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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] First Campaign II (SPOILER)  (Read 2462 times)
Bill Cook

Posts: 501

« on: May 23, 2004, 04:04:01 AM »

(See session I here.)

Two down, two to go.  My group ran the second session of our premier Sorcerer campaign.  Things are starting to click a little better.  I think an e-mail I sent last Wednesday was quite helpful

Quote from: Bill Cook

Hey, gang.

I had a lot of fun last session, running the system for the first time.  There's a couple of things I want to smooth out: pacing and weaving.

I think pacing suffered from lack of input and a task-ish mindset.  (I include myself in this comment.)  The sparity reflects our inexperience with Sorcerer, but the forum has clarified most of my uncertainties.  Basically, the GM is responsible for (1) creating a cast of NPCs who are the figures in the PCs' Kickers, having some connection or as primary actors, and (2) setting up situations that mix the PCs with the NPCs, such that (a) the player may address the Premise of his Kicker by (b) making a choice.

i.e. The GM says who and why (for the NPCs); the player says what and how (for the PCs).

Task vs. Conflict
When I say "task-ish," I mean task vs. conflict.  We want to pace to the next conflict without stopping.  Exploring the game world is fun, and we will surely do some of it.  It can even be what a system features; but it's not design intent for Sorcerer.  I'm somewhat awkward with setting up conflict and take comfort in calling for tasks, so I ask for your support in making this shift.

Bottom line: let's work together to pick up the pace by suggesting conflict-centered situations.

Pretend like you walked into a restaurant with a full service kitchen; they make everything from scratch.  Here's the hitch: they don't have a menu.  So you have to describe what you'd like to have.  Then they bring it to your table; kind of what you had in mind, and yet, surprising in ways.

A great example from last session is Logan asking to be mixed in a scene with a would-be parent.  It was player input, relevant to his character's Kicker, that centered around conflict (i.e. a mysterious woman that Lore reveals as a powerful sorceress) and choice (i.e. "Would you like to come home with me, sweet child?").

Another challenge are the disparate narrative threads.  The solution?  Weave, baby, weave.  I think we're all ingrained with troupe style exploration as a ritual of play, and as it turns out, it has its advantages; namely, everyone's a present part of what's going on.

I think a good model for multiple, parallel narratives is Pulp Fiction (without the lack of continuity): secondary PCs are in the current scene but not necessarily part of the action.  And we've had some instances of this.  e.g. Vinnie (Luke's character) drove Agent Styles (Jason's character) to the Johny Thomas (And here I squelched some benign, immersive banter.  Sorry!), Karl (Nick's character) buying drugs from the High-Flying Eagles with Styles looking on, etc.

When you're starting to claw your eyes out from fighting to pay attention to what's happening to somebody else, react accordingly: wait for the cut (i.e. "Ok.  We're done with that.  Who's next?  I think it was Cory . . ."), and suggest a weave of your character or a way to entwine threads, if you see a connection.  Or if it's too good to pass up, and it's for the current narrative, just shout it out:)


P.S. Jason, I owe you one Humanity check to gain for putting Miles in a safehouse.  Nick, I owe you one Humanity check to lose for accepting money for sexual service to buy blow.

P.P.S. Clarification: in my previous note, the penalty cut-off for death is for a count of lasting penalties.

P.P.P.S. Next session is this Saturday, the 22nd, starting between 10 and 11pm, at Luke's house.

The expectations of the players are evening out.  I'm more comfortable with the nature of my duties as a GM.  And we're getting some really wa-hoo scenes:

    [*]Luke's (Zazielsrephraim) character, Vinnie Dilberto, went looking for a drug user to feed his taxi cab demon and came upon the gang-related beating of a dealer.  Two cars blocked the cab into the alley, and the drivers came out with guns drawn.  The cab ran them down, they shot out the cab's radiator and Vinnie stepped into the side alley to finish off the men harrying the dealer.  He killed two, shot the third in the leg and dragged him halfway into the trunk when he noticed a tattoo identical to that of his wife's killer.  Then he shoved him in, and the cab ate him.
    [*]Nick's (Mantis) character, Karl Humongous, took one of his regulars (Sheri) home only to find his house ablaze.  Unphased, they proceeded to her place.  Along the road, they were rammed from behind and Johnsoned into a fire hydrant.  A moustached assailant (James Hartford, Karl's arsonist and Sheri's husband) dragged Karl out of the wrecked car, shot him in the back of the leg, drove him out to a cornfield, threatened to shoot his dick off if he ever went near Sheri again and left him there.
    [*]Cory's (Ingenious) character, Prof. Rufus Gerard, unflinchingly barbequed two unoffending fire fighters playing cards in the breakroom of their station.  He then aided the Order of Force to set bombs and level the building.

    There were actually a number of gripping scenes for Gerard.  His narrative is progressing in a straightforward and satisfying manner.

    There was a lot of weaving and connecting going on, as well:

      [*]The fire trucks that poured out of the station targeted by the Order of Force were headed to Karl's house.
      [*]The cops that poured out of the police department and ran past Agent Styles were responding to the terrorist attack on the fire station.
      [*]Styles got sidetracked on his way to the fire station by the aftermath of the car wreck and Karl's abduction.
      [*]Rafael (Poe, a new player's character) was framed in a scene at the safehouse for the Eagles that Styles has been trying to bust.

      And there were others.  And instances of players intersecting their characters' narratives.

      Also, Luke's play action offered some major twists: he killed Mellisa's only living relative with a pointblank shot to the head in the back of his cab, took her purse and dumped her body on the street; as mentioned above, he bagged his wife's killer -- the main focus of his Kicker!

      The guys still talk over the game to pass time when they're not in the limelight.  I'm still sluggish in moving to the next scene about a quarter of the time.  I ran completely dry twice in four hours and opened the floor for ideas about how to advance the various storylines.  The character I'm most concerned about involving is Nick's, i.e. Karl Humongous.  He's carrying a queen slug from the Order of the Hive; it's powers have yet to manifest, and there's been no scene work to reveal or develop that highly significant connection.

      I will probably focus on crossing Styles with his nemisis, Freddy the Freak, the Leader of the Eagles.  And flushing the new Hive queen connection into play to invest Nick.  Thirdly, a whopping combat scene to test Rafael's service as chaperon to Mellisa would kill many birds.  Their rival society, the Order of Force, could attack the Matron, Janis, at her estate.

      I have yet to do a high-numbers combat scene involving opposing sorcerers and their demons.  Well, actually, last time, that's exactly what happened at the Johny Thomas, but Freddy the Freak limited himself to spotting Styles, using Shadow and letting his mooks mop the floor with him.  At some point, I want many players involved in that kind of battle with no holds barred.

      I actually had Gerard subdued by a demon of Nefero in another just amazing scene from his crisp, rocking narrative.

      It's funny how the players are invested to the point of dismissing opportunities for D&D-style troup play:)  e.g. Jason turned Luke's character in to the police for operating a cab without a license.  It's also queer how at least two of the PCs are just bad.  And their players are commited to their path!  There may come a murderous showdown at some point.  In fact, I think there must.

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