Hey all, I'm going to be running my first Sorcerer adventure this Saturday, which since I just found out about it yesterday, leaves me little time to prepare. I'm thinking I'll just start them off with the possessed house scenario from the book. Its a pretty straight forward get-things-started kind of adventure.
Due to lack of time I'm looking for some help.
1) when having the players create Kickers should I encourage them to be something that motivates them into this scenario, or use this one just as a "learning intro" and wait to work on their kickers until subsequent sessions.
2) If you've run this scenario I'd love to hear / steal some of the spooky effects, twisted developments, and demonic build-up you used to really convey the horror.
3) Related to 2, the scenario makes it clear that the player demons should be terrified. I'm not really sure (having never run a demon before) how best to convey this. Are the demons "in the know" right from the beginning, or are they to be caught unawares by the house right along with the players. How does a "parasite" or "object" demon convey that its freaking out...or is that only for the actual manifesters?
4) The party should probably be populated with a mix of normals who know nothing, and other sorcerers (known and unknown). Has anyone done a "relationship map" or even a simple guest list they could share.
5) related to 4, I was thinking that the database on the Sorcerer site might have a number of Sorcerers and Demons I could swipe, for the guest list, but I can't seem to get access. I can get to the point of entering my own, but I can't see how to view those input by others...is that not an option or am I missing something obvious?
I just sent you a demo package that I've recently finished, designed specifically to help people with running the "demon house" scenario from the book. It includes a lot of demons and a quickie PC-generation ritual that permits some player choice but cuts to the chase fast. (Most of the latter comes from the Apprentice, by the way.)
The Kickers should be really easy - "why are you at this party?" with an emphasis on not permitting boring or casual reasons. The book offers a few examples.
I'm leary of actually extending the scenario into an actual longer-term Sorcerer effort, though. There's a reason I called it "The Training Run" and put it in Chapter 4, rather than Chapter 7, because it's frankly totally superficial.
If you want to do this, then a fair amount of depth is going to have to get established by you, probably prompted by player input - I'm not sure what I can do to help with that.
Oh yeah, scared demons. An Object or otherwise-nonverbal demon will probably just cut off its abilities that are available to the user, in hopes that whatever scares it won't recognize it as a demon or will cut it some slack if it doesn't make a threat of itself.
If this leads you to imagine a person shouting frantically at his "lucky penny," saying things like "We're in this together, you moron, so help me out!" then you're in the right ballpark. After all, just because an Object demon is an object doesn't mean it can't sense and understand everything around it.
Thanks for the demo pack, Ron.
Anyone have a stable of NPCs I can use as party guests? I still can't figure out that Sorcerer data base on the web site.
Also any creepy 1 shot effects for the "haunting". I figure I'll start out slow and basic:
One of the first things I want to try is describing a room with 2 doors, one to the "east and one to the north". Later describe the same room as having only 1 door to the "west". Or have the door not change, but the room it leads to change.
Playing with furnishings might be cool too. Hardwood floor turns into carpeting. Blinds to drapes, bare walls sprout pictures. The 0 lore guests don't even notice it. I'm hoping to not have to point it out that a player will suddenly say "wait a minute, that wasn't like that before"
Eventually the guests start disappearing. One by one the house gets less crowded until its down to a manageable number of people. During the later stages these guests will reappear trapped in the walls ala Wick's "What that Smell"
Towards the end I figure effects will get more dramatic. Tilting floors, demonic faces in the walls, people getting sucked in.
Any other ideas for cool, creepy, WTF, type scenes you can think of would be appreciated.
As all of this is buiding up though I need something to keep the players busy. Its supposed to be a party, so I can start off with the characters motivations for being there, but I need some guests for them to interact with with some key personality trait, or private agenda. Probably a couple other sorcerer guests as well either as examples or possible allies.
Being that I'm slated to play at 1:00 tomorrow, I'm a little short on time to fill all of this up myself. Any ideas / pregens I can borrow would be appreciated.
The one time I ran this scenario (and, given, it was the worst time I've ever run anything), I used the following "special effects":
- I had the house break off little spawn Parasite/Possessors that took over a few party guests late in the game.
- I definitely used the "locked door" bit. Whenever anyone goes into a room alone, have the door lock behind them. The party music covers up their poundings, and you'll finally have one PC wandering around wondering where all his friends have gone.
- Demonic garbage disposal!
- If you haven't seen "The Frighteners," rent it tonight. It's not about a demon house, but there's awesome "people in the walls" special effects that are quite inspiring.
- Demon rugs!
- If anyone tries to go in the basement, stop them. Maybe they go down a flight of stairs, open the door, and are upstairs. This may or may not be true, but convincing the players that the "heart of the demon" - its weak spot - is in the basement gives them a lot to do.
- Eventually, it will all go to shit. At least it did in my game: a player finally had enough, and let loose with his demon shotgun into a wall. Remember there's party guests there. I had them all run, and many of them tried to jump out windows. (The really cool special effect was the broken-glass window-teeth chewing on victims caught in its maw. All the windows turned into crazy broken-glass mouths that gnashed and dripped blood from their victims.)
Anyway, I hope some of these help. I kind of ran this as an over-the-top horror movie.
A key part of my strategy when demo'ing this scenario was to use a real house in my imagination. I'd just pick some interesting house I was familiar with - some were very modern, some were very old - and describe it during play exactly as if I were describing it for real in some other conversational context.
The players responded very well to that, in that they perceived that I as GM had a strong, clear view of the physical space of the game-events, and they trusted that I was not flailing around. And yet, I wasn't using a map to do this, just my memory.
As for sorcerous people, I can only shrug - this is your opportunity to enjoy making up, ahead of time or during play, what creepy/fun sorcerous types might be like. One handy device is to have a list of names, at least ten, written down in a column on a piece of paper. Use it as follows:
Player: "Is there some kind of, you know, creepy-looking person who acts like they know me, or want to talk to me?"
GM: "Sure. He looks at you significantly and then steps into the library. Wanna follow?"
GM describes creepy guy, kind of Peter Lorre like, and picks a name from the column. He may use this scene as a "psych" scene in which the guy is just a low-grade pornographer who thinks the PC would be a great leading man/woman; alternately, he may use it as a big lead as the guy is certain that demons are stalking the guests and badly wants help in escaping.
The point is that the NAME is right at the GM's fingertips, and with one or two descriptions or verbal mannerisms, the NPC is now "cemented" into the players' minds with very little effort.
As to filching sorcerers from the online database, there's a nifty feature of the "Find a User" option that you should know about. If you leave the query field blank and set your search off, you'll be able to see all of the demons and sorcerers in the database.
There's a more advanced feature in the works that will let people organize how they present their sorcerers and demons a little bit more, but for now the search option will get you what you want.
By the way, anyone can show off their cool sorcerer or demon by posting the complete URL for the printed character/demon sheet online. No password is required to view a character or demon.