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  • Sorcery vs. Demonology

    This odd little argument point has come up a few different times in a few different threads and reminded me of this continued issue. Now, i could be misremembering, as i haven't read 1st edition material in awhile, but the inherent distrust of sorcery was always linked to the access to demons that the summon demons spell accessed for the sorceror, right?

    There was emphasis (in 1sted) given to people who learned sorcery but only learned the countermagic spell not even being called sorcerors. The use of demons and the fear of their corrupting influence is what the actual fear of sorcerors is tied to. And it is a very powerful spell compared to the others for how long the effect lasts, making it mechanically favorable and a realistic thought that a sorceror is likely to dabble in demonology. But if people did not think you knew that spell, they treated you better than if you did

    Secondly there is the intrigue nature of The Realm. If something would bring you shame, then it gets kept a secret. You don't let people know you learned the spell, or studied sorcery at all. If you need a spell cast, claim you hired someone (also fakes you being extra rich that way).

    And that brings me to the third point. Hiring a sorceror is an easy solution to most social sorcery problems. The sorceror might be ostracized socially, but no one would shame two parents trying to have a baby and succeeding or a big vineyard owner hiring a sorceror for crop growth. They hire the caster, likely quietly, get the effect in, and then ignore the need like any haughty royal type. Most people never ask how the sausage gets made anyways.

    I think a lot of people kind of overlook how much visible vs. skeletons in the closet dynastic life is, and demon access is just another part of that. The underlying threat that sorcery actually represents. That is why it irks me when people auto-assume sorcery=distrust. No it is Sorcery=spells, one of many is summon Demon of First Circle, and Demon Access = distrust. Its a subtle extra step i admit, but one that is skipped too often.

    I'm done ranting, anyone else want to weigh in on this mental schism? Did i make the whole thing up in my head, or was that another chunk of 2nd edition getting cut that i mixed up timeline wise?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph View Post
    This odd little argument point has come up a few different times in a few different threads and reminded me of this continued issue. Now, i could be misremembering, as i haven't read 1st edition material in awhile, but the inherent distrust of sorcery was always linked to the access to demons that the summon demons spell accessed for the sorceror, right?

    There was emphasis (in 1sted) given to people who learned sorcery but only learned the countermagic spell not even being called sorcerors. The use of demons and the fear of their corrupting influence is what the actual fear of sorcerors is tied to. And it is a very powerful spell compared to the others for how long the effect lasts, making it mechanically favorable and a realistic thought that a sorceror is likely to dabble in demonology. But if people did not think you knew that spell, they treated you better than if you did
    The possibility of association with demons is a significant part of it, but the description in What Fire Has Wrought has emphasized that it extends to a general wariness of the range of weird powers that the might have and the kinds of practices that can be associated with sorcerous initiations and performing workings.

    Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph
    Secondly there is the intrigue nature of The Realm. If something would bring you shame, then it gets kept a secret. You don't let people know you learned the spell, or studied sorcery at all. If you need a spell cast, claim you hired someone (also fakes you being extra rich that way).
    Most sorcerers in the Scarlet Dynasty are going to have learned their art at the Heptagram, and while it's probably not impossible to conceal where it was that you went to school, it strikes me as distinctly difficult. After all, that's not one lie, but several, made to every person of about the same age as you that are aware you didn't go to school with them. You'd better be good at keeping your lies straight, exactly who is being told what lie, and that you don't end up around a mixed group of them.

    Even if you're somebody who didn't learn sorcery at the Heptagram, that likely brings its own complications, particularly with the authorities; I'll have to wait until The Realm to know whether there's any direct reference to the idea of actual licensing, but the Heptagram is still the sanctioned and regulated means by which Dynastic Dragon Blooded learn sorcery (with Pasiap's Stair as a slight alternative). To do so in a manner not overseen by society brings dangers if it should come to light.

    Sure, it's always possible to keep all manner of these things secret, but one is playing with fire if they do so. Claims that a product of sorcery around you came as a result of hiring somebody else probably causes difficulties if ever you should be audited.

    Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph
    Hiring a sorceror is an easy solution to most social sorcery problems.
    I think this is coming at it from the wrong direction; that the consideration is how somebody who wants those services will be viewed by others, rather than how the stigma affects whether or not people want the service.

    Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph
    no one would shame two parents trying to have a baby and succeeding or a big vineyard owner hiring a sorceror for crop growth.
    Noo, I'd say that more than a few Dynasts would, some out of convictions, some for the sake of gaining a social advantage. Particularly for the child-bearing one, for anything other than the Precedent of Rawar; the Scarlet Dynasty definitely includes an attitude of being a dick about fertility problems, and the sense that same-sex couples needing to do so is another illustration of their selfishness and defiance.

    Being discrete about it may or may not be possible; every working is different, and I'm not inclined to approach the subject from a perspective of people in-character having total latitude to select the least obtrusive method that they can think of; otherwise, why would anybody ever go for growing them from a flower, or conceiving them in dreams?


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph View Post
      This odd little argument point has come up a few different times in a few different threads and reminded me of this continued issue. Now, i could be misremembering, as i haven't read 1st edition material in awhile, but the inherent distrust of sorcery was always linked to the access to demons that the summon demons spell accessed for the sorceror, right?

      There was emphasis (in 1sted) given to people who learned sorcery but only learned the countermagic spell not even being called sorcerors. The use of demons and the fear of their corrupting influence is what the actual fear of sorcerors is tied to. And it is a very powerful spell compared to the others for how long the effect lasts, making it mechanically favorable and a realistic thought that a sorceror is likely to dabble in demonology. But if people did not think you knew that spell, they treated you better than if you did
      That's not the case, or at least, not for the Realm's distrust for sorcery in 1E. It's discussed on page 139 on Exalted: The Dragon-Blooded, and there's no mention of demon summoning as distinct from sorcery more generally.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
        That's not the case, or at least, not for the Realm's distrust for sorcery in 1E. It's discussed on page 139 on Exalted: The Dragon-Blooded, and there's no mention of demon summoning as distinct from sorcery more generally.
        It seems to be a 2nd edition thing from page 24 of Manual of Exalted Power: Dragon-Blooded.




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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lioness View Post
          It seems to be a 2nd edition thing from page 24 of Manual of Exalted Power: Dragon-Blooded.
          Indeed, and, to be clear, the concept was that you just weren't considered a proper sorcerer unless you played the part by being attended by entourage of demons, elementals, or first age automata. Just dipping into sorcery for a few spells was supposedly relatively common.

          Yeah. I prefer third edition's take where sorcery is an investment that in itself leaves you marked as a practioner of weird arts (through shaping rituals, and control effects).
          Last edited by Greyman; 07-20-2018, 11:51 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lioness View Post
            It seems to be a 2nd edition thing from page 24 of Manual of Exalted Power: Dragon-Blooded.

            Thank you, Lioness & Greyman, I could not place the idea properly. It feels better knowing that idea was 2nd edition so i can let it go in my head.

            I still hope you can have a way to sneak in some sorcery on a PC in some fashion. Either lesser positions in the Heptagram for a tough sell (no, never got Sorcery, just got my bachelors in exorcism or artifact crafting), or a lesser Sorcery institution that can be a kind of dangerous but useful sneaky way to pick up such a skill.

            Granted, much of this could be after becoming an adult, so maybe bringing in a tutor to learn such skill later in life (at essence 3+) would be more realistic.

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            • #7
              Hmm,
              If I recall correctly, Sorcery for 3E will basically be where you find your out-and-out mind-control type stuff from now on. Since what used to be "unnatural mental influence" has been very much downplayed among Charms, it's possible that, if anything, the distrust of sorcerers in the Realm might've actually strengthened, and for reasons having little to do with demonology. It may be that now people distrust sorcerers BOTH for being demonologists, and because they're capable of warping your mind. (Since "mind-control" isn't something any sufficiently powerful Dynast can pull off anymore, mind control being something sorcery does may well create another reason sorcery is less socially acceptable.)

              Edit: Particularly if the new material includes any well-known instances of say, a high-profile political scandal that involved a highly visible figure's will being bent. Such incident(s) might have social impact wildly disproportionate to the actual common-sense likelihood of a sorcerer hijacking a person's will.

              Much like a shark attack. One person gets attacked at a beach, tourism takes a major body blow. It's the same deal with the likelihood of a bound Demon actually going on a rampage. Very small, but when it happens, it gets remembered for centuries. Peacock Shadow Eyes-induced mind control becomes far more terrifying (and thus infamous, making sorcerers infamous) when one sorcerer bends the mind of a prominent Dynast in a way that ends up trumpeted about Realm society.

              Double Edit: Mortals now being able to summon and bind Demons is also bound to have consequences. Scapegoats for irresponsible Dynast sorcerers, or something which makes Demonology less something a Prince of the Earth should be associated with, because without it being their especial province any longer, demonology could easily become a tool of mortal malcontents. 1E mentioned Blessed Isle heretics using thaumaturgy subversively. Imagine such heretics with Blood Apes and Metody at their command. Dynast Sorcerers may end up distrusted as a possible source by which such dangerous knowledge (demonology) might proliferate to such malcontents.
              Last edited by Wyldwraith; 07-21-2018, 09:28 PM.

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              • #8
                How deadly are metody? They're some kind of elemental, right?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                  How deadly are metody? They're some kind of elemental, right?
                  They're demons that embody pseudo-elemental traits.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                    They're demons that embody pseudo-elemental traits.
                    How deadly compared to blood apes and cloud arsenals?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Accelerator View Post

                      How deadly compared to blood apes and cloud arsenals?
                      If i remember right, think of goopy acid elementals.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph View Post
                        If i remember right, think of goopy acid elementals.
                        Most elementals in the Exalted setting don't just look like vague blobs of their respective elements with arms and legs, though. The hurakas, sobekses, ifrits, et al., are all very distinct.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cryo-Seraph View Post
                          Granted, much of this could be after becoming an adult, so maybe bringing in a tutor to learn such skill later in life (at essence 3+) would be more realistic.
                          Yes, I imagine that Sorcerers who take apprentices and teach other Dragon Blooded sorcery are not entirely unheard of. After all, if you're already 150 years old and have grandchildren and want to start studying sorcery, you're probably not going to want to put your life aside and go enroll in the Heptagram for a decade. Instead you'll hire a private tutor to come and teach you.

                          It's likely that most Dragon Blooded in the Realm either studied at the Heptagram or studied under a Sorcerer who attended the Heptagram. But I imagine that a not-insignificant minority of Dragon Blooded have a different Initiation, having studied Sorcery in a way that has nothing to do with Heptagram or studying from tutors who never attended the Heptagram (for whatever reason).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wyldwraith View Post
                            Double Edit: Mortals now being able to summon and bind Demons is also bound to have consequences. Scapegoats for irresponsible Dynast sorcerers, or something which makes Demonology less something a Prince of the Earth should be associated with, because without it being their especial province any longer, demonology could easily become a tool of mortal malcontents. 1E mentioned Blessed Isle heretics using thaumaturgy subversively. Imagine such heretics with Blood Apes and Metody at their command. Dynast Sorcerers may end up distrusted as a possible source by which such dangerous knowledge (demonology) might proliferate to such malcontents.
                            In second edition mortals could summon demons to make deals without binding them. Back then, Yozi cultists were quite capable of summoning a Blood Ape or Metody, with a difficulty 2 thaumaturgic ritual and proper negotiations.

                            Third edition makes demonology harder for mortals to access, because it is now the near exclusive provinence of sorcerers, and these need to succeed at binding rather than negotiation.

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                            • #15
                              Yes,
                              BUT, now that mortal sorcerers can BIND Demons, the context of what a mortal can get out of a Demon changes. Before, mortals dealing with Demons were propitiating, asking, or bargaining (from a position of weakness, since they a) had no magical control of the demon, and b) The demon was obviously vastly more powerful than any mortal). Now, a bound demon can be used in situations a demon flatly would not agree to. If you used 2E Demon Summoning Thaumaturgy to call up a Blood Ape, everything that Blood Ape did was voluntary. Yes, if you were VERY skilled, you had a shot at sending back Demons who wouldn't do what you wanted (the ones you'd called up yourself), but that's different from Mortal Sorcerer X summons and binds Blood Ape A, and commands Blood Ape A to attack the local Immaculate Temple. A thaumaturgy-called Blood Ape would almost certainly not agree to go after a Dragon Blooded Monk and five martial arts-trained mortal monks. A sorcerously bound Blood Ape must do as commanded.

                              Further, calling up demons with thaumaturgy was inherently exponentially more dangerous when done in the context of calling up multiples. The more Blood Apes you called up, the higher the odds rose of hitting a more feral-than-average Blood Ape, who just cracks your bones open for the marrow, and then goes on a rampage. Yet if you wanted enough Blood Apes to stand a chance of knocking over the local garrison, with its 100 legionaries, and their 2 Dragon Blooded officers, you had to risk it. People who risked it almost certainly got eaten, and then the Sidereal demon-hunters came and cleaned up.

                              Now, a sorcerer stands a good chance of surviving calling up 12 Blood Apes. IF he/she is exceptionally careful, methodical, and EXTREMELY patient. Thaumaturgically summoned Blood Apes almost CERTAINLY would not consent to some organized, complicated battle plan, unless you had a LOT to offer (If you had that, you wouldn't be considering using a pack of Blood Apes that can turn on you at any moment.) Bound Blood Apes can be MADE to obey a plan. Even a plan that involves doing something they hate. (For example, Blood Apes despise being immaterial) Thaumaturgically, you weren't going to convince a Blood Ape to do something it hates so strongly this species works tirelessly to creatively reinterpret orders given when sorcerously bound to allow them to materialize. Bound, and you can command them "Go and lurk immaterially at X location, and ambush the convoy when it passes."

                              What mortals lose in access, they gain in control. I agree that since there are less sorcerers, overall there will be less mortal demonology, but this thread was about perception of Dynast sorcerers with regards to Demonology. The fact that non-Dragon Blooded can command the Spawn of Hell is bound to have an impact on perception of the highly visible Dynast sorcerer, because the Heptagram NEVER taught Thaumaturgical Demon Summoning. Their entire modus operandi with regards to Demonology was "First, you learn to Banish. Second, you learn everything we can cram in your head about how NOT to screw up with Demons, and Finally, we teach you to summon." It was top-down about retention of control.

                              Complicating the issue: Patricians. House Nellens is Patrician-heavy, for example. Now that mortals can summon demons, sending a Patrician to the Heptagram becomes a much more attractive option than before. If demon-binding working for mortals doesn't have SOME kind of significant impact on Houses like Nellens, the designers aren't thinking clearly. You can't say in this case that it was available thaumaturgically, because the Heptagram modus operandi for both 1E & 2E precluded the very possibility of Demon Summoning Thaumaturgy in their "Demons must remain under control" mindset. I just got reamed in another thread about how the days of Immaculates tossing Demon-shekels on the bodies of demons they killed for eating peasants, and calling the matter closed are over in EX3.

                              Edit: Also, I seem to recall something about Sorcerous Workings benefiting from multiple participants. Not a big 3E guy, so not sure how/if that bears on demonology.

                              Double-Edit: A Metody was a sentient blob of Vitriol. Remarkably mainly for being extremely difficult to harm without supernatural means, and since they were made of super-acid, they often had a good chance of dissolving something like a prayer-strip wrapped normal sword before the individual wielding it could badly harm them. They're an example of a First Circle demon that's very difficult for mortals to contend with.

                              I forgot one other thing. With Thaumaturgy, you needed an entirely distinct branch of knowledge to call up each type of demon you wished to deal with. Whereas sorcery makes it all-species-access for one body of knowledge. You might say six of one, half a dozen of the other, but I can tell you as someone with massive 2E experience that sorcery becomes much less resource intensive the instant you want to start juggling multiple types of demons at once. If you were adhering to the thaumaturgy rules properly, each (Species) Demon summoning required entirely different ingredients/rituals/circumstances to beckon each individual type of demon. Sorcery, and you pay for the one good summoning circle once, and you can re-use it over and over. Even when you use the temporary kind, it was STILL more cost-effective BY FAR than keeping yourself in all the goods needed to do it with thaumaturgy.

                              That, and one thing more: Demons want to advance the cause of the Yozis. It's a roleplay thing rather than mechanics, but a bound demon can be made to shut up when it starts trying to persuade you to become one of the akuma. Looking at the breadth of the new social system, demonic social blandishments will become a lot more dangerous the longer they're allowed to go on.
                              Last edited by Wyldwraith; 07-22-2018, 03:21 AM.

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