Skin: The Beastly

  • 9 Replies
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.

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 03:49:19 AM »
More serious critique in the days to come, but initial positive impressions:

"Beautiful" is such an amazing inversion of what Conditions are. You blew my mind with that one. I love it. I love it because it makes beauty something that can hurt a person.

The Backstory options are perfect.

I think that "Beautiful People" makes it way too easy to give out the "Beautiful" Condition.

The Sex Move is perfect.

Mine, All Mine! is a super good idea. I want to suggest a template tweak, soon.

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 04:05:51 PM »
Thanks for the read and the thoughts! Much appreciation for that!

I wasn't super sure about the Backstory options, but if you're giving them the A-OK then I'm feeling better about them. Glad to hear the sex move, Mine, All Mine! and "Beautiful" all get your approval.

I wasn't super sure about the move Beautiful People. I imagined it as being reminiscent of the Serpentine's ability to make people Snake Food, and I figured "reveal your deformity" didn't just mean pull down your cowl or whatever... it really meant play up some operatic opining, maybe smash a chair, but make a prima donna spectacle out of it.

Looking forward to more of your thoughts!

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 12:25:56 PM »
Oh man, a lot of people are coming out with fantastic skins now (Is this because of the print version reaching people? *sadface sadface mcdaldno*) I actually want to have my character transform to this Skin in the MH game I'm playing, and that's pretty big praise considering how attached I am to her.

I really, really wish you would change the name from the beastly. Just because when I read that, I immediately thought "Oh, its an animal man or something about having animal powers, yaaaaawwwwwnnnn".

Could I suggest the Abomination, the Misshapen, or the Grotesque, because I like to cross the streams?

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 10:45:59 AM »
I'm glad this Skin got your attention!

The name is definitely going to change, but I don't have a new name lined up quite yet. The Beastly was a placeholder used in reference to that recent Beauty & the Beast rehash "Beastly" where a Witch casts Wither on the protagonist and he goes all deformed while still being a sexy protagonist.

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 09:03:42 AM »
I love this skin a lot.
I think Beastly is a great name too, I knew right away this was based on the Beauty and the Beast.

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 06:09:40 PM »
I think Beautiful People might be a bit more in the direction you want if it's something like "When you show someone why you're really the monster they think you are...". Or, and here's just a thought that came to mind, make it almost reactionary, like, "When someone shuts you down, show them how beastly you are and..." Kinda adds on to what shut someone down already is, and still gives enough reason for people to want to shut you down.

Anyway, love what you got brewing here!

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 11:44:41 PM »
This skin is very clever. In particular, I saw it and immediately thought of the Phantom of the Opera. However, the Only Skin Deep move left me wondering why it was written that way. It seems as though the results of someone seeing your art aren't huge and are all things that might have happened anyway, without the move even being there. It might be interesting if someone seeing your art was more like the Serpentine's "Big Reveal" move, where depending on their reaction, the mechanical result is different. It seems like Strings might come into play there.

I apologize if I'm blind, but what are the Beastly's two favored stats? Based on the feel and the moves, it seems like they are volatile and possibly not very cold, considering how prone to outbursts they are. It would be interesting if the Beastly was actually very Hot, because people always have very strong reactions to them one way or the other and their presence is always felt, hideous or not.
Operator (Cool+2, Hard-1, Hot+1, Sharp+1, Weird=0;Easy to Trust, Eye on the Door;Gigs (Honest Work, Companionship, Surveillance)



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Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 03:16:10 PM »
It's a great idea!  It really fills a gap in the current game. 

Do you think the monstrous quality of the Beastly character could be left a little more undefined?  I mean, I could definitely see a Beastly character who got that way after  a car accident or some awful disease (the original Hunchback had tuberculosis), but I could also picture a Beastly character whose monstrous quality is that he's a racist skinhead and scares the crap out of everybody. I realize this requires rewriting the moves a little, but I really like the skins that could be overtly supernatural or just creepy people with psychological issues.  The Beastly feels like a Minion from My Life with Master in the high school setting -- he/she even gets a "master" in the form of the person who gets the two strings.  Maybe that relationship should be emphasized more.

I also get a strong "Phantom of the Opera" vibe off of this character.  Maybe the Beastly should get a secret lair as part of his starting equipment -- the place where the mask comes off and he/she practices their secret art, and nobody is allowed except the one they love.  Which, as jadanol pointed out, should have some mechanical weight behind it.

Final note: "Love me!" doesn't work as written, I think -- the character is built to be rejected, after all.  If we're going to stick with the Quasimodo/Phantom theme, then the Beastly should get a bonus when getting revenge on people who have harmed his/her love object, or have threatened to harm the love object, or might conceivably pose a threat to the love object... this incentivizes creepy stalking behavior. 

Re: Skin: The Beastly
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 04:04:55 PM »
Was this ever updates/turned into a printable playbook? I've got some people thinking about an AW-style game, and I want to make sure I've got MH covered.