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Last night's session of #monsterhearts was groundbreakingly great!We had a guest star player (+Paul T.), who came in for a one shot and tried out the Doppleganger (named Adrianne) skin to much success.* Posing as Sophie, Adrianne convinced Gabe the Angel to finally make a move. Of course, Gabe ended up making a move on the real Sophie, who happens to be possessed by a demon! That's right, out resident Angel lost his virginity to a demon. Oh, that cannot be a good thing, right? Not at all.* Posing as Gabe, Adrianne tries to sew dissent between #dakotatheteenagewerewolf and Ophelia the Mortal and then convinced Dakota that Gabe was still in love/lust for Sophie, so Dakota told fake-Gabe to go "f**k the demon out of her" and ran back home to text her sorta hunky, sorta BF Joey so they could exchange "I love yous" for the first time, and do the deed, for the first time.* Since Adrianne had created a mini-rift between Dakota and Ophelia about Gabe, this prompted Ophelia to admit she was actually seeing Luke, Dakota's eldest brother (who is a Vampire, oh my!); rather than freak out on her, Dakota, always a pretty pragmatic person, said, "Oh, really? Well, that's cool... uh, use protection?!?"So so loved last night's game. K. is a masterful MC who allows us to have moments of sanity in the whirlwind of our PC's chaotic lives, but mixes in drama without going over the top.I should probably feel guilty for admitting this, but I actually got a little giddy for Dakota when she told Joey she loved him, when she actually opened up to someone. Not giddy like I did anything, but that kind of giddy when your favorite character of your favorite TV show finally achieves something or kisses the girl/guy. That kind of giddy. I had that. And it was good.We spent maybe an hour after the game just talking about the game, what makes it so fun for us, how it is different from other games/groups we play, fun stuff. Love this game, love this group.
The Doppleganger really jumped out at me immediately because of the potential for "sexy, messy stories" -- it's just perfect for what Monsterhearts tries to do. Oh, the potential! It's a very exciting Skin. What are the challenges around getting it to work well?Here's the first one:Who's fooled by the Doppleganger?This is difficult because the Transform move tells us whether the Doppleganger manages to take on another person's form, but it doesn't tell us how other people react. Can they figure out that they aren't really talking to their friend Gabe?As a player, clearly there's no chance you're going to be fooled, so you know exactly what's going on: this is not Gabe. So that's off the table. What about your character? Does he or she know it's not Gabe? This gets trickier. If you like the way things are going, you willingly play along and it's all fun and exciting. But if playing along is not in your character's interests, or not ultimately compelling to you, then you have a difficult choice: "Does my character know that something's amiss?" How do you decide? You can't really judge by the player's impersonation (it's obviously not going to fool you, the player). Sometimes you can make a guess based on the fiction ("Gabe doesn't like anchovies, but he's eating a pizza and enjoying it"), but other times it's a very awkward position to be in, and feels totally arbitrary. (Am I right? How did it feel from your end, other players?)So, I think it's a bit problematic. Having some kind of mechanical support for which way things go would really help make this smoother and easier. This is why I really like Rich's suggestion here: it does exactly that. I was considering a very similar rule/move after our game. Here it is:Face DancerWhen you're transformed and another player begins to suspect something's amiss, you can tell them your impersonation is convincing and ask them to play along. If they accept, they mark experience, and are convinced that you are who you appear to be until you transform or reveal your identity. If they refuse, they may do as they like, leaving open the option to suspect you immediately or decide something's wrong with your impersonation later.I think this makes the decision a lot easier for the other player: "Ok, I'll play along." Or, "No, let me see where this goes." And, in the second case, they won't feel guilty if, later in the scene, they say, "Wait! I think that's not Gabe!"
FeathersWhen you dress in someone else's clothes in an attempt to pass as them, roll with hot. On a 10 up, you're passing as them - face and body. You'd fool their mother and their favorite hookup. • On a 7-9, same as above, but choose one: someone suspects, the clothes are noticed missing, you receive some unwanted attention.While you're passing as someone, give social Conditions you receive to them instead. This won't let you avoid physical Conditions, though.
When there's a game of Monsterhearts with 3 shapechangers and a Mortal who's in love with one of them and then suddenly there's three of the person the Mortal's in love with... yes. That will be a fine day indeed!
I think it's an interesting concept, I am curious to see how this will differ from The Cuckoo!
- being able to transform should require something like a sympathetic token and/or an expenditure of a String in my opinion. It's a powerful ability and shouldn't come without a cost, plus watching them maneuver to get such a token provides great opportunities for interesting RP. That, or spending a String showing that you're using what you know about them to aid you in this process.
- I am not sure how this would work with Conditions. The other character's Conditions should apply to The Doppelganger if they've taken that character's form (The Doppelganger after all wasn't the one labeled a slut or humiliated by Shut Someone Down) except for perhaps drained and terrified. In general, I am curious to know about Strings, Conditions, etc. And also what happens if/when they get caught!
- One thing that could be interesting is adding a Move that lets you add 1 to any roll against a person you share a String against in common with your current form. For example, The Vampire and The Doppelganger both have a String against The Mortal. The Doppelganger takes The Vampire's form and is able to add 1 to their roll against The Mortal. Does that make sense? Since they both share emotional leverage, The Doppelganger could use what they know as well as the fact that they're currently in the form of someone else who has some sort of pull/hold on them. Just a thought.
- Would be neat to see a Move allowing for some sort of benefit if another character is in collusion with you.
- Something I might do is give other players a chance to roll with Dark to see if they can see through the disguise. If their roll fails, maybe you can carry one forward while in your current form against them or something?
The mention of The Doppelganger using the fake Facebook account and the suggestion that they could be in their own form and pretend to be someone they're not ("You the new intern?" "Totally.") gives me ideas for some interesting Moves to play a different kind of Doppelganger. Overall, a pretty nifty concept that could make a good addition to a game.
Transform: You can transform into any character you have a String on. When you transform, roll with Dark. On a 10 up, you take their form perfectly. On a 7-9, choose one: * Your impersonation won't hold up under scrutiny. * The process is agonizing, take 1 Harm. OR * The process is slow and agonizing. * The disguise won't last long.
Transformed: You can transform into any character you have a String on. When you act in a way that's out of character for the person you're impersonating, roll with Dark. On a 10 up, you get away with it. On a 7-9, you raise suspicion that something's wrong and need to adjust your performance or your cover is blown.
Mutual Enemy: When both you and the character you're impersonating have a String on someone, you take +1 to all rolls against this character.
Conspirators: While transformed, when another character knows who your really are, they may mark experience if they agree to not expose you. If they do, take a String on them.
Personality Bleed: When you return to your own form, ask what the highest stat was for the character you were impersonating (ask the MC if it was an NPC). Until you next Transform, whenever you would roll with that stat, roll with Dark instead.