I would go one step further beyond the urging for empathy. Above all else, compassion.
The halfling Thief raises an eyebrow at Captain Thels. "What, you got something against our dragon buddy?"
Thels' glamour slips slightly, revealing a face scarred with burns. "The past has taught me well." (Reveal an unwelcome truth. Soft move.)
The Thief waves it off. "Oh, get over it." (Ignoring the soft move.)
Thels slowly picks the Thief up, and tosses them out of the window! (Show a downside of their race. Hard move!) The conversation has officially concluded.
You wouldn't use this all the time, but I suspect a well-placed GM move or two in an in-game conversation can spice things up heftily!
The difference? Callisto is open-ended! It makes me wonder if one couldn't apply the game back to the murder mystery format... What I think could be particularly helpful is the inclusion of goals and narrative powers.
Also, shounen protagonists do not typically work well on a team together, until they gang up on the Big Bad when they learn to work together.
Oh! And one of the most commonly-parodied tropes of shounen anime is that they spend a lot of time in fight scenes yelling about why they're doing what they're doing and having clashes of philosophy and values. HMMMMMMMMMM. I wonder what that reminds me of...?
My idea is that Hitotsuna (or whatever the town winds up being called) is a "next stop" after death, a sort of limbo where people hang out when they haven't come to terms with their death. Before they're able to move on (to whatever lies beyond), they have to accept their death (and their life) and be at peace with what happened. The henge are spirits able to walk in the gateway town and communicate with the departed, and they're assigned the task (by some wise elder kami, I haven't figured out what sort of kami would make a good gateway guardian) to help the deceased find peace and rest.
For the convention game, I'll be presenting the henge with the task of helping out one particular individual who died early (not sure how early just yet, but probably in their 20s to 30s?). I haven't figured out what, exactly, their issue is, however.
So, I'm looking to bounce these thoughts around and get feedback on them. Is the subject matter too gloomy for GSS to handle, or does the emphasis on bringing the subjects to peace make it workable? (if people don't think it'd work, I can always run another scenario--I'd just really love to put some work into this one, because I really like the themes behind it) What might the Big Issue to be solved in the scenario be? It has to be something concrete and doable by the henge, so that the convention-goers can understand it. (Also, if anyone who knows Japanese has a better name for the town than the default Hitotsuna, that'd be awesome!)
Thanks for the feedback! :)
"Ask questions, build on the answers", anyone?
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