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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: I really like Sorcerer but...  (Read 12355 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2001, 07:46:00 AM »

OK, I thought it might be good to return to Ian's basic points. Cartoon detour over.

Ian wrote,
"But then may be my visuals on what a Sorcerer is now what's wrong?"

I'm not sure "wrong" is the issue. By definition, whatever kind of story/issue you want to address is OK to do. Also by definition, whatever works for you in defining a sorcerer is also OK. So really, it's just a matter of matching these things up.

You can start at either end. If you want to do the "one beat away from reality" Twin Peaks thing, then use that as a basis for deciding what SORT of sorcerer/demon concept works for that. Or, if you want to do the "sorcerers are [fill-in-here]," then use that as a basis for deciding what setting and situation will work for that.

I think what might be stalling you is recognizing the RANGE you are permitted to work in. Does that seem like a helpful concept?

Best,
Ron
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2001, 11:03:00 AM »

If anything confuses me about Sorcerer I'd estimate its something to do with the following:

(1) It has a premise, but this premise is devoid of setting or any sort of cosmology.

(2) The rules are so light they do not provide/dictate any focus either.

Neither of these criticisms of the game, they are no doubt strengths, but they do leave the playing field wide open in terms of what the game is about. This is why I have no problem with Over the Edge, yes it's an almost 'anything can be chucked in game' but its premise of weird conspiracy on Al Amarja provides a focus.

So let's assume I want to run the 'Twin Peaks' idea. I want to tell stories about weird conspiracies, corruption and human nature within the confines of this small town. It has numerous weird inhabitants, places and everything is delivered in a surreal way.

Why would Sorcerers be there? What would they be? Is it possible this is the only place Sorcerers work? Could they get their powers from the same mythos entity under the town, a demon being a personification of this creature's essence gave form by the Sorcerer?

Just talking aloud, as this would give a focus to the town.

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Ian O'Rourke
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joshua neff
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2001, 02:04:00 PM »

ian--

Quote
(1) It has a premise, but this premise is devoid of setting or any sort of cosmology.


& this is different from "d&d" in what way? i mean, sure, the latest set of rules has a bunch of default greyhawk dieties, but beyond that there's no setting info at all...

Quote
(2) The rules are so light they do not provide/dictate any focus either.


yeah, that's what i thought at first, too...but then on rereading the rules (& reading forum stuff by ron & others) i realized that because the rules are all centered around the premise, they provide a lot of focus...
ian, the questions you asked in regards to yr "twin peaks" idea are exactly the kinds of questions yr supposed to ask about the game, & answering those questions helps fill in the game...asking questions like: what exactly are demons & what do they look like? how many sorcerers are there? are they organized into secret cabals & cults, or are they all loners? is there a sorcerous tradition (or number of traditions) or is each sorcerer's magic personal? what does humanity represent & what happens when it drops to zero? when you answer these things, you have the beginning of a narrative...

one of the things i love about "sorcerer" is its lack of setting--i'm sick to death of this train of richly detailed worlds handed to us, as if we lacked the ability to create this stuff on my own...whichever setting i get, i'm gonna mess w/ it anyway (to use al amarja as an example, i hate the "nooses worn as neckties" thing--it's not subtle enough for a game about reality fraying apart around the pcs , so i'd drop that part), so why even give me one?
which is not to say i hate all prepackaged settings...i love the world of "castle falkenstein", i like glorantha, i like the world of "maelstrom" (which isn't really all that richly detailed--it's pretty sparse & gives you lots of room to make it yr own)--& i love the settings peter seckler comes up w/...& i also realize that some people don't have the inclination or the time to create their own settings--but there are enough prepackaged settings out their as is...& since the default setting for "sorcerer" is present-day earth (altho i'd love to run it in swinging 60's london or 1920's new york), how much prepackaged setting do you really need?

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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2001, 12:06:00 AM »

Joshua,

As I said, I believe my two points are strengths for the game, but that does not mean it can't leave some people not knowing where to begin. Actually that's not true, I probably do know where to begin, but I have so many choices I never implement any of them. I'm set on this small town idea though, with this being the only place Sorcerers work due to them summoning 'personifications made real' of one mythos type entities essence. As this also provides the reasoning/premise for why the town is weird and a focus of surrealness.

As for the question about D&D, good point. The issue is though D&D does really have a setting and such - countless fantasy novels on the bookshelves. I read D&D, just the PHB, and it makes me thing of David Gemmell books. Does it provide this focus, no, but it provides enough that when people read they 'see' a fantasy interpretation within it.

As we discuss this I would like people to keep in mind, I am a big fan of the game, and nothing is meant is a derogatory remark.

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Ian O'Rourke
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joshua neff
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2001, 04:28:00 AM »

ian--

oh, i wasn't interpreting anything you said as derogatory or otherwise...i understand what you mean--when i read (or think about) sorcerer, i don't have one vision of what the game is--i have at least 2 ideas for modern day sorcerer narratives, w/ very different takes on what "humanity" means & what demons are like, & at least 3 different ideas for sorcerer & sword narratives, w/ radically different moods & themes...that's what i love about the game...
same goes for d&d, actually--i don't read much commercial high fantasy--to be honest, i can't stand the stuff...i like tolkien, i like the worm ouroboros, & that's about it...i haven't read gemmell--& when i read the player's handbook, i don't get visions of only one way to run the game--i have visions of "nutcracker prince"-like weird clockwork soldiers & rapier-wielding hobgoblins, i have visions of steampunky shakespearean romance, i have visions of fritz leiber-esque sword & sorcery, or a narrative that combines l5r w/ arthurian legend--all sorts of stuff...
(of course, 7th sea, on the other hand, has a prepackaged setting that's fairly rich, & i still have 3 or 4 ideas for narratives, each one very different from the other...too many games, not enough time...)
oops, digressed...okay, i guess my point is, don't worry about not knowing where to start--it sounds like you do know: w/ yr "twin peaks"-esque narrative...so, focus on that, & any other ideas you get that don't fit in well w/ it, write down & they'll probably develop into a different narrative (at least, that's how it worked for me)...
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Clay
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2001, 12:32:00 PM »

If setting is giving you a problem, pick up Sorcerer & Sword.  The whole book is about setting.  It was interesting enough to me to inspire me to write a setting on the same weekend that I read the book, ignoring my girlfriend at my own peril.
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Clay Dowling
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2001, 06:08:00 AM »

Ian,

I suggest using a few plain sheets of paper. On each one, write a single starting notion for a Sorcerer game. It could be a definition of "sorcery," or a definition of "Humanity," or a neat character notion, or even a description of a place (like your weird town).

Then, on each page, write what might fall out for each one in terms of rules. What sorts of acts constitute Binding? How formal is sorcery? How would demons act (i.e. how would you play them)? What would a Contain look like? Are there any scary, old sorcerers, and what do they act like? Include lots of literary or movie references that go with each page too.

The point of this exercise is to overcome being overwhelmed by alternatives. It seems to me that you have some good notions, but then your awareness that there are OTHER notions trips you up. This way, you can jot down those alternative notions and, once any one of these pages really slams you with the need to develop it further, you can file those other pages for the future.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2001, 08:46:00 AM »

The point of this exercise is to overcome being overwhelmed by alternatives...you have some good notions, but then your awareness that there are OTHER notions trips you up.

The multiple sheets for developing notions as a way of focusing is an awesome suggestion! I wish more RPG's covered this kind of stuff...demonstrating recognition of things that slow a prospective GM down and providing techniques for overcoming them. Sometimes you just can't figure out what to do with all the color text and background material.
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