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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Sorcerer first gamming and questions  (Read 3450 times)
Offray
Member

Posts: 12


« on: April 19, 2007, 11:46:08 AM »

Hi all,

First, excuse me for my English. I'm not a native speaker. This will be my first post on actual play, I have been reading the post here for a while and I hope to make it well. Second, thanks for this forum, the sense of community and for Sorcerer itself.

I would like to start with some background information about myself and my crew, before making the questions.

My crew and I started to play something like 8 years ago, we're friends for a lot of things more (paint ball, cooking hamburgers, going to cinemas, painting somebody's apartment, software chatting and of course, role playing). Rol playing is an activity which put us on the same table with more frequency that any other and even there are some members in the crew (we're five) which meets mainly/exclusively for roleplaying.

After being in the roleplaying activity for a while and enjoyed it, I start to be in disagreement with the activity itself. From the beginning (we started with D&D) it seems to me very complex, but I liked roleplaying a lot, so my complains were small. With the time, as my compromise with Free Software increase (this seems unrelated, but is not, as you will see) my disagreement start to going up:

 * I have no time as before to prepare my character with that lot of rules, tables and so on (even in more lite rules games like Vampire)

 * I have a sense that the character was void, it was just a thing of "getting better": more hit points, more powers, more weapons, but at some point there was no futher character development. My characters become suicides, but I have the mercy or may be the punishment of keeping alive even in my more crazy attempts to not doing that way.

 * I want a "hackable game". Mage from WW with the spheres and free casting was in some kind of modular magic with a hackable approach, but I want a more hackable game. What about changing the game engine/system (almost all at the moment, before Sorcerer, where too complex), what about writing plugins for the game, what about translations, wikis, derived works.

 * I want a sense of community: roleplaying itself matters more that selling the next book, of course there are bridges, but I have the feeling that we're treated mainly as customers that as citizens of the roleplaying community. The question of "I want to create a community of role players here, how much can I do with your game?" was almost always answered with "as much as you want if it doesn't hurt the sales" (and of course being a role playing in "developing countries" is not the same as in Europe or EEUU, but the "sorry, business are business" attitude doesn't take this in account).

For things like the previous ones it was almost inevitably to come to the Forge, and that why I liked so much what Clinton R. Nixon and Ron Edwards are making at this site with their community building, theorization efforts, "hackable games", creative commons licences (for some of them). But that's enough for now and may be is more for people wearing the hats of publishers of game designers, so, here comes the info for the ones wearing the roleplayers hat.

I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago last week on July and to buy the Sorcerer 4 books (getting the books in Colombia was a real pain in the ass) and I started to explain, before my travel, to my crew, what this new game was about and how it will be a source of inspiration for our roleplaying nights and even for our roleplaying creation, if we opted for that at some point.

When I was back I started to organize my crew. At the beginning, being so different from the D&D and White Wolf games, it takes a while to get it, and my crew doesn't was to discuss something like what was humanity for us, the what Story Teller says attitude was well established, at least for the core assumptions of the game and being co-developers was not the used. So, as amazing as it seems, we treated humanity as some very important stat which let you know if your character belongs to you. The idea was start to play as fast as we can, and start to getting the game as we were gaming it.

This was what we get:

 * A sociopath corrupt cop which bounds his demon trying to get more power to occult the killing of his wife (made by his self).

 * A book editor which bounds his demon seeking for revenge for being trapped to kill his wife (killing the wife seems some kind of pleasure karma generator for the folks of this gang).

 * A business man which loose everything after a bad deal. He wants to know more of their future clients and partners and start to get into the lives of them and in their house illegally to know them better and be more "efficient" business man. That why he bounds his demon.

 * An accounting man who never gets what he deserves for his silent and good work and in abussed by his bosses. He bounds his demon for getting power against the ones which abuse him and others (some kind of vengeful strange hero, because he doesn't always ).

I will not give details on demons for the moment (this post is getting too long :-P).

Being "in run before the play starts" and starting with Karma was difficult to get for some, specially for the one which always was a paladin in the D&D sagas, but because we want to get the hands dirty on the game, I let the things happen quickly with this sketch characters to start with the starting session which comes in the core book... And me and my crew enjoyed this a lot, it was one of the most nicer sessions in months... it went very well and my crew want to play again.  :-)

So I started to create the relationship maps (what a wonderful technique) for a variation of the Demonomicon Humanis story in the Sorcerer Soul book. I again ask my crew to define humanity together, without much success so, having previous problems to get them worried to act toward others interest, it seems fine to define it as empathy and concern by others fate. As strange at this can sound and being so central for the game, we have only few memorable humanity checks, the first was on a fight between two player characters, because the demon from one (with desire competition) ask for the front tooth of the other character as a trophy on a competition. The other ones are for our sociopath killer cop when it kills people (well I have some questions here). The fact is that, with a so agile game engine we can focus in telling a nice story instead of mechanics, even without much humanity check, at least at the beginning as we're getting the game better. But now is time for humanity challenges.

The characters have found Sipe, the possessor demon which is in the body of a died child, and it has the other part of The Demonomicon. Sipe thinks that this body is not much fun any more (specially being dead), so it asked to the characters to get "him" a new body, some one which makes fun things, some one like a skater. At this point the players don't want to make this, even the sociopath... but besides Sipe, there is a sorcerer wannabe which is telling them to make this things. They know that this NPC is not much powerful by himself, but seems to have contacted a powerful demon. I have imagined that Sipe is contained in a old house and farm, but now I imagine this actions from my players. I want to know what do you think and where is humanity challenged:

 * They Unconfined Sipe from the farm, so the can go with Sipe to the city and tell it to choose his new body. Could you provide me details or ideas for an unconfining ritual
 * They even help Sipe to get his new body. In that case Sipe binding will be associated to the one which helps hims more? (the sorcerer wannabe --Lore 1-- is a perfect candidate for this). How the previous bound affect the attempts for a new one.
 * They punish Sipe trying to get information from it, without entering in any futher negotiations (how many punishment will Sipe to hold before give them the other part of the Demonomicon?).

Another thing is that I was linking the Demonomicon Humanis Story with the training running saying that the one which provided the list of the sorcerers to Ivonne was the possessor of the Demonomicon Humanis. He has valuable information that risk the lives of all the sorcerers and their precious secret, but now I'm thinking, how can this list be generated? Will the demon give information to another one or to a sorcerer for building that list.

Sorry for the long post. I will be waiting for your insight.



 *
PD: The forum software says that I have 3 messages, two unreaded but I can only see the one which I have already read. I'm missing something?
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James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 642


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 03:29:44 PM »

First, excuse me for my English. I'm not a native speaker.

Your English is excellent!


Quote
* I have no time as before to prepare my character with that lot of rules
 * I have a sense that the character was void, it was just a thing of "getting better"
 * I want a "hackable game"
 * I want a sense of community

Brother, you are in the right place!

Quote
When I was back I started to organize my crew. At the beginning, being so different from the D&D and White Wolf games, it takes a while to get it, and my crew doesn't was to discuss something like what was humanity for us, the what Story Teller says attitude was well established, at least for the core assumptions of the game and being co-developers was not the used. So, as amazing as it seems, we treated humanity as some very important stat which let you know if your character belongs to you. The idea was start to play as fast as we can, and start to getting the game as we were gaming it.

I am not sure I understand you, because this is such an abstract topic.  But it sounds like you guys had fun.

Quote
* A sociopath corrupt cop which bounds his demon trying to get more power to occult the killing of his wife (made by his self).

 * A book editor which bounds his demon seeking for revenge for being trapped to kill his wife (killing the wife seems some kind of pleasure karma generator for the folks of this gang).

 * A business man which loose everything after a bad deal. He wants to know more of their future clients and partners and start to get into the lives of them and in their house illegally to know them better and be more "efficient" business man. That why he bounds his demon.

 * An accounting man who never gets what he deserves for his silent and good work and in abussed by his bosses. He bounds his demon for getting power against the ones which abuse him and others (some kind of vengeful strange hero, because he doesn't always ).

One thing to keep in mind.  When people create Sorcerer characters, sometimes these characters are disgusting, frightening, or crazy.  Sometimes these characters seem more like small-minded villains than heroes.  A player-character in Sorcerer cannot be pure Good, because he or she has a demon.  But the point of the game is that sometimes, you can be a good person anyway.  You can create a scum-bag, but it's not as interesting.  A fun character has the possibility of being a good person after all. 

Quote
I again ask my crew to define humanity together, without much success so, having previous problems to get them worried to act toward others interest, it seems fine to define it as empathy and concern by others fate.

Ask them:
* Who are the people you (the players) admire most?
* Who are the people you (the players) dislike most?
* What's the connection between these groups?

That's Humanity for your group.

More in a bit.
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--Stack
Offray
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2007, 01:42:16 AM »


Thanks James, for your quick response, warm welcome and inputs about Humanity definition. I will try next time with my crew... may be tomorrow sunday. The characters are a frightening and crazy in some sense but they're making some good things also and I will need to give him some humanity check opportunities to acknowledge that.

Quote
I am not sure I understand you, because this is such an abstract topic.  But it sounds like you guys had fun.

Yep, we're having it. At this moment I'm a little worried about sorcerer rituals for my tomorrow game... because it's the first time the characters will be "in business" with another demon different from the initial, and they need to get something from him... so any insight about how to get this demon business well, considering three possibilities (cheating the demon, biding it or punish it), and mechanics about it (how much punish a demon can support before give them what they want, how the previous binding works for the new one, how to get it unconfined from the farm) and how is possible to make a list of sorcerers from someone will be really appreciated.

Thanks again,

Offray
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James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 642


« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2007, 06:41:08 AM »

Quick question:

Quote
it's the first time the characters will be "in business" with another demon different from the initial, and they need to get something from him...

I notice this because "they need to get something from him" might be a sign of trouble. 

In traditional RPG's--Dungeons & Dragons or Vampire, for example--the GM says, "Today, you must do this activity, or the story I made up when we started this adventure will not move."

In Sorcerer, there is no story before the game starts.  The NPC's and setting are very carefully balanced, but very unstable.  The players show up in the story--and suddenly--


The GM's job is to understand how the House of Cards is built-- so that if the players push one card, how will it react?  When will it collapse?  Where will the cards fall?--but the GM creates an environment rather than a story.  (This is hard for me to explain.) 

When you say "they need to get something," I do not know if you are trying to force the players into only one path.  (Maybe you understand this already--sorry!  But it took me a long time.)

Quote
how much punish a demon can support before give them what they want, how the previous binding works for the new one, how to get it unconfined from the farm) and how is possible to make a list of sorcerers from someone will be really appreciated.

These are my own answers; there may "official" answers I don't know:

* Persuading or arguing with a demon is Will vs. Will.  Punish, if it works, penalizes all of the demon's rolls--including Will.  So, Punish first, and then roll Will vs. new Will.

* You cannot Bind a demon if it is Bound to someone else.  You would have to persuade (or Punish) the demon into breaking the current Binding.  (See pages 93-96 in the rulebook.)  Once a demon destroys its binding, you can Bind it normally. 

* I don't know what you mean by "list of sorcerers"--you mean, more NPC's?

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Offray
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2007, 08:55:58 AM »

Thanks again for your quick response James, seems that the tonight game will be a lot of fun, and in a sense is owned to you (that was something of what I was talking about a "sense of community").

Quote
I notice this because "they need to get something from him" might be a sign of trouble.

In traditional RPG's--Dungeons & Dragons or Vampire, for example--the GM says, "Today, you must do this activity, or the story I made up when we started this adventure will not move." 

About "they need to get something from him" the correct phrase would be "they think they need to get something from it". We're running a modified version of the Demonomicon Humanis as it appears on the Sorcerer's Soul book. This is, in big steps, how we get where we're today.

We started our initial run after making the characters an initial demons, without too much concern on the mechanics, We were more focused in a taste of the story theme and color for sorcerer. The mechanics were "incidental", at least in this first session, and we get the fast sense of it, to help in the story creation. It was a nice collective story telling night and the mechanics were almost invisible (at least compared with D&D or WW games). The idea was: we're going to get the mechanics as we need them to tell the story and we can replace it with "home made hot rules" at the beginning at least. It worked, the players and their characters survived and we all want a second run. At the end of the first night, there was no "experience" o hit points and nobody ask for them, it was just a night of fun... and the characters survived with the (even incidental) help of each other (the scene of them getting out of the house with a lot of worry and punish but alive was memorable). Of course, no matter how naive they're, they recognized each other as a sorcerer. They know that somebody, besides themselves, know their secret and they start to look how this could happen. They become some kind of accidental cabal and, at least, they need to be together to resist attacks like the previous one, and to find out what was happening.

As you remember, in the initial run, there is this character, Ivonne, which is in business with the object demon in the house (the demon who like to eat other demons) and she invited all the characters. The fate of Ivonne is unknown, but they listened some screams from she just after their scape... One of them just got into the house of Ivonne to know more about she and how she have a list of sorcerers to invite to the house, and seemed to me, as Game Master, that this was the perfect excuse for the next adventure and connection with some character kicker. So I left to the player character a clue in the Ivonne apartment, about another sorcerer, Mathew, the one which is killed in the beginning of the Demonomicon Humanis adventure... and the connection was that this sorcerer was the supposed lover of the player character's dead wife... well really this is not the truth, the dead wife of the player character was just a "collateral consequence" of the missdirection of attention to Celine, the demon which was fighting with Mathew.

Mathew has still two bounded demons: Sipe and Vecthka despite of the big disadvantage of being dead (may be Celine finally won the final battle). One of them, Sipe, has the another half part of the Demonomicon (in my variation the two half are necessary to perform the ritual). As you remember, the book is fake, and they really don't need it, but I have left another clue which explains the plot to the interested character: is the diary of Mathew. In it, he explain his affairs and fight with Celine, the mistake of falling in love, get married and the need to missdirect the attention of Celine from his family to the someone's else.

Being Mathew dead I suppose that the next target would be Celine, but the other player characters are not much interested in the personal revenge of one of them. The thing that ties them together, at the moment is to protect themselves, no more.

What are my predictions for tonight:

 * The characters will try to get as much information as they can from Sipe. I imagine Sipe to be confined to one objetc: Mathew's Diary, which is in the house, so If they want to offer Sipe its new body, the need to get the diary. There is another way to get a demon unconfined?

 * The characters, with the knowledge of Mathew being dead, will try to get Celine, of course this is personal revenge just from one of them, and may be they all don't want to be involved.

 * They will try to know, how Mathew had a list of all the sorcerers to pass to Ivonne in the first place... I'm still thinking in how this list can be generated... demons would talk each other about their masters and give personal information about them?

In Sorcerer, there is no story before the game starts.  The NPC's and setting are very carefully balanced, but very unstable.  The players show up in the story--and suddenly--


The GM's job is to understand how the House of Cards is built-- so that if the players push one card, how will it react?  When will it collapse?  Where will the cards fall?--but the GM creates an environment rather than a story.  (This is hard for me to explain.) 

Of course the previous one is just a possible plot. I'm trying to complete the relationship map and see which threads my crew will pull tonight, which card the try to pull out :-)

Thanks for the insight, nice talk and picture,

Offray




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angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 132


« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2007, 10:49:15 AM »

Just a quick note:

Quote from: James_Nostack
These are my own answers; there may "official" answers I don't know:

* Persuading or arguing with a demon is Will vs. Will.  Punish, if it works, penalizes all of the demon's rolls--including Will.  So, Punish first, and then roll Will vs. new Will.

Punish reduces a Demon's Power only.  Also, they hate it, so under many circumstances applying a Punish will actually make a Demon sulky, reluctant, hostile, and generally less amenable to persuasion.
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 642


« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2007, 01:40:50 PM »

From Sorcerer page 89:
Quote
Punishing a demon removes its Power in dice equal to the sorcerer's victories.  The penalty applies to all the demon's abilities . . . This hurts the demon a lot, and they really hate to be punished.

If I recall, what this means is that Power is lowered and the other scores are penalized, which has always struck me as an inelegant splitting of hairs.   As far as persuasion goes, my understanding is that Punishing a demon is like subjecting a human being to torture--the worse you torture them, the more likely they will agree to whatever you suggest: but brother, you've just made an enemy for life.
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angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 132


« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2007, 08:02:07 PM »

The abilities being referred to are the Demon abilities that rely on the Demon's power: Boost, Cover, Special Damage, et al.

Check out the second paragraph of Dumb Sorcery, page 97.
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 642


« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2007, 07:05:09 AM »

Hey yeah, my bad--all this time I've been reading this wrong.  I'd still use the successes on Punish as a roll-over bonus to browbeat the demon into agreeing to something... but save up those same Punish successes for the demon's eventual rebellion.
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angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 132


« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2007, 08:44:43 AM »

Hey yeah, my bad--all this time I've been reading this wrong.  I'd still use the successes on Punish as a roll-over bonus to browbeat the demon into agreeing to something... but save up those same Punish successes for the demon's eventual rebellion.

That idea is pure awesome and I am stealing it.  Also, recommending other people do so.
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
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