Sunday, November 3, 2013

Umbrham Characters

A couple weeks ago I improvised a hybrid of Monsterparts and Dread that came to take place in the small New England town of Umbrham (pronounced as only a small New England town can be pronounced). All the characters were in 7th or 8th grade in the year 1986 and were created simply by answering seven of the following questions each.

I wrote the questions on index cards, then the players passed them around and chose one at a time that appealed to them. After they answered the questions, and at the start of each session, they read their questions (but not their answers) aloud to the group. Everyone was also allowed to pick two possessions they would always be assumed to carry.

I'm presenting the questions here grouped by how they were chosen to make characters.
  • What did you spend your [Bar/Bat] Mitzvah money on?
  • How can you afford to spend so much time at the arcade?
  • Why do you spy on [Player A’s character]?
  • What did you name your dog?
  • What's the password to your tree house?
  • Whose blood stained your concert shirt?
  • Why don’t you eat meat?
  • What did you learn at overnight camp?
  • Where do you carry your heirloom?
  • Why did you miss the last couple track practices?
  • Why is your kid brother hiding a bruise?
  • When did the dreams start again?
  • Which of [Player B’s character]’s family do you idolize?
  • Why did you fail math last year?
  • How long since dad left?
  • Where do you get your cigarettes?
  • How did you get that scar?
  • Why don’t you show anyone your poetry?
  • How much longer do you have to wear that cast?
  • How did you lose your virginity?
  • What do you know about [Player C’s character]’s family that they don’t?
  • When did your twin die?
  • Do your parents know you’re pregnant?
  • What’s the only thing Grandad says to you?
  • Why do you trust [Player A’s character] so much?
  • How did you earn a scholarship already?
  • What book do you read again and again?
  • Who buys you all your tapes?
At some point I'd like to run it again with the same questions in a different group and see what characters emerge. I'll write up what I remember of the story in a future post but mention briefly that flashlights are an excellent prop for the horror game GM.

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