with transgressions of human
    social norms: e.g.  Vandalism; Watching people have sex; Learning
    secrets; Tears; Fighting; Seduction of the lonely.  Many others are
    possible.  The degree of inconvenience and immorality vary approximately
    with the Power of the demon.

    It is worth noting that even very nasty demons -- particularly Possessors --
    can be darkly charming, even sympathetic.  It is not uncommon for a
    demon to have a sense of humour.

    <h4>Demon Powers:</h4>

    Why would anyone voluntarily tie themselves to one of these disturbing
    creatures?  Because they have fabulous powers, and can confer them upon
    their masters.  They can make you stronger, faster, and better
    looking.  They can tear your enemies apart with poisoned talons.  They
    can dazzle and seduce your associates; make you invisible or
    bulletproof or able to walk through walls.

     The full range of demonic powers from the little black book
    are available (except possibly Taint).


    Rituals commonly involve substantial doses of mind-altering substances,
    self-mutilation, and/or transgressive sexual acts (with "assistants" who
    may or may not be entirely willing).  Summoning requires that some life
    energy be supplied to demon to make it possible for it to live in our
    world -- animal (or human) sacrifice is one option, but it is not actually
    necessary to kill the subject if blood is spilled and possibly extremities
    (fingers or ears, even) are amputated.  It is gentlest on a sorcerer's
    Humanity if he or she commits the wound on him- or herself, but of course
    the pain can make it more difficult to finish the ritual.

    Rituals may involve some chanting, burning of incense, or incising of
    pentagrams, but these are useful only insofar as they help the sorcerer
    attain the necessary mental state.


    Stamina:  Stamina is your body stat, and despite the name includes
        dexterity, speed, strength, and constitution.
        Descriptors:  Fitness freak;  Chemically heightened;  Clean living;
        Go-getter;  Martial artist;  Ex-military;  Natural vigor; Scrapper.

    Will:  Your mind stat.  Despite the name, includes intelligence, force
        of personality, presence of mind, charisma, and clarity of thought.
        Descriptors:  Believer;  Daring;  Rageful and Vengeful;
        Socially adept;  Strong-willed;   Manipulative;  Lover of life.

    Lore:  Your sorcerous training.
        Descriptors:  Naif (Lore 1);  Apprentice (Lore 1-2);  Coven Member
        (Lore 2-3);  Solitary Adept (Lore 4+);  Mad (Lore 4+).


    Thanks in advance!

colin roald

i cannot, yet i must.  how do you calculate that?  at what point on the graph do `must' and `cannot' meet?  yet i must, but i cannot.
-- Ro-Man, the introspective gorilla-suited destroyer of worlds
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2004, 07:55:51 AM »


Now my friend Julie's gonna be mad at me. This is the game she's been pushing to play for a while now.

Overall, it looks very good, especially your minor limitations. I suggest pulling some images off the internet and to include them; that works really well for the atmosphere and some non-verbalized Premise notions.

Here's what I suggest about Humanity: just raise some issues which you're letting them know will capture your attention as GM for Humanity checks and gain rolls. If I had to guess, I'd say, "money, status, and coolness, and the appearance vs. reality of all three." Just leave it at that, coat it with all the atmosphere you already have and can aid with pictures, and let the character creation do the rest.

I suggest that when you're playing this "general" to start, that you should keep an eye on the embedded conflicts in the characters as the players make them. Definitely do it as a group, and ask people to give one another ideas once it gets going. Also look carefully at the "how I found my demon" and "why I Bound my demon" parts - people often skip the second, pretending to answer it by answering only the first, and that really makes a Sorcerer character flat. Oh, and use those diagrams on the back of the character sheets, big-time.

colin roald

Posts: 82

« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2004, 08:29:38 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Overall, it looks very good, especially your minor limitations. I suggest pulling some images off the internet and to include them; that works really well for the atmosphere and some non-verbalized Premise notions.

Actually, I kind of already did that. :-]  Another idea I learned here.  I suppose I should have included it above:

http://gungeralv.org/roald/games/sorcerer/miami-vice-handout-1/">Handout 1

Actually, that reminded me of why I chose one of those pictures -- maybe demons should include more human Passers:  plastic people would fit with the model scene, I rather think.

colin roald

i cannot, yet i must.  how do you calculate that?  at what point on the graph do `must' and `cannot' meet?  yet i must, but i cannot.
-- Ro-Man, the introspective gorilla-suited destroyer of worlds
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