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EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


It's a Boy and his Dog sorta thing. If I recall correctly the guy who made it has said he wanted sex to be a thing in a game because he always feels a bit weird about it and this was a way of making it happen. That the Battlebabe's sex move is "do not trigger any sex moves" so she's the only one that can have completely uncomplicated sex with someone and then just leave because she's Cool and Distant Like That is always a fave.

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IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



For years, everytime I've asked online about ways to run WoD games in a way to freshen things up for jaded veteran players, I've had people scream Monsterhearts at me.

Now I'm getting a look at it, I've come to the realisation it is the game I want to run least of every game I've read or conceptualised. I can imagine people enjoying it, but jsut reading the F&F review is running nails down the chalkboard of my soul.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

IshmaelZarkov posted:

For years, everytime I've asked online about ways to run WoD games in a way to freshen things up for jaded veteran players, I've had people scream Monsterhearts at me.

Now I'm getting a look at it, I've come to the realisation it is the game I want to run least of every game I've read or conceptualised. I can imagine people enjoying it, but jsut reading the F&F review is running nails down the chalkboard of my soul.

I can understand why people like it, but I would never play it either. It hits everything I can't stand in game design and setting (I despised High School, why the gently caress would I ever want to even simulate going back?).

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I can understand why people like it, but I would never play it either. It hits everything I can't stand in game design and setting (I despised High School, why the gently caress would I ever want to even simulate going back?).
A lot - a lot - of people never left high school at all. Not in their heads.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Yeah, Monsterhearts' basic premises are basically everything I utterly hated about high school, with an extra dash of skeeze from the sex moves. Yes, I realise that adolescents have a lot more sex than adults often give them credit for, but that doesn't mean I want to roleplay one, fade to black or no.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Monsterhearts is one of those games I've heard of and have been curious about. The whole idea sounds like it could go terribly wrong, yet be enthralling in a trashy, YA literature sort of way. I've always wondered if I should inflict it on my players and see what happens.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Monsterhearts is a game that is very clearly not being aimed at the typical RPG crowd and I love it dearly for that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


It's a game I'd be interested to run one day simply because it's completely different than anything I've ever run before, and the authors are aware enough of the potential issues to have tried to deal with them, but I also know at least one of my long-time players is a hard no on it and another is likely, too, and I'd rather not end up running it with only two PCs since it needs enough people to really backbite and get into trouble.

Plus, I had really bad experiences with letting something descend into PC on PC conflict once and it left me more comfortable with cooperative campaigns. If I really want a total change of pace game some time, I'd rather just try Pendragon.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





The one time I played Monsterhearts it was pretty fun despite, in retrospect, it being absolutely skeezy that an alumnus in his 30s was running it for a bunch of undergraduate club members, and pushing to make things more PG-13 (not, thankfully, R).

I would only ever play it with my close good friends, but since that's basically who I play everything with, I could imagine having a fun time that way.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



kommy5 posted:

Monsterhearts is one of those games I've heard of and have been curious about. The whole idea sounds like it could go terribly wrong, yet be enthralling in a trashy, YA literature sort of way. I've always wondered if I should inflict it on my players and see what happens.


Well if you are considering “inflicting” it on them, I imagine it won’t go very well.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Yeah, that's my issue; the good close friends I'd run it for, I've proposed it before and gotten 2 nos, and I respect that decision. And I wouldn't trust running it with people I hadn't known for years.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Monsterhearts 2: The Ghost and The Hollow

With Monsterhearts and the potential for it to get really off the rails in bad ways on our minds, let’s talk get to two more Skins: The Ghoul and the Hollow. The Ghoul was previously really, really bad if you weren’t really careful, and Monsterhearts 2 knows that acutely.

The Ghoul:

quote:

Death changed you. It took away your contemplative joy, it dulled your senses, and it left you impossibly hungry. That hunger is always with you, like a hum in your ears that swells and crescendos until you can’t hear anything else. Unattended, it will come to dominate you - but feeding it may be just as bad.
There is a certain beauty to what you’ve become. Your gaunt body, its unnatural form - it draws people in. Your stark disinterest is beguiling. But underneath that disaffected presentation - the hunger, the hunger.

The Ghoul is all about hunger, because you’re a sexy teenage zombie. You’re just as dead as the Ghost, but you’re still walking and talking just fine thanks. Your stat options are Volatile 2/Cold 1 (cruel and erratic) or Cold 2/Dark 1 (disaffected and portentous). You never have a high Hot stat. The original version was Volatile/Cold.

You start with The Hunger and two other Moves.

The Hunger: You choose one of four options for your Hunger: Fear, Power, Plunder, and Thrills. You take one Forward if you’re heedlessly pursuing it, and to pass up an opportunity to feed you must Keep Your Cool. The original Hungers were fear, flesh, power, or chaos. Flesh and chaos are gone, with chaos completely eradicated and flesh… elsewhere. We’ll get there. The Hunger is actually a bit less unpleasant than the first edition, though this core mechanic is identical. The game also omits the idea that feeding The Hunger kind of needs to be excessive.

What The Right Hand Wants: Your body is a composite of Hungers, and you can create another that doesn’t have to be from the list. This is unchanged from the first edition and is pretty cool.

Satiety: When you satisfy a Hunger, choose one: heal 1 Harm, mark experience, carry one Forward. You used to be able to remove a Condition this way, you can no longer. Otherwise unchanged, and still good.

Short Rest for the Wicked: If you die, you’ll pop back up again a few hours later fully healed and back in business. You’re essentially invulnerable if you’ve got this, though only in the long-term. Really more like a Dark Souls character.

Watchful Golem: If you defend someone without them learning about it, you mark experience. That’s also unchanged, and has its edge of creepiness.

Ending: If you tell someone about your death, you give them the Morbid condition then roll to Turn Them On using Cold instead of Hot. This is one of the few Stat Swap Moves that remains, they were mostly replaced with the stat variations. It actually has absorbed one of the previous Moves, Disaffected. That move was the actual Stat Swapper, and became a bit less broad by tying into Ending.

Espirit de Corpse: When you Gaze Into the Abyss, the Abyss will share its Hunger with you. It lasts until you satiate it, at which point you mark experience. This one is all-new and pretty cool.

The Moves are pretty much the same between editions, except for Disaffected and Ending merging.

Your Backstory is that someone has reminded you what love is. You give them a String. You also exchange two Strings with anyone who watched you die. This is similar to the original, but you give out one less String to the first person. Your Advances are standard, with your Gang being a Reckless Crew (in the previous version I believe it was Necromantic Caretakers).

But as I hinted, this Skin is RADICALLY changed for the better. And we’re about to get to how. The Ghoul’s Sex Move is to create a new Hunger. This is a HUGE change, because it used to be that you’d get a new Hunger for having sex with the character in question. That was extremely problematic and had strong overtones of rape, especially in light of the old Darkest Self. Because yeah, that’s totally different too. Remember when I said we’d get to flesh?

quote:

Your dull hunger sharpens. You can’t focus on anything else but feeding. And in addition to your peculiar cravings, you recognize something else. That primordial hunger which connects all hungers. Flesh, blood, meat. You escape your Darkest Self once you’ve overindulged, or you’ve been locked out for long enough to regain composure.

So yeah, while in your Darkest Self you’re a cannibal ghoul. You straight up want to eat people. It’s horrible, but not in the way the previous was. The old version had you violently attempting to feed off the nearest source of one of your Hungers. In combination with the Sex Move this turned you into a ticking time bomb of rape. As noted in the coverage of first edition on the archives, this was brought up to the creator and they acknowledged it was really bad. And they changed it, completely. The Ghoul still has the violent edge, but without the sexual one. A huge change for the positive.

The Hollow:

quote:

They set out to make something from nothing. It’s not clear whether they succeeded or not. See, it turns out there’s a lot of grey area between something and nothing.
You’re alive, but you’re not real. You don’t have a soul. You don’t have child- hood memories, because you don’t have a childhood. You don’t have parents; you have makers. And those makers forgot to give you a place in the world.


You’re a weird artificial person of some kind. How exactly this works is up to you, and part of your Identity. This can range from things like having been created by magic to being a machine. Your stat options are Dark 2/Hot 1 (beautiful enigma) or Volatile 2/ Dark 1 (erratic misfit). The original Hollow was Volatile/Dark. The Hollow was and is all about Conditions, which made them a perfect fit to move to the Core Skins with the added emphasis on Conditions in this edition.

The Hollow chooses two moves from the list.

Better Than Nothing: When you gain a Condition, mark experience. You are incentivized for letting other people define you, even more so than the other Moves will do. Unchanged.

A Blank Canvas: Whenever you take an action that embodies one of your Conditions, you can add one to your roll and then cross it off. This is also unchanged, but is actually in some ways MUCH stronger than it used to be. This is because Conditions are actually pretty hard to get rid of compared to the original game. So, if you have a negative Condition that’s really screwing you, you have the option of just leaning into it hard and then getting rid of it.

Try Harder Next Time: A new Move. When you screw up, you can take an appropriate Condition and then take one Forward. If you can synergize with this A Blank Canvas, this would obviously become a potential +2 to a roll. It also potentially makes you advance very quickly, as you gain experience for failing and then also for getting a Condition thanks to Better Than Nothing.

Fake: Add one to rolls while lying. Also totally new. Remember this is while your character is lying, not you the player. It adds to the incentives to play as though you’re whoever people think you are on the outside while working towards something completely different.

Metamorphosis: When you Gaze Into the Abyss, if you roll at least a 7 you are allowed to permanently swap two of your stats. Super useful, lets you straight retool for whatever you’re going to need to do as long as you have time to plan so you can Gaze. This used to be an option you could take if you rolled 10+ instead of taking a normal result, now it’s an optional extra on any kind of success and way better for it.

Strange Impressions: When a main character harms you or helps you heal, you can watch them with wide eyes and study them. This lets you temporarily gain one of their Skin Moves, which lasts until you use it. This used to be called Mimicry, and made you roll Dark to copy a Move that was used against you. On a 7-9 you got a result like this, where you got it single-use. On a 10+ you could actually permanently replace a Move with it. This one is way better, honestly, and more flavorful.

The Hollow lost some Moves. Two were combat-based, one of them let you reduce the Harm you take if the attacker didn’t take advantage of a Condition and another which let you fire up the base cannon and do one more Harm than you were currently suffering from when you Lash Out Violently. Combat Moves basically don’t exist anymore and these were some of the most busted ones so no real surprise they’re gone. They also lost a Stat Swap move, which let you Shut Someone Down with Dark instead of Cold. This is just gone, you suck with Cold no matter what unless you Metamorph.

The Hollow’s Backstory lets you gain two Strings on the person who you’ve been taking social cues from. Someone else has seen through your fake past, and gains two Strings on you. This si unchanged. Your Advances are normal, and your Gang is Hollow Siblings.

Your Sex Move used to be that you’d copy theirs, adding the sentence that mirrors Sex Moves afterwards so that it can change. It’s not that anymore. Now it’s this:

quote:

When you have sex with someone, both players secretly write down whether the sex was confusing or soothing for their character. If you reveal the same answer, both characters mark experience.

That’s really cool and drives player drama, it’s so much better. As for the Darkest Self:

quote:

Your body is a prison. You don’t belong inside of it. You need to put it in harm’s way, and make
it suffer, just like it’s made you suffer. There’s got to be a way to cut yourself out of it. You need to meet your makers, and hold them accountable for what they’ve done to you. To escape your Darkest Self, you must come to see how someone else feels more trapped than you do.

This is unchanged from the first edition.

The Hollow is just great and really speaks to me personally. That’s all I’ll really say on that.

We’ll have two more Skins next time, The Infernal and the greatest monster of all, The Mortal.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 14:13 on Oct 31, 2019

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Monsterhearts is absolutely not a game for everyone and not every group can even think about playing it, but it's really, really good.

edit: the Mortal is absolutely the greatest monster, hands down

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Green Intern posted:

Well if you are considering “inflicting” it on them, I imagine it won’t go very well.

Inflicting hardships on player characters is the job. They should be interesting hardships. They should be surmountable hardships. But they are hardships that are inflicted upon them by the GM.

a computing pun
Jan 1, 2013


The other reason Apopcalypse World has sex moves is because - and I can't remember where I read this - the genre AW is emulating isn't Mad Max, it's "what if Mad Max was a HBO prestige drama". Messy, emotional, character-focused dynamics and dysfunctional relationships and deeply personal power struggles and people making decisions out of petty hatred or horniness or ambition. AW is a great fit for "standard" post-apocalypse because you only need to tone down the intensity of one half of the genre concept. But equivalently, to get from AW to get from AW to Monsterhearts you only need to swap out the other half.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


kommy5 posted:

Inflicting hardships on player characters is the job. They should be interesting hardships. They should be surmountable hardships. But they are hardships that are inflicted upon them by the GM.

I think one of the differences here is that it's mostly the players' jobs to be authors of their own misery (and eventually, maturity) while the GM is their enabler.

HerraS
Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.





Baker even made a hack for AW called Burned Over that took out the sex moves and toned down the ultraviolence, saying that if he made AW today it would look more like the hack than the original game.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





a computing pun posted:

The other reason Apopcalypse World has sex moves is because - and I can't remember where I read this - the genre AW is emulating isn't Mad Max, it's "what if Mad Max was a HBO prestige drama". Messy, emotional, character-focused dynamics and dysfunctional relationships and deeply personal power struggles and people making decisions out of petty hatred or horniness or ambition. AW is a great fit for "standard" post-apocalypse because you only need to tone down the intensity of one half of the genre concept. But equivalently, to get from AW to get from AW to Monsterhearts you only need to swap out the other half.
I had felt from day 1 hour 1 of hearing about the sex moves that it - and essentially every other situation in a game like this where there is a similar sexytimes power - would work far, far better if it was "intimacy." Which can include sex, but can include another intimate shared experience with another person.

The sex move means that every PBTA game is tainted by association in my own main gaming group. Probably not intentional!

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Nessus posted:

I had felt from day 1 hour 1 of hearing about the sex moves that it - and essentially every other situation in a game like this where there is a similar sexytimes power - would work far, far better if it was "intimacy." Which can include sex, but can include another intimate shared experience with another person.

I was under the impression that Sex moves didn't necessarily demand the act of actual intercourse, and could indeed be triggered by being in a deeply intimate moment that doesn't necessarily have to be romantic.

And if I'm wrong then I totally agree, it should be from more than sex.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

AW reminded me of the trashy post-apocalyptic lit I read as a kid, stuff like Deathlands, loaded with goofy mutants and occasional bits of superscience. Sex was definitely a consideration in those sorts of pulps.

MH... I appreciate that it exists, and I don't think it's a bad game, it's just one of the absolute last games I'd ever play. Absolutely not my jam.

And I really wish they'd called them 'intimacy moves' in the first place, because my very first brush with AW was something about sex moves that made me write the whole thing off for ages.

TheNamedSavior
Mar 10, 2019



I get a feeling that a game set after the end of the world would have a big focus on people trying to reproduce or just make love to desperately enjoy life.

jakodee
Mar 4, 2019


Bieeanshee posted:

AW reminded me of the trashy post-apocalyptic lit I read as a kid, stuff like Deathlands, loaded with goofy mutants and occasional bits of superscience. Sex was definitely a consideration in those sorts of pulps.

MH... I appreciate that it exists, and I don't think it's a bad game, it's just one of the absolute last games I'd ever play. Absolutely not my jam.

And I really wish they'd called them 'intimacy moves' in the first place, because my very first brush with AW was something about sex moves that made me write the whole thing off for ages.

In Apocalypse World they were never actually called "sex moves", they are called "specials". People just call them sex moves online when they talk about the game because it's a more striking name.

TheNamedSavior posted:

I get a feeling that a game set after the end of the world would have a big focus on people trying to reproduce or just make love to desperately enjoy life.

What assumed setting there exists in the game is more like a unstable, resources scarce ruin than a place overly concerned with the world ending again (it already did) or tight population regulation. Making more people just means more mouths to feed and more people to fight over limited resources in a game all about a zero sum situation.

Edit: Also Monster Hearts is precisely engineered to be unappealing to Goons, being entirely centered around the three nightmares of all Goons: High School, Sexuality, and Malicious Teens.

jakodee fucked around with this message at 04:18 on Oct 30, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Dark Heresy Second Edition: Unpublished Beta

Part 1: Why?

So, I used to play a lot of 40kRP. That much came up in the 40kRP reviews. I don't anymore, for a combination of a lot of reasons. But one of them is found here, in the buy-in playtest for the 2nd edition of Dark Heresy. Specifically, in the way this PDF represents a road not taken, an interesting little footnote in RPG design.

If you've read my stuff about 40kRP, you know I take a lot of issues with the system. But the system is flawed in interesting ways, because it was inherited by Fantasy Flight Games after being designed by some of the people who worked on WHFRP2e, and designed very close to (but notably worse than) WHFRP2e. It also suffered from the fact that Dark Heresy was very much a 'space ratcatchers get up to horror' game, rather than the 'play Eisenhorn/badass Inquisitorial Agents' game that many fans had expected and hoped for. Now, I liked the horror part and the focus on playing low level human-intel agents, but at the same time PCs were pretty incompetent and limited even compared to starting WHFRP adventurers, and 40kRP had lots of weird balancing decisions that ended up shooting it in the foot. It also faced an issue where FFG wasn't interested in space ratcatchers, and wanted to run much higher power games. However, they were stuck with the original system, which was a worse designed and worse balanced WHFRP2e but with guns and heavy weapons and multiplicative stat scaling that could destroy the game's balance.

The reason this PDF is interesting to me is because it helps answer, definitively, whether or not FFG was actually aware of the issues with the system. They were. They even tried to fix them in this potential second edition. But it crashed and burned completely, and was discarded entirely during the public playtest in favor of switching the game to 'effectively the same system, but with some updates from the later games in the line bolted into DH'.

Why did this happen? Why did the avenue for changing the game and addressing its (significant) flaws close? Well, there are a lot of reasons, and they're the reason I want to cover this incomplete prototype document. The biggest is backwards compatibility. Despite changing significantly between games, 40kRP always sold itself on the illusion of backwards compatibility. I say the illusion because a lot of general changes to the system added up in ways that actually made it legitimately hard to backport later stuff into DH or to pull stuff from DH forward. But they were always technically the same system, and fans were upset that the new edition of DH might not be. There were other reasons, but at the time I remember that one being the single biggest. The prototype system was also more than a little messy (as you might expect from a prototype) and needed a lot of work. I also get the sense FFG was just getting kind of tired of working on 40k at this point; you have to remember, this was before GW switched CEOs and when they were still routinely making very bad business decisions. This was at a time when FFG being threatened with 'stop making Star Wars mini games or we'll pull the 40kRP license' was a pretty easy decision to make (honestly, it's loving Star Wars, it would still be an easy decision, that poo poo sells). Dark Heresy 2nd Edition, the completed version that just ended up being Only War But In The Inquisition, was pretty much the last thing FFG made for 40kRP. So I get the sense the company was a little tired of working with the license and just decided to take the route of least resistance to get to publication.

It's interesting to me, though, because it shows that the designers were aware of the game system's flaws and really did make an effort to fix them. How they tried to fix them might or might not have worked, but it was never really put into practice due to vocal outcry during the playtest. I've always been a little sad FFG never got to make the 40k game they actually wanted to make, and even this document still doesn't seem close to what they would have done if they'd been designing 40kRP themselves from the start. FFG isn't a bad publisher, and 40kRP's flaws have never been entirely their fault. And I still happen to have this document and on asking them about it, got a 'Meh, write up whatever' response, so here we go: We're going to look at where 40kRP could have gone. This is going to be all mechanics, all the time; there's basically no fluff to speak of since this is just a rules document. So strap in for yelling about balance and action economy, and wondering why the hell they'd add max agility bonuses to armor now of all things.

Next Time: Characters

jakodee
Mar 4, 2019


...Could you please tell me there was secretly a Good 40k rpg all along? I don't care if it is true, I just need to believe.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


jakodee posted:

...Could you please tell me there was secretly a Good 40k rpg all along? I don't care if it is true, I just need to believe.

There was a potential path to a Good 40k rpg, this document was not yet that, but it at least actually addresses most of the issues of the system in some way. Especially the old damage system. I'm not certain what's here would be better, but really; rip it out and try some new things was the right call and didn't get followed up on.

Which is why I want to cover this! That's fascinating. And really does prove that FFG's designers were aware there were serious issues.

E: Personally, I think what killed the chances for Good 40kRP was actually Rogue Trader. The first implementation of 'high power' ended up codifying a bunch of stuff that really, really hosed over the game line. Like keeping PCs extremely fragile despite wanting to increase the scope and power of the line. And not re-examining the base math of anything in favor of just adding more and more damage and more and more gear.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Omnicrom posted:

I was under the impression that Sex moves didn't necessarily demand the act of actual intercourse, and could indeed be triggered by being in a deeply intimate moment that doesn't necessarily have to be romantic.

And if I'm wrong then I totally agree, it should be from more than sex.

That's probably the right way to adjudicate it generally, it's the Persona fade to black 'you spend an intimate moment with x' at the end of the social link and it doesn't matter what was going on in that intimate moment.

One thing about a lot of the changes between versions is a clear attempt to clip away pieces of Apocalypse World that were sort of kludged into the original without necessarily being needed. One of the big ways we see that is with Moves for fighting, which are pretty much gone now since the game recognizes it can be antagonistic and wants to reduce the inclination for it to just turn into a straight up PvP game.

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


a computing pun posted:

The other reason Apopcalypse World has sex moves is because - and I can't remember where I read this - the genre AW is emulating isn't Mad Max, it's "what if Mad Max was a HBO prestige drama". Messy, emotional, character-focused dynamics and dysfunctional relationships and deeply personal power struggles and people making decisions out of petty hatred or horniness or ambition. AW is a great fit for "standard" post-apocalypse because you only need to tone down the intensity of one half of the genre concept. But equivalently, to get from AW to get from AW to Monsterhearts you only need to swap out the other half.

Yeah, I've played and run quite a bit of AW and when someone asked me "what does a game of this actually look like" my best answer was: "it's like Deadwood. It's a Wild West town and you're the coolest people in the town."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


a computing pun posted:

The other reason Apopcalypse World has sex moves is because - and I can't remember where I read this - the genre AW is emulating isn't Mad Max, it's "what if Mad Max was a HBO prestige drama". Messy, emotional, character-focused dynamics and dysfunctional relationships and deeply personal power struggles and people making decisions out of petty hatred or horniness or ambition. AW is a great fit for "standard" post-apocalypse because you only need to tone down the intensity of one half of the genre concept. But equivalently, to get from AW to get from AW to Monsterhearts you only need to swap out the other half.

I wouldn't play MH, it has no conceptual appeal, but I once read the "playbooks" (it's one of those Different From Elfgames terms that I hate) for the driver and I would play AW just to be able to ride around in a tricked out M113 that looks a lot like this

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I still don't get what made putting "sex moves" in any game, ever, seem like a good idea.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



PurpleXVI posted:

I still don't get what made putting "sex moves" in any game, ever, seem like a good idea.

Because it's a deep and mature game for adult gamers and if you don't like maybe you're the immature one maaaaaaan!
Now play these characters that gets special powers when they gently caress each other.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Gotta say, as eye-rolling as sex-moves can be, some of y'all reactions are just as immature.

Yea, they're better served by calling them Intimacy or Bonding moves.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



With Apocalypse World, tying them all to sex is silly. With Monsterhearts, like, this is the game about teen paranormal romance novels, sexuality and the relationship between sexuality, affection and action. It's not a game for everyone - certainly not for me - but them being mostly explicitly about sex feels appropriate.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Yeah, that's why I had originally thought MH invented them; they're essential to the sorts of stories its telling. And it was the first PBTA game I ever had contact with, so it seemed to make sense.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


8one6 posted:

Because it's a deep and mature game for adult gamers and if you don't like maybe you're the immature one maaaaaaan!
Now play these characters that gets special powers when they gently caress each other.

There is absolutely no maybe in you being the immature one here, friendo.

Moonlit Knight
Nov 26, 2018


Green Intern posted:

Well if you are considering “inflicting” it on them, I imagine it won’t go very well.

kommy5 posted:

Inflicting hardships on player characters is the job. They should be interesting hardships. They should be surmountable hardships. But they are hardships that are inflicted upon them by the GM.

kommy5 posted:

Monsterhearts is one of those games I've heard of and have been curious about. The whole idea sounds like it could go terribly wrong, yet be enthralling in a trashy, YA literature sort of way. I've always wondered if I should inflict it on my players and see what happens.
(emphasis mine)

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Monsterhearts 2: The Infernal and The Mortal

More Monsterhearts, more Skins. This time, The Infernal and The Mortal.

The Infernal:

quote:

At first, it seemed innocent. It gave you things, made you feel good about yourself. You came to it with your problems, and it fixed them. When you asked how you could return the favour, it told you to be patient - that all debts would be settled in due time. That was the first time you heard it mention debts.
You’ve got Satan as your cornerman, or a demon in your brain. Or maybe the stars glow just for you. Regardless, you owe a debt to something much bigger and scarier than you’ll ever be.

You owe a debt to some kind of dark power, and wildly vary between riding high on borrowed power and crashing lows. Your stat options are Volatile 2/ Dark 1 or Dark 2/ Hot 1 (they don’t give any descriptions this time, but you’re either a nasty piece of work or kind of hot and mysterious with those spreads). The original Infernal was Volatile/Dark.

All Infernals start with the Move Soul Debt, and one more from the list.

Soul Debt: You owe a Dark Power a debt. Name it, and choose two Bargains it provides you. We’ll get to those after the Moves. If the Dark Power ever has five Strings on you, you automatically enter your Darkest Self. This is super cool and provides some automatic world building. The old version game you a list of titles for your Dark Power, this is a bit more open ended on that front. Otherwise the same.

Dark Recruiter: If you bring an innocent soul to your Dark Power, you mark experience. Super flavorful and unchanged from the prior version.

Under Pressure: If someone has three or more Strings on you, you add one to your rolls to carry out their bidding. This is new and I love it. The whole Infernal experience is very much about kinda being a toadie and this applies not just to your Dark Power but to anyone who gets leverage on you and encourages you to kowtow to them.

Can’t Save Myself: When someone else saves you from forces that were beyond your reckoning, they mark experience and you get a String on them. Also super cool and probably going to be a common occurrence for you. This is unchanged from the original.

Before we get to the Bargains, let’s play taps for Unknowable. This was a combat Move the Infernal used to have, which make their Lashing Out Physically weird and way safer than usual. Combat moves are almost universally gone and this is no different.

Now for the Bargains, which seem to be unchanged:

The Power Flows Through You: Add 2 to a roll in exchange for giving your Dark Power a String. It’s pretty hard to fail a roll you add 2 to if you’re good at that stat, so this is really good.

Numbing it Out: Remove two Harm or a Condition in exchange for giving your Dark Power a String. Conditions remain hard to get rid of in second edition so this is more powerful now.

Elsewise Power: Use a Move from another Skin, once, in exchange for giving your Dark Power a String. So many great things to do with this. Remember just from what we’ve already seen this would let you walk through walls, fly, and resist dying. That is not the limit of its power, by any stretch.

Uncanny Voices: Give the Dark Power to realize a secret about a person you’re talking to. They choose one of their secret fears, secret desires, or secret strengths.

Strings Attached: Ask for something. Anything, go nuts. The MC will then tell you what your Dark Power wants for it. It’s that ‘easy’.

Your backstory starts with you owing debts. Give three Strings out, divided between the other characters and your Dark Power. Note that this can let you start out with Under Pressure active! Someone else thinks they can save you, you gain a String on them. This is unchanged. Your Advancements aren’t quite the same as normal. You lose out on one of the normal chances of getting a new move from the Skin, in exchange for getting the rest of the Bargains as an option. Your Gang is to supply for Needy Fiends.

Your Sex Move remains the same as the original, which transfers one of your Dark Power’s Strings on you to the person you slept with. It continues to be really flavorful and provoke spooky results. Your Darkest Self is also the same:

quote:

You find yourself shivering, needy, and alone. The Dark Power will make some daunting, open-ended demands. Every demand fulfilled brings you closer to feeling whole again, and removes one of the Dark Power’s Strings on you. You escape your Darkest Self when the Dark Power is out of Strings, or you make a bargain with an even more dangerous entity.

The Infernal continues to be really cool, maybe even cooler now with Under Pressure around.

The Mortal:

quote:

None of them would understand. What you have here, in this dark and secret place, it’s beautiful. They’d warn you that this sort of beauty is dangerous, like a raging fire. Well some things are worth getting burned for.
Love has eclipsed all hope, and the dark has left you feeling beautiful.

Also known as The Real Monster Here. You’re basically the protagonist from Twilight, and you’re all about horrible codependency with the character you’ve designated as your True Love. Your stat choices are Hot 2/ Dark 1 (brooding and lonely) or Hot 2/Volatile 1 (impulsive and panicky). The original Mortal was Hot/Dark.

All Mortals start with the Move True Love, and choose two more from the list.

True Love: You always have exactly one Lover. You choose one during Backstory later. If you fall in love with someone else, they become your Lover and gain a String on you. You always carry one Forward to earning your Lover’s heart. This is unchanged from the original and is exactly as clingy and obsessive as it seems.

Mess With Me, Mess With Him: When you use your Lover’s name in a threat, add 2 to your rolls to Shut Someone Down or Keep Your Cool. Your Lover then gains a String on you. This is pretty powerful, in that it counters your otherwise bad Cold stat. This is unchanged from first edition.

Entrenched: If you have a total of five strings between yourself and another character, you get to add one to all rolls against them. This does NOT have to be your Lover. It’s pretty good (though you’ve potentially given the person a lot of ammunition against you to activate it) and is unchanged from the first edition.

Sympathy is My Weapon: When you forgive someone for hurting you, gain a String on them. Unchanged, and just as delightfully horrible as it was before.

Excuses Are My Armor: Whenever you ignore a blatant problem with your Lover, mark experience. Another real good one, and again unchanged.

Downward Spiral: You can add 2 to rolls to Gaze Into the Abyss if you inflict one Harm on yourself when you do. Very strong and flavorful, but really dark. Also unchanged.

Down the Rabbit Hole: When you’re poking into something you really shouldn’t be, you mark experience and someone involved gains a String on you. Super duper flavorful, and again unchanged.

So, the Mortal’s the only Skin so far that has all its original moves intact and unchanged, and no new Moves as well. This is a testament to how well they hit out of the park the idea of telling the relationships of people like the main character of Twilight like they are.

You always declare your Backstory last, and it is to choose your Lover. They gain three Strings on you, you take one on them. That’s how it worked in the original as well. The Mortal can’t take a Gang as an Advance, just as in the original. Instead, they get another opportunity to take a Move from another Skin. At some point I should do a post about some synergies between Skins. But for example just think about how The Mortal could make use of Under Pressure, because your Lover will almost always have three Strings on you.

Your Sex Move remains nasty as hell, as soon as you take your eyes off them next they become their Darkest Self. As for your Darkest Self:

quote:

Nobody understands you. Nobody even tries. You do so much for the people you love, and they walk all over you. Enough is enough! Betray them. Show them what its like to be uncared for. Reveal their monstrosity and yours. Only seeing the pain that you’re causing your Lover will let you escape your Darkest Self.

This has been rewritten a bit, and is much more about you being treated badly by those you love rather than simply misunderstood. It’s the only real change and I like it a lot.

Our next two Skins are The Queen and The Vampire. We’ve only got four more Core Skins total.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 14:13 on Oct 31, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I remember the Queen because it caught one player's eye when I was showing the game off and seeing if my group was interested. Specifically for the contrast between the suggested origins for it, ranging from 'most popular girl on the cheer squad' to 'the origin of The Infection' or something like that.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I’m just hoping the Werewolf is less disappointing, because the 1e Werewolf’s Actual werewolf form was basically an afterthought that had no real discussion or weight beyond ‘it changes your fictional position8ng I guess but we won’t discuss how or what it lets you do’

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Night10194 posted:

I remember the Queen because it caught one player's eye when I was showing the game off and seeing if my group was interested. Specifically for the contrast between the suggested origins for it, ranging from 'most popular girl on the cheer squad' to 'the origin of The Infection' or something like that.

Yeah, the Queen is a really great example of versatility in skin design--depending on what specific choices you make, it can be:
  • The most popular kid in school
  • The local gangbanger (Weevil from Veronica Mars is a great example)
  • A Satanic cult leader
  • The weird alien queen hive mother from The Faculty.
I'd say you could even use it for Gestalt from The Rook, but given that the Queen's major external drama is typically "your gang stirs up poo poo without you," that doesn't work super well for the Gestalt siblings.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I have a player who really, really enjoyed playing 'What if The Thing actually just wanted to get into college and study philosophy and not hurt anybody' in Double Cross, so possible ways to do weird bio-horror characters who aren't necessarily hostile to anyone is something I look for in games.

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