Author Topic: Monsterhearts, a first draft  (Read 10456 times)

mcdaldno

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Monsterhearts, a first draft
« on: November 09, 2010, 08:02:27 AM »
Check this out: Monsterhearts.

Feedback is lovely.

Steve Hickey

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2010, 08:43:17 AM »
Oh, Joe. I *heart* your stuff.

Steve Hickey

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2010, 09:22:51 AM »
More:

I feel like I can run a game of Monsterhearts after reading this.

I think I'll need to talk through creating Fires after the first session.

I'd definitely like to get a look at the Mortal playbook before running the first session.

It's good stuff, man.

nemomeme

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 05:54:49 PM »
Finished reading your draft.  Really nice, Joe.

Yeah, I'd totally want to play a mortal Giles-like guy.

I assume you've seen Donnie Darko?  I don't know if it's an influence for you, but that's one vibe I might try to bring to a table playing Monsterhearts.

Oskar and Eli in Let the Right One In are only 12 (well, sort of 12 in the case of Eli) but that movie has a lot of the same themes you're playing with.

One nit: I don't think all of the media in your "the genre" can be put in such a large shoebox.  I'd suggest "media influences," same as Apocalypse World.

Really like to play this but don't know if I'll have room soon.

mcdaldno

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2010, 06:34:38 PM »
I assume you've seen Donnie Darko?  I don't know if it's an influence for you, but that's one vibe I might try to bring to a table playing Monsterhearts.

Totally. I forgot to list Donny Darko!

Donny is one of the inspirations for a Skin that I haven't told anyone about yet. This unspoken Skin is an equal mixture of: Donny Darko, Freddy Kruger, Sookie Stackhouse.

Oskar and Eli in Let the Right One In are only 12 (well, sort of 12 in the case of Eli) but that movie has a lot of the same themes you're playing with.

Totally! I forgot to list Let the Right One In.

Let the Right One In is a good demonstration of how the game changes when you use younger protagonists. It is super vulnerable, disturbing and transgressive. I might also list the movie Tideland, in the final version, for just that reason.

I'd definitely like to get a look at the Mortal playbook before running the first session.

Yeah, I'm going to try to complete the Mortal and Werewolf over the next week, as those are essential. The Ghost and a couple as-yet-unrevealed Skins will be coming shortly after that.

I feel like I can run a game of Monsterhearts after reading this.

Awesome!

There's actually one big rules gap that I've noticed since releasing that, which is that there's no advice on how to handle Strings on NPCs and NPCs having Strings on PCs. So... that'll come, shortly.

John Harper

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2010, 08:36:24 PM »
Can you spend more than one String at once on the same effect?

Like, can I spend 2-strings to do +2harm?

Steve Hickey

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2010, 08:51:29 PM »
A couple of suggestions occured to me while I was reading through:

1.
The process of turning the characters' initial Strings (Hx) into backstory for the game could be an official part of the first session. One way of doing this is to have a good discussion about it before starting play; another way would be to have flashbacks between different characters when the time felt right.

Strings and backstory feel really important to Monsterhearts.


2.
In the 'Fires' section, it might be worth putting in a reminder that the MC can use the characters' origins (that they selected in their playbooks) as inspiration for fires.

mcdaldno

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2010, 10:20:04 PM »
Can you spend more than one String at once on the same effect?

Like, can I spend 2-strings to do +2harm?

Good question. No, you can't.

1.
The process of turning the characters' initial Strings (Hx) into backstory for the game could be an official part of the first session. One way of doing this is to have a good discussion about it before starting play; another way would be to have flashbacks between different characters when the time felt right.

Strings and backstory feel really important to Monsterhearts.

Neat idea, to establish them throughout play. I'll have to ruminate on this idea further, but my initial reaction is, "Sweet! Do it, and tell me how it goes!"

Interestingly, your backstory is a simple idea that I tacked on while I was laying out the character pages. I thought to myself, "Gee, characters don't really have enough stuff to them, do they? Maybe I'll put in a thing so that they start with some Strings."

2. In the 'Fires' section, it might be worth putting in a reminder that the MC can use the characters' origins (that they selected in their playbooks) as inspiration for fires.

Good idea.

I'm still waffling on how Fires work, and wants/means work. You'll probably note that it doesn't seem to gel/coalesce like the rest of the game does.

Figuring out how Threats work in this game is my stumbling block, f'sure.

That said: your idea is brilliant, and that's a big part of why origins are in the game.

Steve Hickey

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2010, 03:37:31 AM »
Cool: I'll try playing out bits of the backstories and origins when I run this. I figure it'll be like Vincent's advice in Apocalypse World: sometimes it'll feel right to ask questions about it, and sometimes it'll feel like there's a deeper fish down there waiting to be caught so the best thing to do is back off and let things develop for a little while longer.

Still on Strings, I wondered whether there might be some benefit in having a few alternatives to choose from in each Playbook. For instance, the Vampire might have "Someone offered themselves" and "You attacked someone". Choosing between alternatives could give a little bit of variety to the backstories.

(Also, a phrasing suggestion: you *take* Strings from someone; you *give* one of your Strings to someone. Sometimes the rules use 'gain', which I found a little ambiguous.)


Fires
Do Fires have countdown clocks, do you think?

Also, I don't know much about designing threat types; would 'Accuser' (like someone who reveals your secrets) be a Threat type? Would there always be a 'Family' fire for each character (Buffy's Mum, Tara's mum, Sam and Dean's dad)?

I think it would be great if you wanted to work through statting up another less-plot heavy Fire - perhaps the 'dysfunctional relationship that's hurting both its participants' that you mention in the rules.

Anyway, I think that's all my initial thoughts on the rules. This is shaping up really well!

mcdaldno

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2010, 01:35:04 AM »
Fires
Do Fires have countdown clocks, do you think?

Also, I don't know much about designing threat types; would 'Accuser' (like someone who reveals your secrets) be a Threat type? Would there always be a 'Family' fire for each character (Buffy's Mum, Tara's mum, Sam and Dean's dad)?

Currently, there are no countdown clocks. Light a flame, light another, heat some coals... there are a bunch of on/off switches baked into each Fire.

Currently, there are no threat types. There's just people, with wants and means, who start Fires.

NilsH

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2010, 05:32:08 PM »
Looking great!

Weīre playing next weekend and I have some questions.

The hexes seem really powerfull. If I put the hex "binding" on my friend The Werewolf- he can never again fight, until I take the hexe away, and he canīt do anything about it?- it seems really tough on the other player.

About the move Turn someone on- is that always about sex and love, or could it be about anything?

The move Shut someone down. - what does it mean in the fiction? That I humiliate you by telling you how stupid you look, or what?

Keep it together seems a bit hard on the 7-9. To lash out at someone could really be destructive- though I actually didnīt miss the roll. Why didnīt you keep the alternatives from Act under fire?

Strings seems cool- but I donīt get how you give strings to npcīs and how that works? Also, itīs seems strings are most fun when you have at least three players. (We are going to be MC +2 next weekend).

I havnīt really grasped fires and coal but I will read that part again and see if I get it.

Iīm thinking a lot about how much the MC should keep the game about everyday situations with humans and how much the MC should introduce other monsters and stuff- and how fast? Should it be about a monster among humans or a world populated by strange beeings??

Excited!!!

/ Nils

NilsH

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2010, 06:23:49 PM »
I need some help in how to "make the situation unhinged". I kinda miss some of the trouble-creating stuff from AW- like the  bikers gang, or the hardholders hardhold.

The witch can have a coven- that seems like a good thing.

Should I create some coals before play?

Should each characters have coals- like people the witch has already hexed, or other stuff? Seems I need something to build from- or inspiration about things to use during play.

Any ideas?

John Harper

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 12:41:10 AM »
I can say something about the hexes.

First: "Hexes almost always wear off after a while." p. 10

Second: The werewolf can definitely do something about it, she just can't harm others. Every other avenue of action is open to her.

Third: The Witch has to get the sympathetic token in the first place, which means making moves that risk trouble for him.

So yeah, no sure thing. Should be lots of fun in play.

mcdaldno

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 03:09:26 AM »
Hey Nils,

I'm going through a pretty nasty flu right now, and my head is sort of swimming. Expect some solid answers by Thursday... but to reply to a few points right now:

1.) Don't make up any Fires before play. Play to find out, in that first session. A day in the life. Explore backstories.

The hexes seem really powerfull. If I put the hex "binding" on my friend The Werewolf- he can never again fight, until I take the hexe away, and he canīt do anything about it?- it seems really tough on the other player.

So, let's take a quick look at binding: "the person cannot physically harm others."

You have to remember, this isn't really a game about physical violence. It's a game about emotional violence, and codependency, and growing up.

So, imagine you're the werewolf. You can't physically harm people anymore. And you know Sammy's a witch. It's not hard to put those two pieces of information. And it's not hard to get back at Sammy without raising a fist.

Taking the most obtuse tool out of the toolbox doesn't leave you helpless. It just forces you to start scheming.

Ariel

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Re: Monsterhearts, a first draft
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 05:13:22 AM »
Just to add to what Joe said:

If anything, that hex makes it worse for the witch or whomever is the target of violence.

I mean, sure I can come up to you in the hallway and stick you in the guts but I could hypnotize your best and only friend to. Or just make everyone hate you. Or etc.

It's handy for the witch to have at time but like both John and Joe have said, it's probably more hassle than it's really worth.