PLAY SORCERER 56: I. The Game Master Brainstorms Brushstrokes of Setting (7)

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7. What Lore is like?

When you sit down to work out the “colors of setting,” Lore is where you nail down the specifics of how characters interact with rituals of sorcery: contacting, summoning, binding… all of it.

Like your definition of Demon, this is a chance to nail down more look and feel to the setting, helping you create the textures and tone and imagery that you want to be helping to create over sessions of Sorcerer play.

For example, in my sorcery in a state penitentiary setting, I made Lore “Rituals of domination and submission” because I wanted the characters in the story to really work the angle of using other people and being used by other people that is so much a part of prison culture. In the religious war in the far future space setting, where I wanted tension between close connections between people and the limitless expanse of space, I made Lore “Rituals of alienation and separation from other people.”

Lore is the specific color palette your Players will use to find ways to interact with Demons. Don’t get too specific. Like all the elements you’re brainstorming, let it be a jumping off point for your Players to come up with their own inspired versions of your initial sketch. Trust that your Players will find cool ways to use what you’ve come up with and come up with terrific ideas you never would have been able to come up with on your own.

If you’re playing a straight up Sorcerer game in Here and Now, you don’t need to do much of this. Let the Players run where they want with what Lore means for them. If you’re using a more customized setting, per Sorcerer’s Soul, you’ll come up with a framework, but even then, give a couple of images to show the kind of thing you’re talking about — and then step back when it comes to play. As the Annotated Sorcerer makes clear, Lore is where the juiciest bits of creating fiction comes from. It is where the Characters, the themes, the strangeness of your particular game all meet. When the Players create description for Lore, whether you are a Player or the Game Master, listen. The Player is bringing gifts to the table. This is the strangeness you find in a cool moment from a David Cronenberg movie or a David Lynch movie, or from a compelling bit of sorcery from a story by Robert E. Howard or Karl Wagner. The kind of thing you remember, that strikes you where your senses and imagination meet. Let those moments flow from your Players. Accept those moments, see where they go. And then, as play continues, build on them.

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