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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 84 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: A Li'l Sorcerer One-on-One  (Read 2755 times)
Jason L Blair
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« on: September 02, 2003, 06:48:45 AM »

I'm cooking up some Sorcerer goodness for a one-man game and am curious if there's been any discussion/tips regarding this? Could someone post links, if so?

Much appreciated,
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2003, 11:44:33 AM »

This thread could be helpful:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6909

It deals with Jeff's single player game with his wife. It also refers to the thread in which it was set up.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2003, 12:10:31 PM »

Hi there,

Jeffrey's threads (there are three, actually, counting those here and in Actual Play) are an ongoing trouble-issue for me. I have a lot to say about them and feel bad that I haven't yet posted in response to all his effort. I'll get to them, I promise.

They do provide an example of why I generally recommend that people do not play Sorcerer with one GM and one player. Or rather, go ahead if you'd like, but I think doing so removes some crucial features of play.

1. Protagonism is defined by interesting others at the table. The more people present (within certain limits, which for me is about five people), the more interest. The more interest, the more attention, the more feedback, and the more diverse the feedback.

Again, this "more" is limited by the maximum number of people who can possibly communicate in a creatively-intimate fashion. But my point is that two people, especially two with strictured/defined roles ("GM" and "player") aren't going to have much room for that. No one gets to be a spectator, you see; all communication occurs in one vector going one way, and a parallel vector returning in the other way.

2. This limited set of communication (which is where the creativity happens) results in the interpersonal issues, if any, becoming way too intrusive. Instead of focusing on Premise, play tends to focus on Social Contract for its own sake ... and to abandon the Exploration entirely. Jeffrey and his wife, in my view, were hampered by their married/relationship, not helped.

Clinton's current version of Urge suggests one-on-one play, but I suggest that it's not as crucial as his text says, and that perhaps two or three players would be perfectly functional. People who've played Urge are welcome to chime in.

Best,
Ron
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Jason L Blair
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Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2003, 12:17:48 PM »

First off: Gak. My post was short and annoying. I apologize for not expanding on it, guys. Thankfully, my core concern was addressed in this:

Quote from: Ron Edwards
1. Protagonism is defined by interesting others at the table. The more people present (within certain limits, which for me is about five people), the more interest. The more interest, the more attention, the more feedback, and the more diverse the feedback.


This is exactly what I'm mining for. I'm not planning of playing Sorcerer with only one player as an experiment but because that's the number of player in my current group. I'm very interesting in any tweaks folks have made (including official or unofficial mini-supps that address two-person play) and how they've handled Sorcerer's multiple-chefs set-up with only one chef (and a sous-chef).
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Jason L Blair
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2003, 12:57:59 PM »

You heard him! Any ideas, people? Experiences, observations, warnings, suggestions?

Best,
Ron
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Jeffrey Straszheim
Member

Posts: 112


« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2003, 05:57:04 PM »

Hey folks,

I don't know if this will be helpful, at least for Jason.  The one-on-one Sorcerer games with my wife have mostly fizzled out. Regarding Ron's thoughts:

Quote from: Ron Edwards
1. Protagonism is defined by interesting others at the table. The more people present (within certain limits, which for me is about five people), the more interest. The more interest, the more attention, the more feedback, and the more diverse the feedback.


Spot on!  Also, I think there was a tendency for her to drift into pure character exploration as a sort of default.  This works well enough for our Trollbabe games, where the escapist element is sufficient for fun, but when given the high level of moral content demanded by Sorcerer, it falls rather flat.  I did get a nagging sense that more players would change everything.

Quote
2. This limited set of communication (which is where the creativity happens) results in the interpersonal issues, if any, becoming way too intrusive. Instead of focusing on Premise, play tends to focus on Social Contract for its own sake ... and to abandon the Exploration entirely. Jeffrey and his wife, in my view, were hampered by their married/relationship, not helped.


With the caveat that this is an area where any self-examination is suspect, the last sentence rings true, the rest not.  The Social Context issues with my wife did hover over everything, and surely didn't help.  However, I didn't strike me as a prohibitive element. Just, as Ron says, not helpful.  On the other hand, I didn't sense any drift from Premise to Social Contract per se.  Premise was very weak, but as I just said I think it was character exploration (for her) and situation exploration (for me) that took over.

If I were to do it again, I think I would eschew any subtlety.  Form a very blunt premise and setting, a simple backstory, small supporting cast, and go with that.

For example (I'm thinking of my wife when writing this):

Premise: Should a woman refuse her socially proscribed role?

Setting: Analog of fifteenth century Venice using &Sword.

Humanity issues: Family loyalty, Marriage and reproductive stuff from Sex & Sorcery, and (by contrast) self-actualization.

Backstory: This depends on her character and her kicker, but perhaps something involving an arranged marriage (to an old but powerful man), a cool suitor disdained by her family, and a controlling interest in a valuable trading company left to her by her sorcerer mentor.

Here the premise is so direct, obvious, and easy to bring forth, that I think it could work.  However, I'm in no rush to try one-on-one Sorcerer again.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
Fabrice G.
Member

Posts: 206


« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2003, 12:50:59 AM »

Hi,


I've run a two-sessions story one-on-one game. It's not the first time that I play one-on-one games, but it was the first time with Sorcerer.

I found it very helpfull to have a demon with a strong personnality and a defined agenda. This way, the demon became a really important NPC, deeply hooked with rthe Sorcerer from the begining.

I was some personnal/psychological story, so the setting was minimal, and I used almost only what was provided to me by the player. That way, the player was more interested by the bunch of NPC he acted with.
But as Jeffrey says, it was easier with a small cast of NPC.

What I found more difficult was to frame the scene as aggressively as I would have with a larger group. As you only have one player, there's no need to switch back and forth between two, three or four characters acting at the same time. So, for me anyway, it was harder to cut the roleplay because with one-on-one, it's such easy to do nothing but explore the character psyche. That's not really an obstacle, but it's better to be aware of it, so you can fight it with proper scene framing.

Another thing that was negative in my view: the impossibility to generate bonus dice between players. That can seem trivial, but in fact that's one of my favorite aspect of the system. This feature really promote interaction between the player. And cross-generating succes with a bunch of NPC didn't seem attractive to me. So that strengh of the system did go right out of the game.


Hope that you find something helpfull in this,


Fabrice
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