First session of Sorcerer! Allowing for a little more time to finalize the characters and one of the demons. As discussed in the previous post, the starting statements are Demons are pets and Ancient ruined cities, and our first meeting resulted in a strong Nordic Noir vibe as well. Pedro is playing Ingmar, a Swedish police detective, and Aybars is playing Ahmet, a Turkish police captain. Bodies (and disappearing bodies) figure heavily in their situations.
We spent most of the time discovering our shared player language for culture and sense of place for people in it, which despite whatever limitations are apparent (I'm sure I have many), seemed to go very well. I think the transition to Konya was effective and provides a strong foundation for further play.
You may notice that the Kickers are pretty straightforward: "my close friend was murdered in a horrifying ritualistic way," and also focused on getting the two characters together. The latter is a bit boring or unnecessary as Kicker content … except as in this case, when the characters' contrasting identities (in this case, cultural backgrounds) are considered a source of excitement or potential. Knowing this, I was able simply to take them as given and move into play without the need for processing or refining the stated Kickers. The less such processing or refining, the better.
I'd be happy to discuss why I think "demons are pets" is a very powerful context for playing this game, and not the silly throwaway that it might seem to be at first. Consider whether pets, in real life, are people or not, and consider a very different question, of what it means to us when we treat them as people, and what kind of person we think they are. Again, in real life, the answers to these questions and the confusion between the questions in the first place, lead to some very strange social and emotional results. Making that whole interaction literally demonic may carry a lot of weight.
It also resulted in an effect in play that I didn't anticipate. I don't think I've played animals as ongoing characters before, meaning, neither minor parts or anthropomorphized animals (which is better described as people in cool makeup). Since I didn't want to play them as merely colorful supporting cast, I had to intuit or invent what I think a cat would say if it could talk, not merely dub the voice of this or that "funny character actor" onto a cat. It meant as well that I relied a lot on body language or nonverbal actions for them too, which as you'll see involves a lot more body parts than one might really want a close-up look at … as real pet owners are fully aware.
Sometimes I forget to run the Binding rolls and Humanity checks for the starting demon, in which case I just do it whenever I remember. In this case you'll see me remember right after the action starts, so the rolls in question don't have anything to do with the fiction of the moment – they're effectively just housekeeping.
Speaking of rolls, you'll see us doing it a lot – much more often than the current trend of waiting for utterly decisive, scene-finishing conflicts. I prefer Sorcerer to be played this way, with dice going off all the time, for all sorts of things. That works best when both players are very emotionally and physically active, that is, in what they have their characters do. For instance, Ahmet's first moments of play turn out to be a Humanity action, of all things.
At the very end, you'll see the players undergo two rolls each: whether to spot each other's Telltale and thus whether the other is a sorcerer; and whether to spot the presence of the other character's demon. These rolls tipped strongly toward one edge (even when Aybars' number of dice was considerably higher than the opposition), so that neither realizes the other is a sorcerer, and only Ahmet spots Ingmar's demon. So one of them knows that "more demons are involved," but that's all.
So … what do you see when you watch this?