so I’ve been reading up on hitori kakurenbo out of curiosity and like
Who the hell plays hide and seek by grabbing a random person, drowning them, and then stabbing them? No fucking wonder you get a pissed off spirit.
Has anyone tried playing it nicely? Like, papping the doll on the shoulder and being like, “spirit who’s interested in a friendly, non-violent game of tag you’re it” and maybe not submerging the doll completely? And is the water really necessary anyway, what does it do?
maybe the spirit would leave you a message like
“nah son sorry they’re marathoning GoT next door and you don’t even have cable maybe next week”
In ancient times, Alpha suitors used to fight one another to prove their attractiveness and win the favor of an Omega. In modern times, the government passed laws clarifying that rut or heat lust is no excuse for physical assault or public brawling. However, the high courts have ruled that “non-violent games of skill or chance” are acceptable, so long as any party, including the Omega, may withdraw their consent and participation at any time. Also, the Omega is the final judge and their choice of partner cannot be questioned or argued by anyone. They may choose the company of someone other than the clear winner, or they may reject all the participants entirely. That is their right.
The most popular forms of Alpha “Contests” are:
The Dance-Off: You will often see two Alphas preening, strutting, and flexing to show off their attractiveness and superior dance moves in order to impress an undecided Omega.
Shot Put: For an Omega in an urgent rush, “Let’s see which of you can hurl this heavy object the furthest,” is a simple, clear-cut contest that needs little in the way of equipment or advanced preparation.
Cultural expectations are changing, however. More frequently, modern Omegas are looking for traits other than physical strength and athleticism when choosing a potential partner. This has lead to new forms of competition including:
The Pop Trivia Quiz: Some Omegas who value intelligence have started carrying around decks of cards with trivia questions on them. In a case of rival suitors, the Omega will act as the Quiz-master, and the Alpha who answers the most questions correctly will win the Omega’s favor.
Speed Chess: Other Omegas carry around a folding travel-sized chess set. Sometimes, you will see two sweaty Alphas with dilated eyes, hunched over a chess board, trying desperately to focus their attention on the game pieces that will determine their future romantic fortunes.
In a recent post, I remarked on the necessity of working “backwards” when creating game settings, and I’d like to expand a bit on what I mean by that. These comments apply mostly to designing settings for tabletop roleplaying games, but some of it is applicable to setting design for video games as well.
Basically, rather than defining the lore of your setting in broad strokes and seeing what kinds of stories emerge from it, you need to start with the premise and format of the game you want to play or run, and arrange such particulars of the setting lore as are necessary to justify and facilitate that premise.
The reason you have to do this is because designing a setting for a tabletop game imposes a number of relatively inflexible constraints that don’t exist when telling standalone stories. You can never forget that, as a game designer, the story of your setting exists only in collaboration with players whose games inhabit that setting, and enabling that collaboration is your main responsibility.
This brings to the fore a number of concerns that usually don’t apply to standalone settings. The following list hits several of the more important ones, but is by no means exhaustive:
1. Is your setting conducive to having a bunch of weirdos with eclectic skill-sets and variably maladjusted personalities running around stirring up trouble?
No matter how the setting is framed,
due to the social dynamics of tabletop gaming groups,
this is what 99% of tabletop games are going to boil down to in practice, so you’ve gotta learn to love it. If you need to bend over backwards to explain why the player characters aren’t immediately arrested, killed, and/or socially ostracised, you’re doing something wrong - and that last one applies even to non-violent games, so this isn’t just an issue for hack and slash.
By the same token, is there any obvious reason encoded in the setting lore for such groups to get together in the first place? There should be. You can’t predict what sorts of characters a gaming group you’ve never met is going to come up with, so you need to give them a flexible excuse to party up.
2. Is your setting’s uniqueness something that the players can meaningfully engage with on a narrative level?
It doesn’t matter how fascinating your lore is in principle: if it’s never going to come up in actual play, or if the action that makes your setting unique is never going to be happening where the player characters are, then it doesn’t exist.
That doesn’t mean that the players have to constantly be at the centre of world-shaking events (and many wouldn’t be comfortable with that even if it was on the table), but those events must have moment with respect to the narrative space the player characters inhabit; the reason they’re playing in this setting and not some other must have a tangible presence.
3. Insofar as players’ actions are mechanically mediated, are those player-facing game mechanics able to hook into your setting’s uniqueness?
Or, more simply, do the game’s rules actually do anything with your setting’s lore? Naturally, this is as much a system design issue as a setting design issue; however, you can save yourself a lot of headaches by bearing in mind during the setting design phase that, for many players, their game-mechanical “toys” are one of their primary low-level interfaces with the setting lore. It’s a lot easier to facilitate that interface if you pay mind to which parts of your lore most readily lend themselves to being packaged up as rules toys.
4. Do the player characters actually matter?
This is the dark side of point 2, above: it does no good to foreground your setting’s Big Deal if the player characters’ engagement with it boils down to watching your awesome NPCs do stuff from the sidelines.
The player characters don’t need to be the most powerful people around, but if they aren’t, you need to take care not to make their agency as player characters contingent upon never doing anything that attracts your awesome NPCs’ attention. And give them a better excuse than that their actions are somehow All Part of the Plan - that one’s deprotagonising as hell.
5. Does your game have a clear idea of what the players are supposed to do?
Sandbox gaming is well and good, but give people the freedom to do absolutely anything and most of them will do absolutely nothing. Decision paralysis is a thing. The most successful sandbox games combine broad player freedom with a well-defined notion of what a typical or default group of PCs does with their time - and even non-sandbox games can suffer from lack of clarity in this area.
Make sure you’ve got a solid notion of what your default mode of play looks like, then go through your setting lore with a chainsaw and cut everything that doesn’t have any bearing on that default mode of play. It’ll hurt while you’re doing it, but you’ll thank me later.
Those are the big issues you have to tackle. Only after all this do you get to think about stuff like “is my setting internally consistent?” and “does the setting’s history adequately justify its present affairs?”.
Without being mindful of these concerns, it’s far too easy to create a setting whose lore is basically a closed system - an elaborate narrative clockwork with no gaps for player characters to stick their wrenches in. That’s well and fine if you’re creating a setting to tell your own stories in, but as a designer of game settings, you must understand, accept, and embrace the fact that the vast majority of the stories your setting is going to tell won’t be your own - and a setting that puts this principle into practice is going to look very different from one that doesn’t.
(If it hasn't been asked) what kind of games would the s and m boys play?
Shu- The Quiet Game
Ayato- Shooter games
Laito- Otome games and non-violent video games
Kanato- Childish games (Hide N Seek, Tag, etc)
Subaru- Board games- Monopoly, Clue. Also some video games.
Kino- Video games of any sort
Ruki- Chess and checkers and Majong.
Kou- Otome games and non-violent, cutesy games
Yuma- Some shooter games, mostly with hunting
Azusa- He isn’t allowed to play video games. He was allowed to before, with Ruki watching to make sure it was appropriate- then he made the mistake of clicking on this game ( http://www.playcanyourpet.com ) and Ruki won’t let him play those anymore. He likes board games and Uno.