Actual Play-ish – “Ghosthorse: It’s in the Charter” (4/14/2012)

Bullshitters: Carl Rigney, Karen Twelves, and Sean Nittner
System: Monsterhearts (sort of)

After our afternoon session of Tiend High School Carl, Karen, and I went out for a nice relaxing dinner at Breads of India. I told them both of my frustrations with my character and Karen added another thought. In a four hour game, just having the characters in the same vicinity isn’t really enough to bring them together. It’s a problem I’ve hand in DRYH games as well. Just because we all have super powers and are next to each other doesn’t mean we care about each other.

Monsterhearts addresses this in an abstract way with strings, mechanical leverage we have over each other, but if those strings aren’t expanded upon, it means that “although we both lie close together, we feel miles apart inside” (thank you Poison). Our characters were passably interested in each other (really two of us were obsessed with the vampire and that was enough) but we didn’t have any tight bond, like say, you would in a band…

For the next two hours we sat around in the EndGame lobby bullshitting as though we were members of the band. Character roles were pretty ambiguous, I played at least two characters, we had mention of several NPCs, and it took us a while to figure out who/what Carl was. This is what I assertained by the end:

Carl – Our mortal band member who now had my guitar. He wanted to sleep with chicks in the crowd and liked antagonizing all of his monster band members.

Karen – Our werewolf drummer who would play 27 days straight and then take a break due to the moon. There were inferences that wolfing out and menstruating were related. At the time of play, we were supposed to go on any minute but never made it out the stage and she was increasingly anxious that she might wolf out during the concert. We assured her she could play from inside a cage if need be. She was also obsessed with charters and kept making new ones after the old ones got torn apart (often by her).

Sean – I started as the Ghoul manager hungry for fame and money.  I think I was a giant ass hat but I didn’t stay in that character for long. Soon I moved to the Ghost who used to be the guitar player but couldn’t any more on account of having no fingers, on account of being dead… for which Carl teased me incessantly about. I kept trying to get Carl to put his hands in machines so I could possess the machine to cut said fingers off. It never worked. What I did do though, was continually tell Carl to write it down when we had a good idea. “Write that shit down. It’ll be a great song.” The idea finally came around that we should murder a horse so I could ride a ghost horse on stage during concert. Nobody was willing to do it (fucking ingrates) but we did like the name “Ghosthorse” and that eventually

NPCs of note: Ted was a vampire who spent all his time in the trunk of the car masturbating under a blanket. He said that he wouldn’t come out because of the sun, but none of us were buying it. We also had an infernal that insisted the charters all be signed with bloody thumb prints. We teased both of them incessantly as well.

Thoughts on this game

Well, it wasn’t really a game. I mean we didn’t roll any dice or use character sheets. It was just taking tropes from Mosterhearts and playing them up. But damn did we have a good time.

I can’t imagine many games where kind of play would ever happen. Maybe XXXXtreme Street Luge or The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries, where the game is played by recouting the action, and thus is mostly dudes sitting around bullshitting (what it’s actually called in XSL), but still, I’m not sure that in a traditional game people wouldn’t want more action to progress. Never quite getting to the concert might not satisfy your typical gamer.

This Fiasco playset is begging to be created. Monsterhearts High School Rock Band anyone?

We did discuss how having a social construct that binds the characters together (a military unit, a band, employees assigned to the same project, Watchdogs, family, etc) does two really good things:

  1. It totally removes the “how do our characters know each other” and “why would we do stuff together” questions.
  2. It allows the characters to push very hard on each other, without fear of breaking the bonds that hold them together. You can hate your sibling but they are still your sibling, etc. Also, it means you can have emotional relationships that have nothing to do with the professions ones like “I work with you, but I hate you because you stole my girlfriend”.

Being in High School almost does this, but I think the characters need a bit more. Having strings helps as well, but  I still think the question of “why are your characters stuck together” is worth asking before the game starts.


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