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Going to try after all

Started by Jack Spencer Jr, August 31, 2002, 05:12:06 PM

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Jack Spencer Jr

Hey, Blake

Not a problem. It's just that fairly recently I had started seeing that word being used and I started using it myself without really thinking about it. Much like how I bought Vanilla Coke because it seemed "in" in spite of the fact I really don't like it. Which is odd because I like Vanilla and I like Coke. Just not together, I guess.

Anyway, I was say "trope" all the time and suddenly I had a Princess Bride flash:
You keep saying that. I no think it means what you think it means.
And, shucks, if I didn't look it up and find that out to be so. But that's no big deal. Language is a living thing. It grows and changes over time. If it didn't, we wouldn't have contractions and be saying "for sooth" a lot more often than be do.

Jack Spencer Jr

Quote from: BailywolfI've never had an issue with the Sorcerer mechanics... they always seem to enforce the right mood, reward the right style of play, and withstand quite a lot of wheel-kicking.  I think your players will find the best way to squeeze a little extra mechanical juice out of their characters is to really play the hell out of them.  In Champs you teach players to squeeze those points until they scream... not so in Sorc.  
I'm not as concerned about mini-maxing or anything like that as, I don't know, I just feel like I need an upper hand, at least at first. as in all their knowledge of the game comes through me so they'll know it as I know as I tell them.

I may reconsider this. "Ted's" girlfriend will be running her game first anyway (ugh) so I've some got time to dwell on these issues.

QuoteThat said, I'd like to hear more about your game concepts... how are your defining Humanity, how do the sorcery rituals work/manifest, and what is the premise(s) you are considering?  
Well, that'll solid up a bit once I actually involve the players, as Ron said. I've given it some thought and I think I'll but the Prohibition idea on hold for now. The idea behind not running heroic fantasy Sorcerer & Sword is to get the players away from familiar ground like that. SInce the roaring twenties is unfamiliar ground for me, too, I think it's better to wait on that. I do like the humanity=vice idea. I'll have to dwell on that one a bit.

But all of this assumes I face my own demons and actually annouce to the group that I wish to run.

What ho! That's an idea right there, I'll bet. Hmmm... Knowing this group, the whole gang of them have personal demons. I could do the whole roleplay yourself bit with their demons being there personal hang-ups and such.

Eh, maybe not. Such allegory is rarely wise. Less wise than telling people they're fucked-up right to their face. But there's still an idea to be had there.

Mike Holmes

On the whole Trope subject, it does get overused, but it does have a jargon use in language not expressed well in most dictionary definitions. IOW, it expands on that first definition that Jack found. It means any common figurative use of speech. Thus, a metaphor used frequently is a Trope, for example, as well as all sorts of other figurative language.

So, Blake's use is not too far off the mark. Especially when refering to Sorcerer. He's saying that your use of the Bottle/Demon metaphor is the sort of Trope that you you need to consider for inclusion into your game. Or that's how I read it.

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Jack Spencer Jr

OK, trope talk aside, I've been giving some thought to what I'll actually be running. I figure I'll go basic, modern day, all that stuff. I may set in in Chicago because setting it around here will give one player (Ted) an advantage over the GM since he's in sales in the area. Last thing I need is a lesson in local geography.

I figure I'll start with the PCs being childhood friends who are now all grown up. Some of them may have stayed in touch, some of them may not have seen the others in a decade or two. The idea here is to give the PCs a ready-made relationship but it is extremely flexible. It may be nice to see your old friend from fifth grade but would you loan him fifty bucks?

One thing I definately wish to stress is why these characters have a demon. I plan to put this on my player's handout: Why do you have a demon? People don't summon them up for shits and giggles. You have a reason for summoning an unatural creature into reality and binding it to your person. Why would you do such a thing?

Most of the plot will come out after the PCs are actually created, but I'm toying with villian ideas. I figure a cabal of some kind with some sort of evil sorcerer who's out to get at least one of the PCs for one reason or another. This is sort of the Cobra to their GI Joes and with any luck it will either 1) work or 2) fade into the background as other antagonists prove to be more interesting.

This is what I've got so far.


One thing you might want to do is ensure there are no "incidental demons" or "accidental sorcerers".  The Naive sorcerer who "found" some object demon but doesn't really know what it is is a HUGE cop out in Sorcerer.  Its actually a cool concept for veteran Sorcerer players to use, but in the 3 games I've run (with different characters each time) there were 4 of these Naive sorcerers and what they REALLY were was just a way for the players to not have to committ to anything and make the GM drive everything.

Your idea for making them give a reason for why they have a demon is fantastic (I'm definitely stealing it if I run Sorcerer again).  I'd go a step further with it and make sure they have a reason for "why they knowingly and intentionally summoned" the demoned.

Jack Spencer Jr

Quote from: ValamirYour idea for making them give a reason for why they have a demon is fantastic (I'm definitely stealing it if I run Sorcerer again).
I find it interesting that you'd run Sorcerer a couple times but hadn't thought of this. But then, this idea is hinted at strongly in the book but AFAICS not spelled out explicitly, which seems to me like a good thing to add to a next edition, should there be one, or a suppliment. (Heck, it might be in one of the suppliments. Still reading at this point)

I'd been trying to figure out a good analogy for it, but the best I can think of is scoring some heroine. People don't just go out and buy heroine on a lark. They do it because they want it. Hell, they NEED it and they don't give a crap about the consequences. Heck, they probably figure they're immune to the consequences since they've never been busted nor has a deal ever gone bad for them.

I don't think I can use this analogy in polite society, though.

I figure that it'll break down into a few questions:
Why did you summon a demon?
Is this problem still ongoing?
If not, why haven't you banished the demon yet?

In this I can establish a little character history, a possible Kicker seed with the problem they summoned a demon for or some added roleplay fodder for why they've kept the demon around.

I say problem because I'd read somewhere that all human behavior is solving a problem. You get up in the middle of the movie because you really have to pee. Stuff like that. So you summon a demon because you have some kind of problem that needs solving.

Next I have to deal with the relationship maps (and read Sorcerer's Soul). I've a nice baseline with the childhood friends bit, I think. They all know each other, but what their relationship is now is stil up in the air. Have they seen each other since high school or are two of the PCs married? That kind of thing. Then I just have to tie whatever villians they have together as well and, I think, we're golden.

That's kind of funny because my friend ran a super hero game in college and one of the players figured out that all of the villians they were fighting were related in some way and that it all led back to one particular villian. Essentially he'd drawn a relationship map for the bad guys. Pity Ted didn't act on it.

Jack Spencer Jr

My potential game has taken an odd turn. BTW I'll probably keep posting updates to this in this thread until I actually run a session, which'll go in actual play or something really really significant happens, like I post in Actual Play, in which case it ceases to be a potential game and becomes actual.

Anyway, it turns out that someone my wife works with and her husband are roleplayers. I really don't know a whole heck of a lot about them. D&D has been mentioned, so they're probably gamist/dungeon crawlers.

However, with them & my wife, that's only three players, a much smaller group, and the recommended size in the rulebook. Because of this, it'd probably be better to run with these people simply because there are less players (thus less demons, at first anyway) and because I don't have long-standing issues with them the way I have issues with "Ted."

My wifes co-worker, we'll call her "Katie" because that's her name (getting tired of calling "Ted" Ted. How about a round of applause for that?), has been bugging the wife that the four of us should hang out together anyway.

Well, we'll see how that pans out. I'd also like to try to run a mini-session with the wife as well just to break that little barrier.

I did mention an interesting in running a game called Sorcerer to two of the players when we drove them home last night. There was little by way of interest of even curiosity expressed. One guy responded "So you fight demons in the game?" and the other, mostly in response to the fact that we'll be playing my friend's homebrewed game for a while in the near future "I'd like to play D&D."  Man alive!  This is a hard sell, like Fight Club. I didn't see the movie in the theatres because the trailers just didn't sell me. It's one of those movies where your interest in it can only come from watching it. Or so it seems to me.

I will also note that reading the book for the purpose of actually playing it vs. reading it just to read yet another game book is worlds apart. I'm "getting" how the game functions a little better than I did the first time I read it, and I don't thing it has anything to do with this being a second readthrough. So how about them apples?

Jack Spencer Jr

OK, here's the story. The wife has off tomorrow and she said she'd play Sorcerer with me for a little bit if I did the dishes. I've got 'em soaking in the bathtub now so I'll hold her to her word. Heh heh heh.

Any, we'll spend time creating her character first, but I got a base concept from her the other day.

Her character summoned a demon for protection because of her uncle who is after the family fortune. SHe is somewhat shy around people and prefers the company of animals. I think she also mentioned owning a pet store.

That's about all I've got from her. I can flesh this out that her parents were killed when she was yound and she and her brother were raised by their uncle. Recently her brother died and she suspects her uncle. So she's got the vengence thing going on as well.

So, somewhere in this mess is the Kicker. I'll probably start with her Summoning her demon and then going off to, do whatever she'll do. Kill her uncle? Do detective stuff to prove he did it?

However that resolves itself, she find a clue that tells her that a mysterious underground organisation is involved with her brother's murder which takes her to Chicago where her childhood friends, ie the other as-yet undecided players are.

Now, my question is: Am I doing too much? Part of the idea of running Sorcerer is to try to get a taste of Narrativist play. Am I just railroading her or what? How about the rest of it? Shy really isn't in the sorcerer's vocabulary, is it? or can it?


In a scary bit of syncronicity, I got the Buffy RPG the other day and I asked my wife, who has expressed active distaste for the idea of role-playing in the past, if she would be willing to play.  To my complete surprise, she said, maybe.  While we were vacationing in Maine, she went so far as to sketch out her character: name, occupation, home, family, looks, background, dependents.  All the "role" playing details of a character except the stats, which I can do for her.  She even wrote them down for me when we got home.

All in all, it was amazing, given that gettings these sort of detail out of many member of my usual gaming group is like pulling very deeply rooted teeth.  

I have no idea if I'm brave enough to actually run anything for my wife, but if I do, I'll use the Sorcerer mechanics.  

Anyway, keep us posted Jack.  I'm curious how it works out for you.

Jack Spencer Jr

Ideas keep coming, it seems.

First off, the recent NY Lottery thing on Sept 11th this year, where the numbers came up 9-1-1 with hundreds of winners each getting an award of about $500 got me thinking. In the car on the way to the game last night, I said to the wife "What if with a year all of those winners wound up dead?" An interesting plot hook if I can hook the players right.

Next, I've been considering the nature of demons, or the demons I'll be using. I think I'll use the term Purpurfargade ansiktet from the Stephen King novel Thinner which, according to King, means 'Child of the night flowers.'
Quote"...Is like a child who is varsel--changeling. Gypsies say varsel is always found under lilies or nightshade, which blooms at night"
My general idea for the demon hierarchy is that the demons Summoned by sorcerers are Purpurfargade ansiktet or minor demons, regardless of how powerful they actually are. The major demons are called Princes and are not summonable, bindable, containable, banishable, or punishable by least not by lone sorcerers at any rate. They roam freely in our world for their own purposes. The exact nature of this is still up in the air at this point. Are some Princes at cross purposes or not? Is there a King ie Old Scratch ie Satan? I don't know yet. I probably won't know until I start playing. I figure the Princes are a dangerous opponent since are the lords of the demons, they probably have stronger powers over them than the Sorcerers. I will have to dwell on this some more.

Ron Edwards

Hi Jack,

What concerns me is that you seem to be focusing on character hooks - stuff that will be presented in play so that characters will turn their attention toward your "story stuff."

The kind of things you're describing are the sorts of stuff that Kickers provide and that you as GM react to. If you as GM make them up first, then you get a non-constructive tug-of-war between the characters' Kickers and the GM's plans. This isn't to say that you shouldn't prep at all - it's to say that you should concern yourself with back-story content and not worry about how you're going to "interest the players." Really. Instead, just promote and encourage really kick-ass Kickers and realize that it's your responsibility to focus on them and make your back-story relevant and subordinate to them.

When you do this, the whole step of providing "eery and freaky hints" to interest the players at all becomes totally unnecessary.

All of Tor Erickson's posts about prepping and playing Sorcerer would be just right for you, I think. Check out the links in the Actual Play section of the Sorcerer website, for his Southern-Fried Sorcerer game.


Jack Spencer Jr

Thanks for the link, Ron. Very helpful. I'll have to check the others this weekend. Probably the first time I've used the "printer-friendly version" feature on the forums.

One side note, the idea of escalating the Kicker when a player makes up a really lame Kicker that came up in the thread is a typical technique in improv threatre, or so I've read, called "Raising the Stakes"

Raising the stakes
Making the events of the scene have greater consequences for the characters. One technique for advancing.

Everything is connected.

In any case, it appears to me that I've got a good part of the cart before I've even looked into a horse to pull it. It seems to me that the first step is to get a group together. I should focus on that because I am not going to run it for the current group for a number of reasons but mostly because it's too darn big, especially for a firsst time GM playing an RPG he's never played before IMO.