We were two players (of four) short for Sorcerer character generation tonight, so instead we did a one-shot set in the past of the game we're going to play. The concept was to have the game set in present day Wellington, so this one-shot involved a couple of sorcerers in Wellington in the 1970s.
We had a fair lot of jokes hitting cliches of the time (or our memories of it, anyhow). Mostly bad jokes, oh well.
Concept one was a paranoid public servant (James Creek) looking to use his power to climb the ladder. He was a member of a fairly organised ritual coven with a few sorcerors. His demon was a possessor who had taken the body of the clerk's secretary. His kicker was finding the body of the head of department sliced in two in his car when he went to go to work on a Monday morning.
Concept two was a cafe owner/hippy (Dave) who had come across his demon by accident. It was a demonic coffee machine. Yeah, really. Didn't get much play unfortunately. His kicker was discovering a trunk full of heroin in his flat after the dealer-connected flatmate had gone missing for a few days.
First scene was James dealing with the body in the car. He went to his demon (Stephanie) for help - she convinced him the best thing to do was frame someone else for it (her Desire was corruption). So he dumped the body on his coven rival's driveway.
Second scene was Dave pondering the heroin as there was a knock at the door. It was police doing a drug bust. He gave them some lip (well, he asked that they respect his legal rights) and they responded by beating the crap out of him and then arresting everyone in the house once they found the drugs. Dave had a totally unsuccessful go at summoning a demon to help him escape during the fight.
We then went to James getting to work after dumping the body. One of his workmates happened to be on the bus he ended up catching, causing difficult questions to be asked ("Why are you on this bus when you live way over there? And why is your secretary with you?"). They smoothed it all over with an unlikely story and he went to work, to discover that the (dead) boss had tried to contact him on Friday afternoon about something urgent.
We then went to Dave in the holding cell. He was pretty desparate, so he ended out trying to summon a demon to escape. Bad luck on the rolls meant that he sacrificed both other cell occupants for no success, and lost all his humanity. Oh dear. Dave will probably be getting out of prison just in time for the contemporary story...
Back to James, we played a scene in which he got a low-ranked schmuck from the coven to help him torch his car. This led into Stephanie convincing the schmuck, Stuart, to take part in some degrading sex acts, just for kicks. James was pretty much just going with the flow of what the demon suggested at this point. They then got him to kidnap some cats for them (Stephanie's need was to eat pets). They also heard on the radio news of three murders that day - pretty crazy stuff for Wellington back then.
James went to work the next day, answered a routine inquiry about his murdered boss without letting anything slip, then went home to be attacked by a demon summoned by the guy he framed. A quick, dangerous fight ended with him banishing the demon just before it was going to skewer him. He decided that was enough and got the coven head and Stuart to help him summon a demon sword to get revenge. The first summon roll failed, and so James decided to kill Stuart to get the bonus. This one worked and he breezed all the humanity rolls. He then went and murdered his rival and had Stephanie take the rival's wife as a new host. We ended the session there, deciding that he had probably gone to ground at that stage, and evaded any police investigation.
Overall, a fun session. Brutal stuff. And I have a couple of great villains for the other story. Well, maybe they'll be mentors, but close enough.
Mechanically, the game is harsh. Probably they would have done better if they worked for the roleplaying and cool stuff bonuses whenever they could. Additionally, a few aspects of the mechanics showed that you need to think about what's happening.
Lessons for character generation:
- High starting Will or Stamina to get a high starting Humanity is a damn good idea.
- Pick a starting demon that will be useful in a pinch, because you don't want to be in that pinch and decide to summon one then.
- Demons with just a couple of powers are safer. High power demons are really hard to summon.
Lessons for the game:
- Demons are mean.
- Combat is mean.
- Demons don't have your best interests at heart, don't just do what they say.