I’m starting a Sorcerer game as a GM and a few questions comes and difficulties comes from the practice. As adviced by Ron, I’m posting my thoughts here.
I was walking with my old best brief who just came back from a 10 month kind of personal initiatic travel in Canada then South America (we’re from Belgium). She was talking about her difficulty to find any inspiration and to lots of personal stuffs being shaken by her travel. I don’t really remember how, but I talked about RPGs and specially Apocalypse World and Sorcerer’s type of RPG, those one without a preplanned story and that are deeply character-driven. For some reasons, I only mentioned Sorcerer even if I had AW in mind, because I felt it was this game she could be interested in. It is. It is so much that she gathered two of other good friends, who have never played a RPG before (except one, with me, and she liked it), who are interested in “esoteric” stuff, in the sense of questioning their inner self through spirituality (I think they call this stance psychomagic?), interested in creative inputs and collaborative “storytelling”, and also into group animations and discussions, relationships in general, and dysfunctional relationships and how to deal with it in specific in a creative discussions groupes. They are all women in the thirties and very excited about this game, most of them with a degree in communication or psychology (I’m social worker and sociologist myself). Knowing all these circumstances, I bought the Sorcerer Supplements to read Sex and Sorcery, and it’s a very great supplement, really. I also skimmed through Sorcerer’s Soul and put him in my reading list, but not on the top of the priorities.
Not sure if everything is useful here but anyway, I’m writing you because I’m struggling with the Demon creation (and some others stuffs). We opened two games: the first as a solo with my friend, the second will be the group party. I wanted to try a solo game of Sorcerer because I feel it can be great, with a strong degree of intimacy and trust, if the right boundaries are set in the beginning. I’m really looking for some advices to understand how to create the demon without just checking every ability and discussing about how the demon has it or not with the player. I’ve tried it, a bit as improvising (yeah really, I don’t master fully the whole rules, which I think is not possible for the first parties. Desire is like: I want to play this, let’s go, oh I struggled with this, let’s read the book again, etc.), and I can really see clearly that it was not the intended process. I tried to go with back and forth questions (I think I’m not doing so bad when it’s about asking and thinking about leading questions to “explore” the character, it was the main feature I thought about during my 2 years of MCing Apocalypse World). Still, I’m struggling. When asking “what does your demon do”, it was blurry, and I couldn’t see how I could clarify the discussion to lead to something that fit with the rules.
Also, the steps of the first session is still blurry to me when I read the book. We need to collaborate about two statements, but I have to think about humanity first, and sorcery, then we have to discuss together about the colour? I mean, the logical structure of the book is very clear and I can see that most of my problems come from the fact that I didn’t totally integrated chapter 4, 5, and 6 (I only read the book once, with full focus. These will be for the next week-end). Then we make the Demon, and then the Kicker, but the Kicker seems to come up more easily while we discuss about the character. Also, it was kind of difficult to understand the distinction between the successful Sorcerer and the Sorcerer with a kicker, altough it is discussed clearly in the annotations about this section. Still, I struggled. I hesitated to fill in the diagram as the demon was not designed. I choose not to but I’m still not sure about that.
I was chilling with my friend so we discussed about the “two elements”, and we made something out of it. We started from scratch, because we were there, without any prep except my notes of the 3 first chapters of the book, and our motivation to start right here and now. We came up with “Lisbonn! But kind of fictional, with little and colourfoul streets in a kind of maze and on the border of a desert” for the environnment, and “organic stuff, link to you personnal past” when giving coulour the Demons. It was kind of difficult to find this colour: when discussiong “How does the Demon express themselves, like, their form”, it was very blurry for my friend. She came up with the description of her demon … Which I refreined (like, it’s not this step), and I think I should have not. Oh, also humanity was defined as Empathy, beneficial actions towards others.
Her character is an ex-popular author who achieved the top of its carrier (with the help of its demon) and then drop everything to leave in a new life where he has anything he wants and is able to give anything he wants around the social world he created (mostly some of his fan). We paused the creation and the kicker has not yet been defined. It was difficult to thinik about the kicker. First, she said she was an author who lost his wife ten years ago and moved in Lisbon because of that. I asked “think about the character as a sucessful sorcerer” (once her character as a non sorcerer were a bit clearer). So she came up with the idea that her character has achieved its full popularity and now he’s just living with everything he wants in his little world. I tried to have her express a deep desire/motivation, like “now you have full power” but nothing else came up (and I don’t want to force people in a short delay, specially when it’s a solo, because some people need time or inputs to express something).
So my main question here is: how do do you design the Demon? The annoted Sorcerer talks about “leading an interview”, which is exactly how I do a character creation for any game (since apocalypse world), but what kind of interview?
I would add some other questions like: how do you structure the steps of creation? I feel the book is very well organized for the logical understanding of the game, not for the chronological preparation of the first session.
My main feeling is the fear to throw new roleplayers into too much system (such as list of abilities, rolls, etc), it’s mainly a pedalogical consideration.
Thank you for the help!