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Topics - Alfred

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AW:Dark Age / First Map
« on: March 03, 2014, 07:43:44 PM »
When it says it's mine to make as MC, am I drawing out a landmass and a couple features ahead of time, and players point out where their holdings are on that skeleton of a map?

I ask because the sentence "the map is yours as MC to make" almost sounds like I should show up with an outline of a coastline/islands/whatever.

Monsterhearts / Advancement Options, XP, and Manipulate
« on: June 16, 2012, 09:12:41 PM »
So, passing the halfway point in my gang's Monsterhearts game the other week brought on a realization that hadn't settled in before.

Each playbook has 9 advancement bubbles, and after filling in five you trigger the Season Finale and Season Advances. So, some really simple math dictates that if you're the person to trigger the Finale, you will not trigger the next Finale (because you only have four Advances left). But, the ohnoes set in when it turns out everyone else is still taking Advances and suddenly everyone has five bubbles filled in, with only four left and no one can trigger the next Finale. We're lucky in that we have two newer players who still have most of their full complement of Advancements, and its probably our Hollow or Vampire who is going to bring this Season to a close.

But yeah, that was kind of an awkward moment for us, but then it got me thinking. So, with only nine Advances, a character is going to have to skinshift if she wants to keep growing in mechanical terms. Okay, no biggie. It's interesting, though, because it means until the Season Advances unlock that player/character possesses a mechanical disincentive to go along with any Manipulate checks another PC may make. Basically: I have 7 of my advances, someone wants to offer me XP to do what he wants. With only 2 advances left, the XP he offers me is actually less valuable than an XP he may have offered me to get my first advance -- because I only have so few uses for XP anymore. I will actually eventually reach a point where I have 4XP and no advancement to spend them on and no one will be able to bribe my cooperation that way.

Looking back at AW I realize that the same idea was true there, but I never noticed it and I wondered for a bit why, only for it to dawn on me. In AW, if you find yourself approaching the point where you have nowhere to spend your XP, you have a couple outs. One, after 5 Advancements you get the shiny advancements, of which 2 solve this problem (new playbook, possibly with unfilled advancement bubbles; replace this character with someone new). Two, if you don't like your options you can talk to your MC and maybe he'll make up a new move and require you spend XP to get it.

A little different from MH for sure! Mainly because once you have your five advances, say from Season 1, you cannot yourself trigger those same advances in the second season to open up more advancement options. You have to wait for someone else to do so. And that's pretty cool, fair enough, you can't just deuce out on your own and make a new monster in the season two opener just because you had a lot of XP last time.

So mostly, if the great McDaldno is around, now I'm wondering if it's legit in MH to follow up on some more of AW advice and cook up some new moves to give out to characters whose players don't see their protagonists joining gangs, for example. It may sound like a dumb question, but its not in the book and theres no cool AW-quote transplanted to clarify it. So, I'm just curious. Is it legit to make up new moves when someone is out of advancements, or is there a deeper genre thing going on where, no by that time they should really be moseying along in life and doing something new.

Sorry to ramble like that, but these were just a bunch of thoughts that were cooked up by my last game session. Move stuff, advancement stuff, season stuff, and XP-manipulating getting less cost-efficient. Loving the game and it has me looking at it from all sorts of angles and loving how it ticks.

Anyone out there made up their own advancements for their players yet?

Monsterhearts / AP: Sweetwater Saga
« on: June 16, 2012, 05:00:32 PM »
Hey everybody! I've been playing Monsterhearts since I first got access to the first PDF that Joe let kickstarter backers see, because I just couldn't wait to really dig into this awesome game and its awesome ideas. That means my group of monsterhearts has been playing for a few months now, and we have completed one season and are halfway through a second season as of last week. I want to share what kind of story we've been telling together, and let you in on all the fun we're having.

I will go ahead and share to the best of my recollection and storytelling/story-skimming abilities all that my gaming group has done. Along the way, I will do my best to share mechanics where they come up if they're relevant (like what move was used to make something happen, etc) or talk about how we played things if for some reason we houseruled something, and all that. Consider it director commentary. I'll also do my best to let you in on our experiences around the table as players, as we really got absorbed into this and we have not stopped having fun yet.

So, here we go. I'm going to post the two retrospectives I have first, and then I'll come back to this post and I'll give you the character-generation detail and conversation that helped kick this off and make it happen.

Monsterhearts / Skin: The Beastly
« on: June 14, 2012, 08:06:45 PM »
What follows is my first attempt at creating a new Skin for this fantastic game, Monsterhearts. A lot of inspiration for this comes from my background playing Apocalypse World -- and particularly from the skins The Grotesque and The Faceless. "But wait!" you may say. "Neither of those are sexy teenage monsters by any degree! They're just... monsters!" Well, well, well my reasoning follows:

All of the Skins, as far as I read them, are very cool, well-written metaphors for a lot of teenage strife. The Vampire is awkward teenage sexuality -- being turned on and after flesh all the time but being so afraid of the idea at the same time. The Werewolf is dominance -- social and physical dominance and how that mucks up sentiment and relationships. The Ghoul is addiction, The Ghost is loneliness and social insignificance and tantrums, the Witch is both hating everything because AND kleptomania, and so on. This is how I read them, this is how I feel any and all other Skins should work. Find a teenage nightmare and play up the allegories.

So, I looked at the Skins and I had a good long think. These are all idealized teenage life, full of drama and headaches happening to the sexy, halfway well-adjusted people most of us wished we had been at the time. We like to pretend to be them -- but we also really like it when terrible things happen to them. I felt there was something missing from the sexy teenage monster squad, and so I tried to write up that missing element.

Inspired particularly by The Grotesque and The Faceless, this playbook takes teenage attraction and turns it only sligthly upside down. This Skin is not attractive and is probably the least well-adjusted out of all of them. Its inspirations are Quasimodo, Caliban, Beauty and the Beast, and its recent reimagining Beastly. Its about the one really on the outside and what it takes to get on the inside. If all the other Skins are assumed to be outsiders -- this is the monster that even they've made enemies of, given what good-looking, sexy protagonists they are.

So, here we go. THE BEASTLY, version number 1 basically. Some editing went into this, mostly to come up with some moves and trim some out. I confess I probably corrupted some of MH, since a couple moves bring back things like Hold and Hold+1, but I like them -- besides, it's Version 1. We'll see what happens.

The Beastly

"Please stop screaming. I thought you wanted this. You told me I was sweet. I just wanted to do something nice for you. Please. Stop. Stop Screaming!"

Celanawe, Emmerich, Garth, Sloan, Beaumont, Richard, Bruce, Caleb

A name with a lot of syllables, an ugly sounding name, a beautiful sounding name, a name with a history of rejection

huge, slow, warped, scarred, broken, patchwork,

sad eyes, bitter eyes, misshapen eyes, green eyes, lonely eyes

Born this way, Cursed, Self-inflicted, Terrible accident

•Who has shown you kindness and earned your trust? Give them the Condition "Beautiful."
•Someone has seen you at your worst and thinks you're hideous on the inside. You agree. Give them 2 strings.

 Start with this one, and one more:
Beautiful People:
•When you reveal your deformity, give away a string and the condition "Beautiful."

Inhuman Strength:
•When dealing harm to someone who has strings on you, deal an additional 1 harm as long you don't have strings on them.

You Don't Understand My Pain!:
•With time and seclusion, if you reveal your isolation and vanity roll+cold to turn someone on.

A Glass, Darkly:
•Roll+volatile to gaze into the abyss when you deface your own image.

•When you put yourself out there to be used and abused, and are given something to do, roll+cold. On a hit, mark experience if you succeed. On a 10+, choose: carry 1 forward, give them the condition "Beautiful." On a 7-9, carry 1 forward.

Love Me!:
When you feel rejected, you make the person who slighted you go through hell. Roll+volatile. On a 10, hold 2. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold 1 for 1 to deface, defile, or destroy something they hold dear, with or without explanation. On a miss, you're caught in the act right now, halfway- in halfway-out.

Mine, All Mine:
Roll+dark. On a 10+, hold 1+1. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold to appear at the scene of trouble for someone with the condition "Beautiful," with or without explanation.

Only Skin Deep:
Choose an art you practice in secret. When others are witness to it, roll+hot. On a 10+, choose: they accept you, they offer you help, they protect you. On a 7-9: they don't get in your way, they dont harm you.

Sex Move:
When you have sex with someone, give them the condition "Beautiful" and it counts as rolling a 10+ on "Mine, All Mine" even if you don't have that move.

Darkest Self:
They don't accept you, no matter what. You've tried so hard, done so much for them and it's never enough. Now you'll show them why they should have loved you when they had the chance. You must stalk those who played with your feelings, terrorize them, destroy what they love. You escape your darkest self when someone accepts their punishment or you scar someone as badly as you are.

•Take another Beastly move.
•Take another Beastly move.
•Take a move from another skin.
•Take a move from another skin.
•You belong to a Carnival of Freaks.
•Add 1 to Hot.
•Add 1 to Cold.
•Add 1 to Volatile.
•Add 1 to Dark.

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