Sorcerer Blood Simple: Abattoir Blues

14 October, 2008

I wake with the sparrows and I hurry off to work
The need for validation, babe, gone completely berserk
I wanted to be your Superman but I turned out such a jerk
I got the abattoir blues
I got the abattoir blues
I got the abattoir blues
Right down to my shoes
(Abattoir Blues, Nick Cave 2004)

We had our character generation session tonight, and I’m very hopeful. Not that I didn’t know, but I’ve got a killer group of players on my hand. In less than three hours we decided on setting and they came up with fantastic characters and ideas. I’m really looking forward to this. Malcolm owns the three first Sorcerer books, never played it but eager to try it out. Myles owns the book and played it once, unsuccessfully, in the past, and Pooka expressed a while ago that he wanted to give it a go as well.
We are playing Blood Simple, Judd Karlman’s adaption of Sorcerer. Malcolm suggested the 1950s, and someone, perhaps Pooka, said Chicago. And that was it. Here come the player characters.

Walther Root (created by Malcolm)
STA 2 (Whip-thin), WILL 4 (Too dumb to lie down), LORE 4, COVER 4 (Political radical), Price -1 (Reputation preceeds me), HUM 4. Telltale: parasitic twin.
Walther denied military service and is now working shitty jobs, unable to get anything decent. He’s currently working the worst shift at Shelling Bros Abattoir.
Walther’s Scumbag is The Conductor, a uniformed guy who takes people over to the wrong side of the tracks.
STA 5 WILL 6 LORE 4 POW 6. Desire: Everything running on time. Need: Names of those who disrupt the El. Abilities: Confuse, Shadow, Spec Dmg (like being hit by train), Travel. Telltale: Smell of ozone.
Kicker: Walther opens up abattoir at 4pm and finds eight naked, disembowelled corpses hanging from the overhead conveyor.

Brent Brown (created by Myles)
STA 3 (Muscle under the fat), WILL 3 (Big shot Ivy Leaguer), LORE 4 (Defrocked scholar), COVER 3 (Blacklisted screenwriter), Price -1 (Club foot), HUM 3. Telltale: Seven left toes.
Brent had a career in movies in LA, but is now struggling to to get any writing work due to allegations of subversiveness and communism. He hired a scumbag to get a girl killed.
Brent’s Scumbag is Johnny ‘the eyes’, a killer. STA 3, WILL 4 LORE 2, POW 4. Desire: Anger, Need: blood. Abilities: Warp(?), Cloak. Telltale: piercing eyes.
Kicker: Brent arrives at his apartment and finds a huge screenplay on the table, with only the name and title blank, and a note asking him to sign it as his own and he will be back in business.
Myles only wrote two things on the back of his character sheet, so I have to ask for some more during the coming week. Plus, Myles’s handwriting is as bad as my own, and a degree in cryptography would have been handy to make it easier to read his scribblings 😉

Detective Leon Luntz (created by Pooka)
STA 3 (Rough drinker, rough life), WILL 4 (Mad dog), LORE 3 (Tarnished badge), COVER 4 (Police Detective), Price -1 (low class). HUM 4. Telltale: Dead glare.
Leon is a smalltime corrupt cop, taking some extra income by protecting the girls in Madame Linda’s Cat House. He is also under investigation by the IA.
Leon’s Scumbag is Carl “Cutter” Brantano. STA 4, WILL 5, LORE 4, POW 5. Desire: Power. Need: Immunity from prosecution. Abilities: Hint, Armor, Big, Cloak. Telltale: Heavily scarred.
Kicker: Leon’s partner Det. Bill Torrence is tied up and shot execution-style in front of the police department.
I have a loose R-Map ready based on Chandler’s short story Goldfish, which I am now going to have a look at and see how these characters may or may not be hooked on to it. There’s certainly a lot of potential here, and forward motion from the get go. Neither of the players included any detailed family connections or close relatives…interesting.
After the players left last night, and I sat down to contemplate, and search for some pictures of 1950s Chicago, I remembered the album Abattoir Blues by Nick Cave, and the title seemed a natural fit.


  1. A few things.

    A few prices don’t have clear mechanical consequences and they need ’em.

    I don’t quite see nor understand the relationship between the sorcerers and their demons. Was that clearer to you when making the characters or are they kind of just people they know from around town?

    I love hard-drinking, tough noir cops. Rock on. All of the characters look amazing; I love the 50’s vibe that is running through this so hard.

  2. Prices: in a way they all have the same effect: -1 to all initial social rolls involving people from the middle-class and upwards – at least that’s what goes for Walther and Leon, I think Brent’s club foot has the same effect.

    I didn’t mention the relationships, I should have.

    Walther traded a list with names of railroad workers to get rid of an FBI agent that had been shadowing him for a while. The conductor on the night train seemed like the kind of guy who could make such a thing happen and Walther went for it. We actually don’t know what happened to the agent, but it worked!

    Brent had to get rid of this dance girl or whatever in LA, in a desperate attempt to save his career, and used some seedy contacts to eventually locate Johnny Eyes to do it for him. When Brent fled to Chicago, Johnny came along and is now a hitman with a rising popularity.

    Carl Cutter was known to Leon’s as a mover in the underworld. When Carl was arrested for something, Leon went down to the cells and offered him a deal: walk free in return for access to information about big deals going down. Snap.

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