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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: So what's sorcerer about anyway?  (Read 3640 times)
The Dragon Master
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« on: June 16, 2007, 02:38:59 PM »

After reading a brief wikipedia article on GNS Theory at the turn of the year, I began to explore some some of the games referenced in there. Most of them didn't interest me on any core level, and so I let them go. But Burning Wheel and Sorcerer both just stuck with me. I'll leave BW out of this post as this isn't really the thread for it.

As for Sorcerer...

I have read some of the descriptions online of it. I have thumbed through the apprentice pdf (gonna give it a good read tonight). And I have read the many threads on here about it and came to one conclusion. No two people who are talking about it are playing the same game. The same system, sure, but that isn't really the same thing. What I am wanting to do is to come up with a good description of it (in just a couple of sentences) to help my players fall in love with the idea of it as have I before I buy the books (made that mistake with BW and can't get a game of it going to save my life).

Here's what I "understand" so far based on my reading (as well as the review on RPG.net which was linked here).

Sorcerer is a game about people who have gained a source of great power (be it in the form of a Demon from the pits of Hell, a superintelligent AI running a space faring vessel, or Psychic powers) which is corrupting them, and taking away the thing that is at the core of who they are (their soul, their ability to process information, their emotional stability). And even more so is about the "what next?" part of that story. How do they respond to this, and what final solution to they come to to bring the "what next" to a close.

I can't help but feel that I must have missed something, and so I leave it to those with more experience than myself to help me find my blind spot. To be clear, I'm looking for that which would be core to ALL Sorcerer games (even the ones where the "demon" has no individual sentience like the psychic powers example).

Thank you.
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Sorcerer Workshop, Phoenix Comicon, May 27th - 30th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2007, 03:00:50 PM »

Hiya,

Your description is pretty good, and I think it will be complete with one addition: the demon really does help them get something they want.

This is a big deal because for player-characters, "what they want" is usually pretty solid, valid stuff; the characters are not merely psycho-villains. When you consider this demonic entity which (a) helps them get it, and (b) enacts an ongoing and unpredictable cost, then you have the motor.

I outline four basic endings for a given character, depending on how these two fundamental variables (goal-based, demon-based) turn out: Retribution, Remorse, The Outlaw Prevails, and Redemption. An important aspect of Sorcerer is that none of these are necessarily the desired goal of play, but rather outcomes of play, with the goal merely being to enjoy one's power as author/actor/judge during the process.

Is that along the lines of a meaningful reply for you? I'm happy to try from another angle if not, and if you can specify.

Without going into much more, I should also point out that the GM is not the central story-author in this game, but rather one of the participants with some specialized roles in making a (not "the") story come about, and that a bezillion aspects of the rules and their interrelationships all support that.

Best, Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 03:05:23 PM »

Oh wait, one other thing - please, please, please do not read the Apprentice version. That is only there for archival purposes, so people who do know the game can see it in its earlier, rougher form. It is not going to help you understand the real game, and it will fuck you up if you read it now. It is not an introductory, get-to-know-the-game document any more. It is merely an artifact.

Best, Ron
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 03:14:28 PM »

LOL. Man am I glad I decided to check the forum one more time before I went home for the weekend. Else I'd have begun to read the apprentice version. Thank you for letting me know to avoid that. And yes, your reply was very helpful... hmm, I'll have to let this percolate a little more before I present it to the group.

So a reword then: Sorcerer is a game about people who have gained a source of great power (be it in the form of a Demon from the pits of Hell, a superintelligent AI running a space faring vessel, or Psychic powers) to help them achieve their valid, solid, understandable goals. This power is corrupting them, and taking away the thing that is at the core of who they are (their soul, their ability to process information, their emotional stability). And even more so is about the "what next?" part of that story. How do they respond to this, and what final solution to they come to to bring the "what next" to a close.

I'll think on it some more, and probably pick up a copy of sorcerer on payday (I'll see the group before then, and think I can get them interested from this point). I'll also keep an eye to the forum and see what more I can glean from here.
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"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Sorcerer Workshop, Phoenix Comicon, May 27th - 30th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 06:07:55 PM »

Sounds good! I don't know if it'll make much difference, but it's worth considering that the GM cannot actually dictate outcomes. Hell, if a player has his character summon up a whole new demon, or binds the bad-ass NPC demon the GM made up, well, it happens! It might take a bit to process that freewheeling approach to outcomes, especially since the GM does make up the back-story and play all the NPCs and demons. It's a really specific, surgical removal of certain pieces of traditional GMing while retaining other pieces.

But all this is really getting into techniques rather than the big-picture, what-it's-about thing, so we can hold off. Please feel free to hang out here and ask questions and hell, get a little crazy with us once in a while (see the sticky thread).

Best, Ron
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2007, 01:37:50 PM »

Your description is good. If you're looking for more insight into it, I talk about the game in Faith and Gaming: Deals, where I suggest that it is the Faustian story extrapolated to uncounted settings and unpredictable endings.

That's not the only way to see it, of course, but I think it helps illumine some aspects of the game.

Hope that helps.

--M. J. Young
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