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My take at Sorcerer

Started by Fabrice G., May 13, 2002, 10:41:04 AM

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Fabrice G.

After much reading about running Sorcerer here on The Forge, I have finaly come to plan my first run. In this thread I'll report what hapened and what didn't. My goal is twofold. First, sharing with the others an exeperience that might be usefull to someone. Second, having some feedback or comments from all of your great minds. ;)

Preparation for the game

I chose the novel The Big Nowhere from James Ellroy as the source of my relation map. I didn't knew the book, but I enjoy Ellroy and it's cited as good literary source in S'Soul.

Having read the book, I found myself with a pretty twisted and convoluted map (I can't even think of reproducing it here !). The setting is 1950 Los Angeles. By and large, the central map revolve around a gay writter, a femme fatale he is about to marry, assassinated past lovers, an incestuous relation with a twisted son.(more later)

At that point, something strkes me: it all have to do with homosexual relationships and comunism (all the major characters of this section of the map are connected through their political associations and it's persecussion by the US government).
My game will be set in a small town, nowdays. So I dump the communism as it will not be relevant. I choose to keep the map homosexually oriented, but I don't know about my players' views on it.

And that's the point where I meet with my players.

The Players intervention
We decide to take a full evening for customizing the game and making the characters. None of them know about Sorcerer except from my ranting about it, so we spend much time explaining:
1) the narative bent of the game;
2) the concepts of the game (sorcerer, demons, humanity, sorcery...). At this time there's still no customization, we just discuss what could make a demon, that it's not mandatory for it to be red, wear little horns and smell of sulfur. ;) (as a side note: the creativity of my players was at first hindered by such a loose definition, but by the end they at kind of weird and interesting idea).

I came fully prepared with some nasty ideas about parasites demons, difomity...all inspired by D.Cronenberg ; but it was just to be a suggestion, or an exemple. It served well as exemple, but was rapidly discarded as the players and I went for the setting and the theme of the game.

The Setting
I proposed that we choose between two seting: one, the archetypal dark New York, filled with corruption and sin...etc., etc. ; the other inspired by Twin Peaks and the others "little town" movies. We finally chose the little town environement.

The Premise
I was wondering if it would be clearly defined from the start or not. But as I explained to the players that a premise was central to narativist play, I had no choice but discuss it with them.

Here it is:
"What would you do (how far would you go) for integration?"
We went for something quite general, but witch can be refined by each character. For ex. integration = social recognition and acceptance.

To define Humanity (and thus demons, sorcery, and al.) we decided to see what such a premise would mean. In Sorcerer terms, what the characters would do and how far they would go for integration is what make them sorcerers. So their actions would potentially send them to Humanity 0. We liked the idea that people had to compromise to be accepted. So we defined Humanity from that. your moral rightness( how decent you are as a human being).
At 0're totally corrupt

The basic idea behind this choice is that people crave for acceptance and that they would "damn" themselves for it...BUT that if their actions are noticed they would be chastised and rejected. In this case, most of the people would be rather low in Humanity and well integrated. The case of the sorcerers being that they have OTHER tools at their disposition.

The Characters
We didn't had time for maknig the characters, but it's planned for next saturday. One of them could be a young man despairing to be accepted as a talented journalist.

So far that's all I've got.

Next: Sorcery, Demons, Characters, Kickers, and how I adapted the relation map.


ps: questions or comments are welcome, as they will surely improve my prep. and my thinking.

Ron Edwards

Hi Fabrice,

It seems that "societal approval" of a general sort could very well take the place of communism-paranoia, in terms of the novel. A visitor to this small town might be struck by how concerned the inhabitants are about their social reputations. There's probably no need even to explain it or to give it a name.

That interpretation plays very well into your refinement of the game's Premise.

My only other point is to lighten up as a GM - now that the group has come this far, let the demons and Kickers that they create set the pace for you, not the other way around.

Oh yes, one more thing. If one player happens to drop out before the time of the next session, play anyway and continue to play, thereafter, without them.