[Sorcerer] One Shot...

Started by The Dragon Master, August 23, 2008, 05:42:30 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

The Dragon Master

To start with, yes I ran a search for this, and I'm in the process of digesting the information I found. That being said...

I joined the group I'll be running this for a couple months ago, we've played Exalted 1E and DnD 4E together, and I'd mentioned at tonights game, that when the DnD game winds down, I wanted to take a month and run Sorcerer. I was expecting there to be a month or so before this happened, but was asked if I'd run it in two weeks as a one shot (with Amber-Con next week, the GM/Host will not feel up to running again so soon, and said he'd look forward to the chance to just play). I explained to them this evening about Humanity, about Demons, about the flexibility of the system, and they seem genuinely exited. But Sorcerer is a two shot at least, and I can only get one night to run it (figure 5-8 hours depending). So a one shot it is.

Given the breadth of the scope of possibility inherent in this game, I was asked to choose a setting, as well as a definition for Demons/Humanity, and to create the characters. For the sake of simplicity, I will be going with a modern setting, and with the traditional Interplaner-Beings type Demons. I haven't settled on Humanity yet, but plan to re-re-re-read the core book to get a feel, and I'm expecting it to hit me during the course of the read. As for focus, I'd like to focus either on humanity, or on the relationship between the Demon and the Sorcerer. I would love to plan a series of such games to show the flexibility of the "setting" (superhero/occult/techno-thriller/addictions/etc.), but perhaps later if this goes well.

My main concerns are just how detailed should I make the pregens (I do want some character creation during play but was thinking in terms of creating archetypes). Also, how tied together should Humanity, and the S/D relationship be? If I'm running based on one, is the other sort of automatic?

I'm sure I have more questions, but should have been in bed hours ago and don't think I can put much more coherent thought together for tonight. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony


You can totally run Sorcerer as a one-shot.  It won't be full bore Sorcerer but it will be fun and effective and done right will at least give the feel of what a larger game is capable of.  Here's how I do it (and I only got brave enough to do this way recently).

I don't recommend pre-generating the characters actually.  I used to this until recently when inspired by Christopher Kubasik Heroquest game where he was brave enough to do character generation right then and there.  Instead, I recommend pre-generating the situation.  The last time I did this I wrote up a situation in which a priest had turned to Sorcery to spread a plague through out secret orgy-esq parties being held by decadent corrupt nobles.  I had about five NPCs, one pretty powerful Demon, and a solid back story (I only gave the summary just now there was a bit more detail involved).  Also this was a Sorcerer & Sword pulp fantasy game.

When I came to the table I told the players that I wanted to do something a more urban in feel.  I explained the decadent secret parties and how party goers had started to become ill with a mysterious, some say supernatural, plague.  I ask that the players work with that in their characters.  I got a romantic swashbuckler whose pure and virtuous girlfriend had been infected with the plague, a corrupt bishop who had received a blackmail notice concerning his involvement with the parties, an ambitious noble who had just received an invitation to one of the most secret and exclusive parties in town, and a thief who had just received a tip regarding an item of exceeding value being delivered to one of the nobles.

It took me about ten minutes to weave those kickers into the back story.  The "item of value" the thief after actually gave me the opportunity to add another sorcerous twist into the situation I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

Then we played and it was awesome.  Whole thing took about 5, maybe 6 hours.

The hardest part of doing character generation at the table is the demons.  Here's my tip: Don't let the players pour over the list of demonic abilities like an old-fashioned powers list.  Instead have them describe though look & feel what they'd like their demon to do.  Then write up the demon yourself by picking and choosing abilities that net the description they give you.  This seriously will cut your character generation time in half.

Hope that helps.


The Dragon Master

Thank you for that advice, I'll definitely keep it in mind when I run the game.

I had an idea of what I wanted to run, but I don't think I'm ready (nor will this session provide enough time) for that one. Instead I thought about running sort of a standard Dark Ages time-frame game, but I've never really played a game in that setting, nor have I ever read any fantasy that leaned that way, and didn't feel I could pull it off. Then during my reading of the book (has to be the eight time I've done so), I noticed the "Training Run" section. Now, I know I've read through this book, but I don't recall having ever seen this section before, so clearly I had skimmed this chapter. Either way, I'm going to go with this. I may even take the opportunity to walk the players through a group definition of Humanity, and the description of Sorcery, though Demons are fairly well defined in it as EPE's (Extra Planar Entity's) and that should make the next game easier to run, assuming I get that chance.

I guess the question now is has anyone run this one before? Are there any pitfalls I need to watch out for? I have to admit to being fairly new to GMing. I've only been GM four four "campaigns", one of which was a Burning Wheel one-shot, having been volunteered to run the other three, one in a system I'd never more than heard of (seriously, what is the thinking behind "I'm feeling nostalgic for DnD, let's have the person who has never played any incarnation of it, including the video games based on it, be the GM"?). I've also never played or sat-in-on a Sorcerer game, so I'm not entirely familiar with the flow of things.
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Regarding demons and their definitions, I recommend going with look & feel rather than locked-down definitions. Or to put it better, they are aesthetically extra-planar entities, but any and all knowledge or inference about them, including "what they are," is best understood as a guess.

You did say "seriously," so I thought I'd address this point:

Quoteseriously, what is the thinking behind "I'm feeling nostalgic for DnD, let's have the person who has never played any incarnation of it, including the video games based on it, be the GM"?

At least for many groups I've observed, the answer is quite clear: they want to walk all over you. They're not feeling nostalgic for D&D so much as slavering at the chance to indulge their remembered urges to break the game-play in their favor. It's a lot like pool sharks giving the new guy the shiniest cue in the rack.

Best, Ron