Help with Fae's Darkest Self

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Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« on: August 22, 2012, 02:46:12 AM »
I am running a really fun game of Monsterhearts at the moment. Just last session our Ghoul died for the second time (he'll be back soon) and the Ghost, Hollow and Fae all became their Darkest Selves through harm and moves. So, things are insane and awesome. Anyway, I'm okay with the Ghost and Hollow.

I'm having trouble with the Fae's Darkest Self. Here's the text.

Quote
Everything you say is a promise. Everything you hear is a
promise. If a promise is broken, justice must be wrought
in blood. To escape your Darkest Self, you must in some
way re-balance the scales of justice.

So, he only became his Darkest Self near the end of the session, but the few things he and others said just didn't seem like promises. I know I can skew them, but they just didn't seem to fit. Here are some things people said:

"What's going on?"
"It was you who shot him!" (the Ghost speaking to an NPC, now also dead)
"Everybody's shooting everybody!"
"Give me the gun"
"It's going to be okay"

So, the last one "It's going to be okay" can easily be seen as a promise. If everything isn't okay, then the Fae can seek vengeance. However, the rest were harder.

The Fae took "everybody's shooting everybody" to be a 'fact'... like that the person screaming that was promising that everybody was shooting everybody, so now the Fae thinks he should live up to that and go shoot some people. Shoot everybody, I guess.

"It was you who shot him" could sort of be seen as a promise ("I promise that it was you who shot him") but... so what? Like, it is actually true what the Ghost is saying, so the Ghost gets XP?

Commands like "Give me the gun" are also tricky, because it's not a statement that can be treated as a commitment. I think that sentence was followed up with "You need to give me the gun" to try to make it easier to be seen as a promise.

Some things I've thought of that are more promise-like include: "I'll be back in a minute", "It's going to rain today", "I think you're the hottest guy in school". These are presented as given or as 'true' and so can be seen as promises and so can be broken. If the person takes more than a minute, or if it doesn't rain, or if the person later says someone else is hotter, these promises are broken.

I have been mentally putting "I promise..." in front of the sentences (e.g. "I promise it's going to rain today"). But, as I said, it doesn't seem to make sense for some things ("I promise what's going on?" or "I promise give me the gun"). Even moving the words around a bit it's sometimes hard to see how these could be promises.

Anyway, some advice on how people have treated this would be excellent. I think the trickiest part is the word "everything" in the text. We're having trouble seeing how literally everything could be a promise, when lots of things aren't phrased as promises, event implicitly. Thanks in advance :)

Re: Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2012, 01:33:53 PM »
So, here's where I lose any Monsterhearts cred I may have garnered or developed the last several months playing it.

I play the Fae's darkest self a little loosey-goosey. This decision is mostly derived from something I read somewhere about Witch's darkest self getting his or her spells kinda buffed up for being a true monster. That's kind of how I run all of the darkest selves -- you're all Monsters, you're all Protagonists, and I'm your biggest Fan. So I let things get a little fast and loose so we can ramp up the horror-awesome and scare some people.

SO: I kind of let the Fae mess with reality a bit when in his Darkest Self. Not straight up weird Matrix-y things, but I kind of let the Fae get away with scary things.

Example time: Our Fae was Darkest Self. Everything he says is a promise, every he hears is a promise. He tells a Templar to kill himself.

Okay, whatever, right? So he's being a verbal jerkass. Well, everything is a promise. That's not really much of one. It's just kind of a threatening sentence. Well, Fae Darkest Self Promises Everywhere Time, right? I count it as Leverage and let him roll Manipulate. The Leverage of Mystically Binding Fairy Promise Words From His Darkest Self. What do I care -- I'm a fan of the Monster, let's crash this stolen car of an NPC.

Other examples: our Fae was being menacing and threatening someone. He said "They'll come for you."

Awesome, it's a promise. Who is they. My job to fill in the blanks, but the Fae is making it happen. Next Season, the Wild Hunt was a shadowy presence in the background of a ton of scenes and I'm not done with it yet because the Fae doesn't understand what he's made happen.

So, yeah, making promises out of things DS!Fae says is really fun and also tricky. Let the Fae rack up all the promises from anything that can be construed as a promise -- the Ghost promises an NPC was the one who killed someone. Cool.

Next failed roll, a conspiracy theorist, a cop, someone drops some intel on that Ghost's doorstep that says whoops new evidence nope wrong. Or if that doesn't work, then, well I guess whoops that's no good as a promise after all? Weird promises taken from DS!Fae are a good opportunity to start dropping twists into the game... mostly because the promises are only cool if they're being broken and the Fae is getting strings.

So for a command like Give Me The Gun. Binding Fairy Magic Promise. If the Fae had no leverage to make such a command, just let him have it and describe some faery special effects.

Questions can basically be ignored when it comes to the promise thing. It just doesn't make sense, I think.

Commands from the Fae are a great opportunity for No-Leverage Manipulate rolls. Statements are a good chance to give the Fae what he wants and Showcase the Abyss by giving him "basically" what he wants.
And if other people are saying idle things that are now suddenly promises, break them ASAP and feed those Strings to the Fae woodchipper.

It's heaps of fun.

Just my thoughts and your mileage may vary!

Re: Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« Reply #2 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!)

Re: Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2012, 03:44:47 AM »
Thanks guys. This thread didn't notify me of your responses, and I've been busy so I forgot to check. Thanks for the responses.

Those are some cool examples, Alfred, thanks. I like that spin on it, and the mystical nature of things (especially "They will come for you"; pure gold!).

Joe, I kinda guessed we might've been taking it too far and that it only referred to declarations. We went a bit nuts in the last 10 minutes of the game nearing midnight. I'm glad we did a quick trial run then, though, because now we can do it how it's meant to be. I'm glad I asked the question, too, because your answers about the tone of the conversation and suggestive actions are very good advice.

I can imagine someone flirting with the Fae and the fae interpreting that as a promise for something more.

I will use tone, declarations, suggestive actions and casual promises as much as I can tonight in the next episode of the game. I'll read your answer to the Fae too, to get us on the same page. He is definitely after justice too. Should be lots of fun.

Thanks again.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 03:54:16 AM by Mockingbard »

Re: Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2012, 02:29:21 PM »
A thought occurred to me today when signing someone's leaving card - all these best wishes for the future, couldn't some of these be construed as promises? High schools have the perennial tradition of signing yearbooks and the like - a Darkest Self Fae could really go to town with what was written in those

"You promised me that I would 'Have a great summer!' Well I didn't! Now it's time for justice!"

That might even be a cool physical exercise either as part of set-up or a mid-season break, have the players write what their characters would write in each other's yearbooks.

Re: Help with Fae's Darkest Self
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 05:14:54 PM »
High schools have the perennial tradition of signing yearbooks and the like - a Darkest Self Fae could really go to town with what was written in those

"You promised me that I would 'Have a great summer!' Well I didn't! Now it's time for justice!"

That might even be a cool physical exercise either as part of set-up or a mid-season break, have the players write what their characters would write in each other's yearbooks.

This is an absolutely great idea! (Both the Fae part and the general idea of doing yearbook-signing as a thing in a longer-term game.)