Author Topic: The Ghoul  (Read 2752 times)

mcdaldno

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The Ghoul
« on: August 09, 2010, 10:40:57 PM »
Death changed you. It took away your contemplative joy, it dulled your senses, and it left you impossibly hungry. That hunger is with you always, like a hum in your ears that swells and crescendos until you can't hear anything else. That hunger comes to dominate you when ignored.

There is a certain beauty to what you've become. Your gaunt body, its unnatural form - it draws people in. Your stark disinterest seems exotic. Underneath that disaffected presentation, though - the hunger, the hunger.


Look

gaunt, striking, thin, stiff, disfigured

hollow eyes, quiet eyes, calculating eyes, harsh eyes, hungry eyes

resurrected, constructed, disturbed, rejected, sent

Stats

Hot -1, Cold +2, Steady +0, Volatile -1, Dark +2
Hot +1, Cold +2, Steady +1, Volatile -1, Dark +0
Hot +0, Cold +2, Steady +1, Volatile -2, Dark +0
Hot +0, Cold +2, Steady +1, Volatile -1, Dark +1

Basic Moves

You get all of the basic moves

Ghoul Moves

You automatically get:

The Hunger
You have a hunger for (circle one):
flesh, chaos, power, secrets, fear
While the hunger is always there, sometimes it becomes all-consuming (circle one):
at night, erratically (MC discretion), when slighted, in quiet situations, in loud situations

When it is all-consuming, gain +1 when attempting to satiate your hunger. If you outright ignore your hunger, or avoid an opportunity to feed, you need to try to keep it together. On a miss, you become your Darkest Self.

In addition, choose two:

Short Rest for the Wicked
If you die, wait it out. You awaken 12 hours later, somewhere else (MC's discretion). Your hunger is all-consuming.

Cold Hard Desire
When you turn someone on, roll +cold instead of +hot.

What the Right Hand Wants
Your body was stitched together in parts and pieces. And those parts and pieces echo different histories, and want different things. Declare a second hunger (with its own all-consuming condition). Mark an experience whenever you satiate that second hunger.

Wanting is Needing
When someone stands in between you and your hunger, you can declare that your hunger is all-consuming. If you do, mark an experience.

Unearthly
Gain +1Dark (to a maximum of +3).

Watchful Golem
When you defend someone despite great personal risk, without ever letting them know, mark an experience or remove a String they hold against you.

Sex Move
When you have sex with someone, try to keep it together. On a miss, add "sex with [their name]" as an additional hunger. It becomes all-consuming when you are alone with them.

Darkest Self
Your hunger is all-consuming. You will maim, kill and destroy anything in between you and the nearest object of your hunger. To spare someone or something, you need to try to keep it together. When someone restrains you or fends you off for long enough for you to regain your senses and composure, you escape your Darkest Self.

mcdaldno

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 10:45:39 PM »
Design Notes:

The Ghoul has this hunger to deal with all the time. If they constantly feed the hunger, then they stay calm and sane. If not, shit gets ugly.

The Hunger sucks. I want the other moves to be awesome, in order to counteract that, and to offer the Ghoul lots of chances to earn more XP and develop beyond their hunger.

I don't know how I feel about the escape clause on the Darkest Self, and would love some alternate suggestions!

mcdaldno

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 03:52:07 PM »
Mike suggested that you "Escape your Darkest Self when you consume more of the object of your hunger than you ever have before."

While I'd want to tweak the wording, I really like the concept. My first one really pits the Ghoul against others. This one just says "frenzy harder every time". Both are cool. Thoughts?

fnord3125

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 05:17:17 PM »
I'm not sure about The Hunger.  I thought Monsterhearts was about being literal monsters.  We can be metaphorical monsters now?  I can just be some dude who's addicted to scaring the shit out of people?  Or a power-mad corporate CEO or something, and that makes me "ghoul"?  I mean, if that's the direction you want to go with the game, go for it, I just want to understand what's going on.  Are all the playbooks going to be like that?

mcdaldno

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 06:10:05 PM »
Brian,

Ghouls have died and come back to life. They are zombies.
They don't all need to feed on flesh, though.

Some need chaos and destruction.
Some need to fearmonger.
Some need to rend people limb from limb and devour them.

So, you can be a guy who came back from the dead, and is addicted to scaring the shit out of people, sure. At your darkest, you kill and maim in order to get the reactions you are looking for.

Thoughts? Does the ghoul NEED to feed on flesh to complete the picture for you?

fnord3125

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 07:16:01 PM »
Okay, so all ghouls have definitely died and come back to life.  That's cool, I'm on board with that.  I'm not sure how I feel about an undead dude who feeds on secrets, but whatever.  If I play Monsterhearts, I just won't pick that option for my ghoul.

To me, yes, a ghoul is something that feeds on flesh.  Probably either still-living, or rotting flesh depending on the context (I like rotting flesh, personally, but that's mostly just to create distinction from zombies, who usually seem to like to feed on the still-living).

But that certainly doesn't mean these ideas don't work.  They just don't sound like "traditional" ghouls.  But nothing wrong with that.  I was just concerned (in the sense of "Huh?  Where are you going with this?" not "This is terrible!  Change it!") that the game was going to potentially be about "monsters" in the sense of, like, "That politician is a real monster!" and not, ya know, actual monsters.  So I wanted to check.

Jeff Russell

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 07:17:06 PM »
Personally I really like the broader 'hungers' than just human flesh (btw, does "flesh" in the list of hungers mean "of the living" necessarily? Otherwise they might just eat a lot of steak). I think that 'stitched together' as an option makes a Frankenstein's monster type character possible. My only thought there is that his overwhelming hunger would be (I'd say) for 'love' or 'acceptance' (okay, and then for revenge/destruction when thwarted in that), and that makes me wonder about the possibility of seemingly innocuous hungers that are scary because they're insatiable. It'd be harder for those to drive scary obsessiveness inherently, but could be an interesting area to explore.

I'd agree that the ever escalating satiation is a better escape clause than a vaguely defined 'be restrained for awhile'. Although you might want a 'cold turkey' version too. I don't have any better examples right now, but I agree that the 'frenzy harder' spiral might be a 'burn out quickly' kind of approach. Again, depends what you're going for.

Oh, and one other thing related to the darkest self. Right now, if your hunger becomes all consuming, and you fail a 'keep it together' you, um, continue having an all-consuming hunger. Maybe that's not a problem, but right now it seems like the ghoul will potentially spend more time in or relating to his darkest self than the other monsters. Looks good though!

mcdaldno

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Re: The Ghoul
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2010, 08:10:15 PM »
Personally I really like the broader 'hungers' than just human flesh (btw, does "flesh" in the list of hungers mean "of the living" necessarily? Otherwise they might just eat a lot of steak).

I was thinking about this. There's a great (read: absolutely terrible) Christopher Pike novel where someone has become a demon/vampire/beast and she's developed a taste for flesh. But she's in denial, or uncomfortable with her cravings, and so goes to McDonalds and orders several rare burgers, and then devours them, and then gets into a huge fight with the manager when he won't serve her a batch of raw burgers. Fantastic.

Here's what I'm thinking:

If you're eating human flesh, still bloody and bone-in, you have to eat a fair amount. If you're eating rabbit flesh, you'll have to eat a lot more to satisfy that hunger, and it'll never be FULLY satisfied. And if you're just eating raw steak, you're going to be cleaning the supermarket out on a regular basis, and people are going to be staring at you when you wheel up a shopping cart half-full of steak and hamburger.

Viable? I don't know where to communicate that idea, or if I should. I think there needs to be some MC advice about handling "risk reduction strategies", which basically goes like "risk reduction strategies don't actually reduce risk, they just change it."

Anyways, that's my thought on leaving "flesh" as vague as I have.

I think that 'stitched together' as an option makes a Frankenstein's monster type character possible.

Look: disfigured, hollow eyes, constructed
Hunger: Chaos, All-Consuming: In Loud Situations
Moves: What the Right Hand Wants (Power, In Quiet Situations), Watchful Golem

That's how I'd stat Frankenstein's Monster, personally.

The first hunger (Chaos, Loud Situations) is all about that rage that he slips into when unloved. The second hunger (Power, Quiet Situations) is his attempt to be wanted and needed and included and emotionally/socially powerful. Watchful Golem proves that he's a good creature at heart, just misunderstood.