Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In Which I Read Sorcerer

Alright, so here's the deal.

I've been reading Sorcerer, the game by Ron Edwards. Specifically, a version that he has annotated.

Anyone who's read this blog knows that indie games aren't my thing: for one, many of them focus on such utterly specific play experiences that I'm just not interested. (Gray Ranks, The Mountain Witch- which aren't Edwards's work, but I digress) For another, I don't necessarily see "telling a story" as the point/objective of roleplaying games, and a lot of indie games are designed specifically to be exercises in collaborative storytelling.

If you're not into telling a story, or telling that particular story, the game seems an airy thing of no substance. You get some gamers together to play The Mountain Witch.  They don't want to go up the mountain. They want to go overthrow the local daimyo.
Well, you can't. This game is about a bunch of ronin who go to kill the Mountain Witch.
I'm not saying that's any better or worse than a Pathfinder Adventure Path, for what that's worth.

So, what attracts me to this game, Sorcerer?
Two things:

1. The PCs are classic sorcerers: they summon, bind, and deal with demons in order to gain power. Lately I've been mentally turned off to the wizard-is-a-guy-who-shoots-fireballs type of thing. Also, as I've stated in prior years on this blog, I like magic systems that are a little bit dangerous to the user of magic .

2. The cover. I bought OpenQuest for it's cover. I bought my first issue of the RIFTER, #54, because of its cover. The cover to the annotated Sorcerer is beautiful.

The rules are actually pretty light, though they trip overthemselves sometimes in the explanation. It involves dice pools, which usually I don't like. I'm still digesting the combat, but I think I have the sorcery system down.

The game wraps itself unnecessarily in the personal philosophy of its author; I don't think doing it Ron's way is as essential to Sorcerer as he presents it to be. You could rock this as a rules lite alternative to something White Wolf-esque, although I find myself compelled by this aspect of it: The author is all about letting the action get driven 100% by the players, without any prep from the GM. Beyond some help making the characters, the GM isn't supposed to prep. Each character gets a "Kicker" (a needlessly slangy term for an immediate, life-screwing problem) and then let the players go. 

Oh, and one more area where the author and I can come together: Don't roll the dice unless it matters. This is something I've started edging toward in various things I run; something I'd like to continue to move towards, actually. I have a post brewing with my thoughts on this, but it will have to wait for now.

I'm not quite finished with the book, and my opinion on it isn't fully formed yet. This is definitely note the sort of thing I play, not because of the subject material, but because of the presentation and how the game operates. I find I have the itch to try it out.

1 comment:

  1. You got Sorcerer, now do yourself a favor and pick Sorcerer & Sword for some fantastic S&S action.