New Playbook? Lost Girl

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New Playbook? Lost Girl
« on: November 19, 2011, 12:35:07 PM »
So... I wanna write a playbook. First off to have something awesome to trade and secondly because I want to give back to the community and thirdly (is that even a word?) because I love the system and wanna tinker with it.

Before I bury myself in this I just wanted to briefly run the concept by you. I've dubbed it the "lost girl". At it's core it's a mix between the Battlebabe and the Brainer. Think River Tam or Echo (?) from Dollhouse. Strange, fucked up, unstable girl with dangerous (to her and others) psychic powers.

I originally wanted to have her really be a little girl, say 14 or something but that makes the Special kinda icky and I really don't want to go there.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 02:58:51 PM »
Why not define the Special in terms of something like "when [Your character] do something quiet and childlike to attract the attention of someone you Like..." and then finish off with a description of the mechanical effect?

It doesn't HAVE to be a sex move, but it could/should relate to romance, love, feelings, etc. I would say, though, that if you're worried about the ick-factor of having a 14-year-old girl or whatever in the game, then you should take a page from My Life With Master and clarify with your play group just how "far" people can go with icky content.

Mechanical idea:
"... to attract the attention of someone you Like, roll +hot.
On a 10+, they find you endearing, adorable, funny, or just plain neat. Take +1 ongoing until you've gotten them to do something you want or need, and give them the tag +likesyou.
On a 7-9, they find you amusing, cute, or at least an odd diversion. Take +1forward to getting something out of this person that you want or need."

Also: it'd be cool if the Lost Girl had a Move that allowed her to sub +weird for +hot. There's different types of tween-cuteness, you know?

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Ariel

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Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 03:33:33 PM »
The way Johnstone handled it in the Last Child playbook, is that you change playbooks when you have sex. The trick is that the special only activates if the sex is consensual. You don't get a gift if you rape the Hardholder. If you have sex with the Last Child and they don't wanna change playbooks, uhm, well you're now a child rapist.

14 year old girls are having sex today, FYI. Usually with their peers. In Contemporary America. So, having a sexually mature but teenage character isn't really that big of deal in AW and makes for interesting and problematic relationships between the PCs. Both Echo and River are sexually mature adults if no always mentally competent.

That being said, I think the playbook would be better if it was less gender specific. I'm sure it'd be just fine as "The Lost" and a lot less patriarchal: "Strange, fucked up, unstable girl" is a sexist trope, playing on ancient Greek mores and myths about how women were dangerously close to the spirit world and needed to be veiled. That and the figures of young drugged women as oracles, either Delphic or Sibylline. 

We can do it one better and just say that they're 'strange, mysterious, and oracular youth.'

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 03:59:47 PM »
Good points, Nathan!

On the subject of 14yo's having sex - - of course people are sexually active at that age! My best friend in high school lost his virginity at 15, for example. All I'm saying is that, hey, if someone is uncomfortable with the subject matter of teenage sex, that's fine by me and I am happy to brainstorm how to work around or work with that discomfort.

Now, just for argument's sake, if someone said they were uncomfortable with gay sex, I would tolerate their sex-squeamishness but try to explore their LGBT-squeamishness. A recent session of Hot Guys Making Out really brought out some underlying homophobia in the game group (thankfully, no one who had seemed like an ally was proven to be otherwise), and I think it's important to address these things head-on.

On the subject of characterization of women, I think you raise some important criticisms. I'm not interested in exploring archetypes that deprotagonize or diminish women, and it's definitely possible that this idea could be taken in that direction if the point had not been raised.
None of the "feminine" playbooks in AW are degrading, objectifying, or minimizing in any way; on that note, there are few strictly-gendered playbooks (especially in the core set). Instead, there are playbooks that give the "concealed" option, and those that do not. Those that do not, however, tend to still have a plethora of options: "man, woman, ambiguous, or transgressing." Lots of room for expression, which rocks!

One my players in a current AW game actually chose "concealed" and corrects anyone who uses gendered pronouns for hir; it's been a neat, organic opportunity to teach folks about gender-neutral pronouns like zhe and hir.

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Ariel

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Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 05:06:35 PM »
Yeah, I tend towards "they" as a gender neutral or plural identity person. But whatever works!

I think having some like "women, man, transgressing or youth" as options in the playbook are just fine.

These things said, I'm excited for the playbook and happy to workshop it.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 06:42:39 PM »
Good points all around. Thanks! I'll try to keep those in mind when writing up the "lost child"(?). But just a quick check up: You're interested in seeing that playbook? Does it fit the AW world from your point of view?

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Ariel

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Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 07:50:01 PM »
Sure, why not? I think having a few different takes on the PC-Maelstrom relationship is good.

Although, I'm not interested in children as PCs personally.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 08:55:40 PM »
Now, just for argument's sake, if someone said they were uncomfortable with gay sex, I would tolerate their sex-squeamishness but try to explore their LGBT-squeamishness. A recent session of Hot Guys Making Out really brought out some underlying homophobia in the game group (thankfully, no one who had seemed like an ally was proven to be otherwise), and I think it's important to address these things head-on.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 10:16:12 PM »
There's like 5+ attempts to make explicitly child playbooks, and most of them fail what I'd call the River Principle: If you take an existing playbook and say "Oh and I'm 14", you'll make a Playbook that is better in most ways (better fitted for apocalypse world, better fitted to the playbook system, more interesting, more like River Tam) than your existing attempt to make a child playbook.

Question A: Could you remove the "child" part from the playbook and just have "an unstable psychic person"? Would that be a superior direction for the playbook?

I think constraints on playbooks are pretty good, like the cool as fuck playbook is also good naked! The social establishment playbook is kind of a cook! but I don't think X playbook is also a child works out often.

Question B: If you're really set on the playbook being a child, what is the most interesting part about being a child that you'd want to capture?

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Ariel

  • 330
Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 11:37:58 PM »
That's an apt way to put it!

None of the playbooks specify age. They all basically assume that you're an adult (so, probably no younger than 15 or so.) I agree that age isn't a necessary component of a playbook.

It should still work regardless of gender or age, more or less.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 03:50:03 AM »
Question B: If you're really set on the playbook being a child, what is the most interesting part about being a child that you'd want to capture?
After the "girl" thing came off I was thinking along the same lines. I guess the key aspect here is naivety and a certain innocence in regards to the flip-outs/maelstrom-spillover. It's a part of the character, but not by his own choice. It's not directly controlled... But getting there definitely needs to be part of the advancement structure.

Also think the lead from the Resident Evil movie. She's kinda in the same vein, if you keep in mind that she has "special powers" and even develops the ability to telechinetically set ravens on fire (don't ask, it's as stupid as it sounds) by the third movie.

- Odd that all my examples are female but I'm guessing that's just the stereotyping attributing "innocence and naiveté" to women more easily. Something like that. Anyone got some male examples?

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2011, 05:15:17 AM »
I was going to say the movie Firestarter, but the child (Charlie) was actually a girl, hah.

I think its a strongly female trope. I think "naievity and innocence" has something to do with it but it also has to do with making such a character less obviously physically threatening/malicious to make conflict with the mayhem they're bringing.

If all the example characters you can think of are female, than think of it as a feminine playbook. Name it something feminine. But make male/other gender options available.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2011, 05:51:48 AM »
it also has to do with making such a character less obviously physically threatening/malicious to make conflict with the mayhem they're bringing.
Good point. That's certainly part of it...

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2011, 11:20:39 AM »
Comments about making it simply "The Lost", and dropping the 'girl' : agree.

Comments about making the character sexually active at 14: agree. The median age for our last campaign was something like 16. Sometimes you grow up fast in Apocalypse World.

My question is, how is this not a variant of the Battlebabe (using the highest Weird stat line, and advancing the weird stat) or the Brainer (using perhaps the highest Hot stat line)? It sounds like you're going for dangerous / spooky / innocent-but-also-a-bit sexy. I dig the idea, but I think there's a thing you're after there that's beyond what has been expressed.

So ok, let's look at how your idea differs from the Battlebabe and the Brainer. What I get from what you've written is that the Lost is innocent of the chaos that they cause, right? So the moves would maybe be about coming unscathed through violent situations. Or pulling crazy stunts with the purpose of saving [her] own skin. Or finding a way to turn the situation to [her] advantage by just being more weird than anyone else in the room. It would have to differentiate from the Battlebabe in that [his] moves are more about being violent, and from the Brainer in that [his] moves are more about intentionally messing with people's heads.

Re: New Playbook? Lost Girl
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2011, 01:22:58 PM »
It sounds like you want to make The Amnesiac.

Like, somebody who has a bunch of stuff going on below the surface but can't express it, either because they can't remember it, or because they can't communicate properly. I think River Tam is kinda both of those, and Alice from Resident Evil is just an amnesiac

I think that trope gravitates towards female characters partly because it's a bit of a surprise when a little slip of a girl beats the shit out of like twenty dudes, but when Matt Damon realizes he is a super-assassin, you're like "okay, what now?" And also because of the Ancient Greek women can't control their emotions and make good passive mediums for spiritual powers things that European culture has upheld for thousands of years and I can give you citations for if you really want them, etc etc.

Anyway, do you have JWalt's Loner supplement? It has a modified gigs mechanic where your past comes back to haunt you kinda thing. If you don't have it, PM me and email address and I'll send it to you.

Also, the comments about making a child playbook actually focus on being a child are pretty good. I've seen a 14-year-old chopper whose gang were all younger than him, and he was hella brutal over seven sessions of mayhem. Orly mentioned my Last Child playbook, and in all honesty if you change the sex move, it could be reskinned as The Oracle or something similar, so that's a weak point, and a good piece of criticism.