PLAY SORCERER 15: Our Imagination

Sorcerer_Cover

Our imaginations are probably the key reason we like to sit around with friends and make ups stories about fantastical situations on the fly. It’s fun to sit around and imagine things. It’s playful. It’s human. No matter what else I might say in this book, never think it is at the expense of this fun and playfulness. This playfulness is at the core of playing Sorcerer. Sorcerer is something we play, after all.

So, what I want you to do is learn to trust your imagination.

We often don’t. We often think that what we imagine isn’t particularly interesting or good. We think making stuff up is for other people. That’s one of the reasons, I think, when we play roleplaying games we often turn to the work of others to support our imagination.

We create stories set in other people’s stories, in settings not of our own creation, study and scrub movies and novels other people have made and mimic what is there. “Well, they got it right,” we think. “If we do this, then our story will be good too.”

And I’m here to tell you that the reason that movie or novel or comic book worked was because the creators of those stories trusted their imaginations and went all the way. They made something special and unique because of this very quality of trust.

In Sorcerer, Ron Edwards writes “Although I wrote Sorcerer, that doesn’t necessarily mean I will have the best ideas for running it, or be the best gm for it. That person might be you, and there’s no reason why you should assume otherwise.”

He really means that. And so do I.

As a Player your Character, your Demon, how you envision your Character using Lore, what characters your Character cares about, your Kicker, what you want your character to say or do in moments of play are the things that Sorcerer play needs. If you don’t trust your own imaginative impulses, then play will become stale and stifled. It will become intellectual and dull. It will be a clutch of images and ideas you or your group collects from other sources.

But you don’t need other sources. Your imagination—and here I mean the imagination that springs from you—is what is valuable.

Now, using your imagination is like using anything—the more you use it the better you’ll get at it. You might not trust it at first, so you’ll have to learn to trust it. You might not articulate what you’re imagining that well at first, so you’ll have to get better at articulating it. You might not imagine too deeply at first, seeing only the surface elements of your Character or what is possible, so you’ll have to get better at going deeper. But I promise you this, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

The same holds true for the Game Master. He has a whole other set of responsibilities than the Players, but there is overlap as well. He must imagine ways to engage the Kickers the Players created for their Characters. He must play the parts of the characters the Characters created well, with a sense of life and honesty to them. He must offer the Characters obstacles and opportunities toward their goals that engage the Players. All of this depends on imagination. And, like the statements to the Players above, the more this imagination is exercised, the stronger the “imaginative muscle” will become.

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