I'm playing around with the oracle for my developing surreal horror anthology engine game.
Seed 1: To love her, he needed her to change after all.
Seed 2: The social worker had beaten her lover with a crowbar for trying to stop her suicide attempt.
Everybody's about PSYCHIC RESIDUE
Character 1's about PSYCHIC RESIDUE & INHUMAN SOCIETY
Character 2's about PSYCHIC RESIDUE & INFANTICIDE
Character 3's about PSYCHIC RESIDUE & AUTOIMMUNE HYPERACTIVITY
Character 4's about PSYCHIC RESIDUE & ANIMAL-PEOPLE
Who's intruding: THE DEAD FUTURE? THE CANNIBAL SOW?
Obviously it'd be different if, like, Meg were creating character 1, Julia character 2, Emily character 3, and Joshua character 4, but here's what I'D do with them:
The social worker is character 3 (psychic residue & autoimmune hyperactivity). Her suicide attempt was her psychic immune system hyperactively trying to protect her from the contents of the psychic residue. She's good with Perception & Physicality, and I'd highlight her Moral Center. Self-interests: resolve the case; learn to function amidst horrors.
Her lover, beaten with the crowbar, is character 1 (psychic residue & inhuman society). He grew up in the inhuman animal-people society. He needs her to learn to keep herself safe even in the face of the psychic residue, or else he has to stop loving her to protect himself, because next time she's going to succeed. He's good with Moral Center & Survival Instinct, and I'd highlight his Creative Spark. Self-interests: get his lover to adapt; escape being drawn back into the inhuman society himself.
Character 2 (psychic residue & infanticide) is the social worker's case. She killed her own baby when she found out what his father was and his father came to claim him. The psychic residue is her fault - it's the psychic residue of her half-human half-animal-person infant victim. She's good with Perception & Moral Center, and I'd highlight her Survival Instinct. Self-interests: escape her baby's father; get someone to believe her.
Character 4 (psychic residue & animal-people) is the baby's father. He's not human. Maybe he's some kind of werething, maybe he's subtly bestial, but he's a predator living secretly with his kind among us. He's good with Physicality & Survival Instinct, and I'd highlight his Perception. Self-interests: father another child with her and protect it this time; be rid of the social worker. He clearly gets to be the villain of the piece.
The predatory animal-people pretty clearly enact the cannibal sow, and the dead future would be enacted by people within the bureaucracies of social work, law enforcement and institutionalization who have succumbed to the if-you-can't-beat-them-join-them that the social worker's immune system was trying to protect her from.
So that's pretty ... good. Or y'know.
Also, Meg keeps insisting that she likes this game just fine, and I keep being absolutely convinced that THIS TIME it's going to gross her out so bad that she'll hate it from now on. Maybe this is the time!
1. On 2008-07-10, Julie, aka jrs wrote:
Makes me think of Carla Speed McNeil's Finder comic.
We can test it out soon, I hope. It's ready. It's got some rules I'm really, really anxious to try, I think they're going to be great.
Oh and yes, but I've been reading Burroughs again and it's chastening me a little. I'll be listing The Western Lands and Naked Lunch as influences, alongside, like, Jacob's Ladder, Over the Edge and whatever else, but I'm going to call it "surreal horror roleplaying" not "William S. Burroughs roleplaying." My interest in the grotesque imagery is more ... lurid? certainly more clichéd than his was.
God damn, everyone is reading Naked Lunch, all of a sudden. I posted a game-related thing about it a few days ago, and ever since I've been hearing that various friends just happen to be reading the same book, quite independently of each other.
A dude like Burroughs would probably read something into that.
It was a funny experience. Meg was like, "yep, now I'm turned off to the game forever. Happy?" And I was like, uh ... yeah, no, not really. What IS my deal?
So here's my penance, and hopefully I'll learn a thing maybe once: I've taken the same design insights and applied them to a game that Meg WILL like. And whenever my twisted little gut says "amp up the oog!" that's when I absolutely don't amp up the oog. "Not oogy enough!" and that's when I say "plenty oogy, no more oog."
Does that mean we won't get to play it in our regular Wednesday night slot? Will it be ready to play at GenCon? I'm a little sad that Meg won't play it, although I wager that actually means I'll really want to play it, and will bug you every few months about playing it, like I do with Poison'd.