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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 35 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: How can I best run a game of sorcerer?  (Read 3437 times)
weaselheart
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2009, 02:24:35 AM »

In the case of my group I think it's less:

Such players are therefore trained to make "sketchy characters" who then key into whatever cues the GM gives them about what they "should" care about.  It's basically a trust issue.  They have to trust that if they say, "I have a romantic rival" that you as the GM are really going to commit to playing that romantic rival in challenging and productive way and not just as manipulative tool to get them to do what you want.

and more:

If it's important to the character, but the player is less than enthusiastic about it, then they are not going to commit to it.

Our games are usually pretty open (I think the term may be "sandbox", but I'm not sure). For most systems I prep a number of baddies, give the players a dynamic start (similar to a kicker) and let them get on with it. In downtime I work out how the baddies would react to player input and think of scenes that might be cool (two guys burst in with weapons), but I don't pre-determine how those scenes will work out. I'd say my players are quite happy to go off the page and react in any way they want. We're also used to players saying things like "I have an uncle in this town", and having them invent an npc there and then. A few sessions later that npc may well turn out to be the most important thing in the story.

But, talking to my players, I keep hearing the same phrases - things like, "But I don't know what my character's going to be like till I play it", or "I want to leave my options open and add relationships later". I think the issue for our group is that the players genuinely prefer to start with blank-slate characters and see what ideas they have rather than fix it up front. I think they may even find the process limiting, by closing down their options before they're sure. I also think they find it stressfull, as they have to think of a lot of stuff and it has to be "good" in a short time.  This in fact may be the major reason. I definitely think there's a "writer's block" effect here.

What usually happens in our games is that the group likes being creative and adding background stuff slowly, each time we play. The players really took to Houses of the Blooded, for instance, because they could invent NPC's and have things appear in the gameworld with each roll of the dice. Likewise in Mortal Coil, our system of magic was in flux throughout, as people constantly chipped in with bright ideas.

I also think my players believe (rightly or wrongly) that characters relationships work better if they are defined in co-operation and under the stress of game play rather than at the start. That way, the next time we pick up those games, we start with really good characters because they've been defined over several sessions and in co-operation, having seen how each other character reacts to each other under stress.

Does that make sense?

It's less about trust that if they make a romantic rival they'll be ignored, and more that they genuinely don't know up front if they actually want a romantic rival.

I think my best plan might be to explain what's needed and see if they'll go for it. It may be that they'll be uncomfortable with the idea and we'll have to drop sorcerer for now. But at least I know now what will and what won't work - and why.


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weaselheart
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2009, 02:35:42 AM »

Actually, I've just had a thought, and I hope I'm getting the jargon right.

Sorcerer is meant to be "story now", which I think means that the plot is not pre-written and that the players come to the table expecting to generate a story in play. One alternative would be "story before", where the GM pre-writes a scenario and the players step through it.

But as far as I can see, one important and necessary step for Sorcerer is that it is "background before". I.e. you only start generating "story now" once you've pre-generated the character backgrounds. I.e. if a character was in an asylum for three years and hates their uncle then it should be known at the start.

The way my group has played up to now then, I guess, would then be "story now" plus "background now" - in which it's ok to add in the asylum at any point in play.

Again, does that make sense?
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1970


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« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2009, 03:58:45 AM »

Reiterated caveat: I've not got a lot of actual play with Sorcerer.

I think the important thing is to have the relationships defined. The details don't have to be there. You hate your uncle should be known. Why? Who cares? When it comes up, you'll know.

Do you need to know beforehand that the character's been in an asylum? Depends. Does it have anything to do with his demon or his kicker? Then probably. Else, don't worry about it.

Story Now isn't about the narrative, the sequence of events. It's about addressing the theme. Hammer on Humanity, come at them through their demons' wants and needs, and never let them get complacent, and Story, in the sense Ron means, will almost certainly emerge.

So here's an idea: Get 'em to define a few relationships JUST in relation to their kickers. Don't worry about a big ol' web. Just enough so that you have something to work with. Sketchy is fine, A name, how they know each other, and a general idea of their relationship. Tie a couple of these together.. Then play with those. When they create an NPC on the spot, tell 'em to write it down on the back of their sheet, and take your own notes. You're allowed to come up with your own too, right? (semi-facetious question, obviously) So do it. Co-opt some of their NPCs into roles that are useful to you. Maybe Player 1's sister is the waitress that Player 2 is hitting on, or the cop that is investigating Player 3's "robbery".
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
weaselheart
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2009, 10:45:17 AM »

Reiterated caveat: I've not got a lot of actual play with Sorcerer.
So here's an idea: Get 'em to define a few relationships JUST in relation to their kickers. Don't worry about a big ol' web. Just enough so that you have something to work with. Sketchy is fine, A name, how they know each other, and a general idea of their relationship. Tie a couple of these together.. Then play with those. When they create an NPC on the spot, tell 'em to write it down on the back of their sheet, and take your own notes. You're allowed to come up with your own too, right? (semi-facetious question, obviously) So do it. Co-opt some of their NPCs into roles that are useful to you. Maybe Player 1's sister is the waitress that Player 2 is hitting on, or the cop that is investigating Player 3's "robbery".

Yes, I think that'll work. I'm probably getting too hung up myself on having it perfect from the start. I'll give this a go, thanks :)
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