Sorcerer meets Sorcerer

So, with the 7th session of our Sorcerer campaign—we’ve been running short 2h sessions—finally we got our sorcerers to interact, and for me it was very intense. I’m playing as the GM in this one.

We’re playing in current-day Silicon Valley, with the following backdrop.

  • Silicon Valley, the heart of technocracy. Year: Now.
  • Sorcery/Demons: Sentient AIs, cybernetics, secret tech that should not exist. Integration of human and machine.

We have our Sorcerers:

  • Felix, the unaware CTO of Alpha, his company/AI/Demon who he’s been letting run itself for 10 years while he enjoys life and financial independence. Alpha likes to “play” with new systems and problems without care for the ethical implication, it’s now escalated to making weapons for the Pentagon and some nasty biological experiments.
    • His Kicker was his CEO and business partner selling her company to some up-and-coming bitcoin bros.
  • Oscar, a venture capitalist who uses Matias, his health tracker/demon, to plan his perfect routine, and optimize his life to make him rich, healthy, and successful—in exchange for control over his life.
    • His Kicker was finding Navy, a lost child whose information he couldn’t track down, in his apartment.
  • Paulina, who has Lud, a nanotechnology Demon in her blood that she acquired by making a dark ritual she found on the deep web. It requires her to eat rodents and small animals (not a KPFS character, no), and allows her to skim money off bank accounts to live her cozy life in an expensive house far away from everyone.
    • Her Kicker was her family, displaced by the rising housing prices, coming to live with her.

For the last six sessions, the sorcerers have been playing more or less independently, one scene each, with the happenings coming into contact with one another only as background events. But we’ve been slowly drawing connections between the sorcerer’s stories, and a particular one was this guy called Reiner.

He came in as part of Paulina’s diagram, as a tech exec she maids for as a cover. But I decided at some point that he was one of the tech bros that bought Monica’s share of Alpha. He’s got a dark triad personality and made his money from unethical cryptocurrency speculation.

Last session, Reiner confronted Felix at Alpha’s HQ, as a result of Felix’s botched attempt to summon another demon to rein Alpha in. As part of the confrontation, Reiner was hit by a strike of lightning caused by Felix Commanding Alpha to redirect the entire building’s electric power towards Reiner. Reiner wasn’t aware it was coming, so I declared the roll an automatic Total Victory, with almost 10 dice of damage.

Reiner was left as almost dead (Felix’s player declined to kill him), and the building caught on fire, the disaster making the news. This is where we find ourselves at the start of our 7th session: as Felix is leaving the HQ, other players are waking up to the news of the fire, plus Reiner being carried on an ambulance to a nearby hospital.

In the meantime, Oscar had been looking into Alpha as he’d been tracking down its shady dealings in biotech experiments, from a lab where Navy had escaped from. We had the first intersection when Oscar tried to contact Felix to buy the biotech labs of Alpha from him. The answer—a cold “no.”, but that’s where the scenes started to cut into each other. Failing with Felix, Oscar decided to visit the hospital to have a talk with Reiner, who shooed him off with a gun.

As Paulina also decided to make her way to Reiner, I decided that Oscar and Paulina were going to cross each other as Oscar was leaving the hospital. This was a really overwhelming moment for me. We decided to roll Lore vs Cover on both sides to see if one of the sorcerers recognized the other as one. And it happened! Paulina noticed Oscar’s sorcery and an extremely intense conversation happened where the sorcerers squared off and finally de-escalated by deciding to temporarily work together.

What ensued was the culmination of six sessions of buildup. The sorcerers’ different agendas coming into contact, all culminating in a tense confrontation with Reiner in the hospital, who in the meantime learned about Sorcery, or at least enough that there was something to learn, but was scared into giving them all the info about Felix.

Next session, we’ll see what happens, but people are going to start to take sides.

3 Appreciations

There’s a little bit of this same series in the second half of this Adept Play post by @Hans, regarding Paulina’s actions in the 6th session:

I’m not sure what I can contribute to this as a conversation, but I really enjoyed the writeup. The characters, Demons, and Kickers are really compelling - some proper social science fiction going on here, a la Black Mirror, despite the Sorcerer premise. Thought-provoking as an exaggerated reflection of the kinds of things we’re worried about with developing technology in the digital age, and I love how both Oscar and Paulina cross that with personal/family issues and financial insecurity. That speaks to me.

1 Appreciation

That’s pretty much what was going through my mind when coming up with the backdrop phrases. We started planning this series at the beginning of the year, and the current AI boom was in the news. @Hans brought in the more social aspect with Paulina’s family.

1 Appreciation