Skin: the (alternative) Mortal

  • 11 Replies
Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« on: August 29, 2012, 02:26:04 PM »
So, I've had to tell multiple people that the Mortal is "The Bella, not the Xander". You know what I mean? So it got me thinking. A skin for Mortals who aren't in love. A skin for somebody wrapped up in all this weird shit over their head, who succeeds despite being human, who succeeds BECAUSE of being human. It's not finished yet but here's a few thoughts:

Backstory: You tend to find yourself at the center of things. Get a string on everybody, everybody gets a string on you.

Somebody finds you kind of annoying, if they don't actively detest you. Get a string on them, that attitude is so easy to exploit.

Somebody's revealed their secret nature to you, or maybe you found it out by accident. Get an extra string on them, they get an extra string on you.

(Maybe allow you to pick more than one player for that last one?)

Stats: Add up everybody else's scores in each stat. The stats with the lowest two sums, you have +1 in. The highest two, -1. In the event of a tie, you decide. (And then add a +1 to any stat like normal.)


Only Human: You can turn a 10+ result into a 7-9, or a 7-9 into a failure, after rolling. Mark experience if you do so.

Need A Hand?: If somebody's supernatural weakness would (or is) causing problems for them, and you help out with your lack of absurd vulnerabilities to things like cold iron bars or crosses or pineapples or whatever, they mark experience and you get a string on them.

Comic relief: If something you say IC causes another character (or player) to laugh out loud, mark experience.

Underdog: You reveal your true spirit by pushing the hardest against impossible odds. When making any basic move except gazing into the abyss, give your target a string against you to get +1 to the roll.

Down The Rabbit Hole: From the original mortal playbook, totally appropriate still.

Some more moves of some sort, maybe?

Sex Move: When you have sex with someone, they escape their darkest self. (Maybe? I was just amused at the inversion of the 'default' mortal sex move.)

Darkest Self: I dunno, something about feeling kind of useless or bland or ordinary? Or maybe having to escape all this craziness?



  • 13
Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 06:45:31 PM »
Darkest Self: You have to prove your worth! Put yourself in mortal danger against something that, by all rights, you have no chance of defeating. Escape your Darkest Self when you defeat it, or your friends rescue you (or maybe restrain you and force you to see reason?).

(How many times did Xander go off and do this? A bunch as I recall.)

I like the Sex Move inversion.

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 02:28:19 AM »
'Only Human' is an awesome move, but I think 'Comic Relief' might be a bit too much: it's rather meta and extremely easy to accomplish. Why not invert it a bit, like "Spend a string on someone to make them laugh, breaking the tension and making them stop what they were doing."?

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 11:18:47 PM »
Well, keep in mind Comic Relief is only once per scene, like all experience moves... But you may be right. I felt a little bad about the number of experience-gathering moves until I reminded myself how many the original mortal had. Also, it really depends on the group how easy it is to trigger. Like, in mine we make each other laugh quite a bit, but it's usually OOC comments that do it, which is why I kind of liked it for being an incentive to be funny IC.

I was toying with an idea, stealing a page from Apocalypse World's Maestro D, and making it so whenever you made somebody laugh you triggered their sex move as if you had slept together, which has some amusing consequences. (The best of which is that the Vampire gets strings on you for refusing to find you funny.) Unfortunately, this hypothetical alternative move would be a disadvantage for you about half the time. Maybe "If this would be disadvantageous for you, mark experience."

Also, I dig Renee's suggestion for darkest self! "Canon"!

An alternative idea for backstory:

You tend to find yourself at the center of things. Whenever a character's backstory requires them to choose another character, and you're chosen, they mark experience. (Limit one experience per character, even if they can somehow select you multiple times)

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2012, 02:53:08 AM »
You know, thinking of Xander and other comic relief mortals in games, I'm tempted to resurrect the Sex Move from my aborted Chrysalis skin: "When you have sex, choose a new skin." For a large number of characters of this type in fiction, having sex for the first time is a significant moment in their growth and development as a character, the point at which they start to feel a bit more like an adult, so maybe their sex move should be something as radical as that?

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2012, 06:54:00 AM »
When you have sex with someone, and they turn out to be a murderous supernatural creature who never really liked you, mark experience. If they turn out to be a murderous supernatural creature who really did like you despite that fact, mark experience and take a minute to wonder what that says about you, exactly.

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 05:35:57 AM »
I liked the idea exposed some times ago, that Xander was a kind of Queen



  • 330
Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 12:02:50 AM »
Oh, Xander is totally a Queen.

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 11:20:51 PM »
It seems like this playbook's underlying socially awkward teenage issue is a feeling of fundamental inadequacy. This character is constantly trying to prove that he's good enough, because he's so afraid that he's not good enough.

The stats are interesting, in that they assure that the areas in which you excel are different from the rest of the group, which makes sense. However, I am inclined to say that Xander (not that this playbook has to literally be Xander of course) himself was Volatile (always running away from trouble or right into it) and Hot ('cause for the awkward guy, everyone wanted him), and he sure as heck wasn't Dark or Cold.

This version of the Mortal's sex move is extremely interesting, because it means that this Mortal goes out of their way to help their friends in their darkest moments. If you have sex with someone in their Darkest Self, they're free of it sure; good luck getting there with your skin intact, when you're trying to show compassion by making love to a cruel, toying parasite, a murderous beast, an invisible being of self-loathing, or a sorcerer who will curse as soon as look at you. Very appropriate to the Xander type (anybody recall the season finale where he went head to head against a godly Darkest Self Willow with no power at hand but nostalgia?)

I third Renee's Darkest Self! Also I like "You tend to find yourself at the center of things. Whenever a character's backstory requires them to choose another character, and you're chosen, they mark experience. (Limit one experience per character, even if they can somehow select you multiple times)" a lot better than the way it was originally written, because having other people choose to have their options apply to you really drives home the way in which you matter to them more specifically.

I think that this playbook would be greatly helped by distancing itself from that other Mortal Playbook. Change the name and get rid of the moves that overlap, or fiddle with them until they are unrecognizable. Could be cool to present a supernatural option of some kind, much like how the Queen can be a bitchy cheerleader or a parasitic, cult, hive mind. Not sure exactly what it could be, though. Hmm.

I've got a few ideas for moves if you are interested. Off the top of my head...
-Who invited you?: When you accuse someone of not belonging to the group (whatever the group might be at the moment) in order to get them to leave, Spend a String on them. If they stay anyway, gain 2 Strings on them.
-Not so Tough: When you face someone head on in an area in which they are clearly more skilled or otherwise have a huge advantage, Roll+Volatile. On a 7-9, you are beaten badly, but can hold your own long enough for someone else to act. On a 10+, you can hold them off and delay the inevitable as long as you need to. In either case, if someone else takes advantage of your opponent's distraction, they take +1 Forward.
-Latest Humiliation: When another character goes out of their way to insult or belittle you publicly, they mark XP and you gain a String on them. When you are competing against someone, and it's a huge rout (with you as the loser), gain a string on the winner.

Are you still working on this? I'd be interested in making it all beautifully official playbook formatted if you don't mind.
Operator (Cool+2, Hard-1, Hot+1, Sharp+1, Weird=0;Easy to Trust, Eye on the Door;Gigs (Honest Work, Companionship, Surveillance)

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 01:47:38 AM »
Posting's been a while, but I found this Skin to be fantastic and much needed.  I was pleased to see that the original Skins had a Mortal, but upon further reading I was confused at the Skin moves being nothing what I expected.  You had spelt it out perfectly that the original Mortal was a Bella, not a Xander.

I love a bunch of the Moves.  I do like how to do the stats array, picking the stats lowest amongst the other PCs.  Then I love further that you created Moves that have nothing to do with the stats at all. 

The Moves themselves I love.  I think you should keep the Down the Rabbit Hole, though I understand the problem someone mentioned, that it should distance from the other Mortal playbook.  But then again, maybe there should be some overlap?  Both are mortal Mortals.

Two weakest areas were the Make Them Laugh Move and the Sex Move. 

Make Them Laugh, too meta.  And spending a String on a person can already potentially make them do something you wanted. 

I loved your alternative suggestion, to spend a String on them, then Make Them Laugh counts as if they had sex with you.  That creates some interesting fiction and twist of the other Skins' Sex Moves: Where the Ghost believes she can then open up to you, the Chosen gains her second wind, the Ghoul finds you unnervingly interesting.  Would the original Mortal then make the alt Mortal fly into a fit to justify himself?  Hmm!

I didn't like the idea for your original sex move, because it felt too hard to accomplish and messy (and not messy in the good way).  How do you sex a raging werewolf, or a revenging fae?  Feels too weird and rapey.

I did like Daniel Wood's suggestion, that sleeping with an NPC turns them into a problem.  This ongoing problem would add to the alt Mortal's lack of self-worth.  Though I wouldn't just make the person sexed a murderous supernatural.  I would add:
"When you have sex with someone, and they turn out to be either a psychopathic human, or a murderous supernatural creature.  If they never really liked you, mark experience. If they turn out to really like you all along despite the fact, mark experience and take a minute to wonder what that says about you, exactly."

I figure a threat to the character doesn't just have to be a supernatural creature, and stresses one of the MC's principals, on how humans can be monstrous. 

Cool Skin. Make it into an actual trifold!

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 06:53:26 AM »
Pulling this thread up after a while, but this idea was too good to pass up. Since work seems to have died on this, I put together a Skin pdf using a lot of stuff from this thread, plus a few other ideas. Thoughts on the moves/balance? Too many experience moves?

Re: Skin: the (alternative) Mortal
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 05:45:53 PM »
It's also worth noting that Second Skins has "the neighbor", which seems to structured along these same lines