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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: angelfromanotherpin on January 25, 2007, 09:34:49 AM

Title: [Sorcerer] In the Dark pre-play prep.
Post by: angelfromanotherpin on January 25, 2007, 09:34:49 AM
So, I've run Sorcerer a few times, but it's only really worked once before, and I think it's because my usual gang didn't have the context for the more prolonged set-up the game uses.  So this is the first time I've run the game 'by the book.'

So, here's the introductory spiel I gave the players.

Today, humanity rules the world.  Their buildings reach the skies, their airplanes soar above the clouds, their digital communications wrap the globe.  Unchallenged for mastery of the Earth, or indeed the cosmos, they squabble amongst themselves.  Little do they imagine those who inhabit the world alongside them, or the depths of hate held by those others for men and their works.  Little do they imagine how tenuous their dominion might be.

In great vaulted caverns beneath the earth, the precursors of man labor on massive machines of malign intent, and plot against their successors.  Beneath ancient trees in secret groves, the Goodly Folk sing eerie songs and dance around stolen children.  In abandoned buildings and ancient tombs, the restless dead walk, sleeplessly devoted to terrible purpose.  In the depths of space, vast ethereal horrors howl with rage at the warm green life of Earth.  In the Inferno, the Enemy and his legions prosecute their campaign against the sons of Adam.

Humans deny these beings, humans ignore them, humans discount and overlook those that dwell in the dark places of the world.  But not all humans. Some men and women can confront the darkness with open eyes, make deals with it, and force their will upon it.  Some humans are not prey.

The magical traditions of the world are like the sciences of ancient times: there is some truth, but many falsehoods.  Those who find the truth, those who can frame to comprehend it, can make many of the old ways work.  The chanting of ancient words, the use of secret names, the scribing of circles and runes, the principles of contagion and similarity.

Batman, the Animated Series: For the excellent aesthetic of a very modern world where the fifties never quite ended.
Hellboy: For the many and varied beings that live in the shadows of the world, and the people who interact with them, for good and ill.
Hellblazer: For one man who knows how to get the best of a deal with a demon, and many men who do not.

So, first session is about system and setting discussion, and character creation.  I have two players, neither of whom has played Sorcerer before, but both of whom have extensive RPG experience.  I introduce them to conflict vs task resolution, and to Author and Director stances.  Then we discuss Humanity in the setting.  I don't think we came up with a neat phrase for it, but we all now know what kinds of behavior generates Humanity loss and gain opportunities.

Loss opportunities
Cruelty. Cruelty to humans is the most offensive, but being overly mean to animals and even demons can be grounds.
Giving anything non-human either authority or preferential treatment over humans.  Violators include extreme animal rights activists, people who have dominance issues with their pets, and people who support or submit to excessive automated or bureaucratic decision-making.

Gain Opportunities
Reinforcing human control over their own lives and world against non-human forces.

The first character is Dr. Obadiah Temple, once a dashing two-fisted archaeologist, lately an ancient tenured professor, and as of his Demon-binding, a rejuvenated young man no longer recognized by his government or university.  His demon is Teth-Havesh, the Harbinger of Dust, an ancient Egyptian demon bound into a mummified cat by priests of Bastet long ago.  His Kicker is having armed cultists of Teth-Havesh kick in his door.

The second character is Ashana, an extremely ethnically mixed woman, who was kidnapped by Mahoka Uumikaji (an African blood-demon released by the Rwandan genocide) and essentially raised in Uumikaji's hell as an on-tap exotic beverage.  She escaped by binding Tiifu (one of Uumikaji's minions) and is presently working as a bouncer at a club.  Her Kicker is when a man comes to the club smelling of some heinous deed that has Tiifu drooling.

I'm a little concerned that Ashana's player may have difficulty getting into the game.  She's talking a lot about how her character doesn't like risk, and doesn't seem to get that this is the same person who put a demon into her blood and forced her way out of hell.  I'm hoping the 'doesn't like risk' thing is like how many gold-hearted rogues 'don't like helping people.'  Hopefully she'll have the moment where she realizes how bad-ass her character is and starts going to town on the situation.

I'm now doing prep for the second session.  I note that each of the players has thoughtfully provided a dead-center element on the back of their character sheets for me to focus on, which is excellent.  I'll have more after session 2.

Title: Re: [Sorcerer] In the Dark pre-play prep.
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 25, 2007, 09:47:56 AM

Since this is actual play, I'm interested in whatever you might have perceived, or what was said or done outright, among the group, which really sang "Sorcerer!" to you during that prep session. Anything?

Trevis recently stated very well how Sorcerer players should have a certain look. Granted, you really haven't started to play yet, but did you see any hints that that look was arising?

Best, Ron

Title: Re: [Sorcerer] In the Dark pre-play prep.
Post by: angelfromanotherpin on January 25, 2007, 12:03:49 PM

Obadiah's player is totally into it.  His demon's telltale is 'aura of hoary evil.'  It confers Vitality, but 'hates doing it.'  He came up with a back-story of falling into some old catacombs as a kid and seeing all kinds of creepy things down there, cultists, mummies, carvings, etc. which he couldn't find again by daylight.  His Binding circumstance was a combination of 'If I was twenty years younger, I'd beat these young whippersnappers to every find' with 'I know I shouldn't perform this ritual, but I have to know if any of what I saw down in the dark was real.'  He originally chose Brush With The Unknown as Obadiah's Will descriptor, but I saw him realize that it wasn't anymore and change it to Zest For Life, very late in the character creation process.  He definitely had the look, especially when he declared he was going to fulfill his Demon's Need for killing with the Demon's own cultists.

I got a lot less of that off of Ashana's player, and I mentioned my concern.  High hopes, though.  Her moments came when we were discussing Humanity and what qualified as 'going to the villain place.'  She was pushing for as permissive a Humanity definition as possible.  She also pushed for turning up the pessimism and disgusting dials on the setting, which we're going to be experimenting with in play.  It's clear she's interested in the 'cosmic outlaw' aspect.  The look never quite manifested in her, but I could see it starting to form.

Any good?