[Heartbreak & Heroines] You've got questions?

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Duck Call Lass

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#1
Heya everyone. I saw there's been some discussion here about the kickstarter project for my Heartbreak & Heroines game, but it seems that the original thread has taken off on tangents about black clerics and whatnot.

I thought it would be better to start up a new Q&A thread because many of you seem to have questions about the game, its intent, and so on. So if you've got anything you'd like to know (within reason, of course), here's where you can ask.

Also: I posted a brief note about the dice mechanic on the kickstarter page, since many of you seemed to be interested in that. I realize now, looking back, that I should have taken my friends more seriously when they said "add some more about the game system!" instead of thinking "well, I'll launch this now and I can add that tomorrow, who's gonna notice it right away anyhow?"
 

Levi

Slayer Of Spambots.
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#2
Dragging my question over from the G+ side....

If I'm reading your intent with rules right.... I take it that it's the Bonds, and the stuff around them, that provide the romantic / personal mechanisms?
 

Duck Call Lass

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#3
Q: I take it that it's the Bonds, and the stuff around them, that provide the romantic / personal mechanisms?

Levi, yes, to some extent. Although to be honest, if you're looking for strong mechanical enforcement of interactions rather than rules that nudge you in the right direction, you're not likely to get a whole lot of that necessarily.

Bonds and stuff around them do have game mechanical effects, but I don't want to reduce something that should be roleplayed -- your interactions with other PCs and NPCs -- down to just a simple number or set of numbers.

... I'm looking at this answer and I look evasive. I'm not trying to bullshit my way through the question, it's just that this is the area I've been going back and forth the most on and having the biggest difficulty in sorting out what I want to do and how I want to do it. I'm not fully pleased yet with what I got (I'm a perfectionist in some ways, not at all in others), but I have pretty high hopes that it'll work itself out in a way that is conducive to the game's goals.

Here's an example of what I don't want to. I looked at other rules and was like "Oh, okay. So maybe some sort of 'seduction' roll to see if you get the guy or girl" as a first pass. But there's something that doesn't feel right in a feminist game about reducing romantic interludes to "she doesn't want to have sex with you, you want to have sex with her, there's the conflict, roll!" Especially with a conflict system that's the same as the combat system, it felt too much like "batter down his defenses and force him to make out with you."

(I also don't want to stigmatize romance and sexuality, obviously -- especially female sexuality, as this game shouldn't force the virgin/whore dichotomy on female characters. Or male characters, for that matter.)
 

Duck Call Lass

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#4
Nobody in this thread asked it, but it seems common enough of an assumption that I should address it.

Q: Female characters only?

Nope. Women characters are the presumed default but there's certainly no women-characters-only rule.

Here's an early draft (which will probably get rewritten) of H&H's take on gender, sexuality, and aging:


Your heroine can be whatever gender you like, and this doesn't have to match your real life gender. You can even be male if you like – you won't be laughed at! It's also acceptable to be bigendered, genderqueer, non-gendered, genderfluid, third-gendered, or anything else that fits your heroine.

Likewise, you can choose whatever sexuality you want for your heroine. The default assumption for an H&H game is that most heroines are bisexual, but you could be straight, gay, queer, pansexual, omnisexual, asexual, demisexual, or however else you'd like to describe your heroine's sexuality (or lack thereof). Also, you can be chaste in addition to any of the aforementioned sexualities; your heroine isn't required to be sexually active or sexually available.

Your starting age can be anywhere from about 16 years old up to around 68, give or take a dozen or two years on either side – that's assuming a human lifespan. Fairy creatures have lifespans measured in the centuries, so you could be older still. Maybe you're even aging backwards!

Heroines can start the adventuring life at any age; some when they are just out of adolescence, others when their own children leave the nest, and some in their older years decide they finally are free to do what they've always wanted.
 

Dirigible

i come in peace
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#5
I'm no Dwayne McDuffie, but I do want to change gaming by making it more inclusive -- of women, people of color, LGBT people, and basically everyone.
Does that include disabled characters? That seems like it would be a very challenging thing to address in a medieval-ish setting where, presumably, daring must be do'ed. Done.
 

ADamiani

Will GM For Food
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#6
The kickstart page says: You play a fantasy heroine (or hero, if you prefer) whose heart has been broken. She's experienced some loss so great that she's taken up her sword, her tome, her staff, or her wand and walked away from her place in society

Doesn't this restrict character types rather substantially, in a way that causes significant intra-party overlap?
 

Almaz

Diamond is Unbreakable
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#7
Insert joke about playing a black gay male cleric.

Actually, no, scratch that, that's a serious question. Are there clerics-as-such and does religion play a strong role in this game? Is the Divine a distant origin or an ever-present force in the implicit setting (that is, the parts of the game backed by mechanics that are thus implicitly part of "a Heartbreak & Heroines" game)?

When I write those descriptors down on my character sheet, which of them, if any, have mechanical weight?
 

Duck Call Lass

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#8
Q: Does that include disabled characters? That seems like it would be a very challenging thing to address in a medieval-ish setting where, presumably, daring must be do'ed. Done.
People with disabilities really should be represented (especially with magic-as-substitute-for-tech that is so common these days in most settings) and that's one of the challenges to work with.

However, even in a classic D&D-esque setting, it's not impossible to imagine characters who are disabled playing a role in stories -- maybe a warlord who lost an eye in a fight, or a grizzled old dwarf who had her right leg chewed off by a dragon. Blind and deaf characters can exist in fiction (although they're rare), and so can someone with a physical impairment that prevents them from walking unassisted.

H&H won't have a strong emphasis on playing disabled characters -- not the point of "choose more disabilities so you can get more character points!" a la Champions taken to an extreme -- but I'll make sure to include those as options for players and GMs.
 

Duck Call Lass

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#9
The kickstart page says: You play a fantasy heroine (or hero, if you prefer) whose heart has been broken. She's experienced some loss so great that she's taken up her sword, her tome, her staff, or her wand and walked away from her place in society
Doesn't this restrict character types rather substantially, in a way that causes significant intra-party overlap?
I hope not.
 

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
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#10
Also: I posted a brief note about the dice mechanic on the kickstarter page, since many of you seemed to be interested in that. I realize now, looking back, that I should have taken my friends more seriously when they said "add some more about the game system!" instead of thinking "well, I'll launch this now and I can add that tomorrow, who's gonna notice it right away anyhow?"
That's interesting. The version of Wandering Monster High School that I have makes no mention of "virtual dice". However, the timestamp indicates that I downloaded the PDF in late 2005 - I assume there's been a more recent version?

Here's an example of what I don't want to. I looked at other rules and was like "Oh, okay. So maybe some sort of 'seduction' roll to see if you get the guy or girl" as a first pass. But there's something that doesn't feel right in a feminist game about reducing romantic interludes to "she doesn't want to have sex with you, you want to have sex with her, there's the conflict, roll!" Especially with a conflict system that's the same as the combat system, it felt too much like "batter down his defenses and force him to make out with you."
If you're not familiar with it, you might check out how Weapons of the Gods handles this sort of thing. The system as written is... baroque, to say the least, but the gist of it is this: making a successful social test against another character never compels them to do anything; instead, it gives them a temporary trait called a Condition. Conditions can be either Hyperactivities or Deficiencies.

A Hyperactivity may:

  • Grant a bonus to skill tests or damage rolls when actively pursuing appropriate behaviours or indulging appropriate desires.
  • Grant bonus experience points when you allow it to get you into trouble.
  • Allow you to recover Chi ("kung fu points", basically) more rapidly when engaged in combat to pursue or defend an appropriate objective.

A Deficiency may:

  • Impose a penalty to skill tests when actively pursuing inappropriate behaviours or refraining from indulging appropriate desires.
  • Hold back experience points when you overlook opportunities to allow it to get you into trouble (note that this doesn't actually cause the experience points to be lost - it just "banks" them until you finally give in)
  • Cause loss of breath (impaired Chi recovery) when engaged in combat with an objective that runs counter to it.

There's a whole system on top of that for manipulating existing Conditions - for example, you can alter a Condition's emotional context, or use an existing Deficiency to create a complementary Hyperactivity, yin-yang style - but the upshot is that the player has two options: either they can punish the subject for failing to go along with what they want (via a Deficiency), or they can reward the subject for going along with what they want (via a Hyperactivity). If coercion isn't your bag, you can literally bribe the subject's player with bonus dice or tasty, tasty XP in order to have their character come around to your point of view - and yes, it's explicitly acceptable to stick beneficial Hyperactivities on your friends for fun and profit. There are even rules governing how many beneficial Hyperactivities you can stick on your friends before the GM is obliged to start using them to complicate your life.

(On the flip side, Deficiencies let you play a character who can quote philosophy at the baddies so hard that they're forced to slink away in shame, unable to oppose you because any action they take against you suffers a huge skill check penalty from the guilt. :D )
 
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