Actual Play – Those Who Favor Fire (12/15/2013)

monsterheartsGM: Michael Garcia
Players: Kris Miller, Skylar Woodies, Chris Ory, Jason Frankenfield, Sean Nittner, and Liz Brewer
System: Monsterhearts
Variations: F*ck the Singleton rule!

Warning: Details of the game (spoilers) included below.

Description: You are beautiful and terrible creatures, in the prime of your youth. Your passions are as limitless as your power. Mortals were nothing but playthings to you. Now the tables have turned. Mankind has chosen its fate and you must suffer through it. Will you succumb to the inevitable, or will you rage against it? What will you seek in the twilight hours? Will it be love, vengeance, forgiveness, or survival? In the end, does it really matter?

We were teenagers on a train to oblivion… and I really wanted to know who I went out with!

Thoughts on this game

My personal contribution, for good or ill

I enjoyed the game, but I think I enjoyed it too much, and did it at Kris Miller’s expense. My character was the Neighbor. No supernatural powers but always pushing her glasses up and blushing in front of all the boys. She was sweet and innocent except that she was manipulative and made out with everyone. That was great fun for me, and I think even for the guys who I pitted against each other to fight over me. So lots of good there, but…

I also dominated a lot of screen time and not only that, I horded a lot of the potential romantic interests. My neighbor was indecisive, and in doing so I think I cut off other potential PC interactions. I’m sorry about that Kris, I think that probably affected you more than anyone else in the game.

Strengths of the Game

We had a lot of ties between the PCs, so there was scene after scene of people trying to get something from one another. Very inwardly focused, which I really liked.

The caveat of having the game take place on sleeper train was a great one. Dirty deeds happen on sleeper trains 🙂

We really nailed the 80s time frame, which is a particular favorite of mine. One of he specific things that we lined to was music, specifically cassette tapes. Mix tapes, hard to find tapes, and bitchin’ tape decks. The witch used these as symbolic links, the wyrm used them as gifts and barter. The rest of us just used the as objects of adoration.

The players were strong and Mike did a great job making their actions (for good or ill) have consequences that permeated throughout the story.

I got to fly away from an a-bomb on the back of a dragon. Yep!

What could have been improved

Character creation was a two hour process. There was a lot of good in that, specifically detailing the back story, and creating relationships, but I think it could have been cut down by presenting fewer skins. Perhaps also fewer significant NPCs. We had 10 I think (one for each PC, plus three adults, and a bully). I think we could have done with just one between each PC (total of three), and two adults.

There was a “end of the world” story that I don’t think any of us really grabbed onto. Mostly because we didn’t really get it. The NPCs new about it and they were being really cagey about a choice we’d have at the end. There was time-travel or dimension hopping element that we never really understood. As a result I felt like there was a lot of the MC telling the players the world was going to end and the players wondering what happened to their lip gloss. Priorities!

There was also an NPC-NPC relationship, that I think Mike wanted to turn into an NPC-PC-NPC relationship, but none of us were really taking the bait. Overall, when there was so much concrete in front us (like can you believe those two made out in the observation car), it was hard to get interested in an apocalypse that we were pretty sure we couldn’t stop, and only the NPCs were clued into to the fact that it was going to happen. I think these NPCs should have been dug deeper into our characters during the backstory section, so that at least a few of us had some motivation to get information out of them.