Anyway, we talked about a bunch of different games, but we were aiming for a pretty narrow target. To wit:
- A game that was light in tone, even if it had horror elements
- A game that I didn't have sink a lot of time into reading (which meant a shorter book)
- A game that didn't require the players to read it, because they won't
We talked about a bunch of games, but many of them fell short of those last two requirements. We talked about Guild of Shadows, which I'm interested in running at some point, but folks were skeptical about the "everyone's a thief" bit. In the end, we landed on East Texas University; it's modern day, it's Savage Worlds (which most of them know), and it's Buffy-level horror. Plus it's got a random adventure generator, which I'm totally using.
As you know, I like to make characters for the games I'm running, so since I have a little time before I have to go pick Teagan up from riding lessons (which sounds so posh when I say it like that), I'll do up a college freshman real quick. I said on Facebook that my next character would use this as a theme song:
Don't worry about the video per se, it's just the song I'm after. Well, reading the lyrics, the drugs are evident. I can't decide if I want to play the person singing the song (I mean, not Halsey) or the subject. I think I'd like to play the person singing. So here's the deal.
My character is Drake Stephens. He's a freshman at ETU, but ETU wasn't his first choice. He was going to go to his local university, which I'll say is Michigan because I know the area kinda-sorta. So he's from the Detroit area. Drake fell in love with a guy (Ryan) his senior year in high school. Ryan didn't have as easy a time with coming out as Drake did (Drake's parents' reaction was basically "yeah, and?"), and Ryan developed a drug habit. This culminated with Ryan OD'ing in late July and then disappearing out of the psych ward. As far as Drake knows, Ryan's parents had him moved to a different hospital.
Now, if I'm running the game, this being a horror game and all, Ryan might show up on the run from the demonic conversion therapy place (conveniently running distance from ETU or something) that he'd been stashed, which would leave Drake and Ryan to contemplate their relationship and whether it's a good idea to resume. But for the moment, let's assume that Drake went to ETU to get away from his home town and his memories of his boyfriend, so he's like a lot of college freshmen - a little confused, a little damaged, ready to start something new.
Step One of chargen is race, even though they're all human so why bother. Step Two is Major. I think we'll make Drake a Folklore Major. ETU actually has a well-renowned Folklore program, and I think Drake picked that because his original major at U of M was Psychology, and then he got a close look at a psych ward and decided "no, mythology is better." That makes my Major Skill Knowledge (Folklore).
Step Three is Traits. Starting with Attributes, I get a d4 in each and then five more to split up, just like in the home game. I actually think I'll just split it up evenly; d6 is each Attribute.
Now I get 15 points in Skills. I swear to god, if I ever do M0arpigz, I'm gonna put the Skills on the damn character sheet. This flipping between books is for the birds. Anyway, I'll put a d6 in my Major Skill, so that's two points. I'll take Driving and Fighting at d4, why not. I'll take Investigation at d6 (so I'm up to 6 points spent; 9 more). Ooh, Notice. I'll splurge and by it d8, which costs extra because my Smarts is only d6. I've got 5 more. Riding and Stealth at d4, Streetwise at d6 (Ryan's influence) and Taunt at d4.
Sigh. No, we don't do Derived Traits now because Edges & Hindrances can change them.
Step Four: Edges and Hindrances! I get a free Edge because I'm human. I want Be a Zebra, which raises my Parry by two if I'm standing next to a target. I want Hindrances, though. I'll take Second Fiddle, which frankly a lot of my characters should have (I feel like a secondary character and have to make a Spirit roll or lose a Benny). I'll take Clueless for my Major Hindrance; it sounds dire but it just means I take a -2 to Common Knowledge checks (and that Drake is out of touch with the mainstream, which is a pretty good representation of a Michigan boy in East Texas anyway). And them I'll take Doubting Thomas, because it's so rarely applicable (Drake, quite reasonably, doesn't believe in supernatural shit).
Right, that's four points. I'll spend two and boost my Spirit to d8. And then I think I'll boost Fighting to d6 and pick up Persuasion at d4.
I can pick an Extracurricular Activity for my first semester. I'll be boring and take Fitness (I get a +2 to avoid Fatigue from any source this semester; Drake is committed to eating right, exercising, and avoiding drugs and booze, for now).
OK, now derived traits. Charisma and Academics are 0, Pace is 6, Parry is 5 (or 7 if I'm with "the herd"), Toughness is 5, and that'll do it. Drake is ready for academic craziness! Go Ravens!