[Monsterhearts] New Skins: The Oni, The Kitsune, and The Tengu [EDIT]

edited May 2013 in Make Stuff!
My friend and I are both big, big fans of Monsterhearts and we both like to tinker with rules. We've hacked a bunch of games, but never really finished anything or produced anything worth sharing.

Until now.

We've come up with the idea of making several new Skins based on monsters from Japanese mythology (as we've both been living in Kansai for several years now). Here is the first Skin: The Oni.

Everything's done except for the "intro text" on the front cover and a flavorful name for the Gang Advance option.

We'd love to hear feedback on The Oni, whether you simply read it over or if you actually use it a your table. How clear are the moves? Do they work as intended? Do the make sense for the Oni's nature? Are some of the moves broken or overpowered? Does something feel "off"? We just need more pairs of eyes on this Skin to spot any problems we may have overlooked. Thanks.


  • edited February 2013
    Neat! A brutal powerhouse. Stormcaller is cool.
    I'd let the Oni mark XP on The Raised Nail instead of +1 Forward.
    Unseen Spirit: I think you should just be a fan and give the Oni their full rolled success on a 10+. Don't know whether one or two choices is sufficient on a 7-9.
    The sex move is currently the only explicit way to assign stands out? I guess you can always shut someone down, even use Bully.
  • edited February 2013
    And while cool, Stormcaller lacks context. Adjust for what Oni do in mythology, but maybe something like:

    When you stand under the open sky and command the heavens, call out the name and crimes of the one who has displeased you and roll with volatile...
  • Thanks for looking it over and for the feedback, Cneph.

    Unseen Spirit: I've gotten feedback that said the available options are too hard. That they make the 7-9 result feel more like a miss than a mixed success. The goal was to provide options between trouble, suspicion, and duration. Though some people feel the options provided counteract the point of going invisible in the first place. Which I can kind of see. So I think this move needs a rework. Possibly changing it to a "on a 10 up, A and B, on a 7-9, A _or_ B" kind of move.

    Raised Nail: Marking XP was the original wording, but that got moved to Iron Club. I was worried that the trigger for Raised Nail would be too "abusable" and was too nebulous to give out XP, which it why it got moved. Looking at it again, I'm starting to think you might be right though. Maybe have Raised Nail give you XP and replace that option in Iron Club with doing extra harm. Hmm.

    The sex move is the only explicit way to give the Condition stands out. We tried some other moves, but they ended up being too close to the basic moves for our tastes. So we figured why not just let the players use basic moves to hand out that Condition.

    Hmm. I see what you'r saying about context. but I'm not sure if there is any context for oni calling storms in mythology. They just do it because they're evil bastards. I'd left it open so that players could intentionally use it however they wanted.
  • edited February 2013
    Unseen Spirit: I agree with the playtesters. So on a 10+, no problem. On a 7-9, maybe choose between trouble now (cause alarm or suspicion by disappearing) or trouble later (reappear at worst time).
    Something like, 10+ both, 7-9 choose one: You vanish without raising alarm. You become visible again at a time of your choosing.

    Raised Nail: It's Mark XP because thats exactly the shitty behaviour we want to see from the Oni. The notes can talk about how it needs to Be A Thing and Cause A Scene. Anyway, re. abuse, there is always the Singleton Rule.

    Stormcaller: Problem is, as written it's just a 5th level Druid spell. It's not brooding, petty, vengeful and (most importantly) not tied to the fiction. The way I see it working and hence my suggestion- you're pissy at someone over some teenage slight, so rather than deal with it, to 'punish' them you wrack the entire town with a storm that shatters windows, ruins the lacrosse final and floods the trailer park again- and that's on a 10+. Which is pretty evil. I feel we should know why the freak weather occurs- it's because Clancy was the lone dissenting voice who vetoed your Student Council proposal to mandate school uniforms.
  • Unseen Spirit: I'm honored you think I have enough clout to attract playtesters. Heh. After thinking about it again, all the things that could happen on a miss are already covered in the list of MC Moves. So that clause is redundant. I'm liking the 10+ both, 7-9 one suggestion a lot.

    Raised Nail: I'd forgotten that the Singleton Rule could stop XP farming abuse. And, as you pointed out Cneph, the shitty behavior the XP award would encourage is exactly what we should see the Oni doing.

    Stormcaller: I laughed my ass off at that example. Thanks for that, it's exactly what the Oni would do with that move in a high school setting.
  • edited February 2013
    Hey, it's a nifty skin, it wouldn't surprise me if people wanted to play it. The explanatory column is good for people who don't have the familiarity with the mythology. Bullying, striking back disproportionately, fearing and envying those who dare stand out, all good.

    Then I looked again at Uniformity. As written its not to the Oni's advantage at all, so mechanically it discourages the behaviour. Is that the intent? As written there isn't a benefit to taking the move. I could maybe see some variation of this as a 'you get this one and choose X more' move if it's meant to a mixed blessing sort of move like Hunger, but even then it should probably offer at least some reward for the behaviour.

    If you wanted to soften Raised Nail a bit, you could say 'you both mark XP'.

    Re. Iron Club, the 'do extra Harm to someone with this condition' is an established move.

    Starting Strings. Is the Oni really someone who would defend others? Isn't it more likely the two-string person faced you down and knows you're just a bully?

    Darkest Self. Escaping it requires no sacrifice or price to be paid. Other than if you count relenting on a pigheaded position. Hmm, I think at least it should be someone you've humiliated or brutalised who you must make the admission to/about.
  • Thanks. You're pointing out a lot of stuff that we've missed.

    It wasn't really meant to be a mixed blessing move like the Ghoul's Hunger. As the Oni is all about forcing conformity on other people, we were looking for some way to represent that mechanically. It felt like the move should be a choice the target made, so that other players didn't have their free will stomped all over. Like allowing the target to choose how they react to being successfully turned on.

    It almost is a "you get this extra effect" type move, as we imagined the Oni would use another move to satisfy the conditions of Uniformity. Like shutting someone down, manipulating an NPC, or spending a String to offer a PC XP to "behave". It's more of an incentive to the target than the Oni.

    Maybe something more like the Fae's move Lure would be better; where the Oni would get to "punish" someone who conformed and then broke out again. Or maybe another way to interact with the Condition 'stands out' to make the move worth while.

    Raised Nail:
    I'm OK with the Oni getting XP with this move.

    Iron Club:
    Dealing extra damage against someone with a specific Condition has been done before. But there's not that many ways to reward players in the MH mechanics, and I think it fits here. I'm open to other suggestions for "rewards" though.

    That's probably a better suggestion than what I have.

    Darkest Self:
    I see what you're saying. Maybe the end clause should tie into Uniformity. Absolving someone of their Condition sell out. Of course that means the player'd have to take that move for Darkest Self to end. Perhaps Uniformity should be the mandatory move.
  • This skin has a high number of ways to create strings, which I like.

    This skin has a high number of things that cause trouble and hand over control to the GM, which I like.

    The "Darkest Self" seem much weaker on the surface than other skins. It's WAY easier to get out of it, unless the player invests a lot of emotion in the urge to _not_ recognize a place for unique talents. A great player can make this Darkest Self great. A good or fair player could make this Darkest Self lose all impact and suck some drama out of it for the rest of the table.

    I actually liked the Invisibility, as well as the Stormcaller, because they are powers that make the Oni unique and different, and so it makes sense that they have consequences. It's not something the oni is going to go to to solve every problem. It's for rare occurences, and it should cause a mess.

    Them's my two cents. Overall, I like it.
  • Thanks for the feedback, Harlequin. Here's our thought process (kinda) when we were coming up with the invisibility move.

    Smart or cautious players will wait until no one is around to turn invisible; run around a corner, slip off to a private place, something like that. We were struggling with how to create a "mixed success" for the 7-9 result if the player went out of their way to make sure no one could possibly see them when they disappeared. The MC could narrate how there was an NPC around that the Oni failed to notice, but that would get old after a while. "Another guy I didn't see? Come on."

    So the "mixed success" issues we thought up were time limit (becoming visible at a bad time) or your absence being noticed, in addition to someone possiblyseeing you disappear. Having the player choose what option happens is them giving permission for the MC to mess with them. The player saying "Well, I guess someone saw me disappear." appeals to me a lot more than the MC blindsiding a player with it. As Cneph said, that sounds more like a Hard Move.

    Which has me wondering if it's too hard for a 7-9 option, as Cneph suggests. Maybe change Unseen Spirit to something like this:
    Unseen Spirit
    When you vanish from sight, roll with dark. On a 10 up, you're invisible until you decide otherwise, and no one notices anything strange about your absence. On a 7-9, choose one or the other.
    There's no real need for a miss clause, as that A) allows the MC to use whatever Hard Move they think is appropriate for the situation, and B) allows the player and MC to decide if the Oni is still invisible on a miss. It's also much shorter text. ;)

    I'm thinking Raised Nail should give the Oni XP. As Cneph said, the Oni should be encouraged to do that sort of thing, and marking XP is a big incentive.

    I have to think about Uniformity more.

    Iron Club needs a replacement for the loss of mark XP (which goes to Raised Nail). I think something that dismays or frightens anyone who saw the assault seems appropriate. Maybe like "take a String on someone who watched". That represents the Oni getting a bit of leverage on a bystander; the character knows the beating the Oni just dished out on someone else could be directed towards them. I kind of like that. Plus, it encourages the Oni to hand out beatings in public where lots of other people will be watching. Which is good.

    I also like the idea of PCs getting -1 to all rolls for the remainder of the scene. Again, it represents people being a bit shaken up by the brutal display the Oni put on. Maybe the move should look like this:
    Iron Club
    When you deal harm to someone with the Condition stands out, choose one: carry 1 forward; gain a String on someone who watched; subtract 1 from any rolls against you for the rest of this scene (NPC act at a Disadvantage).
    Maybe that last option is too good. Imposing -1 for a whole scene might be a bit much.

    Darkest Self needs to be a bit punchier, I guess. Any move can fall flat if the player isn't going to do anything with it, but perhaps this needs to force even good/fair players to agonize a bit.
  • edited May 2013
    OK. So even though they're not finished yet, I'm putting up links to our other Skins in development, The Kitsune and The Tengu.

    The Kitsune is farthest along of the two; The Tengu only has three moves currently. These aren't the final products, but as I got great feedback on The Oni, I figured I'd let the community have a little look see. Thanks.
  • I knew it was gonna be a Kitsune when you mentioned a transforming skin earlier in my thread.

    I'm interested in how you think of them as interacting with the "metaphor" of the game - what archetypal teenager things are each of them representing? The Oni made it pretty clear that it was about conformity, both himself and enforcing it in others, about ostricization of the Different.
    But with The Kitsune and The Tengu the metaphor is less clear - I can maybe see something in The Tengu, but that one's not really developed a ton yet. The Kitsune just seems muddled on its metaphor, though I could be missing it. It seems like a shapetaker, a seductress, and a manipulator/controller all in one, and I'm not sure what that makes her overall. The latter too have some overlap with The Vampire for sure, but the first might be enough change to make that not matter.
    It's cool if there ISN'T one and these are just cool monsters though. The metaphor is just one of my personal draws to the game.

    Just gonna talk about The Kitsune. Leavin' The Tengu to get a little more meat - nothing seems particularly outrageously problematic at the moment.

    Some cool things:
    Spending strings on someone to boost the transform roll is awesome.
    Fight or Flight is an interesting mechanical trick.
    Kitsunebi looks like fun.

    Some things that bug me:
    I get the purpose, and it seems mechanically viable, but Vixen fails to interest me. Could just be me though.
    Kitsunetsuki concerns me a lot. Mind control of NPCs is all well and good, but taking away another player's control of their own character bothers me a lot. I've had an MC who doesn't play with The Vampire because, among other things, Hypnotic is a really dangerous move. I'd love to see some way of bringing in the idea of Kitsune possession, but I think full control of another player character's body might be a little overbearing. Also, I think the middle option for drawbacks (noticeably vulpine features) might be milder than the others, which isn't great cuz the others are really interesting and I don't want to see them ignore because they're larger drawbacks. Perhaps "unmistakeably" vulpine features might be better - it isn't that you can notice them, it's that you can't NOT notice them.
    The sex move has something I bumped up against, and is something I thought about quite a bit while writing my own Skin. Personally, I'm bothered by the idea of rewarding having sex while passing yourself off as someone else - it makes me uncomfortable, it seems almost a little rape-y in my mind. Now, in play, that's most likely not how it will be perceived, and its totally the sort of thing a teenager who could shapeshift would do, but it causes me hesitation. It's totally cool to leave it in, as long you know that it might be able to look that way. Mechanically, it totally works.

    Some missed opportunities:
    This is just my own experience with the Kitsune concept, but I think it's a shame to relegate the mention of tails just to an origin. I have no idea how to implement anything about that though.
    For a Skin that always comes with Skinchange, it might be worthwhile to have more than just Sunshower and the Sex Move helping gather Strings.
    With the wide variety of abilities of the Kitsune, it actually might be worth dropping Skinchange as a required move and allowing a greater degree of customization over what kind of Kitsune to be. It would require a re-write of how exactly Skinchange works, but an idea to think on.
    When you fill out the Backstory, re-iterate that you should determine what your default human-shape looks like. It's easier to forget if it's just in the move. Or better yet, just integrate it into the Look options, maybe having a third choice to make there. You ought to have the space.

    Likin' the stuff a lot! Hope this gives you some stuff to think about.
  • Yeah. The Kitsune was a safe bet. Either that, or The Tanuki (which I'm still thinking about). :)

    I was lucky with The Oni. I got the idea to do Skins from Japanese mythology and the Kitsune, the Oni, and the Tengu seemed like logical choices. As I was working on the Oni though, I got a brainstorm and saw what the "teenage metaphor" was; bullying those who stand out. It fit perfectly, and I just continued to roll with it.

    The Kitsune and The Tengu don't fit as neatly into the teenage metaphor though. Most of the Kitsune's moves are based on the Kitsune lore rather than the teenage metaphor the character would be in a game of Monsterhearts. I suppose there's a bit of your Doppleganger in there, too. The Kitsune is that kid who would rather be someone else than themselves. The Tengu? No idea, and it may end up being the weakest of the Skins because of it. I'm leaning towards instigator though, since that's kind of what Tengu are.

    Fight or Flight:
    I think this one's going to get the axe and be replaced with something else. It's too long and clunky for my tastes. My friend suggested letting the player roll with nothing (meaning don't add cold or volatile), but that's a benefit, as the Kitsune's "bad stats" are cold and volatile. I'm kicking around the idea of the Kitsune gaining the Condition skittish (or something similar) on a 7-9 in addition to whatever results from the move they choose, but I'm not sure.

    This was mainly because I hadn't seen a "choose an additional option" for the turn someone on move. I thought it kind of tied into the Kitsune lore of "the foxwife"; there's lots of stories of Kitsune taking the shape of a beautiful woman and marrying or sleeping with men. I'll admit it's not a super exciting move however.

    This may need to be changed so that it only affects NPCs. It kind of goes against the lore, but this may be a case where game mechanics need to take precedence over the fiction. As you said horn_head_o, the Kistune possessing another PC would be problematic. It also mad need a clause saying you can only possess someone while you're not wearing someone else's shape. Wearing someone else's form, then possessing another body might simply be too good; no on would ever be able to trace you.

    I actually thought the "constant eating" might be the weakst of the options. For a while I considered a "must hold steady when food is available" clause like the Ghoul's hunger, but ditched it because it made the option too long and clunky for my tastes. Changing the middle option to "you manifest unmistakably vulpine facial features" might be a better and stronger wording as you suggest.

    Sex Move:
    I came up with the Sex Move shortly after the Skinchange move. I really like the potential drama it'll cause, and hadn't considered the rape-y implications. I can clearly see them now, though I'm OK with them. (Which sounds terrible, I know.)

    This needs some qualifiers for what counts as "your privacy". This is where something about the fox tail would go, as that's usually when people see it; stumble in on the Kitsune when they aren't expecting it and you may catch a glimpse of their true nature.

    There may be a few more moves in the finished version that give the Kitsune Strings, but I kind of like how Skinchange makes them want Strings on everyone, meaning the'll have to go around sleeping with everyone (in a different form) or turning them on. Encouraging the player to make rolls helps ensure something is always happening in the game.

    This wasn't originally a "must take" move. But after I wrote the Sex Move, I realized that a Kitsune without Skinchange was really being hamstrung. The only way they'd qualify for their Sex Move is if they tricked someone into thinking they were someone else, either in a completely dark room or at something like a masquerade party. Which is awesome, but not very practical. So I just made Skinchange the "mandatory" move.

    I like the "spend Strings" thing, too. It allows the Kitsune to become anyone, so long as they're happy with rolling with nothing. :)

    That's a really good suggestion to reiterate that the Kitsune only has a single "generic" human disguise. Maybe have a spot on the front page for "True Form" and "Human Disguise" to drive that home.

    This is actually getting moved to the Tengu Skin and being replaced with this:
    False Promises
    When you conjure a physical object from pure magic as payment or appeasement, roll with dark. On a 10 up, you're long gone by the time the item fades, and when it does the person just assumes it's lost. On a 7-9, the item only lasts until you get away; whoever you gave it to is going to come back later with questions.
    Nine Tales:
    This was suggested by my friend and may replace Fight or Flight. The Kitsune is pretty much a pathological liar (which could be it's teenage metaphor), and a move like this would help support that:
    Whenever you cover up one lie with another, despite people knowing the truth, mark experience.
    I like what it does, but it needs some tweaking. I'm also wondering if two moves that award XP are too much.

    Thanks for your thoughts. :)
  • Not having a metaphor is fine. Sometimes a monster just feels compelling in itself. The Doppleganger for me originally came about as just a monster and it wasn't until a couple moves in I realized how it might fit into the metaphor.
    The idea of taking the Kitsune as an exaggeration of a Liar could be pretty awesome, actually. Lying is definitely a big part of being a teenager, and I don't think it's really been explored a ton yet (though I was surprised to NOT find a Pinnochio move for The Hollow!). And a lot of the things the mythological Kitsune can do are about deception: shapeshifting is visual form trickery, temptation with false prizes, false promises (watch out if you make these promises to The Fae!).
    Lying is cool and I think it makes for a good hook of how to do things. If you want to go the extra mile with that metaphor, what is it about the Kitsune that makes them lie about everything? Sometimes it's just nature, but a lot of the archetypal actions taken by various Skins are pulled out of some personal character trait (often flaw!). The Ghoul is obsessive about his fixation. The Witch is petty and vindictive. The werewolf has anger management issues. The Infernal makes bargains because he's addicted. For my own piece, The Doppleganger transforms into people because he's jealous and self-loathing (which I definitely don't think is what the Kitsune is about, so we've definitely got different sides of shapeshifters, thankfully).
    So why does the Kitsune lie?

    Fight Or Flight:
    Oh yeah, I kinda forgot that roll-with-nothing is actually an improvement by default. Oh well.
    This mechanic has a place in something, but I'm pretty sure that place isn't here, yeah.

    Yeah, I do enjoy the mechanical idea, I think it's just not the most exciting thing about this Skin to me.

    Yeah, but it would still be neat to be able to be able to have leverage over PCs with it. My usual go-to for influencing PCs in ApW tends to be the "if you do Mark XP, if you don't Act Under Fire" but MH has that automatically built into Strings, so it's a bit too small as an additional Move effect.
    So you can't wear someone else's form, but can you wear your default human? Or do you need fox-to-people contact. Regardless, I imagine this is going to be a mess to word eloquently.
    The food one isn't self-harmful, but I imagine it would be pretty weird to see if someone was eating constantly. A stronger wording on the middle option would put them on equal footing as "easy to notice, not inherently alarming, but also bizarre to see" which is probably about the right place. The last one is probably nasty if you pick it for a talking bit, but I imagine you wouldn't really pick it in those circumstances anyway - if you wanted the person for something physical then it becomes the beneficial one, so it's balanced out.

    Sex Move:
    Fair enough! As I said, it's not about getting scared of the rape-y implications, it's about knowing they're there and still choosing to go with it, which is totally the right path I think, it is indeed a very drama-causing thing.
    For the "first time in this form" thing, does that apply with your default human form too? So every new person you have sex with even in your own shape is an xp? Doesn't that only really make the clause relevant if you try to have sex with the same person in multiple forms over time? It might be a little wordy in that sense - it could just be "if this is the first time you've had sex with this person, mark xp" with very little actual loss of effect. If that feels like it's a LOT of xp, perhaps go the other way with it, to "the first time you have sex in a given form, mark xp." That one benefits having sex in many forms rather than having sex with many people.
    The "string if they think you're someone else" is great though.

    Maybe "intrudes upon your privacy in a vulnerable moment"? I do like the idea that they need to burst your privacy, and I kinda feel that's okay to leave it a bit open to interpretation.
    This is a cool move though.
    "intrudes upon your privacy to discover your deception"? Tie it into the lying bit maybe?

    Strings sure are important! If you like the idea of making it hard to GET the strings, funneling you into a couple bits (which makes sense with the whole temptress thing), but you still want to ramp up the Strings thing, maybe change the ways you can interact with them. Have extra things happen when you get them, when you spend them, expand their uses, find new things to spend them for (probably less of this though, they're gonna want the strings for transforming).

    That's fair, good reason.

    Luckily, splitting the look into multiple sections isn't even uncharted waters! The Serpentine has a True Form and Human Appearance section, if you have that to reference. (if you don't I don't mind sharing it, doing my layout for me was more than enough of a trade)

    False Promises:
    Yeaaah, that's a good thing. I'm likin' it right now.

    Nine Tails:
    I like the idea, but it feels wordy and perhaps a little hard to use in practice. There's definitely something in there though. And I don't think there's too much trouble with multiple xp-gaining moves. Unconventional, but not too bad. Since one of them is a roll as well it's even less troublesome.

    There, that hopefully builds on something! I do like the skin idea a lot, Kitsune are interesting creatures.
  • edited February 2013
    Alluring skin. I like the idea of running with lies, deception and leading people astray. Then lying some more. There are three XP moves including the Sex move, which feels too many and may shorten the season. You coud always give a String for one of them.

    I may have more later, but wanted to note that, depending on whether you count a Skinchange roll as being "against" another (and I'd say it has a strong case if the other person doesn't want to be impersonated), you can spend a String to add 1 to your roll, after rolling.
  • There's a new version of The Oni (Revision 1) available, incorporating some of the feedback I've gotten here.

    The changes are as follows:

    - New image. I like this one better. The wild hair says "storm" to me, and the guy's a bit sexier. Important for Monsterhearts.

    - Names. I changed the last line of the names section.

    - Backstory. I dropped the "you protected someone" clause, as it didn't fit. As Cneph suggested, it's now "someone stood up to you and called you on your bullshit". Much, much better. Thanks.

    - Unseen Spirit has become a "10 up both, 7-9 choose one" move, as suggested, with a choice between duration and notice.

    - Raised Nail now awards XP for Oni-like behavior.

    - Stormcaller has had more fiction added to the trigger, informing more about the move's intent.

    - Uniformity has been completely rewritten. When you force someone to conform, they get the Condition 'sell out'. As long as they have that Condition, they subtract 1 from all 'shut someone down' and 'lash out physically' rolls (NPCs act at a Disadvantage). This is meant to show that the Oni has cowed them into behaving, and they are less able to cause shit. People know that they're easily pushed around, and are less inclined to be pushed around by them.

    - Iron Club has new options to replace the lost "mark XP". Now you can carry 1 forward, gain a String on someone who watched the assault, or subtract 1 from all rolls against you this scene (NPCs act a Disadvantage).

    - Darkest Self has been rewritten. Similar to the Ghost being able to absolve people of their 'blamed' Condition, now the Oni must publicly accept someone's difference and remove their 'stands out' Condition.

    - Advancements. The gang advancement has been named.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with the changes. The new Darkest Self escape clause has fictional and mechanical requirements that mesh pretty well.

    I'm still unsure about Uniformity. I feel that there should be some way to indicate that the target has been cowed into behaving, both fictionally and mechanically. I like the target being less effective at 'shutting people down' and 'lashing out physically' (violent or hurtful actions), meaning more harmony within the group (in a twisted kind of way).

    However, giving a -1 for both Uniformity and Iron Club might be too much.
  • edited February 2013
    However, giving a -1 for both Uniformity and Iron Club might be too much.
    I think so. For Iron Club, when I said +1 Harm was an established move, I meant that it was a reasonable, even good, option to offer. -1 to all rolls against you sounds very sweet.

    I might also say:
    When you deal harm to someone with the Condition stands out, choose one: carry 1 forward; gain a String on someone who watched and did nothing; cause +1 Harm

    Have you hit on a better name for the sell out Condition in cowed?

    Re. Uniformity, are you codifying the regular rules? Not got the rules handy, but can anyone who can take advantage of a Condition impose -1 on your roll, or is it just +1 to rolls against them? The condition would be easily taken advantage of in the case of a cowed individual attempting to lash out or shut down (maybe also with a sellout).

    With that in mind, what about for Iron Club
    When you deal harm to someone with the Condition cowed, pick someone who watched and did nothing. Give them the Condition cowed

    This will give an increasing number of cowed people who's Condition you can easily take advantage of- as they are specifically cowed by you. Or trigger PC-PC fightbacks, which is what we want to see. Right?
  • Ah. I misunderstood your "established" comment to mean it had already been done and to find something new. -1 to all rolls against you for an entire scene is really good. Maybe that should become "-1 to the next roll against you this scene". The shock and dismay you cause only lasts a short time, rather than a whole scene. It'd be the mirror image of "carry 1 forward".

    Adding "and did nothing" is exactly what I was going for with Iron Club. Why I didn't think to actually write that though is beyond me. Thanks.

    'Cowed' sounds much better than 'sell out' as the appropriate Condition. It's meant to represent someone who won't rock the boat or speak out anymore. Or maybe something that plays with a word that means "herd". I'll think about that. But 'sell out' really doesn't seem appropriate.

    I've got the MH pdf on my work computer just for times like this. ;) The book says "If you take advantage of a Condition that someone has, while making a move against them, add 1 to your roll." So, if my years of rules-lawyering from playing Magic have paid off, that should mean characters with the 'cowed' Condition will only get -1 to their 'lash out' and 'shut down' rolls if the Oni chooses that Move. Without Uniformity "turned on" by being selected by the Oni player, 'cowed' simply acts like any other Condition; giving other characters a +1 bonus against the target if they can fictionally explain why the Condition makes their action easier/more effective.

    Maybe Iron Club should look like this:
    "When you deal harm to someone with the Condition 'stands out' choose one: carry 1 forward; take a String on someone who watched but did nothing; give the Condition 'cowed' to someone who watched; deal 1 extra harm."

    The point is the Oni beats on people who are different to set an example for everyone else. Don't be different and you won't get picked on. That's why they target someone who 'stands out' to give other people the Condition 'cowed'. The Oni will generally leave people alone if they follow the rules, meaning they won't pick on 'cowed' people.

    Maybe handing out the Condition and having the "-1 to 'shut down' and 'lash out' rolls" clause in Uniformity it too much. Maybe it should just be this:
    "People with the Condition 'cowed' subtract 1 from all 'shut someone down' and 'lash out physically' rolls. (NPCs act at a Disadvantage.)"

    That way Uniformity interacts with the 'cowed' Condition, but doesn't hand it out as well. To give someone the Condition, you have to 'shut them down' or use Iron Club. It takes down the power of Uniformity a bit (since you have to take it as an Advance) while still keeping the mechanics in tact.

    With that rattling around in my brain, I wonder if the Sex Move should change. Instead choosing between a String our the Condition 'stands out', maybe the Oni should choose between the Conditions 'stands out' and 'cowed'. Is the person you just slept with a trouble maker who needs to be beaten down, or are they already a part of the herd? Hmm. I like that.
  • Am i the only one that thinks Vixen is really cool?
    Also a Kitsune and a Fey i an game together would be a riot!
  • I like Vixen, too. (I think it should apply on both a 7-9 and a 10+, however.)
  • I like Vixen, too. (I think it should apply on both a 7-9 and a 10+, however.)
    I think it does. It's not "when you get a 7-9 on a 'turn someone on' roll" but a "when you get a 7 up on a 'turn someone on' roll". Did I word that incorrectly?
  • It just hit me, that a female Oni could really well be the typical Alpha Female that dominates everyone that doesn'T wear the right designer clothes/a poor/a into nerdy things. Playing this as a female turns it into totally a different thing.
  • New image. I like this one better. The wild hair says "storm" to me, and the guy's a bit sexier. Important for Monsterhearts.
  • edited February 2013
    I don't like -1 to a future roll as a mechanic in this case (either move). Not quite sure why, maybe because it's telling another player how their character reacts to the beating. That should at least require a roll.

    On that note, for Uniformity at least, there is already a move (for PCs) to represent hesitancy- having to Hold Steady before you can do this thing. Maybe that's what Uniformity offers, after all fear of the Oni is supposedly keeping you in check, right? This way you can influence behaviour, rather than just results.

    Edited to add- escaping the Darkest Self is still way too easy. Looking at the other Skins in the book, it shouldn't be something you can just turn around and do right after the MC tells you to go Darkest Self. The only way out is to carry on further into the darkness, for most of the Skins. There should always be collateral damage. Accepting someone might be part of it, but we need to see you make (that) someone's life a living hell first.
  • It just hit me, that a female Oni could really well be the typical Alpha Female that dominates everyone that doesn'T wear the right designer clothes/a poor/a into nerdy things. Playing this as a female turns it into totally a different thing.
    So you're saying we need Lindsay as a name option?
  • I have to say, i don't get that reference.
  • Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls. I like your alternate spin on the character, and think with non-supernatural moves and another suitable origin, the judging, cliquey alpha female could be played very nicely. The reference was just an attempt to think of an example in media, that one sprung to mind.
  • I tried to pick fairly gender-neutral names (except for Bronte), but I like Lindsay. Maybe not that spelling, though. A Mean Girls version of the Oni who marks people as 'standing out' because of the labels they wear totally works. And totally fits the petty high school setting. I hadn't considered a mundane version, but that's part of what makes The Queen such an interesting Skin for me. Maybe condense the thunder spirit and wind spirit origins into a generic "weather spirit" option, leaving room for a mundane origin option.

    The -1 to other people's rolls was a variation of The Queen's move, The Shield. That one gives everyone a -1 penalty to their rolls while The Queen is surrounded by her gang. The Oni's Uniformity move was kind of the same thing. Although, The Shield is eternal; the gang is preventing or interfering with the character's action, making it less effective. It doesn't dictate how the character feels about The Queen. So, I can see why the Oni's move feels different, despite being mechanically identical. It does represent something of how the character feels about the Oni; they're scared of the bullying they got, making their actions less effective.

    So, while I think the -1 to rolls works as a mechanic, I am questioning the move now because it dictates the target's feelings and responses. I'd thought about forcing the target to hold steady as you suggested Cneph. But as anyone can just spend a String to force someone to hold steady, I feel there has to be some sort of extra effect granted by Uniformity. Maybe it's enough to word the second half of Uniformity like this:

    "While the Condition remains, they must hold steady before making shut someone down or lash out physically rolls against you. (NPCs act at a Disadvantage.)"

    That works, and puts the power back in the target's hands by having the player roll for it.

    I'm not sure the Darkest Self escape clause for the Oni is any easier than some of the existing Skins. For example, the Witch's is "offer peace to the one you have hurt the most", the Werewolf's is "wound someone you really care about or the sun comes up", The Vampire's is be "put in your rightful place by someone more powerful", the Mortals is "seeing the pain you're causing your lover", the Ghoul's is to be fended off for half an hour, and the Fae's is "re-balance the scales of justice". All of those (barring the Ghoul's) could be achieved right after the player becomes their Darkest Self. If you're the Witch, just go apologize right away. If you're the Werewolf, beat the shit out of someone you love as soon as you turn. If you're the Mortal, say "Oh, I'm hurting you" to your lover right away. All of the Darkest Self escape clauses in the "official" Skins are abuseble by players who don't want to play along with the script. I really don't think you can force people to play along, only suggest things and hope they follow the spirit of the escape clause, rather than the letter. I don't see "accepting and publicly announcing someone's difference" being any different from "offering peace to one you've hurt the most".

    Unless I stipulared you had to acknowledge and accept the differences of the person you had bullied the most.

    By the way, I hope I'm not coming off too defensive here. I'm just having trouble seeing the difference between the wording of the escape clauses between the real Skins and the Oni.
  • HyveMynd - I actually did a rework of your Kitsune Skin for a friend. Would you be against me posting it in this thread or in another to get people's opinions here? Of course giving you credit for the original design.
  • Hey @deadmanshand. Sorry for the late reply. I haven't visited the forums in a while. Sure. I'd love to see what you did with the Kitsune.
  • Awesome. Here it is then.

    The Kitsune

    Acceptance is hard. Especially when you're a fox. You just want to talk, laugh, and love like anyone else but no one gets to know a fox. You're just an animal to them. But they don't know what you know. They don't know how to become someone else. To look and walk and talk just like them. They might never get to know the real you but they'll accept the illusion in front of them.

    Playing the Skin

    Darkest Self

    They think you're just an animal. Maybe even a demon. It's time to teach these monkies a lesson. Show them just who the animal is. Show them just how much of a monster they can be.

    When in Darkest Self the Kitsune will do everything to take the objects of her wrath down a peg or two or a hundred. Leading them into danger, seducing a husband in the form of his wife only to turn back when she walks in, trick them in any way you can, and more. Come out of Darkest Self when someone accepts what you really are or are outsmarted by your prey.

    Sex Move

    When you have sex with someone, gain a String on them if they don't know what you are. If they think you are someone else entirely, mark an experience as well.


    Add 1 to one of these: Hot 1, Cold -1, Volatile -1, Dark 1


    A mythological name, a japanese name, a seductive name


    sultry, foxy, pure, enchanting, vulpine

    intense eyes, hot eyes, pleading eyes, loving eyes, mischievous eyes

    True Appearance

    red fox, white fox, silver fox, black fox

    start with one tail and gain one tail per advancement; at 9 tails fur turns silver or gold (your choice)


    a flat broad leaf, a bundle of reeds, a human skull, a discarded sandal


    Kitsune Moves

    Start with the following Move and then choose one more

    * Skinchanger: When you balance your token on your head, you shed your fox shape and take on human form. Describe what this disguise looks like during your backstory; you always assume this form when masquerading as a human. Remove the item, and you'll become a fox again.

    Instead of your usual human shape, you can try to mimic the form of a specific person. Spend any number of Strings that you have on that person, then roll with Dark with a bonus equal to the number of Strings spent.

    On a 7-9, you look and sound like that person till the next sundown or sunrise and choose one thing from the list below.
    - you have a tail
    - you have a fox shaped shadow
    - your reflection shows your true form

    On a 10+, you look and sound like that person till the next sundown or sunrise.

    - Fight or Flight: When it comes time to run none know how better than a fox. When you run away roll with Dark.

    - Sunshower: Whenever someone intrudes on your privacy, unannounced and uninvited, take a String on them.

    - Kitsunetsuki: Kitsune are known to possess people from time to time. When you look into an npc's eyes who is of the same gender you may roll with Dark.

    On a 7-9, you possess them for 1 day and 1 night or until you take Harm plus choose one condition below:
    - you have a voracious appetite; if there is food available you must hold steady or eat
    - you become fox faced
    - you can only communicate in fox noises

    On a 10+, you possess them for 1 day and 1 night or until you take Harm.

    - Hoshi no Tama: You have a fox pearl that holds part of your magic. People can steal your Tama but never destroy it. When someone withholds your Tama and demands you do something for them before they’ll give it back, take a String on them. If they don’t return your Tama, mark an experience and gain the condition crazy like a you.

    Currently held by:

    - Vixen: When you successfully turn someone on they choose an additional option from the 7-9 list.

    - Trickster Spirit: When you cover one lie with a bigger lie mark an experience.

    - Kitsunebi: Following foxfire is always dangerous. When you lead someone astray into dangerous territory, either literally or figuratively, roll with Hot.

    On a 7-9, you can choose to either escape safely and they get a String on you because they know what you did or assume your true form in front of them and then escape.

    On a 10+, you can choose to escape safely or suffer the same danger and mark an experience.

    On the plus side you can also perform small tricks with foxfire but can light nothing larger than a candle.


    Someone suspects you are more than what you seem. Take a String on each other.

    You once mimicked someone's form. Take 1 String on them.


    * Take another Kitsune move.
    * Take another Kitsune move.
    * Take a move from another Skin.
    * Take a move from another Skin.
    * You've joined a Host of Fox Spirits.
    * Add 1 to Hot (max 3).
    * Add 1 to Cold (max 3).
    * Add 1 to Volatile (max 3).
    * Add 1 to Dark (max 3).
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