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Started by Ron Edwards, November 07, 2001, 06:19:00 PM
QuoteOn 2001-11-07 18:19, Ron Edwards wrote:THE ONLY REAL GOALThe point of the first session, from my perspective, is to make sure that I have not built a table-top without legs. What is fairly frightening to people at the moment is that they do NOT see the legs prior to the first session, and also that I seem to be comfortable with that. The first session is about building the legs and making sure that the players' own decisions are involved in that process. (Jesse is responsible for this metaphor, which I like very much.)
QuoteFinally, part of this goal is entirely social. I have to generate trust among the group, especially for players who are new to my style. They have to believe that I DO have that GM-mastery of the situation, that whatever happens, I can handle it. If they get too much of a "making it up" feeling, they get nervous (later, if we play well together, they don't). If they get a "railroady" feeling, they get pissed - or worse, go into willingly-railroaded acquiescence, being willing to do what clues tell them and fight foes who jump at them. So I'm looking to generate the sort of trust which allows them, later, to step into their roles as Authors - and paradoxically, that begins by taking a rather strong hand in delivering information and in setting up Bangs.
QuoteKICKERS(SNIP A BUNCH OF GOOD STUFF)Why am I being so heavy-handed? And why am I not concerned about horrified cries of "Ron is railroading!" The issue here is twofold, to establish two things that on the face of it seem opposed, but in reality work together beautifully.- Remember that trust thing? It begins by the players seeing that I am forceful, masterful, willing to have stuff happen in play, and all-around PRESENT as the GM. Players like that. It lets them feel that they are dealing with "a world."- Recall that these Kickers were written, in essence, by the players. They are seeing that I am taking THEIR work seriously, and that play is about what THEY have contributed. "Huh," says the player not used to Kickers, "This is really about my guy!"
QuoteWith any luck, the new-to-Sorcerer and new-to-me players will enter a kind of cognitive dissonance between "GM knows what he's doing" vs. "He's not railroading" which makes their heads go spark-sputter. In most cases, this becomes a spark of ignition over the first two sessions of play.
QuoteAlso, if I simply ask (say) Tor about where Richie hears about his dad, he may say something like, "Um, I guess I just hear about it from, you know, the sorcerous underground." See what this does? Not only does it make Cyril less interesting (he didn't DO anything or BE anywhere to hear about it), but we have just de-personalized sorcery immensely - all of a sudden we have some Unknown Armies type community that's all over the place. If he wants his coven involved, on the other hand, that'd be cool.
QuoteAnd then the Big Bang, the disappearance of the plane (it might even be witnessed if it so happens that a character is out at the airfield), which to the characters at this time does NOT have to be some kind of "Drop everything and investigate this" phenomenon. It WILL change the behaviors of just about every NPC, and permits me to play Director Stance, crossing the player-characters' paths if they end up even semi-aimed at one another.
Quote I would now put a little effort into "spiking" each Kicker's situation - note that I have NO way to anticipate what each has developed into. For all I know, Eroch will kill Heuttner. Or Cyril will propose to Jenny. Or God knows what. Or it may be that each one hasn't gone very far. That's OK! Just throw a mean barrier to further looking, that arises straight out of the airplane theft. Barriers include an uncharacteristically unjust Beck, nasty bastards from the out-of-town gang, or even slimy machinations by Van Graysloke, revelling in his sudden power over the most honest lawman in the city.
QuoteI have to be careful not to let the demons be boring! One key is not to have any other demons in the story, at this point (of course, they don't know that the plane was EATEN by a big awful demon).
QuoteFinally, one of the big dangers as new connections spring up left and right during play is locking the PCs too tightly together and into the relationship map. Many years ago, I ran a Cyberpunk-first-edition game in which all the characters' back-stories (which are extensive in that game) were slammed straight into the Big Scheme Afoot. It all made sense - too much sense. About two-thirds of the way through, players were groaning and castigating me for sewing it all up so neatly together. I like Sorcerer play to have a certain looseness and lack of "And THAT guy's YOUR uncle!" that keeps the map more emotionally satisfying, rather than too obviously contrived.
QuoteMy solution? I never quarrel with the Word of God. The player has spoken; the Doc is now the scene, and who knows? He could become the whole run if the other players get interested and Director themselves into it (perhaps with a bit of welcome-matting).