PLAY SORCERER 57: I. The Game Master Brainstorms Brushstrokes of Setting (8)

Sorcerer_Cover

8. Brainstorming the “colors of setting”

All these “colors of setting” stand in relation to each other. I tend to think about one, then think about the other, seeing how each influences the other. I go back and forth for a while till the pieces begin to settle into each other… like puzzle pieces snapping into place.

For example, rituals of Lore usually involve behavior that is the opposite of behavior from Humanity. Thus, in my penitentiary setting, Humanity was “Compassion” and in my space setting Humanity was “Connections to Other People.”

When thinking about Demons remember that they are first and foremost characters you get to play. They are your fun—or at least a big part of your fun—in a Sorcerer play. When brainstorming Demons, build a few that would make sense in the setting your imagining. Not just in terms of Abilities, but, specifically Needs and Desires.

After you’ve worked a bit on them, think through what sort of binding rituals would be required to bind these specific Demons. A Demon is that which is not human, so what sort of interaction would each Demon demand of someone who wanted to interact with it? What sort of rituals would, by definition, warp someone’s behavior closer to the point of view of the Demon and away from humanity?

Humanity, Lore, Demons and “What Happens at a Humanity of 0?” along with the images and other “colors of setting” you brainstorm all stand in relationship to each other.

Tease them back and forth in your head until they “feel right.”

What you’re looking for is enough information that you can see glimpses of the fiction in action—like a movie trailer or the cover of a novel. Not enough to give away everything that’s going to happen (since you have no idea what is going to happen), but, like a movie trailer, enough in the fleeting images to be able to say, “Oh, those kinds of cool things are going to happen in this movie. I’d want to see that!”

“Color first.” That’s the way you want to approach Sorcerer play. Offer to the Players images or ideas that make sense to you. But then hand them off to the Players as elements of inspiration. And see where they go from there.

* * *

Since I wrote those words several years ago, I’ve been doing more thinking about how much about Demons, Lore, Humanity and so on I want to bring to the game before play. While I learned a lot about going down the path described in Sorcerer’s Soul, I think the next game of Sorcerer I play I’ll be less formal in building all these elements out. I’ll think about them. But I’ll probably come to the table with things a little less nailed down. I’ll pitch the game to the Players. See what they come up with their characters, and then go off to build more details from the Character creation elements they come up with. I want to play more with the back and forth inspiration between the Game Master and the Players, as Demons, Lore and Humanity are discovered and get built out on the fly through play.

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