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Sorc. Blog: Feudal Japan

Started by Darcy Burgess, August 26, 2005, 12:37:34 PM

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Darcy Burgess

Hi Ron.  Thanks for checking back in.

I shouldn't check the boards at work -- your bit about Ninjas had everyone in the shop looking at me kind of weird when I busted out with a huge belly laugh.  Regardless, I was inspired to include Ninjas after watching The Last Samurai last night.  The ninjas in that flick were a nice touch, but I see your point.  Our culture is too steeped in early 80's ninja flicks to see them as anything other than guitar-wailing weilders of real ultimate power.

Re: rmaps, I think that you've answered my earlier post.  So, when you said that the "little rmap" should "penetrate but not encompass" Ikebana, you meant include a few good members (one or two would do in my mind's eye) from Ikebana on the rmap for the game.

I also checked out the first thread from your Necromancy game.  How much of the "nature of sorcery" and "this is humanity" stuff was derived from conversations with the players, or was it basically stuff you brought to the table?  I'm curious is all, especially as to how you think your choices in this regard affected the unspooling of the Story.
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Ron Edwards

Hi Darcy,

In the necromancy game, all three of the other participants were brand stinking new to Sorcerer. So I brought that first sheet wholesale, and we went specifically with that. However, I left the demon creation very open (outside of the listed constraints) and received an enormous amount of input during character creation that honed my initial vision a great deal.

In other words, don't have anything in mind besides what you give them at the outset, especially if that material is pretty focused. If you can't help it and simply must prep because you're an anxious Sorcerer virgin, then be ready to chuck whatever you've got in mind beyond that (e.g. your relationship map, whatever) in favor of whatever they provide during that stage.

Finally, don't forget - after character creation, you can go hog-wild with prep. My main advice to you is to keep it in your pants until then.


Darcy Burgess

Thanks for the "sex talk", uncle Ron... :)

Just keeping my thoughts organized here -- chargen is tonight, and I wanted to actually make a record of my thoughts going in to the session.

I've finally settled...

  • on a definition for humanity -- it represents individualism, a sense of self.  Someone with Humanity=0 is a drone/nigh-vegetable, without drive or desire.  I think this will interact well with the Premise I've chosen, and set up some interesting dynamics.
  • descriptors -- basically using the list out of Sorcerer, with a few tweaks here and there.  Mostly re-naming to suit setting and premise (ie: Athletic Regime becomes Stoic Regime).  Notably absent is any sort of "samurai" descriptor.  I envision quintessential samurai being achieved through a combination of descriptors (ie: Military Training & Stoic Regime on Stamina, Belief System or High Self Esteem for Will...)
  • what demons/summoning look(s) like -- until demons are bound, they're a clashy vortex of ... colours? ... facets? ... something that hurts to behold? ... once bound, they take on whatever form the Player wants, with the proviso that when they take some sort of visible form, they tend to look (or exhibit Telltales that look like) Kabuki makeup -- extreme features, lots of whiteface with red accents around the eyes, etc.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the guys come up with tonight.
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Ron Edwards

Darcy Burgess

Well, the array of characters is...stunning.

The only downside is that we didn't complete chargen last night -- no player got everything done (2 of 4 got to the point that they're basically just filling out their Rmaps).

Characters don't all have names yet, so they'll be named by Player for the time being.

Glenn W

  • Cover: Samurai General ("a brilliant military mind")
  • Lore 4 (solitary adept -- we're seeing this as being due to the fact that his "apprenticeship" is in the dim and distant past, his master long dead)
  • Demon is a corrupting beast, much like the "ghosts" at the end of Indiana Jones 1.  Powerful as all snot, the binding roll should be fun...
  • Kicker TBA, but undoubtedly will relate to his sense of duty, with the potential for conflict with his lord (he may be in service because of pressure).


  • Cover: Peasant farmer youth
  • Lore 1 (naif)
  • Telltale: One pupil is permanently dilated
  • Demon: Object, his younger brother's Kabuki doll.
    Need: To be cared for (re-painted, cleaned, etc.  It has a low Stamina to boot)
    Desire: To be around happy children.  To make them happy.
    Telltale: Creepy irridescent eyes that move, and the pupils react to light.
  • Kicker: Samurai kills his brother.  The next thing he knows, he's got this creepy semi-animate doll and a massive desire for revenge.


  • Cover: Recently Ronin'd Samurai
  • Setup: Lord attempts to force himself on character's sister.  In a rage, the lord is cut down.
  • Lore 1 (naif)
  • Telltale: Streaks of blood in his hair
  • Demon: Object, katana possessed by his murdered lord's spirit.
    Telltale: Whenever no one is looking at it, the blade becomes bloody.
  • Kicker: TBA, as the current one seems to be "flee from justice" -- which seems weak to me.  I want something proactive.

Glenn H

  • Cover: TBA
  • Concept: Serial Killer (I'm going to suggest reworking this to be someone who is on the edge of being turned into a serial killer by his Demon)
  • Lore 1 (naif)
  • Telltale: TBA, may be that although everyone can hear him talking to his demon, only those who make the lore check actually hear it whispering back
  • Demon: Currently Inconspicuous, but I'm going to suggest switching to Possessor.
    Desire: TBA (Corruption?)
    Need: TBA
    Telltale: TBA
  • Kicker: TBA

Everything is awesome -- I have some reservations about the Serial Killer, but if we make it about does he become a serial killer, then that's premise-related, as opposed to just a ninja under another name.

Also, I've got 3 characters whose kickers are directly tied into the fact that they "just became" sorcerers.  Spontaneously.  Force of will and all that.  That has some interesting implications for the nature of sorcery in the game.
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Ron Edwards

Look out for the serial killer player. He is trying to dodge the central point of playing Sorcerer.

"Can" you play a serial killer? Sure, very much in the sense that you can put a bean up your nose, if you want.

I'll be posting about a game from GenCon about this, soon.


Darcy Burgess

Ron --

I'm guessing that by "central point" you meant "what will you do to get what you want?"

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Ron Edwards

No. The central point of Sorcerer is, and always has been, whether you can summon/bind demons and remain (or become) a good person.

"How far will you go to get what you want" can be a misleading phrase. It is only useful for Sorcerer when a person is committed to answering, at some point, this far and no farther.


Darcy Burgess


As it turns out (after a phone call...) I was misinterpreting his intentions.  The status of the character in question is best summarized as: "no character concept yet, but whoever he is, he's going to be saddled with a demon with a desire for Violence (or Fear or something else appropriate), and a Need for causing Meaningless death"

That's a huge difference from "my guy is a serial killer".
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.


Quote from: Darcy Burgess on August 29, 2005, 09:03:39 PM
Question of the Day #1
This one's taregeted at all you Sorcerer GMs out there.  Would you play your first game immediately after chargen, or wait two weeks? 

I'm ignoring the sim and nar hooey because it makes only a little bit of sense to me.

But I know me some Sorcerer.

I like to do some session as chargen, with kickers as the last thing we do.

Then I like to go home and brew on the kickers and write bangs for a week.

Seven days later I like to take my list of bangs to the table.  Some will be crap, you will know which ones.  Some will be gold, you might want to save these.  Some will scream to be set free, do so.

I find 4-7 days percolation time between kickers and first game is optimal.

Darcy Burgess

Hey Judd

As luck would have it, it looks like 4-7 days is what I'm likely going to end up with... >grin<

Since the guys didn't finish character gen at the table the other night, we're finishing up via email/telephone, and with the next game scheduled for the 21st, things will undoubtedly work out so that I end up with a little less than a week to do prep.

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Darcy Burgess

Crossposting a realization I just had:  Holy Fuck

And some updated character stuff:

The "serial killer" has gone by the wayside.  Phew.

Enter: deep one cultist.  I'm an oldskool lovecraft junkie, so this appeals to me.  Red notation is mine.

Basic Concept: Fisherman
Stamina: 5 (Natural Vigor)
Will: 2 (Belief System)
Lore 3 (Coven)

Price: Creepy (resulting from something akin to the Innsmouth look)
Humanity: 5
Telltale: Possibly something like the Innsmouth look (i.e. slimey skin, bulging
eyes, webbed feet and hands...all somewhat subtle, but real)  (I've suggested something like sweats sea water, so that the Telltale and Price aren't duplicating each other.)

Kicker: As yet undecided

My demon would be a Passing demon who had essentially the same telltales
as me, except with a much stronger rotting fish smell.  He would be passed
off as my brother, when in actual fact he would be my servent (all of the
members of my coven would have bound similar fish-monster demons).

Stamina: 6
Desires: I serve?
Needs: Water (maybe he can suck it right out of people--we're all just bags of
water anyway)

Powers: Cover (looks like my creepy brother), Fists (comes with being Passing
demon), possibly Link, and Shapeshift (which allows him to "monster out" to
look like the creature from the Black Lagoon or a big-ass Deep One, and grants
him Armor, Big, and Special Damage).

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Kirk Mitchell

I'm curious, how are you planning to tie this in with the whole feudal Japan theme?

Teddy Bears Are Cool: My art and design place on the internet tubes.

Kin: A Game About Family

Kirk Mitchell

Searching through wikipedia, I came across the Kappa. It looks like exactly like what you might want in a Japanese flavoured game. Just a suggestion

Teddy Bears Are Cool: My art and design place on the internet tubes.

Kin: A Game About Family

Darcy Burgess

Hi Kirk.

Good question -- and here's a questionable answer.

I'm not going to worry about it.  At all.  "fisherman" is just about all of the tie-in that I need in terms of "setting".  As for the demon, so long as it incorporates with my "look and feel" for demons and their telltales (in some way), I'm hunky-dory.  As it happens, this (demons/telltales) isn't happening -- and it's another area of discussion with the player.

It all relates back to not making the game "Feudal Japan Plus Demons!" -- justifying "deep ones" within Japanese culture is the least of my worries.
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.