Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Twilight Thoughts.

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I’m working up some more substantial posts on radicalism. And it’s CU’s Islam Awareness Week next week (is it just me, or does that name seem… not right? Don’t we usually have awareness weeks for, y’know, problems?) so I’ll have some stuff to blog about that when it comes up.

But first, let’s play some more.

Twilight is a game where you play urban legends. Bloody Mary, the Blue Woman, Santa Muerte, Jesus. You take on the roles of these people and their stories. The story takes place in the City.

You’ll need some note cards for this to work.

First, the group should define four virtues. These are qualities that someone can embody, and they will be the thematic focus of the game. I want to say, “it’s helpful for virtues to have their good points and their bad points,” but actually, I can’t think of personal qualities that are purely positive or negative. For example: love, hope, fear, compassion, acceptance, destruction, apathy, spite.

Next, each player develops their character. This is mostly an individual process, but do it together, and toss around ideas so you get characters that might play off each other in interesting ways. Your character has: a name, a legend, two relationships, three features, four roles, and a story fragment.

Your name and legend are pretty straight-forward. Your name’s what people call you to your face; your legend is what people call you behind your back. Sara / The white fox. Kiso / Jack manyhands.

Your three features are statements about your character. Express them however you like, but make sure everyone’s clear on what they mean. “I’m good with people,” is pretty clear, “All tangled up in blue,” probably requires some explanation.

Your two relationships may be with any people or things you’re close to. It must be possible for these relationships to be threatened. Write the target of each relationship on separate note cards—they’re going to become supporting characters. Come up with one feature for each, and write it on the card below their name. Next, pass one card to the person on your left, and one to the person on your right. You’ll now have two new cards in front of you—write a feature on each of these, then pass them back.

Every legend is a story. Your four roles sketch the major parts in your character’s legend. Each role exemplifies a virtue, from your character’s point of view—make this connection explicit. I like naming roles in the manner of Major Arcana, but whatever scheme fits your preferences works. For example: The Wanderer embodies Hope, The Lure embodies Compassion, The Con embodies Acceptance, The Release embodies Freedom.

Finally, your story fragment defines a conflict between two roles by stating how that conflict will end. The conflict doesn’t have to be nasty (though legends often are), but it should be interesting for everyone. For example: The Watchmaker destroys The Invention, The Wanderer is seduced by The Lure.

Here’s what we have so far.

Name: Sara
Legend: The white fox

Mary: Sara’s sister, who misses her ; Mary wants to fly.
Matthew: A drifter, he’s always moving ; Dangerous.

It’s true, I love you.
I know exactly what to say.
I’m not someone you want to just run into.

Hope—The Wanderer
Compassion—The Lure
Acceptance—The Con
Freedom—The Release

Finally, go around the table. Each player looks at the two roles named by the player across from them, and assigns them each to one supporting character. One of these characters must be a character the assigning player has a relationship with.

And that’s it for setup! Next time, playing the game, where we dive into the web we just created.

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