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Messages - mcdaldno

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Monsterhearts / Re: Help/Hinder mechanic?
« on: May 18, 2013, 04:56:34 AM »

There's no help/hinder mechanic built into the game because teenagers are still struggling to learn how to actually help one another pursue their goals. As you pointed out, gaining Strings on them lets you add to their rolls and shield yourself from their rolls, as needed.

If your group feels like the help/hinder is really missing, you can choose to add it back in. There is a chapter near the end of the book that discusses tinkering with the basic moves, creating new moves, etc.

Monsterhearts / Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« on: May 08, 2013, 06:19:38 PM »
but I'm not subscribing to be told how to play, regardless of how successful you've found your game to be.


Thanks for participating in this thread. Congratulations for finding your own boundaries and respecting them.

For serious, pick up a copy of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer roleplaying game if you're interested in another approach to the genre that doesn't have these concerns. I say this in good faith - it's a well-designed game.

Monsterhearts / Re: clarify: Elsewise Power
« on: May 08, 2013, 05:45:38 AM »
I'd intended "one String per use," but either is fine. Ask the player and go with their answer, or tell them this clarification before play starts.

Monsterhearts / Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« on: May 08, 2013, 05:36:17 AM »
Final post for the night:

Do you have a group where all the characters are already predetermined to be straight? Really?

I tell you not to do shit like that. I dedicate multiple pages of the book to explaining why you shouldn't do that.

If you are telling stories about teenage sexuality and it isn't full of confused and questioning identities... it's not authentic.

Monsterhearts / Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« on: May 08, 2013, 05:28:43 AM »
So, your character thinks they might be straight. But they've also got a confusing body that sends them mixed signals all the time. (this is true of all teenage bodies i fucking guarantee it.)

Maybe you want to protect their straightness. Maybe you think they'd want to protect their straightness. (The line between those two things is probably blurry, too, which is a cool effect that story games generate!)

So, how do you go about asserting, affirming, and defending a character's sexuality? The same way you do in real life. If you're straight, maybe you've never had to think about this. Maybe your sexuality has never been put on trial. Maybe you're getting a crash course on being queer right now.

You can call your character straight. But what actually makes them straight? Is it what turns them on? Is it who they fuck? Is it a matter of identification or being or action? Is it how they respond to different types of attraction across gender lines? Are they attracted to a set of genitals or a type of body or a presentation of gender? What about when those things don't line up?

The teenage years are when lots of people learn that they aren't straight, or that straightness isn't the tidy and clear-cut category that they thought it was. Groups of boys will sometimes jack off together and still identify as straight. Crude sexual humour is common in locker rooms and some participants find it arousing. Sexuality is a pervasive component of teenage thought, and it is confusing and weird.

Your character might be really concerned about being straight and appearing straight. They might fear any and all alternatives. That makes sense! High schools are usually rampantly homophobic and a scary place to be "different" in any way. They still have to contend with the signals that their bodies give them.

This is true in real life as well. You've had your body tell you lots of complicated stuff over the years. You have. I'm sure of it. You've made sense of it. At this point in the process, you sound confident that you're heterosexual. A lot of dice rolls and 7-9 scores and subsequent actions and player narrative contributed to that self-awareness. I'm sure of it.

Monsterhearts / Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« on: May 08, 2013, 05:01:10 AM »
The game isn't about people who know who they are and what they want.

This is absolutely true.

If you want to play a game about people who know who they are and what they want, I can recommend some for you. Within the genre, some excellent options are Vampire: the Masquerade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

My understanding isn't that sexual identity is ruled by the dice. Is it his breathy voice that strangely turns you on, or the drop of sweat on his lip? Is it the inherent violence in the situation? Is it blood?
What I mean is, it's not necessarily the person turning you on, it's setting, mood, situation, something that gives you a flashback to a porn mag you read when you where 12...
Basically, you get turned on. You don't have to know why, but something tightened in the pit of your stomach when she looked at you, or when he smiled or....
Just because something gave you a hard-on in the presense of another man/woman/furry monster, it doesn't have to have anything to do with that person as such, but that person was present, and that opens the way for doubt.

This is absolutely true.

You don't know that you were turned on by another guy because you're gay. There is never any mention made anywhere about character orientation ever. There is also no implication that character orientation changes as a result of moves.

What we know is that you've got a character, and they're a teenager, and they get turned on all the time. And people can use their arousal to manipulate them and get power over them.

When you get turned on in the shower of the boy's locker room, who fucking knows what's going on there? No one does. We just know that you glanced over at Jhon scrubbing his back, and you saw those bubbles sliding down his spine and across his firm ass, and the room was full of steam, and you got hard. There's some implied causality, but human sexuality is complicated and nobody knows what your deal is. Maybe hot showers get you riled up. Maybe you've got a thing for backsides. Maybe you're gay. Maybe you adore Jhon and those feelings are all muddled up in his physique.

We don't know. That's part of what being a teenager is all about: needing to sort out your feelings and feeling like you're the only one whose body is confusing.

((more to follow.))

Monsterhearts / Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« on: May 08, 2013, 04:52:32 AM »
dragonraven, rusted barrel,

Thank you for bringing up the topic. Thank you for sticking around to keep asking questions. The conversation's taken lots of turns, so I won't address everything at once.

it is also a little hard to believe, because the move is telling the player how he ought to act, and what's he's supposed to feel, which takes volition and ownership away from the player.

So, first, a clarification: the results of this move don't tell you how you're supposed to feel. They tell you how you do feel. That might seem like a nit-pick, but it's actually critical.

Because if you're a straight high-school boy, and you find yourself getting turned on in the locker room shower... you know you're not supposed to feel that way. But you do. The next question is: so what do you do about it? Your body is sending you signals that you weren't prepared for. Do you question your assumptions? Do you experiment? Do you get embarrassed? Do you carry a secret shame in your heart for weeks, letting it slowly infect all of your choices and thought processes?

And if you're a regular high-school girl, and you find yourself getting turned on by your cousin... you know you're not supposed to feel that way. But you do. The next question is: so what do you do about it? Do you find a justification for why this is okay? Do you masturbate furiously about the idea, night after night, all the while forbidding yourself to ever share this secret with anyone? Do you shrug and let it go? Do you confess the attraction to someone?

A fundamental, critical part of being a teenager is being alarmed by the fact that your body is sending you signals that you weren't prepared for. You're latching on to one really specific instance of that: male characters being turned on by other male characters. Is that fixation homophobia? I dunno. It depends on how you define homophobia.

Teenagers (and humans, generally) get turned on by lots of stuff. Stuff that surprises them. Sometimes they shrug it off. Sometimes they get angry at their bodies for doing something wrong. Sometimes they make bad choices. Sometimes they experiment. Sometimes they question. Sometimes they redirect or misdirect.

The move doesn't tell you how you're supposed to feel. It tells you how you feel. And then the next step is on you: what do you do about it?

This is how your body works in real life, too. You get aroused and then it's your job to figure out what to do about that.

((more to follow.))

Monsterhearts / Re: Are there skins to fit these archetypes?
« on: December 22, 2012, 08:30:38 PM »
The Infernal is spot-on for the occult character. "a little knowledge and maybe access to more who has a strong ambition and little caution" describes them perfectly. Infernals depend on having a direct link to a powerful demon/power and their story is one of losing control and drowning in power.

The Immigrant can be done really well with The Serpentine (caught between the old world and the new is like the Serpentine's whole deal!), and The R?k?asa? is a pretty cool skin that also does exactly this.

Unsure what you'd use for Demigods.

Monsterhearts / Re: Slow beginnings
« on: October 10, 2012, 11:36:36 PM »
I always create a seating chart, but I don't always frame a scene taking place in the classroom.

The way I've been doing one-shot setup is:

Put 10 Skins on display (omit The Chosen, The Serpentine, a couple others).
Have everyone take 2 Skins and read their italicized text aloud.
Have everyone pick a Skin and fill out the front.
Ask them to state their look, ask 2-3 leading questions for each.
Write the seating chart.
Explain dice + stats + moves + Strings.
Have everyone complete the inside of their Skins.
While they do that, figure out what the first scene is going to be.
Go around the table and ask everyone a question about the community.
Frame the first scene.

The setup prior to the first scene usually takes 1 hour on the nose.

I set the first scene in the classroom if it seems like there's going to be drama. If not, I root around for another option for a first scene (big game? Rumble in the parking lot?). If I'm really stuck, I'll pick a starting relationship as defined in Backstories and frame hard into it: "So Jacoba, Levi's been following you around for weeks, sniffing you and going through your stuff. It's gotten weird. When and how do you confront him about it?"

Monsterhearts / Re: Combat and NPC Advantages/Disadvantages
« on: August 26, 2012, 11:12:17 PM »
Yes! We're now cooking with fire. Emotion-and-anxiety-fuelled fire.

failed roll -> Hard Move
Hard Move -> Expose a dangerous secret to the wrong person:

"Chase, you're knocked unconscious and, while you're lying there, you revert back to your human form right in front of the chosen and her scoobies. Raksha, you now have two classmates lying in front of you, one dead, one badly injured at your hands. What do you do?"

That is perfect.

Another option would be, "Chase, you're knocked unconscious. Raksha, you now have a friend lying dead next to you, and then this wheezy, unconscious wolf-monster. What do you do?" And if Raksha's player hesitates, you can throw in, "You could kill this beast now, or you could wait and find out who it transforms back into. Or... ?"

Another option would be, "Chase, the bag hits you square in the side of the head. You start to see murky clouds, and you feel suddenly light-headed and slow. I think you might need to roll to hold steady in order to stay conscious."

Another option would be, "Brad, you hit it with your backpack, and now you're staring into the eyes of this dog-beast.  It's stunned for the moment. You notice that these aren't wolf eyes - they're Chase's eyes. Chase, remind me what your eyes look like? Right. So, Brad. This beast has Chase's eyes. What do you make of that?"

Monsterhearts / Re: A question regarding combat
« on: August 26, 2012, 06:25:25 PM »
There's no such thing as a "combat" in Monsterhearts.

I addressed this in my post in this thread.

Look at your Principles. Follow your hard moves. Look for where the PCs aren't in control. Tell them the possible consequences and ask. If there's a scene where people go back and forth trading harm to figure out who "beats" their opponent, you're probably not paying enough attention to your Principles.

Even in the middle of a bloody fist-fight, remember that "turn someone on" and "shut someone down" are on the table for the PC, and "make monsters seem human" and "announce off-screen badness" and "reveal a dangerous secret to the wrong person" are on the table for the MC.

Monsterhearts / Re: Combat and NPC Advantages/Disadvantages
« on: August 24, 2012, 04:14:53 AM »

Be wary of thinking in terms of "combats." The game doesn't support fight scenes.

In the case of the vampires cornering the PC, your opening is great. They gain a String and spend it to make the PC "outnumbered" - though I might have instead given them "an easy target" or something else that's more generally applicable outside this fight.

Now, there is a gang of vampires cornering the PC. Does it seem likely that they would just rip the PC to shreds? If so, you might choose to say what honesty demands and tell them the possible consequences and ask: "If you stay and try to fight these guys, they'll likely swarm you and rip you wide open. What do you do?"

If the player has their PC stay and ready themselves for a rumble, look at your principles. Make monsters seem human sticks out to me, as well as Give your NPCs simple motivations that divide the PCs. Why are the vampires cornering this person? Do they really want a fight, or are they working on some ulterior motives? Maybe they issue some threats and try to goad a promise out of the PC.

If it really does come down to a fight, this will get ugly for the PC. They kill a vampire, a vampire does 2 harm to them. "So, [PC], another hit like that and you're probably taken out of the fight. Plus, you're at serious risk of getting bitten here. What's your game plan?"

Maybe the PC tries to use a show of force to drive the whole gang away (that's one of the 10 up results for "lash out physically," yeah?). Maybe the PC tries to fend them off, long enough for backup to rush in and save them (that's "hold steady," maybe?). Maybe the PC tries to kill the leader and then book it ("lash out physically" followed by "run away"). Maybe the PC tries to kill one of the weaker ones, and displays such muscled beauty in doing so as to captivate the others, their jaws dropping as the PC twirls lithely about ("turn someone on").

Try not to think in terms of "combats," but rather think in terms of physical violence adding an extra degree of urgency and stress to a social-emotional situation.

Monsterhearts / Re: Ghoul Questions
« on: August 24, 2012, 03:53:52 AM »
1.) I think that's a decision that should be made by the group prior to play, with fiat decision-making authority falling to the MC. If the Ghoul is in a steady relationship with someone, like especially The Mortal, then I might say "yeah, of course they start with that hunger!" But generally sex moves don't trigger prior to the start of play, so The Ghoul's shouldn't unless the group is cheering that yes, it should.

In summation: I dunno, talk about it and make a decision, with the MC having ultimate authority here.

2.) You are correct about interpreting Ending. When any character has a Condition, you can invoke it for +1 against them. The rulebook says on page 28: "If you take advantage of a Condition that someone has, while making a move against them, add 1 to your roll. In order to take advantage of a Condition mechanically, though, you need to take advantage of the Condition fictionally as well." This applies for both PCs and NPCs.

The whole advantage of Ending is that it gives you an immediate +1 as well as leaving a Condition lingering on the person you attempt to turn on.

Monsterhearts / Re: Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« on: August 24, 2012, 03:30:36 AM »
Oh gosh, you don't need to interpret literally every single sentence as a promise. Just: when people make declarations, treat them like promises; when people take suggestive actions, treat them like promises.

In that quick snippet of dialogue, "It's going to be okay" is definitely a promise. If I were playing the Fae as their Darkest Self, I'd also treat the whole tone of the conversation as a second promise: "This person plans to protect me." There was shooting, which means that some vengeance must be wrought before the "scales of justice" are balanced, right?

Don't try to mangle every single sentence that gets spoken into a promise - that's a degree of literalism too far! Just make sure that the Darkest Self Fae is on vigilant lookout for justice and promises, and that the MC is having lots of NPCs insinuate complicated stuff and make morally-ambiguous choices in front of the Fae (so that the Fae can draw some ridiculous hard-line stances in response!)

Monsterhearts / Re: Clarification: String spending to offer xp.
« on: August 24, 2012, 03:13:55 AM »
Yes. That is correct!

The other player then has a choice: take the bait, or spurn you to no immediate advantage.

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