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Author Topic: A few new-player thoughts and questions  (Read 2525 times)
Benjamin
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Posts: 9


« on: December 05, 2001, 06:06:00 AM »

Hello, just bought the book, and have a few questions.
1) If the Humanity score is defined as something that most people might not have (i.e., sorcery, sorcerous soul), what effects does that have on the game?  For instance, I notice at least three demon powers that require tests against Humanity (hint, mark, and taint) - would regular people not be affected by those powers?  

2) Cover.  When I hear 'cover' i think of someone faking it.  Ex.  'A man comes into your small town, saying he's a lawyer, buys a mansion, gets strange visitors, throws big parties, invites the whole town.  Eventually main character's lawyer uncle Jed shows up, comes to a party, says something about law, and the new man in town seems mystified.  A-ha, says the main character, something is up.'  That is to say, cover is literally that: a facade, a masquerade.
However, as it is presented in the book it seems that cover is more like 'what you were before you got your first demon.'  The three characters presented fully in the book are like this - Harry really is an FBI man, etc.
So what if you were raised in South America by ex-Nazi sorcerers, moved to America with loads of gold.  You would really need a cover wouldn't you, but what could your cover be?  (both in game terms, and in in-game terms.)

3) (rushing, cause i'm at work) during demon-summoning if the person gets more successes the demon's power can go up.  would you give your players a choice in that?  seems like the more successful a character is the more he should get what he wants.

4) why the rule of hiding?  rather, in your specific campaigns, how do you explain that.  it seems like it also needs fleshing out.  or maybe it doesn't, maybe it's the same sort of 'hide or be destroyed' that fuels the masquerade (in Vampire).

just some thoughts, gotta go, talk to you all later,
sincerely,
ben
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2001, 03:01:00 PM »

Hi Benjamin,

Thanks for buyin' the book, and thanks as well for coming to join us here. Let's see if I can make sense of the questions ...

> If the Humanity score is defined as something that most people might not have (i.e., sorcery, sorcerous soul), what effects does that have on the game? For instance, I notice at least three demon powers that require tests against Humanity (hint, mark, and taint) - would regular people not be affected by those powers?

Humanity is a feature of any human being, sorcerer or not. I'm not sure how that got translated in your reading to the idea that non-sorcerers don't have a Humanity value ... perhaps in the example in the table, of Humanity being defined as "your sorcery"? If so, then read that as being a quality of any human, which for sorcerers has the SECONDARY aspect of being useful/meaningful in controlling demons.

> Cover. When I hear 'cover' i think of someone faking it. ...  a facade, a masquerade.
However, as it is presented in the book it seems that cover is more like 'what you were before you got your first demon.'

Right so far. Your initial reading is not necessarily so far off, though, as many player-characters are STILL doing their "Cover" for a living or as a lifestyle, although they are now sorcerers.

> So what if you were raised in South America by ex-Nazi sorcerers, moved to America with loads of gold. You would really need a cover wouldn't you, but what could your cover be? (both in game terms, and in in-game terms.)

It would be "raised in South America by ex-Nazis," with some sort of profession or term for what you did day to day ... rich dilettante, perhaps? Political activist? Whatever it is that people SEE you as doing or how they would classify you without knowing you were a sorcerer (hence the term Cover).

> ... during demon-summoning if the person gets more successes the demon's power can go up. would you give your players a choice in that? seems like the more successful a character is the more he should get what he wants.

That final sentence is debatable. On the one hand, there is such a thing as being TOO successful, and summoning demons seems like it might be one of those things. On the other hand, if you want a more co-author relationship between player and GM, then your suggestion (giving the player a choice about it) is very reasonable and desirable.

> why the rule of hiding? rather, in your specific campaigns, how do you explain that. it seems like it also needs fleshing out. or maybe it doesn't, maybe it's the same sort of 'hide or be destroyed' that fuels the masquerade (in Vampire).

Hmmmm ... this is really a double question. One is, "Why the rule of hiding (Secrecy) as a design feature?" That's the one I can answer, because that's all that the rules provide - completely WITHOUT in-game justification, which is left up to you. (This is one of those hard things about Sorcerer, that I do provide metagame parameters for play but you provide the reasons for them in-game.) The answer is, perhaps frustratingly, that I want basic Sorcerer to generate stories about people, not to generate an alternate-universe with tons of demons side-by-side with humans. It fits with the general elements of the source literature (which I realize is a circular argument, unless it gets dissected a little deeper).

The other question, "How do you justify the Rule of Secrecy in YOUR particular game" is a good one too - but my answer cannot and never should be taken as advice about how you should answer for yourself. For example, in the Demon Cops mini-supplement, the Sleeping Demon beneath the city is Secret ... because it's asleep, period. But on the other hand, to take the demons of the Black Wheel from the main rulebook, they don't fear being hunted down, they just get what they want more reliably when they are secret ... in other words, they want to keep the sorcerers' activity from drawing attention because most people find that activity to be atrocious.

Ultimately, it is not even necessary to justify the Rule of Secrecy in-game. Demons may be said to "just act that way" and to refuse to justify themselves about it.

Hope that helps!

Best,
Ron
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greyorm
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2001, 06:25:00 AM »

Quote

"Why the rule of hiding (Secrecy) as a design feature?" That's the one I can answer, because that's all that the rules provide - completely WITHOUT in-game justification, which is left up to you.
The answer is, perhaps frustratingly, that I want basic Sorcerer to generate stories about people, not to generate an alternate-universe with tons of demons side-by-side with humans.

And of course, one is completely free to ignore the whole Rule of Secrecy thing and drop it from the game.  The "Demon Cops" does so to a certain extent (because its source literature -- Anime -- does so).

Hrm, I'm imagining a Warhammer-based sorcerer game...everyone knows the minions of chaos (demons!) are real and out there working to subvert reality and destroy the world...and everyone knows wizards and sorcerers deal with such beasts constantly...many normal individuals may have even encountered such creatures.

Damn, makes me want to pick up a copy of Warhammer and flesh this out a little more as a S&S supplement...

Anyways, point being that one has to be careful about the justification for dropping the Rule of Secrecy, or the game could become a freak-show or comedy.  There needs to be strong supporting material detailing why the RoS isn't in effect, simply because it will have a major impact on the world (and anything with a major impact could either make or ruin the game depending on how it is handled...it could come off well-done, or juvenile).

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[ This Message was edited by: greyorm on 2001-12-06 09:27 ]
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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