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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on October 15, 2001, 06:08:00 AM



Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 15, 2001, 06:08:00 AM
All right, you three. Here's how it's going to work.

1) I provide a template or basis for a Sorcerer game, exactly as if you were my players. You comment or spin off it or contribute notions, and we'll arrive at a final version.

2) Then, you make up full characters complete with Kickers, and I will comment or tweak them a bit, back and forth.

3) Then comes the payoff. I will lift the hood and describe exactly how I set up for the first session. I will reveal the relationship map that I have in mind. I will show how the Kickers and it can be brought into accord. I will describe the Bangs and actual play techniques I'd bring to the first session, and how my long-term notions about the overall scenario are affected by that session.

4) You react to that. What "won't work," what you did or didn't understand before reading it, and so on. Any and all contrasts to your own habits of play, any and all discussion of the Sorcerer rules that are used for dealing with these issues.

5) Then we move into long-term thinking and I will describe how planning for session two and for the overall story is done, based on using the back-story, Kicker development, and events of run #1 all at once.

You wanna do this? We won't start until I get the heads-up from all three of you, right here.

Best,
Ron


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Paul Czege on October 15, 2001, 06:41:00 AM
Hey Ron,

It sounds awesome. For some reason, people never seem convinced when I tell them your scenario development techniques, style of prep, and methods of NPC handling have had way more of an impact on me than GNS theory. I guess these things just aren't as well exposed. I'm excited to think how this project will put some of this stuff to light.

Count me in.

Paul


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: joshua neff on October 15, 2001, 06:52:00 AM
A small request from me: could I get a look under that hood, too?


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 15, 2001, 07:14:00 AM
Hey,

All of this process will be public on this forum, is my plan.

Best,
Ron


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: jburneko on October 15, 2001, 08:03:00 AM
Yippy-Kiay!  Count me in!

Jesse

Edited Side Note: By the way is there some kind of 'Best Customer Service' award out there?  I mean for all our questioning and complaining and commenting this really is WAY above and beyond the call of duty for game support. :smile:

[ This Message was edited by: jburneko on 2001-10-15 18:58 ]


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 15, 2001, 02:50:00 PM
(in my best impression of UFC's Big John): Let's get it on!!
-Tor


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: furashgf on October 15, 2001, 08:10:00 PM
For an extra $10, Ron will not only prepare your game, but purchase snacks and clean up afterwards. :wink:

Actually, the idea sounds terrific and I look forward to reading it.  It's sort of a central issue w/ RPG.  There's a terrific scenario for the Warhammer RPG, "Shadows Over Bogenhafen" - it looks wonderful, and won high praise at the time.  It's a sort of HP Lovecraft meets High Middle Ages thing, with a great mystery.  However, if you read the RPG lists, people have a horrible time running it in real life because players sort of wander about, and rarely get hooked into the mystery.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Ron's hooks work in real life -- it's not just the sticky backstory apparently, its the active integration of the players into planning it -- this may be the most subversive idea of Sorcerer.


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 16, 2001, 01:22:00 PM
Righty then. Here goes the first step. (Please note: none of this part is intended to be "innovative" or mind-blowing. So if you're expecting some work of genius to kick things off, forget it.)

1) 40s noir suspense, strong emphasis on murder, honor, and secrets. I'm even thinking of a kind of black-and-white animation, with lots of gray. Piano music.
2) Sorcery is mainly a matter of individual adepthood based on a fairly widely-used set of texts, and it specifically has nothing to do with occultism. However, the Dark Lady is also included in full, from Chapter 7 of the book (nothing else from that section), and her worshippers often exploit occultists as fronts. So "adept," "apprentice," and "coven member" are most common.
3) Demons are bluntly dangerous - I am imagining fairly moody, dialogue-driven play at the human level, punctuated by shocking and horrific violence at the demon level. For visuals, I want you to think SURREAL regarding both demons and rituals. Really fucking freaky, but symbolic too.
4) I am not interested in "gumshoe" private eye stories. Think sorcerer, not civil servant. Really consider what a person might do with almost unlimited potential to "make things work out" if they're careful.
5) Premise/inspiration at this point is this: "What is material success really worth?"

OK, it's your turn - feedback on this specifically. It can be character notions, requested changes, retoolings of the ideas, or anything else foundational. Do not make up actual characters yet.

Best,
Ron

[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-10-16 17:24 ]


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: jburneko on October 16, 2001, 02:32:00 PM
Hello Ron,

Quote

1) 40s noir suspense, strong emphasis on murder, honor, and secrets. I'm even thinking of a kind of black-and-white animation, with lots of gray. Piano music.


Ah, you had to pick one of the styles that I LOVE conceptually but actually have a very poor understanding of.  Now, are we talking PURELY style here or are we talking about time period as well?  Because I REALLY want to keep the style but I was thinking about bumpin the time period up to the 1950s.  My mind is going to Hollywood at the height of the "Red Scare."  This seems to fit well with the "Material Wealth" Premise in that I see potential for Capitalist Greed vs. Communist/Socialist Altruism Themes.  This might actually be changing the Premise entirely but it's what leapt immediately to mind.

Quote

3) Demons are bluntly dangerous - I am imagining fairly moody, dialogue-driven play at the human level, punctuated by shocking and horrific violence at the demon level. For visuals, I want you to think SURREAL regarding both demons and rituals. Really fucking freaky, but symbolic too.


I'm seeing shadows, LOTS of shadows, Demons AS SHADOWS, actually.  I'm also seeing right-angles vs. organic images.  The human world is all clean lines and right angles and demons are very organic.  I'm seeking a black and white Dick Tracy comic with a Salvidor Dali Clock Glaring in the backgrounds of the frames.  I'm seeing melting walls as summoning portals.  I'm seeing Hopper's Nighthawks vs. Munch's The Scream.

Quote

4) I am not interested in "gumshoe" private eye stories. Think sorcerer, not civil servant. Really consider what a person might do with almost unlimited potential to "make things work out" if they're careful.


I'm with you there.  I'm seeing Movie Stars and Industrialists.

This is my snap feedback.  I'm sure more will come as I think about it but I wanted these initial impressions out.  I look forward to what Paul and Tor and others have to say.

Jesse


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Paul Czege on October 16, 2001, 07:43:00 PM
40s noir suspense....I am not interested in "gumshoe" private eye stories.

Definitely, my first reaction to "40s noir" is to think "hard-boiled detective." Pushing it a little harder, I think "nazis." No more need to wonder why I steal settings for what I run from other games. Please don't kick me out yet. I'll try harder. Gimme sec...

I think of the Manhattan Project. I think of politics, particularly Truman in that white suit. Dewey vs. Truman in 1948. I think of The English Patient. Science is amoral, apolitical. Love is apolitical. Politics creates tragedy. My head...make it stop...

I have to lean away from a political character, I think. I just played one in Scott Knipe's Sorcerer game. And victimized by love, just did that in Tom's Theatrix game.

...strong emphasis on murder, honor, and secrets

Honor. Interesting. Honor. I never thought the Klingons had it right. All that talk about honor. I've never been able to put my finger on it, but something just wasn't right. What's your definition of honor? Does it relate to discipline?

One of the things I disliked most about Kult was every character I came up with felt like a cold, wet, bathing suit. And even though I fall easily into making Sorcerer characters who're pretty icky, the game doesn't hit me negatively as a player the way Kult does, because it always holds out the possibility of redemption for such a character. But still, there are so many more options that I'd like to do something other than redemption. Hopeful? Struggling to be a hero on a small scale? Misguided? Caught up in something magnificent beyond his expectations? Richard Dreyfuss looking up at the UFO in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Christopher Walken at the end of Brainstorm.

"adept," "apprentice," and "coven member" are most common

Apprentice is interesting. It's definitely not what I'd typically go with. So I'm leaning toward it.

Premise/inspiration at this point is this: "What is material success really worth?"

And my creativity fails me. Comments on anything from above? Suggestions? Anyone?

Paul

[ This Message was edited by: Paul Czege on 2001-10-17 00:04 ]


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 16, 2001, 08:18:00 PM
I think I'm right with Paul on this one: I'm having trouble visualizing 40s suspense noir without thinking detective fiction.  But let me see if I can crack that.  If it takes place during the war, perhaps the characters work in the black market.  In this sense the premise really becomes prominent because the characters are really selling out for material success in a lot of ways; I mean, while everyone else is over getting shot in France, the characters are back at home getting rich off of the effect of wartime rationing on the price of luxury items.  It seems like it raises issues of cowardice and betrayal (to country, family? self?).

If it's after the war, then the characters could be just out of the army, deeply damaged by what they were exposed to: perhaps they have carried their demons back with them from Europe (okay, I did just listen to Devil in a Blue Dress on tape and I am thinking of Easy Rawlins).  Hmm. This last doesn't seem to fit in w/the definition of lore.  Okay, maybe in addition to being exposed to horrible things in the army, they were exposed to true, sorcerous rituals in the old world, where sorcery has been around for thousands of years.

Maybe I'm too stuck on the war, but what if the demons were so freaky and surreal because they're some kind of an outgrowth of heavily traumatized pysches.  Say each character summoned their first demon at some seriously traumatic point of need (they're bleeding to death from a stomache wound and the enemy is moving in).  In this case, sorcerous rituals involve creating or recreating these kind of moments  (again, this turns the definition of lore on its head).

Maybe this gets back to the decade: why the 40's? When you think "the 40's" what comes to your mind, Ron?

-Tor


[ This Message was edited by: Tor Erickson on 2001-10-17 00:19 ]


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 17, 2001, 05:51:00 AM
All right, I shall clarify. Jesse's got it dead on - we are talking about atmosphere, not history. Never mind what was happening in the 40s or 50s from our global or even fully-national perspective. This is about intrigue, close networks among people, and a New York City that is simultaneously utterly-enclosed and the most-important place in the world, just as in the old movies. No massive conspiracies, no governments, no history, no great-big-setting concerns at all.

Think late-20s as interpreted by early-50s cinema. Think the Animated Batman (but people, not supers). Think black-and-white visuals. Think about a PERSON. Think about personal passions and horrors.

As for material success, again, what's so hard about that? People try to get stuff: fame, money, sexual partners, status and influence ... well, is that good or bad? Does it turn out well or poorly? Come up with someone who's made serious decisions regarding these issues, reflectively or non-reflectively. Come up with the demons and prices involved in getting to where they are.

Don't write your character's FUTURE, either. Get away from the "oh, this PC will be so great when THIS happens." Just make up a solid character SO FAR, with issues wrapped up in him or her. What's so hard about that? Go with the obvious - "a tycoon who worships the Dark Lady." Be done.

One more round of general-premise, then we can go into PC creation.

Best,
Ron


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 17, 2001, 06:19:00 AM
To continue ...

Never mind the war. Never mind social commentary. Never mind tying your character logically and solidly into some specific event from history.

This is all about STYLE. Icy stares, smoldering stares, flashing rage, kisses like bullets. I'm not setting any limits on economic/status for characters, but if you go upper-crust, then I mean upper-crust, with diamonds on the Riviera, and kid, the world is yours.

Oh, and screw Bogie too. I can't stand Humphrey Bogart except maybe in the Caine mutiny. Again, I'm even thinking in terms of black-and-white animation, pretty stylized, with lots of drifting gray and small, occasional flashes of color.

Best,
Ron


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 17, 2001, 06:59:00 AM
Noir but forget Bogey? Now that's a tall order. And no Nazis? Hmmm...

I was going to suggest Hitchcock's Notorious, but that has Nazi's.

Um, Streetcar? Other method stuff? But that's trying to get away from Noir, actually.

Heck, even Hearst was out of the picture by the forties.

I think that you've limited so much of waht people think of as Noir that you're not going to get much connection.

Perhaps try to come up with stuff that is parallel to Nazis, gum-shoes, and conspiracies, but all linked to sorcery. Hmmm...perhaps instead of fugitive nazis you can have fugitive sorcerers. Instead of PI's looking for the Maltese Falcon, it could be sorcerers looking for a magical artifact.

I dunno. Noir is pretty closely tied to conspiracy and mystery.

Mike


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Tor Erickson on October 17, 2001, 07:28:00 AM
  Okay, forgetting historical events.  Changing focus to style... okay, now I'm thinking more Gotham City.  Chuckling, obese crime-lords, with perverted desires and wreathed in cigar smoke, almost charicatures.  Cocktail parties in the penthouse suites of towering sky-scrapers, where everybody is dressed to the nines and deals are cut and fortunes are lost over a few tight words and the rim of a martini glass.  The people are driven by something dark and feverish inside that keeps them unsettled and on the edge, but that drives them to extremes.
 
  It seems like mover-and-shaker kind of characters would be appropriate.  People with extreme ambitions, whether they be the tycoon (already-at-the-top), the black-marketeer trying to break into high society, or the up and coming hood who high pretensions, they all aim high.

-Tor

[ This Message was edited by: Tor Erickson on 2001-10-17 11:29 ]


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: jburneko on October 17, 2001, 08:53:00 AM
Hmmm... Tor gave me an idea for a telltale, "Sweats as if in a humid heat even on the coolest of nights."

I think noir without conspiracy and Bogey is pretty easy actually.  Noir is about double-cross, backstabing and greed.  I remember seeing a short film on the Sci-Fi channel.  I can't remember the title but I was very impressed by it because it only had 3 characters but was one of the most intricately woven plots where you couldn't figure out who was working against whom.  At first it looks like this guy and his girlfriend are trying to murder his wife so they can get his money.  Then it looks like the girlfriend and the wife are trying to murder the man so that they can carry out their torrid lesbian love affair.  But what's REALLY going on is that the man and the wife are trying to kill the girlfriend so that not only can they steal her money but that they also get some kind of sick power trip thing out of it.

Yeah, Noir without Bogey or Conspiracies or Nazis, I can see that.

I totally get the Material Wealth Premise and I'm definitely with you on the high class thing.  I see decadence, decadence, decadence.  I see a black and white, slightly gothic version of Moulan Rouge, if that makes any sense.  If you didn't want to be high class I'm assuming that you would have to be someone with High Aspirations in order to make this work.  An Artist who craves world recognition.  Again, I'm reminded of Salvidore Dali, not because of his style but because of his aspirations.  He was widely criticised by 'real artists' because he was only in it for the money and the fame and he was very open about that.

Some one asked what he loved most about life to which he replied, 'Being Salvidore Dali.'

I'm still seeing the clean lines vs. organic but Tor's mention of an inner fevor really struck a note with me and so did the mention of A Street Car Named Desire.  I'm thinking of man's obsession with order and cleanliness coming into conflict with primal animal facts.  You may wear that smart tux and live in those clean, elegant buildings but you still sweat like a pig.

I see sexy Passers (who doesn't?), I see sweaty Parasites and Primal Possessors.  I'm thinking about jazz instruments as object demons and shadows as inconspicuous ones.

Sorcery?  It's messy.  Messy.  Messy.  Messy.  Blood, Sweat and Ink.  I see blood soaked tuxidos, melting walls, vampiric sex rites, drunken hallucinations, feverish chanting (which is just thinly disguised begging), weeping, and anything else that betray's our assumed mastery of our surroundings.

Yeah, I'm good with this.

Jesse


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 17, 2001, 08:57:00 AM
Jesse's on it. Tor's on it now too. Mike's not, but since the meaning of "noir" was retro-fitted in film and pop culture about four times between the 30s and the present, and since Mike's not in the player-group, I'm not going to worry about it. I'll simply say that I used the word as one of many adjectives, not as the single defining element.

Paul?

Best,
Ron


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: joshua neff on October 17, 2001, 09:24:00 AM
Now I have to step in & say this all sounds brilliantly cool. I love the Batman animated series (as well as the old Max Fleischer Superman cartoons) & the whole "dark retro" thing (Fritz Lang, baby!).
If I were in charge of the Batman comics, they'd all be a mix of German Expressionism & timeless retro noir. Pretty much exactly how Jesse described it.

Hmmmm...I think I'm thinking of a Sorcerer narrative of my own...


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on October 17, 2001, 09:28:00 AM
Gonna jump in for a second as well and say this:

Demon as vigilante superhero costume/mask.



Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Paul Czege on October 17, 2001, 12:29:00 PM
Paul?

I'm cool with it. I get the black and white mood, starlets, captains of industry, and heavy aspirations of materialism. I'm not sure I have the same psychic bond with it that Jesse and Josh do, but maybe just because my thoughts about a character are pretty unfocused. I still don't get the "honor" part though, but in general I'm with you.

Paul


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: joshua neff on October 17, 2001, 12:41:00 PM
Paul--

Eh, just go with the "bored rich boy who's into sorcery". Then the question is, what would a bored rich kid want that he doesn't already have that he'd need to use sorcery to get it?

Actually, the first idea that pops into my head is: he'd use sorcery to get what money can't buy--the love of a parent or the love of a woman or man.

Or flip it around--maybe he's the lower-middle-class kid who worked his ass off & got into Harvard. Now he's got an ivy league education & degree, a leg up into the world of high finance (or law or medicine or whatever), & the sorcerous knowledge to summon & bind demons, as well as a chip on his shoulder from his background. He's moving through the world of the upper crust, knowing that they look down on his lower class origins & hating them for it. It's almost Count of Monte Cristo/Stars My Destination, mixed with a little Gattaca & Good Will Hunting (& maybe Talented Mr Ripley?).

That's what I might do, anyway.

Sorry, am I nosing in? I just really, really like this set up. I'm so gonna have to run this kind of Sorcerer narrative.


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 17, 2001, 01:05:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-17 12:57, Ron Edwards wrote:
Jesse's on it. Tor's on it now too. Mike's not, but since the meaning of "noir" was retro-fitted in film and pop culture about four times between the 30s and the present, and since Mike's not in the player-group, I'm not going to worry about it. I'll simply say that I used the word as one of many adjectives, not as the single defining element.


Oh, sure, don't ask me to play and then just ignore me because you didn't. Niiiiice.   :wink:

Hey, I think I qualify as a film buff. Well, I've taken a class, and, maybe more importantly, managed a video store, anyhow. And I've watched more movies than anybody has a right to. I was going off what I thought was the defintion of Noir that I figured the players would know. We can discuss the impact of Ingmar Bergman some other time if you want to really get into it.

I have a title which I am going to bestow on the setting that you have created whether you like it or not. I dub it "Art-deco Melodrama".

So there,
Mike


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 17, 2001, 01:08:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-10-17 16:41, joshua neff wrote:
Or flip it around--maybe he's the lower-middle-class kid who worked his ass off & got into Harvard. Now he's got an ivy league education & degree, a leg up into the world of high finance (or law or medicine or whatever), & the sorcerous knowledge to summon & bind demons, as well as a chip on his shoulder from his background. He's moving through the world of the upper crust, knowing that they look down on his lower class origins & hating them for it. It's almost Count of Monte Cristo/Stars My Destination, mixed with a little Gattaca & Good Will Hunting (& maybe Talented Mr Ripley?).


Will Smith's character in Six Degrees of Separation? Con your way in. With the help of a demon. I'd say that'd be perfect.

Mike


Title: To Tor, Jesse, and Paul
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 17, 2001, 01:46:00 PM
Hey,

Couple last points and then we'll kill this thread.

1) Mike - ignore you? Never. But that discussion threatened to go way off into uh-oh film-talk, and so it was best squelched.
2) Paul - "honor," for our purposes this minute, is only the sense of "justice as I see it, and how I demand to be treated on that basis."
3) Jared - no superheroes. No masks. No costumes. Not in this particular setup, anyway.

There!

Next step, characters. New thread, please.

Best,
Ron