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S&S Praise & semi-Actual Play

Started by Zak Arntson, January 11, 2002, 03:32:41 PM

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Zak Arntson

First off, huge amounts of props (prizops, even) go to you, Ron. I got Sorcerer & Sword from my mother on Christmas (!!), and immediately began reading the thing.

It's an amazing piece of gaming literature. Yeah, it's what I would consider gaming literature, what with all the insight into gaming put down in words.

Which leads to my "semi" Actual Play comments. Years ago I GM'd some D&D for my brother. Just us two. The short of it is: He made a character with a Kicker (he was an eastern-style martial artist arriving in a decidedly western city), began with a kind-of Bang! (You step off the boat! What do you do?), and the entire gameworld developed as we played (a la S&S).

It was one of the most satisfying rpg experiences I've ever had. And then, years and years later I find the methods my brother and I had stumbled upon put into words on paper. And I remember those gaming sessions and thought, "Crap! If I had only known _why_ it was so successful back then, well sheesh!"

So thank you Ron. Now I know why it was such a neat campaign.

Ron Edwards

Hi Zak,

I think one thing that could easily cause problems is the idea that Sorcerer & Sword is about "improvising setting as you go along."

That's not exactly the case. In Chapter 1, I present a series of recommended steps for play, and those early ones are all about setting in a big way. The general guidelines in for Setting in Chapter 3 aren't trivial, and all that stuff is pre-play. What makes it different is enlisting the players' interests and preferences in that step, and the biggie, that details and portions of the setting are reserved for later, pre-scenario prep, rather than all slammed into prep for the first session of play.


Zak Arntson

Oops.  When I said "the entire gameworld developed " I lied.

What we did was create the basics of the gameworld and his character before playing. So we knew a little about his "eastern" homeland, especially his people. Why he left, etc.

And I had the general idea of the "western" environemnt. To recreate the fish-out-of-water experience, he didn't have much input here (something I may have changed now that I think about it). I had a general city map, and an idea of the feel of the environment.

The characters and actual locations within the western city were improvised on the spot, though.


First, it was a great selling point for the game, since I already knew I liked the source literature.

Second, S&S really showed me how to build a game world that matched my own twisted imagination.  We've played in that world, and we'll do it again. Its twistedness was magnificent (unlike my grammar).
Clay Dowling - Online Campaign Planning and Management