Catching up on my Sorcerer posting! Laura, Grégory, and I get into weird spaces in this one, partly because of the location in our fiction, the mutable or at least shiftable interior of a demonic church, but also because I played demons with remarkably awful/abstract outlooks.
To review, the phrases for this game are Shadows and beauty for the sorcery/demons, and Social activism, right and wrong, for the drama. I was able to shrug or shoulder my way into just how scary that first one seemed to me. Our sorcerers are Chloe, a rather sweet if outlaw-ish idealistic singer, and Livia, an ex-convict who runs a cult. As I pointed out at the end of session 3, it may seem as if they’re the nice one and the mean one, but that’s only because play up that point focused more directly on Livia.
These sessions are also or almost a poster child for the “player-characters meet, what are we supposed to do” process. I like it as a process and hate it as a conundrum. I have often observed players to struggle a little with it in this game, because unlike much talk of sandboxes, it really is open for what the players want to do; there is no “supposed to.” Furthermore, something about it militates against falling into habits of saying, well, we’re finally in the same room, let’s investigate, or, hey, we’re a band of fellow outlaws now, let’s go.
It took a while during the game’s playtesting about twenty-five years ago, but I finally figured out what to do while GMing such things. It includes playing NPCs very much as their own characters, without using them as directive mouthpieces. You’ll see that I remembered Omar was present at one point and realized that he isn’t a Ken doll and can have perfectly reasonable opinions.
A related technique showed up in a later session, to be posted soon, in which the players discover that if they ask a demon for advice, they’ll get very demonic opinions … kind of, “Oh yes, now I remember, that’s why I don’t ask you for advice.”
I’m over-stating the whole issue regarding this particular game, though, because the players didn’t struggle so much as feel things out, checking internally about what they really wanted, and moving into it. These two sessions were pretty short, just under an hour each, in a single location of play, and they are probably best understood as a continuous experience for us. So seeing them connect emotionally to their characters and then bring that forward as what each one wants to do is very instructive.
Minor post-script: the casual potty-mouth prize goes to Laura, mentioned here only because I am accustomed to winning it myself. NSFW, OK?