Demon Sex

I’m six sessions into running a Sorcerer game with an interesting social context. There’s my partner Tracey, her friend from college Dawn, Dawn’s husband Jeff and their (adult) son Storm. We play online because Tracey and I are in Southern California and they’re in Northern California.

Context

The game is set in the Greater Los Angeles Area and the demon aesthetics are “Sensual & Glamorous”. Interestingly enough, this did NOT result in a game about Hollywood. Instead, we have a lot of academics and environmentalism.

  • Tracey is playing Jessica, an ex-con barista, with an ankle bracelet demon named Ramona.
  • Dawn is playing Jocosity, a medical researcher with an inconspicuous demon named Savvy.
  • Jeff is playing Thunder, a forest ranger with a parasite (vines under his skin) demon named Larisa.
  • Storm is playing Howard, a fusion energy researcher with a ring demon named Krypton.

The characters come in interesting thematic pairs. 

Thunder and Jessica are both heavily focused on environmental issues. Thunder being more a direct guardian of nature (The Angeles National Forest) and Jessica being more about corporate/government espionage. (There’s currently a real-world dump fire that’s a local hot topic and we’ve worked it directly into the game). 

Jocosity and Howard are both researchers. Jocosity being more concerned about the greater social impacts of her work. Howard is more focused on purities of academic research and how that conflicts with university politics.

What I observed after a couple of sessions across all of them was an intense sense of integrity. They all have incredibly uncompromising beliefs about how things ought to be and done. That has greatly informed the Humanity lens. It also nicely ties with an NPC Sorcerer I created after working up the material on their diagrams.  Clarion Vance, a corporate billionaire with a vested interest (great and small) across all their Kickers. My guiding note for Vance was, “What if Elon Musk was actually as cool as he thinks he is?”

Now, it’s been a long while since I’ve run Sorcerer, so I decided to dig into the bibliography. I re-read Barker’s Hellbound Heart and have been alternating between the Jeter and Garton books listed. So far, I’ve read Jeter’s Dark Seeker and Mantis and Garton’s Seductions. I’m currently in the middle of Garton’s Darklings.

While reading I was struck by a thought, “My Sorcerer games never have enough sex or drugs.” Now, I know some of that is on the players. If they don’t bring any of that there’s little I can do. But never-the-less it’s been on my mind while running this game especially in light of the “Sensual and Glamourous” sorcery aesthetics.

Demon On Demon

The game has also pushed the bounds, a bit, of Inconspicuous and Object demons. 

Savvy is technically an Inconspicuous demon but when his Cloak isn’t operating he appears as a normal man and his telltale is that he’s unnaturally attractive. I punched this up a bit and stated that he flat out walks around naked. Because he’s not a Passer he does not interact with non-Sorcerers and most of the time he is a naked hot man that only Jocosity can see.  But if any Sorcerers spot his Telltale they suddenly get a glimpse of this naked man standing around.

Similarly, Romona is an Object demon (an ankle bracelet) but her telltale is that she projects a young woman nearby. Again to distinguish her from Passers and Inconspicuous demons this projection doesn’t talk, can’t actually touch anything, and is never more than a couple of feet from the bracelet.  And again, should any Sorcerer spot the telltale they just glimpse this kind of creepy silent girl standing/sitting uncomfortably close to Jessica.

Now, there’s a couple of things I’m trying to be more diligent about than I have in the past.  One is doing the Lore vs. Cover rolls properly on first sorcerer/demon contact and really paying attention to those results for contextualizing the action in a scene. The other is really developing the demon’s opinions and attitudes toward each other as well as the developing situation as a whole.

In juxtaposition to his ultra-hot nakedness, I actually play Savvy a bit like a nerdy academic. His Desire is Knowledge and he is super keen for Jocosity to sell out to Vance for more funding and laboratory resources. This contrasts with Krypton’s Desire for Competition. Krypton constantly pushes Howard toward more academic debate and in-fighting. Savvy and Krypton pretty much hate each other.

Anyway, there comes a moment where Jocosity and Jessica meet for the first time. We do the telltale spotting rolls. Savvy spots Romona and vice versa. And I was suddenly struck by a thought. Their telltales are both tied to perceptions of what they look like.  So Romona, who I’ve been playing as kind of a moody older teenager, suddenly spots this ultra hot naked man.  And Savvy spots this incredibly interesting young woman (her Desire is Creativity/Artistry). I realized right there in the moment of play that these two demons are going to be SUPER into each other.

This has led to all kinds of bizarre interactions. Savvy took a bunch of items from around Jocosity’s house and strung them together into a big loop in an effort to recreate Romona’s image. Romona tried to convince Jessica to murder Jocosity and rebind Savvy herself.

When Jocosity and Jessica next met, Savvy literally got down on the ground and started making out with the ankle bracelet on Jessica’s leg much to Jessica’s horror. She tried to walk away but Romona actually won a Stamina roll to hold her leg in place. So, Jessica took the ankle bracelet off so that Jocosity and her could step away and have a private conversation. During this moment Savvy just picked up Romona and walked away with her.  Savvy and Romona both have Link, so Jessica and Jocosity both started tracking them.

Earlier Jocosity had won a Will roll against Savvy to get him to calm down and trust her that she will find a way for him and Romona to be together.  Conversely, Jessica had lost a Will roll against Romona in a similar conversation.  So, Romona was ready to run away with Savvy, Needs be damned.  So, I had Romona and Savvy roll Will against each other and Savvy’s cooler head won. So, after a little evening stroll together Savvy brought Romona back.  Both their Needs were pretty much well met so this was only a little flirtation with rebelion.  But Savvy re-iterated he was going to hold Jocosity to her promise.

Sorcerer On Sorcerer On Demon Three-way (With A Side of Voyeurism)

Larisa, the demon vines that lives under Thunder’s skin, has a Need that he has sex with different women. Larisa happened to go into Need at a particularly bad time. Thunder had just rescued a woman he had slept with prior from being murdered by his own (sorcerous) mentor and he had just got off the phone with his sister-in-law who informed Thunder that his niece had gone missing, and his brother was in jail after beating up Thunder’s niece’s boyfriend trying to find her.

So, hastily, Thunder goes out to troll the nightclubs looking for a hookup, but he fails his roll.  He’s having no luck with the ladies. So he loads up an app on his phone. At this moment, I remembered something. Jocosity had a dating app listed on her diagram. I even had a note about a potential date coming up but I just never used it. So at this moment I just looked at Dawn (as best as one can look at someone via camera) and said, “Hey Jocosity, your dating app sends you a notification about a potential match.”

Now, remember, Jocosity and Thunder’s players are a real life married couple. So they had zero problem with their characters meeting up for a potential hookup. We do the spot telltale rolls and neither Thunder nor Jocosity spot each other’s telltales nor their demons. Savvy spotted Larisa but not the other way around. They’re in public, so Savvy isn’t going to say much. The point is that both of them think the other is just an ordinary person looking for a date.

Jocosity takes Thunder home with her and they do sleep with each other. I add in that this is very exciting and satisfying for Larisa and that Savvy, in all his cloaked naked glory, just stands in the corner watching. I also figure this is sufficient context shift to re-evaluate the telltales.  

Jocosity spots Larisa. So I describe how over the course of their intimacy Jocosity becomes increasingly aware of a third presence in bed and that it seems to be quite involved and enjoying what’s going on. In fact, it’s crawling with excitement beneath Thunder’s skin.

Thunder spots Savvy.  So, I mention how at one point a car drives by outside and while in the throws passion the light shifts a bit and, just for a moment, he sees a hot naked man in the corner just staring at them.

Having now seen the greater context, Thunder comes out clean about Larisa and her Need to Jocosity. He explains the urgency with regard to his missing niece. And this eventually leads to Jocosity recruiting Jessica, and her crafting circle coven, into helping Thunder summon a new demon: Grisial, a crystal ball that can perceive blood relatives and open a portal to them.  And those rituals involved drugs and even more nakedness.  “Blood Finds Blood!” they chanted.

So, yeah, I finally have some more sex and drugs in my Sorcerer game.

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One response to “Demon Sex”

  1. Shocking! But who am I to talk.

    I’m sure you remember the phrase “what is this game about,” either about a given publication (“the game” in the general sense) or about a given play-experience, especially as stated during preparation. It sounds good, i.e., clarity, being on the same page, et cetera. In use, though, I think it is very likely to go badly wrong, and here, I think you’re demonstrating why not using it is better.

    Briefly, the two phrases, the content of character creation, and your own notions and desires, all contributed and were completely necessary, but none of them lock down and pre-define what the experience will be in any summary or fully-loaded way. No one is telling anyone what it will be “about” or even what it will be like, because that isn’t known. It isn’t made yet.

    Any given common component (e.g. the statements, various textual procedures), any customized component (e.g., the environmental, political, and academic stuff), and any contextual or informal aesthetic component (e.g., sex and drugs) may interact with any other. This interaction might be prior to play or during play. It might amplify the things which contact one another or yield some new component altogether. As you say, we are playing situation, and these things are pieces of it, not the whole, nor is “the whole” something which one person is overseeing and fine-tuning.

    In this case, the sexuality and substances could have been part of the formal set-up, and some other aspect of things might have arisen and been amplified, but no, it was exactly the opposite. Arguably, at a fairly high-level perspective of understanding play, which one doesn’t matter. (Experientially it certainly does, for you and everyone at that time.)

    Eventually, saying what it was about is perfectly valid. But that stands in direct opposition, flat contradiction, to promising and contracting and pinky-swearing what it is, i.e., will be about, prior to play. I think you nailed it.

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