I’ve been swamped at work due to the start of the semester (I work at the university bookstore, so imagine the scenes of chaos) and applying to a new Nursing program, which means I’ve had little time to spend at home with my wife, let alone to write. Which isn’t to say I haven’t written, but it hasn’t been as much as I would like. What I have had time for, as I process endless textbook rentals and returns, is thinking, and that thinking has gone in great part towards the PJ&N Blackbird hack. It’s late, I’m half asleep and need to be up early in the morning, but I wanted to throw a couple of musings out there.
Building the characters continues to be the hardest part. I’ve managed to create more Keys for each character, but Secrets remain elusive. This actually ties to the other two thoughts I have to share now.
Sean Nittner, in a comment left in my previous post, brought up something that I also had noticed when I last saw the movie in prep for writing: there is very little action. The Breakfast Club is a talky movie, not an action movie, which means a lot of the events are conversation-based. That’s great for the movie, but it means there’s a distinct lack of external pressure to do anything in a game that needs to be addressed.
Lastly, I continue to vacillate between making this an actual The Breakfast Club game or an inspired one.
Answering those last two questions will make my job of building the characters easier. In terms of the external push to action, it is very easy to notice in the film how Bender is, essentially, an agent of plot: he has to find a way to keep things happening, keep the situation fluid, keep everyone moving. Bender gets a Key that rewards him for doing just this, and a clever player will use that ability to drive play and rack up advancements. In addition, I am toying with the idea of having an external force that opposes the characters and which they can only defeat by the use of advancement XPs. This could be used to simulate the overarching goal of “proving the stereotype wrong” the kids face during their day in detention.
Choosing whether I’m making a TBC game or an homage to the style will also help me in fleshing out the characters. At the moment I am leaning towards making it as close to the movie as possible and letting the players decide the events from the basic premise laid out in the film. I also would like the basic framework to allow groups to explore beyond the day of detention, like, what happens when they all meet again in school on Monday?
These are some thoughts that I have been mulling over and over in my head as I get ready to make final decisions and put the game together.