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Old 03-18-2019, 08:46 AM   #11
thastygliax
 
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Both _Buffy_ and _Smallville_ had tie-in games which have advice on high school adventures and balancing monster-of-the-week with teen drama.
I played in a long-running Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG campaign some years back. While the main game focused on college-aged PCs, we also had a "spinoff" game featuring high school student PCs.

As in the TV show, "on screen" classes (for both groups) were mostly just sketchy background flavor and set-up for the real meat of the story: the interpersonal drama and the mystery of the week.

The rulebook has an excellent chapter on running the game. One major point it makes is that the show is really just a soap opera with supernatural trappings. The ever-changing relationships between characters, and the challenges and fallout that they produce, are at least as important to the ongoing story as whatever supernatural threat is the "plot" of a given episode.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

We've done a lot of fun games set in schools. A few years back we did a short run of a High School of the Dead game with GURPS. The Advice I'd give for high schoolers is to really pair down the available disadvantages and the disadvantage limit and do 7-10 quirks. It makes your character feel like a freak without being a total mess. Also have your players make characters together and talk about High School tropes that make good quirks. Once we got into that jive we found that we were really fitting into the roles of kids much easier

I think if you're going to have "school" in the description it creates an expectation that part of that game will involve the politics and drama of High School if only in how the team treats each other. I think there's a lot of fun to be had either in a school with super-powered high-school drama or Kids that can fly or throw a bus, but who can't pass a Spanish Test because they were up all night rescuing families from an apartment fire or who are getting bullied because they're too afraid of what would happen if they hit a person with their super strength.

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Old 03-19-2019, 07:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

Plus, make sure everyone is on the same page - an American state high school is a very different beast from a Japanese one, let alone a British public school (to pick three random trope friendly high schools) and tropes are rarely transferrable between them...
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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Plus, make sure everyone is on the same page - an American state high school is a very different beast from a Japanese one, let alone a British public school (to pick three random trope friendly high schools) and tropes are rarely transferrable between them...
The last time I ran a game set in secondary school, it was a oneshot using Hellcats and Hockeysticks, a game based on the St Trinians cartoons and movies. My players had a lot of fun, but I don't think I'd even try to run it in an American high school; the cultural milieu wouldn't work.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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So anyone ever dealt with a roleplay where a school was either the main or at least a major part of the setting? How exactly do you pull off school not just being a minor thing in the grand scheme of things? Honestly my only thought really is just have it be college where they usually don't give a **** if you attend as long as your passing test.
My recommendation is to use the monthly study rolls mechanic from GURPS Social Engineering: Back to School. This treats school like a job, with the "pay" is hours gained toward learning new skills rather than in GURPS$. You don't spend a lot of play time on determining how much people learn, but you do have varying academic outcomes, influenced by character traits and situations, so the fact that you're a student stays in the foreground. And you could penalize rolls if the characters are spending a lot of time on "adventures" or are under stress.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:04 AM   #16
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

Such settings usually have some wainscotting -- that is, if it's a "normal" high school, then most people don't know that the PCs are monster hunters or mecha pilots or superspies. Most of the teaches and students are mundanes. In that case, you can still have plots set in the mundane world. But they usually reflect the plot of the main story in some way, either as a echo or a contrast. They also, of course, serve as simple plot complications, having to meet other commitments and maintain The Secret.

It's also possible for there not to be any mundanes, at least at the school, quite possibly training students for their careers as monster hunters or mecha pilots or superspies. That's where Hogwarts and superhero high school are found. You can still try to have classwork and "normal" relationships as obstacles, but the other teachers and students would normally be a lot more understanding that you missed their event because you had to go save the world.

So that's probably a decision to make early, as it will help focus the interplay you can expect between those two halves of the characters.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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Such settings usually have some wainscotting -- that is, if it's a "normal" high school, then most people don't know that the PCs are monster hunters or mecha pilots or superspies. Most of the teaches and students are mundanes. In that case, you can still have plots set in the mundane world. But they usually reflect the plot of the main story in some way, either as a echo or a contrast. They also, of course, serve as simple plot complications, having to meet other commitments and maintain The Secret.

It's also possible for there not to be any mundanes, at least at the school, quite possibly training students for their careers as monster hunters or mecha pilots or superspies. That's where Hogwarts and superhero high school are found. You can still try to have classwork and "normal" relationships as obstacles, but the other teachers and students would normally be a lot more understanding that you missed their event because you had to go save the world.
Both of these are addressed in GURPS Social Engineering: Back to School, mainly in chapters 3 and 4.
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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Plus, make sure everyone is on the same page - an American state high school is a very different beast from a Japanese one, let alone a British public school (to pick three random trope friendly high schools) and tropes are rarely transferrable between them...
And just to make it even more confusing:

Britain:
School funded by student tuition: public school
School funded by taxpayers: state school

America:
School funded by student tuition: private school
School funded by taxpayers: public school

I believe the British usage of the term public refers to the system where such schools were the alternate to schools open only to children of members of, say, a particular guild.
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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I believe the British usage of the term public refers to the system where such schools were the alternate to schools open only to children of members of, say, a particular guild.
Well, a public house is not usually owned by the state, is it?
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Old 03-19-2019, 03:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: How to Roleplay HighSchool in a tabletop rpg

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I believe the British usage of the term public refers to the system where such schools were the alternate to schools open only to children of members of, say, a particular guild.
Could be, but my understanding was that "public school" in British was an alternative to being "educated privately", in a schoolroom in your parents's house, by a tutor hired by your parents.
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