Sunday, October 13, 2013

Character Creation: Lashings of Ginger Beer

No, it's not an S&M RPG where you serve under the harsh ministrations of a redhead called Mistress Beer. Though I think I'd play that.

The Game: Lashings of Ginger Beer
The Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one, collected in Kids & Critters.

So, "lashings" of something means "an abundance" of it. I've only ever heard it in the context of drinks (and in fact, the only other time I remember hearing it at all was on Fawlty Towers). In this game, you're playing kids in Idyllic England, a kind of Pleasantville/Leave It To Beaver sort of thing in which Nasty People get their comeuppance, and the PCs are basically good kids who never really get in trouble with the law.

Frankly, the setting creeps me the hell out. It's so very white-bread. Like, it evokes the 50s sitcoms I mentioned, as well as a bunch of British inspirations that I don't recognize, but you can smell the privilege coming off the setting. And I don't necessarily fault the author for it; it's focused, and I appreciate that. Plus, you could certainly subvert those tropes a little, if you wanted to. But...I don't know. When I read that all of the Good Girls ("Good Kid" is a character type) grow up to get married and become housewives, I just kind of go "GAAAAAH." Maybe it hews a little close to the mythical lost Republican Utopia, or it might be that I'm approaching a British game through an American lens.

Anyway, the first thing I do is choose an age, or roll one. Well, heck. Let's roll it. I roll a '1', which means my little nipper is 10. Slightly older than Teagan, fourth grade...of course, I rather suspect "grade" work differently.

Anyway, my age determines my stats. I've got 1 in Tough and Clever, and 3 in Deft and Charm. So I'm cute and fast, but I'm only 10, so I'm not especially tough or well-read. Makes sense, I guess.

Well, playing to my strengths, I'll make the younger brother of the most popular kid in the neighborhood. My older brother, Nathan, is now 16, so he really can't be bothered with the little kids anymore. But his gang has now accepted my character, Witch (his name is Richard, but he glided /r/ when he was younger so it sounded like "Wichard" and here we are).

Anyway, I get one point to add to one of my Attributes, so I'll add it to Clever so I'm not a total numpty, and on we go.

For Kid Type, I can be a Good Kid, a Swot (brainy type) or a Truant (juvenile delinquent). I think Good Kid makes the most sense.

Now Skills. The book, in keeping with the fine editing tradition of It's a Dog's Life, tells me that Hide and Snoop are written on the character sheet, but they aren't. Anyway, I get those both at 2. I'll put 3 into Act Innocently (little brothers all have this), 1 into Sports, and 2 each into Ride Bicycle and Spot Nasty People.

There's a "pick gear" bit, but it consists of picking a free item off a list and then rolling for any others you might want. I want a bicycle, which we'll assume was a birthday present. If I were going to play Witch, I'd roll for a penknife and some sweets, but since I'm not I'll not bother.

If I were playing this kid, I think I'd want him to be the youngest in the group. He's not quite aware of the things the other kids are, but he's not above going all puppy-dog eyes at authority figures or older teens to get the gang out of trouble. Not in a manipulative way, of course, it's just what works. He really still wants to be hanging around his brother, but his brother moved out of the age range of the gang (got a girlfriend, etc.) just as Witch got into it.