22 December 2005

Vesperteen Playtest Doc, Part 2 (Draft)

Quick Push update: I finally heard back from Emily and John Kim about my edits of their articles, so we're moving rapidly forward again. Finished layout tweaks on John's article last night and jiggled a few things that Emily wanted tweaked. Now it's time to finish Eero's, so by the time Shreyas gets back from India I'm ready to nail the final pieces down. Woohoo! Accomplishing things means I have the excuse to write more about Vesperteen. Here goes:

So last time I said that character creation happens during this big Truth or Dare game. It's true.

The Vesperteen character sheet looks something like THIS (it's an older version, but it works). To begin, players only fill out the first two boxes for NAME and SEX.

Then, for starting 6th Grade characters, roll 1d6. This is the amount of sin the character starts out with, 1-6. Nobody comes in untainted. There will also be guidelines for rolling up older or more experienced (in the true meaning of the word) characters, but let's not deal with those quite yet.

Look at the bottom of the sheet, where it says TRUTH OR DARE. This is how we apportion your starting sin, fill out the rest of the character sheet, and create a general character concept. It works like this:

Pick a player to go first. You can do this by rolling dice or just pointing at someone or getting a volunteer. Whatever.

The first player gets asked "Truth or Dare?" by another player.

If the first player selects "Truth," they get asked an appropriate uncomfortable, sin-related question, such as "What's the most embarassing thing you've ever done?" or "If you could sleep with anyone, who would it be and why?" or "Who would you kill?" Then, the player has to tell a short story or anaecdote (perform a single scene, basically) that addresses the question. Once the scene is over, the player and the rest of the group determine which sin the story demonstrated and the player fills in a corresponding dot in their SINS.

If the player selects "Dare," then the group consults with each other and comes up with something to dare the character to do (preferably something slightly sinful), which the character must then attempt in a short scene performed with the help of the other players, who take the roles of any needed NPCs and arbitrate any conflicts (the rules for all this will come later). Note that the deed will not necessarily be accomplished, but the character must try or at least try to get out of it. Note that dares could include things that wouldn't normally be possible in a slumber party Truth or Dare game, such as mouthing off to a teacher, skipping school to smoke pot behind the bleachers, or making out with an adult. As with Truth Scenes, once the Dare Scene is over, the player, along with the rest of the group, decides which sin best applies and fills in that dot in their SINS.

The TRUTH OR DARE section is the place where you keep track of your Truth and Dare Scenes as they happen. Mark T or D, depending on which you decide, and then give a short, one line summery of what you did in each scene, such as "Made out with Emily's 27yo aunt, Jessica."

Note that there are 7 lines in the TRUTH OR DARE box, and you will only have up to 6 points of sin, starting out. What do you do with the other lines?

Instead of having a Truth or Dare Scene about a specific sin, you can also have a scene about one of the other boxes on the character sheet: DATE OF BIRTH, RACE, PARENTS, SIBLINGS, GRADE/STANDING, or (on the new sheet) class BACKGROUND. These scenes can be related to the box content in any number of ways. Maybe you could have a Truth Scene about encountering racism for the first time (RACE). Maybe you could be Dared to pick a fight with someone much older than you (DATE OF BIRTH). Maybe you can tell the Truth about your parents messy divorce (PARENTS) or talk about the worst birthday you ever had (DATE OF BIRTH). The options are really open ended.

[Note: I'm also considering allowing initial scenes that create starting SELF investments, but this might be too much. We'll talk about SELF later.]

In any case, by the end of the Truth or Dare game, you should have all your sins filled in, have gone through 7 scenes each, and have filled out all the question boxes on your sheet (you can definitely gain sin and fill out a box thanks to a single scene). This will probably take most of the first session, since you'll be teaching everyone the rules as you go and running 7 short scenes per player.

The interesting thing is, when you learn to make your character, you're also learning how to play the game. In the next installment, I'll talk about how scene framing and such is handled in Vesperteen and show that Truth Scenes are the equivilent of Day Scenes (in which the PC's player serves as their own GM, basically) while Dare Scenes are the equivilent of Night Scenes (in which the other players basically jump your character and force them into uncomfortable situations).

See you then.


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