With the imminent demise of G+, I want to preserve this a little more, because I think it’s neat.
I really want to make the Kiki’s Delivery Service RPG, where you’re a bunch of young witches who’ve come from your various hometowns to the big city and decided to start your own coven so you don’t have to go it alone.
Each playbook would be built around a different magic talent (broomstick flying, potion making, fortune telling, weather control, talking to animals, etc.)
You’d also have a sheet to fill out as a group to define your coven, like where you live and who the important people to you are.
The hard part is I’m not quite sure what young witches actually do. Do you help people with odd jobs? Fight monsters? Do magic expeditions? Go to school? All of the above?
Even though it’s not about witches, I should probably look to Hilda for inspiration too.
To me, “discover what a young witch does” is hard because it was the emotional thrust of the movie. You have a skill, you want to apply it somehow, but maybe you aren’t sure how. Flight can be used to make deliveries, but it could also help with the weather, or construction, or tourism. Maybe you can brew potions that change the color of something or make plants grow, but maybe applying that to real peoples’ problems is something you struggle with.
“Fight monsters” feels alien to the Ghibli movie mindset. “Discover strange creatures”, maybe.
If I played a game like this, I’d pick a witchy power from the list, but maybe my playbook is my emotional journey, like Masks, rather than my power set. I might be the witch who struggles with her place, or the introverted witch who needs to make friends, or the haughty witch who needs to learn humility by working with clients. And I get better at using my powers in tense situations by building those relationships and learning lessons, and sometimes bleeding off stress with a downtime scene with supporting NPCs.
I’m more and more picturing this as a Blades in the Dark hack… Build your coven, do jobs, have downtime…
To me, Kiki’s is about a girl finding out how to live on her own, take care of herself, and have a career and friends she’s proud of.
So then I’d make my MC moves things that challenge that.
So what would it take to do a Forged in the Dark version?
- Instead of a crew, you have a coven. The coven type determines what sort of story you’re in (Fairy Tale witches a la “Over The Garden Wall” or “Hilda”, City witches a la “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, or School witches a la “Little Witch Academia”).
- Playbooks are built like Masks - they focus on the character’s emotional journey (introvert, outsider, snob) rather than proficiency or magic type. Characters have a stock set of witchy powers (broomstick riding, potion-making, etc.).
- Instead of scores or engagement rolls, there’s opportunities or needs - things your coven of witches wants to do, or is called to do, that will change lives for the better or get them something they need. Your load is your wands, prepared spells, special items, or anything else.
- The wording of some of the actions would change.
- I’d need to do some thinking about trauma - the genre doesn’t really call for permanent impairments.
- Instead of vice, witches indulge in insecurities - doing stuff that addresses their emotional weaknesses, or habits that make them feel better. Compulsive studying, alchemy, or troublemaking are examples.
- Heat and Wanted levels are replaced by scrutiny from the adult figures in the game - teachers, cops, landlords, or anyone else in a position of power over your characters.