Managing a 2nd season

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Managing a 2nd season
« on: March 19, 2013, 05:17:43 PM »
So me and my friends finished an awesome season of Monster Hearts. We tore up the place, defeated ancient evil, and stretched the "last session" suggested by Season Advances to 2 or 3.

We want to come back to these characters, but we were hesitant to just play them as they were, long on power and short on further advancement options. We wanted them to have room to grow again after they got back from summer vacation.

I wrote (this draft) of these rules so that we can play a second season a) while feeling more powerful than starting characters, b) without losing all our sense of progress, and c) allowing some flexibility to reshape our characters while still d) maintaing the feeling of young, and therefore not super-competent, characters, e) providing enough mechanical (and therefore fictional) support to further growth and f) maintaining a sense of continuity.  Here's what I've got.

NB: This doesn't address strings. Yet(?).

When you come back from summer vacation…

Take a blank copy of the Skin that you ended the season as. Act as if you're starting afresh, for the most part (your Name, Look, and Origin probably haven't changed, but then again, they might have). You can redistribute your +1 stat if you want.

Select five advances, including a Season advance if you want.

If you changed your skin last season, it's a little different. Keep the starting stat line of your original skin (but you can still change your +1). Select any 5 of the normal advances (no Season advance), and you can use the "Take another [Current Skin] move" advance to take a Move from your old skin, if you want.

You may want to mark your 5 starting advances a little differently than you normally do, so you can keep track of when this season ends (see below).

After you've done all that, add 3 more advancement options to your skin:

_  Take another [Current Skin] move.
_  Take a move from another Skin.
_  Add 1 to any stat (Max 3).

Then begin the season. The Season Advances open up again, and signal the end of the season, after someone gains 5 more advances (10 in total).

Re: Managing a 2nd season
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 03:07:36 PM »
That seems artificial and back-tracky to me.  Here's how I'd do it instead:

Ask the player of each character "Does your character have room to grow within the confines of the story?"

If yes, then cool.  If no, then they've graduated.  The player starts a new skin instead.

Now, looking at the skins you have left, do they have room to grow mechanically?  or are most/all of their advancements already checked off?

If it's the latter (and decide based on the group, not the individual), have them erase one checked "take a move from this skin", one "take a move from another skin", and two of the four +1 stat advancements.  The character still has the improvement--it's just that those options are available to be chosen again.

Re: Managing a 2nd season
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 01:15:29 PM »
Fair enough! It sounds like you're more interested in b than c and d and we have disagreements about d and f. :P About the same net effect vis e.

RE: graduating. I like it, and obviously we aren't going to force our friends to play a character they don't want to, but retirement is a Season advance. I never really thought about it because even in AW, where "Woo you get to live out your days in relative safety!" is sort of a big win, it's never seemed attractive to me as a player (I wanna play!). This might be a different thread, but it's interesting to think about that being freely available between seasons and how it changes things (for starters, might as well ignore retirement as a season advance).

Re: Managing a 2nd season
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 10:34:03 PM »
Personally I prefer Arscott's methods. But mostly cause it seems more intuitive to me personally. However, both work and both alleviate some of the mechanical problems with second seasons and capping out halfway through them.