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Author Topic: Supplement "Wish List"  (Read 4529 times)
Finarvyn
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« on: August 30, 2010, 05:43:54 PM »

The thread that had the link to t-shirts and coasters and stuff got me thinking, mostly because of the mention of the "Sorcerer and Space" product that never was. I know that Ron is pretty much done with writing Supplement books, but I thought it might be fun to brainstorm a "wish list" of Supplements that we'd love to have if only someone would write them. As a general rule, I think it would be most in the spirit of Ron's supplements to keep things general instead of too specific. In other words, "Sorcerer and Space" is a good suggestion but "a Dune sourcebook" is too specific.

Even if one never plays Sorcerer, Ron’s rulebooks are great sourcebooks. I discovered the worlds of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald because of the recommendations in the Sorcerer’s Soul. In short, these books are about a cool RPG but are also literary studies of particular types of fiction. We already know that Sorcerer's Soul covers the detective genre, Sorcerer and Sword the pulp "swords & sorcery" genre, and Sorcerer and Sex tackles gender and sexual issues. So what's left?

I’ll admit that some of these on my list are a bit of a reach, and that perhaps there isn’t enough material out there to justify a supplement. (And if I created a list of only a couple of items, there wouldn’t be much discussion. At least with a longer list more people can say “you’re an idiot!”) I’d be interested in seeing lists that others might come up with as well….

* Sorcerer and Space - this is still probably the biggest untapped market. There are so many cool scifi settings and resources that could fill up a supplement. Also, it’s partially written somewhere and just begging to be let out of captivity.

* Sword and Planet - I'm thinking of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter and other heroes of the "age of adventure" Perhaps Jules Verne and other authors. Many of the “sword and planet” style books deal with dying worlds, haunted places that struggle not to fade away. I know that The Dictionary of Mu touches on some of this, but it would be cool to see more.

* Heroes and Myths - I'm thinking that it would be interesting to see Sorcerer applied to the Greek and Roman legends, mythical monsters, and the gods. There is a lot of source material such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, as well as the main mythology texts.

* More Modern Magic – I know that the Sorcerer main rulebook covers this stuff already, but this seems like a genre that has exploded a lot since 2001. Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher), Diana Tregarde (Mercedes Lackey), Rachel Morgan (Kim Harrison) and others have emerged on the scene recently.

* Historical Hauntings – What about Robert E. Howard’s tales of the weird wild west? Or H.P. Lovecraft’s haunted New England region near Arkham and Dunwich. What about ghosts left behind after the American Revolution? Or grave robbers who delve into tunnels under the pyramids?

What might be worthy of a supplement?
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Marv (Finarvyn)
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 07:32:19 AM »

Guess this isn't an interesting topic. Lots of views, no replies.
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Marv (Finarvyn)
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 12:28:58 PM »

For me, Sorcerer settings have more bite if you come up with them yourself, so when I buy a Sorcerer Supplement, it has to offer more than a setting, and they have. Sorcerer & Sword provides insight on creating settings. Sorcerer's Soul teaches about the relationship map, and through that teaches how to prepare for the campaign. Sex and Sorcery gives insight on the relationships at the table, and how that can influence the fictional content of play. When coming up with a new supplement, you have to try to figure out what other area of play the advice within it will pertain to. And for myself, I don't see much left unexplored at this point.
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jburneko
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 01:10:46 PM »

I'm not sure that I agree.  There's a big difference between a launching point for genuine personal inspiration and a guide book for imaginary tourism.  Where do the idea for my own Sorcerer settings come from?  They're a conglomerate of personal sources.  I don't see much difference between going to my local art museum and point at a favorite portrait of mine and saying, "That guy?  Totally a Sorcerer, I want to play a guy like that." and me pointing at an entry in a book and doing the same thing.  I the trick is not to be concerned with doing the character "right" and take personal ownership of the Rorschach-like personal reading of the material.

Dictionary of Mu is a great example of this.  Every page is dripping with feeling, color and mood with absolutely no sense of how it all "works" together.  There's no sense of needing to get it "right."  No intrinsic politics to understand.  No detailed trade routes and economies.  I played a Mu based game that focused on the Witch King as a central NPC.  I played him as a very brutal father figure.  One of those guys who thinks the best way to love his son (a PC by the way) was to beat the crap out of him to "toughen" him up.  Something tells me that's not exactly what Judd had in mind when he created the character.  Hell, I don't think I'd even play the Witch King the same way twice depending on how the game was setup.  The thought of a bunch of gamers sitting around debating about how to play the Witch King "correctly" is nonsensical and absurd.

That said, writing supplements is HARD.  I have no less than THREE started on my computer.

Sorcerer Unbound - My practical how-to guide to playing Sorcerer which is sort of an amalgamation of all the general wisdom generated from discussions about the game.

My Untitled Gothic Fantasy Stuff - I've played this material A LOT now.  Whenever I do I do all my planning and note keeping by hand in journal I have dedicated this material only.  But even with all that actually organizing all of that in a presentable format is tough.

When Babies Laugh (Working Title) - This is compilation of stuff about playing Sorcerer in the context of children and fairies.  I started it as sort of a response to this general idea that Sorcerer is all about wallowing in depravity.

So I've got tons and tons of mini-supplement worthy material laying around.  But truth be told there's a lot of honest to god, roll up your sleeves, hard work into putting it all together in a presentation and format worth releasing (yet alone selling).  At the end of the day I'd rather play Sorcerer than write about Sorcerer.  So I tinker with this stuff from time, time but until I develop the personal work ethic to actually bite the bullet, schedule and discipline myself it'll likely remain as stuff that I just trade around with people who ask about it.

Jesse


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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2010, 06:33:09 AM »

Hey, this reminded me of my almost-Ronnie-award-winning game Mud Planet, which still exists as an alpha version of a mini-supplement. I guess it would qualify as Swords & Planet. If you like to, check it out:

Mud Planet / Sorcerer Alpha

I ran one playtest in 2008 which looked promising, but somehow ended up not developing it further. The playtest report can be found here. If you fancy to give it a try, I'd sure be delighted to read about it! :-)

- Frank
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2010, 07:32:33 AM »

Just downloaded and skimmed Mud Planet and it looks really cool. Once I finish looking it over, I'll check out the playtest you linked to. Thanks for the tip!
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Marv (Finarvyn)
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Paiku
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2010, 10:07:33 AM »

I'm currently working on a "Dictionary Of Elric," though it remains to be seen whether the finished product will adopt the format of the excellent Mu.  Certainly Sorcery & Sword draws a lot of inspiration from and direct references to the Elric Saga, but it is (purposely and rightly) not an Elric campaign sourcebook.  I'm putting a lot of work into this because: (a) I love the Saga, I want to play a campaign based in that world, and I agree that Sorcerer is the best RPG in which to do it; and (b) because none of my players have read the Saga so I need to convey the flavour and provide some artifacts (NPCs, demons, monsters, kingdoms, etc).

So: what can I do with my "Dictionary of Elric" once it's finished?  Is such a thing interesting to anyone else?  Publishable?  Marketable?  Are there copyright issues that would kill such an effort right from the start?

PS:
I agree that a supplement has to provide more than just setting.  My Elric work would be a setting sourcebook, not a proper supplement.
I'm 7 pages into Mud Planet and so far it's very cool! 
Jesse, your nascent supplements sound very interesting, especially the Gothic one, I'm sure we'd all love to read them!
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Marshall Burns
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2010, 10:42:06 AM »

I'm very enamored with the "book report in a hardcover" thing that you get in the core Sorcerer books. I'd want the same thing out of any supplement: insightful discussion of the mechanisms of the source literature (/film/whatever) -- not as a guide on how to emulate it, but as a guide on how to sorcerize it: how to derive demon, sorcery, sorcerer, and Humanity definitions from it, and Kickers.

It's very important that a Sorcerer supplement never turn into the fandom, emulation-centered thing. It must always be focused on helping players create Situation so that they can resolve it according to their own horrible wills.
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2010, 12:15:11 PM »

I'm currently working on a "Dictionary Of Elric," though it remains to be seen whether the finished product will adopt the format of the excellent Mu.  Certainly Sorcery & Sword draws a lot of inspiration from and direct references to the Elric Saga, but it is (purposely and rightly) not an Elric campaign sourcebook. 

So: what can I do with my "Dictionary of Elric" once it's finished?  Is such a thing interesting to anyone else? 
I would very much like to see this when it's done. I think that the style of Elric is very much in the spirit of Sorcerer, and the character Elric has to suffer through so many harsh situations along the way. To me, Elric is even more of a Sorcerer setting than, say, Conan or other pulp fantasy settings because of this.

Sadly, when you finish you won't be able to do much with it because Michael Moorcock owns the setting for Elric and probably won't allow you to publish unless you give him a piece of the action. You might be able to do the freebie giveaway thing, however, if you aren't making any money off of it.
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Marv (Finarvyn)
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2010, 12:37:25 PM »

I wish we could edit our posts. (sigh) I end up posting, then thinking of other details.

I agree that a supplement has to provide more than just setting.  My Elric work would be a setting sourcebook, not a proper supplement.
I'm not entirely certain if a supplement has to be more than one setting, if that one setting is diverse enough. (And it may depend upon how you define the "setting" of Moorcock's multiverse since so many worlds are linked together through planar travel.) Even if Elric (for example) wasn't diverse enough to make a full supplement such as Sorcerer and Sword, one could certainly argue that there is enough material to make an excellent "mini supplement" such as the ones you can get through Adept Press.

Seems like the setting is more than just a list of names and places, but also includes the philosophy of the world, the way the characters look at their surroundings, and other factors. For example, the Conan setting is somewhat racist because Robert E Howard was racist and he imposed these beliefs on his characters and setting. If one did a Conan supplement it would probably need to capture this essence as well as the more plesent aspects of the world of Hyboria.

In Elric's world, the folk of Melinbone don't see summoning elementals and demons as wrong but people of the Young Kingdoms do. Elric feels that using Stormbringer is wrong but Yrkoon does not. These diverse outlooks give the setting depth and, in game terms, help define Humanity and other elements of the campaign. I guess what I'm thinking is that if there are enough examples of diversity (and perhaps good quotes to back them up) perhaps a single setting could make ao sourcebook.

Dictionary of Mu may have originated from many sources, but now it can form the basis of a single campaign. Would it matter if the book was derived from one or many sources, as long as it makes a good resource?
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Marv (Finarvyn)
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jburneko
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2010, 04:17:29 PM »

I'm very enamored with the "book report in a hardcover" thing that you get in the core Sorcerer books.

ME TOO!

When I first started working on my Gothic stuff I realized my "primary" source of my love of D&D's Ravenloft.  Sorcerer & Sword taught me that RPGs make TERRIBLE primary sources.  I had read most of the sources for the knock-off villains found in Ravenloft.  Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and The Island of Dr. Maureau.

When I did proper research I was actually shocked to discover that with the exception of Frankenstein NONE of those are actually considered Gothic novels.  It turns out that the faux-Victorian horror stuff most of pop culture refers to as "Gothic" isn't.  The Gothic is a *Romance Era* art form and predates Victorian times significantly.  The Gothic literary period is generally recognized to have begun with the publication of The Castle of Otronto in 1764 and ends with Melmoth the Wanderer in 1820 (Moorcock as sighted both of these as influences on Elric).  Dracula wouldn't be published for another 70 years!

What I found was pretty lush and largely forgotten pulp-like tradition.  Go read William Beckford's Vathek (1787).  It's almost indistinguishable from most of the material found in Sorcerer & Sword.  Hell, it features a scene in which the title character feeds an entire group of children to a demon.

What to see one of the most awesome and mysterious Kickers of all time?  Read Anne Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest (1791).  It opens with a man named Pierre LaMotte fleeing with his family from Paris because of unpaid debts.  Along the way he his kidnapped by bandits who make just one demand.  They ask that LeMotte take a woman named Adelaide into his possession and make sure she doesn't come back.  Weird right?

Mathew Lewis's The Monk (1791) Features a pure Faustian Sorcerer A plot and and a pretty gripping and heroic B plot.

That whole emo-angst ridden do-nothing goth-boy stuff?  Yeah, not found in the actual tradition.

JEsse



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Paiku
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2010, 04:51:45 AM »

Thanks Finarvyn for your thoughts on an Elric supplement.  Also Marshall, I'm not sure if your comment about fandom emulation was directed at this, but it certainly applies.

What I'm creating now is primarily for my upcoming game, it won't be a complete treatment of the Elric Saga and it will be biased towards the kind of Sorcerer game that I want to play.  I'll post it on The Forge for your reading enjoyment and for comments and feedback.  Then we'll see how much interest there is in taking it further.  As you said Finarvyn, it will probably never be more than a for-free product.

And: +1 in favour of the "book report" aspect of the supplements!  Fascinating stuff that keeps me going back to the library (and the video store).
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2010, 08:54:11 AM »

Hey everyone,

I at least am getting a little confused about the discussion - is it about Adept Press supplements authored be me, like the existing three, or about supplemental material written and published by others? If it's both, then we should be specific about which is being mentioned for a particular point or wish-list, because they are very different entities.

The Adept Press supplements I've written have really, really specific goals, to develop emergent properties or particular applications of the rules. I hope I've succeeded in writing, not supplements in the ordinary RPG sense, but genuine books extending and developing the potential of the first. There's a little introductory text in each one outlining the principles and goals that guided me in writing. The whole series is also highly individualized, an expression of myself as a role-player, designer, and author. At present, I have no plans for writing another. A couple of ideas have occurred to me, but since writing a Sorcerer supplement is kind of a life-changing event, I don't have the energy or desire to detract from other stuff I'm doing.

Whereas others' material, originally called "mini-supplements" although that name no longer applies and should be junked, is totally open-ended. A person can write whatever he or she desires for Sorcerer material. I'm not even sure that thinking in terms of a wish-list makes sense to me, as it seems weird to function only as a consumer ... as I see it, if you'd like to see something as Sorcerer material, then the best thing to do is play it and then write it up as your own publication.

Best, Ron
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jburneko
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2010, 10:18:58 AM »

I'm not even sure that thinking in terms of a wish-list makes sense to me, as it seems weird to function only as a consumer ... as I see it, if you'd like to see something as Sorcerer material, then the best thing to do is play it and then write it up as your own publication.

That was my thought too.  That's why I kind of introduced discussion about what personal work the current supplements have inspired me to go and do for my own play.

Jesse
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Marshall Burns
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 12:24:16 PM »

That whole emo-angst ridden do-nothing goth-boy stuff?  Yeah, not found in the actual tradition.

Except Frankenstein :)
I swear, he has a nervous breakdown every other page.
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