*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 19, 2022, 07:16:33 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: My Sorcerer Game is Flagging  (Read 10230 times)
Finarvyn
Member

Posts: 83


WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2004, 09:39:53 AM »

Quote from: marcus
This seems to me, however, rather defeatist thinking- my group's methodology never seems to have been an obstacle to RPG enjoyment with any other game, and we have played quite a fair number over quite a long time. I think I will thus implement the strategy I outlined in my last post, and see how that works out.

Perhaps I'm the last person to jump into this thread, because I am still struggling to "get" Sorcerer myself. On the other hand, maybe that makes me the most qualified to inject some thoughts.

1. One thing I have figured out is that Sorcerer is not a "typical" RPG. I've played dozens of them for almost 30 years and I can recognize that it's not like most others, so the notion that it would fit into a niche just like all of the other games Marcus' group has played is faulty.

2. Are the recent posts too negative? A game group has a rigid set of guidelines by which they play, a unique game requires a different set of guidelines in order to work (according to those who do "get it"), and so the two won't ever work out. Seems pretty logical to me, not negative.

3. As best as I can tell, Sorcerer is a game that requires a huge personal investment. If the group won't or can't try this game the way it needs to be played, the game won't work. If a player does not care, the game will not work. If a player won't work out a character, the game will not work. Most RPGs simply require some knowledge of rules and willingness to use them to tell a story or to work through combat or some such. Sorcerer appears to me more a game of the heart than the numbers, and thus requires more investment than just showing up and killing orcs. Even if I don't really "get it" yet, at least I can clearly see that those who do are playing in a game style very different from the usual.

4. I hope this thread is NOT at an end, because I have found it to be one of the most practical and informative among recent threads. Sometimes the group gets very theoretical and I fail to see the practical application, but this one seemed to be very concrete and helpful. Sorry if Marcus didn't like what the group had to say, but I know I did.

Thanks!
Logged

Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * DFRPG * ADRP
I'm mosty responsible for S&W WhiteBox
OD&D Player since 1975
Bill Cook
Member

Posts: 501


« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2004, 01:00:51 PM »

I think Sorcerer poses a special challenge to an experienced player of role-playing games to unlearn his habits; it's amazing how undetectable and entrenched they become. I've heard it said that players new to RPG's have less trouble with Sorcerer's approach.

Paka--whom, I don't know his familiarity with RPG'S--seems to swim in it like a fish, if his play posts are any indicatior. Speaking as an exclusive 1st ed. AD&D guy for many years, I had to really be still and let parts of my brain regain plasticity.

Quote
4. I hope this thread is NOT at an end, because I have found it to be one of the most practical and informative among recent threads. Sometimes the group gets very theoretical and I fail to see the practical application, but this one seemed to be very concrete and helpful. Sorry if Marcus didn't like what the group had to say, but I know I did.


Pro'ly better to split. Don't worry; there are plenty of posters willing to dish application.
Logged

greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2004, 01:01:16 PM »

Quote from: marcus
This seems to me, however, rather defeatist thinking- my group's methodology never seems to have been an obstacle to RPG enjoyment with any other game

Marcus,

You buy a new electric car from a dealer.

You try putting gas into it and it does not run.

You bring it to the dealer's service mechanic and tell him the problem ("the car doesn't run even though I'm giving it gas").

The mechanic tells you that this is an electric car, and you need to charge the fuel cells with electricity or it will not run.

You argue that there must be some way to make this car run using gasoline, because all your other cars work just fine with gasoline.

You are told that won't work because it is an electric car, it requires electricity to run. He tells you you'll have to find an electric-fuel station in order to fuel and run the car.

You tell him you need it to run on gasoline because you don't know anyone with an electric-fuel station, and none of the gas stations you normally use are willing to convert a pump for you.

He suggests you could exchange the car for the same model, except with a gasoline-powered engine.

You tell him you bought an electric car because they run more cleanly, don't use up limited fossil fuels, and require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles, so you want to stay with the electric car because of those features.

He tells you if you exchange it, or if he converts it to a gasoline engine, it won't run cleaner or longer than any other gasoline-powered car, and it will require the use of fossil fuels. The features you want require the car to run on electric fuel cells.

You complain that this is a defeatist attitude, and that he should be able to make the electric car run on gasoline because all the other cars you've ever driven run on gas.

The mechanic says, "So, you want it to run on gas...but act like it runs on electricity..? Um, ok, well, thanks for buying the car from us," and moves on to helping people he actually can help.

You feel sorry for yourself and upset with the mechanic's "attitude."

...but the mechanic can't help you: it is an electric car. He can't make the electric car run on gas; and even if he could, it wouldn't be the car you want any longer because it no longer has the features you specifically bought it for, and it won't do what you expect. It's an electric car.

You have two choices: charge the car at an electric-fuel pump, even though you don't charge any other car and you'll have to find a new fuel station; or be satisfied with a nice looking ornament you'll never drive.

You're with me here, or still disgruntled about the attitude -- in either case, the ball remains completely in your court. No one else can solve or deal with this problem for you, because it is solely about you, what you're willing to do, and which set of concerns you decide is the real priority.

The "value" of the decision can not be judged, nor is it for me to judge one-way or the other as good or bad...all this is about is that you have to make a decision.

Do you really and honestly want what the electric car offers?
Or is it too much hassle now that you look at what's involved?
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
marcus
Member

Posts: 59


« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2004, 05:44:20 AM »

I'm sorry if I offended any of the contributors to this thread with my last (or any previous) post. That certainly was not my intent.

There are two things I wanted commentary upon in this thread, The first was with respect to things I might have done badly in running my Sorcerer game to date. There have been a number of comments on this topic, and I acknowledge the general validity of those comments, although with the explanation of the circumstances in which I was running the game which was a limiting factor on some of my choices.

The second, and more important, question was this: given that my game has developed historically in the flawed manner outlined, what should I do to try and improve matters and make the game better. The advice on this score was, in effect, that I should start a new RPG group involving only keen Sorcerer players, and have them play Sorcerer regularly every week. I am not saying this was bad advice, but for reasons already explained I consider it unworkable in my circumstances- to run a separate session devoted to only one game out of the many we play would very likely fragment the group, and also that until I have sold the merits of Sorcerer to at least some of my players there would simply be nobody else to play the game with.

Given that the only suggested solution for my problem is impractical for me to implement, I was faced with the choice either of simply never playing Sorcerer again, or trying to discover a different solution. As I think it a shame to abandon a game that I find appealing, I decided to attempt to go for a different solution, being the concept outlined in my last post but one. I am sorry if that choice has insulted any of my fellow Sorcerer players. I myself would have thought that wishing to give the game another try would be less insulting than simply abandoning the game as hopeless.

Finarvyn noted the great degree of player commitment required to carry a game of Sorcerer. I can well believe that statement to be correct. There seems, however, to be an assumption being made that either my players don't invest any energy in their games, or perhaps in some obscure way the group methodology of selecting games for play somehow prevents anything more than a shallow investment in games, and hence the only solution is to find a new group of players with a bit more fire in their bellies. If such assumption is being made, however, it is wrong. My players can invest a huge amount of effort into their characters and into play. Over 20 years of continuous gaming, playing several dozen games, my players have spontaneously drawn up campaign diaries, created folders of character-based artwork, been reduced almost to tears with the death of much-loved charaters, and exhibitted many other signes of engagement wioth their characters and the various game worlds. I remember one player almost killing another at one time over a political issue that arose in the game world (fortunately, however, we dragged the two apart in time). And we are not talking D&D here- for the most part we gave up "dungeon hack" games in high school.

The problem is not that my players don't have the spiritual or mental depth to identify with their characters or have no sense of drama beyond the ability to express exaltation or depression at the results of the roll of a d20, but that the players don't invest a game with this degree of commitment until they are already sold on it through play! This is a real chicken and egg problem- in any game a degree of player commitment is necesary for a successful game, but strong commitment is not likely to be present until the game is already proving successful. In many previous games I have been able to leap this hurdle in some fashion with new games going on to be highly successful within the group, despite the fact that the players started out with no knowledge of the game or even, perhaps, any initial desire to play. With Sorcerer, however, I have still not cleared the initial barrier after 3 play sessions.

To make myself perfectly clear, my players are unlikely to make any special effort at Sorcerer until they are already starting to enjoy the game. Although they may become highly interested in matters such as kickers, theme, and general rules mechanics after they identify the game as enjoyable, before that point they are only going to go through the motions to indulge me. The key is engaging the players in the game without demanding to much prior commitment from them. If there is something inherent in Sorcerer that makes this impossible, then Sorcerer is almost uniquely unsuitable for my group, and I guess I have just wasted my cash. I am not over-anxious, however, to jump to that conclusion.

If people want to continue this thread, that's fine by me. In that case would particularly appreciate suggestions as to how to relaunch my Sorcerer game without abandoning either my players or our "social contract" (as I gather it is referred to) that has kept the group together for 20 years.


Marcus
Logged
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2004, 07:14:31 AM »

Quote from: marcus
my players are unlikely to make any special effort at Sorcerer until they are already starting to enjoy the game.


Hi Marcus,

No one questions the value, quality, or committment capability of your players or yourself.  What we are saying, is that, given the circumstances which your group requires for play, getting players to the point where they enjoy a session of Sorcerer, as it is intended to be played, will be extremely difficult.

As someone else said, Sorcerer plays differently from many roleplaying games.  In particular, in the first few sessions, the intensity tends to be low, while players build elements into the situation.  At a certain point, these elements they add work with the game system and play intensifies.  These first few sessions can be ones of floundering around for players who are new to the game and haven't quite realized just how much input they can have.  (I know, it happened to us.)  And for the game to work, the GM also has to resist any urge to put the players on any specific track.

Now, one of the major factors for the period of development - particularly when introducing people new to the game - is the density of player contribution and direction.  For the game to take on a life of it's own, you need consistency and focus - this is best achieved by having a small group of players - and always the same players for a given story arc.  How you achieve that is up to you.

I suspect that you won't see first-time players enjoy this particular game until they reach a certain point of concentration - and you've indicated that they won't commit until until they enjoy it.  So you're caught in a cycle with no ignition point.

You've said that starting a separate game, just for four or five weeks to play Sorcerer, would fragment your group.  It sounds like you're afraid that the only thing that has kept all these people attending your fortnightly gamenight over the past 20 years, is your current format.  Don't the decades of attendance indicate commitment to more than just the format?  Aren't these people your friends?  

I'm part of a group of 10 or so roleplayers.  We routinely split into 2 groups and each group plays a particular game for two or three months.  At the end of this time, the whole bunch of us get together and decide what will be played next and who will play it.  We mix and match, but we always return to the big group afterwards.  As it happens, both groups play in the same house on the same day.  You could try this - or try different nights - I don't see why this routine can't work on different days as long as everyone is committed to a group meeting every few months.

Finally, if a change in format really does cause some people to leave - well, maybe your group is stronger without them.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Per Fischer
Member

Posts: 203


WWW
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2004, 07:55:35 AM »

Marcus, really interesting thread, thanks for starting it, and sticking to what you wanted out of it.

I think it's pretty clear that the way your usual gamer group organises and plays rpgs doesn't suit Sorcerer at all. You either have to skip the game - not a good choice, because you want to play, don't you? - pick out a couple of interested players and play with them on another night, and perhaps evenh better: don't associate playing Sorcerer with your current group at all, play it besides your group, with someone else and enjoy both.

I have moved forth and back between cities and countries a couple of times, and it's always one heck of a hassle to get some gaming going from scratch. It's so much easier to play with your normal group, but meeting new people with different rpg expectations can be a real hoot also.

Tomorrow I am playing my first FTF session for 2 1/2 years, with people I don't know yet and only have met once to discuss the game (we're playing Dogs in the Vineyard at my suggestion, but are moving on to Sorcerer later).

I played Sorcerer once, play-by-post, and I did a couple på basic mistakes and the game stalled too soon. Had the R-Map, Kickers and even Humanity, but failed to discuss Humanity and Demons enough with the other players, but else it worked fine.

I have a lot of people among those I have regularly played rpgs with in the past 15 years that I would never ever suggest to play Sorcerer - that's not saying I don't like them, they just wouldn't like it or understand it basically.

This might be beside the point, but you mentioned MLWM. Maybe you should try another NAR game alternative, maybe a game that works better with an episodic approach. Another suggestion could be Universalis, though I don't know that game enough the sure.

Per
Logged

Per
--------
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


WWW
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2004, 10:18:03 AM »

I really think that if you want to re-launch this thing, you should, just bearing in mind that you may not be able to get it to work.  One thing that has been said, but probably hasn't been stressed enough, is that not every good game works for every good player.  Sorcerer is a good game, but it may not work for your group, and all that means is that it doesn't work for them.  It doesn't mean they're shallow players or anything, just that this doesn't jazz them.  But let's suppose you're going to re-launch.

First of all, let me ask, how many if any of the other players have read the game, cover to cover?  Do they know about things like relationship-maps and such?  Or have you worked primarily from an explanation generated yourself?

My suggestion is that you tell them how all this works.  If they're not going to read the book, which after all with that many players could take a hell of a long time, then lay it out in game time.

Now run a character creation session, and I mean run it.  You have characters already, but the Kickers don't work because the players don't care about them.  So maybe these are crappy Kickers for them, or maybe they're just not getting what a Kicker is.  Okay, so let's do this as play.

Explain that the point of the next few hours is going to be to inject a lot of nitrous into those Kickers and to build an r-map.  If anyone has a suggestion as you go along, especially if it's not the currently-focal PC, he should make that suggestion.  Revisions are allowed, even encouraged, if they make for powerful Kickers and relationships.

So here's this guy who got home one day and found that his house wasn't there any more.  Fine, that's a little edgy, but let's pick that scab.  What does he do for a living?  Let's tell the story: start with Dave at work, make him describe what's going on, how does he get home (does he drive? take a train? walk?), what's his house like, what's the neighborhood like, describe describe describe.  Have him do all the narration.  Whenever he flags a little, try to get other players to help.  

"Um, I don't know, it's just a suburban neighborhood."  "Anyone want to help out?"  "Hey Dave, like, all your neighbors have pink flamingos on their lawns and do tupperware parties, like that."  "Yeah, cool, and Dave, you're not married, right?  So, like, you don't get along with them well because you don't have a wife to run tupperware parties."  GM: "Were you ever married?"  Dave: "Um, yeah.  My wife left me a couple years ago."  Aha!  

As you continue this, find out what "my house isn't there any more" means.  Is there a crater?  Is there simply no house?  Do his neighbors recognize him?  Is there a house but someone else lives there and has for many years?

And, most importantly, try to make connections on that r-map.  Could the lady with the special extraterrestrial amulet be the ex-wife?  Could the professor with the exploding students be her brother?  Could the reporter with the amazingly effective rival be Dave's lover?

See, this means that when Dave just totally freaks about his house, he's going to go straight to his lover, who's another PC, who's having her own problems right now, and so on.

And all the time, constantly, be asking about those demons.  If Dave's demon's Need is something that was in the house, what's Dave going to do about it?  Remember that demons are what sets sorcerers apart from the rest of humanity -- and apart from Humanity.  They do this on purpose, not by accident; they have made pacts with demons.  This gets us to a really important thing about Kickers:

When Dave really freaks, because his life is changed drastically and he doesn't know what to do about it, one of his very first thoughts should be, "I bet my demon can help."

If you get everyone pitching in to complicate and intertwine everyone's stories together, you will end the character design session with:
    [*]A very complicated relationship map that means characters cannot split up and go their own way
    [*]A lot of characters who are now, willy-nilly, in the middle of big events that are about them, personally
    [*]A lot of characters who are pretty complicated and pretty screwed up
    [*]A lot of characters who, when the shit hits the fan, tend immediately to look for demonic help -- and this last means
    [*]A lot of characters who are ready and willing to sacrifice Humanity because their lives are going awry[/list:u]
    I hope some of this helps.  I think the big trick to a game like this is to get the players into a situation they really can't just back out of.  Yes, the players.  They invent these characters, and these Kickers, and they think it's all just sort of back-story.  Suddenly they find that the entire game is about nothing but them; everything else is sort of incidental frills, in a sense.  That's what was meant about GM-ing Sorcerer being zero-energy.

    See, you might have in mind that all these Kickers are really about the alien sorcerers out to destroy Sydney or something.  Forget that.  If it works, it works, but it's irrelevant.  What matters is the characters, and putting them in situations where they have to make choices between Humanity and more apparently desirable options.  They're really tightly woven together through relationships, so that they can't even agree that things suck; instead you get, "This sucks."  "Yeah, that was always your problem, you're a whiner, and that's why you couldn't ever get it up."  "Oh, Lisa darling, maybe that wasn't Dave's problem, because you know, we have lots of fun in bed; maybe it's your frigidity, and have you talked to a doctor about that?  I just worry about you, you know."  "Listen, bitch, just because you're a slut who'll screw a table leg...."  Meanwhile Sydney is in flames and the demons are ready to fight it out.

    And when things really get bad, and everyone's really on edge, and you really have to get moving right now or else, and you see some hoodlum trying to drive your car away in this bad neighborhood, what happens?  "Kroork, kill him!"  Raarrrgh!  Muncha muncha muncha.  Because demons are not powerful like machine guns; they're insanely not part of this universe kind of powerful, and you didn't do this by accident, you did this on purpose.  What sort of person does that make you?  And when the cops try to put you in jail and your demon amulet has been taken away and you just really, really have to get loose because otherwise Sydney is going up in smoke, have you considered just summoning another demon?  Rrarrgh, muncha muncha muncha.  No really, that was justified, right?

    This is Sorcerer.

    Hope this helps!
    Logged

    Chris Lehrich
    Bill Cook
    Member

    Posts: 501


    « Reply #22 on: October 03, 2004, 11:59:19 AM »

    Quote from: Marcus
    .. I would particularly appreciate suggestions as to how to relaunch my Sorcerer game without abandoning either my players or our "social contract" ..


    Ok. Reviewing stated issues ..

    Quote from: Marcus
    The main problem seemed to be whether to run a modern campaign or a Sword campaign .. I settled in the end for a modern campaign .. to help the players identify with the the characters.


    Opera composers briefly experimented with modern librettos before collapsing back into mythology. (e.g. Wagner.) The familiarity that modern lends may compete with a prerequisite of separation in achieving wish fulfillment.

    Quote from: Marcus
    .. the characters [were] still just shuffling around unsure of what to do with themselves.


    The characters should never be unsure that they are faced with a choice. If you haven't brought them to that point, you're just noodling, and it's your fault.

    Quote from: Marcus
    I threw in a criminal gang (that was related to several kickers and designed to be one of the unifying aspects of the games), but all that happened was the martial artist decided to fight, got a bad roll, and received a bloody nose, then the fight fizzled.


    This is a mess. The gang should be trying to accomplish something. Their objective should be related to the player characters' Kickers, causing one or more of them to have to choose whether to use their demons or sorcery.

    Another thing: sorcerers are not pussies. They are the bad asses in this game. Even badder than the most foul and terrible demon you can construct. In a campaign I ran, a player sorcerer went down an alley looking for a vagrant to feed his taxi cab demon and stumbled onto a gang slaying of a drug dealer. They boxed him in with cadillacs and showered him with bullets. He killed all ten of them and wasn't even wounded.

    In a later scene, the sorcererous leader of the gang (Freddy the Freak) used his parasite's conferred Perception: Smell in Shapeshift (Wolf Form) to track the player character sorcerer (Vinnie Dilberto) to his abode. He ambushed Vinnie in the hallway and nearly killed him before his cab demon crashed through the wall and knocked the wolf off his master's chest.

    Sorcerers kick ass, pure and simple. If you're normal folk, you don't have enough bullets; go home.

    Quote from: Marcus
    Meanwhile another character got bored of his self-imposed (via kicker) task of dealing with the gruesome murder of a coven member) and went off to join the same criminal gang the martial artist was fighting. The player complained he didn't know what to do in the game. I reminded him of his kicker .. but [he] complained it was not interesting enough.


    The proper way to remind a player of their Kicker is with a Bang.

    e.g. [Write in a scarlet sash found at the murder scene.] The sorcerer has a nightmare of screams, coming from shadows, and awakens in his bedroom. He hears the tapping of clawed toes and the flap of footpads. The moon's light streams in through the window. Wiry frames are outlined, surrounding the bed. The dark hues of a scarlet sash brim in the darkness across a throat of ivory skin. Above, pools of searing heat gaze in punishment. Then a whisper, "Kill him."

    Tell me that's not interesting.

    Quote from: Marcus
    This bit of play worked OK, but it did little if anything to enrich the game as a whole- it was just one PC dealing with his kicker in a way only vaguely tangentially relevant to any other character.


    Well, it's like looking for shooting stars and missing the spaceship, landing in your backyard. PC's dealing with their Kickers is what you do. It is a misplaced expectation that one Kicker should relate to another.

    In one session I ran, a PC completed a sacrifical ritual to Bind a posessor, and it was the ultimate fulfillment of his character's story. I mean, the abilities the demon could confer were the grand prize. And the things the sorcerer did to reach this point were gory: catching volunteer firemen off guard in the break room and burning them alive, deceiving and murdering his devoted student and entering the service of a murderous, gentleman sadist. So, sure, they paid attention to the lead-up, for as much as it involved hits and damage. But when the climax came, all the other players at the table thought that dishing about the action at Quake Con was far more interesting. I assume this point extends to your group, as well: the fact that they're boobs doesn't mean you're off target.

    My only advice on this point is to emphasize to your group what is relevant.

    Quote from: Marcus
    A small element of this would be some natural early awkwardness with a new set of rules, and I admit I have not always run combat exactly right rules-wise.


    I struggled mightily with certain aspects of the rules. And I, like you, sort of worked them in as they arose in play.

    Another GM in my group will hold mini-sessions devoted to playtesting combat prior to campaigning with a new system. He tends to get better results them me.

    Quote from: Marcus
    I think the greatest problem, however, is that my players simply don't want any responsibility for anything except for what their character does in some interesting situation the GM has contrived for them to be in.


    The extent of a sorcerer player's responsility is to identify material as potentially investing. It is the GM's responsibility to deliver situations, related to that material, that cannot be ignored without grave consequence.

    [Edit: cross-posted. Chris makes excellent points. And he's funny:)]
    Logged

    marcus
    Member

    Posts: 59


    « Reply #23 on: October 03, 2004, 05:13:56 PM »

    Alan said:

    "You've said that starting a separate game, just for four or five weeks to play Sorcerer, would fragment your group. It sounds like you're afraid that the only thing that has kept all these people attending your fortnightly gamenight over the past 20 years, is your current format. Don't the decades of attendance indicate commitment to more than just the format? Aren't these people your friends?"

    The main problem with declaring a separate game session for Sorcerer is that then suddenly everyone will demand a separate session for any game they particularly want to promote. These separate sessions will then compete with one another for players and timeslots. Numbers will halve overnight as people only find the time to attend the sessions of their favourite games, and abandon all others- and most games I prefer to run with more players, not fewer. I suspect that after a couple of months of confusion, half the games we currently play will then die due to insufficient attendances, with only one or two games then developing a complete monopoly. One of the games most likely to be abandoned in this process would, ironically, be Sorcerer.

    Although it might seem odd to outside observers, the Bullshit Poker process adopted by my group is, in my view, highly functional for a group with a wide choice of potential games before it. It is a very neat way to stop lengthy arguments about choice of game, and to prevent any one game dominating too much within the group to the exclusion of other games, especially new games to be introduced. The proceedure is not adopted because the group is so lacking in cohesion that it must invoke the shared experience of an ancient ritual to survive, but because the whole mechanism is simply so well adapted to a multi-RPG situation. Unless a group of players is interested in playing only, say, two or three RPGS, I cannot see a superior solution to the one we have adopted. It fosters group cohesion not so much by nostalgia, but by diffusing disputes that would otherwise probably have broken the group up many years ago.


    Moving on to the suggestions related to relaunching the game, thanks for the time and effort employed in the various responses. In order to assimilate these reponses and make sure I understand, at the risk of oversimplification I will summarise what has been recently proposed:

    Alan seems to be suggesting that things may not be so worring as I think, as Sorcerer games normally start with a little floundering and take a few gaming sessions to reach "ignition point". If I am correctly reading his comment, this is encouraging news. Alan also cautions me against directing the players down any particular path plotwise.

    Per suggests that my entire Sorcerer enterprise is inevitably doomed, at least with my current group as it is, and suggests I try another game instead.

    Chris seems to be suggesting that my Sorcerer game should be more like a post-modern soap-opera, with a lot of attention paid to the minutiae of the characters lives, and their personal relationships with one another, but with the twist that there are bizarre and dark happenings in the background. Thus instead of a jilted lover reaching for a pair of scissors to stab her old beau, she reaches for a demon to blast the bejeezus out of him. Make the backstory drive the game, Alan appears to suggest.

    I am not suggesting that Chris' advice would not and has not worked a treat in other Sorcerer groups, but I'm worried that a game run like this is not going to appeal to my group. In my opinion, they are going to find it difficult to care about whether their wives have tupperware parties, or whether their girl friends find them to be sexually inadequate. To them, this might some interesting background colour, but the real issue is likely to be whether Dr Demonovich can join the Three Tomes of Azrael before Jonothan Kane can penetrate the heavily-guarded Zaibatsu Corporation building and download the Tibetan Ritual of Rogation (or whatever). Does that mean Per is right and I'm doomed?

    Bill seems to suggest that I should confront the players with choices more directly, and then let them do some serious ass-kicking. I can certainly identify with this agenda (which I am perhaps only wishfully projecting upon Bill), although I am not sure how well it reconciles with the "focus on the relationships, let the players drive the action" school of thought which to my mind was supposed to apply to Sorcerer.

    Perhaps that is been my main problem running the game- I am divided between two principles, being "don't exercise any control, the players will drive the game and interesting situations will arise out of the adressing of the character's life issues", and the conflicting "take control, drive the players to the interesting bits, but then let them choose their own destiny by how they decide to act". To my mind, the latter will only work if I work out a plotline of some sort (or, rather, a series of branching plotlines with player choices to determine which path is in fact followed), but I fear that I am then violating the principles of Sorcerer by doing this. I am concerned, however, that the former strategy is not going to work at all.


    Marcus
    Logged
    Bill Cook
    Member

    Posts: 501


    « Reply #24 on: October 03, 2004, 10:27:32 PM »

    Environment matters. There is potential to sharpen your game by making changes at this level.

    I express your Bullshit Poker as a fun, slightly random way to enforce "I sit for you, you sit for me." Sounds functional to me.

    Quote from: Marcus
    Alan seems to be suggesting that things may not be so worring as I think, as Sorcerer games normally start with a little floundering and take a few gaming sessions to reach "ignition point".


    That was my experience. I was nearly overrun by contentious input during my group's fourth and last session. (I mean that as a good thing.)

    Quote from: Marcus
    Chris seems to be suggesting that my Sorcerer game should be more like a post-modern soap-opera .. but [my players' interest] is likely to be whether Dr Demonovich can join the Three Tomes of Azrael before Jonothan Kane can penetrate the heavily-guarded Zaibatsu Corporation building and download the Tibetan Ritual of Rogation (or whatever).


    Sorcerer can accomodate either.

    Quote from: Marcus
    Perhaps that is been my main problem running the game- I am divided between two principles, being "don't exercise any control, the players will drive the game and interesting situations will arise out of the adressing of the character's life issues" ..


    Well, it's like having a party. On the one hand, you don't want to say, "You may be seated. We will now discuss work. Begin," or "And now you will dip the baby carrots in the ranch dressing and eat them." On the other hand, you do want to say things like, "So, how's work?" and provide snacks.

    Quote from: Marcus
    .. and the conflicting "take control, drive the players to the interesting bits, but then let them choose their own destiny by how they decide to act".


    It's friendly control, like when a server brings bread to your table to get you started. And you don't drive the players; you drop them in. Let them get out however they can manage. There's your free will;)

    Quote from: Marcus
    To my mind, the latter will only work if I work out a plotline of some sort (or, rather, a series of branching plotlines with player choices to determine which path is in fact followed), but I fear that I am then violating the principles of Sorcerer by doing this.


    (Hear the Beatles.) All you need are Bangs.

    I guess, with a plot tree, you're thinking: A leads to B which could lead to C or D, depending, right? Well, let me say, you do need A. But cut everything forward of that. Your work must shift to making sure that A is full of leading-to-ness.

    Quote from: Marcus
    .. I am concerned, however, that the former strategy is not going to work at all.


    I agree. That would be like not even having A because you think making choices is against principal. Well, the player's choices, sure. But you are authorized and mandated to choose for the NPC's; furthermore, the NPC's choices must pose a choice to your players. That means it's a good idea for them to meet.

    Hope this is helpful. Others, slap my hand or otherwise clarify if necessary.
    Logged

    Ron Edwards
    Global Moderator
    Member
    *
    Posts: 16490


    WWW
    « Reply #25 on: October 04, 2004, 05:34:31 AM »

    Hello,

    Marcus, if you're interested, check out practically any threads begun by Jesse Burneko (jburneko) in this forum. I also suggest contacting him by email or PM.

    Everyone, let's give this thread a rest for a while and come back to its topics in new threads. The actual topic (Marcus' Sorcerer game) seems addressed, as there really isn't any said game, and now we seem to be moving into issues of general principles.

    Best,
    Ron
    Logged
    marcus
    Member

    Posts: 59


    « Reply #26 on: October 04, 2004, 05:25:47 PM »

    Although I don't agree with Ron's comment that I don't really have a Sorcerer game, I do agree that discussion on the problems I raised has pretty well run its course.

    Your collected responses have given me food for thought. As Ron suggests, I may take up some of the general issues raised in new threads.

    Thank you all.


    Marcus
    Logged
    Pages: 1 [2]
    Print
    Jump to:  

    Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
    Oxygen design by Bloc
    Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!