Sunday, February 05, 2012

School Daze Playtest

Last night I got the chance to playtest School Daze with Tracy and Joe on G+ hangouts.  School Daze is an RPG based on the experiences we all have in high school.  The game takes place at Trowbridge High School and the you get to play a student at the school.  The Administrator runs the game and s/he is in charge of playing the faculty and the other students.  The game is very narrative in nature, with the Administrator outlining the current events and giving the players free reign to decided the course of action.

Character creation is very simple.  You choose your name, favorite subject, rank, motivation, and 3 relationships.  Mechanics are also very easy - conflicts are resolved by rolling a d6 and you have bonuses based on your favorite subject or your rank.  You can also accumulate up to 3 gold stars and you have the option to spend these to aid your rolls as well.

There are some situations where your rank can give you a minus to your dice roll.  For instance, if you chose the Thanks rank you are known for being nice.  So if you are in a situation where you can benefit by being a nice person, then you will get a +1 to your roll.  The bad is that you can also be a  kiss-ass so there are instances when you would receive a -1.

Tracy (our Administrator and the creator of School Daze) wanted to try something new with our playtest of the game so we also picked a magic trick.  He wanted to see how having a magic trick would fit into the system and everyone in the school had their own particular trick that they were known for.  If you download the most recent version of School Daze, the magic trick option will not be in there but I'm sure that Tracy would be happy to answer any questions that you have regarding the mechanics of it.

The character that I played was Lydia, an art student with ranks in yank (good: can often diffuse situations with humor, bad: often cracks jokes at inappropriate times).  Her motivation was that she wanted to get into the Chauncey Art Institute, the most prestigious art college in the state.  Her 3 relationships were her art teacher, Mr. Jobs; her best friend, Mandy; and her mom, Mom.  Lydia's magic trick was that she could spontaneously summon glitter.

We started the game by arriving at school on Monday, about 15 minutes before first period started.  It's the end of the semester and our mid-terms will be in 5 days, on Friday.  I head to my locker and Mandy greets me with the news that Mr. Jobs, our first period art teacher, is not going to be in class today.  Mandy is kind of freaked by the news that we have a substitute and she makes my locker glow pink (her magic trick is that she makes things glow when she's nervous).  I blow it off because surely Mr. Jobs won't be gone all week and we already know what our mid-term is going to be about.

We get to class and as we begin work on our final project (mine is an abstract self-portrait) a very large man in a pinstripe suit walks in and writes his name on the blackboard - Mr. Hortense.  He then commands us to take out our textbooks and to open it to page 1.  I raise my hand and inform him that we don't even have a textbook because Mr. Jobs said it wasn't important.  At that point a book magically appears the desk of every student.  Mr. H then spends the next 45 minutes covering the introduction to the book.

Class is dismissed and we head to our second period class, only to discover that our teacher is absent and that our substitute is the same Mr. Hortense.  I tried to question him about being in both classrooms but he ignores my question and commands us to take out our textbooks and open to page 1.  Meanwhile, Timmy (Joe's character) is having the same experience in both his 1st and 2nd period class - teacher absent and Mr. H is the sub in both rooms.  He asks to use the bathroom but Mr. H won't let him leave so Timmy uses his special power (create water) to make the sprinkler system malfunction.

The fire alarms go off and the building is evacuated.  As we are leaving our classrooms, I panic because I don't like being surrounded by so many people and I began throwing glitter around.  I'm in the middle of a pack of jocks and they notice the glitter and start pushing people out of the way to clear a path.  They don't want the glitter on them because it's kind of gay so they're trying to get me out of the building as quickly as possible.  We get outside and I try to find Mandy but I can't so I decided to ask the principal about Mr. Jobs instead.

He tells me that Mr. Jobs had a personal issue and that it isn't appropriate to discuss it with a student.  So then I ask about the other missing teachers and he says that some of them are gone for conferences and other various reasons.  He tells me to get back in line with my class and I decide to go look for Mandy again.  I find her and we decide to go back to my house but we get caught by Mr. H and as he's busting us the principal announces that the sprinkler system is messed up and we get to go home.

I talk Mandy into going to her next door neighbor's house, Larry Squire, because he's good with computers and he might be able to find out what happened to our teachers.  Timmy and his best friend, Bobby, also show up at the Squires' house and we figure out that none of the teachers have updated their social media pages for 24 hours.  While we are talking to Larry, his little brother comes to the room with a blank look on his face.  Timmy, Bobby, and I all pass out.  When we wake up, Mandy tells us that she had a vision of a red room.

I go looking for the little brother and I find him standing in the bathtub, staring up at the shower head.  I ask him about what he did and he said that no one ever sees what he sees.  So I get into the bathtub with him and I also look at the shower head.  I ask him about the vision that Mandy saw and he said that they were all in trouble.  I ask if he meant us and he said no, the adults.  I then use my special ability to make glitter come out of the shower and he says, "that it is what it's supposed to look like" and leaves.

We decide to visit a random teacher to see what is going on and Larry drives us to Ms. Steamtower's house.  Timmy calls her on his cell phone but she doesn't answer so I decide to knock on the door.  At the last knock, the door pops open.  Timmy tells Bobby to run in really quick to see if he notices anything. 
Bobby never comes back so we all enter the house.  Timmy decides to look in the basement for Bobby because he knows Bobby will be there, based on a previous experience.

As we are talking about going into the basement, a scaly green hand reaches out and grabs Timmy and pulls him into the basement.  I take off running after him and I wack the hand with a fire poker that I had picked up from the living room.  The hand drops Timmy and we see the body of Ms. Steamtower on the floor and Bobby's glasses are lying next to it but he is no where to be seen.  The scaly hand is coming out of a gash in Ms. Steamtower's chest but there is no blood.  The hand grabs Mandy and pulls her in and as she is going past us, she grabs a hold of me and Timmy, pulling us all in.

We end up in a red room that is lined with metal columns.  We see a shadow moving around and I fling glitter at it.  The glitter outlines the monster, showing us a creature with hundreds of tentacles waving about, each one ending in a green scaly hand. We have to make a roll at this point and I failed it, so my creature now takes a penalty to mental (these are consequences of -1 to -3 that the Administrator keeps track of - there are also social and physical tracks that you can receive minuses to if you fail your roll).

The creature begins talking to us and we can see that it is Mr. Hortense.  He tells us that he wants to be released back into our world and he shrugs his shoulders and we can see the scaly tentacled hands rippling through his form.  Timmy yells up at Larry to throw down a rope and a chain drops.  We all grab it and it zips up through the gash because Larry has attached it to his car.  At the last minute, Mr. H grabs the end of the chain and I kick him in the face and Timmy uses his magic trick to send ice slivers into his face but Mr. H doesn't let go and gets pulled out with us.

We end the session in Larry's car.  He has just backed the car over Mr. H and we are speeding off down the street.

The game was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to playing again so that we can find out what happened to our teachers!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool post! Well written, cohesive, and leaves me wanting to read more.

    Score: A+