*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 30, 2014, 05:13:55 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Art-Deco Melodrama - the Final Chapter  (Read 13016 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: November 07, 2001, 03:19:00 PM »

Hello,

For those of you coming in late, this is the fourth and last of a series of threads here on the Sorcerer forum. The first one is called "To Tor, Jesse, and Paul," and the second two are called "Art-Deco Melodrama" and "Art-Deco Melodrama Part 2."

The purpose of this final thread is to describe exactly what I'd want, expect, and do, as the GM, during a first run of the Sorcerer game we've hypothesized in the first three threads. It is NOT, in ANY way, an actual-play. The designated "players" are not going to state how they "would" react, for instance. We are not going to generate a set of outcomes of the session. Instead, it's a look into the cogs & wheels behind the GM's calm, friendly face.

THE ONLY REAL GOAL
The point of the first session, from my perspective, is to make sure that I have not built a table-top without legs. What is fairly frightening to people at the moment is that they do NOT see the legs prior to the first session, and also that I seem to be comfortable with that. The first session is about building the legs and making sure that the players' own decisions are involved in that process. (Jesse is responsible for this metaphor, which I like very much.)

To extend the metaphor, I am perfectly willing to discover, through play, that the table ends up with three legs or one leg with li'l feet. That is, the player-characters' initial connection to the map and other stuff going on may be plural, one per character, or they may find their characters intertwining in interest/association as they connect. I am happy either way.

Why did I wait until the first session? Why did I not simply generate all this stuff prior to play? Because - bluntly - that is excluding the players as authors for a bunch of important stuff. Well, then, one might ask, why didn't I include the players in that part of the prep? Because that almost always results in playing-before-playing, which has a counterproductive outcome, in that the desire to role-play at all diminishes sharply.

Finally, part of this goal is entirely social. I have to generate trust among the group, especially for players who are new to my style. They have to believe that I DO have that GM-mastery of the situation, that whatever happens, I can handle it. If they get too much of a "making it up" feeling, they get nervous (later, if we play well together, they don't). If they get a "railroady" feeling, they get pissed - or worse, go into willingly-railroaded acquiescence, being willing to do what clues tell them and fight foes who jump at them. So I'm looking to generate the sort of trust which allows them, later, to step into their roles as Authors - and paradoxically, that begins by taking a rather strong hand in delivering information and in setting up Bangs.

THE INITIAL HANDOUT
I provided some ideas about the player handout in a previous thread, but I want to remind everyone about it here. I give good handout, folks. It's got some pictures, it's got some evocative prose, it's got some lists of names, and it uses cool fonts without overdoing it. The important thing is that it's not too long and that it contains very useful things like a list of the scores used for rituals, maybe the damage table, and other stuff. Players are known for nodding and smiling while reading my handouts, and immediately clipping it to their character sheets or putting it near to hand.

KICKERS
The next order of business is playing the Kickers, and as Tor asked about earlier, this can pick up at the beginning, middle, or just after the written material. If it's the latter, one microsecond after the events in the Kicker, then it's easy: "where are you, and what do you do?" However, especially with Kickers as vague as these, I'm going to be a bit more "in the scene" about them - and you might be surprised by this. Role-playing the Kickers is definitely collaborative, but I am going to use a very heavy hand.

"Eroch, you're working at your desk at home. Pazuzu comes and lays her hand on your shoulder. She's wearing that extremely fed, Need-fulfilled smile of hers." [Pause, ask if that's OK.] "Chema walks down the hall toward the bathroom; you see that her eyes are reddened and puffy."

I'd do pretty similarly for the other characters. For Richie, it's a matter of asking Tor if the character learns about his father being in town through family or non-family, and whichever one it is, start him from the other and move straight to the first. The scene would then begin with the very sentence that tips him off.

[Whoa! I'm editing this in a day later; what a moron not to have thought of this before. I will reserve the very strong possibility in mind to have ol' Dad JUST SHOW UP on the family doorstep! This is exactly the kind of thing that often occurs to me a couple of hours before the actual session, many of which have turned out to be major role-playing successes.]

For Cyril, I might even be a total bastard and put him right out there at the airfield with Tobias, who's scared about his "big job" when the shipment comes in. If that's too extreme, I'll put Cyril in the bar waiting for Tobias to come by, and then Tobias doesn't show up - maybe giving Cyril some info through an NPC that Tobias was into something way over his head.

Why am I being so heavy-handed? And why am I not concerned about horrified cries of "Ron is railroading!" The issue here is twofold, to establish two things that on the face of it seem opposed, but in reality work together beautifully.
- Remember that trust thing? It begins by the players seeing that I am forceful, masterful, willing to have stuff happen in play, and all-around PRESENT as the GM. Players like that. It lets them feel that they are dealing with "a world."
- Recall that these Kickers were written, in essence, by the players. They are seeing that I am taking THEIR work seriously, and that play is about what THEY have contributed. "Huh," says the player not used to Kickers, "This is really about my guy!"

With any luck, the new-to-Sorcerer and new-to-me players will enter a kind of cognitive dissonance between "GM knows what he's doing" vs. "He's not railroading" which makes their heads go spark-sputter. In most cases, this becomes a spark of ignition over the first two sessions of play.

Also, if I simply ask (say) Tor about where Richie hears about his dad, he may say something like, "Um, I guess I just hear about it from, you know, the sorcerous underground." See what this does? Not only does it make Cyril less interesting (he didn't DO anything or BE anywhere to hear about it), but we have just de-personalized sorcery immensely - all of a sudden we have some Unknown Armies type community that's all over the place. If he wants his coven involved, on the other hand, that'd be cool.

The final, crucial element of playing the Kickers (or their immediate aftermaths) is to deliver some more information. This is just as arbitrary and data-dumpish as the handout, although it's less easily recognizable as such during play, because it's delivered via role-playing. The information that I have in mind, per Kicker, includes the following.
- Bringing some important names into Eroch's life, like Von Graysloke and Dr. Heuttner
- Establishing some solid data about the so-far vague Richie's father (this material looks to become an entire subplot with much going on that doesn't hit the map, which is OK!)
- Situating Cyril in a kind of bar-owner, gambler-who-made-it social and economic scene, including Raner's name, some stuff about drugs, and definitely making sure he's invested in that incoming plane.

ON TO WHATEVER
So the players start tell me how to deal with the Kickers. I play the NPCs 'til the cows come home, finding all manner of things to create (see below) as well as - and this is hard to explain - discovering all sorts of personal connections or references to the map via secondary NPCs who spring into existence. Say Cyril, for some reason, ends up talking to a police friend - this guy might chat with him about what a straight-arrow guy Beck is. If anyone chats or deals with Beck in any way, for any reason, they may be surprised at what a rigid, vicious, asshole he's turned out to be (remember that Hilda shot Anne just a day or two ago, and that Beck is now obliged to Van Graysloke, whom he hates).

One thing I'm angling for is at least a modicum of interest about that plane among the players. Maybe Cyril is there (as I mention above), but if he's not, at least he knows about it and knows it's important to his character's interests. Certainly Richie knows about it, partly because he knows that Raner's planes are involved in drug traffic. Eroch might not care at all, which is fine. It's the players' interest that I'm after.

And then the Big Bang, the disappearance of the plane (it might even be witnessed if it so happens that a character is out at the airfield), which to the characters at this time does NOT have to be some kind of "Drop everything and investigate this" phenomenon. It WILL change the behaviors of just about every NPC, and permits me to play Director Stance, crossing the player-characters' paths if they end up even semi-aimed at one another.

How about closing up the run? With any luck, I have inspired and prodded every player-character into doing SOMETHING about the Kicker, and whether it be a demon, an NPC, or an event, each Kicker should be more interesting than it was on paper. I would now put a little effort into "spiking" each Kicker's situation - note that I have NO way to anticipate what each has developed into. For all I know, Eroch will kill Heuttner. Or Cyril will propose to Jenny. Or God knows what. Or it may be that each one hasn't gone very far. That's OK! Just throw a mean barrier to further looking, that arises straight out of the airplane theft. Barriers include an uncharacteristically unjust Beck, nasty bastards from the out-of-town gang, or even slimy machinations by Van Graysloke, revelling in his sudden power over the most honest lawman in the city.

TO CREATE
Oh, there are plenty of things that I have belayed until this moment of play. In this case, my role as GM is pretty much that of a happy kid with a set of coloring crayons. I have to remember, though, that if I forget to color stuff in as we go, then I'm really screwing things up. Every scene in the session calls for me to "power up" the crayons and be ready. Things that need this effort for sure include the following.

Power structure issues as discussed in the handout - HERE is exactly where those concerns about Eroch's building, and his relationship to the powers-that-be, get nailed into game-reality. Similarly, here is where Cyril's bar and its relationship to Van Graysloke's hotel chain, if any, get established. It's plain old role-playing, starting say with "Eroch, you're on the phone with the land-use lobby, bugging you with their usual request for signing their petition; what do you do?" as an intro to a scene. One response from Paul and THEN I can barrel into framing the real action in the scene. I learn a hell of a lot about the characters in terms of personal style and get a lot of meat for future events, and everyone at the table gets a much more grounded sense of the characters' social status, daily life, and general concerns.

All the demon stuff - this is my chance to develop some notion of demon agendas, and to establish to myself whether each demon, bluntly, LIKES its master. I can use the Binding rolls as helpful guidelines along the way, such that demons with the advantage can buck a little and I can see how the players deal with that. Fortunately, it's a crayon-driven set of decisions, because as I come up with the demons' superficial features like mannerisms and entry/exit actions, that prompts exactly the player input that lets me make the more important decisions.

The good Dr. Heuttner! - as I said, this character represents a lot of potential story-stuff, and I have to see whether the players have the same "Jungian inspiration" that I felt upon considering him. If so, then cool! I'll beef him into very solid NPC-reality, confident in my improvisational ability. The good thing about this is that ALL I have to do is make him complicated - just how he connects and what he's up to don't even have to be explicit unless a player forces it that far early on.

There are lots of others too, including making sure that at least one player-characters has specific relations to Beck at this point, making sure that Chema becomes a neat character, establishing a lot of sympathy and context for Richie's family (as mentioned above), and making sure that Cyril's bar is somewhere we all like to "be" during play.

DANGERS TO AVOID
It just so happens that I'm pretty bored with straightforward bad-mom or bad-dad storylines, so I am disinclined either (a) to have Richie's mom be a lying bitch and his dad be all fuzzy and sweet, or (b) to have his mom be a martyred angel and his dad be Hannibal Lector. During play, one of the things I'll be looking out for is a way to make the dad character be awfully gray, and for interesting things that he's DONE come to light, again, neither totally-good nor totally-evil. I'll also look for a way for the mom character to get some respect around the table.

Another thing that's WAY too obvious is the bad-therapist archetype, and for Dr. Heuttner I'd much prefer someone like Oliver Reed's character in The Brood. Again, I'm leaving him open to improvisation, but this stereotype is a route I'll be avoiding, even if the Doc turns out to be a bad guy.

I have to be careful not to let the demons be boring! One key is not to have any other demons in the story, at this point (of course, they don't know that the plane was EATEN by a big awful demon).

Finally, one of the big dangers as new connections spring up left and right during play is locking the PCs too tightly together and into the relationship map. Many years ago, I ran a Cyberpunk-first-edition game in which all the characters' back-stories (which are extensive in that game) were slammed straight into the Big Scheme Afoot. It all made sense - too much sense. About two-thirds of the way through, players were groaning and castigating me for sewing it all up so neatly together. I like Sorcerer play to have a certain looseness and lack of "And THAT guy's YOUR uncle!" that keeps the map more emotionally satisfying, rather than too obviously contrived.

THERE!
I'm ready to play. Again, please don't tell me what you WOULD do with your character in response to these things. I'm interested in your comments about the Gming and general approach to prep.

Best,
Ron


[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-11-08 10:18 ]
Logged
Tor Erickson
Member

Posts: 134


« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2001, 09:19:00 AM »

Hi all,
 
This is some really good stuff, here, and I have a lot of thoughts.

Quote

On 2001-11-07 18:19, Ron Edwards wrote:

THE ONLY REAL GOAL
The point of the first session, from my perspective, is to make sure that I have not built a table-top without legs. What is fairly frightening to people at the moment is that they do NOT see the legs prior to the first session, and also that I seem to be comfortable with that. The first session is about building the legs and making sure that the players' own decisions are involved in that process. (Jesse is responsible for this metaphor, which I like very much.)


  First off, I find the "ONLY REAL GOAL"  somewhat comforting.  What this says to me is that you don't have to try and bring everything into the game the first time around.  The first session is all about building some narrative weight, getting the players excited and interested, adding color to the world, and starting to see where things are starting to go.  This takes a lot of pressure off of the GM: instead of thinking about incorporating Jung into the premise he's thinking about how cool it's going to be to play out Richie's kicker.

(I'm smiling and anticipating Ron's response of, "Gee, it took you how long to figure that out?")

Quote


Finally, part of this goal is entirely social. I have to generate trust among the group, especially for players who are new to my style. They have to believe that I DO have that GM-mastery of the situation, that whatever happens, I can handle it. If they get too much of a "making it up" feeling, they get nervous (later, if we play well together, they don't). If they get a "railroady" feeling, they get pissed - or worse, go into willingly-railroaded acquiescence, being willing to do what clues tell them and fight foes who jump at them. So I'm looking to generate the sort of trust which allows them, later, to step into their roles as Authors - and paradoxically, that begins by taking a rather strong hand in delivering information and in setting up Bangs.


I think these comments are especially pertinent to players new to narrativism.  It's my current experience that even if a player understands exactly what you're getting at when you discuss co-authorship and story generation, if they haven't experienced it before they're going to hold back with a "Okay, that's all well and good, but I'll believe it when I see it" kind of attitude.

I'd imagine that one of the big goals in a first session would be to prove that yes, co-authorship is possible and  here's the proof: we just did it.

Quote


KICKERS
(SNIP A BUNCH OF GOOD STUFF)

Why am I being so heavy-handed? And why am I not concerned about horrified cries of "Ron is railroading!" The issue here is twofold, to establish two things that on the face of it seem opposed, but in reality work together beautifully.
- Remember that trust thing? It begins by the players seeing that I am forceful, masterful, willing to have stuff happen in play, and all-around PRESENT as the GM. Players like that. It lets them feel that they are dealing with "a world."
- Recall that these Kickers were written, in essence, by the players. They are seeing that I am taking THEIR work seriously, and that play is about what THEY have contributed. "Huh," says the player not used to Kickers, "This is really about my guy!"


For some reason I don't have any resistance to the idea that the GM might take a heavy hand in framing the kicker (again, especially given that the kickers as written by the players don't mention specific details of location etc).

I think Ron's comments on "the trust thing" explain this perfectly.  I think if right from the beginning the GM shows that a) He's taken exactly what the players gave him (the kickers) and b) worked it aggressively into the game, tying it into a bigger picture, then the players will respond with a whole host of positive emotions, with excitement being the biggest one (something big's goin on, and I'm stuck in the middle!).

Again, I suspect that for a player totally new to narrativism this will be a big moment.  The time they put into character prep is more than just wasted paper.  That talk about story generation is more than just empty words.


Quote


With any luck, the new-to-Sorcerer and new-to-me players will enter a kind of cognitive dissonance between "GM knows what he's doing" vs. "He's not railroading" which makes their heads go spark-sputter. In most cases, this becomes a spark of ignition over the first two sessions of play.


I'm picking up what yr layin down; we're onna same wavelength.

Quote


Also, if I simply ask (say) Tor about where Richie hears about his dad, he may say something like, "Um, I guess I just hear about it from, you know, the sorcerous underground." See what this does? Not only does it make Cyril less interesting (he didn't DO anything or BE anywhere to hear about it), but we have just de-personalized sorcery immensely - all of a sudden we have some Unknown Armies type community that's all over the place. If he wants his coven involved, on the other hand, that'd be cool.


Hm.  Doesn't this go against ideas of co-authorship, though?  Isn't the plan that we should trust our players instincts in bringing in new material?  I mean, it seems like a foregone event that at some point during play a player is going to be forced to make something up off the top of their head and the new element will be inappropriate or just boring.  But that just seems like a risk that narrativism assumes (keeping in mind that a GM will undoubtably bring in inappropriate and boring stuff from time to time).  So why limit player authorship at this point?

In thinking about my own question, I have an idea.  Perhaps instead of putting the players on the spot, so that they're forced to pull something out of their ass, the GM's job is to provide opportunities for inspiration to strike.  Providing those opportunities might include introducing new elements, pushing the characters in new directions, or just providing background and color.  In other words, the GM couldn't  sit down and turn to the players and say, "tell a great story for 2 hours," and expect to produce positive results.  But it would be reasonable (and perhaps essential to narrativist play?) to expect the players to come up with several really good ideas (reactive or not) based on the role-playing itself.  And if those ideas have major influences on the plot and the characters themselves, then perhaps there is no conflict with the GM stealing the authorship.

Hm.

Quote


And then the Big Bang, the disappearance of the plane (it might even be witnessed if it so happens that a character is out at the airfield), which to the characters at this time does NOT have to be some kind of "Drop everything and investigate this" phenomenon. It WILL change the behaviors of just about every NPC, and permits me to play Director Stance, crossing the player-characters' paths if they end up even semi-aimed at one another.


Okay, question: how many bangs are we looking at per character per session?  Prevailing role-playing wisdom states that a bang can last forever or be over in minutes, it all depends on what the players do.  Furthermore, imposing limits (temporal or otherwise) on such a scene is viewed as GM dictatorship.  I have trouble fitting this idea into a narrativist context, however.  Just as comic book writers fit stories into the arbitrary space of 30-page slots, and Cerebus will die in  March, 2004 in the arbitrary (dictatorial) issue number of 300, and anybody involved in any narrative medium imposes ruthless power in beginning and ending scenes, shouldn't GM's be framing bangs with some thought as to how long they will last, and how much narrative weight they will pull?

To return to the original question, this all affects the number of bangs in the bandolier: but how many is too few, and how many are too much?

Quote

 I would now put a little effort into "spiking" each Kicker's situation - note that I have NO way to anticipate what each has developed into. For all I know, Eroch will kill Heuttner. Or Cyril will propose to Jenny. Or God knows what. Or it may be that each one hasn't gone very far. That's OK! Just throw a mean barrier to further looking, that arises straight out of the airplane theft. Barriers include an uncharacteristically unjust Beck, nasty bastards from the out-of-town gang, or even slimy machinations by Van Graysloke, revelling in his sudden power over the most honest lawman in the city.


To clarify for myself, what you're saying is that you plan on introducing at least one barrier between the character and kicker-resolution by the end of the first session?  Is this sort of a general rule-of-thumb, or are there cases when this wouldn't apply?  Is this what you mean by "spiking" the kicker?

Quote

I have to be careful not to let the demons be boring! One key is not to have any other demons in the story, at this point (of course, they don't know that the plane was EATEN by a big awful demon).

 
At this point are you thinking about Needs and Desires and how they will impact the game?  Or do you just let that arise in play?

Quote

Finally, one of the big dangers as new connections spring up left and right during play is locking the PCs too tightly together and into the relationship map. Many years ago, I ran a Cyberpunk-first-edition game in which all the characters' back-stories (which are extensive in that game) were slammed straight into the Big Scheme Afoot. It all made sense - too much sense. About two-thirds of the way through, players were groaning and castigating me for sewing it all up so neatly together. I like Sorcerer play to have a certain looseness and lack of "And THAT guy's YOUR uncle!" that keeps the map more emotionally satisfying, rather than too obviously contrived.


This is a well-taken point.  It seems all-to-easy (and somewhat tempting), to make everything tie-together in one excessively convoluted relationship map.  The point I take away from this is, not everything and every person needs to be tied into the map (except via the character, of course).  In fact, it's good if there are several elements that don't.

Whew!  A lot of stuff in there, Ron, I for one definitely appreciate the effort and time you've taken.

Thanks,
Tor

[ This Message was edited by: Tor Erickson on 2001-11-08 12:22 ]
Logged
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2001, 10:56:00 AM »

Wow, I see things a lot clearer now.  I'm still impressed that you can pull it all off.  Here are my general thoughts and questions.

I don't want this to return the whole improvisation issue again but these first two questions relate to that.  I'll try to keep them focused so that the thread doesn't take off again.

Basically, if a player introduces a brand new unexpected NPC, like a friend at the police station or a family priest, what exactly do you do to make that character 'real' or important?  This crosses over with that variation in style thread.  Do you ask the player a lot of questions about how they view this character?  Do you visualize a specific set of manerisms?  Do you pick a character out of a movie you've seen that you think is similar?  These questions really interest me because this really is my greatest GM weakness.  There is only one bartender in my Deadlands universe and some how he manages to work every saloon west of the mississippi simultaneously!

This next question is very specific but I'm curious as to how you would handle it.  Returning to the notorious Doctor, you say that you would play him complex allowing his position in this whole scenario remain relatively flexible, responding largely to how Eroch and Chema fit into things.  Okay, I'm cool with this now.  But there's a very specific player habit I've seen and I was wondering how you would deal with it.  If at any point during your portrayal of the Doctor you cast any sort of suspicion or mystery on him there's a chance the player will latch on and not let go.  The player will question the secretary about the Doctor.  The player might follow the Doctor home.  The player might start asking questions to the Doctor's friends.

This is a really strange player phenomenon that I don't really understand.  Some players as soon as they find ANYTHING interesting about a single NPC they will latch on to the NPC and they will not stop until they absolutely understand EVERYTHING about that NPC and how they relate to everything else and they must understand all of that RIGHT NOW!  It's weird but common enough that I'd like to know how you deal with it.

Okay, enough about my improv insecurities.  About heavy handedness and scene framing.

You mention that early on you take a very heavy handed aproach.  Just how much do you ease up on this and does it follow a pattern?  Scene Framing techniques really interest me and I find that quality examples are quite lacking in number.  Do you tend to take the heavy handedness at the beginning of each session?  Or is it litterally only at the beginning of the scenario?  I tend to find my games resulting in watching the character walk from place to place.  If a scene is losing steam do you just cut if off and snap to something else?  If the player states that they are going somewhere do you go through every motion (They drive up.  They walk in. They go to the bar.) or do you just cut to some point where they're already immeresed in the atmosphere of the location?  Where do you see the line between strong scene framing and railroading?

Side Note: In another thread you mentioned just deciding that you would kill off the PCs in an Orkworld game and that the decision was still a Narrativist decision.  I think these issues are related.  If you think it's appropriate would you care to elaborate?

Introduction of New NPCs.  We've talked about the players introducing new NPCs through their protagonism.  How often do you find that YOU introduce new NPCs?  For example let's say things get really messy.  We've got drugs spread out all over town and our demons are eating people left and right.  It seems like you could go two ways with this.  You could either just push the existing Beck character because there's obviously a crime wave hitting the city, or you could look at all this and say, "You know this is really a job for the FBI." and bring in a New NPC all together.  Do you find that you make an effort to connect this character in some way to the going ons?  For example would you be tempted to make this new FBI Agent character an old rival of Becks?  How often does new Sorcery enter into it.  Would you be tempted to make this FBI Agent a Sorcerer?  Do you find the existing sorcerer characters such a Hilda summoning new demons?

Obviously all of this depends on what is going on in the story.  But I'm talking about in general.  Do you like to pile on the NPCs or try to keep them to a minimum?  Do you mind adding a new sorcerous elements or do you try to keep that stuck to the PCs and any original NPCs?

I like the crayon metaphore.  Is there any way you could elaborate on it?  I like it but it seems blurry.  I'd ask more specific questions but I really can't think of any.

Your example at the end with the Cyberpunk relationships being a little TOO neat was great.  Oh, I am so guilty of this.  Even when I'm just watching a movie or a TV Show, I'll walk away going, "What was the point of character X?" and someone will offer some insight into character X.  And I'll say, "Yes, but he didn't RELATE to anything going on.  I kept waiting for the twist where we find out just where character X fit into the whole thing and it never came."  But you're right, I guess sometimes it does feel very contrived.

I think that about covers it.  I had some overlap with Tor's questions but there's no point in repeating them.

Again, thanks for all the effort.  This has been really insightful.

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2001, 11:27:00 AM »

Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2001, 12:10:00 PM »

Logged
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2001, 01:38:00 PM »

Ah good answers.  Thanks.  I have another question.  When do we stop?  Most games have a preset climax point of SOMEKIND.  Even if it's not a predefined conditions for climax there's usually an obvious 'objective.'  This is most evident in the "find the evil, kill it" scenario.

Here obviously that isn't the case.  Even if we bring Hilda to justice we've probably created a whole host of problems along the way that still need resolving.  This relates back to my 'climaxing together' problem.  Your solution was to do a kind of denoument session where we wrap up all the loose ends.  But what specifically do you do to fascilitate keeping us at a relatively even pace.

Example: What do you do in this case OR how do you prevent this case from arrising?

Cyril has just married Jenny and adopted Tobias and the three of us move away to live happily ever after while Richie has only just encountered his father for the first time.

Obviously an extreme case but it gets the point across.  Oh and what do you look for as a resolution point?  If Cyril kills both Jenny and Tobias, is that a tragic resolution point or do we continue with Cyril's legal conflicts?

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2001, 02:54:00 PM »

arguably over-prolonged] rescue of the daughter, following the husband-wife reconciliation.)

It strikes me, anyway, that Cyril's action actually would ACCENTUATE the Kicker, rather than resolve it. The consequences of the killing would themselves be a development of the original conflict, and the resolution would therefore have to be about the killing, as well as provide a statement on the original relationship.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Ian O'Rourke
Member

Posts: 273


WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2001, 12:31:00 AM »

I don'y overly had anything to add to the discussion other than just to say how informative this has been. It's allowed me to look at things and iron out a few kinks with regards to moving towards this type of GM'ing. I was 75% of the way there, this might get me another 10%.

Very interesting. Thanks.
Logged

Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
The e-zine of SciFi media and Fandom Culture.
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2001, 07:54:00 AM »

Erm... when you resolve Kickers, do you consciously go to work developing a new Kicker, or do you just treat something that happened in play as a new Kicker retroactively?
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2001, 08:16:00 AM »

Hi Gareth,

As per the rules, once a Kicker's been resolved, the player writes a new one, assuming that a new story is being played. There are no particular guidelines for new Kickers beyond those of the old ones. It must be explicitly written, so I guess that corresponds to your "consciously" option.

One important consideration, though, is that the player also gets to revise the character's score descriptions. This is a big deal. To use Mario as an example again, his Demon Cop character's descriptions were originally Stamina: arcane regimen, Will: angry, and Lore: halfbreed, with the Price being [damn! can't remember ... something]. His Kicker involved the fact that he'd torched some lawbreakers and was keeping it a secret. For the second story, the character's descriptions were Stamina: arcane regimen, Will: do-gooder, and Lore: halfbreed + adept, with the Price being remorseful. This time, his Kicker was that he learned about his twin brother, and that the brother may be involved in a series of crimes.

The new array of descriptions reflected many events in the course of the first story. It really wasn't any stretch at all to generate either them or the new Kicker, on Mario's part. The Kicker is actually a mix of old and new: he'd wanted to follow up on existing story elements (e.g. the family of sorcerers in Britain who'd enslaved his demonic lineage for generations), and he did do by adding a new element, the brother.

One last thing. A Kicker doesn't have to be replaced immediately. As I mentioned above, the story at hand usually demands attention, and the just-resolved-Kicker character tends to be highly motivated to continue to deal with it. The "change-over" I've described above tends to occur once the generalized story-unit of play that contained the relationship map has finished itself out, in whatever fashion.

Best,
Ron

[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-11-09 11:20 ]
Logged
Tor Erickson
Member

Posts: 134


« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2001, 05:16:00 PM »

All right fellas,
  With all this info in hand, I go to my first Sorcerer game on Saturday at 2.00.  initial concept: cleared.  chargen: check.  relationship map: all there.  kicker tie-ins: almost all there.  NPC's: galore.  bangs:  need a few more, but pretty much there.  All that remains is actual play.  
  Wish me luck.  :smile:  
Tor (nervous but very excited)
Logged
joshua neff
Member

Posts: 949


WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2001, 05:05:00 AM »

I don't have anything to contribute to this except an echo of Ian's comments. These threads have been extremely helpful to me. Thanks Ron. Thanks Jesse, Paul, Tor.
Logged

--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
random
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2001, 08:38:00 AM »

Ron wrote:
Quote

My solution? I never quarrel with the Word of God. The player has spoken; the Doc is now the scene, and who knows? He could become the whole run if the other players get interested and Director themselves into it (perhaps with a bit of welcome-matting).


What's welcome-matting?  Can you give one or two examples?

Thanks,

rnd
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2001, 09:00:00 AM »

Hey Random,

By "welcome-matting," I mean any indication from the GM that other players are welcome to connect their characters into the situation in any way.

Say that Doctor Heuttner has suddenly, through player interest, become the focus of attention. Say that he employs extremely dangerous drugs during key therapy sessions, and that his use of them is the ONLY legitimate one in the city.

So our player who's fascinated with the Doc is discovering this in some way. The GM might well make it clear to another player, whose character is all engaged in some aspect of the drug traffic, that there's a way to connect here. It might be totally out-of-character discussion, or totally in-character ("Big Louie, bored by the wait, says, 'Yeeeah, da Doc don't know it, but he's orde'ed da dope for about ten othe' guys dis time.") It might even be an opportunity for another player-character to enter the scene, if the player wants to and it's plausible.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!