Yesterday we had the second session of Turmoil, with a new character: A ghost named Caroline, left to die in an infected orphanage a century ago. Lake Havasu city isn’t that old, but who cares?
By putting the game under more stress we found a lot of things that weren’t working as intended. I’m calling this playtest a success.
We presented the characters once more, by adding the Ghost. It was tricky because her connection to the other characters relied entirely on her past.
We discovered that she’s a century old girl with a love of modern sexy clothes.
She said that she spied Ivan while he was sleeping and that Alec knows about her ghostly status.
Another group scene, this time in the dining hall. Actually it was a collection of microscenes, because not everyone interacted at the same time.
We decided that it would be cool if Caroline was actually friends with Ashley, and it was a great opportunity for me to exploit a triangle. So I had her explain how frightened she was the last night because she saw something following her. Of course Alec was listening and recognized the shadow of the LongShadow. Caroline promised her to accompany her home that evening.
Alec and Morrigan were a LOT friendlier today. They chatted and made moves on each other, until a failure left me the ball. I tried to introduce the hunger issue, by describing how a girl nearby was scared and she knew. In retrospect I should have done that sooner, and used the Hard Move to trigger her darkest self. It would have been more interesting.
Terence behaved a bit like an asshole. He provoked Ivan, threatened him with violence and death. Ivan was angry and lashed out at Terence before fleeing at the sight of professor Wolf.
I’m playing Terence with something in mind here. He left Ivan’s Clique by accusing Ivan of playing with their minds, which as we will see later, it’s not true. Ivan is the sweetest Queen ever.
We also discovered that the new Lash out move is bugged.
Morrigan left because she was Uneasy, and brought Alec with her in an empty biology room. Unbeknownst to them Caroline followed them to spy on them. They made moves on each other and started having sex, which funnily enough triggered the Ghost Special Move but not their own (they’re not triggered by sex anymore). Caroline was uneasy and turned on, and ran away making a scene.
Ivan and his clique are in the changing room, prepping for the match against Terence’s team. Ivan Gazed into the abyss to know what to do with Morrigan, how to make her stay dead dead. The answer was simple enough: let her fear-starve for a week. Good luck with that. After that Andrew, shirtless, tried to get Ivan to talk about the match. Ivan rolled a failure with Streaming and so I turned the move back on them. Andrew got the answers to What’s your biggest dream (becoming a professional baseball player) and What’s your greatest fear (his alien parents coming to take him away). Andrew reacted by hugging him and tell him that they will always be there for him. Ivan tried to Make a Move on him but failed, so Andrew took a Hot string on him.
It could seem that his clique love Ivan unconditionally, but we’re still in the early phases of the game. I’m trying to make their friendship look real before pushing. We’ll see how it will turn out.
Caroline and Ashley went clubbing (or tried to). Caroline tried to make a move on the bouncer but failed, and she received a hail of insults from a girl who was waiting in line. Caroline then decided to lash the hell out of her, but failed again. I asked if it was right, and I made Ashley stop Caroline before she even punched, pointing at the dark back alley and claiming to have seen the Longshadow. I tried to scare Caroline while she went forth to investigate, and she seemed to almost want to flee, when Ivan arrived with the cavalry, sending away the Longshadow. Caroline flung herself in the arms of Ivan, removing the Uneasy condition (Ivan counts as an easy relief). They walked Caroline and Ashley home.
Alec was celebrating his birthday at a restaurant with his father, Morrigan, Willow and Terence. Terence was sulky and talking shit about Ivan. Alec shut him down and he shut up. Morrigan tried to let him talk, which he did, but Alec shut him down again and Terence left, angry. Morrigan and Alec then started undressing each other with their eyes, until Caleb, the father, took Alec aside, reminding him that since Morrigan is dead she can’t bear children, and he MUST procreate, for the sake of the family and the city. The bloodline can’t end like this! Alec was positively hurt and angry from this.
Ivan wanted to sneak into Alec’s house to retrieve info about Morrigan, so I asked Alec to come up with something interesting that Ivan could have found. He settled on Alec’s diary, which contained info also on Caroline. He then failed to flee, so Alec and Caleb caught him red-handed, while we decided it was a good cliffhanger to stop the session.
I tried to apply a different strategy from other Monsterhearts games. I tried to elicit emotional responses from the characters, then asked them How did they feel. They gained conditions from this, which prompted them to act.
I also played the npcs by looking at their emotions, and making angry npcs lash out physically and verbally, scared npc seek protection, turned on npc become flustered, hurt npcs going away shutting the door.
Sometimes it’s strange, like when I was trying to scare Caroline with the Longshadow (well, the Longshadow was trying to scare her). It reminded me a bit of Murderous Ghosts.