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Help with Sorcerer Descriptors for my one sheet.

Started by Trevis Martin, December 05, 2009, 10:48:47 AM

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Trevis Martin

My history with Sorcerer is a little spotty.  I dig the game, it compels me personally, but customizing it to a personal vision has been a little difficult.  Watching and reading a lot of what Jesse Burneko and Chris Kubasik have written has been a big help.  Like the "Why doesn't Sorcerer scare me" thread for example.

Anyway this was developed off of a much earlier setting one sheet that I did.  I don't know if I captured what I'm after but one thing I'm afraid of is meaninglessness.  I don't know if I can explain it real well.  It clarified a lot for me personally when my agnosticism sort of grew into full fledged atheism.

Here is a bit of flavor text (warning, crude language.)

Here is the one sheet so far.  (Descriptors at the bottom.)

A couple of things.  I'm wondering about just dropping the medical and arcane types of sorcery and just going with near death experiences.  I can't decide whether that makes things stronger or weaker.

Second thing, and more important.  Stamina descriptors are tough.  I've tried many times to write descriptor lists but I've not been very happy with them.  I'm not sure what's wrong.  I'm trying to imagine how to describe how people influence the physical here, or reflect the setting.  Maybe I'm trying too hard.  I feel like the will list makes sense as far as a vision for the game.  Does anyone have any suggestions for approaching the Stamina list or any specific descriptors they feel would fit in with the vision as it's written?



Ron Edwards

Hi Trevis,

I like this a lot. Sometimes an almost-good source story is better than an awesome one, isn't it? I love the film Live Flesh, and am always talking about it as a nigh-perfect Sorcerer story (albeit without supernatural features of any kind), but I don't think I'd build a given game prep from it. Whereas Flatliners is very far from awesome, yet in part, its flaws are what lead me to want to play in the game you're describing.

OK, here are some of my thoughts in a kind of machine-gun fashion.

1. My answer to your Lore conundrum is "both." Define it strictly as NDE, but a character might have the NDE in any imaginable way. Then let the details (voluntary or not, suicide or not, et cetera) be individualized and that's your basis to track toward descriptors. Certainly Covens and mentors can be involved - basically, I'm saying, use the default descriptors from the core book, based on whatever the players come up with, once you've given them "NDE" as a starting point.

Clearly Lore and Humanity are intertwined concepts, especially in a game like this one, so I figure that too much attention to Lore, over time, would result in devaluing death insofar as it happens to others, but over-valuing it in terms of one's own attention, significance, and emotional commitment. Which leads to ...

2. Humanity 0 basically means that life itself, to you, is now something which is used by or only important insofar as it pertains to death. Make all your Humanity rules more concrete in this regard; "meaning" is too vague and should be left to play itself.

3. The Stamina descriptors definitely need changing. They matter a lot because they map out the literal visuals for player-characters, and therefore, to riff off my Color-first ideas, provide the context for everything else. My take is that, as with Humanity, you're trying to do visuals and theme at the same time, and getting mixed up. All you need are the visuals, and let the theme take care of itself. My suggestions (not necessarily by these names):

Rotting - Bad teeth, bad skin, bad breath... but I recommend that it not be zombie rot; it's still within the range of what a living human might be like.
Violent Death: one or more highly specific features that are evidence of violent death. It's up to the player whether it's obviously fatal or could be written off as an old injury, and it can definitely be concealed via clothing if the player wants. But if someone sees it, then you have some explaining to do. Clearly, this descriptor would dovetail with the Telltale.
Good looking corpse: combines with Incorruptible. Basically, the person looks totally normal. In fact, too normal: never sick, no pimples ever, et cetera.
Still in the zone: the person is physically OK, but mentally still a bit whacked and in the death-mindset. That translates to hyper-alertness and a certain reactivity. With high Stamina, the result leads to competence in action, but with low Stamina and/or failed rolls, the person might be a bit jumpy and clumsy.

I hope this helps!