Actual Play – Everyone wants a Georgia! (4/3/2015)

monsterheartsMC: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Jennifer B. Warner, Avi Warner, Erin Sara DiPeso, and Duane O’Brien
System: Monsterhearts

Some questions I wanted to answer that sprang up from our last game.

  • What does Thadius think of Georgia now that he’s seen her kill Jonas and attempt to devour him?
  • Will Thadius tell Orville they were cousins when Orville was alive?
  • What will Sora do with her disguises. How will she abuse them?
  • Jonas is dead –
    • Will Nixon Blame Thadius?
    • Will P.U.R.E. use the disaster to stop the St. Wallace celebration?
    • How will Hanna Larson (wife of Jonas) feel about Nixon and Orville?

In the Royal Fork

Two days before the St. Wallace festival the Royal Fork is packed! Buffet food is a favorite for travelers and frankly there aren’t many other options in town. Despite this Pete and Ina Sørensen (Georgia’s parents) found a table that would fit all the kids. A corner top bench where everyone by the two on the ends were trapped inside. Pretty much the way Pete and Ina wanted them. Ina was making phone calls, trying to get everyone’s parents to come pick them up, while Pete was serving everyone molten-hot push-button buffet hot chocolates with no whipped cream.

So many crazy things happened at the table, I couldn’t keep track of them all. Here’s my best recap:

  • Sora tried to get out but to do so Orville had to scoot out first (he was on the end) Sora was closest too.
  • Orville started to get out but then stopped and looked longing at Georgia. She alone in the group of teenagers wasn’t freaked out. In fact she seemed…happy? He wanted to know why. He gazed into the abyss and remembered ice scatting on the lake with his cousin, who knocked him down. The sharp sting of falling on the ice rattled him and when his cousin scatted up to him he told him “She feeds off the dead. Maybe you should try it. Now get up!” Orville stated at Georgia in wonder, and was broken out of the trance by…
  • Sora nudged Orville a bit, but he did it intending to brush naked arms with him (though cold outside they were both wearing t-shirts in the diner). He turned Orville on and asked if Orville would go with him to get whipped cream. [String spent to offer him XP to go]. Sure. Georgia wants whipped cream. He’ll go get it…sure.
  • Nixon got antsy. He’s always trying to figure out what he should be doing, and this was one of those easy situations where someone had already told him what to do. He worked at the Royal Fork already and the place was busy. Tables needed to be cleared so he just started busing them.
  • Pete, concerned Nixon was upset tried to reassure him he could just sit and drink hot chocolate but Nixon brushed him off. [Nixon shut him down but got a 7-9 result, they both walked away bruised]. As Nixon was about to take a coffee cup from a woman, Pete put a hand on his shoulder “you don’t have to do that Nixon”…”But it’s what I’m supposed to do.” They were both interrupted by the woman “Excuse me, is one of you going to take my cup?” [Nixon got the condition Difficult, and Pete got the condition Nosy]
  • Meanwhile, left alone at the booth, Georgia and Thadius started making out. Well it was mostly Georgia licking the blood of Thadius’ face, but you know that turns to sucking face pretty quick.
  • Also Meanwhile, Sora and Orville were in the walk in cooler doing whippets with the whipping cream canister. While Orville was taking a hit Sora took off his clothes, put on the clothes he had stolen from Georgia and hey, suddenly Georgia was doing whippets with Orville in the cooler. “Did you see where Sora went?”… “No, he must have left, want to make out?”
  • “GEORGIA ANABEL SØRENSEN! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” Intoned through out all of the Royal Fork as Ida caught her daughter making out with Thadius in the booth. “I need to come talk a walk with me young lady. Right. Now.” The shout startled Georgia (Sora) and Orville, and unsurprisingly, stopped Thadius and Georgia (Prime) in their tracks. Georgia (Prime) walked outside to talk with her mother.
  • Pete, who had been distracted by Nixon until now, walked over and sat in the boot with Thadius. Pete pushed back his comb over hair, straighten his glasses, and told Thadius. “Thadius, I am a God-fearing man, but so help me, if I ever see you touch my daughter again, I will end you!” Thadius was a bit started, but mostly just annoyed that yet another father figure was trying to tell him what to do, shoved Pete out of the booth. What Thad saw was that Pete slipped on the hot chocolate that had spilled on the floor earlier and hit his head on the table across the isle. What everyone in the diner saw was Thad push him out and slam Pete’s head onto the table across the idle. [Lashing out physically, 7-9 result, going Darkest Self. Georgia is his higher power!]. “I’ve been grounded for a millennium!”
  • Thadius ran away. [7-9]
  • Nixon ran away. [10+]
  • Gerogia (Sora) talked to her dad… who asked if she had a good conversation with her mother and then told her he really wanted to connect with her. She said she needed space right now but offered to pray with him first [Manipulate an NPC with a 7-9 result]. Pete’s eyes widened with surprise and then leaked with joy. It had been so long since his daughter had prayed with him.
  • Orville just walked away. Nobody was paying attention to him and he was crushed that Georgia (Sora) just ditched him.

Soren and Nixon on the Lake and in the Morgue

Nixon went to the lake. It was a peaceful place. He wondered at how well it supported him, how sure his stride was on it, while Bobby Neilsen had fallen through the ice just like that.

Later Orville found him and told him they needed to go help Jonas.

Orville: “He’s needs us. Being dead is hard.”

Nixon: “Being alive is really hard to.”

Orville: “Yeah, it probably is.”

Awww…. all the feels.

In the morgue Orville failed to get the attendant, Mrs. Loretta Duff, to really care at all that his foster father was dead. Nobody but the police or medical staff were allowed in the morgue. Nixon stepped up to help out.  Loretta really didn’t want to look away from her phone (playing Bejeweled is addictive) but he got her attention when he noticed the way her voice got all fluttery when she mentioned calling the police. Clearly she had a crush on Officer Cory O’Brien and though it meant sticking around to bolster her confidence enough to talk to him, Nixon held out to give Orville a chance to slip into the morgue proper…

…Where he found a body on a table, covered by a white plastic tarp and two used blue latex gloves. Beside the body was a bench of tool prepared to an autopsy. In an adjoining office, Orville could here the sound of someone on a phone call. Wasting no time he pulled back the tarp, found the body of Jonas and cut off his forearm with a bone saw. Woah.

Georgia (Sora) and Pete at the Prayer Circle

I don’t really know what a Unitarian Universalist church looks like but I imagine it’s pretty inviting with a lot of religious-y looking things but nothing so iconographic that it espouses one denomination over the other. I imagine crosses but no crucifixes, votive candles, and a circular carpet with rings of different colors that folks can sit on and pray at, facing each other. I imagine you take off your shoes and you smile at other people there. So, that’s what it was.

Pete was positively giddy by the time the were there and lighting candles, but Georiga (Sora) was having second thoughts. “Dad, actually, I think I just need some time alone. Can I have the keys to the car?” Pete was crushed but what are you going to do. He just asked that Sora give him a hug and promise she would be safe [Manipulat an NPC with a 7-9 result]. Just as she was leaving he looked at his phone which had been ringing while they lit candles. He had missed a call from Georgia (Prime).

He looked up at Georgia (Sora) questioningly and she said “If the enchantment were broken, the edges would be very sharp. You momentarily notice a gap in my magic. Choose one:

  • tear my magic away – my identity is revealed and the clothes are in tatters but you get scratched up in the process [take 1 harm].
  • or, shake your head to clear it – it was nothing.”

Pete had already taken one harm from Thadius and though he doesn’t know it yet, he’s got a concussion. 1 more harm and he wasn’t going to make it. This was a tough choice.

“Ah, fucking Verizon, always showing missed calls way after they actually happened.”

I decided that Pete should live and the illusion remained.

Meanwhile Thadius and his Maker

Had something of a conversation. It went a little like this. Where is my love Goergia. [Gaze into the abyss 6- result]. “Here’s your view from the heavens where you can see time stand still. Here’s your beloved Georgia going to pray with her father. Here’s your angelic vision fading to black…lost to you now forever.”

Thadius ran, ran with all his might to find Georiga.

Meanwhile Georgia (Prime) and her mother Ida

Came back to the Royal Fork, having just discussed birth control in way more detail than Georgia wanted to ever know, and found the Royal Fork was empty. Well it was full, but it was empty of everyone they knew.

Ida left Georgia at the frosty freeze while she walked home to get the second car. They tried to call Pete but he didn’t pick up. She tried to call Sora as well but he didn’t either.

Along, Georgia dropped the frosty delight. It did not sate her. She set out for something that would.

How it ended

Thadius made it to the church just as Georgia (Sora) was about to get in her dad’s car. He stopped her and asked if she would take him with her. Then he gave her a kiss and found that unlike before where she seemed more like she was kissing all around him, this time Georgia’s kiss was genuine and all consuming. They did this while Pete watched from the church door and rubbed something out of his eye.

Georgia (Prime) made it to the morgue just behind Officer Cory O’Brien who was quite happy to come help out Mrs. Loretta Duff. She also snuck into the morgue just in time to see Orville with the arm and just as the medical examiner came back out of his office. Orville leapt into a body fridge and knocked over both the body of Jonas and the tools [Run away 7-9 result] leaving Gerogia (Prime) there to hold the bag, or in this case, the bloody bone saw.


Georgia (Prime) and Nixon in the police station. Officer O’Brien staring daggers at them.

Georgia (Sora) and Thadius having sex somewhere.

Orville dissipated [New advance taken] to slip out out of fridge (we googled it, they don’t open from the inside) and made off in the night.

What rocked

My players are so awesomely self-antagonizing. I hardly need to prompt them before they get themselves in all kinds of trouble.

I love that Thadius has gotten some (or actually, lots) of action. I guess we know his thoughts on Georgia Flesh Eater. She is his new god!

I love that Sora is causing trouble with Georgia’s clothes. Hearts are gonna be broken over that one.

I love that Nixon’s search is so earnest but the answers he gets are always just what other people want from him. Unaware they don’t know the answers either.

Orville sawing off an arm for happiness. What the fuck man. That is crazy.

We had a really good use of the X-card that made me super happy it was there and resolved a could-have-been uncomfortable situation easily.

I love that Ida and Pete are just regular, nice people.

We’re playing again. Yay!

What could have improved

I’m kind of shitty at playing angry parents. Which is odd because I’ve been an angry parent many times, but it’s not something I like. I don’t like losing my temper and I really don’t want to start yelling at another player like they are one of my kids (the transference on that is bad in both directions). Still, the kids were pretty terrible to their parents and I’d like the other to be a lot less so.

The game got a little gonzo. Gonzo isn’t bad but I want to make sure we’re grounded enough that consequence matter. Some of the questions for next session will be What Hannah and Pete do when they come for Georgia (Prime) and Nixon in the police station.

We need some more presence from P.U.R.E. I think Robert Neilsen (Bobby’s dad) is on it. He lost a son to the St. Wallace parade. He’s not going to let that happen again!

Quotable Quotes

Thadius “I’ve been grounded for a millennium.”

Georgia (Prime) “It was really awkward. Now I know all about dental dams.”

Orville: “He’s needs us. Being dead is hard.”
Nixon: “Being alive is really hard to.”
Orville: “Yeah, it probably is.”

Actual Play – Hashtag St. Willy (3/13/2015)

monsterheartsMC: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Jennifer B. Warner, Avi Warner, Erin Sara DiPeso, and Duane O’Brien
System: Monsterhearts

This was a long week.

I had some crazy work trying to organize support for Big Bad Con, as well as a home for Big Bad Con, plus all the prep for and running Skull and Shackles character creation, plus just a lot of work work.

So when Karen asked if I was ready to MC Monsterhearts on Thursday evening, I was like “umm…sure, that should be good.” We rounded up skins and player reference sheets on Friday morning, got some index cards, sharpies, pencils, the Story Games Name Book, and a couple d6. Good. To. Go. Er close enough.

Such awesome players

Because I was pretty low energy, and I think as well because I was sitting on a couch and lower than most of the players, they really took charge in forming this dark, confusing, impulsive little world. I contributed, even curated at times asking questions like what would bring the kids together, but they gave our Frankenstein creation life!

Small Minnesota town of St. Wallace

Named after St. Wallace, the patron saint of loose women, this sleepy little town beside a lake doesn’t seem much activity for most of the year. Come winter solstice however, people flock in droves to celebrate St. Willy’s Day. The same folks like the Death Guild that build a Thunderdome every year at Burning Man come to the frozen lake at St. Wallace to put up exhibits, eat the locals out of house and home, or sell their home grown wares.

To capitalize on the tourist activity as well as the general growth of the town an outside Dana Rogers has moved in, bought an abandoned church, tore down all but the facade and built up a buffet style restaurant called The Royal Fork. Dana does quite well for himself and brought more business to the town with him.

In a town that only has state run liquor stores, that hates the debacle St. Wallace’s day has become, and is general religiously conservative, progress like The Royal Fork, however is considered a threat. A group of parents, concerned for their children’s morality formed the People Unified for Religious Equality (P.U.R.E), which wants anything but. PURE parents are fighting both the expansion of the town, and the debauchery associated with St. Willy’s day, but they are fighting an uphill battle against not only the outsiders but also their children.

There is a small Unitarian Universalist church in the town and pastor Jonas leads youth group there. Many of the kids who feel like they have to practice some kind of organized religion go there because it is the least dogmatic option in town. It’s the minimum passing grade of churches from the PURE perspective. Jonas lives way out in the woods, about an hour away from town.

Our Teenage Monsters

Orville, the Ghost (Avi) is meek with pained eyes. He’s lived here since the time of St. Wallace but was driven out of town by his Cousin, who suspected him of having an affair with his cousin’s fiancee. Orville ran off in the woods and died of hypothermia. Every winter he comes back, the same meek boy, reminded of all his suffering. Every year he relives his death on St. Wallace’s Day. Orville stays in a cabin outside Jonas and Hanna Larsson’s house, at least when he exists. Jonas is the youth group pastor and has let Orville stay there without asking too many questions.

Sora, the Cuckoo (Erin Sara) is a foster kid taken in by Jeanette and Oscar. He’s got a job working at the Royal Fork and keeps a pretty positive outlook on life. He’s got tempting eyes, always suggesting some kind of potential mischief. As far as the others are concerned Sora has his shit together pretty well.

Thaddius, the Angel (Jen) fell from heaven because he defied his creator. He loved a woman who’s soul was in hell and to punish him for it the creator raised the woman up to heaven and then unmade her. She was not dead, she was gone. Thaddius defied his lord and was cast down to heaven to repent. Thadius is reborn over and over to fulfill his trial, and every time he fails. He refuses to bend his will, refuses to stay chaste, and so, again, and again, he is punished. Thadius was Orville’s cousin many generations ago, and stays in St. Wallace, bound to him and the town. This time around Thaddius was born as an IVF miracle for Pauline and Lulu, who had been trying to conceive for years. They are his little miracle!

Nixon Clay, the Hollow (Duane) was made from snow and a wish from a boy.  Bobby Neilson created him, gave him life, and then fell through the ice in the lake an drowned, leaving Nixon alone and unaware of what or who he was. Nixon has been taken in by pastor Jonas and joined the youth group. He lives with the Larssons and his rageful dreams are calmed somewhat by the presence of Orville, who feeds on his sadness.

Georgia, the Ghoul (Karen) had a eating disorder and two parents who loved her too much. They didn’t kill her, they just made her feel ostracized by passive aggressively picking her apart. One night Gerogia went to a part and, as she as many times, was ignored. She got drunk and choked to death on her own puke. When she woke in the morning she felt much better. For the last three months since then she’s had to fight to keep any weight on. She eats and she eats but she’s never sated and she keeps loosing weight. Her parents Pete and Ima think it’s wonderful, but now of course worry she’s taking pills, or has become bulimic. So they pester her about that now. Her parents are fervent members of P.U.R.E.


Sora has stolen clothing for Georgia. Just broke into her house and took her clothes, and a cross she work on a chain.

Orville doesn’t know it but Thaddius was his cousin that drove him to death because of his jealousy.

Georgia reminds Thaddius of what love is. He’s always been kind to her, even before she changed. Secretly he’s always loved her.

Nixon is picking up his social cues from Sora, who seems to have it together. Sora got him a job at the Royal Fork. He does lot of outdoor stuff like taking out the trash and carrying in deliveries. The cold doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

The Lord loves Sora more than Thadius, and a bitter rivalry has ensued!

Sora has clothes he borrowed from Orville. A pea coat, shirt, and trousers, so Sora could attending things that Orville wasn’t feeling up to.

Orville sneaks into Nixon’s bedroom (he always leaves the window open) and feeds on the sadness of his dreams, calming his fitful sleep.

Nixon watched Georgia die, just like he watched Bobby die… and did nothing.

Thaddius knows Nixon hasn’t been around, knows his made up story is a like, knows he’s hiding who he really is.

Georgia reminds Thaddius of Heaven. Yeah.

Waiting for Youth Group to start

Sora was there first, early, waiting outside the church which was still locked as the pastor hadn’t shown up yet. Parked on the street was Georgia, who’s parents didn’t want to let her out of the car until Jonas showed up. They were worried she would catch a cold.

Thaddius showed up on time and some verbal sparring ensued. “Nice jacket, same one you always wear.” “It’s okay to wear the same clothes if they are yours.” You’re privileged. You’re a thief. Neh!

“Isn’t that your boyfriend Georgia?” Her mother asked. “Looks like he’s arguing with that other boy.” Her father added.

“What, who? Sora, pshhhh. No!” she scoffed. “Oh, Thaddius…No. He’s not my boyfriend.” She blushed.

The continued to pester, telling her what they think she should do and then as soon as she was considering it backing down and telling her the didn’t want to tell her how to live her life. Parents! Amiright?

Driving into town

In the back of the Church’s big passenger van Nixon was nodding off, and the screaming was about to start. Orville just new it. His eyes widened as he tried to take it in, but he was distracted by Jonas trying to make small talk with him, apparently oblivious to Nixon’s ensuing night terrors, and spending a lot of time futzing with the radio to get a station that would come in clear.  “So, Orville, what do you think youth group should do for St. Willy’s day this year?”

Orville entranced by Nixon’s sadness, looked into the abyss and said something.

“A nature hike into the forest [where Orville died so many years ago]? That sounds great!” [Orville failed that roll].  You think the others will be up for that too? Startled by his own answer, or Jonas’ response to his answer that he didn’t remember giving, he shook Nixon awake and put him on the spot. “What do you think Nixon?” Jonas followed suit and as the arrived in town the attention was no on the bleary eyed Nixon.

Feeling a bit traumatized himself,  Nixon didn’t have any answers either… but Jonus kept asking. “Listen guys, this has to be about what you want to do. How you want to give back to the community. It’s not about me.” He looked at Nixon in the rear view mirror and saw young Nixon’s soulless eyes smoldering.

“Leave me alone Jonus. Stop asking me what other people want. Why don’t you ask them?” Jonus was startled he pulled into the intersection without looking away from the rear view mirror…and straight into the path of an oncoming semi.


Everyone heard it. A lot happened. Here’ some of it.

Orville was thrown the from van and remembered his own death. He made Nixon and the truck driver remember it too, projecting blame on both of them.

Nixon looked to Thadius for advice, who just told him to remain calm. Calmness got him in a fight with the truck driver, who he injured badly, and locked up in the back of a police car, watching his father figure die in front of him.

Sora held on to Georgia. Held her close and whiserpered for her to stay with him. When she recognized that he was wearing her cross they started to make out.

Thaddius wanted to save Jonas. He looked into his heart and into the van. He determined that if he could get him to a hospital soon, he could save his life. He managed to pull open the passenger door and drag Jonas, bleeding from the van. When he looked for help from Georgia though she was smacking lips with Sora. He reached out to her, bathed in the blood of Jonas and asked for help.

For Georgia, after being heated up by making out with Sora, Thaddius was like a hot dude holding a big mac. She came to him…and feasted on Jonas! When her parents asked her “What have you done?” She cried crocodile tears, and with blood smeared all over her face, ran to them for solace.

Cut scene!

What rocked

As I said before, I really loved how much energy everyone else at the table had. We had so much collaboration and world building together. We actually spent so long doing it that we only had about an hour to play. But I had all kinds of questions I wanted answers to by the time we started. Yay.

Blanketing the world in darkness felt really human in this game. Parents antagonizing their children with concern, social status dividing people, and a tragic loss caused by a stupid accident. Dumb, stupid pain.

When rolls were missed, the hard move to make always felt really natural, the flowed great from the fiction. When Nixon failed to manipulate Jonus, the burning gaze worked, but worked too well and they got in an accident. When Thaddius tried to woo Georgia over to help Jonas and failed, she came to him but her hunger took over. I just loved it.

Everyone wanted to play again! That is like the best compliment an MC can ever get. I am so happy about that.

What could have improved

There was a time when Jen wanted to know how to save Jonas and was looking for an Angelic solution and I didn’t really have a move for it, so we just narrated what she knew. I realized now I totally should have had her Gaze into the Abyss. Of course heaven is the Abyss!

Questions I’m pondering now…

  •  What does Thaddius think of Georgia now? What will happen when they are together next?
  • Orville saw Gerogia kill Jonas. What will he do with that knowledge?
  • What happens when Sora abuses one of his outfits?
  • Does Nixon blame Thaddius for Jonas dying? If so, what will he do?
  • Will P.U.R.E. use this tragedy to cancel St. Wallace’s Day?
  • What was up with Jonas. He was such a nice guy but he lived way out in the boonies. Why? What about his wife Hanna, what will she do with Nixon and Orville now?

Actual Play – Camp Shata (2/16/2014)

monsterheartsMC: Karen Twevles
Players: Rocky Moran, Meg Pressley, and Sean Nittner
System: Monsterhearts

Karen has work friends Rocky and Meg that said they’d like to play some RPGs. Awesome! We pow-wow’ed over email and decided on Monsterhearts. Since I ran the last game, Karen offered to MC this one.

The day or so before the game we talked a little about MH, about best ways to get characters invested in the setting, and what to prep, and what not to prep. Karen decided to go with limiting the playbooks to Vampire, Werewolf, Mortal, Ghoul, Hollow, and Queen. No ghost, so nobody is dead/incorporeal. No Infernal, so no dark pact or masters. No Fey, so no focus on promises and otherworldly powers. All in all, this was going to make for a personal and sexy game.

The Setup

Karen talked a little bit about what Monsterhearts was all about. Buffy Nights! Or True Blood. Messy lives of messy teenage monsters. She then asked (before letting anyone see the skins, a smart move) what the setting would be like.

Meg liked the idea of Twin Peaks. Something eerie with strange things that happen which few actually draw attention to. We all grooved on that and Karen instantly thought “Someone needs to make a Twin Peeks MH Hack”.  Cool. Everyone knows everyone. Strange things a foot but nobody admits it. Groovy.

Then Karen asked how we know each other. Are we all locals at school? What’s our deal. Summer camp! Meg thought of Friday the 13th but neither Karen or I have seen it so we talked it through some. A camp that runs all summer in two week sessions. Some kids stay for one session, some stay the whole summer. Some unexpectedly go home or are otherwise never heard of during the middle.

X-Card Talk

Karen gave an intro to the X-Card but neither of us remembered the specific intro. So we have it next, time here’s the intro line from X-Card by John Stavropoulos:

“I’d like your help. Your help to make this game fun for everyone. If anything makes anyone uncomfortable in any way… [ draw X on an index card ] …just lift this card up, or simply tap it [ place card at the center of the table ]. You don’t have to explain why. It doesn’t matter why. When we lift or tap this card, we simply edit out anything X-Carded. And if there is ever an issue, anyone can call for a break and we can talk privately. I know it sounds funny but it will help us play amazing games together and usually I’m the one who uses the X card to protect myself from all of you! Please help make this game fun for everyone. Thank you!”

Selecting Skins

We read the skins aloud and Meg was instantly drawn to the Werewolf. Good choice! Of the others I was considering the Mortal or the Queen (my last queen experience didn’t go as well as I’d have liked it to) but only wanted the Mortal if both of the other characters were supernatural. Rocky ended up picking the Mortal and I wanted to offer him the same juice opportunity of falling for either supernatural monster, so I changed plans abruptly and went Vampire. My first time, woot!

Wendy <3 (Rocky) – Wendy is a sweetheart. She works as a barista at the cafe near the camp and during the summers she volunteers in the camp kitchens. Everyone loves Wendy. And she loves everyone else. But she especially loves those in need. Like poor Serena. Last year at the end of camp she found Serena bleeding in an ally outside the cafe. She nursed Serena back to health and they said their goodbyes. This summer camp would be the first time seeing her again. Seeing her True Love (TM). Also, Wendy always knew people’s coffee orders. “Hi Wes, two shots of espresso, right?”

Zachary (Meg) is the bad boy. A child of the moon, Zachary lives at Lake Shasta and his only human contact is during the summer camp. He needs the nature to roam in so that he doesn’t hurt anyone, but craves human contact. Zachary has probably been going to camp since it started years ago, but every year he shows up like he’s just another kid showing up for camp. Later we found out that Zachary worked for the Camp Coordinator Bruce as his lackey. That sure turned out well.

Serena (Sean) was bitten last year and is still figuring out what all this undeath is all about. She doesn’t understand her powers per se, but she does know that since then everyone is drawn to her, like moths to a flame. It was her eyes that drew them in. Blue eyes deep as the sea, bright as the sky. She wants more red meat now, the rarer the better, but at the start of the game had never fed on a living creature. Serena has all the feels.

Some other Campers

To fill out the camp some we made a few other NPCs

Max: Kitchen staff with Wendy. Scrawny, big dumb glasses, into Wendy, very awkward.

Heather, Serena’s tent-mate. Her new best friend. Daughter of the camp organizer Bruce. C.I.T. (Councilor in Training).

Chelsea, Also Serena’s tent-mate. Eager.

Wes, Zachary’s tent-mate. A really nice guy. Has real friendships. Likes Zachary. Zachary begrudgingly puts up with him, while envying his ability to connect with people.

Bruce, camp organizer. A really nice guy. Everyone loves Bruce. When asked if the camp was dangerous he said “Nothing happens in this camp beyond my control.” Heather’s dad. Just a great guy. OMG EVIL BRUCE IS THE VAMPIRE EVERYONE GET OUT RUN AW– I mean just a great guy.

Establishing Shots

Just before taking a break, Karen had each of us do some establishing shots to show where we were at the start of camp.

Zachary was there before camp started. He waited until just after the tents were put up to slip into one and put his name on the top bunk. If anyone game him trouble, he just glared at them and that was that.

Serena, getting off the bus as it arrived a camp. As she stepped off and looked longingly into the lake past all the other campers, there was a palpable exhalation from the bus, as though everyone just realized they had been holding their breath the whole time.

Wendy working up the courage to approach Serena and making a plan to get close to her.


After setting the stage, Karen called for a short break to think about some things that could happen. This is a really good GMing technique and one I wish I remembered to do more often. By the time we got back Karen had a few moments to blanket the world in darkness, springboard off character creation, and leave herself things to wonder about!

First Day of Camp – Meal time!

For dinner, Wendy was cooking up camp gourmet meals… aka spaghetti and meatballs (or meatball to be specific, everyone got one, except Zachary cause he’s cool, and Serena because…dreamy…). As they were plating the meals, Max made his move “Hey Wendy, this is pretty cool isn’t it. I mean it’s cool working together, right? I mean, it would be cool if you know, you and I were to -”

To his credit Max was adorable, but Wendy paid him no mind. She only had eyes for Serena. She had planned to deliver her spaghetti with two meatballs personally but the runner for Serena’s table, Chelsea ran up to the kitchen to intercept. They argued over who would deliver the meal, plated with love. Wendy offered up a bribe. She could get booze from the locked cabinet that she knew the camp councilors hid. Maybe…possibly… nope. Chelsea ripped the plate out of her hands and rushed it over to Serena. All the beautiful plating ruined as spaghetti sauce was dripping off the edge of the plate, the two meatballs threatening to follow.

Meanwhile, Serena was making plans. She was intrigued by Zachary. The tough, I don’t care about anyone, attitude intrigued her. She sent Chelsea on another errand, to go tell Zachary to meet her by the boat house on the edge of the lake after camp fire songs.

Over at Zachary’s table Wes was trying to goad him on to go after Heather, or maybe Serena. “I’ll be your wingman.”  “I don’t need a wingman.” “You should go for it.” “I’ll go for it if I want to.” So cool.

When Chelsea arrived telling Zachary to be at the boat house, Wes was delighted. “See, she’s into you.” Zachary tried to blow it off, not interested by then he caught Serena’s gaze and was held transfixed. Her longing eyes threatened to drink him, drown him, devour him, if he didn’t relent. Without realizing it he was nodding his head and telling Wes he should definitely come along. Zachary was drawn to Serena, to her eyes and to her scent, but he didn’t want to hurt her. Wes would have to save him.

After dinner Serena approached Wendy, sought her out even! As she approached the yellow light from the kitchen reflected off Serena’s eyes, giving them an orange shimmer.  Wendy was excited to see her, beside herself even, until Serena asked her about that hidden cache of booze stored away. Surely Wendy could get it for her, bring it to the boat house tonight, and then be a lookout for her and Zachary. Crestfallen she relented. Sure that Serena and Zachary were “just friends”!

Camp Fire Songs

During the campfire important things were done.

Wendy got the keys to the booze cabinet from Heather! It took some lies and manipulation, but isn’t anything worth doing, worth lying about?

Serena talked to Bruce to ask if there was anything in the woods that the campers should know about. Serena was looking for the one who attacked her the year before, and though Bruce might know. When he told her everything was fine and she knew he was listening, she gazed into his eyes longingly and told him she needed the truth [Hypnotism, aw yeah]. “Nothing happens in this camp beyond my control.” No, not scary at all.

Zachary accepted Wes as his wingman, and plans were made for a double date (Heather coming too) with beers at the boathouse! We also established that Bruce used Zachary, that he was Bruce’s enforcer. He kept people from running away from the camp, or led them off for Bruce to feast on. It was all left unspecified but we realized that Bruce was the monster, and Zachary his lackey, afraid that Bruce would reveal his secret to everyone.

Sexy Times at the Boat House

Serena made Will show her how to open a can of beer by standing behind her like a sleazy guy teaches a woman to shoot pool. Moonlight glimmering in her eyes.

Zachary tore off his clothes and dove in the water.

Heather and Wes were weirded out.

Wendy crashed the party “Someone is coming!” Nobody believed her so she tore off all her clothes but instead of going skinny dipping leapt on Serena and started kissing her. [1] They ran off into the wood for sexy times!

Bloodshed by the Boat House

Serena and Wendy ran off naked in the woods. We faded to black on the scene until Zachary arrived to find Serena feeding on Wendy. Here eyes were pools of black as she bit into Wendy’s hand (we had previously established she had a cut on her hand) and drank deep [Darkest Self triggered by the Mortal’s sex move].

Zachary didn’t know what was happening but he knew it was wrong. Wendy did something to Serena, something to break her! He came up behind, couldn’t see that Serena was feeding but smelled the blood and leapt on Wendy. Tackling her, he changed, transformed in a horrible fashion into the wolf! Serena was startled as Wendy was torn from her grasp. She suddenly realized what she had done and her eyes, for the first time, became completely human. Just blue eyes, full of confusion and sorrow. What was Zachary doing to her love!?!

She grabbed Zachary, slammed him onto a tree, dug her teeth through his fur and began feeding on him as well! Eventually he shook her off and was frothing at the mouth, nearly ready to pounce, his animal instincts taken over, when he was picked up by the scruff, held in the vice grip of Bruce!

“I told you someone was coming” –Wendy

Bruce entered the scene and told us we were all in a lot of trouble. That we made a mess he was going to clean up. Serena [still in her darkest self] tried to dominate him. Making threats of outing him as a child molester and ruining him. Wendy said she’d tell everyone he was a monster. Bruce seemed to soften some and offered us a deal “Why don’t you two just run away and never come back?” Maybe they should have run, but Serena had to know, why had Bruce created her, why had he never told her what she was. Like one of those old I-learned-it-from-you smoking commercials she asked him “Why? Why did you change me and just leave me? Why didn’t you tell me what I was?”

“You weren’t supposed to survive.” He turned to look at Zachary still held fast. “If someone had done there job, you would have never made it out of that ally. Now it looks like I need to finish what I started.” Before he could move though Zachary broke free and was on him. Serena dove in as well. Wendy picked up a branch!

Ending with a bloody victory!


Serena back at school, discontent with her life, seeking out those whose blood she has tasted.

Wendy, fired from her job (Bruce owned the cafe) and drifting, looking for Serena and Zachary.

Zachary, freed of his bonds from Bruce and roaming the roads, following the scent of Wendy and Serena.

Quoteable quotes:

“One shower is not going to wash away this hurt.”

“I told you guys someone was coming!”

“You’re a wolf. He treats you like a dog!

Serena saying some shit about the color of her eyes changing. They changed a lot. Always reflecting something (camp fires, moon light, blackness, you know, things).


Thoughts on this Game

What rocked

I’m probably biased, but Karen is a fucking awesome Monsterhearts MC. She’s great at tugging at people’s interests, evoking creepy overtones, playing NPCs to their motives, switching status, and incorporating player contributions. She really rocked this game and we all had a great time because of how tightly she bound us together.

As players we had awesome instincts. Get right into each other’s shit very early on. Start making messy connections that frayed at the edges. Some of that did actually get messy, wait, is Selena going after Zachary or Wes, and then who is Heather going to snog? But you know, I think that’s what happens to stolen cars, the get a little trashed.

Tearing Bruce apart at the end was very satisfying. I think it wrapped up camp just perfectly and gave us all a victory we wanted while still leaving all our relationships messy as fuck. Oh… we were all naked at the end. Bonus points for that.

What could have been improved

I’m uncomfortable playing high status characters that stay in the spotlight. Low status characters striving for something, oh yeah let me stay on stage all day. High status characters with a witty remark to drive the other characters mad and then shift to them, also great. But being the center of attention and having control of people. It’s a little much for me. I had the same discomfort playing Nut People as Donna VanWert.  I think in the future I should either a) find a way for my character to be faulty right from the start or b) suck it up and accept I’m driving the show for a bit, shoot for the stars and embrace the probability of crashing and burning!

I think in part because of all the screen time that Serena was getting, I didn’t always feel like Zachary was getting enough. He was trying to distance himself from those he was afraid of hurting, which was part of it, but I’d have liked to see a few shots with Zachary and Bruce setting up their relationship as well. Ooh, flashback ideas for next session!

[1] – The Vampire’s sex move is rough. Or it was rough for me. At one point Wendy spent a string on Serena to go have sex with her. She had just turned Serena on by kissing her while naked. Going and having sex with here was a no-brainer. But then I looked at my sex move. Having sex would make me lose all my string on her, where as denying her would give me a string. The mechanical incentive to deny her was high, but what felt right in the moment was going for it.

Actual Play – Principal Skinner sends his regards (1/19/2014)

monsterheartsGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Matthew Klein, Allison Arth, John Harper, and later Karen Twelves
System: Monsterhearts


This weekend Allison and John came to visit. They stayed at our place and we had the world’s greatest time going out with them to great food, fun bars, and even trying on costumes. On Sunday night Allison turned to me and asked if I could run Monsterhearts for John, Matt, and her. That worked out great because Erin Sara was over with her cousin and her cousins’s boyfriend, who also started up a game with them and Karen. HouseCon was on!

Before the game we had been joking about the name Principal Skinner since Apocalypse World had both Principles and Skinners. It was a bad joke that just got worse the more times we told it, but of course it stuck, so my game was definitely going to have a Principal Skinner in it, even though he was only present for a heartbeat (or did you feed on him slowly Morgan?).

On a Train

One thing I really liked about Mike Garcia’s game Those who Favor Fire was the conceit that the game took place on an overnight train on the way to Miami. As I had no time to prepare I decided to start with that. All the other bits from his game I left out, but liked having an easy-to-define sandbox.

As a group we built on that. The students were heading to a championship football game. On the train were football players, cheerleaders, band members, and of course, adult chaperons.  The students were coming from Chapel Hill, NC. Home of the Haymakers, but everyone called them the Fighting Blue!

Who is the Douche?

I find a really awful NPC is wonderfully polarizing. They create factions and tension just by their presence. Relationships with them establish status, allegiances, and enemies. Also, it helps if they are super petty and self-centered. So that’s what I asked for, and together we came up with:

Patrick Zuchatti (“The Zuke”) – Star quarterback for the Fighting Blue. Later we learned he was dating the lead cheerleader, but that was a recent development, after having just dumped Isolde (Allison’s Ghoul) the night before.

If there is someone on top, there is someone who wants to take that first someone down a peg. Or better yet, get on top themselves, enter:

Ricky Peterson – 2nd String Quarterback who has been working his ass off to be a starting player. Later we found he felt most betrayed not by Patrick (who had always been the first pick) but by Cain (John’s Infernal) who miraculously got pulled from the bench in the final play of the last game, caught the winning pass, and was now a starting wide receiver, despite his mediocre talent and fitness.

Picking Skins

After we had built up the school a tiny bit, and had some structure to work with, I set out five skins, we nixed the Mortal and Fae due to lack of interest and settled on these:

Morgan Maine – A hulking giant of football player. The defensive nose that crushes opposing teams quarterbacks (26 and counting). Think Idriss Elba with another hundred pounds of pure muscle. Morgan was so massive and mature that he was constantly accused of taking performance enhancers and had to submit to regular blood tests, which he passed every one. (Matthew’s Vampire)

Isolde “Izzy” – An Italian goddess complete with a bodacious booty and an indomitable desire to be the best cheerleader in the state.  Zuke dumped Izzy and that night she fell into Morgan’s arms, and then into a tobacco thresher and was shredded into bits. Now she is back and wants things, hungers for thing like she never has. Isolde was Frenemies with Brittney, the lead cheerleader. (Allison’s Ghoul)

Cain – A second string nobody that barely made the team during try outs. A mulato kid that didn’t feel at home anywhere. One lucky catch and he was now the starting wide receiver, but that was it. Still nobody knew him, nobody cared. Except Ricky who hated him for it. His coach Lance Quantas had given him something, a blood infusion, that gave him exactly what he asked for “to be a starting wide receiver” but nothing more. Now Lance expected repayment in kind. And of course it was only with his coaches help that he would continue to be noticed, continue to be on the starting line up. (John’s Infernal)

Filling out the Cast

A few more characters were needed to flesh this out, but these were practically all of the NPCs we had in the game.

Brittney Castleberry – Head cheerleader in the shadow of her mother. Frenemy with Izzy. BFFs on the surface, hateful and catty behind closed doors. (Later in the game, Karen’s Queen)

Lance Quantas – Coach of the Fighting Blue. Australian and incredibly competitive. Taking blood from Morgan (as per his tests) and giving it to Cain to boost his performance. In control of the who is on the team, despite their academic status or behavior. (Cain’s Dark Power, later discovered to be a blue dragon)

Rita Pugalis – Cheerleading coach. We didn’t see much of Rita during the game.

Patricia “Tigger” Castleberry – Brit’s mom. Wife of Mayor Castleberry. Entitled. Cougar.

Principle Skinner – Nominal authority figure. Eaten late in the game by Morgan. Not much authority after that.

Finally we added just a few people during play

Danny – Linebacker and blabbermouth of the team. He was the one man rumormill.

K’shawna Knightly – Cheerleader who braided Morgan’s cornrows. Also the “cherry popper” that had sex with guys when Brit wanted someone to break them in.

And that was it, no other characters ended up in the game, which is a really strong indication that, as Matt quoted someone saying, Monsterhearts could be played in a single room that nobody ever left the entire game. It is just that good at throwing people against each other.

Seating Chart

This was the extent of props used in the game. It worked just fine.

Fighting Blue Seating Chart

The play is the thing

Rather than give a blow-by-blow account of the action, here were the central conflicts that surrounded each of the characters:

Morgan <- -> Lance -> Cain <- Ricky

In the first scene with Cain he was in his passenger car with Ricky who was laying into him about how unfair it was that Cain was now a starter. This was the conflict that we knew would happen so I wanted to start it in motion early. Cain lost his cool and decided he was tired of the lies. He summoned some of his dark powers [Witch Hex: Illusions] to make the lights flicker, the door lock, and the car begin to shake and rattle.

From his suitcase he pulled out a syringe full of dark red fluid and confessed “This is it Ricky. This is why I’m a starter!” In a rage he dove at his friend and tried to put the needle in him but in the scuffle Ricky turned it around on him and the syringe plunged into his stomach and was emptied into Cain.

The reliance on his dark power, and the failure to inject Ricky started a cascading chain of events that left Cain perpetually indebted to his dark power, though in doing so got to learn his dark power’s nature. [Mechanically speaking Cain went Darkest Self after a failed Lash out Physically roll on Ricky. He had injected himself with the vampire blood too early and after a brief surge of energy was drained from the experience]

Later Morgan took notice of “Lucky Strike” and came to his aid [event taking the condition “My Brother’s Keeper”] but in the final scene when Ricky did get a syringe of his blood, he also knew that Lance needed this championship win more than he did. Despite his debts to his dark power, the emptied the syringe onto the floor in his first and only act of defiance.

Patrick -> Morgan <- -> Isolde <- -> Brittney -> Cain

Part of Zuke and Morgan’s bromance was an agreement to get Izzy out of her passenger car at night so that the Zuke could “ride the rails” and have sex with Brit in her bunk.

The tension between Brit and Izzy was also palpable. When you’re at the top, you do everything you can to stay there, and Brit was doing just that. Sabotaging Isolde at every turn to make sure she didn’t take the lead. Isolde on the other hand had a bigger picture in mind. Bigger things like Morgan Maine, the defensive nose, and finding out the source of everyone’s power.

I loved the scene when Izzy first turned the tables on Brit. Brittney was used to being desired having all the attention on herself. When Izzy showed interest in Cain she tried to take Cain from her, but then the footsies under the table got muddled and it was Brit getting turned on by Izzy, leaving her confused and unsettled.

The final scene with Morgan and Isolde, when he told her the story of his life as a slave, was really touching. I was happy for them, even in their darkness.

Cain <- Morgan <-Tigger -> Brittney

Morgan was not a kind man. In fact, his first interaction with Isolde to note was to feed on her. That she then fell into a thresher was an accident, but clearly not something he had remorse for. Perhaps fascinated by her unlife, having been a vampire for a few hundred years, he didn’t seem sympathetic to it…at least not until the end when he broke down and told her his story.

For the majority of the game though, he was watching after Cain. Cain seemed to get things wrong at every turn. In trouble with the coach, caught having sex with K’shawna by Principal Skinner, and (after some discovery) being taking injections of Morgan’s blood to boost his performance. All bad all the time. Morgan wanted to help Cain but doing so came at the constant wrath of the Castleberry’s.

First he spurned Brit, which earned her wrath in the form of her minions messing with him, but it also got her mother’s attention. In a horribly racist moment, she chided her daughter not to take interest or have involvement with Morgan. Only a scene or two later, when Morgan entered her room though and failed to intimidate her, she gave him the choice of giving he what she wanted (sex with him) or her screaming and calling the attention of Principal Skinner.

The scene, I think mostly because of the image of Idriss Elba in her head, had Allison screaming into her pillow.

K’shawna <- Britney -> Cain <- Lance

Karen came into the game late and took over Brittney as queen. Her boyfriends face had just turned to a rotten bloody mess [Cain using Wither on him] and she was sexually confused by advanced from Isolde.

A well trained social climber, she took it all in stride. She banished Patrick to go clean himself up and gazed into the abyss, asking the only question that mattered “who is responsible for this?”!

Realizing it was that loser Morgan was calling “Lucky Strike” she chased down Cain. When she found him, broken from his encounter with Lance (where he learned his dark power’s true nature) she went right for the jugular to make him fix what he had done. The deal? Sex. Good for everyone involved. Cain would be part of her clique, and under her domain, and he got to transfer some of his debt from his dark power to her, or at least to her proxy. [Thanks to the Many Bodies power, it was K’shawna that took the bullet for both of them]



Thoughts on this game

Let it be known all that John Harper played a meek and generally ineffectual Infernal in Monsterhearts. Cain failed at every turn and was never able to get out from under the thumb of his coach. Mechanically speaking this was in part a result of terrible rolls and going darkest self right out of the gate. But it was also John’s commitment to playing a character who only got exactly what he wished for and nothing more. Cain imagined he’d be star, but he was still a nobody. And now a hated nobody.

The upshot of this is that the attention at the table was largely focused on Cain, and it was his arc of trying to appease (and then defy) his dark power, and of trying to connect with Morgan (who he idolized), Isolde (who he wanted), and Brittney (who he hurt) that we were all excited to see play out.


We really luxuriated in our scenes. Karen noticed this in particular when she joined the game late. It was like a football game with non-stop instant replays of the action. We’d have a scene and then break the scene to talk about how awesome it is, and then after the scene talk about it more. The game lasted six hours (which is insanely long for me) but it didn’t feel like it. Much wine and whiskey was drunk (not by the same people, we aren’t barbarians) and we just played for hours. Gleefully bouncing from one teenage tragedy to the next.

The technique I learned from Morgan Stinsion of “lets have a scene with you two” is still one of my favorites. In a odd ball occurrence of Isolde and Cain being seated in the same booth for dinner, Cain suddenly became a prize to be fought over, Patrick had a horrific hex cast on him, and we saw Brit and Izzy cat fighting at their worst.

Unexpected awesome. The scene with Tigger and Morgan was hot! Matt didn’t expect Tigger to be in her room when he went in, and I didn’t expect her to get what she wanted. In fact I didn’t even know what she wanted until Morgan started sniffing her clothing and leaning in close. This is where Monsterhearts made he game awesome. He missed the roll and I looked at my moves and “pay the price” jumped out at me.

My Australian accent is terrible. I could get as far as “Hallo Mate” and then I was lost. Thankfully my players were all very forgiving, it was Matt that made the coach Quantas, after all.

We had some pretty phenomenal chemistry at the table. There was a lot of trust here that everyone’s contributions would add to the drama and the story. They did! So much fun to play with great players.

Joe made a really great game. Everything I needed was either on the play books or on the pages of moves and principles. I MC’d this game with no prep, but thanks to a reminder form John the night before about looking at the list of moves, whenever I was stumped I just turned to my list and picked the first thing that looked good. Worked every time!

Final scene. Principal Skinner is dead, his body dragged into Morgan’s passenger car. Morgan and Isolde are having sex with the principal propped up in the corner, his dead eyes wide open looking (if he could look) right at them. I think this was the scene that was so hot it broke Matt. Good times.

Matt’s nicknames for people were just great. “Lucky Strike”. “Energizer Bunny”. Awesome.

Allison took to Monsterhearts like a fish to specially treated fish-happy water. She wasn’t just a natural, I felt like it was her game. She followed Joe’s principles and drove her character like a stolen car!

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.

Actual Play – The princess is another castle (7/5/2013)

monsterheartsGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Noam Rosen, Jennifer Baumgardner, Mia Blankensop, and Karen Twelves
System: Monsterhearts

Phew, I was crazy worried about this game, which is silly but true. I had never run Monsterhearts before, and for quite a while I didn’t quite get the game either (the notion of happiness as the scarcity was rough for me to get my head around). Also Jennifer, who has been doing scripted plays and improv forever and is an amazing actor, was playing her first GM’ed game. She had played Fiasco before, but this would be her first time having a GM run a game… and I was that GM. Hellza nervous!


To prepare I put some feelers out on the Internets and got some great responses, which I’ll share in case someone else is ever in my shoes.

Carl added some advice, as well as links to some awesome resources!

Also Alan Hodges and Bryan Hitchcock followed up with me over email with some links to “setups” to kick off games with:

Yay, between all of that and the book itself, I felt prepared.

Introducing players to the game

With Karen’s assistance I gave a little introduction to the game. I made all the regular pop culture references and made sure to emphasize that bot the monster and the teen part of the game were important, and that if the focus was shifting too much towards one, I’d be introducing elements of the other.

We discussed veiling, which as it turns out, wasn’t needed, but we came awfully close in one scene. In fact, I said several times “I’m a terrible person” as we played out a particularly icky scene that made me squeamish.

Then we went to picking skins and talking about the ones we picked.

Character Creation

Everyone sifted through the skins, looking for what spoke to them.

Jen know very quickly she wanted to play the Fae. Immortal. Ethereal. Other. Carrow. She was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaugher of Puck. Her family, which were all fey, got along by adapting to the times. She had the latest iPad, spent summers abroad, and in every way appeared a wealthy, fashionable girl. Carrow was everyone’s best friend, until the crossed her (which was an easy thing to do). Then you felt her wrath.

Noam played Cordelia, not Cordi, though everyone caller her that. She was a witch, as you’d expect. Not to many friends. Not really understood. Ready to fuck with people as she saw fit.

Mia made a ghoul named Cage. Her story (both backstory and in game) was the darkest. She was beaten to death her her father in a drunken rage. He had not meant it of course, murdering fathers never do. Since coming back Cage had hungered for chaos, tearing down all the carefully constructed walls people put up to hide from reality and heir own atavistic savagery.

Karen did something crazy awesome that I had never seen before. She played a hollow, all made up of wishes and fantasies. If Carrow was the Fairy, Zelda was the Fairy Tale. She was the “new girl” in school, the “princess” of every story. Zelda was perfect image of a young school girl because that’s all she or her family was, and image, a fairytale. Unlike Carrow, Zelda did not keep up with the times, and her greatest (if only) danger was being forgotten by a new era.



I took a play from Morgan’s book. I had each of them read the first paragraph of their backstory, and describe what it meant in the fiction. For someone like the Fae, this means telling each other player at the table a time when they saw them wear their heart on their sleeve. For other playbooks it’s a bit shorter. Once we had gone around and read our first paragraph, which tends to be the more innocuous of the two, we did another round of reading the second.

Cage had spent some time living a Zelda’s house, but it was just too cookie cutter perfect there for her to stay long. Zelda had been watching Cordelia, seeing how she does things and copying her fastidious habit of never leaving physical remains (hair, fingernails, etc) behind. Cordelia saw how Cage died. Watcher her father do it through his own eyes (via her hex) and knew her secret. Carrow also knew secrets. As a Fae she knew immediately the moment that she saw her that Zelda wasn’t real. As story made flesh, but not real.

First day back at school after winter break

In a sleepy part of Denver, McKinley High was welcoming students back from their holiday break. As soon as I said McKinley, I was sure I’d heard it before in a show. And I had. In Glee. And in Freaks and Geeks. And in Wonder Years. What an awesome name. Totally not sad at all that I stole it. Also, their mascot was the Pheonix, which seems like a nice fairy tale creature, but didn’t end up being too prominent an element.

I stole another move from Morgan’s book and started up most, maybe all, of the scenes by asking two characters what they were doing. Maybe in a place, or at a time, but mostly I just wanted to see they were doing, what situations they would want to be in.

That first scene pretty much set the stage for the entire game. Zelda walked down the hall, with books stacked up to here! She stumbled and as they fell, a boy named Derrick helped pick them up. To Zelda he was prince charming, but Carrow saw the smug look he gave the other basketball players, and then it was on. Operation: Prove Derrek is a Douche!

Of other interest, Cordelia and Cage were in the library fucking with people. Cage really wanted to mess with Derrck, but Josh, the kid trying to roll a joint on the corner couch without being noticed was just too tempting a target. Once couch fire later, chaos had been served. Josh was burnt. Cage was burnt too (she had been hiding in the couch, it was an old sofa that you could hide in/under), and then Josh put out the fire but vomiting up all the fluids in his body thanks to Cordelia’s wither spell…. gross.

A plot – B plot

The A plot in our story was about who the girls thought Zelda should go to the dance with. And all of them thought it WASN’T Derek. Despite this she held onto her prince charming until he was literally stolen from her arms by another woman (Cordelia), she had a huge (and awesome) fight with Carrow (which included the line “why don’t you go bite an apple!”), and she lost control and hit her boyfriend (or maybe just was her boyfriend) with a ladder… giving her a concussion.

This is when things went bad. Darkest Self bad. Zelda had broken the rules, and when she went Darkest Self, so did her family. She was locked up in the attic of her house (the tower) and guarded by her mother, who now played the role of the wicked step mother, that feigned kindness but actually drugged the children when they came over to see Zelda and planned on baking them into a pie.

Eventually Zelda was free of her cage (when she realized Cage was actually more, um, caged than her) and went to the ball (read: dance) with her prince charming (Which was Carrow in the glamor of Adonis, the perfect man).

The B plot was much darker. Uncomfortably so for me, but we talked a lot out of character about what was going on, and veiled as we needed. Being in the middle of a fire got the attention of Vice Principal Pepper. Who wanted to talk to her… in his office. She was in trouble. He could make it all go away, if she did something for him. The scene was tense, and a bad roll to manipulate him ended in a trading a grope for some forgetfulness. Most of this tied into her own daddy issues. shudder

After that, she fell into the arms of Carrow, and he two of them became inseparable. Well, you couldn’t separate Cage from Carrow. She hungered for her.

And that only made things more interesting when Carrow then went to Zelda!

Thoughts on the game

There were a couple cases where Mia wasn’t sure about a choice. What Hunger to have, and maybe what moves to take. Since she is such an awesome coach at improv, I felt really that me and the other players could coach her as well to take her first choice and go with what felt right. Result – Cage was an awesome pyromaniac!

The cat fight between Carrow and Zelda was priceless. I wish I could have filmed it.

Poor Derek. I think he was kind of a tool, but by the end I was feeling sad for him. Knocked off a ladder, then hit with a ladder, then (while in the hospital) he had a wither hex cast on him. Aw.

I really loved that Zelda went Darkest Self so did her family. Sue and Richard Lionheart were the perfect parents when she was perfect, but Sue became the wicked step-mother when Zelda was bad. Noice!

Zelda was the coolest idea I’ve see for a hollow. Not created in some lab, but by our own myths and dreams!

Man, improvisers take to gaming like fish to water. Jen was a natural!

Actual Play – Monsterhearts at GPNW (6/28/2013)

monsterheartsGM: Morgan Stinson
Players: Dani Laney, Sean Nittner, Karen Twelves, Dale Horstman, and Matt Klein
System: Monsterhearts

I couldn’t figure out what to call this game. There would be so many good names for it. So I used “Monsterhearts at GPNW” to stand in as a placeholder for any of these:

  • She is Ultra-Damned.
  • This is going to be a Mega-Exorcism.
  • Two brothers under God.
  • I at the music teacher, lets have sex.
  • Good Fey gone bad.

This game started with something of a mix up. Originally to be run by Carl Rigney, then accidentally assigned to Joe McDaldno. By 8PM Joe wasn’t feeling up for running a game though (he didn’t think he was running one after all) and we were kindly welcomed into the graces of Morgan Stinson.

I played Luke’s Inheritance LARP with Morgan at PAX last year, but otherwise hadn’t gamed with him. Man, what a treat it is. Morgan is some kind of awesome GM.

Lemme tell you a little story about veils

This was the first part of what would later be deja-vu. They must make hippie gamers recite this speech by rote memory in Seattle, because I swear the same bit that Morgan gave us about using a veil, the next day Erin Sara said virtually word for word in the donut. Spooky.

The short version of it is that everyone has different things that set them off. If something bugs you, say “lets veil this” and we will fade to black or remove it from the fictions as needed to make sure everyone is comfortable at the table.

Conversely if someone veils something you said that doesn’t mean your a jerk, you didn’t know what would set them off. If you continue to to bring up the thing they veiled, congratulations you win the prize, now you are a jerk.

Heartstrings and other dirty things.

We started picking skins, like you do. Reaching out for things that reached out to us. Picking something familiar and fond, like the Fae, picking something that you never got to play the way you wanted to before, like the Ghoul, picking something you’ve held off on till now because you were afraid it was too simple and base like the Werewolf, picking something new and intriguing like the Angel, or picking something you don’t know about, and that doesn’t know about you, like the Hollow.

Once we had our skins we started scribbling down notes and talking. Giving out some ideas about what we imagined for our teenage monster.

Dani – Lilith the Fae. Lilith was a changeling, delivered to her father’s doorstep as a baby by her mother and always seeking her Fey family on the other side.

Sean – Zachary the Werewolf. Zachary was raised by in a Good Christian Family and he was never understood. Zachary couldn’t control his anger, which got him into trouble, which made him angry, which… you get the picture. He snuck out at night an always got in trouble. His older adopted brother Nathan had created an impossible standard that Zachary could never live up to.

Karen – Ozma the Ghoul. Ozma’s parents were Christian Scientists. They didn’t believe in doctors, or drugs, or medicine. They believed in prayer. She got sick. They prayed. She got worse. They prayed. She died. They prayed. Her soul left. They prayed. Her soul came back. The actions were no causal. It was not a miracle. She isn’t who she used to be. She’s a Ghoul who craves flesh.

Dale – January the Hollow. January wasn’t born, she was made. Made by a nurse at Mercy Hospital who longed for a child that she could not have. Once created however, she rejected the alien thing she made. January was, as Hollows are, forever curious about the world around her.

Matt – Nathan the Angel was, as his skin depicts, a fallen angel. He was punished by god to live among mortals, and felt incredible self-pity for his plight. Nathan was perfect, and knew it, and he knew that everyone else knew it too, as they should. As Zachary’s older brother (even though adopted) the brothers were like oil and water. Nathan, above wordy concerns and base emotions, Zachary consumed by them.

The play is the thing

So much awesome happened I can’t capture it all. Here are some highlights.

Zachary and Nathan’s relationship. It started badly. They were at each other proverbial (in Zachary’s case sometimes not-so-proverbial) throats all the time. Fighting over petty things. Then something happened. Nathan died and came back, and when he did it was under Lilith’s thrall. She used and abused him and set him about her own dark path. All the while Nathan wanted him to help January, who he saw was a lost soul, needing the blessing of God (January was pretty indifferent on all that soul business). This escalated the tension between then, as Zachary wanted something out of Nathan that he could not, or would not give. In our final showdown during the mega-exorcism, though, the tides were turned and it was Nathan asking for forgiveness and salvation.  I think the story of two religious brothers and their secular and spiritual conflicts is a pretty awesome thing to behold.

Ozma didn’t start off knowing what happened to her, or even what she was. In fact, because Nathan was there when she woke up, and because he clearly had some connection with God, her first thought was that somehow he’d brought her back. When he told her the story of Lazarus “So Lazarus was a flesh-eating zombie?” was probably one the more epic lines in the game. Of course Nathan felt pretty bummed about all this. He did believe he brought Ozma back, and that god had punished him for his hubris by making her wrong. Their relationship started as one of mystique and intrigue. She wanted answers. He was aloof. She trapped him in a bathroom. He protested. She accused him of making her a zombie. He heard she thought that he brought her back to life. And then making out happened. Like it does.

January was wicked awesome. She wasn’t wanting for a home or to fit it, because she didn’t know what it was to want. She copied those around her, and showed them their own dark reflection. Something most of us couldn’t handle. She found Nathan in the church and they began discussion religion in a very what-does-it-all-mean teenage existentialism kind of way. After Nathan preached to her, January told him it was a dream. All faith, all religion, all of it was a dream. No Nathan had been in heaven, but it had been a long, long time (or so it felt) and maybe he was having some doubts himself about whether or not it really happened. Or maybe he just couldn’t handle insults against his father in his home. So Nathan did what any avenging angel would do, he grabbed a crucifix from an alter and with righteous rage, smote her. January turned the other cheek, and showed him her wicket backhand, smashing the tin pail he was using in the side of his head. And putting him in the hospital.

Nathan was so troubled it was awesome. He spent the first half of the game being the total cool kid. So aloof and above. He was so tried by everyone’s feeble efforts to show their obeisance. He rebuked his brother Zachary, his suitors, even his parents. Nathan cast judgment on all those around him…until he died. And then he came back, as his darkest self, lost and looking for another higher power. As his eyes opened for the first time, that’s when he SAW Lilith. Beautiful and perfect in his mind, and oh so ready to claim responsibility for bringing him back, just as he had done with Ozma. He completely fell under her thrall and for a good portion of the game was not only follower her around like a puppy, he was also trying to convince others to follow her as he did.

Ozma and Zachary. Oh my. So it started a little like this. Zachary found Ozma eating the remains of one of his kills by the river. She was all kinds of feral and ravenous.  That was hot. So he did was wolves do. He leapt on her and put his mouth around her neck to make a play a dominance. She bucked and sent him sailing in to the river. That was also hot. As he slowly walked out of the water, dripping wet and naked… well it just got hot all around.

The Mega-Exorcism

A common thread throughout all of the game was the brothers trying to “fix” January. First it was Nathan trying to show her his divine light. Then it was Zachary trying to save her “ultra-damned” soul. Then it was Nathan trying to bring her into Lilith’s fold. This culminated in the final conflict of the game, a mega-exorcism.

Zachary really wanted it. He felt pretty damned himself, like Cain punished for his sins against his brother and turned into a monster. But January, she didn’t even have a soul, or at least she smelled like formaldehyde, and the priest said she was ultra-damned, so that was good enough for him. Zachary thought, though he wouldn’t admit, that if January could be saved, maybe he could be too.

Lilith really didn’t want it. Or maybe her uncle the Fairy King wanted her to stir some stuff up for funsies. Or maybe she just wanted to punish Zachary. He promised to tell her the truth, and then lied and said he killer her father, when he knew that Ozma had done it (one of those awkward moments as they were having sex over the body of a fallen and devoured  elk that came out with a sob “I killed my music teacher”), because he wanted to protect Ozma (it’s the werewolf’s sex move yo). But whatever he vengeful reasons were, she hella crashed that party. Her visage that of some horned stag goddess of wrath.

And things got crazy. Lilith and Zachary fought and blood was shed. Then Ozma and Lilth fought and more blood was shed. We were all looking pretty bloody, when Nathan finally saw Lilith for the monster she had become (and as a note, this is when we as players realized that Lilith had really taken on the role of adversary, which is no small feat in a game) and begged his brother, the werewolf for forgiveness.

That was pretty awesome, seeing the high brought so low. Zachary joined January in the baptismal pool (a kiddy pool filled with what the priest said was holy water) and in that font he was redeemed… And January sank out of existence. Just disappearing into the water. You see the Fairy King had been watching all of this and thought that January was one cool character, never really buying anyone else’s story, but still becoming the center piece in their lives. Pretty fricking awesome. And so she was offered a home in the Fey, where the mythical creatures would mimic her.

Thoughts on the game

I had so much fun here. I loved the other characters, I loved all our interactions, and I loved, as Morgan put it, “Hulking out” at all the wrong times.

There was a love triangle that didn’t really connect between Ozma and the brothers, which could have been very cool to see, as well as a bit about Ozma’s story, and Nathans’s lack of involvement with her coming back to life (or unlife). That all just tells me that these characters would be great in a second session!

Morgan is a straight-up top-notch MC. He was super gracious keeping everyone’s characters involved and entangled in each others plots, as well as really making all of us feel special in our own right. Morgan reincorporated things beautifully and did great with the pacing, leading up to the Mega-Exorcism at the end. If you get a chance to play with Mr. Stinson, DO SO!

Actual Play – Darkest Self (6/21/2012)

GM: Scott White
Players: Sean Nittner, Rich Rogers, Adam Robichaud
System: Monsterhearts

We opened with Abaraham in his plush apartment in the woods. There was a knock on the door and he invited Jenny in. The kissed and we faded to black.

In the night we saw Dante stalking a girl, who turned out to know his older brother. He fed on her anyway, toying with her till she died. Darkest self and all.

On the other side of town Kendall sat in the hospital watching her mother and Dr. Shea (the county appointed psychiatrist) talk. As they did, her mother became more and more crestfallen.  Kendall was told she had to quit student council, too much stress her mother said. Kendall fought, even employed some dirty tactics, to stay president. She agreed however to see Dr. Shae every Friday at 7PM

Mr. Drake, Abraham’s former man-servant, now teacher and still loyal disciple of Mr. Silva, knocked on Abraham’s door. Inside he saw Jenny asleep on the couch. “Your father would not be pleased. Send her away.” The had an altercation and Arabaham pushed Drake off the stairs to his apartment, injuring him. He took the servants serpent can and cracked it over his knee, signifying his defiance of his family (and going Darkest Self). “Jenny, we have to leave…”

Dante was finishing his feast when Abraham and Jenny (pulling a giant suitcase on wobbly wheels through the woods) happened along.  Dante hid and although Abraham suspected something was amiss, he didn’t notice the vampire, cast it off as Drake still trying to follow him.

Dante stalked to two for a bit and then appeared, asking what they were doing.  They made up a flimsy story at first (Moon watching? Yeah, really? with a giant suitcase?) but eventually Jenny, still a little uncertain of what was going on herself, said “We’re running from his father.”

Dante agreed to help. Then sent Jenny off to steal a car and drove to an abandoned trailer park. This is where Abraham was amble to shut down Dante’s baser urges (was Dante trying to “help” just so he could isolate them and feed of them?) by allowing him entry into to the trailer (passing a threshold) and thus asserting his dominance.

Kendall also walked along in the dark, but not home. Instead she made a call and was picked up by Joshua, a member of student council. He took her back to the auditorium where he, Becky, Leslie and Ryan were all hanging out. The had liquor (taken from their parents cabinets) and were taking advantages of student council privileges (keys to the auditorium) to throw a small party. Kendall confided in them that Dante attacked her, and that she wanted to get back at him. An evil plan was hatched.

Dante, having agreed to help Abraham in exchange for his DJ equipment, returned to Abraham’s place to pick it up and found Drake there. He hypnotized the watcher and convinced him (ordered him) to give Abraham some space and to let him feel like he isn’t under his father’s thumb. There seemed to be something of an implication that Dante would be watching out for him, but I might have just imagined that.

Kendall snuck inside but bumped into one of her dad’s architectural models and woke him up (he had fallen asleep on the chair). He seemed worried, at first, but it was more about making her mother upset. Kendall recoiled, feeling rejected by her father as well.

Thoughts on the Game

Based on our previous discussion between games we agreed to try and hold off jumping to the dice this game. Last time we went to the dice very quickly and it led to a somewhat frenetic game. This time we gave the story a little longer to player out.  The story was richer because of it, but the scenes were also longer, involving more negotiation between players.  This helped keep the mood of the game pretty dark.

Scott asked us in advance to set aside some time at the end of the game to talk about how we were feeling about the game. The consensus was that after the second session we were more invested in the game.  We also talked about what was working and what we wanted to change. Most of that below. I’m really glad Scott called for this. It gave some closure to the game and let us talk about what we wanted going forward.

The scene of Dante feeding on Shelly hit some nerves for me. It wasn’t the feeding, that I was fine with an expected, it was the stalking. I likened it to the suspense in a horror movie when you don’t know what’s going to happen. Those are the scenes that I wince at and I found myself wincing here as well. I brought it up in the game, Rich lightened up a bit (still of course feeding, but less graphic with the menace) and then we talked about it more after the game. Rich’s concern, which I think is a really valid one, is how to balance doing justice to the character and the setting of the game (which is pretty dark) and at the same time being respectful of people’s boundaries.  It was a good talk after the game as well as a follow we had the next morning on g-chat.

I was really tired and felt way off my game. I ended up missing out on the scene of Dante and Abraham finding a place for Abaraham and Jenny to stay. I also couldn’t think of the names of the member of my clique to save my life. When it came time for “what do you do?” most of my thoughts were along the lines of pouting and feeling sorry for herself, but none of those were particularly actionable, so  went for getting vengeance, but that felt somewhat misplaced as well.

I find I don’t like my character. Maybe this is a Monsterhearts thing, maybe it’s a high-status thing. Maybe it’s a me thing.  Here’s the thing(s) about Kendall and how I think I can improve them.

  1. She’s vindictive in a way I don’t like. For instance, my gut was to approach Dante and slap him in the face saying “you ruined my life!” Hyperbole for sure, but primal, raw and real. What her clique encouraged her to do instead was to set him up to either get his ass kicked, or possibly have assault charges filed against him, or maybe just create a horrible social stigma. All of those ideas are much, much more effective than what I had though of (in terms of hurting Dante) but they were also a lot more calculating and cruel, which I’m not a fan of.  Rich, after the game, over chat, encouraged me to use my power over the clique to make them follow my worse, but more satisfying (to me as a player) plan. I think that is brilliant!
  2. Most of her motivation is to maintain the status quo. She’s well off, popular, and head of the student council. She gets away with everything and she has a bright future. Why would she want anything to change? I think I made her too “perfect” on the outset and now the only way for her to become interesting is to get broken, probably a lot broken. Having to see a shrink on Friday nights, possibly having to leave student council, and being hurt by Dante, are all good starts.  What I need to do with those, to make them fun, is to latch onto one of those problems and make it a goal to “fix” it. Hopefully not leading back to her original standing, but to something knew and cracked at the seems.
  3. A little bit I miss my original concept with Fee. I kind of just want to “burn it all down” sometimes, especially in this kind of game where that could happen and spark some really cool drama of trying to fit in, but inherently being outside society (Kendall is still very much a part of society, she plays by all of society’s rules, and in facts makes some herself).  I think if I can’t invest more in Kendall, I may bring Fee into the game.

I think that Monsterhearts isn’t exactly what I expected, though I’m not sure I know what that is. I was thinking along the line of Buffy. Teenage angst + monsters. But MH is about us being the monsters, and monstrous we are. I don’t envy Scott’s roll here either. “Hey Kendall, they think you’re hurting yourself and now you need to see a councilor.” Man, who wants to say that? Anyway, I want a shred of goodness in our characters and right now I’m not sure it exists. And when I do see it, for instance Dante trying to help our Kendall and then later Abraham, I don’t know if I should trust that it’s real.

Happiness as scarcity is, perhaps, to ephemeral for me, and I’m more comfortable allowing my emotional reactions to range, based on a response to other scarcities (food, survival, ownership, etc).  This may change as I get more invested in the goals of the characters and identify with them more, but for now they all seem shallow and greedy.

Actual Play – Newport High (5/31/2012)

GM: Scott White
Players: Sean Nittner, Rich Rogers, Adam Robichaud
System: Monsterhearts


This is our first play session of the game that started as Hillsdale High.

We had several changes before we got started.

Fee (my character) was removed. I was a little wigged out by having a character that was so close to another in concept (two musical ghouls burned to death by fire), so I elected to try something new, and from that was born Kendall Hurst, a sophomore that was incredibly popular, and student council president. Yes, a Queen. Continue reading Actual Play – Newport High (5/31/2012)

Actual Play – Alien coming to town (5/25/2012)

MC: Jackson Tegu
Players: Sean Nittner, Chris Bennett, Karen Twelves, Joe Mcdaldno
System: Monsterhearts

I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to really game at KublaCon. Kids in tow, there is virtually now way to set aside three or four hours to play without them constant interruption. So my brilliant plan was to “pre-game” the con by playing a game at Karen’s house (while the kids were sleeping) before the con. Yay.


Our game was set in the 80’s, somewhere in the Dust Bowl.

Zachariah Goldstein – My Jewish gypsy child who traveled with his family in RV caravans from place to place. He was a Serpentine, commanded his grandmother (Baba Goldstein) to rebuild he powerful connections they used to have. He wanted to be liked at school, wanted to settle down, but still wanted to appease his family’s wishes. The “lived” in the parking lot outside an old abandoned theater.

Enoch – Karen’s Hollow. A demon who inhabited a child named Enoch. The demon had no self-awareness (knowledge of being a demon, or how it got into this boy’s body). It just new it was here now, in a strange and foreign world.

Rufus – A Ghost whose mother walked into the kitchen one morning while he and his father were eating breakfast and shot them both dead. Joe played Rufus as a very proper young man. He liked order, and justice, and rules. After he died, and came back, his family relationship was strained but nobody talked about it. Mom moved out (I think they will site irreconcilable differences in the divorce settlement) and he and his father have been figuring out life (or unlife) without his mom for the last 6 months.

Sean – Chris played a Mortal that was in love with Zachariah. Most people didn’t like Sean, because they suspected or knew that he was gay. Sean liked cars though, he had an eight-seater Oldsmobile and got some street cred for that. It was also convenient that could drive everyone around.  The fact that he played a character with my name was not problematic at all. Continue reading Actual Play – Alien coming to town (5/25/2012)