22 Apr 2014

Project Natasha - Hellcats & Hockeysticks

Welcome back to Project Natasha, where I take Nasty from Subject 13 and build her in various tabletop RPGs.  Today's game is Hellcats & Hockeysticks.

Hellcats & Hockeysticks is set at St. Erisian's School for Girls, where young dears are taken in and challenged to become the woman they can.  To quote the game, the school tries to graduate women who follow in the footsteps of "Emmeline Pankhurst, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Anne Bonney, and Lizzie Borden."  Apparently, Elspeth Bathory wouldn't pass the entrance exam.  Player characters are seniors at St. Erisian's, carving their own niche, among other things, with help from "friends", all while trying to avoid notice from staff, civil authorities, and the Special Air Service.

To get Nasty to fit in with the game, I'll treat Fieldson as a St. Erisian-style school, with some meshing of characters as needed.  Essentially, any character in Subject 13 Nasty's age could be at the school.  Changing the setting is always allowed in a game, even those that come with a pre-packaged background.  Hellcats can be easily moved from the UK to any other country that has private schools and access to dangerous chemicals, so Rochester, NY, isn't really a stretch.

Character generation is straight forward, with two parts involving a small point-buy system.  First step, choose a clique.  Cliques provide special abilities and a core curriculum of skills.  Examples include Fixers, knowing people who know people who can get items no matter the legality; Scientists, mostly the mad types who delve into areas man was not meant to know*; and Prefects, the leaders of women and herders of cats.  The best fit for Natasha, though, is the Hockey Girl, who gains benefits when fighting.  Definitely Natasha.

Step two is to spend five points on the four curriculum skills, Games (Team Sports), Games (Track & Field), Games (Marksman), and Observation.  Skills in /Hellcats/ tend to be broad.  Games (Team Sports) also covers fighting hand-to-hand, either bare-handed or with hockeysticks, along with the usual knowledge of team sports.  Thrown weapons fall under Games (Marksman), along with bows, crossbows, and artillery.  Natasha puts two points into Games (Team Sports) and one each into the remaining curriculum skills.  Curriculum skills can reach level 5 by the end of character creation; all other skills are limited to level 4.

Speaking of the other skills, the third step lets Natasha spend 15 points on other skills, including the clique skills.  She places another three into Games (Team Sports), one into Games (Track & Field), two into Languages, letting her pick up Italian, and four, the maximum, into Craft, Design, and Technology.  With five points left, Natasha examines the skill list a bit more closely.  A point in Electronics makes sense; most engines today have an electronic component, and other vehicle systems use the electricals.  Since she works out, another point in Games (Track & Field) isn't a problem.  Natasha also puts two points into Home Economics, though it's not likely that she'll use the poisons and potions part of the skill.  The last point is placed in Physics, because she needs to pass the class.  The character sheet below sums up the skill choices.

Step four is quick - record ten Willpower.  After that, the optional choosing of a personality trait.  The rules have a short list, and players can create their own.  However, top of the list in the book is Angry.  It's nice when a game makes the choice this simple.  The sixth step is to select the rivalries Natasha has.  Each character in a game of Hellcats has a best friend and a rival, where the best friend can do no wrong and the rival needs to be shown her place.  The best friend and the rival do not have to reciprocate.  GMs, known as Headmistresses or HMs, can decide that the players have to make the decision of best friend and rival without knowing what choices anyone else made.  It is possible that a PC's best friend finds that the originating character is a rival.  In Natasha's case, she chooses Renata as her best friend and Tia as her rival.  Meanwhile, both Renata and Rusty have taken Natasha to be the best friend.  And, yes, multiple characters having the same best friend is allowed.  The Headmistress's job becomes so much easier when players are plotting against each other for the affection of a third PC.  Included in this step is writing down what your character hates about everyone else who isn't the best friend or the rival.  Natasha skips this part for now; the cast is too big to get into specifics for each classmate.

The last step is the secret fear, the one thing that frightens Natasha the most.  This fear can be as simple as spiders or as abstract as a post-atomic war Mad Max dystopia.  Natasha doesn't show fear often; spiders are more likely to be chased away or smashed flat than run away from, but she does have one fear that has kept her going.  Natasha is afraid of turning into her mother.  The last thing she wants to be is a single mother before graduation and drinking to escape reality.

Done!  Again, the power punch doesn't come up, again because the system doesn't support superpowers.  Barring the punch, Hellcats & Hockeysticks does model Natasha well.  The game's focus - teenaged girls running amok - fits with Nasty's age and disposition.

Natasha' s character sheet.  If you wish to play her, go ahead, but please tell me how it goes.

Name: Natasha
Clique: Hockey Girl
Clique Ability: Sporty
Curriculum: Games (Team Sports), Games (Track & Field), Games (Marksman), Observation

Skil List
Computer Science
Craft, Design, Technology 3
Current Affairs
Electronics 1
Games (Team Sports) 5
Games (Track & Field) 2
Games (Marksman) 1
Home Economics 2
Languages 2 - Italian
Observation 1
Physics     1
Religious Studies
Social Studies

Willpower: 10
Secret Fear: Becoming her mother.
Trait: Angry

Wound Status
Slapped  Battered  Trashed

Best Friend:  Renata
Rival: Tia
Secret Loathings: To be determined later.

* But it's okay, since the PCs are young women, so it's perfectly safe.  Honest.

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