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Sorc. Blog: Feudal Japan

Started by Darcy Burgess, August 26, 2005, 12:37:34 PM

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Kirk Mitchell

That's fair enough, and a most reasonable way of approaching it.

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Lisa Padol

Quote from: Ron Edwards on August 26, 2005, 07:16:47 PM
3. None of this has anything to do with stifling creativity. It is all about avoiding the pitfall of "genre safety," in which the demons are an understood quantity of a known universe. Remember: demons do not exist. Say it again: "in our game-world, the fictional one in which we are making a Sorcerer story, demons do not exist."

I'm serious. They don't. Sorcerer is not about playing a game in a world in which demons exist. They don't exist there.

Now you get the idea, I hope. "But my character has one" should prompt exactly the response you'd expect.

Oh. My. God.

I have just been hit over the head with a stick by Ron. Am I enlightened yet?


Lisa Padol

Quote from: jburneko on August 26, 2005, 08:39:51 PMThe non-existence of demons is one of those things I occasionally shake my fist at Ron for not including explicitly in anywhere in the books.  It's a vital and key concept to the game.

Hm. On the one hand, my gut agrees with you. It should be in the text.

On the other, when I explained to Stephen Tihor, my larp-writing mentor, about the non-existence of demons, he just nodded and said that it made perfect sense. He didn't think it needed to be in the text. The game is playable just fine without it, and he argued that making it explicit introduces a failure mode. He did elaborate, and the elaboration made a lot of sense on Friday, and I can't remember exactly what he said now. Something about how it gets folks saying, "Okay, so if people can do X, even though demons don't exist, then they can do Y, so why aren't there other modes like that" -- if this sounds garbled, it's me, not him. He said something coherent and sensible.


Lisa Padol

Quote from: GreatWolf on August 27, 2005, 08:47:15 PMThink about your average ghost story.  Normally, the setting is "the real world".  Not "the real world plus ghosts".  That would be Wraith or Orpheus or Ghostbusters.  Just the normal world, where people get up in the morning and go to work, just like every day.  There are no such things as ghosts...except that you have just seen a ghost.  There is a sense of wrongness that pervades this appearance.  Ghosts don't exist.  Everyone knows that.  But you are looking at one.  Its entire existence is a violation of reality, which makes it horrifying.

Now, take this to the next level.  Ghosts don't exist, but you went looking for one...and were successful.  Ghosts don't exist, but your need for something has forced you to bind one to your needs.  If ghosts were a normal part of the world (even an evil part), then this would "merely" be technology manipulating the "natural" world.  But ghosts aren't a natural part of the world.  This is what makes them transgressive, and that's what makes ghost stories horror stories (i.e. stories about violation).

Oh, yes. Something that's just wrong by existing. Got it.


Darcy Burgess

Chargen essentially finished -- yay!

Am currently knee-deep in prep, and loving it.

We've pared down to 3 players, keeping "samurai general", "fallen samurai" and "freaky child with demon doll".

And that complement is what I'm currently struggling with -- and I new that I was going to (in a good way) as soon as I proposed "feudal Japan" as a setting -- how to integrate characters from such opposite ends of the social spectrum in such a stratified society.

This "problem" is one potential tactic for addressing the premise.

Much good conflict here too.
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Darcy Burgess

Actual play writeup from session one here.

Am currently wrestling with crafting a few bangs for next session -- I want to introduce Ikebana early on, and am thinking that a crowd scene would be a good opportunity.

And the players have asked for a crowd scene involving Kenji's arrival in "the city".
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Darcy Burgess

Prep for Session #2, following on ideas from the players in Session #1, as well as Ron's feedback.  Read both here.

Scene 1 - Kenji Arrives
The scene will play out in and around a bridge leading into town -- some houses are nearby, as well as an orchard.  The predominant feature is the bridge crossing a river.  The fall rains have swollen the river, and it is rushing fiercely.  A large crowd of locals has gathered to see what's going on, as the Daimyo's men have been summoned to greet the "visitor".

Here's my bucket of shit to throw at the players, mostly in the form of motivations/opportunities for their demons:

Nobutaka/Biwa: Biwa will want to become involved with a group of children playing in the crowd.  Nobu will likely be tailing Kane Koga (brother's murderer and member of the house guard).

Saiko/Kenji: Saiko will continue to take "Aiko" (the little girl they met on the road) under her wing, and will persue this agenda with Kenji -- this fulfills her need to "become what she is" -- ie, Kenji's wife and mother of their "child".

Kyuzu/Sword: After Kyuzu's less than stellar showing with the Daimyo's son, Sword will be looking to establish dominance over someone (possibly Kyuzu, but the little Aiko is also a possible target).  Kyuzu will of course be part of the "welcoming party".

Aiko/Saiko: Aiko will want to play with the children as well.  However, she'll play quite rough, wanting to act out in an aggressive fashion.  Some of its abilities may come to light.  This is the real instigating moment, as it will likely draw in Nobu and Kyuzu in one way or another.

Tengu (the wildcard):  Tengu is the demon bow being carried by an operative of Ikebana (see above, probably page 1 of this thread).  Abilities will include haste, ranged damage, and shadow.  The pair will strike indiscriminately, and attempt to flee into the chaos.

I'll be interested to see if this plays out well -- I'm concerned that I haven't loaded it enough, but I'm simultaneously worried that I've got a scripted outcome in my head.  My plan is to make an effort to throw narration duties at the players whenever I'm tempted to "get back to my story".  Here goes...

If I can scrounge up some webspace, I plan on posting my onepage for this session as well.
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Darcy Burgess

Aha!  I found some space.  My bandwidth is questionable, so please only dl if you're really curious...thanks.

One-Page #2

As an addendum, I have nothing prepped beyond "scene 1" for this session -- I imagine that it will fill a good part of the evening, and I'm hoping that it is laden with enough potential to kick the players into action.  And I'll just keep on workin' those demons...

Which is tricky (and hopefully satisfying to my inner actor) when 2 of them are objects.  Although we've granted the conceit that Biwa (the doll) can use some language with Nobu when they're in contact with each other.
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.


Very cool stuff here.  I especially like the ikebana.  I've just started reading Sorcerer (just finished ch. 4) and coincidentally the anime series, Samurai Champloo has caught my eye.  Your ideas on this thread here have gotten me thinking about the two together.  Nothing more than that at the moment, though.  I'll be interested to see some more actual play on your game.
"If you've ever told someone how your day went, you can narrate." - Andrew Norris at the Forge on player narration

My name is also Andrew and I have a  blog

Darcy Burgess

I'll be posting to actual play (session 2) in a few days, and I'll link to the thread from here.

This is my first time out with Sorcerer, too.  My advice: check out the Art-Deco Melodrama (search with those terms and you'll find 'em) threads in this forum.  They're the best starting point for prep.

Personally, I've found keeping this prep blog really useful too -- it has let me look back at a record of problems I had, solutions I implemented, and the result (via linked AP threads).

One issue I'm struggling with (conceptually) is whether the Premise we're working with is "too cerebral" -- but once elements of chaos and oppression start rearing in the game, that might change.

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.

Darcy Burgess

AP thread from Session #2 here.

Prep worked out well -- I'm still debating internally whether or not play was "demon-y" enough, or whether I resorted to mundane stuff in play too much.  In the end, it probably doesn't matter, as the game was a blast for everyone.

Just as note-taking, the "telltale list" currently stands as:

Kenji: has spotted all telltales he's come across (which is everything that has one, except for Tengu).
Nobu: has only spotted Seiko and Kiko's telltales.
Kyuzu: has only spotted Nobu and Biwa's telltales.

My challenge for prep for Session #3 seems to be what to do with Kenji, as he doesn't seem central to the bang at hand (Kyuzu and Nobu in a chase).
Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.