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Cradle: A role playing game of innocent terror

Started by The_Confessor, April 03, 2003, 03:45:55 PM

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The_Confessor

I've been bouncing around this idea for an RPG for a few weeks, and I finally wrote this kinda blurb/introduction thing. The idea for the game is heavily influenced by Changeling: The Dreaming and especially Little Fears. I wanted to know if anyone had heard of any similar precepts for games, or any other influences that might be good source material. Anyway, here's the openning blurb/intro:

   -   -   -

Cradle
A role playing game of innocent terror


The shrill cries of the newborn ripped through the house like a spike of pain tearing through the wind. For hours, the child screamed in terror. She was desperate for relief, reprieve; some kind of defense against the horrible things. But the gods are distant. Known as Mommy & Daddy, they speak the God-Tongue, as do their servants Brohver and Sissy.

But the youngling knows she is not alone, and soon the soft purring of Mr. Teddy eases her pain. He whispers in the dying tongue of the child, "It is ok, we have you now dear one. We won't let the Bad Monster get you. Rabbit is scouting the floor for Shadow Mites and Doggie is watching the windows."

The small stuffed bear, a gift from the gods she knows, is protecting her. Occasionally, the Gods themselves will appear. But they are rare, and often too late. These soft and warm beings are her only protection. They are called by the Gods, Stuf't Aminals.


Introduction:
Childhood is often thought of as a time of wonder, laughter, and pure joy. But in the world of Cradle that is not always true. The truly young children, newborns and toddlers, are not always nuzzled safely in their bed. The child's few of the world is not yet warped by the teaching of adults. The baby can still see The Thing That Should Not Be, the infant can still sense the Boogie Man in the closet, and the toddler still knows there is Something under the bed.
But they are not alone, these children. Gifts given to them from birth protect them. These gifts come in the forms of stuffed animals, dolls, and other creatures of comfort. When the sun has set and a child is helpless in their crib, it is these creatures that protect a sleeping babe.
In Cradle the players take the roles of one of these stuffed protectors. I know the concept sounds laughable, even silly. But I think we all can recall in the foggy recesses of our minds the comfort that one (or maybe a few) of our stuffed animals brought to us, even on the darkest nights

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There's the basic premise... opinions, ideas, input, insight?

Thanks,
James

bladamson

(Sounds like, what was it, Little Terrors?  Small Fears?  Damn it, I can't remember what it was called.  Friend of mine picked it up at Origins last year.) -edit: yeah and if I could read I'd have seen it up there.......

It looked pretty cool, but I was already broke, so no new toy for Lee. :(  Still haven't gotten a chance to play it.

I really really dig the idea though.
B. Lee Adamson, P.P., K.S.C.

Shadeling

Sounds fairly interesting. I can see playing such a game.
The shadow awakens from its slumber in darkness. It consumes my heart.

ethan_greer

I don't think it's silly at all.  I think it's a great idea.  Like Toy Story only with a "protectors of the innocent" slant.

Shadeling

Quote from: bladamsonSounds like, what was it, Little Terrors?  Small Fears?  Damn it, I can't remember what it was called.  Friend of mine picked it up at Origins last year.  It looked pretty cool, but I was already broke, so no new toy for Lee. :(  Still haven't gotten a chance to play it.  I really really dig the idea though.

Little Fears? Confessor mentioned it in his message as an inspiration...but I think this game is a little different.
The shadow awakens from its slumber in darkness. It consumes my heart.

xiombarg

Looks interesting... It also kinda reminds me of the setting we used when we tried out The Pool...

I guess I can ask the typical Forge questions: What do you DO? Obviously, you're protecting very little children.. but from what?
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT

Green

As a person with spiritual views leaning toward Animism, this game concept is both refreshing and intriguing.  I really like the premise.

Now, do you have any mechanics and examples of play?

The_Confessor

QuoteWhat do you DO? Obviously, you're protecting very little children.. but from what?

I was thinking from the arch-typical Monster Under the Bed, except it not really being goofy, but it being this horrible beast, the kind of thing that causes SIDS or other infant deaths. But it's not a single being, but a collective group of evil creatures.

QuoteNow, do you have any mechanics and examples of play?

No, I've got an idea for three attributes. Tenacity (which focuses on your ability to physically act and physically defend the child, etc), Dedication (how perceptive and focused you are on protecting the child), and Adorability (How good you are at relating to the child as well as how 'cute' you look to adults). Basically a Physical/Intellectual/Personal type thing ala BESM, Dangerous Journeys or white wolf's Physical/Mental/Social.

I was thinking of adding something called Trademarks. Like a Rabbit Stuf't Aminal would have a "fast" trademark. Kind of a descriptor type of thing. But it's all very, very loose.

Valamir

QuoteTenacity (which focuses on your ability to physically act and physically defend the child, etc), Dedication (how perceptive and focused you are on protecting the child), and Adorability (How good you are at relating to the child as well as how 'cute' you look to adults). Basically a Physical/Intellectual/Personal type thing ala BESM, Dangerous Journeys or white wolf's Physical/Mental/Social

You know...I could see each of those stats having an opposite with a single score.  Roll under the score when the stat applies, roll over it when the opposite applied.

For example, Dedication might be opposed by Self Preservation.  You might roll Dedication to get a boost when trying some impossible thing when your child's in danger, but you have to roll Self Preservation to avoid getting squashed.

Adorable might be opposed by Cool.  Sgt Slaughter and Captain Carnage can kick ass and take names, but they aren't nearly as cute and cudly as Tickle Me Elmo.  The Cool toys kick ass but are usually put away in the toy box at night.  The Cuddly ones are the ones that get taken to bed at night...when the real danger is.

That sort of thing...

The_Confessor

QuoteDedication might be opposed by Self Preservation. You might roll Dedication to get a boost when trying some impossible thing when your child's in danger, but you have to roll Self Preservation to avoid getting squashed.

Adorable might be opposed by Cool. Sgt Slaughter and Captain Carnage can kick ass and take names, but they aren't nearly as cute and cudly as Tickle Me Elmo. The Cool toys kick ass but are usually put away in the toy box at night. The Cuddly ones are the ones that get taken to bed at night...when the real danger is.

I LOVE THAT IDEA!

...immediately jots it down as well as credit for the idea

Thanks 1,000,000!

The_Confessor

I've been working like mad on Cradle (I'm also bouncing around the title Playtime, so any advice on a choice would be nice.) I'm presently ironing out the mechanic, but I've got the background, or at least a summary of it written out... so if anyone's interested...


   There was a time when adulthood did not remove belief in magic and horror and glamour. There was a time when innocent eyes remained unto death. But slowly, mankind's fears got to them, and they sought to block out the beautiful along with the horrific. Mankind created rules, science, fact, and hard data to stop this flow of imagination.
   This was all done on a subconscious level, Mankind not even realizing they were acting on fears of the mystical. Of course, some great minds realized the errors of this path. But they were silenced swiftly with ridicule, if not something worse.
   It took hundreds of years of laborious effort for Mankind to quell these dreams, but by he reign of Queen Victoria in 1837, 'magic' and 'the occult' had become little more than parlor humor and the pursuit of madmen.
   But Mankind, in its arrogance, could not suppress what it knew for cosmic eons to be true. The monsters and myths still survived. They had simply become more selective, more precise in choice of prey. They came at night, to those not yet corrupted by the 'facts of life'.
   The creatures of magic who had once been loyal aides to mankind had now become bitter and angry at this exile man had placed upon them. There were no allies left among the good spirits of the world. The creatures and beings of imagination wanted revenge. They wanted to hurt mankind, to extract all the pain he'd placed on them. But man had grown too powerful with his science and facts. He was nigh invulnerable.
   The children. The mind of a child is open, fertile, and ripe for receiving the terror. What's more, a child is weak and cannot defend itself. The embittered creatures had found their prey.
   Gathering together, the exiled and forgotten dreams of mankind formed a new society, the ImagiNation. Without warning or recourse, they struck the children.
   Screaming with more terror than ever known before, the younglings of the world were awakened from peaceful slumbers that had become an expectation in this world of facts. Certainly, the adults knew, children had been awakened in the night crying. But not like this, not with such pure pain screeching into their voices.
   As these screams found their ways to parental ears, a primal fear was remembered in the adults of the world. Subconsciously, the adults knew what was terrorizing their babes. They remembered, if only for an instant.
   But the Creatures of ImagiNation were wise and fearful of the adults. They remained hidden from their eyes, and developed ways to vanish from sight in an instant, or blend so perfectly into their surroundings that no adult would pay them heed. They are unseen, unto this day.
   Unable to discover these things assaulting the children of the world, yet knowing somehow that something is hurting them, the parents began to forge guardians. The first among these was created by Richard Stieff, one of the few adults who was able to grasp onto the collective memories of the now forgotten Creatures of ImagiNation. In 1903, his nephew was suffering from horrible nightmares and the lack of sleep had lead to great illness. No doctor could cure the boy, and no medicine was offering hope. Perhaps, Stieff thought, the boy simply needs a protector. Stieff created the first Teddy Bear, aptly named Baer.
   Upon being placed in the ill nephew's crib and being left alone, Baer rose to life, and looked at his new friend. "Joshua," he said, instinctively knowing the boy's name, "I will protect you." Amazingly, the babe seemed to understand Baer, and cooed softly, reaching up to hug him. The baby then rolled over and slept.
   Baer turned, looking over the room. He saw he was the only toy in the room. He knew the Creatures of ImagiNation would come, and they did. Valiantly, as Joshua slept, Baer defended the boy from the images of pain and horror that rose from the unseen. When morning broke and Stieff came in to check on his nephew, he found Joshua asleep soundly, Baer clutched in his arms.
   Since Baer, many other toys have discovered their own existence and awakened to defend their loved child against the growing threat of the Creatures of ImagiNation.
   It's been a century since Baer's Awakening, and the Creatures of ImagiNation show no sign of weakening. But like wildfire, Stieff's creatitivity and Baer's dedication have spread. Now all toys carry some kind of life of their own when only children are watching. A great many of these follow in Baer's paw steps, defending the sleeping and crying children of the world from what the parents cannot see.


Tell me what you think. I'm in the process of getting the mechanic straight right now. It's coming along nicely. Also, I'd like to thank everyone here for their input, and especially Mr. Mazza for his idea of opposed attributes. That has lead to an explosion in this creative process. Thanks Ralph.

James

Thomas Tamblyn

My vote's for playtime.  

I can SO see a demonic face with foot-long slivers of bone for teeth leering and hissing "Playtime" over an innocent child.

Jared A. Sorensen

Quote from: ValamirAdorable might be opposed by Cool.  Sgt Slaughter and Captain Carnage can kick ass and take names, but they aren't nearly as cute and cudly as Tickle Me Elmo.  The Cool toys kick ass but are usually put away in the toy box at night.  The Cuddly ones are the ones that get taken to bed at night...when the real danger is.

I'm thinking that kids who take Sgt. Slaughter with them to bed might one day be posting in this http://indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=5863">thread. NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com

ethan_greer

My vote is for Cradle.  Playtime is during the day, when the children are safe.  Cradle is the place you go at night, where the darkness is.  Just my take.

I would get rid of ImagiNation - it makes me think of Miracle on 34th Street, and it's kinda cheesy.  What about Creatures of Nightmare?

Other than that, I like your background so far.

Balthasar Bux

The idea of playing toys or stuffed animals was introduced in a german RPG already, called "Plüsch, Power & Plunder" (PP&P in contrast to AD&D). I found an english description on the net:

http://www.darkshire.org/~jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/alphabetical/P-Q.html

QuotePlüsch, Power, und Plunder
1st ed by Ralf Sandfuchs, Steffen Schütte, Thomas Finn (1991) Games-In Verlag
2nd ed (1995)
A humorous German-language RPG where you play stuffed animals who have strangely come to life, and have adventures in the world of humans. There were a number of adventures and supplements, including: "Cyberplunder", "Keep the Secret", "Plüsch, Drugs, & Rock'n'Roll", "Der Woolminator", "Baerotech", "20th Century Plunder", "Playbä", "Popcorn, Plüsch & Petticoats", "Big Shop Tango", and "Gamemaster Supply Package". After the 2nd edition, the rights to the game were bought by Phase Publishing.

As far as I know there is no translation available. I'm German myself and played it once, but I don't have the rules book, so I can't give you any detailled answers if have you further questions about gameplay. I remember the rules to be very lean and simple, the main focus being on funny character and abilities (instead of Hit Points, you had something called "fluffiness" or "cozyness", wash detergent was regarded as a drug and abilities included rubber-ball-bouncing, stair climbing, driving with toy cars, etc.). It was bought by Games-In, a german company, but they don't seem to sell it anymore.

Oh, by the way, you can find the (german) rule book, etc. on ebay:

http://search-desc.ebay.de/search/search.dll?MfcISAPICommand=GetResult&ht=1&maxRecordsPerPage=50&ebaytag1code=77&shortcut=4&query=pl%FCsch+power+plunder&query2=pl%FCsch+power+plunder&search_option=1&srchdesc=y&exclude=&category0=&minPrice=&maxPrice=&st=®ion=0&SortProperty=MetaEndSort