Again, this is mostly for those who understand what this is about. If you don’t, feel free to ask, but that discussion will have to be for another time.
So, I’m thinking that, while I’m being inspired by some of the discussion of Jeepform games, I shouldn’t feel bound to do it that way. This isn’t out of any disrespect or anything; rather, I’ve never played in a Jeepform game, and, honestly, the Jeepform games read like some Forge games that I’ve read (i.e. they assume a lot on the part of the audience). I don’t necessarily have all the same assumptions of the Jeepform crowd, and I’m not going to try. Instead, I’ll read up on what they have done and be inspired to create something of my own. After I’m done, then we can debate if it’s Jeepform or a Forge LARP or something else. Honestly, I could really care less. I deliberately avoided using the term “roleplaying game” to describe Dirty Secrets, because I wasn’t interested in getting mired in that debate. Same thing here.
At this point, Flowers for Mara is a working title. That means that I’ve probably accepted it in my subconscious but haven’t come around to embracing it consciously. I say this purely because of my experience with Dirty Secrets, which was supposed to be a working title, until it stuck.
I think that, as a thought experiment, I’m going to design this game in my head as something that could be played sitting around a table. That will help me get my thought processes in order and will help me work from a place of familiarity. That being said, I would want to be able to move seamlessly from the gaming table to an open larping area, so don’t expect to see any dice or any such thing.
There will be a GM for Flowers for Mara. Actually, I envision the “fourth wall” in Flowers for Mara as functionally being the GM screen. He may or may not have objective systems to help him run the game, but I want to keep them invisible to the players, so that they can concentrate on playing out their developing story.
I have this idea that there will be actual flowers involved in Flowers for Mara. Like, each player gets a (plastic) flower to hold, with a tag or something attached to it. At the beginning of the game, each player has to write down an actual incident of loss that happened in his life. The flower becomes a symbol for that loss. Only players holding flowers are allowed to see Mara. At any time in the game, a player may call for a special scene, where he goes to the designated “grave site” area and lays the flower on the grave. This must be accompanied with a monologue about pain or loss or letting go or something like that. After this point, that player can no longer see Mara (because he doesn’t have a flower anymore).
Mara doesn’t get a flower, obviously. I’m thinking that the Pastor doesn’t, either. That makes them special characters. Again, for Mara, this is obvious, but this makes the Pastor an interesting role. Is he a metaphorical role, like Mara? Or is he a human role, like the other characters? If so, then he really should get a flower. What do the rest of you think?
I’m also thinking that these flowers should have other system ramifications, as well as being symbolic props. Like, if you need to be holding a physical item, you use the flower as the item. I’m still rolling this around in my head.
Pregens are probably a must. So far, obviously, we have Mara, the Pastor, Caleb, and Zoe. I think that we probably need to broaden the circle of family and friends to allow for a couple more characters, but not too many. I’m thinking maybe two more, plus minor roles which will simply be pooled.
I’m thinking that the first and last scenes are gravesite scenes, accompanied by a reading of the burial service from the Book of Common Prayer. At the beginning, the Pastor should read it. At the end, someone else should. Not sure who.
There should also be music involved. I’ve already compiled my personal playlists, which include the following:
“Hard to Get”, Rich Mullins
“Angel”, Sarah McLachlan
“Casimir Pulaski Day”, Sufjan Stevens
“Motion Picture Soundtrack”, Radiohead
“Come Awake”, David Crowder Band
“After The Last Tear Falls”, Andrew Peterson
“It Can’t Rain All The Time”, Jane Siberry
“A Long December”, Counting Crows
I’m thinking that, while I should probably include my personal playlists as examples, the GM really ought to assemble his own playlists. These songs are meaningful to me personally, but I doubt that they will have quite the same impact to someone else.
Hmm. More coming as I think about it. I have this nagging sense that this one will come together fairly quickly.