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Author Topic: Inserting R-Maps into an already up and running game.  (Read 2854 times)

Posts: 158

« on: May 08, 2004, 09:36:08 AM »

I havenít got sorcerer yet (too many games, not enough cash, Iím tempted to get Sorcerer & Sword first anyway, but thatís another story), but I have a vague idea of how R-maps might work.

Iím wondering if I can put one into my TroS game or if there is already one there?

Here are the people in the game so far and some of their Relationships

Varghoss: The player character a young Savaxen (Viking) warrior

Cormac Bloodaxe: Varghossís father killed, mutilated and denied access to Vahalla by the Druid.

Kara: Mother of Varghoss, raped and left for dead by the raiding Cymri now carrying what will be his sister (Varghoss doesnít know if his sister was conviced before or after the raid).

Vika: The little brother of Varghoss was used as a stand in for the Jarls son and his head was taken as evidence of the death of the Jarls heirs by the Cymri.

Corrim: The bastard son of Cormac, Varghossís Half brother, a Picti Thrall, Loyal to his father and now Varghoss (his mother was sent back to Picti).

Gottir: Varghossís weapons master, killed in the raid by the Cymri (Welsh celts).

Freya: The Seer of Ravenscrag, your everyday Viking hag, ascts as seer for the Jarl and healer for the people. The druid took her eyes years ago.

Goodrun: Wife of the old Jarl, mother of the new Jarl, endebted to Vargossís family.

The Old Jarl: Killed by treachery and ambush whist raiding the Cymri.

The New Jarl: Leader of the Ravenscrag clan, two years old.

Farlan: Best Friend of Vargoss, his father died in the ambush, his mother, and two sisters in the raid.

Ranulf Strongarm: A trusted huscarl of the old Jarl, friendly and affable, well repected by everyone, an obvious choice to lead the clan until the Jarl matures. Although if left to Ranulf the young Jarl wonít live long he is one of the traitors.

Flat-face Snidil: A weasely young nobleman that nobody really likes, and nobody really trusts. He is feircely loyay to the Ravenscrag clan itís ways people and the new young Jarl.

The other two island clans: Ravenscrag was the most powerful fleet of the Savaxen Island clans, not anymore one of the other islands is involved in the conspiracy.

The Picti and Stahl and the other Tribes of Angerhad: May well have a role to play, as allies and enemies or both at varing times.

The King of Savaxen: rules from his capital in Theoricsthrone. The king is concerened about the rivalries of the his island fiefdoms as their fleets are a vital part of the military and econmy of the mainland. Unfortunately he young, inexperienced and has no flair for politics.

The Savaxen messenger: This is the man who came to the raid with the Druid, and the Cymri Lord, he is working for one of the Savaxen factions.
The Cymri Lord: He is an ambitous noble who seeks to unite the Cymri Tribes and rule the area. Destroying the threat posed by the Savaxen fleets is he believes a good start to make this a reality. He thinks the Druid is working for him.

The Druid: He seeks to bathe the world in blood, and thus raise the old Gods. He blelieves that the Druidry and his people have been on the decline since they abandoded the Old Gods and the Blood sacrifices. He is trying to put that right by sacrificing as many people as he can, to appease the Old Gods and make up for the thousands of years they have gone without sacrifies. He is using the Cymri Lord as military muscle. He has his own agenda when it comes to the Savaxens of Ravenscrag (They are the onlyones who can stop his plans according to his insane divinations). If allowed to complete his work he will raise the Old Gods which will effectively mean the end of the world for Weyrth.

So how do these work as an R-map, is there anything else I need to do? How do R-maps get used in play?

Sorry if the Q's are vague but feel free to ignore them and respond with anything else that is relevant.


Posts: 221

Fresno, California

« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2004, 03:57:40 PM »

(Disclaimer: I'm not an R-map expert. But I'll try and help).

Most of what you have doesn't look like an R-Map, but there are chunks that are an R-Map.  All an R-map is, to my eyes, is a very slim quick reference picture that reminds you "who's related to who" and "who's sleeping with who" (insert whom if your grammar demands).

So in this, you could draw an R-map for Varghoss, that would have Cormac Bloodaxe, Kara, Vika, Sister, and Corrim on it.  I'd probably put Kara up top (or centered), and spider lines out to Cormac (labeled husband), Vargoss (labeled son),  ?Sister (labeled daughter), Vika (labeled son). Inside the box with the dead people, I'd write "dead", though you probably know that by heart.  Oh yeah, also a line from Cormac to Corrim with label (son).  I'd probably put a line from Cormac and Corrim to Picti mom, since she'd be useful to drag back later to tug at everyone's emotions.

All of the people who aren't related (or sleeping with each other) don't go on the map.  You still keep notes for them and work on them, they just don't go on the R-map.

So what do you do with it?  Well, the map's just there to remind you that these people are going to have strong reactions no matter what happens to one or another of them.  If something happens to Corrim, it's going to affect Vargoss, because they're blood. It'll also affect sister (similarly) and Kara (depends on their relationship, by way of Cormac).

What do you do with it?  It's just a quick visual reminder that what affects one person (for example, Corrim) ripples-- and most strongly for family.  So if Corrim's mother comes back (for example), Corrim will react. The other people on the map will react to the change in Corrim, etc. You could have "what is the nature of blood" kind of questions; if she begs hospitality, and Corrim supports her, will Vargoss?  What if Kara objects, for good (or ill) reasons?  Fun to play out, and because we all deal with family issues, the tension will be there.

Because this map is PC centered, you would probably think along these lines already.  But you can see how thinking along these lines would be encouraged by the good visual prompt of the R-map if it was an NPC centered map.  You could do so... if there is a lot of politics to the clan, then you might want to figure out who is related and how.  Is Ranulf sleeping with Goodrun?  If not, who is? How will they try and wield power, and how will Ranulf respond? Does Ranulf have family he can count on... etc.

Whew, long.  Hope it's helpful.
-- Scott Martin

Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.

Posts: 158

« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2004, 09:15:42 PM »

Cheers Scot that is useful. very useful infact and has already helped given me a few ideas. I had a skewed iead of R-maps then (note to self buy Sorcerer and Sorcerer and Sword), thinking that it dealt with all releationships, especially PC and NPC relationships (like the one between Varghoss and the Druid).

Thanks for taking the time to have a look and fill me in Scot.


Posts: 153

« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2004, 09:56:28 PM »

Hey, Zendog!

If you're interested in the R-Map info, you'll need to buy Sorcerer & Soul.  It contains information on customizing Humanity (a very important part of Sorcerer) and details Ron's method of building R-Maps.  

Personally, I recommend you purchase Sorcerer itself and the two supplements:  Sorcerer & Sword and Sorcerer's Soul.  But don't just read the books; play an actual game of Sorcerer.  Even playing just one game of Sorcerer can help you see alternatives to the status quo.

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2004, 08:07:34 AM »


My apologies for not getting to this earlier.

ZD, it seems to me that you've already got the relationship map concept up and running. The characters who aren't related to anyone else and aren't having (or haven't had) sex with anyone else can be attached to characters who are so connected, through "dotted line" ties. So all I really can say is, yeah, like that.

Ron-as-Adept of course says, "Please consider buying The Sorcerer's Soul," but he is a money-grubbing pig. Ron-as-fellow-posting-guy says, "It looks like the book doesn't have much to tell you." As far as I can tell, the only main difference is that the concepts in the book do not pre-suppose the player-characters' inclusion in the map.

That point deserves a bit of attention. Long before playing Sorcerer, I would have insisted that player-characters must be included in the map, mainly through my intervention during character creation. "Oh, you're making a fire-flinging superbabe? OK, take a 15-point Hunted, by a villain named Dr. Syndrome." That was SOP for me during my Champions days; we got "story" because I forced 75% of a story into character creation.

However, in playing Sorcerer 1994-1997, I was astounded to discover that every character was a "story bullseye" via character creation, a walking relationship-map of his or her own. So there was no need to attach each character to a map of mine - just to have one of my own and watch all the maps, mine included, grab one another. Sometimes it's very clear, as two characters stay in one another's face for good or ill throughout play; other times the "grab" only occurs between players and the characters never even know of one another for several sessions.

Anyway, that's the only difference between what I see in your account and what's presented in The Sorcerer's Soul, so I outlined it a bit just as food for thought. I strongly, strongly recommend checking out the Legends of Alyria forum for discussions of storymapping, which is a useful technique that sort of turns relationship mapping up to 11 (sometimes too much for my tastes, but it does work); I think you'll find that very interesting and tremendously useful for playing The Riddle of Steel especially.


Posts: 158

« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2004, 01:02:30 AM »

Ron-as-Adept of course says, "Please consider buying The Sorcerer's Soul," but he is a money-grubbing pig. Ron-as-fellow-posting-guy says, "It looks like the book doesn't have much to tell you." As far as I can tell, the only main difference is that the concepts in the book do not pre-suppose the player-characters' inclusion in the map.

Cheers Ron-as-fellow-posting-guy, tell Ron-as-Adept not to worry, Sorcerer and Sorcerer & Sword are on my must buy list (I've found a good online UK suplier). I'm particularly looking forward to Sorcerer & Sword and might even get that before I get Sorcerer.


Posts: 153

« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2004, 04:17:23 AM »

Quote from: ZenDog
I'm particularly looking forward to Sorcerer & Sword and might even get that before I get Sorcerer.

That's exactly what I did.  And you know what?  Sorcerer & Sword is my most prized gaming book.  If you really want to capture the feel of pulp fantasy/sword & sorcery fiction, in any game, you need to buy this book.  Here's why:
[*]The suggested reading list is worth the price of the book.  (And finding the books are like discovering lost treasures!)
[*]You can tell Ron really loves the source material.
[*]Ron really goes into depth on what elements are present in the genre.
[*]This book has some of the most interesting details on playing in a narrativist style.

If you enjoy this genre, get this book.  You'll never regret it.

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