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Author Topic: S&S One sheet  (Read 2257 times)
Vortigern
Member

Posts: 11

aka Tony


« on: September 09, 2010, 03:19:38 AM »

Alright.  Yeah.  So.  Books+Me = Actually trying to sit down and do a game.

I'm currently the player recruiting phase for my play by post: http://online-roleplaying.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11559

While that is going on I'm trying to develop some general guidance for the customization part of prepping a game of Sorcerer, and doing that I could use some advice.

I've been trying to generally search back through threads in the forum regarding 'One-Sheet' and the like, however it seems like there is a lot of material there.  Can someone recommend any reading or just give advice specific to One-Sheet preparation?

The game I am shooting for is a straight-up swords & sorcery style of thing directly in the spirit of the Hyborian Age & Elric etc.

For Humanity at first I was considering defining it as something along the lines of 'Heroism', but I'm not sure how to explain it much farther than that.  ( That could be the long string of night shifts I'm on ruining my cogitation. )  What I do know is I didn't want that to mean 'Being A Good-Guy.' in the sense of a goody-two-shoes kind of way though.

More just something along the lines of a generally 'positive' force in the game-world, against the darkness/decadence/treachery&backstabbery of the older/corrupter civilizations.  Or even just revitalizing one of them for example.  It doesn't mean going out into the horizon at the end of every adventure continuing to look for bad-guys to fight.  I'm just having trouble articulating it into something that I can then view as consistent and use to map out examples for humanity gain/loss actions.

Lore I'm fairly clear on being the classical runes+funky incense+mumbo jumbo= Mojo.  I want straight up 'Mage' -like sorcerers for the purposes of this game.  Sorcery in and of itself is basically something that is only barely within the grasp of the mortal human mind.  So... using it strains the mind, sanity, all that good stuff.  That is where humanity loss comes in.

Demons in the literature are pretty straight forward I think as being, not necessarily things that are directly 'hostile' to humans.  More that they have no regard for humans and thus a lot of them can/do have desires and needs that are 'not nice'.

Anyway, the fatigue is getting to me.  Any advice/assistance anyone has about running a similar style of sorcerer game would be greatly appreciatted.  Thanks!

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V/R,
Vortigern
"Adventure is something bad, happening to someone else, far far away."
John S
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Posts: 67


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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 04:08:34 AM »

I've been trying to generally search back through threads in the forum regarding 'One-Sheet' and the like, however it seems like there is a lot of material there.  Can someone recommend any reading or just give advice specific to One-Sheet preparation?

I found this text helpful: How to Run Sorcerer.
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Vortigern
Member

Posts: 11

aka Tony


« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 05:55:59 AM »

Thanks!  That is a very helpful link.

I and my players have been working on the humanity definition a bit and I'd appreciatte some feedback from you folks.

Actions Warranting A Gain:

- Build Something Imporant That Is New, That Just Might Last

- Bring Something Back Into the World, That Was Lost Or Destroyed

- Bring Order, Where There Is Chaos

- Reinforce/Strengthen A Society/Civilization In Meaningful Way

- Performing an act that inspires the public toward the positive common good

- Making sacrifices or performing acts of generosity

- Opposing the forces of chaos and entropy

- Establishing or helping institutions of enduring benefit (e.g., a university)


Actions Warranting A Loss:

- Destroy Something Important, That Can't Be Easily Replaced

- Bring Chaos, Where There Is Order

- Weaken/Damage/Destroy A Society/Civilization In A Meaningful Way

- Corrupting the morals of society (establishing a tradition of human sacrifice, say)

- Promoting selfishness and cruelty

- Opening the way for dark forces to influence others that do not welcome them

- Performing an act that inspires the public towards something of common/public detriment

- Betrayal of Friendship / Trust, the bonds that form a healthy vibrant society
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Vortigern
"Adventure is something bad, happening to someone else, far far away."
Vortigern
Member

Posts: 11

aka Tony


« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2010, 05:58:42 AM »

This is all based on a different version of humanity, with it defined as 'Vitality'.  An excerpt from our discussion;

My initial suggestion for Humanity in this game is Vitality.

This would encompass Drive, Motivation, general ambition etc.

This 'could' be rather appropriatte for the general Swords & Sorcery feel of the game as it would allow some of the depiction of the 'old, decadent, and falling into ruin' societies in the game to be captured by saying they are losing exactly that... their Vitality.

A common struggle in Swords & Sorcery literature is that of these older decaying societies vs. newer and more vibrant societies trying to topple them and start a 'new age'. Some protagonists have attempted, usually without success, to revitalize older civilizations and get them 'going' again.


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V/R,
Vortigern
"Adventure is something bad, happening to someone else, far far away."
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2010, 09:45:43 AM »

Hiya,

I think you are dissipating useful energy and creating problems for your preparation and for your game. You are trying to form a completist list of Humanity gain and loss conditions. This is really, really counter-productive for playing Sorcerer.

When it comes to Humanity, little or no preparation causes problems too, but in your case, I need to stress that the minimum productive preparation is also the maximum. Here's how you should do it, particularly for Sorcerer & Sword.

1. Follow the rules in Chapter 2 for setting up play. You should be looking at a very sketchy, undeveloped, but engagingly colorful description of a setting, including a notion or two (but not restrictive) about demons.

2. Imagine a character you'd like to think of as a protagonist in that setting. Do not share this image with the other players; it will pollute their character creation process. Now imagine him or her gaining Humanity or losing Humanity.

Example (The Scarlet Citadel): Conan in the dungeons beneath the Scarlet Citadel, coming upon Pelleas in the grip of the demon plant. In that part of the story, there is no mention of Conan thinking, "Gee, a fellow player-character! I better break him loose from the plant!" or even, "Gee, someone Tsotha-Lanti imprisons like this must be a bad-ass, so I'll free him for powerful help in getting out of here!" The text explicitly states that Conan simply can't bear to see another person enthralled to something so nasty as this plant.

Example (Shadows in the Moonlight / Iron Shadows in the Moon): after a terrible battle in which Conan loses to a cruel foe who tortures his followers, he has been hiding in fetid swamps and eating decaying bugs or God knows what else for days. Luckily for him, he's still marginally sane when the same foe happens by, without any support staff, about to rape an escaped slave-woman. Conan bursts out of the mud and reeds, delivers an angry monologue, then hacks the guy into pieces, continuing to do so for a while after he's dead. The text does not revel in what fun this is or how awesome Conan is, in doing all this, but rather explicitly describes such behavior as repugnant and illustrates that Conan was clearly driven 'round the bend to this sorry state. (His recovery from his state of mind is brief in story terms, but equally vivid and carefully described.)

The only criteria for this step is that the standards be something that you, personally, can be excited about. If you have to check a laundry list of loss and gain, as GM, then you cannot be excited about it in this way. The players rely on your sincerity, not on your legalism, for Humanity to work in play. Also, by "excited about" I do not mean "entirely support." Edgy Humanity definitions are functional too ... but again, only if there is some weight to your personal sincerity in applying it in play.

3. There is no #3. With these examples, you have anchored your notions about Humanity and are prepared to apply them in play. Later, you'll be able to look back on your gain and loss role decisions as GM, and decide whether you should refine your standards, or perhaps find that your definition of Humanity is more nuanced than you thought. Later, you might even be able to provide a profile of the kind you're trying to build here. But all of those are later. For now, just muse over an example or two. Verbalize them simply to the players during character creation. Again: in this case, minimum preparation is also the maximum.

Best, Ron
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Vortigern
Member

Posts: 11

aka Tony


« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2010, 10:32:42 AM »

I suppose I was really trying to refine my own understanding/conception of what Vitality as a Humanity definition means to me by exploring the Gain/Loss circumstance list.  And to gauge my players in their reaction and understanding of the idea in their responses and additions to the list. Since it is a pbp I was using that to try and gauge their 'buy in' if you will into this thematic part of the game.

I also usually tend to be someone who favors specific definitions that are written down, as a general habit, in my gaming... though that could easily be argued to be a holdover from previous systems/experiences, and more specifically negative experiences with free-form 'I said so.' GMs in hard/crunchy systems.  ;P

The, relative, simplicity of the system is actually one the things that has attracted me to Sorcerer, however I may have some lingering habits I need to address as I progress with trying to run the game.
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V/R,
Vortigern
"Adventure is something bad, happening to someone else, far far away."
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2010, 09:46:56 AM »

Hey,

I really don't want to stall you out. What I'm saying is that you already have it, perfectly, smack, done. You wrote it yourself.

Quote
More just something along the lines of a generally 'positive' force in the game-world, against the darkness/decadence/treachery&backstabbery of the older/corrupter civilizations.  Or even just revitalizing one of them for example. 


Your post then dilutes it by bringing up this red herring of "good two-shoes," and I'm saying, never mind that. I suspect that's your baggage, being expected to play some kind of bland-ass paladin who goes wherever the GM points because he's a "hero." If so, then jettison that baggage, and stick with what you wrote as I quoted it. It's great. I'd play that in a second.

From there, I think one simple example of loss and one of gain is all that's needed. Again: the issue is not reaching to fill in all the corners, but rather realizing that you've already done the job. Your responsibility as GM during play is not to bait-and-switch, i.e., not to do otherwise than what you've written. And to trust yourself that you can handle applying what you've written to specific instances, whatever they may be.

Best, Ron
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Vortigern
Member

Posts: 11

aka Tony


« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2010, 10:17:22 AM »

Hmm.  Alright.

That makes sense even if conflicting slightly with my more analytical side that wants to have all the answers to rulesish stuff planned/plotted out 'now' rather than do it as it comes up 'later'.

Yet, essentially, Humanity is always going to be a judgement call on the situation, and writing out lists of actions ( while for me it helped to formulate my still growing idea of what I really meant by it to begin with. ) constrains or influences some of that judgement later in ways perhaps not appropriatte to the situation, and that this is a bad thing?
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V/R,
Vortigern
"Adventure is something bad, happening to someone else, far far away."
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2010, 11:51:24 AM »

Listing out possibilities is a good exercise ... within limits. I can only respond to what I'm reading here, and speaking strictly about your first two posts, it looks to me as if you'd exceeded the functional limits by a fair amount. I am also talking about what you intend to say to your fellow players, and my advice about that is to stay with the sentences I quoted. As long as you say, "Although this might get refined a bit during play, I'm committed to it and won't spring something else on you," then it'll work fine.

Best, Ron
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Paiku
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Posts: 83

Exploring Indie


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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 06:20:49 PM »

Hey Vortigern, how does PBP work?  Does the GM do all the rolling and inform the players of the results?  I'm just trying to imagine how this will work with Sorcerer - but I'm not even sure how it's done "normally."  I checked out your link to online-roleplaying.com, but of course everyone there knows what they're doing so I can't find "PBP-101" spelled out anywhere.

I don't want to sideline the present very interesting conversation (which I have been following with interest)... just curious.

Thanks,
-John
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Vortigern
Member

Posts: 11

aka Tony


« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2010, 10:15:18 AM »

Hey Vortigern, how does PBP work?  Does the GM do all the rolling and inform the players of the results?  I'm just trying to imagine how this will work with Sorcerer - but I'm not even sure how it's done "normally."  I checked out your link to online-roleplaying.com, but of course everyone there knows what they're doing so I can't find "PBP-101" spelled out anywhere.

I don't want to sideline the present very interesting conversation (which I have been following with interest)... just curious.

Thanks,
-John

Well, essentially, it is almost exactly like playing table-top-style only you are writing out the 'actions' etc. of your characters in a story-like format.  On online-roleplaying.com the boards/forum have an in-built dice-roller program that allows you to write a diceroll into your posts and when you post it, it will calculate the results and display them in the post.

Your GM can then moderate from there, as needed, etc.  So you can play just about anything in 'traditional' players roll 'this' stuff, GM rolls 'that' stuff style.

If you are interested feel free to pitch a concept for the game?  I could probably use someone a bit more 'long in the tooth' with sorcerer as it were.  This will be my first game of it and some constructive input/criticism is always welcome.

Personally I rather enjoy play-by-post even though at times the slower pacing can be annoying/frustrating.  I enjoy the writing aspects of it and my schedule is unpredictable and therefore the ability to just log on whenever I have time and write a post here and there rather than trying to make a regular game session makes it much more accessible for me.
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V/R,
Vortigern
"Adventure is something bad, happening to someone else, far far away."
Paiku
Member

Posts: 83

Exploring Indie


WWW
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2010, 11:41:12 AM »

Thanks Vortigern that's VERY tempting.  Playing once every week-or-two as I am now just leaves me hungry for more.  But I know that if I join a PBP game, I'll start writing posts when I'm supposed to be working.  Could be very bad on the income.  Hmmmm... I'm thinking about it... >;-)
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