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[Sorcerer] Our Fourth Session

Started by Lisa Padol, February 16, 2006, 02:56:41 AM

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Lisa Padol

This was the January 29, 2006 Session. We've since had another one.

The description of the characters and the write up of the first session are here:

The write up of the second session is here:

The write up of the third session is here:

Demons are limited to Passers (in animal form) and Possessors (without Hop).

GM: Lisa Padol

Joshua Kronengold: Herr Doktor Professor Sebastian Black, disqualified from being Graf von Black due to his limp. Teaches Philosophy.

His demons: 'Elena, a Passer Raven, and Minerva, a Possessed Mouse. 'Elena is jealous of Minerva, but has not yet tried to eat the new demon.

Dave Demast: Herr Doktor Professor Andreas von Ouranenburg, not himself a noble, but cousin and friend of Graf Rupert von Ouranenburg. Teaches Natural Philosophy, with dissections and vivisections. Potential serial killer, falling in love with Sebastian's niece Ysabel.

His demons: Orion, a Passer Dog, and Leonardo, a nobleman possessed by a rabbit spirit.

Beth Bartley: Ingrid von Pfender, plague-scarred heiress and university student. Wears a veil to hide her scars. Like Andreas and Sebastian, she discovered the existence of Possessor demons a day ago. Unlike them, she has not tried to summon a Possessor.

Her demon: Aquila, a Passer Eagle.

Julian Lighton: Niccolo di Tarci, talented artist who would want to be Leonardo da Vinci if he'd ever heard of him. Horrified at having summoned a Possessor demon into the daughter of his patron, and less than thrilled to learn that he'd given her brother, Marcello, the idea of summoning a Possessor into his brother Leonardo. Before that, Niccolo was blissfully ignorant of sorcery, and Marcello had only summoned demons into his children, not realizing that one could summon them into adults. Niccolo has only recently become aware of the existence of Passer demons.

His demon: Teresa Mantuo, a noblewoman possessed by a fox spirit. Leonardo's sister. Teresa is starting to lose patience with Niccolo. Her Need is physical intimacy; her Desire is Love. Alas, Niccolo sees her as the thing that killed Teresa, and the only reason he hasn't banished her is that she told him that if he did, all he'd be left with is Teresa's corpse.

Pamela Gutman: Sophia von Winterhagen, scandalously unmarried, but hardly celibate. Sophia is a swordswoman, a sort of society-approved assassin-for-hire who takes money to kill people in duels. She does not know about Possessor Demons.

Her demon: Nariya, a Passer Cat.


My game prep included:

-- typing the contents of the index cards with NPC stats into my pda. This did help, as I used the pda during the session when I couldn't find one of the NPC index cards. They'd started out alphabetized, but got disorganized in session. No problem! The pda NPC files were alphabetized.

-- a two page spread in my Sorcerer composition book with lists of scenes / general stuff organized more or less by when I first thought they'd happened. I'm not sure to what degree I found it directly useful in play, though it was a useful prep tactic, as it kept me from writing more than would fit on those two pages in the composition book and flipping through it in play.

-- index cards with scenes, stuff, dialogue that might be good to use. This was extremely useful. I hated index cards in high school, as that wasn't how I organized my thoughts, but I'm often finding them useful in gaming. Your mileage will vary. I find that the act of writing and copying what I've written means that I'm better at remembering it. This means that if someone were to grab the index cards from me at the beginning of the session, while I'd be annoyed, I could still run better than if I'd not written them. One session of Cthulhupunk was probably greatly improved by the combination of my careful outlining of what I wanted to keep track of and my subsequently leaving my notes at work. I remembered the important details, but didn't flip through my notes.

I did not lose my notes or put them away this session, but neither did I read each card verbatim or go through them in strict order. They were memory jogs.

Another way to look at it: I once ran a session set at a faerie market, loosely based on the Unknown Armies scenario "Swap Meet". I had a list of things that might happen, one per index card. Josh told me that I had reinvented the index card dungeon. People weren't kicking down monsters and taking treasure, but each incident was sort of like a room.


We met from 7 - 11 or 11:30 pm at Columbia University's Hamilton Hall. We need to set an alarm for 10:30 pm next time, and I need to do a hard break at 11 pm, no matter what all or some of us are in the middle of.

Josh and I arrived first, about 6:50 pm, sat a bit, then found an empty classroom, room 407. This was more challenging than I had expected, as classes were in session. The last time we'd done this was for character creation, and we'd hung out at the Hungarian Pastry Shop until after the last classes had ended, I suspect.

We called and IMed folks, and, by 7:30, everyone was present. I continue to be boggled by the combination of a relative lack or response to my pre-game emails ("Where and when should we meet?" "Guys?" "Okay, fine, I decree this is where and when.") and folks showing up, pretty much on time, every time. This is cool.

Josh started drawing on one blackboard, making diagrams for the lecture he'd planned to have Sebastian give, one that would accomodate the character's new knowledge of how the world worked. I started writing on another blackboard, putting down the various dramatis personae, grouped by family, and going through the lists. Josh asked if I planned to recap the entire game, but Pamela, Dave, and Beth said that they needed the refresher. I do have the list down to one page, and I did email that to my players, but I was pretty sure that a recap was in order.

I recapped, and, at about 7:50, an 8 pm class began to gather outside. We erased the blackboards, gathered up everything, and moved to the now no longer occupied room 411. Dave said that the last classes ended at 9, so we wouldn't have to move again. He was correct.

Everyone rolled for experience. Sebastian's Stamina went up. Everyone else's Cover went up. I am wondering if I should raise NPCs' stats as well, or if NPCs don't get experience.

[To be continued in next post: We Begin]


Lisa Padol


Our first two sessions each covered a day and a night. I had thought at first that this was true of the 3rd session as well, but, in prep, I decided that there were evening matters that needed to be dealt with. Niccolo and Andreas both had evening activities to begin with. Sebastian didn't, but had been shorted in air time, so I put a moveable segment here.

Sebastian saw a light burning in one of the rooms of his place. He used Link to see through Minerva's eyes. She was keeping to the back of the bookcase, peering at Sebastian's younger brother, Edmund, who was sitting in Sebastian's chair with his feet on Sebastian's desk. Edmond had raided the larder for food and drink, but had not touched the books, Miranda's Special Charge.

Sebastian came in to greet the younger brother who held the title that would have been his own, but for his deformity. Edmond was deliberately insulting, noting the "nice little" place Sebastian had and the odd hours he kept. Sebastian said that he was doing research. After all, he had an academic debate the day after tomorrow.

Edmond: Ah, yes, the duel.

Edmond made it clear that he thought some of his brother's "research" might involve prostitutes.

Edmond: An odd way to mourn your wife. What was her name, again?

Sebastian asked why Edmond was there. Edmond explained that he would be marrying Ingrid, and that she would be in Sebastian's morning class, along with Ysabel, Edmond's daughter from his previous marriage. Edmond wanted Sebastian to keep an eye on Ysabel and make sure she was safe, just in case Ingrid got any ideas. After all, if anything... happened to Ysabel, as it had to Edmond's and Sebastian's father, Garamond, Sebastian still wouldn't inherit. Ingrid's kids would. Edmond thoughtfully pointed all of this out, thus, he felt, giving Sebastian a motive to protect Ysabel.

As soon as Edmond left, 'Elena took the opportunity to say that Minerva was no good. Sebastian asked the mouse what had happened before he and 'Elena arrived. Minerva explained that she'd heard Edmond getting the locksmith to make a key. (This led to a brief digression as we agreed that, yes, there are locksmiths, and big, primitive locks with big keys.) She'd also heard a horse moving in the streets. Sebastian guessed that it belonged to his academic rival, Rainer, whom he was going to debate. Minerva said that Edmond hadn't touched the books.

Sebastian explained to 'Elena how useful Minerva's information was. 'Elena, who desires praise, sulked. She also pointed out that what Minerva had told Sebastian -- that his brother had a means to get in to Sebastian's rooms and that Rainer was interested in Sebastian's rooms -- was stuff that Sebastian already knew.

Sebastian said that he was sure that 'Elena could have done better if she hadn't been doing more important things. (I'm not sure what these things were.) He also mentioned the idea of stealing the key. 'Elena volunteered Minerva, who is likely smaller and weighs less than a key.

Sebastian mused that his brother would know if the key were stolen, and would probably just have another made. Minerva, I think, suggested that Edmond might eventually realize that he was being rude. Sebastian said that Edmond probably already knew that. He speculated about sending 'Elena to kill Edmond.

'Elena perked up. After all, she'd been summoned to kill Garamond, but someone had beaten her to it! Sebastian said that he'd have to think about this. After all, Edmond was family. The menage a trois retired for the evening.

Niccolo returned to his new quarters, nearer the university, to find Teressa gone. He assured the self appointed student guards (recruited by Teressa to protect Niccolo from the real Teressa's sorcerer brother, Marcello) that, yes, he was sure that Teressa was fine, just shopping, like she'd told them. In the middle of the night. He headed out to find her, ditching his escort.

Niccolo found Teressa in a tavern, coming on to a university student. Her Need is physical affection, her Desire is love, and Niccolo hasn't been giving her any of the latter, and a minimum of the former, and clearly grudgingly at that.

Niccolo interrupted the pair at the most inopportune moment for them. The student tossed money on the table and fled. Teressa asked Niccolo hopefully if he planned to fight the student. He said that he didn't, and suggested that if Teressa were really afraide of Marcello, wandering off with a drunken student wasn't such a bright idea.

Teressa pondered aloud the merits of wandering off with several students, then of hiring Sophia as a bodyguard, playing up Sophia's femaleness and noble birth, and not mentioning Sophia's reputation.

Andreas sent Leonardo to the nearest brothel, as he had no clue about which brothels were best for what. Andreas gave the demon a full purse. [Note: Andreas is not rich. How long can he afford to do this?]

Andreas spent his second night with Ysabel, no gentler with her than before. After they had sex, she dressed and told him not to worry if he heard about her father trying to marry her. She'd stop that. Perhaps her uncle, Sebastian, would help. Andreas managed a stunned affirmative. Besides, Ysabel continued, if her father wouldn't see reason, she knew how to break a husband, just as her cousin Gudrun had broken hers, i.e., by summoning a Possessor demon into him. Andreas stood stunned and speechless as she left.

In retrospect, I pondered whether this might be a lousy way to end a scene. NPC delivers stunning one liner then walks off allows, perhaps encourages, inaction. I want to encourage action. Julian and the folks at the Forge forums assured me that a moderate use of this technique was not necessarily bad, and Dave assured me that it didn't break him. It did mess with Andreas, who is looking for Innocence in Ysabel, and notes that "the reality of Ysabel will be increasingly difficult for him to deal with."

The next morning, Sophia's bastard niece, Sigrid, again wanted to accompany her, still recovering from being kidnapped and from identifying Herr Doktor Rainer Schwanhausser as the man who interrogated her while she was blindfolded. The two women left the house and were met by a messenger from Sophia's parents.


To one who used to be our daughter --

Our eldest son is contemplating the folly of opening hostilities with the von Pfender. Know that this is not our wish. We do not countenance such folly, and certainly not for such a minor matter as a female bastard who was not even injured.


Sigrid asked what the note said, and Sophia told her. Sigrid said that she was a good daughter, virtuous and virginal. She then hastily said that it wasn't that the other was bad. No, there was nothing wrong with sleeping around like, say, the woman Sigrid was planning to hide behind, Sophia.

Leonardo returned to Andreas' home. Andreas asked if he'd had a good time. He had. He asked if he could have the woman that Andreas had had, that is, Ysabel. Andreas said no. Leonarado looked sad. Orion looked from Leonardo to Andreas, silently conveying that he'd be delighted to hunt down the rabbit Possessor.

Ingrid's great grandfather, Siegfried, reminded her to warn Sebastian against Rainer and to give him a note inviting him to meet with Siegfried if he remained unconvinced. Ingrid agreed. As she made ready to head for the university, she saw Horst, her uncle, who resented the fact that she, not he, was Siegfried's heir. Siegfried had summoned Horst to ask him stern questions about using Rainer to kidnap Sigrid.

Beth asked if there were any servants in Siegfried's house who were loyal to her. She rolled cover, and succeeded well enough that I went with her suggestion that Ingrid's old nurse might be part of the household. Nonna agreed to have a warm posset ready for Siegfried, and perhaps to see if she heard anything through doors.

Note to self: If Beth had actually failed the roll, the thing to do would have been to suggest to her that Ingrid thought she had found such a servant, but that whoever it was would report her request, either to Siegfried or to Horst.

People went to the university, and I set the stage for a crowd scene in a corridor that contained both the room where Sebastian lectured and the studio where Niccolo worked. It was also a corridor that Andreas took to get to his classes and to his laboratory. And, currently, it was full of Sebastian's students and Rainer's students, yelling at each other and supporting their professors.

I drew a quick diagram on the board -- a circle representing the crowd, with Sebastian at one end, and Rainer at the other. Julian directed me where to put Niccolo, and Teressa was a bit in front of him. She'd spotted Sophia, with Sigrid next to her, and was trying to make her way to Sophia, but the crowds were too thick. Sebastian had 'Elena with him, while Sophia had Nariya with her. Andreas and Orion pushed through the circle. Ingid, without Aquila, had no problem with personal space, as people tended to give the plague scarred woman a bit of a berth. I added Ysabel to the mix.

Josh said that Sebastian would try to calm the students, using his rhetoric on his students, and Rainer's rhetoric on Rainer's students. He rolled first for Sebastian's students, and easily calmed them, then for Rainer's, and didn't quite succeed.

So, as Sebastian was beginning to have an effect on his rival's students, he was interrupted by the Languages Chair, the Italian professor, Joanna Gavelli, who loudly proclaimed for all to hear that she had a bone to pick with him. She said that Sebastian had said that his former student, Ludwig, thought himself too good for Sebastian's class. Well, she'd have Sebastian know that the boy was plagued scarred, and, unlike Ingrid the heiress, he had no money to buy himself friends!

Ludwig was the nephew of Einhardt Schilderote, the head of the university, who was none too fond of Sebastian. Naturally, he happened to arrive on the scene as Joanna gave her tirade. Meanwhile, Nariya saw something fascinating and showed it to Sophia via their lind: a weasel with a human face.

A Long Pause follwed as someone pointed out that we had all the PCs and 2 NPC sorcerers and various demons, and it was time for a big dice off. Ghods. This took far too long. Still, it could have been worse, and I had my chart to mark up. After the session, I created a spreadsheet and mailed the player version of it. Josh suggested how to annotate it so that future rolls, if they came up, would go more smoothly. I'll write about the dice off in a separate post.

Meanwhile, Ingrid decided that a response was required. She thought about saying, "Actually, they don't bother to pretend," but decided that this might be too impolitic, as she attended many parties of nobles where the party goers did make some pretense, precisely because of her fortune. She settled on, "Dr. Gavelli, you are overwrought." figuring that this was actually a pretty harsh rejoinder, all things considered. I agree, though I've got mixed feelings about the amount of time it took Beth to come up with the line. On the one hand, it really wasn't a problem, thanks to the amazing dice off. On the other, it's the sort of thing Beth wants to be able to do more quickly, and I know of no system that helps the player, not the PC, come up with a cool line.

[Dave, reading the above, pointed out that Dying Earth has taglines for this. I think this works moderately well for the type of game that DE is, but it works less well for impromptu situations.]

Rainer loudly announced that he would pay Ludwig a visit then and there, in the company of his students, who, he said, had stronger stomachs than Sebastian's students. And, he added, Ingrid was always welcome in his classroom. Ingrid decided that the entire scene had been scripted, and she was quietly furious beneath her veil.

Einhardt told Rainer that Ludwig was at the von Ouranenburg manor. Sebastian said that Ingrid was no coward. Einhardt pounced on this, accusing Sebastian of calling his nephew a coward. Rainer led his students out. Teressa tried to approach Sophia, but was pulled back by Niccolo. Suprised, but not displeased, she allowed this. Ingrid asked Joanna if she had some quarrel with Ingrid. Distracted, Joanna replied that her quarrel was with Sebastian.

Nariya jumped out of the basket Sophia had put her in, and began chasing the weasel. Sophia began chasing Nariya, to Einhardt's disgust. Sebastian began leading his students to class in an orderly march. Sophia joined the rest of the students, after trying to convey to Nariya that the cat Passer was to bring the weasel back alive, not eat it. This came out to the spectators as "Fetch!"

Niccolo noticed Ysabel's imperfectly hidden bruises. Ysabel told Sebastian that she needed to speak privately with him at his earliest opportunity. Andreas told one of his older students to lead his morning class, then ran off to warn his cousin, Graf Rupert von Ourananburg, of the mob en route to visit Rupert's lover, Ludwig. Dave reminded me of just how destructive student mobs have been.

The corridor was empty at last, leaving behind only two questions:

Who told Joanna Gavellia that Sebastian thought that Ludwig thought that Ludwig was too good for Sebastian's class?

Why did Einhardt tell Rainer where his nephew was? My guess is that, whatever else may be going on, Einhardt did not want Rainer leading the mob to the house of Ludwig's widowed mother, Einhardt's sister.

[To be continued in next post -- The Big Dice Off]

Lisa Padol


Never Again!

I have created a spreadsheet to avoid having to go through this, and Josh told me how to annotate it with Humanity, Cover and Lore values. When I protested that this was a bit extreme, he countered that it was playing to my strength of pre-session prep so that the session itself runs smoothly. I am still skeptical it'll come up again, but what the hey. It'll be good practice with spreadsheets.

I told people that I still hadn't come up with Ysabel's Telltale, so, whoever found out that she was a sorcerer first would make it up for me. Alas, only Rainer, one of the NPCs, made his roll for Ysabel. The players inform me that this means I do too have to come up with the Telltale. Mutter. (Well, technically, Andreas knows, but he's in Denial.)

Niccolo spotted 'Elena and Orion, the first Passers he's seen, though he was beginning to suspect their existence, thanks to Sebastian's reactions when he told Sebastian about Possessors.

Andreas noticed nothing sorcerous or demonic. Dave decided that this meant that he was too busy looking at Teressa.

Ysabel had a similar resounding lack of success. I decided that this meant that she was too busy looking at Andreas looking at Teresa.

Rainer noticed Andreas, Sebastian, and Ysabel. This has got to change his plans for next session. Hm.

Sebastian noticed Teressa, her demonic nature as well as her beauty.

[To be continued in next post: The Mob]

Lisa Padol


Rolph, Rupert's butler, was surprised to see Andreas. On hearing the news and Andreas' exhortation to get crossbows, he let Andreas in and ran for Rupert.

Rupert listened to his cousin Andreas' more complete explanation, as the household barred doors and got crossbows and chamber pots. Rupert was not pleased at the idea of Rainer and students barging in on LUdwig. ("I think not.") He said that he didn't want Ludwig disturbed by any drunken oafs. Well, except himself. (This made Pamela decide that she liked Rupert.)

The mob approached and found itself met by mysterious barking dogs, strays, rather than Rupert's hunting hounds. Andreas assumed that this was because Rainer was a sorcerer, and that Rainer's presence disturbed dogs.

I rolled a couple of successes for Rupert's attempt to make the mob leave by yelling at them while servants brandished their weapons. Players agreed that this was a will rolls.

Someone: He might be able to roll successes over from his cover, depending on what his cover is.

GM (checking the index card): Eccentric noble bachelor.

Someone: Yep, that definitely counts.

We agreed that the two successes meant that the students would be driven off, with chamber pots flung, Andreas' crossbow shot at someone's feet, and one minor glitch -- Orion. +4 binding in the demon's favor. Andreas could not rein the Passer dog in. Orion leapt out a second story window, hit the ground running, and attacked a student, wounding him. The student was lucky that Orion had a worse roll on the attack than on ignoring Andreas' command. Rupert took the student in and had him tended to, keeping him far, far away from Ludwig. Rupert did this because he did not want Andreas to get into trouble for Orion's actions.

The mob gone, Rupert was nervously chatty, noting that it was a pity Sophia hade turned down his joking proposal. If they married, they wouldn't need to have sex with each other. He could fuck Ludwig, she could fuck whomever she wanted, so long as there was a child, and he'd claim the kid as his. Pamela noted that if Rupert had bothered to explain any of that, Sophia might actually have considered it.

Alas, Rupert hadn't, and alas, he noted that most noblewomen would actually expect sex with their husbands. Perhaps Ingrid wouldn't, but she probably would, and if Rupert married the plague scarred woman, the plague scarred Ludwig would probably think Rupert was making a joke at his expense. Bad idea. Andreas made the appropriate sympathetic noises and headed back to the college. After all, he had an afternoon class to teach, and this was the class with Ysabel.

[To be continued in next post: Herr Doktor Black Speaks]


Lisa Padol


Sebastian lectured, with Josh actually doing doing a few minutes of this. Ingrid and Sophia were present, and I told Dave and Julian that they could play students. Julian pretended to be a student who had fallen asleep. Sebastian talked about souls and bodies and animals and humans. Ingrid let Aquila know that it might want to listen in via the link. Sophia tried to do the same for Nariya, but the cat was intent on chasing the human faced weasel. After all, it could always get the class notes from Sophia. Ysabel was intent. Ingrid noticed her bruises.

After class, Ingrid managed to intercept Sebastian before Ysabel could. (The GM wanted to be able to run the Andreas scene, and saw no reason to make Beth and Josh kick their heels in the meantime.) Ingrid asked Sebastian to send the bird away before they talked. Sebastian did, guessing that she just didn't like birds. That is, Josh, who had flubbed a roll to remember that Ingrid was the von Pfender heiress a couple of sessions ago, similarly flubbed the roll to recognized what most nobles knew, that Ingrid hunted with an eagle. And, the GM learned that there is a reason not to split her attention, as she had to come up with a quick ruling on what to roll. OTOH, the flow still went better than making Josh and Beth wait around. Ingrid conveyed Siegfried's invitation. Sebastian accepted, and went to talk with Ysabel.

Ysabel tried to sell her uncle on the idea of her not marrying, at least not for a couple of years. After all, it would take her that long to complete her studies, surely.

Sebastian: To -begin- them takes perhaps two years. To complete them? A lifetime!

Sebastian seemed willing to help, but he did note that he had little influence with Edmond. Ysabel made the obvious suggestion that he come out in favor of the marriage to Horst, then wondered if Edmond might see through this.

Se added that her grandfather's death -- well, no doubt, there were reasons. And, she knew that, unlike her father, Garamond wouldn't have permitted her to attend the university. She finally asked Sebastian flat out if he had killed Garamond. Sebastian said that he hadn't.

Ysabel: Then, who did?

Sebastian: -That- is a very good question. I would like to know the answer to it.

I note that this is the same tone of voice -- and for the first statement, the same words -- that Sebastian used in his lecture when Ysabel asked if a man with a deer spirit within him would be unable to eat meat. It's the tone of a somewhat scary brilliant professor pouncing on a student who's just made him the tiniest bit proud. Y'know, "Aha! You're thinking!"

Ysabel asked if Doktor von Ouranenburg could help by examining Garamond's body. Sebastian pointed out that it -was- 6 months old. Ysabel asked if that meant Doktor von OUranenburg couldn't make the dead body speak. Sebastian said that maybe he could. I thought that Josh was thinking demon summony thoughts, but he just meant that there might be some forensic evidence.

[To be continued in next post, as much as will fit.]


Lisa Padol


Sophia got a flash from her link with Nariya -- the demon was in a cage. She figured out where in the university this was, went there, and, not at all to her surprise, came face to face with Rainer.

Rainer tried, unsuccessfully, to get Sophia to admit that she was a sorcerer. She insisted that she did not know what he was talking about or what he meant in asking whether she had the heart of a beast. As folks urged Pamela on, Sophia warned Rainer that he'd better let her cat go. At this point, Horst von Pfender made an appearance, and he told Sphoia that Rainer was under his protection. He was willing to duel her, duels and marriage being the usual ways to settle disputes, and Sophia having a reputation for not doing weddings. Sophia agreed, but was not interested in dueling Rainer. Hm. I should have had him draw steel on her. It didn't even occur to me.

[I also need to know Sophia's exact words -- Rainer's got the detect lies ability, but she may have worded things very carefully. And, as Julian pointed out, Rainer was pretty sure she was lying anyway.]

Sophia again menaced Rainer. Pamela beat me in a Will vs Will roll. To her and Horst's disgust, Rainer switched to near grovelling, though he did release the cat. Horst insisted on a duel, and he and Sophia set the time at an hour before sunset the next day, so that Sophia would not miss the academic duel. She was confident that Sebastian would skewer Rainer verbally, and that she would skewer Horst physically. Horst left.

Rainer tried to talk sorcery with Sophia, and failed miserably. When he spoke of dangerous and despicable folks, Sophia made the obvious comment that he was one of them. She headed out.

Rainer: I do not kill people's souls!

Julian: Only because he doesn't know how!


Ingrid went to her great grandfather's house to tell him that Sebastian was en route. Checking in with Nonna, she learned that Horst had upset Siegfriend greatly. Nonna heard, without having to press her ear to the door, Siegfried yelling that Horst was befouling the name of a virtuous lady, and Horst yelling that this lady was a murderess. Siegfried wouldn't explain any of this to Ingrid.

Sebastian arrived and Ingrid departed. Siegfried exhorted him not to debate Rainer, as Rainer would use foul, magical means to win. And, he told the other part of the story that Ysabel told to Andreas, so that the players, though not the characters, know both halves.

Gudrun von Ouranenburg, Rupert's mother, had become Rainer's enemy when Rainer and Sebastian first became rivals, years ago, as they finished their tenure as students. Rainer had learned sorcery with aid from the von Turtletaube family.

When Gudrun used her influence aginast Rainer and the von Turtletauben, Rainer summoned up a boar to kill Gudrun, but Gudrun's husband, Albrecht, killed the boar, dying defending Gudrun. (He himself was possessed, because of Gudrun's sorcery, but Siegfried doesn't know that.)

The whole thing was hushed up, and the von Turtletaub family left the city. The family returned maybe a year or two later -- time to send the players a somewhat revised version of the timeline, with newly revealed events added. In any case, the von Turtletauben returned with a new artist, claiming to have reformed. Siegfried had never trusted them.

The new artist was Paolo di Silvestri, wedded to the sister of the man who was now head of the university! And this business of Ludwig which Ingrid had told Siegfried about, which had caused Sebastian such embarrassment that very morning? Clearly a conspiracy! Rainer and Einhardt were clearly in it together! Yes, maintained Siegfried, for Rainer had returned earlier than Sebastian had realized, about six months ago. Right before Sebastian's father had died! Surely, Rainer must have killed him!

Sebastian quietly confirmed via his Lore that Siegfried was no sorcerer. He agitated the older man by maintaining his determination to conduct his part in the academic debate.

Siegfried did not like this, but he and Sebastian seemed to find common ground in the matter of Siegfried's grandson, Horst. Horst wished to marry Ysabel as his second wife, his first having died in the plague. While this, combined with Ingrid's marriage to Ysabel's father, might solve a lot of inheritance squabbles, Siegfried did not think that Horst was worthy of Ysabel. No, his grandson had been foolish. Very foolish. Perhaps he would grow out of his folly in a few years, but for now, he must not be permitted to marry Ysabel.

Siegfried repeated his words to Ysabel, explaining that he had little influence with his brother. Siegfried wrote a note for Sebastian to deliver to Edmond, asking Edmond to visit Siegfried.


Andreas headed past Niccolo's studio, whereupon both saw a very roughed up Marcello Mantuo. Marcello was roughed up because Niccolo had hired some men to rough him up, secretly hoping that they would kill him, but not quite ready to say as much. His price is Indecisiveness.

Marcello was supported by a man whom Niccolo recognized as one of the men he'd hired to rough up Marcello, and whom Andreas recognized as Axel, a peddlar who had sold him several dead bodies over the years, as well as a copy of the sorcerous tome, the Book Bound in Fur, taken from the trash heap of some noble family that had suffered many deaths during the plague three years ago. Both Niccolo and Andreas recognized that Axel was now Possessed by a jackdaw spirit.

Niccolo (to himself): Damn.

I'd thought about this between sessions. Niccolo was setting three men on Marcello. Marcello had summoned up Possessors to take over the bodies of his children and of his brother Leonardo. He would almost certainly try a snapshot summoning. (*) Now, what if Axel happened to be one of the ruffians, eager to make a little extra money? Bang for Andreas. In My Life With Master terms, I think Axel counts as one of Andreas' connections.

(*) Julian's comment on reading the above: And offstage, those actually have a chance of working. Lisa's musing: Is it just us? I keep wondering why Summoning is so danged tricky if the point of the game is to let the sorcerers hang themselves with demons.

Ingrid was there as well, listening for lies, as was Doktor Gavelli. Marcello loudly lamented his persecution by Niccolo. First, Niccolo stole his dear baby sister Teressa (true), then his dear brother's wits (sorta technically true -- Marcello hadn't realized that one could summon demons into adults -- he used his kids -- until he saw what Niccolo had done to Teressa. So, it was due to Niccolo that he summoned a demon into his brother. Ingrid even knew all of this, without needing the Perception: Lies ability.), and then set ruffians upon Marcello (true), yet they had more mercy than Niccolo (sort of true in that Axel switched sides after Marcello bound a Possessor demon into him).

Joanna Gavelli, using the well traveled corridor, heard the end of this and proclaimed, in Italian and German, that she knew tripe when she heard it. Marcello, in Italian, told her to hold her tongue, explaining who he was, a younger scion of a powerful Italian nobleman. Joanna, on her turf, and of high status there, and aware of exactly how powerful Marcello's father actually was, unimpressed, informed Marcello, in Italian that his father would have spoken better. Marcello snapped, in Italian, that his father would not have much to say much longer.

Andreas intervened, urging Marcello to let him minister to the nobleman's wounds. He led Marcello and Axel down to his lab, gave Marcello a sedative, and carefully bled him to death. Julian noted the rules about sorcerers being able to push through damage, and said that Marcello should be given a roll to wake up. I rolled, but Marcello did not awaken.

Now, bleeding was a respectable technique, but eventually Axel realized that there was too much blood. He lunged for Andreas, who ducked out of the way, while Orion, ready for this, lunged. Hm. I don't think I gave bonus dice to Andreas and Orion. They didn't need them, as it turned out, but they were ready for Axel, and they should've gotten a bonus.

Leonardo arrived outside the lab, pounding on the door, under attack by jackdaws. Andreas did not let him in.

I considered having Ysabel arrive and also get attacked by the jackdaws, but I decided that this forced the issue. It was far more interesting to see how Andreas reacted when it wasn't the woman he loved who was in peril.

Hm. I did call for a Humanity roll for killing Marcello, and Dave made it. He said that he was glad, as the definition of Humanity involved civilized vs animal behavior, and Andreas was acting quite civilized. While I think the roll was called for -- civilized people generally do not decide to lure someone to their lab and bleed them to death -- I think the result made sense. Andreas viewed his act as necessary surgery, removing an evil man. He is an odd combination of a civilized professor and messy acts of cutting into bodies. And, as Dave also noted, he seems to be fiercely protective of what he considers his "family", which would include Axel. This makes sense, given his past.

I wonder if I should have called for a roll for leaving Leonardo to the jackals.

Meanwhile, Niccolo decided to try to banish the demon in Axel and asked Teressa to boost his Lore. He expected to have to make concessions.

Teressa: I can do this, but you will not like it -- I have to kiss you.

Niccolo: It has to be done.

Naturally, Teressa was not content with one kiss. She began trying to undress him.

Julian: I really need her help.

So, Niccolo was forced by circumstances to make love to the demon-possessed Teressa. Alas, the Banish attempt failed.

Someone: The artist and his assistant are busy.

[This is where the question of proximity came up, with Niccolo on the second floor, in his studio, and Axel in Andreas'  basement lab. What the hey -- sorcery is based on the tension between animal and human behavior, and Niccolo used sex to summon the demon that possessed Teressa in the first place.]

Andreas decided to leave Marcello's body and dispose of it later. He and Orion got Axel on a table. Andreas pinched Axel's nostril's shut and forced him to drink a sedative. Leonardo kept yelling and pounding. Dave noted that Leonardo had Vitality, and the pounding could go on for a long, long time. Andreas called to Leonardo to fight off the jackdaws.

Leonardo apparently tried this and believed that he succeeded. Actually, the jackdaws left because Axel was unconscious and no longer Commanding them. Andreas let Leonardo in.

Andreas now had to decide between setting up a snapshot Contain for Axel or doing the full ritual properly, but missing his afternoon class.

GM: That's the one Ysabel is in.

Dave (after a lovely moment of agonizing): I can't blow that one off. It'll have to be a snapshot Contain.

Axel has not yet regained consciousness to test the Contain.

Andreas ordered Leonardo to stay and watch Axel, and to feed him a cup of sedative every hour. [This was what prompted my question on the Adept Press forum about whether the demon Leonardo do this without breaking the Contain in the first place.]

Leonardo again asked if he could have Ysabel. When Andreas refused, he pouted, saying that Andreas had already had her. Andreas reminded Leonardo that he was the one who funded Leonardo's trip to the brothel, and that he could choose to put a stop to that if Leonardo didn't behave.

Niccolo tried to banish the demon possessing Axel again. Julian rolled a couple of successes, but failed because of the Contain. We agreed a) that Niccolo would know that he'd failed check, you get a Humanity roll when you succeed, which argues something within you knows) and b) that he'd know something was blocking him. Asking on the Adept Press forum confirmed that this was the correct call, and Ron added that we could roll Niccolo's Lore vs Andreas' to see if Niccolo figures out exactly what is blocking him, i.e., a Contain. And, given the way the rituals work, I didn't need to ask if Niccolo might Banish another demon by accident. Sorcery is a matter of will, not accident.

Julian figured that Niccolo would eventually have to stop trying, at least for a time, because he'd run out of Stamina.

[Someone asked if banishing a possessor should call for a Humanity loss in addition to a Humanity gain if the sorcerer belives that the ritual will leave the possessed victim dead. On the other hand, the sorcerer is likely to belive that the victim was dead from the moment of possession.]

Meanwhile, Sophia decided to talk to Ingrid and Sebastian. This happened simultaneously with the scenes involving Niccolo and Andreas, so I'm not sure why she wanted to talk to them or all of what was said. I'm guessing Sophia wanted to talk to Sebastian about his rival, Rainer, and to talk to Ingrid about her uncle and rival for the family fortune, Horst, presumably to tell or their odd behavior. Sebastian and Sophia guessed that each other was a sorcerer, but not that Ingrid was as well. The three agreed that Sebastian and Sophia would pay a visit to Siegfried, with Sophia accompanying Sebastian on his errands, which included delivering Siegfried's letter to Edmond. The two planned to discuss sorcery away from Ingrid.

For her part, Ingrid decided to go ahead to Siegfried and to warn his majordomo (who needs a name) to make sure that all was prepared to soothe her great-grandfather after the next shock, aka Sophia and Sebastian trying to get Siegfried to get Horst to withdraw his challenge to Sophia so that she won't skewer him. It was tempting to let her do just that and solve some of Ingrid's problems, of course, and I decided that Ingrid should get a Humanity gain roll for choosing civilized behavior, even though it's not to her advantage.

Josh asked if Sebastian had also earned a Humanity roll. I think so. Sebastian succeeded in giving an excellent lecture and constantly maintained his civilized decorum despite being severely tried on all fronts.

I understand that Humanity Loss rolls should be frequent and Humanity Gain rolls rare. Perhaps it's my definition that's at fault. Or perhaps not. I think they've been about balanced, and that only because two characters decided to summon up additional demons.

Next session, the plans I know of are:

Andreas is going to teach his afternoon class. I don't know if he has evening plans or if he plans to try to get information from Rupert about what is going on with Rupert and Sophia's brother Frederiche.

Ingrid is going to give Siegfried and his majordomo a heads up about Sophia's and Sebastian's impending visit. She also plans to ask Ysabel about her bruises and if there's any reason Ingrid shouldn't tell Ysabel's father, Edmond, about them.

Sebastian and Sophia plan to talk about sorcery as Sebastian does his errands, including dropping off a letter for Edmond, and then to visit Siegfried.

Sebastian also plans to visit Ludwig, without a crowd of rowdy students.

Andreas plans to teach his class and perhaps to find Sebastian to talk sorcery with him.

Niccolo plans to have a talk with Ysabel about her bruises, probably an awkward one. He plans to visit Ludwig in the evening, as Ludwig invited him. He also plans to bring Teressa along to keep her out of trouble. It occurs to me that this is an unintentional, but effective way of signaling to Rupert that Niccolo has no designs upon Ludwig. Regardless, Julian tells me that what happens is likely to depend on just how drunk Niccolo gets.

The following day is when the academic debate between Rainer and Sebastian on the Nature of Man is to be held. Sophia wants to go. Niccolo is likely to be either too drunk or too hung over to wind up awake and functional in time to attend as a witness.

Soft break time of 10:30, with hard break time of 11pm No Matter What.


Ron Edwards

Whew - that's a little dense for me to process without printing out. I've been neglecting your game for a couple of months now, so it's probably time for a lot of printing-out and looking for specifics to discuss.

Here's my short question: You began with rolls to check the increase for character scores. Forgive me if I've lost the thread of the game, but is every character in transition between resolution of the old Kickers and the starting of their new ones?

Best, Ron

Lisa Padol

Quote from: Ron Edwards on February 16, 2006, 03:30:52 PMWhew - that's a little dense for me to process without printing out. I've been neglecting your game for a couple of months now, so it's probably time for a lot of printing-out and looking for specifics to discuss.

It's likely good that I'm doing this on my own. I wasn't expecting perfection first time around the block.

QuoteHere's my short question: You began with rolls to check the increase for character scores. Forgive me if I've lost the thread of the game, but is every character in transition between resolution of the old Kickers and the starting of their new ones?

No. We wondered about this one, and found the passage in the rules (don't have the book with me). As I recall, the book indicated that experience rolls are made either when Kickers are resolved or at GM discretion.



Wow.  Yeah, that's a really long write-up.  I mean, ok, not -that- long for Lisa, but still.

I don't think we ever made that Humanity Gain roll for Sebastian.

I brought up the fact that people had alluded here to a rule that you made experience rolls when you resolved a Kicker, but we couldn't find such a rule hunting through the first book (IIRC, what we found said that you did so at the end of a story or at the GM's discression; presumably, there's something mentioning the Kicker rule somewhere else, but we coulnd't find it).
-- Joshua Kronengold

Peter Nordstrand

Its on page 42 of the rulebook. "Improvement rolls are allowed after the conclusion of a storyline, not necessarily after every gaming session." The text also warns us not advance too quickly: "GMs should monitor how fast characters progress by experience. If they improve every adventure, you're going to easy on them."
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
     —Grey's Law


Quote from: Peter Nordstrand on February 16, 2006, 10:12:36 PM
"Improvement rolls are allowed after the conclusion of a storyline, not necessarily after every gaming session."

Exactly.  This is what the main book, but many people here seem to do this by Kicker resolution, not necessarily "the storyline" (or is Kicker resolution synonymous with storyline conclusion in Sorceror parlance?  If so, it's not explained in the bits I've read).

BTW, if anyone's unclear on this, my views on Sorceror, the book, are based on attempting ot use it as a reference material -- I've never intended to run it as a game (I do GM, but not much and Sorceror wouldn't be my first choice to GM), so I only crack the cover when there's a question, rules-wise, as to how we should do something.  So when something appears not to be explained clearly (or unambiguously) in a "when I find what looks like the right section and read just the rules there" level, it hits me particularly hard.
-- Joshua Kronengold