This is my new Sorcerer
Session 0 report:
Space SF setting with horror/fantasy elements, optional rules from Sorcerer & Sword enabled. I'm going to GM, and the three of us have played Sorcerer together before (which is why we are now experimenting with alternate settings).
The setting concept - mostly of my making - is far future with space travel, after humankind's diaspora among the stars. The twist is, SF clichés such as faster-than-light travel, beam weapons, teleporting, downloading and copying a human mind - anything which would be impossible according to 21st century science - do exist, as extraordinary one-of-a-kind occurrences, due to sorceries. Sorcerers in this universe are seen as scientific geniuses and elite technicians who make the impossible possible. Their existence is acknowledged, but there are few; interstellar travel and communication depend on them, but still they don't run things, probably because they're the weirdest of the weird.
In our pre-game discussion we managed to arrive at a sensible, actionable understanding of Humanity in this setting ("sympathy for others + belonging as a member of our species") from the exceedingly navel-gazy philosophical starting point I had provided (something about understanding "humanity" as a collective noun, not a singular, solipsism in the loneliness of space and reality as a shared consensus).
I've put together this small campaign notebook by stapling together scrap paper, as usual, and it reads:Look & feel
: a new Renaissance in the far future, after humankind's diaspora amongst the stars. Distances in both space and time are immense.Demons are
: scientifically impossible technology. Sorcery is the ability to make such technology work, indistinguishable from bona fide science by laypeople, but mad rambling techno-babble to the scientist.Humanity is
: empathy with others + belonging as a member of the human species.
(The 2-part definition might enable some advanced tricks in weird edge cases.)
I'm skipping the list of Stamina/Will/Lore descriptors and the fictional conditions for Humanity trading & Humanity capping rules (from S&Sword
, both in effect).
If you've heard me complain about playing Sorcerer before, you might remember I'm really, really bad at on-the-spot quantitative (as opposed to qualitative) judgments, so that I find handing out bonus dice as a GM immensely distracting - and I usually forget to do so. It helps me to establish some criteria in advance and physically put distinctive dice on the table to represent those (a la My Life with Master
) so that I can better elicit other players' complicity in handing out - or claiming - those bonus dice. For this game, there are 4 bonus dice representing the standard possibilities of material advantage, well thought-out plan, powerful emotion and dramatic plot furthering (see the Green Goblin & pie example in The Annotated Sorcerer
), plus the following setting-specific, theme-specific categories:More advanced technology:
+1 bonus die.Common sense:
+1 bonus die for sensible action, +2 bonus dice for redefining (not just defying) common sense.Scale and consequentiality:
+1 bonus die for action affecting others, +2 bonus dice if a lot of other people, +3 if literally everybody else.
I'm confident you can see how just having that last one die on the table is a lot of fun, even if we never get to use it. ;-D
[to be continued]