Master Mines

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Grand ideas with no engines

I may be pushing my luck, but I’ve been eagerly waiting for an invitation and prepped some posts ahead of time. Let me know if I’m being overbearing.

I’ve got a couple ideas that I’d appreciate some brainstorming on, but first let me give you an overview. In Silence Keeps Me A Victim, abbreviated as SKMAV hereafter, you play a child in a fantasy world. The children in this world have had their voices stolen, and a mask left in it’s place to mark the horrible experience. The mask slowly drains the children of their color turning their skin, eyes, hair, and clothes grey. Eventually the mask begins to even drain the color from the world around the children, till at around nine years of age the children just disappear. No one knows what happens, until now….

SKMAV is about fighting monsters, taking their colors, and helping to heal someone else, and/or trying to stave off your impending disappearance. This leads to the first things I want to tackle. I want to create monsters from scenes of abuse and then later years of dealing with the abuse. Basically everyone will play their individual children, and everyone at the table will also be telling the story of a person in the real world, whom the children can help if they can defeat the monsters. The children then “level up”, or “power up” by gaining seals, and they gain currency with the monsters power, which is divided into colors. The colors are used for actions, and perhaps scenes. I’m thinking everything will have a color cost. (I don’t know what this color stuff means exactly yet)

To get a better idea I want to do somewhat the reverse of this thread on RPGnet entitled “The KKK, free thinkers, and the unwashed masses” In that thread they take D+D monsters and turn them into scene elements, I want to take scene elements and turn them into monsters.

The children fight the monsters as they are the guardians of the presently uncleverly named seals. Each seal will basically represent a “level”, and also represents an aspect of things I feel are needed in the healing process. These aren’t scientifically created or stolen from a model, but based on my beliefs, and life experiences. Anyway they would be in no particularly relevant order; safety, stability, facing pain, changing the mind and behavior, giving up shame, learning limits, and learning healthy behavior. Finding each seal is the only way the children have a chance of not fading into nothingness.

I’m eyeballing Burning Empires right now and thinking of a seal as equivalent to a BE Maneuver, as around a three hour segment. I don’t know if this will hold up to examination.

What I’d like to know

  1. Does this make any sense?
  2. Does it bring up any questions?
  3. Does it sound interesting?
  4. How the heck do I form monsters from scenes in a way that is meaningful, and tactically significant?
  5. How do I string the children along? It’s got a mountain witch vibe of you are going on an adventure, but I don’t think at the moment it is as strong as the mountain witch’s, “you’ve been hired, now get up the mountain.”
  6. As this is my first post of this nature, am I asking questions in the way this site is intended for?
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October 10, 2007 - Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim

7 Comments »

  1. 1. It does make sense but I’d need more details to really understand it.

    2. There are many questions, perhaps too many to list. I’d need to learn more about what you plan for the game to know what to ask.

    3. It does sound interesting. I particularly like the allegories going on here.

    4. what about making the monsters have to physically bear some wound or handicap or inhumanity related to an extreme expression of the emotions at hand. for example, a scene about fear could involve a monster that must crawl on all fours despite being bipedal.

    5. Aren’t they already invested by trying to stop themselves from losing their voices? What about giving the children a Burning-Wheel-Belief-like goal they have to achieve in addition to (and perhaps at odds with) keeping their voices.

    By the way, Clyde, I think you have the opportunity to monsterize the things that keep abuse victims silent. why do kids keep silent about what’s happened to them?

    Also, there should probably be some downside to not keeping silent. They should be forced to make a hard decision when they choose to speak out, to honor the logical, non-emotional reasons some kids have for keeping quiet about things.

    Comment by robertbohl | October 11, 2007 | Reply

  2. My instinct is that some sort of linear and highly opinionated step-by-step process is gonna be necessary for making monsters. The obvious precedent is Dogs in the Vineyard’s town creation, although it would also be very worth looking at Afraid, since it has a matching process for creating, well, monsters. That process tells you what I mean by “opinionated” above: it has something to say about what a monster is.

    As for what you have to say about what a monster is, I have a feeling it will pay a great deal to focus on silence and sound. How did silence get rewarded or sound get punished in the scene, and how can that become an aspect of the monster?

    Comment by misuba | October 11, 2007 | Reply

  3. Hi Rob,

    In several places you suggest you would need more information, is there any particular area I can shine a light on first?

    Next I’d like to address your question about the children being invested in not losing their voice. They actually start at the default state of not having a voice, so the players will be forced into director stance initially. Let me see if restating my question makes it more clear. In the fiction, what can I do to justify the characters taking action in such a way that they don’t actually have other options? In the Mountain Witch this starts with the character sheet when you write why you need the money, and then in the fiction you start at the bottom of the mountain with a promise of money for your reward. Right now the game is linear in the same way Mountain Witch is.

    Comment by iamclyde | October 12, 2007 | Reply

  4. Hi Mike,

    You make several good points. I went and looked at Afraid, and as always Vincent’s ideas are very interesting. He seems to be hitting harder on the reality side, than what I see for SKMAV. Anyway, useful stuff.

    I also like the idea of bringing silence in on the other side, but I think it may be more interesting if Monsters use their voice somehow. I think that may hit harder on voices being powerful.

    Comment by iamclyde | October 12, 2007 | Reply

  5. Sure, whichever. I just mean that the series of questions that turns an event from the past into a monster should ask how silence and/or sound is involved.

    Like, the way in Dogs that Pride leads to Sin leads to yada yada, you could have Need leading to Provider leading to Bait leading to Switch leading to Cry Out leading to […and so on…] leading to more Need [cause who says these things have to be completely linear… but that’s another question]

    Comment by misuba | October 12, 2007 | Reply

  6. Clyde, the kind of additional information I need is probably only possible by becoming more familiar with more of the rules, reading them or picking them up through osmosis by reading your posts.

    I can think of a pretty easy way to force the players to have to get their voices back. Have something on the character sheet saying, “Why do you need your voice back?” You can make it even more pointed and specific with something like, “If you don’t get your voice back, what person you care for is going to suffer your fate?”

    Comment by robertbohl | October 15, 2007 | Reply

  7. Hey Rob,

    There really are no rules, per se. This is a really fresh rewrite. More soon I guess.

    Comment by iamclyde | October 17, 2007 | Reply


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