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Author Topic: My first Sorcerer game  (Read 13625 times)
Valamir
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« on: September 08, 2001, 09:28:00 PM »

Ok, just got back from my first Sorcerer game.  The results were somewhat mixed.  First let me say, that a good time was had by all, so the issues raised below should not be taken to imply the session was not a success.  In fact, I'll try to post some of the really cool moments in the Actual Play forum, but since this is fairly mechanic specific I figured I'd post this stuff here.  Bear with me, this is long.

1)  The first issue I ran into was the rules for Spawn.  It appears from the description of the ability that the Power of the Spawn is based on victories rolled on the dice.  However it does not say what the roll is.  I assume that the demon is rolling its Power (as for most demon abilities) but what the heck is it rolling against?  I'm not sure I like the idea that Spawn power is randomized in this way.  The number of victories from this roll is also taken as lethal special damage?
   The demon house has Power 5 Spawn.  According to the damage table, Lethal special damage is 2X instant, and X+Power lasting.  The demon house's Power is 11 and Stamina is 10.  In order to get a Power 5 Spawn, the house must have rolled 5 victories (something I don't see happening but once in a collasal blue moon statistically, but which the house pulled off twice).  This, however translates into 10 Instant, and 16 Lasting wounds, well over double the house's Stamina...Apparently the Spawn power is not one you use in an emergency (cause its likely to flat out kill the user); but is only useful if you have all the time in the world to try for a decent roll and all the time in the world to recover from the huge amount of damage.  Why?  This renders the ability VERY limited for use in actual play...

2) Combat.  This did not go all that great.  Some of it I'm sure is just the usual, first time with a new system snags.  However, overall the feel was very jarring.  It was kind of the effect of flying down the highway at 80 miles an hour (the story leading up to the combat) and hitting a speedbump (starting to roll dice).  I'm not sure exactly what it was but I know my players spent alot of time trying to avoid combat just because they found the mechanics annoying.
     The first problem is something I hadn't noticed in just reading the game but came out in play (score 1 for the Forge's "must play before reviewing policy").  It is either a HUGE rules issue, or a HUGE area where I just don't get it and need to have it broken down for me.  The amount of dice you roll in combat is based on Stamina (which after a couple of wounds is very few).  You get more dice by coming up with really cool roleplaying descriptions and tactical stuff to get lots of bonuses.  HOWEVER, this didn't seem to work out for us for the following two reasons.
    Reason number one is that with no specific order for who gives their cool descriptions first, players were reluctant to announce them.  This part of the round became a confusion of "I'm not saying what I'm doing because then he'll just come up with something to counter it and get more dice then me...so who has to declare first".  I finally resorted to adding Will into the combat situation by saying the declarations are made from low Will to high.  This REALLY makes a difference because otherwise players were very passive and wouldn't risk declareing cool moves that would leave them vulnerable out of fear that someone declaring later would take advantage of that vulnerability.
   Reason number two is that the added dice for really cool tactics seems entirely at odds with the absolute limitation on 1 action and 1 action only per combat round.  Even a basic tactic such as "I duck and swing" is ruled illegal as its two actions.  There is a collosally limited number of cool descriptions you can make that involve only single actions.  I resorted to scrapping the whole 1 Action only rule and allowing each victory to be described as a single action.  Thus players became able to "duck under the swing, shoulder roll across the bed to the other side, and make a run for the door" all in a single move (with 3 victories).  Otherwise each of these actions requires rolling a seperate dice pool and led to one player declaring that "man this game requires more dice rolling than D&D".

3) Combat seemed to be extremely deadly which isn't really a good thing in a game where the bad guys are really damn powerful, and the game is supposed to be story driven.  My players came up with truely amazingly cool sorcerers but because they didn't create min maxed combat gods (for which I was quite proud of them)it took a vast amount of fudging just to keep them alive.  A gun can do 2X Instant and X lasting damage.  Demon Special Damage (which the Demon House & spawn had) adds another +demon Power to either instant or lasting damage.
   A mere two successes with a gun will leave a normal 3 Stamina guy with 0 dice and 1 wound away from dropping hard.  Even if he doesn't drop, he has a 50% chance (assuming a Will of 3) of being down a bunch of dice the next round.  Throw in demon power (5 from a Spawn and 11 from the house) and good night Irene.  Special demon damage from a Spawn will immediately drop just about any non macked out character with a single hit.
   Why do I mention this as a problem?  Because Sorcerer is billed as a narrativist game.  Maybe I'm confused, but a game mechanic which allows a random roll a very high probability of killing the story's protagonist "blam, you're dead" (without even a fate point to save him) seems driven alot more by simulation than by narrative needs.  Sure, takeing a shot with a hand cannon should drop a guy in the real world...but how does that mesh with idea of story first?  My game would have ended with the first confrontation with the demon spawn due to some very unlucky defense rolls, if I hadn't stepped in and fudged.  Something doesn't seem right here to me.  Damage seems WAY too simulative given the utter lack of simulative support in other areas.  It just seemed totally out of place in the game.

4)  Humanity.  WAY WAY too many Humanity checks for summoning demons.  A typical Sorcerer (who spent any real points on Lore and didn't absolutely short anything) has what 3-6 starting out.  My guys had 4 and 3.  The Summoning roll is virtually impossible to pass due to the -humanity component without resorting to Sacrifice (something even the Summoning example acknowledges).  Thats FOUR humanity checks for each demon, most of them against a Demon's Power.  Given the way power is figured, a typical demon is going to be 3-5 Power.  Thats a 50/50 shot for most characters...worse once Humanity starts to drop.  I can't imagine even trying to work sorcery with a Humanity of only 1 or 2.  It would be instant game over.
     I think 1 Humanity roll for the whole enchilada is more than sufficient.  Why?  because otherwise the characters aren't sorcerers they're pokemon masters.  They each have their initial demon and that's it, because its way to costly to risk summoning more.  Both of my players immediately recognized that they had a better than 50/50 shot of hitting Humanity 0 if they tried to summon up a demon to help them with the demon spawn in the house.
    I want my game to be about sorcery.  Have a problem? Whip up a demon custom made to deal with that problem.  I had envisioned 3 or 4 demon summonings in the game, instead I got 0, and after crunching the numbers I couldn't blame them.  Something is wrong in a game about sorcerers which discourages sorcery.  I'm definitly going to investigate the Pacting rules.  Maybe that will help.
     Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but here's how we had it figured:  Unless you start the game with a REAL high humanity (5 at least, 6 or 7 preferably), the odds of losing it all and becoming an NPC after even 1 binding (and especially after 2) is very high, and thats without accounting for assorted evil acts.  However if you get your self that much humanity, your other stats are shorted to a crippling extent.  The only combo we could see capable of working is 6 Will, 3 Lore, 1 Stamina.  The 3 lore is just barely enough (with the aid of drugs) to get a decent Contact, and the 6 Will provides the Summoning and Binding power with a decent Humanity score.  It would be pretty boring to have all sorcerers start with these scores, but with only slight variation they seem to be by far the most superior combination for sorcery.
    I also decided I really don't like the idea that Humanity is based off of the highest of Will or Stamina.  It makes sense that Lore doesn't count (so the higher the Lore the lower your Humanity is likely to be, this is a typical Cthulhu Mythos vs. Sanity tradeoff).  But, by making it either or, you force players to maximize one rather than seek balance.  Perhaps its just the L5R player in me, but it seems much more Zen to encourage players to seek balance rather than become what David Farland would call "a man of unfortunate proportions".  
     I'd use the L5R tactic of Humanity equals the LOWER of the two, but Humanity starts low enough already.  I'm thinking a good solution is to start it as the SUM of the two.  That would give players a few more points of Humanity to play with.  Passing Humanity checks would be easy enough to encourage frequent summonings and bindings.
     Also, the calculated Humanity method doesn't account for past history.  One of my players past histories was truly vile, but his humanity was ok because his stats were ok.

5)  That brings up the idea of truely evil sorcerers.  According to the game rules its virtually impossible to play an evil sorcerer, with constant evil acts and few attempts at redemption the character will become an NPC in short order.  At the very least there should be the idea that what level of Evil Act requires a Humanity Check is related to the level of humanity.  A Humanity 1 character should be so desensitized to evil that "routine" cold blooded murders should have little impact.  Either that or Humanity should be allowed to go negative without losing the character.

6) Aside from the above Humanity issue, the biggest concern my players had with the game is that they immediately recognized that it was a game meant to be played only for a few sessions until the current stories / kicker is resolved, as opposed to an ongoing perpetual campaign.
     Why was this a concern?  Well, because "I spent more time thinking about this character and who he was and what he wanted then just about any game I've played.  If I only get to play him for a couple of sessions I'm going to feel very cheated".  Basically with throw away characters like those in Paranoia or Toon they have no trouble with short "campaigns".  But the more they invest in the character, the more they feel they should be able to continue to explore that character.

I realize that alot of the above sounds like fairly harsh criticism, so I want to reiterate that we all had a great time with the game and the game session.  The above reflects those areas where things just didn't seem to click.
   
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Supplanter
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2001, 06:33:00 PM »

Hi Ralph: Interesting account. In some ways it confirms things I'd wondered about, in others, it surprised me. Item by item some questions and thoughts:

1) Actually, I have nothing worthwhile to say about Spawn.

2) Combat.

On declarations. Your solution seems neat and effective. Wouldn't another approach be that going first need not be a disadvantage if you want to get really "narrativist" about it? I am thinking that if I'm being karmic (Tweet-speakily) in my approach to awarding bonus dice, following someone else's declaration could indeed be a huge advantage. Since karma's domain is "what should happen" then if player A says "I do X" and player B says "I do the perfect counter to X," then under karma, the bonus dice favor B. But if I'm being dramatic in my approach (original, unimproved Tweetian sense) then going first could be a positive advantage: player A has the first crack at entertaining the GM, and if those who come after A are simply reacting to A's lead, they look much less prothagorean (or whichever word it is) than A does and get fewer dice - if A's declaration truly seizes the momentum of the story.

Mind you, I could be misunderstanding the narrativist esthetic here.

On the one-action limit and its inhibition of cool declarations. Um, this one I don't have an answer for. I think I'd do what you did.

3) On the deadliness of combat. Were you playing with the stated rule that a sorcerer is never "dead" no matter how negative his scores unless GM and/or player decide? And were you using the "Kemsa Rule" that lets sorcerer's use Will victories as temporary stamina? (Not rhetorical or loaded questions: I really am wondering.)

I'm not so bothered by the apparent brutality and savagery of the combat resolution system in and of itself, even in a "story-driven game." Some stories are just about worlds where combats are brutal and savage. The "quick & bloody" aspect of Sorc combat seems to be a design goal.

But something that does make me wonder is that it seems to be a quick & bloody system where the rich get richer fast, and the poor get negative. It's cool for flow that victories this round equal bonus dice in the next, but it seems like it puts a premium on getting the first great roll of the combat, especially since your roll is initiative and effect both. IOW, win the first round and you're home free. Lose the first round and you're screwed. Did you find that it worked that way, or not?

What about other people who have played Sorc - is there much hope of coming back if you take it in the shorts in round one?

4) Number of humanity checks. I sort of thought (worried) that your experience was how it worked in practice. The game seems set up to be less about summoning and binding lots demons than living with the one(s) you've got. A lot of the examples convey a game whose flavor might be described as Neil Simon with pentagrams. Summoning a new demon seems like a very very very big deal, for all the mechanical reasons you adduce.

This may be quite intentional on the designer's part. I can see why one would expect and want something different though. (Perhaps if Ron uses "Like Neil Simon with pentagrams!" as a blurb on the second edition the expectation clash won't be a problem...) In your sovereign role as User, reducing the number of humanity rolls per demon transaction set seems like a good quick way to enable more sorcerous activity.

Don't look for much help from the pacting rules though. IIRC, pacting reduces the total number of Humanity rolls you need to make by - one. In exchange for that, you pay serious opposition die penalties depending on what you want the demon to do, because it's another activity where karma controls the mechanics. It's harder to pact because demons would rather be bound - it's more fun for them to be out in the world with you and me in an open-ended sorcerer/demon relationship, so it "should" (karma alert word!) be harder to pact than to bind, and it is.

As a major karma chameleon in my own gaming preferences, I completely understand why the rules are written that way. But it means pacting is even harder to succeed at than binding, and almost as hard on the Humanity score.

Speaking of changing how starting Humanity is figured, for my &Sword setting, Humanity will be the average of psyche and somawill and stamina, but there are reasons for averaging that don't obtain in a straight Sorc game. Making Humanity the sum of - you know, those attributes, makes sense if more sorcery is what you're after.

I suspect you get a whole lot of sorcery if you reduce the total number of Humanity rolls in a demon transaction chain to one and make Humanity a sum value too. Did you get to play with both mods at once?

5) Truly evil sorcerers. One purpose of the Humanity mechanic, I think, is to somewhat control the distastefulness of the proceedings. I find that in reading about Sorc characters and their actions, I am often repulsed. (The second of the two characters from your session in the other thread, frex, sets off my gag meter.) I don't care if they have the willful initiative and story-generating potential of true protozoans; I don't care if "author stance" distances me from them - you can't distance me enough from these people and their squalid actions, and I say this as someone who just put an on-stage miscarriage in my campaign and may soon get stuck describing a ritual execution.

So Sorc is for people less fastidious than I, but I think the design assumes (hopes?) that everyone has their limits. Since it's entirely possible to imagine role-playing an irredeemably evil sorcerer, I can only conclude that the design is the way it is because the designer doesn't want you to do that.

6) I think the rules suggest that when a kicker is resolved, the player should write his character a new one. Beyond that, I take your point.

Best,


Jim


[ This Message was edited by: Supplanter on 2001-09-09 22:34 ]
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Rod Anderson
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2001, 06:57:00 PM »

About the Humanity checks during sorcery:

Confessedly, I haven't played the game yet (except for resolving my one and only player's initial Binding roll), but surely players are meant to roleplay for extra dice on their Humanity checks, just as with anything else? Personally, I'm even open to allowing my player to convince me that his successes on (for instance) his Summoning roll should roll into his subsequent Humanity check  rather than his Binding check. That might be going too far -- guess I'll just have to play the game and find out.

--Rod Anderson
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2001, 08:19:00 PM »

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Valamir
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2001, 07:38:00 AM »

Well, I've kind of suspected for a while Ron, that the way you actually play Sorcerer is different from the way the actual rule book reads.  I was somewhat disappointed when you let on that the hard cover was basically going to be the PDF, edited for clarity and with some extras thrown in.  I have to say that I think it would have been far better (in the long run, not necessarily practically speaking) for you to have sat down and rewrote Sorcerer entirely without refering to the PDF at all.  I think alot more of the last 4 years of evolution would have made it into the game that way.

Alot of your comments and suggestions below fit with what I've heard from you on the forums, but aren't really reflected in the actual rules.  I was attempting to play as much by the actual rules found in the HC edition as possible.  I don't have the book with me currently.  I'll try to pop on later tonight and add citations where necessary.


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C) Bluntly, Sorcerer players are to be weaned away from the long-standing RPG notion that their guy is invulnerable. Call that a personal bias in the design.


This notion while true, doesn't apply to my game at all.  My players are used to having their characters die.  They have no sense of invulnerability.  In fact, they went out of their way to avoid confrontations that they could have won because they were well aware that neither of them were macdaddy combat gods.


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Well, sorcery is not synonymous with Summoning


Err?  Ok.  See that doesn't really seem right to me.  For some of the mini sups like Schism and Urge...yeah that model makes alot of sense.  But as the default?

You have a guy.  A guy whose stats and abilities place him firmly in the realm of normal person of the sort you can find in ANY game.  What makes the sorcerer situation different from any game, and what makes this guy NOT just average joe is that he's a sorcerer, he summons demons.

Take away the summoning and you're left with a guy and his pet monster.

Limit the summoning to big efforts in between "adventures" and you've basically reduced the entire concept of summoning to a between dungeon crawls shopping spree with dice rolls instead of gold pieces.

In one you go down to ye olde magic shoppe and buy boots of speed, a girdle of giant strength, +2 platemail and a bunch of extra healing potions using gold pieces as currency which you acquired through many tests and travails.

In sorcerer you summon up a demon with Fast, Boost Stamina, Armor, and Vitality using your Humanity as currency which you acquired from many tests and travails.

Obviously that ISN'T the image you're going for.  But once again, there isn't really enough "setting" in the rules to figure out exactly what the image IS.  I realize the setting is largely absent intentionally.  BUT (and I'm coming to decide that this is a big but), you had a set of specific design goals when you decided how these things are going to work.  The book, however, does a poor job of conveying those goals to the reader.

For instance, the Spawn rules would have been greatly improved if the explaination you provided above as to WHY you wrote them like that was actually in the book.  Most RPGs don't put their design reasoning right into the text like this.  BUT most RPGs also have a setting.  In the setting (possibly through some story fragment) it would be established that Spawning demons is a horribly debilitating act.  Therefor, when the reader sees the rules, he knows "ahh, yeah that's how its supposed to work".  Since you don't have a setting, it becomes more important to share the logic behind some of your design decisions.

In your mind the mechanics you've written mesh perfectly with the "image" you have in your head from the "source literature".  Since there is little of that image shared in the book, I'm left to come up with my own image. Your mechanics (in some areas) DON'T mesh well with the image in my head.

I happen to be one who equates the quality of a game to how well the mechanics mesh with the image (which is why Pendragon is my all time favorite).  This makes it difficult for me to judge the success of Sorcerer in this regard.  Comparing it to MY image is clearly unfair, but you've provided too little of your own image to compare to.

Yes I know.  You did provide an ample bibliography.  But you can't actually expect every purchaser of Sorcerer to run out and start reading them in order to figure out how Sorcerer is supposed to be played.  I've read enough of them to know that your and my taste for books are vastly different (here's a little heresy for you.  I think Sprague DeCamp's Conan is vastly superior to the original disjointed collection of stories).


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Well hold on there. I state again, very strongly, that Humanity does not track HOW MORAL a person is, but rather his POSITION relative to consequences.

No value of Humanity corresponds with any particular value system or range of behaviors.

By beginning with a high-Humanity character, you are not establishing the PC as a good or nice guy, but as someone with a lot of leeway before the fall into utter disaster.


This is the strongest example of the divergence between Sorcerer as played by you and Sorcerer as published by you.

I will when I get home cite pages and paragraphs refuteing the above.  The rules in no less than 3 places equate humanity with empathy and morality.  In one spot that I can almost quote verbatim but for now will settle for paraphrasing "If you want your sorcerer to be a nice guy you'd better bulk up his humanity"


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The re-write rules for Kicker-resolution to new-Kicker are one of the most enjoyable and important element of the game.


Its been mentioned on this forum several times that the area you concentrate on in the game rules is the area the players will concentrate on in play (I know Mike Holmes is a cheer leader for the "no seperate combat rules" faction for just this reason).  Combat gets several pages.  The Kicker rules get a couple of paragraphs...


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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2001, 07:44:00 AM »

Ralph,

Oh yeah, I remembered something else. It's not really a justification, but at least a little historical explanation for why the Spawn are so dangerous in the haunted-house scenario.

It's basically a con demo. A lot of people playing in cons want to see what it's like to fight, and a lot of them don't mind if a PC goes down in a splatter of gore; in fact, they seem to like it. Also, the character generation method I used for it (the basis for the demo pack you got, Ralph) always yielded at least one hard-ass, either the hitman or biker or both, usually armed with one of the sanzoku weapons, and these guys were more than capable of taking on a Spawn.

Again, I'm not trying to refute your valid point that the scenario can be pretty deadly. But that's where it comes from, anyway.

Best,
Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2001, 08:54:00 AM »

Ralph,

Ending with stating how much you love the game was good, because with very little effort, it's easy to append "This game fuckin' SUCKS" onto the end of several of your paragraphs. It took a lot of effort to get through your post without reading that into it; I had to stop a couple of times.

I don't really want to go through all the examples here, or at least not now. Some of your points about the text are valid and some are contestable, but it's hard to get motivated about that. At the moment, it feels as if my above attempts at helping you to improve the game into what you'd most enjoy are being rejected, in favor of pinpointing how I failed to do it previously.

One customer emailed me with a big wad of rules questions and I have posted the questions and answers onto the website in "The Game," under the item "Rules Questions." It takes some time, so bear with me on that, but I will get all or most of your points and concerns into that section as well.

I'm sorry the game isn't perfect. My only defense, without sarcasm, fully sincerely and with respect, is that it cannot be expected to accord with exactly how you wanted it to be written, or exactly for your expectations (which are NOT unreasonable, they just happen to be yours and not mine).

The best I could do is to have the rules available for all and sundry to check out, play, and comment upon BEFORE the book went into production. I did do that, and I think it was a big improvement on the common method of presenting a half-baked game as a "first edition." But evidently it wasn't enough.

Best,
Ron
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jburneko
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2001, 11:30:00 AM »

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On 2001-09-10 12:54, Ron Edwards wrote:

The best I could do is to have the rules available for all and sundry to check out, play, and comment upon BEFORE the book went into production. I did do that, and I think it was a big improvement on the common method of presenting a half-baked game as a "first edition." But evidently it wasn't enough.


Hey Ron,

I think I know what Ralph was getting at but I have a slightly different way of putting it.  I think Sorcerer very acurately portray's its mechanics and how they work.  What I think is missing, and personally I think this is missing from ALL RPGs, is YOU.

I've corresponded with you both publicly and privately and when I read Sorcerer I have trouble believing it was written by the same person.  The hard factual rules of Sorcerer are conveyed neatly, cleary and consisely but the subjective and subtle applications of those rules as precieved by the human being behind the game's design is completely missing.  And as I say, it's missing in ALL games.

People think I'm insane when I say this but I'd pay good money for a source book that was nothing more than transcripts of the DESIGNERS actual play sessions.  Not just ANYONE's transcripts but specifically the designers.  I want to see how the rules are used and interpreted by the people behind the game.  And preferably I'd like this book annotated so it's clear what was pre-planned, what was adjusted during play, what elements were added by players, at what point the GM railroaded and so on.  Such a book would give you a perspective on the entire game as machine and not just out-of-context indivdual gear examples.  

I've said this before: The instruments in your band are really cool now show me some of your tunes.  I used to think that purchasing scenarios written by the desingers would solve this problem but it doesn't.  It only raises more questions.  However, the pre-planned scenario WITH an anotated transcript from a game or even multiple games run by the designer would be useful.

In my opinion the RPG industry is WAY too caught up in the 'it's your game, make of it what you will' mentality.  No, it isn't.  It's the DESIGNER'S game.  They designed it because they thought it was a good idea.  I'd rather have the designer ram lots of "pretentious", 'this is how you play the game or else you're doing it wrong' stuff and then choose to ignore it then not have it there at all.

(I know, I know, others really hate this.  You can't satisfy them all.  This is why I think a secondary sourcebook with 'how to play my game my way' material is an acceptable compromise.)

When I read an RPG I want to gain insight into the mind and soul behind it.  That's just not there in Sorcerer (the writing not the actual game) or ANY game on the market.

Jesse
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2001, 01:40:00 PM »

Interesting. I think that Ron did a far better job of conveying the feel and way to play the game than most games ever will. I think that Ralph has just had way too much contact with Ron, and therefore had great expecations of things that just weren't slated to be in the text (would have been twice the size and possibly unreadable if all that had been in there, anyway). Ralph, yes, this edition of Sorcerer just might not be perfect. We'll be very lucky to do as well, though.

That having been said, I think that your idea, Jesse, of annotated transcripts is really fascinating. I have often felt the same desire (which is why it was so way cool to get to play so many games at GenCon with the designers this year :smile: ). No idea if you could sell such a thing, but such a transcript would make a great free aid for downloading from a game's web site. Sort of a combined adventure and example of play all rolled together. Ralph and I had considered putting in short transcripts as examples into our new game, but now I'm thinking that we should include more, posibly a whole session. I might post the question in the publishing forum.

Thanks,
Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2001, 03:20:00 PM »

My thanks to everyone who's posted on this thread. I mean it. I feel pretty run-down and low-grade at the moment, but I do mean it.

As for FINALLY addressing Jesse's long-term query for play examples/transcripts, a new service at the Sorcerer site should be in place for exactly this purpose (or similar anyway) by the end of the year.

Best,
Ron
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furashgf
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2001, 04:17:00 PM »

Hmm...  I'm thinking for an extra $5 over the cover price of the hardback, Ron should come by your house and hang out and discuss your rules :wink:

Just kidding.

However, all this good stuff would make a nifty F.A.Q.  Hmm... any takers?

Gary
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2001, 04:39:00 PM »

Gary,

It's going onto the Sorcerer website as soon as I gather the strength.

Best,
Ron
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random
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2001, 08:22:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-09-10 11:38, Valamir wrote:

Quote

B) The announcement phase permits any amount of non-limiting suggestion or verbal consideration of what to do. Much role-playing history has ingrained in players that if they say it, they?re stuck with it, and that leads to a lot of caginess and waiting until the precise micro-second before rolling before announcing the action. In Sorcerer, during the announcement phase, you can talk all you want about what you might do, and if that turns out (given others? announcements) to be silly, you can amend it. As long as ?OK let?s roll? hasn?t happened yet, everyone can work out what they want to do in a free-and-easy, not-in-stone-yet, sort of way. Yes, it?s totally new to most role-players (I discovered it in Zero). This is a before-play consideration.


Another area that would benefit greatly from having been elucidated in the rules.


I don't mean to reopen a can of worms that is best left alone, but this /is/ actually in the rules.  Look:

Quote

(p. 103)
1.  Everyone states intended actions in no particular order. Statements may be amended freely until everyone is satisfied.


That second sentence results in everything Ron said:  "everyone" means the players and the GM, and the ability to amend one's statements freely means that order really /is/ insignificant.

Cheers,

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Blake Hutchins
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2001, 10:00:00 AM »

I haven't played yet, but I'm working up something for my playtesting group. I will say that the writing for Sorcerer is excellent. I have no complaints, and reading the rules and ideas in the book is like putting a live wire into my imagination. Can't wait to get going with actual gameplay.

As a computer game designer (of late, since the corporate masters closed my company last month), I have first-hand experience with customers who find reasons to be dissatisfied with whatever goes out the door. It's easy for many people to fall into the trap of offering criticism without kudos. Valamir, I'd like to hear details about what worked. You mentioned the group had a lot of fun. Tell us about it, wouldya?

Best,

Blake
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Clay
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2001, 07:51:00 PM »

Just thought I'd throw in some examples from my own game, to give a counter-point to Ralph's comments.

First, combat is extremely deadly, especially when demons are involved.  My player's characters regularly get their asses kicked.  Nothing inspires high-speed demon summonings so quickly as regaining consciousness as the Inquisition drags you through the street by your heels and while collecting faggots.  Combat also moves very quickly, even when we do have extended strategy discussions about what we're doing.    We aren't trying to simulate being in a fight, we're trying to tell a story about a very dramatic fight.

As for needing examples of good conditions for handing out role-playing bonuses, watch a movie in the style that you're interested in emulating.  Think of cool things that the characters in the movie did in a fight to give themselves an advantage, and use that as your base.  That's how we did it, and it worked very well.  We did something similar for sorcery, although here we worked from books that we had read, not movies (so few movies really get into the whole human sacrifice issue--you really need greek tradgedy for that).

Truth be told, we haven't had a whole lot of summonings and bindings; aside from their starting demons, the players only called up demons for short-term assignments.

We didn't have Ron here to show us the game, and we got going very well just by reading the basic rules and applying our imaginations.  We're also very grateful that Ron didn't supply us with a detailed setting.  We've had fun building our own worlds.  

If you're needing a world pre-built for you though, head over to http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com">www.sorcerer-rpg.com and pick up one of the mini-supplements.  They're the cheapest game setting supplements you'll find anywhere for any game, and you have unprecedented access to the designers right here on this forum.

Good luck in your game, Ralph.  My advice is to forget about the game's shortcomings and make the most of its strengths.  You'll be hard pressed to find a game with these strengths; games with shortcomings are a dime a dozen.


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Clay Dowling
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