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Posts Tagged ‘house rule’

The G.o.T.H. (Games on The Hill) players are gearing up for our first game of Sorcerer RPG, yours truly presiding.  We’ve had our planning session, and the game is scheduled to crack wide open in eleven days.  Today’s post is our One-Sheet, describing our “game concept” if you like, thematic direction and the selections we made in customizing the rules of play.

One-Sheet

Notes on Theme, Setting and Genre. Mention any inspirational material.

Casablanca, the movie (1942).  World War II real history was inspirational, but we are picking elements from it, not adopting real history wholesale into the game.

What is the setting: Location and Era?

Casablanca, late 1940.  Crossroads of refugees, outlaws, deserters and resistance fighters from all over the world, war profiteers, black marketeers, corrupt local officials and imperious German officers.  French Morocco is part of “unoccupied France,” but the Nazi army moves across and within its borders with impunity.  There is some unequal treatment of Jewish people in the setting, some ghettos (Mellahs), but no transportation or concentration (yet).  Jews can still operate businesses.  Nazis are searching Europe for objects of divine power and sorcerous lore.  Nazi occult researchers have turned up nothing real – with exceptions possible.

The events of this game will not be a proxy for the greater war at hand.  The players are not trying to defeat the Nazis single-handedly.  This game will be about the personal plights of the player characters – as any Sorcerer game should be – and the war is just part of the setting.

What are Demons?

Impossible beings, with fetishes that they want to play out in the real world.  There is no big demon conspiracy, although they can know each other, have friendships and rivalries.  Like inmates of the same mental institution.

All demons can communicate by speech during the Contact ritual.  Demons take on their Type upon being Summoned.

Demons take names when they first encounter the human world.  Therefore, mix of biblical, Arabic, Sumerian, Greek, Indian names, etc. and (rarely) some modern names.

What are Sorcerers/What is Sorcery?

People who know about real demons, and how to perform the rituals of sorcery.

What is Humanity?

Sanity/Empathy hybrid.  Your Humanity is your ability to empathize with others and to act with compassion.  It is also your ability to maintain a reasoned connection with the human world and society.

What acts risk reducing your personal Humanity?

Victimizing someone (demons don’t count).  Recklessly exposing the world to insanity or chaotic and dangerous forces.  Anything that permanently raises your Lore exposes you to ever greater insane concepts, and requires a Humanity check.  Contact, Summon and Bind rituals.

What acts can redeem your personal Humanity?

Acting in the best interest of others, even though it costs you.  Destroying a significant source of sorcerous lore.  Banishing a demon whose Power exceeds your Humanity score.

At zero Humanity, you are…

…a sociopath, a gibbering wreck.

Demons will…

…challenge and disrupt reality; bypass decency.

Humanity check to…

…keep your grip; understand others.

Rituals are based on…

…transgressing on someone; performing the ritual somewhere you’re not supposed to be, e.g. someone else’s house, or a public place.  Creates a permanent incongruity in space/time at the location (insanity manifest, alien geometry).

Descriptors: Stamina, Will and Lore taken straight from the book.

*  *  *

Next I’ll post the three character concepts, including backstories and kickers.  Then you’ll really know why I’m so excited to start this game!

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(8th chapter in a book of thoughts and learnings from a GM who is studying Ron Edwards’ game of Sorcerer in preparation for his first game)

Today I had the good fortune to exchange correspondence with Ron Edwards, author of Sorcerer, on his forum The Forge.  For a revered game designer, he is remarkably accessible and generous with his time, and displays infinite patience in entertaining questions from newbies.  Here was my query:

Communicating with Demons

A quick line of mechanics questioning for anyone out there. Object Demons generally only communicate by conferring (or withholding) their abilities. That is, when they are in the real world (ie. already summoned). But do they communicate more directly, by speech or otherwise, during the Contact ritual? How about during Binding, which is post-Summoning, can they bargain verbally, play at riddles, arm-wrestle? Who decides what form an Object Demon takes, the sorcerer or the Demon?

And his reply shall be found here, on The Forge (direct link to his post).

As with many things in Sorcerer, the answer is up to the group, and depends on what sort of story they wish to tell.  So, what do you think?  How verbose or reticent should demons be?  How constant, or labile?  And how would that affect the tone of the  game?  What sort of theme would it serve?

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In the game Faery’s Tale, “boons” are serious business.  A boon is a favour formally owed or promised.  Boons can be traded.  Amongst a people who can create gold with a sprinkle of pixie dust, boons are the only currency of the realm.  Many an interesting adventure has been kicked off by an unsavoury character who holds a boon over another.

What if a character refuses to honour a boon?  I searched the rulebook, and it only says that a faery “must.”  Surely such a situation can inspire creative ways of undertaking to honour the favour demanded while simultaneously trying to subvert or defeat the intent of the requestor!  But what if the faery who owes the boon is a player character?  It’s never cool to say “you must” to a player.  It should be possible to refuse to honour a boon; and there should be consequences.

And like any house rule, we must consider what purpose the rule serves: gamist, simulationist, or narrativist?  I’m going with narrativist; the rules that I propose around unhonoured boons will serve the purpose of making the story more interesting.

Of course, any faery should feel ashamed to leave a boon unpaid.

Unhonoured Boons:

Andro (an honourable sprite) owes a boon to Blark (a vile goblin!).  In other words, Blark holds a boon that was originally “issued” by Andro.  Blark calls in the boon, but the favour he asks is unconscionable, and Andro refuses to honour the boon.

  • Any other faery, upon contemplating giving, redeeming or trading a boon with Andro, will instantly know that there is an unhonoured boon (but will not receive knowledge of the circumstances).
  • Any curse cast by Blark upon Andro need have no other escape clause except “unless and until the boon be honoured.”
  • Blark gets +1 dice in any challenge, duel or combat against Andro unless/until Andro is actively working to fulfil Blark’s request.
  • If Andro can somehow acquire a boon over Blark, then Andro can use that second boon to cancel the first. Blark’s consent is not required.

Comments welcome!

-J

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