The Game: We Used to be Friends (ashcan edition)
The Publisher: Growling Door Games, Inc.
Degree of Familiarity: Plenty. I didn't have anything to do on the creative end (that's Jonathan Lavallee), but we're publishing it and I've played it a few times now.
Books Required: Just the one.
We Used to be Friends is a teenage mystery/drama game, inspired, as you may have guessed, by Veronica Mars (it predates Riverdale, though I'm told it emulates that show well, too). You're playing high school students solving mysteries, but the focus is as much on the town and how those mysteries stem from whatever drama the town and its history create. As such, the first thing you'd do in a real group is design said town. Since I do not have a group, however, I'm just gonna wing it.
I will, therefore, be picking a yearbook profile first-off. I played the Sidekick and the Socialite at Origins this year, and the Tech Geek doesn't really speak to me, so that's between the Hard-Boiled and the Delinquent. I think I shall pick the Hard-Boiled this time.
Now, again, normally this would involve a full group and we'd decide who the rich and the poor people are in town, and what keeps them that way, and I'd decide who the town's detective is, but since it's just me we'll assume that my town is someplace in the Rust Belt, because that makes me happy. Skipping over the rest of the town-related stuff (which, again, all requires a group), I need to choose traits (this is the same as Apocalypse World; choose an array).
Well, what this cooks down to is: Do I want to be better at Eyes or Hard? I think it'd be interesting to make a sleuth who's more willing to do the punishing shit in order to get the case cracked, so I'll take the first array (Eyes +1, Rash -1, Hard +2, Soft 0, Body +1).
Now, there's no slot for this on the sheet (which I'm gonna fix before Gen Con, I hope), but I also need to assign these traits to the five basic moves.
Gumshoe gets Hard (I want my character to be willing to injure or humiliate himself to get the info).
Putting it All Together gets Eyes (mostly because I want to be at least sort of good at it).
Open Up gets Body (my character is an athlete, or was, and he equates being vulnerable with physicality).
And Action! gets Rash (this is a problem because And Action is the basic "act despite danger" move, and my guy's not terribly good at it because he tends to shoot from the hip).
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!, therefore, gets Soft by default (which is OK, because despite being an athlete my guy isn't much for actual fisticuffs, he'd rather trashtalk).
Cool, now I pick a Hard-Boiled
That's basically all the mechanical stuff that I can really do without a group, said the stuck record, so I'll just do the character stuff and call it a morning.
Harold Hall was nicknamed "Hall the Wall" his freshman year; he played goalie for the high school soccer team. And then one of his teammates, during a very chaotic set piece in the fourth quarter, stepped on his ankle and it snapped, requiring surgery and pins. He can run a little now, but he can't push on it harder enough to play soccer anymore.
While he was in physical therapy, Harold met a PTA who was under threat of losing his job because equipment was going missing. Harold, not having anything better to do with his evenings, ran it down and cleared the guy, though he wound up having to climb through windows and get punched in the face in the process. Since then, it's kinda become his thing...
Harold might look like a jock - he's tall, blond, handsome, and ripped - but he's sharp and incisive and deliberate (he's a goalie, remember). When he acts impulsively things tend to go badly because he doesn't improvise well, or when he does, he errs on the side of taking the licks himself. Someday that's going to backfire.
(I could, at this point, choose a personal mystery, but honestly neither of the ones listed for Hard-Boiled really inspire me for this character, so I'm gonna skip it and assume that if I had a group I'd have something interesting to work with.)
And that's done!