1) Example situation: Toni is looking to sneak through town to meet with her secret boyfriend. Although she doesn't know she's being followed, she takes precautions to lose any tail, not involving running away. Guy is trying to follow her. Both are PCs.
What would be a/the right way of handling this? It's not 'running away' to my eye. A custom Cold move might make sense, but which of Toni or Guy would roll, given that interfering is much harder in this than pure AW?
You're right, this isn't a case of running away. There's an MC Principle that applies here, found on page 110: Sometimes, disclaim decision making.
There's two different ways to disclaim decision making here. The first is to frame a specific moment where Guy is exposed to danger while pursuing Toni, and ask him to roll to hold steady
. The second is to make a hard move off your list: tell them the possible consequences and ask
. Actually, these two are pretty similar, differing only in whether there's an element of chance involved.
2) Lash out physically. There is the option of them needing to hold steady before retaliating. I presume this option is only valid vs PCs, or can this be used vs NPCs, with much the same effect as spending a string to make them hesitate?
If you pick it for an NPC, they hesitate or freeze up.
3) Chosen's sex move. Example: Hailey the Chosen PC has previously slept with another girl's guy and got the condition 'Homewrecker'. She now successfully seduces another girl's boyfriend . . . and loses the 'homewrecker' condition? Naturally, this is an extreme example, but it seems counter-intuitive. I can understand it for physical conditions, but not social ones. Am I missing something?
You're not missing anything. The Chosen's sex move is about using sex as a crutch, and self-judgment. When The Chosen has sex, it doesn't necessarily mean that she has stopped being a "homewrecker," but it does mean that she's moved past the point of letting people hold power over her for being one. When The Chosen has sex, all the other bullshit gets flushed, but maybe she feels a new source of shame as a result.
If you'd like an example of this in action, it happens almost every episode in Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy is burdened with a lot of Conditions - resurrected, unstable, moody, etc. She keeps on sleeping with Spike to try and make her problems go away. And they sort of do. She uses sex as a crutch. But as a result, Spike continues to gain power over her, and traps her in a pathological relationship.
4) Short rest for the wicked. Does 'fully healed' include being healed of all physical conditions?
Good question. The move doesn't specify, so default to the rules for removing Conditions (found on page 28): A Condition goes away when the character suffering it takes appropriate action to alleviate it. What constitutes “appropriate action” is going to vary and isn’t always going to be clear. When the MC (and player, for a PC) thinks that the Condition has been alleviated, it is crossed out.
So when a Ghoul returns from death, take a look at their Conditions and ask, "Would a quick and temporary death make this go away?"
5) Ending (Ghoul move). What? I'm not sure I understand it. It looks utterly useless. You can give someone a specific condition, then make a roll without any bonuses. Why would you take this?
You can immediately tag morbid
in turning them on, which gives you +1 (just like any other Condition would). Ending lets you seduce people by saying creepy, macabre things about how you died. Morbid
is the +1 bonus here (with the added benefit that it sticks around, until they figure out how to get rid of it).
6) Ghoul's sex move: If the ghoul has sex with person A and gains the 'Have sex with person A' hunger, then has sex with person B, I assume the 'Have sex with person B' hunger replaces the former? Or is it exactly as written and there is a separate hunger for each?
It's exactly as written, with a separate hunger for each. The Ghoul is a greedy, greedy creature.
7) Ghoul's darkest self. To get out of it, they need to be restrained or fended off for 30-40 minutes. But say they turned to their darkest self by having sex with a Mortal, and the ghoul is their true love. The nearest hunger would naturally be sex with the Mortal. Being their true love, they are unlikely to be restrained or fended off. So what happens? Can the ghoul regain their composure while feeding? (Would they then just re-enter their darkest self shortly thereafter again, in an infinite loop?) Would they have sex until one partner or the other is incapable, then move on to the next hunger?
The best answer is: this is a situation where you need to follow your MC Principles, ask lots of questions, and keep the story feral. The mechanics will never be the whole picture, because Monsterhearts is about the stories people tell within those mechanics.
So: The Ghoul goes into their Darkest Self, and their nearest Hunger is sexual. Ask The Ghoul, "What do you do?" When they answer, ask The Mortal, "What do you do?" Keeping asking those questions, and keeping calling for people to make moves where appropriate.
It's probably unlikely that these two characters would get caught in an endless, hungry sex loop. But (and I can't help but giggle here) such a thing isn't unprecedented in the genre! In Buffy S4-E18 ("Where the Wild Things Are"), Buffy and Riley get caught in an endless, exhausting, cosmically-binding sex loop. Unkind spirits keep them locked in perpetual sex until their friends come to the rescue. So, uh, you know: whatever happens, happens.
But really: the Ghoul satiates its sexual hunger, and remains its Darkest Self. It's totally fine for them to then run off and satiate one of their other hungers, or for them to just keep gorging themselves on that one single hunger. If they choose to stay around and gorge, then you still need to uphold your agendas, especially: Make the PC's lives not boring; Keep the story feral. That means introducing new situations.
8) Chosen sex move clears conditions. Queen sex move gives a condition. Which one takes precedence should a Chosen and Queen have sex?
Oooh, good question. It's a judgment call, but I'd say that the Chosen clears all their existing
Conditions and the Queen successfully gives them this new Condition.
9) Hypnotic. Does this work against PCs (I would assume not, but it doesn't say)? If so, what effect would 'unhinged' have? A simple condition?
Yeah, this move works on PCs, which is why it's scary.
Giving them the "unhinged" Condition is definitely appropriate. Furthermore, take the opportunity to frame them into really "unhinged" scenes until they get rid of that Condition. Like, start a scene off with, "You're still unhinged, right? So, you wake up on the golf course putting greens, naked, a dead mouse held limp in your right hand."
10) Similar to 'Ending', I'm confused as to why anyone would take 'The Big Reveal' (Serpentine). Once per character, you can give them a string against you, and the choice of gaining XP or giving you 1 forward against them. The only thing I can see is if these moves are 'acceptance moves'. In other words, if these moves break the standard MC rule of 'accept conditionally', and allow a much less conditional acceptance (much the same as the 12+ hot move in AW). If that is the case however, it needs to be signposted much better.Ending
and The Big Reveal
are very different moves. Ending is about getting +1 to turning someone on, and sticking them with a Condition at the same time.
The Big Reveal is three things at once: an acceptance move, an awesome situation generator, and a way to carry forward against lots of people (because you can totally use it on NPCs, why not?).
The thing is, this move isn't "if they agree to accept you" or "if they say they accept you." If they want to avoid the stick, they need to accept you. And to do it, do it
. A cunning player is going to find lots of applications for that. Like, Attor is failing Chemistry. So Attor approaches his Chemistry teacher after class, and reveals his true form. "It's so hard," says Attor, "trying to fit in with you humans. I'm doing the best I can.
When you use it with an NPC, they obviously can't mark experience for accepting you.... but you can still carry forward against them if they reject you.