The Forge Forums

Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Joel P. Shempert on June 25, 2008, 11:44:57 PM



Title: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on June 25, 2008, 11:44:57 PM
OK, I'm getting ready to run my first game of Sorcerer this weekend. It'll be at a large group gathering for the Portland Indie Gamers crowd, with the intention to schedule a continued game after the event. I already know who one or two players will be, but not  who else might join.

So I'm trying to go into it with a solid but flexible prep under my belt. A good modus operandi that can flow with player input as we build our game premise and Demon/Humanity definitions, and come out the other end with a firm idea of how to hit the ground running with a quality, genuine Sorceror experience.

I want to do a vaguely Hellblazer-ish game. It doesn't have to be British, necessarily; Depression-Era New York or Chicago would do nicely too. But something along the lines of gutter-dwellers striving to better their lot appeals to me, has the necessary grit and story traction to make a modern sorcery game work. And I'm definitely keen to do the "Modern Sorcery" take before I fiddle around with Nightmare Mars or Hyborian Wizards or sentient AI fighter-jets.

So I'm looking at examining two things: one, what sorts of principles should I particularly hold in the GMspace of my brain, to take a first session with a partly unknown group and spin it into an awesome springboard for the players? And two, what principles would govern a Helblazer Sorceror game in particular?

For the first, I can say I'm pretty clear on the Kickers and Bangs stuff. And playing the Demons to the hilt, particularly Desire and Need. Is there any other text in the book that I should particularly scrutinize/internalize (I've been reviewing the book all week, and will continue to do so)? Any other pointers in particular on "planning without planning"? I've read the whole series of Art Deco Melodrama threads, so working up some sort of relationship map, to be altered for specific game concept, springs to mind as useful.

And for the second. . .I've been thinking about Hellblazer stories vis a vis Sorcerer and while the themes are all there, they're not a perfect match for Sorcery as the game handles it. Take Garth Ennis' Dangerous Habits, mentioned in the Sorcerer book. John Constantine does Sorcery throughout the book, but it's never really to Summon and Bind a Demon as a long-term companion or anything. It's always an act of the moment, for a short-term interaction, though with long-term consequences. Sure, he summons the Lords of Hell, but he doesn't Bind them, he just extracts what he needs from them and goes on his way. He's a cosmic huckster, dodging from one crisis to the next, scheming his way one step beyond the jaws of death and damnation.

So sure, Constantine's got to deal with the price of power, but he does it by staying 'one step ahead," not by binding the power for keeps and trying to control it. The "bound-demon-intow" type Sorcerors are always the bit players around him, like that poor schmuck with the "hunger" demon in the Original Sins trade, and they tend to come to bad and swift ends, being mere thematic footnotes or conflict fodder for John himself. John's really the thing in these stories, obviously, and john's issues are very real, but don't quite look like Sorcery as per Sorcerer. If anything, he's the "Obnoxious Exorcist" character mentioned as a possible antagonist in the "Sorcerous Technicality" section.

So I guess my questions on that score are: 1) Is there some element of "messing with demons while trying to stay clean" in Hellblazer that I'm missing, specifically applicable to playing Sorceror? and 2) failing that (or side by side with that), how would the basic landscape of Hellblazer need to be altered to make for good Sorcerer play?

Peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: angelfromanotherpin on June 26, 2008, 11:09:21 AM
The thing you're really looking for here is Pacting, which is introduced in Sorcerer & Sword, and lets Sorcerers make deals, rather than engage in the long-term relationships that Binding involves.


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: jburneko on June 26, 2008, 12:00:36 PM
As suggested by the previous poster I suggest checking out the Pact ritual in Sorcerer & Sword.  However, even without that I suggest considering these things.

1) A Sorcerer who sticks to Contain, Punish and Banish can be a very interesting character indeed.  I wish more players would consider this.
2) Remember that any Sorcerer can try to order any Demon to take action via a straight up Will vs. Will roll.
3) Remember that Contact, Summon and Bind are still three separate rituals and the process can stop at any point.  Just consider the consequences of doing so.

Example 1:

A Sorcerer needs some information.  So he Contacts a demon, orders the demon to tell him what he wants to know and then simply lets the Contact laps.

Example 2:

A Sorcerer wants a one time favor from a demon.  So he Contacts and Summons the demon and the orders the demon to perform some action.  After the action is complete the Sorcerer Banishes the demon or (he he) simply leaves him unbound to "starve" to death.  That's almost MORE fucking ballsy than Binding the demon.

Note: Given the rules the order has to be pretty short, immediate and well within the "next action" rules for rolling over victories.  Otherwise Binding and/or Pacting would be required.

Jesse


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on June 26, 2008, 04:22:31 PM
Thanks, Jules and Jesse! unfortunately, I won't have access to S&S before the game Saturday, but I do wanna check it out, and have a friend I can probably borrow it from. Good tip!

And Jesse, your post is awesome; it really pulls together the elements I was looking at and resolves them into a picture that reconciles with both Hellblazer and Sorcerer. I'm getting a handle on how to use these concepts in actual play, which is the important thing. Thanks!

I'm not trying to "duplicate" Hellblazer, like, "OK, who's gonna be our Constantine?" or anything, but I am trying to scrutinize Hellblazer for insight into making an awesome Sorcerer game, particularly along the axis of Ron's phrase, "messing around with Demons while trying to stay clean." A principle is emerging here (and across other recent threads in the Adept press forum) that should be enormously useful--it's all about the Consequences. There are any number of interesting consequences possible from a wide array of player choices. . .including the choice not to Bind but to simply Summon, bargain and Banish, staying one jump ahead of the Devil. Cool.

 
1) A Sorcerer who sticks to Contain, Punish and Banish can be a very interesting character indeed.  I wish more players would consider this.

Man. . .the first thing that leapt to mind when I read that was, "yeah! I'll play that on Saturday!" I've been playing too many GMless games. . .:P

Peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on June 26, 2008, 05:29:05 PM
A procedural question while I'm at it. . .

There's a big deal about the secrecy of a Demon's true ability and most especially the bonus from its Binding. How exactly is that secrecy handled in play. Say the GM receives a general (pretty weak) Demon concept from a player, then decides that the actual Demon will be more powerful and hiding that nature. Does the GM physically hide the ritual rolls so the player can't tell how high the Demon's Power or Will or whatever really is? And does the GM hide the Demon's further rolls after Binding, to hide whatever bonus or penalty the Binding strength might confer? While other games may do this sort of thing, it doesn't strike me as working well for Sorcerer. . .but I can;t see any other way for the GM to truly play coy with the players about their Demons' nature.

Peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: angelfromanotherpin on June 27, 2008, 05:34:55 AM
Whoa there!  As far as I know, the player gets basically full say over all of their starting Demon's stuff so long as the basic guidelines are followed (the more abilities, the more Lore; the more Lore/Stamina the more Will/Power; Need and Desire must be appropriate).  If the player decides that his character thinks the demon is less potent than it really is, that's cool, but it's their decision.  Demons summoned later have a mechanic for the GM altering them from the players' expectations.

As far as I know, rolls are never hidden.  Characters, PC or NPC, don't have to use their full stats if they want to lay low.  I think there are a few exceptions, like a Demon's Power in a Summoning, where full force is required. 

Hmm, having checked the book, you're right!  Under Binding in a few places it talks about keeping the results secret.  Huh.  Never really done that, myself.  My take would be to make the Binding roll only in secret, and then (if the Demon has the bonus) have the Demon limit itself until it really needs it.  If the Demon has the penalty, it could either pretend not to care (which is why it tends to oppose its master with so few dice, to the minimum of 1), or outright toady and wail.


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 27, 2008, 06:04:06 AM
The thread's diverted a bit into a side issue, which I hope this thread will help: [Sorcerer] rule question: changing binding strength (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=23358.0)

Joel, I've been reviewing your initial post carefully for a couple of days and am drafting up a response.

That's not intended to shut down other responses, though, so carry on.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 03, 2008, 06:41:14 AM
Hi Joel,

I'm sorry, man. I was totally steamrolled by other stuff and could not get back to you in time.

I'd like to know how it went, no matter how well or how badly, and do some post-mortem.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 03, 2008, 04:46:54 PM
Well, we got through the whole prep phase, complete with humanity definition, characters, demons and kickers. We plan on playing our first 'actual play" session this Wednesday.

We didn't end up with a Hellblazer vibe exactly (I may have been the only person at the table who's actually read any), but we've got a pretty cool modern sorcery thing worked up set in here in Portland with some very real-feeling protagonists and issues. I'll post about it when I've got the time. In the meantime I'd be interested in anything you've got to say that still seems relevant.

peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 06, 2008, 06:08:29 PM
Hi, Ron!

So here's the lowdown on our planning and character creation session. I used Hellblazer as a starting point, but we diverged from that pretty quickly, when folks came to a quick consensus that they didn't want to use a Catholic framework for Hell and Demons. I said the element of Hellblazer I most wanted to retain was that of people in 'low" circumstances struggling to get ahead or get by. And I think we've retained that well.

I'm referring to the setting as Cascadiapunk. We ended up setting the game in the Portland area (our real-life city), and we've got a pretty good cross-section of Portland "types" that should be pretty easy to bring to life. Our Humanity definition is Empathy; Demons are amorphous and undefined, and Sorcerous Lore can be approached from any number of disciplines, from Native American Spiritism to Expanded Consciousness theory.

the PCs:

Jake: Mike Sugarbaker*, out of work and down on his luck (Naif)
Demon: his backyard which he's scared will eat him, but answers questions when he talks to it
Kicker: His housemates are already kicked out, and his rent is due.

Seth: Nobody, crazed street kid and Expanded Consciousness fanatic (Solitary Adept)
Demon: Twitch, the parasite that's granting him speed and awareness and rewiring his brain
Kicker: none written

Willem: Robin Last, native issues activist stealing and interring museum corpses (Coven)
Demon: Ravengod, a parasite granting totemic powers
Kicker: Curator voice mail: "I know what you do. . ." (possibly changed to a stolen corpse disappearing in transit)

Jana: V Magnolius, punk chick black market food broker, furious about the establishment raping natural resources (Naif)
Demon: Quiñones, a set of amorphous keys that open or close anything
Kicker: Bizarre highway accident with truckload of live chickens led to her finding Quiñones

*no relation

My thread discussion prep with the other characters is here (http://www.goplaypdx.com/forum/index.php?topic=266.0).

I'm pretty happy with our setup overall. My major concerns are:

1) Vague or awkward character motivations. Seth managed to escape last time without writing a kicker, and based on the rest of chargen I'm just not sure what Nobody the street kid is up to at all. There was some talk about him approaching the other Sorcerers with some ominous designs (being the only high Lore character). Or perhaps just wanting to transcend to a higher state of being. All rather hazy stuff that doesn't really plug well into simple human concerns. Similarly, I'm a bit unclear on just what a "Black Market Food Broker" actually does. But at least V has strong motives along environmental concerns.

2) A lot of the players didn't do a proper back page, instead writing character traits or descriptive passages in the sections. I've told everyone they need to get some actual relationships on there; at present we've got a mostly disconnected-looking group.

3) I'm a bit daunted at the task of creating my own web of NPCs. I thought the players detailing important NPCs would give me a good framework, but they haven't done much of that yet so I'm left to my own devices. Not sure if I should rip an R-Map from somewhere (a la Art-deco Melodrama) or wait to see what the players turn in.

4) Similarly daunted about playing Demons. We've got 2 parasites and an Object, plus an Inconspicuous which communicates in some vague fashion. How do I play the Demons as characters when they don't communicate? How do I make a Parasite an autonomous entity at all, save witholding powers based on desire/need? It doesn't seem like Demons \, so far, have much presence in the story.

5) Nervous about Kickers. Not only do I have one missing (which should be a non-issue once Seth writes it), but the Kicker Jana wrote looks terribly vague and lifeless. At first I thought "cool, what a wonderfully surreal incident," but no I'm left feeling like it doesn't really lead anywhere.

6) I'm also wondering a bit at a couple players' attitude toward Sorcery, like Jake designing a Demon that practically controls him, and Willem remarking that he doesn't want Robin to have any Demon except the starting Parasite. What bothers me is the implication that Sorcery is somehow out of the characters' hands--in Jake's case, because the Naif Sorcerer is helpless before this thing that just popped into his life, and in Willem's case because he balks at Robin actually knowing Sorcery, whether he chooses to use it or not. He acts like Robin was simply taught to summon the Ravengod, did that, and that's it, no more. I've addressed this in the linked thread, so we'll see how the players respond.

Any thoughts that pop up from that description? Any tips or cautions beyond what I've identified? Anything you'd like me to clarify? I'll confess I'm a little scared of the first session 'cause I want it to go just right. My confidence in running fun games has grown as I try a wide range of games with a diverse sample of people, but now I'm reverting to the old nervous "gotta-make-it-awesome-this-time" GM routine. Maybe I'm intimidated by the particular game? Maybe its surface resemblance to Over the Edge brings to mind my early awkward days of GMing that? Whatever it is, I'm trying to shake the butterflies out.

Peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 08, 2008, 01:02:55 PM
I'll begin with the serious stuff. Seeking Teh Awesome is your personal ticket straight to hell, and not in a fun or ironic way. Don't make Sorcerer your holy grail - this is about enjoying your creative muscles, not some kind of manhood circumcision ritual (http://www.imageofsurgery.com/CircumEgypt.jpg) for role-playing.

I suggest looking at the difference between your old thread about Over the Edge and how frustrating it was, and the more recent one that was so much fun. You explained why absolutely perfectly. I don't think it's surprising that my recommendation is to do Sorcerer the way you did the second reported play of Over the Edge.

Here's a different point about the same issue: I strongly suggest taking all discussion off the public boards, right now. You may not realize how much audience pressure you are putting upon yourselves, you especially. The players are fine - there's as much cachet in hating Sorcerer as in enjoying it, maybe more in fact. But you have literally put yourself up in front of God and everybody as the responsible performing artist and manager - and as such, have kicked yourself into a performance mode that is predicated on the act being mind-boggling, spectacular, never-before-ladies-and-gen'lemen.

That's a whole lot of No Fun even if it works! Get out of that spotlight right now. I think you might ask yourself, is there some reason you, personally, want to play Sorcerer in terms of this particular game, itself? If so, then make that your guiding light instead.

Now for the more specific and pertinent Sorcerer stuff.

Here's a general principle about the characters as I've seen them written here. Kickers do not make a character into a sorcerer; the character is a sorcerer who has experienced a Kicker

The "naive" Lore descriptor does not override this principle. All the rituals, in this case Binding, are always, always voluntary and proactive. One does not "find oneself" Bound to a demon. (The example character Armand is a bit misleading, mainly because I wrote his description with his point of view in mind.)

The backyard guy is great. But you need to stop and see why this guy Bound the demon. That removes the whole "just fell into it" issue right there. What has he asked it, so far? At least, for what, and about what, in general? There's not a thing wrong with his Kicker! I recommend starting just a hair before it, though - frame him right into standing in his yard, asking it something, whatever he wants. Then the mail comes, and ... what he does next is up to him and totally not your problem. Have fun playing the utterly intransigent city bureaucracy. I suggest giving it five or six dice.

The crazy adept is interesting and perfectly sound as a familiar character concept. But that missing Kicker is a full stop for you. It literally means there is no guide what this guy might actually want to do, and it might mean he'll go where you say and have him "fight" who you want him to fight, et cetera. This guy looks like he's pulling his stock Malkavian out of his back pocket. Let's hope the Kicker is decent. If that's happened since your last post, and it's all ready to go, then you're good!

Oh yeah - remember, an adept is not fucking around. You don't get to be an adept by accident. He must already have accomplished stuff and established stuff as a sorcerer - what is it?

The museum body-snatcher ... now there's an interesting idea. You can solve the God thing by playing lots of God stuff, i.e., bringing it in as a big part of the character's life rather than something that showed up once and happened to him once. Come up with some names and the general life-style for the people in the coven. This is your chance to make stuff as cool as Sir Arthur Compton and that weird chick with the baboons!

And uh, hey - maybe they've tried this ritual tons of times, and this time, it worked - remember, he's the sorcerer, not necessarily them, and I recommend that he's the only sorcerer in the bunch. I suggest thinking of the coven as having just thrust its hand deep into the ant nest and smiling broadly and confidently.

For this character, spike that Kicker! It's easy as pie: the person who called is not opposed to the body-snatching, but wants very badly to get in on it. He or she also has stuff to offer in return - maybe lots of funding for the coven, or maybe support for a political action committee to represent them. But he gets to do what he wants with the bodies ...

See, mysterious phone calls are a lame trope - I don't know when they started, but they have to be made non-mysterious really fast or they suck. I think it works better in movies because the audience is always shown the other guy on the line, even if it's bit by bit.

The animal activist woman presents the biggest problem, because it's the classic "gee I got some powerz" origin story common in 1990s role-playing - one of the ways to play that Sorcerer was specifically written against. That's not a Binding, so that's not a sorcerer, and therefore it's not surprising that the keys are not immediately recognizable as a demon. Although there's a lot about this character to like - in fact, thematically she's really interesting - it's more like an Unknown Armies player-character than a Sorcerer one.

As for the back sides of character sheets, your post alarms me. It may be that you're getting the wrong idea that the players are all supposed to be storymapping together, setting up relationships among one another and basically pre-loading the plot by aiming at one another in some way. And you're also kind of stuck on the ideas that they're supposed to "come together" and "decide what to do" and things like that.

You don't have to bring Sorcerer player-characters together in a directed way. At most, you might have them cross paths or encounter the evidence of the others' scenes. We can talk more about this later, because without certain things I'm about to discuss, there's no point.

You're right about how the backs of the sheets must include NPCs, but you should quit with the stuff about establishing cross-character relationships - this isn't HeroQuest, this is Sorcerer, and one-word, one-name labels on those sheets is all you need.

Playing the demons - yes, this is your main issue for prep, actually. Since you only have two-and-a-half Kickers for four characters, and since the demons do not have Desires and Needs, there's really nothing to work with as the GM. You're being forced to fall back on your old habits of "getting the group together" and trying to come up with some kind of threat or weird thing they must investigate or fight. Call of Cthulhu meets Shadowrun meets White Wolf - not an auspicious combination.

So what you need are the one-and-a-half missing Kickers and the demons' Desires and Needs.

And yeah, the players threw you some doozies, as Passers and humanoid Inconspicuous are the easiest, and that's what they steered clear of. My point, though, is that playing Objects and Parasites and vague/weird Inconspicuous demons is not hard. You merely must remember that "vague and amorphous" might be the demons' look & feel, but it's not the guide to what they want and how they act.

You need some Desires and Needs, and you need to know what that means - and you need to know the circumstances of Binding for each and every one of the demons. Once you have that, everything else snaps into place, including the backs of the sheets. I will help you with prep for actually playing the demons once that's established.

Ummm ... do you need to clarify the difference between Desire and Need?

About those circumstances of Binding, by the way, there should be NO STORIES!! A simple brief answer, not necessarily even a full sentence, is what's called for.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: James_Nostack on July 08, 2008, 06:28:49 PM
Hey Joel, I saw your post several days ago, but wanted to see what Ron would say.  I'm real interested in hearing how this goes, as I've been hankering to do a modern-day Sorcerer game along these same lines for, like, ages.

I find this a helpful checklist for the conceptual part of Sorcerer character generation:
* How did this character discover the Lore?
* Why did this character summon and bind the demon?  (This isn't asking how, though that could be part of the answer.)
* How has sorcery made this character's life worse?
* How would a fellow sorcerer recognize this character as a peer?

For kickers (and for bangs, too, come to think of it), this is kinda helpful for me:
1.  What's the status quo been like? 
2.  How has the status quo been up-ended?  (For good or ill.)
3.  Why can't the character relax about this?

Figuring out why the character summoned the demon is crucial for a couple reasons.  First, it addresses a major theme of Sorcerer - you've got a character doing something wayyyyy wrong, presumably for an understandable and perhaps very noble or sympathetic reason.  Bam, instant anti-hero!  Second, it's a often strong influence on the character's status quo.  Third, if you absolutely cannot think of a way to up-end the status quo, the super-easy factory default solution is to say, "Heck, the sorcerer and the demon had a bargain: now, it looks like one side isn't performing as expected." 


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 08, 2008, 06:37:20 PM
Hi, Ron!

Thanks for the meaty response. You've hit a lot of nails on the head. first being, of course;

I'll begin with the serious stuff. Seeking Teh Awesome is your personal ticket straight to hell, and not in a fun or ironic way. Don't make Sorcerer your holy grail - this is about enjoying your creative muscles, not some kind of manhood circumcision ritual (http://www.imageofsurgery.com/CircumEgypt.jpg) for role-playing.

[SNIP]

Here's a different point about the same issue: I strongly suggest taking all discussion off the public boards, right now. You may not realize how much audience pressure you are putting upon yourselves, you especially. The players are fine - there's as much cachet in hating Sorcerer as in enjoying it, maybe more in fact. But you have literally put yourself up in front of God and everybody as the responsible performing artist and manager - and as such, have kicked yourself into a performance mode that is predicated on the act being mind-boggling, spectacular, never-before-ladies-and-gen'lemen.

Yeah, God, you're right. I've gotten way carried away in trying to "make sure everything goes just right and the discussion's become this great big ol' feedback loop of increasing nervous energy. Thanks for the advice; I'd say halting the online discussion is exactly the thing.

I think part of the hoopla on my part stems from my gleaning (rightly or wrongly) from the Sorcerer text and from online discussions that the game requires a singular rigor at least in terms of ruthlessly culling bad habits) to run. So I got a little paranoid. this is me, taking deep breaths, getting ahold of myself, and coming back out of the bathroom with a smile on my face.

What I want out of Sorcerer: 1) an engaging game of supernatural shit overlaid on real people living in a real world, centered on conflicts and struggles with essentially human resonance, and 2) to experience the fluid dynamic of the Currency system in action.

Now down to cases:

First off: Shit! I forgot to detail Desire and Need in my summaries. Sorry about that. All the Demons do in fact have them, and I understand the difference, i think. Here they are, and I'll throw in power and Binding Strength as well:

The Yard (Sugarbaker)
Power 5
Binding +1 (Demon's favor)
Desire: Fear
Need: Fresh meat

Twitch (Nobody)
Power 6
Binding -1
Desire: Sudden violence
Need: Drugs

Ravengod (Robin)
Power 4
Binding +2
Desire: Mischief
Need: Consume animal young

Quiñones (V Magnolius)
Power 5
Binding -1
Desire: Theft
Need: To open a new lock

There (whew!).

I agree that the guy with the killer yard is great. Easily the most workable and ready to roll of the bunch. And your suggestions for fleshing out are all fruitful avenues. My main concern with him is that Jake keeps steering toward a near total lack of human contact in his life. Maybe I'm overthinking; I trust Jake's roleplaying chops to not to stall out with the ol' "I do nothing" or "I don't care about nobody/nothing" routines. But the red flag's there, in the back of my head, regardless.

About Nobody, the 'Malkavian"--this one has a whole bunch of little red flags for me. For starters, he's veering out of the "human and relateable" territory I declared above (and at the table). At first "tweaker street kid with some crazy ideas" seemed like a perfectly natural and engaging Portland trope. But he's focusing increasingly on stuff like "obsessed with understanding the nature of demons, sorcery, the soul and the afterlife." Even after i warned him that the "true nature" of Demons is unknowable in the game, he's just like, "cool! Then he'll be continually frustrated and desperate as he seeks answers and doesn't get them!" Which. . .I dunno, I can see the case for just letting him do his thing (Sorcerer is about letting him do his thing). But to me it's a dead end question. Like, we already know the answer: "Does he figure out the Demons? NO." So why play that out? Strikes me that such inquiries are forbidden answers because those questions aren't interesting, specifically for Sorcerer. But in this case "the quest for answers" is about the only thing driving the character. (This also means he's setting up Nobody as the "explain Sorcery to everyone else" character, which is fine I guess but I don't want to get bogged down in "this game is about how Sorcery works" at the expense of "this game is about the people and their desperate struggles.)

I'm also seeing a lot of "pre-play" tendencies in this player. Every fresh round of discussion provokes a new flurry of "oh, and maybe this happened to him and this and this and this. . .!" or "I seem him acting like this or that in such and such situation, maybe doing X or Y in the process." (Another reason to back off from the forum discussion!) I think I'm gonna have to just look him in the eye next session and say flat-out: "don't play before play. Save those ideas for situations as they actually happen, in game." Seems like Seth needs a splash of cold water just like I did with the hand-wringing self-pressure building.

And yeah, the kicker. After you read the thread he posted and reminded me of the one idea he did throw out in the prep session, but didn't commit to: "suddenly appearing [his Demon has Travel] in the midst of a massacre, demons slaughtering humans all around him." All, once again, related to this whole "what's really going on" kinda theme. But Seth's not really satisfied with the Kicker, and is mulling over altering or replacing it.

Note: Seth created this character by the methodology (his preferred) of waiting to see what the others create, then making something contrasting to cover all the conceptual bases. Hence, everyone turned out low Lore PCs, so he made Nobody a powerful adept.

I like your angle on Robin's coven. Hand in an ant nest, indeed. . .:) As or the Kicker, he's since replaced it with a body he stole disappearing in transit, then started talking about combining the two incidents. Maybe I'll keep the missing body, then back him off from detailing the phone call, letting that be my playground, similar to how yo describe (Oh, and he's now made the caller a museum staffer he slept with for info on the corpse!)

The Animal Activist is ringing bells for precisely the reason you describe. (I've never played with Jana before and I believe she's extremely new to roleplaying; not sure where such a habit comes from, if indeed it IS a habit.) Concentrating on a proper Binding seems sound-any tips on how to focus that?

Now, regarding the back sheets, I think you've got me all wrong. I haven't been pushing for relationships connecting the PCs at all. Sorry if I gave that impression. I'm just pushing for relationships, period. People in the PCs lives (the key component missing in my Over the Edge experience).* Several of the players have in fact pushed for the PCs "grouping up" despite my insistence that it's not necessary. I just had to back Seth down from having Nobody involved with both Willem AND Jake's characters.

So there you go. I await further insight.

Peace,
-Joel
*I detailed my concern in a reply to Jake: "My issue is that without him having people in his life that he cares about (however estranged or whatever), play is going to tend to go like this: "Hey there, Player! Look over here! Care about this! [dangles NPC] Oh, that fell flat? OK, how bout this over here! [dangles "even cooler" NPC] Oh, another dud? OK, well check out this over HERE. . ."


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 08, 2008, 06:43:24 PM
Great checklist of questions, James. Thanks!

In particular these two:
* How did this character discover the Lore?
* Why did this character summon and bind the demon?  (This isn't asking how, though that could be part of the answer.)

provoke a further question from me (for either you or Ron, or both!): What would those look like for a naif Sorcerer?


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: jburneko on July 08, 2008, 07:26:39 PM
Hey There!

Regarding Seth/Nobody.  Yeah, it sounds like there's a lot of ingrained gamer habits there.  However, may I suggest that backing Seth down from being involved with two other PCs was a mistake?  You're right in that Sorcerer has no requirements that the PCs must "group up" but it also has no such requirement that they *don't* group up.  It's indifferent.  I ran a Sorcerer game where all the PCs were family members living in the same house and it was awesome.  The human connection you're looking for with Nobody might very well be with the other PCs.

Additionally you might just bring reality down hard on Nobody.  These don't necessarily have to be personal connections.  If his kicker stays what you've described have the cops pick him up as a suspect.  Introduce the ordinary relationships and family members and all their problems of the people dead at the scene.  Maybe some think he's a killer and want to know why, maybe some think he's innocent and want to help him out, none of them believe his "demon" explanation.  If he then turns from these points of human contact in the pursuit of "higher understanding" hit him Humanity Checks.

This is risky because one of two things will happen.  Either he'll see what's happening as his humanity drops and turn that into a functional creative engine OR he'll get mad because he's being "punished" for playing his character.  If the later happens Sorcerer might just not be the game for Seth.

As for the "naif" question it's important to remember there's a difference between deliberate and "with full understanding."  I just watched the first episode of an anime called Rozen Maiden and the whole opening sequence is text book Sorcerer.  So there's this kid who's addicted to mail ordering.  In particular he orders "magic stuff",  Voodoo Dolls, Shamen Totems, etc.  When they turn out to be junk he mails them back for a refund.

One of the items is a questionnaire he's supposed to fill out and put in his desk drawer where it will be picked up by an inter-dimensional being (Contact).  He does this and when he turns around there's a box on the floor and questionnaire has disappeared from the drawer.  In the box is an doll and a wind up key.  He winds the doll up (Summoning).  She comes to life and shortly there after a clown doll shows up.  The girl doll tells the boy that she can save him from death but only if he swears (Need).  In a panic he does so.  She has him kiss her ring (Binding) and a similar ring appears on his own figure.  She defeats the clown doll and then explains that the boy is now her servant (Desire).

At first blush this appears to be the White Wolf, "hidden reality" situation but it isn't.  The kid does not accidentally or unwillingly stumble into "the truth."  It all starts with is deliberate seeking via the mail ordering.  He was already in pursuit of something and BAM here it is even if he doesn't understand what he's gotten himself into.

Make sense?

Jesse


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 08, 2008, 07:47:12 PM
Oh thanks, Jesse. I read that just before going to bed. Now I don't wanna go.

I thought I'd amend one of James' questions a wee bit:

Quote
* How has sorcery made this character's life better?

I understand that James was asking in such a way as to arrive at the character's Price, so I'm not replacing his question so much as adding a new one. Sometimes I get the idea, from some folks, that they think Sorcerer must be a game about stupid people. "What would anyone want to do that?"

Heh. Ask yourself the next time someone cuts you off by driving 'round on the right at a stoplight. Me, I ask myself every time I do my rounds of today's news. Don't ask what I fantasize about accomplishing, and what price I'd be willing to pay for it.

So anyway, my additional question is useful because the character is (obviously) not opening play by attempting to break the Binding. After all, it's pretty easy - just stop giving the demon its Need and it either starves or it rebels and goes away, right? (well, more or less) So the character really is getting what they want, or closer to it, by being a sorcerer. Yes, it's riding the tiger, but again by definition, the character hasn't fallen off or been turned upon yet, now have they.

I'm not suggesting you ask the players this now. I suggest you ask them as part of the table-talk during actual play, particularly in their first scenes. Not as storyboard or long-backstory questions either - just brief and straightforward, and carry on with play as you go.

In fact, I think you might do well simply to state your final requirements to the players and not negotiate one bit more. It must be pushing the limits of "tedious" pretty hard by now, actually, if they send you X and you send them marked-up red pen commentary, and then it goes 'round again. It's time to work with what you got.

Well, as long as you have Kickers, demon Needs and Desires, brief circumstances of Binding, short labels on the backs of the sheets (lots of names and places with no depth is better than one or two full of ten-page depth), and that's it.

I do have some comments about some of the Desires which are written too much like Needs, and about that no-'count excuse for a Kicker (which you'll be stuck with, in the interest of no more negotiation), but now I have to de-anime my mind (thanks a whole fucking heap, Jesse) and try to get to bed.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: James_Nostack on July 08, 2008, 08:17:11 PM
(cross posted with Jesse)

Joel, if you've read a bunch of Sorcerer threads you probably already know the answer: "Depends on your setting."  Lately I've been thinking a lot about the modern-day sorcery described in Chapter 7 of Sorcerer and further developed in Sex & Sorcery.  Odds are this isn't too terribly different from your Hellblazer-inspired stuff.  I hope some of it will be useful for you.

One thing at the outset: despite what it says in the Sorcerer core book, a character's Lore score isn't necessarily tied to the character's Lore descriptor.  Your Lore score, technically, simply represents how effective this character's going to be at getting his or her way on Lore-related matters.  So an Adept might have Lore 1, which could mean (if we're interpreting stuff in-fiction) that this guy spent ages learning every last bit of sorcery but totally sucks at applying it, or (at the player level) the player just wants to have this quite competent guy fail a lot due to the exigencies of this story.

So: as a description, naive just means, "Ain't been to school."  The description, by itself, has nothing to do with the character's talent and/or "story juice" on these matters, only that the character is bamboozled by all this metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and doesn't understand (or care about) the fine print. 

With that in mind, a Naif can acquire a Lore score simply by coming to appreciate whatever demons are all about.  Y'know on your one-sheet where you define what demons are, or what sorcery is, in this setting?  The Naif has figured this out intuitively, through one particular experience or through the course of a lifetime.

Let's work with Sex & Sorcery's notion that sorcery is about attempting to perceive Reality-in-the-Raw.  Here, a Naif sorcerer might be someone who, through an extreme experience, somehow learned something about how the Cosmos really works, even if the lesson is vague, numinous, and difficult to comprehend.  Let me use an example from Wikipedia: Ed Gein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Gein), the inspiration for Psycho's Norman Bates.  Gein is hopelessly, obsessively, desperately in love with his harridan of a mother.  A lifetime of sublimated hatred, sexual longing, completely unselfish love, and blind faith in the face of unbearable suffering have combined to give Gein, in his darkest moments, a strangely tender glimpse of some Ultimate Truth.  He doesn't know what to do with it; he doesn't know anything about "rituals" or "magic."  He just knows a thing or two about his situation; it's numinous to him.  (This is much too wordy, of course: my notes say, "obsessive, sublimated, unbearable love" which is really about all you need.)  (Note that this explanation might work for "Mad" too.  But also note that unlike a not of "Naive" explanations, there isn't some "superhero origin" event: "Naive" can work that way, but it can also just be something that builds up over time.)

As to how/why he summoned a demon: well, that's easy.  Mother is out of the picture for some reason (dead, dying, whatever).  He's adrift and lonely; being abused, cheated, enslaved and damned by a demon is how he feels loved.

Anyway: the character is a terribly unoriginal cliche, and is still too repulsive to serve as a player-character, but serves to get the point across.


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 09, 2008, 05:25:30 AM
Hi, Jesse!

Regarding Seth/Nobody.  Yeah, it sounds like there's a lot of ingrained gamer habits there.  However, may I suggest that backing Seth down from being involved with two other PCs was a mistake?  You're right in that Sorcerer has no requirements that the PCs must "group up" but it also has no such requirement that they *don't* group up.  It's indifferent.  I ran a Sorcerer game where all the PCs were family members living in the same house and it was awesome.  The human connection you're looking for with Nobody might very well be with the other PCs.

I just wanna clarify that I negotiated him down from being connected to 2 PCs, to being connected to one. One of the connections was frankly weak. We kept the one that made more sense.

Also, thanks for the example of Naive Binding. That gives me a pretty good picture.

Ron,

Me, I ask myself every time I do my rounds of today's news.

Heh. Have you read the Manga Death Note? It's available on the web here (http://www.onemanga.com/Death_Note/). it's the ultimate answer to that question.

In fact, I think you might do well simply to state your final requirements to the players and not negotiate one bit more. It must be pushing the limits of "tedious" pretty hard by now, actually, if they send you X and you send them marked-up red pen commentary, and then it goes 'round again. It's time to work with what you got.

Yeah, no worries. We play tonight, so I'm just going to wait till we're face to face, get 'is that your final answer?" commitments on all the uncertain stuff (which fortunately includes some Kicker stuff), and roll straight ahead.

Peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 09, 2008, 06:59:54 AM
Hi Joel,

Tonight? Oy. I thought we had a couple more days. I'll have to make this quick - all of it is about you as GM and not about talking to the players.

First, here's a bit from an older thread that I repeat a lot:

Quote
A demon's Desire is not associated with any specific thing, place, or action. Instead, it tries to bring about its Desire with whatever it encounters. Whether it does the Desire itself, influences others to do it, or simply wants to be around that particular Desire in action, is up to the demon at the moment - any of these are fine.

It does not crave its Desire in a drug-sense. It likes its Desire and thinks the whole world ought to tend that way, and might need a little help to get there. If the demon is a conversational type, then it will always bring a dialogue around to its Desire somehow.

The demon's Binder is not responsible for satisfying its Desire and Binding strength is not affected by how much the demon is getting its Desire stroked. Doing things in accord with the Desire might give a bonus die to interactions, but again, that's not a matter of Binding strength. Failing to satisfy a Desire does not incur penalties to interaction or ritual rolls, nor will it lead a demon down the path of rebellion. A demon will not lose Power by missing out on its Desire as it will with its Need.

A Need, by contrast, is for a specific thing or an action. There is no ambiguity, ever, about whether the demon received its Need and when the last time was. The demon may like its Need, hate it, or regard it as a physiological necessity. What matters is that it's literally addicted to it.

Binding by definition makes the Binder responsible for providing the demon with its Need. Both participants understand this in full, for any and every instance of Binding, even if the sorcerer is Naive. Failure to receive its Need makes the demon lose Power, just as a Parasite or Possessor loses Power when outside a host. Under-supplying or frequently-supplying the Need does affect Binding strength and the demon's tendency to rebel or not to rebel.

Desire is ideology, personality, taste, and preference. Need is addiction, payment, and power.

One more point about Desire: the sorcerer does not please or appease the demon by providing it. Or more accurately, you can't provide Desire.

Looking over the listed Desires of the demons so far, I see a couple that are not on my list in the core book. You know those aren't just examples, right? Those are the Desires you pick from, period. It's like the descriptors and not like the Needs. If you're going to change the list, then you change the list, you don't improvise new bits in a free-form way. Such a change is very consequential and not to be done casually. Given your current uneasiness and enthusiasm, I suggest letting the game text do the work for you and not changing it at this level.

Theft is easily changed to Mischief. I strongly suggest doing so because theft is too specific, and it's an action, not a principle or general effect like a Desire must be. If you want to play the demon as focused on theft for now, sure, why not, but a non-mischievous theft would be uninteresting to it.

Sudden violence is similarly easily changed to Mayhem, for the same reasons.

Fear ... h'mm, I think that needs to become Power, with fear being the demon's current focus on establishing Power.

So, now for playing these things. I think they look like fun.

First of all, don't forget that demons can and do communicate. You can always find ways, even if they don't talk. Objects can get heavier or lighter, be misplaced (not in a "can't use it" way, just mildly inconvenient), or anything else like that. Parasites ... well, it depends on what they are. Some of them just talk to their hosts, others manifest as physiological effects like sweating or exuding drops of blood on the skin, and still others are machine-like and therefore would be more like Objects except for the misplaced part.

Second, one thing you can do as GM is to provide examples of the Desires in the scenes the character's in, so that gives you the opportunity to play the demons' enjoyment of those things. Twitch likes Mayhem, does it? No problem. A guy gets mugged on the street near Nobody, when he's on his way to go do something (that's important), and Twitch wants to stay and watch, like a kid watching construction equipment. No reason, no planned time-period, it just likes it. Twitch is a Parasite, right? Well, it doesn't have automatic control over Nobody's limbs, but it might try to take control briefly, or want to "discuss" the scene by vibrating all of Nobody's muscles briefly.

(One of the points you might want to make verbally during play, conveying it as a given rather than a negotiating point, is that Twitch does not make Nobody a sorcerer. Nobody is a sorcerer with or without Twitch.)

I hope these ideas help a little bit. Don't try to "make a story" tonight, and most especially do not try to recapitulate the classic first session from many White Wolf, Unknown Armies, and related play experiences, in which the characters "get clues to what's going on" or "come together in common interest" or "meet the introductory NPC." You have Kickers, Desires, Needs, and a few NPCs with notions of their own. Just play all those things, and weave player-characters' paths together, very occasionally, rather than their conflicts.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 09, 2008, 05:15:45 PM
Well. . .we had to cancel for tonight, so I guess that's a bit of reprieve. We're now planning on playing next Wednesday. Feel free to add anything you were too rushed to post.

So, Desires. Huh. No, I did not realize that the Desires were a fixed list. I guess I do now. Your proposed tweaks to the Desires sound fine. And thanks for the advice on handling Desires in play. Looks like really solid stuff.

(One of the points you might want to make verbally during play, conveying it as a given rather than a negotiating point, is that Twitch does not make Nobody a sorcerer. Nobody is a sorcerer with or without Twitch.)

Yeah, that's a point I've made regarding Robin and Ravengod, actually, since Willem seems resistant to the idea that Robin would or might ever even consider summoning another Demon, and his Sorcerous telltale is sloughing off Raven feathers. My take is that it's fine for him to never perform another Summoning/Binding, so long as he understands that he IS still a Sorcerer with access to the rituals.

RE: Weaving paths together, not conflicts. Wow. I'd never looked at it from that angle. Sounds like a great idea for kicking "let's team up!" straight in the teeth. Excellent.

Peace,
Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: James_Nostack on July 09, 2008, 07:35:12 PM
Joel, one thing to watch out for is simply coming up with anything beyond the most minimal backstory at all.  I find that the "relationship map" approach of Sorcerer's Soul is, in practice, far more heavy-handed than I need, at least given my relative inexperience with Sorcerer: if you've got an R-Map controlling your overall Situation, it can become very easy for the game to be about "resolving" that R-Map, rather than just rollin' with the player's Kickers and seeing where it takes you.

Take a hard look at the characters' Kickers.  Figure out a couple connections between them.  These might be causative connections ("this one Kicker happened because this one NPC is still reeling from this other player's Kicker"), or there might be some links between NPC's whose own goals are affected, at least in some way, by the upheavals in these Kickers.  So long as a couple of these NPC's are "grabby", operating at cross-purposes (either with respect to each other, or with respect to some/all of the players), and get plenty of screen time, you're golden.  Find the bare minimum number of NPC's you need to develop each character's Kicker, and then play the hell out of them. 


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 10, 2008, 07:23:46 AM
The relationship map method is explicitly designed for Sorcerer games which are directed toward the Humanity score as the primary interest-point of play. That direction is intended for people who are already pretty familiar with the game, which is why it's a supplement.

So I don't recommend using it for your game, Joel. I suggest instead merely working with the NPCs from the characters' sheets as well as anyone that you make up and feel especially inspired to play. James is right, though - a little bit will go a long way.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: jburneko on July 10, 2008, 11:36:25 AM
Ron's post about the R-Map technique being supplementary to the core game reminded me of something.  Have you taken a close look at the two sections in Chapter 4 titled, "The Sorcerous Technicality" and "The Back Story."  Because I find those two sections to be really the core of "basic" Sorcerer prep.

Basically you start by considering potential ramifications of Sorcery and root that in a real-world human conflict.  Then once you have that you attach the PCs via their kickers, demons, back of the sheet stuff etc.  This isn't classic mystery prep.  Play still very much focuses on the PC's kicker and their personal situation but it gives you a ready made stress (i.e. bang) generator.

The technique often makes the game a little more pulpy or comic booky because that central point of stress tends to get worked up into full fledged villain status.  It also pushes things a little more towards the "group up" mentality, if not exactly "team up", as play tends to spiral in towards that central conflict, such that players often end up in a unified climax scene even if they're all working at cross purposes from one another.  It very much harkens to Sorcerer's Champions roots.

The whole thing is a little bit like the GM creating his own PC and I often (but not always) do it before character creation.  For example, for a Southern Gothic flavored game, I imagined an old family patriarch using a Contain the way some fathers use a belt as threat to misbehaving children.  Since the game took place in New Orleans just after the Katrina Hurricane I imagined this huge cracked mosaic sitting under three inches of water in the basement of a sunken and flooded house.  I imagined this demon, now free, whose total purpose was to punish members of the family.  I created the eldest son of the patriarch, trained in his father's sorcerous ways desperate to save his family from the thing OUT THERE.  The thing he has been so utterly terrified since childhood when his father would rattle the keys to the basement when he caught his son stepping out of line.

That's the same game where the players created characters that were all members of the same family.  So I simply asked if the players were okay with the idea of having a rival family.  They LOVED the idea.  Indeed since most the PCs were black they liked the idea of their family once having been the slaves of the other family.  There were rumors that the white family stole their sorcerous knowledge from their family.

It worked out very well in play.

Jesse






Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 10, 2008, 04:38:57 PM
Wow. I just got through re-reading my old over the Edge threads, and. . .holy shit, those things are good. Chock full of goddamn insight, a lot of it by my own hand. it's a far cry from my usual forum role of guidance-seeker and wisdom-receiver. You're right, Ron, the way I want to play and how to achieve it is all in there. I forget about these insights and breakthroughs over time and slip back into the pattern of "gee, i don't know how to do this why won't it turn out the way I want it!" in actual games and "Help, I'm in over my head, someone tell me what to do" online. I need a reminder like that from time to time, to kick me into confidence and proactive pursuit of my priorities.

Thanks.

Peace,
-Joel

PS. Thanks also, everyone, for the latest round of clarification and advice. I'm mulling it over contendedly, internalizing and applying.


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 17, 2008, 09:20:43 PM
Well, we played last night, and it went very well! Just as you suggested, Ron, my methodology from the OTE threads was a perfect touchstone for effortlessly roleplaying NPCs and responding nimbly to player input, all free from pressure or performance anxiety. I'll post a full AP report with some observations and questions in a few days, when I have full internet access again (I post this missive powered by a Netzero dialup free trial!). Thanks for all the info and support.

Peace,
-Joel


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 18, 2008, 07:43:57 AM
Hooray! That sounds wonderful.

Thanks for sticking with it.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 23, 2008, 04:52:09 PM
Considering their importance to the discussion, I thought it'd be good to reference all Joel's Over the Edge threads here.
[Over the Edge] Killing the dilemma (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=19018.0)
[Over the Edge] Bangs or whimpers? (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20222.0)
[OtE] Cats successfully herded (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20465.0)
[OtE] A paper trail to nowhere (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20477.0)
[OtE] Rewards (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20729.0)
Confessional: I was an illusionist wanker! (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=21641.0)
[OtE] Dice for the masses (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=21844.0)

I forgot how damn many there were! I had to go back and follow up with some edits to get them all. What should be the overall title? "Joel's Long Dark Night of the Narrativist Soul," or something like that.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 23, 2008, 09:06:54 PM
Yeah, I was surprised as well to discover how many I'd cranked out. I had to do a lot of skimming to remember which ones I really wanted to read, when I was reviewing! Thanks for compiling them all. That'll save me a lot of search time in the future (though I suppose I could just bookmark 'em, eh?).

Peace,
-Joel

PS hope to get the AP up of the Sorcerer session before I leave for the weekend. The next session will be next Wednesday.


Title: Re: Prep for first-time Hellblazer-ish Sorcerer
Post by: Joel P. Shempert on July 23, 2008, 09:18:34 PM
Oh! I almost forgot, I wanted to give a bit of commentary/guide fr those who want to go hunting, so you don't necessarily have to dredge through all the threads.

Killing the Dilemma,
Paper trail to Nowhere,
and Illusionist Wanker!

all document various facets of my frustration and failings. I actually recommend reading Wanker! First, since it actually chronicles the earliest stage of my struggle.

Bangs or Whimpers?
Cats Successfully Herded,
and Dice for the Masses

Are the threads about games that went more or less right, and I started to enjoy myself in the endeavor. Here and there are little snippets of me stating with clarity and conviction what I want out o roleplaying and how to get it (which of course I completely forgot about practicing as the last couple of years went by!)

And Rewards is just a little hiccup of a thread as I feel out possible gimmicky little mechanical mods to jumpstart the Narr. . .except that it contains the absolute gem of Ron explaining lucidly how OTE can rock hard, which turns out to be NOT AT ALL how I and my group was approaching it.* :P

Happy reading!

Peace,
-Joel

*oddly enough, Ron, immediately after you posted that, I was talking with one of my players, and he expressed to me (quite independently) that Over the Edge seems like it would be cool in a sort of rotating cast game of short overlapping story arcs. If only we had a time machine!