How to Run:Sorcerer

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This is a summary of some of the threads found in the Sorcerer: A Menu page, specifically, Sorcerer One-Sheet Preperation and Getting Started. All content is cribbed solely and shamelessly from Ron Edwards, Lisa Padol and Paka (with a little editing by IMAGinES to get it all fitting together).

  1. Re-read Sorcerer and the supplements.
  2. Decide on a setting and write a summary of its basic features:
    1. List your influences and inspirations and keep them in mind during the process. Re-watching or re-reading your influences can be cool, especially if you can screen the movie for or lend the books to the players who will be playing.
    2. What is Humanity? This is the engine that drives the game. Without it, the paintjob might look pretty but it won't go anywhere.
    3. What are Demons? If Humanity's the engine, Demons are the tires.
    4. What are Sorcerers and thus what is Lore? What the players will be is important, they need to understand who they will be portraying.
    5. What are Binding, Summoning, Contacting, Punishing?
    6. Descriptors: Do you need new ones and if so, how are they informing the players about and marrying the PC's to the world? These are important, they are how you display the world. During character creation, I would show them the one-sheets and then while they were still percolating with vague ideas, I'd shove the descriptors in their face and watch their eyes light up.
    7. Give it a look over. Is it fun? What were you trying to do with it and what has it become? How do your rules choices reinforce the feel you are trying to achieve? Reading other Actual Play posts (especially Art Deco Melodrama) and giving Sorcerer, The Sorcerer's Soul and Sorcerer and Sword another re-reading are good ideas at this point.
    8. Get feedback from others. Post it. Show it to friends. I find this step invaluable. Very often I have a kernel of a good idea and I'm not even sure what it is. Getting that feedback is invaluable.
    9. Create a Relationship Map.
    10. Consider what all the various NPCs & so on might be up to, what they'll drive toward during play.
  3. Make a One-Sheet. This is a blast, it is like making a movie poster for your game. On-line resources, clip-art and fonts can make 'em really nifty. Each of your players should get a copy of this. It's recommended that you put the quote from Sorcerer, "During combat, role-playing rules the dice!" on your one-sheet, so players remember that when they describe stuff, they get more dice (and more dice = more power).
  4. Get players together to discuss the one-sheet and basic ideas of the game in full, moving into character creation.
  5. Take a few days to look over everything.
    1. Internalize all Kickers into your understanding of play as a whole, spike them if necessary, use them as the basis to revise everything else.
    2. Embrace all characters' demons as if they were your own, favorite, desperate-to-be-played NPCs.
    3. Refine, finish, and possibly totally revise or even replace the Relationship Map you started with.
    4. Rewrite your one-sheet.
    5. Come up with nifty collages built of pictures and words, just as arty handouts.
    6. Totally revise the "what NPCs are up to" stuff, beef it up with steroids and meth, and make sure to include the demons now.
    7. Construct a bandolier of Bangs, realizing that the first session will almost certainly make more use of your prep than any other session.
    8. Consider possible Crosses and Weaves in the same way as Bangs, i.e. a bandolier.
  6. Run the first session. (Note that the players are only building trust and interest at this stage.)
  7. Do the NPC and demon steps again, in detail, and make Bangs that are really engaging based specifically on the consequences of players' choices during the session.