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Author Topic: Sorcerer for the very young  (Read 5556 times)
John Paul
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Posts: 28


« on: August 05, 2005, 08:03:01 PM »

My four-year-old daughter and I have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia (we're almost done with book 5), and she has recently grown interested in fantasy roleplaying, which we have been exploring in the medium of legos (including some Star Wars Lego characters). We have had some fun stories, with strong resonace with Paka's Grimm Therapy. Lightly using the Aprentice rules for Sorcerer has been very fun and enriching for our play!

This wouldn't work for everyone, but we have simulated the roleplaying bonuses in a fun way: when she wants more dice, she sings a song about what her character is trying to do and why. It helps her imagine the action more clearly and we both learn more about the character. It's not the same level of creative rolplaying intended by the design, but it works for us.

For the "character sheets" we drew outlines of the lego people on 3x5 cards: the Will score was recorded in a diamond on the forehead, Lore in a heart on the chest, and Stamina (which we call Strength or Health) in a circle on the belly. My explanation of Lore is that it represents the character's Secrets of Magic. We haven't talked about Humanity yet, but I really like ideas from Grimm Therapy.

I work and go to school full time, so my ability to prepare is more than a little impaired. The only "demons" in our scenario so far are the djinni lightsabers who serve their holders out of fealty to Allah. I also have my old Dragon Strike game boards from when I was a kid, with some of those figures, which are comparable in size to our lego people. If anyone has any fun ideas for adventures, bangs, or characters for exploration with a real four-year-old, I would love to hear them.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2005, 06:55:43 AM »

Wow! Respond lots, everyone.

Best,
Ron
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ejh
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2005, 05:05:13 PM »

Respond?  I'm gonna watch this thread.  I've got 4 year old twins and I had never considered trying to get them gaming.  It's a great idea.
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Grex
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2005, 05:18:26 PM »

Sadly I have very little experience in playing with children, but perhaps this HQ thread over at rpg.net may prove useful and/or inspirational: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=111330
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Best regards,
Chris
ejh
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2005, 06:23:20 PM »

Reading that RPG.net thread, that guy cared *way* more about following rules than I would, dealing with a four year old.  "Oh, man, he's out of building points and he only has a 13 hide, not a 17?"  :)

But it sounds like he sure had fun!

Dangit, now I'm gonna have to make an RPG to play with the kidd0s.
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jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2005, 06:50:10 AM »

It isn't Sorcerer related, but I gotta point out Vincent's post about playing with his sons:  http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=10001.0

Julie
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droog
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Posts: 263


« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2005, 03:10:51 AM »

I've been thinking about this for a few days. My daughter has just turned four, and we already do some 'roleplaying' stuff. She makes up stories and plays characters all the time. Often we're both lions looking for people to eat. The other day I was the Wizard and she was the Princess and I was magicking things for her (she got a lion, an elephant, a music-box and some pink cakes). It got quite involved and she played her character to the hilt.

Now I guess we were roleplaying GMless with a Drama resolution system and a lot of interpersonal agreement as to the Colour. What I'm wondering is whether there's any benefit from introducing Real Roleplaying Mechanics to the mix. Maybe she's better off just playing without rules and dice. Anybody? And should this be another thread?
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AKA Jeff Zahari
Russell Hoyle
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2005, 05:50:33 PM »

And here I thought I was crazy adapting Sorcerer to play with my 8 and 12 year-olds!

Although heavily adapted, I believe whats left is still reminiscent of Sorcerer.
I had to simplify language, and the core is about Heroism rather than Humanity,
but much of what remains is still Sorcerer. The dysfunctional relationship is between
ones thirst for power versus one's desire to do good.
Not that the kids care.
I suppose I am using Humanity (Heroism) as a tool to encourage personal responsibility,
independance and empathy.

Heroism is dually-defined as both "doing whats right" and "relying on yourself".
The latter to encourage them to find solutions rather than just looking to external
agencies to solve problems.

There aren't any 'demons' per se.

Regards,
Rusty
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joshua neff
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2005, 05:08:26 PM »

Like droog, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, too.

I like your idea, Russell. I just now got to thinking (based on my daughter drawing a group of dragons on the driveway in chalk--being attacked by military jets, because the dragons are attacking a farmer's duckling and piglet, of course!) of a fantasy world where the "demons" are dragons, and Humanity is Heroism.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
John Paul
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2005, 08:46:12 PM »

I am grateful for everything that has been posted so far!

Applying Sorcerer ideas & mechanics has given us some really fun things and some not so easy things. The "what is a sorcerer" notions I posted above have changed a lot, and it's still in flux. The hardest thing to create in our play has been a sense of story continuity, and we haven't really done much based on Kickers. I can tell she really enjoys long term narrative continuity in the stories we read and make up, but I don't think she is very interested in that as far as play is concerned ? yet.

Here is what has worked very well for us:
+ She appreciates the idea of rolling dice to help resolve conflicts within the story, and she likes using "tactics," and thematically appropriate songs, to get extra dice.
+ The attributes make sense to her, and now we are starting to apply the idea of descriptors to that. I'll include those below.
+ She gets the complex conflict resolution system (to the extent that my own understanding allows me to play it faithfully). One time her characters were at a wedding presenting gifts to the father of the bride, a desert nomad chief. Later, some ruffians didn't like their gifts and started heckling them. She decided to battle them, and it was a fight with eight or so participants (conflict mapping really helped). After a couple of rounds, Chewie chopped a guy with his katana, and all of the hecklers surrendered. Then the chief showed up again, and told them all to leave the wedding feast for having a battle. She was so disappointed that her guys got treated like the "bad guys."

Here are some unexpected things, as well as some things we haven't figured out how to play yet:
+ We both usually play several characters. The Game Master idea doesn't always work for us, as we both provide narration. We haven't found the best way to share narration.
+ Character creation, demon creation, and magic: These systems are too time-consuming for our level of play. Character scoring/description usually takes place on the fly (when there's a conflict), and although many of the characters are defined as having "secrets of magic" (Lore), very few "demons" or powers have actually been defined due to the system complexity and time constraints.
     Something I noticed about "demon" creation is that there isn't a practical way to make a "demon" really good at just one or two things. If you boost Power up to make the ability powerful, it's kind of foolish not to add more abilities, which may not make sense for the demon's concept.
     Today we spent an hour drawing up more permanent adventure cards for some of the more prominent characters; my wife joined in and it was a lot of fun; but when the time came for me to go to work, my daughter felt jipped that she had these exciting ideas and didn't get to play (my wife did some cool stuff though: for the Hagrid minifigure, she gave him Price: Hermit, and she set Chewie's Price as Group Thinker; I really like these).

I'd like to find or devise a simpler system for narrating magic that fits with the rest of what we have; I'm mulling over Zak Arnston's idea of Keys from Thord of the Relings; in this case Keys could be magical or supernatural events in the character's life, replacing the Lore Descriptor with one Key per point in Lore. The problem is how to tie this into the game mechanics that we are already enriching our play.

Over all, we've been having quite a lot of fun, playing legos with a little bit of Sorcerer influence. The main values I'm trying to uplift are these: we are enriched if we share directorship & authorship, and having some structure can create a lot of possibilities.

Here are the descriptors we came up with so far:
- Stamina -
Big Muscles: feats of strength, lifting, pushing & carrying loads
Fast Reflexes: moves & thinks fast, acrobatics
Small & Nimble: stealth, feats of manual dexterity
Blobby: like a bowl of jelly
- Will -
Builder: can create useful things with bricks
Trickster: fools others easily
Leader: natural charisma
Code of Honor: can't turn away from adventure or protecting the weak (from Reepicheep)
Quest: a major task or journey awaits
Puzzler: good at solving riddles & puzzles (from Legend of Zelda)
Angry (from A Boy Named Sue)
Captainish (like Milne's Rabbit)
Melancholy (like Eeyore)
Stubborn

That's all for now! I know this is crazy; all ideas are welcome.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2005, 09:33:58 PM »

+ Character creation, demon creation, and magic: These systems are too time-consuming for our level of play. Character scoring/description usually takes place on the fly (when there's a conflict), and although many of the characters are defined as having "secrets of magic" (Lore), very few "demons" or powers have actually been defined due to the system complexity and time constraints.

I suggest simplifying the demon rules and not worrying about the powers-lists. I play the game with grown-ups, and we think it's too much a hassle to try to figure out the correct power mechanic for what we want to do. It's enough to say that each point of Lore represents one thing the demon can do with it's powers. Some demons have lots of things, while others only have a couple of tricks. If you know that your demon flies and breathes fire, that's easily enough for play.

Quote
     Something I noticed about "demon" creation is that there isn't a practical way to make a "demon" really good at just one or two things. If you boost Power up to make the ability powerful, it's kind of foolish not to add more abilities, which may not make sense for the demon's concept.

That's only true if your demons have a higher Lore than Stamina. If you want to make a powerful demon with only a few tricks, you can give it a high Stamina and low Lore. Power is then Stamina+1, minimum. That way you get bang for the high Power in the form of Stamina (which is used for lots of useful things) without the need of breaking concept. Of course, you could also just make it an abnormally powerful demon, there's nothing wrong with those.

Other than that, fight on. Your game seems quite interesting.
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