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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 61 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: I've played Sorcerer three times now  (Read 3264 times)
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« on: November 25, 2002, 04:43:14 PM »

Last Thursday was the third time I played a game of Sorcerer, the third in the ongoing S&S game with Clinton, James and Dan.

I wanted to play at least a few times before I voiced any opinions, but now I'm starting to get a feel for it. Here's a couple thoughts...

The game is Sorcerer and Sword, specifically in the "Clicking Sands" setting. My guess is that this particular setting probably takes a little more effort from everyone involved. But that's just a guess.

The action mechanic is cool and fast, and the effects matter. I like a game where a success actually feels like the character actually succeeded in play -  a not-so-minor gripe I have with Storyteller.

After reading Ron's comments about Sorcerer not having any rules about who narrates, I seized the opportunity at one point to narrate a failure on my character's part that I thought would make for a good story, and it seemed to work pretty well.

One minor concern I have is about the awarding of extra dice. While the idea is fantastic, I suspect that this part of the game can easily be misinterpreted by both player and GM, and can lead to frustrating situations. I'd have to go back and see what's written, but I don't think the responsibility is really the game's anyway. It's more of a Social Contract issue.

I didn't have quite enough understanding of the rules and genre when I made my character, or I might have made him differently. I envisioned him as a supersoldier who awakened from cryosleep with atrophied muscles, and who would gradually regain his strength. The problem is that Sorcerer abilities change infrequently, and he's going to be weak for pretty much this entire story arc (he'll be buff in WasteWalker II, the sequel). The story and experience are still fun, but I've had to rethink how to play him.
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Christopher Kubasik
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2002, 06:15:59 PM »

Hi,

Thanks for sharing.  I've got a question for you.

You mention that the dice bonuses might "be misinterpreted by both player and GM, and can lead to frustrating situations."

Did this actually happen during play?

I ask because the "I would never trust the players with that much power"/"I would never trust the GM with that much power" comes up time and time again as potential flaw people read into the game rules I seem to like best.  But I never actually have these problems when I play the game.

As you said, it's a social contract matter, but I was curious if it came up.  And if not (and this might be a different thread), why do gamers keep investing so muchn anxiety into this matter?

Thanks,
Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2002, 09:18:20 PM »

Hello,

Christopher, I think the general question does belong in its own thread, and it's definitely one of the defensive-bugaboos people raise all the time.

To keep it specific to this game, I echo your question regarding the original quote:

"One minor concern I have is about the awarding of extra dice. While the idea is fantastic, I suspect that this part of the game can easily be misinterpreted by both player and GM, and can lead to frustrating situations."

mrwilsonguy, can you provide at least one detailed hypothetical example of exactly what you mean? I confess that I cannot imagine what it is on my own.

Best,
Ron
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Bankuei
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2002, 03:48:22 PM »

Quote
I didn't have quite enough understanding of the rules and genre when I made my character, or I might have made him differently. I envisioned him as a supersoldier who awakened from cryosleep with atrophied muscles, and who would gradually regain his strength. The problem is that Sorcerer abilities change infrequently, and he's going to be weak for pretty much this entire story arc (he'll be buff in WasteWalker II, the sequel). The story and experience are still fun, but I've had to rethink how to play him.


This is a rather interesting thing I see rarely if ever gets addressed in games; the idea of the turning point of a character.  One option that I've seen when folks hit 0 Humanity is a complete character rewrite.  Although most of the time it's assumed to be negative, I can't see any reason why it couldn't be the turning point of your character to "Full power mode".  This, of course, would entail a lot of pushing on both your part and Clinton to shove your character over the edge, but I think that's part of the fun.

Chris
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Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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student, second edition


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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2002, 12:37:20 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

"One minor concern I have is about the awarding of extra dice. While the idea is fantastic, I suspect that this part of the game can easily be misinterpreted by both player and GM, and can lead to frustrating situations."

mrwilsonguy, can you provide at least one detailed hypothetical example of exactly what you mean? I confess that I cannot imagine what it is on my own.

Best,
Ron


mredwardsguy, I'd be happy to.

Can I restate up front that iI don't think there's a flaw in the game? Ron, if my post sounds like a criticism, it's not. More of an observation of social behavior and some assumptions that the game makes of social contract.

There was an actual in-game experience that got me thinking about it, but it was actually a positive one for me.

I described a maneuver in a fight that I thought was actually kind of mundane, but I stumbled upon something that Clinton really digs: pistol whipping. I got +2 dice. At that point right there, my character's fate for that round was blessed by the GM's whim - it actually doubled his stamina for the round. And it was extra cool. But what about the opposite of that? What if I think up something I think is extra cool and it reminds him of his ex girlfriend? There are guidelines in the rules, I know, but they're subjective and can be interpreted differently.

I can see groups that are less well connected suffering problems in that arena. Hopefully Clinton knows I'm happy with his GM ability, and that I'd be comfortable speaking up if I felt I was being robbed of a well-deserved bonus die, but what about shy players? See where I'm going with that? It's the Sorcerer equivalent of XP award guidelines that say "+1 for good roleplaying," something I've always been conscious of in other games. Who decides what's "good" roleplaying? That sort of thing.

Again, it's not anything that's wrong with the game, just a part that relies heavily on the group's politics. Hope that helps.

-Matt
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2002, 10:02:08 AM »

Hi Matt,

Oh, I agree with you in the most basic way: Sorcerer will expose a shaky Social Contract faster than any other game I know, yet (I think) without relying on arbitrary Social Contract decisions just to get the basic job done.

However, it's interesting that more than person has feared what you describe yet upon playing, finds that such situations don't arise. Who know, maybe they're happening all over the place and no one tells me, but so far, that's my generally-observed result.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2002, 11:03:44 AM »

I'll describe the method behind my bonus dice giving to illuminate the situation more - and Ron, I'd love it if you comment on the pros and cons of how I do this.

If I see someone really trying to describe what they're doing in an interesting manner - even if I don't find it appealing - I give +1 bonus dice. If someone describes what they're doing and it:
a) really tickles my fancy - like pistol whipping, which I have an odd love of,
b) makes the other players either suck in their breath ("ooh! badass!") or all laugh,
c) or just really exceeds what I've noticed as their normal description capability, I give them +2 bonus dice.

The one problem I generally have is that if I give one person a bonus die, usually I feel odd not giving one to everyone else. However, I've noticed in play that the first person to blurt out an action sets the tone well - if he gets a bonus die for cool description, everyone else seems to rise to the occasion and describe something cool.

Matt actually hit on something I'd like to see more often, though: I would love it if my players told me "hey, I should get a bonus die for this." I have a lot of trust in my players, and think they can judge this situation as well as I.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2002, 05:57:43 PM »

Hi Guys,

If anyone has any actual "All my fears of trusting my Players/GM with too much power played out exactly as I expected" stories, I'd love to get them up here on a new thread in actual play.

I'd start the thread myself, but I'd only be arguing against something which, at this time, seems to me to be only a hypothetical.

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