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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Uncle Dark's Capsule Review  (Read 3988 times)
Uncle Dark
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« on: August 22, 2001, 10:20:00 PM »

I just got my Sorcerer hardback yesterday, and I finished it this morning.  I'm glad I spent the money on it, but if I'd been able to see what all is in it and I wasn't getting the "I bought the PDF" coupon, I probably would have waited to spend $20.  (I can see them coming for my Cult of Ron membership card now...)  Don't get me wrong, and read on:

The book is beautiful.  Easy to read, well laid out, and all the new art is fantastic.  I like the hardback binding a lot.  I still have my 1st ed DMG and my Traveller Book, and they have outlasted any other RPG on my shelf in the long-term durability department.  I fully expect Sorcerer to last as long.  There are a couple of places where the pages pull away enough to see the bindings, but they're still firmly anchored, so I'm not too worried.

The new material, what there was of it, consisted mainly of new and/or expanded examples.  Between these and the clearer format, I saw a few things that I missed in the PDF edition.  It is, for example, the best description of the basic mechanics and the "victories to bonuses" rule in any of Ron's Sorcerer stuff to date.  (I really didn't get that one from the rules until this edition).  The rest of the "new " material seemed to consist of subtle re-writes of the original rules, in order to worke out awkward grammar or  clarify what a passage means.

Overall, it's great.  A good buy for both the new player and the old Sorcerer fan.

However...
If what you're looking for is a rules overhaul or a trove of previously unpublished goodies, this ain't it.  This should surprise no one, as Ron never claimed that  for it, and IIRC stated that he doesn't like rules overhauls in the first place.

So I knew not to expect that, but there was still a part of me that wanted more.  Maybe I expected new mini-essays on how different styles of sorcery would effect the game.  Y'know, more on how to customize the game.  But, to be honest, there was little in the new book that I had not gleaned from conversations with Ron or reading his other writings, so I could have waited if I'd had to without it changing how I play the game at all.

Again, let me stress that I am not disappointed with the book!  I'm just saying that my greedy little geek heart wants more.

Well... maybe there is one thing I am disappointed with.  The plugs for the supplements were a bit too obvious for my tastes. I wouldn't get rid of them, but  I'd have preferred to see them a sidebar box (as was used for the literary quotes).  I've got nothing against Ron making buckets of cash selling supplements.  Hell, I own both of them.  But I did feel that their presentation (block quotes in bold type) was too much.  Like speed bumps in the reading, or the way commercials poorly cut into TV shows can mess with the dramatic tension of a scene.

I don't regret spending the money on it, though.  It was well worth it.  Thanks, Ron, for putting this much labor into your labor of love.  I appreciate it.

Lon
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2001, 09:04:00 AM »

All in all I agree Lon.  Absolutely money well spent but their was a few things I'd have done differently.

I hadn't thought of putting the Sorcerer's Soul plugs in a side bar, but after about the 3rd repetition of "additional info on humanity can be found in..." I did find myself wishing the book had been a little thicker, sold for 30$ and included the Sword and Soul supplements integrated with the actual book; instead of referring me to another supplement (which I didn't personally mind as I already own the supplement, but might be a little off putting for a new comer...).

One part I was disappointed in was not seeing more of the evolution of Narrative mechanics retro incorporated into Sorcerer.  As has been discussed in detail elsewhere there's alot of concepts that weren't fully developed when Sorcerer was first written but which are more developed now.  I imagine when Ron plays Sorcerer he actively incorporates alot of those concepts into his game sessions. I would have liked to see more on how to do that in the book.

But definitely a very professional product which will be proudly displayed on my shelf of premium games (assuming it doesn't disappear between the massive bulk of Aria Worlds, and Pendragon) :wink:

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2001, 09:46:00 AM »

Can't win for losing, eh?

Thanks for the kind words, and - um - here come my thoughts on the others.

1) I want people to buy the supplements, so they're mentioned up-front and loud. Will a first-time reader be annoyed by the plugs in the text? Would they be LESS annoyed if they were sidebars? Hell, no one knows. We could play Golden-Mean on this one all day long ("a little less!" "a little more!").

I'll say this: of the customers who came up to me at GenCon, to tell me that they'd ended up reading the book the previous evening instead of doing whatever it was they'd planned, not one complained about the plugs.

2) There is no freakin' way that the book could be rewritten and up-to-date on every subtle point. It's hard to get this across to people, but the MS for Sorcerer was done all the way back in January. Corrections and changes after that were nigh impossible. It's the same for comics or whatever; people say, "But we just had this big discussion, how come we didn't see it reflected in the text?" and the writer has to explain that the text was out of his hands months before the discussion.

You guys are in the cursed/blessed position of being insiders. That means the published work is ALWAYS going to fall short of your expectations, exactly as it does for me.

Best,
Ron
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Mytholder
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2001, 01:30:00 PM »

If we're nitpicking, I saw two wrong URLs at least. :smile:.

I've been trying to decide if I wanna review Sorcerer. I'll probably just put an essay up on my site or something. It sparked a lot of thoughts. To be honest, I've never "gotten" Sorcerer the way a lot of others have, but actually having a physical book...hmm.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2001, 02:08:00 PM »

Man, don't EVEN start with the typos, especially for URLs. I felt like a few them kept changin' just to spite me during November and December.

No one's pointed out THE WORST error in the whole book though. And I mean a really, really bad one.

Best,
Ron
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Jeffrey Straszheim
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2001, 04:41:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-08-23 18:08, Ron Edwards wrote:

No one's pointed out THE WORST error in the whole book though. And I mean a really, really bad one.


So is this a challenge for us to discover our secret inner copy editor?

:smile:
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Jeffrey Straszheim
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2001, 04:48:00 PM »

Does this involve the name of a certain artist?
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2001, 06:14:00 PM »

No, it's not a challenge, and Jared already knows 'cause I told him, so now you all know.

An acknowledgment of the error is going up at the new site when I can get to it. It's about the worst professional (or NON-such) thing I've done, so I'm not real chuckly about it.

Best,
Ron
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2001, 09:34:00 PM »

Ron,

I see what you mean about the time the manuscript went out.  I've assisted on some work for publication (academic), and there comes a time when when one jsut has to let it go to the publisher and just live with all the "gee, I wish I'd thought of this before I sent it out...." thoughts that spring up afterwards.

Of course, there are always so many of them that, had one had them before sending the ms. off, one would never have made deadline...

Lon
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