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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Playing NAR for the First Time  (Read 11095 times)
Yokiboy
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« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2004, 05:38:24 PM »

Thanks for the pep talk Ron. I guess you're right, that -2 Lame Price can really be a killer for the High Priest, especially as his passer demon isn't bound so tightly to him, and I can sort of see her push his wheelchair down one of Yzor's staircases in a fit of rebellion... Ok, I won't get ahead of myself, but I am really looking forward to playing this scenario.

I've been watching the old Amityville Horror movie, and several others or similar themes to get the right feel for the setting.

If I may ask, could somone point me to which supplement, and chapter, deals with the dual Humanity definitions (gotta be Soul right)? I simply cannot find it no matter what (could be due to it being 3:30 AM right now).

When playing the Training Run scenario from the main rulebook, should I still design a selection of Bangs to be used during the scenario? It seems that it is such a high octane, action filled scenario that Bangs of the moral kind will be somewhat out of place, and the scenario itself played in an improvisational manner. Do the more experienced Sorcerer GMs agree?

Actually, as I finished the previous paragraph I started thinking; why shouldn't I use Bangs? I'm seeing the party as a very deviant event, in the style of Jesus deSade's party in Preacher #15 (how deviant it gets will depend on the vibes I get from the players though). Given this setting I could easily come up with several Bangs to keep us busy.

I have to get some sleep now, I'll post more later.

TTFN,

Yokiboy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2004, 01:46:14 PM »

Hi Yokiboy,

Quick post.

1. Never mind dual Humanity. It's in Sex & Sorcery, but just put it on the shelf. All you need is your "trust" concept, not only among the player-characters but as expressed toward NPCs too.

2. Bangs! Yes, you need Bangs. Your phrasing is a little weird ("why shouldn't I use Bangs") because ... well, because you need them, and that's just a given.

Best,
Ron
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2004, 05:46:24 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
1. Never mind dual Humanity. It's in Sex & Sorcery, but just put it on the shelf. All you need is your "trust" concept, not only among the player-characters but as expressed toward NPCs too.

Alright, I'll trust you, perhaps I'm trying to take on too much for my first run.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
2. Bangs! Yes, you need Bangs. Your phrasing is a little weird ("why shouldn't I use Bangs") because ... well, because you need them, and that's just a given.

I was "thinking out loud," and in questioning whether I require Bangs or not for the training run (which we've labeled The Party) I came up with the answer myself; of course I should!

However, I am still a bit confused as to what kind of Bangs I will come up with, given that they're all trapped inside Yzor... The setting feels a bit limited. That's why I was considering simply winging the whole thing. I will try to device a few Bangs though, and post them here.

I do think the whole Bang concept is just new to me, and a lot of the ideas I have for what could happen during the scenario are probably decent Bangs in themselves.

TTFN,

Yokiboy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2004, 06:50:57 AM »

Hiya,

You're right that you probably already use Bangs to some extent. The thing to watch out for is pre-taping certain outcomes to the Bangs in your head, which frankly is a technique that most GMs have cultivated and will be disastrous for playing Sorcerer.

As for what Bangs might be possible, I think you should consider how rich starting characters are. They are full of embedded conflict - pay special attention to the diagrams on the backs of the character sheets.

You, uh, did get those diagrams filled out by the players, right? And not individually, but all together? These are crucial. Without them, you cannot play well, as the player-characters' associated material will not be contributing to the setting.

You see, you have to re-write the introductory scenario or it won't be anything but a boring demo of a few resolution features. You should re-write it based on three things:

1. The backs of the characters' sheets. That will introduce at least five, maybe many more, NPCs. It will also introduce a great deal of sorcery into the scenario that isn't in the current writeup, as well as (of couse) the demons themselves.

2. Which brings me to this point, that you must embrace the demons and any NPC who strikes your fancy as your own, personal, favorite characters. Not in the sense that you will play them as protagonists, but you should play them as if they think they are. You know how some people just go through life thinking they're the star of reality? That's what the demons are like, and that's what (for instance) Yvonne is like, in the scenario. Play them flexibly and never with an eye toward "helping the players" or "making the story work out right," but rather toward their own hang-ups, agendas, and so on.

(Do not mistake my above point for saying the demons will not help their masters. Of course they will. I specifically said players, not characters.)

3. The back-story of the scenario itself needs some work. Sure, it's a bacchanalia and all sorts of gross and corrupt ... but do you agree with me that the very scene that you reference in The Preacher is actually one of the weakest in the whole series? Ultimately, Jesus de Sade is a boring character, no matter how crude or jaded he is.

So your third requirement is to put personal zest into it. That means coming up with fun snippets and interactions and bits among all the participants that, instead of being little movies for everyone to watch, are opportunities for the players to get involved (note: players, not characters, again). The sequence with the child pornography in The Preacher seems like an OK example, except that it's not especially compelling as a character choice: of course Jesse will put a stop to it and kick ass. But whether your players will find this perfectly enjoyable or old hat is something you can assess.

Does any of that seem like it will help?

Best,
Ron
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2004, 03:15:19 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
You're right that you probably already use Bangs to some extent. The thing to watch out for is pre-taping certain outcomes to the Bangs in your head, which frankly is a technique that most GMs have cultivated and will be disastrous for playing Sorcerer.

I'm pretty sure I will be able to handle improvising based on any possible outcome from my Bangs. I never enjoyed angling for "my chosen outcome" in our old game of D&D anyhow, so this feels like a refreshing change of pace. I look forward to being surprised as to where the story leads, rather than trying to keep it on track (yeah I'm talking "railroading").

Quote from: Ron Edwards
As for what Bangs might be possible, I think you should consider how rich starting characters are. They are full of embedded conflict - pay special attention to the diagrams on the backs of the character sheets.

You, uh, did get those diagrams filled out by the players, right? And not individually, but all together? These are crucial. Without them, you cannot play well, as the player-characters' associated material will not be contributing to the setting.

Sure did, the diagrams were filled out, but unfortunately not in a cooperative manner. My group were desperate to create characters for Sorcerer and pushed me into allowing them to do so upon the conclusion of our D&D campaign, although we knew we wouldn't have enough time to do it properly. I was pleasantly surprised as to how eager they were to try the game though, and I think the idea of playing characters involved with demons felt so far away from our paladin/cleric-centered D&D game that it appealed to them (this was confirmed by the actual characters they created).

Anyhow, we started creating characters late, and everyone fell into the trap of working very much in solitary. So there was next to no colaboration in generating NPCs, but I should have no trouble tying some of them to the backstory and making sure the character's paths will cross. We also have to meet again prior to actually playing the game, and can then discuss the NPC situation together.

I just re-read their stories and diagrams and, you were right, they're full of potential Bangs! Damn, I love this stuff!!  :D

Quote from: Ron Edwards
You see, you have to re-write the introductory scenario or it won't be anything but a boring demo of a few resolution features. You should re-write it based on three things:

1. The backs of the characters' sheets. That will introduce at least five, maybe many more, NPCs. It will also introduce a great deal of sorcery into the scenario that isn't in the current writeup, as well as (of couse) the demons themselves.

Thanks for outlining this, it is exactly the kind of advice I was after with this thread. After a quick diagram inspection I have a 16 NPCs to flesh out, Adam provided 6, while the other two characters have listed 5 each.

When you say "at least five... NPCs" are you referring to a total figure or per character?

Quote from: Ron Edwards
2. Which brings me to this point, that you must embrace the demons and any NPC who strikes your fancy as your own, personal, favorite characters. Not in the sense that you will play them as protagonists, but you should play them as if they think they are. You know how some people just go through life thinking they're the star of reality? That's what the demons are like, and that's what (for instance) Yvonne is like, in the scenario. Play them flexibly and never with an eye toward "helping the players" or "making the story work out right," but rather toward their own hang-ups, agendas, and so on.

(Do not mistake my above point for saying the demons will not help their masters. Of course they will. I specifically said players, not characters.)

Okay, that's good advice. Am I, as GM, personally responsible for the personality of the initial demons? Well the players did design them, so I have that to base their personalities on, but how much should the players be involved in coming up with a demon's personality?

I think I have too many old SIM hang-ups, such as being overly tied to Alonzo Clarence Shaw's party and his house, i.e. Yzor, in this case. Thinking, "oh how will I be able to get the named NPCs into the party?" Having looked over the starting NPCs, I will definitely delay their party entrance with a few Bangs closer to home first, and a few NPCs are definitely showing up or accompanying the PCs to the party as well.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
3. The back-story of the scenario itself needs some work. Sure, it's a bacchanalia and all sorts of gross and corrupt ... but do you agree with me that the very scene that you reference in The Preacher is actually one of the weakest in the whole series? Ultimately, Jesus de Sade is a boring character, no matter how crude or jaded he is.

So your third requirement is to put personal zest into it. That means coming up with fun snippets and interactions and bits among all the participants that, instead of being little movies for everyone to watch, are opportunities for the players to get involved (note: players, not characters, again). The sequence with the child pornography in The Preacher seems like an OK example, except that it's not especially compelling as a character choice: of course Jesse will put a stop to it and kick ass. But whether your players will find this perfectly enjoyable or old hat is something you can assess.

You're quite right about the Preacher references, although I have yet to complete the entire series, being only a little more than half-way through it (I was introduced to it after its completion). I have a few other ideas for the party already, something more sinister, that will test their Humanity. I am thinking an old-fashioned masquerade ball, with those little masks covering everyone's faces, should be a a good test of their sense of Trust.

Speaking of the back-story, how do I use a Relationship Map for what basically amounts to a one-shot scenario? I am already in love with the PCs and could see them as part of a much longer campaign, but the players insist that they want to try the system, then design characters for the campaign we have cooking in our minds. Do I even bother with an RM?

I have a RM based on a great BBC detective show, having combined two cases to get a fully fleshed out map. It has 12 boxes and features a very cool conflict IMO. How will I use this with the Training Run though, any advice?

I am already thinking of turning this into a two-session campaign, so that we can explore the characters a little more outside Alonzo's party. Or perhaps have a prologue session to the party, where we can see what became of the characters upon resolving their Kickers.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Does any of that seem like it will help?

YES!

Thanks,

Yokiboy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2004, 07:31:41 PM »

Hello,

Wow - that post really lets me know that you're prepared for this. For instance, I was anticipating that your response to my sheet-diagram question would be, "What diagrams? Oh, those?"

Quote
When you say "at least five... NPCs" are you referring to a total figure or per character?


Per character. So you're right on target.

Quote
Am I, as GM, personally responsible for the personality of the initial demons? Well the players did design them, so I have that to base their personalities on, but how much should the players be involved in coming up with a demon's personality?


Let the player/GM proportions be an individual thing. What really matters is that once play starts you are the demon's player.

Quote
how do I use a Relationship Map for what basically amounts to a one-shot scenario?


It can be done, but I think it's crude - i.e., unsubtle. The In Utero chapter in Sex & Sorcery discusses this problem. My suggestion for you is to say, fine, you can keep your character or start a new one, and to keep the events of this "training run" as a feeder for your eventual long-term game.

That is, if you still have this sense of enthusiasm about it. For all you know, after playing this one, you all will feel "done" and will want to start fresh. My real suggestion, now that I think about it, is simply to do whatever seems most enjoyable when the time comes, and let it wait until that time comes.

Best,
Ron
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2004, 05:25:19 AM »

Hello,

Here's the character write-ups, as posted on Sorcerer Web site.

Adam McBane and Nimbly

High Priest William Rennet III and Wendy

Sean Riddle and Temun

Btw, do you keep Binding Strengths secret from the players? I entered all Binding Strengths as "0" as I didn't want to give them away to the players. IMO it will be fun to hit them with a rebellious demon when they least expect it.

TTFN,

Yokiboy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2004, 06:20:37 AM »

Hi YB,

Wow, your players are really into amputations. My only concern with the characters is Adam's extremely weak Kicker. This character seems to correspond exactly to one of my "sneaky player tricks" in Chapter 4 of the main book.

Quote
Btw, do you keep Binding Strengths secret from the players? I entered all Binding Strengths as "0" as I didn't want to give them away to the players. IMO it will be fun to hit them with a rebellious demon when they least expect it.


It's funny - I used to keep them secret just as instructed in the main book, and I recommend that you do so. But: nowadays, we play them "open," not secret at all.

Best,
Ron
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2004, 12:56:56 PM »

Hi Ron,

I must start by thanking you for paying so much notice to me, a single player - among many - of your fine game. I have never encountered such customer service in my life! On the other hand you've earned yourself my respect and a life-time customer - thanks!

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Wow, your players are really into amputations. My only concern with the characters is Adam's extremely weak Kicker. This character seems to correspond exactly to one of my "sneaky player tricks" in Chapter 4 of the main book.

Yeah the amputations were kind of freaky, I even think that Adam's player was on track with mutilations as well, but settled for his heavily scarred arms, after cutting himself to satisfy the Need of his demon Nimbly.

As far as his Kicker relates he was himself kind of unsatisfied with it, so we could still modify it. Although I was thinking of just spicing it up for him myself, Adam's player is quite unsure of what to make of Sorcerer yet, so I believe he would just appreciate my extra seasoning. See if you like the following.

Quote from: Adam's Kicker in play (his first Bang)
The office mail guy swings by your cubicle, probably with some more corporate memos about the form or procedure of the hour, but something actually catches your eye. A completely white envelope, an almost gleaming white, without even a smudge, nor a stamp, on it, but your name listed front and center.

Inside the envelope you find an ornate invitation to a party, at Alonzo Clarence Shaw's mansion. He's a famous trendsetter and powerplayer, why would he invite you to a party? Wait, is that his address? That's in that posh area outside Stamford, Connecticut, where you picked up that cute, young girl last spring... that was never supposed to end the way it did, but Nimbly enjoyed it...

Remember that Adam is stuck with a demon that desires that he scares or kills young girls or women. Given the type of sleeze that Adam is, I am sure he'd rather prey on defenseless girls.

Of course with that setup he might not want to attend the party, but what kind of protagonist misses such a chance in the spotlight? How would Yvonne know about the young girl? Perhaps she doesn't, I haven't thought of that yet, and I will want to see how Adam's player reacts too, he might have some even meatier ideas.

Let me know what you think.

TTFN,

Yokiboy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2004, 01:50:31 PM »

Hey,

Way too vague. Have the invitation include a scrawled personal message from the girl on it.

And this girl NPC really needs to be someone from the back of the character sheet, not someone that you've made up just because the character "should" care about her.

Best,
Ron
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2004, 02:37:33 PM »

Hello,

How about this, he mentions looking for his long-lost sister as one of his character goals, Yvonne could be that sister. Now that puts a very sinister spin on it IMO, since Yvonne is in essence setting up her poor brother to have his demons eaten by Yzor and become the main course for Yzor's spawn. I like it!

Btw, I'm reading all those demon links you recommended I'd check out, and found one in which greyorm (Raven?) states.
Quote from: greyorm
Now, with Sorcerer, put those demons into the relationship map (or one of their own) and you'll have that impetus for each, a living, breathing individual that should require little work to "juggle." And with their Need/Desire, you've got a personality trait to work your repsonses off of (the One Thing).

Is this something that experienced Sorcerer players recommend, taht the demons themselves are added to the RM? It sounds like a good idea, but somehow I overlooked it. Although thinking about it now, the example RMs in Soul even feature demons.

I better sorcerize and demonize my RM a bit before play begins.

Thanks for pointing out the weakness of that Bang, your comments really do make sense.

TTFN,

Yokiboy
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