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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Another first time sorcerer prep-thread...  (Read 1204 times)
bastion-b
Member

Posts: 11


« on: October 09, 2004, 04:11:17 PM »

Hi all! The purpose of this thread is basically to get some pointers from all you experienced sorcerer buffs and maybe get some help in finding solutions to my woes as a first-time sorcerer prep dude. Iíll start with a brief description of the game me and my players have in mind:

The setting is roughly based on the black forest from Sorcerer and Sword, but with more of a ďnorthern medievalĒ feel to it. The demons (creatures that live in the big, scary forest) are mostly things out of old swedish and norwegian folklore, and there is some conflict going on between the pretty much victorius forces of christianity and the old norse mythology, which has become very marginalized and (although frantically fighting to stay) is being pushed further and further into oblivion.
The main issue is the forest though, and how its evil is affecting the actions and mindset of the human beings living in it. There are two villages present in the story, one where most of the action takes place and where the relationship map is centered, and another one that came into being just because one of the players had a character concept that involved a desperate pagan leader of a village that is gradually turning to christianity, and he didnít want it to be the first village.

Iím not really sure about what would make a good definition of humanity, but I am considering something like ďconnection to human society (as opposed to the forest and the creatures in there)/empathy for your fellow manĒ with demons mostly out to create antagonism between the humans and make them turn to the forest instead. Iím planning on using a heavily modified version of ďThe forbidden TomeĒ from Soul, if that makes a difference. So what do you think about this? Could it work or should I come up with something a little more specific? Maybe itís too specific? I really feel like this is my biggest insecurity overall about preping and running a sorcerer-game.

The other trouble Iím having is with descriptions for attributes. This might be a dumb question, but could I just go with the ones in sword or should I try to come up with really setting-specific ones? (Iím having a little trouble thinking of better suiting stuff)

Oh, and if one of the players is playing a dude that really hates christians, and the other guys are playing christians, am I going in for a shitload of trouble? :) I guess one could just try really hard to come up with other connections between them that still allows positive interaction?

When we have made characters I will probably come back with a whole horde of new questions.

Does anyone have any comments besides these questions, maybe I am missing some REALLY important thing one should always consider during sorcerer prep?

Edit: Oh yeah! I forgot about the sorcerous technicality stuff. This I am also having some trouble with. Exactly what is it that I am supposed to come up with? So far, I have decided that the demons all come from the evil forest, and that Lore is basically knowledge of the forestís ways and perhaps itís bakground (this I havenít really specified though, so that might not be such a good idea.) And that you learn it mostly by word of mouth from the ďcrazy old peopleĒ that live in the woods, you know... hermits and witches and stuff. There are some sorcerous rune writings to, but to read them you usually have to go into the forest which people generally donít want to do. But thatís pretty vague, am I supposed to come up with descriptions of how de different rituals work?

Peace
/Johan
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sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2004, 09:34:54 PM »

On the subject of natural antagonism:

First and foremost, you should examine how a party mixes together as a group, and what sort of possibilties it creates for play. Would other people be intereasted in this guy who is naturally disinclined towards the other PCs? Then allow it. Do other people not like the idea of PC's working against each other? Then dissallow it.

I think its imperative that PC's in a Sorcerer game aren't a "party", and by a "party", I mean a group which deals with one shared conflict for all the same reasons. You want to be able to give paticular characters significant spotlight time, and have the game be about what -that- character wants.

After that, how cooperative or uncooperative the characters are is a question of your group.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2004, 06:51:25 AM »

Hello Johan,

Welcome! (Sweden is awesome. My wife is Swedish.)

I think your main focus, right now, needs to be the players. You have enough setting, or almost enough. The next step is to consider any interesting NPCs or demons that you'd like to use - not in terms of what they'll do during play, but just in terms of being cool - that you'd like to play them. Then, and much more importantly, inspire the players by telling them about how inspired and enthusiastic you are. You don't need detail, just the stuff you've said. Disclose as much or as little about the cool NPCs as you want.

Then! Very important. Top importance. Get the characters made. Follow the steps outlined in the first chapter of Sorcerer & Sword in exactly that order. You'll see that the majority of your preparation comes after the characters are made.

Here are what you'll discover after you and the rest of the group sit down as a group and do this.

1. The backs of the character sheets are crucial. Make damn sure you all see them all filled out.

2. As a side-effect of #1, you will discover that many rituals have been invented (for the Lore section), that the demons now have personalities, and that there are many NPCs and places existing in the setting that weren't there before. And besides, stuff is happening (the Kickers).

3. You, as GM, are now the "player" of all these things.

The thread Sorcerer campaign web pages? might provide some interesting reading for you too.

Quote
The main issue is the forest though, and how its evil is affecting the actions and mindset of the human beings living in it. There are two villages present in the story, one where most of the action takes place and where the relationship map is centered, and another one that came into being just because one of the players had a character concept that involved a desperate pagan leader of a village that is gradually turning to christianity, and he didnít want it to be the first village.


Iím not really sure about what would make a good definition of humanity, but I am considering something like ďconnection to human society (as opposed to the forest and the creatures in there)/empathy for your fellow manĒ with demons mostly out to create antagonism between the humans and make them turn to the forest instead.


When I think about the fairy tales (bad term, I know) that inspired this setting for me, the one thing that strikes me is that the Forest is not the sole source of evil. The source of evil is human cruelty. The Forest is terrifying, arbitrary, and often deadly, but it is also a mix, just like human society, of innocence and cruelty.

It seems to me that the society/forest dichotomy is not the core for Humanity. Look over The Sorcerer's Soul again - what it's saying is that Humanity always concerns a recognizable, familiar, and real distinction between right and wrong. Saying "forest/society" doesn't capture anything real, because it merely points to imaginary places in the setting. Instead, think of potentially positive things about both the forest and society, which they might even share or express in different ways, and that becomes Humanity.

You've probably noticed that Judd (Paka) has just posted a similar setting in this forum (The evils of civilization) and I answered him with some similar comments.

Quote
Iím planning on using a heavily modified version of ďThe forbidden TomeĒ from Soul, if that makes a difference. So what do you think about this? Could it work or should I come up with something a little more specific? Maybe itís too specific? I really feel like this is my biggest insecurity overall about preping and running a sorcerer-game.


I can tell you're insecure about this because, with respect, you're not making sense ... I have no idea what you mean by "specific," for instance. I suggest putting that term aside and turning instead to what the players' character preparation offers you. Trust me, if you all take the time and enjoy it with a good will, then you as GM will be provided with more preparation material than you can imagine.


Quote
The other trouble Iím having is with descriptions for attributes. This might be a dumb question, but could I just go with the ones in sword or should I try to come up with really setting-specific ones? (Iím having a little trouble thinking of better suiting stuff)


I think you just answered your own question. Use the ones in Sword if they seem to work.


Quote
Oh, and if one of the players is playing a dude that really hates christians, and the other guys are playing christians, am I going in for a shitload of trouble? :) I guess one could just try really hard to come up with other connections between them that still allows positive interaction?


"Positive interaction" is something which is 100% necessary among the players, and 100% irrelevant among the characters. It really doesn't matter how well the various characters' ideologies match or don't match. It does matter greatly that the players enjoy and understand one another's characters.

Also, I strongly recommend treating Christianity in the game exactly like you treat the Forest: full of arbitrary and powerful danger, full of sources of power, and with many small or at least potential features which are "good." Then whatever the "good" is, for Christianity, for the Forest, and for the ordinary society/village life, call that Humanity.


Quote
Edit: Oh yeah! I forgot about the sorcerous technicality stuff. ... am I supposed to come up with descriptions of how de different rituals work?


All you need to come up with is a couple of examples. You can imagine one of those crazy old people teaching a young sorcerer, right? Or what a bottle of something would look like? That's all you need. Use those images to inspire the players to come up with the rituals themselves, both during character preparation and during play.

Best,
Ron
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bastion-b
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2004, 02:38:11 AM »

Thanks guys!
I definitely did not have any thoughts about the PCs being some kind of a "party", but I guess I'm just a little too prone to start worrying about my players not being able to keep from killing one another. Kind of stupid really, since the whole point is that they are supposed to be interested in each others characters and want to hear their story.

Ron: Sweden might not be as awesome as you think... my local gaming store was the only goddamn place where I could find the sorcerer books in the entire country!

Yesterday I dove into character generation with your advice in mind, and it was on the whole a good experience. We had been discussing concepts and I had been providing lots of feedback on their thoughts during the last few weeks, and all four of the players went into the game with a pretty strong image of what kind of character they wanted to play. Now I have loads of material for preparation, just like you told me I would. The players didn't really start talking about that interaction stuff, wich we had discussed before but without really coming to any conclusion, so I guess we will have to at least discuss it soon.

Anyway, thanks a bunch for clearing up that humanity-stuff. I feel enlightened!

/Johan
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2004, 07:37:05 AM »

Hi Johan,

Let me know the name of the game store where you bought the books, and I'll link to them at the Sorcerer website.

Also, when I talk about player interaction, I mean during play itself, so don't concern yourself with it yet. No big deal at this point.

Best,
Ron
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bastion-b
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2004, 11:45:33 AM »

Oh sure. The store is called Collector's Point and its website is at www.collectorspoint.se

Yeah I guess once againg I got tje jibblies about trusting my players to make those deciscions themselves. I need to get those silly worries out of my head.

Keepin it real since 1985!
/Johan
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