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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Convention Workshops and Character Creation...  (Read 964 times)
The Dragon Master
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« on: January 18, 2010, 10:37:54 PM »

Just back from DarkCon this weekend and while I couldn't get a game of Sorcerer going, I did manage to run three brief "Sorcerer Workshops" for interested players. By the third one I was getting much better at expressing the rules of Sorcerer. In each instance though it was late at night and the players didn't have time to set up for a game. Having finished with that though I find that I really want to do more of that.

I will be attending three more conventions (RandomCon, Phoenix Comicon, and CopperCon). I'm planning to work up a quick "Intro to Sorcerer" schpiel, run the players (no more than 4 at a time I think) through character creation, and then run a quick scenario based on those characters and their kickers. I don't know how long the intro will take, though given the time it took this past weekend (including that character creation was outlined during it) I figure that about a half hour to 45 minutes should be enough to get the basic idea across. I fully expect that estimate to change as I actually get to writing up an outline. I am hoping that Character Creation won't take much more than a half hour, but I've only run new players through it once before and it took much longer than that, though we also did a collaborative world building as part of it, as well as building the demons.

I'm posting to ask one "simple" question. How realistic is the half hour estimate for character creation? And more to the point, what has been your collective experience for how long it takes to walk new players through the rules? For the sake of discussion, let's assume a fairly clear and concise description of the system preceded the process.
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Sorcerer Workshop, Phoenix Comicon, May 27th - 30th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 08:30:18 PM »

Hiya,

First - thanks! This gives me great pleasure to see and I hope we even might derive, over time, some useful play-packs other people can use.

One method I've enjoyed at cons is to have a prep and character creation session at one sitting, and then to reconvene for play the next day. That gives me time actually to prep, and to be ready to play the demons as well as at least a couple of decent NPCs. Without doing that, I find that my back-stories are too weird and iffy - which at times turned out to be fun, but not at other times. The break between prep and play is a good thing.

I strongly recommend limiting things to two players, period. Every time I've broken that limit, at cons, I've regretted it. Three can work, and I have some good memories of good games at cons with three - but they also go south. And four simply doesn't work out for me, or rather, it doesn't work out for everyone at the table. I'm not saying the same limit would be the breakpoint for everyone, but that's the take-home as far as my own efforts are concerned.

Best, Ron
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 11:45:53 PM »

Thank you ron for the advice. I like the idea of splitting it up, in part because I know that at a convention it is easy to say, "well, I'd like to do that, but then I'd miss out on X". If it is kept to a limited time frame it will be easier to get people to join. My only concern with that setup though (2 players per "session" with the "session" split over two days) is that I may end up with only one of the players showing up the next day... though if the characters made are compelling enough I suppose it may act as a counter to that.

How has your experience gone with that?
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Sorcerer Workshop, Phoenix Comicon, May 27th - 30th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 06:54:01 AM »

Typically I've only played with people who directly request that we do so. I have not, ever, simply gathered "come one come all" groups of people who only might be interested. I think that's a disastrous social construct for playing Sorcerer. This point seems consistent with your description of setting up the short workshops for interested players. I think that it'd be a good idea to stay with that model. Interest first - activity second.

Another way to think of it is in terms of stages of marketing. A lot of role-playing at cons is first-stage: What's this? I never heard of it. OK, I'll try it. Wonder if it's any good. I suggest that Sorcerer won't be well served by this approach, or to put it differently, I suggest that playing Sorcerer in this context won't be much fun for the people involved. But the second-stage way works well: I want to learn more about playing Sorcerer. I am excited about it but understand that I need to learn more. A chance for someone to play with me in this teaching mode is just what I want.

Best, Ron
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Paiku
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 08:27:30 AM »

I think Chr gen (including demons) In 30 mins is optimistic, especially for PCs and demons for 3-4 new players.  The two-day approach would certainly work, with the right kind of players.

You could always go pre-gen.  I know that character scores are quick and easy to roll up, but it can take some head-scratching to come up with a good concept, backstory and kicker.  And I know that developing the chr concepts, backstories and kickers together is an important part of developing a great Sorcerer story, but you have limited time and want to give the conventioneers a taste of PLAY.  I'm sure if you spread out a dozen pregen chrs (with demons) on the table, each with a strong, brief backstory and kicker, the players will each be able to find something they can relate to.  You can encourage them to flesh out some details before you start play. The other advantage of this approach, besides saving time, is that you will have prepared some NPCs, demons, setting elements and stuff to go along with the pregens.

You run them through a great short game, and then tell them "but Sorcerer is REALLY cool when you develop the story and characters together from scratch!"
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