MH in different settings?

  • 10 Replies
MH in different settings?
« on: December 01, 2013, 09:56:41 PM »
So, I was curious. My usual MH group has done a 7 session campaign, and several one-hots set in the "default" MH. In addition, we have also run a game set in a late 1930's military boarding school, a sci-fi corporate academy and are presently doing one set in a low fantasy central city market area. Each has been a different and unique experience with the players actions being influenced and guided by the tone and feel of the setting. for example in the 1930's game there was a lot of flirting, hand holding, catfights and kisses exchanged. But only one actual instance of a Sex Move being triggered. Although that was in part facilitated by gender segregated barracks. In contrast to the Sci-fi setting where everyone was a free wheeling pan sexual ball of hormones and acting out against society.

I was curious. Has anyone else tried diverging away form the "default" setting of contemporary WB supernatural highschool drama? And if so what different settings have you tried and how did it influence your game play and how the story unfolded?

I ask first, cause I was musing about our current game and it dawned on me how much the setting influences the characters choices and actions. And second, because I have a friend in particular who would love MH. Except for the fact that in many ways it is antithetical to him. He has fairly strong religious values and some of the things that crop up in play tend to not jive too well with his sensibilities. But many of his objections never reared their heads when the default setting was changed. I'm curious as to your input and experiences.

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 04:46:01 AM »
Ooh, cool.  I'd love to hear more about any of those games.

In particular, though, I'd like to hear more about the fantasy marketplace.  The book talks about making sure that whatever the setting, that it should have a similar social environment in terms of how the people in it interact with each other.  Can you talk about the social environment in that game, how it was like high school, and how it was different?

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 01:30:37 AM »
Well for starters the marketplace game is still ongoing (we are three sessions in). So, my answers are subject to change as the story plays out. But currently the story takes place in the city of Ketezh (think St. Petersburg circa 1820-30).  A on the cusp of an industrial revolution (of a sorts) city that was once controlled by a cabal of Infernal nobles (stealing from D&D here and using Tiflings and daemon marked humans) who made pacts with their daemons and dominated the city , like you do. That was until the arrival of the Elves. Who are a southern desert trading union that with the help of the church broke the stranglehold the Infernals held over the city and took over.

The marketplace, Tsirkov Square,  where the majority game takes place is in the seedier part of town. A frequent destination of young nobles "slumming it", the vicinity of the Tsirkov Bazaar means that there is a constant influx of people and their money that also makes it a destination for the shadier denizens of city. So, much like highschool  the square is a semi-artificial mixingbowl of the have and have nots. With many regulars whom everyone know or at least know on sight.

In addition, one of the PCs works as a busboy/prostitute at what many consider to be the best bar in the Tsirkov. If the Square can be paralleled to "The School" then the bar can be thought of as "The Classroom". It comes with it's own list of staff and regulars that pop in and make appearances. And form a central hub where much of the games interaction occurs.

As far as social environment goes. Well, the adults generally go about bumbling through their days being adults and not really paying attention to the younger people. Unless they draw their wrath, work for them or the youth (usually a PC) does something to stand out.  So, similar to many default MH settings. The exception being the underworld gangboss Nana Yuri who is pretty savvy about the kids lives since he runs gangs of teen thugs and has to keep on top of stuff like that.

As for cliques, well we have the "Elven Rich Kids", who slum it at the Tsirkov and engage in their dueling culture while rubbing shoulders with their lessers. You have the "Bad Kids", the scions of the Infernal houses. Who have lost considerable wealth and power of late and have a chip on their shoulders but, no longer have the power to do anything about it apart from be generally asses. You have the "In Betweeners", the general populous of the Tsirkov who make up the bulk of the Joe average people. You have "The Poor Kids" in the form of the beggars and homeless urchins of the Tsirkov. We also have "The Foreign Kid" both the reindeer-centaur girl apprenticed by her nomadic tribe to a merchant in the square. That's of course not everyone or all the cliques but, you get the idea.

As for a summary of what goes down. Rather than type it out. I'll just copy-paste from the MCs G+ post about the game.

So here's a brief update on Ashen Snow. The second session was more of an adventure than I expected. Luka's little brother double-crossed a crimelord and an ancient Tiefling named Baba Yaga and had to go steal some books of demonology back from the merchant who ended up with them. Long story short, over a dozen people dead, a house burned down, and some serious bad mojo books back in the han- er, claws of a "person" who will undoubtedly use them for something terrible. But there was still a lot of drama.

The third session was, to quote Harry Potter, "a fucking free-for-all of facts" in which lots of people learned lots of things that they and other people would rather they had not learned.

Here's a character-by-character breakdown!

Luka the Vampire
- Saved his brother!
- Hypnotized a mercenary into trying to kill all of her comrades.
- Hadn't fed since he was turned.
- Killed an orphan beggar girl without remembering it.
- Wiped the memories of some elf boy who knew too much.
- Received an ultimatum from the crimelord his brother was working for.
- Met the elf who turned him, who told him he was "an accident" and that he "should be dead" because only elves can be vampires.
- Became his Darkest Self.
- Killed a prostitute, but that's okay because now he has leverage over the crimelord.

Nadya the Infernal
- Got a gift from that elf boy she dueled and then they totally kissed.
- Foolishly told said elf boy everything about her, including her very bad, very proscribed demonology habits.
- Became her Darkest Self.
- Made a deal with a bigger, badder demon, but he's technically family, so I guess that's okay.
- Made about a dozen mercenaries kill each other.
- Went and told that elf boy everything again even though Luka went to all that trouble to wipe his memories.
- Learned some secrets about Luka and Kora
- Became her Darkest Self again.
- Told Luka she knew his secret, which made him flip out.

Kora the Wyrm
- Had a chat with a dwarf girl who knows waaay too much about her (though Kora knows about her too; it's a M.A.D. sort of thing).
- Revealed her nature and the location of her lair to an information dealer who may or may not be a goblin (goblins aren't real).
- Burned down a very expensive house.
- Learned that one of the orphan children she looks after (and pretty much considered her kid sister) was murdered by a vampire.
- Got her ass beat by some orcs.
- Had an awkward chat with some elves, one of whom she learned is a vampire.
- Recovered the orphan girl's body (and later cremated it).
- Had a super sad conversation with said girl's ghost.
- Learned that the vampire/murderer in question is Luka.
- Had a chat with Luka's creator in which she more or less said that, yeah, she's pretty much going to have to kill Luka.

So. We have a Darkest Self Vampire rampaging around the city, a Darkest Self Infernal whose about to have to start repaying her great, great, great, etc. grandpappy (aka The Tyrant), and a Wyrm who's still in control and scheming her dragony schemes.

Yeah, next session's gonna be fun.?

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 03:21:28 AM »
I've run MonsterHearts in a Castle Ravenloft setting ("DungeonHearts"). We focused on the young monsters left in the village after their oppressive vampire lord was destroyed by some wandering heroes. We started in the common room of the village inn with a seating chart. Eventually we ended up going to the castle, but exploring and fighting monsters was just a loosely defined backdrop (like going to class in MonsterHearts) to the downward spirals of their messed up lives.

I've also done a time travel scenario. A plot device transports everyone back in time to re-live a critical week in their high school lives, possibly changing history. All the players need to do is act like an older person in a teenage body that isn't really theirs. Many people tend to play that way, anyway. I never ran it for more than one session, but the first season was going to be in the past and Season 2 was going to be in the alternate version of the present that they created in the past.

Some friends of mine are running MonsterHearts on a space station and in a zombie/slasher flick setting on Infrno, but I do not have the details.

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 12:39:14 PM »
I've been thinking of running a campaign set in the late 60's/early 70's, adding the problems of that era to the usual monster and teen problems. How does the Mortal react when her Infernal boyfriend is drafted to Viet Nam? For that matter how does the Infernal react? Can the flower child turned Chosen reconcile her pacifist beliefs with her mission to battle the forces of darkness? What happens to the Werewolf when a NASA PR trip brings an actual piece of the moon to town? And at the height of the red scare, isn't it suspicious that the Hollow has Russian letters tattooed inside his eyelids?

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 07:55:05 PM »
Awesome idea for great drama. I've always had trouble drumming up any interest in anything involving Vietnam as far as gaming goes.

As for me. After watching Generation War on Netflix, I have been considering revisiting the 1930's setting once again with new players. Which, while based on MH is it's own unique animal. With the monsters being replaced by emotionally and perhaps mentally unstable elemental mages. That the government has it's eye on to militarize in a Firestarter/Full Metal Alchemist sort of vibe. Where the general populous knows of your existence, but are on one hand deathly afraid of the power you hold and what you can do. But on the other hand (mostly due to propaganda) see you as heroes and the hope for the nation in the upcoming war everyone sees on the horizon but doesn't want to admit.

But, adding in more of a focus on world events. Such as the slow buildup to hostilities to the outbreak of war. Friends being sent off to The Front, fear of the unknown, where will I be sent? that sort of thing.  Though still maintaining focus on the personal details. It's still a school, they are still teens, they still have teen issues and teen lives. They just also have to deal with not having as much control over their lives as modern day teens enjoy and a looming threat on the horizon.



  • 157
Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2014, 12:07:54 AM »
I'm visiting colleges now with my son and it strikes me that a small college would be a perfect setting for Monsterhearts -- just as Buffy made a perfect transition to college days, so would MH.  You could have a mundane liberal arts college or a specialized college for magic, depending on taste, sort of a Monsterwarts as the kids say.  I think college might be an interesting change from high school since you have the same kind of dysfunction but few parents to keep things in check.

I've also thought it would be a lot of fun to play "Monsterhearts Hospital", like Gray's Anatomy with vampires and stuff.  You could have fun running with or against type.  I figure that since MH doesn't really have any stats for intelligence or competency, you could arbitrarily choose your character's specialty and skill level and just run with it.  Maybe your Vampire ED doc is actually crappy at his job, but mind-wipes people into forgetting his mistakes.  Or the ghost is the best damn diagnostician in the entire hospital, so even mundane doctors go to the chapel when they're stumped to talk about their cases and the ghost whispers in their ear, saving the patient without getting any credit for it. 



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Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2014, 12:11:39 AM »
Whoa, why didn't it hit me sooner? Monsterhearts: Hogwarts

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2014, 01:39:31 PM »
Gosh, I hate Necro-ing, but...

I was thinking of other settings as well.
Jedi Academy (the Angelic sliding scale thingy doing the miticholorian whatever thingy)
Starfleet Academy (maybe a Cadet Cruise, dragging other stuff in from other Lumpley stuff, like Poison'd)
The White Lotus (a young Avatar, plus other youngsters, replacing Korra in the Republic City setting?)
Skyrim Mage Guild Apprentices (because Skyrim is the newest one, and we're ignoring the whole TESO thing)

The X-Men/Xavier's school sounds cool as well.
Hogwarts, ditto... but I'd rather do Skyrim or Tamriel (House Telvanni?).

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2014, 09:29:15 PM »
I've also thought it would be a lot of fun to play "Monsterhearts Hospital", like Gray's Anatomy with vampires and stuff.

Ooh! Or kids in a candy striper type-program at a hospital. I may have to give that one a shot, hm.

Anyway, some other ideas, though they've probably been done:
- kids on a volunteer/mission tip type event
- kids on a lengthy school trip
- kids together on senior trip or some such

I've played in some non-standard settings, a one-shot based off Repo! The Genetic Opera, a two-parter of The Long Orbit (which is a scenario someone wrote), a campaign based off the Midnight Nation series of graphic novels, and a campaign where all the PCs were connected through a beach club. They all worked pretty well and were great fun. Also a campaign with a Hunger Games-style set up. (As beautiful and brutal as they come.) So yeah, it doesn't take much tweaking I think to make non-high school set-ups work. :) What other sort of set ups have people tried? How do you make them work.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 09:33:56 PM by writersmelody »

Re: MH in different settings?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 01:14:45 PM »
Another movie I've thought of basing a MH game on is Red Dawn. The characters' town is occupied by an invading foreign army and they (being powerful monsters) are the only ones to evade capture and hide out in the wilderness. Whether they try to just survive, make it farther away, or take back their home, the invaders will be looking for them - and may even have monsters of their own to even up the odds.