The icon's appropriate, I swear.
So yesterday, in addition to making yummy stir-fry, we created our setting and characters for Misspent Youth
. I've mentioned the game before (made a character here
), and we were supposed to make characters last month, but we had a change of gamers and now here we are.
The game is available for free download here
. It's billed on that page as a sci-fi game, but nothing says that you couldn't do fantasy or any other genre that tickles you. The setting is group-defined, and there's a great deal of structure to doing that. And it all seems to work fine.
First thing, the games asks you to consider the Authority. The question is, what do bullies do that pisses you off? What would be anger-making in a regime? Almost immediately, the group went to a hyper-religious state (early inspiration: The Handmaid's Tale
). I wish to point out that this wasn't my idea, although obviously I was quite happy to run with it.
Anyway, one player brought up the Quiverfull
movement, which is basically a Christian school of thought that eschews birth control (and, obviously, abortion) because children are a blessing from God or some bullshit (just from reading the wiki: birth control is sent from the Devil to prevent children that God wanted conceived from being born. Um, OK. So the Devil can
outfox God on occasion?). The notion that they're basically trying to do that in order to skew the nation's numbers through sheer population explosion is one I find a little unlikely, at least from the little I've read, but it's a pretty obviously sexist sect. Anyway, we kind of took that philosophy to a dark place and ran with it.
So, in our near-future, the Nation of Christ has taken over most of Texas. They're OK with technology and science in general (as long as it doesn't get into the biological sciences of evolution, because I DINT COME FROM NO MONKAHS!), and they've got some oil reserves they're using as leverage. But they're also still trying to expand, take more territory, and soon.
The quick description is "fanatical, fundamentalist theocracy in former Texas." The Vice is Absolutism (we're right. God says so). The Victim is Freedom (they prey on everything, but Freedom is the first victim). The Visage is, obviously, Religious. And the Need is expressed as: "Expand to bring on the Rapture."
The rating for our little movie of Misspent Youth
is UR. The MPAA didn't want to hear it, I guess. I'm fine with that.
So then we get our Systems of Control. These are sci-fi-ish things that the Nation of Christ uses to keep everybody in line. Each player makes one up, so we wound up with:
- The Redeemers. These guys come to your house and do "interventions" if you aren't faithful enough, and they take the guise of a helpful intervention group. They talk to you alone, and then you're pious again. No one is sure exactly what they do to make that happen.
- The Maidens. Young women are expected to become mothers quickly. These are a kind of elite group of young women who act as watchdogs and moral whistleblowers. They wear rings (inspired by the "promise rings" of today's misguided youth). They control their peers by shaming, tattling and siccing the undersexed, overaggressive boys of the society on people (which sometimes winds up with houses burnt).
- Golgotha Squares. Every community has one of these, with a number of crosses. Always an odd number, with the big one empty (or, in some places, with a holographic Jesus on it). As a punitive measure, people can be lashed to those crosses, beaten, rocks thrown, and so on.
- The Military. The first son of every mother is automatically conscripted. Gun ownership is compulsory. Everyone is armed and devout.
- A woman that fails to bear a viable child (stillbirth, miscarriage) is treating as "owing a soul" to God. That woman then has to convert someone; even if she later bears a child, she's still one under quota, as it were.
As far as other stuff that isn't covered here goes, people are also named using two words from a random Bible passage (chosen at birth). Family names are a thing of the past, because there's too much cross-pollination going on (and everyone raises the kids). There's a caste system in place, and people who don't believe or believe in other faiths and branded and knocked to the bottom of the ladder. People who then convert are then re-branded and given a special status (more joy for the one lamb found than the thousands served with mint jelly, or something).
Now, the characters have an Exploit. In this case, it's a hacker/podcaster named 8337Z38U8 (it's a word, figure it out). No one is sure who "he" is, but he broadcasts to the youth, a small chunk of a message at a time, sometimes encoded in classic rock. He's here to help.
The characters! I include their given name (the "two words from the Bible" thing), their nickname (spot the trend! And it's not just that they all begin with "j") and other relevant traits. The characters are all smugglers and human traffickers (getting the people the fuck out of the Nation of Christ. At least some of their parents are involved, too.
- Michelle plays Soul Magnifies, or as her friends call her, Joan. She's a former Maiden whose fallen from grace. She's the face - and the Jezebel - of the group. Means: Cool. Motive: Outrage. Opportunity: Trusted. M.O.: "Hello, Daddy, Hello Mom" (Face/Jezebel). Disorder: "I wanna walk, but I run back to you." (Good girl)
- Jess plays Steadfast Love (can't link to the chapter and verse because Jess didn't write it down). Her parents raised her kind of off the grid, or as close as you get in the Nation of Christ. She's a CD pirate, kind of hippy, vegan. Her friends call her Janis. Means: Smart. Motive: Altruism. Opportunity: Orphan. M.O.: Hippy CD Pirate/Activist. Disorder: "My unhappy, my unlucky, my little girl blue."
- Mike plays Abraham Saddled, but his friends called him Jethro. Jethro is wheelman, good at driving defensively and otherwise. He saw his brother get a visit from the Redeemers, and that was enough to piss him off good and proper. Mostly, though, he likes driving. Means: Fast. Motive: Thrills. Opportunity: Rich. M.O.: Wheelman. Disorder: "When the all-time winner has got him by the balls."
- Rob plays Roaring Lion. He's a rabble-rouser, good at getting people fired up. His friends just call him Joey. (Rob doesn't take a lot of notes, so I'm a little at a loss here - don't remember exactly what was discussed about him.) Means: Bad. Motive: Optimism. Opportunity: Pretty. M.O.: "Hey, ho, let's go!". Disorder: "I don't want to grow up."
- John plays Samson Fell, or Jimi, if you like. Jimi is a tough kid. He's sneaky and he's easy to miss, but people studiously ignore him - he was branded for blasphemy. He's of African-American extraction, and wears hats (these are on the character sheet, so I mention them here.) Means: Tough. Motive: Pride. Opportunity: Sneaky. M.O.: Between the cracks. Disorder: "Kiss the sky."
There ya have it. Next time, we'll play our first episode.