What happened to the Mini Supplements?

Started by Finarvyn, December 25, 2011, 11:57:48 AM

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First, let me mention that I'm re-reading Sorcerer & Sword. It really is one of the best Swords & Sorcery references ever, particularly chapter 2 dealing with the literature of the genre.

Makes me wish there were more supplements than the "big three." I understand that a new supplement would have to cover something really different (such as the proposed Sorcerer in Space) but I can't help but wish there were more of these.

Now to the real question: Whatever happened to the Mini Supplements? I know that several of them were written early on and I bought them all in PDF. But after the initial surge, hardly any have been written (other than Dictionary of Mu) and nothing through Adempt Press.

This seems unusual to me because Sorcerer players are clearly among the most creative out there -- posts here on the Forge prove that. Do people play but not publish, or aren't there many folks playing Sorcerer any more? (Perhaps there are too many other choices, which waters down the support for any one game line?)

Just curious.
Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * Dresden Files RPG * Amber Diceless
Forge Member since 2004
OD&D Player since 1975


I can't speak for others but I can tell you about me.  So, I've WANTED to do a Sorcerer mini-supplement for years.  Here are some of the issue's I've run into:

1) It's flat out a lot of work.  It's one thing to write some cool stuff in a word file, it's another to organize it into a coherent presentation for others to use.

2) It's hard to generate enough usable content to justify a whole short book.  Do you want to play in my Gothic Fantasy setting?  I can give you the short version on one page and the longer version on three.  After that what?  I guess I could catalog a lot of the cool stuff I've seen in play from that setting ala Dictionary of Mu but that feels weird to me as a lot of it is stuff my players generated mid-play.  Not me.  Also a lot of it is cool only in the context it was generated.  I'm not sure it has the same spark as the Mu stuff.

3) I've started playing around with some pretty radical departures from basic Sorcerer that might actually be mini-supplement worthy because they represent genuine acts of new design.  They're still recognizably Sorcerer but do some weird things with the mechanics (like ritualized magic that results directly in an effect rather than a demon who causes an effect).  But the blocker there is that it's all un-played noodling.  I wouldn't feel comfortable publishing that.


Ron Edwards


I'm not entirely sure that your question can be answered. You're effectively addressing an entire subculture to ask what "it" did.

I can provide a few details from my end of things which probably contributed to the drop-off.

1. Sorcerer ceased to be the hot new lead. The Riddle of Steel and Burning Wheel simultaneously became the new darlings in 2003-2004, and Primetime Adventures and Dogs in the Vineyard took over after that. (I'm speaking in terms of stuff people want to enrich and which seem well-suited to the grey zone between "write a setting for" and "hack.") So fashion may have something to do with it.

2. My own support fell off, mainly because my policy of the time stunk. The whole idea of myself as senior editor, the approval, the exclusivity to my site ... all of it was horrible ass. I think other people probably figured it out too. It's obvious that the website, then and now, should have a big page devoted to the external supplements, covers displayed as thumbnails, the works, and it never did.

Best, Ron

Spooky Fanboy

I am/was in a position similar to Jesse above. I think I've got some of the logjam cleared, but quite frankly, I need access to people willing to playtest it. The mechanics, I can almost guarantee, need hammering and welding. And while I write clearly enough for me to understand it, I need at least a couple more eyes on it.

Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!


I can see the points made. Ron's point about Adept Press not providing the kind of support to encourage this is a good one, and maybe his standards were too high for most people and it scared them away. I know that I've never felt like I mastered the system enough to attempt a mini-supplement and I have to assume that others felt the same way.

I know that it's a lot of work to write stuff, but so is writing any adventure or module for other RPGs and somehow they get it done. It just seems disappointing that after so many years there isn't more "buzz" about and/or support for Sorcerer.

Again, I don't mean to be critical. It's just something that bothers me sometimes when I look at my bookshelf and wonder why there isn't more product for such a cool game concept.
Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * Dresden Files RPG * Amber Diceless
Forge Member since 2004
OD&D Player since 1975

Frank Tarcikowski

Hey, I wrote an Alpha and playtested it once! I just never got arround to polishing it.

Mud Planet 2007 version

Playtest report

To be fair, originally I wrote it as a Ronnies entry. I only transformed it into a Sorcerer supplement after Ron pointed out to me how it was a perfect fit. He was right about it, too.

I guess what contitutes a mini-supplement, as opposed to "just a one-sheet", in most cases will be the actual rules-hacking involved. In case of Mud Planet, I re-defined a few stats and sections on the back of the character sheet, I used a reverse Humanity score, I dropped the tell-tale, I messed around with the demon scores and I imposed very strong restrictions on the type and powers of the "demons" (in fact, the type, all the powers, the need and the desire are all fixed). Furthermore, I added a special rule for conflicts in which the dragon would try to influence the lancer. You'll find that it's still very much Sorcerer, though.

- Frank
BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English

The Dragon Master

Speaking only for myself, there's two main reasons I haven't published anything. The first is that I don't really feel like the mini-supplement model is the best fit for Sorcerer. The One-Sheet that's been discussed on here feels like a much better fit. 
The second, is that while I have a few ideas for Sorcerer settings, I simply haven't been able to get a group together to play it. Occasionally I meet another person who's interested, but the game always seems to fizzle out after about 3/4 sessions, and we never get around to playing in the alternate settings (Sorcerers in Suburbia seems the easiest to get people to sit down for).
That kind of leads into a third issue. I can write up a one-sheet for Sorcerer and a playset for Fiasco in about the same amount of time, all else being equal. But when it comes to getting a group together to playtest one of them, a game like Fiasco (that plays in 3 hours) is easier to get a group for than a game like Sorcerer (which may take 4 - 6 sessions at 4/5 hours each).

"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony