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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: hix on October 25, 2004, 03:52:41 PM

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on October 25, 2004, 03:52:41 PM
Remember this thread ( It's about running a Sorceror game in the 'Roger Rabbit' universe. Tonight I'll be taking this to my group for a character-gen session - and in a fortnight we'll be running the game for the first time. The intention for this thread is a place where I present my ideas and hopefully get some input from you during the prep phase.

Anyway, I'm thinking Hollywood, 1930s. Noir. But psychologically complex noir, not just cool archetypes scamming each other. More LA Confidential than Maltese Falcon.

References that I've come up with: LA Confidential. The Player. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Chinatown. Singing In The Rain (!). Greg the Bunny. The Stunt Man. Maybe Bendis' 'Fortune and Glory' comic.

(Any other sunny noirs set around Hollywood or big business, greatfully appreciated).

Possible Covers include: Cop, P.I., Actor / Starlet, Wannabe, Movie Mogul, Director …, Millionaire’s wife, stunt man, ex-con, Singer-Dancer, Journalist, hobo ... and of course, anything else the players come up with.

Descriptors: What I want is for these to convey a serious tone (which the comedy of the Toons plays against).  Prepare yourself for a very rough list ...

Military Training / Veteran
Natural Vigor
School of Hard Knocks
(not sure about): Dour, Rubbery, Brick, Light-footed

High self-esteem
Social competence
Rageful and vengeful
Zest for life.
(not sure about): Intense, Reflective, Greedy, Dour,.

Stand Up Comic - maybe more appropriate as a cover.
Toon Geek,
Naturally Loopy
Intern - you work for someone who has a good relationship with Toons (like an Agent). I'm thinking this is like "Apprentice".
(not sure about): 23 Skidoo, Joker, One of the Guys.

I gave the group 6 setting options. 3 out of 4 of them plumped for this. Um, can't think of anything else at the moment. Love to here any ideas you have and I'll update on how the char-gen goes.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on October 26, 2004, 01:38:14 AM
What a great char-gen session. Some highlights:

A gang of toon criminals.
A gun that used to be a movie star and wants to be famous again.
The forbidden love between a man and a woman toon.
Detective Wes Ripley and his talking dog who (I think) both want to be Police Commissioner.
“Rosebud”, the toon car that confers the cover of Vigilante on its master.
T-squad, the human division of the LAPD that works Toon Town.
“Home Run”, the ex-con with the insider at Acme who wants to pull one last job.

Other movies that came up as influences:
Streetcar named Desire, Cast a Deadly Spell, Catch me if you Can, Absolute Power, Donnie Darko, Monsters Inc and Meet the Feebles.

The session ran long – and by the time we reached Kickers … no, as soon as we reached Kickers all the momentum stopped. It actually felt a little odd, but I think it’s a combination of lateness and wanting to mull over all the material we have. So we’re going to email each other over the next 2 weeks.

Something else: I played the Binding rolls out in the open. Two people ‘lost’ and two people ‘won’.

I’ll post more about the characters later … but even without the kickers there are bangs and inter-relationships starting to form. It was really great how all the characters (detective, gunsel, ex-con and vigilante) fit into the same approximate tone – and even are creating kind of a story between them.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 26, 2004, 05:10:02 AM
Hi Steve,

I'm merely in awe. This is Sorcerer.

Now it's on you for a while! Prep for play!


Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on October 26, 2004, 09:37:09 AM
At the start of next session, I'm thinking about replaying (and re-rolling secretly) the bindings. This'll give us all a couple of weeks to mull over cool things to do in order to get bonuses to the rolls. What also I want is the exact stress characters that motivated them to Bind a Toon.

Possibly another thing that stalled last night's session was that trying to discuss Kickers felt like a shift into role-playing mode rather than a brain-stormy jam.

CHARACTERS. We've got:

Detective Wes Ripley, who wants to be Police Commissioner.
"Greystone". His demon, a evil cynical talking dog with a Need for cigarettes and alcohol.

Calvin "Home Run" Hoswell, an ex-con who wants to pull off one last big score.
"Miss Minx". Slinky cat burglar toon with a Need for attention.

[A dog and a cat toon. Okay, there's obviously a comic relationship there.]

Home Run is an occasional informant to the police, including Det. Ripley.

Danny O'Rourke, an incompetent henchman who wants to be respected.
"Excalibur". The used-to-be-amovie-star gun who's cooler than Danny. Ex's need is to be photographed and be made famous again.

Danny works for the Toon Police Comissioner (who's in Toon Town). We all agreed that this guy, call him Boss Toon for the moment is corrupt ... but that that's not publically-known in the game world.

<no-name-yet>, a socialite cum vigilante who's in love with a Toon ... a total taboo in this society.
"Rosebud", his Toon car who gets calls for help from Toons and insists the human come along. A Need for speed.

The r-map that's getting created splits evenly between LA and Toon Town. The main relationship appears to be a soon-to-explode war for power between the 2 police commissioners. Det. Ripley and Danny are highly associated with the human and toon sides, respectively. Home Run and the Vigilante straddle both sides.

Bangs were coming so fast last night I was getting a little afraid of playing before we played.

Oh yeah, and the setting morphed into basically the 1950s, kind of post-war ... but covered with a golden, summer afternoon glow.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: DannyK on October 26, 2004, 10:31:04 AM
One more movie recomendation: Sunset Boulevard.  I could absolutely see Betty Boop in the Norma Desmond role (for those who haven't seen it, a reclusive ex-movie star is discovered by a young scriptwriter wannabe.  Disturbing psychodrama ensues.)

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on October 28, 2004, 12:17:35 PM
Thanks for the recommend, Danny. I'll check that out, and I've also been told that 'Sweet Smell of Success' is something I should look at too.

Just had an insight that ties the nature of all the characters together: they each have a split in their identities between 'what they want in the real world' and 'their ambition (which the Toons encourage)'.

1. Detective Wes Ripley wants to be a good cop but also to be Police Commissioner.
2. Calvin "Home Run" Hoswell wants to go straight but also to pull one last job
3. Danny O'Rourke, is a criminal henchman but also (following an email adjustment ) an anonymous movie star.
4. The Vigilante is a socialite who's in love with a Toon but also Bound to "Rosebud" who insists he fight crime and help Toons

... And now there's lot of cool parallels and connections going on between the lives of Danny and The Vigilante. I think I can leave that side alone for a while.

I've just started working on what the major NPCs want from the characters. How to make them 'grabby'.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on November 04, 2004, 08:48:35 PM
Just got in the first suggestion for a Kicker. It's from Home Run's player ...

Calvin "Home Run" Hoswell, an ex-con who wants to pull off one last big score. And his demon, "Miss Minx". Slinky cat burglar toon with a Need for attention.

The Kicker

Home-run's old contact at ACME - the one who DEFINITELY wanted out of crime for good - has come into some JUICY information. The score of a life time - a series of original toon manuscripts ( something akin to holy documents for the toons - prelim sketches of 'the first ones' - or something like that. Basically something that has INCREDIBLE value to both toons and norms).

And the Commissioner himself has some important vested interest in it.

An aside: while developing the r-map, I thought it'd be a good idea for there to be a 20 year long rivalry/resentment between the (now) Commissioner and Home Run.  Home Run's player was keen.

Maybe there are rumours that he has plans of being Governor. He is personally bankrolling a significant portion of the operating costs and giving himself the chief sponsor role.

A chance for Home-run and ACME guy - let's call him Melvin - that's a goofy toon name - both to make that last score of a lifetime ... and to throw in a little personal 'fuck-you' to the commissioner too.

It's too good a chance to miss ... but is Home-run up to it ?

Me? I like it. Obviously we were going to be dealing with a Score in this story, and this makes it personal. I'm looking forward to running a heist - and holy crap! I just realised it ties into the area of the r-map that I devised and that none of the players know about yet. Ties in pretty damn spooky-perfectly. Hmm. Must reflect.

Any comments about this kicker from the pundits out there?

Oh yeah, and Melvin I'm seeing as wearing big big glasses.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on November 06, 2004, 02:17:46 PM
And now the kicker from The Vigilante's player ... which has created some links between him and Home Run (another PC). In fact his kicker AFAICT will be the moment he first meets Home Run.

<no-name-yet>, a socialite who's in love with a Toon ... a total taboo in this society. And his demon "Rosebud", a Toon car who confers the cover of Vigilante and who helps Toons. A Need for speed and a Desire for Mayhem.

[For "Rosebud", I'm thinking a cross between Christine and the brooding gorilla bouncer from Roger Rabbit.]

The Kicker

There is a rumor one of the studio Gods has in his possession a sets of brushes, pens and such that belonged to the Great Rimbaldi (acknowledged as the finest artist of his age).

This art set is about to be auctioned in just a few short weeks ... And it has properties that go beyond the norm.  I need it to fulfill a promise to a Lady - and fulfill a dream held by a select few: to bridge forever the gap between Toon and human.

Talking with the player, he wants to solve the dilemma of his socially tabooed romance by turning his secret girlfriend into a human.

The problem is that the Auction is 'Invite Only' and I'm not invited.

Through a contact on the force I have learnt that another item is also to be auctioned [see below for a proposed change to that] and that by coincidence there is a colourful character just released looking for that last great calling-card caper to round off his career.

With little time and a heart set on delivering, my plan to obtain these items has begun. Now if I could just find this Guy and his rumored accomplice.

Right, there's some stuff I hadn't noticed here on first reading. "The problem is that the Auction is invite only - and I'm not invited." Interesting. That seems like an important element he wants me to play with. I wonder why a socialite wouldn't be invited to an event like this?

The socialite has a contact on the force. I wonder who that could be? Maybe it's Det. Ripley (another PC) ... but I'm reluctant to go down that direction for some reason. And the Socialite also knows a Studio God.

His time-limit idea combines well with another idea for a Bang I was going to throw at him.

2 items I'm negotiating with the player - not so hot on 'Rimbaldi' as a name (don't want to tie this in to the Alias universe, for some reason) ... but Da Vinci gives me a few ideas.

Also, that change I was talking about: The auction would take place on the opening night of a musuem exhibition (of the Toon manuscripts described above). Now, those manuscripts are NOT being auctioned - just displayed ... and sponsored by the Commissioner.

CONCLUSION: I think I'm going to have to throw together a time-line of what will happen in LA over the next 2 weeks if the players do nothing.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: Judd on November 06, 2004, 10:33:07 PM
I like the idea behind the Vigilante's kicker but feel it should be more immediate.


Because I was not invited to the auction I had to sneak in.  As the bidding becomes hot and heavy between myself and several other bidders, the auction's security guards realize my ruse and begin to politely but briskly shoulder through the crowd towards me.

The player could round out who else is bidding on the item.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: hix on November 07, 2004, 09:16:21 PM
Thanks Judd, you really drew my attention what's going on here: That this is a back-story, rather than an Inciting Incident. Also that the focus seems to be split between attending the auction and stealing the items before the auction.

In order to start honing in on a Kicker, I've emailed the player and asked whether they're most interested in:
1) receiving the news?
2) finding out that you are not invited to the auction?
3) bidding at the auction?
4) failing to buy the item?
5) deciding to steal the item?
6) contacting the thief?
7) something else I haven't thought of.

I would say that 1 and 5 are invalid Kickers, because they represent back story information rather than moments when you must act. Is that what you meant by "more immediate"?

Also, we're brainstorming with another player on her blog at the moment - and I haven't heard back from another player.

The first session is supposed to be tomorrow night - but if we haven't sussed out the kickers to our / my satisfaction we may keep brainstorming them over cookies and then play another session of InSpectres.

Title: [Sorc] Prepping for Toons
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 08, 2004, 05:11:21 AM

When dealing with Kickers like 1 and 5, it's strictly a matter of personal knowledge of and interaction with the other person. For some people I know, saying "I get a letter saying my father died" is a perfect Kicker - I know that this player is already in Kicker mode and will use whatever he's said as a juicy Kicker - all I have to do as GM is pay attention in play in order to use the material as effectively as possible. For others, such a Kicker is turtling. You can't tell the difference from the printed page and from a distance; this is pure interpersonal knowledge.

I'm sure by now everyone has realized that a Kicker is what you (meaning GM and player) make of it. The only reason any internet dialogue about Kickers from outsiders works at all is because we try to get an idea about the real people and their interactions - you cannot evaluate Kickers strictly from text. Certain enthusiastic Sorcerer supporters tend to err in this direction.