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Other Games, Development, & Campaigns => Other Games => Topic started by: akiva on December 27, 2012, 11:00:14 am

Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: akiva on December 27, 2012, 11:00:14 am
I'm not trying to open a new Ron Edwards bashing thread; there are plenty of those already. I'm trying to get a handle on why some people lavish so much praise on "Sorceror." I've read through it, but haven't played it, and the game struck me as nothing special--just another fairly rules-light modern supernatural with pretensions of greatness.

Did I miss something? Is there actually something good and/or new there? Or is the hype for the game simply Edwards sycophants talking it up?
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: CRKrueger on December 27, 2012, 11:03:27 am
Quote from: akiva;611850
I'm not trying to open a new Ron Edwards bashing thread; there are plenty of those already. I'm trying to get a handle on why some people lavish so much praise on "Sorceror." I've read through it, but haven't played it, and the game struck me as nothing special--just another fairly rules-light modern supernatural with pretensions of greatness.

Did I miss something? Is there actually something good and/or new there? Or is the hype for the game simply Edwards sycophants talking it up?


In before the move!
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: danbuter on December 27, 2012, 11:34:35 am
Sorcerer was not that amazing. Some of the supplements made for it were decent, though. My biggest issue is that Edwards used it as a screed for the GNS theory, which he detailed in the game for no good reason.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: soviet on December 27, 2012, 11:55:19 am
I'm not sure that Sorcerer gets all that much attention these days. I think the main innovations are kickers and bangs, which are a way of making story creation more of a group process and less of a GM-driven thing. But it's fairly easy to port those techniques over to other games.

Sorcerer and Sword is a pretty good supplement too, although I never really got much from the other ones.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: vytzka on December 27, 2012, 12:00:53 pm
Mostly, it was the cover.

I mean, look at it. You wouldn't want to pull that out on a bus.

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic968186_md.jpg)




... oh.

You mean Ron Edward's Sorceror? I have no idea, I have never seen or heard of anyone playing it. Even on TBP, come to think of it.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: akiva on December 27, 2012, 12:24:49 pm
Wow, what a dick move to change the forum. One person, who clearly has a bias against such games, decides that Sorceror isn't an RPG, so therefore it can't be discussed it the RPG forum? What a petty, douchey, dick move.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: BedrockBrendan on December 27, 2012, 12:33:33 pm
Quote from: akiva;611912
Wow, what a dick move to change the forum. One person, who clearly has a bias against such games, decides that Sorceror isn't an RPG, so therefore it can't be discussed it the RPG forum? What a petty, douchey, dick move.


Not every poster agrees with the categorization of subforums here, but this is the one game everybody knows pundit would classify as a storygame, non rpg. It is his forum and he sets the rules for how its organized. You had to know it would get moved when you started the thread. If you want to debate labels about storygames, open a thread about it in the help desk (or participate in the thread on the forge in pundit's subforum).

As I pointed out in another thread, you are still free to talk about this game hereit is no further away from the general rpg forum is than the "pathfinder/D&D" subforums are on most other message boards.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: misterguignol on December 27, 2012, 12:34:35 pm
Quote from: akiva;611912
Wow, what a dick move to change the forum. One person, who clearly has a bias against such games, decides that Sorceror isn't an RPG, so therefore it can't be discussed it the RPG forum? What a petty, douchey, dick move.


Welcome to theRPGSite!
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: misterguignol on December 27, 2012, 12:41:28 pm
Anyway, Sorcerer seems like a pretty trad RPG to me that doesn't really have much that makes it stand-out from the pack.  You create your character and you make choices from that character's perspective; I don't remember any "story editing" mechanics or anything like that.

Maybe the Kicks and Bangs thing that sets up some immediate concerns was novel for its time (Sorcerer is kind of an old game at this point) but to be honest I played in group doing things like that before there were names for them.

So, even though Sorcerer doesn't have bells and whistles I think it can still be a fun game if that is what you're into.  I'd like to use it to run a game of Victorian occultists getting in over their heads during the occult revival of the fin de siecle.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: flyingmice on December 27, 2012, 01:14:48 pm
Quote from: soviet;611889
I'm not sure that Sorcerer gets all that much attention these days. I think the main innovations are kickers and bangs, which are a way of making story creation more of a group process and less of a GM-driven thing. But it's fairly easy to port those techniques over to other games.

Sorcerer and Sword is a pretty good supplement too, although I never really got much from the other ones.

Kickers and Bangs were not really innovations. I had been using them since the late seventies in my game sessions, and I didn't come up with the concept myself. He was the just first to name and codify some parts of a gaming style that had been around for a very long time in the community.

Quote from: misterguignol;611920
Maybe the Kicks and Bangs thing that sets up some immediate concerns was novel for its time (Sorcerer is kind of an old game at this point) but to be honest I played in group doing things like that before there were names for them.

See what I mean? :D

-clash
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: LePete on December 27, 2012, 01:55:27 pm
Quote from: misterguignol;611920
Sorcerer is kind of an old game at this point.

A new edition is about to be Kickstarted: Preview Here (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847190685/1935975693?token=2c1f9f60).
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: soviet on December 27, 2012, 02:15:39 pm
Quote from: flyingmice;611933
Kickers and Bangs were not really innovations. I had been using them since the late seventies in my game sessions, and I didn't come up with the concept myself. He was the just first to name and codify some parts of a gaming style that had been around for a very long time in the community.

Oh absolutely, I'm quite sure that's true. There's nothing new under the sun and all that. This is a hobby that's all about people going off and doing their own thing, I doubt there's a single published 'innovation' after and including D&D that hasn't already been done by at least one other group. Identifying an existing good practice, polishing it up a bit, formalising it into words, and sharing it with  a new crowd of people is pretty much all that any game can do. I'd still count those things as innovations in the context of the published games that did them first.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Future Villain Band on December 27, 2012, 02:57:55 pm
It's not a great game, it's not a terrible game. It's a vehicle for the author's ideas, and therein lies the value -- if you think those ideas are interesting, then it's going to have more value for you.  

I used to kind of hold the game at arm's length, and be a little embarrassed to talk about what I saw as its shortcomings, thinking I wasn't getting it, but at the end of the day, there's not a lot there in that basic rulebook, and some of the more useful information is kind of skirted over.  The system's kind of pedestrian, and I prefer a few more bells and whistles.  With that said, formalizing kickers and bangs as something that drive play is neat, even if people had been doing it for years before that, I don't recall seeing it as the core story design system formally placed in an RPG before Sorcerer came out.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Imperator on December 27, 2012, 02:58:01 pm
Quote from: akiva;611850
I'm not trying to open a new Ron Edwards bashing thread; there are plenty of those already. I'm trying to get a handle on why some people lavish so much praise on "Sorceror." I've read through it, but haven't played it, and the game struck me as nothing special--just another fairly rules-light modern supernatural with pretensions of greatness.

Did I miss something? Is there actually something good and/or new there? Or is the hype for the game simply Edwards sycophants talking it up?


I have played it many times, and it's a good fun game, excellent for one-shots and short campaigns. It is flexible, and it formalizes many good GMing practices that many people out there were already doing without a defined name.

It is a fully trad game with a GMing advice oriented to get certain levels of player input. The supplements are really good, specially the Sword & Sorcerer one, which I found a must if you like the S&S genre.

It is considered a non-trad game because stupid Internet vendettas with no relation whatsoever with reality.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Future Villain Band on December 27, 2012, 03:14:51 pm
Quote from: Imperator;611980
I have played it many times, and it's a good fun game, excellent for one-shots and short campaigns. It is flexible, and it formalizes many good GMing practices that many people out there were already doing without a defined name.

It is a fully trad game with a GMing advice oriented to get certain levels of player input. The supplements are really good, specially the Sword & Sorcerer one, which I found a must if you like the S&S genre.

It is considered a non-trad game because stupid Internet vendettas with no relation whatsoever with reality.


I will second, or third at this point, the notion that Sorcerer and Sword is a fantastic general guide to the genre, and the best supplement for the game out there.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: vytzka on December 27, 2012, 03:15:46 pm
Quote from: LePete;611949
A new edition is about to be Kickstarted: Preview Here (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847190685/1935975693?token=2c1f9f60).


While I'm not the target audience (and rpg.net crowd is going to appreciate the demon slut), I really wish other RPG kickstarters learned a thing or two from this about setting rewards.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: CRKrueger on December 27, 2012, 03:20:45 pm
Wow, I didn't know it was Ron "who made "self-published" a badge of pride for RPG publishing."
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: One Horse Town on December 27, 2012, 03:29:18 pm
Quote from: CRKrueger;611991
Wow, I didn't know it was Ron "who made "self-published" a badge of pride for RPG publishing."


That was inbetween his discovering Penicillin and splitting the atom.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Benoist on December 27, 2012, 04:02:22 pm
Quote from: LePete;611949
A new edition is about to be Kickstarted: Preview Here (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847190685/1935975693?token=2c1f9f60).


I can't even listen to the man talking for 4:30 minutes without rolling my eyes.

What a fucking bore.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: misterguignol on December 27, 2012, 04:40:47 pm
Quote from: LePete;611949
A new edition is about to be Kickstarted: Preview Here (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847190685/1935975693?token=2c1f9f60).


There should be a new edition of this game, if only to get rid of what has to be one of the ugliest book covers in RPGs.  I mean, look at this thing: http://adept-press.com/wordpress/wp-content/media/sorc_cover2.jpg

It's about as ugly as this: http://a4.mzstatic.com/us/r30/Publication/be/61/5e/mzi.eytnksow.225x225-75.jpg

COINCIDENCE?
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: flyingmice on December 27, 2012, 05:20:55 pm
Quote from: misterguignol;612049
There should be a new edition of this game, if only to get rid of what has to be one of the ugliest book covers in RPGs.  I mean, look at this thing: http://adept-press.com/wordpress/wp-content/media/sorc_cover2.jpg

It's about as ugly as this: http://a4.mzstatic.com/us/r30/Publication/be/61/5e/mzi.eytnksow.225x225-75.jpg

COINCIDENCE?

No, because Pundit had nothing to do with the cover of FtA!GN! whatsoever. I did it myself, including the painting, with no input from him. Any ugliness you see is from me, and I have no part in this stupid war. I just liked the game and offered to publish it.

I also did all the interior illos, the layout, and the editing. If you have any issues with those, please lay them at my door as well, not Pundit's.

-clash
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Benoist on December 27, 2012, 05:22:42 pm
Quote from: flyingmice;612064
No, because Pundit had nothing to do with the cover of FtA!GN! whatsoever. I did it myself, including the painting, with no input from him. Any ugliness you see is from me, and I have no part in this stupid war. I just liked the game and offered to publish it.

-clash

For the record, I REALLY like that painting, Clash, and I like your art in general. And yes, I do fucking care what you play, what you think about RPGs, and what you create for us to play, Compadre. ;)
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: soviet on December 27, 2012, 05:24:01 pm
Quote from: flyingmice;612064
No, because Pundit had nothing to do with the cover of FtA!GN! whatsoever. I did it myself, including the painting, with no input from him. Any ugliness you see is from me, and I have no part in this stupid war. I just liked the game and offered to publish it.

I also did all the interior illos, the layout, and the editing. If you have any issues with those, please lay them at my door as well, not Pundit's.

-clash


There's no neutrality in the war on swine, pick a side motherfucker.

:D
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: flyingmice on December 27, 2012, 05:28:39 pm
Quote from: soviet;612067
There's no neutrality in the war on swine, pick a side motherfucker.

:D


Then shoot me. I have good friends, people I like and respect, on both 'sides', as well as in the neglected middle. If you are going to needle Pundit, needle him for something he actually did or said. That's fine. This one is my responsibility, though.

-clash
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: soviet on December 27, 2012, 05:29:41 pm
Quote from: flyingmice;612069
Then shoot me. I have good friends, people I like and respect, on both 'sides', as well as in the neglected middle. If you are going to needle Pundit, needle him for something he actually did or said. That's fine. This one is my responsibility, though.

-clash


Dude, I'm joking
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: misterguignol on December 27, 2012, 05:30:44 pm
Quote from: flyingmice;612064
No, because Pundit had nothing to do with the cover of FtA!GN! whatsoever. I did it myself, including the painting, with no input from him. Any ugliness you see is from me, and I have no part in this stupid war. I just liked the game and offered to publish it.

I also did all the interior illos, the layout, and the editing. If you have any issues with those, please lay them at my door as well, not Pundit's.

-clash


...it was a joke, my man.

I also don't care about the RPG/Storygame Maginot line either.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: flyingmice on December 27, 2012, 05:41:17 pm
Quote from: Benoist;612066
For the record, I REALLY like that painting, Clash, and I like your art in general. And yes, I do fucking care what you play, what you think about RPGs, and what you create for us to play, Compadre. ;)


Thanks, Benoist! I don't mind criticism of my work at all - and criticism of the "That looks ugly" sort is just descriptive of preference, not particularly constructive. The other day, Brad Murray pointed out some flaws in a painting I did for Volant, and it was great, because he was absolutely correct, and I was able to fix the problems. I wish all the criticism I get was that productive! :D

-clash
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: akiva on December 27, 2012, 05:47:00 pm
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;611915
Not every poster agrees with the categorization of subforums here, but this is the one game everybody knows pundit would classify as a storygame, non rpg. It is his forum and he sets the rules for how its organized. You had to know it would get moved when you started the thread. If you want to debate labels about storygames, open a thread about it in the help desk (or participate in the thread on the forge in pundit's subforum).


Actually, I had no idea that he'd move it--from what I'd seen the Pundit's douchery was confined to his posts, not to the way that he runs the board. So this board is just a tool for him to spew his views and fuck around with people who disagree? So how is he different from Edwards and the rpg.net mods he lambastes, frequently and with incredibly venomous language?

So I guess if someone introduced a post about OD&D it'd get moved to this forum too? After all, the cover of the game clearly states that it's a wargame. And everyone knows that you can't roleplay in 4e, so any threads about belong in this forum too, right? And god knows you can't have roleplaying without dice, so any discussion of Amber or Olympus belongs here too, right? I mean, why should my stupid bullshit pettiness be any less important and consequential than RPGPundit's?

That's just fucking pathetic. RPGPundit is no better than Ron Edwards. Compare the language they use. Compare their self-importance. Compare their petty douchery.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: One Horse Town on December 27, 2012, 05:53:03 pm
Haven't heard any of that before.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: flyingmice on December 27, 2012, 05:55:33 pm
Quote from: soviet;612070
Dude, I'm joking


I know you were joking, but the joke wasn't hitting the intended target this time. It would be like needling Ron Edwards for corruption in the UN - there is no actual responsibility or control there. As for your disliking the cover I did, it doesn't bother me in the least. That - like whether or not you prefer story oriented goals and tools in your roleplaying - is purely a matter of individual taste, and the only way not to offend someone else's taste is to be utterly inoffensive and bland. :D

-clash
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Ladybird on December 27, 2012, 06:06:22 pm
Quote from: akiva;612082
Actually, I had no idea that he'd move it--from what I'd seen the Pundit's douchery was confined to his posts, not to the way that he runs the board. So this board is just a tool for him to spew his views and fuck around with people who disagree? So how is he different from Edwards and the rpg.net mods he lambastes, frequently and with incredibly venomous language?

So I guess if someone introduced a post about OD&D it'd get moved to this forum too? After all, the cover of the game clearly states that it's a wargame. And everyone knows that you can't roleplay in 4e, so any threads about belong in this forum too, right? And god knows you can't have roleplaying without dice, so any discussion of Amber or Olympus belongs here too, right? I mean, why should my stupid bullshit pettiness be any less important and consequential than RPGPundit's?

That's just fucking pathetic. RPGPundit is no better than Ron Edwards. Compare the language they use. Compare their self-importance. Compare their petty douchery.


Welcome to theRPGsite, I guess.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: vytzka on December 27, 2012, 06:24:24 pm
Oh no you compared Amber Diceless to Storygames! This always gets entertaining.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: misterguignol on December 27, 2012, 06:25:24 pm
Quote from: vytzka;612111
Oh no you compared Amber Diceless to Storygames! This always gets entertaining.


It's theRPGSite version of Groundhog Day.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: beeber on December 27, 2012, 06:25:49 pm
Quote from: vytzka;612111
Oh no you compared Amber Diceless to Storygames! This always gets entertaining.


it is just another example of magical tea party, really :)
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: CRKrueger on December 27, 2012, 06:38:56 pm
Quote from: akiva;612082
Actually, I had no idea that he'd move it--from what I'd seen the Pundit's douchery was confined to his posts, not to the way that he runs the board. So this board is just a tool for him to spew his views and fuck around with people who disagree? So how is he different from Edwards and the rpg.net mods he lambastes, frequently and with incredibly venomous language?

So I guess if someone introduced a post about OD&D it'd get moved to this forum too? After all, the cover of the game clearly states that it's a wargame. And everyone knows that you can't roleplay in 4e, so any threads about belong in this forum too, right? And god knows you can't have roleplaying without dice, so any discussion of Amber or Olympus belongs here too, right? I mean, why should my stupid bullshit pettiness be any less important and consequential than RPGPundit's?

That's just fucking pathetic. RPGPundit is no better than Ron Edwards. Compare the language they use. Compare their self-importance. Compare their petty douchery.


Of course if you called Pundit a donkey-raping shit-eating ass-spelunker*,you wouldn't get banned.  Go do that on Unka Ron's site.  Or just go laugh at him, see how far that gets you.

*Movie reference for 5 points.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: BedrockBrendan on December 27, 2012, 06:41:27 pm
Quote from: akiva;612082
Actually, I had no idea that he'd move it--from what I'd seen the Pundit's douchery was confined to his posts, not to the way that he runs the board. So this board is just a tool for him to spew his views and fuck around with people who disagree? So how is he different from Edwards and the rpg.net mods he lambastes, frequently and with incredibly venomous language?

So I guess if someone introduced a post about OD&D it'd get moved to this forum too? After all, the cover of the game clearly states that it's a wargame. And everyone knows that you can't roleplay in 4e, so any threads about belong in this forum too, right? And god knows you can't have roleplaying without dice, so any discussion of Amber or Olympus belongs here too, right? I mean, why should my stupid bullshit pettiness be any less important and consequential than RPGPundit's?

That's just fucking pathetic. RPGPundit is no better than Ron Edwards. Compare the language they use. Compare their self-importance. Compare their petty douchery.

For starters you are still free to discuss sorcerer all you want. The only thing stopping a robust debate about the merits of Ron's game is you, because you are torpedoing your own thread to protest pundit's organization of the forum and his position on the forge and story games.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: danbuter on December 27, 2012, 10:00:07 pm
Brendan, he can't pout and have a hissy fit if he does that!
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: K Peterson on December 27, 2012, 10:58:14 pm
Quote from: LePete;611949
A new edition is about to be Kickstarted: Preview Here (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847190685/1935975693?token=2c1f9f60).


His video is rather cringe-worthy. I guess I understand his "lean and mean" approach, but his basement video makes him come across as a geeky crackpot.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: 3rik on December 28, 2012, 06:32:43 am
Quote from: Benoist;612025
I can't even listen to the man talking for 4:30 minutes without rolling my eyes.

What a fucking bore.

Quote from: K Peterson;612222
His video is rather cringe-worthy. I guess I  understand his "lean and mean" approach, but his basement video makes  him come across as a geeky crackpot.

I dunno, but there's something inherently annoying about it. And I came into this more or less unbiased.

Quote from: misterguignol;612049
There should be a new edition of this game, if only to get rid of what has to be one of the ugliest book covers in RPGs.  I mean, look at this thing: http://adept-press.com/wordpress/wp-content/media/sorc_cover2.jpg

I love how they mention on the cover that it's supposed to be really intense. :rolleyes: I guess if it doesn't turn out that way you're just doing it wrong?

And yes, that's one ugly ass unappealing stupid cover.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: This Guy on December 28, 2012, 04:59:43 pm
Quote from: K Peterson;612222
His video is rather cringe-worthy. I guess I understand his "lean and mean" approach, but his basement video makes him come across as a geeky crackpot.


Sounds like an RPG designer to me all right.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Warthur on December 28, 2012, 10:53:43 pm
The irony of this thread being moved is that Sorcerer is easily the most traditional of Ron's games, and is pretty much a trad RPG with very vague storygame leanings (in the same way that D&D 4E is a trad RPG with fairly pronounced skirmish miniatures wargaming leanings - and we don't see threads on D&D 4E moved regularly, do we?). The game is transparently Ron's attempt to out-White Wolf White Wolf.

The irony of Sorcerer itself is that whilst it is easily Ron's most successful game commercially and critically, it's also the game that (until this Kickstarter happened) he wanted to distance himself from the most. He went on record several times back in the heyday of the Forge to suggest that Sorcerer was ideologically impure somehow, a fumbling attempt to get at the sort of storytelling he wanted which mostly failed. But then, what did he do of consequence after that? Spione? Those godawful gag games of his? For someone who considers Sorcerer to be the least of his works he certainly has struggled to come up with anything comparably interesting.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Arminius on December 29, 2012, 12:25:05 am
Sorcerer may be the most traditional of Edwards' games but when I read it I found it embodied the the "narrativist" philosophy in several ways. Some of these might not be in the rules/mechanics per se (I don't care to go back and check), but an important part of Edwards' line of analysis (and followed, by and large, by other Forgers) is to treat GMing advice as part of the rules, so I think it's fair to judge the game on those terms.

1. Once a player writes a Kicker, they have a right to expect it will be engaged by the GM.

Did this idea pre-exist as a GMing technique? Probably, but I'm not aware of it being hard-wired into a game previously.

2. "Bangs" are an explicit improv technique that works from exactly the opposite of a simulationist perspective (small-s, big-S, whatever). I.e., the GM is supposed to make stuff happen that challenges the PC's issues, values, etc. It doesn't happen because it preexisted or was extrapolated, or because it appeared randomly.

3. The actual resolution system is pretty gimmicky. Not quite so much as DitV, but probably more than ORE.

4. If I'm not mistaken, the actual game articulates a general premise to be addressed, of "what will you do for power?" So: baked-in story.

5. Allegedly (based on comments by a fan of the game; I don't remember in detail), Sorcerer generally doesn't resolve tasks, only conflicts between characters. E.g., if you're climbing a cliff to infiltrate your enemy's lair, it's a conflict and it can be resolved by rolling some dice. If a conflict can't be defined as such (between characters), there's no dice to roll. Think about what this means for a wilderness expedition.

As for whether it's a good game or not...I couldn't say. Some of the ideas above are worth thinking about and could probably be applied to other systems with less clunky resolution mechanics. I remember reading about a game called Hero's Banner had some similar concepts, and many on the Forge believed that Hero Wars/Heroquest "should" be played using the same concepts. (I'd note, though, the game seems to have become less and less suitable with each edition.)

IMO the trick would be applying them to the degree and manner suitable to the group and the game. Unfortunately the general Forge/Storygamer culture is one that tends to demand a very in-your-face and formalistic application of items 1, 2, and 4, so I couldn't imagine playing or running Sorcerer for anyone who'd actually express interest in it by name.

Other ideas in the game and supplements should be taken as antidotes for the common railroading style of play which dominated in the '90s, as well as the warmed-over-Tolkien approach to fantasy. I.e., if you come from an impoverished gaming background, Edwards' Sorcerer might seem like Moses coming down from the mountain.

(Moving the thread to another forum is just a way to piss off hysterical storygame-zealots. In practical terms, it has no other effect. Just click "New Posts" when you visit the site, and you'll never have to worry about which forum something is in.)
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: BedrockBrendan on December 29, 2012, 07:54:40 am
Quote from: K Peterson;612222
His video is rather cringe-worthy. I guess I understand his "lean and mean" approach, but his basement video makes him come across as a geeky crackpot.


I don't know, i think he comes off looking pretty good in the video.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Doctor Jest on January 02, 2013, 10:37:47 am
The thing about Sorcerer wasn't the game system (which is actually only a small part of the book) or the implied setting (only a few more) but the LONG FUCKING ESSAY that takes up nearly a third of the book that served as the basis for GNS.

If you just rip those pages out of the book, what you have left is nothing particularly innovative. And GNS wasn't innovative either, it was lifted nearly whole cloth from Three-Fold.

I ran the game for a while, and it played ok, was rules lite, etc. I also ran it sandbox style without any clear idea of a "story" which the game explicitly says you cannot do. :)

The game itself, when you take the pompous theory essay and the weird assertions in the GM advice section, you're left with a simple little rules lite urban fantasy/horror type of game.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Doctor Jest on January 02, 2013, 10:44:45 am
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
Sorcerer may be the most traditional of Edwards' games but when I read it I found it embodied the the "narrativist" philosophy in several ways. Some of these might not be in the rules/mechanics per se (I don't care to go back and check)

None of them are in the mechanics. None. Not some. None.
Quote
, but an important part of Edwards' line of analysis (and followed, by and large, by other Forgers) is to treat GMing advice as part of the rules, so I think it's fair to judge the game on those terms.

That's weaksauce. There's no definition of "advice" which fits the definition of "rules". That always struck me as backpeddaling to explain why trad games - including sorcerer - didn't do what the Forgites claimed they did.

Quote
"Bangs" are an explicit improv technique that works from exactly the opposite of a simulationist perspective (small-s, big-S, whatever). I.e., the GM is supposed to make stuff happen that challenges the PC's issues, values, etc. It doesn't happen because it preexisted or was extrapolated, or because it appeared randomly.

That's incorrect. Bangs generally pre-exist and are extrapolated from "kickers" (i.e. player backstories and proactive goals). The game explicitly tells you to create bangs IN ADVANCE and keep them on hand. It calls this a "bandolier of bangs". If you're not extrapolating to create these, then you're creating them arbitrarily, which is functionally the same as randomly.

Quote
3. The actual resolution system is pretty gimmicky. Not quite so much as DitV, but probably more than ORE.

I think it's easier than ORE.
Quote
4. If I'm not mistaken, the actual game articulates a general premise to be addressed, of "what will you do for power?" So: baked-in story.

That's not a story. All games have a premise. The premise of Old School D&D might just as easily be framed as "what will you do for treasure?" and fit just as well.

Quote
5. Allegedly (based on comments by a fan of the game; I don't remember in detail), Sorcerer generally doesn't resolve tasks, only conflicts between characters. E.g., if you're climbing a cliff to infiltrate your enemy's lair, it's a conflict and it can be resolved by rolling some dice. If a conflict can't be defined as such (between characters), there's no dice to roll. Think about what this means for a wilderness expedition.

Except in a wilderness expedition, the conflict is Man vs. Nature, so a conflict still exists. Nowhere in the game does it say conflicts are only Man vs. Man. In fact, humanity checks are explicitly Man vs. Himself.

So this isn't true either.

This may have later evolved into Conflict Resolution after the fact, but as written it's really just a rephrasing of the old "don't roll for unimportant things" GM advice that's been around forever.

And that's the key with Sorcerer; the game itself doesn't really do any of the things it's attributed with. The principles in the essay in the back that evolved into GNS are really more influential than any part of the actual game. It is given credit in hindsight with saying and doing things it really doesn't do or say if you read it without taking the whole history of everything that happened afterwards on The Forge into account.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Kaiu Keiichi on January 09, 2013, 10:22:45 am
Quote from: akiva;611912
Wow, what a dick move to change the forum. One person, who clearly has a bias against such games, decides that Sorceror isn't an RPG, so therefore it can't be discussed it the RPG forum? What a petty, douchey, dick move.


Welcome to TheRPGSite, where grogs rule! ;)

It's not like Pundit and his admins don't make their views clear, and he does own the place.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: JonTheBrowser on March 06, 2013, 09:10:05 pm
Quote from: Warthur;612554
The irony of this thread being moved is that Sorcerer is easily the most traditional of Ron's games, and is pretty much a trad RPG with very vague storygame leanings (in the same way that D&D 4E is a trad RPG with fairly pronounced skirmish miniatures wargaming leanings - and we don't see threads on D&D 4E moved regularly, do we?). The game is transparently Ron's attempt to out-White Wolf White Wolf.


The main reason for Sorcerer not being traditional is the "free and clear" stake settng phase in the resolution mechanic.

When you get into a conflict with another character, you enter into a phase where each person says what they want and you go back and forth until both people are happy.  Not only that, you can change what you decide to do based on what the opponent says they'll do.  So you get to make decisions not just based on the fictional situation, but based on what the other people at the table want and the theoretical things they might do.  You get to know what the other side is doing in advance and change your actions in response and they get to change and you go back and forth until you settle on ones that you both want.

It's massively different from traditional RPG play where you describe what your character does in response to the situation and then use the system to resolve that.  It's not about what happens or what do you do know, but is about who gets their way.  You make decisions as a player on a completely different level.

So what do I actually think about the Pundits separation of games into "true RPGs" and "story games"?  I think it's dumb because I don't agree on his narrow definiton, but at least there actually is a forum to talk about them here rather than discussing them being banned or something.  

I may not agree with the Pundit on what the fundamental act required to count as an RPG is, but I understand the distinction and his resultant moderation.  And I also think that he should move D&D4E threads into the Other Games as well, just to be consistent.  Do I think D&D4E is an RPG?  What about Sorcerer?  Yes.  But the person who makes the moderating calls doesn't and I get why he does it even if I don't agree.

Quote from: Doctor Jest;613784
None of them are in the mechanics. None. Not some. None.


See the "free and clear" thing above.  It's definitely there.

Quote
That's weaksauce. There's no definition of "advice" which fits the definition of "rules". That always struck me as backpeddaling to explain why trad games - including sorcerer - didn't do what the Forgites claimed they did.


No, it stems out of the idea that everything you do at the table to figure out what happens in the fiction is part of the procedures of play, or the system.  So everything the GM does and everything the players do that has anything at all to do with deciding what happens in the fiction is part of the system in their framework.  

Baker is way better than Edwards at writing GM instructions that actually are part of the game procedures though.  In Apocalypse World, for example, he even tells the MC the exact words to say at certain moments during the game.  And tells you what words not to say ever (the name of the GM "moves" or whatever).  He even explicitly tells the GM to make decisions not based on the fiction and then hide that from the players.  He's very, very specific and it's not advice.

In Edward's games as well, it really does mean that the stuff it says the GM should do is not advice, but actually part of the procedures of the game.  He's just bad at expressing it.

Quote
Except in a wilderness expedition, the conflict is Man vs. Nature, so a conflict still exists. Nowhere in the game does it say conflicts are only Man vs. Man. In fact, humanity checks are explicitly Man vs. Himself.


This illustrates a very very legitimate criticism of "Narrativism" (or whatever Story Now! BS they're calling it now).  Ron Edwards is married to the idea that good conflicts are all character based and are about morals and values.  He makes no room for classic conflicts like "man vs nature" which we all learned about in a junior high classroom.  His neglect of that sucks.  

And if Humanity checks are supposed to be character-vs-self conflicts, they're really terrible at handling it.  I don't think they are a conflict per se.  They're just checks to see if a number on a character drops and then if you hit zero, you lose your character to the GM.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: talysman on March 06, 2013, 09:24:12 pm
Quote from: JonTheBrowser;634975
The main reason for Sorcerer not being traditional is the "free and clear" stake settng phase in the resolution mechanic.

When you get into a conflict with another character, you enter into a phase where each person says what they want and you go back and forth until both people are happy.  Not only that, you can change what you decide to do based on what the opponent says they'll do.  So you get to make decisions not just based on the fictional situation, but based on what the other people at the table want and the theoretical things they might do.  You get to know what the other side is doing in advance and change your actions in response and they get to change and you go back and forth until you settle on ones that you both want.

It's massively different from traditional RPG play where you describe what your character does in response to the situation and then use the system to resolve that.  It's not about what happens or what do you do know, but is about who gets their way.  You make decisions as a player on a completely different level.


Ron may have said that "free and clear" is some kind of collaborative storygame stroke of genius, but really, it's about when player bullshit stops being bullshit and becomes what the character actually does/says. In other words, it's just another way of saying "you can't change what your character does once the dice are rolled." It's no different than players indicating whether they are talking in character or out of character. In fact, you could adopt a "free and clear" phase in D&D. It just replaces dicing for initiative.

Now, depending on how you interpret "what everyone wants/is happy with", that discussion may be limited to what people want their characters to do, or it may also include what they want the *story* to be. In the latter case, it's definitely a storygame.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: JonTheBrowser on March 06, 2013, 10:06:13 pm
Quote from: talysman;634978
Ron may have said that "free and clear" is some kind of collaborative storygame stroke of genius, but really, it's about when player bullshit stops being bullshit and becomes what the character actually does/says. In other words, it's just another way of saying "you can't change what your character does once the dice are rolled." It's no different than players indicating whether they are talking in character or out of character. In fact, you could adopt a "free and clear" phase in D&D. It just replaces dicing for initiative.

Now, depending on how you interpret "what everyone wants/is happy with", that discussion may be limited to what people want their characters to do, or it may also include what they want the *story* to be. In the latter case, it's definitely a storygame.

Add in entire conflict resolution rather than task based resolution and the whole stake setting and free and clear phase won't look anything like what you're talking about with D&D.

Also my point in bringing this up is to show why Sorcerer might be considered not an RPG by Pundit and thus moved this discussion to this forum.  The answer is that you make decisions as a player based on different things from what he thinks is a normal RPG about.

When i say "what everyone wants" in terms of Sorcerer, I really am talking about making decisions based on participant desire rather than the in game fiction.  In doing so it produces a different type of play than traditional RPGs.  In Sorcerer, you are not limited to making decisions based on what you want your character to do in response to the fictional situation.  You're encouraged to set stakes and negotiate based on a variety of other factors.

EDIT:  My next paragraph below is crap

The ironic thing about Pundit's adherence to a hard line about what's a true RPG and not is that in doing so he tacitly admits that the forge theory stuff works in that it actually can produce a different type of play.  Different enough to count as a non-RPG in his eyes.  It may be a type of play different enough that Pundit considers it departing the hobby completely, but it is still the type of play they intended to produce when they used the tools they developed.

EDIT:  The reason the above is crap is that it assumes that the forge theory caused the designs they produced rather than considering the very distinct possibility they were produced in spite of it and only after the various elements of Forge theory were hammered in discussion to the point that people worked them out of their systems and then designed based on fragments of useful thought that crept their way into the theory inspite of itself.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: James Gillen on March 07, 2013, 03:55:36 am
Quote from: Warthur;612554
The irony of this thread being moved is that Sorcerer is easily the most traditional of Ron's games, and is pretty much a trad RPG with very vague storygame leanings (in the same way that D&D 4E is a trad RPG with fairly pronounced skirmish miniatures wargaming leanings - and we don't see threads on D&D 4E moved regularly, do we?). The game is transparently Ron's attempt to out-White Wolf White Wolf.

The irony of Sorcerer itself is that whilst it is easily Ron's most successful game commercially and critically, it's also the game that (until this Kickstarter happened) he wanted to distance himself from the most. He went on record several times back in the heyday of the Forge to suggest that Sorcerer was ideologically impure somehow, a fumbling attempt to get at the sort of storytelling he wanted which mostly failed. But then, what did he do of consequence after that? Spione? Those godawful gag games of his? For someone who considers Sorcerer to be the least of his works he certainly has struggled to come up with anything comparably interesting.


As with much of modern art, if people enjoy what you're doing, you're doing it wrong. ;)

JG
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Justin Alexander on March 07, 2013, 05:41:58 am
Quote from: akiva;611850
I'm not trying to open a new Ron Edwards bashing thread; there are plenty of those already. I'm trying to get a handle on why some people lavish so much praise on "Sorceror."


I'm not a huge fan of Sorcerer, but I suspect your perspective is skewed. Your post is a little like picking up the D&D White Box and saying, "I don't get it. What's the big deal? It's just another fairly typical fantasy roleplaying game."

There are a couple of things Sorcerer did that were pretty notable at the time it was released:

First, Edwards studded the book with designer commentary. At a time when non-rudimentary RPG theory was pretty much completely absent from the consciousness of the hobby, Edwards was suddenly delivering huge dollops of some really advanced thought. (I think he mostly stood on the shoulders of giants after slicing the giants' Achilles' tendons, but nonetheless.)

Second, it was basically the first game to really push narrative responsibility onto the players. (And also offered some rudimentary narrative control mechanics.) Look at the discussion of kickers on page 35, for example: That might seem bog-standard now, but the idea of saying "the player, not the GM, is responsible for setting up the initial conflicts of the campaign" was really radical shit back then.

For the people who were attracted to the type of gaming Edwards was advocating, this stuff really transformed their gaming. It turned a lot of the engrained, habitual understanding people had for how an RPG worked and turned it completely on its head.

You'll see people come up with all kinds of antecedents for this and claim that they were personally doing it since 1984. But that's a lot like the people who go around saying, "Oh yeah. We were basically doing that 'roleplaying' thing back in '64 while playing Panzer Blitz." Maybe it's true. Maybe it's not. Doesn't change the fact that D&D was a watershed paradigm shift; and so was Sorcerer.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Imperator on March 07, 2013, 07:25:26 am
Quote from: Justin Alexander;635048
I'm not a huge fan of Sorcerer, but I suspect your perspective is skewed. Your post is a little like picking up the D&D White Box and saying, "I don't get it. What's the big deal? It's just another fairly typical fantasy roleplaying game."

There are a couple of things Sorcerer did that were pretty notable at the time it was released:

First, Edwards studded the book with designer commentary. At a time when non-rudimentary RPG theory was pretty much completely absent from the consciousness of the hobby, Edwards was suddenly delivering huge dollops of some really advanced thought. (I think he mostly stood on the shoulders of giants after slicing the giants' Achilles' tendons, but nonetheless.)

Second, it was basically the first game to really push narrative responsibility onto the players. (And also offered some rudimentary narrative control mechanics.) Look at the discussion of kickers on page 35, for example: That might seem bog-standard now, but the idea of saying "the player, not the GM, is responsible for setting up the initial conflicts of the campaign" was really radical shit back then.

For the people who were attracted to the type of gaming Edwards was advocating, this stuff really transformed their gaming. It turned a lot of the engrained, habitual understanding people had for how an RPG worked and turned it completely on its head.

You'll see people come up with all kinds of antecedents for this and claim that they were personally doing it since 1984. But that's a lot like the people who go around saying, "Oh yeah. We were basically doing that 'roleplaying' thing back in '64 while playing Panzer Blitz." Maybe it's true. Maybe it's not. Doesn't change the fact that D&D was a watershed paradigm shift; and so was Sorcerer.


Great post, Justin. You explain it better than I could do.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: Anon Adderlan on March 07, 2013, 10:45:07 am
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;612119
For starters you are still free to discuss sorcerer all you want. The only thing stopping a robust debate about the merits of Ron's game is you, because you are torpedoing your own thread to protest pundit's organization of the forum and his position on the forge and story games.


Nope. Organization can and does limit discussion. It's why 'other games' exists in the first place, because you don't need that for an 'RPG' forum.

Quote from: K Peterson;612222
His video is rather cringe-worthy.


I have to agree, which might be why the pledge level for his video tutorials didn't do so well. Then again, he holds himself better than most who do this kind of thing.

Quote from: Warthur;612554
The irony of this thread being moved is that Sorcerer is easily the most traditional of Ron's games


Hey Pundit, how is Sorcerer a Storygame again?

Quote from: Warthur;612554
The irony of Sorcerer itself is that whilst it is easily Ron's most successful game commercially and critically, it's also the game that (until this Kickstarter happened) he wanted to distance himself from the most. He went on record several times back in the heyday of the Forge to suggest that Sorcerer was ideologically impure somehow, a fumbling attempt to get at the sort of storytelling he wanted which mostly failed.


Now THIS is interesting.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
Sorcerer may be the most traditional of Edwards' games but when I read it I found it embodied the the "narrativist" philosophy in several ways.


Do tell.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
1. Once a player writes a Kicker, they have a right to expect it will be engaged by the GM.


Once a player takes a disadvantage, such as a dependent, they have a right to expect it will be engaged by the GM.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
2. "Bangs" are an explicit improv technique that works from exactly the opposite of a simulationist perspective (small-s, big-S, whatever). I.e., the GM is supposed to make stuff happen that challenges the PC's issues, values, etc. It doesn't happen because it preexisted or was extrapolated, or because it appeared randomly.


First, as someone pointed out, these bangs often DO exist before play. Second, perhaps I live in crazytown, but every single GM I know of makes shit up on the spot or randomly, and lots of RPGs even come with random encounter tables to help them do it.

But please, do go on.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
3. The actual resolution system is pretty gimmicky. Not quite so much as DitV, but probably more than ORE.


Everyone involved in a conflict rolls a number of d10 equal to a stat. Then they compare values. Highest value wins. On a tie, remove those dice and compare again, highest value wins. Level of effect is how many dice you have which are greater than your opponents highest die.

It's so simple and effective that I'm shocked it hasn't been picked up for other games. Mind you, EVERYTHING is complex compared to rolling a die under a number. But what Sorcerer does in one roll, roll under systems have to use multiple rolls for.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
4. If I'm not mistaken, the actual game articulates a general premise to be addressed, of "what will you do for power?" So: baked-in story.


Which is a premise so general that it applies to EVERY adventure story. It applies to D&D, and it applies to AMBER. But keep going, I'm sure you'll get one eventually.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
5. Allegedly (based on comments by a fan of the game; I don't remember in detail), Sorcerer generally doesn't resolve tasks, only conflicts between characters. E.g., if you're climbing a cliff to infiltrate your enemy's lair, it's a conflict and it can be resolved by rolling some dice. If a conflict can't be defined as such (between characters), there's no dice to roll. Think about what this means for a wilderness expedition.


Means it's interesting?

I STILL do not believe there is a meaningful difference between Task and Conflict resolution. They're both about asking a question and having the dice answer it. Now what questions and answers do you expect to get during a Wilderness expedition?

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
As for whether it's a good game or not...I couldn't say.


Shame, because that's really the only important thing you could have said something about.

Quote from: Elliot Wilen;612576
(Moving the thread to another forum is just a way to piss off hysterical storygame-zealots. In practical terms, it has no other effect. Just click "New Posts" when you visit the site, and you'll never have to worry about which forum something is in.)


Indeed, why have separate Forum boards at all?

Oh yeah, that's right, because they DO affect organization and where attention is focused.

But I'm with you. We should combine all the boards here into one.

Quote from: Doctor Jest;613783
The thing about Sorcerer wasn't the game system (which is actually only a small part of the book) or the implied setting (only a few more) but the LONG FUCKING ESSAY that takes up nearly a third of the book that served as the basis for GNS.


Now the essay has annotations too :p

Quote from: JonTheBrowser;634975
When you get into a conflict with another character, you enter into a phase where each person says what they want and you go back and forth until both people are happy.  Not only that, you can change what you decide to do based on what the opponent says they'll do.  So you get to make decisions not just based on the fictional situation, but based on what the other people at the table want and the theoretical things they might do.  You get to know what the other side is doing in advance and change your actions in response and they get to change and you go back and forth until you settle on ones that you both want.


When I'm fighting IRL, my intuition is informing me of the moves my opponent is most likely to make. But when I play D&D I lose that element because my character's intuition can't inform me. Also, if your opponent can change their action in response to your change, then you DON'T know what they're doing in advance.

The big irony here is that the way Sorcerer does things is MORE immersive and Simulationist than RPGs with traditional initiative systems.

Quote from: JonTheBrowser;634975
It's massively different from traditional RPG play where you describe what your character does in response to the situation and then use the system to resolve that.  It's not about what happens or what do you do know, but is about who gets their way.  You make decisions as a player on a completely different level.


You might be right, but damned if I can tell by your statement.

Quote from: JonTheBrowser;634975
Ron Edwards is married to the idea that good conflicts are all character based and are about morals and values.  He makes no room for classic conflicts like "man vs nature" which we all learned about in a junior high classroom.


Show me a good Man vs Nature conflict and I'll show you a writer who treats Nature like a character.

Quote from: JonTheBrowser;634975
And if Humanity checks are supposed to be character-vs-self conflicts, they're really terrible at handling it.


They're not, but I'll wait till I see how you respond to my other statements before I take the time to explain.
Title: "Sorceror": What's the big deal?
Post by: JonTheBrowser on March 07, 2013, 11:26:48 am
Quote from: Anon Adderlan;635101
They're not, but I'll wait till I see how you respond to my other statements before I take the time to explain.

I failed to explain how the decision making process in sorcerer departs from how decisions are made by players in games our host would call true RPGs.  When I play in a game with stake setting and scene framing and conflict resolution and the like, I make decisions on different factors than when I play games that expect me to stay in character and make decisions based on that character alone.  I don't really know how to unpack that further.

As for the Nature as character thing, I think you're on to something to an extent there, but I largely disagree.  While humans do have the genetic predisposition to infer agency where there is none (like making up supernatural explanations to explain weather), I don't think we need nature to be personified in order to enjoy conflicts about it in a story.  Some great stories are about the impersonal nature of the cosmos, for example.

As for humanity in Sorcerer ostensibly doing some great thing to explore character-vs-himself conflicts, I don't think you should bother expanding on it.  At this point, I'm likely not going to buy it given that my own experience with the game leads me to believe the opposite.  Unless you are suggesting the procedures in the book are wrong and if you just apply the right house rule, *then* humanity can handle conflicts like that well.  I could buy that.  On this issue, I'm going to believe my eyes more than your words, just like you are with your insistence that Sorcerer is a traditional RPG.

You feel you've experienced playing the game in a way that makes you conclude it's a traditional RPG and I've played the game too and come the exact opposite conclusion.  Sorcerer simply asks you to make decisions based on different factors than traditional RPGs.  The fact that you can ignore the game procedures and make decisions based on your character and the game doesn't fall apart probably says more about the strength of the traditional approach to gaming than it does anything about Sorcerer.