PLAY SORCERER 1: Care When You’re Getting Ready to Play

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You, the Player, the Game Master, should care about what your doing. You should be invested in the fictional elements on a personal, visceral and emotional level. I’m not saying the fictional elements should be about your personal life. I’m saying you should care about them personally.

Game Masters, if you choose the definition of Humanity, don’t pick some “theme” off the lit 101 book shelf. If thinking about a setting, don’t grab some pastiche of genre fiction. Ask yourself what you actually care about. What questions gnaw at you? Troubles you?

Or, most, importantly, what turns you on? Not what you like. But what turns you on? What makes you excited? Scared? Eager? Uncertain in a way that makes you lean forward, imaginatively, emotionally, viscerally?

You’re looking for the thing that is still open ended for you. That troubles you. That cause you concern. What is the thing that you care about but haven’t resolved yet. The things that make you ask, “What should I do? How should I live?” Then translate that into some sort dichotomy. Humanity on one side, Lore on the other. In a Sorcerer game I ran set in a penitentiary, Lore was based on the use and abuse of others; Humanity was treating others not as tools for your own agenda but as equals. Where do we draw the line on getting what we want when we need other people to get what we want? This question gnaws at me. So I hung Humanity on that hook.

Players, when creating your Kicker, make sure it matters. It can’t simply be a curiosity. “My socks are missing,” is not a Kicker. It must be grabby to you on an emotional or ethical level. It should demand a response of some kind (though you might not know what the response will be till a response is required in the moment of actual play.) It should be about something you care about.

Do you care about family? Sew something about family into your Kicker. Are you confused about romance or sex? Then tap a relationship for your Character that puts that on the line in your Kicker.

Or, most, importantly, what turns you on? Not what you like. But what turns you on? What makes you excited? Scared? Eager? Uncertain in a way that makes you lean forward, imaginatively, emotionally, viscerally?

We’re making stories here. Why would we make a story about something we don’t care about?

Whatever you get when you go fishing like this might just be an image. It might just be a feeling. Follow it; follow what you get. Translate these feelings or fleeting image into a person, people, a tapestry of images. A story.

This is your chance. Go to town. You’re not asking a publisher to invest a whole marketing campaign to promote a novel you wrote. You’re not looking for a gazillion dollars to make a movie. You get to make a story about any thing you want to make a story about. Go for it.

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One Response to “PLAY SORCERER 1: Care When You’re Getting Ready to Play”

  1. Conan Performs a Sorcerous Ritual | Play Sorcerer Says:

    […] things out that he wanted to understand. In this, it is a mirror of how we approach Sorcerer–we must care about something more than the color when we approach the fiction. Just as Howard […]

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