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Author Topic: Possible new play style for Little Fears.  (Read 3115 times)
Slant
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Posts: 36


« on: April 10, 2003, 04:06:48 PM »

Tell me what you all think about this:

What happens when a kid who has been played in Little Fears hits 13 or 14?  Their innocence is probably gone (or close to it), but they have encountered creatures from Closetland and will verly likely have some Fear points and be shy a few Belief points.  So how about a game where the characters are just hitting adolescence and trying to find rational ways to dismiss the horrors of their youth (which may have lasted for years if the campaign was long-term).  They would try their best to deny anything ever happened to them, lest they be described as weird and unacceptable by their peers.  Yet the few of them who survived Closetland would all know the truth.  

Would they try to protect smaller children from having to face what they did?  What happens if they are now the babysitters and one of their young charges walks into the foyer closet and disappears?   Would they become withdrawn from their families?  What would the community do to them if they burned down the town handyman's shack, claiming that the foul old man is actually a servant of The Defiler?  As small children they would be considered disturbed, but as older children they might now be considered dangerous delinquents.    What would happen if they were taken to psychologists who in turn would send them to juvenile detention centers?  Would they meet others like themselves there?  Or would they encounter servants of the Kings who would want to make them disappear forever?

In addition to the problems faced as children, the characters would have to deal with new issues like social desireability and the fact that they have to start to become morally responsible.  What happens if the characters know that there is a chance that the kiss from a cute girl could drain their souls if she is not what she appears to be?  What happens if other young teens all say that hanging out with that cool dude with the 60's Camero is the cool thing to do, yet when you look at him you see something with holes for eyes and a snake for a tongue?

Well, you get the idea.  What do you think?  Does it fly?
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Synicism
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2003, 07:03:22 PM »

Well, according to the book, a kid loses his last point of innocence when he turns 13, and can no longer perceive Closetland or its minions. We call it "growing up" and putting away the fantasies of childhood and replacing them with being a teenager.

That being said, you could come up with a way for older characters to retain their connection to innocence if they are faced with a reason to believe again. We had such a phenomenon when we were experimenting with the game and called it "Belief."

It's the converse of Innocence, which a child has because of his youth and inexperience and gradually loses.

Teens and adults don't start with any Belief. They're assumed to have put aside the silly fantasies and fears of their younger siblings or children. A teen or adult gains a point of Belief when faced with a situation where it's impossible for him to deny that the monsters of childhood exist. Perhaps a babysitter responds to a cry for help and interrupts the Monster Under the Bed as he's shredding a child's blankets with imaginary claws. Or perhaps an older sibling who shares a room wakes up to find his baby brother hanging impossibly in midair, caught in the grasp of a monster he doesn't believe in.

At that moment of epiphany, the instinctively repressed memories come rushing back to the surface and the older character Believes. The monsters become all too real and force them to act to save their loved ones.

Characters can gain belief by managing to defeat minions of Closetland, probably saving children in the process. Using Belief is a difficult proposition because they start with so little, so older characters tend to channel their belief through rituals and props (just like they did when they were younger) that match their Positive Qualities in order to get bonus dice. For example, a Faithful mother might hold her child and speak the Lord's Prayer in order to deliver her loved ones from evil, and so on.

In the world of Little Fears, perhaps this Belief is the source of modern miracles and magical traditions. Those creepy teenagers who wear pentacles and all black really do ward places against evil with their cheesy ritual daggers.

Now we introduced this idea in the form of NPC's. A child who knew and Authority Figure or had an Older Friend could take the Positive Quality, "I know someone who Believes" in order to have someone in his life, perhaps an older sibling, teacher, or parent, with a point of Belief. Characters could also gain Belief in play.
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"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

Stephen King - "The Gunslinger"
Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2003, 09:02:22 AM »

Actually, many of the questions and themes you both mentioned are the subject of my unfinished sequal to Little Fears called Vespertine.  I wrote it as part of the 24-hour game challenge and haven't yet had time to expand upon it.  But it definitely will happen at some point.  The chief mechanics in Vespertine are based on Sin and the game's premise is that monsters are really just teenagers that have let various Sins take over their lives.  Sin is fun, but if you go out of control, you won't be coming back.  So, in Vespertine, you don't fight monsters, you fight against becoming a monster yourself.  Haven't playtested it yet, but I'm going to try to get Jason to show up at OberCon this year so we can run a session.  You hear that, Jason? :)

Here's the 24-hour version, if you're interested.  It's not quite playable because of some slight mechanical problems, but I could send you the rules changes if you want them.

http://www.godmachine.org/Vespertine-v24.pdf
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Synicism
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2003, 08:47:28 AM »

Hmmm... looked over Vespertine and I think it's a great concept, but still somewhat different from what we were using in our group. As you've said, Vespertine is about Sin. The conflict of Vespertine is an internal one - don't become a monster.

The Believing teens and adults in our Little Fears game are a bit different. No longer blind to what happens behind the closet door, they are capable of acting on their new knowledge. The conflict is still primarily external - the characters versus the forces of Closetland.

That being said, there are some similarities. Believers can still gain Fear and lose Soul just like children can, but unlike children, whose Innocence fades over time, Belief gets stronger as the Believer continues to see the truth. Closetland can't fight this the same way. Believers are dangerous people, who need to be attacked indirectly.

That being said, I don't think that the Vespertine system and our Belief system are necessarily incompatible, either.
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"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

Stephen King - "The Gunslinger"
Jonathan Walton
Member

Posts: 1309


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2003, 02:56:26 PM »

Quote from: Synicism
...unlike children, whose Innocence fades over time, Belief gets stronger as the Believer continues to see the truth. Closetland can't fight this the same way. Believers are dangerous people, who need to be attacked indirectly.


Definitely an interesting concept for a game.  Still, it seems kinda odd (to me) for teenagers and adults to be still fighting Closetland.  You would think there would be adult-sized evils for adult-sized Believers to fight.  Part of the reason I went with an internal conflict is because it parallels many of the issues that teenagers deal with, issues that aren't as black-and-white as the world of their childhood.  I took Little Fears premise not to be "childhood terrors are real" but "childhood terrors are real, for children."  Looking at it from that POV, it makes sense that "teenage terrors are real, for teenagers."  And what are teenagers scared of?  The changes they're going through, sin of all kinds, that adults don't understand them, that they don't fit into certain social groups, etc.  So I guess that's why Vespertine took the road it did.  I'd be really interested to hear why you decided to take your game in the direction you did and how it worked out.  Like I said, Vespertine hasn't been playtested yet and yours is the first "grown-up" Little Fears game that I've heard of, so I'd love to ehar how it went.
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