Sorcerer - Sea of Corruption OneSheet

edited October 2008 in Out-Of-Game
So here we are to work out the onesheet for our Nauscaa-ish Sorcerer game. Old Scratch on did quite a long thread on converting the setting and we might use some of that but I don't want to feel bound by it. We're owning this setting and the onesheet attached to it.

I know the idea of humanity = compassion has already been mentioned. After thinking about it I find that Mu and the Nausicaa setting have a lot in common. Mu is a post-apoc science fantasy after all.I think Mu's idea of humanity would apply, that is humanity = hope. You get humanity for making the the hopeless, crappy world a better place for everyone (everything?), you lose it for making it worse. I need to dig out my Mu and Sorcerer and Sword books.

Everyone is free to spitball about any aspect of the one sheet. Personally I think of Demons as being ancient tech and I include biotech in that. But maybe like Mu, it could be anything from the old world.


  • Anybody have any other thoughts? I did dig out my Sorcerer and Sword and Mu books. (post-moving most of my books are still boxed) I'll post some stuff about the alternate rules here. Does anyone else have Sorcerer and Sword or Mu?

    Also we could accept all the stuff from the thread whole cloth or not. Like I said I wanted the world to be Nausicaa inspired. I'll post all the descriptors I think are appropriate here tonight or tomorrow.
  • Here are some of my thoughts.

    I’m happy with a Nauscaa type setting, but I don’t need (and probably would not prefer) the Nauscaa(tm) setting.

    As the Sword and Sorcerer rules suggest, the setting should develop over time.

    Or, in other words, I’m sort of lazy – and I can go back and memorize the mythology names and such of Nauscaa as presented in the film and such, -- but this seems more like studying someone else’s creativity, rather than being creative.
  • I kind of want to be able to bind giant insects from the jungle, so ideally I would like a one-sheet that can accommodate that. Besides, insects seemed like the main kind of demons in the movie, not ancient tech.
  • I also would prefer if we could have nature as demons.

    Perhaps we could have two axis of humanity if its needed (really its just one axis with two labels isn't it.)

    Compassion as humanity seems like it could be at direct odds with a Lore that abused nature, so I like that definition.

    Also, a vague setting that gets more developed through play seems perfect.
  • Compassion as humanity seems like it could be at direct odds with a Lore that abused nature, so I like that definition.
    I'd agree with that statement, but that actually leaves me disagreeing with using both Compassion and insect demons in the same game. I think so, at least ... I'm assuming that binding an insect would be kinda like how Nausicaa does it, through communication and empathy. Now, you may mean for binding an insect to be an abuse of nature, but that's not really part of the source material (so my assumption of the moment is that that isn't what you mean).

    I do generally agree, though, that insects should be acceptable demons. It doesn't particularly affect me, since I plan to focus on tech-demon(s), but I would assume that not everyone is going there.

    Humanity as Hope also seems off to me, again because the system insists that Lore and dealing with demons be at odds with Humanity. A high initial Lore lowers your initial Humanity (indirectly, by reducing the number of points put into Will and Stamina), and most sorcery provokes degeneration rolls.

    Using something like Hope or Compassion doesn't jib, since - in that case - exploring nature is against hope/compassion, and that's not in keeping with the themes we're going for. Those descriptions of Humanity would work fine if we were only using tech-demons, but I don't think it works if insects (and etc, I suppose) are on the table.

    Humanity as Community makes most sense to me, since the source material presents both the new nature and the ancient technology as disruptive to the community. Lore, then, would be broadly to do with esoteric knowledge ... sorcerers relearn forgotten sciences or teach themselves about the new natural order, in either case exploring intellectual territory that might bring danger to their communities.
  • edited October 2008
    Can you come up with example tests for Community as Humanity, both positive and negative? I think a constraint that might be necessary is that our characters must all be tied strongly to their community to make that work. Community must matter. I could see it.

    Sorcerer's soul talks about strongly linking lore and humanity. It's not strictly necessary though, or I should say that I don't know that the linking has to be tight. Lore in the mechanical sense is your knowledge of demons and how to find, summon and recognize them. Demons threaten humanity simply by being completely alien to it. It's not so much that Lore threatens humanity but Demons. Sorcerer and sword is a little looser about the wole thing.

    On Compassion = Humanity: When we say compassion, do we mean compassion for people? Compassion for nature? Are we worried about the nature theme? Compassion for everything?

    So for our setting we want these elements to begin with (as I see it)

    -Giant Fungal forest, dangerous and toxic to people, that covers most of the world (probably an Other world, I'll detail that later)

    -Giant Insects that inhabit forest (most of which are beasts, but a few which are both willful and intelligent, those are our demons -- you have to know where to go, what to do to summon them. --They are immanents which means that they can be contacted, bound, contained and punished, but cannot be summoned or banished (they're already here)

    -other animals in the forests too, but insects predominate.

    -Ruined cities, a world with a couple of mighty powers but a third that was overrun by the forest long ago and now exists as small isolated communities surviving on the edge of the forest.

    -Ancient technology some of which is just machines but some of which is, as insects above, both intelligent and willful. (again immanents)

    -There are roumers of "Old Ones" (another possible demon type) progenitors of current people whose civilization brought the fire upon the world.

    -Straight metaphysical demons are still possible (ones you have to summon)?

    -Technology: airships, and personal craft (rare). Bolt action rifles (varietis of shells possible), Armor and edged weapons based on ceramics (standard) or insect shells (better). Gas masks and protective clothing, homespun.
  • Can you come up with example tests for Community as Humanity, both positive and negative? I think a constraint that might be necessary is that our characters must all be tied strongly to their community to make that work. Community must matter.
    Degeneration is provoked by endangering the community or failing to protect the community ... really, any time you choose to prioritize something above the security of the community, a degeneration test would likely be reasonable. In a society hedged in by deadly nature, it's necessary for everyone to fully participate in its defense, as even a small error can cause significant destruction.

    It could even be Polaris-style, where despair for or hatred of the community provokes degeneration (since what Humanity would really measure is your relationship with the community). You'd risk loss of Humanity by placing yourself over community, in particular by putting your search for dangerous knowledge (Lore) over the security of your home.

    [ Degenerate: when you willfully introduce fungal spores to the community, when you ignore the defense of the community (say, while everyone else is burning a spore infestation) in order to pursue your own passions, when you hate and resent the community for destroying the dangerous specimens you had been secretly studying, when you attempt to resurrect a dangerous ancient technology in order to protect the community. ]

    You'd test to increase Humanity when you protected the community, guarding its security or stability. That's actually fairly simple, but it specifically could be at a large or small scale ...

    [ Improve: when you distract a dangerous insect away from the community (insuring that the community won't have to kill it, provoking a response from the forest), when you mediate a significant disagreement between members of the community, when you successfully deliver a child despite a difficult birth, when you (through your esoteric studies) discover a cure to a particular forest toxin, when you use a dangerous ancient technology to protect the community. ]

    I think it's actually fairly apt to measure characters by their tie to the community. They're in a position where their societies are little islands in a sea of hostile nature, where solidarity in the community is absolutely necessary for survival. What character in the source material isn't motivated or measured by that issue?

    ( You don't have to be closely tied to the community - just start with a low Humanity. Which will be pretty natural ... if you're not tied the the community, you must be from outside the community, which essentially requires you to have a high Lore to get by. And a high Lore results in a low Humanity. )
    Sorcerer's soul talks about strongly linking lore and humanity. It's not strictly necessary though, or I should say that I don't know that the linking has to be tight. Lore in the mechanical sense is your knowledge of demons and how to find, summon and recognize them. Demons threaten humanity simply by being completely alien to it. It's not so much that Lore threatens humanity but Demons. Sorcerer and sword is a little looser about the wole thing.
    I'd really disagree. I've never read Sorcerer and Soul, but it seems pretty natural - I suspect Ron was just highlighting something that had been sometimes overlooked.

    Look at character creation ... you split point between the three stats and set your Humanity equal to the highest stat that's not Lore. That means that if you have a high Lore, you'll always start with a relatively low Humanity. I mean, this is Ron Edwards writing this - it's not accidental. The man's the super-proponent of system shaping play. And Lore and demons are explicitly related, too ... if you don't have a Lore score, you can't do sorcery.
  • RusRus
    edited October 2008
    Let me throw out some descriptors ideas.

    Humanity = Community


    Awe [1-3]- You worship things inherently dangerous to community. (Ancient artifacts/technology)
    Student [1-3] - You've taken it upon yourself to study the qualities of things that are dangerous to the community (ancient artifacts/technology, the toxic jungle).
    Professor/Master [4+] You've dedicated your life studying things potentially dangerous to the community. (Ancient artifacts/technology, the toxic jungle).
    Connection/Empathy [1+] You have personal link to things potentially dangerous to the community. Deep down, you care about those things inherently dangerous to the community, so much so, that you feel for them. (Ancient artifacts/technology, the toxic jungle).
  • edited October 2008
    Here are the base descriptors from Sorcerer and Sword which is what I suggest using for the most part. We need to agree on this list before we make characters.

    • Savage Raised - This applies well not only to combat but also to many situations in which smell, hearing, and 'sixth sense' are useful, not to mention climbing, swimming and so on. A versitile description.

    • Trained soldier - Good with all weapons, used to the travails and conduct of war and soldiery. Note that unarmed combat skills are very basic, limited to punching and rough-and-tumble grappling.

    • Big and vigarous - Speaks for itself: you're a big person

    • Just healthy - (Sta 2 or 3) this is recommended for characters who are not physically special in any way

    • Arcane regimen - This is what classical sorcerers do to stay in shape: funny breathing, stretching, calisthenics, controlled diet, and so on. It may well include martial arts training.

    • Unnatural means - Bathe in vigin lamb blood, run around naked in the moonlight, recite poetry in the shadow of the Frog God -- this sort of thing seems to work for some people.

    • Body of Stone - (addition from Old Scratch's thread) (Sta 1 or 2) The Forest poisons have finally wreaked their work upon you and your flesh and bones have stiffened and hardened and your internal organs are calcifying. It is only a matter of time…
    • Brush with the Unknown - In the course of an otherwise normal life, the character has encountere true, all encompassing insight. Ever since nothing has really been satisfying. You must define the experience and the characters reaction to it ever since.

    • Aristocrat - This is not a social status so much as a state of mind. The character is 'the cat who walks by himself,' and all places are alike to him.

    • Zest for life - Wahoo! If it's fun or feels good, you go for it. If it doesn't, it's in your way.

    • Angry - The character is pissed off and thoroughly ready to express this state of mind to all and sundry

    • Vow - The classic motivator. Vengeance, regaining property or status, whatever - you want in and you're going to get it.

    • Leader of Men - Basic charisma; people trust and respect the character. It is usually combined with focused of unfocused ambition; the character dislikes being anywhere except in a position of leadership

    • Lover - The character derives great inner strength from the love of another, whether a specific person or anyone who's interested today
    • Changling - (lore 2+) You were reaised by Old Ones or Demons and know their ways well. Now you live in the 'normal' world; perhaps you are a bit unsure of yourself there.

    • Half-breed - (lore 2+) One of your parents is an Old One or a Demon. You are by no means a normal human being. (also originally lists Undead per the Sword necromancy rules, but I don't think it'll work here. Still I'll consider it if you want.)

    • Adept - (lore 5+) The classic human expert sorcerer. Quite impressive

    • Apprentice - (lore 2+) Gonna be an adept some day!

    • Naive - These characters don't consider themselves sorcerers, but the demons do. The major difference from the 'naive' definition in Sorcerer are that in this setting (1) they are performing sorcerery 'blind' and know very few if any actual rituals; and (2) they might not begin play with a Bound demon.

    Edit: This list is replaced by lore list below

    Maybe combined with Rigursi or old Scratch's Lore desciptors.

    I'll discuss the humanity in a later post today.
  • That list is for our discussion and alteration. Some of the desicriptors may not work (half-breed for example) but several of them seem to work to me.
  • I think we're talking past each other a bit. I'm actually good with Community as humanity. I totally buy it. I wonder if it would be interesting to include a second humanity as well, like compassion for indiviuduals. You might get a humanity gain roll for supporting the community and at the same time get a loss roll for causing an individual to suffer. Maybe that's too complicated.
  • I think the double-axis Humanity works best when it suggests a balance. Like, I've only seen it in Grimm Therapy, where you lose humanity both when you lose touch with reality and when you immerse yourself in banality ... so there's a line there that you can walk, where you exercise moderation.

    That might be possible to do with Community/Compassion, but it would require some careful stating of test conditions (currently beyond me, really). If it's typical that an improvement test on one axis would also call for a degeneration test on the other axis, the characters are basically screwed ... makes it difficult to gain Humanity, so loss from other sources (like dealing with demons) hurts more.

    How binding are these descriptors? It seems to me that it'd be nice to be able to invent descriptors appropriate to the characters ... it's a small enough group here that we could just propose something for review (to see if it's too broad, or whatever).

    For instance, if I want my character to be afflicted with some toxin from the Sea of Decay, but I want to do something different from the 'Body of Stone' descriptor, can I name something then, or does it have to be going onto the list now?
  • That list is just a base to start from. If you have a suggestion for a change I'd say go ahead and make it.

    I think we should keep just the Community definition for Humanity.
  • edited October 2008
    Sorry I haven't been contributing lately; I must have missed an update, and then Snail's pace stops sending thread subscription updates until you visit again...

    I was kind of thinking about playing a hermit who dwells in the clean area beneath the toxic jungle, with a solitary, unusual or mutant insect as a bound demon. Would that be possible with community as humanity?

    edit: spelling
  • You'd likely start as a high Lore, low Humanity character ... you know much about the Sea of Decay and its creatures, but the cost of that knowledge is that you have little connection to humanity. Which makes sense (what with being a hermit), particularly if you're going for the 'wise hermit' concept. You get 10 points to spend, right? Just put around half into Lore and it works out (Lore 5, for instance, would mean that you'd have a Humanity of 3 or 4).

    I think I'm going to borrow from an old character concept (that Garvey might recognize, depending on how radically I change it) and play a sort of a pirate/terrorist fighting for the cause of an extinct nation ... there should be a bigger Tolmekia-style nation for him to despise, and he'll be from a smaller Valley of the Winds-style nation that's been swallowed up by the Sea of Decay. And, of course, he's an air pirate - his demon is a piece of ancient technology that either is an airship or has been incorporated into an airship.

    Though I do have the temptation to make 'him' a hard-as-nails lady pirate - that way, she could be the princess of her lost nation. Princesses seem to grow on trees in this setting, and it might be fun to have a little fun with that.
  • edited October 2008
    I agree that the pirate airship princess sounds appropriate! Your tech needs a will of it's own somehow. When you say airship are you thinking the giant planes? Also do you have a crew, maybe what little is left of your nation? That way you end up with your own little mobile community.

    I forgot to list that in Sorcerer and Sword "Cover" is replaced with "Past" as follows:
    • Immortal - The character does not age rapidly or at all and has lived at least a few centuries of life so far, perhaps much more. They have any and all skills they need, using Past dice -- except for entirely novel ones, which are pathetic at Past = 1

    • Social rank - Similar to the concept in Sorcerer: what the character does or did for a socially legitimate living, especially if it plays a strong role in his or her self-image. It can be anywhere up and down the social scale. In this genre there are two extremely common versions:
      • Civilized, in which case an actual title should be included: The Gray Preist of Bab, second captain of the Red Guard, princess of Kozala, etc.
      • Barbaric, meaning the character is (and currently lives as) a nomad or tribesman somewhere in the boonies. Again, some indicator of role should be included: shaman, outrider, hunter, etc. Do not confuse Barabaric Past with Savage Upbringing.
    • Outlaw - Similar to Social Rank, above, except that the activities involved are not societally approved. E.g. pirate, bandit, thief.
    Unlike the base rules, in this setting, a character can accumulate Pasts if it seems reasonable, especially over the course of many adventures. Yellow might be Princess + Outlaw for example.
  • edited October 2008
    Here is a revised lore list incorporating rugrsi's list.

    • One with the Forest - (Lore 5+) You've made the toxic jungle/ancient ruins your home and have become deeply knowledgable about it and its inhabitants. According to most, you're completely mad.

    • Explorer - (lore 3-4) You spend a great deal of time in the ruins/jungle and have learned a lot about it. You've dedicated yourself to understanding the forest for some purpose. Others view your activities with fear and suspicion.

    • Student - (Lore 2+) You are learning the ways of the Forest under a Master Explorer

    • Call of the Forest/Song of the Ancients - (lore 1+) You feel irresistably drawn to the things of the forest/ruins. It's more of an emotional need for you than an intellectual curiosity.

    • Naive - (lore 1) You've stumbled on something. You might not understand the Insects/Tech, but they seem to interact with you anyway. (As before, you know few rituals and possibly might not begin play with a Demon.

    • Changling - (lore 2+) You were raised by the creatures of the forest/ruins and know their ways well. Now you live in the 'normal' world; perhaps you are a bit unsure of yourself there.
  • edited October 2008
    So with Humanity = Community, at Humanity 0 what happens? Perhaps you are utterly cut off from community, maybe even hunted and destroyed by the community as a danger to them? Or even better, you've destroyed the community?
  • Price (renamed 'flaw for Naive characters')

    The usual array of personal problems such as those suggested in Sorcerer are available for character in this setting as well.
    • Uncivilized - The character is from a really far-away place and obviously doesn't fit in. He or she is not mean, stupid or even rude, just unconcerned with local ritual.

    • Unlucky in love - This one is fun: It acts as a bonus in establishing a relationship but as a penalty with dealing with anything that threatens it. Combine with Will:Lover to get a seriously messed-up PC.

    • Idealistic/gullible - How come Elric keeps listening to each Comic Hoo-ha who gives him "the real scoop" this time?

    • Bad reputation - usually based on a specific event in the characters history

    • Demonic feature - Either a scary physical feature or an actual Need, just like a demon.
    (Sorcerer and Sword p 42.)
  • Yellow, what customized descriptors are you thinking of? We can add a Stamina descriptor like "Contaminated" to the list. Otherwise with the character you mentioned you could use will: Vow (Vengeance) or Angry or Leader of Men, or some combo. And the way you talk about the character now, I see her as a Naive for Lore. And of course she'd be Princess + Outlaw (or princess + Pirate) for Past.
  • edited October 2008
    Unlike the base rules, in this setting, a character can accumulate Pasts if it seems reasonable, especially over the course of many adventures. Yellow might be Princess + Outlaw for example.
    How's that work? Do you divide points between multiple Past traits, or do you add new descriptors to a single Past trait?

    That Lore descriptor list helps - I felt like the original one was way too traditionally magic-focused.

    I don't have Sorcerer yet, and it looks like I won't for a bit. I've only borrowed it in the past, so I asked my game store to order me a copy ... but I find out today that they can't get it from their distributor. I guess I should've ordered it online in the first place - I'm doing that now.

    As such ... what normally can happen when you hit 0 Humanity? I don't remember.

    We're talking characters now - should we start another thread for that? I don't really care, but we've been breaking up topics like that so far.

    For the princess, I'm actually thinking high-ish Lore, low-ish Humanity - she's so tied up in her crusade that she hasn't noticed that it's getting to where she has more of a connection with her machines than with other people.

    I think I'll have some kind of contamination from the Sea of Decay going on, but maybe not as a Stamina descriptor after all ... it could be her Price, I think. She's a pirate, so an overall poor Stamina might not fit. And making it a Prince changes a bit the role of the contamination in the story.

  • How's that work? Do you divide points between multiple Past traits, or do you add new descriptors to a single Past trait?
    It's a single trait with multiple descriptors.
    As such ... what normally can happen when you hit 0 Humanity? I don't remember.
    Well mechanically the character is supposed to become an NPC (in the base rules) but as far as the fiction is concerned it's tied into the Humanity definition. One of the examples in the base rules is if Humanity is Soul then at 0 Humanity you are dead and damned. So I think any of the suggestions I made are plausible, maybe all of them.

    As far as starting another thread, I think we can go ahead and hash them out here.
  • Sorcery Look and Feel: Demon Types

    In Sorcerer and sword a Demon is described both by it's original type (from Sorcerer) and by one of these options.
    • Immanents - These are not summoned or banished, they're already here. The Contact ritual is considered a magical 'call' to where they lurk or sleep and might be highly specific as to time/place. (Insect Demons are these I think, and maybe most tech demons too)

    • Beasts - Prehistoric beasts of disturbing intelligence. - May only be pacted with.

    • Pagan Things - Minor magical creatures that used to be native during the days of the Old Ones - can only be pacted

    • Old ones - Similar to true demons from human perspective but primarily physical rather than metaphysical

    • True Demons - Straight from the Sorcerer Rules, primarily metaphysical rather than physical. (AI type tech might be interpreted this way)

    • Animated Corpses

    • Self-reanimated Liches - Sorcerers who are now subject to Demon Rules.

    • Ghosts
    Immanents and True Demons might be enough for us. But if you want to make an argument for one of the others I'm all ears.

    So insect demons - and I want to keep a distinction between the regular giant insects and the insect demons - Would be passer/immanents. Tech will probably be more specific to what the tech is. I could see treating some sort of toxic jungle infection as a parasite.

    For the the tech side I want to keep in mind Clarkes' 3rd Law "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

    You other guys still out there? Am I going off the beam for you? I know yellow is around.
  • I'm here. I'm pretty much set with the one-sheet. I'm just waiting for the characters thread to go up.
  • I'm here. I was hoping to see a final one-sheet before I zeroed in on a character concept. Did I get that backwards?
  • Naw, I'm just impatient :p
  • Well I think the above is pretty complete. It will take me some time to write it all out again. I'm assuming from lack of comment that everyone is pretty good with it. If not let me know.

    Is there something missing or unresolved rugrsi, that you need to start thinking character? Let me know.

    I'm starting the new character thread.
  • For 0 Humanity, I could also see being consumed by whatever forces you deal with - you become a creature of the forest, or a part of the machine. The character becomes a demon, basically. Just as another option, though, since I could see the others being good, depending on the situation.
  • A lot of the 'demonic' technology in Nausicaa (esp from what I understand of the manga) seems to be biological in nature, rather than mechanical. This could mean that the technology demons really are alive. Do we want to continue this or go in a different direction?
  • Yeah I could see it as being pretty biological. I think you can go both ways.
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