Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[Sorcerer] Creativeville: a Sorcrere One Sheet

Started by Christopher Kubasik, September 02, 2006, 08:09:17 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Christopher Kubasik


The movies The Matrix, Brazil, Naked Lunch, Soylant Green, Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet; the books Brave New World, We. Also, current theocratic Christians in the United States, relativistic liberal knuckleheads, and my own anger, frustrations and fear about my own life.

The Culture
Sometime in the future....

In the future, when resources have run low and the human population has exploded, people are kept alive with minimal food and passive through the use of Entertainments – home based multi-media system designed to keep stimulating the brain without actually causing an actual response in the consumer. (Sexual imagery, but no sex; violent imagery, but no desire to violence; images of beautiful days, with no desire to wonder why the smog filled skies are so dreary.)

All life is valued. This is important. There are no abortions, there is no euthanasia. Society has been re-jiggered to keep as many people alive for as long as possible. It's not much of a life -- perhaps -- but the metric for society at large is: you're either for life, or you're for the culture of death.

The government regulates and monitors all personal interactions. Because all forms of birth control are outlawed, but because there are simply too many people already, sex itself is the chokepoint of regulation. In short: you must request permission for intimae acts. To receive permission, you must be a citizen of good standing, proving that you have done all you can to live for the betterment of society as a whole. You must also prove that procreation is your purpose and that you have the means to support a child. The Byzantine hoops required to get a License of Fornication is difficult enough, but remember that the Entertainments are designed suppress the urges that once ran roughshod over the planet and caused us all such consternation. Moreover, most medications passed out to the massive, unemployed underclass also contain chemical inhibitors that alter hormone production and foster passivity. Finally, if you have the wherewithal to get your License, your mating will be recorded by the Dream-Makers of Creativeville and broadcast out across the entertainments. It's a kind of primitive sacrifice, really, giving the calm masses the buzz of sex without stirring up desire to actually have sex. The motto is -- "They have sex so we don't have to."

The narrative Entertainments are neutered of any sort of emotional passion or complex thematic content. (See United States, c. 2006)

* * * * *

There is an elaborate cast system in place.

At the bottom are the drugged and entertained Underclass, which constitutes some 50 percent of the population.

Another 30% makes up the Workers -- who spend their days in manufacturing, the service industries, or the armed forces. These folks are not as medicated at the Underclass, but spend most of their downtime watching Entertainments.

The next 19% is made up of the Watchers, who are responsible for guiding everyone in thought and deed. These professionals are the upper elements of society -- though they, too, have caste divisions. Health professionals matter, of course, and an elaborate criminal justice system is in place to make sure no one does anything to harm individuals or society, either through deed, word or image.

The highest caste, however, are the Dream-Makers, who are responsible for conceiving of and executing the entertainments that are produced in the sprawling metropolis of Creativeville and broadcast to millions of homes around the globe. Everyone is plugged into the entertainments, and values them for the respite they bring from any untoward thoughts. While the truth is the Dream-Makers actually have very little power (they are responsible to the caste above them), they are valued because everyone feels connected to them. And because the Dream-Makers make the dreams everyone shares in, they are believed to be special. They are not -- though only a few Dream-Makers recognize this.

The uppermost caste are the Overlords, who review laws and entertainments. Put into place several generations ago when the whole world was going to hell in a handbasket, the Overlord seized power through moral authority. They answer to know one and choose their own successors. Most people are happy enough to know that the "bad times" are behind the human race and things are calm again.

Agitators rise up from time to time -- but they are quickly denounced by fellow citizens quite content with the ideals of society finally made flesh. Arrests are made, executions are summary -- the one exception made by society in its protection of life.

What is Humanity in Creativeville?

Humanity is a double humanity, as described on pages 23 and 24 in Sorcerer & Sex. Here are the two competing Humanities of Craetiveville.

1) Humanity is keeping society and everyone stable and safe. Not rocking the boat. Doing what you can to keep people content and happy. This includes not bringing up disturbing thoughts, unexpected ideas, enticements into actions that could cause tension, action or ambition beyond the status quo. Humanity checks are made for refusing assignments made to keep people calm, putting yourself or those you love above society. Humanity gains are made for keeping people passive, choosing to put the concerns of society above all else and so on.

The best way to think of this, or at least my inspiration, is a scene in Brecht's Galileo. A monk who has been working with Galileo on his calculations recognizes the implications of what Galileo has found. He implores Galileo to keep the discovery to himself. His logic: the monk says his parents will be shattered and confused to discover that what they have believed all along -- that the Earth is the center of God's universe -- is in fact not true. What then of our place in it, the monk asks? What they of God? What then of the peasants, like his parents, who count on this certainty to give them comfort through the day.

Now here's the thing: I think CSI and American Idol are shitty shows. When I look back at the literature of the past I see a vitality and risk taking that is all but absent from American storytelling. (Deadwood, especially the last few episodes, were rich in moral tension -- and the season ended with the "heroes" doing something just as despicable as anything their enemy did (great stuff!) - but of course the bean counters at HBO told David Milch to halve the budget or pack it up. So goes another reason to care about TV.

Anyway, I get all antsy about this stuff... and yet... things are calmer than they used to be, right? Do we need those more rugged stories anymore? Why should I expect everyone to go home and find themselves staring at Ron's Values of People chart in Sex & Sorcery? I mean, Deadwood ended with that chart plastered right on that screen in the last moments of the show -- and I was anxious for four days afterward, sorting it out, feeling it out, realizing one more thing about humans beings.

But some people like to go home, watch the CSI team feel a little bad about the next woman's corpse they find, but know that, in the end, technical know-how and procedural grit will bring down the bad guy every time. I'm assuming people are getting something from this. So who am I too complain?

And, yet, I do. And honestly, I don't know why. Why not have entertainment that just reassures you everything is fine? I see the insanity of that statement even as I write it -- and yet, when I consider what is made and what people seem to want, is possible -- even likely -- I'm the one not making any sense here? So this issues is what will William James would call a "live" issue.

I really mean it: Why not just make solid enough stories that do the job (or start a porn site, or sell crack or whatever), collect the check, and go home to eat some food?

2) Fulfilling one's own intellectual and physical desires. This is the counter-point to the above humanity. It looks as if they're in complete opposition, but in fact, sometimes they'll line up.

You make Humanity checks for accepting a Dream-Maker job you know is, aesthetically speaking, a piece of shit. Or crushing sexual impulses for fear of being bad or making someone uncomfortable (you don't need to be a mad weasel trying to hump everything in sight). You makes Humanity gain rolls for having your PC purse whatever agenda he or she thinks matters most  for himself or herself.

The tension is this: the society of the game values Humanity One and denigrating Humanity Two; the PCs will value Humanities One and Two.

What is Lore in Creativeville?

Lore is all the stuff that the Society of Creativeville has suppressed. Sorcery is the transgression of Creativeville's social customs.

Sorcery is taken straight from the "appalling diagram" on page 17 of Sex & Sorcery. For those of you without the book, the chart deal with the acts and aspects of death, madness and sex as tools to mastering Sorcery. (It's more complicated than that, but I'm not going to quote the whole thing here -- get the book, it's cool.)

The chart contains the "bridge" of normal humanity activity that society doesn't have problem with (vanilla sex for Sex Lore, artistry or mathematics for Madness Lore, and medicine or soldiering for Death Lore).

Notice that in Creativeville the bridges are very limited. To purposefully explore these elements at all is to transgress society.

Lore for the game is the uber-lore of repressed transgressions. A sorcerer can pick any one of these three lore for his or her practice of sorcery.

What are Demons in Creativeville?

Demons are the people and objects that do not belong in the placid environment of Creativeville -- corpses, unauthorized manuscripts, dildos, homeless men screaming of societies tyranny... And so on.

They are all, to a one, summoned from the "ether" of the Entertainments... born of the massive mechanical neural net that spans the globe -- a kind of "collective" ID, if you will, that that Sorcerers tap through manipulating the materials of Dream-Makers and summoning passive fantasies into concrete, dangerous reality.
"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield

Ron Edwards

Ewwwww! Holy shit.

They're going to kick you out of southern California for this.

Best, Ron

Christopher Kubasik

This an important thread for me on two counts.

1) This is the most invovled One Sheet I've ever produced. I'm looking for feedback from the "pros" to see if there's any traps I'm setting for myself.

2) It's the most satisfying one sheet I've ever come up with. It does something I've been working toward gettting to for some time: It gives me the shudders. (For context, check out this thread:, though there's an unfortunate coda at the end.)

Ron's recent thread about Bacchanal have also been very important:, and

The thing is this: one of the things Ron is ALL about is us bringing what matters to us to the table. (Compare and contrast other styles of play where being "polite" to "keep the story going" is the vital agenda.)

I'm in a bit of a quandry in that I don't know if I'm bringing myself to ANYTHING these days, let alone RPGs. (I have in the past, though it's been hit and miss.)

So, after stewing and thinking about William Blake and other artists I just love, and then comparing that to the stullifying culture I live in (, I thought, "Well, that's my issue." And as soon as I thought that, the word "Creativeville" popped into my head, a fantastical version Los Angeles meets Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville.

Anyway, I'll be hooking up with two friends and two friends of theirs to pitch a few games tonight. This might come up -- or not, I'll feel the group out. But comments, as mentioned above, are welcome.


[Cross-posted with Ron while typing this second post.. i'll take that as a big thumbs up.]
"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield

Christopher Kubasik

Quote from: Ron Edwards on September 02, 2006, 08:23:24 PM
They're going to kick you out of southern California for this.

Nor will I be welcome in the Bible Belt. Hmmmm.... well, as long as the weather stays nice, I'll try to stay here a little while longer...

Best right back at ya'...

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield

Ben Lehman

Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.


Per Fischer


It's a stake in the heart of our brain-on-standby entertainment society. It's subversive. It makes you THINK.

I like it.

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


Your humanity definitions, stripped to their respective essences, seem to be as follows:

1) to protect life; and

2) to fulfill life.

The Overlords seem to me to be sorcerers themselves, and the great dystopia you describe to be their answer as to how to address these twin definitions of humanity.

So, will the players' answers be the same, or will they be different? If you accept this interpretation, of course.



Hey Christopher,

The one thing I'm not seeing here is who are the Sorcerers?  Are they anyone throughout the caste system you describe?  Or just Dream-Makers?  I also highly recommend the technique of customizing the Descriptor list even if that simply means subtracting and/or refining existing ones.

My measure of a good one-sheet is: Can I see a character in this I want to play?  And right now I'm not quite there.  The first thing that leapt to mind was sort of a V for Vendetta type character except that given your Humanity definition it looks like you're looking for something much more complex than a set of, "Fight Oppression, Yay Freedom!" characters.