Archive for the ‘Story Now’ Category

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A Kicker in the teeth

2 September, 2013

I’m still re-reading the annotated Sorcerer book, and it makes me go “Ah!” and “Oh!” here and there. I read the PDF when I got my hands on it, but it’s much easier and satisfying to read the paper version. This time I’m only reading the annotations on the right-hand pages, without reading the original text.

The Kicker

The Kicker in Sorcerer is a player-authored “fictional crux point” of a player character in the game. That’s the description in the annotations, not the original text, which was a bit more opague. To help Sorcerer players/GMs to understand what this actually means, Ron has a nice three-level dissection of a Sorcerer player character:

  • A person
  • A person who is a sorcerer (ie. who actively summoned a demon)
  • A sorcerer who faces a Kicker

In the context of the game, these three are entirely separate. The classic thing to do as a Sorcerer player (I’ve done it) is to come up with a Kicker that can then be approached by the “person who is a sorcerer”-part of the character. Which means merely continuing the character backstory from character generation.

Ron’s game is much more clever than that, and his notes about Kickers made me realise that. See, a fresh Sorcerer player character has made do with the damned demon he/she has summoned (on purpose!) recently or long ago. The Kicker is a punch to the character’s  life as a Sorcerer, and that’s why it’s interesting. So, paraphrasing Ron, a Kicker is not merely more of the same. It’s a new situation, and it’s unavoidable. Bang. In your face.

Spiking the Kicker

A Kicker can and may be spiked by the GM. I think this is a lesson learnt from many years of Sorcerer practice, and Ron is making it clear in his annotations that’s it’s better to spike a weak Kicker than to ask the player to rewrite it.

The example in the annotations is great. The Kicker is “just released from prison”. Which works perfectly fine, fx. for a Sorcerer who has managed his/her prison life being a Sorcerer.

The spike comes when this character discovers the books in his new workplace are cooked. How will he/she react?

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Just play the NPCs

31 August, 2013

My my, it’s been a while, quite a while, since I posted on this blog. I apologise, and will try not to let it happen again, but a lot of stuff has been happening in my life. Mainly, I have moved country, quit my day job, and I am now working as a full-time freelancer in a.o.  translation, copywriting, corporate communications and content marketing. Do get in touch if you need those services.

NPC Court by Reebok

I’m reading the Annotated Sorcerer book by Ron Edwards, and it’s great, just great. There are a few things that really surprised me, or should I say: made me understand the game better. I might come back to some of them in later posts, but for now I’ll delve on what Ron writes about NPCs in the section about Bangs (pp. 78-78ii), because it’s important. And it’s one of my pet peeves, so hold on to your horses.

Ron’s very straightforward advice sounds: “Just play the NPCs,” but for some reason the average gamer brain doesn’t compute that. At all. And what the game brain doesn’t compute, it misinterprets.

The funny thing is that’s it’s very simple, and I think Ron makes it very clear in the Sorcerer annotations. Basically, you play an NPC as you would any character – don’t adjust the character’s actions to accommodate “the story” or whatever.

PLAY. THE NPC. AS A CHARACTER. What does he/she want? Forget the fuck about “the story” (if you have a prepared story/’scenario’ in mind, you’re REALLY fucked), and just focus on the NPC. I have no idea why that would be hard to comprehend.