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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] By the Sword - First session  (Read 3573 times)
shaheddy
Member

Posts: 14


« on: May 14, 2005, 08:14:53 AM »

I just started GMing Sorcerer and have done one session of play so far.

The in-game situation: we're set in mid-19th century Japan, during the Meiji revolution. The premise is, what are you willing to do for your ideals? Humanity is respect for human life, including quality of life. (This is heavily influenced by the anime Rurouni Kenshin, which seems tailor-made for Sorcerer.) Demons are historical personages, places, or events.

I used The Long Goodbye for my relationship map. The most interest so far has revolved around the Linda Loring/Sylvia Lennox/the dad (I forgot his name) family.

The out-of-game situation: My group (and myself) are new to non-Dnd play. My players have gamed together before, 3 of the 4 quite extensively. I just met them a few weeks ago.

Our start was non-ideal. We were very leisurely in chargen, which was fine with me, but we ran out of time. I asked the players to send me stuff from the back of their sheet by email, but a couple of the players apparently don't do email, so I ended up just making up NPCs for them. The other two players had pretty good backs-of-sheets.

Overall, I think things went well. One player told me it was "better than she expected," which was definitely meant as a compliment, and made me laugh inside. They all said they enjoyed the game. Here are the issues I noted, plus my analysis of why they occurred.

1) I've read that the first session is mainly exploration of the r-map, but I still felt the pace was slower than it could have been. For one thing, there was no combat. There were a few simple conflicts, and two Humanity checks (one character took part in a ritual where he thought he was killing someone, and another stole her family's life savings). I think what happened is my r-map has about a dozen NPCs jockeying for political power, so much of the background conflict has just begun brewing. Also, I imagine the players are new to, you know, doing whatever they want instead of what I want. And finally, I may have framed conflicts a bit too aggressively - for example, when the character stole her family's money, her brother ran into her in the hall and kicked her out of the house (her Kicker was she'd been banished from the house for refusing a marriage). The PC resisted, and I used a single roll to determine the outcome. Maybe it should have been an extended conflict - I'm not sure.

On the other hand, players were surprised at how fast the session went by (3 hrs), so my experience is subjective. (I guess that's inescapable!)

2) I had a hard time "switching" in an acting sense from one NPC to another. I've always had this problem, honestly - when I switch from one NPC to another, I tend to carry over some of the mentality from the first NPC. One consequence was I seriously underplayed the PCs demons. (It's a consequence because I took so much mental effort switching between human NPCs that the demons mostly fell through the cracks.)

3) I can't tell how engaged the players are. Two of them are, definitely. The player who said the game was better than she suspected told me that the other two players are more combat-oriented, but assured me they'd enjoyed themselves (they concurred). One of these players I misjudged entirely - his character is supposedly a callous womanizer, but all of the women NPCs he met he specifically didn't try to sleep with, but tried to empathize with. I failed to adjust until the end of the session, when I threw a Bang specifically designed to appeal to his desire to nurture, so we'll see. The other player, after his kicker (he got booted out of his samurai clan), went to get drunk, met an NPC with a strong agenda that involves stealing weapons from the PCs clan, the two had sex, he agreed ... but I can't tell just how involved the player is in what's going on. I think the "NPC with agenda" problem may have reared its head, or I haven't thrown the right Bang ... I think at this point I'm going to be relying on trial-and-error and observation.

One note on the NPC with agenda problem - at this stage, if the players hold their courses, they'll be at serious odds with one another. That can't have escaped their notice, so ... we'll see.

In any case, I'd say I'm happy with how things went, but I do like to optimize fun. So, any suggestions?

Shahed
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2005, 01:00:31 PM »

Hiya,

It all sounds great to me. Couple points.

1. First-session Sorcerer tends to seem like "nothing happened" to the GM. That's an illusion. The players are learning how their characters feel like to play, which is important in this game because you can look at the sheet all day long and not learn a thing about that. Get ready for them to snap into such action in the next session or two that you will feel as if they are the GM.

2. Play the demons! Adopt them as if they were your #1 favorite and most-valued NPCs, and make'em do stuff in every way possible. Whether it's just color and commentary, or outright rebellion - play'em up.

Best,
Ron
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shaheddy
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2005, 08:29:14 PM »

Cool beans! I was hoping you'd say that. No kidding about staring at the sheet - the characters in play are miles more ... problematic, I guess, in the good characterization sense, than they are on paper. I really like piecing together what each player is getting at.

Also Ron, on a marketing note, you might be interested to know that I had no desire to play Sorcerer until I read the Art Deco Melodrama threads. Those threads blew my mind, and I bought the book a week later.

Thanks for the reply,

Shahed
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droog
Member

Posts: 263


« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2005, 10:33:16 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
2. Play the demons! Adopt them as if they were your #1 favorite and most-valued NPCs, and make'em do stuff in every way possible. Whether it's just color and commentary, or outright rebellion - play'em up.

Absolutely! I ran my first session the other night and it was loads of fun playing the demons (bit of work, mind you). They're like NPCs turned up to 11. Enjoy them.


'He's not going to take you away from me, is he, Mommy?'
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