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Author Topic: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon  (Read 747 times)

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Offline HikariTopic starter

[Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« on: May 04, 2008, 06:37:16 PM »
I'm trawling for interest, and also looking for some active feedback for a game I'm thinking about running.  The game is intended to be a semi-open, and only semi-GMed sort of affair with lots of players carrying on lots of different scenes at the same time, with only partial moderation.  There will be a basic (homebrew) system in place to keep things on track and give people rules to resolve conflicts when the GM (that's me!) isn't present, and that's the major point where I need feedback.

First, the setting: The world is, more or less, the modern world as we know it.  There's only one wrinkle: the existence of demons.

To be specific, the existence of an electromagnetic phenomenon that remains largely unknown to science, which most of those who've been involved with generally relate to religious experiences of a spiritual or metaphysical nature.  This phenomenon is essentially an independent, self-motive form of spontaneously generated electricity that's normally unnoticeable and almost completely benign.  However, when it gets inside of a human, its ability to generate tiny pulses of electricity seemingly without source at very specific points in space becomes far more interesting; due to the human brain and nervous system's bioelectric function, the entity is capable of causing humans to 'see' and 'hear' things by stimulating their sensory nerves, influence their movements by jolting their synapses, and possibly even changing the way they think by selectively firing neurons...

These 'demons' confer some degree of power to the possessed.  They seem to exist outside of time, or at least have a very different perception of it, which along with their ability to directly fire the synapses of specific muscles makes it possible for them to react far more quickly than a normal human's reflexes can match.  Whatever means they use to perceive or process stimuli, it seems to have capabilities no humans have, and they can sometimes share these heightened (or altered) senses with their 'host' by imposing electrical stimulation on the appropriate regions of the brain.  A few even seem capable of fully communicating with their hosts, and offering them the knowledge of a thousand lifetimes spent 'riding' humans through history...

A powerful enough demon, in tandem with a suitably hale and healthy host, seems to be able to dodge bullets, survive incredible amounts of physical punishment, read men's minds, and perform other supernatural feats.  The majority of newly-bound hosts, however, are far less capable; perhaps because of an innate resistance to the demon's unnatural influence, or maybe simply because they entity needs time to grow and learn to use its new body.

Demons are exceptionally rare: demonologists once created a codified list of seventy-two with which humans could reasonably have beneficial dealings, and this number seems to hold through the modern day.  So rare are these beings that they have consistently evaded scientific discovery and classification, and remained on the periphery of human awareness and understanding throughout the whole of history.  However, it seems something is changing; there's something calling them to seek out potential hosts and possess them, to exercise greater power and control than any time in recent memory...  and to congregate.

The city of New York is about to become the first hotspot for demonic activity in centuries...

***

The characters in the game are otherwise (relatively) normal people who have bound themselves to a demon.  Perhaps they did it intentionally, through half-remembered ritual and dark contract.  Perhaps the demon came upon them in a moment of weakness, offering them power--to achieve an impossible or unreasonable goal, or simply to escape the looming jaws of death.  Maybe the demon has always been there, for as long as they can remember, and it's just now starting to truly awaken due to the unexplained events drawing the world's demons toward Manhattan...

Players create a character, a framework for the demon possessing that character--chosen from the Ars Goetia--and enter the city of New York, to tell their own story and participate in the saga unfolding against the backdrop of the city.  The game is, in essence, a 'Gathering': like Highlanders, the characters are driven to compete for reasons they don't completely comprehend (though, undoubtedly emerging from their demonic possessor).  Combat is not the only means these creatures have to compete--as non-physical entities, they seek only to impose absolute subjugation on one another through wills--and any number of unlikely conflicts are going to arise as the demon-possessed strive to prove their authority over one another.

And for what?  The winner takes the loser's Seal--a portion of his demonic power which binds the will of the demon--taking on some of the traits of the loser in exchange for imposing his own will on him.  As a character wins--and increases in demonic power--they will draw progressively more traits from others, and accumulate a legion of bound followers, in their bid to complete the Key of Solomon and gain mastery over the demonic powers.  As a character loses, they will have more and more portions of their foes' demons forced upon them, until they end up a wreck of psychoses and sourceless voices...

***

I'm working on a simple homebrew system for resolving conflicts and development/exchange of traits.  That's where I need the feedback.  Are there things that are clearly missing?  A cool Attribute you'd want added, or a type of conflict resolution that's sorely lacking?  Things in particular I'm looking for:

Suggestions on pairing down the number of possible reactions per attack.  At the moment, I pretty much threw in everything that makes good sense; I'd like to trim it down to a list that hits the high points and creates a more tactical minigame.  Specific suggestions are handy, here.  How much would people be bothered by not being able to use a specific counter to a given attack?  (Keeping in mind that, by successfully Resisting, you can eventually use just about any method as a counter.)

Suggestions for more Attributes, certainly.  Especially plot-based Attributes.  This is a very rough draft, so it's fairly bare-bones.

Plot Points
Every player has a pool of Plot Points (PP) at their disposal.  These points regard a sort of metagame dealing with the shared authoring of the plot, rather than any in-game metric defined by a character's attributes or powers; essentially, they're 'dramatic editing' points.  A player gains Plot Points by participating in the game, 'buying in' to other players' scenes and ideas, and otherwise helping move the story forward.  A player spends Plot Points to make their own story move forward: in essence, you participate in scenes featuring other characters and help advance their story so that you can gain points to spend advancing your own.

The most basic way a player gains PP is by posting: a player gains 1 PP every day they are actively playing.  This means that they not only must post, but their character must be involved in some sort of story, and doing something relatively interesting and meaningful.  A post of, "Selena is still at home, watching TV," for example, would not count as 'activity' and does not garner a point.

Another common way for a player to gain PP is by 'mercenary casting'.  A player can propose an idea for a scene, and put up a 'bounty' of their own PP as an offer for whoever will act in the role they need filled.  A player might post, for example, "I need someone to try and stop my character from summoning Asmodeus.  I'll give 3 PP to the first person to accept the role!"  By accepting the role, you can gain some of that player's PP for your own uses.

Third, players may gain PP for 'buy-in'.  A buy-in is a sort of compensation the Game Mistress offers in exchange for certain things, usually GM fiat.  For example, the GM may say, "The room is flooding with knock-out gas.  I know Salem could escape easily, but it would be better if he were captured along with the others.  Will you take a dive on this for 2 PP?"  In essence, for moving the GM's main story along you receive PP, much as another player might pay you for certain actions.

Fourth, players my gain PP via 'sell-back'.  A sell-back is when a player rolls a very good result, but chooses to forego it in favor of a less advantageous outcome.  A player would generally sell-back when, for example, they don't want their character to be victorious, or when they're rolling too well for their opponent to put up a decent 'fight'.  A player generally can't sell-back when a roll isn't significant to a scene's outcome.

The ways that players can spend PP on, the other hand, are myriad.  In addition to using PP to 'pay' other players to tempt them into joining stories, they may also use them to alter outcomes, invoke deus ex machinas, and so on.  For example, a character who fell off a cliff could spend PP to ensure that his character miraculously survived the fall, despite being thought dead.  A character who is in a hopeless situation could spend PP to find a way out--like a previously unnoticed trap door in the floor of the surrounded building that leads to the sewers, allowing her to escape the horde of enemies closing in.  Players can also use PP to add 'oomph' to dramatic moments, such as redefining certain circumstances ("I want it to be raining in this scene!"), using special powers normally beyond their character's limits, etc.

The System: Characters
A character is defined by two very different metrics: their Magnitudes in certain forms of conlicts, and their Attributes, which are non-numeric traits that serve to define important character traits.  A character might have a Combat Magnitude of 5, for example, and the Attribute 'Never Surprised'.  Both say something about the type of character he is, but in play function in very different ways: his Combat Magnitude is compared with other characters with whom he enters combat, while his Never Surprised Attribute means exactly that--he's never caught unawares, whether because of some supernatural ability or merely because that's the way the story is written.

Magnitude is rated between 1 and 10.  The Magnitudes are:
Combat: A character's Combat Magnitude applies to any encounter where physical violence is being used to force an outcome.  The use of Combat Magnitude does not neccesitate injury or death: a character may be trying to capture another character, humiliate them, or force them to submit.  However, when a character is attempting to use Combat for purposes other than injury, the target may be able to use non-Combat Magnitudes to defend themselves.
Social: A character's Social Magnitude applies to any encounter where the primary means of conflict are verbal or emotional.  The use of Social Magnitude does not necessitate the losing character has lost face or been proven wrong: a character may be attempting to trick another character into believing something, invoke an emotional state, or seduce them.  However, when a character is attempting to use Social for purposes other than settling arguments and reducing an opponent's status, the target may be able to use non-Social Magnitudes to resist.
Sexual: A character's Sexual Magnitude applies to any encounter where the character is trying to use sex as a means of persuasion, or trying to make their target enjoy a sexual encounter.  Sexual Magnitude measures not only how 'good' a character objectively is in bed, but also their self-control, intuitiveness with regard to intimate matters, and how resistant they are to sexual degredation and control.
Reason: A character's Reason Magnitude applies to any encounter where the character is attempting to use deductive skills or academic knowledge to overcome a challenge, or when two characters are engaged in a battle of wits.  Reason Magnitude is used to concoct clever strategies--and to see through them when they're used against you--to find and hide evidence, and so on.
Demon: A character's Demon Magnitude is a special statistic that measures the power of their demonic presence.  Demon Magnitude is rarely used by itself, but can be added to other Magnitudes when a character is willing to manifest demonic powers to assist in their application.  A character's starting Demon Magnitude may not be higher than 3.

Characters have one more Magnitude, Resilience, which acts as Hit Points.  A character's base Resilience is equal to the sum of their Combat, Social, Sexual, and Reason Magnitudes.

A starting character divides 20 points among their Magnitudes.  Demon Magnitude may not be higher than 3.  A starting character has 3 Attributes, but may gain more at a one-for-one rate by taking negative Attributes as well.  A character may only start with one Attribute from the Demonic Powers list.

***

Plot Attributes
Never Surprised: Your character is never surprised.  This doesn't mean they're never outwitted, or that they're always right, but it means that even when they're wrong about something they probably saw it coming.  A character with this trait does not have to buy-out of being surprised if ambushed.
Unflappable: Your character never loses his cool.  He's never too badly beaten, in too much danger, or too seriously wounded to deliver a witty one-liner or strike a dramatic pose.  A character with this trait must be offered buy-in for situations that would cause them to lose their charming indifference, except when it's the result of being beaten by Magnitude.
On Top: Your character doesn't 'do' receiving, sexually.  This trait serves as a warning to other players that they should not try to put your character in a situation where he or she would be 'on bottom' without securing buy-in from you first.  Your character must buy-in for the GM to put him/her in such a situation, as well.

Special Attributes
Sexy: Your character is much more sexually attractive than normal, plain and simple.  Those with a weakness for beautiful men and women are at a particular disadvantage against your charms.  A character with this trait gains a +1 bonus to Sexual and Social rolls against characters with the Playboy/Girl trait.
Smooth Talker: You've got a silver tongue.  A character with this trait gains a +1 bonus to Social and Reason rolls against characters with the Naive trait.
Intimidating: You're a scary person, either because of looks or attitude.  A character with this trait gains a +1 bonus to Combat and Sexual rolls against a character with the Cowardly trait.
Tricky: You're sly as a fox, and not afraid to use deception, misdirection, and confusion to your advantage.  A character with this trait gains a +1 bonus to Reason and Combat rolls against a character with the Oblivious trait.
Lucky: Your character is particularly fortunate.  A character receives a free reroll in every scene.

Magnitude Protection Attributes
Not Interested: Your character isn't particularly interested in sex.  A character with this trait can always default to Reason or Combat when resisting attempts at seduction.
Not Consenting to Lack of Consent: Your character doesn't take 'no' for an answer, no matter how emphatic.  A character with this trait can always default to Sexual when an opponent is trying to use Combat to force them away or Social to talk them out of it.
You Can't Rape the Willing: Your character is, most likely, a nymphomaniac..  and probably a massochist, as well.  He or she doesn't tend to complain about sex, even if it's rough sex, even if it's under extenuating circumstances.  A character with this trait can always default to Sexual when engaged in sexual acts, even when an opponent is using Combat to force them or Social to torment them.
Clear Head: Your character is highly analytical and in control of his emotions.  A character with this trait can always default to Reason to resist Social attempts to force them to adopt a certain mindset (such as inspiring rage) and Combat attempts to threaten them.
Well-Prepared: Your character always has a back-up plan in place, even if no one saw her laying the groundwork earlier.  A character with this trait can always default to Reason to resist Combat attempts to cause physical harm or Social attempts to make them lose face.
Veteran: Your character is an experienced combatant.  She's seen most of the tricks in her day, and won't be fooled easily.  A character with this trait can always default to Combat when an opponent tries to use Reason to lure her into a trap, or Social to make her lower her guard.
Berserk: Your character has anger management issues.  A character with this trait can always default to Combat or Sexual (as appropriate to the conflict) when an opponent is using Social or Reason to try and convince (through persuasion, threats, or deception) to make them calm down.

Magnitude Use Attributes
Staying Power: Your character can dish it out, or you can take it--maybe both--and keep coming back for more.  A character with this trait can use their Sexual Magnitude twice in a row before it begins to diminish.
Last Man Standing: Your character is tough, in the sense of a boxer who trains to go twelve full rounds, or a Ranger who's used to spending days in the field.  A character with this trait can use their Combat Magnitude twice in a row before it begins to diminish.
Chatterbox: Your character is a tireless campaigner or social butterfly.  A character with this trait can use their Social Magnitude twice in a row before it begins to diminish.
Profound: Your character might love puzzles, be used to all-night cramming for tests, or simply be an intellectual powerhouse.  A character with this trait can use their Reason Magnitude twice in a row before it begins to diminish.
Copycat: Force on force, fire to fight fire; your character is at his or her best when competing with an opponent on their own terms.  A character with this trait never suffers diminishment of Magnitude when responding to a conflict with this same category of Magnitude used against them.

Conversion Attributes
Massochist: Your character likes it rough.  Really, really rough.  Maybe a little too rough.  A character with this trait forces opponents to use Sexual Magnitude rather than Combat Magnitude when making a Pain or Choke attack.
Bad Boy/Girl: Your character likes to be humiliated, disciplined, and generally treated badly.  A character with this trait forces opponents to use Sexual Magnitude rather than Social Magnitude when making a Demean or Embarrass attack.

Demonic Power Attributes
Invulnerability: Your character is freakishly resistance to anything that may harm her, able to sustain what should be obviously fatal wounds without dying, and easily shrugging off a variety of lesser ills.  A character with this trait may roll diminish their Demon Magnitude by 1 for the duration of the scene in exchange for immediately recovering 10 Resilience.
Precognition: Your character can see a split-second into the future, and slightly alter decisions based on what she sees.  A character with this trait is allowed to roll before declaring an action type, and then decide what action to take based on the roll.  The roll must be used once made.
Darkness: Your demon has the ability to manipulate a person's sensory nerves to make them blind--or at least make it so they can't see your character--for brief periods, leaving them vulnerable.  A character with this trait does not display their rolls to an opponent; they send their roll to the GM (for purposes of fairness) and reveal it only after the opponent reacts and is calculating the outcome.
Succubus: Your character thrives off sex and perversion in a unique and possibly disturbing way.  A character with this trait regains 1 point of Resilience whenever they cause damage with a Sexual attack form.
Siren: Your character has a strange allure caused by manipulating the neural pathways in a person's brain that connect to their pleasure and desire impulses; in essence, you appear more as they want you to appear than as you really are.  A character with this trait may add their Demon Magnitude to Sexual rolls without having to obviously maintain demonic power.
Mind-Reading: Your character can detect a person's surface thoughts based on the electromagnetic activity of their neurons.  A character with this trait may add their Demon Magnitude to Reason rolls without having to obviously manifest demonic power.
Telepathic Suggestion: Your character can use electrical impulses to stimulate certain reactions in a person's brain, making them more agreeable and even somewhat obedient to your suggestions.  A character with this trait may add their Demon Magnitude to Social rolls without having to obviously manifest demonic power.
Reflex: Your demon is capable of overriding your nervous system and imposing direct electrical signals to the muscles you need to move to react to danger, giving you reflexes quicker than any human can imagine.  A character with this trait may add their Demon Magnitude to Combat rolls without having to obviously manifest demonic power.
Firestarter: Your demon is pyrokinetic.  HOT!  A character with this trait may roll their double Demon Magnitude directly as an attack pool in place of Combat.  This counts as its own Magnitude for purposes of diminishment, and diminishes at double the normal rate (ie, 2 per repeated use).
Dynamo: Your demon is electrokinetic.  See above.
Frost: Your demon is cryokinetic.  See above.
Speed: Your demon directly manipulates your muscles to keep them moving far faster than they otherwise could.  You automatically win initiative, unless ambushed or in conflict with a character with the Speed Attribute and a higher Demon Magnitude.  Against an opponent with the Speed Attribute and an equal level of Demon Magnitude, roll normally.
Loremaster: Your demon possesses a plethora of lost or uncommon knowledge which it can impart upon you in sudden flashes of 'genius'.  A character with this trait may diminish their Demon Magnitude by 1  for the duration of the scene to add their (undiminished) Reason to any one roll, including a Reason roll.  This involves taking advantage of a secret the character could have never known themselves; a secret weak point, intimate knowledge of past events, etc.
Awe: Your demon has the ability to invoke a powerful aura, horrifying visage, or some other ostentatious and obvious display.  A character with this trait may diminish their Demon Magnitude by 1 for the duration of the scene to add their (undiminished) Social to any one roll, including a Social roll.

Negative Attributes
Gunshy: Your character is, like most rational people, terrified of violence and prone to losing his head when a fight starts.  A character with this trait suffers a point of diminishment to Reason whenever using it to resist a Combat action.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use).
Meek: Your character is unable or unwilling to exert himself physically, most particularly when facing ravishment.  A character with this trait suffers a point of diminishment to Combat whenever using it to resist a Sexual action.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Bashful: Your character is shy, and tends to flounder when forced to stand up for herself verbally.  A character with this trait suffers a point of diminishment to Social whenever using it to resist a Reason action.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Inexperienced: Your character doesn't really know his or her way around the bedroom, and tends to be a bit...  premature.  Any attention called to this deficiency will likely embarrass him/her in the extreme.  A character with this trait suffers a point of diminishment to Sexual whenever using it to resist a Social action.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Pig-Headed: Your character doesn't really understand the proper rules of polite discourse, and will often become belligerent and repetetive when drawn into an argument.  A character with this trait suffers a point of diminishment to Reason whenever using it to resist a Social action.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Violent Tendencies: Your character has a bad habit of resorting to violence when it probably isn't appropriate to do so.  Any time the option to use Combat in response to an action exists and the character doesn't do so, the character with this trait suffers one point of diminishment to the reacting Attribute.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Nymphomaniac: Your character believes that the only 'bad' sex is 'no 'sex.  Any time the option to use Sexual in response to an action exists and the character doesn't do so, the character with this trait suffers one point of diminishment to the reacting Attribute.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Overanalyst: Your character tends to overthink things, especially when immediate action is needed.  Any time the option to use Reason in response to an action exists and the character doesn't do so, the character with this trait suffers one point of diminishment to the reacting Attribute.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Con(wo)man: Your character has a bad habit of thinking she can talk her way out of any situation, no matter how dig a hole she's dug for herself.  Any time the option to use Social in response to an action exists and the character doesn't do so, the character with this trait suffers one point of diminishment to the reacting Attribute.  (This is in addition to any diminishment caused by repeated use.)
Playboy/Girl: Your character's head is always on a swivel when something pretty walks by, and just can't resist a pretty face.  An opponent with the Sexy trait receives a +1 bonus to Sexual and Social Magnitude rolls against a character with this trait.
Naive: Your character really doesn't know better, and it's pretty easy to talk him or her into anything if you have the right words.  An opponent with the Smooth Talker trait receives a +1 bonus to Social and Reason Magnitude rolls against a character with this trait.
Cowardly: Your character can be bullied easy with threats of violence, whether overt or implied.  An opponent with the Intimidating trait receives a +1 bonus to Combat and Sexual Magnitude rolls against a character with this trait.
Oblivious: Your character just doesn't seem to pay attention, and as a result can be easy to fool.  An opponent with the Tricky trait receives a +1 bonus to Reason and Combat Magnitude rolls against a character with this trait.

***

Offline HikariTopic starter

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 06:37:44 PM »

Conflict Resolution
A conflict occurs when one character tries to impose his or her will on another.  This can happen in a variety of ways: one character may be trying to beat another in a fight, outlast the other character in the bedroom, beat them in an argument, or outsmart them by misleading them into a trap.  The important thing is that one character is trying to either make another character do something they don't want to do, or do something another character wants to prevent from happening.  Once this conflict of interests has been achieved, the characters--and their demons--are in conflict.

A conflict begins by determining Initiative.  A character may bid PP to automatically win initiative, but other players may bid as well; in a case of a one-on-one conflict the highest bidder wins, giving the bid PP to the lower bidder, while in the case of multiple parties the winner's forfeit PP are spread among all contestants.  If no one bids PP, or if bids are equal, each player rolls 1d10 to determine who goes first.

The winner of initiative then decides the type of conflict they are initiating, which will determine the possible responses the reacting character can use.  The reaction chosen by the second character determines the possible reactions the first character can use, and so on and so on, until one character or the other has been reduced to 0 Resiliency.  The choice of reaction type is important for a number of reasons:

1. A character's reaction type determines the Magnitude they add to their 1d10 roll.  The sum of this roll is used both to resist the initial attack, and to immediately counterattack with an attack of that type (which, in turn, determines what defenses are available to the opponent).  If the character's sum is lower than the inbound (counter)attack, they lose Resilience equal to the difference.
2. A character suffers diminishment for repeated use of the same Magnitude.  If a character uses the same Magnitude twice in a row, it's at -1; three times in a row, and it's at -2, etc.  If a character uses any other Magnitude, the penalty is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of -0).  A character who tries to repeatedly use the same type of defense will quickly tire themselves out.
3. Again, because the reaction forms the basis of a counterattack as well as a defense, it determines what sort of defenses the opponent can use against it.  You not only want to consider which of your Magnitudes are highest to defend with, but whether there's a reaction that prevents your opponent from using their highest Magnitudes to defend.

The flow of a conflict is generally fluid from the point of the first action.  What started out as a heated argument can degenerate into a fistfight or, for that matter, passionate sex.  A fight can give way to an exchange of witty banter and sincere ideology as the brawlers become tired and have to catch their breath, or to violent sex if one achieves an advantageous position over the other.  Often, the conflict is determined more by controlling the type of fight as it is by being good at fighting any given way.

***

(Re)Action Types
Fight: A character uses Fight when attempting to physically harm their opponent by attacking.  Fight uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Wrestle (Combat), Pain (Combat), Goad (Social), Threat (Social), Calm (Social), Demean (Social), Appeal (Sexual), Distract (Reason), and Lure (Reason).
Wrestle: A character grapples their opponent, trying to keep them from getting away, usually with the goal of putting them in a disadvantageous position.  Wrestle uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Pin (Combat), Goad (Social), Plead (Social), Threat (Social), Grope (Sexual), and Distract (Reason).
Pin: A character uses some means to physically restrain their opponent, whether grappling them, tying them up, or otherwise.  Pin uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Choke (Combat), Pain (Combat), Disable (Combat), Goad (Social), Plead (Social), Threat (Social), Grope (Sexual), Undress (Sexual), and Distract (Reason).
Pain: A pain attack is about causing pain, rather than damage; it's often a blow to a particularly sensetive area, or with an implement specifically designed for such purposes (like a whip or crop).  Pain uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Plead (Social), Appeal (Sexual), and Barter (Reason).
Choke: A choke attack has the combined effect of silencing a character as well as hurting them, making it harder to react to.  Choke uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Grope (Sexual), Appeal (Sexual), and Deceive (Reason).
Disable: A disable attack is an attempt to reduce an opponent's mobility or capacity to fight back, usually by injury to a joint.  Disable uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Pain (Combat), Goad (Social), Plead (Social), Appeal (Sexual), and Barter (Reason).
Goad: A taunt or other attempt to invoke an opponent's wrath and most likely incite (further) violence.  Goad uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Threat (Social), Calm (Social), Demean (Social), Lure (Reason), and Concentrate (Reason).
Threat: A threat is an attempt to intimidate an opponent verbally or through a display, or some combination of the two.  Threat uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Goad (Social), Threat (Social), Calm (Social), Demean (Social), Plead (Social), Appeal (Sexual), Barter (Reason), and Lure (Reason).
Calm: Calming an opponent is an attempt to keep them from (further) violence or verbal abuse.  Calm uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Goad (Social), Threat (Social), Praise (Social), Confide (Social), Concentrate (Reason), and Deceive (Reason).
Demean: Demeaning an opponent is making an attack on his or her confidence or social status among those present, generally through insults.  Demean uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Goad (Social), Threat (Social), Demean (Social), Ego-Whip (Social), Calm (Social), Plead (Social), Concentrate (Reason), and Outwit (Reason).
Appeal: Appealing is (intentionally or otherwise) causing lust in an opponent through appearance or action, such as exposing onself, posing in a suggestive manner, or otherwise doing something that suggests sex.  Appeal uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Threat (Social), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Seduce (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Grope (Sexual), Concentrate (Reason) and Play Along (Reason).
Distract: Distracting an opponent involves taking their attention off the matter at hand, whether using a minor bit of mental trickery ("Hey, is that Cordellia?"), or through the use of pre-planned misdirection.  Distract uses Reason Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Goad (Social), Threat (Social), Demean (Social), Concentrate (Reason), Deceive (Reason), and Plan B (Reason).
Lure: Luring an opponent is attempting to trick them into doing something that will set them up for another form of action or otherwise assist the luring character's overall plans.  A character using Lure picks two reactions: the first, if chosen by the opponent, receives a +1 bonus, while the second receives a -1 penalty.  Lure uses Reason Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Demean (Social), Threat (Social), Appeal (Sexual), Grope (Sexual), Deceive (Reason), Barter (Reason), and Outwit (Reason).
Plead: Pleading is an attempt to dissuade an opponent from violent or cruel courses of action by appealing to their humanity and usually presenting oneself as defenseless or innocent.  Plead uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pin (Combat), Threat (Social), Ego-Whip (Social), Grope (Sexual), and Deceive (Reason).
Grope: Groping covers any form of non- or mildly-explicit physical contact, usually of the unwelcome variety, from literal groping and fondling to frotting, dry-humping, licking, and kissing.  Grope uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Pain (Combat), Wrestle (Combat), Threat (Social), Plead (Social), Praise (Social), Seduce (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Grope (Sexual), Undress (Sexual), and Concentrate (Reason).
Undress: Undress is an attempt to partially or completely disrobe an opponent.  Undress uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Pain (Combat), Threat (Social), Plead (Social), Praise (Social), Seduce (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Undress (Sexual), Submit (Sexual), Take (Sexual), Proposition (Sexual), Barter (Reason), and Distract (Reason).
Barter: Bartering is offering your opponent something in exchange for something else; usually trying to bribe them into a course of action (or ceasing a given action) with an offer of some kind.  Barter uses Reason Magnitude.  The character using Barter may 'suggest' one form of reaction, which does not have to be on the normal list of reactions, which receives a +1 bonus if used by the opponent.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Wrestle (Combat), Goad (Social), Threat (Social), Praise (Social), Grope (Sexual), Deceive (Reason), and Outwit (Reason).
Praise: Praise is an attempt to boost an opponent's ego and make them more likely to listen to you, or to build their confidence.  Praise uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pain (Combat), Threat (Social), Praise (Social), Charm (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Grope (Sexual), Proposition (Sexual), Concentrate (Reason), Barter (Reason), Play Along (Reason).
Confide: Confide is an attempt to enter an opponent's confidence and get them to regard you as a friend, or at least someone who can be trusted.  Confide uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Threat (Social), Praise (Social), Charm (Social), Seduce (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Grope (Sexual), Proposition (Sexual), Deceive (Reason), and Plan B (Reason).
Deceive: Deceive is an active effort into tricking the opponent into thinking you're doing something other than what you actually are.  A character using deceive chooses one possible reaction for the attack (other than deceive itself); if the defense is successful, the opponent uses the list of possible reactions for the action the character is pretending to use.  For the character's next turn, an additional reaction is added to those added to the normal list: Trap (Reason).
Ego-Whip: Ego-whipping is breaking a character down psychologically and emotionally, reducing them to a highly suggestible state by completely shattering their self-esteem and sense of self.  Ego-whip uses Social Magnitude.  A successfully ego-whipped opponent is considered to be in a suggestible state and can be manipulated until they succeed at hitting with a Social Magnitude action of their own.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Demean (Social), Praise (Social), Plead (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Barter (Reason), and Play Along (Reason).
Outwit: Outwit is getting your opponent exactly where you want them to be--physically, verbally, or mentally--and then pulling the rug out from under them.  Outwit uses Reason Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Threat (Social), Demean (Social), Appeal (Sexual), Deceive (Reason), and Plan B (Reason).
Plan B: Plan B is the ace in the hole; the trick up your sleeve; the secret weapons.  Plan B is the special preperation you made for just such an eventuality, whatever it may be.  Plan B uses Reason Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Fight (Combat), Threat (Social), Demean (Social), Barter (Reason), and Plan B (Reason).
Play Along: Playing along is pretending to be fooled by an opponent's deceptive words or actions.  A character who is playing along acts as if resisting, but uses Social Magnitude rather than mirroring the Magnitude of the attack action.  A successful use of play along allows the character to add Trap (Reason) to his list of possible reactions if the opponent repeats the same action.  Play along uses Reason Magnitude.
Arouse: Arouse is an attempt to genereate (consensual) lust in a target, generally by physical means, though talking dirty may suffice.  Arouse uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Pain (Combat), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Seduce (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Undress (Sexual), Proposition (Sexual), and Play Along (Reason).
Seduce: Seduction is an attempt to convince the target to have sex consentually, despite extenuating circumstances.  Seduce uses Social Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pain (Combat), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Confide (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Undress (Sexual), Take (Sexual), Submit (Sexual), Proposition (Sexual), Concentrate (Reason), and Deceive (Reason).
Submit: Submission is allowing oneself to be taken sexually, generally with an effort to obtain an advantageous position in the process.  Submit uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pain (Combat), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Undress (Sexual), Take (Sexual), and Concentrate (Reason).
Take: Taking is the act of having someone, sexually.  A character who is taking is 'on top', figuratively (actual position and gender does not matter).  Take uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pain (Combat), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Submit (Sexual), and Play Along (Reason).
Proposition: Propositioning is requesting--verbally or through body language--that someone else take you.  Proposition uses Sexual Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pain (Combat), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Arouse (Sexual), Take (Sexual), Concentrate (Reason), and Deceive (Reason).

Use: Using an opponent is having sex with them for your own pleasure, whether you're supposedly on 'top' or 'bottom'.  The use action can be taken any time an opponent has been submitted to, propositioned, or taken, as a response to any action thereafter.  An opponent who has successfully damaged the attacker with a Sexual Magnitude attack is considered to have overcome their attempt, and must be submitted to, propositioned, or taken again.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Pain (Combat), Praise (Social), Demean (Social), Arouse (Sexual), or Play Along (Reason).
Force: Forcing an opponent is, put simply, physically raping them (as opposed to the use of coercion or deception).  The force action can be taken any time an opponent has been at least partially undressed and pinned, as a response to any action thereafter.  An opponent who has successfully damaged the attacker with a Combat Magnitude attack is considered to have escaped their attempt, and must be successfully pinned again before another attempt.  Force uses Combat Magnitude.  The possible reactions are: Resist (*), Wrestle (Combat), Pain (Combat), Demean (Social), Plead (Social), Submit (Sexual), Arouse (Sexual), and Play Along (Reason).
Manipulate: Manipulating an opponent is, in essence, coercing them into a given course of action, such as submitting to sexual attentions or giving up on a give course of action.  The manipulate action can be taken any time an opponent has been successfully ego-whipped, seduced, or charmed, as a response to any action thereafter.  An opponent who has successfully damaged the attacker with a Social Magnitude attack is considered to have escaped their attempt, and must be successfully ego-whipped, seduced, or charmed again before another attempt.  The only reaction that can always be taken to manipulate is Resist (*), otherwise, the manipulator chooses one of the following pairs of possible reactions for the defender: Wrestle (Combat) or Take (Sexual), Praise (Social) or Plead (Social), Demean (Social) or Threat (Social), Seduce (Social) or Submit (Sexual), Appeal (Sexual) or Undress (Sexual), Arouse (Sexual) or Grope (Sexual), and Deceive (Reason) or Barter (Reason).
Control: Controlling an opponent is having them so wrapped up that they're doing exactly what you want them to, and they don't even know it.  A control action can be taken any time an opponent has been successfully outwitted or trapped, as a response to any action thereafter.  An opponent who has successfully damaged the attacker with a Reason Magnitude attack is considered to have escaped their attempt, and must be sucessfully outwitted or trapped again before another attempt.  A character targeted with control can only choose to Resist (*), Deceive (Reason), or use any given reaction suggested by the controller.

Resist: Resist is a special form of reaction.  Resisting is, in essence, simply trying to avoid the outcome in question, without mounting any meaningful sort of counterattack in response.  A character who is resisting may use their undiminished Magnitude of the same type being used against them, but they do not generate a counterattack with their defense.  Resisting does not cause Magnitude to be diminished as normal.  The possible reactions are for the opponent to continue attempting the resisted action, or to give up on that action (forfeiting their turn).
Concentrate: Concentrate is an attempt to use intense focus to ignore distractions and continue to think clearly.  Concentrate attempts are handled in a special manner: concentrate is made as a defense with no counterattack.  A successful concentrate allows the defender to immediately use one of the following Reason actions as a counterattack (with no diminishment of Reason from the repetetion): Barter (Reason), Deceive (Reason), Outwit (Reason), or Plan B (Reason).  A failed concentrate produces no counterattack and allows the attacker to either repeat the attack with no diminishment from repetetion, or use any form of reaction that may be made in response to their original action.

***

The victor in a conflict between the possessed gains three benefits: first, both contestants receive 10 experience points with which to increase their Magnitudes; increasing most Magnitudes costs a number of points equal to the level being bought (ie, raising Combat from 2 to 3 costs 3 XP, raising Social from 8 to 10 costs 18 XP), but the cost of raising Demon Magnitude is double, and it cannot be raised more than one point at a time.

The victor also learns one of the loser's Demonic Power Attributes, and may transfer one of his Negative Attributes to the loser.  Alternately, the victor may choose to impose any other Negative Attribute on the loser, or may choose to cause physical or psychological changes equivalent to such.

Finally, the winner obtains the loser's Seal.  The Seal binds the demon of the loser, forcing him or her to perform a service on behalf of the victor.  Often, this service is acting as the winner's champion in a future conflict, though many of the possessed find more creative (or perverse) uses for these oath-bound favors.  Even after the favor has been paid, the winner retains the Seal, until another demon overcomes him and takes it.  A demon who has the Seals of other may forfeit them instead of his own when defeated.  A demon who doesn't have a Seal owes three favors instead of one if beaten.

The ultimate goal of all demons is to collect all seventy-two Seals, whether or not their hosts are aware of that fact.

Offline Myrnodyn

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 10:39:36 PM »
Seems very interesting, and I don't see much wrong with the system you are planning on using. Intrigued by it in fact.

one question though: The Ars Goetia...what is it?

Offline HikariTopic starter

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 12:41:47 AM »
The Ars Goetia is a very old text used by demonologists.  It lists 72 high-ranking, named demons, their common appearances, personality, traits, the sort of powers and benefits they can grant a summoner, and the seal used to bind them.

The demons of the Ars Goetia have pretty familiar names, especially if you've ever played Shadow Hearts: Baal, Belial, Asmodeus, Amon, Astaroth, etc.  They're also the primary source of the 'vestiges' in D&D 3.5 (with a few exceptions, like Dalvar-Nar).

Offline Ace86

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2008, 04:58:07 AM »
good story, great potential. Im in. And i think you should keep it as simple as it is now. Must of the things i hate about learning a new table top game is that it takes a long time to get used to the rules. just thinking about the first few games of D&d is almost enough to make me want to never play another table top game again (almost  :) ).


Offline HikariTopic starter

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2008, 10:51:27 PM »
Does it seem like it's a bit too complicated?  The reactions system could be paired down considerably, if necessary.  Is this something more people would be interested in if the system were simplified?

Offline Krule

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 02:27:02 AM »
Have you concidered the Sorcerer game system?

Offline HikariTopic starter

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 04:15:28 AM »
I want the game to be semi-open and somewhat on the large side, so I'd prefer the rules to be something that are contained in their entirety in the forum thread.  That way anyone who wants to play is free to jump in, without having to own a system.  Besides, I want the system to have an obvious degree of infused sexuality, rather than the standard focuses of RPGs.

Offline akrasia

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 12:13:37 PM »
Hi!  I'm new here, and I REALLY like the system you've put forth for the Ars Goetia game.  I'm interested in playing - is the game still open?

Offline HikariTopic starter

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2008, 12:51:21 AM »
Right now, it doesn't really look like there's enough interest to get things started, I'm afraid.

Offline DreadD

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2008, 01:07:14 AM »
You know something?  I'll throw in, it seems like it might take a bit-o-the old effort to make a character work, but this does seem...  Quite interesting, really.

Offline akrasia

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2008, 02:06:22 PM »
Yeah, I roughed out a character the other night that I can send - you'll need to help me out to make sure I have the concept for the world and whatnot right in my head, but I think this thing has legs.

Offline zebratomahawk

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 12:19:36 PM »
this idea actually interests me to play, too. the idea has a couple of weak points I thought I would critique. (though these don't stop me from wanting to play.)

1) I would make the rules of how humans got bound to demons more definite and more like in SORCERER. (For some reasons I can't make italics work so I put that in all caps.) Every person involved in a demon either summoned the demon to get bound to the demon or had a demon appear to them because another human sent them (demons can't send themselves) and accepted the "contract".

2) Make the convergence in New York City not a unique event or at least have a reason behind it. A convergence happens every couple of hundred years, for instance, or a thousand, or they have specific cause to do it.

In terms of the original grimoires, too, they made some demons more powerful than others, physically and/or socially (kings of demons versus dukes), so you should address that somehow.


Offline Ace86

Re: [Interest/Feedback] Ars Goetia: The Key of Solomon
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2008, 01:37:36 PM »
Just so you know, im still interested. I pop by this thread once in a while to check on how its coming along.