News:

Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Spaceships, Sixguns & Sorcery (Sessions 2 - 3)

Started by jburneko, October 22, 2002, 07:48:27 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

jburneko

Hello All,

Well, two more sessions of our Space-Western Sorcerer game has gone by and everyone is having a riot of a time.  Now that all the character names have set in let me briefly put names to roles.

PC's

Thomasina Quinn -- The Station Manager
Takash Karit -- The Smugler
Devlin Krier -- The Sheriff

NPCs

Montegue Foreman aka Gentleman Monte - Space Bandit and borderline privateer operaterating with Quinn's aproval.

Max Krier - Ruthless outlaw and father to Devlin Krier

Artemus Kane - Spaceship repo-man working for the Regency of the Morning Star and blackmailing Takash Karit.

Tobias Huxley - Attache for the Terran Communications Commission who wants Quinn to clean out Gentleman Monte's operation.

Major Plot Developments So Far

Quinn discovered that Tobias is overseeing the delivery of parts for an interplanetary communications relay.  Not wanting to involve her Station in a potential communications war she has hatched an elaborate plan with Gentleman Monte.  The plan insures that the Tobias thinks Quinn has complied with his request, Montegue not only escapes but steals and profits from the parts of the communcations relay, and the entire thing gets blamed on independent freedom fighters.  All this requires some pretty heafy useses of the Station Demon's abilities.  The Station is now VERY VERY hungry.

Max Krier suffered a heart attack while in Devlin's holding cells.  Devlin agreed to have his father moved to the infirmiry but posted 24 hour guards there.  Devlin was aproached by four of his father's men who threatened and taunted him.  Devlin, having a change of heart after seeing his father fall ill, agrees to help the men break out their boss.  This break out scene happens right smack dab in the middle of Quinn's and Monte's carefully laid plans and involved Devlin killing three of his own deputies!  At the end of the last session Deviln and his father were hiding out together ALSO planning to steal the communication relay parts.

Takash and his demon Drip are not getting along very well.  Takash does not want to murder a Terran Official (Tobias) and has been trying to forge aliances, take measures to cover his criminal background and he's even confessed to Quinn that he's being blackmailed into murdering the attache.  And every step of the way Drip as complicated the matter.  The second session ended with Takash punishing Drip pretty severely.  At the start of the third session Drip was pretty angry.  Takash had decided to try and sell his ship (the source of the blackmail) but Drip Hoped from the space critter to the potential buyer and sabotaged the deal.  Then Drip went to Artemus Kane and claimed be a messenger acting on Takash's behalf and said that Takash was refusing to kill Tobias.  Artemus is in the process of repossessing Takash's ship.  Furious, Takash has hunted Drip down and tried to banish him.  Despite being something like eleven dice versus six the banishing fails and in the struggle Drip Hops from the buyer into Takash.  More fun and games to ensue I'm sure.

Social and Metagame Observations

It's becoming clearer and clearer that the Humanity definition we are working with is extremely harsh and results in a, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," feel.  As reminder Humanity is roughly defined as, "being Civilized.", which more or less ends up being very indifferent to motives or intentions.  The Station manager really does care about the workers who live and operate on her station and she really is trying to prevent a war being fought in the area and getting a whole bunch of people who are under her care killed.  BUT she's commiting illegal actions and playing favorites with the justice system.  Bye, Bye Humanity.

It's also very easy to spot Humanity Check conditions but it's much harder to spot Humanity Gain situations.  It almost seems that in a lot of cases the road to Humanity Gain is the less interesting one.  It's almost a case of, "Well, I could put in request with the Terran Government and wait and see what happens OR I could set up this really kick ass plot with the bandit, steal the loot, frame these poor bastards over here, and still come off looking like hero!!!!"  Which would YOU do?

As for player dynamics, the Quinn and Takash's players, I feel 'get it' and are really going to town with this game.  The Sheriff I feel is struggling a little bit.  He's the newest member of the group.  He's also the youngest. He's only 18.  He comes from a heavy, heavy, heavy Gamist background of Video Games, Card Games and a little bit of Wargamming.  When I asked him why he was interested in moving into RPGs he said he was tired of the limits and restrictions of video and card games and he really wanted to branch out into something more.  So, I think he got thrown into the deep end with Sorcerer.

The positive note is that I don't think he's frustrated with the game, I think he's just feeling a bit at sea.  He knows where he wants to take the character, at times, but is often unsure of 'what to do.'  I also feel that, just being new to the group makes him feel a bit nervous, and I think he mistakes our judgements of his CHARACTER, for our judgement of his play style or decisions.  Up until last night he'd been playing things very safe and very cautiously, finally the smugler's player piped up and said, "So, what's it going to be, are you going to side with the law, with your father, or are you just ridding the fence?"  I think that may have kicked something in gear because he started taking much more decisive actions after that point.

I think that about covers my thoughts.  Hope that was interesting.

Jesse

Ron Edwards

Hi Jesse,

It's tremendously interesting. Here's what I'd like to know more about in terms of the in-game material.

1) Is Drip a fun-thing from the players' point of view? As I said in The Sorcerer's Soul, Possessors are much harder to play and enjoy than most people might think. I surprised myself in Demon Cops with a Possessor bad guy (the key was the player and me realizing that you can Punish a Possessor "from the inside"), and lately, in my Azk'Arn game, a player's willingness to be gleefully, masochistically hosed by her Possessor demon continues to suprise me.

2) How's the "western" feel coming? Terms like Sheriff, Station, and so forth go a long way toward conveying that in text, but how about during play? It's kind of funny, because in film, "western" is often conveyed to me through specific physical details: extreme dryness, extreme mud/rain, coffeepots heated on a wood-burning stove, the distinctive sounds of saddling up, and so on. Yet also in film, "westerns in space" are quickly and easily appreciated even without these things ... as I say, it's kind of funny, hard to understand.

I also have a question concerning metagame stuff, specifically in terms of the length of the game. In your Gothic game, you experienced a kind of "as soon as we hit our stride and created a story, the story climaxed and it was all over." I've seen this happen a lot in groups which are working deliberately toward more Narrativist play; it seems to be a transitional point between (a) "We're allegedly making a story but never seem to get around to it" and (b) "Hot damn, we're creating story, as we go, and right now we're in the middle of a good one."

Dust Devils seems to present a lot of examples of people being popped right out of (a) and in most cases finding themselves in that "damn! it's over?" transition.

But in this case, here you guys are with run #3 (and a hell of a lot of in-game events) behind you, and I'm interested to know whether you're hitting a sustainable stride or facing, in your opinion, another "bam it's over" run any minute now.

Best,
Ron

Mike Holmes

Quote from: jburnekoIt's also very easy to spot Humanity Check conditions but it's much harder to spot Humanity Gain situations.  It almost seems that in a lot of cases the road to Humanity Gain is the less interesting one.  It's almost a case of, "Well, I could put in request with the Terran Government and wait and see what happens OR I could set up this really kick ass plot with the bandit, steal the loot, frame these poor bastards over here, and still come off looking like hero!!!!"  Which would YOU do?
I think that's true of Sorcerer generally. It's a slippery slope to zero Humanity. That is, the options to go lower usually incorporate the character in continuing intresting conflict, while the options that raise Humanity are those that tend to end conflict.

This is what makes Sorcerer a kinda evil game. It's more fun to go down in flames (so to speak). I've told Ron before that I personally prefer good guys. But when I get to playing Sorcerer, I find that the good guy options are just not as themetically entertaining. And thus I usually end up playing bad characters, and despising them thoroughly. Yes, Sorcerer is an "Intense Role-Playing Game".

Paladin also seems to have this effect. One can play goody-goody. But it seems that one is missing out if one does not allow his Paladin character to succumb to temptation at least occasionally. That's where the conflict is.

A game like TROS is uplifting in comparison.  ;-)

Mike
Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.

jburneko

Hello Again,

Quote
1) Is Drip a fun-thing from the players' point of view?

Yes, it is.  In fact the player thought I was being too mild in the beginning and it turns out I misread the Demon's Desire.  I had some how gotten into my head that Drip's Desire was Mischief.  So, I was playing him like an anoyance.  It wasn't until part way through the second session that I glanced down at Drip's sheet and noticed that his Desire is Power.  The player wanted Drip be a demonic reflection of his character's ambition.  So, I upgraded the conflict from anoyance to full on war and the player is much happier.  This really is a battle of wills between two forces trying to get ahead in a world where a significat screw up in your ambitions could get you killed.  I think the player is really enjoying that element.

Quote
2) How's the "western" feel coming? Terms like Sheriff, Station, and so forth go a long way toward conveying that in text, but how about during play?

Pretty good actually.  There's a deliberate effort from the group as a whole to keep things focused on "frontier issues" of all kind.  And THAT's where the Western feel comes in.  That, and the Humanity definition helps.  I'd use this Humanity definition if I were running just a straight up Sorcerer game set in the American West circa 1860.

It's funny that you mention all those Color elements like dust, the sound of horses and so on because that's where I consider the group's, myself included, greatest creative weakness to be.  None of us are very visually imaginative or very good at conveying those images in an improvisational descriptive manner so it's a very rare day when there is actually any "narrating" going on.  Everything is handled mostly through dialog exchanges between characters, or through a "this happens, that happens" event structure.

If anything ever gets described in detail beyond, "small shipping vessal" or "a bar.  I'm thinking something like a vegas casino."  It happens between sessions or out of "the heat of the moment."

Quote
But in this case, here you guys are with run #3 (and a hell of a lot of in-game events) behind you, and I'm interested to know whether you're hitting a sustainable stride or facing, in your opinion, another "bam it's over" run any minute now.

Interesting question.  I COULD see this scenario ending either next session or the session after that depending on what happens.  But it feels less like a, "BAM!" situation.  This game has built and flowed at a much more steady pace than the Gothic one.  I think it also helps that in this scenario the PCs have been interacting either directly or indirectly since session one.  So, not only are MY contributed bangs affecting the course of their stories, but the course of their stories are affecting the course of each other's stories.  It's pretty cool.

So, far I'm extremely satisfied with the results.

Jesse