Sorcerer – Focus for running itJune 24, 2013
I picked up the Annotated Sorcerer – an expanded version of the core rules, with additional advice, clarifications and insights.
One of the things that struck me was a part that says when you create your character, you have to think about their life in 3 ways: 1. Who were they before they got into this sorcery business? 2. Who were they when they decided to break reality itself to commit to sorcery? (and how have they used it since?) 3. The Kicker – what has JUST HAPPENED to screw up that routine they had going?
Why would you do this?
I think a really interesting question that really defines the character is why they became a sorcerer. Were the conditions that bad and were they that desperate? And if so, where are they now and how does the past problems echo to the present? Or, was the character just that determined to get power/get ahead/fulfill ambitions and what DID that cost or who else got stepped on along the way? I’m also thinking about how Price becomes critical in this – more than simply a dice penalty, it’s what did it DO to you and that you were willing to pay it?
It’s not a Cover, it’s your life
In most modern supernatural games, the civilian lifestyle is pretty much a side mention and minor detail between doing the supernatural shit and living in whatever secret society drama usually takes up the game. Here, though, the thing is it’s absolutely critical to understand that the PC is not just doing some side shit between sorcery – this stuff was either important enough that you’ve been using sorcery to achieve or protect it, OR at least, that you’ve spent this time keeping your sorcery AWAY from it to keep it safe.
The term used is “Cover”, but it’s not so much a cover for the sorcery as it’s YOUR LIFE and important to you. More like how superhero comics when they focus on heroes attempting to keep a civilian life alongside heroics. It’s not a show, it’s not a cover, it’s been important enough to build your life around.
They pull apart
So the square Lore/Cover/Price/Kicker chart? It’s basically there to help the GM organize the tension that is pulling between each PC – their normal life stuff and sorcery and the kicker that basically unbalances the space between the two. Sorcery pulls you away from living a normal life, and normal life gets in the way of you doing sorcery.
The Rule of Secrecy means you basically are always stuck with a choice – running around trying to hide and cover up all the sorcery you’re dealing with and how you manage those lies which eventually become a problem OR letting some loved ones onto the secret. The problem with the latter is that Rule of Secrecy is what keeps demons from getting too wild – they also don’t want to be caught. Once you let someone in on the secret, though, well, they’re now open for the demon to mess with. (Depending on the demon and the binding, you might have ALREADY had a hard time keeping the demon from spilling over and wrecking your life, so…)
And this is what basically makes the intensity of Sorcerer – you play people whose lives are literally falling apart and they have to figure out if they can hold this double life, give up important parts, or simply fall apart themselves in the process.