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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Second Session: The Things on the Doorstep  (Read 12172 times)
Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« on: April 10, 2004, 09:52:28 PM »

Hello all, here's the actual play from our second session of Sorcerer.

The Premise as defined by the group is, roughly, "What would you give up for Knowledge?  Who or what would you trade for power?"  

Humanity = Empathy = Connection to and investment in the people in your life.

Previous session here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=10429

I also want to thank the folks giving all the great input in the “Selling Lore” thread.  http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=113884#113884  All of that really helped explain some of the great usefulness of the Stat and gave us lots of opportunities to demonstrate ‘rolling victories over’ in the combat at the end of the session.

Play began with the Kicker for our third and final character, Ken Osato.  A somewhat 'draft' version of Ken can be seen here: http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/sorcerer-print.php?sorcerer_no=592.  Ken's a l33t computer programmer and the current president of OsatoSoft North America.  Looking over his character sheet, you can see that Ken's player (***Dave) left more hooks hanging off of him than Fisherman's Wharf.

It's Saturday morning, the morning after the events of Session One (of which Ken knows nothing -- he was busy closing a lucrative business deal) and it's raining hard.  The news is talking about dropping temperatures and incoming snow, possibly a nasty blizzard (the game is set around Cambridge/MIT in the Boston area of the east coast).  Ken, in his robe, is padding out to get the paper off the walk.  

KICKER
He open the front door and his father (who is also his sorcerer master) is standing on the doorstep.  (Something of a shock, since his dad stays in Japan mostly, running the 'main' part of the business.)  Dad says, "You've killed me.  Now who will save --" and keels over, apparently suffering a massive coronary.


Ken, somewhat in shock at seeing his father and shocked even moreso at the collapse, pulls him fully into the entryway and checks his pulse.  Nothing.  He glances outside, closes the door, and checks Dad over once again, looking for some clue as to what the old bast-- umm... man was talking about.

Plane tickets from Japan, one-way.  His ostentatious pinky ring...

that golden amulet, engraved with the Katakana for "Knowledge" and "Power" that Ken's never seen his father without.  Hmm.  *Yoink*.  *Pocket*.

Ken calls the authorities, telling them that his father just collapsed on his front step.  Yes, it's awful.  Please come quickly.  Yes, I checked his pulse, I'm not an idiot.  Goodbye.

BANG
Ken turns away from the phone, and Dad's standing right there.  Over his shoulder, Ken can see the old man's body still lying in the entryway.


The yurei scowls at Ken's uncontrolled shout.  It glowers.  Ken asks "Father, what are you doing here?"  He's willing to clarify that question further (Why are you in America/Boston/My house/returned from the dead/et cetera) if necessary, but wants to see what the unspecific query will yeild.

The yurei glowers.  Finally: "See to the family."

Ken blinks in astonishment.  The ghost is gone.

Shakily, he calls the younger of his twin sisters, Hiroe, aka Ossie, and tells her about their father.  She says she'll tell their sister and they'll both come over.  Ken is nodding and half listening as he hangs up, glances in the hall mirror, sees his father standing right behind him, whirls...

nothing there.

"That's going to get very tiring, Father!"

--

Shannon (http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/sorcerer-print.php?sorcerer_no=582) is moving around her house, grousing about the bruises and carpet burns from the fight the night before.  Bister (http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/demon-print.php?demon_no=267) is trolling through political blogs and forums looking for a good argument to jump into.  Shannon is meditatively reflecting on the bad weather outside and the fact that this means she will (thankfully) not have to deal with any... people... today.  Why?  Because people suck.

The doorbell rings.

BANG
Through the peephole, she can see a rain-soaked, bedraggled woman.

"We don't want any, thank you!"

The woman pushes wet strands of hair out of her eyes, revealing the fact that it's Yvonne, the sorceress from last night's "party."  Shannon scowls at the peephole.

"Please... Shannon?  Miss O'Neil?  I need help."


"I know!"

"No... there are people after me.  I'm in trouble."  Her face is blasted an desperate -- a woman on the last shreds of her Humanity.  "I've got no one else to ask.  Please?"

Bister's with Shannon by this point, and is emphatically against letting the woman inside.

"I helped you last night, I think."

"Which is why I came to you now! Please?  I need help and a place to hide."

Shannon scowls at the door for about a minute.  Finally, she unlocks it and opens the door.

"Don't drip on the floor."

"Thank you."  Yvonne steps inside, carefully hiding her distate for the homeliness of the house.  She pushes away her wet hair again.  "Would you mind if I?..."

"Bathroom's through there."

"Thank you."

(The above bang I devised as the first potential Humanity test of the session -- really the first of the game for anything other than summoning demons.  The bang worked really well and, by not rejecting the abject cries for aid from another human being (marginally still human, anyway), she avoided a Humanity Loss check -- there's even the chance for Humanity gain in the future, depending on how far Shannon sticks her neck out for Yvonne.)

As soon as she hears the water for the shower turn on, she tells Bister.  "Find me the phone number for that pretty boy from the party last night.  His last name was Ryan.  He should be in the student or faculty directory."

"With pleasure."

--

Val Ryan (http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/sorcerer-print.php?sorcerer_no=591 - Sebastian in the first game log) is getting his chest bandaged by a pre-med coed that he dates sometimes (the player has worked up quite a little harem of NPCs).  The phone rings.  Shannon informs him "That skinny wench that set up the party last night is at my house.  I want her not to be."

"What can I do?"

"You're the one she wanted to seduce... Pied Piper her butt out of my house!"

Ryan ponders his options and considers that having the Librarian owe him a favor (or Yvonne for that matter) is worth a little effort on his part.  He agrees to a date with the premed girl for several nights from now and gets ready to head out.  Shade (http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/demon-print.php?demon_no=266 )is staring in fixation at Ryan's laptop screen (the voyeur-need demon likes to read his master's email).  Ryan comes around to look.

BANG
Someone (anonymous remailer) had emailed him a link to a website address which, (After several hops through numbered IP addresses), led to a video file of a short snuff film.  The girl on the film is the girl that was in his closet the morning before. The film shows her getting 'hooked'.
 

The person doing the hooking is backlight and undiscernable.  Shade, whose need is Voyerism, is ... quite exicted by this video.  Ryan isn't.

So... the woman who set them up to be fed to a house is at Shannon O'Neil's house, and someone knows enough about him to know that he'd be interested in film of this particular girl being killed... and they think he can be screwed with.

Ryan is not happy about this.  Time to get a gun.

Ryan calls up Douglas Lassiter III, a post-grad from old money who owes Ryan for covering up some drug possession problems the year before.  Douglas' family likes to hunt and Ryan knows he has a few guns at his place.  He heads over there to get his hands on a handgun and sends Shade to go over the dead girlfriend's (Juli? notes are fuzzy) apartment to see if there's anything there that might be incriminating.  The news on the radio indicates that Juli wasn't the only girl gone missing in the last two days, but does NOT mention finding the girl on the banks of the river (where Ryan left the body yesterday before calling the police anonymously).  Odd.

Ryan badgers Doug into giving him his handgun (opposed Will rolls).  There's no shoulder holster, and he doesn't want to wear it on his belt without a carry permit (especially not in Massachusetts), so he drops it in the leather book satchel he carries most places (notepads, loose paper, and (we joke) Binding for Dummies).

CLV (his mentor -- http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/sorcerer-print.php?sorcerer_no=597) calls him on his cell on the way to Shannon's house.  She just got a very interesting web page link emailed to her.  Ryan figures he knows which one.  CLV is not happy that someone seems to be burrowing into Ryan's life... the two of them are of an accord on this.  Ryan mentions where he's headed.  CLV, after hearing the Shannon took Yvonne into her house says "It sounds like she gave Yvonne Sanctuary... that's very noble of her." It doesn't sound like a compliment.

Ryan asks about "sanctuary" and CLV explains that it's basically what it sounds like:  sorcerer in danger asks for aid and protection, if they're taken in, the other sorcerer agrees to protect them.

Ryan parks, gets out, walks up to the front door of Shannon's (small) home and knocks.

"I'm sure she wouldn't have done that," he comments, before hanging up.

--

Ken talks with the detective who's looking over the scene.  The paramedics have covered the body.  The detective seems curious about Dad's unexpected arrival in Boston... his relationship with Ken, what happened before he died, et cetera.  He give's Ken his card "in case you think of anything pertinent", and leaves.  Out on the walk, the detective sees the sisters show up and stops to talk with them.  Hanae is perfectly under control, Hiroe is in tears.  The detective and the girls talk for a bit, so Ken takes the opportunity to get properly dressed and stash the amulet in his front pocket.

The sisters come in and they talk a bit about what happened.  Ken makes tea, Hiroe tries to be helpful and brings in the paper that Ken never got.  Ken's object-demon Doji (a PDA) gets quite cold at one point in the conversation when ambitious Hanae starts asking about what will happen with the company, while the amulet in his pants pocket gets quite warm.  Hanae makes several comments regarding Ken's good luck with business and 'how much Dad taught you that he wouldn't teach us' (ostensibly speaking about business, but who knows?).

Ken excuses himself to the master bathroom to take a look at the amulet and Doji the PDA, but nothing seems overtly amiss, and he heads back out to the rest.

BANG
Hiroe is looking at the paper's front page with big eyes and asks Ken if he doesn't "know this girl".  There's a front page article in the side bar about two missing Harvard coeds, one of which is a girl Ken dates
(currently they aren't getting along, because she found out that Ken hacks his Everquest accounts to give himself an unfair advantage -- it's more fun that way -- gee, wonder where he learned to think like that). The other girl in the article (the players know) is the girl that Ryan found hanging in his closet the day before... the one in the snuff film.  Both live in the same organized post-grad grant-housing off campus.  It doesn't look good for the girl.

--

Ryan steps into Shannon's house, looking wet but perfect.  Yvonne is coming out of the bathroom and Shannon points between the two of them.  "I think you know each other.  Time for you to both go."

BANG
Yvonne: "But... you said you'd help me and you took me in!"
Shannon: "And now you're leaving."
Yvonne: "But you can't do that!"
Shannon: "Why not?"
Ryan: "Ahh... are you familiar with the concept of Sanctuary among sorcerers?"
Shanon: (huge, pregnant pause) "What?"


A quick double check of Lore indicates that, despite her good score, she's never heard of the practice of Sanctuary.  In fact, further checks throughout the session indicate a clear pattern -- hard facts on sorcery and demons are there in detail, but the social niceties of sorcerer interaction is very absent from Shannon's father's books -- as are any mention of other sorcerers he knew.  Looks like Dad was as antisocial as Shannon is.

Shannon, resigned to 'doing something' about Yvonne, engages in a conversation with Ryan about the mysterious snuff film that he's asking Yvonne about.  Yvonne's in the 'sleazy film' industry but only knows a few rumors about such things as snuff films.  Ryan shows them the video and both Shannon and Yvonne seem to to sense something odd about it... possibly arcane?

(This was a player add-in -- wasn't on the docket, but I liked it a lot.)

Yvonne knows a video doctor who might be able to take the feed and pull something more informative out of it, so they all pile into Ryan's Audi TT and head to the south side of the river and the docks.

--

Ken talks a bit more with Hanae, with the girl making veiled comments and he sidestepping them and thinking about possible moves to make regarding OsatoSoft and his Uncle, the CFO back in Japan.  The three agree to meet for dinner in a few days and figure out the logistics of timing the funeral back in Japan with the Thanksgiving break coming up in the next week.  Hanae has already called her professors to arrange for bereavement extensions on her work.

After the girls leave, Ken pulls out the Amulet and sets it on the table, then pulls out Doji (http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/demon-print.php?demon_no=268) and 'talks' with him (he writes on a notepad screen and the demon's replies fade in over them, which we realized a little ways in was a bit like the evil diary in the second Harry Potter book, but cool despite that).

Doji says he was getting cold because... well, maybe because they were being scryed or watched?   Ken asks Doji about the amulet, because he believes it's a demon (is kinda pretty almost sure) and has realized that binding it would probably (a) get him a lot of power and (b) be a really big coup if he decides to make a play for the whole company and usurp his uncle.  Doji gives out some info but none of it is reassuring enough to make Ken feel that he shouldn't try to bind the amulet on short notice.  

Ken 'talks' with Doji a bit more and asks it (I think -- my notes are sketchy here) to see what it could do about his missing girlfriend.  The screens goes back to the leering Oni screensaver and shuts down.

--

Shannon, Ryan and Yvonne are driving out to the a disreputable area of warehouses and storage facilities along the river (Ryan drives very fast, but (Price: Arrogant) doesn't pay a heck of a lot of attention to the road).  Ryan is asking Yvonne how she knows there are people after her.  She describes 'grey men' who've been dogging her steps since she escaped the house and tried to grab her twice.  She's pretty sure they're demons, but doesn't know if they're spawn or not or who they might serve.

Right about then, Shannon yelps and Ryan (finally) notices the grey... homeless-looking man standing right in the middle of the street in front of them.  He swerves, but sort of tries to clip the guy, since he suspects this might be one of Yvonne's stalkers. (http://www.sorcerer-rpg.com/demon-print.php?demon_no=262 -- made up on the website about three minutes earlier when I suddenly realized I needed some stats)

Ryan's cover roll for the fancy driving isn't good -- the car spins out a bit on the wet pavement and they essentially hit the thing going sideways down the street.  The passenger door crumples and the ragtop above Shannon caves in as the body folds down over the car.

First combat series, listed in the order it resolved:
 - Ryan wants to go straight forward with the car, hop a curb to bounce the thing a bit loose, then spin and throw it clear of the car.
 - Yvonne goes for a Punishment.
 - Shannon is going to command it to leave them.
 - The demon is going to grab (Hold) Yvonne, so as to take off with her.
 - Ryan shouts "there's a gun in my satchel!"  (soliloquies take no time? :).

The car manuever works pretty well, but the demon aborts its action to get a decent defense roll and, when it's thrown away from the car, its 'coat' flares out and helps it float to the ground easily -- what's underneath ain't human.  Yvonne goes for the Punish, but she's shaky and doesn't get any kind of effective dice.  Shannon uses her Lore to address it in the ancient Babylonian it's expecting for commands, but it stands its ground against her command.

Second series, listed in the order the negotiated actions were rolled:
 - Ryan peels out, trying to get clear of the thing.
 - Yvonne goes for the gun and shoots the thing.
 - The demon wants to grab Yvonne.
 - Shannon goes for Punishment.

(This order was TIGHT -- three people had at least one 10 on d10s and Shannon, the slowest, had three 9's and two 7's.  The demon didn't roll so well.  Of the PC's demons, Shade was still at Juli's appartment and Bister doesn't have Travel and didn't want to get left behind if he left the car.  Yvonne's had apparently all been eaten by Yzor.)

Ryan guns the car.  Shannon opens the satchel but grabs a loose bit of paper and a pen instead of the gun. Yvonne goes for the gun and, with only two dice, gets a 10 and 9.  The demon has Armor, but defended with only one die and gets a three:  total success (I rule) essentially negates the effect of Armor, so two successes resolve against it on the Small Arms row and leave it with -4 die for its next action -- its attempt to grab onto the back of the car fails miserably.  Shannon rises up in her seat, turning around as the car speeds up and flings her sketched paper like an Anime-style yori prayer strip at the demon's head.  The thing blows its roll and the paper plasters over its featureless face, the runes glowing a fiery red.  It hits the ground writhing like a wasp that got hit with Raid (four successes on the Punishment roll).

The trashed Audi speeds away (Ryan's player is considering a nice old Cadillac with a big trunk), the group deciding NOT to turn around and Contain the thing when Shannon (Lore roll) notes that those kind of demons usually don't act alone.

And that's the session.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2004, 12:54:57 AM »

Nice. Makes me want to can one of my current games and get a Sorcerer group together.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2004, 05:43:46 PM »

Hi Doyce,

That's a great in-game synopsis, but what I'd like to know about are the interactions and dynamics among the real people, yourself included.

First, demographics: age range, gender, interconnectedness (e.g. spouses, etc)?

Second, dynamics: who objected to or modified someone else's proposed action or approach to a situation? Who enthusiastically started playing someone else's character? Who seems to like the demons and egg you on to play them extra demonically? And so on.

Best,
Ron
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Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2004, 06:31:03 PM »

Ron, thanks for the questions

Quote from: Ron Edwards
First, demographics: age range, gender, interconnectedness (e.g. spouses, etc)?


Ages are from 30 (Shannon) to about 45 (Val).  I'm at the low end at 33.

Interestingly, the player genders actually followed the character genders in this game -- it doesn't always work that way -- Shannon is played by female, both Val and Ken are played by guys, and the GM (me) = male).

Interconnection
Shannon's player (Jackie) is my wife, who came into gaming in 93 with Gygax's Dangerous Journeys, moved to Amber, and has played Amber, Nobilis, and d20 regularly and interchangeably for the last couple years, as well as GMing and playing some InSpectres and Trollbabe recently.  Val's player is the oldest and came to gaming (i.e.: "Imprinted") via Amber (he GM's Amber as well) and is always a hard sell on diced games, but seems to really enjoy Sorcerer.  Ken's player started playing in college using AD&D and a number of Fantasy Heartbreakers and DC Heroes, GMed Amber after college, met me playing in my Amber game, and currently GM's a d20 Spycraft game (which, for d20 encourages at least a Player's Author role at times).  We've all played with each other for at least 4 or 5 years.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Second, dynamics: who objected to or modified someone else's proposed action or approach to a situation? Who enthusiastically started playing someone else's character? Who seems to like the demons and egg you on to play them extra demonically? And so on.


Everyone seemed into what the demons were doing and Val and Shannon's players are both somewhat egging Ken's player on regarding binding Dad's Amulet demon (which I'm theoretically using Monicus for, since it's just about perfect for a power-tripping Mentor :), but at the same time saying 'man, *I* sure wouldn't do it.  I think the only real out of game concern has been how to tie Ken's story into everyone else's, which seems to be important to everyone. (I'm just throwing out bangs and seeing what's happening.)

For instance: knowing that Ken's a "computer guy", they are laying more emphasis on that fact that the snuff film is on the internet and that they might need an expert to track it down -- just laying the ground work for finding someone like that later.

The only objection to in-game play came after the game, when we were talking about how Shannon got a bit trapped into helping Yvonne with the whole "sanctuary" thing.  That was an adlib in Ryan's scene on my part, so Shannon didn't get a Lore roll about it until the "What?!?" scene because I didn't know until then that that was what had happened (though I planned to let her find a loophole with a successful Lore roll).

The group concensus was to let it ride though, since, as Val's player put it, "when you make up a loner character, you have to expect to get your ass kicked into the plot now and then".  Shannon's player agreed.

We have so much player-commentary on other people's scenes at any given moment that I'm hard-pressed to say where there was contribution to another scene specifically -- we respect each player's right to play their own character as "my guy" (with 'this would be cool' suggestions from the peanut gallery), I happily let players contribute bits to other player's Demons where useful.  (Players also throw in ideas for more dice in complex conflicts of whatever nature.)   I'd say the big player contributions came with suggestions about Doji, Ken's object-demon PDA, because I really had some trouble getting a handle on his interactions and some of the players had some fun ideas for him.  Doji certainly has been presented by the character as being "extra unfriendly" by the player himself, which contrasts him with the others -- Val's "Shade" is a childhood friend of sorts, and Shannon's Bister is fed his Need freely and often -- Shannon really treats him like an equal and valued companion unless he's screwing up.

Hopes that's useful info.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2004, 11:52:07 AM »

Quote
BANG
Through the peephole, she can see a rain-soaked, bedraggled woman.

"We don't want any, thank you!"

The woman pushes wet strands of hair out of her eyes, revealing the fact that it's Yvonne, the sorceress from last night's "party." Shannon scowls at the peephole.

"Please... Shannon? Miss O'Neil? I need help."

I think I may be missing some context from the other posts about the game. How was this a Bang? I mean, why wouldn't Shannon's player decide to cave in eventually and help? What was there to lose by helping out? Again, maybe there's something from the previous play that pertains, but from here it seems like a one-sided event.

For example, if you'd had Shannon surfing, and coming across some ephemeral data that she could capture if she didn't take the time to help out, then you'd have her in a dilemma. As it stands it seems like, "Play unempathically and take a potential humanity loss, or help out with no repercussion." What am I missing?

Mike
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Doyce
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2004, 12:36:50 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote
BANG
Through the peephole, she can see a rain-soaked, bedraggled woman.

"We don't want any, thank you!"

The woman pushes wet strands of hair out of her eyes, revealing the fact that it's Yvonne, the sorceress from last night's "party." Shannon scowls at the peephole.

"Please... Shannon? Miss O'Neil? I need help."

I think I may be missing some context from the other posts about the game. How was this a Bang? I mean, why wouldn't Shannon's player decide to cave in eventually and help?


(edit: grumble about post-eating-demons)

1. The woman was the sorceress who'd set up Shannon (among others) the night before -- feeding them to Yzor.
2. Shannon holds grudges in a big way and had actually argued toward having the woman killed the night before.
3. The woman is demonstrably duplicitous and dangerous.  By letting her into her home (and life), Shannon is putting herself at risk for no benefit.

Knowing the player and he image of Shannon, I knew there was a solid chance she'd tell the woman to go to hell despite the possible impact on her Humanity.  (Is this a sim-style "My Guy" thing?)

From a authorial point of view I suppose it could be argued that the most interesting thing was clearly to take the woman in, so by that light it was really a given... hmm.

I dunno -- with this added information, does that scene come off as a bang?  (I labeled the stuff I'd thought of as a Bang for this exact reason -- just to get feedback from folks if they saw something they didn't think really qualified.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2004, 12:57:18 PM »

Hello,

Mike has a thing about whether a GM-introduced bit of material is a Bang or not. I suggest that it's not worth concerning yourself over to the degree that he's suggesting; as long as you know you're not taking over the player-character, then you're good.

The problem is that many GMs are used to taking over player-characters without realizing it, as they anticipate a team-up or a vendetta or the revelation of a clue in a later scene which hinges upon a particular course of action in the present one. Therefore by providing "hints" or other sorts of pushes (up to and including simply reaching over and saying the character does X or Y), they insure the proper decision.

So just avoid doing that, and keep playing the NPCs with plenty of intensity, and all is well. Don't let Scary Mike rattle you.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2004, 03:24:18 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Don't let Scary Mike rattle you.
Who's that? He wasn't scared, he gave a great response (I think it was the transcript-y nature of the post that threw me, originally). Sounds like it was likely a very nice Bang, actually. I mean, from what he said, I could totally see the player declining to help.

Mike
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Judd
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2004, 04:31:09 PM »

Just wanted to say that I really liked the format of your post.  The Bangs and Kickers in bright blue was a fantastic way to post it.  It really made it easy to skim for bangs and then go back and re-read carefully.  Nice.
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Doyce
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2004, 07:55:04 PM »

Thanks for that -- I don't want to admit how many times I edit/submitted that thing late at night before I finally got a look I was happy with, since I was looking for just the effect you guys have mentioned -- easy-scanning.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Lisa Padol
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2004, 08:10:45 AM »

Quote from: Paka
Just wanted to say that I really liked the format of your post.  The Bangs and Kickers in bright blue was a fantastic way to post it.  It really made it easy to skim for bangs and then go back and re-read carefully.  Nice.


I agree. It helps to see how the session was put together.

-Lisa
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