Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monsterhearts: New Skin, The Doppleganger! Draft Version
I've never played Silent Hill 2 (or any of them) but I know that the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack has some major gems in it.

Hey there! Got a burst of interest in the idea of Dopplegangers after something my bro said, so I wrote an ApW-style shapeshift move. After a little more thought, I decided I could totally write a skin based off of it for Monsterhearts, so I took a quick break from Avatar World to, uh, do so.

While I came up with the original idea based on the monster itself, the design really came out of the teenager-archetype/metaphor idea of it. The Doppleganger is jealousy and self-loathing and wanting to be everyone else, seeing all the others things people have and how they don't have the flaws you have and how things could be better if you cold be like them. It's combined with the same sort of hero worship a lot of teens express, and the sort of admiration that creates successful people. The sort of people whose default nature is like that of The Queen's clique would make good Dopplegangers.
It's also about not liking yourself as you are, obsessing over your flaws and trying to get rid of them. Dopplegangers have low self-esteem, low self-confidence, low self-image, low self-everything.

I wasn't totally this guy in high school, but I certainly had elements of it. The other main reason I fully fleshed this out beyond just a couple moves is because my group is starting Monsterhearts in a couple weeks and I really really want to play this guy.

Stuff in quotes is game text, with bracketed indicators for stuff I specifically talk about after the quote. Usually it's stuff I want some feedback on, whether it's a simple "does it read" clarification or something more balance-based.
The Doppleganger
Description: All those people seem so special. They have their icy glares, their smoldering good looks, their razor-sharp intellect. You don't have any of that, and you wanted it. Then you discovered you could become them, and suddenly, it was all within your grasp.
Stats: Add 1 to one of these: Hot -1, Cold -1, Volatile +1, Dark +1.
Look: Pick one from each list.
* Paper-white skin, Boring and average, Unappealing, Inconspicuous
* Empty Eyes, Prying Eyes, Jealous Eyes, Distant Eyes, Harmless Eyes, Brooding Eyes
Origin: Rich and neglected, orphan, smothering and overbearing parents, depressed, delusional
I'm not having a great time with these. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Also I have NO names, any ideas for that?
Backstory: * You've been impersonating someone recently. Who, and what sympathetic token do you have on them? Gain an additional string on them on top of that.
* Someone caught you while reverting to your own form once. They get two strings on you.
* Add 1 to Hot (max+3)
* Add 1 to Cold (max+3)
* Add 1 to Volatile (max+3)
* Add 1 to Dark (max+3)
* Take another Doppelganger move.
* Take another Doppelganger move.
* Take a move from another skin.
* Take a move from another skin.
* You belong to a Shapeshifter Cult[!]
[!] I dunno, I just made something up. Any ideas for something that might actually be relevant? Or that might replace it, cuz I don't really see Dopplegangers as a very social sort of monster, or at least the sort that wouldn't be interested in being with others of its kind.
You begin with Transform and one other move.
Transform: "When you use a sympathetic token[!] to take someone's form[!!], roll+Dark[!!!]. On a 10+, you've got it just right. On a 7-9, choose one:
* The disguise doesn't hold up under scrutiny[!!!!],
* Assuming the disguise is an agonizing process, take 1 Harm[!!!!!],
* The disguise won't last long.
On a 6-, the MC chooses any or all of the above and makes a hard move."
[!] Two things. One, I'm not positive I want to require a sympathetic token at all. The other thing is how to establish the wording. I could reproduce the Witch move, but that seems weird to me. Might do it anyway though.
[!!] Confirming: It's got to be someone. You can't take generic shapes, you need to try to be another specific person.
[!!!] I've been debating about what exactly this move is stat-wise, and I think in the end Dark is the best. I considered Hot, since this is very much about appearances and all, but the Doppelganger ISN'T hot until they take a form.
[!!!!] Close scrutiny. What exactly is wrong is essentially up the MC's final approval - maybe you don't know until it comes up. It might not even be physical, it could be that you've gotten a fundamental part of their personality wrong in your impersonation.
[!!!!!] I'm touchy about this one, but I like the general idea.
As a side note, this is also the move you roll "When you ingest Polyjuice Potion...".
Walk Like You, Talk Like You: "While you're disguised as another PC, when you make a move, use their stats instead of your own."
Impressionable Personality: "When you return to your original form after being disguised as another PC, you temporarily change one of your stats to their value for that stat. This alteration goes away when you next transform.
Crawl Inside Your Head: "When you spend time and intimacy with someone, it counts as taking a sympathetic token on them."
Your Evil Twin: "When someone is blamed for something you did in their form, mark experience[!]."
[!] I debated what the reward should be for this; my main options were Strings and XP. I could reason how strings could make sense logically, and XP is a bit more significant, but I think it's worth it - it takes some real work, and some rolls, to set this sort of thing up.

I could probably use another move if I don't include the Witch's Sympathetic Tokens move, and even if I do I have room for another. Any ideas? I'm pretty much spent for the moment, though inspiration may strike again.
Darkest Self: "You despise yourself. All these other pretty people have everything you've ever wanted but could never have for yourself. In fact, no one would even notice if you were just...gone. Just be someone else - ALL the time. And if you need to get the "real" them out of the way to pull it off, so be it. Escape your Darkest Self when you accept your flaws[!] and voluntarily return to your own form."
In essence this is: you don't just want to BE them - you want to REPLACE them.
[!] This is logically sensible but may be asking too much of a character whose whole gimmick is about hating his flaws and wishing he was a person without them.
Sex Move: "When you have sex with another character, you must Hold Steady or return to your original form immediately afterward."
I'm excited about this. I don't even know if you deserve a roll if you're having sex in an assumed form, but sure, have one.
Side note that DOES make me a little uncomfortable: Pretty sure tricking them into thinking they're having sex with a different person might be a little close to the rape line. I 100% believe that's a thing a misguided and depressed teenage doppleganger would do, but that doesn't mean it's a bit bothersome to my mind.

So, that's what I have. There's four very specific things I'd really love some feedback on:
1) Names List Ideas
2) Origins
3) A Potential Additional Move
4) How you might visually represent a Doppleganger while also making their image noticeably human. I tried a couple of art ideas and none of them have worked out so far.
Thanks in advance for any help!

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