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Sorcerer "review"

Started by Jared A. Sorensen, September 11, 2002, 01:10:24 PM

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Ron Edwards


Looks like this one goes with the Zebrowski review of the PDF version - their points are quite valid from a specific kind of desired-RPG point of view. That POV just isn't what Sorcerer is built to reinforce.

[editing this in later, upon ruminating: One objection I can make to both this one and the Zebrowski one is that the authors seem determined to equate their preferences with "good role-playing design." But that's hardly unexpected in reviews, so I won't kick about it.]



Quote from: Ron EdwardsH'm,

Looks like this one goes with the Zebrowski review of the PDF version - their points are quite valid from a specific kind of desired-RPG point of view.

I'm surprised you had the patience to find out what the point was.  I quit reading after the third missing comma, though I had already begun to drift when faced with the creative capitalization and chunky, undigested blocks of text strewn haphazardly across my screen.
Cabbages and Kings


I'd have said that it really comes down to what people want to do in their games. Sorcerer supports/encourages/creates one set of modes of play [that looks a little odd, but I think it'll stand], and it does seem that that's a mode of play they're not interested in.

Comparing Sorcerer's lean mean mechanics with something as broad and deep as any WW system's going to lean towards trouble. They're built for different things. Personally, though, I'd do things the other way round, as Sorcerer's native Humanity mechanics do a much better job of replicating personal disentegration than anything I've seen, ever.
my name is drew

"I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Here's my thoughts on the comments and the subsequent discussion in their forum. I'm posting here to outline why and how discourse about role-playing is often so worthless, because I don't think anyone actually managed to communicate with anyone else about the game.

As a pre-point, the main guy (oldscratch), going by the first post, is literally outraged by the Sorcerer rules - I mean, hands shaking, the works. He gentles his tone later (a common pattern on the internet), but I think the extremity of his first post is worth considering when looking over my points. This is not an emotionally neutral issue for him; Sorcerer literally acted as a "demon" in his presence.

#1: The distinction between magic and combat seems spurious to me. The Sorcerer dice system operates at the same degree of resolution for either one. The magic of Sorcerer includes the intersection of more variables, but something besides that seems to be perceived to be

#2: I am disturbed by the oldscratch fellow posting that Sorcerer works fine if the GM doesn't permit certain conflicts or tasks to come up - ie, to restrict the players' choices so that the characters never, for instance, bake a cake. This is ... bizarre reading, especially since the notion that conflicts are largely player-driven in Sorcerer is central to the game.

#3: Nowhere in the contrasts between Narrativism and Simulationism have I found as good an example as his cry that a system "needs" to "handle" (ie directly model) "everything." If there ain't a skill for cake-baking, a cake can't be baked. Also "everything" translates 1:1 with "task," as opposed to conflict.

He's deeply, deeply in synecdoche - not only in terms of mode, but also in terms of system/rules.  In Sorcerer, it would be all about why baking a cake mattered, in terms of how it's being opposed. If there's not a conflict, no roll. To him, that's "not system," or a "weak system" or - literally, in his post, grounds for cries of pain.

#4: As of this writing, the whole discussion ended up at a very "You're on one side of the Atlantic and I'm on the other" conclusion, and I don't think that oldscratch came away with any sense of what the other side looks like. In his viewpoint, it's vague and probably railroaded - for vague players who don't mind their choices being limited. OK, that's fine, he says, but it's not me. In my view, absolutely no clarity arose from the discussion at all, just a college-freshman-level agreement not to fight so we can all get along, and what-you-think is cool, 'cause it's, you know, your view.

This is why I posted any of my essays at all - to establish shared vocabulary and an at-least-functional nested hierarchy of concepts, so that we can all friggin' talk to one another and not end up with #4 all the time.


Christopher Kubasik

Um, guys...?  It's just some yahoo with an internet account.  

The other day I was insulted by a truly insane man in a bookstore.  I let it go because, you know, he was just some guy with vocal chords.

Not everything that's phrased into something very much like sentences is worth either responding to or thinking about.

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield