19 September 2007

Loving the Monster

We had a mini playtest of Malice the other day, and the mechanics that I tested did what I wanted them to do. This game will be GM-less. Players take turns telling the story from their character's point of view. You will always have a doll, a child who has a relationship with the doll, and the family, friends, and maybe the pets of the child. The first scene sets up a conflict between the child (and I use that term loosely. It's anyone under 21) and her family. The next scene establishes through a dice roll the relationship between the doll and the child. The child always loves the doll, but dice roll determines if the child trusts or fears the doll. And that's where I left it. That's where I got stuck.

Malice is supposed to be like those ghost and horror stories you tell while you sit around a camp fire. In the story, the ghost, the monster, the evil doll is, well, evil. You're not supposed to empathize with it. You're supposed to be afraid of it. You feel it staring at you, and you see it lurking in the brush, ready to do horrible things to you. By making the doll a PC, I think I changed that. The doll in Malice is the protagonist.

Where I thought I was doing campfire story, I'm actually doing Disneyfied fairy tales. It is the alleged villain who is the most dynamic character. And I say alleged, because I always believed that Maleficent had every right to be pissed at Sleeping Beauty's parents. And how can one possible feel like part of the family if she's always referred to as "The Wicked Queen"? Snow White was a brat, and she was not the fairest of them all. Her step-mother had brains, beauty, and power. She was the real hottie in the kingdom.

I'm not stuck anymore. Malice will explore pediophobia by making the object of fear the protagonist. I didn't say good guy, I said protagonist. Where Steal Away Jordan has gobs of dice, Malice is all about bluffing. You never know if the doll is acting with benevolence or malice.

I might run Acts of Evil at JiffyCon in November. I played a little of it at GenCon, and I'm very curious. If I understand it correctly, the PC's are the antagonists. I didn't realize that until we wrapped up our scene and talked a little about it. How cool is that? I can't wait to see how it works.

The Project Gutenberg Ebook of Household Stories, by Grimm

The Villain

And oh crap, I just discovered someone is working on a game called Malice. It has nothing to do with dolls, but still. I need a new title. Crap.


Pilgrim Spaniard said...

Nah. My book won't be out for a while. Plenty of time for me to change it.

Stick with Malice. It suits your game (for reasons I've already PMed you about).

Parthenia said...

Mine might not be out for a while either! I'm aiming for an ashcan by summer.

Maybe we should both keep Malice and play it up!