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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Sorcerer New England Style] Harriet's Diary  (Read 8139 times)
Meguey
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Meguey


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« on: December 27, 2006, 06:40:46 AM »

Oct 15, Sunday

Well, this has certainly been an eventful month.

My tag-sale customers are trickling off for the season, so it's time to get the winter pies going. I had a real nice chat with the sheriff yesterday. Seems his wife's been taking in a bit of sewing for Mr. Cartwright over from Shelburne Falls. Sheriff didn't seem to know about that, but he does now, so that's all right.

I saw two red-necked woodpeckers and a raccoon out by the compost last night – winter's going to be hard on the critters this year I expect, so Georgie'll have plenty to look forward to when the snow melts.

I saw in the bowl, that artist fellow and his girl-friend had quite the little menage-a-trois with Alyssa. Wouldn't her mother be surprised! It would serve her right, her daughter getting in with weird artistic types. At least there'd be some originality in the family. Unlike her mother and her store-bought piecrust.

I took a pie over to Alice in the hospital; her son was there, and he'll take it home for her. Alice at least is a good strong voice in support of preserving the recycling program in town. Some say it's too much bother for too few people, but they are just no-gooders in my book.

Georgie made me a whole bunch of little deer out of that antler I found for him. One was so cute I kept it – it's in the geraniums out front. Sheriff's wife bought a pair for the bedroom – Mr. Cartwright sure does like to try on her dressing gowns.

Monday night before last, I shot a trespasser out on the lawn – he was throwing things in Georgie's well, which just won't do. I warned him fair and square, but he rushed me and I shot him. Good thing I had that silencer put on, or the noise would have scared the cat. The man just sort of peeled off and vanished after I shot him, so it looks like there's someone else with a little extra help around here. He messed my Georgie up good, though. All I saw in the bowl was pennies for days. I don't like feeling so cut off from everything. Very vexing, really.

Last Wednesday, an Asian couple I hadn’t seen before stopped by. I was showing the lady Georgie's little things when the man snuck up and hit me with a hammer! What do you think of that!? Lucky for me I take a calcium supplement and have always been active and healthy, or it would have done me worse. The lady was very embarrassed, and she bought a pie and some saltshakers.  I had to go get a stitch or two, and Sheriff advised me I could press charges, but that's not how I do things, you know.

I spent the whole day Saturday fishing pennies out of Georgie. Poor thing was all out of sorts. I gave him the cat, and now he's all better. Once he was all clear, I saw in the bowl that Asian lady talking to her husband. It looks like they have a nice home. Pity they don't have any children. Oh, and I saw Alyssa chatting with that nice Pagan girl Sophie with the not quite dead husband. That's going to be interesting for sure.

The Asian lady was back two days later, very apologetic. They'd had a big fight, and he'd gone off. I guessed he was her extra help, but she's a little delicate, and I don't think she's had help as long as I have. She wanted my help to find him, and I guess I had a soft spot for a younger person, so I helped her. I made one of Georgie's little cats into a new helper. Its name is Samantha, and she's got the cutest little compass in her paws. Good for finding things, like where that cheater got her piecrust, and missing helpers, and where Georgie's little things are now. Samantha needs blood to do her job, poor dear. The Asian lady gave me a little snip of her finger, and I gave Samantha the blood and Georgie the bones. It's so nice they can share like that. I think maybe the Asian lady has a tinsey bit of a drug problem – she had to go outside for a few minutes before giving me her finger joint, and the deer in the geranium showed me.

Last night I went over to the artist fellow's apartment. My plan was to just pop in and tidy up a few things, but he was at home, so we had a chat about art, and he was real receptive. His helper is a rutty thing, though. She tried to finagle me – me! – into her bed. Well, I smacked her with a rolled up magazine – no thank you, miss I'm-too-pretty-to-be-human! And could be my great-granddaughter to boot. Really. Some of them have no decorum. She best watch her step, or I'm likely to get perturbed with her.


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Meguey
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Posts: 250

Meguey


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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 07:37:33 AM »

So, that's my character, Harriet Blount. She's in her mid-sixties - "50 years of clean livin', over a decade of demonic sorcery." She likes keeping tabs on everything. She's a very nearly harmless busy-body. Her demon is a well in her yard that needs bones, and gives her little chochkies to sell at her perpetual tag-sale. The chochkies then act as eyes for her to watch everything. It's bettle than cable.

This is my first full game of Sorcery, and boy am I having fun!
Other characters and players:

Suzuka Kodma, played by Julia. Her husband is a demon, and she's had at least three, maybe as many as five, children with him, all of whom have dissappeared after a few months. Turns out he thinks he's doing her a favor by getting rid of her half-demon children. She has major memory gaps, and is only just begining to look hard at him.

Sophie Parker, played by Emily Care. Her husband should have died, except she did real magic, and had a parasite demon come in and eat his cancer, so he's technically still alive. The local Pagan community is troubled, to say the least.

Prometheus Gose, played by Joshua. He's a struggling artist who's demon may or may not be his girlfriend. Or may or may not have killed/replaced his girlfriend. Anyway, if he keeps her supplied with signs of love and affection, his art goes well. Too bad he's not happy with her.

Everybody else, played by Vincent the GM. It's just rolling along, with Vincent deftly handling the reins. We've set it in our own home valley, and we know the house where Harriet lives. Demons are natural spirits and energies that become demons when they are bound.
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Christoph Boeckle
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Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2006, 08:59:45 AM »

I dig your character a lot, she's brilliant!

I was wondering, what kind of mood do you have around the table while playing?
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Regards,
Christoph
James_Nostack
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Posts: 642


« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 08:23:28 PM »

Meguey, what's Humanity for this story?

PS.  It's funny you mention the half-demon child.  I finally got around to reading that passage in Sorcerer's Soul--there are some neat ramifications there: demons with no Lore (just waiting for an empowering event) and human toddlers who have Lore and, by definition, can perform rituals... Good stuff!
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--Stack
Larry L.
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aka Miskatonic


« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2006, 10:51:13 AM »

Meg, this is wonderful. Stephen King would be envious.
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Meguey
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Meguey


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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2006, 05:51:10 AM »

The mood around the table is one of thinly veiled hilarity intercut with grim anguish and horror.

Suzuka and her husband have these snarky little passive-agressive arguments, and Harriet's a hoot. I have a very distinct character voice for her, and it's so fun to play. Prometheus has this habit of eating dry Ramen, and we all know people like him.

Sophie's story is painful in the extreme, and usually nobody else smiles during her scenes. She didn't want her husband to leave her, and he was dieing. We all can relate to the fear of being left, either through death or just breaking up.

The Humanity. Well, Prometheus got down to 1, I think. I'm six hours from the paperwork, so I'm just guessing. We made several Humanity checks  a session, though.
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Parthenia
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2006, 06:58:26 AM »

I think Harriet and Sophie's humanity hovered around 1 and 2. Prometheus went down to 0 temporarily. Shizuka kept raking in the humanity for punishing Tai and helping Harriet after he tried to brain her.  Her humanity was at 5, and the high humanity was no help in using sorcery to get Tai back. That just meant she had to seek the help of another sorcerer: Harriet. Their scenes were great. I'm not sure we really defined humanity, but it seemed to me that Shizuka couldn't really make a distinction between relationships with demons and those with humans. Her half-demon children were first and foremost her children, and her demon husband was just her husband, attempted murder notwithstanding.

Meg, you described the mood perfectly!

Julia
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2007, 10:33:25 AM »

Hi there,

I have an advantage over Forge-readers in that I occasionally get telephone updates on the game from various participants, which unfortunately is also one reason I haven't posted to this thread before now - my responses have been voiced already.

Here's one that really stands out though - this game is brutally close to home for its participants. It's set in their home area. It concerns the levels of self-indulgence, self-righteousness, and status games among members of a nice little rural, recycling, liberal, New England pagan-ish community. It dares anything in terms of sexually explicit material, necromancy (necrophilia? I dare not think; probably), and the wanton sacrifice of gentle emotions like pet-ownership and the initial stages of romance. The horror seems to me to lie in what Meg illustrates so nicely in her character's diary - the ordinary interpretation of their own actions and the demons' presence that the sorcerer characters cling to.

I can't wait to learn what happens that "screws down" the existing tensions, among player-characters, demons, and NPCs, such that conflicts finally come to a head with irreversible consequences.

What are the characters' Kickers?

Best, Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2007, 08:12:50 AM »

Oh we aren't so wicked hard as all that. We flinched procedurally at a perfectly ordinary inter-generational mind-control rape. Necrophilia ... Well, maybe we'd've balked at that too, who knows.

Oh wait. There was a certain amount of necrophilia. Depending how you define things. I mean, he wasn't DEAD dead. He was just, y'know, not dead dead. So, um, huh.

The game's over; we played 8 sessions and did more or less well by all four characters:

Emily's character, Sophie, her kicker was that her dead husband learned that she'd kept him alive by summoning a parasite demon into him. Desire: power (especially over Fred, the husband, its host); need: sex. We ended her story with a terrible question, an unanswerably terrible question. Sad story, man.

Joshua's character, Prometheus, his kicker was that he got another girlfriend. His old girlfriend was a demon - pay attention! Prometheus and Kira summon a demon up Amethyst Brook in Pelham. The demon kills Kira and takes her skin; it used to be a tree, now it passes for Kira. Prometheus doesn't break up with her. Desire: sensation ("uninhibited love"); need: acts of affection. So then this new girl falls in love with Prometheus and it's clear to her that Prometheus and Kira have no future.

J and I struggled with our roles wrt Prometheus's story for the whole game, until the last session, when we finally gave it its head.

Meg's character, Harriet the pie lady, her kicker was that she found out from her demon - Georgie, a wishing well, desire: knowledge (especially, revealing secrets); need: bones - found out from Georgie that the winner of the pie contest had cheated. Now ... hm. Knowing Meg and her characters, I took my cue from Ron's treatment of the innkeeper in Dragons and Jasmine. It worked okay.

Julia's character, Shizuka, her kicker was that she bought a house in Deerfield and found a dead baby in a lacquer box in the attic. Is it okay to say that hers was my favorite story? It was the one, not coincidentally, that best fitted Sorcerer's rules. Her demon/husband/guardian spirit had impregnated her 5 times and (it turns out) killed all the babies but the first, whom he'd kept hidden from her. The body was one of the 4 he'd killed, put there by Georgie - but this story takes way more telling than I've got just now.

Oh, but here's an example of how her story and Sorcerer's rules meshed. I've got this inconspicuous 7-year-old child spawn-demon hidden in the attic, right, and Tai, the husband-parent demon, is gone, and Shizuka's on the verge of dealing with the child demon directly for the first time, so I need to make him concrete. I go to the rules for spawn in the Sorcerer book, and what do I find? I find that the spawn demon has the same desire and need as its parent. Ready? Desire: sensation (seeing the world), need: making Shizuka happy. And I'm like, fuuuuuck. A 7-year-old kid and his dad's told him that if his mom finds out about him it'll make her sad, and all he wants to do is make her happy.

It worked out in the end though. For certain very fucked up definitions of "worked out well."

It was a challenging game for us! Subject matter-wise yes, but rules-wise too. I think we did okay with it, and when the rules mattered they really, truly mattered, but I'm left feeling a little defensive about my GMing and my group's play. Kind of weird.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 12:26:59 PM »

Hiya,

There are Sorcerer games I've never posted about simply because I found them too private and too bonding among the group to be shared in public.

But in this case, I'll push. What happened to everyone? I especially want to know whether Harriet came to an awful end, simply because I hate her ever since I heard about her sacrificing the poor little cat. I want to know whether any violence entered play at any time. And I'd like to know whether either of the totally-fucked-up wife characters terminated her relationship with her (respective) demonic husband.

Best, Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2007, 06:19:05 PM »

Harriet didn't come to an awful end. She's still living there now, prying
into people's lives, carrying grudges, and selling questionable pie. Harriet
was always funnier to us than hated.

Physical violence entered play only once, Tai vs. Harriet. Tai hit her in the back
of the head with a hammer; Shizuka punished him bad, before he could carry through.

Psychic violence - both the psychic blow kind and the taint kind - entered play
several times, to various effect, but that was the only physical violence.

Neither wife ended her relationship with her husband. In fact, both wives pursued
their husbands and reaffirmed their relationships with them.

Shizuka rebound Tai after he'd rebelled against his binding. ("This roll,"
I said, "determines whether Shizuka or Tai has the upper hand, with regard
to his making her happy again." "Oog," Julia said.) Together they
sent the demon-spawn off to Shizuka's mother's in Kyoto, so at least he
got a happy ending.

Sophie - Sophie's story is the saddest ever. Easy as sad as that one Under the
Bed game.

Curiously, good lord, Kira acted a lot like Shizuka and Sophie, pursuing Prometheus
and trying to reaffirm her relationship with him when he left her. He won free in
the end; Tai and Fred didn't.

Oog.

-Vincent
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Parthenia
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2007, 07:01:46 PM »

And I think Shizuka finally got the upper hand in that last binding roll, for what it's worth. She got what she wanted, and that made her happy, even if it wasn't the safest or healthiest thing.

I found Harriet to be very likable, even if she did sacrifice her cat! On the other hand, I'm currently in conflict with my cats, so it was easy for me to overlook that. But in terms of emotional stability, maturity, and health, Harriet was the most okay of all our characters, although the bar wasn't very high. Mad as she was, nosey as she was, she was adept at defending herself, and wasn't romantically or sexually involved with a demon.

So I have some questions for Vincent that have vexed me for the past week: I--Julia-- didn't get why Tai killed all the other babies except Taiichi ("Tai's first son"). Knowing that Taiichi's need would be to make Shizuka happy, it seems like deliberate cruelty--jealous maybe?-- for Tai to separate his son from his mother, and tell him that if mommy knew he existed, she would be unhappy. That was way fucked up! Was he otherwise kind or fatherly to him? Perhaps the smartest, healthiest thing Shizuka did was to send Taiichi to live with his obaasan and away from Tai. Shizuka's mother got what she wanted, too, so there were happy endings abound in Shizuka's story.
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2007, 07:56:25 PM »

So I have some questions for Vincent that have vexed me for the past week: I--Julia-- didn't get why Tai killed all the other babies except Taiichi ("Tai's first son"). Knowing that Taiichi's need would be to make Shizuka happy, it seems like deliberate cruelty--jealous maybe?-- for Tai to separate his son from his mother, and tell him that if mommy knew he existed, she would be unhappy. That was way fucked up! Was he otherwise kind or fatherly to him?

Yay! I didn't think that all of this came out quite clearly in play. It was all there in my head, but it was hard to tell what I'd managed to, y'know, say.

First of all, their children were (and, in Taiichi's case, still are) going to grow up to be Oni, and very seriously NOT the kind of children that make a mother happy. Tai told Shizuka that and it was true - and I think he was right about it. (Will Taiichi make her happy? Only if he stays on the oppisite side of the world and denies his nature his whole life - only if he's her mother's problem, not hers.) Before Taiichi was born, Tai already planned to kill him, to protect her happiness.

He couldn't bring himself to do it, so he hid him instead. Was he kind or fatherly? I dunno; how do you be a demon child's good father when you're a demon yourself?

So then, turns out, being pregnant and bonding with her infant made Shizuka happy. But the way spawn works, Tai was able to have two spawn at a time - no more. His children's powers have to add up to his power or less. He had power 8 or 9, and his children all had around power 4. In order for him to get her pregnant, he could have one living child, but not two. (This was another way the spawn rules really, really shaped the game.)

He could keep one child alive and hidden, so he did. He had to kill the rest to keep giving Shizuka more, so he did. It all kind of makes sense.

But Julia! The thing where Tai got Shizuka pregnant five times and five times the baby disappeared when it was just weeks old - you made that up. Imagine how happy I was when it turned out that Tai's personality and the spawn rules worked together to explain it. When you made it up, did you have and explanation in mind?

-Vincent
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Parthenia
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2007, 09:46:57 PM »

Quote
Was he kind or fatherly? I dunno; how do you be a demon child's good father when you're a demon yourself?
He'd be the perfect father to a demon child. He gets by pretty well passing as a human, so he could show him both the demon ways and the human ways from the demon point of view.

Quote
When you made it up, did you have and explanation in mind?
I figured it should be open ended, so I had only Shizuka's hypotheses: She had no idea what happened to her children, and no evidence to prove or refute her ideas. She equally suspected either Tai, she, or both did something to them. Was her memory loss due to sorcery, long term opium use, severe post partum depression, or dissociate amnesia related to a traumatic event, such as witnessing the killing or actually killing her kids? Then there was the fact that her husband was a demon, and since sorcery was a family thing, she knew demons and knew they could be wonderful and charming while being mean and nasty at the same time. They'd cheat at Go when they've played it for eons and don't have to, and they'd kill their own children and cry heartfelt tears with the wife afterwards. She also knew that sorcerers could get too into it and go homicidal or crazy or vegetative. She got what she wanted out of sorcery: a handsome, charming husband with a somewhat disquieting nature who liked to cook, garden, and travel. She didn't need to do any more. But what if that was enough to mess her up to where she'd hurt her own kids?
At one time perhaps she knew what happened, but she just couldn't remember, and knowing the likely possibilities, she didn't really want to know. When Tai said he killed them, she was a little relieved that it was him and not her.

Julia
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pedyo
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2007, 05:10:07 AM »

From an outside perspective, this game and its story sound truly great. I can easily imagine seeing this as a TV-series or reading it as a multilayered novel. Good stuff indeed.
Time permitting, I'd really like to hear some more details of the GM prep, Vincent. Did you use the relationship map-technique (if so, how big was it?), what and how many Bangs did you prepare, how did the different sessions feel to GM (was there a decrease in prep-time as you moved along e.g.?) - and such.
I'm GM'ing my first game of Sorcerer, and I'm experiencing a huge appetite for knowing about other GM's prep!
But - no matter what, thanks for sharing!
/Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
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