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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Character Sheet as the Baseline.  (Read 2138 times)
Trevis Martin
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Posts: 499


« on: September 08, 2004, 09:25:27 AM »

I wanted to share something I came across in Doyce Testerman's blog the other day which was a kind of 'bonk' insight moment for me (though I'm sure Ron has said something similar around here somewhere.)  It is this;

Quote from: Doyce Testerman
one big difference between Sorcerer and pretty much every other game on the market (at least every game I've ever encountered) is the character sheet.

To be more specific, in almost any game the sheet is meant to express your character at their current optimal functionality; generally, in-game modifiers pull down (lowering stats, scores, skills, or removing equipment or spells or whatever) -- the sheet is the top end -- things just get worse from there. This seems so obvious that it hardly needs to be noted... except that Sorcerer doesn't do it that way.

What you get on a Sorcerer sheet is the character when they're not really trying too hard.

 The assumption that the character-on-the-sheet is the "optimal" version (and failure on the part of the GM to correct this assumption *coff*myfirstgame*coff*) is erroneous and is usually why players fail to capitalize on the bonuses that come from 'contextual play': most folks with experience in other games will look at the sheet and think "I have a Will of 5," when it is more accurate to say "If I don't really put much work into it, my Will is 5. If I'm really phoning it in, it's probably more like a 4, and if I'm truly firing on all cylinders as a player, my Will is a 6, 7, maybe even 8 or more.

 It's also worth noting that it's the players actions during play (bonuses for tactics, cool scene setting, et cetera) that make the character more effective, not usually the character's actions (such as using a 'boost' ability or whatever). In the long term at any rate the former method of enhancement is more more reliable than the latter.

The game more than supports this kind of play; it really requires it in order to do well and will kick your ass otherwise. Some of the differences I've noticed in play between the first game I ran and some of the later stuff is the simple fact that I've eventually started to point this feature out to people before the game starts.


Thanks for that Doyce.  I honestly hadn't thought of it that way but you are right.  And it seems a useful thing to mention to my players that'll help the ol 'ah...bonus dice'   click in.

For you other Sorcerer players out there, this was something I thought you should see.

best,
Trevis
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2004, 09:36:41 AM »

Hiya,

Don't forget the back of the character sheet too.

Best,
Ron
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Trevis Martin
Member

Posts: 499


« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2004, 10:07:59 AM »

Absolutely Ron,

I loved that post and it helped me out tremendously when Michael put it that way.  Of course sometimes I can't decide whether you didn't or couldn't articulate it in that fashion at the time, or you just want people to figure it out on their own, or it didn't occur to you that they might not understand its implications to begin with.  

I'd be completely fascinated for any and all players of sorcerer to post scans of their character sheet backs (offsite of course)...maybe with a breif description of the character involved.

best,
Trevis
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Doyce
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2004, 12:47:37 PM »

Quote from: Trevis Martin
I wanted to share something I came across in Doyce Testerman's blog the other day which was a kind of 'bonk' insight moment for me (though I'm sure Ron has said something similar around here somewhere.)  It is this;

[snip]

Thanks for that Doyce.  I honestly hadn't thought of it that way but you are right.


Thanks Trevis, I'm glad the post helped someone out.

That said, I'm almost positive that the post in question was inspired from something I read here, and very probably from something Ron wrote -- actually, the fact that a copy of that post isn't in the Sorcerer Wiki anywhere is really... odd.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
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