Darkest Self - Who, What, Like What

  • 2 Replies
Darkest Self - Who, What, Like What
« on: January 27, 2011, 06:16:48 PM »
Alright, this is in response to some very helpful prompting from Paul T. I've been kinda sparse in my replies to this forum lately - since December 20th, I've been on the road, couch surfing without a laptop of my own. That'll be the case until February 8th.

Anyways, on to the Darkest Self. First, some clarifications:


The player controls their own character when at their Darkest Self. The only exception is The Infernal, because possession is their shtick (and that's likely to change).

The player is in charge of interpreting their Darkest Self text, and deciding what specific actions and behaviors are implied therein. Some (The Ghoul, The Witch, The Chosen) imply some very concrete actions and behaviors, and others (The Fae, The Mortal, The Vampire) are open to a wider range of interpretation. Its up to the player to interpret, but the MC and other players should hold that player accountable... if someone isn't playing up their Darkest Self when it's active, point it out and encourage them to go darker.

Ultimately, if someone isn't stoked on playing their character's Darkest Self with relish, then this game is at a disconnect with them.


When you are your Darkest Self, you should play it hard.  Go for the jugular. Do some serious damage. Leave wreckage. You should do this not because the Darkest Self is your punishment for bad decisions, but because playing in that self-destructive space is fun and liberating. You should enjoy playing your Darkest Self.

You are free to play it conflicted, though. You are free to start pursuing your escape clause the moment you become your Darkest Self - so long as you're also playing up your Darkest Self.


John Harper is playing as Anne. Anne is a witch in her early 20s. She wants desperately to be known as the moody, angsty kid. And she's doing a fairly good job of telegraphing that desire to the world - bangs over her eyes, constantly being mopey, making snide comments to all the d-bags of the world.

Anne meets Satan, and asks him for his number. Satan doesn't use phones, but he gives her a business card for Eclipse, a nightclub that Anne's never heard of before. She plans to show up and meet him there, later that night.

But later on in the afternoon, before showing up at Eclipse, Anne's Darkest Self is triggered. The witch's Darkest Self is all about hexing anyone who slights her, and having the hexes be unsettlingly powerful. She gets super vengeful with anyone who tries to stand in her way.

When she shows up, there's a vampire bouncer in the entranceway. But he's preoccupied with draining a victim dry. WTF, right?! Anne's freaked out by this, as she's never watched someone die, and I ask her to keep it together. Even though she's her Darkest Self, the rest of the body of mechanics still apply. She gets a 7-9, I think, and the result is that she's shocked and shaken. The bouncer finishes draining his prey, and turns to her. Sizing her up, he says, "Maybe you should go." I'm wondering if this counts as a slight, but John thinks its not, yet. "It's pretty good advice, to be honest, and I'm sort of thinking the same thing." Fair. Anne disregards the vamp's good advice, and enters the club.

There's demons and scary things! Anne is out of her element and spooked, but she's also her Darkest Self. The way that plays out is that she's on edge, ready to lash out and hurt anyone who questions her. She sits down and orders a drink, and starts rethinking the situation with the vampiric bouncer. John's narrating this inner monologue that Anne's having, where she's slowly working herself up to the decision that she's going to put him in his place before leaving.

Across the club, Anne spots an ex-boyfriend. That one who just disappeared one day, without saying goodbye. He's surrounded by a bevvy of sexy ladies. She walks up, and essentially picks a fight with him. She's baiting him with passive aggressive remarks, waiting for him to slight her. And he does. And so she casts Illusions on him, making him see aggressive demonic visages everywhere. But when a witch is at her Darkest, her hexes all have crazy powerful side effects. So, the three women surrounding this ex simply burst into actual demons, their skin rupturing to expose disgusting shades of goopy flesh and knotty sinew beneath. The demons have him pinned inside a booth, and they begin the slow work of cutting him up, cackling, torturing him to death. Whoops.

A situation like that is obviously enough to draw Satan's attention. "Ah, Anne," he calls, approaching. He looks bemused, watching the squiggly demons make short work of some random mortal boy. "What a pleasure to see you."

Satan asks why Anne came. She's on edge, just looking for a reason to pick a fight with him. He explains that he's not interested in catching "small fish," and so if she's not here for something big, she'd best leave. She makes some demands, requests some powers. Satan makes his counter-demands. He's happy to hand her raw power. He just wants the soul of her father, in exchange.

Anne is disgusted that he would even think that could ever, like, even possibly be a fair, like, deal. And so she hexes Satan in his own club. She casts Ring of Lies upon him. Since she's at her Darkest Self, her hexes are all insanely powerful and have horrendous side effects. So I make a quick decision: instead of the hex applying whenever he lies, it applies whenever he says something unholy. Being the devil, this is always.

Satan starts to speak, and freezes, confused. He starts again, and then stops. Blood is running from inside his nose. He starts again, and something inside his head must rupture, because he collapses in a heap.

Anne doesn't escape her Darkest Self this session - she doesn't even try to seek out ammends. As far as actual game time goes, she was her Darkest Self for about 1 hour of gameplay. As far as scenes go, she was her Darkest Self for 2-3 scenes.

John didn't play the Darkest Self "to the nines" or anything - he was pretty subdued about it. But Anne did hex Pierce, kill a former lover, and kill Satan. She worked herself into a rage, where she was willing to take down everyone in that club, if anyone dared step up to her. So, excellent.

Re: Darkest Self - Who, What, Like What
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 12:52:54 PM »
Very cool, Joe. That helps illustrate, a LOT.

I'm wondering whether the Darkest Self should be linked to some kind of advancement or Strings mechanic. So that, say, the player might be sitting there, *hoping* the MC will choose to trigger their Darkest Self, maybe even baiting them to do it. Or vice versa, if the player is in control (the Darkest Self gives you power, right? so what's the cost?).

But maybe that kind of incentive thing is just too obvious. I'll have to play and see!

Re: Darkest Self - Who, What, Like What
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 02:17:34 PM »
There are other conditions that trigger the Darkest Self, aside from an MC move. I don't imagine that MC move being used more than once every session or two, probably.

The most common Darkest Self triggers are: failing to gaze into the abyss, suffering 4 harm.