[Monsterhearts] The Doppleganger, Final PDF Released

edited March 2014 in Make Stuff!
EDIT: I've got the PDF set now, so here it is!
http://the-logbook-project.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-emerald-city-comic-con-pre-post.html
It may be final, but I'd love to hear is someone plays it!
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Hey there! Got a burst of interest in the idea of Dopplegangers after something my bro said, so I wrote an ApW-style shapeshift move. After a little more thought, I decided I could totally write a skin based off of it for Monsterhearts, so I took a quick break from Avatar World to, uh, do so.

While I came up with the original idea based on the monster itself, the design really came out of the teenager-archetype/metaphor idea of it. The Doppleganger is jealousy and self-loathing and wanting to be everyone else, seeing all the others things people have and how they don't have the flaws you have and how things could be better if you cold be like them. It's combined with the same sort of hero worship a lot of teens express, and the sort of admiration that creates successful people. The sort of people whose default nature is like that of The Queen's clique would make good Dopplegangers.
It's also about not liking yourself as you are, obsessing over your flaws and trying to get rid of them. Dopplegangers have low self-esteem, low self-confidence, low self-image, low self-everything.

I wasn't totally this guy in high school, but I certainly had elements of it. The other main reason I fully fleshed this out beyond just a couple moves is because my group is starting Monsterhearts in a couple weeks and I really really want to play this guy.

Stuff in quotes is game text, with bracketed indicators for stuff I specifically talk about after the quote. Usually it's stuff I want some feedback on, whether it's a simple "does it read" clarification or something more balance-based.
The Doppleganger
Description: All those people seem so special. They have their icy glares, their smoldering good looks, their razor-sharp intellect. You don't have any of that, and you wanted it. Then you discovered you could become them, and suddenly, it was all within your grasp.
Stats: Add 1 to one of these: Hot -1, Cold -1, Volatile +1, Dark +1.
Look: Pick one from each list.
* Paper-white skin, Boring and average, Unappealing, Inconspicuous
* Empty Eyes, Prying Eyes, Jealous Eyes, Distant Eyes, Harmless Eyes, Brooding Eyes
Origin: Rich and neglected, orphan, smothering and overbearing parents, depressed, delusional
I'm not having a great time with these. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Also I have NO names, any ideas for that?
Backstory: * You've been impersonating someone recently. Who, and what sympathetic token do you have on them? Gain an additional string on them on top of that.
* Someone caught you while reverting to your own form once. They get two strings on you.
Advancement:
* Add 1 to Hot (max+3)
* Add 1 to Cold (max+3)
* Add 1 to Volatile (max+3)
* Add 1 to Dark (max+3)
* Take another Doppelganger move.
* Take another Doppelganger move.
* Take a move from another skin.
* Take a move from another skin.
* You belong to a Shapeshifter Cult[!]
[!] I dunno, I just made something up. Any ideas for something that might actually be relevant? Or that might replace it, cuz I don't really see Dopplegangers as a very social sort of monster, or at least the sort that wouldn't be interested in being with others of its kind.
MOVES:
You begin with Transform and one other move.
Transform: "When you use a sympathetic token[!] to take someone's form[!!], roll+Dark[!!!]. On a 10+, you've got it just right. On a 7-9, choose one:
* The disguise doesn't hold up under scrutiny[!!!!],
* Assuming the disguise is an agonizing process, take 1 Harm[!!!!!],
* The disguise won't last long.
On a 6-, the MC chooses any or all of the above and makes a hard move."
[!] Two things. One, I'm not positive I want to require a sympathetic token at all. The other thing is how to establish the wording. I could reproduce the Witch move, but that seems weird to me. Might do it anyway though.
[!!] Confirming: It's got to be someone. You can't take generic shapes, you need to try to be another specific person.
[!!!] I've been debating about what exactly this move is stat-wise, and I think in the end Dark is the best. I considered Hot, since this is very much about appearances and all, but the Doppelganger ISN'T hot until they take a form.
[!!!!] Close scrutiny. What exactly is wrong is essentially up the MC's final approval - maybe you don't know until it comes up. It might not even be physical, it could be that you've gotten a fundamental part of their personality wrong in your impersonation.
[!!!!!] I'm touchy about this one, but I like the general idea.
As a side note, this is also the move you roll "When you ingest Polyjuice Potion...".
Walk Like You, Talk Like You: "While you're disguised as another PC, when you make a move, use their stats instead of your own."
Impressionable Personality: "When you return to your original form after being disguised as another PC, you temporarily change one of your stats to their value for that stat. This alteration goes away when you next transform.
Crawl Inside Your Head: "When you spend time and intimacy with someone, it counts as taking a sympathetic token on them."
Your Evil Twin: "When someone is blamed for something you did in their form, mark experience[!]."
[!] I debated what the reward should be for this; my main options were Strings and XP. I could reason how strings could make sense logically, and XP is a bit more significant, but I think it's worth it - it takes some real work, and some rolls, to set this sort of thing up.

I could probably use another move if I don't include the Witch's Sympathetic Tokens move, and even if I do I have room for another. Any ideas? I'm pretty much spent for the moment, though inspiration may strike again.
Darkest Self: "You despise yourself. All these other pretty people have everything you've ever wanted but could never have for yourself. In fact, no one would even notice if you were just...gone. Just be someone else - ALL the time. And if you need to get the "real" them out of the way to pull it off, so be it. Escape your Darkest Self when you accept your flaws[!] and voluntarily return to your own form."
In essence this is: you don't just want to BE them - you want to REPLACE them.
[!] This is logically sensible but may be asking too much of a character whose whole gimmick is about hating his flaws and wishing he was a person without them.
Sex Move: "When you have sex with another character, you must Hold Steady or return to your original form immediately afterward."
I'm excited about this. I don't even know if you deserve a roll if you're having sex in an assumed form, but sure, have one.
Side note that DOES make me a little uncomfortable: Pretty sure tricking them into thinking they're having sex with a different person might be a little close to the rape line. I 100% believe that's a thing a misguided and depressed teenage doppleganger would do, but that doesn't mean it's a bit bothersome to my mind.

So, that's what I have. There's four very specific things I'd really love some feedback on:
1) Names List Ideas
2) Origins
3) A Potential Additional Move
4) How you might visually represent a Doppleganger while also making their image noticeably human. I tried a couple of art ideas and none of them have worked out so far.
Thanks in advance for any help!
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Comments

  • edited January 2013
    Neat! Explores some spaces similar to the Hollow, perhaps, but more volition.
    3. Some Move that gives access to their Moves? Maybe...

    Be Like You: When you assume the disguise of another PC, Hold 1[!]. While disguised as them, you may spend 1 Hold to use one of their moves, once. You can spend a Sympathetic Token[!!] to gain 1 Hold. Lose all Hold when you drop the disguise.
    [!],[!!] or some other currency, if you work out what to do about tokens. Hold isn't in MH at present. Maybe you just spend Strings to use their moves. But I feel this move should grant at least one use.

    (edited re. strings)

    Be Like You: When you disguise yourself as another PC, you temporarily gain one of their moves. Lose the move after you use it or when you drop the disguise. While disguised, you can spend a String[!] on them to gain access to it[!!] again.
    [!] or other currency
    [!!] or a different move?

    (added v2 drawing on Hollow Mimricy)
  • Name ideas: Taylor, Harley, Kelly, Chris, Lane, Cameron, Dale, Kim, Terry, Stacy

    Gender neutral sounding names.
  • Caveat: I've not played Monsterhearts yet. (But I've got a game about to go in a couple of weeks, and would love to get this skin in.)

    Names: you're going to want plain names. Names that just disappear into a list, that you'll forget in a couple of hours. Johns and Tims and stuff.
    Darkest Self: could this maybe be "you escape when someone else sees you for who you really are", or something similar? It puts the responsibility into someone else's hands, but there's a bit of room for interpretation.

  • edited January 2013
    An alternate 9th advancement option comes to mind.
    Maybe...

    * Take Their Place. Switch to the Skin of a deceased character.

    This may or may not follow a Darkest Self episode.
    This does trample all over traditional character-ownership boundaries, boundaries that the Skin has spent it's existence mocking.
    This may be harmful to your game.
  • edited January 2013
    "When you take the form of someone whose mannerisms and habits you've studied closely..."

    "When you have sex with another character it counts as studying their mannerisms and habits closely. You can take their form at will, but always as if you rolled a 7-9."

    or..."When you have sex with another character it counts as studying their mannerisms and habits closely, but you have to hold steady or drop all pretense."
  • I think this is a very cool Skin! It's my favourite so far out of the fan-created ones, I think.

    I like the idea of the Doppelganger using advances for impersonation. For instance:

    * Memorize a person's form. Pick one character who you have some Strings on. You can take their form anytime you like, as if you'd rolled 10+.

    * Take the identity of an important NPC (mayor, principal, police chief). You can take their form as if you'd rolled 10+. (How did you get them out of the picture?)
  • Another idea might be that you take on a Condition to represent another character's personality bleeding into yours when you take their shape.
  • I think this is a very cool Skin! It's my favourite so far out of the fan-created ones, I think.

    I like the idea of the Doppelganger using advances for impersonation. For instance:

    * Memorize a person's form. Pick one character who you have some Strings on. You can take their form anytime you like, as if you'd rolled 10+.

    * Take the identity of an important NPC (mayor, principal, police chief). You can take their form as if you'd rolled 10+. (How did you get them out of the picture?)
    Another idea might be that you take on a Condition to represent another character's personality bleeding into yours when you take their shape.
    I like both these ideas. The former is kind of where I was going with the dead Skin move- its not just a dead Witch skin, it's the actual sheet with advances and notes, where you become that character.
  • edited February 2013
    Wow, thanks everyone! Ideas all over the place.
    First and foremost:
    "When you take the form of someone whose mannerisms and habits you've studied closely..."
    "When you have sex with another character it counts as studying their mannerisms and habits closely. You can take their form at will, but always as if you rolled a 7-9."
    YES. That would be my missing link. Exactly what I needed to make Transform work exactly how I want.
    The sex move is pretty great too. I still like the idea of it being problematic to have sex in assumed forms, but this is probably a more useful thing. I can see it doing interesting things too - gonna think on this.
    But the studying closely bit? Yup. That's what I wanted.

    Other cool things:
    Taking places with Advancements is a hugely cool thing for an advancement. Got a few options now for how to word it/who it replaces, so now I just need to figure out how to write it how I want.
    Taking the place of literally a previous character rather than just their Skin is a cool idea.
    On the topic of shattering character-ownership barriers, yeah, this guy does that all over the place.There was almost a move that had you using other people's Strings (cashing in their favors) but that was a bit crossing the line for ownership. I wasn't exactly attached to that bit anyway though.
    Names! Thanks so much for these, definitely jump-started my thoughts.
    "A gender-neatural name, a boring [or unassuming] name, a common name". I'll pick a bunch from that batch zircher posted cuz I like those (thanks!) and add in some John, Tommy, Michael, Sarah, Emily, Jennifer into the mix.
    Copying playbook moves temporarily will likely be the sixth move since I don't need to describe Sympathetic Tokens. So the things are basically: "Transform" to look like them, "Walk Like You, Talk Like You" to be as proficient as them, "Be Like You" to have their special skills but not necessarily be as good as them.
    That Darkest Self escape clause that Michael mentioned is a good thing and I like it. I'm going to be going with a slight variation of it I think, and I'll post what that is when I've got a wording worked out.

    A revised move:
    Impressionable Personality: "When you return to your original form after being disguised as another PC, note which of their stats had been highest and lowest. Until you next Transform, increase the stat that had been their highest by one (to a maximum of +3), and decrease the stat that had been their lowest by one. If you had been copying an NPC, the MC will tell you which stats to alter."
    This is an awkwardly worded enhancement of the previous Impressionable Personality, so now you're being changed by what they were like rather than by what you want to keep, which I think is more like what I was going for. My friend, and the MC for my upcoming Monsterhearts game, suggested this one.
    Also it's a pretty decent way of having their skills bleeding into your natural form again once you've transformed back. Could do it with a Condition type thing, but can't come up with a compelling wording off the top of my head.

    Again, thanks for the kinda words and all the help, folks! Off to the books to cook up the next draft (and hopefully an art idea :/ ), so it shouldn't be too long before I have the next version to share.
  • Glad you liked it. The alternative sex move was my stab at your goal of having sex in assumed forms problematic, while still providing some incentive for the sex. I'm worried that If it's just a problem without any benefit, I think the move will see less use.
  • New draft time! Hopefully its formatting works... Would still love an art idea on top of any additional feedback! Two posts long.
    Description: You idolized them, their icy glares, their smoldering looks, their razor intellect. You tried to act like them, pretended to be like them. Then you started to become them. Now nothing of it is outside your grasp if you simply find the right role-model.
    Trying to get something a little pithier than before, a little bit more dramatic when read at the table, something that says "Wow, I Want To Play That!" Not sure if I'm there yet, but I think this is better.
    Stats: Add 1 to one of these: Hot -1, Cold -1, Volatile +1, Dark +1.
    Name List: Cameron, Chris, Emily, Harley, Jennifer, John, Michael, Sarah, Stacy, Taylor, Tommy
    An unassuming name, a gender-neutral name, a plain name, a common name
    (by some fortune, none of that name list already exists in the official skins!)
    Big thanks to zircher and Michael, needed those ideas to make this work.
    Look: Pick one from each list.
    * Paper-white skin, Boring and average, Unappealing, Inconspicuous
    * Empty Eyes, Prying Eyes, Jealous Eyes, Distant Eyes, Harmless Eyes, Brooding Eyes
    Kinda feel like I ought to have one more on the top list, but not sure what it would be.
    Origin: Rich and neglected, orphan, smothering and overbearing parents, depressed, delusional
    Still struggling here.
    Backstory: * You've been impersonating someone recently. Who? Gain a string on them.
    * Someone caught you while reverting to your own form once. They get two strings on you.
    Fundamentally unchanged, though without reference to Sympathetic Tokens.
    Advancement:
    * Add 1 to Hot (max+3)
    * Add 1 to Cold (max+3)
    * Add 1 to Volatile (max+3)
    * Add 1 to Dark (max+3)
    * Take another Doppelganger move.
    * Take another Doppelganger move.
    * Take a move from another skin.
    * Take a move from another skin.
    * Memorize a person's form. Pick one character you have at least one String on and have studied closely. You can take their form at will, as if you'd rolled a 10+.
    * Take a dead PC's form permanently. Take the discarded Skin sheet and just start using it, with their stats and selected moves and remaining Strings and all. You can no longer Transform.
    I included both Paul's basic idea from memorizing a form (and memorizing an NPC's form is certainly permissable!) and Cneph's golden "assume dead PC's form" one. Like he said, this is hella dangerous to the game if you don't trust each other. This Skin is already about smashing character-ownership barriers, and this is the final step to completely own someone else's previous character. If you killed them to take their character? You should probably talk that out. It 100% makes sense if you're Darkest Self though. This is really the final goal of pretty much ALL Dopplegangers (as characters - as players we have other goals).
    I won't be picking this right away when I play him. I want to explore being a Doppleganger. If anyone else chooses to play this fella though, and eventually picks this, PLEASE let me know how that goes, I'm super-interested in stories about that.
    Transform: "When you take the form of someone whose mannerisms and habits you've studied closely, roll+Dark. On a 10+, you've got it just right and can stay that way as long as you desire. On a 7-9, choose one:
    * Your impersonation doesn't hold up under scrutiny,
    * Assuming the disguise is an agonizing process. Take 1 Harm,
    * The disguise won't last very long.
    On a 6-, the MC chooses any or all of the above and makes a hard move."
    For the "scrutiny" 7-9 option I decided to go with Impersonation, since it can apply either to your physical shape messing up or it can apply to your behavior not matching very well. Thanks again to noclue for the "studied closely" bits of the trigger, it's perfect.
    Walk Like You, Talk Like You: "While you're disguised as another PC, use their stats instead of your own."
    Yanked the reference to "when you make a move" since it's not really necessary.
    Should this be only PCs, and not NPCs? I know NPCs don't have stats so that could be a big hassle, but I feel like it might be a little under-used if it's PC-only. Then again, if you don't do a lot of copying the other PCs, just don't take this move - Impressionable Personality is probably more up your alley.
    Learn From You: When you return to your original form, alter your stats based upon the stats of the form you just changed back from. Whichever stat they had highest, increase your own stat by 1 (to a maximum of +3). Whichever they had lowest, decrease your own stat by 1. If you had been copying an NPC, the MC will tell you which stats to change.
    These alterations go away when you next Transform.
    I'm having a crazy time with the name here. Nothing is really sticking to me.
    Crawl Inside Your Head: "When you spend time and intimacy with someone, it counts as closely studying their mannerisms and habits. From then on, whenever you assume their form you may ask one question of the other character's player. It needn't be something you could reasonably know, and they have to answer completely and honestly."
    This might have been a bit redundant with the new studying bit until I added the question. That is DEFINITELY crawling inside their head. I love love love it, this one is now with the others (Transform, WLY,TLY, Learn, Evil Twin) on the list of "I can't wait to take this move."
    Your Evil Twin: "When someone is blamed for something you did in their form, mark experience."
    No changes at all! Very happy with this.

    (cont. next post)
  • (cont. from prev post)
    Be Like You: "When you assume the form of another PC, pick one of the moves they've taken. Until you drop the disguise, you can use this move as if you'd taken it. Spend Strings on them to select additional moves on a 1-for-1 basis. You lose these moves when you return to your own form."
    This is heavily inspired from Cneph's suggestion, but I've had a thought to access their moves since the beginning. I'd held off on it before because I feared that it could snap the niche protection of the game a little bit to give a second person the ability to do the unique things they can do. I hadn't known about The Hollow's Mimicry move, and seeing that there was already established "do their tricks" move gave enough confidence to make it happen.
    Speaking of Mimicry, I should point out why the drawback of Mimicry ain't around. Mimicry has two problems: the move has to be used on you (ruling out the passive moves), and you only get to use it once. I've removed both of these. The requirement of studying is a rebalance to having to be targeted (since you have to take time and effort), and while the Hollow has as long as they want to take advantage of the move that one time, you can only hold it until you turn back. Additionally, unlike the Hollow, there's no way to permanently take the move.
    Cneph's example wasn't quite sure if Strings were the right currency. I bumped against this for a bit - I like for spending Strings to have a fictional effect as well, not just being treated as currency. However, this doesn't quite line up to a "exerting your control over them" circumstance. My justification I eventually reached is that when you take even more of them into you, you become less willing to hold things over them. You're trying to BE them, you don't want to change how they are - that would defeat the purpose! The more you take in of them, the more you become them, the less will you have to change what they're like.
    There are some moves that you likely would NOT take from your new form. The first one to come to mind? The Ghoul's Hunger. However, I encourage taking even moves that aren't totally helpful if it makes sense that that's what The Doppleganger wants to feel. Plus, most of those ones have other moves that bounce off of them for benefits if you can take advantage of them - for example, you can spend a String to have Satiety and The Hunger, and THAT'S a pretty decent combo.
    There WILL be weird cases that you need to resolve on your own. If you take some Sympathetic Tokens from people while being The Witch, chances are you still have those when you change back. In fact, Sympathetic Tokens is a little weird with transformation in general - if you're transformed as The Werewolf and The Witch takes some of your hair and later hexes with it, does it target The Doppleganger or The Werewolf? I'd probably say The Werewolf, but that's a judgment call. Just wanted to point out how weird this can be sometimes.
    Excited to try this move. I hope there's a Ghoul with Short Rest For The Wicked around, I'd love to have that.
    Linked: "While in the form of another character, you both know and experience the emotions of the other, though you cannot necessarily distinguish those emotions as being from a foreign source. When either of you allow those emotions to influence your actions, take a String on the other character."
    This is a psychic link, obviously. The idea just kinda came to me, and I like it enough to include (and since I don't need Tokens, I have a spare move slot!). It's got all kinds of fun possibilities in there!
    Chances are, the Doppleganger can tell which emotions aren't purely his, and he DEFINITELY knows where the other side of the emotions is coming from. The other guys likely doesn't know either of these, but his player does, so just go with it.
    Like I just said, I like String uses to represent actually fictional things as well as being mechanical currency. In this case, it's pretty easy: you know what they're feeling. You don't necessarily know who those feelings are coming from, but you know how someone is feeling, and that gives a bit of leverage over them.
    Darkest Self: "You despise yourself. All these other pretty people have everything you've ever wanted but could never have for yourself. In fact, no one would even notice if you were just...gone. Just be someone else - ALL the time. And if you need to get the "real" them out of the way to pull it off, so be it. Escape your Darkest Self when someone calls you on not being who you say you are."
    The escape is a variation on m_busuttil's idea of "when someone else sees you for who you really are." I like that, but I find it hard to imagine any characters actually being able to tell who exactly is under the disguise. Instead, this is a bit easier than that - they need to discover that you're an imposter of some kind, but don't need your actual identity. However, it's not quite as easy as just seeing it - they have to CONFRONT you about it. They have to push it past "Hey man, you okay? You haven't seemed like yourself lately." They need to call you on having changed, of being different than you actually are, and insisting that something is different.
    I think this works great on several levels. First, it's hard but not impossible. Calling people on stuff like that? Hard to do. Second, while it makes sense that it spooks the Doppleganger into abandoning the obsession out of fear of being caught, it also cracks their shell of false confidence - they were perfect, and you WERE them, but you were still different. Your self-doubt about inhabiting other forms is back, and you're back to your regular transforming self.
    Something I'm still not sure is communicated is that I intend for you to take and keep a SINGLE form. I think it currently might read as ambiguous whether I'm directing the Darkest Self to be one other person all the time, or to just not be your true form ever. I'm intending the former, but I guess I'm not opposed to the other as well, so read it how you will I guess.
    Sex Move: "When you have sex with another character, it counts as studying them closely. You can assume their form at will, but it always counts as if you'd rolled a 7-9. If you are transformed, Hold Steady or return to your original form immediately afterward."
    Basically, this is my own idea directly slammed together with noclue's. Pretty much literally. That doesn't mean I don't think it's gold. This is one of the things I am super excited to experience when I play him.
  • I like the rewrite a great deal, and doing a double-effect (both good and bad) on the sex move doesn't bother me (I like it, in fact).

    It also inspired me with an idea for an effect. However, I'm really not sure where it would fit in with what you have:

    You have the potential for the character to temporarily gain another character's move. What if there was an option somewhere (maybe on a failed roll) for the MC to choose that move, instead? Then you could take on the Ghoul's Hunger, for example. The Sex Move and the Darkest Self could also be treated as moves for this purpose.

    It's kind of like the transformation worked *too well*: you took on more of the character's self than you intended to.
  • edited February 2013
    Likewise, I think it's a tighter rewrite. Some quick things:
    One more Look: Forgettable
    Skins all seem to have 9 advancement options. For this one, I'd either drop one 'take a move from another Skin' advance (as they have other options here), or maybe figure something more radical for Stat advances, related to taking on another Skins' stats.

    I think you are missing out on using a useful Monsterhearts piece of tech by not using Conditions as part of the costs and choices the Skin has to make. Maybe one appropriate under Linked in some circumstances, to represent the upsetting nature of of the emotional bleed? Although the MC could just call for Hold Steady when appropriate. I do think Conditions could be used to good effect in the Skin moves.

    Balance wise, the new Be Like You is much stronger than the Hollow move. You get to choose the move you want, you get to pick multiple moves, and you are able to use them over and over at no further cost. The drawback of requiring study is really the Transform moves' drawback. This has no downside- you can even selectively avoid their 'bad' moves, being better than the other Skin.

    If I were evaluating the Skin for my table and cared to consider balance, I'd say the move is too much as written. If you intend keeping reusable moves, drop the option to take additional moves. There should be some downside to taking on so much of their sense of self, maybe you gain a Conditon while you hold on to the (simgle) move? Paul has a good idea, I'd add a line that "The MC may tell you to take an additional move".

    (Nomenclature wise, I think Be Like You and WLY, TLY names should be switched. Being like you seems like you are being just as sexy, cool and brooding as they, walking like you implies 'doing' I.e. moves.)
  • Thanks to both of you! Alright, the easy ones: the Look is a good idea and fits in great - in it goes! The advancements, well, I'd forgotten how to count it seems. I'll be dropping a take-from-another-playbook as you suggested, it's the most expendable thing here - you're already all about stealing from everyone else with your own moves, you don't need advancements to do it. So yeah, those go right into the Skin.
    Additionally, I agree about WLY, TLY and Be Like You being switched name-wise. I'm leaving it for the moment since I'm trying to come up with something even better/unique for taking moves to replace the name Be Like You entirely. If I can't come up with anything else though, I will indeed be switching their names.

    You're right that I've basically entirely ignored Conditions. Both Be Like You and Linked are places that can accept them into them pretty easily, so I think I'm gonna go with that.
    The balance on Be Like You is definitely skewed - that's one of the reasons I was weird on writing a move-copying move originally, I wasn't quite sure how to balance it. The two things that you guys mentioned though are both great ideas - dropping the ability to gain more Moves (on purpose at least) and drawing in a way for the MC to be choosing moves instead cuz I think that sounds really cool. I AM a little attached to letting them keep the move as opposed to losing it after using it for two reasons, because I have a bit of a logic issue with forgetting things while still in their form and because there's it would probably get a little wonky if they chose passive moves that aren't necessarily USED (something the Hollow avoids by needing to be targeted, ensuring it's a usable one).
    So let's try something out...
    Be Like You: When you Transform into another PC's form, you get one of their moves. If you rolled a 10+ on the Transform roll, you select one of their Skin moves and consider yourself to have that move until you change form again. If you rolled a 7-9, the MC chooses the move instead. After using the move once, you take the Condition ________ until you change form again.
    So what does that do for me? Well, you only ever get one move, it's not an additional complexifying roll, you might get the choice or the MC might, and you get a Condition if you start taking advantage of it. I didn't want to make the condition show up right off the bat, I would personally consider that quite a deterrent, especially because that would mean that EVERY time I became another PC I'd be stuck with a Condition.
    What's missing? It's pretty obvious - I have no idea what to name the damn Condition. I had Blurred Identity until I realized that seems hard for people to take advantage of, which kinda makes it a false consequence.
    Unless I'm being dense and there are ways to use that. No clue really what to do with it though. Workin' on it.
    What exactly "Use" means depends on the move. I'd say that if they get somethng like The Hunger, the first time they take advantage of the "heedlessly pursue" bonus would be the use. For rolling moves and cases like Short Rest For The Wicked, it's pretty obvious what "use" is. If you were to, in theory, take their "+1 to x stat" move (which I should note - WLY, TLY does NOT automatically give you that bonus, though it does give advancement bonuses) it'd be the first time you roll that Stat. It works out pretty okay, since the broader the uses of the move, the faster you're stuck with the Condition, and that seems right to me.
    As for Paul's idea about Sex Moves and Darkest Self, I'd say yes to former and no to the latter. If you DO get saddled with (or choose, I suppose) a Sex Move, it's IN ADDITION to your current one, you get two things that trigger.

    Definitely think that looks a bit more balanced. A lot more, actually.

    Let's just hit out an altered Linked real quick...
    Linked: "While in the form of another character, you both know and experience the emotions of the other, though you cannot necessarily distinguish those emotions as being from a foreign source. When you allow the other's emotions to affect your behavior, you can take an appropriate Condition (eg Furious, Despondant, Elated) to take a String on the other character."
    Yeah, I'm feelin' that.
    Thanks for the feedback, it's totally helping a lot.
  • Like the new Linked. Most skins should have a way of gaining strings on people and this fits with the playbook style.

    I'd also suggest that you come up with an xp gaining move, as skins tend to have at least on of those too. Either something about impersonating a new individual, taking over someone's life, or learning lessons as someone else. Maybe, "When you spend a week as someone else gain an xp."
  • Thanks!

    There actually already IS an xp move! My Evil Twin gains you XP when people are blamed for things you did as them. It's probably the move I've had the least problems with, I like it.quite a bit. That kinda what you're thinking of?
  • Oooh. I want to play this. Totally creepy and cool.
  • edited February 2013
    A suggestion for a picture. The face is purposely featureless, while still having eyes and a mouth.

    Feel free to grab and use if you like it.

    The existing playbook pics are all outlines. I thought a negative space picture was particularly appropriate for a Doppleganger.

    Dopple
  • For the names, Harley stands out as having way too much oomph. I'd replace it with either Hailey or Kailey, both of which are super duper common right now with 5-15 year old girls.
  • I like the art!

    How about "Disoriented" for the Condition?
  • Thanks anansigirl - and if you do play one, let me know how it goes, I'm excited to hear how it actually goes in play.

    Yeah, I don't actually know any Harleys. The nice thing about it is it's one of those gender-neutral ones. Good call with Hayley - I knew a lot of Hayleys in high school, I can see it working.

    Disoriented is pretty good. Gonna think on it a little longer (basically until I decide to either write another draft or merge everything onto a pdf), but that seems like the sort of thing it's gonna be.

    And saved the best for last: holy cow Rob, that's a fantastic idea for the art! Might use that pic, but gonna take a stab at doing my own first, but doing a negative space idea is just brilliant. Leaving features blank and unidentifiable and such...dang, I'm way into that. To the drawing board! (and for once that phrase ain't a bad thing!)
  • If you want some more gender-ambiguous names, I'd suggest Robin, Hayden, Jordan, Lindsay, and Ashley, and short forms like Alex, Bo, and Jules. Some French names work for both genders, too, like Marie or Dominique.
  • Really good idea for the art, Rob.

    New Be Like You:
    Is the Condition meant to apply on just 7-9, or on any roll? Anyway, you don't have to name the Condition, leave it open to be assigned as appropriate to the fiction. You gain a Condition. My least favorite thing about Hold Steady is that it prescribes terrified. OTOH, I don't know if the latest BLY version needs to assign a Conditon on use. The 7-9 MC chooses result makes it interesting, and it's already cost you a move of your own. One for playtesting, I guess.

    Like the new Linked, that's basically what I was thinking too.
  • Hmmm. I like Jordan, that's both quite common and ambiguous. Alex too. Got more choices than I know what to do with now!

    The intention was for the Condition to always be a thing, even on a 10+, but I kinda agree that it might be a bit superfluous. I'm gonna pull it for now (to make it shorter and more concise if nothing else), but be watching it while I play. When I play I'll take that move and pay attention to how it's balancing out. All of them could enjoy some playtesting of course, but this move has the most potential to be threateningly off-balance.
    If it DOES go back in I'll make a decision re: open-ended-ness vs specificity, but no need to bother right now.
    "Be Like You: When you Transform into another PC's form, you get one of their moves. If you rolled a 10+ on the Transform roll, you select one of their Skin moves and consider yourself to have that move until you change form again. If you rolled a 7-9, the MC chooses the move instead."

    And awesome! Linked has definitely become one of the moves I'm very interested in taking eventually.
  • edited February 2013
    Re. Crawl inside your head- I remember seeing a similar move somewhere, which gave three options (maybe secret hope, secret fear, or secret shame- or something like that) that the other player had choose from and tell you. The reason being that it might be hard to come up with one of those three on the spot.

    I'd like to see, I don't know, maybe the MC asking the question. Less adversarial that way. Or sometimes, maybe they get to ask one back through 'personality bleed' or similar. Like maybe you get to ask the question, and they can ask one back if they give you a String on them.

    In some ways, these modifier moves (like Crawl, BLY) could be adding additional options on the 7-9 or 10+ Transform results. Would need a bit of rework to make it happen, though.

    Overall, I can see some players (including myself, perhaps!) getting a little annoyed at being the target of this Skin, especially with the Crawl questions. :) Something to discuss in the player and MC notes about bringing it to the table.
  • I've never actually considered asking questions as something that feels adversarial. My mind sees it as an opportunity to reveal more coolness about a character, and if someone's giving me a chance (and perhaps a sweet provocative prompt), even better. However, I guess I can see how it can feel like putting people on the spot or some such, so I can certainly see where you're coming from. So yeah, let's bounce a question back! Now you're both on the spot, and the rest of the table learns about you both.
    I'm not even gonna make it conditional when they can bounce a question back, it's just a thing they can do in response.

    I DO like it being an open-ended question though, rather than one of a set of options like those. While those are certainly cool (and they come from one of The Infernal's bargains - the actual ones seem to be secret fears secret desires, and secret strengths, though secret shame is hot) I like the freedom to learn what you want about someone, and I imagine that often the question is going to be something that allows you to better impersonate someone ("What did you have planned for this afternoon", "I overheard you say X, what did you mean by it", "What girl do you have a crush on" - that last one is pretty great if your intent is malicious too).

    I considered making them alterations based on the Transform roll, but in general, I'm okay with leaving as is actually. I may change my tune eventually, but oh well.

    I understand the difficulty of being targeted, even minus the questions. More than any other character, the Doppleganger can't be targeted for retribution. Witches are pretty tough too in that manner - they do bad things to you and you don't know where it's coming from. I mean, Werewolves and Chosen and Ghouls, you know when they're coming at you, and you can fight back. The Doppleganger is a subterfuge master, and that can be annoying.
    However, the big thing that I think mitigates it is that, a lot of the time, a Doppleganger isn't malicious toward its target. He copies mostly because he idolizes a person. He puts the others on a pedestal and tries to step up there with them. Now, almost inevitably, the new body isn't quite what they thought it'd be, and may turn against the others for "deceiving" them or some such in their petty teenage way. When that happens, yeah, being the target sucks. But a lot of the time, at least at first, a Doppleganger doesn't start copying a person with intent to harm, with many exceptions of course.
    So, uh, yeah. I have stuff to talk about in Playing The Doppleganger!

    ---------------
    So, thanks to that, I have two bits of rule text to amend.

    Crawl Inside Your Head: Crawl Inside Your Head: "When you spend time and intimacy with someone, it counts as closely studying their mannerisms and habits. From then on, whenever you assume their form you may ask one question of the other character's player. It needn't be something you could reasonably know, and they have to answer completely and honestly. If you do ask a question, they get to ask one in return, same rules."
    Simple enough. The other change?

    Personality Bleed: "When you return to your original form, alter your stats based upon the stats of the form you just changed back from. Whichever stat they had highest, increase your own stat by 1 (to a maximum of +3). Whichever they had lowest, decrease your own stat by 1. If you had been copying an NPC, the MC will tell you which stats to change.
    These alterations go away when you next Transform."
    THAT is definitely the real name for Impressionable/Learn From You/etc. I'm actually happy with this one. Perfect.

    In other news, I got the Skin template from Joe so I'm working on laying it out right now. I did the art for it tonight, so I'm just waiting on permission to use it (as I built it off of a stock art on deviantArt). I like it, and it uses the same kind of idea as Rob's. As soon as I get the go-ahead, I'll post up up the PDF. Still looking for feedback beyond that, ESPECIALLY on Origins, since I'm still just bleh on mine but am drained of ideas for them.
  • edited February 2013
    Origins... tricky. Some that come to mind are middle child, fangirl/fanboy, groupie, bridesmaid, hanger-on, gopher, sycophant, stalker, wannabe.
  • stalker, wannabe
    Well shit, yeah. Why couldn't I come up with those, they're his very essence!

    Permission came through, PDF!
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/mmqs62dwgqxhnj4/Monsterhearts%20Doppleganger%20v1.pdf
    That SHOULD work - I haven't shared with Dropbox before, so let me know if something bugs up.
    It contains all the default stuff, including the modified origins list, Playing The Doppleganger (though no MC stuff) and art. It also includes a second set of Stat boxes labeled "Altered", and I labeled the standard ones "Natural." This is so it's easy to keep track of your original stats even when you're changing stuff around thanks to WLY, TLY or Personality Bleed.
    Something that ISN'T done is I didn't switch WLY, TLY and Be Like You's names. I likely will eventually, but it's still fully functional.

    Now, cuz I'm proud of it, here's the art:
    The full-size image, before being scaled to Skin size: http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b330/maxdxam/Doppleganger_art_zpsc8220805.png
    Built off of a stock image ("Male Stock 140" of Kevin Leon) by http://birdsistersstock.deviantart.com/.
    Not gonna embed the image cuz it's huge and I didn't save a separate scaled version.

    So, what do you think?
  • edited February 2013
    Very cool.

    I feel there should be a move called "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" in there somehow... (if it were my call, I would use that instead of "Be Like You").

    It might help to clarify the wording of the Sex Move. The bit about having to hold steady comes right after the bit about memorizing someone's form, so it can read as though they go together.

    I would try to make it clearer (that column has plenty of space in it, anyway). For example, put in a paragraph break and write something like:
    If you have sex while in the form of someone else, your disguise might slip in the throes of passion. Trying to keep your true self from coming out counts as holding steady under these circumstances.
  • Thanks!

    That's a good move name... It feels like it might be a little long, but that's not unprecedented. Definitely gonna think on that since it's a good idea.

    And I absolutely agree about the sex move, good call.
  • I've gotten some good advice on my custom Skin here, so I feel like I should pay that back. Plus, I've been working on a "shape-change" Skin and am interested to see how other people are doing it.

    Transform: Personally, I don't think you need the miss clause. That'd open the door for MCs to make Hard Moves based on the situation. Also, maybe clarify that the third choice means your disguise is perfect, like "your flawless disguise won't last long".

    Personality Bleed: I like it, but I think there's an easier way to word that move. Could't you say something like "swap your highest and lowest stats to their highest and lowest stats". That'd allow you to cut the line about resetting after each transformation.

    Be Like You: I think you need to clarify what move the player can take when they transform. Can they take _any_ move from the other PC's Skin book or only one that the other character has already taken? If it's the former, what about wording the move like "on a 10 up, pick a move from that player's Skin book. On a 7-9, the MC chooses one for you instead".
  • Thanks! It's The Oni that's you've recently shared, right? I checked it out a bit before, you got some cool stuff. Maybe I'll see if there isn't anything I can add over on yours ;)

    Transform: I considered that! First though: it opens the door? The way I've read Apocalypse World (and I've never considered MH to have changed this) is that they always can make a hard move after a failure. The reasoning behind the miss clause is to make it explicit that MCs should also feel free to allow the transformation to go through, rather than always considering it as "well, you failed to transform, and then here's my hard move." A good MC could probably already do this, but I wanted to make it explicit.
    And I can definitely refine the last option like that.

    Personality Bleed: that's an excellent way to put that! I've been trying to find the best way to word it ever since writing it, and while I settled for what I had, that is way better.

    Be Like You: It's the former. You're copying them, not some monster LIKE them, which means you only get what they can do. I'll clear that up, thanks for pointing it out!
  • Yup. The Oni's mine. It's going through changes after the feedback I've gotten here.

    Transform: I always assumed that a miss effect took the place of the MC's Hard Move. Like, check if a move has a miss clause, and if so use that, otherwise pick something from the MC's list of moves. But maybe I'm wrong. I couldn't find it anywhere in Monsterhearts, and I don't remember what Apocalypse World said. I get the feeling both authors would respond with "whatever makes sense for the fiction" if asked about it.

    I get wanting to explain that the Doppleganger can still assume someone's form on a miss. But I think you can put that in the "Playing the Doppleganger" section.

    Be Like You: Out of curiosity, why not let the player of the PC being copied pick the move, rather than the MC?

  • Be Like You: Out of curiosity, why not let the player of the PC being copied pick the move, rather than the MC?
    That's kind of cool. I'd allow either.

  • Well, the miss effect also allows the hard move in this case, but you're right, it's more appropriate to put in advice. Not in the player advice though, in an Under The Doppleganger's Skin bit for the MC (which I haven't written but will). So yeah, axing the Miss clause for the time being.

    And I didn't let the other PC do the choosing because I hadn't thought of that! It's a cool idea and I've been thinking about it throughout the day. For the moment I kinda want to leave it with the MC since, as copying a player DOES mark them as a target in a way, and I think letting the target pick their attacker's weapon would lead to them picking some of the more harmless/useless possibilities, and that can be pretty boring too. Letting an impartial onlooker like the MC choose seems the best option for the moment - I'm gonna be considering using it with the other PC though. I'm probably gonna ask the MC to let the other PC pick a couple of times to try it out. I'll get back to how that works out.

    Personality Bleed: Actually, I'm not sure I want to actually swap the stats fully - just the +1/-1 change was more what I was looking for since it had less radical potential for change and it even allowed you to become better than the other person is. Gonna leave it for the moment since I don't quite have a good way to word THAT still. That's active thinking though.

    So let's meter out the changes to be applied to the next draft:
    Sex Move: Add an additional line break before "If you are transformed, Hold Steady..."
    Transform: Remove the miss clause.
    Be Like You: Rephrase from "select one of their skin moves" to "select a Skin move they've already taken".
  • HyveMind was kind enough to a better layout job on the PDF, making it look just like the real thing! It's lookin' pretty tight. Can't wait to be able to play it, and hopefully will have that chance on Friday.

    Link to the new PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lya6ydy22n9m0b2/Monsterhearts - The Doppleganger Skin (v2 layout by HyveMind).pdf
  • It looks great! I like all the rewrites, too.

    (I still like "Sincerest Form of Flattery" instead of "Be Like You", but that's just my quirky sense of taste, I suppose!)

    I'll encourage people to use this Skin next time I play Monsterhearts.
  • edited February 2013
    Aye, I think I still might change that. Be Like You will persist temporarily, but that option is definitely growing on me.

    Thanks! Lookin' forward to hopefully hearin' about it.
  • edited February 2013
    It's definitiely tightening up.

    Other wording for a stat adjustment move?
    When you revert(...), your stats adjust to be more like theirs. Increase one of your stats by 1 (max 3) and decrease another by 1 (min -1)

    I don't even know if they need to revert after the next change?
  • Yes, they need to revert. Otherwise you enter some kind of spiral if you keep transforming into the same person several times in a row.
  • Here's an interesting different way to do it, though:

    Depending on the outcome of the Transform roll, you could get a bonus, a penalty, or both.

    10+ add 1 to whichever Stat is that character's highest
    7-9 add 1 to whichever Stat is that character's highest, subtract 1 from whichever Stat is that character's lowest
    on a miss, subtract 1 from whichever Stat is that character's lowest
  • Thanks! And yeah, I definitely think it needs to revert, for both mechanical and fictional reasons. Mechanically, it's as Paul said - if you're transforming into one person multiple times (which is likely due to amount of time and effort it takes to be able to copy someone), their top stat is gonna max out pretty fast. Fictionally, the idea behind the move is less that your actual personality is being changed by the experience and more that some of it lingers for a bit after you shift but that it'll go back to normal later.

    I kinda like that Paul! I'm cautious about making TOO much hinge on that one roll of Transform, but the way it's worded is really clean in a way I can't make it normally, so I definitely might do that. Gonna have that on a sticky note while we play, probably try it out a couple times once I get that move.
  • I like the idea of Personality Bleed a lot. It encourages the Doppleganger to seek out someone they want to emulate, and copy them to increase their stats. It also encourages the MC to think about what kind of stats NPCs would have in preparation for the Doppleganger copying them.

    You do need the reset clause, because as Paul_T points out, you could just keep increasing your stats by copying the same person again and again. You could prevent that another way, by having the stats change only the first time the Doppleganger copies someone. That's encourage the player to constantly seek out new people to copy for the stat boost.

    I'm still not thrilled about the wording and bookkeeping though.
  • Bookkeeping-wise, the easiest approach is probably to have a floating +1 to a stat.

    Basically it's +1 forward to rolls on that stat until you use the ability again, at which point you get the +1 forward to a different stat.
  • Hey there!

    I'm going to try out this Skin tonight in a game.

    If you have any changes from the current version ("v1"), please let me know!
  • Let's see, I don't have anything radical/specific. HyveMind did a layout edit for mine to fix some formatting errors that I posted as v2 though if you didn't see that.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lya6ydy22n9m0b2/Monsterhearts - The Doppleganger Skin (v2 layout by HyveMind).pdf

    But yeah, other than that I've yet to change anything. I've only gotten through CharGen in my game so far (we've only met once and it was a short session - AP HERE but it's not really relevant to this discussion), so I'm interested to see how it actually plays out. Really looking forward to hearing about it!
  • Hey, excellent, thanks!

    I like your write-up, too (although it looks like you used the old stats - is that intentional?).
  • No! Good catch - it's still Hot-1/Cold-1/Volatile+1/Dark+1! I keep forgetting that little typo, so yes, I'm still using the original stat lineup! Thanks for catching it, and thanks about the write-up.
  • We played! It was successful in many respects, difficult in others. Will be back with more details later...
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