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Author Topic: Vespertine: Little Fears II??  (Read 3619 times)
Jonathan Walton
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Posts: 1309


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« on: April 10, 2003, 11:27:35 PM »

Hey folks,

It was cool to read Slant's last thread on older kids in Little Fears, because that's exactly what I wrote about as part of the 24 Hour Game thing that Phil Reed's moderating in the Indie Design Forum.

I spent the past 24 hours writing a game that's basically a sequel of sorts to Little Fears, based on an old concept I was playing with called "Vespertine" (you can search for it to get the early material, if you like).  It's basically a cross between a mod and a full-fledged conversion.

The game is here: http://1001.indie-rpgs.com/Vespertine-24.pdf, but it's over 2,000K because of all the art I put in it, so it'll take a while to download.

Hope you enjoy it, because I sure had fun writing it.  Thanks for making such a kick ass game, Jason.  Without Little Fears, my 24 hour game wouldn't have turned out nearly as cool as this.
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Jason L Blair
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2003, 06:09:42 AM »

Jonathan,

I just downloaded the PDF and while I haven't read it all the way through (that will have to wait until I go home and print it out) what I've read so far is excellent. This is some inspired work, my friend. I _will_ run this.
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Jonathan Walton
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Posts: 1309


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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2003, 11:15:22 AM »

Couple unexpected problems with Vespertine:

1) Some computers are just showing the pictures without the text.  I just verified this in the computer lab here.  I'm going to be redoing the layout in InDesign sometime soon, which should fix this glitch (whatever it is).  However, it doesn't seem to be related to specific operating systems, which is odd.

2) As the game currently stands, characters only gain Sin when they lose Soul, and Soul is non-recoverable.  This isn't going to work over long-term campaigns, and I'll try to come up with a solution when I reformat it.  Suggestions are welcome.  How should characters gain Sin?  Maybe instead of having a general Purity count connected to Soul, each Sin could have its own Purity, which you make a check against whenever you lose Purity.  Then, loss of Soul could be caused by "going monster" when you fail a Sin Check, and not by failing Purity Checks.  How's that sound?

Also, there's a sick part of me that wants to make "Purity Tests" possible (y'know, like those little questionaires that ask if you've ever had sex while suspended underwater in a tank of sharks and then guage your relative "purity").  What would be a reason for you to roll Purity against another character?

EDIT: P.S.  Jason, maybe I'll try to make it up to the Cleveland Gameday so I can run Vespertine... >;)
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Spooky Fanboy
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Posts: 585


« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2003, 01:28:57 PM »

I think what is really cool about this is that you grow up from childhood, where you could be the victim of monsters, to adolescence, where you become the monsters you feared.

I'd change Martians to Aliens, but that's just my nitpick.

Also, what about allowing teens the opportunity to switch between sins? Someone who starts out as a potential Werewolf ends up on the football team and becomes a Troll. Someone who's a Martian ends up a Yeti (and goes on to become a Unibomber). The idea of Cliques is interesting, and very high school, but the fact is sometimes people change. How the new/old group reacts to that could make for some high-octane teen angst. Basically, what I'm saying is I'd like the opportunity to switch between sins, and the idea of going with an individual purity score for each paves the way for that, so I think it'd be cool to modify as you suggested.

Also, why'd you hold back in the example? If a kid goes Werewolf in class, why wouldn't that translate to adults as a kid pulling a weapon on someone, and possibly getting expelled? If a Martian loses his cool and zaps someone with a laser, wouldn't that translate into a gun in the classroom? This is the age of Columbine, after all, and the parallels between what happens on the "dark side" of reality and the reality the adults live in is coming closer to agreement in the eyes of pre-teens and teenagers. I just thought in the example of some kid getting reprimanded for fighting, it seemed like you held back a bit.

Just my $.02.
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Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!
Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2003, 01:50:39 PM »

Fixed the problems with the PDF by doing a simple layout in InDesign.  The content is unchanged, but the layout looks a bit better.  Jason, if you haven't printed it yet, you want this version (some of the pictures show up better too).

http://www.godmachine.org/Vespertine-v24.pdf

As per Spooky's comments...

Martians vs. Aliens:  You may be right.  I was just going with the first thing that popped into my head.  Aliens is better and more general.

Switching between Sins?  Every character has an equal opportunity to induge in all the Sins they like.  Sure, you start out with a couple points in one or two Sins, but the character sheet's going to have room to keep track of all of them.  Each character is NOT limited to a particular type of Sin.  Sorry if I gave off that impression.  For instance, Latoya Marshall, Queen of the Damned and Goth extraordinaire, might have Envy as her highest Sin (4+), but she could also have 1 Lust, 2 Gluttony, 1 Wrath, etc.  Characters are defined in all the social categories at once, so Latoya would even get some respect from the Jocks for her 2 Gluttony, even though her Envy means that she's a die-hard Goth.

As for the Adult viewpoint... I guess I just wanted it to be possible for horrible things to behappening and only the kids know about it.  Remember "IT"?  Where the kids see all this blood everywhere, but the adults are completely oblivious?  That's where I'm getting this from.  Imagine a Werewolf and a Yeti going toe-to-toe in the middle of a hallway, ripping lockers off the walls and smushing passersby into puddles of gore, but the Principal simply grabs both creatures by the scruff of their necks (blood dripping off the cuffs of his tailored suit) and gives them after school detention for "rough-housing."  I just think it would be beautiful.

This would also mean that mass murders aren't likely to be arrested by the police and taken away.  They remain at large unless the characters do something, providing a reason to act instead of leaving things to the grownups who don't understand.  So that's why I did it that way, not to hold back on the seriousness or after-effects.  Just to give the characters a reason to look over their shoulders and feel ill at ease.
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Spooky Fanboy
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Posts: 585


« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2003, 02:18:57 PM »

Quote
Martians vs. Aliens:  You may be right.  I was just going with the first thing that popped into my head.  Aliens is better and more general.


Also, why just Werewolves? Why not allow them to mutate into lizard-men-things, or panthers, etc.? Just a question.

Quote
As for the Adult viewpoint... I guess I just wanted it to be possible for horrible things to behappening and only the kids know about it.  Remember "IT"?  Where the kids see all this blood everywhere, but the adults are completely oblivious?  That's where I'm getting this from.  Imagine a Werewolf and a Yeti going toe-to-toe in the middle of a hallway, ripping lockers off the walls and smushing passersby into puddles of gore, but the Principal simply grabs both creatures by the scruff of their necks (blood dripping off the cuffs of his tailored suit) and gives them after school detention for "rough-housing."  I just think it would be beautiful.

This would also mean that mass murders aren't likely to be arrested by the police and taken away.  They remain at large unless the characters do something, providing a reason to act instead of leaving things to the grownups who don't understand.  So that's why I did it that way, not to hold back on the seriousness or after-effects.  Just to give the characters a reason to look over their shoulders and feel ill at ease.


This leads to my next question, which is: how much does this "Fog of Adulthood" cover? Or should that be up to the GM?
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Little_Rat
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Posts: 30


« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2003, 08:19:11 AM »

I like it, especially since I am a geek. You did that group very well and while at first, I was thinking that perhaps the sins of the council and the geeks should be switched, Pride actually works well for them.

Nerds/Geeks are very proud of what they can do and viciously compete to see who is the best "hax0r" or "ddrer" (dance dance revolution). I like the whole alien/fae vibe, very nerd. I mean, I had this theory (now debunked) that aliens and nerds were tied somehow, culturely. I mean, the large eyes (glasses), thin build, pale skin, intelligence. Kewl.

I don't have a copy of little fears but it always seemed interesting to me. But on another tanget, I have spent the last four years working on a study of nerds and nerd culture. (doubt my geekness yet?) And if you want any help with that section, just give me a holler. I'm at silentrat00@yahoo.com. Drop me a line (;
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Little_Rat
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2003, 08:57:24 AM »

One more question,
 If a teen slaughters his class, and the adults just see this as "roughhousing"... um, are the teens still, er, dead? Or are they just more beaten up in the Vespertine world- phantom bruises etc.
Also, how would this lend to troupe play? Unless you're doing a Dark Breakfast Club (which would be cool in of itself), how would you get players work together... a Goth circle and Geek circle don't cross over that much...
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Jonathan Walton
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Posts: 1309


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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2003, 05:44:43 PM »

Sorry for letting this discussion die, folks.  I had a 6-page paper on the Qur'an to write in less than 24 hours.  That was even more of a struggle than Vespertine, though it was fun in its own way...

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Also, why just Werewolves? Why not allow them to mutate into lizard-men-things, or panthers, etc.? Just a question.


Well, if you'll notice, I actually snagged Vampires, Werewolves, and Yeti from the monsters section of Little Fears.  Besides, Werewolves are really the only were creatures you hear about in myths and legends (at least, in the Western world), and I think making Wrath into a general change-into-a-half-animal-monster Sin would make it more confusing and complicated.  A tribe of half-animals also has less unity and consistancy than a tribe of half-animals.  This isn't "The Island of Dr. Moreau," it's a Little Fears sequel, and I think having just werewolves goes with the tone more.

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
This leads to my next question, which is: how much does this "Fog of Adulthood" cover? Or should that be up to the GM?


Well, if I have time to expand the game from the 24-hour version (which I plan to eventually), I definitely go more into that.  Maybe it could be something that you roll for, like the Mists in Changeling, to see if the haze of Adulthood would cover up certain supernatural things.  Different levels of "supernaturalness" would be given different values, and you'd have to roll over the value in order to be ignored.  So, maybe changing permanently into a monster would have a value of 7 or 8, so it would be virtually impossible for grown-ups to ignore it.

Another good example of this thing, which I just thought of, it in Tim Burton movies, especially Edward Scissorhands, but also the way people treat the Penguin in Batman Returns and certain parts of Nightmare Before Christmas.

Quote from: Little_Rat
You did that group very well and while at first, I was thinking that perhaps the sins of the council and the geeks should be switched, Pride actually works well for them.


Glad you think so.  I've often found (being a pseudo-geek myself) that geeks often take pride in their geekiness, showing it often and trying to convince the world that it's a legitimate and worthwhile way to be.  That's why you have geek t-shirts and buttons, a whole geek culture among computer technicians and programmers, and even geek bulletin boards, comic strips, and other stuff.

And geeks like aliens ;)

Quote from: Little_Rat
If a teen slaughters his class, and the adults just see this as "roughhousing"... um, are the teens still, er, dead? Or are they just more beaten up in the Vespertine world- phantom bruises etc. Also, how would this lend to troupe play? Unless you're doing a Dark Breakfast Club (which would be cool in of itself), how would you get players work together... a Goth circle and Geek circle don't cross over that much...


Several good questions here.

1.  Yes, the teens are still dead.  Dead is dead is dead.  That's why it's so scary, because the adults might not even know.  Parents might just forget they ever had a child, or think s/he ran away, or pretend that she's staying over at a friends house... every night for years, just because what Adulthood blinds them to.  In some areas, you might have whole towns that are warzones, but where the adults go on blind to it all.

2.  As far as a party goes, I was imagining something like the great comic book series Out There (Wildstorm, art by Humberto Ramos), where the heroes are all from different groups but get throw together by circumstances and a desire to save those they love.  Also, the social groups in Vespertine aren't static, so you can easily change between them by aquiring the right kinds of Sins.

Does that make things clearer?
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Little_Rat
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2003, 12:04:16 PM »

Quote from: Jonathan Walton


Quote from: Little_Rat
If a teen slaughters his class, and the adults just see this as "roughhousing"... um, are the teens still, er, dead? Or are they just more beaten up in the Vespertine world- phantom bruises etc. Also, how would this lend to troupe play? Unless you're doing a Dark Breakfast Club (which would be cool in of itself), how would you get players work together... a Goth circle and Geek circle don't cross over that much...


Several good questions here.

1.  Yes, the teens are still dead.  Dead is dead is dead.  That's why it's so scary, because the adults might not even know.  Parents might just forget they ever had a child, or think s/he ran away, or pretend that she's staying over at a friends house... every night for years, just because what Adulthood blinds them to.  In some areas, you might have whole towns that are warzones, but where the adults go on blind to it all.



Ok, that works. Could come off as pretty creepy...

"Oh Suzy is over at Amelia's again"
The group whispers. "I thought she had her head taken clear off.."
"Um, Mrs. Smith, are you sure she's there?'
"Ah-huh... Would you like to come in for cookies and milk?

Doesn't seem to work on a grand scale... there have to be some adults that are with it... but with one or two teens, could give it a creepy "waiting ala Great Expectations" feel.

Thanks.
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