PLAY SORCERER 23: Listening for Turns in the Human Heart

Sorcerer_Cover

Should the Players, then, try as fast and often as possible, to commit unspeakable acts of Lore (or otherwise do horrible things) that “illustrate” the dark theme of play?

Also: Should the Game Master jack-hammer the Player Characters with one moral choice after another to “prove” we’re making a story that illustrates character?

In both cases: No.

Don’t do that. That will be terrible. That’s where we get horrible, angsty stories and awkward message-movies.

Instead, do this:

Follow the Checklist in Section One of this book. Kick off play with the Kickers. The Players describe their Characters taking action. The Game Master hammers the Players with opposition, opportunity, reversals and revelations. The Players have their Characters take action. People build on the fiction created so far. The Game Master continues throwing opposition, opportunity, reversal and revelations at the Characters (you also know all these things as Bangs). Eventually the Kickers are resolved. Done.

Now, where did all those Humanity and Lore rolls go? Well, they were there. They just came into play naturally as you all created the story. So, what do we do first? We follow the Characters and through the actions of the Characters, a story is made

Stay in the fiction. The fiction is the lives of the Characters as they relate to their goals, the characters they care about, the issues pressing on them. Just like any movie or novel you love.

Now, this is one of the reasons it is vital to listen to each other at the table. Let’s say you’re a Player caught up in the moment, and so is the Game Master, and the two of you play out a great scene and you have the Character perform word or deed that would be worthy of a Humanity Gain or Loss roll. But you and the Game Master weren’t thinking about that at the time, because you were both caught up in the moment. You might, either of you, realize this as you review or think about the scene after the fact—but you might not. You might not think over the scene, and even if you do, one or both of you might miss the fact a Humanity roll would be appropriate.

But someone else at the table, who was listening to the scene might have noticed it, and could say, “Hey guys, when his character did that thing, wouldn’t that be a Human Gain roll?” And the Game Master would think about it and might say yes. He might decide no, as well… who knows, it’s his call. But the point is someone listening heard that moment and brought it to the attention of everyone at the table.

We’re all doing that when we play Sorcerer. We’re listening for those moments when something happens along the moral compass of each character that matters in terms of Humanity. It might be big shift. It might be a small shift. But those shifts matter and should be noted.

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