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Author Topic: Urban Squalor - Thanks Mike M!  (Read 3023 times)
ricmadeira
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"You can choose just who you are."


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« on: October 17, 2004, 12:34:06 PM »

Hi there!

Just wanted to thank Michael S. Miller for his Urban Squalor scenario, and ask for his forgiveness for shamelessly taking all his stuff (although that doesn't really mean I'm sorry!).

I wanted to run a one-shot for our group this Saturday and since I'd been trying to get my friends to create characters for a Sorcerer campaign for months, why the hell not take Sorcerer out for a spin? Even if the game is not really suited for one-shots with pre-gen characters, at least I would get to know the system better and the players would see how easy it is to create a character.

I'd been toying for weeks with the idea of using Ron's In Utero scenario from Sex&Sorcery, but this time I had to tend to the needs of 4-5 players so... two days ago I grabbed Mike's stuff, translated the characters' backgrounds to Portuguese (mostly so I could get to know 'em better as I wrote), created stats (which weren't part of the original write-up) for the sorcerers and demons (except for Gillian, which had its stats mentioned in another thread, and for Solomon, which I got from the Monicus example demon in the rulebook), made a few adaptations and I was ready to play and hand-out character sheets by the time the group arrived.

I remained mostly faithful to Mike's original characters, even down to the names... Because I was one player short of 5, I took the son & daughter and combined them into a single character: a daughter living with her poor mom Diana and at the bottom of the social ladder at school. Diana's first child, a son, had been born dead all those years ago when she was still with John, and that's where things started going sour even before the botched bank robbery.

Anyway, I tried to leave the few written down facts open to various sorts of interpretations and tried not to impose personalities on the characters, so the players could have free reign to play the characters their own way. I made sure I told the players 4 or 5 times before the game started that they were suposed to make those characters theirs, make stuff up on the spot, and not limit themselves to what was written in their sheets.

It all seemed to work beautifully: the system, the characters, the relationship map, the kickers. Everyone got into it really fast. I bungled things up many times system-wise: I missed the first oportunity to call for a Humanity check and, even tough I didn't miss the second oportunity a few minutes later, I think that might have had an influence on the turn of events; I didn't remember rituals take time to set-up and complete and so I permited instant punishing and banishing with full dice in the thick of combat... and, well, I think that's mostly it. Small but very big mistakes, eheh.

Oh, and I had no idea whatsoever that a Special Damage: Lethal strike from a Demon with Power 10 (the Solomon/Monicus thing) would be so... well, goddamn lethal, before it was time to look it up in the damage table. Oops!

I just loved the combat system! Very chaotic in an elegant and orderly kind of way and very fast, perfect for the big fight which ended the game after four hours of "intense role-playing". As for the system of awarding bonus/penalty dice to actions for good/bad roleplaying or storytelling, we all agreed it should be part of most RPGs out there. Hope we can make better use of those rules with more practice! Yesterday it was very hard for the players to keep those bonus/penalties in mind with so many new things to learn and explore.

As for the scenario... what scenario? The players did it all for me, and I just had to frame the scenes and keep things running. Even the deadly climax came entirely as a direct result of their playing: a very jealous and cynic Matthew, now with full knowledge of Solomon's real powers, stroke up a bargain of Diana's life for the lost money and it all ended in a big showdown at the warehouse, where he prevailed over the other three Sorcerers.

I didn't get much use out of the demons; it was my first time as a Sorcerer GM and there really wasn't much time for them to rebel/disobey/go into need or establish much of a personality, but the players geared things up by themselves. They all ended up meeting each other without me to set things up; they set it all up for themselves with good-old Author stance. So there was a big family meeting at the Inferno bar (which I also lifted from Mike) very early on, and seeing those characters together after all those years with so much bad blood between them was priceless! They pretty much BANGed (in Sorcerer-speak, of course) each other several times over during that scene. :)

Well, I think everyone really liked the feel of the game, and now getting people to put their Sorcerer characters where their mouth is seems much easier. People who for some moons complained of lack of ideas for Sorcererish characters (actually that's probably the fault of the one-sheet I gave them to work on: very generic and flavorless) are now full of them, so I should have a campaign started in a few weeks.

Thanks again to Michael for the wonderful characters and R-Map. And to Ron, for the game!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2004, 07:01:59 PM »

[dusts his hands, stares coolly at the Adept Press forum with upper lip slightly lifted on one side]

Ric, thank you!

Don't forget Humanity checks (get the other folks invested in calling for them), play the demons as if you loved them dearly, get the time element into ritual rolls, and yeah, Lethal Special Damage will vaporize a normal person.

Best,
Ron
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2004, 08:49:59 AM »

Quote from: ricmadeira
Just wanted to thank Michael S. Miller for his Urban Squalor scenario, and ask for his forgiveness for shamelessly taking all his stuff (although that doesn't really mean I'm sorry!).


Forgiveness granted! Thanks for posting about this. I'll let my players know about their characters' trip across the Atlantic. FWIW, if you had e-mailed me, I would have happily provided you with character stats, etc. Maybe I ought to collect Urban Squalor into a single document for folks to use... Add one more thing to the Voluminous To-Do list.

But I'm glad you and your friends enjoyed the scenario and Sorcerer.
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ricmadeira
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"You can choose just who you are."


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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2004, 12:07:29 AM »

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
FWIW, if you had e-mailed me, I would have happily provided you with character stats, etc.


Yeah, that would have been great. But the game was two days away so I decided my best bet was to creat the stats myself and not hang around waiting... this way I also learned a bit more of the rules in the process. :-)
Funny how you only notice the little essential details when you have to use the system in practice!

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
Maybe I ought to collect Urban Squalor into a single document for folks to use... Add one more thing to the Voluminous To-Do list.


Yep, I'm sure there would plenty of people new to the game that would be grateful for that.

Thanks again!
Ricardo
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